How will the world be different for the next climate talks?

Countries will be more willing and able to cooperate, due to economic improvement, more evidence change is needed
4% (63 votes)
Countries will be overwhelmed by other issues, due to continuing recession, more defaults
61% (1084 votes)
Ability to cooperate will be about the same as now
30% (535 votes)
5% (92 votes)
Total votes: 1774

In a world where oil production is likely past peak, it seems to me that much of the world is likely to see recession in the next year--especially countries that made large stimulus bailout, and are not now in a position to repeat the stimulus. Also, countries that are declining oil exporters (Britain and Mexico, for example), and countries with big debt problems (Greece, Ireland, Russia, etc) will not do well.

When countries are doing badly themselves, I question whether their interests will be in cooperating with others. It seems like the focus will be on a country's internal issues. But I would like to hear what others think as well.

But ultimately the list of countries that will be doing well should be a fairly short list, I think.

I am not sure if the large stimulus can be repeated. Congresscritters are now concerned about deficits. Kind of odd really - for the past 8 years they acted like they were spending Monopoly money, and now all of a sudden the deficit is a problem..

I do wonder about the possibility of sovereign defaults - if it happens, it would probably start with a smaller nation somewhere or another, and the fallout from that would cascade through the system. I suspect that it is more likely that governments will be forced into austerity programs. State and local governments barely squeaked through the last budget cycle - the next one is likely to be challenging..

It seems sort of that way to me as well. I understand that much of the stimulus fund this year in the US has been used to keep state governments afloat. Without funds to help state governments, tax revenues are down by such a large percentage that it is difficult to keep state programs (like unemployment insurance, Medicaid health insurance for poor people, and road repairs) going.

I understand some states like California have large amounts of debt. It is hard to see how they will keep servicing all of this debt.

One thing that would help solve the US money crunch would be a good ol' fashioned currency raid on Chinese reserves.

The fact the reserves exist makes a raid less likely, but the size of the reserves is so, so tempting. I bet there is a whole department @ 85 Broad trying to figure out how to get their hands on whatever cash the Chinese have. (They have a lot more Treasuries than cash.)

Yr link is right on; there IS a cash shortage, the world- wide claim of dollar deficiency is a scam. The Fed is shoveling cash - as fast as it can make or repatriate it - into the pockets of Wall Street insiders. Cash dollars are flowing toward the Treasury/Fed, coming home to Mama. This is why there are so few bucks in peoples' pockets.

I'm in sort of a bad mood today due to some personal problems so don't any body take this TOO PERSONALLY .

But it's about time that the folks who worship at the altar of the democrats rub thier eyes a little and pay attention to Steve's commentary.

Niether party has ever really stood for fiscal responsibility or the good of the country overall.

It's time for a serious third party.

Or to ban organized parties altogether. No lobby, no campaign donations, no healthcare for Congress, term limits, corporations are NOT individuals with rights, tax only consumption........

Congresscritters are now concerned about deficits. Kind of odd really - for the past 8 years they acted like they were spending Monopoly money, and now all of a sudden the deficit is a problem.

There's good reason to be more concerned now. Prior to last year's crash, the deficits were large but seemingly under control. By contrast, the prospective deficits are unsustainable:

Chart is wrong.
CBO US gov't deficit in 2009 is 1587 billion, 2010 is 1381 billion, 2011 is 921 billion and 590 billion in 2012.

The U.S. budget situation has deteriorated significantly since 2001, when the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) forecast average annual surpluses of approximately $850 billion from 2009-2012. The average deficit forecast in each of those years is now approximately $1,215 billion. The New York Times analyzed this roughly $2 trillion "swing," separating the causes into four major categories along with their share:

Recessions or the business cycle (37%);
Policies enacted by President Bush (33%);
Policies enacted by President Bush and supported or extended by President Obama (20%); and
New policies from President Obama (10%).
CBO data is based only on current law, so policy proposals that have yet to be made law are not included in their analysis. The article concluded that President Obama's decisions accounted for only a "sliver" of the deterioration, but that he "...does not have a realistic plan for reducing the deficit..."[42]

Hi Gail, I have to agree with you. I have run numbers on debt service and continued borrowing (beggar thy neighbor) scenarios and I see no way out without great pain. Couple this debt service along with increased military expenditures, nightmares are all that remain. I lost any hope of stabilizing economies when President Obama increased spending in Afghanistan. The one big question near term is how we respond to Mexico's loss of production and the path we take?

I voted other, my choice being something of a combination of the first and second choices i.e. Countries will be more willing to cooperate as evidence mounts that change is needed, despite being overwhelmed by other issues, due to continuing recession, more defaults.

IMHO both Peak Oil and AGW/CC are phenomenon that are not going to go away or fix themselves. On the contrary. I think it is going to become harder to deny either of them as time goes by and they become more obvious. Hopefully mankind will wake up to the folly of our ways and seek to do something to decouple "the pursuit of happiness" from the consumption of things, in particular fossil fuel energy.

