We are still screwed: the coming climate disaster


The UK government is proposing to phase out petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040. I’d argue that’s 10 years too slow, but I have to admit I wasn’t expecting May to do that. The Tories have pretty much dropped their environmental pretence since Cameron’s first term.


Now all we need is a joined up power supply policy (particularly critical given we’re leaving Euratom).


We need to start figuring out how to abandon cities gracefully.

This combined with Miami Beach, and I think we need to sit down & have honest discussions of just abandoning areas that are perpetually flooded. It’s just not worth the cost to try & keep them dry.

Small towns do it frequently. When are we going to have the discussion on the larger cities?


Yeah, people still seem to be in the mindset that ocean level rises are going to happen at some indeterminate future time, rather than a process that has gradually been making things worse for decades already.

But the politics of abandoning major cities is so difficult that we will probably just keep sinking money into them until the overall situation becomes completely impossible to ignore. Kind of like the overall issue.

Climate change by itself is worrisome, but I find it extra depressing how we seem to be failing at the necessary collective action needed to head off very serious problems. It’s not like climate change is the only difficult collective action problem we are going to face this century but taken as a whole we seem to be about as dumb as rocks about this sort of thing. All the energy goes to tribal warfare and status competitions.


There was an article in Politico recently, about how the federal government essentially gives money to rich people through federal subsidies of flood insurance.

The government blows billions on this, as the premiums people pay for that insurance don’t even approach the amount that ends up being paid out… and the Federal government is WAY in the hole on it.

And these properties are, statistically, owned the the wealthiest members of society, because waterfront property is generally the most expensive.

So we’re basically subsidizing the repeated rebuilding of rich peoples’ homes.


See, the 1% are the real job creators!




WTF. That cannot be sustainable. And apparently the more they pump, the worse it gets.


It hasn’t helped that the petrochemical, oil and gas industry has ravaged the coast line that (used) to act as a sponge. I believe the state under Jindal also passed a low preventing raising any taxes on those industries to pay for repair.

David Roberts on the ‘leaked’ climate report:

But this scientific report won’t make Trump, or the GOP, do anything
It’s impossible to predict what Trump, or his Environmental Protection Agency, will do about (or to) the report, especially now that the Times has drawn attention to it.

I hesitate to predict whether he will do damage to the report. What I will predict is that the report won’t do damage to him. It will not, as the Times argued in a follow-up piece, “force President Trump to choose between accepting the conclusions of his administration’s scientists and the demands of his conservative supporters.” It won’t force him to do anything.

Government scientists have been saying anthropocentric climate change is real for decades now. So have non-government scientists. So have scientific journals and research institutions. So have the vast majority of the world’s governments.


I once got into an argument with a coworker about the first season of Game of Thrones. His point was, “if there’s this dangerous threat beyond the Wall, why is everyone quibbling over mundane political stuff?”

Ex-coworker, I point you to America’s attitude about climate change.

Al Gore’s sending ravens from the Night’s Watch on behalf of a thousand scientists, and meanwhile everyone else is all, “let’s avenge our slain uncle and back [X] for the throne!!!”

Ok, this analogy just made me explode with nerddom.


Long before the election, when I couldn’t imagine Trump as a possibility, I just wanted to get it over with so we could focus on climate change. It’s utterly depressing to deal with the horrifying Trump presidency knowing that as terrible as it is, it’s a meaningless distraction compared to climate change.


Except insofar as he personally is walking our policy backwards on climate change for apparently no more considered reason than that he loves to play coal-miner and anything Obama liked is prima facie bad.

I’m just thankful that state governments and some private industries actually give a fuck about keeping Earth habitable.


WASHINGTON — When career employees of the Environmental Protection Agency are summoned to a meeting with the agency’s administrator, Scott Pruitt, at agency headquarters, they no longer can count on easy access to the floor where his office is, according to interviews with employees of the federal agency.

Doors to the floor are now frequently locked, and employees have to have an escort to gain entrance.

Some employees say they are also told to leave behind their cellphones when they meet with Mr. Pruitt, and are sometimes told not to take notes.

