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Rising Seas, Climate Change & the Viriginia Coast

As the U.N. talks about climate in Cancun, coastal Norfolk, VA, is already dealing with rising sea levels.

Norfolk, VA (Credit: Joey Sheely, Wikimedia Commons)

Norfolk, Virginia is one of the oldest cities in America. It’s a city on the water, at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay.

And if you live in Norfolk, what you see is the water rising. Norfolk’s land base is settling. The seas are getting higher.

The combination has put Norfolk out front in confronting what cities all over the world may face in a century of climate change: water in the streets; big decisions on what to save and where to retreat; and huge costs.

Climate change deniers hate the conversation, but in Norfolk, it’s reality time. We look at getting real about high water, and what’s to come.  

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests:

Leslie Kaufman, national reporter covering the environment for the New York Times and author of the recent article “Front-Line City in Virginia Tackles Rise in Sea.”

William “Skip” Stiles, executive director of Wetlands Watch.

Theresa Whibley, Norfolk city councillor representing Ward 2, which contains some of the areas of Norfolk hardest hit by flooding.

Orrin Pilkey, professor emeritus of Earth and Ocean Sciences at Duke University. He’s co-author of “The Rising Sea.”

 

Norfolk, VA (Google Maps)

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  • Flowen

    2 Points:

    1) The denial of climate change, ie “global warming”, (or more precisely “global weirding”), in the face of scientific consensus, one’s own senses, and the logical outcome of the irresponsible and wasteful use of energy worldwide, is the act of a fool, or a dis-honest individual or group who profits mightily at the expense of mankind.

    The use of 85 million BARRELS of oil daily, 51 million barrels equivalent gas, 68 million barrels equivalent of coal worldwide EACH DAY, representing ~86% of total energy use daily. With average transportation efficiency at only ~ 15%, and electrical generation, transmission, and use at only 25-30%, it is illogical, cavalier, risky to extreme, and PLAIN DISHONEST AND/OR STUPID TO BELIEVE THERE IS NO HUMAN-CAUSED ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECT on global thermal/environmental stability. Especially given known emissions of pollutants.

    Those who benefit from confusing the issue, and propagating the belief that climate change is not affected by human activity are sick, dishonest people: Psychopaths who are out of touch with reality, and have no values other than accumulating wealth and power for themselves. For all else there is Viagra and Cialis for them.

    2) The ONLY WAY TO ARREST AND REVERSE the warmer/wetter trend is to recognize the need for, and accept and effect higher prices for fossil fuels and electricity.

    Without higher prices, the awesome power of innovative technology, creativity and entrepreneurship will remain tethered, hobbled, and obstructed.

    Maintenance of the artificially low price of oil, gas, and electricity by subsidy and socializing the true cost of fossil fuel use is the principle tool for maintaining the Status Quo. Without higher prices, NOTHING will change for the better.

    It is again the familiar story: privatize the profits, socialize the costs. Republicans, conservatives, and corporatists are nothing but socialists in disguise. And too many are criminals.

  • Beverly

    Sorry, but I think I’ll have to miss this program. It will be very interesting, but far too depressing. The situation is desperate, but we’re helpless . . . and hopeless.

    It’s a global problem, but only a few countries are willing, or able to do anything about it. The 2 worst offenders aren’t even trying to help; quite the opposite. China is still using COAL for almost everything! America wants to drill its way to oblivion, & is well on its way.

    All through the night, every night, workers are out in the Gulf, removing tons of oil, & other chemicals, with no noticable improvement.

    There are hundreds of old wells in the oceans, no longer in use, which are rusting away. Some are already leaking, & for the rest, it’s just a matter of time. Soon, all seas will be like the Niger Delta, where there’s so much oil that nothing can live, yet it’s, “DRILL BABY, DRILL!”; the oil companies can’t reach that goal soon enough to suit them.

    Those living along the Gulf are already suffering with terrible health problems; sores in their noses, burning eyes, & breathing difficulties are just a few of the most noticable ones. Needless to say, babies & children will pay the highest price for the stupidity of reckless, greedy adults.

    We no longer have clean air to breathe, so children with asthma are becoming the norm.

    Our food is grown in soil contaminated by lead, & is watered with ACID RAIN. Poison has been genetically implanted in every kernel of corn . . . every soybean. Poisining Americans is now legal.

    All sea creatures, (the ones which haven’t yet been fished to extinction, become accidental victims of fishermens’ nets, or pollution), now contain dangerous levels of mercury. Pregnant women are advised not to eat ANY seafood. What about the rest of us? How can we feed tuna to our children? Being so large, & at the top of the food chain, tuna contains more mercury than any other fish we consume!

    Soon, nothing edible will be able to live on land or sea. Once people are starving to death, it will be too late to do anything about pollution. It’s already too late.

    No amount of money will be able to save the obscenely rich politicians, oil barons, or anyone else. When they’re nothing but skin & bones, too weak to stand, will they still be shouting, “DRILL, BABY, DRILL!!!”?

    

  • Zeno

    There’s a very close parallel between the climate change denial, and the smoking does not cause cancer rhetoric.

    The obfuscation of observational reality and empirical science is all about the retention of wealth and power.

    Crisis management allows for a much greater transfer of wealth upward.

  • Beverly

    Instead of a dicussion about our poisoned planet, can we have Jewish-French cooking, part 2, please?

  • cory

    Nothing will be done until it is either too late, or there is no other choice. This is what happens when the world is driven by short term profitability without regard to long term logic.

    I’ve said it before and I say it again today. We will not stop using fossil fuels until it is no longer profitable to do so. Money makes the world go ’round and I challenge anyone to prove otherwise.

    Leftfield, Wisconsin

  • Rob-Norfolk Virginia

    I’ve lived on or near the Lafayette River in Norfolk for the past 50 years…althought This is a concern to me…I have yet to see a significant rise in the water level,…bearing in mind that the Tidewater is the pool by which all the watersheds east of the Blue Ridge flow to…and the fact that weather…ie Nor’easters which force water levels to rise during events resulting in constant erosion….
    ***Question…what are the varibles concidered in these studies….Norfolk Proper was an island…with a lot of the city “filled in” in the past one hundred fifty years…***Does this also have an effect???…and***How long before the guy across the street has a waterfront lot…and mine is gone???

  • Zeno

    “Nothing will be done until it is either too late, or there is no other choice. This is what happens when the world is driven by short term profitability without regard to long term logic.” – Posted by cory

    Exactly. I was reading a story this morning that has all of the socio-political elements (corporate greed and power, money, deniers, rock hard science, politics, etc.) that climate change has, but in the end… It is a sad tale of the power of corporate plutocracy:

    http://www.aolnews.com/discuss/libby-montana-declared-public-health-emergency-after-decades-of-asbestos-exposure/19733491#gcpDiscussPageUrlAnchor

  • Yar from Somerset, KY

    We all want sustainability. We want to live forever. As we realize our own mortality we give up on trying to save resources for anyone else. If we don’t use it first, somebody else will. That logic has crippled our civilization, if we still claim to be civil. I wonder how organisms ever evolved into a multi-cell being with the me first logic so prevalent. If we could only see the entire world as a single organism instead of us against the environment, then maybe we will change some behaviors that are destructive.
    We are willing to make changes as long they don’t affect jobs, lifestyle, choice, power structure, or social class.
    In other words, we are willing for others to change as long as it doesn’t affect us.
    We are in generational tug of war over resources, the younger you are, the more likely you are to believe climate change will affect your future. It so happens that our legislators (average age 58) are not representing the needs of our youth.

    We could have a jobs program for our youth to build and install solar water heaters, weatherize homes, and other energy saving tasks. It will teach about the need to conserve resources and help our economy at the same time.
    Oh, but we can’t afford it,
    I need another fix,
    give me a double of oil on the rocks (coal).
    We are a helpless junkie.
    Sick!

  • http://www.venturacommenter.org F. William Bracy

    Of course Flowen is right. Gasoline in the U.S. should have been taxed at a much higher rate — not over the past few years, but over the past 100 years. Higher prices for gasoline (as in Europe) does one important thing … it allows us to put a price on the true cost of driving.

    This is something Americans are loathe to do given any scenario you’d care to name. The only thought uppermost in the minds of most Americans is, “Give it to me now, and if I can get away without paying for it, I’ll take that too.”

    It’s a sickness — a sickness called greed, and America has a terminal case (unfortunately).

