Redirecting the Redirected: Returning Attention to Climate Change Policy and Planning

Corporate interests with strong ties to conservative politics have undermined American’s awareness and understanding about climate change. Record profits from fossil fuel businesses have been threatened by talk of reducing consumption. Rather than change their business model, these entities went on the offensive against knowledge; facts were stretched until barely recognizable, bolstered with easy untruths, and fed to the public alongside infotainment through co-opted media.

The same fossil fuel interests bought politicians who are easily led by cash infusions or manipulated through electoral scaremongering by increasingly ignorant, easily acquired political factions (hello, Tea Party).

Presto: Americans are the least likely to believe in anthropomorphic climate change, and they’re likely to vote for candidates who mirror their own tractability.

But the truth has a nasty way of bitchslapping consumers and voters until their attention is returned to the facts. Hurricane Sandy, following this past summer’s wretched Dust Bowl-like drought, delivered a one-two punch to the public’s consciousness. Americans are ripe right-the-hell NOW for corrective action in the form of education and effective policy.

Therein lies the problem: there is no ongoing nationwide sustained discussion on climate change reaching a critical mass of the American public, and they in turn are not demanding better, effective, and immediate policy. There’s lots of hand-wringing over the damages caused by the drought and hurricane. There’s discussion about improvements to emergency response (tactical), and chatter about building dikes a la Netherlands to protect New York City from future hurricanes (tactical).

Yet there’s only tactical discussion–no society-wide dialog about strategic approaches to climate change.

The challenge to the educated and aware is to change this scenario and fast. The longer it takes for the tractable to become engaged and aware, the more time fossil fuel interests have to re-poison the minds of the public before the next truth-borne bitchslapping.

One of the key threats to this process is the stickiness of misinformation. (Ugh–let’s be frank, it’s the persistence of the stupid.) Fossil fuel’s misinfo takes two forms: deny anthropomorphic component to climate change, and corrupt understanding of climate cycles. These are not mutually exclusive, either.

The first is easy to rebut, however it takes clarity and simplicity scientists generally avoid, and media has ignored when produced.

Take a look at this chart:

The relationship between plant productivity and CO2 is graphed here–note that the CO2 is inverse, though. Increased CO2 levels and subsequent related effects no longer improve plant output; it decreases it (read: decreased food outputs). Humans are the largest controllable variable when looking at global CO2 levels; we can make it or reduce it at will.

And then this chart — note, for example, the area on South American continent where rain forests are under attack.

Red represents area with substantive plant growth & productivity declines; green represents increases in the same. Keep in mind that plant growth in sub-alpine, alpine, and desert areas will not offset losses of more dense plant growth in tropical, sub-tropical, and moderate areas.

CO2, a by-product of fossil fuel combustion, now increases and decreases in tandem with plant growth. Humans control the amount of plants grown or harvested–period. We plant and harvest crops around the entire world, from edible commodities to lumber. If we plant less than we harvest (ex. rain forests cut down and replaced by a lesser amount of crops), it’s anticipated that CO2 level will reflect this change based on the current trend graphed above. (One might reasonably expect a similar shift in O2 levels as well, modifying the percentage of atmospheric CO2.) With adequate reversal of plant loss combined with reduction of anthropomorphic CO2 generation, CO2 to plant productivity may revert to a more positive relationship seen from 1982-1999.

This is simple evidence of man’s impact on the planet, and specifically on climate change-inducing greenhouse gas CO2.

Let’s now refer to past history, to address the issue of climate cycles. Talking heads and think tanks funded by fossil fuel and conservative interests often push back at anthropomorphic roots of climate change by pointing to climate cycles [PDF]. In short, they ignore climate change altogether because it’s natural. (Yeah, don’t worry about those potato chips. They’re all natural.)

But humans have seen the results of oh-so-natural climate change by cycle. In his book, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, Professor Jared Diamond looked at several societies that crashed, as well as possible causes:

Careful analysis of the frequency of droughts in the Maya area shows a tendency for them to recur at intervals of about 208 years. Those drought cycles may result from small variations in the sun’s radiation, possibly made more severe in the Maya area as a result of the rainfall gradient in the Yucatan (drier in the north, wetter in the south) shifting southwards. One might expect those changes in the sun’s radiation to affect not just the Maya region but, to varying degrees, the whole world. In fact, climatologists have noted that some other famous collapses of prehistoric civilizations far from the Maya realm appear to coincide with the peaks of those drought cycles, such as the collapse of the world’s first empire (the Akkadian Empire of Mesopotamia) around 2170 B.C., the collapse of the Moche IV civilization on the Peruvian coast around A.D. 600, and the collapse of the Tiwanaku civilization in the Andes around A.D. 1100.

