Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Climate is Serious "Business"/ The Art of Negotiation/New Ed Coletti Book/Dangerous Phrase Contest/Timpano


New "Dangerous Phrase" Contest

American Exceptionalism
Richard Cohen (May 10, 2010)

Our first entry in the Dangerous Phrase Contest is from Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen (hit link above for full article)

"...the culture of smugness. The emblem of this culture is the term 'American exceptionalism.' It has been adopted by the right to meant that America, alone among the nations, is beloved of God.

"...Therein lies the danger of American exceptionalism. It discourages compromise, for what God has made exeptional, man must not alter. And yet clearly America must change fundamentally or continue to decline. It could begin by junking a phrase that reeks of arrogance and discourages compromise. American exceptionalism ought to be called American narcissism. We look perfect only to ourselves."

I encourage you to read the full Cohen column (see link above) for examples both of American greatness and decline. ALSO, IT'S NOW YOUR TURN TO CONTRIBUTE THE NEXT "DANGEROUS PHRASE."

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(art by Jim Spitzer)

I grow increasingly concerned that many of us are refusing to read articles like this one. My reason is that I've published numerous such over the years, even ones demonstrating that, while the past administration openly denied climate change, they actively warned business (particularly insurance companies) to prepare for impending losses as the result of climate change - just go back in the P3 archives. BUT, I've never received a single response on this subject from any of you P3 readers. What do you think? Even I am tempted to burrow deeply into the sand and try not to believe that we are in such danger. When I do this, I am very very wrong. Let's get dialog going. Say something on the subject. Please. Thanks, Ed Coletti

A Cost of Denying Climate Change:
Accelerating Climate Disruptions, Death, and Destruction

by Peter Glieck, Water and climate scientist and President, Pacific Institute - April 28, 2011

Violent tornadoes throughout the southeastern U.S. must be a front-page reminder that no matter how successful climate deniers are in confusing the public or delaying action on climate change in Congress or globally, the science is clear: Our climate is worsening.

More extreme and violent climate is a direct consequence of human-caused climate change (whether or not we can determine if these particular tornado outbreaks were caused or worsened by climate change). There is a reason it isn't called global warming anymore. Higher temperatures are only one -- and not the most worrisome -- of the consequences of a changing climate.

Climate science tells us unambiguously that we are changing the climate and trapping more energy on the planet. Trapping more energy will cause more extreme events and worsen extreme events that would otherwise happen.

In the climate community, we call this "loading the dice." Rolling loaded dice weighted toward more extreme and energetic weather means more death and destruction. And it is only going to get worse and worse, faster and faster, the longer our politicians dither and delay and deny. Climate deniers who have stymied action in Congress and confused the public -- like the tobacco industry did before them -- need to be held accountable for their systematic misrepresentation of the science, their misuse and falsification of data, and their trickery.

The conservative (and economically driven) insurance industry understands the reality of data and observations: Munich Re (one of the world's leading reinsurers) has said:

"The only plausible explanation for the rise in weather-related catastrophes is climate change. The view that weather extremes are more frequent and intense due to global warming coincides with the current state of scientific knowledge."

The extreme nature of the ongoing severe weather is well described by Jeff Masters on his Weather Blog. The 3-day total of preliminary tornado reports from this week's outbreak is nearing 300, close to the 323 preliminary tornado reports logged during the massive April 14 - 16 tornado outbreak. That outbreak has 155 confirmed tornadoes so far, making it the largest April tornado outbreak on record.

Of course, tornado outbreaks have occurred before. In 1974 and 1965, collections of tornados killed hundreds of people. But according to NOAA's Storm Prediction Center, it is unprecedented to have two such massive tornado outbreaks occur so close together. Loading the dice. At least 11 of these tornadoes were killer tornadoes; deaths occurred in six states. (Wikipedia maintains an excellent and growing compilation of historical tornado outbreaks for those interested, and raw data can be obtained from NOAA.) Only two other tornado outbreaks have had as many as 150 twisters -- the May 2004 outbreak (385), and the May 2003 outbreak (401).

And it is not just the devastating tornadoes: parts of the Mississippi River are about to experience record flooding. As spring rain joins with winter snowmelt, a massive pulse of floodwater is moving south. As it joins with the record water levels coming out of the Ohio River it is expected to create the highest flood heights ever recorded on the Mississippi, according to the latest forecasts from the National Weather Service.

Yet while we call this a "1-in-a-100 year" flood event, that term is losing its meaning. The August 1993 flood event was a "1-in-a-500 year" event. Yet in June 2008 there was another such event. Now, three years later, we see another massive flood on the Mississippi, and record floods elsewhere. Loading the dice. As FEMA's director, Craig Fugate, noted in December, "The term '100-year event' really lost its meaning this year." And that was last year.

The science community knows that we're affecting the climate; in turn, that will affect the weather; and that, in turn, will affect humans: with death, injury, and destruction. There is a cost to tackling climate change, but there is a real, growing, and far larger cost of continuing to deny it.

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(P3) Poetical

by ed coletti

Don Hagelberg
(an appreciation)

just want
to know
who may
not know
that poet
berg is
ald Hag-
el Berg)
the real deal
is this
berg who
may not know
(Donald Hagelberg)
the real

Veggie Timpano

From my friend Ernie Holden (a la the movie "Big Night"

What the Demos Might Want to Learn About Negotiating

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