In my neck of the woods, our government having been elected barely two years ago, is in a position where it has no choice but to institute sweeping new tax measures to try and reduce it's budget deficit. In the meantime the general public is still oblivious to the real nature of the challenges we face. My neighbor is attributing the hardship to the ineptitude or wickedness of the government. People just don't get it.

There are two epiphanies that need to be experienced before any meaningful change of attitudes can take place. First society has to come to grips with the true value of FF energy and it's finite nature. Secondly the true cost to our planet of the wanton consumption of this FF energy must be acknowledged. Unfortunately neither of these thoughts seem to sit well with our apparent natural instincts to "be fruitful and multiply". We may well indeed be no smarter than yeast.

Alan from the islands

You've nailed it. People won't wake up to the realities of the situation until they are staring it in the face. The evidence is mounting -- not fast enough for most of us, but it is acquiring increasing force.

How about: "Countries will be more willing and able to cooperate, due to continuing recession, more defaults"?

A good, convincing depression might convince people that we have a problem that requires some cooperation rather than posturing and throwing one's weight around, and prod them to examine other issues such as oil depletion as well. (I know, I'm such an optimist.)

I wish I could agree Keith. But most folks I know who are unemployed seem to care less about the rest of the world then when they were happier. I know it's an extreme example but a sever depression encourged the German people to back a mad man with rather ugly results. I would have hoped that the economic crisis we just went through would get the attention you would hope for. Doesn't seem like that worked too well. Difficult for me to be very optimistic...sorry.

I agree Rock. It took a world war and oil to get us out of the last depression. I don't see an environmental movement comming out of this one. When economies go south, the environment always seems to take the brunt. The depression gave us TVA, The '80s recession gave us Reaganomics. This time, who knows? Whatever it is, I don't think it's going to solve climate change.

Politically speaking, "peak oil" is a growth industry.

It's true that when economies go south, the environment takes the brunt. However, when the economy does well, the environment takes an even worse hit. And I thought that TVA was pretty cool. It seems to beat building coal plants.

TVA has some of the biggest coal plants in the country (11, I believe)

and their environmental record isn't stellar:

They also have Nukes including one that'll be the first new unit startup in this century, in the U.S., I believe:

I live near a TVA lake and think they are pretty cool myself, but I can't deny the ecological impact that the project has caused, millions of acres of forest underwater.

Gotta take the bad with the good, it seems.

I grew up in TVA country. If you follow your link, it appears that nukes and coal came well after the Depression. Right, hydropower shouldn't be followed blindly (see current WorldWatch magazine), but even today Norris Dam is primarily for flood control, not electricity generation, if that park ranger I asked at Norris had it right.

Wasn't that coal spill just awful! I couldn't believe it.


Primary pupose was "watershed management", but electrical generation was a strong second (economic stimulas may have been the underlying cause). Most of the electricity produced by TVA isn't used regionally. It supplies the Northeast megalopolis. The available cheap power also promoted a lot of manufacturing in southern Appalachia, most of which has gone overseas in the last 30 or so years.
Anyhow, the environment doesn't care. Still pretty much loose/loose for the snail darters.

No need to apologize! This is not a slam dunk for optimism or pessimism. We have a chaotic, unstable situation in which many different types of very different and stable futures (good and bad) are possible. Since the "stability" of the past 60 years or so is precisely the source of our current problems, I tend to be optimistic.

If we're talking historical parallels, the Great Depression brought Hitler to power, but on the other hand, it encouraged the U. S. to elect FDR. Even in Germany, the situation could have turned out much differently, Hitler was losing ground in the elections when he was brought to power by those industrialist guys. The dominant medium at that time was radio, not the internet. Just some things to think about.

So true Keith...many different paths are possible. But it's handy to remember some of the details: A large segment of Americans were statisfied to let Germany enslave Europe as long as it didn't threaten us directly. These days I can't see our political leadership take any course other then the will of the majority. And I don't trust the majority when it comes to them accepting significant suffering.

I'm not a big fan of our (U. S.) current leadership or the so-called majority. Dangers abound. Very, very bad results are possible.

It was a chaotic time. FDR had the U. S. pretty thickly involved in Europe before Pearl Harbor what with "lend lease." We were lucky, perhaps. But it's a game worth playing, I think.

The U.S. Congress in the past week have passed: a general budget of 1.4 trillion dollars, a Defense spending bill of 695 billion dollars and are poised to approve 350 billion dollars for continued unemployment benefits, and 150 billion for the new jobs stimulus. The so called Health Care bill contains untold billions in pork to secure votes from Sen Nelson and Landrieu (sp?)/ The Treasury must roll over 3.5 trillion dollars of short term debt within a few months and this of course does not include the cost of the wars. The U.S. government at this time is extremely limited on options for climate change amelioration and will be even more limited when the rest of the world finally realizes that as far as the dollar goes its game over.

