Ethics in Climate Change

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I think I can briefly simplify our climate plight:   After learning the situation, Ethics is our salvation.

   ( Drat!   that seems so simple, yet also desperate. )

Progressively destabilizing climate warming is the perfect storm for our civilization, and it is closing faster.   Studies report increasing rates of change that truncates the calendar - making the decades more important than the century view.

The science is locked solid - with very grim scenarios.   If the world continues business-as-usual living, the climate models say that full extinction is quite possible — and lacking any mitigation - extinction is assured.  Our serious efforts at adaptation may permit survival but will not let our children escape serious privation and suffering.   This is a problem far more daunting than mere politics can solve.   


Here is where we stand:
All this is no surprise.  We carry the burden of having seen this coming.

  • Climate scientists have been emasculated.   Their alarms ignored.
  • Congress and governments are corrupted and blind, having lost all leadership
  • Big business values and finance work to force climate issues deep into the background.
  • The legal world requires a contract dispute or constitutional challenges to awaken and face the issue
  • Fossil fuel industries of coal and oil secretly promote and foster any fantasy or magical delusion to retain their business lock.
  • Geo-engineering is the vapor-ware deus ex machina that permits continued day-dreaming.
  • Affluent citizens are struck by cognitive dissonance and further habituated by the euphoria of carbon consumerism. 
  • Finally, our children and students are becoming aware of the problem but are yet unskilled at displaying an authentic response.

video: Dr James Hansen speaks at the the UO Law School about Moral, Political and Legal issues of Climate Change.

After ranting, arguing science, and projecting economics -  our discussion now is reduced to ethics and values.
First we might ask whether certain knowledge compels responsibility to act.  One can argue right and wrong - but physical laws are absolute - even as we try to deny them.   Gravity pulls down even the skeptics.   
Ultimately, the ethical argument of  “What do we owe the future?”  trumps all other discussion.
When we know that actions today condemn our species to extinction - then what do we do?.
When acts of the ignorant harm the future, then what actions do we take?

The ethical values of our species will frame choices and enable action.

Richard Pauli
Oct 2010

July 4th, 2010

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On this holiday we offer patriotic rhetoric to honor the American Revolution - indeed one of the most significant, enduring and purposeful changes to human civilization. 

Part of our ceremony is to remember and rededicate ourselves to change as we prepare for future struggles.

In years and decades to come, humanity will perform a heroic drama played out against the physical reality of global warming and a progressively destabilizing climate. This epic struggle will be greater than the American Revolution, greater than any historical campaign or war. 

Anthropogenic global warming has built the perfect storm that has become the tumultuous, dramatic core conflict for now and for generations hence.  The looming battle for our species survival -  will be greater, more chaotic and tumultuous than any other human campaign, bigger than any 3D movie, video game, World Cup, Superbowl, D-Day, Manhattan Project, Polio vaccine, IT revolution, or falling Berlin wall.  It trumps all.

But right now we are distracted and lured into the false dramas of partisan economics and pop-jingoism.   Petty tyrants annoy and distract us from this true existentialist struggle.  We are not yet awakened to the alarm, not yet stirred to battle.  Our enemy is not science.   Our struggle is not military, although we may launch military campaigns.  It is not political - although it requires a unified body politic,  Our struggle is with ourselves as we decide whether to actively control our future or surrender to the relentless threats to human life. 

Although our American Revolution was tumultuously violent, the political off-spring has been the art of peaceful compromise.   The physical science of our changing world is an increasingly harsh reality that permits no political compromise.  We cannot sue for peace, we  can only examine and adjust to our situation. 

Once again, our revolutionary battle is to decide whether to impose adaptive change or accept subjugation.

Richard Pauli
July 4th 2010

About that global warming - Sorry kids

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Sorry kids.

Please forgive our mess.

We taught you to clean up your messes and not cry over spilled milk.  And now it looks like we made a mess that affects us all.

Global warming is starting to get very uncomfortable - and will get much worse.  It was years ago that your mom and I apologized on behalf of our generation.   “Eat your salmon,” we would say, “because when you kids grow up, it’ll probably be extinct.  Sorry about that.  Ha, ha, ha.”   It was a blend of joke and off-hand apology.


But now that I see the projections and learn more about looming climate changes, I feel deeply ashamed.   Most all climate models and scientific studies plot out their grim scenarios up to the year 2100The closer we get to that century-mark, the more radical the change we will experience.  Much of that is in your lifetime.  Sorry about that.   And increasing warming and destabilization will continue into the next century - well into the lifetimes of your children.  Sorry about that, too.

