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Bill McKibben

Environmental champion Bill McKibben joins us on fracking, pipelines, and Mother Earth now.

Tom Ashbrook interviews environmental activist Bill McKibben at On Point Live at the Paramount Center in Boston, Mass. on June 14, 2012. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Tom Ashbrook interviews environmental activist Bill McKibben at On Point Live at the Paramount Center in Boston, Mass. on June 14, 2012. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Environmental champion Bill McKibben wrote nearly a quarter century ago about what he called “the end of nature.”  The untouched wild.  He didn’t think he was writing about the end of the world.  But the climate change path since then has been a scary one.  Bad to worse.

And McKibben has gone from writerly philosopher to full-on environmentalist to activist in handcuffs.  Political street fighter.  He was at the heart of the campaign to stop the Keystone XL pipeline.  Arrested at the gates of the White House.

This hour, On Point:  What next, with environmental champion, Bill McKibben.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Bill McKibben, environmentalist and author. Co-founder of 350.org, an environmental group working to help solve the climate crisis. He’s the author of a number books, including Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet.

Photos

From Tom’s Reading List

Wall Street Journal “New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is considering giving the power to approve or deny high-volume hydraulic fracturing to individual communities on the Pennsylvania border, passing a decision on a fractious national issue to town boards and county legislators, said people familiar with the matter.”

The Telegraph “‘Where are the books? The poems? The plays? The goddamn operas?” So asked Bill McKibben, author and environmental campaigner, venting frustration at the   cultural failure to address climate change.”

The New York Times “Our plan has undergone well over three years of environmental review by numerous reputable federal and state agencies. The review was the most comprehensive process ever for a cross-border pipeline.”

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  • Yar

    I would like to see an economic analysis of the XL pipeline from the perspective of transporting refined product instead of crude. A comparison of the current proposal and building a refinery in the tar sands. My idea is to build a nuclear reactor in the tar sands with spent fuel rods encased in glass and use the waste heat to extract oil, using hot oil to circulate in the sands instead of water, and refine oil on the spot using the waste heat of refining as well. There is not a right way to do the wrong thing, I would like to move past fossil fuel, but this proposal reduces the greenhouse gasses from the current proposal and sends a marketable product along the pipeline that will spur economic development all along its route. It also finds a home for spent nuclear fuel. Tar sand would make a ideal home for spent fuel in my mind.

    • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

      Yes… why does in not make sense to build a refinery in Canada or somewhere north inside the US border and create a major northern distribution hub rather than continue keeping most of our eggs in a basket sitting on the beach waiting for a hurricane to cause an unprecedented disaster?

      • Yar

        Not only that, it makes the pipe useful to communities all along the route. The current proposal is like an interstate highway with no exits along the way. The communities only get the risk of a spill and not the benefit of the oil. Refined oil should have put more value in per dollar invested than raw product. Maybe the reason they want to use existing refineries is that they are grandfathered in under looser environmental regulation. Tom should have Russ Girling,
        President and Chief Executive Officer of TransCanada Corporation on a show.

        • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

          If I am not mistaken, one motivation of getting it to the gulf coast is to export it!

          • Yar

            Of course, and that will bring many of our trade deficit dollars home to roost. We will be trading oil for inflation.

          • Still Here

            You are mistaken.  That’s where the refineries are that can handle this kind of crude.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Contracts from the Refineries that they will ONLY sell to the U.S.?

          • Jasoturner

            First we refine it.  Then we go to market…

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      Yes, why not make an earth-ending exploitation of the last remaining fossil fuel resources even worse with the addition of nuclear reactors and spent fuel, as well as the pipelining of highly volatile and explosive fuels across the mainland?

      James Hansen of NASA correctly warns us that it is “game over” for the living earth if we exploit the tar sands.

      This is precisely the paradigmatic mindset that we need to relinquish if we are to have any chance of species continuity. What you propose is the height of suicidal and ecocidal insanity.

      • Yar

        Robert,
        I am simply trying to buy some time. Putting Nuclear fuel in the Tar Sands is not insanity. Oil also has use other than as fuel. We still need plastics and other things that come from oil. Insanity is taking a position that simply gets ignored. In our present political climate, that is just what is going to happen with Bill and your position. Do an economic analysis and we prove refined oil has much greater economic value than a crude oil pipe to Port Arthur. This sets back the project timeline 5 years. Studying the problem is much better than saying no. No, allows a bad decision to go forward without your input. Given my reasoning, I am being rational and your response is the height of insanity. I did not say it is a good idea, only that my proposal is greener than the one on the table. Much less CO2.
        Do the analysis and see by how much. I have never heard of a nuclear refinery. But it would emit no CO2. Capture everything as product, no waste.

        • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

          Every part of your proposal is insane. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

          Using nuclear power to generate electricity was insane from the start (many of us proved that in the 70s when we stopped the industry in its tracks for 40 years). As physicist Amory Lovins said in 1978 when we invited him to Seabrook NH, “using a nuclear reaction at several thousands of degrees to boil water is like cutting butter with a chain saw”. It risks the kind of catasrophic accident we saw at Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and Fukushima, and creates highly toxic wastes which will have to be contained for longer than civilization has existed on earth.

          Piping highly volatile and explosive fuels across the middle of a continent is insane.

          “I did not say it is a good idea, only that my proposal is greener than the one on the table. Much less CO2.”

          The lesser of two evils is still evil. And considering only CO2 is a univariable, monolithic, reductionist, and insane perspective when we’re talking about multiple negative impacts on every facet of society, economy, and ecology. That is the very kind of insanity that otherwise intelligent people like Stewart Brand and James Lovelock have fallen victim of in their desperation to stop The End of the World as we Know it (TEOTWAWKI).

          We do not need fossil poisons, we do not need plastics, we do not need petrochemicals – all three of which have created a global epidemic of cancer, chronic disease, extreme allergies, unimaginable pollution, and altered ecosystems.

          The only sane approach is the Precautionary Principle – just say no until a technology is proven to be completely safe.

          We have the right, and we have the power to Just Say No!

        • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

          An addendum on plastics and other petrochemicals.

          Since the start of the petroleum age in 1859, we’ve been not only robbing billions of years of “ancient sunlight” but also producing 80,000 petrochemicals which never before existed on earth (250 million tons per year globally).

          There are 17,000 petrochemicals available for home use, only 30% of which have been tested for safety and 63 synthetic chemicals (10 gallons) in the average American home. The FDA requires only warning labels, even though most (if not all) are dangerous to human health and the environment. There are 145 artificial chemicals in the bloodstream of the typical American.

          A 15 year study in Oregon, comparing women who didn’t work outside the home with women who did, found a 54% higher death rate from cancer in the women who stayed home. The study suggested that chronic exposure to cleaning products played a role.

          Each year there are 5-10 million household product poisonings reported – mostly of children. With all these chemicals in our homes, it’s no wonder that the EPA found the air quality in our homes to be on average 2-5 times more polluted than the air outside. The EPA found that our indoor air contains 20-150 different pollutants in concentrations 10-40 times higher than those outdoors – much of it from petrochemical cleaners.

          The Toxic Substances Control Act, the federal law that’s supposed to protect us from toxic chemicals which was enacted in 1976, has banned only 5 of more than 80,000 chemicals used in commerce.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    They say one test is worth a thousand expert opinions…
    by extension, one disaster is worth a million expert opinions,
    yet in today’s age of corporate news control, spin has been taken to a new level. Case in point, even after the BP spill, some Republicans were floating the idea of letting states regulate offshore drilling and no one in the major networks was calling them nuts!!!

    Bill, have you found that this current media environment makes success more difficult to achieve?

  • Charles Vigneron

    What has been the plan to deal with the sand after the oil is extracted? Are we not importing hazardous sand waste?

  • Greyman

    McKibben endorsed Lester Brown’s Outgrowing the Earth back in 2006, to the effect of arguing that growing affluence in China would precipitate food shortages at home and in developing countries, while posing what seemed a description of continuous rises in fuel prices. That doomsday scenarion has not exactly played out as scripted. Neither Brown nor McKibben seem to have a firm grip on economics, and in that distinct absence, why listen to their moralizing platitudes? McKibben seems to believe that oil companies are throttling the development of “green energy” and “green technology”; whereas in point of fact, mundane economics explains satisfactorily why oil and fossil fuels have not been displaced: the world economy still runs largely on oil, and prices continue to be prone to much variability, plus “green energy” and “green tech” are not economically viable at this point, not because of oil industry sabotage but because oil remains relatively inexpensive and works relatively well to keep the global economy moving. –BTW: exactly how does Professor McKibben travel? Does he bike everywhere he goes? If he’s flying all over the world to promote his green agenda, surely he’s alert to his contributions to the destruction of the ozone layer . . . ..

    • Still Here

      He sounds like a whacko.

      • Ray in VT

        Given the history of your comments, it doesn’t surprise me that you would say that.  But considering that I see many who oppose people like McKibben cite garbage like the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, I often give them little consideration.

      • nj_v2

        You sound like a troll.

        • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

          He/She/It is.

    • PithHelmut

      The oil industry makes sure there are no competitors, just like all big business. Try finding an alternative to flying or driving using fossil fuels – alternative technologies have been bought and buried by the oil industry for decades. Even hordes of people foregoing travel by fossil fuel will not make a dent in the problem. We will have to change soon anyway as climate chaos brings mass migrations even within the US. But it is staggering how many cheap and renewable energies we could be using, for example bio-fuel made from industrial hemp seeds. I guess the people who want to maintain the status quo without any kind of adjustment period have been spoiled by oil. But what about the next generation? Will anything be left for them? What about the pollution that inescapably sickens everyone? What about the destruction of the wilderness? Isn’t it enough that the human footprint obliterates hundreds of species per day? 

      • Greyman

        Damned if we do, damned if we don’t: if we end our reliance on the internal combustion engine and build our world economy around equine transportation, we’ll likely increase the levels of methane that McKibben assures us are more damaging than carbon dioxide.

        • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

          Methane is mostly a problem of cattle domestication, not horses. Horse manure is excellent fertilizer (and even a wonderful additive to earthen plasters for walls and floors).

          And, with horses for primary transportation, we would eliminate traffic jams and congestion and have a higher average rate of speed (in the 70′s, Ivan Illich calculated that the typical American car – once work time is added in for purchase, maintenance, insurance, and fuel – moved about 5 mph, the speed of a slow horse).

          • Greyman

            Somehow, I don’t think a horse-drawn economy would do much for the promotion of the citrus industry. (I assume we return to wooden ships, too, right?) Perhaps the advent of global warming will result in Vermont’s transformation into a paradise of citrus groves, but I entertain doubts about that, too. Nor do I much think that banana cultivation will take off in a newly-constituted, coal-liberated West Virginia.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            And where in the Constitution does it declare an inalienable right to citrus and bananas?

            The only fruit that humans evolved to eat were those grown locally and in season.

          • Zig

             “The only fruit that humans evolved to eat were those grown locally and in season.”

            Yeah, it must be the truth because it’s written in Verse 4, Chapter 2 of Riversong Bible.

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      No, the fossil fuel industry doesn’t have to stiffle the development of alternatives (in fact, they’re investing in them), they merely have to maintain hegemony over Congress, the Presidency, the Courts, and the media – and make sure that they continue to receive billions in taxpayer subsidies (six times as much as alternatives, according to Bloomberg), negative tax rates, the “free” use of the US military to maintain access to reserves, and no financial responsibility for the “externalities” of climate change, air and water pollution and the destruction of local ecologies all over the planet.

  • http://twitter.com/bobthegreenguy Robert Farnham

    I was at the show last night and what an amazing evening. Tom Ashbrook and his crew were fun to watch. He made it look so easy… absolutely remarkable.

    Special thanks to the work of Louise Kennedy, Director of Community Engagement of WBUR. The event went without a hitch.

    In a brief response to “greyman’s” comment regarding green energy and green technology not being economically viable, I just want to share that little, if any, of the toxic waste that is released into the atmosphere by the “dirty fuel” industry is paid for by the industry or charged to the consumer in the cost of the energy. I wonder how much gasoline would cost if the exhaust coming from the tailpipes of cars was the responsibility of the industry.
    Basically, I don’t think sustainable energy and dirty energy are measured on the same scale. If they were, I wonder if sustainable energy would be price competitive.
    The first thing we could be doing is reducing our need for energy to begin with. Energy efficiency measures could be a huge boon for the construction industry as well as the transportation industry. Build me a vehicle that comfortably gets me where I need to go that gets 100-200 mpg and I’ll buy it. Do a state of the art energy efficient upgrade on my house and save me 50% on my energy requirements and I’m all in…

    • Greyman

      Why should energy industries be responsible for paying for the consumption of their products? This sounds like a cost imposition emanating not from economic reality but from environmentalist dissatisfaction with economics. If you instead propose a user tax on gasoline consumption in order to restrict consumption, propose exactly that, and watch the clamor of support that ensues. The metrics of economics DO NOT support green energy at this point, no matter how you may want it to. (And if you want everyone on the planet to cycle everywhere they want to go, just say so, plainly, without introducing obfuscations about just what it is you want, for other people as for yourself.)