Diamond’s suspicions about the Mayans’ collapse were recently validated. You’ll note the recent news about the Mayans’ societal collapse–climate change did them in. They abandoned their agrarian-centric way of life and moved to the beach after drought-driven downsizing and rapid de-urbanization.

(Unfortunately for us, it’s not certain if there will be a recognizable beach after the loss of polar ice and the subsequent rise of ocean levels. There certainly won’t be enough beach for all of us, either, assuming more folks will flee the drought-plagued heartland. And who will grow crops for us while we shift around on the beach for a new way of life?)

If Diamond was also correct that the Mayans’ collapse was tied to a cyclical climate change, why aren’t we talking about this cycle and what our response should be? This same 208-year cycle coincides with the de Vries-Suess solar cycle, implicated in other past climate change effects.

Do the math, it’s pretty simple.

Moche IV collapse ~600 A.D.
Classic Maya drought and collapse ~600-800 A.D.
Tiwanaku collapse ~1100 A.D.
Great Famine, Late Middle Ages, Europe 1315-1317 A.D.
30-year drought, Texas-Mexico 1450-1489 A.D.
Spanish famine 1504 A.D.
Worst documented drought, Texas-Mexico 1697-1716 A.D.
Mongolian drought and intense volatility 1723-1778 A.D.
Dust Bowl and drought 1934-1940 A.D.


Note these societal collapses and later major climate events occur in clusters at roughly 208-year cycles. There are other solar cycles [PDF] as well, each of which may result in climate change.

We can see these naturally occurring cycles. We can see the link between CO2 production and human activity. They are not mutually exclusive, and frankly, the former may greatly intensify the effects of the latter. How much of the Mayans’ collapse was due not only to drought, but poor resource management, overpopulation, and slow response to conditions that exacerbated the effects of drought?

At a minimum we should begin a national and global dialog about climate cycles and how we anticipate responding to their effects instead of allowing climate change denialists to use cycles as an excuse to avoid any discussion. Clearly even cycles represent catastrophic risks–we should not ignore them.

A far better approach would be a conversation conducted with a degree of urgency about climate change regardless of its natural or anthropomorphic causes. Sticking our heads in the sand will only result in drowning as hurricanes make landfall and ocean levels rise.

Let’s look at the math again: based on the 208-year de Vries-Suess cycle, the next peak should occur about 2130 A.D with conditions worsening for decades in advance as the peak approaches. If this past handful of years is any indication–and by my guess we are only half the way into the current de Vries-Suess cycle–2130 will be beyond ugly if we do not start our dialog now.

Moche-Mayan-Tiwanaku collapse ugly.

Blogger since 2002, political activist since 2003, geek since birth. Opinions informed by mixed-race, multi-ethnic, cis-female condition, further shaped by kind friends of all persuasions. Sci-tech frenemy, wannabe artist, decent cook, determined author, successful troublemaker. Mother of invention and two excessively smart-assed young adult kids. Attended School of Hard Knocks; Rather Unfortunate Smallish Private Business School in Midwest; Affordable Mid-State Community College w/evening classes. Self-employed at Tiny Consulting Business; previously at Large-ish Chemical Company with HQ in Midwest in multiple marginalizing corporate drone roles, and at Rather Big IT Service Provider as a project manager, preceded by a motley assortment of gigs before the gig economy was a thing. Blogging experience includes a personal blog at the original, managing editor for a state-based news site, and a stint at Firedoglake before landing here at emptywheel as technology’s less-virginal-but-still-accursed Cassandra.
33 replies
  1. marksb says:

    Thanks Rayne for another great post.
    I have a friend who recently received her PhD in the history of ports. Just for grins, she did a quickie analysis of what it will take to allow America’s ports to continue functioning with a meter rise in sea level.
    The ballpark costs were staggering. Raising dock height, road and rail levels, buildings and warehouses, bridges, cranes and yards, everything.
    Long Beach/LA Harbor is one of the largest in the world–to rebuild to handle sea level rise is off the charts.
    At this point I don’t care if it’s human-caused, sun spots, or methane farts from the kraken residing in the deep; this shit is real and we have to start moving on handling it.