Honest, we want to march together into a better world.  Parents want to pass along happiness and an improved life for their children.  But the minimum requirement was that we protect you and keep you safe.   When it comes to atmosphere and oceans, it looks like we made it worse for everybody.  Until recently, we really didn’t know the extent of the damage caused by our greenhouse gas emissions.   Some people purposefully ignored the problem and even directly promoted denying it.  Too many just didn’t want to stop the carbon party.  Many still don’t want to stop.   No matter how hard the world tries to stop and fix it, a persistent degradation of atmosphere and ocean will continue for decades.  It may take hundreds of years - even thousands, to get things back to a reasonably healthy condition.  


Unlike any other time we have experienced, this world will increasingly become a difficult and painful place in which to live.  We are sorry, we beg your forgiveness.  We didn’t want global warming.  We could have done better.  It was over a hundred years ago - in 1908 that publications told us that CO2 is a greenhouse gas that causes warming.  Scientists continually studied the issue, and Science Advisory Councils to Presidents Johnson, Nixon and Carter reported that human-caused CO2 emissions cause atmospheric heating  Ever since, we have tolerated lies about the cause of the problem.  It was us.  We failed to act then, and we are failing to react now.


Our failure burdens us with a sense of shame and regret that I no longer want to carry.   I want to  accept responsibility, look at the issue clearly and move forward together while we can.    The world was ours to protect, we broke the sacred promise that every parent carries.  The least we can do now is to stop making things worse.   We can learn to mitigate the damage, teach how to adapt to change, and discover our new future.

Please accept our apologies.  Please forgive us.  

Richard Pauli
April 2010


CopyCommons. Please feel free to re-post this essay non-commercially -while retaining links and author’s name.

   The writer, Richard Pauli, is age 60, a step-parent to three adult children (now in their mid 20’s).   He is a former high-tech worker in the Seattle area - and is currently unemployed.  His primary blogs are - which discusses denial and devoted to personal messages and rants.

++++++++++++++Addenda: related links - added 4-2010+++++++++

What did you do, once you knew? a video poem from Drew Dellinger:

Planetize the Movement from Drew Dellinger on Vimeo.

Time to man-up an essay on action

And what did you do daddy? essay by Steve Easterbrook:

My heart failure and global warming

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It’s pretty serious - I have tachycardia mediated cardiomyopathy - also called heart failure.

A recent sonogram showed my heart to be a twitching, flaccid muscle.  For now, we’ll skip the reasons why.   Let’s just say that in order to live a good deal longer I need to be devoted to recovery and health.  Without radical behavior change, I face an early death.  So I adapt and mitigate.

The same goes for global warming in our future.  This is a pretty big threat. Anthropogenic Global Warming acts as a foil for my personal health problems.  Not just for my lifetime (I am age 60) but much more serious for young people alive today.  If humans want to host more than a few generations then we must adapt and mitigate, because fixing it is now impossible.



A few years ago, I started seriously studying global warming, all the while ignoring and denying my personal health decline.  My heart failure happened slowly, imperceptibly at first.  Decades of caffeine-filled hyper-vigilance combined with sleep apnea and atrial fibrillation to overstress my heart.  Finally, some side effects of antibiotics caused a pounding in my chest like someone hitting me with a hammer from the inside.  Panic palpitations sent me to more than one cardiologist.  My coronary arteries are clear, but the volume of blood pumped by my failing heart is a fraction of optimal.  I felt tired, breathless, and spent - a dangerous state where over-exertion and high blood pressure could harm me far more.

I was lucky to have pain that pushed me to get help, get educated and get on track for change.

My health and how it compares to a globally destabilizing climate

selfportrait.jpg I learned from the pain and took action.  I could have learned earlier.  I could have listened to childhood warnings, and the world could have protected me from my own stupidity.  So just what pain level does the world need for a sufficient global warming message?  The melting, the heatwaves are too subtle.  Many people can see the danger, but the world is not quite ready to ask for help.

So far, global warming events have been more inconvenient and local rather than widespread and catastrophic.  Our passing summer heatwaves, droughts, stronger storms and other transient weather anomalies, even though deadly - are not sufficient messages of danger.  Extreme weather events are often dismissed as “natural variability” - as if the palpitations in my chest were just cardiac “natural variability”.   Now I live with an irregular, irregular heartbeat [irregular is so unpredictable, they name it twice].  Too soon the destabilizing events will be more significant.  Sea level rise will begin to shake up this denial and complacency.  Melting ice caps eventually will inundate so much of our world.

Eventually a failing heart muscle fills the chest with fluid, the lungs choke on saline waters like the rising oceans lapping at civilization.  Every moment will be a struggle between accepting changes and the slipping back into complacent sloth.  The time scale of inevitable decline is years and decades.   Am I talking about my health or the health of the earth’s atmosphere and oceans?  My arrhythmic heart is a metaphor for what is happening to the earth’s ecosystem.  It is weakening and will inexorably decline unless there is a dramatic intervention.

