Morning Ed: The Planet {2017.11.27.M}

[Pl1] A new report on the refugee crisis that climate change potentially represents.

[Pl2] A look at the importance of Panama, millions of years ago.

[Pl3] Pittsburgh is spending a lot of money on trash cans.

[Pl4] Among other things, this article really doesn’t understand the relationship between people and Earth.

[Pl5] Some plants appear to handle climate change better than others.

[Pl6] Is it time to pull up our stakes and move inland? What global warming doesn’t accomplish, maybe a volcano will.

[Pl7] Floating villages, flood parks, highway tunnes, and other ways to adapt San Francisco to climate change.

[Pl8] With the Keystone Pipeline having laid a giant dump in South Dakota, some people are asking whether this is worse than other means of transport. The answer is that it depends on how you measure. Pipeline incidents are always the worst, but they are less frequent. Overall, trucks are the worst and pipelines are slightly less bad than rail when it comes to spillage but slightly better than rail when it comes to human casualties.

[Pl9] The IEA is ever-skeptical of solar’s growth, over and over and over again.

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Will Truman is a former para-IT professional who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He is also on Twitter. ...more →

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32 thoughts on “Morning Ed: The Planet {2017.11.27.M}

  1. Pl9: The IEA has a long history of miserably wrong forecasts. The fundamental problem appears to be their methodology: they forecast economic growth at rates that make the countries that fund them happy, then work backwards from that to get energy demand, then — as near as I can tell — guess about where that energy will come from. They hate technologies that disrupt business as usual. I figure that oil production from fracking must be close to its maximum sustainable level, since the IEA’s latest forecast has abruptly changed to predicting massive growth in that supply.


  2. [Pl4] Among other things, this article really doesn’t understand the relationship between people and Earth.

    Agreed. And as someone who has studied and works in the social sciences, there is some language in there that is really grating. “Several years ago, scientists showed that having a child, especially for the world’s wealthy, is one of the worst things you can do for the environment.” I didn’t have to click the link to know that the scientists in question didn’t “show” any such thing; rather, it’s a paper that developed a framework to estimate the carbon emissions of someone’s descendants relative to their own.

    Someone says this every time an article like this makes the rounds, but it can bear repeating: bioethicists routinely display some of the poorest ethical thinking around.


  3. p15 Besides playing “a crucial role in the Earth’s carbon cycle” peat plays a crucial role in the world’s Scotch cycle. Nothing better than grilling burgers in the dark in the cold with a bit of Laphroig.


  4. Pi6: Coastal flooding could happen over 20-50 years and that is too fast for humanity to adapt? Really? I’ve seen humanity adapt pretty damn quick when’s needs demand.


            • Most of the discussion about climate change revolves around disappearing coastline and the effects on low lying nations like Bangladesh and the Marshall islands.
              But less discussed is what the Guardian article points to, the political impact of widespread famine and cascading wars and dislocations, even on the wealthy nations.

              Liberal democracy is a fragile thing, and economic ruin and chaos are the perfect breeding grounds for fascism of a dozen different varieties.


              • My interests are unabashedly parochial.

                That said, I am particularly interested in the North American Monsoon. Last week I came across the first academic paper I’ve seen that includes an estimate of the effect on the monsoon: a 60% average increase in thunderstorm rainfall, more to the south and less to the north. I assert that the proper policy response to this prediction is increased capture and management for multiple reasons, primarily flood control and increased irrigation needs.


              • Liberal democracy is a fragile thing, and economic ruin and chaos are the perfect breeding grounds for fascism of a dozen different varieties.

                The fragility is something those political theorists should really be working to try to correct.

                Although, when I think about it, there is a robustness to liberal democracy, as long as you have a majority who view the system as just, and feel that it is working for them. The fascism has a hard time taking root if the population trusts the society they live in to at least try to consider their needs and wants. If enough people, for whatever reason, feel they are grist for the mill…


  5. [Pl1] This really isn’t a climate change problem, it’s a migration problem, and that only because people refuse to actually prevent migrants from entering their country.

    [Pl4] Yeah..I’ve heard this argument before. I’m surprised they didn’t talk about the economics–when the population starts to crater you import foreigners to do your work and keep the economy growing, thereby relieving the higher breeding/polluting third world of some the pressure! Everyone’s happy!


  6. Pi3: If the sensor package is integrated fully into the can, then the teamster is right, this will probably be a waste of money; but if an undamaged sensor can be pulled off a damaged can & installed on to a new one with relative ease…


  7. On the migration of global ocean circulation from the equatorial regions to the southern ocean. Note that the same thing appears to have happened in the Carboniferous when Gonwandaland blocked equatorial currents and there were glaciers. Although not as certain it could be one of the causes of slushball earth in the later Proterozoic (late Pre Cambrian).
    Note that in addition to Panama it was also the closing of the Teythan Ocean (the Mediterranean is a remnant) that also closed off the equatorial current.
    Today we have the west wind drift that goes south of Cape Horn around the world, and also relates to antarctic ice.

    All this is fairly new geology, arising from plate tectonic reconstructions which in the recent times are pretty accurate.


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