[GWSG] CC in the election; permafrost tip?; Broward brouhaha; framing cc; cc on balance sheets

Tilley, Al atilley at unf.edu
Thu Sep 13 11:15:46 EDT 2012

1.  Polls indicate that President Obama is likely to gain votes by talking about his current and proposed efforts on climate.  Governor Romney might also gain votes from undertaking a matching program of action but would be likely to lose offsetting votes from his base.  http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Elections/President/2012/0907/Climate-change-why-it-could-be-a-hot-topic-on-the-campaign-trail  If Obama did make an issue of action on climate change he would probably be attacked with a propaganda offensive claiming the ruinous costs he might incur.  That’s my best guess for why he has not made more of the issue.

2.  Researchers from the U of Victoria report in Nature Geoscience that heating from Arctic permafrost melt has become self sustaining and will add about .5° C to warming this century, making it more difficult to avoid the more severe effects of climate change.  Andrew Weaver, the lead researcher, warns that the dissolution of the Greenland ice sheet is now more likely.  http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2012/09/11/science-uvic-permafrost-carbon.html

3.  Planning to cope with climate change often involves dealing with people who are concerned about the impact on their income (as they should be), and people who take their views of the world from such as Glen Beck (not so good an idea).  This account of a meeting in Broward County ends with success, at least for the moment.  Thanks to Tom Larson and to Brian Paradise for the story.  http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/broward/fl-climate-change-broward-vote-20120911,0,3243555,print.story  The Broward UN conspiracy theorists are not the only ones to oppose Agenda 21, a non-binding encouragement of sustainable development approved 20 years ago in Rio by 178 nations.  The Republican platform added an anti-Agenda 21 plank last January.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agenda_21

4.  It matters how we talk about climate change.  We may frame the discussion in a range of ways.  The most popular frames are military, medical, ethical, and commercial.  Military frames have us looking for enemies—corporations, scientists, the UN.  They may get us onto the streets with angry signs but will do little to move action.  The medical frame asks us to look for an illness we might cure—globalism, consumerism, Western culture.  It too can have its roots in reality but will not take us far toward effective action.  The ethical frame may make us feel awful about our cars, or other people’s cars, or the corruption of congress, but again won’t lead easily to rectitude.  I recommend the commercial frame—specifically, risk management.  (So does the IPCC.)  We have tried to externalize the risk—for example, the risks run by coastal property owners—but the FEMA flood insurance changes, and the weakening of Citizens Property, indicate that finally the strategy will not work.  (People notice that they are now bearing our risk and move to shift it back where it began.)  By risk management principles we should look for the surest and most costly risk and deal with that.  Runaway warming fits the description, and a carbon tax is the readiest risk diminisher.  Next we should look for the surest secondary risk (in NE Florida, that would be sea level rise) and plan to minimize the risk from that.  And so on.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Risk_management

5.  Economist Pavan Sukhdev, treating climate change within a commercial frame, recommends that we move the environment onto corporate balance sheets.  (Otherwise, costs are too easily ignored.)  If he succeeds, it will probably be more through regulation than through voluntary action, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.  http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/changing-climate-forcing-a-corporate-rethink  83% of a survey of S&P 500 firms factor climate change into their risk management strategies.  http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/11/us-usa-emissions-companies-idUSBRE88A1JM20120911?feedType=RSS&feedName=environmentNews&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+reuters%2Fenvironment+%28News+%2F+US+%2F+Environment%29
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