More willing to cooperate, less ability to do anything effective.

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Depends on:

1) Effectiveness of the well-funded denialist machine.
2) Effectiveness of those who know how dire the threat is
3) Number and severity of major events that can reasonably be connected with CC.

Number two means that it is partly up to you.

1)I'd say the climate scientists are pretty well funded too. Lets face the facts here - what else would they do if the funding dried up? Do you realise the size of the 'climate industry' now? Don't you think that the climategate e-mails are a good example of the loss of impartiality in the matter? Everyone on both sides has vested interests.

2) No body knows how dire the threat is. Even the best payed climate scientists aren't sure.

3) Have you not noticed - all extreme weather events these days are due to climate change - how short the human memory is. You think the weather started getting dire around 1850? Get real.

Now don't get me wrong I'm not a denier - the current temperature trends do point to a mix of human causation amongst others, but that is not what this is about, is it? It's about what we are able to do about it.

Having predicted correctly that the Copenhagen would be complete waste of time I feel fairly well qualified in saying any future meetings in the next 10 years (in terms of raw CO2 reducing power) will also be a complete waste of time.


!) Hmmm, the richest corporation in the history of money versus a few accademics. Yeah, the latter are surely the ones wielding all the serious capital there [/sarcasm].

2) Everyone but denialist know that it is a very serious threat. "best paid scientist" hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

3) Do you think that temperatures in the hundred teens in northern Europe is normal? How about 100 and 500 year event happening every other year? Get really real.

1) Your'e evading my question. The answer is it'sa multi-billion pound/dollar industry. SO if indeed it's just a few academics then they must be pretty rich by now.

2)What % of the worlds people do you think can be pigeon-holed as denialist? That puts an interesting slant on your term 'everyone'.

3)I will get very real. Historians have recorded umpteen climate 'upsets' in recent history throughout all of the warm interglacial that we luckily find ourselves living in. We just document it and measure it better so it seems all that much 'greater'. It was CCPO who has stated one of the most prophetic things I've ever read with respect to CC - that is we not only have to limit C02 - we will also have to geoengineer the planet in the long term as Earths climeate will eventually pass into a glacial period. ie Mother Earth does not want to play ball. We just help cock it's balance that bit quicker.

Academics are academics. They can't overnight become demogogues.

May be a good portion of reasearch dollars should go to marketing (including Russian hackers/mafia etc). But that will never happen as reasearch dollars are always well accounted for unlike big oil money.

Keeping in mind also what is in the mind of every scientist, before they speak or write: if they lose their credibility, they lose everything.

Any scenario that proposes the "scientific community" has conspired to falsify what we have only to look out our windows to verify - the weather - is absurd. As a whole, they are conservative in their estimates, almost to a fault.

I would suggest, if you actually have a mind open enough to consider scientific evidence, that you read Jim Hansens book (Storms of my Grandchildren)that was just published.

Then let's see what you come back and say.

The science of human caused climate change is rock solid.

The denialists are not just committing suicide for your grandchildren (why should they give a crap about you and yours anyway) they are committing suicide for their own grandchildren (the moral implications of this are unspeakable).

I always find it amusing when people go into 'answer by rote' mode. It's like an immune response to an attitude they don't like.

I don't have any problem accepting AGW theory as you might have noted had you read my other posts. The probelm is.....see my other threads here..

Spend some time on the videos here
Greenman is Peter Sinclair. He does an excellent job in exposing the lies promulgate by the denial community. And he is entertaining. The deceptions and outright lies by the deniers are stunning in their audacity.

Trust me, the 'denial community' is the smallest hurdle you have to get over. See my list on this thread numbered 1-7 as examples of what people, society etc...must do...

Most of my friends, family associates, my dentist my dog, my headlice........none of them accept or understand the sheer magnitude of the change necessary to limit our C02 to 'reasonable levels'.

They won't do it. And so we will eitehr burn or not...society may collaspe or it may not. In the grand scheme of things, this planet is better off without homo-sapien and will recover shortly after our demise...Problem solved.


They won't do it. And so we will eitehr burn or not...society may collaspe or it may not. In the grand scheme of things, this planet is better off without homo-sapien and will recover shortly after our demise...Problem solved.

Yes, yes, yes and yes, yes,yes.
To quote Vonnegut "So it goes" I think we are now living a Vonnegut type reality....

The whole 'climate industry' argument is so vacuous. As a scientist, I know that there are a lot of other scientists out there studying a lot of different things. No one talks about the 'fruit fly science industry' or the 'nitrogen fixation by blue-green algae' science industry. Both are as extensive as climate science, as are thousands of other avenues of study.

