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Author Topic: Blowin' in the wind  (Read 3754 times)

Clare

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Blowin' in the wind
« on: August 06, 2013, 11:45:04 AM »
Bob Dylan....
"Yes, how many times can a man turn his head
Pretending he just doesn't see ?
The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind."

I know this has been discussed over on the blog from time to time, but I'm wondering what your thoughts are about when or how or what might help us reach the tipping point where there is a majority of public acceptance in developed countries of the fact that climate change is happening & now? So we can begin to get some political traction on dealing with this.
I remember comments along the line of 'well, if we have a catastrophic event' in some significant place or time it will help (not that the writer was wishing this on anyone). But I look at the news from around the world & we have had plenty of catastrophic events & I can't see that people 'get it' yet? Don't seem to join the dots? Or is it 'don't want to join the dots'?

Like the recent flooding in Alberta with its huge oil industry? Ditto Alaska, & with the current heatwave in affecting salmon trying to spawn, the salmon fishery must be their next big export earner? The heatwave in ? 2003 in France with so many heat related deaths? The Russian drought >>>> the Arab spring uprising. Cyclone Sandy....
People I meet locally generally don't even seem to think climate change is even happening or going to happen, just because its not specially apparent here where I live in NZ. We have very variable weather anyway & are well buffered by surrounding ocean. & I dont think they understand the distinction between weather & climate anyway.
Plus our PM seems to be living in the last century (when he was a trader on Wall St) & want us to drill & frack any & everywhere to solve all our economic woes.
http://hot-topic.co.nz/nz-pm-bp-john-key-and-the-fellowship-of-the-drill-beyond-parody/
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/planet-oz/2013/jul/29/hobbit-new-zealand-lord-of-the-rings
:-(
Maybe you can help cheer me up?!

Glenn Tamblyn

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Re: Blowin' in the wind
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2013, 03:21:03 PM »
Clare

I actually think that the single event that might really produce that tipping point is the very thing we spend so much time fixating on here - the loss of the Arctic sea ice. Not just it being smaller. Its loss!

While we mostly don't live in the Arctic, the 'north', the 'North Pole', 'Santas Home', whatever, is deeply embedded in our psyche, certainly for those of us from a European Heritage which includes much of the English speaking world. For the North Pole to be melted would just trigger a visceral sense of 'deep wrongness' in many people.

Whereas more storms or heatwaves don't affect enough of us strongly enough. Hot places have heat waves so more of them feels a bit disturbing. But no ice at the North Pole - that is just plain WRONG. That is the reaction I hope it triggers.

Guilty truth. I am actually sitting here hoping and praying that the ice melts out as fast as possible. Not because I want it to be happening, but it is happening, it is inevitable. So the sooner it does happen, the sooner the world will take notice.


ivica

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Re: Blowin' in the wind
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2013, 03:30:12 PM »
...
Maybe you can help cheer me up?!

No problem :-) . Beach day here today 8)

Shared Humanity

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Re: Blowin' in the wind
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2013, 05:17:56 PM »
The Arctic Ocean becoming ice free will have no impact at all. People will view this as a distant event with negative (Oh, the polar bears!) and positive (Shipping cheap goods from Asia will mean lower cost crap for everyone.)consequences. The only impacts that will alter perceptions will be when it is up close and personal, destroying the lives and livelihoods of millions.

Flooding in Pakistan, killing thousands of people, is nothing more than a nightly news story in the U.S., forgotten the next day. Same for flooding in Wales. However flooding in Wales, wreaking havoc and widespread destruction, will cause the Welsh to sit up and take notice. The destruction from extreme weather events must be widespread, unrelenting and devastating. The sooner these types of events hurt hundreds of thousands or millions in the nations most responsible for global warming, the quicker we will address the problem.

Pray for a hurricane season that destroys several U.S. coastal cities. I'm not talking Sandy which was a category 3 when it made landfall. I am talking category 5 hurricanes that score direct hits on the Gulf or East coasts. A hurricane that destroys Washington D.C. would be perfect.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2013, 04:18:33 PM by Shared Humanity »

JimD

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Re: Blowin' in the wind
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2013, 07:15:15 PM »
I strongly agree with SH here.  Since the loss of Arctic sea ice will happen in a gradual manner; i.e. it will eventually (in a few years) be essentially gone at the end of the melt season, regrow over winter, rinse and repeat for many years (decades?) and sometime in the future (probably after collapse) there will eventually be a time when no significant amount of ice is formed in the winter. The above is far to slow of a process to trigger societal level change.  People are very adaptable and adjust to difficulties rapidly. 

Even increasing extreme weather is being dealt with in how human reaction is adapting to it.  Nothing which has happened to date has had a meaningful effect on attitudes and behavior.  As extreme weather becomes more frequent that adaptation mechanism will still be working and people will just keep adapting.  In this type of situation societal level change comes slowly.