      • Terry Tree Tree

        The health-costs of the pollution?  The costs of clean-up of fossil-fuel ‘leaks’? 
           The costs of tax-breaks, and other SUBSIDIES of fossil fuels?  For $ MILLIONAIRE EXECUTEives?  For ‘mature’ industries?
           SEVERAL vehicles have been documented that got 2, 3, 5, 10 times the industry-available vehicles to the public.
            IF you can go 2 TIMES as far, on the same gallon of fuel, you HAVE to be polluting less than 1/4 as much.
           WHY would you NOT CARE ?   Oil EXECUTEive?
          

        • Drew (GA)

          I had a 90 Honda CRX that got 54mpg but we now have 40mpg Hypebrids. Oil Bless America.

    • Greyman

      Yes, and give us a hand-cranked internet ASAP.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Give Renewables the SUBSIDIES, including the tax-breaks, etc…, that the ‘mature’ Energy Producers have had for the past 70 years!

    • PithHelmut

      Let’s just remove all subsidies and see which industries can hold their own. Yes remove all subsidies. Every one. Why not? Better for taxpayers and no more favoritism that coddle big business.

      • Greyman

        I’m all in favor of eliminating all government subsidies for all businesses and industries. I am not, so to speak, holding my breath, however.

      • Drew (GA)

        You’re going to need one heck of an army backing you up to accomplish that one. Ignore me, I’m just striving to be a defeatist.

        • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

          An army or Bernie Sanders.

          Bernie Sanders, Keith Ellison Unveil Bill To End Fossil Fuel Subsidies

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/10/bernie-sanders-keith-ellison-fossil-fuel-subsidies_n_1506916.html

          Progressive lawmakers Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) teamed up this May to introduce legislation designed to stop subsidies to the oil, coal and natural gas industries, preserving an estimated $110 billion over the next ten years.

          The measure, End Polluter Welfare Act, would do away with tax breaks, financial assistance, royalty relief, direct federal research and development and many loopholes that benefit the fossil fuel industry – coal, oil, and natural gas – according to the bill’s authors. It has the backing of numerous groups, including Friends of the Earth, Taxpayers for Common Sense and 350.org, which has vowed to campaign on Capitol Hill in support of the legislation.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

     We keep hearing a repetition of the problem, but climate change is well established.  What do we do about it?

    1.  Nothing?  That would be disasterous.

    2.  A return to a pre-industrial society?  That would be equally disasterous.

    What’s the middle option?

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      “A return to a pre-industrial society?  That would be equally disasterous (sic).”

      To whom? To the profiteers, yes. To the entire economic infrastructure that is based on the exploitation of nature and people, yes.

      But it would a great boon to the spiritual, emotional and physical health of the much smaller population that can be sustained by this planet on its daily allowance of solar energy.

      And it would be an immeasurable boon to the other 10 million species, to the earth’s biosphere, and to the ongoing evolution of life.

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

         A pre-industrial society couldn’t support our current population.  So unless you’re advocating for a gradual transition, billions will have to die.

        • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

          The issue is not what population a pre-industrial civilization can support, but what human population the earth can support.

          We are currently using up 1.5 earths worth of production and waste absorption. In other words, with current population and consumption rates, we are further eroding the life-support capability of the planet, not just for us but for the other 10 million species upon whom we and all life depend.

          Estimates are that, at current growth rates of obesity, we are about to add the equivalent of another 1 billion people to the planet.

          Where does all this human biomass come from? From the direct conversion of other living species into human flesh. We are literally devouring the planet, one bite at a time.

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

             So how many are you willing to see die?

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            It has nothing to do with human will or choice. It is an ecological necessity.

          • Zig

            RR,  lead the way and partake in that “ecological necessity.” Embrace it.

    • nj_v2

      Greg lays out two ridiculous scenarios then implies there is a single, “middle” option between them. 

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

         Still waiting to hear your reasonable proposal.

  • Emjones

    The sky is falling, oh my…

    Now get some courage and talk about population control….Otherwise shut up.

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      All these issues are intricately linked and feedback into each other. Focusing on any single issue (and telling others to “shut up” if they won’t address your pet issue) is the kind of mindlessness which has driven us to this crisis.

  • AlanThinks

    I wish that Tom, Bill, and other environmental leaders would stop referring the fight as “Saving the Planet”. The planet has survived much worse than humans and will still be here incubating new life long after humans are gone.  The fight is to preserve the climate for human habitation.  Saying that we must save the planet plays right into the hands of the deniers and confuses the public.

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      It’s not an exaggeration at all, if by “the planet” we mean the living planet. 

      Climate change, coupled with the wholesale pollution and decimation of most of the earth’s ecosystems, compounded by one of the most widespread extinction events in the history of life on earth – is going to put evolution back perhaps 100 million years.

      Is that the legacy we want to leave behind us when we go?

      • Greyman

        No, no, NO! Robert. This IS evolution. Your non-scientific faith in the future is showing!

        • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

          If by “this” you mean the congenital stupidity that you exhibit here, that is devolution.

          Every ecologist knows that, under stress, any individual, species or ecosystem will devolve into a more adolescent state of being, typified by aggressive competition, high energy-consumption, and “leakage” to the environment.

          What you exemplify is the highly devolved state of humanity. 

      • Zig

        “..is going to put evolution back perhaps 100 million years.”

        And why does it matter to you or to evolution? Do you think that evolution has to keep moving in a straight upward line, and any deviation from it will make evolution cry?
        Maybe what you call “putting evolution back” is just a step back before the great leap. Maybe evolution prefers it that way, unless evolution has your exclusive ear and tells you what it likes and doesn’t like.

      • Zig

         Replace “evolution” with “God’s will” and your ramblings are no different than those of the theologists you so decry.

        There are enough loonies on both the right and the left – two sides of the same coin – breathing fire and brimstone, and making absurd and asinine proclamations with absolute certitude, based on nary a shred of facts or logic.

  • Michiganjf

    The generations of the last hundred years, yes… but especially the Republicans of recent history… the deniers and liars for greed and petty political gain… will forever be ostracized in history for the stupidity of not heeding the wisdom of scientific concensus.

    … of course, that’s if we have much “history” left.

  • Greyman

    So we’re going to simply abolish the state of West Virginia, sooner rather than later, in order to turn it into the pristine pasture known as Vermont? Oh really . . . ? –What does this guy smoke and exhale? Should we go ahead and tax exhalations while we’re at it?

    • Ray in VT

      Vermont is hardly a “pristine pasture”, but compared to the strip and mountain top removal mining of Appalachia, then perhaps we are.  We have what we call a working landscape.  Farming, forestry, ski resorts, what was once the world’s largest asbestos mine.

      You want to promote coal?  Fine.  I don’t want midwestern coal fired power plants dumping acid rain on me.  Consuming this stuff has consequences.

      • Greyman

        Ray: right, you have Vermont, in Vermont. But you cannot extrapolate the conditions on the ground in Vermont to the rest of the US, it is not politically or economically credible to do so. I’m not out to promote coal: I am saying that economic reality and political reality trump environmentalist idealism and will continue to do so, since activists like McKibben don’t have any better understanding of politics and economics than they exhibit. (Do you really think the economy of West Virginia is going to be magically reconstituted over the next twenty years? Or: how exactly is the US going to persuade in friendly fashion the Chinese to slash their coal burning? I do not believe that you think they will do it out of the kindness of their hearts or because we ask or plead, or because we set some kind of “good example” for them to emulate. Chinese pragmatism is much older than American [or Vermonter] pragmatism, I submit.)

        • Terry Tree Tree

          China is one of BIGGEST installers of Wind and Solar, already!

          • Greyman

            –while remaining the world’s leading emitter of combusted coal residue.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            True!

        • Ray in VT

          And I don’t know why you insist that things can’t get done.  I’ll admit it:  I think that Vermont is great and that, quite frankly, maybe we are better.  It’s a bias that I have in favor of what I know and what I’ve seen.  I know that you just can’t drop something developed in one place into another location and expect the same results.  Look at our history of attempting to get democracy to work in places without the traditions to support it.  On the other hand, your general attitude strikes me of the worst sort of defeatism.  We’ve made the decision here to protect our air, our water and our health.  We make money in part because people want to come and see the resources that we have attempted to protect.

          I think that the economic reality is that we often favor cheap and dirty without taking into account the longer term effects, and the political reality is that we have a political class that is often spineless and who cater to those who will bank roll them.  Can we make a utopia?  No.  Can we do better?  Hellz ya!

          China is burning a ton of coal, and they will continue to do so as long as it is in their interests to do so.  Do you know what else they are doing?  They are subsidizing the hell out of renewable technology production, because they want to make money and it and be number one at it.

        • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

          “economic reality and political reality trump environmentalist idealism” 

          Such a statement represents the height of ignorance and idiocy. There is no economy without an environment from which to glean resources and to which to export wastes.

          Ecology preceded economy by about 3.5 billion years, and will always take precedence over it.

          A Harvard study was the first to analyze the full life-cycle impact of coal. The report’s lead author, the late Dr. Paul Epstein, said that “Between the land disturbance, the mountaintop removal, the processing … and the combustion, we estimate that this is costing the American public somewhere between a third to half a trillion dollars in health costs and deaths [every year].”

          In fact, coal is so economically disastrous that the mainstream journal American Economics Review found that the electricity generated from coal actually does more damage to the economy than the electricity is worth. Grist’s David Roberts notes that “Coal-fired power is a net value-subtracting industry. A parasite, you might say. A gigantic, blood-sucking parasite that’s enriching a few executives and shareholders at the public’s expense.”

          • Greyman

            Well, don’t fail to tell the Chinese, whatever else you do!

          • Greyman

            Tell you what, Robert: go sell your plan in West Virginia. Evangelize the coal miners and the mine operators with your science as hard as anthracite. The proceeds you can direct entirely into further research.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            Everyone I’ve ever met from Appalachia (I lived in eastern TN on 1982) has been fighting the coal companies for the last half century, trying to protect their beloved hills and communities from destruction.

          • notafeminista

            Except for the ones employed by the coal companies. 

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            Including the ones who have little choice but to work for the coal companies but also know how they are contributing to the destruction of their homeland.

      • Drew (GA)

        Thank God Diesel fumes don’t cause Cancer…Oh, wait a minute…

        • Terry Tree Tree

          BioDiesel is FAR less?

          • Drew (GA)

            Far less yes, still there though. Is a little Cancer better than no Cancer?

          • Terry Tree Tree

            A little Cancer, IS BETTER, than a LOT of Cancer?
               IF you do your own survey of those you hear that have Cancer, you’ll likely find that 8 of 10 are involved with Tobbacco! 

          • Drew (GA)

            Yes a little is better than a lot, none would be better though. As for 8 of 10 Cancer patients being “involved with tobacco”, that just isn’t so. Yes Tobacco is bad, but I think Cancer rates are currently so high that basically 75% of the population will have some form of Cancer. Skin, prostate, ovarian, etc.. Since Tobacco use has dropped dramatically over that past decade I doubt that 7-8 out of 10 Americans are smokers or live with smokers. Increased rates of Cancer are more likely results of Dietary and Environmental factors. chemicals in foods and healthcare products and air pollutants are killing us quicker than smokers.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      You propose Cap and Trade?  Pretty Good Idea!

      • Greyman

        No, I oppose cap-and-trade. Only a consumption tax will alter consumer behaviors. But note that bodies politic do not support such a tax, nor is the US capable of imposing such a regime on other countries, like China.

        • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

          We don’t need the market game of cap-and-trade, which lets polluters benefit. Nor do we need a consumption tax that hurts the working people and poor without having much impact on the rich. What we need is ‘Fee and Dividend’. 

          The plan is simple: charge oil, gas and coal companies a small, annually increasing fee on fossil fuels sales – then collect the fees and evenly distribute them amongst the American people. The idea has the support of not just environmentalists, but scientists, politicians, and free-market conservatives.

          Jim DiPeso, the Republicans for Environmental Protection’s Vice President for Policy and Communications, sings its praises: “Transparent. Market-based. Does not enlarge government. Leaves energy decisions to individual choices … Sounds like a conservative climate plan.”

          NASA’s Dr. James Hansen, one of the world’s top climate scientists, also advocates this approach. Hansen describes it as a “flat, across-the-board rising fee on carbon emissions” that would be levied on fossil fuels at a domestic mine or port of entry.

          “The price of fossil fuel energy will rise, but with today’s fossil fuel uses, over 60 percent of the people will get more in their dividend than they pay in increased energy prices. People who have several houses or fly around the world all the time will have costs that increase more than their dividend. People will tend to make consumer and lifestyle choices that minimize their carbon emissions – this will happen naturally via the prices that they see.”