  2. Rayne says:

    @marksb: Yeah, the cost of trying to dike off NYC is mindboggling, let along how to deal with protecting its port.

    Can’t even imagine what rising ocean levels will do to naval ports–this is a serious national security/defense problem.

    Timing is effing critical. We don’t know what the tipping point is, and monitoring reports look grim.

    I think this piece in the NYT about Netherland’s dikes contains a pretty important quote:

    The Dutch “way of thinking is completely different from the U.S.,” where disaster relief generally takes precedence over disaster avoidance, said Wim Kuijken, the Dutch government’s senior official for overall water control policy. “The U.S. is excellent at disaster management,” but “working to avoid disaster is completely different from working after a disaster.”

    We’re going to have to learn how to be proactive rather than reactive, and we’re going to have to be ugly with the persistently stupid as we do so.

  3. greengiant says:

    The frontline show indicated how Corp-climate-denial helped replace 2 Republican senators with deniers. Now climate is a no go zone for Republicans, they must toe the denial line.
    That said, cap and trade was a G&S vampire squid wet dream that would have made Enron’s abuse of energy deregulation look like a preschool birthday party.

  4. der says:

    James Inhofe’s god is coming back to set it all right again. 10 years is all they have before the food wars start in the middle latitudes (Tropic of Chaos). The Heartland is ready with their second amendment remedies, wonder if they know bullets are calorie free. Climate denialists, evil or stupid? Stupid I say, evil is found inside the beltway as the Pentagon prepares to protect the job creators, none who know how to harvest much less plant. Our pre-historic ancestors grunted and lived in caves, thank L. Ron Hubbard’s god for the martians who saved the human race.

    I need to drink more.

  5. Mary McCurnin says:

    Don’t forget about the port of New Orleans. Together with Baton Rouge and the industrial corridor it is the largest in the country. It may be the easiest to fix. All we have to do is replenish the wet lands and let the Mississippi River do part of the job by not forcing the river to be a dumping channel but an actual river. See

  6. Rayne says:

    @greengiant: Frontline show good, but it’s preaching to the choir. Particularly aggravating that the program couldn’t flesh out how very co-opted the Republican Party is by fossil fuel money, and that fossil fuel money used Big Tobacco’s playbook. (See’s Tobacco portal.)

    Like Tobacco, with more comprehensive dialog and awareness, we should be able to kick fossil fuel’s ass to the curb.

    @Eric Hodgdon: It may be more accurate, but changing brand names (so to speak) at this point may only confuse Americans who still can’t grok why climate change is more accurate than global warming.

    @der: Keep in mind that the DoD’s Quadrennial Defense Review is actually pretty lucid on the need to migrate from fossil fuels and move to alternative energy. Biggest line item expense to the military is fuel. As for evil–it buys inside the Beltway, but it lives in Corporate America and conveniently spells its name with four letters, beginning with K.

    @Mary McCurnin: NOLA’s port could be a good example of how to use environmental remediation to prevent hurricane-based flood damage, but over the long run this won’t be enough. The wetlands, even if permitted to rebound naturally, won’t survive the rising ocean level. Nor will the Crescent City without even bigger levees along the river and the lakes. Imagine what a three-foot rise (a conservative estimate) would do to the heart of NOLA[PDF], let alone all the parishes fronting the ocean. Breaks my heart just thinking about it.

    (Suddenly have a craving for an oyster poboy and a cold beer…)

  7. marksb says:

    @Mary McCurnin: We can fix them all, as well as most of the coast. And it will cost more money than our political will can imagine–think of how much coast we have.
    The right way to deal with this (as it’s too late to stop the warming and melting of ice) is to start now with planning and construction.
    We won’t, of course; the effort would raise the deficit. Wars=good deficit, infrastructure=bad deficit. Killing is good; saving lives and property is bad. By the time the substance hits the rotating blades it will be too late to do it well and at reasonable cost–we will wait until it has to be done in near-panic mode, and it will be nightmarishly expensive.
    Of course I will not be around for that event, barring aging breakthroughs of course, but my children and grandchildren will be on the hook.
    And we haven’t looked at drought and floods and extreme storms yet. Nor radical changes in forest and crop range, disease, parasites, etc.

