MIT Researchers Unveil Climate Roulette Wheel

Scientists from MIT revealed the most comprehensive study so far on climate change and, as usual, the latest news is not good.

Projected warming of the planet will be at least twice as bad as previously believed, and could kill billions this century unless there is “rapid and massive action” on reducing global carbon emissions.

So freaked out are the researchers by these results, they resorted to using a roulette wheel to illustrate just how dangerous the do-nothing option is.

The MIT scientists published the peer-reviewed results in the Journal of Climate showing a 90% probability of global temperature will rise as much as 7.4 degrees Celsius, more than twice the previous projection from 2003.

A Question of Framing

What a difference a year can make. While the consensus on the Hill may not have grown stronger in the interim—I’m looking at you, House Republicans—the American public seems to be increasingly wising up to the idea that global warming is, in fact, a real threat and not some nefarious liberal plot to deprive it of its God-given right to pollute.

That is the principal finding of a new survey, entitled “Global Warming’s Six Americas,” that was released this past week by the Center for American Progress. The survey, which the authors describe as an “audience segmentation analysis,” splits the American public into six distinct groups based on their level of engagement with global warming: alarmed, concerned, cautious, disengaged, doubtful, and dismissive.

The authors polled 2,129 American adults in the fall of 2008 on a variety of issues related to global warming, including risk perceptions, policy preferences, and values.

US Chamber of Commerce Implodes on Climate Policy

us chamber of commerce logo

The wheels are falling off the US Chamber of Commerce’s long-standing opposition to meaningful American climate policy. Why? Because their own members are demanding this Capitol Hill powerhouse move into the 21st century.

Household names as Nike and Johnson & Johnson are apparently embarrassed by the dinosaur attitude of the nation’s largest commercial lobby group.

Johnson & Johnson sent a letter demanding that the Chamber to refrain from making comments on climate change unless they “reflect the full range of views, especially those of Chamber members advocating for congressional action.”

Nike has also been “vocal” with the Chamber’s leaders “about wanting them to take a more progressive stance on the issue of climate change.”

The Oceans v. EPA

Out of sight, out of mind,” is a pithy saying that aptly sums up the attitude most industrialized countries have toward ocean acidification. While there has been much (justified) hand-wringing about the terrestrial impacts of climate change, policymakers have largely ignored the threats posed by acidic seas – which are considerable.

For one, ocean acidification could wipe out a significant fraction of the world’s coral reefs – perhaps even all of them – by mid-century if we don’t curb our emissions. In late 2007, 17 marine biologists co-authored a review article in Science in which they warned that, under a worst-case emissions scenario (450 – 500 ppm and a temperature increase larger than 5.4°C), all reefs could disappear, taking up to half of all marine life with them.

The Fantasy of "Green Bitumen"

The petro state of Alberta has outdone itself again. The Canadian province best known as home of the tar sands recently named former Syncrude executive Eric Newell to head up a multi-million provincial climate change fund. With no apparent irony, the province apparently felt that someone from the industry with the fastest growing emissions in Canada would be the best choice for this high profile job.

Newell now becomes president of the Climate Change and Emissions Management Corp, a provincial government scheme where companies that release more than 100,000 tonnes of CO2 per year are supposed to reduce their intensities by 12% or pay $15 per tonne above their target.


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