  • Sheila Newtown

    I noticed the media seems incapable of or just does not want to report on the cleansing of climate change science reports by officials in the Bush administration who were previous employees of oil giants like Exxon Mobil. It also never talks about the faith based groups, who are backed by big oil, who send tapes such as “Resisting the Green Dragon” to be touted on Glenn Beck’s show to religious communities.In successfully making this issue yet another in the long list of culture war debates, big oil, the conservatives both religious and fiscally who live off of oil profits,stop any effort to develop different sources of energy or even conservation. This issue like so many others is about keeping those in power, and reaping in government subsidies along with huge profits ,happy.
    These companies do not want the development of “green” jobs because any new innovations or job source threatens their monopoly.When will this issue start being pushed by conservative media and religious leaders? When states like Texas have cornered the technologies and development rights to the new energy industry.

  • William

    The release of the “climate-gate” emails have painted a picture of corruption withing the “global warming” community. I don’t trust the global warming community because it is, like most things in life, “all about the money”.

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    This is just like the national debt: everyone acknowledges its a problem but few want to do the politically unpopular thing to make it right.

    The fact that its politically unpopular to do the right thing says worlds about our national attitude about problem solving. And, in the midst of all of this we have an affective disinformation campaign by people who profit from the status quo.

    Those of us who see trough this have been marginalized as tree huggers. Maybe Gore went too far with the sensationalism of his movie.

    I just heard Bill McKibben speak and he pretty much says the same thing. Kicking the problem down the road makes it much harder to solve gracefully later. But, like Gore, he may go too far in describing the problem in sensational terms.

    http://www.billmckibben.com/

    I’m not saying it’s not a sensational problem, but until concrete things start happening, like a city in Virginia being under water Americans consider it one more abstract concept.

    Sigh.

  • WINSTON SMITH

    Whether or not climate change is caused by mankind or as a rsult of natural causes and not under mankind’s control is still an open issue. Mankind has taken everything else in God’s perfect creation and damaged or destroyed it, so it certainly is within the realm of possibility that climate change has a human component to it. But one thing that really cracks me up is the hypocrisy of people like Al Gore who talk a good game but then go off and live a lavishly energy-consuming lifestyle. See the attached link with regard to his new house.
    http://orangepunch.ocregister.com/2010/04/29/al-gores-massive-carbon-footprint-tracks-to-california/25391/
    And other celebrities like Barbara Streisand, Bill Clinton, etc. live in huge houses (they have multiple houses) and yet preach about reducing our carbon footprints. If they really believe it, why don’t they set the example and live a modest lifestyle and donate a larger portion of their wealth to reversing the impact? I guess it’s like Leona Helmsley and taxes when she said “only the little people pay taxes”. I guess only the little people should reduce their significantly smaller carbon footprint.

  • Andrea Wilder

    I go nuts on this topic.
    Boston builds and builds on the waterfront.

    Go to interactive maps to see what will happen.

    I went to a conference in the Moakley Court House, overlooking the water.
    Final suggestion by Menino trouble shooter: sea gates across Boston Harbor, a la the Netherlands. Otherwise, Chelsea goes underwater. New Spaulding building being designed for a flooded first floor.

    Andrea

    I’m from CAMBRIDGE, just upstream from Boston

  • John from Plainville MA

    The human influence in climate change leading to massive impacts on our environment is one of the most tragic, scary and personally upsetting things happening in the world today.

    However, I try to take some solace in this (likely flawed) line of thinking.

    Anything that we have done or will continue to do to influence our environment is natural, as we are merely using techniques that our high cognitive functions have made possible. In this way, how much different are we from beavers, who build dams on streams that irrevocably change and influence the environments that they live in.

  • Zeno

    The coastlines of the U.S. should be un-insurable by law. The constant destruction-rebuild of Americas shorelines is only possible through shared indemnification. This area should encompass ALL flood zones until the population is living where it should be.

  • WINSTON SMITH

    Part 2. If climate change is real, we should really jack up the flood insurance rates. This is another one of those well-intentioned but poorly thought out government programs that only served to encourage building in risky areas and as a result is underfunded by billions of dollars. If higher tides are coming, then the rates need to be significantly increased to discourage further risky building as well as to build up reserves to cover future losses. (an indicator of the future finances of Obamacare).

    Also, as far as carbon taxes, cap and trade, etc. this will be another program than investment bankers, adn retired politicians turned lobbyists will turn into a money grab. There is no way that our government cannot design and then carry out such an extensive program without massive fraud and abuse of the little guy.

  • Richard in Newton, MA

    Given that the discussion centers around Norfolk, I wonder when global warming becomes a defense/national security issue and if mitigations studies, scenarios and projections by the Pentagon, Annapolis or West Point have already been filed.

    Also, Winston Smith, in “God’s perfect creation” system, children perish from simple, preventative diseases. I’m glad we’re doing something about it and I’m glad we’re trying to offset ecological problems we’ve created for ourselves.

  • Eric M. Jones

    You guys…..Norfolk is sinking. Many big cities are built near the coast and then pump out the water beneath them. BUT the official numbers for the rise of sea level is ZERO to 3 cm in the last century, and NOBODY knows why. So don’t mix up this issue with global warming.

    If you want to stop global warming, don’t have any kids…and oh yeh, and make the Sun behave better.

  • Ann, Barrington, RI

    QUESTION FOR ON AIR:

    Can you tell us how the Eastern Shore of Virginia is doing? It has so many wetlands and barrier islands that are themselves wetlands — are those wetlands protecting the peninsula itself?

    Is there a difference between the Eastern Shore’s Chesapeake side and its Atlantic side?

    Thanks for this show!

  • dan liebert

    I’m a Norfolk/VB native and now live in Charleston Sc where we face the same problem. There is no fix–no solution. You just have to move inland. Accepting climate change won’t change the trend and recapturing 200 years of CO2 just ain’t gonna happen on any effective time scale. Move back to I95.

  • Elizabeth – Kingston, RI

    “Climate-Gate”??? William aren’t you listening??? The reality is this IS happening across the globe. Even if you want to believe the scientists were somehow corrupt (my understanding was that the emails were related to the process of sharing info – not creating data) what money did they actually make – it is the climate change deniers that are reaping the rewards from Exxon, etc.

    It also doesn’t change the fact that chemist know how the so called “greenhouse gasses” function, we have paleo. evidence that when the plants that now form the coal and petroleum reserves that we are now burning that planet was much warmer, and we have evidence that shows that when we started releasing the carbon trapped in those materials we started increasing the carbon in our atmosphere and the temperature.

    It is time to stop arguing about the cost of addressing it – because obviously NOT dealing with it will cost even more. We need to think of this as our generation’s trip to the moon – and embrace the job opportunities that this could bring if we stopped subsidizing petroleum and coal!! We need to start assessing the costs of the use of those materials and withdraw the tax breaks and other support we give those mostly foreign corporations!

  • Ruby

    I am wondering about the response of people who deny climate change but also see the need for infrastructure improvements in areas like Norfolk. How do they address the problems and how do they respond to the idea that more global changes to combat climate change are more likely to be effective in a broader spectrum and more permanently than band-aid fixes like rising the street level of one street 18 inches for over $1 million?

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-video/video/2010/11/30/tuesday-talks-building-a-clean-energy-economy-with-secretary-chu

    Yesterday, I tuned to Whitehouse.gov and heard, my chance, Energy Secretary Chu do a live dialogue presentation, and I was impressed because he had been here on OnPoint and seemed to me distressingly retro, given how forward-looking he had been pre-secretary-hood. Anyway, it looks like this is going to be a weekly energy talk with him. He announce X millions or billions of money for retrofitting commercial buildings to save energy, and was asked how many jobs would go to make the new energy economy. Oh, he was asked a lot of good questions. He was projecting in a way that lifted my spirits. How about can we catch up with Chinese technology? How much are Chinese investing versus us? Where is storage technology? Where is conveyance technology. Does he envision every roof a solar-roof? Yep.

  • Terry Brewster

    Greetings, Tom and Guests,
    My simple solution for part of this was touched on by Jim Shultz. ALL of the Deniers volunteer to trade their higher ground property for ‘at risk’ property, and strongly encourage their financial backers to put their money where their mouth is. Thanks Terry

  • George

    So is the water rising or is the land sinking?

    I grew up in The Sandhills of South Carolina. The area is about 530 feet above the current sea level. The sandhill were the beach of an ancient sea. I remember being a child and finding seashells in the yard… about a 120 miles from the ocean!

  • dt

    “oth and ercean sciences”… awesome tom

  • MG

    In addition to Leslie’s suggestion that zoning limitations can impact decisions on where to build businesses and housing, we can also look to the insurance marketplace. Pvt. insurers are already pulling out of coastal insurance markets. Unfortunately, in some instances states have substituted their own public insurance plans for buildings in coastal areas. That appears to be just throwing good money after bad. At some point, we should trust the wisdom of the marketplace.

  • Brandstad

    No one knows what the climate will be in 100 years, so why worry now? We might have a major volcanic eruption causing the next ice age tomorrow!

