Open Thread - Friday, September, 22, 2016
That's what bitter people did. Pointed the finger and blamed others. Obfuscation was a way of hiding from their own shortcomings and wounds.
I spend most of my time at home. The days are busy caring for my PALS and maintaining the household. The isolation can be oppressive. Thank goodness for music.
I have a large digital library with all the tracks rated 1-5 stars on a bell shaped curve and then sorted on a bell shaped curve based upon the last time played. I almost exclusively use random play, so the music mix can be eclectic, but is always fresh. a couple days ago, the following funky ditty played and I thought, "How prescient".
The state of the world is oppressive and the political environment makes the forecast bleak.
The New, New Climate Math: 17 Years to Get Off Fossil Fuels, Or Else
Though it may not have seemed possible, climate catastrophe is even closer than previously thought, with new figures released Thursday finding that—when the wells already drilled, pits dug, and pipelines built, are taken under consideration—we are well on our way to going beyond 2°C of warming.
"If you're in a hole, stop digging," begins the study, put forth by the fossil fuel watchdog Oil Change International (OCI), in partnership with 14 other environmental organizations.
The report, The Sky's Limit: Why the Paris Climate Goals Require a Managed Decline of Fossil Fuel Production (pdf), calculates the potential carbon emissions for already developed reserves and transportation projects, such as oil wells, tar pits, pipelines, processing facilities, railways, and exports terminals.
The sad part is we have the ingenuity to solve the problem, if only entrenched economic interests didn't use so much of their $peech to stifle ingenuity.
"Dark Money" Funds Climate Change Denial Effort
A Drexel University study finds that a large slice of donations to organizations that deny global warming are funneled through third-party pass-through organizations that conceal the original funder
The largest, most-consistent money fueling the climate denial movement are a number of well-funded conservative foundations built with so-called "dark money," or concealed donations, according to an analysis released Friday afternoon.
The study, by Drexel University environmental sociologist Robert Brulle, is the first academic effort to probe the organizational underpinnings and funding behind the climate denial movement.
It found that the amount of money flowing through third-party, pass-through foundations like DonorsTrust and Donors Capital, whose funding cannot be traced, has risen dramatically over the past five years.
In all, 140 foundations funneled $558 million to almost 100 climate denial organizations from 2003 to 2010.
Meanwhile the traceable cash flow from more traditional sources, such as Koch Industries and ExxonMobil, has disappeared.
The problem is solvable, as long as people are honest enough to acknowledge the problem.
The worldwide reliance on burning fossil fuels to create energy could be phased out in a decade, according to an article published by a major energy think tank in the UK.
Professor Benjamin Sovacool, Director of the Sussex Energy Group at the University of Sussex, believes that the next great energy revolution could take place in a fraction of the time of major changes in the past.
But it would take a collaborative, interdisciplinary, multi-scalar effort to get there, he warns. And that effort must learn from the trials and tribulations from previous energy systems and technology transitions.
In a paper published in the peer-reviewed journal Energy Research & Social Science, Professor Sovacool analyses energy transitions throughout history and argues that only looking towards the past can often paint an overly bleak and unnecessary picture.
Moving from wood to coal in Europe, for example, took between 96 and 160 years, whereas electricity took 47 to 69 years to enter into mainstream use.
But this time the future could be different, he says – the scarcity of resources, the threat of climate change and vastly improved technological learning and innovation could greatly accelerate a global shift to a cleaner energy future.
The study highlights numerous examples of speedier transitions that are often overlooked by analysts. For example, Ontario completed a shift away from coal between 2003 and 2014; a major household energy programme in Indonesia took just three years to move two-thirds of the population from kerosene stoves to LPG stoves; and France's nuclear power programme saw supply rocket from four per cent of the electricity supply market in 1970 to 40 per cent in 1982.
Each of these cases has in common strong government intervention coupled with shifts in consumer behaviour, often driven by incentives and pressure from stakeholders.
Professor Sovacool says: "The mainstream view of energy transitions as long, protracted affairs, often taking decades or centuries to occur, is not always supported by the evidence.
"Moving to a new, cleaner energy system would require significant shifts in technology, political regulations, tariffs and pricing regimes, and the behaviour of users and adopters.
What could the problem be?
Years ago, when I first started teaching and was at Syracuse University, one of my students ran for student-body president on the tongue-in-cheek platform "Issues are Tissues, without a T."
He was dismissing out of hand anything that he, or his opponents, might propose to do in office, noting that student-body presidents had so little power as to make their platforms disposable.
Sadly, the news media appears to have taken a similar outlook in its coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign. The stakes in the election are high. Key decisions on foreign and domestic policy will be affected by the election's outcome, as will a host of other issues, including the appointment of the newest Supreme Court justice. Yet, journalists have paid scant attention to the candidates' platforms.
That conclusion is based on three reports on the news media's coverage of the 2016 campaign that I have written for the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, where I hold a faculty position.
The third report was released Wednesday, and it covers the monthlong period from the week before the Republican National Convention to the week after the Democratic National Convention.
The first report analyzed coverage during the whole of the year 2015 — the so-called invisible primary period that precedes the first actual contests in Iowa and New Hampshire.
The second report spanned the period of the primaries and caucuses.
10 major outlets studied
Each report was based on a detailed content analysis of the presidential election coverage on five television networks (ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox, and NBC) and in five leading newspapers (Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and USA Today).
The analysis indicates that substantive policy issues have received only a small amount of attention in the 2016 election coverage. To be sure, "the wall" has been in and out of the news since Donald Trump vowed to build it. Other issues like ISIS and free trade have popped up here or there as well. But in the overall context of election coverage, issues have played second fiddle. They were at the forefront in the halls of the national conventions but not in the forefront of convention-period news coverage. Not a single policy proposal accounted for even 1% of Hillary Clinton's convention-period coverage, and collectively her policy stances accounted for a mere 4% of it.
Well, that's it in a nutshell.
Let The Doors funk you while you read in another window. Have a great weekend!