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TOPIC: The Dharma of Climate Change

The Dharma of Climate Change 26 Apr 2019 10:11 #111180

So I watched an interview with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (All In America) where the overall message was one of urgency, like if we don't seriously change our entire economic system and become a leader in utilizing clean energy, then it will be too late. I'm a bit skeptical of the overall urgency expressed in her message, and can't help but to think that there's an ulterior motive behind her fervent call to action on this new Green Deal. I'm still gathering info, but it appears that she believes it's necessary to completely overhaul the healthcare system and move toward free healthcare for all and free education for all? I say cool, that's the kind of thing I can get behind, but at the same time, it makes me wonder what in that message is just pipe dreams to arouse support for her mission, and what is the actual substance. From what I've seen so far, I can't get a good read on her actual, concrete plan for this.

Then Mckinsey does a study that suggests that natural economic causes and conditions might actually do what AOC wants to do, it makes me wonder who's got Mckinsey in their pocket? Their clients are big corporations, and they have a lot of smart people working for them, and I wonder how much subjective data interpretation and "painting a picture" is going on with the McKinsey study Chris mentioned, and who they are doing the study for.

It seems on both sides of this global warming isssue there's actual facts and then there's politicians twisting the story to meet their needs and send the message they want to send. This is at least most of my experience of watching the news in general. I dunno, maybe I'm just too skeptical of what I see in the news. I do believe that we're in trouble with the climate, but it's a complex scientific problem, which I currently don't have the time to fully understand, so when I say to myself "yeah, it looks like we really are screwing up the planet irreversibly" my rational scientific mind says yes but when I look at the basis of that belief is mostly just because there's other scientists saying so, and I've seen a chart or two. But after having taken a class in college on environmental chemistry and solar energy it really does seem to be a a multifaceted, complex problem with many variables that not many people fully grasp, so that may be part of the problem. For example, people harp on the the effect of CO2 in the atmosphere, which humans can be reasonably assumed to have an influence over based on looking at a chart of the CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere over the last hundred years. But from my limited knowledge, CO2 is actually not the major greenhouse gas accounting for increased temperatures. There's a complex interconnected process in which CO2 influences the amount of gaseous water in the atmosphere, which actually is much more of a relevant figure for global warming. And that's just one level of subtlety. It's not so easy to convince the general public that we have a problem on our hands and that something must be done quick, when the capacity to actually understand the problem is not there. It's too easy to deny the problem because it's hard to fully explain the problem. This is the curse of science, the more you learn the more complicated things get.

So I'm not sure what I think of all this except to say it's my gut feeling that we as humans should really do something, but it's unclear on what scale and how that will happen. So it's easy to resign and throw our hands up in the air, because it's too big for even one country to tackle, it will require total human collaboration, and we are not at that point yet.
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The Dharma of Climate Change 26 Apr 2019 10:26 #111181

Then Mckinsey does a study that suggests that natural economic causes and conditions might actually do what AOC wants to do, it makes me wonder who's got Mckinsey in their pocket? Their clients are big corporations, and they have a lot of smart people working for them, and I wonder how much subjective data interpretation and "painting a picture" is going on with the McKinsey study Chris mentioned, and who they are doing the study for.

No, that is not what McKinsey is saying (that market forces will accomplish the New Green Deal).

McKinsey funds many of their studies internally, not at the request of a company or an industry, like the one I mentioned. Their motivation to do the research and publish results is no doubt commercial but I'm not sure it's in the way you're proposing. I think it's to be seen as a thought leader in order to get companies to buy their consulting services around the data and the predictions they publish.
Last Edit: 26 Apr 2019 10:28 by Chris Marti.
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The Dharma of Climate Change 26 Apr 2019 10:32 #111182

But after having taken a class in college on environmental chemistry and solar energy it really does seem to be a multifaceted, complex problem with many variables that not many people fully grasp, so that may be part of the problem.

