Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Uknown Climate (replay)

Summary: Unknown tipping points, with Dr. Alan Hastings. Dr. David Orr, author of "Down to the Wire: confronting climate collapse." Plus Twelve Batty Things About James Lovelock. And why TV weathercasters never mention climate change. Radio Ecoshock 150826 (replay from 100409)

A new season of Radio Ecoshock, reporting from the front lines of climate change, begins next week - September 2nd. Stay tuned!

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In the Spring of 2010, the East Coast of the United States was nearly drowned in an extreme precipitation event. Ditto parts of Australia, and Rio in Brazil. This is the other half of "global warming" - global wetting. Scientists have been warning about it for years - now it's happening.

In the summer of 2015, the media attention is on the drought in the West, and the super fires. But this show reminds us, the pendulum will swing the other way for millions of people. Extreme weather will bring record floods somewhere in the world again this year.


Right afterwards in 2010, Eastern Canada went way above any temperature records, hitting summer beach weather, the eighties - 25 degrees C - in the first week of April. Rhode Island hit the 90's. Still, hardly a single Network weather person mentioned "climate change". That's because a George Mason study shows that 67% of "weathercasters" believe that global warming is a natural event, and 27% think it's just a scam that isn't happening at all.

About half of those authoritative (but good looking!) faces on TV, telling us about the weather, have a degree in Meteorology. The other half just have the pretty or handsome face. Practically none have any scientific training in climate - but they talk like experts anyway. It's very damaging.

Our first guest says humans are very close to climate collapse. David W. Orr is a Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics, at Oberlin College, in Ohio. He's been a pioneer in greening higher education. He advises many leaders and foundations. His latest book is "Down to the Wire: confronting climate collapse."


Gaia theorist James Lovelock has just given another disturbing interview to the BBC in London. Lovelock claims it's too late, we shouldn't waste our money on things like wind energy, but spend it all on adapting to the inevitable climate shift.

Another worry proposed by Lovelock, is that climate change may not develop as a steady rise in either temperature or sea levels. It might happen as sudden jumps and reversals. He says previous climate records show a long-term heating can include intervals - perhaps decades or more - of cooling as well. Given all the global cooling nonsense from last winter's snowfall in the U.S., can any climate action plans can survive unsteady weather?

But Lovelock is making increasingly bizarre statements as well. Like this one: China is planning on moving it's population to Africa. Really? In this show I look into "Twelve Batty Things About James Lovelock".


I raised Lovelock's worries about irregular progression of climate change, partly because of another paper almost unknown to the general public. A theoretical ecologist at University of California Davis, Alan Hastings, says climate tipping points may not be predictable at all. According to his work, there may be no signals or warnings, before a radical shift. For example, temperatures could go up rather suddenly, and stay there.

Professor Alan Hastings

Hastings' paper didn't get much press, but it's quite important. As far as I can tell, Radio Ecoshock has the only original interview on the new paper from this distinguished scientist.

I've added a few minutes from Dr. James Hansen on radio in Australia.

Music credits: "Slow Me Down" by Emmy Rossum, Album: "Inside Out" 2:34; "White Flag" by Dido, Album: "White Flag EP" 4:00 "Enjoy Yourself (It's Later Than You Think)" Guy Lombardo, 1949.

Clips: James Hansen from ABC National Australia "Late Night Live" hosted by Philip Adams; James Lovelock from BBC.

Be sure to tune in next week for the new season opener!


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