[GWSG] Speaking on climate; NRC long-term report; >50% renewable added last year; CLEAR bill

Tilley, Al atilley at unf.edu
Sun Jul 18 16:55:57 EDT 2010

1.  Columbia’s Center for Research on Environmental Decisions supplies an online manual for those who will be communicating with the general public on climate change.  Thanks to Jack Bizot for the link.  http://www.cred.columbia.edu/guide/guide/intro.html  The Guide has many wise recommendations.  I have some experience in speaking on the topic, and wish to add a few ideas.  1.  Beware of PowerPoint, which renders your audience passive and works against spontaneity and interaction.  (That doesn’t mean you can’t use slides or handouts—but even a bad drawing done on the spot is livelier.)  2.  Always start by making a distinction between beliefs and theories.  All science can do is to deliver the best available explanation for a body of data—and the explanation is quite likely to change as more data become available, existing data are reinterpreted or corrected, and better explanations are made up.  When people understand this they will cease looking for certainty.  They may cease trying to decide what they believe and begin the attempt to understand.  3.  If people could see thought balloons above other people’s heads, they would never lecture for more than 20 minutes at a time.  Stop for questions, or review, or small group interactions.  4.  Don’t be afraid to let the audience guide the discussion topics, but try not let a nut hijack the meeting.  When they try, see if you can engage other audience members in the discussion.  Try for a dispassionate dead end to the hijack: “I’m not aware of any misrepresentations in the hijacked emails.”  (He isn’t either.)

Lord Chris Monkton is just such a nut who likes to hijack discussions.  If you wish see a takedown of his attempts to communicate, try the following site (and be ready for a long but amusing trip).  Monkton is a fountain of misinformation and well publicized by those wish to stymie climate action.  You are likely to recognize many strange but familiar arguments in his work.  Thumbnail: he often uses legitimate references but attributes to them whatever data and interpretations suit his purpose.  http://www.stthomas.edu/engineering/jpabraham/

2.  The National Research Council reminds us that today’s greenhouse gas emissions will resonate for hundreds and thousands of years, and that our success in mitigating them has a long future.  This general report is couched in terms of degrees of warming and their consequences.  Thanks to Tom Larson for the link.  http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=how-much-global-warming-are-we-willing-to-take

3.  More than half the power added in the US and Europe last year was renewable. http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE66E4VS20100715?feedType=RSS&feedName=environmentNews&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+reuters%2Fenvironment+%28News+%2F+US+%2F+Environment%29

4.  The CLEAR bill now before the Senate has not been given the attention it deserves.  As George Lakoff says, cap and dividend would be a simple and effective way to move to renewable energy.  CLEAR would auction carbon permits and give a quarter of the proceeds to renewable energy development and other related uses (including mitigating emissions of non-carbon greenhouse gasses), and give three quarters of the auction proceeds equally to citizens (to help offset the costs of energy transition).  The bill would restrict the permits annually until at mid-century it has cut 83% of emissions (on a 2005 base).  It allows no offsets.  http://www.truth-out.org/double-dividend-make-money-saving-nature61379   Jointly sponsored by Senators Maria Cantwell (WA) and Susan Collins (ME), it is the only current Senate climate bill with bipartisan support.   President Obama is reported to be supportive after a meeting with the sponsors.  And at 39 pages you can even read CLEAR.  http://cantwell.senate.gov/issues/CLEARAct.cfm   It apparently has hope of being represented as part of an energy and climate package to be introduced shortly in the Senate.

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