As mentioned by Dick Bennett at our freethinker meeting:
AUGUST , 2009
CLIMATE BREAKDOWN BOOK FORUM
Sponsored by OMNI Center for Peace, Justice, and ECOLOGY
SEPTEMBER 18, FRIDAY, 6PM, NIGHTBIRD.
Ryan Bancroft: Chris Mooney, Unscientific America
Jonathan Gibbs: Mark Lynas, Six Degrees
Steve Boss: David Archer, The Long Thaw
Joanna Pollock: Larry Schweiger, Last Chance: Preserving Life on Earth.
This OMNI Book Forum discusses the latest science-based scholarship explaining how the climate is breaking down with accelerating speed. Imagine inland United States average temperature a few degrees hotter within a few decades, with many states ravaged by mega-droughts and widespread wildfires, while our coasts drown from a increases in sea levels, which are climbing inches a decade. This Planetary Purgatory is the likely future facing our country before mid-century—probably in our own lifetime—if the politics of denial and delay that have triumphed so far continues for another decade. Most Americans and many policy makers and journalists still don’t understand how global warming will ruin America for the next fifty generations if we don’t act quickly
The widespread confusion about our climate crisis is no accident. For several decades, corporate and conservative religious deniers that climate change is an urgent problem have run a well-financed propaganda campaign to spread myths that misinform debate. The U. S. has never had an efficient energy system. The Bush administration muzzled government climate scientists. The highest ranks of the National Hurricane Center and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have misinformed the public. Media failed to explain science and the science of CO2 and warming (special sections in newspapers every week on Religion, with rare, small reports on science). Many environmentalists have been unfocused and timid. But the science is clear and has been clear for over three decades: We humans are the primary cause of global warming, and we face a bleak future if we fail to act quickly.
But that humans are the primary cause is also the primary hope: we can reverse the growth in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and assert leadership to bring in every country. We have cost-effective technologies today that can sharply reduce global-warming pollution. California, for example, has embraced critical clean-energy strategies that if adopted nationwide would deliver vast benefits—a sharp drop in use of fossil fuels and therefore foreign-oil imports (and our massive trade deficits), a large gain in air quality and health, and a big boost in high-wage, high-tech jobs. But this hopeful future will happen only if the President and Congress join together to create a super-Manhattan Project (that built the atom bomb).
Time is short. We have at most a decade to sharply reverse course. If we fail to act in time, global warming will profoundly and irreversibly remake every aspect of American life. For example, no other nation has as much wealth along its shores. As catastrophic sea-level rises, we will be overwhelmed by urban triage—deciding which sea-side towns and cities can be saved. Katrina reveals what is to come for this country.
These books will put fire in your belly and set your hair on fire. (Dick from Hell and High Water).
Coordinator: Dick Bennett, 442-4600 (always glad to be replaced)
Moderator: Carl Barnwell
Greeter: Leonard Schulte
Publicity Campaign (using Dick’s Guide):
Photos: Aubrey Shepherd
NEW BOOKS ON CLIMATE BREAKDOWN (thanks to Art for several annotations)
Nightbird Books has a large display of these and related books.
This Forum focuses on the realities of warming, on the need 1) to return to 350 PPM CO2 in atmosphere 2) quickly. The books marked with an asterisk tentatively seem to be especially suitable.
*David Archer, The Long Thaw: How Humans Are Changing theNext 100,000 years of Earth's climate. This is somewhat science oriented, would be enjoyed by a scientist, engineer, etc. (Art) “This is the best book about carbon dioxide and climate change that I have read.” James Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. “Not only are massive climate changes coming if we humans continue on our current path, but many of these changes will last for millennia….This is the book for anyone who wishes to really understand what cutting-edge science tells us about the effects we are having, and will have, on our future climate.” Richard Alley. [Steve Boss]
*Tim Flannery. The Weather Makers. This is the first book I read about climate change. For example, I first learned there about the inevitable submersion of many Pacific islands. Interesting reading. (Dick)
Thomas L. Friedman, Hot, Flat, and Crowded: why we need a green revolution, and how it can renew America. Again, this book is more about energy and "being green" than about global warming. It sends out a good, positive message that most people can identify with. (Art)
Fred Krupp (Pres of Environmental Defense Fund) & Miriam Horn, Earth: the sequel. The race to reinvent energy and stop global warming. This book looks more at energy than it does at global warming, has lots of suggestions for alternative energy and energy conservation. (Art)
*James Lovelock. The Vanishing Face of Gaia A Final Warning. Basic Books, 2009. 288 pp Lovelock argues that climatic change is likely to lead to a hotter Earth able to sustain only a small fraction of the world's current population. Hot off the press. (Dick) From book jacket: “The global temperature is rising, the Arctic and Antarctic ice caps are melting….There is nothing humans can do to reverse the process; the planet is simply too overpopulated to halt its own destruction by greenhouse gases….In order to survive, mankind must start preparing now for life on a radically changed planet.”