          That way, when fuel prices rise to reflect their true costs, the public will have a buffer – in fact, the majority of Americans will earn money from the policy. And they’ll earn even more if they use less fossil fuels.

          It’s a win-win. Not just for individual Americans, but our economy at large: Nonpolluting industries will benefit from a leveled playing field, American innovation will be unleashed, and jobs will grow in the clean energy sector.

          “The carbon fee should rise over time to a level that covers the full cost of fossil fuels to society – by the time it gets there we will have generated better energy technologies and improved energy efficiency,” Hansen says.

    • PithHelmut

      It’s difficult to understand your logic. Surely the economy will be moot if the ecology is destroyed? Can’t you see that the economy is secondary to the environment?  Growth as the driver of human endeavor is totally unsustainable. But the economy can be made sustainable if we rewarded clean and renewable practices. Did you know that Henry Ford made car bodies out of industrial hemp and they are lighter and stronger than steel? Look up Henry Ford’s hemp car on youtube. Hemp is the friendliest plant on the planet and is capable of many things: the seeds are nutritious and can also be made into rapidly renewable biofuel; fiber can be used to make paper within about 100 days of planting; can be used to make numerous textiles, rope, canvas and bio-plastics; hemp shiv can be mixed with lime and water to build highly thermal houses and commercial buildings that wick moisture out and clean the air for occupants, saving around 70% of heating and cooling often requiring none, while also sequestering carbon as the building ages and petrifies; the plant needs no pesticides or herbicides to grow and removes metals from the soil while improving the condition bringing valuable minerals to the topsoil. America is years behind other nations. We are the biggest importer of industrial hemp yet we cannot export it! The fact that industrial hemp has been hidden from our knowledge for 30 plus years is a testament to the media and corporate interest’s deliberate quashing of this information. It’s obvious why…this plant is so versatile and such a human helper that it renders obsolete the many environmental hogs such as the oil, cotton and timber industries.

      • Greyman

        Hoorah for hemp: if we all smoked it in copious quantities, we probably would cease to care just how the economy works or doesn’t work, but then all those cannabinoid exhalations would compromise the environment in ways we would never come to understand. “Growth is unsustainable”: this argument has been made and lost for centuries now, McKibben is the latest star to make it, and it’s no more tenable, no more credible now than it ever was.

        • jefe68

          Wrong kind of hemp.

          Growth is unsustainable as there is not enough land and drinkable water to sustain it.

          Are you aware that right now the largest problem across the world is drinkable water.
          That this is a huge problem for the Southwest and Midwest.

          We can’t survive without it.

          • Greyman

            I disagree with your facts: most of the world’s potable water remains frozen (or semi-solid) in our polar icecaps from all the reports I’ve heard, although more and more of that is being released every day, to hear our climatologists tell the story. How it will wind up being distributed by natural and man-made forces is beyond anyone’s ability to predict, however.

          • nj_v2

            Yep, pipe water in from the Arctic. Good plan.

            This Grey Guy is a piece of work.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            Melting arctic sea and land ice will only dilute the salinity of the oceans and raise their level – it will not be available for human use.

            You confuse total water with available water.

            While the Earth is 74% water, 97% of that is salt water and of the remaining 3% freshwater: 77% is stored as ice (for the time being), 22% is ground water and soil moisture, with only 1% of that 3% in lakes, rivers and wetlands accessible for human use.

            Almost 300 million Americans get their water from public water systems: 34% are supplied with treated groundwater and 66% are supplied from treated surface water.

            While the world’s population tripled in the 20th century, the use of renewable water resources has grown six-fold. There is more waste water generated and dispersed today than at any other time in the history of our planet: more than one out of six people
            lack access to safe drinking water, and more than two out of six lack adequate sanitation.

          • Greyman

            Yet the global human population continues to grow. How DARE those human beings defy the predictive limitations imposed by science!They will PAY!

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            In case you hadn’t noticed, they are already paying the price, part of which is the spread of ignorance and stupidity – which you so capably demonstrate.

          • Drew (GA)

            People who can afford to buy bottled water don’t have to worry about dwindling water supplies…Do they?

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            Where do you think bottled water comes from? It’s either filtered tap water or ground water from springs or other aquifers.

          • Drew (GA)

            I wasn’t being serious, just trying to give voice to the thoughts that come to the wealthy mind. I certainly don’t think we should pipe it down from the arctic and bottle it up for profit like say, a Greyman would.

        • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

          ” ‘Growth is unsustainable’: this argument has been made and lost for centuries now”

          It’s been “lost” only on dimwitted people like you. Nothing in the universe can grow without limit and especially not at an exponential rate.

          The only thing in nature with that paradigm (besides modern economic man) is cancer.

          It is not only impossible because we live on a finite planet that we have all but destroyed, but because of the most fundamental law of the universe: the Second Law of Thermodynamics, or the Law of Entropy.

          In simple terms, that Law states that all things move from order to disorder, from usable form to unusable, and that we can create local order only at the expense of exporting a greater amount of disorder to the environment.

          The environment can no longer absorb any more human-made disorder. We are well past the end of economic growth and will be suffering the consequences of our ignorance of that reality for as long as we survive (which may be no more than a few more generations, according to the latest studies published in the renowned scientific journal Nature).

          • Greyman

            Robert: when Malthus first published in 1798, the global human population was a scant one billion. Today, as you well know, we’re clocking seven billion and counting. Not an outcome congenial to Malthusian theory. On another hand, you also surely know that modernity constitutes just the briefest blip in the accumulating fossil record and that the odds are in no way in our favor: as a matter of fact, you can probably tell me just for the asking how many species on earth have survived for over fifty million years (only a scant fin-full, I have to guess); come what may, I rather doubt humanity will celebrate even a ten millionth birthday. And who’s to say, Robert: if our species is ONLY capable of sponsoring pathogenic outcomes, nothing’s to be done about it–I mean: does your holy Second Law of Thermodynamics REALLY have a predictive capability? Transitional states entail futurity: but what guarantee can 2LT make that the future will necessarily “arrive”? Obviously, I don’t know the answers, but I’m sure you do. 

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            If that comment was even remotely intelligible, I’m sure I could offer a rational response.

            By the way, the Second Law of Thermodynamics is not my holy law, but the only scientific law which Einstein believed would never be overturned by future science.

            Most scientists accept it as the single most fundamental law of the universe.

            And, of course, it has a predictive capability. It is based on the certainty that the universe (and everything in it) is heading inexorably toward equilibrium or heat death. It has the same predictive certainty as the law that everything that is born will die. 

        • PithHelmut

          I wonder what kind of logic causes you think to think that growth being unsustainable is not credible. And industrial hemp doesn’t make  people high even if you smoked a whole field of it.  This is the exact manufacturing of confusion that government and industry deliberately set out to create – and it looks like it worked on you.

      • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

        I agree with all your accolades about hemp but one: “hemp shiv can be mixed with lime and water to build highly thermal houses…saving around 70% of heating and cooling often requiring none”

        As a pioneer designer/builder of superinsulated homes and an instructor in sustainable building, I know that hemp-lime building materials have an R-value of 2.5-3 per inch, making it somewhat worse than fiberglass as an insulation material, although the thermal mass will help moderate temperature fluctuations.

        There are many environmental and health benefits of building with hemp-line, but high thermal efficiency is not one of them. 

        • Gregg

          As the first person to walk on the moon I can tell you it is made of swiss cheese. 

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            You’re an idiot. Everyone knows it’s green cheese.

            Singing rooty toot toot for the moon
            It’s the biggest star I’ve ever seen
            It’s a pearl of wisdom, a slice of green cheese
            Burning just like kerosene, burning just like kerosene

    • Gregg

      As you know we exhale CO2. They want to tax it.

      • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

        Some of us exhale CO2. Others, just hot air.

        The former contributes to global warming. The latter makes sure that global warming is ignored.

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      The coal companies have long since abolished the state of West Virginia.

      Yes, we should tax the exhalation of such hot air as you spew into the public commons.

      • Greyman

        Oooh, the carrier pigeons have finally arrived!

  • A.J. Averett

    Not long after the close of the second world war, a gathering took place in the upper Mojave Desert of the United States; among those in attendance were Dr. Bertrand Russell and Dr. Edmond Jaeger, the dean of American desert naturalists. Around the campfire one evening, the topic under consideration was Right and Wrong.  After listening to the discussion amongst his distinguished colleagues for a fashion, Jaeger turned to Russell, whose white wispy hair and pipe smoke were outlined in the flames, and said, “The environment, since it cannot run away nor defend itself, must be protected.  And THAT, sir, is the difference between what is Right and what is Wrong.” More than six decades later, that definition of absolute morality has, if anything, gained even greater currency — and the stakes are far higher.

  • Drew (GA)

    YES!!! I hope we’re ALL listening, talk about Speaking Truth To Power! Bill McKibben couldn’t be more On Point!

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      How so?  He’s just repeating what we already know.

      • Drew (GA)

        We, collectively, apparently don’t know a damn thing. I’m not speaking of you and I, I’m speaking about US.

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          But the audience for this show is aware.  Where are the solutions?

          • Drew (GA)

            Any practical solutions point to a fundamental shift in Global Energy perspectives. Sounds like it’s being discussed now.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Rocky Mountain Institute!
               Book-”Energy Victory”, by Robert Zubrin!
               Book-”Green Capitalism”, by Louvins and Hawken

  • Michiganjf

    C’mon Bill!

     … as though President Obama has a snowballs chance in Hell of making any traction whatever on climate change, with republicans constantly lying to the gullible as to the consequences!

    … just enough of the gullible, BTW, to stop Dems and the President in their tracks, just as they’ve done already with regards to job creation and fixing our economic woes!

    Unfortunately, Dems and the Prez are forced, as politicians ever are, into picking their battles.

    Republicans won this war long ago, when they began to ensure that few in our country would ever again receive a decent education!

  • Drew (GA)

    I agree, the Framing would carry much more impact if we understand it’s about saving ourselves.

    Should have been reply to earlier comment. Thanks Disquss

    • notafeminista

      The “framing” already does that.  In abundance.  Figure out a way to keep pizza hot, martinis cold, without making it “prohibitively expensive”, and you’re golden.

      • Drew (GA)

        Store the pizza in your mouth and place the martinis on your heart and we’re done. Where’s my gold?

        • notafeminista

          Hey.  Be as snarky as you like – it does not change the fact that people like hot water in winter and air conditioning in summer.  Figure out how to do that.  Don’t be snarky at me because human enjoy creature comforts.

          • Drew (GA)

            I was just returning the favor. And you’re right about people but that shouldn’t make you feel better, it should make you feel worse. Solar Panels and proper home construction/re-fitment can EASILY take care of the hot water in winter, of course FIRST you’d have to be able to afford the prohibitive costs involved. The Air Condition situation will change about the same time the Petroleum situation changes.

          • notafeminista

            Realizing that people are self-interested first makes me feel neither better nor worse.  It does make me better equipped to think in terms of a real solution.  Otherwise this is all academic.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Trans-Canada EXECUTEive ADMITTED that they GROSSLY OVER-STATED the number of possible jobs!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001436729213 Wes Nickerson

    Obama is actually enthusiastically supporting the southern half of the Keystone XL pipeline.

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      It’s the Democrat’s new “southern strategy”.

  • atakemoto

    We will cause our own extinction by polluting our air, water and land. 

    • Drew (GA)

      We already have, we just don’t know it yet.

      • PithHelmut

        Boy I wouldn’t want you on my team you’re such a defeatist. Have a look at Chernobyl, it is actually springing back quite nicely. It’s probably still badly contaminated but there’s foliage everywhere and animals inhabiting the area again. We have to remember the Earth has an amazing propensity to heal itself even though we’ve abused and abused. But if we started doing lots of things differently, like carpool, use public transit, or some other way of getting to work, that alone would conserve a fair amount. Stop subsides to oil companies (no brainer) and subsidies period – renewables can easily succeed on a level playing field. And soon we may be growing industrial hemp again in America because there is a bill going through right now in the Senate to take industrial hemp off the controlled substance list. Everyone should call their senators and voice your support for this!  Please do, call the congressional switchboard and ask to speak to your senator’s office, leave your message then call the switchboard again and ask to connect to your other senator. This is so important – please see Senator Wyden’s speech and don’t forget to call your senators!!: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rC3OoMc3V3c

        • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

          Recognizing the truth is hardly being “defeatist”.

          Perhaps you’ve been smoking to much hemp, but we are in the midst of the sixth great extinction of species, and the first to be cause by a single, and ostensibly intelligent, species. We may lose as many as 50% of all species on the planet.

          It has taken the earth as much as 100 million years to recover from such past events. For humanity, that amounts to forever.

