Thinking Rationally About Climate Change: #FtBCon liveblogging by @CultOfCourtney

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9 AM – 10 AM John Abraham & Greg Laden are discussing climate change hereGet the latest news on climate change and find out why it’s important. (Blogged by Courtney)

9:00 – John has a neat graph showing the thickness of ice (I believe in the Antarctic, but I missed that). We have lost about 70% of the volume of ice and are rapidly moving toward an ice-free zone during the summer months.

The ice is so thin that storms are breaking it apart and speeding up the melting process.

9:10 – Greg & John are talking about the jet stream and how this has real-life implications and isn’t just academic.

Last year was the hottest year on record (My fellow Texans can attest to that!) and this year is already one of the wettest record. These harsh extremes are due to the jetstream effect.

We’ve had more record highs and lows in the last few years than we’ve had in decades (anybody have a list of these compiled?).

I didn’t realize Hurricane Sandy was “downgraded” from a even though being stronger due to “sucking up” a stronger storm into it and becoming “disorganized.”

Here’s a link to the Sandy Storm Track they were talking about.

9:20 – User Criamon asks for good rapid-response sites to combat anti-climate change articles. John Abraham has a blog at The Guardian called The 97% Consensus, but also recommends Skeptical Science and Climate Science Rapid Response Team.

Greg, can we please get the list of good Twitter folks who tweet about climate change? (UPDATE: Ask and you shall receive!)

Interesting idea from John Abraham about combatting anti-science with economic arguments and how alternative energy could be a huge boon to the American economy. I’d love to see a site that covers the intersection of climate change and economics.

9:30 – Good news, guys! Greg says we aren’t going to be having an ice age in the next few years!

User “reasoningbeing” in the FtBCon chat talks about how religious folks say Teh Gayz and Teh Atheists are causing climate change – even those who used to deny climate change altogether. Must be all that steamy unbiblical sex warming the environment!

John shows a graph showing that we are overriding the earth’s natural temperature cycle – right now we’re in a hot spot but it’s only going to get hotter [insert your own jokes here, I’m still waking up].

9:40 – Plants and animals can respond and adapt if they have time to adapt, but we are changing the climate so rapidly that they don’t have time to do that. We are outpacing evolution.

Approximately 100 million people live 1 meter from a coastal area. This ties back into those economic issues that are closely related to climate issues. Fiscal conservatives should be just as concerned about climate change!

Question for the panelists: Do you think climate denialists will switch from “There is no climate change” to “There is climate change, but it’s too late to do anything”… and more importantly, will they be right?

Greg talks about how to a degree this is already happening – and it’s because of denialists. We WILL get to the point where it’s too late to do certain things. A little bit later it will be too late to do other things. This is why we are worried and concerned now. Climate denialists have nothing to contribute but delay which is going cause harm down the line.

John talks about how we’re not certain when, where, or whether the catastrophic events will happen. It’s virtually certain that it will happen, but this plays into risk assessment – how do you plan when there are so many variables? We have two choices. The first choice is to do something now to reduce the impact but there is a cost to things like alternative/clean energy. The second choice is to do nothing and pay the cost later. Similar to fire insurance – we pay a low cost now to avoid a high cost later.

9:50 – Had some technical difficulties and now Greg Laden is talking about extinction?! That escalated quickly!

John Abraham brings up climate contrarians who signed up to be on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and then leaked first and second drafts so people could cherrypick and write misleading articles.

Final remarks from the panelists: 

This science around this isn’t new, but we are at the point where we can make a measurable impact and positive changes. Doing nothing has a huge cost.

Thanks to the panelists for an educational and interesting panel!

About the Author:

Courtney Caldwell is an intersectional feminist. Her talents include sweary rants, and clogging your social media with pictures of her dogs (and occasionally her begrudging cat). She's also a political nerd, whose far-left tendencies are a little out of place in the deep red Texas.

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