It's classic AM radio blowhard talking points that sounds good to simple-minded folks who are ignorant about science.

No one talks about the 'fruit fly science industry' or the 'nitrogen fixation by blue-green algae' science industry. Both are as extensive as climate science

Dear got2surf, if you provide me with your real name AND evidence to back up that statement I will try and piece my sides back together, once i've finished rolling all around the floor.

It's classic AM radio blowhard talking points that sounds good to simple-minded folks who are ignorant about science.

My bad.Here was me thinking it was a mullti-billion pound indusrty that had goverments from all round the world meeting at Copenhagen pretending to do something about it. Turns out it was actually a hunting party for bored jobless students.


Oh Marco! This is way too easy. Thank you for helping me make my point!

Here's a link (2 seconds on Google) to the 50th Annual Drosophila (fruit-fly) conference.

Note: 50th annual...

Don'tcha think that some of these other avenues of science, involving many times more people than climate science, that have been around much longer, might be "as extensive as climate science". Don't you?

You are conflating "governments trying to do something" with "climate science". Very different things. Lack of clarity by you.

By definition, science is collaborative, open, and skeptical. The events in Copenhagen involve politics, the science is something different. You brought up the 'climate science industry'. I simply pointed out that's a meaningless blowhard talking point.

I did actually stop laughing long enough to click your link and shortly after re-commenced laughing.

Lets get to the real nitty gritty - If society realises the full implication of decarbonising an entire planet whose whole existence has fossil fuel to thank, then how are you going to get 192 governments to agree to just drop all that black stuff at the drop of a hat?

And we reach a conclusion: as I stated many times before. Copenhagen is dead and any future accord will be meaningless.

I hate re-stating myself but I wrote this last week:

No one is willing to adress the big white Elepahnt in the room: what must the people do. We are the end users: how do our lives have to change? No one wants to adress this question. No politician wants to be the one telling the populace this:

1) Capitalism and the free market economy and Globalisation must go into reverse.
2) Your standard of living must be reduced.
3) You must consume less and shop less.
4) You must live in smaller homes.
5) You must give up most of your driving.
6) You must forego all above to allow developing nation to attain some of above.
7) YOu must reduce the amount of children you have.

I can make the list WAY longer if any of you want to feel more pain.
If any of you are under the delusion that it needn't be too bad to reduce your C02 footprint to an 'acceptable level' then you really havn't listend to what the energy people at TOD have told you.

So listen to me Climate zealots, deniers, sceptics, engineers, bus drivers, hypocrites, housewives...everybody must make cuts yet none of us are going to do becasue it would mean giving up too much of our lifestyles for it to be effective in curbing C02 to a 'safe' level.

I really hope some of you out there are realists.

1) According to the leaked emails CRU received about 2 million Euro for it's research each year. How many scientists, supporting staff and other expenses can one afford with this? I work at a company with 12 academics (no Dr's or Professors though) and 4 supporting staff which has a turnover of ~2 million. So I guess the CRU has less then 10 academics on the payroll, hardly a group that can engage in a powerfull lobby compared to e.g. the big energy companies.

To me. the likes of Watts, Eschenbach and McIntyre have shown little interest in science but more in gossip and Watts having his book published by The Heartland Institute doesn't give him much credit as a neutral sceptic either.

2) Do you require a 100% certainty before accepting the evidence provided by scientists?

3) Noone is saying that all extreme weather is due to AGW, science is just saying that there is a greater change on extreme weather if the earth warms up. Is a single robbery proof of increased criminality? No, but year in year out increased number of robberies would.

It's very good to be a sceptic, it's scepticism that makes or breaks science. There is however a moment at which one has to say: there is sufficient/overwhelming evidence that there is GW and that we're the cause of it. The scientific community thinks we have reached that point some time ago already. Does the content of the hacked CRU emails change this, well not for me, in fact it enhances it.

I too predicted that Copenhagen would be a fail. I admit, I did not come to that conclusion myself however, but read the claim from Hermann Scheer' book: Energy Autonomy (2007) where he says that global politics won't agree on drastic changes because of all the differences in interests and therefore change will have to come from the bottom up. I considered that as a valid argument and Kyoto/Copenhagen confirms it.

So instead of passively waiting for our governments to do something (and then probably complain about it), we have to take responsibility ourselves. There are lot's of things any individual can do to lower it's greenhouse (oil) output. Many examples have been given on TOD about this already.

Copenhagen was the chance to act collectively. The problem requires collective action. I don't buy that 'if every individual' line....just too many people not interested in the greater good of the collective. We are genetically programmed this way(that is not an excuse the the way).

Alright....maybe Ants have the right idea!!

