Tag Archive: climate change

Still warming


For all the complaints many of us in the U.S. heard or voiced about the cold, this past January was the fourth warmest on record, and the 38th consecutive January and 347th consecutive month (almost 29 years) that global temperatures have been above the average for the 20th century.

More here and here.




Since I was traveling at the time, I failed to note an interesting story that got covered in the science press about the organizational support and funding behind the climate denial movement.

As reported in articles in Scientific American, The Guardian, and elsewhere, a recent peer-reviewed study published in Climatic Science by sociologist Robert Brulle supports many claims that have been made by environmental scientists and activists documenting the organizational support and funding behind the climate denial movement — a close to $1 billion a year machine of nearly 100 organizations.

Most revealingly (or rather, obscuringly), denialism has been able to cloak its funding sources behind what have effectively become “money laundering” operations like View full article »

Some mean temperatures…

Not that readers of this blog need to be reminded of this, but some of our friends might (if you have friends like Donald Trump)…


Generalizing about global climate change from a cold snap is like predicting who will win the world series based on a single ball or strike in pre-season. The two things are about the same thing — temperature, baseball — but there’s little real connection between them beyond that.

This Washington Post article from the last U.S. “polar vortex” is helpful in putting things into perspective.

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Take-home message

… from Bill McKibben and 350.org’s new roadshow, “Do The Math,” previewed tonight here at the University of Vermont:

If climate scientists (and climate change modelers) are correct that the burning of more than a small fraction of the world’s available fossil fuel reserves will trigger changes that will induce paroxysms of preventable suffering, then prudence, honor, and justice dictate that we should act to prevent that from happening.


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This is the second post in a series on the intersections between ecology, ontology, and politics. (The first reviewed Andrew Pickering’s The Cybernetic Brain.) Here I focus on integral ecologist Sean Esbjörn-Hargens‘s article An Ontology of Climate Change: Integral Pluralism and the Enactment of Multiple Objects. This post can also serve as a prelude to the cross-blog reading group on Esbjörn-Hargens‘s and Michael Zimmerman’s Integral Ecology, to begin in May of this year. The next entry in this series will look more directly at Integral Theory founder Ken Wilber’s relationship with the ideas of process philosopher Alfred North Whitehead.

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The “integralists” have waded into the climate change debate with an impressive looking article entitled An Ontology of Climate Change: Integral Pluralism and the Enactment of Multiple Objects (click for an excerpt). It’s by Sean Esbjorn-Hargens, one half of the duo that authored the mammoth Integral Ecology. (The other half is Heideggerian-turned-Wilberian ecophilosopher Michael Zimmerman, author of what for a time had been the best overview of radical ecophilosophy available.)

I’ve ordered a copy of the paper and will have more to say once I’ve read it. But I like the way Esbjorn-Hargens weaves in a number of strands of post-constructivist thought, including the actor-network/cosmopolitical approaches of Latour, Law, and Mol, and the enactive cognitivism of Varela and Thompson. His notion of climate change as a “multiple object” would appear to suggest a resonance with object-oriented ontology. This bodes well for ecophilosophical dialogue with a school (“integral philosophy”) that has remained a bit aloof from others, mainly because of the baggage accrued to its founder, Ken Wilber. I’m looking forward to that dialogue.

That reminds me: I once suggested a group cross-blog read of Integral Ecology. If anyone else is interested, chime in. I won’t lead it, due to other commitments, but I’d happily participate. There are copies on Amazon for around $20.

34 warm years & counting

The results are in and both NOAA and NASA agree that 2010 is statistically tied (with 2005) for the warmest year on record, globally.

Nine of the last ten years are among the ten warmest years on record. (The exception was 2008. The records go back to 1880.) And the last time we had a year in which the global average temperature was BELOW the twentieth-century average was 1976. That’s 34 warm years in a row. And counting.

(And in case you’re prone to making some comment about the snow, we’re talking global climate, not local weather. If you don’t know the difference, you’re not qualified to comment on it.)

Cancun: what just happened?

Making sense of what happened at the COP 16 global climate change summit in Cancun is not easy, especially when environmental and climate justice activists seem so intensely divided among themselves (and when the mass media has paid so little attention to it all). Democracy Now yesterday pitted Friends of the Earth’s policy analyst Kate Horner against Center for American Progress senior fellow (and fellow environmental philosopher) Andrew Light, and the two of them seemed to be speaking from different planets. Light’s extended take on the “Cancun compromise” is available here, while FOE International chair Nnimmo Bassey laments the “hijacking of Africa” at the summit here.

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(findings, briefings, reports, call them what you will… I’m in an Agnes Varda mood, which is helping me deal with the loss of several weeks of gleanings in the hard drive crash that will define my life as “before 11/20/10″ and “after” it)

Scientists found that Asian and American brains respond completely differently when faced with images of dominance and submission, and when evaluating character traits of themselves as opposed to other people. Asians and Americans gathered with other world leaders to fiddle at a Mexican resort while buildings burned. (Some Americans stayed away. Activists grew distressed.) Hermetic libraries began giving off their own whiff of smoke amidst the dust. Google added trees and climate prognoses to the digital Earth. James Cameron tried to add a whole forest. U.S. corporations, meanwhile, gave thanks for their record profits.

Irish humanities academics called upon Irish humanities academics to help save the country’s sinking economic ship. Worldchangers sadly jumped their own ship, with barely a whimper. Anthropologists convening in the shipwrecked city of New Orleans slugged it out over whether or not they were scientists. Graham Harman and Steven Shaviro got ready to slug it out in the middleweight neo-realist philosopher category of the international thought-wrestling society. (The heavyweights are mostly dead, though their thoughts persist, and a few of them linger on.) A heavyweight of another kind, Chalmers Johnson swam away from it all quietly.

(More on the Harman-Shaviro showdown, as well as other object-relational matters, soon. And of course I’m being facetious with my terms here. Both are great intellectual role models, among the best and most public and genuine of the new breed of philosopher-metaphysicians, and I eagerly await the results of their deliberations. You all know which of them I agree with more, but the debate has been truly invigorating, and has been the main cause of my own interloper’s slide into philosophy sui generis – or so I hope that it’s generis. Wish I could be there at the Whitehead conference.)


For all my skepticism toward most “climate skepticism,” I find the case of Judith Curry very interesting. This recent post at her blog Climate Etc. repeatedly resorts to metaphors like “‘Alice down the rabbit hole’ moments” and “bucket[s] of cold water being poured over my head” to describe her experiences venturing outside the warm world of academic climate science to one that’s exposed to the harsh winds of public and media scrutiny. The post includes an account of her journey from mainstream climate scientist to one who is “sadder and wiser as a result of the hurricane wars [that followed the publication of an article published in the aftermath of Katrina], a public spokesperson on the global warming issue owing to the media attention from the hurricane wars, more broadly knowledgeable about the global warming issue, much more concerned about the integrity of climate science, listening to skeptics, and a blogger (for better or for worse).”

In recounting her story, Curry writes:

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