Mr. Pruitt, according to the employees, who requested anonymity out of fear of losing their jobs, often makes important phone calls from other offices rather than use the phone in his office, and he is accompanied, even at E.P.A. headquarters, by armed guards, the first head of the agency to ever request round-the-clock security.

A former Oklahoma attorney general who built his career suing the E.P.A., and whose LinkedIn profile still describes him as “a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda,” Mr. Pruitt has made it clear that he sees his mission to be dismantling the agency’s policies — and even portions of the institution itself.

But as he works to roll back regulations, close offices and eliminate staff at the agency charged with protecting the nation’s environment and public health, Mr. Pruitt is taking extraordinary measures to conceal his actions, according to interviews with more than 20 current and former agency employees.


Yes, I’ve been making this analogy for a while now and I think the writers are well aware of it as well. A recent episode had someone (Davos? Tyron?) musing that people tend to willfully ignore existential threats that are abstract and difficult to wrap ones mind around


Tyrion to Danerys, I think, as justification for the… thing. In the caves.


The charter for the 15-person Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment — which includes academics as well as local officials and corporate representatives — expires Sunday. On Friday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s acting administrator, Ben Friedman, informed the committee’s chair that the agency would not renew the panel.

The National Climate Assessment is supposed to be issued every four years but has come out only three times since passage of the 1990 law calling for such analysis. The next one, due for release in 2018, already has become a contentious issue for the Trump administration.
Moss said members of the group intend to keep working on their report, which is due out next spring, even though it now will lack the official imprimatur of the federal government. “It won’t have the same weight as if we were issuing it as a federal advisory committee,” he said.


I don’t want to clutter up the Mother 'F thread where people are truly having a hard time in Houston and soon to be Louisiana, but damn we need to get better at how we handle Flood Insurance and/or helping people relocate gracefully out of flood prone areas. It’s just going to get worse.

From this article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/08/29/where-harvey-is-hitting-hardest-four-out-of-five-homeowners-lack-flood-insurance/?utm_term=.1522d05e44d6

Moore, a forklift driver, used to buy flood insurance from the government when it cost $200 a year, but he says the premium rose above $300, so he stopped. His home had never flooded before Harvey until now.

Private insurers largely avoid offering flood insurance because it’s hard to price the risk and they lose money. The federal program is struggling financially. The NFIP is $25 billion in debt after paying out damages for hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. It will probably have to borrow more money to pay for Harvey, which is on track to be one of the most destructive in U.S. history. The NFIP is only authorized to borrow up to about $30 billion, meaning the agency could hit its limit after all the Harvey claims come in.



The Cooler Heads have received more than $11 million in donations over the years from coal and oil companies. They’ve taken in tens of millions more from nonprofit foundations, such as those controlled by the wealthy Koch brothers, and the Scaife and Mercer families, according to interviews and Internal Revenue Service filings.

Robert Brulle, a professor of sociology and environmental science at Drexel University, said that members of the Cooler Heads Coalition are allied with trade groups, public relations companies and lobbyists working to influence public debate about global warming.

“Public charities serve as so-called independent think tanks, providing analysis to create the appearance they are independent, third-party voices,” Brulle said. “It becomes so complicated and so sophisticated. This is how modern politics operates.”
Long dismissed as cranks by mainstream scientists and politicians in both parties, Ebell and his Cooler Heads colleagues were embraced last year by the Trump campaign. Ebell served as the transition director at the Environmental Protection Agency. This spring, he leveraged those connections to arrange a White House briefing in opposition to the Paris agreement, according to an email from Ebell to participants that was obtained by The Post.

After long questioning global warming, Ebell now acknowledges that “climate change is occurring and human beings have a role in it.” But he said global warming still is not a crisis. He frames climate change as an ideological issue, saying that giving the government more authority to address it would stimulate a “regulatory onslaught,” damage the U.S. economy and subvert human freedom.

Ebell, who is not a scientist, said he and his colleagues respect the scientific process. But he said he thinks many climate researchers endorse prevailing views on global warming only to cash in on government grants.


The idiot in chief is actually touring one such facility today in Bismark, ND, a “clean” coal facility.

What are the chances of any of these deniers actually understanding that the crazy weather is affecting all of this? Is there a tracking website for politicians on this issue that I’ve not seen?