Either we trust the 99% of climate scientists who say we are in real trouble, or we don't. We can't all do or re-do all the original research and become experts with deep knowledge of the problems we face. That's just not practical or even possible, There is a trust factor that has to enter into our thinking on this and other issues and in my opinion, it is that trust factor that has been seriously eroded over the past few decades. It is that missing trust that has gotten us to this juncture. We often think not as skeptics but as deniers who are looking for reasons not to trust and then act accordingly but to justify our predisposed tendency to do nothing because that's the most convenient path.
Last Edit: 26 Apr 2019 10:34 by Chris Marti.
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The Dharma of Climate Change 26 Apr 2019 10:48 #111183

We often think not as skeptics but as deniers who are looking for reasons not to trust and then act accordingly but to justify our predisposed tendency to do nothing because that's the most convenient path.

Can't say I disagree, but how do we get around this problem? People can know that this is what's happening, but still do it because that's how we're wired. The most urgent or immediate survival pressure gets the most attention.
Either we trust the 99% of climate scientists who say we are in real trouble, or we don't. We can't all do or re-do all the original research and become experts with deep knowledge of the problems we face. That's just not practical or even possible, There is a trust factor that has to enter into our thinking on this and other issues and in my opinion, it is that trust factor that has been seriously eroded over the past few decades.

I agree. It's weird how we trust doctors to perform surgery on people and we trust pharmaceutical companies giving us magic pills to treat ailments, but for some reason people can't get on board with the scientists saying the world is in deep trouble. It's just not convenient or an immediate threat, I wonder if that's the real problem.
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The Dharma of Climate Change 26 Apr 2019 14:09 #111184

You do realize, I hope, that there has been a very well-funded and coordinated effort to get us all to deny or ignore climate change? For example, Exxon did its own research and came to the same conclusions that other scientific studies came to - that climate change was man-made and would eventually cause huge problems. That was back in the 1960s and 1970s. So what id Exxon do? They created a massive disinformation campaign to convince everyone of the opposite of what they found through their own research. There are politicians whose whole careers are due to climate denial. There are industry groups like the Petroleum Producers Association who spend millions in Washington DC lobbying against any sort of action on climate change. The deck is stacked in favor of those who pool their huge recources (money) and act in concert. We, as individual consumers, cannot have that same impact unless we vote as a block. We do not vote as a block against these forces, so we get what we now have.
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The Dharma of Climate Change 26 Apr 2019 16:08 #111185

SigmaTropic wrote:
It's weird how we trust doctors to perform surgery on people and we trust pharmaceutical companies giving us magic pills to treat ailments, but for some reason people can't get on board with the scientists saying the world is in deep trouble. It's just not convenient or an immediate threat, I wonder if that's the real problem.

There is research being done to investigate exactly this. Humans just haven't evolved to deal with this type of far off and serious problem. There's something called Terror Management Theory (TMT) based on the anthropologist Ernest Becker's book Denial of Death. I read one paper that used TMT to construct an argument that talking about climate change catastrophe triggers all sorts of defense mechanisms:
TMT underlies an extensive and well‐established literature; researchers have shown that efforts to repress one's mortality awareness, triggered when people are explicitly or implicitly reminded of their unavoidable death, influences individuals' attitudes and behavior. These psychological defenses, including denial, distraction and worldview defense, sometimes produce counter‐intuitive and potentially counter‐productive outcomes. Meanwhile, the growing global awareness and media coverage of climate change, and much scholarly research, has skewed toward negative “disaster and death” narratives. Exposure to such stimuli, highlighting climate change's potentially life‐threatening effects, may exacerbate counter‐productive responses.

Of course, if that's the case what do we do? Just not talk about it? Should scientists conceal their data? I wonder if this type of defense mechanism triggering wasn't what happened when Exxon executives got the bad news from scientists. It's easy to think of people like that as monstrous villains and certainly they did a terrible thing, but who knows? They might have just gotten scared and put their heads under the sand.
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The Dharma of Climate Change 27 Apr 2019 11:25 #111186

They might have just gotten scared and put their heads under the sand.