*Mark Lynas, Six degrees: our future on a hotter planet. For general readers, it will wake people up. It tells us what will happen with 1 degree of warming, then with 2 degrees, ...and finally with 6 degrees. By about 3 degrees, things are getting really bad. (Dick) [Jonathan Gibbs]
Arjun Makhijani, Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. eRoad Map for U.S. Energy Policy: Creating a Carbon Free & Nuclear ... The Plan: We can eliminate carbon emissions from the US energy system by 2050 without relying on nuclear power, and we have a plan to do it! The Carbon-Free ... http://www.carbonfreenuclearfree.org/ - [PPT] Carbon-Free and Nuclear Free File Format: Microsoft Powerpoint - View as HTML Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy. 17 February 2009. Arjun Makhijani, Ph.D. 301-270-5500 ... http://www.carbonfreenuclearfree.org/.. ... part1_.ppt - Similar Energy Policy, IEER's latest book, available free ...iicph.org/ieer-book –
Bill McKibben. Fight Global Warming Now: The Handbook for Taking Action in Your Community. Holt, 2007.
*George Monbiot. Heat. This is the 2nd book I read on CO2 and planetary heating, and it had a stronger effect upon me then did Flannery’s probably because I was understanding the scientific discussions better, though some chapters were very slow going. Full of arresting stories; for example, his chapter on the extraordinary quantify of CO2 produced by airplanes came as a surprise, since I had only read about cars before. Monbiot has spoken and written repeatedly that the IPCC report and his own book are too optimistic, and I think he was the first I encountered to urge a change from “warming” to “breakdown.” (Dick)
*Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum. Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future. Basic Books, 2009. How religious ideologues, an education system weak in science, science-ignorant politicians, and the corporate media have collaborated to create this dangerous condition and how scientists have failed to counter it. [Ryan Bancroft] See: The Republican War on Science. “A well-researched, closely argued and amply referenced indictment of the right-wing’s assault on science and scientists.”
*Joseph Romm, Hell and High Water: The Global Warming Solution. Harper Perennial, 2007. Even though this books was published in 2007 (and therefore written in 2006), it seems up-to-date, and that, his book reveals, is because a scientific consensus about warming existed by 2006. The book is very clear reading, punctuated by gong after gong of reality. (Dick)
Eric Roston. The Carbon Age: How Life’s Core Element Has Become Civilization’s Greatest Threat. Walker, 2008. A history of carbon, of carbon chemistry and chemists, and of the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere and climate breakdown. Packed with interesting anecdotes, interspersed with explanation of the developing science, and moments of powerful summation. For example, this explanation of why I was uneasy about the Weather Channel’s air quality reporting never mentioning CO2: “The invisibility of carbon dioxide emissions to the naked eye itself is part of the reason it has been so easy for deniers to confuse the public about dangerous man-made global warming for more than twenty years.”(172 in the midst of an account of Charles David Keeling’s CO2 research); and Keeling’s empirical proof of the rise of CO2: “When Keeling’s first apparatus was set up at Mauna Loa, the reading was 313pp. Today it has passed 383ppm….Up it goes, 2ppm a year or so, and accelerating.” (Dick)
*--Schweiger, Larry. Last Chance: Preserving Life on Earth. Fulcrum, 2009. The causes and effects of global warming on our ecosystems, human life, wildlife. “our best chance toward a future we will be proud to leave future generations,” Robert Redford. (Dick) [Joanna Pollock]
*James Speth. The Bridge at the Edge of the World: Capitalism, the Environment, and Crossing from Crisis to Sustainability. Yale UP, 2008. I recall Art saying this is excellent. It explains why capitalism is a root cause of climate collapse. (Dick)
-- The clearest succinct statement I as a general citizen have read recently about the accelerating dangers of climate breakdown is the editorial of The Nation (August 3/10, 2009), “The G-8 Abdicates.” . Here’s a sample: “Now comes the really bad news: we are already at 387 ppm. And at current rates atmospheric concentrations of CO2 are set to double by the middle of the century, resulting in catastrophic rise in sea levels,” which would “utterly transform civilization as we know it,” unless “emissions are drastically reduced soon.” The Nation recommends three solutions: 1) the rich nations “must cut their carbon emissions radically and quickly,” 2) they “must spend enormous sums of money to subsidize the transformation of developing economies away from coal and oil toward carbon-neutral forms of green energy,” and 3)”there must be massive investment in developing alternative energy sources.” (Also see Sharon Begley, “Climate-Change Calculus: Why It’s Even Worse Than We Feared,” Newsweek, August 3, 2009, about the surprises scientists have experienced recently regarding the unexpected worsening of Arctic sea ice loss, of Greenland mass loss, of permafrost melting, and more. “Given the pathetic response to global warming, skepticism that the world will get its act together seems appropriate.”) The media are waking up and speaking out against the deniers, delayers, and scammers.
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