Recently, I got some good information and superb treatment from Seattle electrocardiologist - Dr. Jad Swingle and a team of nurse/PTs offering cardiac exercise rehab).  He was sympathetic to comparing cardiac health to world climate health, but he declined to treat all the world.  All he could do was help me.  First, he added the word ‘diagnose’ to the phrase “adapt and mitigate”.  I came to understand my disease much better, and encourage heart muscle healing, and learned to know what could really harm me.   Couldn’t every person on earth learn how to live sustainably?

Rising tides are like a million heartbeats ebbing and flowing and begin the floods.  I may live to feel my swollen ankles surrounded by sea waters where as a child I played on dry ground.  I stopped eating salt.  But the ice melts. And the seas rise.  Every bite must be fully careful.  Every action will be fully knowing.  In order to secure a future,  I and the 6 billion others must lead intensely purposeful lives.  Every action sustainable.  As we both decline further, the missteps will be more painful, the consequences harsher, the requirements more ruthless.  I see the biggest challenge as mindfully knowing and reducing the anxiety that accompanies change.

So many things have hurt my health.  I am justifiably angry that the world has so effectively plundered my future by marketing tobacco, over-consumption, overeating, and such heavy carbon combustion.  Humans rationalize overindulgence and then add willful ignorance leading to self-destruction.  I can control my own health - maybe. Global health requires action from all devotees.  If I lived an unhealthy life, felt pain, sought help, adapted and now live on, then cannot the world do the same?  It scares me that I am imperfect, that I must struggle, that I may decline more.  Now my body cannot tolerate half or part-time abuse, as if one arm was smoking, and the other stayed pure.  So too, our species survival requires full compliance. Sustainability is all-in game.  In our fully enclosed spaceship Earth, a small fraction of the world can misbehave - sabotaging the whole.

CityChoke.jpg A hundred years of heavy carbon emissions from our industrial civilization have heated our slow-warming atmosphere and seas.  It is as if we have been persistently adding extra insulation to our greenhouse.  And just now we are discovering the extent of our global disease.  And even if we quit using carbon completely, reduce consumerism and drop population - even with strict sustainable behavior -  the health of our planet’s air and ocean will continue to decline for another 50 to 100 years.

It is possible that a destabilized runaway climate will make catastrophe inevitable.  Doing nothing assures it.  We have a diagnosis without prognosis.  Without a cure, we can only mitigate and adapt.  We have only started discussions. There is so much to do.  However, with decades of heavy industrial build up and our persistently irresponsible carbon pollution, there is so little that one person today can accomplish.

Since any decline and collapse will be amplified by increasing climate destabilization, peak oil and a poor economy, we should stop the dangerous delusion that our situation might be “greatly exagerated.”  It is time for a global intervention.  Had I ignored feeling uncomfortable, tired, out of breath, and weakened, I would be dead today.  Global climate dis-ease will make us all feel worse: overheating, droughts, weather anomalies, sea-level rise, and all the ramifications of destabilizing climate and oceans.  Of course, by then we will know precisely the problem and get serious about it.  At that time, we will decide whether to change.

I can directly influence my own health with exercise, a no-salt diet, weight loss, mindful rest, lowered stress and a mindful, engaged and productive life style.  I know I must secure future for myself before I can help change the world.  The difficulty is that everyone else must do the same thing,  do what is best for ourselves, then for our posterity.  And the converse proves true - without everyone willing and eager to change, there is little chance of making future changes globally. Until the world seeks a real solution, our efforts are strained and panicked.

Same event - different interpretation

Hypervigilant anxiety lets us borrow troubles from the future.  Or one can calmly respect climate models and hear the warnings of climate scientists.  The facts remain the same, the approach is different.  I am a man with coronary palpitations, I must maintain attitude, breathing, and a calm view of the situation.   I can strive to be mindful.   I ask that every person on earth strive to do the same.

No one gets off the planet alive.  But this should not apply to our entire species.  It is time to be mindful and commit to live on in our DNA and culture.  It is a nice fantasy to think that all the people in the world can unify behind a clear survival goal - just as nice to think I can give full compliance to my personal health regimen.

Lets pretend 6 billion people can unify to act as one person

Whether the global atmosphere or my own chest, this is a science problem that follows the strict laws of cause and effect.   Scientific justice cannot be politically compromised, nor can physical fate be renegotiated like a business deal.   Despite an organized denial machine, the inevitable climate changes will be ruthless and un-touched by political maneuvering and human emotions.  The physical world and chemical body requires concrete and direct interaction.  Without real physical interaction, words and wishes are just inconsequential prologue to a tepid history.


