The ultimate Ponzi scheme

I found this a very apt metaphor.

On Black Friday, reflect on the Ponzi scheme that is our global economy

Joe Romm quotes from an interview he gave in 2009:

“We created a way of raising standards of living that we can’t possibly pass on to our children,” said Joe Romm, a physicist and climate expert who writes the indispensable blog We have been getting rich by depleting all our natural stocks — water, hydrocarbons, forests, rivers, fish and arable land — and not by generating renewable flows.

“You can get this burst of wealth that we have created from this rapacious behavior,” added Romm. “But it has to collapse, unless adults stand up and say, ‘This is a Ponzi scheme. We have not generated real wealth, and we are destroying a livable climate …’ Real wealth is something you can pass on in a way that others can enjoy.”

New era

It’s winter in the Arctic but the temperature is above 0 Celcius.

Bizarre Temperatures: North Pole Rises Above Freezing While Parts of Russia Plunge Below -40 Degrees

Open water absorbs more of the sun’s incoming energy, while ice or snow reflects a large quantity of the sun’s rays.

A major concern in the climate change community, Arctic amplification occurs when diminishing ice cover leads to an increased absorption of solar radiation by open water, which in turn warms the air above it, leading to more melting of ice.

Faster global warming is on its way

This is another indication that we need urgent action.

Antarctica’s Southern Ocean May No Longer Help Delay Global Warming

“The Southern Ocean is doing us a big climate favour at the moment, but it’s not necessarily the case that it will continue doing so in the future,” says Michael Meredith, an oceanographer with the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, UK.

Scientists only started to realize how important the region is for controlling global climate in the 1980s, when several groups were trying to explain what had caused atmospheric CO2concentrations to drop by about one-third during the last ice age and then later rise. Oceanographer Jorge Sarmiento at Princeton University in New Jersey realized that changes in circulation and biology in the Southern Ocean could help to cool and warm the planet.

How to sell climate action

Here is a good summary of thoughts on how to talk to people about climate change.

Here are the latest market-tested words for selling climate action

Climate change’s risks are hard to perceive, distant in time, and bound up with the weather — something that humans already struggle to keep track of, and have for centuries outsourced to a small cast of record-keeping nerds.

“Bound up with weather” – good phrase.


This is valuable reading.

Want to Survive Climate Change? You’ll Need a Good Community

In the summer of 1995, a blistering heat wave settled over Chicago for three days. It killed 739 people, making it one of the most unexpectedly lethal disasters in modern American history.

Throughout the city, the variable that best explained the pattern of mortality during the Chicago heat wave was what people in my discipline call social infrastructure. Places with active commercial corridors, a variety of public spaces, local institutions, decent sidewalks, and community organizations fared well in the disaster. More socially barren places did not. Turns out neighborhood conditions that isolate people from each other on a good day can, on a really bad day, become lethal.

Clinton commitment

There is some hope.

Clinton dedicates an entire speech to climate change

Clinton’s speech was heavy on climate details, both with regards to the consequences of climate change and her vision for how the United States can adapt to the challenges ahead. She reiterated her plan to install 500 million solar panels across the United States by the end of her first term — a promise Gore later called “right at the limit of what we can do” and “exactly the kind of ambitious goal that we need from the next president of America.”