    Iowa

  • A Boston Listener

    Climate change maybe the antidote needed for unchecked economic growth! If the sea level rises on the industrial coasts of all over the world, that would put a damper, literally, on economic activity. This would result in a dramatic decrease in C02, and an eventual cooling of the Earth.

  • Jon Allen

    I agree with the Australian caller about denial in the US of global warming in general. Australia leads the world in denial about coral reef death from global warming.

  • Jon Allen

    You should have a separate box for ‘where you’re from’ for guys like me who keep forgetting to add it. I’m from the Boston area.

  • Raymond Saloomey

    Bakersfield, Vermont

    There is a large source of heat, carbon dioxide, and methane that is never talked about – the world’s population that just continues to explode may be the biggest contributor to global warming, but it is apparently taboo to include in the discussion.

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    How to make Americans into “believers”? Last time I heard Obama on the subject I believe was post the mid-term elections, and he was saying more nuclear plants and more natural gas (to me, that means frakking, using destructive chemicals to explode the stuff out of the earth, thereby permanently wrecking groundwater, drinking water, for huge swaths of homeowners who happen to be in the water-recharge area, plus actually still global warming).
    So I was pretty mad at him about that.

  • Mike Strong (NYC)

    Erosion and changing flood plains are also part of the rising coastal waters. These are deliberately never discussed by the warming alarmists. Not one of the guests have mentioned erosion or flood plains. There is no scientific based evidence and fact based evidence that we can do anything to control the climate. The warming alarmists’ computer models are unverified. The field data does not match the computer projections. You cannot predict the future with any realistic, useful, and practical accuracy. Warming alarmists believe that the earth is static. The earth is constantly changing and is subject to terrestrial and extra-terrestrial forces that no one can control. The local governments can start prohibiting the construction of beach front homes. The insurance industry can stop insuring beach front property. The Federal govenrment can stop using tax payers dollars to compensate those who continue to build in flood plains and on the beach.

  • Brandstad

    In 100 years our technology will probably be 1000X better than now. Given that won’t it be much easier to address any issues we have then rather than wasting our limited recourses today on a problem we don’t know will happen?

  • Brandstad

    If we were to stop any government disaster payments for flooding near the ocean, the problem will take care of itself. New construction will not count on it and they will either be built better or farther from the sea, and less money will be spent on oceanfront property.

    Or as a less severe option, we could say, if the property floods and the government pays out on the damage, the feds own the property and it is now a national park not to be developed again.

  • Ed – Virginia

    Opening the show with the perjorative term “climate change deniers” sure set the program up for a balanced civil discussion. Not.

    Also good to keep in mind that many thoughtful people do not buy into much of the fabricated data that supposedly proves that man is causing climate change, but allow that (natural) climate change is a historical fact.

    Calling them “deniers” (as in holocaust deniers) stops the discussion before it begins. I’ve heard you do this before; please stop it.

  • Joe Rama Valianti

    Wish could’ve got on the radio. Here in Newburyport our state, local, federal politicians and officials just spent approximately $5.1 million to restore the sand at Plum Island (Newbury/Newburyport) and Salisbury, both in Massachusetts, by dredging sand from the Merrimack River. Project was completed about a month ago, and the sand is already eroding. How long will the sand last? Not very long is my guess, next April, the April after? $5.1 million of taxpayers money for a couple months, a couple years perhaps- yikes!

  • jeffe

    Brandstad for now I guess you can just frame this in idiocy of partisan politics, but that’s a selfish outlook.

    First off it’s a win win if people used less fossil fuels and if we built smarter solutions. But no people like yourself and Winston want to wait and see what happens.

    That’s not only a fools errand it’s not a good way to keep the nation competitive economically.

  • frank’s wild years

    OK Ed you just keep up the burying your head in the sand act. I might add doing it on the beach in Virginia might be a bad idea as you might drown.

  • Nicholas Bodley

    There’s an exhibit in London that has a quite-memorable image. It’s based on a beautiful aerial shot (late afternoon?), and what must be painstaking computeρ graphics that show a flood of several feet — large blue areas of water surrounding landmarks. It was part of a collection of images at Huffington Post recently.

    Re Australia: When I was in the Navy, iirc it was Darwin on the north coast where the buildings were elevated on “stilts” about one story high. Apparently, even back in the mid-1950s, they were prepared for serious storm surges.

    I’d love to find easily-accessible, trustworthy maps (both large-scale and small-scale) of shorelines for various amounts of sea level rise.

    As to The Netherlands — they have managed their wealth quite sensibly (in general), I’d say; they also have been reclaiming shallow seabed for centuries. They also don’t have thousands of miles of coastline.

    What about “farms” of wind turbines with directly-coupled pumps for drainage? (I.e., no large amounts of electricity) Practically, such farms would take care only of relatively-small land areas, I’d say. The NL has a centuries-old precedent in doing this.

    Perhaps when rivers that drain into the sea flow backward rather often, that will convince some skeptics.

    Keep in mind that the Hudson River is technically a “drowned river”, and the river level at Troy, well upstream (right near Albany), is only something like a foot higher than what it is at NYC. Sea level rise can affect points at considerable distance from the seashore. I wonder about the Mississippi several hundred miles upstream.

    I can’t decide whether those who deny climate change are more scared than stupid, or the reverse. In any event, I feel sorry for them, but not by very much.

    I’m glad to be almost 75, for in numerous respects, I foresee lots of difficulties ahead for younger folks. Our generation has not left them a good legacy, and our sons and daughters collectively have generally done even worse, imho.

    Fine program, fine guests! My compliments to Tom and, most surely, his staff, as well.

    Just some thoughts…

  • Nicholas Bodley

    (I’m from Waltham, Mass., btw.)

  • http://carignan.net Tom Carignan

    What bothers me about discussions on global warming——as with discussions on biodiversity——is the shortsightedness of our observations and conclusions. Yes, the Earth is warming, sea levels are rising, and yes, we have to improvise, adapt and overcome. But in terms of geologic time, we are currently in an ‘interglacial epoch’ or unusually warm period, and are due for another ice age any millennium now. So if you live in a coastal area north of the 40th parallel, which would you prefer: seas five feet higher or land covered in ice a mile thick? In its 4½ billion year history, the Earth has undergone climatic upheavals far greater than anything we could ever hope to bring about through anthropogenic effects. If the next ice age is staring us in the face, then perhaps a little global warming is just what we need.

  • marc

    Same question as others – is the land sinking or the sea rising. If the latter, what other cities are being affected.

    I believe in global warming and that’s it’s man-made, but also that it’s become somewhat of a religion on its own and anyone that challenges it in any way is called ignorant, or worse. Given the difficulty of measuring this and the industry that’s grown up in academia and private sector to encourage the man-made global warming view, disbelievers in warming have a point (though I think they’re wrong).

    Conservation as the only solution has also become its’ own religion. Sadly, it may not matter how much we conserve as China and India (among others) are taking on our consumptive habits and their growth will dwarf anything we do to conserve. Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try, but I never hear of alternatives to conservation. Given we won’t be extinct for a lot of years, are there really no alternatives that can be used in parallel with conservation or do we lack creativity?

    I agree with the person who cites population growth as one of the problems. Given per capita, US residents pollute at between 8 and 20 times the rate of the third world, isn’t immigration control one way to slow pollution down and should be part of the mix. Oops – I guess there are limits to how much of a problem this really is.

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    The amount of global warming “in the pipeline” (pun!) due to a couple centuries of industrialization (and I don’t know how the methane from cows figures into that, but we do eat more meat too), that global warming that is going to transpire and has transpired is so much faster/greater than what happens in natural geological cycles that there is no comparison. If we are heading towards an ice age, that’s great, that’s super good luck, because we are going to be needing every bit of “natural” help in the next era. It won’t stop the warming, but it’s a small bit of good fortune, IMHO.
    Furthermore, if we survive into a precipitous, species-destroying freeze many millennia hence, we’ll have the technology to reverse course AGAIN, and warm ourselves up.
    I heard the answer to the Australian asking why Americans are so far behind Australia and Europe in facing facts. The answer I expected was this: Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck (whom I don’t listen to so I wouldn’t know, but SOMEBODY must be pulling the wool over the eyes of the majority, and it isn’t the scientists). The answer was the big energy/oil interests are mostly seated in the United States. (And maybe that is fortunate, in that maybe we get first chance at collecting taxes from them.) And I’m thinking maybe oil money supports the TV and radio shows that perpetrate the fiction that industrialization and carbon emissions are not an issue. Go to the local drug store or supermarket and look at all the American magazines, such as Scientific American, Discover, National Geographic, and you’ll wonder where on earth the deniers are getting their “fuel” from. No one is arguing this anymore. It is settled.
    Even the big oil and energy companies are no longer denying it. I watch all three networks, especially the ads, it seems to me, and it seems to me GE and all the other energy firms take great pains to say that they are IN AGREEMENT about global warming, and are TAKING THE LEAD in moving into green energy. I’m thinking, oh, they’re steering the Titanic, and not fast enough, but they “get it” (unlike Brandstad). This is a big relief to me.
    Not fast enough, though, may spell our doom. But at least they know that they have to shift from destructive energy sources. Then I hear their idea of “green” features natural gas out of Canada, or Pennsylvania, and I wonder if the left brain is talking to the right, or have we had a collective “stroke.”

