Climate Change: Why aren't more people concerned about it?


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Ice climber
great white north
Aug 3, 2018 - 06:17am PT
Climate change denialism is predicated on a similarly hidden acknowledgment that, if anthropogenic climate change were actually occurring, we would have to do something about it.

... “Bangladesh will be submerged, millions will suffer as a result of anthropogenic climate change, but we must still preserve our carbon-based way of life, no matter what the cost.”

It is hard to tell whether global warming denialists are secretly longing for the chaos and pain that global warming will bring, are simply indifferent to it, or would desperately like it not to be the case but are overwhelmed with the desire to keep things as they are.

Ice climber
great white north
Aug 3, 2018 - 06:43am PT

Ice climber
great white north
Aug 3, 2018 - 06:48am PT

Climate change denial won’t even benefit oil companies soon

The damage caused by our addiction to burning fossil fuels will be so widespread that nobody stands to gain


Trad climber
Aug 3, 2018 - 06:49am PT
If it were a country, Texas would be the world’s No. 3 oil producer, behind only Russia and Saudi Arabia

We've got that going for us. 👍
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Aug 3, 2018 - 07:01am PT
Seventy percent of Americans now accept that climate change is happening, outnumbering those who don’t by a 5 to 1 ratio, according to a new survey by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.

Ford to stop selling sedans in North America in face of unstoppable crossover onslaught

consumers gravitate toward far more profitable pickups, SUVs and crossovers.

You see, professing a belief in climate change doesn't do sh#t. Now go buy another pickup, eco-warrior. And turn up the AC, it's hot down here!


August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Aug 3, 2018 - 10:00am PT
You are right DMT it doesn't. That is why I think strong legislative action is needed.

When the surgeon general first said smoking causes cancer it didn't have much immediate impact on smoking rates.

But it helped to change the culture and that lead to reduced smoking.

My mom has always hated the smell of cigarette smoke. But when I was a kid, it would never have crossed her mind to ask her bridge card group not to smoke in her house. A hostess just wouldn't do that.

We need a similar change in culture with regard to climate change.

There have been baby steps but I fear it will mostly be too little too late.

Time will tell.

Ice climber
great white north
Aug 3, 2018 - 10:55am PT
How the baby boomers — not millennials — screwed America

“The boomers inherited a rich, dynamic country and have gradually bankrupted it."

Then of course there’s the issue of climate change, which they’ve done almost nothing to solve. But even if we want to be market-oriented about this, we can think of the climate as an asset, which has degraded over time thanks to the inaction and cowardice of the boomer generation. Now they didn’t start burning fossil fuels, but by the 1990s the science was undeniable. And what did they do? Nothing.

Because we failed to confront things like infrastructure decay and climate change early on, they’ve only grown into bigger and more expensive problems. When something breaks, it’s a lot more expensive to fix than it would have been to just maintain it all along.

Ice climber
great white north
Aug 3, 2018 - 03:36pm PT

Don't trust anyone over 52

Gym climber
Aug 3, 2018 - 09:42pm PT
They did worse than nothig... many of them wete dumb enough to believe it was a hoax and the rest were too weak to set them straight.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Aug 4, 2018 - 12:41pm PT
Sooooo ,....... the second industrial revolution was the fault of us boomers?

Well, while you're busy pointing fingers I've gone solar in a big way, and so far this summer I've had the AC on less than 8 hours total.

Gym climber
Aug 4, 2018 - 01:54pm PT
Great job Toker! I'm so happy to hear that some boomers have seen the light.Together we can save this world.

Sport climber
Sands Motel , Las Vegas
Aug 4, 2018 - 02:06pm PT
DMT...figures you would support cross-overs...

Grey Matter
Aug 5, 2018 - 01:14pm PT
By 1979 global warming was clearly predicted by numerous scientists,
and the issue was raised at top levels of government and science.
Believe it or not, this summary is the short version.
Even by 1979 it was inevitable that the continuing increase in CO2 would lead to a large increase in the greenhouse effect.
Of course the actual warming would take decades to gradually happen. It could not be clearly measured for several decades, allowing plenty of time for lies, deceit, and denial.

The increase in greenhouse warming due to consumption of fossil fuels was first predicted in 1896 by Svante Arrhenius, a Swedish chemist and future Nobel laureate. Consumption increased beyond anything the Swedish chemist could have imagined.

In a 1957 paper written with Hans Suess, Roger Revelle concluded that “human beings are now carrying out a large-scale geophysical experiment of a kind that could not have happened in the past nor be reproduced in the future.” Revelle helped the Weather Bureau establish a continuous measurement of atmospheric carbon dioxide at a site perched near the summit of Mauna Loa on the Big Island of Hawaii, 11,500 feet above the sea — a rare pristine natural laboratory on a planet blanketed by fossil-fuel emissions. A young geochemist named Charles David Keeling charted the data, which came to be known as the Keeling curve. Revelle died in 1991 and Keeling died in 2005, both of old age, living long enough to see their prediction realized, and still ignored and denied by policy makers.