        • Drew (GA)

          Being a realist is not being a defeatist. Regardless of my personal feelings about hemp’s potential it will NEVER again be successfully utilized as fuel, clothing, or construction material on a mass scale. Decades of “Drugs Are Bad” and “Marijuana is a Gateway Drug” have made the general population so belligerently opposed to it’s use that most don’t even realize that you can produce hemp without supplying “Devil Weed” as the final product. And I guess the Lumber Industry is going to support you in your dream? They’d never fight or oppose something detrimental to their profit margins, would they? Chernobyl is “springing back quite nicely”, unless of course you’re a Human. Don’t agree? You should pick up and move there right away. I didn’t say that we have already made The Planet extinct, I was referring only to our arrogant species.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            While industrial hemp is no magic bullet, it will make a comeback and contribute to small-scale, local agri-industry options.

            More and more states are legalizing medicinal marijuana – in spite of federal regulations – and Vermont just passed a bill to create legal dispensaries. Vermont is also considering a bill to legalize agricultural hemp.

          • Drew (GA)

            And I say more power to those furthering the cause. What do you think will happen if Romney is elected? I also seem to recall reading not too long back that several dispensaries were shut down by the Feds even though the state they were in deemed them legal.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            What happens in Washington won’t make a damn bit of difference to what happens in Vermont (and other progressive states). 

            Hell, one Vermont town put out an arrest warrant for Bush and Cheney. We’ll do the same for Romney, if necessary.

          • Drew (GA)

            Wish I shared your optimism. Hey, maybe you could bottle me up some and send it down (I’m being serious not sarcastic). Mine sure has been lacking the past ten to fifteen years. Now if Bush and Cheney had been arrested that would have done the trick. Even better, had the Supreme Court not declared W the “Decider in Chief” I doubt my optimism would have ever waned.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            For some reason, Vermont was the only state that Bush never stepped foot on during his entire presidency.

            Look up Transition Town. It’s the most constructive movement working towards a new paradigm.

            http://www.transitionnetwork.org/
            http://www.transitionus.org/

          • Drew (GA)

            I never knew that, those in Vermont were fortunate.

  • TFRX

    We’re finally getting to the “mythical man-year” job statistic.

  • Greyman

    I submit that a school of intrepid journalists needs to document and catalogue the way environmental activists travel and consume energy. How many protesters decamping to DC fly in and out of Dulles Airport? How many drive? (Sure, it takes a while to bike in from Seattle and San Francisco, but that’s the point, isn’t it? Let them protest locally, unless they really want to pedal the entire distance.) Does Middlebury College consume electricity? Generated how, generated where? When we dislocate the entire coal mining industry of the US, what jobs await: green industries are in no position to scoop up displaced coal miners. Why aren’t Detroit executives giving us Mr. Farnham’s 200 mpg vehicles? Perhaps some enterprising coal miners can fill the void, since they obviously have no business in continuing to mine coal.

    • Ray in VT

      They go to DC because that’s where the power and influence is.  I’m sure that Mr. McKibben is quite aware of just how much his travel choices affects the environment.

      Middlebury College does consume electricity.  I’ve been there.  It’s quite nice.  Much of Vermont’s power comes from Hydro Quebec, and I went to high school with the guy who helped design an alternative energy system that Middlebury uses to partially generate it’s own power.

      • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

        Unfortunately, they go to DC because that’s where the illusion of power and influence resides.

        The Occupy movement was the first national uprising which correctly targeted the true seat of power in the US – Wall Street.

        But DC is where the media will often give better coverage to a large-scale event that might be missed if it’s dispersed among a hundred local events.

        It does, however, require many times as much money, time and effort to organize a large DC event which could be far better spent within our communities, which is where any real change is going to occur.

        I stopped participating in big national DC-focused actions decades ago, because they are based on the (false) assumption that we, the powerless people, must go and beseech our elected leaders for crumbs. While it might feel empowering to march with a hundred thousand fellow activists, it perpetuates the myth that our power lies outside of ourselves.

    • Pointpanic

      greyman the highway lobbies and auto industries have insured that at present our options are limited.CHange takes time.

    • Laurie in CT

      I traveled to D.C. to the TarSands Protest last year in a Prius with 4 other people. Most protesters are not people of means. We carpool to events. Some use mass transit although it is unfortunately too expensive for many. So yes, we protest locally, too, when we can.

    • nj_v2

      The Grey One continues with his patently stupid argument that unless one uses no fossil fuel, one has no grounds to argue or advocate for a different energy structure.

      • notafeminista

        Let us say it diminishes the credibility of one’s argument when one refuses to practice as they preach.

        • nj_v2

          Let us say you’re an idiot. I’ll try to give a serious rebuttal, but chances are you’re too  dense for it to have any effect.

          As an interdependent society, with individuals participating in systems of energy, production, materials flows, etc., we are limited to a large extent by what those systems provide, how they operate, and the consequences they generate.

          Individuals actions and choices can be important, but they exist in a context of, and are limited and controlled by, the systems and institutions within which we function.

          Attempting to change energy use and policy means changing entire systems. The legitimacy of arguments to change systems isn’t dependent on what type of energy one currently uses. 

    • PithHelmut

      Even if protesters stayed home to save energy, it wouldn’t make a dent in the billions of gallons that will continue to be consumed. Change the system silly. Our current one rewards those who use our atmosphere like a toilet. People like this need to be stopped. They are even a danger to themselves. What kind of a world are they planning on living in? Even with all the wealth, do they think that can buy them immunity to the ravages of Nature? This is so confounding to me.

      • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

        “do they think that can buy them immunity to the ravages of Nature?”

        Yes, since it seems to give them immunity from all other consequences in our culture. 

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      But, then, that “school of intrepid journalists” would have to follow the enviros around and would end up using more fossil fuels.

      But, clearly, the Greyman has never been to a demonstration in DC, as most arrive by carpool or chartered bus.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Natural Gas Producers have ALREADY been WHINING about prices so low, that they’re losing money.  Bigger companies will Gobble up smaller ones, then go for a MONOPOLY!
       THEN prices will go HIGHER!
       When ANY Renewable has gotten near the point of ‘viability’, Big Oil, Big Coal, and Big Gas ‘miraclously’ finds ways of selling for less, UNTIL the Renewables are shelved!  THEN prices go UP!
        MANY examples in history!

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       Lay off the caps lock key.

  • Emjones

    “Jim Hansen is the greatest climatologist”….You are disingenuous if not delusional.

    • Erik Thorkildsen

      “Greatest” might be hyperbole, but he certainly has done a lot to understand the physical processes at work, put them in the perspective of the earth’s climate over the last 65 million years, raise public awareness, starting with congressional testimony in 1988 and 1989 about the dangers we face, and advocate for putting a price on carbon via a “Fee and Dividend” mechanism.

      Here’s his website:  http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/

      Here’s a paper of his that I particularly recommend: Target atmospheric CO2: Where should humanity aim? http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/abs/ha00410c.html

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      I don’t know of anyone else in the field of climatology who is more deserving of that accolade.

      James E. Hansen (born March 29, 1941) heads the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City, a part of the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. He has held this position since 1981. He is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University.

      After graduate school, Hansen continued his work with radiative transfer models, attempting to understand the Venusian atmosphere. Later he applied and refined these models to understand the Earth’s atmosphere, in particular, the effects that aerosols and trace gases have on Earth’s climate.

      Hansen was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1996 for his “development of pioneering radiative transfer models and studies of planetary atmospheres; development of simplified and three-dimensional global climate models; explication of climate forcing mechanisms; analysis of current climate trends from observational data; and projections of anthropogenic impacts on the global climate system.”

      In 2001, he received the 7th Annual Heinz Award in the Environment for his research on global warming, and was listed as one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2006. Also in 2006, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) selected James Hansen to receive their Award for Scientific Freedom and Responsibility “for his courageous and steadfast advocacy in support of scientists’ responsibilities to communicate their scientific opinions and findings openly and honestly on matters of public importance.”

      In 2007, Hansen shared the Dan David Prize for “achievements having an outstanding scientific, technological, cultural or social impact on our world”. In 2008, he received the PNC Bank Common Wealth Award of Distinguished Service for his “outstanding achievements” in science. At the end of 2008, Hansen was named by EarthSky Communications and a panel of 600 scientist-advisors as the Scientist Communicator of the Year, citing him as an “outspoken authority on climate change” who had “best communicated with the public about vital science issues or concepts during 2008.”

      In 2009, Hansen was awarded the 2009 Carl-Gustaf Rossby Research Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the American Meteorological Society, for his “outstanding contributions to climate modeling, understanding climate change forcings and sensitivity, and for clear communication of climate science in the public arena.” Hansen won the 2010 Sophie Prize for his “key role for the development of our understanding of human-induced climate change.”

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    So we have to live in tightly controlled rabbit warrens?  Surely there’s another answer.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    HOW MANY proponents of BIG Oil, Big Coal, Big Gas, and Nuclear, have lived within two miles of their supported industry’s WORST POLLUTION?  ESPECIALLY the EXECUTEives?  Their FAMILIES, that PROFIT from it?
       HYPOCRITES?   RICH, GREEDY HYPOCRITES?   That don’t CARE about other people, as long as the GREEDY get their riches?

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      How many caps lock keys do you go through in a year?

  • Pointpanic

    BIll McKibben has made a major point that is not ostressed often enough, which is thta even if we had a president that was so totlaly committed to reversing or checking climate change, no progreess will be made without a mass movement of citizens. We Americans tend to elect our leaders as messiahs who will “do it all” for us. But democracy doesn’t work that way.CHnage comes from the bottom up. 

  • Larry

    thank you WBUR and Tom Ashbrook

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/ZKG7NEG53UKVK7OTIT7Y4VMBOM Jay D

    I want my Electric Car NOW!!! 

    • Drew (GA)

      ANY vehicle can be converted to electric, you may already have your electric car. Shame that the Batteries and electrical components have been made prohibitively expensive. If you have money I’d get a Tesla S.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/ZKG7NEG53UKVK7OTIT7Y4VMBOM Jay D

         If I had the money I also would have a Tesla Model S!

        • guest

          Better to walk or ride a bike.  What’s the carbon footprint of an electric compared to human powered alternatives?

          • notafeminista

            Still too great for some folks.

        • Worried for the country(MA)

           I saw my first Tesla at the local golf course the other day.  I’m surprised you could fit golf clubs in that tiny $200K machine.

          • Drew (GA)

            Your speaking of the original Tesla which is a sports coupe. I was referring to the Tesla Model S which is a four door sedan just released this year. If you haven’t seen one yet you should check it out, it’s cheaper too. If you can’t afford to play golf though you won’t be driving a Model S anytime soon.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            I was thinking of the REAL original Tesla – Nikola Tesla – and his wireless energy transmission systems, as well as his invention of AC generation and most of the things that created the 20th century, including:

            Tesla Coil
            Tesla Bladeless Turbine and Pump
            Alternating Current (AC),
            Polyphase Current and High Voltage Rectification
            Hydroelectric Generators
            Radio (11 years before
            Marconi – Supreme Court awarded him the patent posthumously)
            Brushless Synchronous and AC Induction Motors
            Wireless Power Transmission
            Wireless Telegraphy
            Cellular Technology
            Telephone Repeater
            Flourescent Lights
            Microwaves
            Vacuum Tubes
            Radar
            X-Rays
            Arc light systems
            Neon lights
            Lasers
            Directed Energy (particle
            beam) Weapons (siezed and classified by J. Edgar Hoover)
            Disinfectant Treatment of Water with Ozone
            Robotics and the “AND” logic gate
            Wireless Remote Control (Tesla demonstrated a wireless controlled boat 1898)
            VTOL aircraft
            Concepts for Electric Vehicles
            Dynamic theory of gravity
            A Unified Field Theory – completing Einstein’s work (though never published before death)

          • Drew (GA)

            Nikola Tesla was one of the great minds, talk about a true innovator and Job Creator (by proxy). Of course most considered him a quack and many more saw him only as a threat. Amazing how little changes over time. Thinking about Nikola Tesla brings Preston Tucker and a multitude of others to mind.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Check for LOCAL Electric Vehicle Clubs?

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Flex-Fuel Vehicles give you the option of using Gasoline, OR Methanol, or Ethanol, whichever is less-expensive per mile, or your choice!
       Same for Flex-Fuel Diesel!
       Mid-East Oil Price Jump?   Go BioFuel.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      My partner’s minivan is E-85 capable.  She tried it, and found that the miles per gallon were less with E-85 than with regular gasoline.

      • Drew (GA)

        And we both know the Agricultural impacts of Ethanol.

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          Such as?  I’m not saying that ethanol is a bad idea.  It’s just not perfect.

          • Drew (GA)

            Such as increased Corn prices causing other crops to be dropped in favor of the more profitable one. Such as acreage that would have been used to produce Food being used to produce Fuel which will produce pollution. Such as somewhere far enough down the line someone who would have had something to eat won’t.