  • http://www.cfmnp.org/ Steven T. Corneliussen

    THAT QUESTION ABOUT FORT MONROE, ACROSS FROM NORFOLK — It came from Scott Butler of a grassroots group that I co-founded and for which I’m the spokesman, Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park. Fort Monroe comprises the sand spit called Old Point Comfort, which was the Gibraltar of the Chesapeake Bay for four centuries. A National Trust for Historic Preservation official has ranked it publicly with Monticello and Mount Vernon, in part for its central role in both the rise and the Civil War downfall of slavery. But despite the stark flooding threat, and despite all the other reasons not to mimic the problem of casinos at Gettysburg, Virginia’s biz-as-usual leaders are single-mindedly determined to overdevelop this national treasure. Question: With the Civil War sesquicentennial about to begin, why doesn’t “On Point” cover Virginia’s Fort Monroe controversy, which by rights is actually national? Thanks. Steven T. Corneliussen (P.S. for the call screener: Sorry for my pushiness. It’s just that we’ve waited years for the national media to realize there’s a huge story here. I didn’t realize that the caller you already had in line was our own Scott Butler. He did great, and many Virginians are now grateful to him and to you.)

  • Steve V

    Ray Saloomey in Bakersfield,

    Ray, trying to discuss population growth is like trying to talk about an alcoholic aunt in the family who everyone hates. There’s nothing you can do about it so don’t waste your time. Remember what happened to the folks who brought us ZPG (Zero Population Growth)? That’s why if I bring it up at all I then duck and cover, but that’s usually not necessary as I get ignored (as you will also). Welcome to the club.

    SteveV in Swanton, Vermont

  • http://hotmail Pete in SC

    Funny that this focuses on the site of the 700 Club’s headquarters. Pat Robertson of course blames God’s wrath on the Gays and Lesbians, no doubt for this state of affairs with sea levels rising. CBN & Fox, mainstream mainstays for millions have probably done just as much damage in keeping people in the dark about climate change. Guess it’s time for ole Pat to move to higher ground. I hear Falwell’s offices have some vacancies…

  • Beverly

    Why would anyone claiming to be religious, not cherish the magnificence of God’s creation, respect it, & want to preserve it?

    Why is Glen Beck preying on religious groups? Are they the ones who want to destroy the earth for their children? Maybe they’re just easy to manipulate, but how does Beck try to convince them that God wants us to self-destruct?

    People who want to please God will automatically respect & protect what He has given us.

    If they’ve ever read the Bible, they would know better than to believe him, & they’d realize that Glen Beck isn’t really the “second coming”. (He isn’t Christlike; he doesn’t resemble a Christian, in any way, shape, or form.) They let their consciences be their guides, always asking, “What would Jesus do?”, & follow His example of humility, charity, & brotherly love, the antithesis of Glen Beck. They lead virtuous lives, just the opposite of what Beck is preaching.

    Good Christians would be repulsed by Glen Beck, or, more than likely, wouldn’t know who he is. Why would he be targeting them?

    No one who has read the Bible will be in favor of diabolical, greedy people making their fortunes by exploiting what God created, especially when the consequences of their actions are so harmful to every one of us, & Mother Earth herself. (If they loved her, they would never treat her the way they do.)

    Those who do what God wants them to do, also have a deep respect for every living thing. It goes without saying that they will not eat any animals, as God commanded. In the garden of Eden, He told Adam & Eve, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth, & every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be your food.” (Genesis 1:29).

    Religious, (Christian), people will also know that Jesus said, “Give up your great idol, RICHES. Go. Sell everything you have, & give to the poor. You will have treasure in heaven. Then, come follow me.” He also said, “Any of you who does not GIVE UP EVERYTHING HE HAS cannot be my disciple.” Jesus tells us that it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than it is for a rich man to get into the kingdom of heaven.”

  • Ann, Barrington, RI

    “It is again the familiar story: privatize the profits, socialize the costs. Republicans, conservatives, and corporatists are nothing but socialists in disguise. And too many are criminals.”

    Posted by Flowen, on December 1st, 2010 at 3:55 AM

    Flowen, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!! This is BRILLIANT!!!

  • Charlotte, Columbus, Ohio

    Here in Ohio, the powers that be couldn’t be more out it if they were sleepwalking:

    Mass public transit within cities and between cities is treated as a vast left-wing consiracy by Republicans resolutely leading Ohio into the 19th century. Never mind that moving people efficiently could also reduce pollution and help deploy our human capital around the state as needed.

    The putative left wing of the Democratic Party couldn’t get its act together if it tried. And it’s been far too long since it really tried. Apparently, they’re satisfied with being the little engine that couldn’t.

    A populace in denial seems to believe that getting this economy back on the road to prosperity still equates to tracts of McMansions destroying good farmland forever. The notion that we must rebuild our cities, protect vital green spaces, and defend our agricultural lands as our food source (and Ohio’s last remaining source of any real economic power) just doesn’t sink in.

    It really is very disheartening when the only practical suggestion you’ve heard in decades from any politician is George I’s exhortation to plant trees, and the idiots littering the State House down on High Street and State Street can’t even pull themselves together to do that much.

    So, all I can say is start planting those killer trees, and leave the idiots behind to squabble without you.

  • Ann, Barrington, RI

    Beverley, 7:37 a.m., Dec. 1, You said, “Our food is grown in soil contaminated by lead, & is watered with ACID RAIN. Poison has been genetically implanted in every kernel of corn . . . every soybean. Poisining Americans is now legal.”

    You are so right! And guess what I can add to that? I’ve been living with metastatic cancer for quite some time now; I’ve been extremely fortunate that there have been medicines for me, and that I have health insurance (Oh, I forgot, “no one WANTS health insurance”, according to the Republicans! WHERE was my thinking??!!*!*)

    Well, recently, I had to start intravenous chemo for the first time. Do you know what my chemo is made from??!! The vinca plant! That is, the BEAUTIFUL plant also known as the “periwinkle”!!! It has beautiful lavendar-blue flowers, and yet, so far, it is bringing my tumor markers DOWN (that’s a good thing!!).

    My point is that not only are we destroying so much of our natural environment, but we don’t know how many of the plants that can CURE some of our worst ailments we are also killing!!

  • Ann, Barrington, RI

    Cory, You said, Money makes the world go ’round and I challenge anyone to prove otherwise. (Dec. 1, 8:38 a.m.)

    Actually, what we both might want to explore more is the economic structure of one of the Northwest Coastal Native American tribes (tho I forget which one, perhaps the Kwakiutls). They had a “Potlatch Culture”. When someone in the tribe amassed too much wealth (in whatever form: beaver skins, copper, etc., etc.), he (ever she? I don’t know) THREW A PARTY for the entire community and then GAVE AWAY HIS WEALTH AT THE PARTY!!!

    They were a very successful and creative culture. They were helped in that, in part, because of the environmental wealth and moderate weather of that part of the world. Nevertheless, they learned HOW to use their environmenl while also living within it and respecting it. The artifacts from their material culture are GORGEOUS and so creative! I remember standing INSIDE a (sculpted, wooden) BIRD’S BEAK at the Museum of Natural History in NYC, that was from one of these cultures! Plus the bird’s beak opened, revealing other mythological creatures INSIDE compared to what was a bird on the outside! That creativity and that blending of aesthetics and spirituality was part of their culture, and the potlatch somehow knit the culture with the economy!

    I think I met your challenge!!

  • Ed – In Virginia

    @ Pete in SC, just couldn’t resist giving ole Pat Robertson a jab, eh? For what it’s worth- Pat’s HQ over on Indian River Rd. is 20′ above Sea level. Thanks for making a profound observation and contributing to the conversation.

  • AJNorth

    Gee, Tom; couldn’t you get any “real” experts – you know, the ones sited by True Authorities and Real Americans like James Inhofe, Glenn Beck (along with his fellow employees of the Murdoch-Ailes disinformation empire) and U.S. Representative John Shimkus (R-IL), who said recently, “The planet won’t be destroyed by global warming because God promised Noah” (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1328366/John-Shimkus-Global-warming-wont-destroy-planet-God-promised-Noah.html)? (Shimkus, by the way, is the likely next chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.)