For now, I get to learn from past mistakes, change behavior and continue living.  The world’s consumption of carbon fuel is dangerously destructive,  just like my consumption of salt, caffeine, carbs and alcohol.  The exhilarating frenzy of industrial progress parallels my personal history of fear, aggression, anxiety, and stress that so damaged my health.  If we are to survive and thrive there must be serious, fundamental change in both self and the billion selves.  Further business-as-usual living hastens doom, and further active promotion of climate denial assures it.

We need to keep asking what must I do?  How soon will this happen? How bad? and the all important: How do I stay committed? Health issues prompt other big questions:  How can I reduce anxiety yet stay true to the reality?  How can I live for the moment without devaluing the future?  Now we can pose the overarching question, “What are the new civil obligations of generations to come?”.  But we will eventually learn that physical sustainability is not a question - it is a demand, a requirement.

As the world must live within a carbon budget, I must live within my cardiac footprint.  I take medicines, I exercise, eat and rest so to heal and halt further decline.  I cannot fully recover, but I can improve.  After a few months on this program,  I already feel noticeably better.

But this is not an essay about hope and enthusiasm.  Its about facing reality.  We all use a self-chosen blindness to filter reality.   Better to accept such a trait, know it and work to avoid such self-destructive coping mechanisms by calm and rational effort.

Our civilization has soared like Icarus, now our species must overcome the gravity and redefine our life-form and civilization.  Humans can learn and change and continue on.  Diagnose, adapt, mitigate, accept and live on.

Richard Pauli       April 2010


Denialism links

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Global Warming denialists, skeptics, defiers, idiots, whack-jobs and dangerous people. You can follow them here.

Greenfyre has perhaps the best discussion and collection of links on the subject  The reasons for using the term “skeptics” to identify those who question climate science and “deniers” for all others are discussed at:

Greenfyre listing the deniers

The science site of RealClimate hosts a wiki that names the deniers   Includes links to other debunking sites, lists of individual climate deniers   Responses to common contrarian Arguments.

Wikipedia on Climate Change Denial

Denial campaigns have been attributed to individuals or groups that are funded by special interest groups whose financial interests are challenged by efforts to combat climate change, and have in particular been attributed to those associated with the energy lobby.  Journalists and newspaper columnists including George Monbiot and Ellen Goodman, among others, have described climate change denial as a form of denialism.   As a pejorative, other commentators have criticized the term as an attempt to delegitimize skeptical views, and for injecting morality into the discussion about climate change.

Note that there is extensive discussion on this issue.. and a serious investigation should include reviewing the Wikipedia History of the article edits.   No matter what your search, Wikipedia remains an excellent source.  It is now clear that man-made greenhouse gases are causing climate change.   The rate of change began as significant, has become alarming and is simply unsustainable in the long-term

England’s Met Office asks: Do climate scientists really agree about climate change?   Yes. The overwhelming majority of climate scientists agree on the fundamentals of climate change — that climate change is happening and has recently been caused by increased greenhouse gases from human activities.
The core climate science from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was written by 152 scientists from more than 30 countries and reviewed by more than 600 experts. It concluded that most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in man-made greenhouse gas concentrations.

Getting Skeptical about global warming skepticism   A summary of what the science says on each skeptic argument.

DesmogBlog’s Disinformation Database   An extensive database of individuals involved in the global warming denial industry.
DeSmogBlog thoroughly investigates the academic and industry backgrounds of those involved in the PR spin campaigns that are confusing the public and stalling action on global warming.   If there’s anyone or any organization,  ( i.e. scientist, self-professed “expert,” think tank, industry association, company) that you would like to see researched and reported on DeSmogBlog, please contact us here and we will try our best.

Myths vs. Facts in Global Warming: This news and analysis section addresses substance of arguments…   The main fallacy noted is that most arguments are facts out of context while others are simply false representations.   When the facts pertaining to the arguments are viewed in context relevance becomes obvious.   Global warming is happening and it is human caused.

Anti-global heating claims - a reasonably thorough debunking

Classic essays

How to talk to a Climate Sceptic   They have been divided and subdivided along 4 seperate lines: Stages of Denial, Scientific Topics, Types of Argument, Levels of Sophistication. This should facilitate quick retrieval of specific entries. Individual articles will appear under multiple headings and may even appear in multiple subcategories in the same heading.

Alison Wiley has terrific insight into the Psychology Of Naysayers On Global Warming

In the politics of denialism we should remember the late Johnny Rook’s essay: Why Climate Denialists are Blind to Facts and Reason: The Role of Ideology

Don’t forget the videos Naomi Oreskes PhD….