Why the problem might best be tackled collectively and Copenhagen was the chance to act, history had already shown that massive political conferences with opposing interests doesn't yield anything and Copenhagen just acknowledges that. If we are be an Ant colony Copenhagen would be an success because there would be just one powerful leader telling the rest what to do.

Unfortunately we are not an Ant colony but a bunch of individuals. If the collective cannot act in time, then there is no other option then to act bottom up. If that fails too then we're screwed, well our children and grandchildren would. Everyone should ask himself: Will I tell my grandchildren: "I did nothing because I thought the price was too high"?

Or your grandchildren could say "he did all he could. He showed us the way". People still have a choice as to how they will be remembered in their tiny little piece of history.

I suspect humans are more closely related to grasshoppers (locusts?).

Heh, I love cynical reactions :-)

I bet my grandchildren would be very happy with my shining path towards a barren earth where every resource of the planet has either been burned so they don't have to buy winter clothes or is concentrated on African garbage disposal mountains.

Grasshoppers is a good description indeed.

Population must drastically reduce meaning you will not have any grandchildren to remember you.

I attended my first climate change talk in 1982. Spent many years living in Alaska where the changes were obvious years ago. So I've been watching this and peak oil come on for yrs. I see the same bickering going on with very little change.

Contrary to many, I don't believe the human animal adjusts well at all. There are way too many examples of people sitting in one place and perishing rather than recognizing the signs and doing something. To me, change happens in layers. There is a layer that sees the warning signs early and talk about it. They are met with ridicule. Very, very slowly additional layers become aware with the masses only when they are dying. Those with the most to lose are the slowest to change. Americans will be the last in this case. "Slow learners" I call them. Right now we are willing to sacrifice our own young and foreign populations by the millions so we can have cheap gas. In my lifetime, I've seen way too many people ignore warning signs to their death.

I'm old and will be gone but I figure in 2-3 decades there may be enough to make things happen. Personally, I think it is too late now. And as far as the fetish with humans surviving, who cares except us. The universe will survive just fine without us. Did before and will after. Just another passing species in the scope of things.

Some would call this a "doomer" point of view. I've come to see it as the natural course of things. Whether we like it or not, we are an endangered species. As my daughter says "I'm too busy to pay attention to these things". So be it.

Well said, Zeke.

I voted "other" for reasons similar to those you discuss. Yes, other issues will distract/overwhelm participants around future climate talks. But climate change plays against our basic human nature. Tragedy of the commons. High discount rate. Resistance to change. Etc.

As the energy squeeze takes hold, there will be no good options. The cost of the various choices will force our hands. We will burn every hydrocarbon we can, as well as doing everything else. And it won't be enough. We will huddle in the cold, in the dark.

I'm not a doomer, I'm a realist. I realize that for the most part, we're doomed.



My 1st post, been reading TOD for a while now. I bet you've summarized how many feel after watching the all-to-predictable (lack-of) results of Copenhagen. But while serious climate change may be decades away, we might not have to wait 2-3 decades for peak oil to bite.

I still don't get it with PO. There looks to be pretty clear evidence that there should be real concern over future oil supply, yet it's virtually a non-issue in terms of public attention. In Australia the leader of our opposition Party apparently is not even aware of PO, and I'd say that's pretty typical.

I still don't get it with PO.

I wish I could find the joke on the internet, but no joy at the moment.

Anyway, it goes something like this.

A middle school history teacher has just finished the lesson plan about the Great Continental Railroad and gives the students a homework task:

Pretend you were a Chinese laborer writing home about your experiences. What would your letter say?

So of course, one wise guy student submits something like at the right.

The connection to Peak Oil is this: If you do not have pre-training to decode the message, it looks like gobbledygook to you.

That's the story of Peak Oil.

Most people simply don't have the pre-training to understand the message.

Instead our message reads something like this to them: We are crazy lunes who think the sky is falling, the sky is falling,the sky is falling,the sky is falling, ...

Every country knows that the only way to cut carbon emissions is to ration fossil fuels and no one wants to be the first to do it. Within a few years the reality of peak oil will kick in and any other problem and especially financial problems will seem trivial. As life styles become more impoverished climate change problems will be pushed way down on the priority list. I see that the world will continue to use fossil fuels as much as possible and will add in renewables and nukes in increasing amounts since that will be the only way to even keep production of goods at only an austere level.

Actually, the only way to cut carbon emissions is to stop un-sequestering safely sequestered carbon. Once coal is mined, it will be burned.

In theory, the major coal producers could get to together and agree to rapidly phase out coal. It we can agree in principle to eventually eliminate nuclear weapons, we should be able to do the same here.

Unfortunately dohboi we'll never agree to eliminate all nuclear weapons IMHO. Likewise we will never stop using the cheapest available hydrocarbon to support our economies. And coal seems to hold that unfortunate future role. In the last century mankind was willing to kill over a quarter billion people for the sake of economic growth. I just don't think our genetic code has changed sufficiently to alter such impulses

"we'll never agree to eliminate all nuclear weapons"
Perhaps not, but that is now the stated goal of the president of one of the two great nuclear powers.

