Sunday, May 15, 2016

Crisis of Life, considering what AGW means. Stephen Schneider

I'm ever amazed at how little has changed so far as human thinking and the public discourse is concerned.  Most of us continue to have no conception of, nor interest in, this thing we live on, planet Earth, nor for the biosphere we depend on for everything, nor for how all that is intimately tied to the state of our climate system.
The Republican/libertarian crowd has staked their existence on digging ever deeper into their Faith-Based reason-hating alternate reality.  A place where the state of our planet's health shrinks to irrelevance, while their self-pity and self-interest inflates to consume their entire world outlook.  As for those who see our Earth differently, who appreciate it's interwoven folds within folds of complexity and dynamic balance, well we're seen as their enemies.  

It all seems stupid and counterproductive, hopeless even.  I can't understand why so few are speaking out and complaining about that general acceptance of lies, slander and irrelevant emotion charged distractions in a discussion of such profound consequences. 

Lately work commitments have really piled up so my engagement with the AGW dialogue is pretty much shrunk down to quickie responds to those depressingly childish YouTube comments and my CFI 'hangout' - it bothers me that I can't focus on writing more, but hey, it's nice to still be in demand, and the jobs have been interesting, so I'm not complaining,… not too much.  That's why I want to compensate by sharing some deep thoughts on the topic from someone who Presidents took advice from. 

You see a couple days ago I came upon one of Stephen Schneider's last talks.  Sad to think he's been gone nearly six years already.  It was also sad to see how few people had viewed the video, because here's another example of what a scientist sounds like, and this scientist was among the most knowledgeable of the old timers.  He was also unfettered by professional constraints, since he knew this was among his last opportunities to share and he's as worth listening to today as he was back then.  Even more so, considering how little among human thinking and attitude has actually changed these years and how important some of his insights are.

Stephen Schneider interview (1/2): 
Crisis of Life. Biodiversity Climate Change Tipping Points

Uploaded on Mar 23, 2011, by Crisis Of Life

One of Stephen Schneider's last interviews. He was one of the world's leading climatologists and an outspoken advocate of global treaties to reduce greenhouse gases.

Sadly, he died on 19 July 2010, exactly one month after this interview was recorded on 19 June in Taipei, Taiwan. We interviewed Stephen Schneider as part of our Crisis of Life interview series in which we get relevant scientists to talk about the biodiversity crisis in plain terms.

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In part ONE of the interview, Stephen Schneider answered the following questions:
- Would you describe how you imagine the world will change within the next few decades? (0:40)
- We know that systems, such as the climate system, can be pushed for a while, and it seems like not much is happening. But once a threshold is crossed, the system tips to another state. Could you elaborate on this? (4:00) 
- One of the potential tipping points could be the effect of ocean acidification on ocean ecosystems, for example, coral reefs. Would you elaborate on this secondary effect of atmospheric greenhouse gases? (6:20) 
- Because the risks of global change are so large, is it not immoral to base our decisions on purely economic cost-benefit analyses? (10:40)

Stephen Schneider interview (2/2): 
Crisis of Life. Biodiversity Climate Change Tipping Points

Uploaded on Mar 23, 2011, by Crisis Of Life

In part TWO of the interview, Stephen Schneider answered the following questions:
- Should we focus more on quality of life than on continuous economic growth, which on this limited planet starts to look more and more like cancerous growth? (0:40) 
- Climate and biodiversity researchers have suggested that protecting rainforests is a win-win-win strategy. Could you elaborate on this? (3:40) 
- How can people be convinced that we need some global rules, some global agreements, without being accused of wanting to establish an all-powerful world government? (7:00) 
- Talking about global governance, what would be your priorities, especially concerning biodiversity? (10:25)
For more information on the man and his work:


For something with a little more scientific meat on it, might I suggest the following where he get's into assessing rise and systems science.

Stephen H. Schneider,
Is the Science of Global Warming Settled Enough for Policy? October 2008
UCSB Bren School

Dr. Schneider is the Inaugural Visitor in the Zurich Financial Services Distinguished Visitors Program on Climate Change. He is the Melvin and Joan Lane Professor for Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies, Professor of Biological Sciences, and a Senior Fellow in the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University. From 1973-1996 he served as a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, where he co-founded the Climate Project. His research focuses on climate-change science, integrated assessment of ecological and economic impacts of human-induced climate change, and identifying viable climate policies and technological solutions. He has consulted for federal agencies and White House staff in six administrations.

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