Scientist and renowned historian Naomi Oreskes describes her investigation into the reasons for widespread mistrust and misunderstanding of scientific consensus.   She probes the history of organized campaigns designed to create public doubt and confusion about science.

Global TV News segment on the PR efforts by the oil and gas industry and the junk scientists that support the climate change denial lobby in Canada and the US.  Also features


Geography is Destiny

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Modern human civilization has been defined by the geology/geography of our planet.

We lived through a consistently paced human history until the time of the industrial revolution - then our civilization really took off.   The biggest factor was cheap and easy-to-find oil that literally gushed from the ground.

This highly efficient form of energy nurtured the heavy industries of steel, railroads, energy and enabled huge, leap-frog changes, wars, conquest, skyscrapers, ships, automotive etc.


And humans managed to conquer the vast oceans too — but not until we could navigate over the forbidden horizons of water.  Navigation away from safe shorelines required accurate timekeeping to navigate using the sun and moon to calculate precise locations.  Whereas, land-based navigation requires only a view of any landmark - any map will suffice.  Without the geography of oceans covering most of our planet, where was our need to innovate?

The same applies to the pressure to invent the radio.  Land based transit and communications had been doing quite well with telegraph wires and telephones.  But the oceanic barriers were well-tamed by wireless communication.  Radios were first used as wireless telegraphs to communicate with shipping.

Our planet geography has determined, directed, and demanded technical innovation.  The transoceanic underwater cable is still used today - but it is very expensive to lay thousand of miles of cable.  That cost and risk pushed for the launch of communication satellites that more than replaced undersea cable functionality.

The very geography of our planet has directed civilization.


“What if” is a great exercise in understanding history.  Imagine our civilization without any oil - we would have seen a very limited, slower industrial revolution - more evolutionary.  And of course, plentiful liquid fuel is key to our wide dependence on aviation.

Or imagine a history in a world without such vast oceans.  If our seas were small (like the Mediterranean or smaller), then land-based transit might still dominate - no need for as many ships.  We would have no need for navigation, no need for accurate timepieces, no pressing need for radio.  Geology is destiny.

I look forward to reading Geodestinies by Dr Walter Youngquist - called “the classic text on global resources and their depletion”.

A new edition for this 12 year old book is due out soon… good thing, as this is out-of-print (1997), with used copies going for around $80 and up…

The future of less will arrive for citizens of industrial and developing countries by small increments of change, but which, in retrospect will combine to be seen as a century of profound changes to a degree of rapidity and consequence as never before.  We now live moment by moment, only moderately aware of these incremental changes.  It is unlikely, although not impossible, that there will be catastrophic changes in lifestyles and economies.  But slowly and inevitably the related problems of resource depletion and population growth will become increasingly apparent.  We have the opportunity in various ways to modify the impact of these events, but so far there is little evidence this is being done. The industrial world and its political framework seems committed to the road of increased consumption and more people to consume, for that is what keeps the game going - for the moment, but is unsustainable very far into the future.

Walter Youngquist, November 2009 from


Amazon book reviewers had nothing but great comments.

Worth checking this blog since it attracts some very wise comments.

Al Gore presents Our Choice

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Now we begin to know just how serious is our problem with global warming.   

Al Gore is getting out a ruthlessly realistic message: civilization needs to choose - although he does not own this message.   Gore is just a vehicle for connecting with millions of viewers.  On the Late Show with David Letterman he was promoting his book - Our Choice.  He speaks directly about the extent of the problem to a serious and respectful Letterman; later too with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

Gore on David Letterman
alternate link

And Jon Stewart also had Gore on his show

This is a sea change, a paradigm shift.   The issue is now mainstreamed.   And in the coming months, in Copenhagen and in unfolding climate events - the issue will saturate the public.

Climate Progress calls it a must read book.

We are getting the sense that governments are unable to solve our really big problems - and the very biggest, climate destabilization cannot be solved, it can only be mitigated and adapted to.   We can no longer squander carbon for transitory comfort because it robs from the future.   Facing a painful future of our own making, we now must reshape our social/psychological lives.   The destabilzation of climate extends to civilization itself.

