Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Can we stop global warming without talking about global warming?

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350PPM Masthead

 VOLUME 3 , NUMBER 7.0  JULY 2010

TopA Newsletter of the OMNI Center for Peace, Justice & Ecology's - Climate Change Task Force produced by the Peaceable Kingdom's Thinking Like A Mountain Institute which is dedicated to the education about the impacts of C02 in Earth's atmosphere and the urgent need to cap and reduce CO2 emissions NOW! at levels below 350 PPM

 Reduce & Cap Carbon Dioxide at or Below 350 Parts Per Million (PPM)
If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed, paleoclimate evidence and  on going climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced from its current 385 ppm to at most 350 ppm. DR. JAMES HANSEN, 2008

 WHY 350PPM?
350PPM (parts per million concentration of carbon dioxice in the Earth's atmosphere) seeks to educate the public about the impending crisis of global warming and climate change. It is our belief that the world must reduce greenhouse gas emissions and return the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere to no more than 350 parts per million. It is only at these levels or below that the climate and environmental systems of the earth as we know them can be maintained. As a point of reference it was 1988 when the earth's atmosphere contained 350 PPM of CO2.


CO2 Must Drop From 24 to 2.6 tons/person in US
It has been shown that in order to cause the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration measured at Mauna Loa to converge to its 1990 value of 354 PPM the world wide fossil carbon dioxide emission rate must be reduced to 47.8% of the 2004 world wide fossil carbon dioxide emission rate. Most of this reduction must come from high CO2 per capita emitters such as Canada and the USA. In order to do their share towards reaching 1990 atmospheric CO2 concentration levels Canadians and Americans will have to reduce their per capita CO2 emissions from 24 tonnes / annum - person to about 2.66 tonnes / annum - person (9 fold).


We are devoting the July issue to present the case that we must not abandon talkiing about global warming and try to make it "polictically correct". Many have said that we must not use global warming (or even talk about it) because it is too negative. Instead we should concentrate on the "solutions" and the shift in emphasis over the past 2 years has been to clean energy. Those arguing this position hold that if we transition to renewable energy we will at the same time solve the climate crisis. But if we rely on this method we will NOT solve global warming. There will be some reduction in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, but not on the scale necessary to hald and reverse these emissions. Global warming is the most serious threat facing biosphere in millions of years. We must continue to talk about global warming and then offer solutions, one of reach is a new way to get our energy. 
Can YOU Solve Global Warming Without Talking About Global Warming? To shy away from telling people the truth because they don't want to hear it or they think it's liberal claptrap is just incredibly un-strategic.  EcoAmerica doesn't want people to talk about "global warming." 
We Want to Hear From You.

Climate KillersArticle1Can You Solve Global Warming Without Talking About Global Warming?
In his analysis of Obama's primetime speech, WashPost blogger Ezra Klein underscores a point that I've made many times here:
To expand a bit on a point I made on Rachel Maddow's show, I'm just not sure how you do a response to climate change if you can't really say the words "climate change." And that's where we are right now: The actual problem we're trying to solve is politically, if not scientifically, controversial. And so politicians, rather than continuing to try to convince the American people that we need to do something about it, have started talking about more popular policies that are related to solving climate change. You see this in Lindsey Graham's effort to argue for carbon-pricing from a place of purported climate-change skepticism. You see it in pollster Joel Benenson's memo that tries to persuade legislators to vote for a climate bill without ever using those words. And you saw it in Barack Obama's speech last night, which was all about clean energy and grand challenges.

Certainly, some progressives pollsters have managed to convince some progressives and environmentalists to downplay talk of global warming with seriously flawed analysis (see "Messaging 101b: EcoAmerica's phrase 'our deteriorating atmosphere' isn't going to replace 'global warming' - and that's a good thing").  And certainly the president's key advisers have been suckered into this view [see "The unbearable lameness of being (Rahm and Axelrod)"].

Klein continues:
In response to this, Rachel said that no one wants to hear about climate change. The operative emotion here has to be inspiration, not fear. And she's right about that. The polling certainly backs her up. But that strikes me as depressing evidence of how unlikely we are to succeed. I simply don't believe you could've passed health care if you couldn't have talked about covering the uninsured, and I don't think stimulus would've worked without the spur of the unemployed. It's not that people wanted to hear about either subject all day, but they got both problems on a visceral enough level that the action being taken at least made a sort of sense.

My fear is that if we ever get to the place where the action being taken makes a sort of sense as a way to address the problem, public opinion will collapse because it's built on such a flimsy foundation. Talking about clean energy isn't a lie, of course. But a bill to mitigate climate change isn't a jobs bill, as Nancy Pelosi has argued, and it's more than just a bill to make sure China doesn't capture to much of the renewable-energy business. It's going to be a big bill with some unpopular stuff in it because it's trying to do a hard and important thing. And if Americans have been told that this bill will be all goodies - all jobs and energy and so forth - it's hard to imagine them sticking around once they hear that the price of electricity is going to jump up, even if only by a little bit.
Well, actually, they will stick around according to the polling (see "Memo to policymakers: Public STILL favors the transition to clean energy" and links below):

All that said, I think the politics of this are rapidly moving toward an efficiency and innovation-investment solution, and that bill does look more like goodies and can be sold on these grounds. That still leaves the question of how to pay for it, but at least it matches where the polling is on this subject. The downside is that it doesn't match the actual problem we're trying to solve.