"we will never stop using the cheapest available hydrocarbon to support our economies"

I believe you are likely right. As I've said before, one of the first uses of oil was to facilitate coal mining, and it will likely be one of its last uses.

But until we at least in principle and as a goal plan on vastly reducing our rate of coal extraction, all talk of controling global warming will just be hot air (or dare I say it, greenhouse gasses?).

We have to start recognizing CC as being as threatening as nuclear holocaust. We are obviously not there yet.

The level of AGW denial is huge and growing not the opposite.

Then if they get any degree of understanding they connect input with output and say that Peak Oil will solve AGW.

Then they say that we are all starting to get it, the change that needs to happen is all around us already, just look at all the NGO that are cropping up all around the world, Hip Hip Hooray. (the reality is that 90% of what those NGO sustain is themselves).

Until humanity takes control of money, money (and the lack thereof) will control our destiny.

Unfortunately money is closely tied to energy and standard of living so in a round about way you are wrong about Peak oil not beaing able to solve AGW. OTOH....if we all go after the oil under the artcic, shale, more coal, clathrates, sands they you are most definitely correct and peak oil will most definitely not solve AGW.

The failure of the climate talks confirms (to everyone's dismay and no one's surprise) that the world's governing institutions are not up to the task.

"Luckily" (and I use the word in its most extremely ironic sense) the most likely future is catastrophic failure of carbon wasteful economic/political systems in time to save human life on earth. In either case, that's pretty much out of our hands now. Given the nature of our species it was probably never in our hands in the first place... but hey, it was worth a try (we DO love the grand gesture!)

On the global action scale, I fear that our role at this point is little more than bearing witness to calamity. We now have more serious business to get down to.

At some point the occupants of sinking ships realize that the most truly beneficial activity is not to save the ship, but to save lives. The question then becomes, how big of a group can we depend upon to do the right things to save the most people?

In other words, since we can't control global warming, let's band together as best we can to survive it. Sort of like weather in general, isn't it? You don't listen to the Weather Channel to STOP hurricanes and blizzards... you do it to COPE with them.

Instead of thinking locally and acting globally, let's just think... and act.

Given the nature of our species it was probably never in our hands in the first place... but hey, it was worth a try (we DO love the grand gesture!)

Bravo! Couldn't have said it better myself.

I voted other because I don't believe anyone can know anything about the future.

I haven't been following this Copenhagen Conference thing too much but I understand our President (US) went over there and got a historic agreement. How bout that?

COP15 was a failure. There was some sort of vague political agreement - that could have been done over emails.

We are looking at a century of real class war on a global scale.

Yep 100% correct, and am I going to voluntarily give up some of my stadard of living to someone in Nigeria who currently lives in a mud hut? no. Any others out there who think I am callous and unhumanitarian - take a real close look in the mirror and ask yourself - Am I willing to give up my standard of live so that develpoing member countries can improve theirs?

It really boils down to this, which brings me onto another bug-bear - developing nations have tried to hijack these talks so they can get a bit richer. It is a delusion if you think these leaders are really worried bout their populace - most of the developed world is highly corrupt. These leader couldn't care less except for extra wealth.


I am wondering if perhaps we have passed peak "climate change" and "anthropogenic global warming" and "global warming" discussion in newspapers as well. The Copenhagen convention has been keeping interest in the subject up. But once this passes, I wonder if there will be other issues (financial issues perhaps) that will be of greater concern.

If there is likely not the political will to do much of anything collectively, I wonder whether newspapers will keep the issue in the limelight.

These are some links to discussion counts. It looks like discussion may have peaked in 2007.

It was fun while it lasted!

That's because the real battle here is not between the deniers and believers in AGW. People have pretty much stopped debating the reality of global warming (except in public, where the debate is still winding down).

The real debate now is within the believers' camp, between the moderates and the radicals. As it becomes clear that incrementalism has failed (and with increasing complications such as continuing recessions and depressions), people like James Hansen will get the upper hand and heretofore "responsible" groups will start casting about for more radical solutions.

(Not to worry: my optimism is incurable, but apparently not infectious.)

The way I see it: Me! Me! Me! Me!

Even the discussions about AGW and Copenhagen are mostly about Me!. The denying Me! are scared about higher taxes or lower standards of living, the alarming Me! are scared about the future of their kids or the value of their e.g. low-lying properties. The developing Me! are scared about growing less and play the underdog to get more money, the developed Me! are scared about having less, the industrial Me! are scared about less profit.

So now that the big-time decision making is over again Me! can go back to trying to get that 46" LED TV, other gadgets, a second or third big SUV, airtravels to either snow/sun, create a new bubble to get rich quick, etc.

