The Climate Show #30: Obama, Sandy and the rabbit

by Gareth on November 9, 2012

Another news special on this week’s Climate Show. With Barack Obama winning “four more years“, and the biggest Atlantic storm ever seen slamming into New Jersey, New York, and most of the northeastern USA, Glenn and Gareth chew over the details and consider the implications. With a side order of accountants PwC being gloomy, agricultural emissions, and a rabbit. (Not you, Eli).

Watch The Climate Show on our Youtube channel, subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, listen to us via Stitcher on your smartphone or listen direct/download from the link below the fold.

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The Climate Show

Story references

US Election:

6 hours of televised debate and no talk on Climate Change: http://climatesilence.org/

President Obama addresses climate change in his acceptance speech:

“We want our children to live in an America that isn’t burdened by debt, that isn’t weakened by inequality, that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.”

Damian Carrington in the Guardian:

What does a second term for Barack Obama as US president mean for action on climate change? The short answer is that some action is now at least conceivable. It would not have been under Mitt Romney, whose statement that the president’s job was not to stop the sea rising was hideously exposed by the inundation of New York and New Jersey by the surge of superstorm Sandy.

Sandy:

Sandy by the numbers: trying to comprehend a stunning disaster: Jeff Masters

George Lakoff, professor of linguistics, Berkeley:

Yes, global warming systemically caused Hurricane Sandy — and the Midwest droughts and the fires in Colorado and Texas, as well as other extreme weather disasters around the world. Let’s say it out loud, it was causation, systemic causation.

There is a difference between systemic and direct causation. Punching someone in the nose is direct causation. Throwing a rock through a window is direct causation.

A systemic cause may be one of a number of multiple causes. It may require some special conditions. It may be indirect, working through a network of more direct causes. It may be probabilistic, occurring with a significantly high probability. It may require a feedback mechanism. In general, causation in ecosystems, biological systems, economic systems, and social systems tends not to be direct, but is no less causal.

US Election/Sandy:

Mayor’s endorsement could turn climate change into a serious election issue – and it might even embolden Republicans – it didn’t – or did it? Guardian.

The best conservative tweet of election night may belong to David Frum, former speechwriter for George W. Bush:

Horrible possibility: if the geeks are right about Ohio, might they also be right about climate?

Nice Real Climate post by Gavin Schmidt, riffing on how wishful thinking about polling came crashing down on election night…

And now it snows:

A winter storm bearing down on the East Coast “First Hurricane Sandy, now Winter Storm Athena for the Eastern U.S.”
Jeff Masters, Climate Central.

Not just the USA

Heatwave in Brazil, typhoons in Asia… Weather Extremes at Weather Underground.

PricewaterhouseCoopers report – heading for 6C

“PricewaterhouseCoopers, the world’s largest professional services firm, is not known for scaremongering. So it is worth paying particular attention to its latest annual low carbon economy index.
Behind the understated language, it points to a catastrophic future unless radical action is taken now to combat climate change.
“Business leaders have been asking for clarity in political ambition on climate change,” says partner Leo Johnson. “Now one thing is clear: businesses, governments and communities across the world need to plan for a warming world – not just 2C, but 4C or even 6C.”

Guardian
Common Dreams
Climate Spectator
PricewaterhouseCoopers press release

One-third of our greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture

Nature News:

The global food system, from fertilizer manufacture to food storage and packaging, is responsible for up to one-third of all human-caused greenhouse-gas emissions, according to the latest figures from the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), a partnership of 15 research centres around the world.

Great picture from Pine Island Bay. Via @NASA_ICE at Twitter.

Thanks to our media partners: Idealog Sustain, Sciblogs, and Scoop .

Theme music: A Drop In The Ocean by The Bads.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

noelfuller November 10, 2012 at 12:44 am

The usual: Error 404

Noel

Glenn Williams November 10, 2012 at 1:43 am

There is a delay between notes getting published and the audio being ready but it’s up now.

samv November 10, 2012 at 9:37 am

Obama has leverage: the last negotiation left the default action to happen in the event of a new deal include a huge range of cuts to the military, and a reinstatement of the higher tax rates from before the Bush era.

So, if congress keeps digging their heels in then things land painfully on the side of the democrats, and it would be easy for the democrats to pin the tax increases on the inaction of the House of Gerrymandering.

Gareth November 10, 2012 at 9:41 am

You have a point: just how stupid do the Republicans in Congress wish to appear? Fingers crossed, eh?

samv November 13, 2012 at 8:52 am

If this commentary is anything to go by, very stupid: @jbarro proposes in Bloomberg column that Republicans should use the threat of a recession as a bargaining chip. Seriously:

Congress is already about as unpopular as it can become, and Republicans know they are not going to get their legislative agenda enacted in the next two years anyway. But a new recession would greatly interfere with Obama’s second-term plans.

Thomas November 13, 2012 at 3:07 pm

At least a recession would do some good to bring CO2 emissions a tad down, perhaps…. ;-)

Gareth November 10, 2012 at 11:20 am

Here’s Rachel Maddow on what needs to happen – a bubble has to be popped to get US politics functioning properly:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVwXA7sHUlE

bill November 13, 2012 at 3:22 pm

A most entertaining little rant! Residents of the Epistemic Bubble who pass by here please note – and that’s you, AGW Deniers!…

bill November 13, 2012 at 8:35 pm

And I can’t resist pasting what I’ll describe as a companion piece. (That question should be carved on Rove’s tombstone!)

David Lewis November 11, 2012 at 7:02 am

New Yorker magazine Washington correspondent Ryan Lizza’s article “The Second Term” published in the New Yorker June 18, 2012, says this about Obama’s view of the climate issue:

“Obama has an ambitious second-term agenda, which, at least in broad ways, his campaign is beginning to highlight. The President has said that the most important policy he could address in his second term is climate change, one of the few issues that he thinks could fundamentally improve the world decades from now.”

Weighing against any possibility of Obama addressing climate is the fact there are still more than 40 Republican Senators, and the fact that Republicans control the House. Andy Borowitz at the New Yorker covers the attitude at the House in his article “Boehner’s 48 Hours of Pretending to Work with Obama Sets New Record“, and Borowitz discusses the current Republican mentality in his “Republicans Consider Welcoming People Who Believe in Math and Science“.

Monkeys could fly out of our butts. Action on climate in the US could happen.

Thomas November 11, 2012 at 2:59 pm

The Borowitz writ sums it up perfectly. Just as the old Republican president G.Walker.Bush once is supposed to have mused: “I am horrified to hear that 50% of Americans have a below average IQ….” then ranted on to point his finger at the failings of educational policies under his predecessor….. ;-)

Rob Taylor November 11, 2012 at 5:00 pm

The GOP does not have a monopoly on stupidity, however, as our home-grown denialists are only too eager to demonstrate:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/7933870/Sceptics-target-judges-forest

Richard Christie November 12, 2012 at 10:49 am

What pills are those guys taking?
Seriously.

Thomas November 12, 2012 at 12:38 pm

I guess in their fight for whatever reputation or recognition they may still have left to balance on, any straw, no matter how thin, will have to make due now…. sad and sorry….

bill November 13, 2012 at 12:11 am

These guys have no tactical nous whatsoever. This is just one giant train-wreck of Stupid. Amusingly, it is hard to imagine that anyone could possibly harm them more than they are harming themselves. I suggest we sit back, and, as we say online, ‘popcorn’…

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