In fact, some of the best pollsters know that you can and should talk about climate change  (see Mark Mellman must read on climate messaging: "A strong public consensus has emerged on the reality and severity of global warming, as well as on the need for federal action" - ecoAmerica "could hardly be more wrong").  Mellman calls the ecoAmerica polling that suggests one shouldn't talk about global warming, a "politically na├»ve, methodologically flawed and factually inaccurate study."

Sure, if you talk about any subject in a clumsy fashion you will turn people off - just look at how Obama and major progressive politicians managed to turn a winning political issue, health care reform, into an unpopular one!

Yes, much of the climate language that gets tested is truly lame.  But the fact that poor messaging fails is not an argument for not doing messaging on the subject at all!

What is especially lame I think is that many (but not all) progressives and environmentalists have stopped even talking about any of the basic environmental benefits of clean energy.  Here's a simple message (to go with the energy independence and clean energy jobs pitch):   Strong action to reduce carbon pollution is crucial to preserving and improving clean air, clean water, and a livable climate for our children.  If you can't even utter that basic sentence or something like it, you simply aren't serious about explain to the public why they need to put a price on carbon pollution.  "Global warming pollution" can also be interchanged with "carbon pollution."  I tend to use both.  "Carbon" happens to be shorter and punchier, but then I devote a significant fraction of my talks to global warming.

Even the pre-incoherent Lindsey Graham (R-SC) argued:
"The idea of not pricing carbon, in my view, means you're not serious about energy independence. The odd thing is you'll never have energy independence until you clean up the air, and you'll never clean up the air until you price carbon."

Not that hard, is it?
I'll end with something I wrote a year ago about the counterproductive and ultimately self-destructive notion progressives and environmentalists shouldn't talk about global warming:

We are engaged in a multi-year messaging struggle here.  The planet is going to get hotter and hotter, the weather is going to get more extreme.  One of the reasons to be clear and blunt in your messaging about this is that even if you don't persuade people today, the overall message will grow in credibility as reality unfolds as we have warned.  To shy away from telling people the truth because they don't want to hear it or they think it's liberal claptrap is just incredibly un-strategic.  EcoAmerica doesn't want people to talk about "global warming."  And - even worse - they don't want people to talk about extreme weather, which, as I have previously argued, is in fact the same thing that the climate disinformers want - see "Why do the disinformers try to shout down any talk of a link between climate change and extreme weather?"  You must tell people what is coming, not just because it is strategic messaging, but also I believe because we have a moral responsibility.

"The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to its close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences." WINSTON CHURCHILL

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Clean Air Act intact for the moment!

Dear Aubrey,
Bald Eagle
Thanks to your efforts, the Clean Air Act still stands as one of our most important environmental laws, protecting public health and the environment.
Today the the Senate defeated Senator Murkowski's Resolution to cripple the Clean Air Act, and let oil and other corporate polluters off the hook.
By a narrow margin, the Senate voted 53-47 to uphold EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gas pollution and put science ahead of politics when it comes to public health and putting our country on a clean energy path.
Thank you for sending emails to your Senators — more than once! It took a strong and concerted outcry from many Americans to defeat this resolution. Our work is not finished until we have comprehensive energy and climate legislation but we will continue to work toward that goal and we know we can count on your help.
Thank you!

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Stop the dirty-air bill NOW!

Hi Friend,
This Thursday June 10, the U.S. Senate will vote on Senator Lisa Murkowski's (R-AK) "Dirty Air Act" resolution. The vote is, sadly, too close to call -- and we need your help! The "Dirty Air Act" resolution would gut the Clean Air Act's ability to crack down on the dirtiest climate polluters like Big Oil and Dirty Coal.

I've recorded a video about the importance of this vote, and why we all need to step up and tell our senators to reject this move to gut the Clean Air Act. Watch the video, then send your senators a message: tell them to vote 'NO' on Murkowski's "Dirty Air Act" (S.J.   Res 26):
Video with Gillian Caldwell
The Gulf Coast oil disaster and the recent coal mine tragedy in West Virginia show us what happens when we let dirty polluters run amok. Now Senator Murkowski wants to take away our best tool to keep these companies from further wrecking our lives and the planet with their climate pollution.

Please take action right away! Tell your senators to stand up to dirty polluters like BP and Massey energy by voting 'NO' on the Murkowski resolution.

In unity,

Gillian Caldwell
Campaign Director, 1Sky
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