It's well documented that Exxon made decisions to communicate doubts about climate change based on how actions to fight climate change would affect the company's revenue.

https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/what-exxon-knew-about-climate-change

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/23/climate/exxon-global-warming-science-study.html
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The Dharma of Climate Change 27 Apr 2019 12:43 #111187

Well, that's damning.
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The Dharma of Climate Change 27 Apr 2019 13:09 #111188

It's not surprising. Remember the tobacco industry's fight against the science behind the obvious connection between lung cancer and tobacco use? Industries have the same defensive traits humans have - they fight to survive. This is one of the worst problems with free market capitalism. It's generally up to the courts to intervene in the U.S., and usually in the form of class action lawsuits settled for massive amounts. Government steps in afterward with what should have been done long before - regulations that are at least somewhat effective. I can't use names but I've seen industry groups in action. They are interested in protecting their own, not the health and well being of the general populace. The decisions they make aren't from the fear of anything but the loss of their business or even just the trimming of their revenue. These same forces are acting to preserve industries that contribute to climate change.
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The Dharma of Climate Change 27 Apr 2019 17:46 #111189

No, not surprising at all. Humans are capable of amazing (but often terrible) feats when they band together in groups.

Re-reading parts of the Nobel Prize winner Elias Canetti's Crowds and Power. He escaped the Nazis and spent the rest of his life thinking and writing about the great catastrophes of the early 20th century. "There is no other hope for the survival of mankind than knowing enough about the people it is made up of."
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The Dharma of Climate Change 27 Apr 2019 18:23 #111190

On a lighter note but in the same vein, if you haven't read the internet classic What is the Monkeysphere? on Cracked.com, it's really funny. If you like biting, irreverent black humor about the human condition. It's about something called Dunbar's Number, a hypothesis in anthropology that humans only have the brain power to maintain relationships with about 150 other people.
What do monkeys have to do with war, oppression, crime, racism and even e-mail spam? You'll see that all of the random ass-headed cruelty of the world will suddenly make perfect sense once we go Inside the Monkeysphere.
Last Edit: 27 Apr 2019 20:25 by Andromeda.
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The Dharma of Climate Change 28 Apr 2019 17:03 #111193

The current issue of MIT Technology Review is devoted to climate change. I have not purchased it yet ($10), but probably will.

www.technologyreview.com/magazine/2019/0...d/?state=join#/join/
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The Dharma of Climate Change 28 Apr 2019 17:28 #111194

Hmm, here is one grim piece from that (you will probably be able to read it for free):

www.technologyreview.com/s/613343/lesson...-climate-apocalypse/
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The Dharma of Climate Change 28 Apr 2019 19:26 #111195

I have not purchased it yet ($10), but probably will.

Tom, you can buy just the current issue in digital format for $6.99.
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The Dharma of Climate Change 29 Apr 2019 00:53 #111196

I realized I wrote some nonsense, so I deleted it.
Last Edit: 29 Apr 2019 02:56 by matthew sexton.
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The Dharma of Climate Change 29 Apr 2019 22:33 #111198

Chris Marti wrote:
I have not purchased it yet ($10), but probably will.

Tom, you can buy just the current issue in digital format for $6.99.

It is $9.99 for me, which I rounded to $10...
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The Dharma of Climate Change 30 Apr 2019 07:22 #111200

Damn that exchange rate! :ohmy:
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The Dharma of Climate Change 30 Apr 2019 09:54 #111201

Two countries, joined by a shared border, yet separated by a identically-named yet distinctly different currency. ;)
Last Edit: 30 Apr 2019 09:54 by shargrol.
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The Dharma of Climate Change 07 May 2019 17:43 #111223

shargrol wrote:
Two countries, joined by a shared border, yet separated by a identically-named yet distinctly different currency. ;)

And, apparently, a distinctly different outlook on what faces us:
Pompeo also painted melting sea ice in the Arctic as an economic opportunity for the shipping industry.

"Steady reductions in sea ice are opening new passageways and new opportunities for trade," Pompeo said. "This could potentially slash the time it takes to travel between Asia and the West by as much as 20 days."

www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articl...e-change-declaration
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The Dharma of Climate Change 08 May 2019 06:42 #111224

It will be great for trade... of course New York will be underwater, but... :)
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