The debate on the realities of both climate change and Peak Oil has moved from ‘are they real?’ to questions concerning timing, magnitude and impact.  At the same time, expanding research in ‘temporal discounting’ in economics (called ‘impulsivity’ in psychology), is shedding light on how steeply we value the present over the future, a trait with ancient origins.  Knowing this tendency, how can we expect factual updates on peak oil and climate change to behaviorally compete with Starbucks, sex, slot machines, and ski trips? Science is rapidly increasing our knowledge about the planet.  To affect change however, we might have to become equally knowledgeable about ourselves. Living for the Moment while Devaluing the Future   From the 2007

We should act without fear and move forward.   And we want to avoid the irrational narcotic effect of hope because it allows us to ignore and delay.   Too much hope fosters inaction and inattention.  We hope for yet uninvented technology, hope for unrealized political and superhuman industrial solutions and most of all we hope for a leap in human evolution that might enable it all.   Last year, William Prust delivered a simpatico idea in his popular message “Our Time” at the site   Gore is just saying it is Our Choice to make.   William Prust is just saying right now is the time.   Meanwhile, Gore is trying to lighten up just a bit when appearing on The Colbert Report:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Formidable Opponent - Global Warming With Al Gore
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorU.S. Speedskating

Global warming will increase seismic activity

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Finally, human civilization is starting to get global warming events that it can FEEL.  

Earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanoes.   Something real, something hard, fast, and impossible to ignore.   Increasing evidence and statistical analysis links increased seismic activity to global warming.

This alarming notion was first discussed in 1998 and is now more widely mentioned in recent publications - from the Journal of Geodynamics to National Geographic, to blogs reporting opinions of scientists (below).   

Some intuitive calculation may help understanding:   A cubic yard of ice weighs nearly a ton.   The Antarctic ice sheet is a few miles thick.  Earth adjusted to that immense weight over the millennia - now, as ice caps melt, this weight is slowly lifting..   

Today the Pine Island Glacier in Antarctica is quickly melting downward from the surface - dropping in altitude at nearly 16 meters per year.   With an area over 5 thousand square kilometers, this glacier holds a lot of cubic meters of ice and means that a lot of weight is now getting shifted into the ocean.   Similarly, the melting of glaciers in Greenland and elsewhere will trigger seismically elastic reactions that should be noted for their frequency, intensity and novel locations.


This idea is consistent for our age:  The Anthropocene Epoch - a geological age where humans make a significant impact.   Who knew that human industrial CO2 emissions warming the atmosphere then melting the ice and then the shifting weight would  provoke such a rapid and palpable reaction.  Such a sudden, fast impact of global warming has so far been missing from this crisis. 

It is worth watching carefully and keeping score. 


  ————————- News, Sources and Links:

University of London conference on Climate Forcing of Geological and Geomorphological hazards, Oct 2, 2009

Dr Margaret Lillian is an independent science journalist specializing in global trends.

As reported only this year, Harvard seismologist Göran Ekström has found a striking increase in the frequency of glacial quakes, particularly in Greenland, but also in Alaska and Antarctica.
Greenland quakes have risen from 6 to 15 a year between 1993 and 2002, to 30 in 2003, 23 in 2004 and 32 in the first 10 months of 2005, closely matching the rise in Greenland’s temperatures over the same period.   Their source was traced to surges and slips within ice sheets, where rapid melting is causing water to collect under glaciers, making them glide faster into the sea, triggering quakes…   

The science suggests that as redistribution of the Earth’s mass induced by global warming disturbs the relative equilibrium of its crust, monumental forces in the form of increasing earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic activity could be unleashed.  And the forecasts from some quarters are dramatic - - not only will the earth shake, it will spit fire

Impact of Global Warming On Seismic Activity

Article by Preetam Kaushik   published Apr 13, 2009 
Read more:
…opinion that is endorsed by geologists around the world is that glacial melting caused by global warming is causing a rise in water levels beyond the bearing limit of the Earth’s crust.   This, they believe, is causing the spate of devastating geological events that have struck nations in recent times.

WorldWatch Institute

Global Warming May Trigger Greater Seismic Activity

by Michael Renner on July 31, 2006

The melting of glaciers driven by global warming portends a seismically turbulent future.  When glaciers melt, the massive weight on the Earth’s crust is reduced, and the crust “bounces” back in what scientists call an “isostatic rebound.”  This process can reactivate faults, increase seismic activity, and lift pressure on magma chambers that feed volcanoes.

More links:
Sharon Begley, “How Melting Glaciers Alter Earth’s Surface, Spur Quakes, Volcanoes,” Wall Street Journal Online, 9 June 2006.
Link:; and
Bill McGuire, “Climate Change: Tearing the Earth Apart?,” New Scientist, 26 May 2006,


American Scientist 1998

The Guardian

Writing in New Scientist magazine, Bill McGuire, professor of geological hazards at University College in London, said: “All over the world evidence is stacking up that changes in global climate can and do affect the frequencies of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and catastrophic sea-floor landslides.  Not only has this happened several times throughout Earth’s history, the evidence suggests it is happening again.”

Melting Ice Sheets Can Cause Earthquakes, Study Finds

Thinning of Ice Sheets

Pine Island Glacier

This is not a new notion.   Called Isostatic rebound.   It is just that the inevitable evidence may be starting to be seen now

Our Children and Their Future

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The first thing to do with the future is prepare our children for it.