          • PithHelmut

            If everyone could grow hemp and the supplies were pooled the supply may be adequate and it would not threaten the food supply. It would be a staple crop for farmers some of them very stretched right now and give them a nice steady income. 

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            It still requires land to grow hemp, and agricultural land is becoming increasingly scarce as we pave over the earth for cities, highways, homes and industrial centers, and dangerously reduce the size and contiguity of forestlands.

          • Drew (GA)

            Not to mention the recent mass land grabs by moneyed interests to secure “farm land”. They’ll be growing the most profitable crops, not the most beneficial ones.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            Converting virtually all of the global food into fuel would supply about 12.8 MBOE/day (million barrels of oil equivalent) – only 15% of the current world oil consumption.  It takes about twice as much energy to make biofuels as it does to simply pump oil from the ground and refine it, which reduces the available net energy of our biofuels to less than 8% of the world’s oil consumption. Every percent of petroleum we replace by crop-sourced biofuels implies a 12%+ reduction in the food supply or redirection of land for non-food crops.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Methanol and Ethanol CAN be made from non-food crops, or the refuse, and the GARBAGE!

          • Drew (GA)

            I’m aware of that, this is still wasted energy in my view. I completely understand the objections to all electric but I honestly can’t see any other solution.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            Not driving?

          • Drew (GA)

            That would be the ideal solution but there is even less chance of that ever happening than there is of Banks deciding to use the two plus trillion dollars they’re sitting on to begin addressing the mess they’ve created.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Flex-Fuel-Plug-in-Hybrid?

          • Drew (GA)

            I still say all electric. There are other ways to generate the required electricity than the ones we currently choose, they just don’t carry the profit potential of Coal, Natural Gas, and Petroleum. I know you’re just searching for answers and I hope you never stop. The answers are already out there, it’s just a matter of getting people to consider the question BEFORE considering short-term profits.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Almost anyone can tell you that range is decreased.   I have seen NO industry info, that hides, or denies this. 
           You lose 40% of range, but if Ethanol costs half, you go miles CHEAPER!

        • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

          Cheap is the American mantra. Shop Wal*Mart.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            BioFuels, Made in the U.S.A., would truely be cheaper, in MANY ways, including pollution costs.
               I ONLY shop at Wal-Mart, when other stores are closed, or what I seek is NOT available elsewhere!
              ‘Cheap’ Chinese products, that have to be replaced FAR more often, are NOT cheap!

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            And neither are biofuels, as they exact tremendous social and ecological costs that, like with oil, are not factored into the price.

          • notafeminista

            Oh come now.  We all know people are living paycheck to paycheck or even with out any paycheck at all right?  (Or maybe not…I hear the private sector is doing fine).  It’s no surprise people shop Wal*Mart, much to the Left’s eternal chagrin.

          • Drew (GA)

            You know, I think the “Doing Fine” comment came out of the President’s mouth because he was thinking banks and financiers. I’m sure that literally having the weight of the world on your shoulders would never cause someone as enlightened as yourself to make a gaff. It wouldn’t have mattered what he said because he was the one saying it.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            It’s no surprise that you would shop at Wal*Mart, as you have clearly demonstrated no sense, no discernment, and no ethical standards. 

            Nothing is cheap at Wal*Mart – it’s just that someone else is paying the price, typically teen and pre-teen Chinese girls working in sweatshop conditions that have been illegal in the US for 100 years.

          • notafeminista

            And yet those teen and pre teen girls still show up in droves to work.  Why is that?

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            Because they have no choice if they want to live. And because American consumption supports slavery in China, because “poor” Americans (most of whom own most of the modern conveniences of life and are rich compared to much of the world) choose cheap over just and equitable and don’t give a shit who suffers on their behalf.

          • notafeminista

            They have no choice.  Of course they do.  What were they doing before Wal*Mart arrived?

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            Mostly living in rural areas, growing food, until political, economic and environmental conditions changed and forced them to the cities (as happens all over the developing world).

    • Drew (GA)

      All of the above are STILL pollutants. Dump corn in your tank, decrease the efficiency with which Gasoline alone burns, increase maintenance costs by causing filters to fail more frequently. Oh yeah, and use Food for Fuel. Genius. And Diesel fumes cause Cancer. Filter it all you want and spin it in the least painful short term manner, Diesel fumes STILL cause Cancer. Go Biofuel is right, and it can take Fraking with it.

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

         As always, I wonder what you suggest us to use in our vehicles right now.  Batteries aren’t yet up to the capacity that we need for practical transportation.  Solar panels can’t power a car at the moment.  So what do we do now?

        • Drew (GA)

          What we need to do and what we will do are two entirely different things. What difference would it make what I propose as solutions? They’re not going to be acceptable because they require fundamental Societal change.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            If you have BETTER solutions, MANY of us would like to hear them!
               I’m advancing viable, do-able, options AT THIS TIME!
               Options for TRANSITION, to eventual Change.

          • Drew (GA)

            Global Financial Reform, possible?

            Complete conversion of mass public and freight transportation to all electric, possible?

            Migration of personnel and resources currently supporting the Oil Industry to Renewable Energy Development and Implementation, possible?

            I admire your search for do-able options as you put it but we need immediate action. Unfortunately, necessary action will come only when forced. By the time action is forced it will be too late if it isn’t already.

          • notafeminista

            Something still has to generate the electricity.

          • Drew (GA)

            We could harness the hot air that constantly escapes your mouth, that would be a start.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            And ‘conservative’ politicians?

          • Drew (GA)

            That would be more than just a start. lol

          • notafeminista

            Be as snarky as you like. Where will the electricity come from?

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            Walk, bicycle, carpool, pass laws requiring drivers to pick up hitchhikers, invest in railroads, move to community centers (eliminate suburbs), require that all new development be village-based.

          • notafeminista

            Spoken like a good totalitarian.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            Spoken like a true moron.

          • Gregg

            “… pass laws requiring drivers to pick up hitchhikers…”

            I hitchhiked home after a Stones concert from Albuquerque, NM to Gainesville, FL once. I’ll never do that again.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            Go to a Stone’s concert, or hitch hike?

            Apparently you fail at everything you try.

          • Gregg

            I got home in 5 days so I didn’t fail. The concert was great but it was  just an excuse to buy a one way ticket to NM.

            Requiring people to pick up hitch hikers is a horrible idea in this day in age.

        • PithHelmut

          We could use hemp for cars because they are much lighter and stronger than steel and can go further on a battery. Henry Ford made hemp cars in the 1940′s. We could also use hemp seeds for biofuel. Doesn’t need pesticides or herbicides and also conditions the soil. We need to move steadfastly over to renewable energies. We still have a small window of time before this shift will be forced upon us regardless.  

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

             Sounds good to me, and yes, we do need to use more renewable sources.  We have to survive until those sources can take up the slack, though.

    • Gregg

      Bio-fuel screwed up my tractor and my F-350. We had to drop the tanks out of the truck and have them cleaned. It’s no longer sold at my local station.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        MANY are having sucess with it!  Sounds like it was your local source.
           OR, were the vehicles meant for BioFuel?

      • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

        Any diesel engine can be converted to 100% biodiesel. Many are doing it at home with stunning success, even in cold New England (requires a pre-heater).

        • Gregg

          It didn’t work for me, pre-heater and all.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            Apparently, you’re equally incompetent on every level. We have school students here who are making the conversion successfully all the time.

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      Going with the cheapest choice is how we got into the crisis we now face (particularly since “cheap” means government subsidized and “external” costs hidden).

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Brazil, after they went Flex-Fuel, has been 60% or HIGHER BioFuel, because it IS cheaper, and availability is better! 
           EVEN when Oil prices are at lowest levels in 20 years.

        • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

          You merely prove my point. Cheap is rarely good (in fact, the word means junky).

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    South Africa isn’t such a good example to use, considering its rates of crime, disease, and corruption since the change.

  • Bob Letcher

    Take action, not because you know it will bring about enough change in time, but because you know that if you don’t take action you can be certain that you won’t make enough change in time… and when you happen to see yourself in a mirror you the face in the mirror won’t recognize the person staring into that mirror. 

  • Injun2

    He keeps hitting Exxon-Mobile. In the scheme of world wide oil companies, Exxon is tiny. How does he plan to force those countrys oil companies to shift to solar or wind? Saudi Arabia and Iran? Really?

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Lead by EXAMPLE?  Fairly simple?

      • Injun2

        oops, sorry, I clicked on the wrong place…. I mean’t to respond to Terry Tree, not myself !

    • Injun2

      Good point. At the beginning of the show, they mentioned that the U.S. is the only country in the world that has decreased our energy output and carbon footprint, so I think we are leading by example. The transition into alternative energy needs to be a slow and steady one, which is happening. Too slow for some, too fast for others….when nobody is happy, that usually means its about right! :-)

      • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

        When the 200 species per day that are going extinct are not happy about human abuse of the planet, that certainly means the pace of change is woefully inadequate.

    • nj_v2

      No need to “force” them. Really.

      http://www.thenational.ae/business/energy/saudi-arabia-embraces-solar-energy

      [[ The government hopes to create up to 15,000 jobs in the next decade by nurturing a solar industry, from solar farms to assembly plants, to factories that make raw materials."If this starts we can have the starting of an ecosystem," said Azzam Shalabi, the president of the National Industrial Clusters Development Program (NICDP), a government institution that recruits investors for such projects. "It is not only the jobs per se but the quality of jobs." Using the sun rather than fossil fuels to produce electricity is particularly appealing because of current oil prices, which recently topped US$119 a barrel. ]]

      [clipped]

  • Greyman

    “Get humanity beyond humanity, get humanity beyond its history” is McKibben’s valedictory. “Save the world from humanity,” that is. The myth of Sisyphus for the post-postmodern age.

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      Ain’t no myth. Humanity has been pushing a rock up a hill for ten thousand years and it’s about to come rolling back down to crush the arrogant and foolish species.

      • notafeminista

        Well.  You can always hope.

  • GreenMtnTosca

    Most important interview you’ve had in ages!  Please broadcast and re-broadcast.  When I read Eaarth, I went out a bought five more copies to give away.  Also, finally stood up (with others) and encircled the White House in Nov to protest Keystone XL.  It’s not myth, and it is tough to swallow, but we MUST NOT sit still and just philosophize.  Let’s indeed prove that our hearts and sense of stewardship of the planet are as big as our egocentric big brains.

  • Laurie in CT

    THANK YOU TOM, for this hour! I was disappointed with your coverage of the Tarsands Action last year. Giving Bill McKibben, my hero, a full hour, more than made up for it. Thank you! (I do love your show!)

  • StarGeezer

    This is all a diversion from the real problem. We’ve had the technology to solve this problem since the sixties … the birth control pill! What is the point of reducing emissions by 10, 20, 30% if the population of the world doubles every 50 years. Nobody wants to admit that the real problem id us! Not our lifestyles but our overwhelming numbers. Forget subzidising fossil fuel. Stop subsidizing human births for starters. If we could reduce the human population of the planet by 10% it would have an exponential effect on reducing polution.

    But no … we’re to “special” for that…

    • PithHelmut

      It’s not just the population numbers it’s that some countries like ours use most of the resources. What do you mean by reduce the human population? Is your life included in that percentage?

      • StarGeezer

        As I mentioned the birth control pill at the outset of my comments I expected that my intent was obvious. I’m not advocating any form of euthanasia … just voluntarily controlling our numbers through birth control – as unlikely as that is. Perhaps … just perhaps a recognition that our crushing numbers are the heart of the problem might lead to a change in attitudes just as a change was brought about in our attitudes toward smoking through education.
         
        And BTW my beliefs DO include myself. I & my spouse have deliberately chosen not to reproduce ourselves in recognition of the fact that there are more than ample quantities of human beings on the planet. Humans seem unable to put aside the vain belief that we are the most important creatures on the planet and all others must adapt to us.

        And you are quite right. Western socities tend to use a disproportionate amount of resources and therefore produce more emmissions.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          I stopped Reproduceability, after second child was born.  If I wanted any more, I can adopt an elsewhere-unwanted child, or children.

          • notafeminista

            Down to food, fuel and shelter yet?

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      The problem is not just one or the other. It’s a function of numbers of people x (material consumption per person + energy use per person).

      But a 10% reduction in global population would put us only back to the year 2000. The planet cannot support more than about one billion humans living at a much simpler lifestyle than the present western model.

      • StarGeezer

        I agree. An 80 or 90% reduction would be preferable but that would certainly be perceived as too radical by almost everyone. If the human population was a tenth of what it is now we could continue our ruinous lifestyle with relatively limited impact to the planet.
        Ya gotta start somewhere & I think a good place to start is, at a minimum, a recognition, that we cannot sustain  infinite population growth. Right now it seems to me that even the majority of climate scientist are not willing to recognize that and advocate for change. There is no more sacred cow than motherhood (or for today fatherhood).

        • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

          There were two articles in the current issue of the prestigious scientific journal Nature, which addressed the climatalogical and biological tipping points being brought on by a combination of population pressure and consumption.

          Approaching a state shift in Earth’s biosphere

          http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v486/n7401/full/nature11018.html

          The rapid warming of the planet, a soaring human population, the steady loss of biodiversity, over-exploitation of energy resources, and the degradation of the world’s oceans are driving the world toward an ecological tipping point, according to a new study in Nature by Twenty-two scientists from five nations.

          “Given all the pressures we are putting on the world, if we do nothing different, I believe we are looking at a time scale of a century or even a few decades for a tipping point to arrive,” said lead author Anthony Barnosky, a biologist at the University of California, Berkeley.

          “We really do have to be thinking about these global scale tipping points, because even the parts of Earth we are not messing with directly could be prone to some very major changes,” Barnosky said. “And the root cause, ultimately, is human population growth and how many resources each one of us uses.” [emphasis added]

        • notafeminista

          It’s not too radical.   It’s China. 

      • notafeminista

        No one has any idea what the Earth is capable of doing.  Tornados, floods, tsunamis prove that on a regular basis.

        How arrogant we humans are.

        • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

          No, you have no idea what’s going on because of your willful ignorance and utter stupidity. You can’t generalize that to the rest of the population.

  • Greyman

    Environmentalism on the model of a Bill McKibben or a Lester Brown remains stuck in idealist mode, is my contention. I dare invoke the cliches that environmentalist heads remain in clouds and that forests are being missed because of the obstruction posed by trees that remain standing. Until environmentalists shed their idealism and begin to face political, economic, social, cultural, historical HUMAN REALITY–most humans will continue to discount what they say. If it turns out that our species is in fact nothing less than suicidal (when not taking time out to be simply homicidal), how can environmentalist logic protest? We save the earth by killing ourselves off ASAP. If uncaring Nature itself does us in by throwing a stray asteroid our way or unleashing some malign microbe, what’s the real loss in the cosmic scheme? If God decides to let us have our way and choke on smoke instead of dispatching us a new flood, who’s to resist the will of God? No anthropological basis for environmentalism is yet forthcoming, since environmentalism remains wedded to non-foundational moralism and non-pragmatic idealism. Id est: I don’t believe environmentalism when I hear it preached, and I see no danger yet in being compelled by its practice on the margins and peripheries. 

    • Hbdansby

      Greyman, we alone among the species can choose what we do and whether we and the earth survive. Your position seems to treat man as if he were just another unwitting natural species.

      • notafeminista

        Humans have no control whatsoever whether or not Earth survives.  Maybe it’s wise to learn that first.

        Humility doesn’t hurt a bit.

        • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

          That’s trivially true only if you consider the earth a dead planet of iron.

          Humanity has initiated the Sixth Great Extinction of species (and the first one caused by a single, ostensibly intelligent, species), and has forced the climate toward multiple tipping points from which the planet will require as much as 100 million years to fully recover.

          • notafeminista

            Robert…you have no control over what happens to this Earth.  You did not bring it in to existence, and you have no control over when it ends. 

            Every prediction of man’s demise whether of a theological/spiritual nature or a science nature, has been wrong.  No one, including us mere mortals in the OnPoint forum have any idea what the tipping point of anything is, and it’s high time we stopped pretending.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            The only ones pretending are the denialists. It has never been more clear to both scientists and laypeople that human civilization is destroying life on planet earth.

            Fact: We are sending 200 species every day into extinction, at 1000 times the normal evolutionary rate, because of direct human intervention in the environment.

            Fact: Human activity is sending the earth rapidly toward a climate tipping point which will take the planet at least 10 million years to recover from.

            Fact: You are an idiot and a fool.

          • notafeminista

            Refer to me in any pejorative of your choice every day and twice on Sunday – it does not change the fact that humans did not create Earth and we have only the barest inkling of why things happen – of a climatological nature or otherwise.  As for your disappearing species remark – it only tells half the story (the half fitting your “paradigm” that is) – it fails to mention in the last two days..a scant 48 hours, that 3 new species were discovered: that of lobster, bird and fish.  That information being contrary to the envronmentalists’ preferred image of a scorched, dying earth inhabited by greedy robber barons, doesn’t get a whiff of a mention.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            There’s no need to use pejoratives to describe you, since you freely exhibit your stupidity and ignorance many times a day.

            Discovering species we have not yet found is not the same as the earth creating new species to make up for the 200 per day that we’re driving into oblivion.

            The saddest part of your constant stream of verbal diarrhea is that you don’t even realize that you come off like a complete moron (but, then again, you don’t have to care since you hide like a coward behind a fake name).

          • Gregg

            Using your full name and location is not a sign of bravery, it’s stupid.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            It was only a few generations ago that the measure of a man was whether he “stood by his word”.

            Clearly, you don’t measure up.

          • Gregg

             My word is gold.

          • Gregg

            Hysteria sells every time. It’s seems your extinction claim comes from the UN, that means big time worldwide money to implement a dastardly agenda. The wording says it’s an estimate but they have no clue. Did we learn nothing from the IPCC’s laughably debunked fourth assessment report in 2007?

            I’m going fishing for Stripers today but I may catch a Celocampth. We are discovering new species all the time. Here are the top 10 for 2012:

            http://species.asu.edu/Top10

            I suppose anyone who believes 9/11 was a plot hatched at the desk of Dick Cheney will believe anything.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            The man who proved Cheney’s collusion in the 9/11 attacks and coverup, in his exhaustive 700 page book Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil was Michael C. Ruppert and his co-author Catherine Austin Fitts (2004)

            Michael C. Ruppert was the rising star LAPD narcotics detective who blew the lid off of CIA drug running into LA (and lost his career over it) and then published the newsletter From The Wilderness, which was read by many members of Congress and 16,000 other subscribers in 40 countries.

            Catherine Austin Fitts was the managing director and member of the board of directors of the Wall Street investment bank Dillon, Read & Co. Inc., Assistant Secretary of Housing and Federal Housing Commissioner at the HUD in the first Bush Administration, and president of investment bank Hamilton Securities Group.

            Crossing the Rubicon is unique not only for its case-breaking examination of 9/11, but for the breadth and depth of its world picture—an interdisciplinary analysis of petroleum, geopolitics, narcotraffic, intelligence and militarism—without which 9/11 cannot be understood. The US manufacturing sector has been mostly replaced by speculation on financial data whose underlying economic reality is a dark secret. Hundreds of billions of dollars in laundered drug money flow through Wall Street each year from opium and coca fields maintained by CIA-sponsored warlords and US-backed covert paramilitary violence. America’s global dominance depends on a continually turning mill of guns, drugs, oil and money. Oil and natural gas—the fuels that make economic growth possible—are subsidized by American military force and foreign lending. In reality, 9/11 and the resulting “war on terror” are parts of a massive authoritarian response to an emerging economic crisis of unprecedented scale. Peak Oil—the beginning of the end for our industrial civilization—is driving the élites of American power to implement unthinkably draconian measures of repression, warfare and population control.

          • Gregg
          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            The estimate of extinction numbers comes from the world’s scientists, and the UN uses the best science in its assessments. As usual, you have everything backwards.

          • Gregg

            That’s a hoot.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            “It’s (sic) seems your extinction claim comes from the UN”

            It would seem so only to one, like you, who can’t tell his arse from his elbow.

            Humans Driving Extinction Faster Than Species Can Evolve, Say Experts

            Conservationists say rate of new species slower than diversity loss caused by the destruction of habitats and climate change.

            For the first time since the dinosaurs disappeared, humans are driving animals and plants to extinction faster than new species can evolve, one of the world’s experts on biodiversity has warned.

            Conservation experts have already signalled that the world is in the grip of the “sixth great extinction” of species, driven by the destruction of natural habitats, hunting, the spread of alien predators and disease, and climate change.

            However until recently it has been hoped that the rate at which new species were evolving could keep pace with the loss of diversity of life.

            Speaking in advance of two reports next week on the state of wildlife in Britain and Europe, Simon Stuart, chair of the Species Survival Commission for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature – the body which officially declares species threatened
            and extinct – said that point had now “almost certainly” been crossed.

            “Measuring the rate at which new species evolve is difficult, but there’s no question that the current extinction rates are faster than that; I think it’s inevitable,” said Stuart.

            The IUCN created shock waves with its major assessment of the world’s biodiversity in 2004, which calculated that the rate of extinction had reached 100-1,000 times that suggested by the fossil records before humans.

            No formal calculations have been published since, but conservationists agree the rate of loss has increased since then, and Stuart said it was possible that the dramatic predictions of experts like the renowned Harvard biologist E O Wilson, that the rate of loss could reach 10,000 times the background rate in two decades, could be correct.

            ————————-
            Funny, but no mention of the UN.

          • Gregg

            Thank you Notafeminista. You are very wise.

        • nj_v2

          Right, it’s not like human activity has caused entire species to go extinct, or changed the rotational period of the planet, or affected the chemistry of oceans. Nope, couldn’t possible happen.

          Serious scientists are making a cogent argument that there’s a case to be made that the next geological era be named the Anthropocene, so profound are the effects of human activity on the overall biosphere of the planet.

          Yet dancing, ignorant, uniformed assclowns have the arrogance to invoke “wisdom” to soothe our concerns.
            

          • Gregg

            I would change the word “soothe” to “hysterically hype”.

          • nj_v2

            I would have stopped posting a long time ago if i were you, but self-embarrassment is apparently not a limiting factor for you.

          • notafeminista

            *chuckle*   Human make entire species go extinct.  So prior to human existence, what caused species extinction?  We’ve be assured that Adam and Eve did not co-habitate with the dinosaurs.  What human singly or collectively caused their demise?

            What ego.

          • nj_v2

            You’re actually dumber than i originally thought.

      • Greyman

        “(W)e alone among the species can choose what we do and whether we and the earth survive.” Not according to the Gaia hypothesis championed by the likes of our resident prophet and neo-pagan, RR. Quoting Lynn Margulis: “To paraphrase Lovelock, we should not delude ourselves that we are managing the Earth; we should appreciate that it manages us . . . . the gaian environmental regulatory system does not need us. Humans play no vital role in gaian planetary maintenance . . .” From the horse’s mouth, so to speak, it is not clear that our resident prophet of dubious (self-?)consecration accurately represents the ideology he professes eternal allegiance to.

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      In truth, environmentalism on the model of a Bill McKibben or a Lester Brown is the only reality-based perspective on our current multiple intersecting global crises and the American Way of Life (AWOL) which created them.

      The reason that we give so little credence to such reality-based analysis is that we are addicted to our affluence and lost in our cultural paradigm which blinds us to the obvious reality that any “savage” can see and understand.

  • Greyman

    Just look at the eighteen photos posted above, folks! All that electricity involved in the production and distribution of those images, all the electricty needed for all those microphones and headsets, all that electricity needed to amplify all that music. And how did each and every member of the audience come to attend this environmental festival? How much fuel had to be consumed to get all those clapping hands assembled in one place? How much fuel had to be consumed to feed all those people prior to their arrival? Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

    • Ray in VT

      So, in order for one to be authentic and committed to the cause of environmentalism, must one sit in one’s cave and never do anything?

      There is plenty that we, both as individuals and collectively, can do to reduce our consumption of resources and mitigate our impact upon the environment.  You wrote below that it is an idealistic system that needs to face realities.  I suppose that I would counter that all isms are idealized forms that often don’t work so well in practice.  The changes and shifts that environmentalists propose need not be done either at all or all at once, but if one thinks that humanity’s population and economic growth are not infinitely sustainable on our finite planet, then we need to begin the conversation and the changes somewhere.

      I view environmentalism as a form of self interest.  I still want my air and water clean in 50 years.  I want my kids and grand kids to grow up in a world that doesn’t environmentally suck.  I view that as a pretty conservative position.

      • Greyman

        Ray: Permit me to note that I myself do not believe necessarily that humanity’s population and economic growth are infinitely sustainable: I see absolutely no evidence, however, that the limits of that sustainability have been met yet, even though the arguments of Malthus and his intellectual descendents are going on two hundred years old. Perhaps a stalwart generation of environmentalists needs to forego generating its own set of children and grandchildren: as the planet’s human population has more than doubled in the preceding fifty years. Also, if you ask whether I think driving a Prius from Connecticut to DC to mount a political protest signifies responsible environmental stewardship, my reply is–park the Prius: that would be a credible response, consistent with the logic that present-day environmentalism poses and demands.  

        • Ray in VT

          Well, we’re over 7 billion now, so what is the limit?  I don’t know, but look at the population graphs in many of the developing nations.  Lots of people coming into child bearing age in countries with limited resources.  That’s a recipe for disaster.

          I’d be willing to be that many environmentalists are not popping out a dozen kids, but that isn’t going to stop desertification and famine from spreading in marginal lands, and with many people around the world aspiring to our levels of consumption, then I really don’t know how this whole ball can stay rolling.

          Park the Prius and stay home, or take the train or bike?  Staying home and being quite won’t change squat.  We all make choices about our lifestyles, I think that we should be thinking about them more.

        • nj_v2

          Amongst Grey’s pretentious throat clearing (“Permit me to note…”) there’s this little gem: “I see absolutely no evidence, however, that the limits of that sustainability have been met yet:”

          Mangled syntax aside, the Grey One must be living in a dark cave somewhere.

          Global climate change proceeds unchecked.

          Species extinction rates are among the highest ever noted.

          Industrial food production is not sustainable.

          Most major ocean fisheries are in decline.

          We are roughly in the era of peak oil, after which prices for fossil fuels will inexorably rise.

          Novel, industrial chemicals pervade the environment and laden our bodies.

          Nope, nothing to be concerned about.

          • Greyman

            nj: I knew I was posting in the august presence of any number of notable natives of the Vaunted Northeast Corridor, so I put on my best ersatz Ivy League opening, sorry it flew no better with you than the Hindenburg. While you ready yourself for global climate change, take this into account: live by science, die by science. Without Darwin, the record of species extinctions would not be so well known. Without the science of geology, we would be blissfully unaware of all those nasty petroleum deposits lurking in the earth’s crust. Without the applied technology born of modern science, we’d’ve never perfected drilling platforms, internal combustion engines, or electric guitars, and what kind of civilization could we have enjoyed across the 20th century without all that? Certainly, Darwin failed to account for the extinction of Malthus’s descendents, since we get a fresh crop of Cassandras preaching “unsustainability!” every generation, and as you show, we now generate fresh generations of “peak oil!” enthusiasts. Unfortunately, the science gospel preached by environmentalists like McKibben and you always leaves something out of the equation: man gets the credit for spawning evil pollution, but all of you environmentalists get to drive and fly all over the world to tell us about it, or broadcast your preaching 24/365 (24/366, leap years) using electricity generated by the very “unsustainable” methods you decry. Whatever tenuous links to science some few of you can actually boast, you have even less awareness of economics, which at least claims to be a science. The ONLY way to reduce carbon emissions is to cut oil consumption with a user tax; the moment you begin preaching this message, you begin to lose even your choir. My advice: just keep quiet for a while, maybe events will catch up with your preaching. Or, if things are as you say, how gravely do you think the uncaring universe will regard the passing of humanity? Environmentalism also distinctly fails to tell us that any of this nonsense actually matter, because cosmically we’re not so different from the anomalocaridids resting in the Burgess Shale. 

          • tom-m

            Right on dude, we’re at Pliocene levels of CO2 and devolving further socially than our ancestors at that time in figuring out how to hit stones together …

          • nj_v2

            What a pretentious windbag. If there’s a point buried somewhere, it’s inscrutable. 

          • Gregg

            Nice rebuttal!

          • Greyman

            In other words, nj: despite your assurances, environmentalism has not even begun to prove that science and technology constitute maladaptations to our environment. When you’ve shown that, wake me up, I’ll be slumbering deep in my cave.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            You’ll be slumbering deep in your cave when the world burns. Nothing can awaken you from your stupor.

    • jefe68

      It’s amazing how ignorant and belligerent you are.

      • notafeminista

        But you didn’t answer the question. 

        • Gregg

          He can’t.

    • Gregg

      That’s nothing compared to Algore’s “Live Earth” concerts.

    • PithHelmut

      There’s nothing that proves that we can’t still do those things because we can with clean energy like biofuel. We can start building our renewable energy infrastructure while at the same time, drastically reduce wasteful consumption. We can upgrade our public transport systems with the savings! We can use energy that is closer to the site it is needed so as not to waste the over 50% loss through the grid. There are many alternatives to oil and we’re not preparing ourselves for any supply problems which are sure to come and are out of our control. The entire country would come to a halt because few would be able to get to their jobs, so reliant on oil we have allowed ourselves to become. 

  • Still Here

    I was right, he’s a whacko.

    • nj_v2

      You’re never right.

  • Rdwlf32

    No mention of Nuclear, what about it.

  • PithHelmut

    It would be wonderful to see political candidates this campaign cycle admit to being a long-time environmentalist and ashamed to admit ever being a climate denier. By around election time, the backlash from Nature will most likely have shifted most if not all, to “convert” to being advocates for renewable energy.

  • tom-m

    Need fuel for your car? … at the sewage treatment plant if you purify the wastewater using algae they do a good job, take longer but by cleaning the water better it’s cheaper to recycle the water and that’s the main point of treating water, recycle it.

    Then you press the algae for about 2-gallons of biodiesel per person on the system, the USA burns about 474-million gallons a day of all types of transportation fuels with 300-million people that’s 1.58-gallons a day per person.

    With sanity we will do this.

  • phil66

     

    Bill McKibben received a round of applause when he mentioned
    that Germany in the last week produced 50% of its electricity from solar
    installations.

    What Bill didn’t
    mention was that it occurred on a Saturday when most offices and industries are
    closed. Also, it was a sunny day throughout the country.  On the preceding Friday solar accounted for
    approximately 30% – still not bad, but again a sunny day.

    However, the bottom line is how much electricity does solar
    produce on an annual basis in Germany and it is less than 5%. Additionally, electricity
    prices in Germany are among the highest in the world, with consumers paying
    about 23 cents kW/h.

    Apparently Bill is not in to telling the rest of the story.

    The preceding info is from guardian.co.uk, Monday 28 May
    2012; link is                 http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/may/28/solar-power-world-record-germany

    • Terry Tree Tree

      WOW!  When I was in Germany last year, the country was NOT completely covered in Solar Panels!
         They DO have 2,700 Wind-Turbines, according to a German Department!
         MANY villages and towns have a set of three, at corners of the town.
         Combined Wind Turbines and Solar Panels, producing over 30% of their electricity, even on a Saturday, is AMAZING!
         Stores are closed over there on Sunday, so Saturday is their big shopping day.
         LOTS more room for more Solar Panels and Wind-Turbines, in Germany.  And HERE!

    • Worried for the country(MA)

       He also didn’t mention that their carbon emissions are increasing because they are shuttering their nuclear plants.

  • Erik Thorkildsen

    As Mr. McKibbin says, it is essential that we put a price on carbon.

    A bill, currently in The House Ways and Means Committee, would do just that: The Save our Climate Act, HR. 3242. 

    http://www.stark.house.gov/images/stories/112/press/factsheetcarbontax.pdf
    http://citizensclimatelobby.org/files/images/FAQonSaveOurClimateActof2011v2.pdf
    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:H.R.3242.IH:

    There currently 18 co-sponsors, including three from Massachusetts: Representatives Capuano, Olver, and McGovern. 

    Call your representative and ask him or her to support the bill.  

  • Worried for the country(MA)

    Uh oh!!

     James Lovelock has come out with strong support for fracking — for environmental reasons.
     

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      James Lovelock is senile.

    • Pointpanic

      yeah that is sobering.

  • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

    Unearthing the True Cost of Fossil Fuels

    http://www.treehugger.com/energy-policy/true-cost-fossil-fuels.html

    For decades now, fossil fuel company executives and D.C. politicians have worked together to ensure that coal and oil prices stay low enough to keep the American people hooked. In his new book Greedy Bastards, Dylan Ratigan explains how “vampire industries” like oil and coal have forged “an unholy alliance with government based not just on the money that they contribute to political campaigns and spend on lobbying but on their ability to hypnotize us with false prices.”

    Industry gets tax breaks, subsidies, military support in volatile regions, the right to use our air and water like a sewer, and assurance that the government will clean up its environmental messes. Politicians get campaign contributions, a steady flow of dirty energy, and a talking point to brandish about how they kept gas affordable.

    But the American public just gets screwed.

    We get stuck with a dirty, polluting energy regime; one that enriches a few one percenters while making the public sick and hobbling American innovation. As Ratigan puts it in his book, a handful of greedy bastards are fleecing Americans with a “Very Bad Deal”. Fossil fuels seem cheap and convenient now, but when we get hit with the true costs – of a spoiled environment, of missing out on vital future industries like clean energy, of a mounting public health burden, of possible war – we’ll see we were had.

    The Rigged Market for Fossil Fuels

    Experts believe that oil companies alone receive $10-40 billion in handouts yearly. A conservative study from the Environmental Law Institute found that from 2002-2008, oil companies received $72 billion of taxpayer’s hard-earned cash. Another report from Management Information Systems, Inc found that between 1950 and 2010, $594 billion was spent directly subsidizing fossil fuels – and the lion’s share of that, almost two thirds, went to the oil industry. Coal, too, receives billions of dollars in annual federal handouts.

    Clearly, government assistance distorts the price of fossil fuels, making them artificially cheaper. But those direct subsidies are nothing compared to the enormous costs the public indirectly pays for fossil fuels.

    For one, our taxpayer dollars fund the cleanup of the industry’s accidents and disasters. In an interview, Dylan Ratigan said that greedy bastards in the energy world are “masters” of transferring the long tail risk in their businesses to the public:

    “They transfer that two tenths of a percent chance that the nuke melts down or the oil spill happens, or whatever the abomination is, to the state. The state takes that risk, and allows limited regulation and all of the profits from the extraction of the energy resources to go to the energy companies, because they fund the politicians.”

    Mining, transporting, and burning oil, gas, and coal also inflicts major damage to the environment and public health – and we pick up the tab. A 2009 report from the National Research Council showed that fossil fuels impose $120 billion of annual costs on the public every year. Air pollution takes a massive toll on public health – it causes respiratory problems, widespread illness and death, and leads to a huge number of missed work days. The prognosis from a Harvard study, the first to analyze the full life-cycle impact of coal, is even bleaker.

    That report’s lead author, the late Dr. Paul Epstein, said in an interview that “Between the land disturbance, the mountaintop removal, the processing … and the combustion, we estimate that this is costing the American public somewhere between a third to half a trillion dollars in health costs and deaths.”

    Yes, that’s ‘trillion’ with a ‘T’. Every year.

    In fact, coal is so economically disastrous that the mainstream journal American Economics Review found that the electricity generated from coal actually does more damage to the economy than the electricity is worth. Grist’s David Roberts notes that “Coal-fired power is a net value-subtracting industry. A parasite, you might say. A gigantic, blood-sucking parasite that’s enriching a few executives and shareholders at the public’s expense.”

    Finally, taxpayer-funded military expeditions have played a crucial role in securing fossil fuel supplies and transport routes – a cost to the public registered not just in billions of dollars but in American lives.

    According to Ratigan’s calculations, the price of gasoline is around $10 too cheap per gallon when all unaccounted-for costs are included. Other projections put the figure even larger. And there are a wide range of estimates of the “true” cost of coal:

    Depending on how you factor in the costs of climate change, it could be between a few additional cents per kWh to a whopping 26.89¢ extra per kilowatt hour – the high-end estimate from the Harvard study. By way of comparison, the average American paid 11.54¢ per kWh on their residential electric bills last year. In other words, if prices accurately reflected all of the actual costs of burning coal, coal-fired power plants would be dead in the water.

    Using the example of oil, Ratigan writes that such distortion results in a situation where “the free market can’t help [us] decide if it’s worth switching from gas to another fuel, because the market isn’t free, it’s rigged.” Similarly, investors, homeowners, and utilities can’t decide whether it will pay off to invest in clean energy and efficiency when the price of burning coal, which still supplies nearly half the nation with electricity, is so cheap.

    Which is why we’ve got to restore price integrity to commodities like oil and coal – we’ve got to prevent fossil fuel companies from dumping their costs on us, level the playing field for clean energy technologies, and give Americans the choice they deserve over what powers their lives. Which means we’ve got to increase the price of gasoline and coal-fired electricity.

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  • Warren

    Since Christianity and Judiasm were declared “unhip”,we have the cult.We have the Hare Krishna,we have the Gaiaist.What’s the difference between the two.Nothing.
           Mr.Lovelock,the inventor of Gaia and Al Gore’s climate Svengali,has written a mea culpa.He said it’s bull,he appologizes for the Robert Riversongs of the world.”I was an alarmist about Climate change,as was Al Gore”…….”The problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing.We thought we knew 20 years ago.That led to some alarmist books-mine included-because it looked clear cut,but it
     hasn’t happened”……”We were supposed to be half way toward a frying world now”
         Energy prices in Germany have increased 300 to 500%(over conventional energy prices).The German government now refused to subsidize any Green Programs.By the way,health care isn’t free either.In Italy,Germany,France,etc.,you pay over 50% taxes(on $100,000.00) and a 20-23% VAT.

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      To compare one of the most widely-accepted ecological theories of our time – the Gaia Theory – and one that is increasingly used by climatologists to better understand and model a complex planetary life system that has almost infinite feedback loops, to the Hare Krishna religion is an exercise in deliberate obfuscation and ignorance.

      Lovelock no more “invented” the Gaia Theory than Newton invented gravity, and his co-developer, biologist Lynn Margulis is breaking vitally important ground in the new field of epigenetics (which posits that DNA expression – and hence evolution – is largely controlled by the environment, since there is nothing but a conceptual distinction between an organism and its ecology).

      Lovelock, showing evidence of either senility or the same kind of desperation that drove Whole Earth Catalog publisher Stewart Brand to endorse nuclear power as a “solution” to global warming, has backtracked on his most dire predictions, but in no way has dismissed his Gaia Theory – so to suggest that he has is sheer propaganda and misdirection.

      99% of the world’s climatologists continue to perceive climate change as real, as mostly human-caused, as continuing and accelerating, and as a grave threat to the biosphere.

      See the latest articles in the prestigious science journal Nature for more:

      Approaching a state shift in Earth’s biosphere
      http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v486/n7401/full/nature11018.html

      Biodiversity loss and its impact on humanity
      http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v486/n7401/full/nature11148.html

      Earth Tipping Point Study In Nature Journal Predicts Disturbing And Unpredictable Changes
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/07/earth-tipping-point-study_n_1577835.html

      Two new and grim environmental studies
      http://earthsky.org/earth/two-new-and-grim-environmental-studies

      Evidence of Impending Tipping Point for Earth
      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120606132308.htm

      Ecologists Call for Preservation of Planet’s Remaining Biological Diversity
      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120606164938.htm

      • Gregg

        Well, I guess I appreciate you making a distinction between global warming and anthropogenic global warming. I also appreciate your use of the word “mostly”. I’ll take what I can get. But think about it, what can be done if you’re right? We are not going back to horses. Wasn’t there a time before the industrial age when Chicago was under ice? Did the subsequent thaw involve humans? We don’t matter a bit… and by “we” I mean you.

        • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

          Either we go back to horses by choice or we go back to the stone age by an act of Gaia.

          And, no, Chicago was never under ice. It didn’t exist during the last ice age any more than dinosaurs lived with Adam and Eve.

          By the way, the only distinction between cyclical global warming (every 100,000 years for the last 700,000 years) and anthropogenic global warming is that we were heading towards another ice age until human civilization reversed the normal cycle and shifted the planet into a much hotter imbalance than the earth has experienced for at least two million years.

          • Gregg

            I should have said what is now Chicago but I think you got my drift. Someone on this blog once wrote “nit-picking is for nit-wits”.

            I don’t know about Adam and Eve but dinosaurs certainly existed in Fred and Wilma’s day. They ruled for hundreds of millions of years until they started using hairspray and killed their environment.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            Nits are annoying little vermin that infest our heads. Picking those nits is a necessary corrective to such infestation.

            If vermin didn’t populate these discussions, there would be no need to pick them out.

          • Gregg

            It was you who said it, make up your mind.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            There are nits, and then there are vermin. 

        • nj_v2

          Greggg’s posts advance the stupidity forefront in multiple directions.

          A common theme among the dimmer witted of the denialist ranks is that because  large-scale climate changes have occurred in the history of the planet without human influence, human-caused factors are necessarily either insignificant, or are nothing to worry about because, well, change is a gonna happen with or without us, so why worry.

          This dopiness of this kind of argument is amplified by the accompanying ignorance of the state of the overall environment of the earth during the geologic eras to which they refer, and the suitability of those environments to sustain human civilization (such as it is).

      • Greyman

        By the by: when did the Gaia hypothesis graduate to fully-fledged “theory”?

    • Terry Tree Tree

      WOW!  Warren, your self-admitted, self-administered ‘chemicals’ are giving you WILD hallucinations?
          WILDER than normal?  Normal for you, at least?

      • Warren

        Bill Clinton(nose like a Hoover),President Obama(tons of pot and coke),Newt(I was in college after all),Al Gore(high as a kite for years),Steve Jobs(loved that LSD),every Kennedy(notorious Heroin Addicts),and on and on and on

    • Guest

      Hmmm… Random use of the space bar, the 50%-tax-in-Europe thing… son of Modavations?

  • Warren

    Last year NPR had a Proffessor from Northern Arizona speaking about the fires.He blamed the Gaiaists.They hampered the clearing of undergrowth and blocked logging roads that would permit access.What’s the difference between a Hare Krishna and a Gaiaist.Nothing.What’s the difference between a Birther and a 9/!! conspiracist.Nothing at all

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      “What’s the difference between a Hare Krishna and a Gaiaist…What’s the difference between a Birther and a 9/!! conspiracist.”

      About 50 points on the IQ scale.

  • Pancake Rankin in NC

    I usually hold my tongue but enjoy following some of the banter on this site. Robert Riversong, made up name or not, is devoting much of his energy trying to keep On Point benign and factually accurate. It is amazing how hard he has worked over these last couple months writing on here as an educator and refuting zealots and mental patients. Warren and his ilk seem dishonest in that it is difficult to see as credible a person who believes fantasies. Still, I would not be surprised if moderators censored Robert Riversong while giving the delusional writers full sway. American discourse seems to have passed the rational tipping point.

    But it is hopeful to see that On Point has found the time right to host truth-speakers like Bill McKibben and Noam Chomsky. The stress of such Ouixotic missions could drive anyone insane over time. (Tom, invite Chris Hedges before he cracks up.) I’m sure Lovelock and Brand have been financially compensated for changing their tunes. How long can a mortal being hold  onto the truth while a powerful money magnet is dangled over them, especially when they are old and sick and want to provide for family.?

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      Nice to read an observant analysis of these discussions. 

      By the way, I post (here and everywhere) only under my real name (I’m in the phone book), and you’re quite right that it’s a quixotic endeavor to fend off the constant stream of idiocy and ignorance that frequents these discussions.

      You’re also correct that I’m the one most likely to be censored by pressure from those I challenge and confront or for violating arbitrary rules of “civility” to which I do not subscribe.

      But I live by the ethic of doing what is right and necessary regardless of the personal consequences (that’s why, for instance, I’ve refused to pay federal income taxes for 33 years).

      • Greyman

        It’s
        often the case that self-consecrated prophets, once they’ve grown their
        fearsome beards to requisite length, exercise the kind of anti-social
        discretion you embody and proudly manifest. Pedestrian types lacking prophetic
        pretense don’t go to all the trouble to provide intellectual justification for
        mere rudeness. Suddenly do I sympathize with your neighbors in Vermont.

  • notafeminista

    To Mr. Riversong et al below:  But you don’t know, do you? Every prediction of, every fevered hope for man’s demise has failed and/or been spectacularly wrong each and every time.  There’s been no rush of immense hurricanes taking righteous revenge on humans’ fossil fuel burning ways, there’s been no global flood to wash away the evil plastic bag and bottle users nor has there been a theological plague to rid the earth of sinners. 

    How dare Mother Nature insult your paradigm that way.

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      Your ignorance of reality does not generalize to others.

      The rest of us know. You remain in the dark.

      Humanity is not only facing an energy, population, resource, water, and economic crisis that’s unprecedented in the history of civilization, but because of human intervention, we do know that the earth itself has not faced a climate crisis like this for at least 2 million years and perhaps not in the last 3.5 billion years.

      For most of the living planet’s history, it has gone through warm and cold cycles every million years. For the last 700,000 years that cycle has accelerated by a factor of ten to every 100,000 years because the sun is getting hotter and the earth is running out of carbon storage.

      Since human civilization, and particularly since the industrial revolution and the exploitation of fossil fuels – the carbon that Gaia had carefully buried away to maintain temperature homeostasis – the earth’s climate, already wobbling like a top about to fall, is now reaching the tipping point at which Gaia can no longer keep from going into a deadly fever.

      In just 150 years, homo stupidus has turned 3.5 billion years of a self-regulating climate into overdrive. It’s now a fact that we will have to deal with.

      It is no longer a problem – as problems have solutions. It is a crisis that has no solutions and can only be responded to. Those professing ignorance, like yourself, will respond poorly if at all. Others who are working towards a transition culture may have a chance to survive.

    • PithHelmut

      Consider: A bacterium is placed in an empty bottle at 11am. The bacteria doubles in number every minute. The bacteria fills up the finite space in the bottle at 12 noon. At what time is the bottle half-full?  Answer: 11:59am. Therefore at 11:59am there was half the space available in that bottle but only one minute later, there was no space. Now if you were one of the bacterium in that bottle, at what time would you realize you were running out of space? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFyOw9IgtjY

  • Gregg

    Mr. Riversong, your unattributed cut and paste job comes from the UK Guardian. It does not mention your 200/day claim. This one, linked from HuffPo does.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/aug/16/nature-economic-security

    It also mentions the UN. It’s all about the UN. The IUCN is all about the UN. The 22 “experts” for the Nature paper study are all about the UN. They devoted their entire June 7 issue to the United Nations Rio+20 Earth Summit (June 20-22). It’s all about the UN. It’s all about vying for big time world wide money to enforce stronger targets across the globe. Or as I like to say, a dastardly agenda. Usually guys like you hate that sort of thing. Deny it.

    The articles you link, at least the ones that don’t cost $32 to read, are full of words like: estimated, could, may, if, suggests, might and possibly. And I mean chock full of them.  But its all concrete to you and you’re stuck in it. There is no universal morning roll call from Gaia. We have no clue at all. Overblown emotion based hysteria always sells. The age old “end of the earth” scenario has always been a favorite of snake oil peddlers.

    With all due respect, you would do well to got off of your “I am Robert Riversong, prophet, teacher, guide, midwife for a world struggling to be born” schtick, take a breath and quit deluding yourself. You ain’t shit.

  • HomeGirl

    When I think about hope in this movement, I think about localization movements. I’ve been working hard to connect with my community and to connect with my neighbors and to think small. It takes work to bring the jobs and the stores back to town. It takes work to bring do-it-yourself back to town. It takes a real community. However we are going to do this change, there is nothing more healing or more positive than connecting with those close to you. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=840740274 Bobby Holmes

    one word —Katrina!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=840740274 Bobby Holmes

    Katrina!

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  • Slipstream

     I am a supporter of McKibben, but I think there are some flaws in his approach.  For one, he is focused on climate change to the exclusion of everything else.  He says nothing about limiting population growth, which is the key factor in all of this.  He has little to say about the fact that the earth’s climate has changed a lot over the centuries, and that there is no escaping the fact that we have already put enough carbon in the air to create serious changes, and what should be done about them.

  • RyanPleune

    In regard to hope: “Hope is not like a lottery ticket you can sit on the sofa and clutch, feeling lucky…. hope is an ax you break down doors with in an emergency.

    REBECCA SOLNIT, Hope in the Dark

    Hope just means another world might be possible, not promised, not guaranteed. Hope calls for action; action is impossible without hope.

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ONPOINT
TODAY
Jul 29, 2014
The U.S. Senate is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 16, 2014. (AP)

The “Do-Nothing” Congress just days before August recess. We’ll look at the causes and costs to the country of D.C. paralysis.

Jul 29, 2014
This April 28, 2010 file photo, shows the Colstrip Steam Electric Station, a coal-fired power plant in Colstrip, Mont. Colstrip figures to be a target in recently released draft rules from the Environmental Protection Agency that call for reducing Montana emissions 21 percent from recent levels by 2030. (AP)

A new sci-fi history looks back on climate change from the year 2393.

RECENT
SHOWS
Jul 28, 2014
U.S. Secretary of War Newton D. Baker watches as wounded American soldiers arrive at an American hospital near the front during World War I. (AP Photo)

Marking the one hundredth anniversary of the start of World War One. We’ll look at lessons learned and our uneasy peace right now.

 
Jul 28, 2014
This June 4, 2014 photo shows a Walgreens retail store in Boston. Walgreen Co. _ which bills itself as “America’s premier pharmacy” _ is among many companies considering combining operations with foreign businesses to trim their tax bills. (AP)

American companies bailing out on America. They call it inversion. Is it desertion?

On Point Blog
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This 15-Year-Old Caller Is Really Disappointed With Congress
Tuesday, Jul 29, 2014

In which a 15-year-old caller from Nashville expertly and elegantly analyzes our bickering, mostly ineffective 113th Congress.

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Our Week In The Web: July 25, 2014
Friday, Jul 25, 2014

Why the key to web victory is often taking a break and looking around, and more pie for your viewing (not eating) pleasure.

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The Art Of The American Pie: Recipes
Friday, Jul 25, 2014

In the odd chance that our pie hour this week made you hungry — how could it not, right? — we asked our piemaking guests for some of their favorite pie recipes. Enjoy!

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