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Posts Tagged ‘climate change’

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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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, […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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gleanings

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. [. . .] Graham Harman and Steven Shaviro got ready to slug it out in the middleweight neo-realist philosopher category of the international thought-wrestling society. [. . .]

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the “house of cards” house of cards

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 […]

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I’ve been posting links to Earth Day news in the shadow blog (which you can follow in the column to your right on the Immanence main page). The most interesting news, to my mind, was the initiative for a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth and the calls to establish an international climate […]

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climate intelligence

Greenpeace has done a nice (counter) intelligence report on Koch Industries’ funding of the climate denial machine. According to the report, the Kansas-based petroleum and chemical industry conglomerate funded a network of lobbyists, think tanks, and front groups including the Mercatus Center, the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, and others, […]

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meteorologists on the moon

Trusting a weather forecaster to tell you about climate change is like trusting the view from your bedroom window to inform you about what’s happening in China. (Unless, of course, you live in China.) Why is this so hard to understand? These pieces at the New York Times, Dot Earth, and Grist help us get […]

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Dipping once again into the public debate around climate change science — today it’s in the responses to MIT climatologist Kerry Emanuel’s op-ed in the Boston Globe, to which no less than 15 comments were added in the couple of minutes it took me to write these first couple of sentences — I’m realizing that it’s not enough to refer to a “climate denial machine” (as I’ve done here before). There is certainly an organized, machinic quality to denialism, with well-funded nodes of misinformation generating the talking points disseminated across the internet/mediasphere by climate denialists. But the intensity of many of the comments has made me think about the virtues and pitfalls of another frame, that of “hysteria,” since it really seems akin to the kinds of hysterias chronicled by historians like Norman Cohn and the more familiar territory of conspiratorial claims and counter-claims around such issues as alien abductions, satanic ritual abuse, or JFK and 9-11 conspiracy theories.

At the same time, there’s a risky irony in suggesting that climate change denial is a hysteria, since to deniers it’s precisely the claim of anthropogenic global warming that appears hysterical and millennialist. Hysteria, both the diagnosis of it and the thing itself, relies on a reading of “signs” or “symptoms” as indicative of a cause much larger than what one can easily deal with. There’s a monster lurking behind those markings on one’s skin, or in the body politic. And just as conspiracy theories aren’t wrong by definition (and my listing of those in the previous paragraph wasn’t intended to suggest that those ones were), so hysterical reactions aren’t necessarily unproductive — they are a response to something that one cannot respond to in a more direct and appropriate way. The politics of climate change, in any case, carries something of the “paranoid style” that Richard Hofstader identified in American politics back in the 1960s. But since then, we’ve moved more deeply into a kind epistemologically unmoored world, a world in which we rely on experts to inform us about basic risks that are not directly perceivable by us (such as those from nuclear radiation, environmental contaminants, and the like) but in a context where the structures of epistemic authority are no longer holding up well at all, in which common sense is undecideable and skepticism extends “all the way down”, as Jodi Dean has put it. This is especially the case in societies characterized by wide cultural divides, such as that of post-Bush II America. [. . .]

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