We have formed a general picture of global warming changes ahead.  A toddler today, living to the year 2100 could fully experience the horrific scenarios predicted.


The science says the range of possibilities are somewhere between harsh incovenience and outright human extinction.    Any other descriptions of future prospects - are poorly described, based on religion, or politics, or pure fantasy.  We have to stick with the scientifically plausible.

We must stop ignoring, denying or apologizing to our children and start preparing them for their unique future.

Parents think wonderful thoughts for their child’s future — but by protecting their family, parents may unintentionally impart a bias against seeing a grim future.   The family structure itself acts to separate the family child from all other children world wide.

Some people will go without, in an effort to change the world voluntarily.   But almost no people will let their children go without, so the world changes only involuntarily.

This is perhaps the trap in intelligence: it requires long parenting, which requires strong bonding.   So it all ends up being run for, as is by, children.     R. Bready Oct 2009

The picture and place of our world in 2100 is totally without human precedent - climate models and  scenarios all project astounding changes ahead while our education is stuck in another era.  This is now the Anthropcene - a period where humans are making a significant global impact on climate, ecosystem and geology

Projections usually describe a future in terms of degrees of temperature warming (global average).   So far 2 degrees is the unavoidable minimum projection - and six degrees is catastrophic and cannot be ruled out.   We move inexorably into that zone between discomfort and demise - and we are not ready, and we are not making our children ready.

Move beyond anxiety.

Apologizing is a nice start  “Sorry that your world will not be as nice as we want for you.  We don’t seem to know the solution.  You will need to learn the answers.  But you can and will make your own life solutions.”  We need to speak clearly.  We need to give them all the tools they need. 

College is not working - future studies as a new curriculum.

The liberal arts education may no longer be the best idea.  My friend Gail, tells me that her daughter is dropping out of college.  She says, “it will save us $100K, but I am not sure if it is the best for her future.”   It may be time to re-evaluate the purpose of education. Emeritus Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, Edward Sarachik, says we should completely redefine college curricula as “future studies.”   A great idea; all courses would be derived from future studies: history, math, bio-sciences, law, medicine, architecture, to engineering and psychology - everything we need to prepare students for their changing world.

My neighbor, John Roberts says he knows what kind of education is needed for young kids.   “I would head to the woods; fishing, farming, camping, nature, water, sky, everything is an education - introducing them to the world around them”.  He wants to impart an understanding of change, adaptation, living off the land.  

Of course, every child needs a basic education to interact in a technical world.   But noticeably missing is the training and practice in how humans are most weak:  thinking and deciding skills needed in future planning, evidence evaluation, risk analysis and smart social interactions.  Our tragic flaw is that we are an emotionally gullible species that is too easily swayed by advertising and opinion-makers.


The year 2100 is not the end

Most science predictions seem to have a boundary of 2100, but we know warming will continue way past that date.  We are ill-suited to face our  future and need serious lessons in adaptation, mitigation, civility, sustainability.  Pity is that parents, schools, universities are so slow to come out of climate denialism…children today need serious preparation.  Otherwise, what kind of world are we preparing them for?  

Everyone should view the famous comic routine by the late George Carlin, in which he castigates those anxious “Save the Planet” campaigns.  In his deeply philosophical rant Carlin reminds us that the earth is fine, it is humans that are in trouble.   Despite all the charts and graphs that seem to end at the year 2100 — the earth will continue well beyond the year 2100.   But our children may not.

We are creatures of cycles.  Our species has deeply ingrained the 24 hour day/night cycle, and less so the monthly, seasonal and yearly cycles - but we directly feel few cycles beyond that.  Even births and deaths must be marked by unique celebrations rather than moments in accepted cycles of a longer time scale.   The further we gaze into the future, the more difficult it is for us to comprehend.   But we should expect there will be a world, and that humans have a chance to dwell on it.  It is time to prepare our children for the future we are giving them.

========  some links  ========================
The Anthopocene
George Carlin
Thinking and Deciding by Jonathan Baron,PersonalandHealthEducationSPHE/Social,PersonalandHealthEducationSPHETeacherGuidelines/SchoolplanningforSPHE/Creatingapositiveschoolclimateandatmosphere/

Climate models…
EPA offers school curricula on climate change

Why We Are Doomed - The only hope is...

