Climate Risk and AI Risk for Dummies

The two figures below come from recent posts on climate change and AI. Please read them. The squiggles in the first figure illustrate uncertainty in how climate will change due to CO2 emissions. The squiggles in the second figure illustrate uncertainty in the advent of human-level AI.   Many are worried about climate change because …

More

Time to Break Silence

  Well I haven’t exactly been silent in recent years, but I think the circumstances we are in call for being unafraid to stand up to forces that are dragging us toward our collective demise, but also to offer alternatives that redirect us towards a more just and peaceful future. It will be 50 years …

More

Be in the know, now back on the grind

Over the past few weeks, I have grown from a perpetually disheveled data scientist and learned to dress slightly better than a sack of potatoes –an added benefit of my summer of experiential learning in the DC area. I was graciously hosted by my guidance committee member, Dr. Abigail Lynch, at the U.S. Geological Survey National Climate Change …

More

Time for a Leap?

Time for a leap, that was the message last night from Naomi Klein as she spoke at Michigan State University. In addressing both the seeming conflicting euphoria and dismay that followed the recent Paris Climate Agreement she summarized it as: on the Euphoria side that the world had agreed to a plan to keep climate …

More

Climate Ethics

Are you confused about the climate ethics of your diet? Me, too. I don’t doubt that humans are having a significant impact on global climate systems, but I have some limited sympathy with the climate-change skeptics. It’s going a bit too far when you claim that this is all something that Al Gore (remember him?) …

More

Global Divestment Day

Are we performing an exercise in futility here? Is this a further saga in David vs. Goliath? Preparing for a talk on divestment from fossil fuels for today I’ve been reading much on the pro’s and cons of the debate. Almost all of the negative writing  I have found comes from sources funded by the …

More

Linking Economics and Climate Change

Joseph Stiglitz, former World Bank economist, member of the Council of Economic Advisers was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2001, just months after the September 11th attack of the twin towers in NYC. The following are his concluding remarks in his acceptance speech (December 8, 2001).      I entered economics with the hope …

More

Tracking giant kelp from space

A new citizen science project called Floating Forests was just started a few days ago to help scientists study the effects of climate change on kelp forests in the world’s oceans.  It turns out that computers are not effective at distinguishing giant kelp sitting below the ocean’s surface in satellite photos, but the human eye …

More

Citizenship Goes Global

My day was split between talking to a social forum at a local church this morning about sustainability, climate change and divestment; an afternoon around other candidates for office in Michigan from the Green Party; and this evening after dinner I’ve been catching up on some websites that I used to frequent. One is PelicanWeb …

More

Politics and Climate Change

Scientific evidence that climate change is real and raising havoc with our collective lives has been steadily mounting. This is all the more clear given recent reports emanating from many quarters, including the International Panel on Climate Change,   the National Climate Assessment, and   the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, on the impending …

More

Power and a Response to It

Indeed the loan [$3billion] was approved by the [Obama} administration just four days before the president delivered his address to the December 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. “As the world’s largest economy and the world’s second largest emitter, America bears our share of responsibility in addressing climate change,” Obama said then. “That …

More

The Great Unraveling and an Antidote

(CNN) — When Congressman Paul Ryan opined recently that there was a “real culture problem” in poor communities, “in our inner cities in particular,” and that this culture was behind some of the country’s economic troubles, he didn’t realize how half right he was. People are continuing to debate fiercely what Ryan said and whether …

More

If For No Other Reason

Maybe it was the recent mailing that shows Where Your Income Tax Money Really Goes, or maybe it was a the gift of a little book, War No More: The Case for Abolition at last week’s Peace Education Center board meeting, or maybe it was reading a short piece on the Israeli prime minister’s recent …

More

The end of snow?

Did you know that Sochi wasn’t able to hold test skiing events in February 2013 because the ski trails were brown and bare in certain areas?  (Sochi stored last winter’s snow under insulated blankets until this year just to make sure there would be enough snow for the Olympics.) Or that only about half of …

More

A Modest Terminology Proposal

I just finished shoveling snow, an exercise I will have to repeat later today and possibly tomorrow, as we enjoy the first of multiple winter storms queued up all the way from mid-Michigan (where I live) to the central Pacific, each patiently awaiting its turn to annoy me. With that in mind, I would like …

More

Fossil Fuel Investment, the Tip of the Iceberg

While college students are pressuring many of their schools to divest from holdings in fossil fuel companies, there are collaborating efforts being launched by institutional investors by assessing the entire portfolio’s carbon intensity, not simply fossil fuel holdings.. Companies that perform those assessments, TruCost, Bloomberg, and yes, even Bank of America – Merrill Lynch are …

More

A Matter of Scale

I would be hard pressed to choose between my two favorite authors these days. You’ve been hearing about and from Colin Tudge and have heard, not infrequently, from Rebecca Solnit. Today she published another fervent, prosaic piece on the challenge of climate change The Age of Inhuman Scale: On the ‘Bigness’ of Climate Change…. Some …

More

New Study Documents Disproportionate Impact of Climate Change on Indian Tribes

From the National Wildlife Federation (link here). Here’s an excerpt: In collaboration with the Tribal Lands Program, Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals, National Congress of American Indians, Native American Fish & Wildlife Society, National Tribal Environmental Council, Native American Rights Fund, and University of Colorado Law School, the National Wildlife Federation released Indian Tribes, Climate-Induced …

More