Rapid change requires rapid effects which are catastrophic in nature.  I think most people fundamentally understand this and hoping that the above slow types of change will have a quick effect are just performing wishful thinking.  What would trigger rapid change??  Most likely I think would be a low to medium probability occurrence of serious failures in global grain production.  This would requires a sequence of large production shortfalls in several locations around the world (say the US mid-west, Australia, China, France) in a 12 month period that resulted in the global grain surplus being more than eliminated (i.e global famine).   As population rises and weather worsens the probability of this occurring rises.  The kicker though is that when this happens we are at the significant collapse point and the societal level change does no good anymore.  What else then?  The methane burst that has been talked about a lot lately is a candidate, but once again we have near term probability issues and, of course, if it actually happened we are no longer in a possible change mode but in a collapse mode.  I am not sure that SH's multiple hurricane scenario would result in the kind of change needed or would we get something else.  On top of that it is a very low probability event, even with worsening weather, as the odds of any hurricane hitting as small a target as a city in any given year is not high.  Let alone several.

In sum, I doubt there "is" any tipping point that is likely to occur.  More likely is a very slow gradual change that results in no meaningful effect before it is too late to make a difference.  The natural human reaction is to double down on what you are currently doing and hope that things get better (witness government economic and development policies the world over).  Over time one forgets what it used to be like and lives with the new normal.  Rinse and repeat.  Until it all falls apart of course.  Then we change fast.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

OldLeatherneck

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Re: Blowin' in the wind
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2013, 10:30:19 PM »
I have to agree with both SH & JimD in that I believe the disappearance of the Arctic Ice will last for a few nightly news cycles until the media decides to spend weeks covering some nonsensical issue regarding celebrity scandal involving athletes, entertainers or philandering politicians.

The problem with droughts, heat waves, foods or hurricanes is the hard-core deniers will claim (rightfully??) that these events are natural occurring, while we know factually that the frequency and severity of these events is greatly enhanced by AGW.

For any single weather related event to provide the "wake-up" call it will have to occur in Europe or the US and it would have to kill 10,000s of people and have an economic impact greater than $100 Million. 

Clare, I like your choice of lyrics from a bygone era.  I was one of my favorites in the 60s along with another that would be equally apropos....Where Have All The Flowers Gone".  I had the pleasure of seeing Peter, Paul & Mary sing that live in concert in 1964.  The final refrain is a question that is even more relevant today...."When Will They Ever Learn?".  Sadly, probably not in my lifetime!!
"Share Your Knowledge.  It's a Way to Achieve Immortality."  ......the Dalai Lama

Clare

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Re: Blowin' in the wind
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2013, 12:30:13 AM »
Thanks Ivica, that made my day!
Lovely video & song.
Actually its beach-like weather here today, expecting 18-19'C in our midwinter, beach cams here:
http://www.napiernz.com/home/webcams/?cam=1

Clare

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Re: Blowin' in the wind
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2013, 08:37:10 AM »
Oh my, I dont feel cheered up by some of the above comments!

My feeling is that most folk don't have much understanding of even v basic science, that they have forgotten the things they learnt at high school like the carbon & hydrological cycles, greenhouse gases, also basic geography, simple geology, & dont have much of a feeling about nature/ecosystems etc.
(as a once for-a-brief time HS science teacher I can see now all my efforts were completely in vain & I am constantly amazed at the hocus pocus/pseudoscience my perfectly sensible friends seem quite happy to believe!).

So when 'we' mention CC I think there are too many steps between the causes and effects, most don't even want to begin to examine the matter. Toooooo hard.
Also the effects can't always be directly linked to the cause 'til research is completed some time later and people/MSM have 'moved on'.

So I am beginning to think this type of approach might have merit!
It is an american list (apple pie, peanut butter, chile peppers...)here but I am sure we can find our own local examples. Strike where it hurts!
16 Of Your Favorite Things That Climate Change Is Totally Screwing Up
[http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/08/09/1900191/climate-change-ruins-everything/

Any suggestions of examples???
« Last Edit: August 11, 2013, 09:55:49 AM by Clare »

Anne

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Re: Blowin' in the wind
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2013, 10:45:18 AM »
It's a serious subject, and others will have serious examples. But when you're thinking of the popular imagination you have to connect: there's something that's been mentioned already in the press in relation to the buoy in the "North Pool" - Santa Claus.

Apologies for lowering the tone.

(ETA - yes, I know the buoy has drifted a long way from the North pole, but it's only a matter of time before we see open water there.)

Clare

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Re: Blowin' in the wind
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2013, 09:12:22 AM »
I agree Anne, seems like the serious approach mostly puts people off!

Here's a pic from the SkS resources page for you!