Obama’s speech

The most intelligent thing I’ve read so far about Obama’s speech Tuesday night, the one that included not a single mention of climate change, comes from Ezra Klein at the Washington Post. He’s talking about the assumption that fear doesn’t motivation people, only inspiration does.

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.

Making climate change visceral to the U.S. public is the challenge, to be sure.

Hot enough for you?

Most of the alarmism generated by climate predictions deals with sea level rise, drought, and biodiversity loss. But what happens to waterfront property, farms and polar bears could be the least of our worries if temperatures rise much more than a few degrees. A new paper in PNAS, “An adaptability limit to climate change due to heat stress,” paints a much more dire future for much of the larger mammals on the planet, including humans.

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If you think the BP spill is bad….

The estimates of the just how much oil is spewing into the Gulf of Mexico from BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig keep rising. The latest guess — and it is just a guess — is something like 210,000 gallons a day. It is almost certainly going to eclipse the Exxon Valdez catastrophe by the time things are brought under control. Who knows how much damage has been done to the Gulf Coast ecology and economy? But could it be that we’re lucky this happened where and when it did, instead of a few years down the road in an even more difficult spot, say the Arctic Ocean?

Continue reading “If you think the BP spill is bad….”