    After all, these paragons of Knowledge, Wisdom and Truth know with absolute certainty that climate change is a hoax promulgated by godless scientists – and have “experts” to “prove” it (along with such other “facts” as the Earth being six-thousand years old).

    Thanks to a citizenry increasingly ignorant of knowledge in general (and science in particular), and who delight in ridiculing those who are not, it will not be too terribly long before we find ourselves as the Amberson family did by the end of the classic Pulitzer Prize-winning 1918 Booth Tarkington novel, for as is often ascribed to H.L. Mencken, “No one ever lost money underestimating the intelligence of the American people” (though that is a paraphrase of the actual quote, “No one in this world has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby”).

    And so, in the not very distant future, the answer to the question, “What do you think of the United States?” will be, “It was a good idea.”

  • eliz

    why can’t you put the audio on in a timely fashion? It is at different times each day. Frustrating to those of us who have a certain window in which to listen.

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    Ann, in Rhode Island, may you thrive with good medicine. When I had cancer, which also precipitated a year with surgeries, chemos, and radiation, I was certainly not very well (pollution had wrought more than cancer upon me, but that is another story). But I had nothing better to do than to think of the ramifications of my experience upon lives beyond my own. There is nothing like the spectre of death to put one’s own wee speck of selfhood in perspective. If it is not one’s own children one is responsible for, then it is children in general. Will we go the way of the Neanderthals, only not by volcanic ash but by ruining the resources we depend upon? The air. The water. The cycles of bright sun and refreshing rain? Oddly, the religious right seems to think the divine direction is the direction with the least foresight or awareness (the least scientific, basically), and that if we self-destruct, hey, we’re clearing the way for a re-enactment of the story of Noah. There will again be water all over the face of the earth, and one “good” man will pick reproductive pairs of everything left (insects, I’m thinking, mostly), and set sail, I’m thinking for a few million years, until cooling and evaporation lets his happy family of survivors repopulate the planet.
    I’m thinking no to that Noah.

  • Beverly

    BRANDSTADT, (10:49 a.m.)

    You seem to have been profoundly influenced by Newman. Are you an Alfred E. devotee?

  • Beverly


    (Where did that extra T come from?)

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    Perhaps I should specify that I am not an atheist, and if Christopher Hitchens is lurking he might take note: My secret connection to what seems to me transcendent is indeed mediated by human beings, which may mark me as Christian, but I think it is broader than that. A non-Christian might have a similar lens. To me, there seem to be some individuals that I can identify by sight who seem grounded in an otherness that is not selfhood and is not family/friends. I mean, they ARE grounded solid selves, and they do have solid families and good friends, but their orientation suggests a responsiveness to something beyond. For me, those people are usually women, so someone can say, oh, that is my homosexual self displacing something or other. But certain men do grow into that too, not quite the same way. I think I can recognize whatever it is in people in various cultures, but I can only analyze how they use that awareness in my own society. And I only had the scope to view it in the decade of the 1960s, when they were among those really shaking things up, not personally, but somehow they seemed to have woven themselves into the pattern enabling change. So it seems to have worked in the 1960s; these were the grassroots; Daniel Ellsberg and Martin Luther King, President Johnson, all those at the surface, it’s not the part of the pattern that I look to, actually. So individuals give me some sort of hope. To connect it back to Norfolk, these individuals wouldn’t be waving signs and yelling. Maybe they are magic. I don’t know.

  • Brett

    Ah, yes, Norfolk, the City of Brotherly Floods…

    Why does climate change have to be an either/or phenomenon? Can’t humans impact the natural fluctuations in climate and vice versa? Can climate change deniers (people who think there are no anthropogenic causes found in climate change) keep two different thoughts juxtaposed in their heads at the same time?

    The droughts that caused the Great Plains to turn into the Dust Bowl, for example, began naturally, but then the ruination of the soil was caused by over farming, which caused more dust storms, which caused longer, more severe droughts, which caused more soil erosion, which caused more dust storms…Droughts had happened before in the Great Plains, but the prairie grasses and nutrient-rich soil had kept any negative impact on the land/climate to a minimum.

    What if humans had never farmed the Great Plains? Would the problem have occurred or been as severe? (Probably not.) What if humans had done something proactive about the problem? What if humans had done nothing about the problem as it increased? When did humans begin to consider doing something about the problem? (When black blizzards began reaching places like New York and Washington, D.C.) Was it a self-correcting problem? Did we become complacent again when irrigation techniques became refined and the norm? (Yep)

  • http://www.beccar.wordpress.com Eugenia Renskoff, Brooklyn NY

    Hi, Tom, I lived in Norfolk, VA not too long ago ( 2008). It is a beautiful smaller city and has some great neighborhoods, like Larchmont Crescent. The Chrysler Museum is very good. I spent many happy hours looking at the great artwork. I hope there is a way to fix the rising sea level problem. Eugenia Renskoff

  • Fermolnar

    William’s faux “climategate” “scandal” has been debunked everywhere but to low-information consumers of low-information media. It is the well-informed consensus that further attempts to spread it, such as here, are not an honest mistake and may well be reflective of intellectual dishonesty, which people new to this site should take as an “oopsie”.

  • Beverly

    ANN, BARRINGTON, R.I.,

    How remarkable! I have a beautiful carpet of vinca minor growing beneath our ancient elm tree. What a surprise!

    It’s wonderful, also very sad, that plants are able to contribute so much, in so many ways . . . as if being beautiful wasn’t enough.

    Worldwide, plants are now becoming extinct at an alarming rate; they’re disappearing before anyone is able to discover their full value medicinally, nutritionally, gastronomically, industrially . . .
    No one can ever know how much has been lost, or how many plants, wiped out by the human race, were made extinct before anyone even knew they existed.

    If willows had vanished in the 18th century, we might not have aspirin today. In the past, countless plants were known to have medicinal properties. They were widely-used, effective, & FREE; today, they are all but forgotten, waiting in the wings in case they’re needed.

    Native Americans have a deep respect for Earth, & everything in nature. They knew how to live off the land in the right way, only taking what was needed, & being grateful for everything that was provided for them. They had an enviable closeness to, & reverence for the land. Shame none of their wisdom rubbed off on us.

    Sorry to hear about your cancer, but happy to know that you have health insurance, (I should have mine in 2014), & that periwinkle is doing such an admirable job for you, eradicating that nasty cancer. With a plant like that in your corner, how can you help but make a miraculous recovery?

    Vincas rock!

  • Bush’s fault

    Thanks for opening the barn door for one of the left’s sacred cows allowing her a few more breathy comments before her eventual trip to the baloney factory.

    Bracy is right, but for the wrong reason. It’s game over because no one can change the future.

    Alea iacta est

  • twenty-niner

    Does anyone here think the average American gives a lick about climate change? Last Friday, the average American was trampling over the average American in front of him to save 5 bucks on a toaster. My favorite part of this video is the guy, who after being trampled, quickly catches his breath and rejoins the rest of herd to the back of the store before the last crock pot is snapped up.

    http://www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/81207323/

    These are the people who are going to sacrifice to save the earth?

  • Bryan Burroughs

    “Those who benefit from confusing the issue, and propagating the belief that climate change is not affected by human activity are sick, dishonest people”…
    So what about those who benefit from pushing the climate-change agenda? Surely you aren’t naive enough to believe that only one side is funneling money into the discussion, are you?

    “The denial of climate change, ie “global warming”, (or more precisely “global weirding”), in the face of scientific consensus, one’s own senses, and the logical outcome of the irresponsible and wasteful use of energy worldwide, is the act of a fool, or a dis-honest individual or group who profits mightily at the expense of mankind.”
    Not at all true. Some people can look objectively at the evidence and see that it is lacking. When you have to tout a supposed “consensus” in science, it generally means you don’t have the evidence to blow away all doubt, so you are resorting to a popularity contest.

    Having said that, I am incredibly shocked that On Point would allow blatant lies to be spread on its show about the rise in sea-levels. Yes, sea levels have been rising, but at a constant rate for the past 200 years, approximately 1.8mm/year. One guest said that it was accelerating, but even the IPCC has stated that this is not so. Several peer-reviewed articles have been written on this subject, most notably by Larsen and Clark in 2006. The evidence simply does not show that there is any change in sea-level rise from its historical trend.

    I’m sure Norfolk is having problems right now, but it’s not due to climate-change-induced sea-level rise. Rather, it’s most likely due to settling caused by compaction of soil in a marine environment.