  8. Rayne says:

    @marksb: We can’t fix them. It’s impossible. Use the web map visualization tool at this site, model for different scenarios. At 1 meter rise in ocean level, most of Louisiana’s toe is underwater (ironically, the Mississippi River is above sea level at 1 meter). To save Louisiana alone would require a terraforming project so large it would surpass the Great Wall of China in scale; it would be clearly visible from space, infinitely more complex than Netherland’s dikes. We don’t have the ability to do this, even if we had the resources.

    It’s absolutely mission critical that we reduce carbon dioxide emissions immediately; it’s faster to ask the largest economy to reduce CO2 than to try to design and implement a solution for low lying areas. Granted, these two approaches should not be mutually exclusive, but one of the two is much faster. Like right now faster–what can any of us stop consuming right now that will reduce CO2?

  9. Valley Girl says:

    Hi Rayne,

    I hope I can make this a sensible comment, b/c I will have to give links to some things at photobucket.

    So, it turns out that last week I was lecturing in my Human Phys course about “respiration”. I wanted to get the students’ attention.

    Alas, I couldn’t find the article that I failed to bookmark a few years ago- but, its thesis was that the sheer rise in atmospheric CO2 would be the end of the species- not because of the flooding coming from greenhouse gasses, CO2 being prominent, but because humans couldn’t adapt to the increase in CO2 in the air we breathe.

    It’s already known that, yes, there is such a thing as “sick building syndrome”, and that is because of the higher CO2 levels inside poorly ventilated buildings. Many respiratory consequences.

    CO2 is a very small percentage of atmospheric gas. But, the higher the levels are, the less able the body is to exchange O2 for CO2. CO2 is a product of cell metabolism, and cells need to get rid of it, in exchange for O2, to keep functioning. Increased levels of CO2 in the air we breathe is way more important than any reduction in the levels of O2. Increased levels of CO2 are toxic.

    The info posted in photobucket pics come in part from the Mauna Loa site- which has the longest continuous history of atmospheric CO2 measures.

    The text I use puts CO2 parts per million (ppm) at 333 ppm. But, looking at the Mauna Loa graph, it seems that this was the measure back in 1975.

    And, context from some other info:

    Based on above info, this is the likely rise in CO2 ppm for the next several years:

    Sorry for being such a geek here. I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said. Just to say that high water might not be the only problem. And, perhaps, though who can say, maybe not the one that will kill us.


  10. Valley Girl says:


    Thanks! We up too late!

    I gotta crash now, but will check in the am. Oh, I see it’s up now. Thanks for indulging me in my geek mode.


  11. Rayne says:

    @Valley Girl: Oh, I hear you, but here’s my trump in two words: methane clathrate.

    Same stuff caused the explosion on the BP Deep Water Horizon. This is even bigger than ocean levels rising or CO2 suffocation, though it would be suffocation.

    If temperatures warm too quickly, this stuff is going to phase change and exit deposits all over the world to enter atmosphere as gas. It would be much faster than CO2 level increase.

    It’s difficult to explain this stuff to the public; it’s actually easier to use what they’ve already seen and know in order to communicate the degree of threat. Drought accesses the heartland; hurricanes access the coasts.

    How do we cool down atmospheric temp and fast? Planting vegetation would help a lot; it would also act as a carbon sink and dilute CO2 levels by adding oxygen. I’m frankly praying for a couple huge volcanic eruptions on a scale like that which restrained the drought and famine of Middle Ages.

  12. Morris Minor says:

    @Rayne: Iceland to the rescue! An Icelandic volcano erupted in 1783, causing several years of harvest problems, leading in France to…

    We need to terraform Iceland.

  13. marksb says:

    @Rayne: @Rayne: Yes. Agreed. I guess I was thinking in terms of fixing what can be fixed. I have even less confidence that America will be willing to change lifestyle habits and patterns to radically cut the CO2 emissions. We’ll point to the other guys, deny, and generally waste time until our coasts drown. Sigh.

    Population ecology is a bitch.