I wonder whether newspapers will keep the issue in the limelight.

They will whether they like it or not. Both peak oil and global warming are physical processes which are basically out of our control with the current set of political leaders. I expect global warming to produce more weird weather and other yet unforeseeable surprises which will demonstrate that we are on the fastest path to a different planet Earth and force us to take action.

So these events will be the drivers, not conferences and Parliamentary debates. And these events will take place because there is so much CO2 already in the atmosphere that we'll have another 0.6 degrees warming even if the whole world stopped burning fossil fuels tomorrow. So that is a doubling of what we had since the industrial revolution. Global warming is non linear, so impacts will not just double but may be triple or quadruple. That is why I voted for "other".

Those snow storms on the East coast of the US, for example, come close to what NASA climatologist James Hansen describes in his book "Storms of my Grandchildren" which I am reading just now. Excerpt from pages 254-255:

One of the ratchetings will be the development of more powerful and destructive mid latitude or frontal cyclones. Frontal storms will be more powerful, because they depend upon the temperature difference between the cold and warm air masses as well as upon the amount of moisture in the atmosphere behind the warm front. This intensification of frontal cyclones will be an effect of melting ice sheets, once ice sheets begin to disintegrate rapidly enough to keep regional ocean surface temperature from rising as fast as continental temperatures and temperatures at lower latitudes. The most important point is that there will be places and occasions in which the warm air masses will be loaded with far more water vapor than would be the case in a cooler world.

A taste of this ratcheting's future consequences was provided by the cyclonic blizzard , the Super storm, that hit North America in mid March 1993. That storm, referred to in some regions as the "Storm of the Century" was caused by a collision of a cold Arctic air mass and a moisture laden low pressure air mass from the Gulf of Mexico.....

The party is over or surely near over for sure. But some folks just don't get it. Inhofe went to Copenhagen to uncover the truth. No one recognized him or paid any attention to him, so he stepped forward into a group of reporters and explained that global warming was a hoax that got its start at the UN. One of the reporters recanted, "That's rediculous. You're rediculous!" That was on Rachel Maddow's show last night.

Since the world seems content with acting like they are attempting to maybe do something about global warming and or peak oil, wouldn't it seem appropriate if both dovetailed at some tipping point in unison? Have an oil supply crunch in 2012 as suggested here on TOD, simultaneously occurring with the wholesale release of methane and CO2 from the tundra of Siberia and Alaska. As limited amounts of available fuel sell for 10.79 a gallon, the CO2 level rises 105 ppm in one year!

Then we get a thousand reporters to bus in to Inhofe's town to meet with him and ask if he finally 'believes' in global warming, while also sending a thousand reporters to CERA to ask them if they agree oil has past peak. At least we'll get a laugh from their response or lack thereof. One last laugh to finish the party off.

The skeptics movie ....

the producers sum up all their points in this ..

Many folks are upset with the environmentalists telling them they have to change there lifestyles to protect the environment.

that group seems to be growing.

I chose "will be about the same" because I think the ability could hardly get much lower than it already is. What we've seen at Copenhagen is basically mere talk.

I remain very unsure of what the worst case scenario is. Either end of the oil age could create a deep crisis that wipes out industrial civilization so quickly that emissions are vastly reduced, or the human species could simply devour so much coal and wood to replace oil that emissions will worsen with even more direct effects on ecosystems (imagine deforestation a la Easter Island, only globally).

Of course I retain some hope of wind and solar mitigating both the shortage and the ecological devastation.

More cooperation? Certainly not. We will have resource wars. The USA are already involved in 2 wars to secure future oil supplies. The Iraq and Afghanistan wars are all about oil. These criminals will probably attack Iran and Pakistan and many other countries in the future. The Brits will be willing accomplices the Europeans will be pressured and dragged into them.

Actually, while what you say is painfully obvious regarding Iraq, it's harder to see exactly why the US is in Afghanistan (or Pakistan). The advantages of controlling that country only indirectly bear on significant oil and gas resources. There are probably other, less costly strategies for, say, obtaining Turkmenistan's gas. For example, detente with Iran, radical as that may be. (US support for Georgia vs. Russia has something to do with this, too.) I dare say that this is why the Cheney...excuse me, the Bush administration basically turned its back on Af/Pak. For Obama, it is about proving that he is not too liberal on defense issues, or that we can finish something we started, or trying to capture bin Laden and be a hero, or something like that...

Pentagon needs an endless war to keep buying weapons (sending money to their generals), and the White House needs an endless war to create a 1984 like society.

There is no better place to fight an endless war than Afghanistan (except, pehaps by India and Pakistan).

Countries will be more willing to cooperate, due to extreme climate changes/evidence of catastrophic problems, but due to economic difficulties/collapse the results will be severely limited.