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News is grim, and negative rants abound, the science suggest there is only one way for humans to survive:

Manifesto for Human Survival   Our species must first decide that we want to survive, preserve civilization, and we are willing to halt all GHGs [greenhouse gasses] and even sequester existing GHGs.
The only solution lies with the embracing of brutally strong global government, Government as an enforcer - a hive mind, Orwellian, totalitarian, and global.   Governmental power is derived from the universal commitment to human survival for both today and the future,
The anarchist, neo-con, wishing-to-destroy-government will not work to promote survival (unless all humans spontaneously decide to reduce GHGs).  Only a well-organized government, whether a democracy, or a benign dictatorship, or totalitarian regime can bring about the ruthless adherence to physical rules required to radically reduce GHGases in the atmosphere.  

This must be a 50 to 500 year process to begin and more like thousands of years to prove.  So this will need to be rigidly sustainable and answerable to atmospheric levels.  Social structure and social decisions must fit with environmental reality.  (Does anyone think that everyone on the planet will all agree voluntarily to these changes - without strong enforcement?)

Immediate, total power.  Ruthless to all matters of atmospheric engineering
Assign tasks, delegate specific responsibility.. including enforcement that extends globally.

First - all corporate charters amended to adhere to progressive strictures of no carbon output.  All consumer products & services will have  CO2 and GHG and energy expenditure figures.

 If no compliance, then no sale, if no co-operation, then no permission to exist.
       Carbon tax will extend to all this

Advertising must include these numbers.
Advertising cannot promote superfluous carbon or CO2 exhaust
- A packaging council to regulate & dictate packaging to be minimal, non-toxic, recyclable.

All energy use with warnings of environmental damage.

Energy efficiency enabled, enforced and enhanced  (e5) 
     Inefficient power consumption super taxed

Water, Electric and heating for minimal use = no tax, beyond minimal survival — heavily, heavily, heavily taxed.
Assign enforcement by neighborhoods watch people
Carbon tax,  Swift and immediate.  For all carbon consumption… building a car, fuel, bottled water, etc.
    Carbon tax rebate, relief for objects that are carbon sinking or efficiency producing

For gas cars.. 10 gal/month no tax.. each gallon above that is $5/gaL TAX…above 10 gal/ month super tax

         Mileage tax = good mileage=low tax, bad mileage= supertaxed

Immediate and ruthless efficiency to energy usage
           halt all carbon stupid product mfg now.  ie No incandescent bulbs ever again,
          Develop or subsidize LCDs
        Insulation, heating, water, building codes all gold standard

            Exisitng housing insulation ..

Sponsored Resource sharing.  or heavy taxes on not sharing resources.
rideshare, shipping, commerce.

All Airline flights over land are immediately prohibited
        Only flights over water allowed  - large bodies, full planes,

All land transit by train subsidized $ govt supported by taxes.
Railroads subsidized and run as a national public utility 

All coal plants shut down immediately, pending solutions.
All energy companies nationalized public utilities,

Immediate research projects:
Research into clean coal.
Research into superconductivity

Research into Fusion power
Solar, Wind, tidal, geo thermal,

Communications will be run as national public utilities, non co-operation means nationalization
Population: ZPG and less 
       One child/family immediately.   birth control widely available and fully provided

       Single child family
       Women bearing more than one child taxed heavily, 
       Bearing 3 children means enforced sterilization, men in a multi-child relationship snipped.

All Conflict resolution must be carbon free.  No combustibles, no engines. Wars and violence will be carbon free.   This is to be rigidly enforced.  If violent then bows and arrows and spears

Severity of these restrictions increases as CO2 fails to decline

Too severe?  Then return to first premise - to  Live or to Die?

Richard Pauli
Sept 2008

author’s note:  I started to write footnotes and set links, then I figured it would just invite arguments over sources and data.  All this is based on easily discoverable science, mostly from the IPCC reports.  The political science conjecture, is just that - conjecture.  But it should be beyond policy, it should be global law

Harvard Happiness Scientist warns of Climate Doom

Dan Gilbert is a professor of Happiness at Harvard who is very worried about global warming.  He notes that humans are particularly ill suited to meeting the climate change threat.

Human brains uniquely UN-suited to detecting long term threats.
Most all threats have:

1.  Face-reading in other people.  Not climate change 
2.  Intentional acts provoke reactions. (not climate change)
3.  Moral outrage.. visceral emotions lacking  (atmospheric chemistry, antisocial, murdered puppies)
4.  Clear and present dangers.  Humans have very little brain capacity for pondering the future.
5.  Humans sensitive to relative changes, not absolute  (boil the frog) hard to accept slow changes

AGW not happening fast enough.

“I think good things are happening to me and will continue. I am not optimistic about the rest of the species, but I’m so blessed, it’s almost scary. I’m sorry to
disappoint you, but I have a wildly sunny disposition. I love to laugh. My book is full of jokes.”

Gilbert is the happiness science guru.. offers a wake up warning: