Better late than never.
Found this linked to an article at the Breakthrough Institute, who I’d never heard of and suspected it might be a denialist front. Wikipedia page shows they’re legit and seem to have some pretty good ideas:
Shellenberger has co-authored analyses of cap and trade climate legislation, of the “planetary boundaries” hypothesis, energy rebound from energy efficiency measures, carbon pricing, renewable energy subsidies, nuclear energy, and shale gas
The Institute argues that climate policy should be focused on higher levels of public funding on technology innovation to “make clean energy cheap,” and has been critical of climate policies like cap and trade and carbon pricing that are focused primarily on raising energy prices.
The Institute has conducted research showing that shale gas and other major technological innovations were created by American government institutions and public financing. The Institute advocates higher levels of public spending on technology innovation, which they argue will lead to higher environmental quality, economic growth, and quality of life.
A lot of footnotes to dig into there.
I like my exotic Mars shots and all, but occasionally this old orb can put on a show too. Well worth the click to embiggen.
A wave of thunderstorms and lightning strikes swept across Northern California this week.
The above photo by Nolan Nitschke, 27, at Yosemite National Park might be the most dramatic lightning photo I’ve ever seen. The more you look, the more you see. It’s so pretty, it looks like a painting.
From Skeptical Science, 144 one-liner rebuttals to the fossil-fuel addicted greedmeisters in your life along with more detailed descriptions for each. First few examples below the pretty graphics. Collect ‘em all!
It was the Wednesday night dharma talk at the Pt. Montara lighthouse. The teacher was a guy who has talked there countless times. He’s a wonderful human being who counsels the dying and exudes compassion. He was the first teacher I met and has often brought me peace of mind in trying times. Last night, however, I just wasn’t buying it.
Things started going off the rails early when he discussed the constant struggle we have with suffering by using the example of opening the refrigerator to get the cream for your coffee, but there is no cream. This causes a mild form of suffering that we need to be aware of because it’s the seed of a constant stream of suffering we must endure throughout our day and on and on to the end of our days.
Talk about first world problems! Maybe it set me off because, for one, I can’t relate at all. I enjoy my coffee black. The bigger deal to me though, is that I’m becoming more and more conscious of the plight of those who really are suffering due to the first world lifestyle. Lester Brown’s World on the Edge, an assessment of the deeper and deeper shit we’re getting into worldwide as a result of climate change, is seriously getting under my skin. The biggest takeaway so far is that climate change is having real effects in the world already but it’s those stuck in the far corners of the world who are feeling those effects thus far and it’s typically in the form of starvation and disease due to failing crop yields and lack of fresh water. That and it’s mostly innocent children who suffer first. Not to mention all the threatened species other than dear humanity.
Another factor springs from the event I attended with my family a week ago that resulted in my acquisition of Mr. Brown’s gloomy tome. It was the pre-screening of Do the Math at the monastic residence of a Buddhist nun who’d been awakened into activism on behalf of the environment. Ayya Santussika had discovered the cause through others in her order who had been part of the recent mass protest in Washington (the one Aldus attended). It had ocurred to me after watching the movie that I might bring the issue to the attention of my own little sangha in Montara. The nun agreed it was a great idea and even suggested a willingness to make the trip out and give a talk about it. I contacted the folks in my sangha who schedule the speakers and assumed they’d embrace the idea. Instead they threw cold water on it. They didn’t want to distract from the core mission of the sangha, which is apparently to alleviate the suffering of those who don’t have cream for their coffee.
It really makes me think that Buddhism, at least in its common western form, is mostly about feeling better about being so full of ourselves that we can’t give a crap for anybody else but our own little community of relatively rich and comfortable, well-fed and secure fellow human beings. As our teacher had us close our eyes and asked us to feel compassion for our friends and loved ones in their creamless anguish I was brought very near to the point of standing up and screaming at the group in outright anger. No, goddamit! I don’t care about any of you at all right now. I’m mostly consumed with concern for the hell we’re unleashing upon the world in the form of starvation, habitat destruction, and all the wonderful adventures to follow.
I held my tongue and stayed outwardly peaceful, but I did not leave the group last night a happy and content soul. It helps a little to get this out. Thanks for listening.
Please hang with this 5 minute video of Josh Fox, director of GasLand and GasLand II (neither of which I have yet seen). It’s from a series called Ask So-and-so Anything on Sullivan’s blog and I have rarely indulged in it, but this time I’m glad I did. The question was “Is fracking a necessary evil?”. Fox makes the point that we don’t need to choose between relying on one of two horrible existing fossil-fuel based systems of energy production, but must really start pushing the development of the ones that won’t destroy our environment via climate change. I’d been thinking something similar, that the best way to combat the fossil fuel industry is not by protest and/or shaming them for their ethical lapses and greed, but by defeating them economically. We are heading toward a time when fossil fuels are going to be a dubious investment for even those motivated purely by greed.
Oh sure, we talk a good game, but then we do really stupid shit like this:
Between this and fracking for natural gas, North America doesn’t stand a CHANCE.