  14. Rayne says:

    @Morris Minor: Exactly, same kind of eruption in 500s and again in 1300s prevented collapses on a scale like those closer to the equator. I suspect ash dispersion pattern may explain why some of the well-known collapses are above/below 45th parallel.

    The downside to volcanic eruptions is crop failure or reduced output on a short-term basis. Crops don’t need to change, though, and productivity will resume; increased temperatures (or catastrophic decrease in temps as some models suggest) would demand complete change in farming habits. I’ll take the former over the latter.

    EDIT — 10:41 AM EST —
    Ugh, occurs to me that we’ve already had one reprieve due to the effects of the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull. Seriously, what if today’s conditions are mitigated? ~shudder~

    @marksb: We need something equivalent to a Cold War moon mission to encourage participation. I think a program based on such an approach–engaging patriotism among the conservatives, while appealing to the idealism of liberals–would ensure a broad spectrum participation.

    But is our current government up to the task of providing the leadership we need? Color me skeptical.

  15. liberalrob says:

    From the nitpickery dept.: it’s “Anthropogenic” not “Anthropomorphic.” Anthropomorphic means human-looking, like Tom Tomorrow’s Invisible Hand; anthropogenic means human-caused.

    I’m afraid it’s pretty much too late for anything to be done. By the time enough people come to realize that there really is a problem and that we need to be changing how we get our energy, we will have passed the tipping point for 6 degrees C. After that, it’s game over for billions. Color me not only skeptical, but resigned.

  16. x174 says:

    a number of key points need to be acknowledged in assessing the present state of global warming.

    1. the rate of the (anthropogenic) warming is unprecedented.

    Fifty-five million years ago, during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM)—a period of extensive mass extinction—the rate of temperature increase was about 6°C over a 20,000 year period. The present (and projected) rate of mean global temperature increase is currently about 1.5°C (~6°C) per century. Thus, the present rate is therefore 0.015 °C/yr, while during the PETM, it was 0.0003 °C/yr. In other words, the present rate of mean global warming is occurring about 50 times faster than that experienced during the catastrophic PETM.

    2. the forcing due to CO2-induced warming is swamping out the effects of the solar cycle (and explosive volcano) induced changes (See Figure 2 in Meehl et al. 2012: Climate System Response…Journal of Climate 25, 3661-3683)

    3. the Earth System is a complex, highly nonlinear system which experiences innumerable subsystem feedbacks and internal sources of variability; treating it as simple only obfuscates other significant factors.

    4. no one paper can resolve a century-long dispute about what led to the collapse of the Maya, the Ming, or the Akkadians, etc., for that matter. Long-term drought definitely played a major role but there were a lot of other relevant inter-related variables: deforestation, piss-poor policy decisions, long-term resource degradation, overpopulation, etc.

    Otherwise, Rayne, i appreciate your good-faith efforts to initiate a mature discussion on what may be the defining problem of the 21st century.

  17. Rayne says:

    @x174: So…find a way to explain what you just wrote so that the average 6th grader can understand it and acquire a sense of WTAF-urgency. This is crucial to engaging the participation of a critical mass of our society. My point was that we have evidence that’s easily presented without going over the heads of those we need to persuade, and we need to use this right now.

    Think about it: imagine any clerk at your local grocery store, or your neighbors–would they bother to do research on the PETM or consult the Journal of Climate? If they did, would it move them to take action immediately?

    If we’re going to survive what is not the problem of the 21st century but a planetary existential crisis, we’re going to have to engage more than our little already-subscribed choir.

  18. Rayne says:

    @liberalrob: You’re right, I’ll edit that. Had my head stuck in some essays related to anthropomorphization in fiction and it bled over into my nonfiction.

    So…how are you planning to exit this earthly pale, given your resignation to the mortal outcome?

    I’m not going down without a fight; I’ve got kids to think about.

  19. Eric Hodgdon says:


    I understand the non-linear multi-loop feedback system. I’ve only a 2-year degree in electronics. Oh, that’s right average citizen level.

    I don’t dispute what’s been discussed for several decades, but claims of irreversible tipping points are not presented by experiment, just models. As x174 indicates, it’s been worse before, and the Earth is said to be outside the orbital zone for liquid water. Many outside variables still exist and are unaccounted for….

    …However, time is not stopping and these disruptions will increase, and it’s for this reason why re-thinking human society must also come to terms with the economic and political areas, to reach mutual benefit for all, A Big Task.

  20. Rayne says:

    @Eric Hodgdon: Ever hear of the Principles of Computational Equivalence and Computational Irreducibility?

    There is no testing short of doing. If we had enough data from this vastly complex system to simulate, we don’t have enough time.

    We simply have to do the most obvious at full scale, in real time.

    (Now I sound like effing Yoda: There is no try, only do.)

    With regard to “it’s been worse”: May I suggest William Calvin’s A Brain for All Seasons? His premise is that humans evolved to adapt to worse conditions. However, past “worse” climate changes were not rapid onset, with the exception of the Little Ice Age. We cannot evolve fast enough; we can only hope our adaptations of technology will be complete in time. And when evolution and adaptation are cited as responses over time, it’s important to note this does not preclude near-extinction in the process, leaving a meager percentage to carry the species forward.

    (~10% is generally the bottom end of survival rate in case of virulent viruses, for example. At least 10% of a population will be immune and survive; the other 90% are effed. I suppose we could just say Too Bad, So Sad to 90% of humankind and run some bloody tests and models while we wait for their CO2 generation to grind to a halt.)

    With regard to your background versus average American citizens’ ability to understand:

    Education level achieved by U.S. adults

    No high school diploma 14.8%
    High school graduate 85.2%
    Some college (less than 2-yr degree) 53.%

    [Source: U.S. Census, 2005]

    Sorry, you’re not average. Jeebus, dude, you’re at Emptywheel. This isn’t teh FaceBook. Hardly average.

    With regard to average American adult’s ability to comprehend:

    The National Assessment of Adult Literacy survey found that 43% of U.S. adults lacked the basic knowledge and skills needed to read and understand moderately dense texts, summarize, make simple inferences, determine cause and effect, or recognize an author’s purpose (Kutner, Greenberg, & Baer, 2005). More than 60 million (79%) of these adults with low literacy were between 16 and 64 years old, indicating that a large literacy deficit exists among the current and future U.S. workforce (Kutner, et al., 2005; Kutner, et al., 2007; U.S. Census Bureau, 2000). To address the economic, civic, and cultural implications of this literacy deficit, Title II of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA; P.L.105-220) supports basic literacy programs for adults.

    [Source: US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (2010)]

    Seriously, we’re going to have to use pictures and smaller words if we are going to reach a critical mass of the population.

    The fact that you didn’t extract this from my post is an example of the problem. We have pictures, we have evidence, and you’re still asking for trials, tests, models.

  21. x174 says:

    sorry, Rayne, i don’t buy it; it’s not about dumbing down the dialogue, it’s about being careful with the information in terms of accuracy and informing the intelligent 6th graders about the nature of the beast as far as we believe we understand it.

    my comment was directed to you; what about what i wrote didn’t you understand?

    the situation is intrinsically more involved than you led on by focussing on the Seuss/de Vries ~200-year cycle; a lot of people around the world study this every day, and there’s no getting around it: the solar-terrestrial interaction is very complex and highly unpredictable; there are no simple solutions.

  22. Rayne says:

    @x174: It isn’t dumbing down. It’s little different than framing. It’s effective, coherent messaging with urgency.

    Cripes, there’s an entire function of business based on produce placement. It’s called Marketing and PR.

    We don’t have a choice but to go wide, which means most common denominator.

    And that includes children, too–they must be engaged immediately for their own sakes as well as an opportunity to place pressure on parents.

    With regards to the dV-S solar cycle: RE-READ WHAT I SAID. Fossil fuel proponents are misusing cyclical events in order to suppress response. We need to take back the cycles and use them to point out we must respond–even those climate change denialists cannot escape the cycles if they continue to reject the obvious data on anthropogenic climate change.

    Jeebus. There are no simple solutions, but blowing it off because it’s too complex is a death sentence. Have a happy, over-warm, suffocating, starving end-of-life while waiting for more tests/studies/models.

  23. x174 says:

    the dismissive, histrionic tone of your responses to my considered comments does not make your communication more coherent, informative or helpful.

    my sole point is that we must be clear about what the nature of the problem is.

    misdiagnosis and misprescribed procedures and medicines can only lead to a worsening of the situation.

  24. Valley Girl says:


    Hi Rayne,

    Thanks for info re: methane citrate. Also, for freeing my comment.

    And, I think your point, copied below, is excellent.

    ~~It’s difficult to explain this stuff to the public; it’s actually easier to use what they’ve already seen and know in order to communicate the degree of threat.~~

    On the other hand, I wish more were aware of the toxic effects of CO2 and, now, as you have pointed out, methane citrate.

    I may be misguided in saying this, but I think many try to say to themselves “well, even if waters rise, or the intensity of weather increases, I’ll be okay, myself.” Maybe because they live in an area high above sea level, or b/c the effects of intense weather mostly directly affect someone else, that is if they haven’t experienced a weather disaster directly. And they can’t connect the dots re: food supply, crop loss and so forth. Like, well, that’s not nice, but I’ll be okay.

    I don’t know how to accomplish this, but somehow it might seem more intensely personal and cause for concern if they realized that increased CO2, or a huge release of methane citrate would have a very direct negative effect on them. An effect they can’t escape, because air is everywhere. Suffocation.

  25. Rayne says:

    @Valley Girl: One place everyone with a wallet will feel the impact is in the grocery store. I’m working on a future post to that end.

    About 14% of food prices are the raw commodities themselves; if crops fail globally, imagine a 14% increase in prices at a minimum. Assuming, of course, a particular food is available.

    My teen flipped out at the grocery store over the price of apples. Why so expensive, he asked. Because Michigan’s apple crop completely failed–there were NO Michigan apples in the store at all, had to buy Washington State. Between decimated supply and trucking 2000+ miles, the price was absurd, more than many protein-rich foods per pound.

    (Michigan has been the 3rd largest producer of apples in the U.S. or 7-10% of total U.S. production; percentage of Michigan crop lost approached 10-30%. Apples from other states cannot fully replace missing crop since many may not be fit for eating out of hand.)

    You can see from the first graph that CO2 increase no longer assures plant productivity–quite the opposite. We can expect more crop failures and corresponding higher prices.

    Now how to make the case to the public?

  26. Eric Hodgdon says:


    Thank you, I’m not trying to be contrary or a denier. I just now looked over the cycle stuff. And, I’ve followed what Science News has done from the 1980s on. And, I began working in semiconductor manufacturing in 1978, so hi-tech is common to me. (I thought everyone knew that stuff)

    As to my education, it may be why places like Common Dreams is a commenters nightmare in trying to get them to understand what I propose, and so when I come here, the CD effects are still with me, so I may not be up to par here. I naturally equalize to the crowd, so I go through cycles too.

    Climate disruption is not something to be feared, since adapting may induce the political and economic changes required anyway. But, human nature and ‘power’ struggles are already, it seems, taxed to the max in extreme positions better suited in the Middle Ages. I simply desire to leave this planet and its people with a better grasp in managing their futures.

    Political Position
    I’m an Independent, and of parties and dogmas of party positions. I come across the opposite of who’s doing the looking. I see the party system in the USA as holding back the people’s growth.

    Thank you again, and I’ll scrutinize the report more.

  27. Eric Hodgdon says:

    From the USGS report page 1, figure 1, it may seem we are entering a decline in solar activity for the next 55 to 88 years, but the data is limited.

    Going by the 14C production graph, page 1, figure 2a, it’s more problematic, while figure 3a, also indicates a possible decline approaching.

    I’ve known the Earth’s climate is a rather large equation to define. But, it’s apparent human activities do and are affecting it. A concern is to the uncertainty of the future variable outcomes, regardless of human activities, being one where too much effort in reducing our effects may prompt the opposite result from current concerns. While this concern may be slight, human responses to human actions have been one of excess at times, such as, the overreaction to 9/11, or the War on Poverty, or the War on Drugs, which seem and do make conditions worse, as in, 46 million in poverty, and ~2.3 million incarcerated, neither war works.

    As to food production,
    Issue 1
    Coolder temps created problems in food production. (Little Ice Age?)

    Question 1
    The nature of this problem was from trying to grow the same crops as before?

    If so, then a switch to different crops may solve the poorer yields.

    So, might the same approach be used with warmer temps., as in, choose the right crops for the temperature?

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