  • Pancake in NC

    People at the after Thanksgiving sales did not stampede themselves, 29 licks, but were conditioned in front of the TV from birth to respond to the media deluge. I think Black Friday was actually a bust, but that we’re being lied to. 2 million households will lose their measly unemployment checks this month, and most families are financing on borrowed time. Sometimes it is the creditors who come and get people and not the NAZIS. 29 licks was laughing when the poor were hungry and homeless, but later the financiers’ tidal wave hit him, and then there was no one left to sympathize. (Thanks Rev. Niemoeller, or whomever.)

  • Dave in CT

    Off topic, but of interest to regulars perhaps…

    Now US going for Euro bailout, via IMF.

    Do you think even 5% of our population is aware of this stuff? Is there any chance in Hades the majority of the US would support bailing out Europe right now?

    http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9JR91600.htm

    We are really One World governed right now, if not in name, certainly in action of the unelected, unaccountable elite Banking class, that ran us into the ground. I think the American experiment in Liberty, protecting individuals from large powers, and supporting more of an individualistic as opposed to centrally planned society, and having faith that that will lead to the best outcome, is over.

    We are just another Social Democracy, Centrally planned by an unaccountable class, Dem or Repub, and destined for the mediocrity at best and despotism at worst that history has shown always follows.

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    Dave, So autocracy/plutocracy equals communism/socialism?

    I think the media-brainwashed consumers could look beyond their next game-boy, crockpot, or wired-gizmo if they saw that a better future lay in re-playing, that they may not WANT the McMansion and the tank-sized vehicle, that they may get healthier food and better health care, and children with better education and a better future if we shift our efforts/investments a little. What’s the word? Providence; “provide, provide.” All sorts of words that Americans value aside from casino and gamble and grab. It seems to me that you give the devil his due, and allow the flexibility that the Puritans abhorred. Dancing? Okay. Altered states of consciousness (drinking?, praying?) — has its place. Celebrations of acquisitiveness (Christmas, notably)? We have redefined that from an orange and a few silver dollars, plus winter scarves for all and replacement kitchen equipment for mom, with peremptory visits for some. Now just the wrapping paper costs more in equivalent than a good Christmas once did. And are we more prosperous?
    I don’t think people understand the nature of the cliff, the precipice. To some extent we are rich enough to keep people blindfolded. We print money we don’t have. It seemed to make us secure. To some, it still makes us seem secure. The Masters of the Universe may be able to keep the game going for another hundred years, but those years will be extremely destructive if we keep paving our way ahead with fossil fuels. And those years will be risky to most. Planning, the way I see it, will get harder and harder, and governments will have to make safety nets thicker and wider.
    And competition can lead to wars, rather than to outrageous capitalistic inequalities/profits.
    And competition in a world with the weapons we have, as interconnected as ours is, can get out of hand.
    The inadequacy of resources (food, water…) will become more a reality, rather than a mere foreshadowing by way of melting polar icecaps and shriveling rivers coming down from the Himalayas and rising tides lifting all boats in parts of Virginia.
    Oh, there you have a proper metaphor for sure. One that is come back to haunt us by way of Norfolk. Rising tide lifting all boats, indeed.

  • twenty-niner

    “People at the after Thanksgiving sales did not stampede themselves, 29 licks, but were conditioned in front of the TV from birth to respond to the media deluge.”

    Hmmm. These are from cell phones. I’m not sure if a cell phone constitutes a TV news crew:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfUo78qWD5c
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWX7FBRAA74

    “Sometimes it is the creditors who come and get people and not the NAZIS.”

    Thanks for the heads up, Pancake. Very informative.

  • Fawn Bilgere

    Re: the Australian’s question of why more Americans are skeptical of global warming than people in any other nation in the world: As Upton Sinclair said (perhaps I paraphrase), “A man’s ability to understand something is inversely proportional to the extent to which his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

    Americans are addicted to oil! (and other fossil fuels) That, combined with their scientific ignorance, leaves too many of them susceptible to the lies promulgated by politicians (themselves addicted to fossil-fueled campaign contributions) and the oil and coal industries.

    Our global survival depends on us countering this trend. The media attention given to Norfolk’s situation may help by properly showing the effects of global climate disruption as immediate, proximate/ubiquitous, and ominous.

  • A. Nonnie Muss

    For the Australian caller who wanted to know why Americans generally are so much more skeptical than others: My first thought is there are two reasons. 1) Our size. We have a lot of room to spread out here and I think most Americans simply cannot imagine being bound by their physical surroundings. One can drive for days and days and days here and encounter relatively undeveloped land. 2) Our religiousness. There are a great many Americans — not me! — who seem to base all their ethics on the idea of an afterlife. I imagine they have very little incentive to focus on the present. Or even on the near future for their children and grandchildren, given that they believe fervently in an interventionist god. Of course a disbelief in science in general, as a way of understanding the world, goes hand in hand with the religiosity of Americans. Where else do people “home school” their children en masse because they are fearful of non-religious education?

  • Dave in CT

    We have a large government that is very much in the practice of deciding what is best for us in myriad aspects of our lives. We have to trust they have our best interests at heart. Of course it is rare for most people to have exactly the same vision of what choices are best for them, and so if we are to follow the central edict, a large number of people are coerced. Instead of letting thousands and millions of decisions be made individually, protecting that right, while protecting others from such decisions that would cause harm or coercion to them (crime, corruption).

    Add to that, extremely organized capital working in lockstep with the government to protect their non-competitive, oligarchic status.

    Since the oligarchs exert so much power over the government, we are most often coerced into things that are certainly not in our interest, be it too good to be true loans dangled in front of us from the Fed and Fannie, or military adventures around the globe. Once we give up our individual powers and transfer them, or have them taken by a centralized elite, we have no control over our destiny any longer.

    What would you call it? Fascism? Socialistic Corporatism?

    A corrupt interplay between well-meaning (at best), but ultimately utopian central planners and concentrated capital that is protected by a complex and arbitrarily determined tax and policy code that destroys true competition. There is no room, less and less as time goes by, for individual liberty in that system. The riggers, government and corporate, are happy with the status quo, with everyone following their plan for how we live and choose, and the rest of the people, with hopes for opportunity through free choice and education and hard work be damned, as they are caught in the web of bureaucracy, arbitrary limits, barriers to entry, and pre-determined roles.

    A system that had protection of the individual at its core, with a very limited (limited, not absent, to punishing lawbreakers and protecting life and property and the country) central power, seems to be the only viable alternative, if one agrees that power corrupts. Laws that protect individuals from the collusive power of both government and corporatists. All collusive corruption, civil, or economic, should be illegal and should bring harshly punishment, so as to protect the ability of individuals to remain free from coercion and our destiny shaped by the gestalt of our aggregate decisions, and the feed back it provides to us as individuals.

    I am just so depressed that this concept of Liberty, as a check against big powers, is held in such knee-jerk disdain these days. If you agree power corrupts, and the bigger the power the bigger the corruption, I don’t see how one can so calmly trust either large, central planning governments, or oligarchic corporatists. Today’s Democrats who appear to be fine with European Social Democratic models, and Republicans who are tools of the establishment corporatists, not true competitive and fair markets, both are clearly not the answer. They are both half of the Centrally-planned , corporatist driven, problem.

    Individual Liberty and Laws that hold people accountable for acts that harm others liberty. Government to uphold those laws, and protect the society from outside harm.

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    More to Dave, on whether capitalism = socialism.
    I think capitalism morphs into socialism/slavery. Here’s how. The capitalists learn to concentrate wealth, begin to own the system, rig the government, and inevitably become plutocrats. So now you have a population that is democratic in name only, and how to keep them under control? Under the Old South, you kept them in chains. Under the fiefdoms of the European Middle Ages, you kept them safely nestled by the big castles and fortresses and made sure they understood “the hope of heaven and the fear of hell” and “cared for” one another by way of the Established Church. That took care of the emotional components, and to some extent their physical needs.
    So serfs, slaves, and now, as someone mentioned, manipulation by selling them houses that could not reasonably even be foreclosed upon because of being sliced and diced globally, and guaranteed not to be affordable by the terms of the loan. People can be a slave to banks too. And when we look at how banks and countries deal with debt, we see in the mirror the pawns that we are, the smoke and mirrors that make profits appear there and disappear there, with all of us propped up (or not) by fiat. (That means by someone declaring “Let There Be” Unemployment Benefits, or whatever.)
    So with the uberrich lording it over a country, a plutocracy becomes socialist/communist by virtue of the ones in power having to take care of everyone else. Communism was like that. Certain central planners designed so that everything would “work,” and their vision was inadequate, so they all went caput. They tried war (in Afghanistan), but they didn’t gain enough profit thereby (how exactly was the USSR planning to get rich thereby?). Oh, distraction: Let them eat cake; let them watch violent newscasts, gladiators in the arena, scary movies. No gain; just distraction. I.e., destruction.
    If you can’t take care of everyone, you starve a part of the country, say the Ukraine, under some pretense. But if people can’t take care of themselves because the economy has been disrupted by the Masters of Government/Finance, then you have a management “situation,” and Red Communism does indeed come to mind. Both parties seem to be pushing for this: Capitalist Communism.