Is it 7 years till the next CCconf?
I still think by 2016 (maybe 2013) the changes in our atmosphere and oceans will be so obvious that it will impossible to convince all but the most fundamentally religious/anthropocentric that we're pretty well screwed.

it will impossible to convince all but the most fundamentally religious/anthropocentric that we're pretty well screwed.

Didn't you really mean not pretty well screwed?

Alan from the islands

Yep, that would be a typo.

Here is Jim Hansen's most recent reply to what has been going on ...

plus all the comments you could imagine ...

A serious plan to address global warming requires that politicians tell the truth. The truth is that we will need to consume way less stuff, to radically change the way we get around, to spend hundreds of billions retrofiting our housing stock, to desuburbanize, and to learn to live in an economy that is steady state if notndeclining.

Politicians at Copenhagen spouted the happy talk that new technology would save us all. Technology will be helpful but will not be sufficient. Unless forced at gun point, people will not abandon what they see as their birthright, the pursuit and consumption of excess.

There are exceptions. There are people who have gladly changed their mode of living in order to minimize their carbon footprint. Perhaps some of the stimulus money should be spent to see what makes these people tic.

Copenhagen was our last chance. We have or will shortly reach the tipping point. Shame on those who are helping to seal our disastrous fate.

Copenhagen was not about rich vs poor but about following the science or not. Shame on Obama for calling this a breakthrough. Step one of recovery is admitting you have a problem. He has not reached step one.

Ten thousand years into the Holocene and we have overpopulated the planet, mortally wounded our own habitat, and yet spend most of our resources on killing each other.

Most people have no idea what the Holocene is, whether or not we have a population problem, the extent of habitat destruction, or why we spend so much on weapons and war.

Most people do not know enough to care .... or care enough to know.

We will focus more on meta-narratives that create ghoulish straw men as Evildoers we must kill. We meld religion, news, information, and entertainment into a poison stew of propaganda.

My son and I watched part of the WWF (or a big pro-wrestling corporation WWW? who knows?) This televised event managed to meld together a consumerist version of Christmas with sexy women, juiced up stunt men, and lots of talk about love for country and for the military.

Cameras panned the faces of soldiers and did close ups of Colonel So-and-So all the while a constant patter of God-Bless-America drivel sloshed from tear-jerking hand-over-heart "love" for country and military to kick-ass high-testosterone body-slamming and fake fighting before the cheering crowd. The entertainers also got to fire big automatic weapons, and at least one soldier was filmed mock wrestling one of those willing and giggling artificial wrestling "Divas."

For the ideological but not so deeply religious, the show was great propaganda theater. For the deeply religious "patriot" the show was just good old fashioned entertainment -- letting off a little steam.

We slip militarism into every sporting event in the USA, combined with the pseudo-Christian narrative. The colors are presented, the national anthem is sung, and "God Bless America" is often sung or or the phrase finds its way into the show as part of the pageantry.

The merger of religion, patriotism, and entertainment culture is just what we need to keep ourselves focused on "full spectrum global domination" to used Rumsfeld's term.

We will scapegoat and fight and "own" all the resources we can grab -- as will others -- and it is this violence that will undo us. We do not even see our own violence for what it is. We mistake it for strength and virtue.


The view from Australia of the over-the-top patriotism in the US is disturbing. I take comfort from the fact that it is a passing phase. The US is losing its world dominance, but has not yet lost it. Therefore, the people running the system feel obliged to work harder at keeping the patriotism up, at maintaining the image of power and of national unity. At some stage, the US will be forced to accept that its dominance is no more, and its empire is falling away. At this point, the US will start becoming a much more likeable country for the rest of the world.

Like many people outside the US, I see the evil that Uncle Sam does and become angry. Unlike many, however, I do not attribute it to any inherent evil in the people of the US. Rather, it goes with the territory of being the single most powerful country. Study the history of Britain in the period from 1750 to 1930 and you'll see the evil done by the "Empire on which the Sun Never Sets" ... and the blood never dried.

I'm not looking forward to China's turn.


I contemplate the way that many newly middle-class people embrace a more American Dream lifestyle.

More meat, motorcycles, and cars as soon as possible.

The notion that even 1 or 2 billion people can live on the planet with an American Dream lifestyle is absurd, let alone 7 to 10 billion people.

Meanwhile we mostly just talk about Climate Change and myriad other aspects of our species impact on the planet. Much talk with little action makes us feel better.

Simultaneous to this we expand our military spending at every opportunity. The USA already has over 180,000 in Afghanistan if we include private contractors, I believe. We will send more troops and more unmanned drones. The war is endless and will move around like a wobbling top in that region as well as in others.

We suck the resources out of the planet to keep this huge war going, and to keep at least some people chasing the carrot and avoiding the stick in the economy that is just an extension of the war in another dimension.

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James Hansen on David Letterman