Global Weirding News of the Week

Yeah, I’ve decided to start using the term “global weirding” more. While global warming and climate change have much more value in terms of SEO, global weirding nails the topic so well that it is hard not to use it. Plus, it turns out the Founder/Publisher of Important Media (Planetsave’s parent company), David Anderson, has been using this term for years, long before the excellent NYTimes columnist Tom Freidman popularized it.

So, here is some big global weirding news of the week.


One solution to global weirding that makes me more nervous than hopeful is geo-engineering. Disrupting our natural systems further with narrow solutions for complicated problems is not a good idea in my mind. Joe Romm of Climate Progress had an excellent piece on that this week. Here are a couple of my favorite quotes from that:

The ‘geo-engineering’ approaches considered so far appear to be afflicted with some combination of high costs, low leverage, and a high likelihood of serious side effects,” science advisor John Holdren said in 2009.

Thinking of geoengineering as a substitute for emissions reduction is analogous to saying, ‘Now that I’ve got the seatbelts on, I can just take my hands off the wheel and turn around and talk to people in the back seat.’ It’s crazy…. If I had to wager, I would wager that we would never deploy any geoengineering system,” climatologist and geo-engineering research advocate Ken Caldeira has said.

Save the Poor with Coal to then Destroy Them,.. with Coal

In another post from Climate Progress, Joe picks apart a completely ridiculous statement by the Chairman and CEO of the world’s largest private coal company, Peabody Energy. The statement, in short: “Only once we have a growing, vibrant, global economy providing energy access and an improved human condition for billions of the energy impoverished can we accelerate progress on environmental issues such as a reduction in greenhouse gases.”

Yes, once we have countless more carbon emissions spewing into the atmosphere, causing unprecedented global environmental catastrophe, and killing countless people and the species we’re connected to and rely on, we can address carbon emissions spewing into the atmosphere from coal-burning power plants. Excellent idea.

You can read Joe’s response via the link above. But if you don’t click on over to that, I think it’s at least worth sharing these two graphs from his article:

Global weirding, here we come!

How Much Does it Cost to Kill Climate Legislation?

Daniel J. Weiss, Rebecca Lefton, and Susan Lyon of the Center for American Progress Action Fund delve into the “Dirty Money,” how much oil companies and special interests spent on lobbying and opposing climate legislation in 2009-2010.

Weiss, Lefton, and Lyon write: “as the case for action grew more urgent Big Oil, Dirty Coal, and other energy companies redoubled their efforts to block congressional adoption of global warming pollution reductions.”

Any other reason why or representatives in Congress can’t get anything done on the clean energy front despite widespread public support for it?

Furthermore, “With that effort successful they are now scheming to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from following the law and setting reduction standards for the largest polluters.”

Read the full post for all the fun details. Again, here are a couple great charts from the article:

Yeah, ExxonMobil spent nearly twice as much on lobbying as the renewable energy industry as a whole.

What Will Future Generations Condemn Us For?

In a nicely-written piece in The Washington Post, author and Princeton philosophy professor Kwame Anthony Appiah lays out the patterns of horrible things our ancestors did that we now condemn them for. Appiah then asks, what will our future generations condemn us for, giving 4 options to vote on. The environment is clearly the current leader, followed by another issue close to my heart, our treatment of animals in food production. Here’s the intro to the piece as well as the current poll results:

Once, pretty much everywhere, beating your wife and children was regarded as a father’s duty, homosexuality was a hanging offense, and waterboarding was approved — in fact, invented — by the Catholic Church. Through the middle of the 19th century, the United States and other nations in the Americas condoned plantation slavery. Many of our grandparents were born in states where women were forbidden to vote. And well into the 20th century, lynch mobs in this country stripped, tortured, hanged and burned human beings at picnics

Looking back at such horrors, it is easy to ask: What were people thinking?

Yet, the chances are that our own descendants will ask the same question, with the same incomprehension, about some of our practices today.

Generation Hot

The naming of generations is a hard but interesting thing to do. What will define this generation, or that generation? Author Mark Hertsgaard gives this a shot for his daughter and goddaughters’ generation, for everyone born after June 23, 1988. He has named it Generation Hot. “This generation includes some two billion young people, all of whom have grown up under global warming and are fated to spend the rest of their lives confronting its mounting impacts,” Hertsgaard says.

As we’ve written before, the scorching summer of 2010 is expected to become the norm. Hertsgaard reiterates this in his piece. While we have written about these things numerous times before, here is some info worth reiterating again:

One wouldn’t know it from most media coverage, but the world’s leading climate scientists have concluded that last summer’s rash of extreme weather — including record heat across much of Europe (especially Russia) and the United States — was driven in no small part by man-made global warming. Of course no single event can ever be definitively attributed to global warming; weather results from many factors. But according to the U.N.’s World Meteorological Organization, the extraordinary heat, rains, drought and flooding that occurred this summer fit the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s projections of “more frequent and more intense extreme weather events due to global warming.” In other words, dangerous climate change is no longer tomorrow’s problem; it is here today.

Generation Hot, a new term for you… I think you won’t forget it.

51% of Shoppers in UK Support a Carbon Tax

This is an interesting “little” bit of information. A recent survey of 2,000 people found that “51 per cent agreed that products that cause particular harm to the environment, either directly or through emissions associated with long-distance transport, should carry an additional green levy.” The complexity of putting such a thing into practice makes it less than a simple solution. But these are interesting findings and I can only imagine (see the sections above) that support for such a thing will increase.

While there’s a lot more to write on, I think it’s best if I wrap-up for now. If I have a chance, I’ll cover one or two more stories in a separate post or two.

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