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    Dave, I believe your perspective is shared by one Julian Assange of Australia.
    I think if each community in the USA started to develop an underlay that could “declare independence,” if need be, from “the system,” as much as possible, we could start to nurture grassroots, social/economic grassroots. Now we have a kind of desert, much much more so than a century ago. Interdependence was once totally natural; the “commons” was where lost cows went to graze until claimed, something like that. Now the Commons is where drug dealers hawk their wares.
    There is a vast, vast amount to be gained by functioning collectively as “this United States.” I don’t think the pro-Small-Government advocates have a constructive approach to reallocation of power. They seem to have a DEstructive approach. They still want their town/city to give big tax breaks to some corporation to come along and bring jobs, however temporary, however environmentally unsound. They want the intrusion of the system. I think there is a place for that. But the strength of towns, we now know, is in the cohesion of the people and their development of their own resources. Not the DEPLETION of their resources by some outside profit-seekers. By coopting the “small government/low taxes” forces, the corporatists defanged that movement and didn’t allow itself to define itself properly.
    We seem to have voters who can’t get their own businesses up and running out there campaigning to have the corporations deregulated and allowed to run tax-free over their resources. Government by Big Business and For Big Business seems to be the song of the ones who should be advocating individualism. Instead they want to work for BP or the equivalent.

  • Brett

    Hmm, so the die has been cast? Anyone who applies this phrase to this topic would have to have a crystal ball/would have to see the future as fixed. This sort of a person is an “I-told-you-so’er” or a “See-I-was-right’er,” as if the person “knew.” The person may prove to be correct, the die may be cast, but the person does not know what will happen in the future. Have humans had no impact on anything in the past? For someone to say humans can not have any impact on the future would mean the answer to the aforementioned question is no…

  • Ed Owens

    The problem with Liberals is the same problem with Conservatives. They are all sheep. FOX News spews propaganda and so does NPR. This show was no different. All shows concerning Climate Change always come down to bashing Conservatives who are actually right for the wrong reason. Yes they are stupid to deny that Climate Change is occurring because it is obvious. It is also obvious that since the beginning of the Earth the Climate has changed. That’s why we call really cold times Ice Ages plural because there have been quite a few.

    This is the STRAWMAN Liberal argument that NPR continues to support because it has an agenda just like FOX has an agenda.

    What they always fail to do is bring in the REAL OTHER SIDE of the argument. Not some buffoon who disagrees with everything from Evolution to Global Warming. The people who know that what is being ignored is the source of global warming/climate change which is called NATURE.

    The Cap and Trade which is just a CARBON TAX idea is just another tax to raise money and won’t stop anything. It’s a scam and NPR happily goes along with it. It’s guests always suggest higher gas prices. Most of these guests are people making enough money that even $10 a gallon for gas won’t bother them. But the people who actually work for a living and don’t flap our pie holes on NPR would be severely affected.

    In the future listen to what kind of guests NPR always has. They don’t even bother to have opposing viewpoints anymore. They get two people who have minor disagreements but never seriously tag each other with the real opposition which is that Carbon Dioxide is not the culprit. There is a natural cycle of warming and cooling.

    You won’t here that on so called Science Friday either. Because Science Friday is no more about real science than FOX NEWS is. Science Friday is science propaganda.

    Just start listening closer and you will see what I mean.

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    Ed, we are heading into natural cooling, as I understand it, which is a good thing. This natural event of impending cool does not compare with the unnatural things we are doing on and to this planet, unfortunately. Whole different category.

  • Rachel

    Humans are very bad at predicting the future so nobody really knows what will happen. Having said that, there is no denying the enormous pressure the ever growing human population puts on the earth. As one person already posted – it is taboo to talk about our population problems. As humans we still worship the rich who consume disproportionate amounts of food and goods and hope to become like them one day despite the fact that they do harm to the overall welfare of the environment.

  • http://www.lifesacoast.com/posts Jeb

    Now, consider that Hollywood quietly conducted a road project two years ago to raise the road levels of North Ocean Drive (aka, AIA) in the 4800 to 5800 blocks of the Old North Beach” residential area by from one to three feet because street flooding had finally become a constant problem at high tides and at full moons. Realize that this problem in Hollywood was non-existent four decades ago and began to become problematic about one decade ago.

    Further, back in the 70′s we used to hang out at a bar in this same area (named “Mickey Rats” back then, now the closed “Martha’s”) and we often went outside to sit on the boat ramps/walkway over the directly adjacent waters of the intracoastal waterway, and have vivid recollections of looking way down at the water from five to ten feet below; now however, at high tide the water level has risen to within one foot of the same planks that we used to sit on. It is alarming to us (for some reason) to cross the intracoastal bridge and observe the water level to be almost up to the wooden boat docks, which if we sat on it now at that level, our feet would be in the water.

    There are of course many other examples (most not as obvious, but there…) of the fact that the sea levels have risen several feet here in just the last four decades (such as ocean waters now washing all the way up the beach and over Surf Road at high tides), but we have established the fact that sea levels are rising and that cities in the area have already taken steps such as raising roads to try to cope with the problem.

    Our bottom line point however is that the above noted example of the road raising project in Hollywood (among others) should have been national news as a “canary in a coal mine” warning about the rising sea levels, but this incident nor any of the implied ramifications did not even make local “news”. Why not? This “news” was suppressed by the Florida chamber of commerce yo-yo shills, the real estate, tourism, and business industries, with the support of Big Oil, the wealthy, and all other despicably sinister adversaries of admitting that climate change and global warming is already a problem (because they want to get even richer) and should be addressed immediately by any and all means rather than being kept secret and denied while “observational reality and empirical scientific facts” prove that the global warming problem is blatantly obvious.

  • Flowen

    @ Bryan Burroughs, on December 1st, 2010 at 7:16 PM

    I hadn’t planned on responding to any of you global warming deniers, as it is always a waste of time. You people see and believe what you want to believe, even as you go over the cliff with the rest of the lemmings. But your post was thoughtful, if vacant of any facts, evidence, or reasoning. Although you intimate a hidden agenda on my part (popularity contest?…what?), at least you refrained from the blatant lies and misrepresentations that is all you folks have to work with. So I’ll give you a few minutes of further clarification.

    As in my lead post:
    1) there is at least a 98% consensus amongst scientists of the truth of global warming/weirding, despite being targeted for humiliation and vehement false aspersions claiming hidden agendas and self-dealing. In psychology and psychotherapy, this behavior on the part of Republican and Corporate deniers is known as PROJECTION. It is sick, psychopathic (beyond narcissistic) behavior. It is obvious the orchestrators of denial and confusion depend on maintaining the Status Quo for their obscenely self-interested behavior and ill-gotten income/wealth.

    I personally know many scientists and engineers who stand to gain nothing for their positions on the truth of global warming. In contrast, those who deny and confuse the issue are either directly paid (typically $10,000 per paper) for their lies couched in scientific jargon, or their salaries and lifestyles are dependent on subsidy and grants from the corporate leaders of climate denial and confusion.

    2) My own senses confirm the reality of the effects of global warming; including sea level rise, unusual meteorological events at increasing frequency and intensity, unprecedented migration of all species of life, and extinction of species at rates never observed in geological history, loss of ice and snow replaced with rain and hail events also unprecedented in human history, atmospheric and oceanic changes in temperature and CO2 levels in decades that have been demonstrated to occur only in cycles of hundreds and thousands of years without the influence of man’s irresponsibility, etc etc etc etc…..You really have to be stuck in your head and on yourself to not see these…another indication of psychological dysfunction.

    3) The logical consequence of burning 200 Million BARRELS of fossil fuels equivalent EVERY DAY at efficiencies well under 30%. To deny there is no material consequence is like expecting a lit match to not get hot. What do YOU think happens with all that heat and pollutants? There is no computer model in the world that supports a view of no significant effect. It would be no different to believe you could suck on an automobile tailpipe with no consequence. In fact, if you really believe use of fossil fuels has no material environmental effect, I highly recommend you try the mouth over tailpipe experiment (make sure the gasoline engine is running).