In 1958, on prime-time television, “The Bell Science Hour” — one of the most popular educational film series in American history — aired “The Unchained Goddess,” a film by Frank Capra about meteorological wonders, warning that “man may be unwittingly changing the world’s climate” through the release of carbon dioxide. “A few degrees’ rise in the Earth’s temperature would melt the polar ice caps,” “An inland sea would fill a good portion of the Mississippi Valley. Tourists in glass-bottomed boats would be viewing the drowned towers of Miami through 150 feet of tropical water.”

In the 60s, President Johnson explained that his generation had “altered the composition of the atmosphere on a global scale” through the burning of fossil fuels, and his administration commissioned a study of the subject by his Science Advisory Committee. Revelle was its chairman, and its 1965 executive report on carbon dioxide warned of the rapid melting of Antarctica, rising seas, increased acidity of fresh waters — changes that would require no less than a coordinated global effort to forestall.

In 1974, the C.I.A. issued a classified report on the carbon-dioxide problem. It concluded that climate change had begun around 1960 and had “already caused major economic problems throughout the world.” The future economic and political impacts would be “almost beyond comprehension.”
Yet emissions continued to rise, and at this rate, MacDonald warned in 1979, they could see a snowless New England, the swamping of major coastal cities, as much as a 40 percent decline in national wheat production, the forced migration of about one-quarter of the world’s population. Not within centuries — within their own lifetimes.

In 1978 directors of the Friends of the Earth noticed EPA-600/7-78-019, a coal report that noted that the continued use of fossil fuels might, within two or three decades, bring about “significant and damaging” changes to the global atmosphere.

They publicized the issue, which had been studied since the 60s by a prominent geophysicist named Gordon MacDonald. In 1977-78 he was conducting a study on climate change with the Jasons, the mysterious coterie of elite scientists that helped inform government. 1978, the Jasons met to determine what would happen once the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere doubled from pre-Industrial Revolution levels. It was an arbitrary milestone, the doubling, but a useful one, as its inevitability was not in question; the threshold would most likely be breached by 2035. The Jasons’ report to the Department of Energy, “The Long-Term Impact of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide on Climate,” was written in an understated tone that only enhanced its nightmarish findings: Global temperatures would increase by an average of two to three degrees Celsius; Dust Bowl conditions would “threaten large areas of North America, Asia and Africa”; access to drinking water and agricultural production would fall, triggering mass migration on an unprecedented scale. “Perhaps the most ominous feature,” however, was the effect of a changing climate on the poles. Even a minimal warming “could lead to rapid melting” of the West Antarctic ice sheet. The ice sheet contained enough water to raise the level of the oceans 16 feet.
The Jasons sent the report to dozens of scientists in the United States and abroad; to industry groups like the National Coal Association and the Electric Power Research Institute; and within the government, to the National Academy of Sciences, the Commerce Department, the E.P.A., NASA, the Pentagon, the N.S.A., every branch of the military, the National Security Council and the White House.

Beginning in the spring of 1979, Pomerance arranged informal briefings with the E.P.A., the National Security Council, The New York Times, the Council on Environmental Quality and the Energy Department, which, Pomerance learned, had established an Office of Carbon Dioxide Effects two years earlier at MacDonald’s urging. The men settled into a routine, with MacDonald explaining the science and Pomerance adding the exclamation points. They were surprised to learn how few senior officials were familiar with the Jasons’ findings, let alone understood the ramifications of global warming. At last, having worked their way up the federal hierarchy, the two went to see the president’s top scientist, Frank Press.

...weeks later, MacDonald called to tell him that Press had taken up the issue. On May 22, Press wrote a letter to the president of the National Academy of Sciences requesting a full assessment of the carbon-dioxide issue. Jule Charney, the father of modern meteorology, would gather the nation’s top oceanographers, atmospheric scientists and climate modelers to judge whether MacDonald’s alarm was justified — whether the world was, in fact, headed to cataclysm.

… Among Charney’s group was Akio Arakawa, a pioneer of computer modeling. On the final night at Woods Hole, Arakawa stayed up in his motel room with printouts from the models by Hansen and Manabe blanketing his double bed. The discrepancy between the models, Arakawa concluded, came down to ice and snow. The whiteness of the world’s snowfields reflected light; if snow melted in a warmer climate, less radiation would escape the atmosphere, leading to even greater warming. Shortly before dawn, Arakawa concluded that Manabe had given too little weight to the influence of melting sea ice, while Hansen had overemphasized it. The best estimate lay in between. Which meant that the Jasons’ calculation was too optimistic. When carbon dioxide doubled in 2035 or thereabouts, global temperatures would increase between 1.5 and 4.5 degrees Celsius, with the most likely outcome a warming of three degrees.

The publication of Jule Charney’s report, “Carbon Dioxide and Climate: A Scientific Assessment,” several months later was not accompanied by a banquet, a parade or even a news conference. Yet within the highest levels of the federal government, the scientific community and the oil-and-gas industry — within the commonwealth of people who had begun to concern themselves with the future habitability of the planet — the Charney report would come to have the authority of settled fact. It was the summation of all the predictions that had come before, and it would withstand the scrutiny of the decades that followed it. Charney’s group had considered everything known about ocean, sun, sea, air and fossil fuels and had distilled it to a single number: three. When the doubling threshold was broached, as appeared inevitable, the world would warm three degrees Celsius. Even then, unless net carbon emissions stopped, three degrees would only be the beginning.

Upon reading the report, Exxon decided to act. Exxon didn’t concern itself primarily with how much the world would warm. It wanted to know how much of the warming Exxon could be blamed for.
A senior researcher named Henry Shaw had argued that the company needed a deeper understanding of the issue in order to influence future legislation that might restrict carbon-dioxide emissions. “It behooves us to start a very aggressive defensive program,” Shaw wrote in a memo to a manager, “because there is a good probability that legislation affecting our business will be passed.”

Shaw turned to Wallace Broecker, a Columbia University oceanographer who was the second author of Roger Revelle’s 1965 carbon-dioxide report for Lyndon Johnson. In 1977, in a presentation at the American Geophysical Union, Broecker predicted that fossil fuels would have to be restricted, whether by taxation or fiat. More recently, he had testified before Congress, calling carbon dioxide “the No.1 long-term environmental problem.” If presidents and senators trusted Broecker to tell them the bad news, he was good enough for Exxon.
The company had been studying the carbon-dioxide problem for decades, since before it changed its name to Exxon. In 1957, scientists from Humble Oil published a study tracking “the enormous quantity of carbon dioxide” contributed to the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution “from the combustion of fossil fuels.” Even then, the observation that burning fossil fuels had increased the concentration of carbon in the atmosphere was well understood and accepted by Humble’s scientists.

The American Petroleum Institute, the industry’s largest trade association, asked the same question in 1958 through its air-pollution study group and replicated the findings made by Humble Oil. So did another A.P.I. study conducted by the Stanford Research Institute a decade later, in 1968, which concluded that the burning of fossil fuels would bring “significant temperature changes” by the year 2000 and ultimately “serious worldwide environmental changes,” including the melting of the Antarctic ice cap and rising seas. It was “ironic,” the study’s authors noted, that politicians, regulators and environmentalists fixated on local incidents of air pollution that were immediately observable, while the climate crisis, whose damage would be of far greater severity and scale, went entirely unheeded.

Shaw was running out of time. In 1978, an Exxon colleague circulated an internal memo warning that humankind had only five to 10 years before policy action would be necessary. But Congress seemed ready to act a lot sooner than that. On April 3, 1980, Senator Paul Tsongas, a Massachusetts Democrat, held the first congressional hearing on carbon-dioxide buildup in the atmosphere. Gordon MacDonald testified that the United States should “take the initiative” and develop, through the United Nations, a way to coordinate every nation’s energy policies to address the problem. That June, Jimmy Carter signed the Energy Security Act of 1980, which directed the National Academy of Sciences to start a multiyear, comprehensive study, to be called “Changing Climate,” that would analyze social and economic effects of climate change. More urgent, the National Commission on Air Quality, at the request of Congress, invited two dozen experts, including Henry Shaw himself, to a meeting in Florida to propose climate policy.
It seemed that some kind of legislation to restrict carbon combustion was inevitable. The Charney report had confirmed the diagnosis of the problem — a problem that Exxon helped create. Now Exxon would help shape the solution.

At that time the USA was responsible for a majority of carbon emissions.
But they could not agree on what policy changes to recommend.
4 days later, Reagan was elected and fossil fuel lobbyists took over the country.
For the next 9 years the government did not deny climate change; it just put off the need for any solution. There was no short term political upside to taking action.
Some pledges were made, only to be later broken. The top denier in government in the late 80s was John Sununu, Bush Sr.'s chief of staff. By the mid 90's, thanks to massive disinformation efforts by fossil fuel lobbyists, most republicans actively denied climate change.

The article goes on. Climate science continued to advance for the next 40 years, basically confirming the overall conclusions of the 1979 Charney report.
But the leaders of USA government hid their heads in the sand for 40 years.

Grey Matter
Aug 5, 2018 - 01:48pm PT
RE salesmanship failure.

As the article I quote above makes clear,
in the 80s we were at least on a supposed stated path to doing something to control GHG emissions. The government seemed to be planning actual new policy.

The public was not aware that we even needed a salesmanship campaign to compete with the nonsense spewed by the fossil fuel disinformation.

By the mid 90s, the disinformation campaign had won. It was too late to convince the lemmings, who now religiously associate profligate carbon consumption as the most treasured type of American pie.


Gym climber
Aug 5, 2018 - 03:18pm PT
Reminds me of smokers who insisted smoking had no negative health consequences because they knew someone who smoked for 70 years... but those dipshits are mostly dead.

Boulder climber
Aug 5, 2018 - 07:33pm PT
The warmest surface temperature ever recorded in California.

I noticed a few weeks ago, the wax on my surfboards felt like grease.

Ice climber
great white north
Aug 7, 2018 - 05:42am PT
The Long-Term Impact of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide on Climate

If the current growth rate in the use of fossil fuels continues at 4.3% per year, then the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere can be expected to double by about 2035 ...

Jason Report April 1979

“human beings are now carrying out a large-scale geophysical experiment of a kind that could not have happened in the past nor be reproduced in the future.”
Revelle & Suess 1957

When it is assumed that the CO2 content of the atmosphere is doubled and statistical thermal equilibrium is achieved, the more realistic of the modeling efforts predict a global surface warming of between 2°C and 3.5° C, with greater increases at high latitudes. This range reflects both uncertainties in physical understanding and inaccuracies arising from the need to reduce the mathematical problem to one that can be handled by even the fastest available electronic computers. It is significant, however, that none of the model calculations predicts negligible warming.

Carbon Dioxide and Climate: A Scientific Assessment
Jule Charney July 1979

Yet within the highest levels of the federal government, the scientific community and the oil-and-gas industry — within the commonwealth of people who had begun to concern themselves with the future habitability of the planet — the Charney report would come to have the authority of settled fact. It was the summation of all the predictions that had come before, and it would withstand the scrutiny of the decades that followed it. Charney’s group had considered everything known about ocean, sun, sea, air and fossil fuels and had distilled it to a single number: three. When the doubling threshold was broached, as appeared inevitable, the world would warm three degrees Celsius. The last time the world was three degrees warmer was during the Pliocene, three million years ago, when beech trees grew in Antarctica, the seas were 80 feet higher and horses galloped across the Canadian coast of the Arctic Ocean.

The Charney report left Jim Hansen with more urgent questions. Three degrees would be nightmarish, and unless carbon emissions ceased suddenly, three degrees would be only the beginning.

Climate Impact of Increasing Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide
J. Hansen, D. Johnson, A. Lacis, S. Lebedeff, P. Lee, D. Rind, G. Russell
Science 28 Aug 1981

The global temperature rose by 0.2°C between the middle 1960's and 1980, yielding a warming of 0.4°C in the past century. This temperature increase is consistent with the calculated greenhouse effect due to measured increases of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Variations of volcanic aerosols and possibly solar luminosity appear to be primary causes of observed fluctuations about the mean trend of increasing temperature. It is shown that the anthropogenic carbon dioxide warming should emerge from the noise level of natural climate variability by the end of the century, and there is a high probability of warming in the 1980's. Potential effects on climate in the 21st century include the creation of drought-prone regions in North America and central Asia as part of a shifting of climatic zones, erosion of the West Antarctic ice sheet with a consequent worldwide rise in sea level, and opening of the fabled Northwest Passage.

Ice climber
great white north
Aug 7, 2018 - 06:44pm PT


Ice climber
great white north
Aug 7, 2018 - 09:09pm PT
Everyone knew — and we all still know. We know that the transformations of our planet, which will come gradually and suddenly, will reconfigure the political world order. We know that if we don’t act to reduce emissions, we risk the collapse of civilization. We also know that, without a gargantuan intervention, whatever happens will be worse for our children, worse yet for their children and even worse still for their children’s children, whose lives, our actions have demonstrated, mean nothing to us.

As Jim Hansen told me, “From a technology and economics standpoint, it is still readily possible to stay under two degrees Celsius.” We can trust the technology and the economics. It’s harder to trust human nature. Keeping the planet to two degrees of warming, let alone 1.5 degrees, would require transformative action. It will take more than good works and voluntary commitments; it will take a revolution. But in order to become a revolutionary, you need first to suffer.


Ice climber
great white north
Aug 8, 2018 - 06:46am PT
"The earth is not flat, and climate change is real," California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said, as he connected global warming to the deadly wildfires burning out of control throughout the state. "Can someone please inform the folks at the White House and our federal government of those facts?"
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