    4) The point I left out from my earlier post, which your post has helped me refine further (thank you), is the fact that those who spearhead the denial of man’s influence of environmental deterioration, are the least credible, and most obvious liars, of any group of people I know of. These same mostly Republican politicians, and their Corporate patrons have consistently lied, and misrepresented reality, on steroids ever since Reagan, enhanced by Bush I, and hitting a screaming pitch with chimpanzee look-alike Bush II; led by the nose by FrankenCheney, who wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for regular re-boots of his heart.

    Remember straight shooting Cheney? If he treats his friends with birdshot in the face, it’s no wonder we’re in the mess we’re in. BTW, do you know how W made 85% of his wealth?…check it out, it’s on record for anyone to see…Hint: it required raising municipal taxes on a poor bunch of suckers.

    But the current crop of Republican leaders have even surpassed the monkey president. John the Orange Boner, Moonface McConnell, pretty boy Paul Ryan, not to mention Power and Wealth seeker Poser Palin and their group of Hitler youth-like uniform Republican pirate “law-makers” lie, spin, and blatantly make everything up as they go, supported by their media patrons. Whether it is environmental degradation, or socializing expenses for their corporate patrons, or misrepresenting the tax effects on small business, or distorting the concept of “free markets” and “free choice,” or blaming the poor while shielding their obscenely rich “friends,” or even turning the definition of “conservative” and “liberal” inside out and upside down, these clowns celebrate Opposite Day every day. If you take an opposite position from anything they say, you will be substantially closer to the truth. Democrats are no better, but they are nowhere near as deceitful. Republican evil and deceit is matched by Democratic incompetence.

    So, it is a no-brainer that whatever Republican “conservative” views are, the truth is just about the opposite. They, like you, cannot substantiate their positions, so Republicans have nothing left but to lie, ostracize their opponents, and wrap themselves in the flag of patriotism, as scoundrels like Boner, Moonface, Poser Palin, and Joe McCarthy before them.

    As for the fools who have nothing to gain from denying global warming, I just feel sorry for them, after getting over my anger at their simple-minded blind obstructionism. I wonder which you are?…gainer or loser?

    You may be interested to know I have a house on ocean waterfront I have enjoyed for over 50 years. I plan to sell it as soon as the economy comes fully back for the top 1%, who overpays for anything that strikes their fancy: $800,000 watches, $25,000 handbags, and $40 Million Global Challengers. I’m selling because we have had to raise our original CCC seawall 18”, the writing is on the wall; and because my real neighbors, all close on 1/8 acre lots, have sold out for not being able to pay the rising property taxes (each year, more than we all paid for property and house) as the rich have bid up the properties beyond any reason in this last binge on debt masquerading as money (ala Bush/Cheney and their mono-minded Republicans). And rich neighbors are often worse neighbors than “White Trash.” In fact, they are my definition of “white trash.” Of course, not all, but most.

    But you know what?…I’m not worried, there will be plenty of rich fools who can’t see the sea level rise beyond their enlarged bank accounts, outside their air-conditioned, gold plated, padded boxes. They have their role.

  • http://hammernews.com michael hammerschlag

    This is all very interesting, but I think ice sheet collapse tsunamis will make gradual rise moot. Anyone think what happens when 1-2 mile high chunk of ice the size of Long Island cracks off a 45% slope into the ocean on Greenland or Antarctica? Antarctica doesn’t even exist as you see it on a map- it’s +60% below sea level- 3 1/2 million cu. miles of ice sits on the bottom of the ocean!

    For a long detailed illustrated 3 month article on all the latest science that indicates it will be much worse and faster than anyone thinks w interiews w 5 top scientists, see http://hammernews.com/warmingworse-M.htm
    ARE WE COOKED?
    GLOBAL WARMING MUCH WORSE THAN YOU THINK

  • Mark Kenner (St. Louis)

    2010 Study By Arctic Experts Refutes AGW Hypothesis of Polar Warming Amplification From CO2
    Read here. James Hansen, Al Gore and other global warming alarmists base frightening climate calamities (20 to 80-foot sea level increases) on the hypothesis that human CO2 emissions will cause an “amplified” increase in polar temperatures. Actual scientific researchers decided to investigate the validity of the polar-amplification hypothesis.

    The nine researchers [White et al. 2010] examined all the evidence and research related to Arctic temperatures and determined that current Arctic temepratures are well within natural variability and no CO2-induced “polar-amplification” is to be found.

    “In comparing the vast array of past climate changes in the Arctic with what climate alarmists claim to be the “unprecedented” anthropogenic-induced warming of the past several decades, White et al. conclude that “thus far, human influence does not stand out relative to other, natural causes of climate change.” In fact, they state that the data “clearly show” that “strong natural variability has been characteristic of the Arctic at all time scales considered,” and they reiterate that the data suggest “that the human influence on rate and size of climate change thus far does not stand out strongly from other causes of climate change.”" [White, J.W.C., Alley,R.B., Brigham-Grette, J., Fitzpatrick, J.J., Jennings, A.E., Johnsen, S.J., Miller, G.H., Nerem, R.S. and Polyak, L. 2010.]

  • Flowen

    Hey Mark

    This is the guy promoting your cited study:

    Check out his background. You sir, are either a gainer…or a loser.

    This article rambles a lot more than I am posting, it is pure pollution:

    ECelebs Ignore Death, Poverty on MTV Enviro Series
By Marc Morano
CNSNews.com Senior Staff Writer
April 22, 2005
http://www.cnsnews.com//ViewNation.asp?Page=\Nation\archive\200504\NAT20050422
a.html
    
(CNSNews.com) – A new MTV series features Hollywood celebrities praising the 
developing world’s primitive lifestyles as earth-friendly—despite those 
poor nations’ high infant mortality rates and short life expectancies.

The eco-tourism show, called “Trippin’,” premiered on March 28 and was 
heavily promoted in the runup to Earth Day. The show encourages environmental 
awareness and lauds traditional tribal lifestyles, which lack running water, 
electricity and other basic infrastructure. 

The MTV series features actress Cameron Diaz and a rotating crew of “her 
close, personal friends [who] think globally and act globally.” They tour 
developing nations, incuding Nepal, Bhutan, Tanzania, Honduras and visit remote 
villages in Chile. 

Actress Drew Barrymore, who reportedly earns $15 million a film, told MTV 
viewers in one episode that after spending time in a primitive, electricity-free 
Chilean village, “I aspire to be like them more.” 

Barrymore, apparently enthralled by the lack of a modern sanitary facilities, 
gleefully bragged, “I took a poo in the woods hunched over like an animal. It 
was awesome.”

The 32-year-old Diaz, who earns a reported $20-million a movie, boasted that 
the cow-dung slathered walls of a Nepalese village hut were “beautiful” and 
”inspiring,” and she called the primitive practice of “pounding mud” with sticks 
to construct a building foundation “the coolest thing.” 

Diaz also criticized the lifestyles of many Americans after visiting an 
indigenous village in Chile.

  • K

    New Orleans is taking this on,

    http://dutchdialogues.com/category/dutch-dialogue-3/

    Writing from the Big Easy.

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    Quoted from Steve Sauter’s The Lookout column in the Daily Hampshire Gazette this month:
    “I have been reading the disheartening book by geologist Peter Ward called ‘Flooded Earth.’ It offers a very sobering look at the results of global warming. One way to explore the consequences is the website http://flood.firetree.net, where NASA satellite data is tiled onto zoomable Google maps so you can explore your favorite seaside disaster, be it Manhatten or Martha’s Vineyard. The data is overly optimistic and does not take into account tides, storm surge or continuing erosion. Take a look and consider your lifespan and the longevity of your line.”
    It goes on: “Sauter is the former coordinator of education for the Museum of Natural History at Amherst College…” with an e-mail address you could get from the Daily Hampshire Gazette, if so inclined.

  • Ian Millar, South Carolina

    Tom…. you do know your audience. That’s clear from the comments that have been left. However, I believe there is one piece of context which would have helped inform the discussion. As we continued to emerge from the most recent Little Ice Age, global sea level over the last century or so steadily rose at about 1.5mm per year. The rise shows no sign of accelerating in recent years. That rate translates into about 6″ per 100 years. I’d be happy to point your researchers at the published science (recent and not so recent) by experts on the subject.

    Yes, Norfolk, VA is experiencing flooding. However, the reasons are largely natural and anthropogenic land sinking.

  • John Deuel

    Thank you for your well done approach to this complex and challenging topic. As a citizen of Norfolk, and the Eastern U.S. (Long Island and Rhode Island) for most of my 54 years, I am very concerned about this issue. We have much to gain by meeting it “head on”, in a fact based discussion. We should be encouraging our elected officials to get more serious about implementing long range strategies to adapt to the rise in sea levels as well as limit further damage to the environment which is having an impact. I also believe the marketplace, particularly insurance costs, will influence major shifts in how coastal lands are valued.

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