Egypt and Global Warming

I guess it was inevitable that Joe Romm would find a way to link global warming to the popular uprising in Egypt. After taking heat from a few right wing blogs, Romm sketches out his equation:

The question is why specifically now have the Egyptians and Tunisians rioted after decades of anti-democratic rule?  Certainly one can ignore the experts and say that it is a complete coincidence that the rioting occurred as food prices hit record levels — in spite of the fact that the last time there was this kind of rioting globally food prices were at record levels, which is precisely why experts were predicting that record hide food prices would lead to riots.  Now the question is, why are food prices are at record levels?  Again, reality pretty much speaks for itself here.  Extreme weather is a major contributing factor — and our top climate scientists say global warming has contributed.

Let the record state that Egyptians have previously taken to the streets over food. For example, there were the “bread riots” in 1977, and in recent years the food riots in 2008 (which hit other parts of the world, as well). Was global warming involved in these instances, too?

Has it even occurred to Romm that Egypt, after smoldering for decades under a repressive regime, was primed to erupt? In The New Republic, one analyst recently wrote:

It takes some hubris to write about events unfolding as fast as the protests in Egypt, especially when it’s clear that nobody saw this coming.

Leaving aside that it takes some hubris to write a sentence like that, you also have to marvel at the hubris of someone who sees a global warming angle to the Egyptian revolt.

Category: climate change, Egypt, global warming

Hot & Bothered

In this week’s New Yorker, Hendrik Hertzberg sizes up President Obama’s most talked about feint in last week’s State of the Union address and declares it a

a masterly exercise in rear-guard tactics disguised as visionary optimism. A section was devoted to fighting climate change, but under an assumed name: “clean-energy technology,” for which he proposed new public investments “that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people.” (The second of that trio of goals was as close as he came to pronouncing the dread words.) He set a goal of generating eighty per cent of America’s electricity from “clean-energy sources” by 2035. Even as he called for a review of “unnecessary” regulations, he declared that he “will not hesitate to create or enforce common-sense safeguards to protect the American people,” an apparent reference to the E.P.A.’s ambitious plans to limit carbon-dioxide emissions. And he called on Congress “to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies,” the grotesque pastiche of tax expenditures that subsidize oil over other, less harmful sources of energy. The President has not, in fact, given up on doing something about climate change. If he holds firm, perhaps his efforts will yet make a difference. But Mother Nature is growing impatient, and she has a hot temper.

The same can be said for some climate bloggers, who seem to be growing crankier by the day. 

Category: climate change


In Texas, public education “is facing billions in proposed budget cuts,” but not all is bleak for some schools.

Category: education, Texas

Watts Readers to Climate Reconciliation: Shove It

The majority reaction to the Lisbon rapprochement from Anthony Watts readers is loud and clear. Here’s one representative comment:

I am violently opposed to the warmistas, their beliefs and their crusade to tax and control me. Let my language make it plain that I believe that this is a war.

No reconcilliation – no surrender.

Lest you think I’m cherrypicking the thread, here’s one WUWT reader sarcastically noting the angry, folded arms posture:

Well, it’s good to see that most comments on this post have paid exactly no attention to cooling down the rhetoric. Hell, half of them want to heat it up!

Meanwhile, over at Climate Etc, the reaction seems to range from bemused to not buying it. Scattered between them are those that feel the conference was “a fantastic step in the right direction to achieve better climate science.”

Category: civil discourse, climate change

An ‘Unholy Alliance’

But the same formula for this partnership, no?

Category: climate change

The Cannibalism Collection

If you’re looking for Sunday brain food on a taboo subject (it may go down better after brunch), head over to Gambler’s House for some smart, straight talk on cannibalism.

I’ve been meaning to note Teofilo’s recent meditations on the topic, and now he’s helpfully collected them all in one post. I loved his headline so much, too, that I had to steal it.

Category: Archaeology, cannibalism

Question of the Day

Would you trust a company that produced a report saying that 88 percent of Chinese citizens trusted its government?

Global Voices reports that “many Chinese netizens” are incredulous of the survey’s finding, including this person who posted a comment on a Chinese blog:

A mistake, the result should be 100%. Even prisoners in China trust the Chinese government, no one dare not to trust the government. It is therefore 100%. No one dare to say publicly that they don’t trust the government, including myself. I trust it even in my dream.

The nightmares of Chinese citizens look like this.

Category: China

Saturday Soul Break

Southern Sahara desert style.

Category: soul, world music

Bailing on Climate Change

First Obama, now Ban-Ki Moon, the U.N. Secretary General, according to the Guardian:

In a strategic shift, Ban will redirect his efforts from trying to encourage movement in the international climate change negotiations to a broader agenda of promoting clean energy and sustainable development, senior UN officials said.

The officials said the change in focus reflected Ban’s realisation, after his deep involvement with the failed Copenhagen summit in 2009, that world leaders are not prepared to come together in a sweeping agreement on global warming – at least not for the next few years.

Hmm, anyone seeing a trend here?

Of course, I don’t think either Obama or Ban are actually giving up on the climate change cause. They’re just going about it differently, one might even say obliquely.

On a related note, I see the U.N. Secretary General is in another story, reported from Davos:

The world’s current economic model is an environmental “global suicide pact” that will result in disaster if it isn’t reformed, Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, warned today.

So what do we do?

We need a revolution,” he told a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on how best to make the global economy sustainable. “Climate change is also showing us that the old model is more than obsolete.”

I’m down with that, but a few more details please. Otherwise, for inspiration, I’ll turn to these guys.

My favorite part of that story comes at the end:

The panel moderator, the New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, said he hoped next year participants would return to the Swiss ski resort “and be able to say that a molecule of CO2 was actually affected by what we say and do here”.

Pray tell, does this mean solar panels are going up on the roof here?

Category: climate change

Texas Taliban Snark

Via Daily Kos, I came across this astonishing, mind-blowing quote from Texas Governor Rick Perry:

I am concerned that some the highly diverse Magnet public schools in this city are becoming hotbeds for liberalism.  Do we really need free school bus service, Black History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, Asian-Pacific Heritage Month, ESL, special needs and enrichment programs like music, art or math Olympiad? I think we should get back to the basics of the three Rs, reading writing and arithmetic. I mean when is the last time a 6th grade science fair project yielded a cure for a disease?

I mean, that’s just so buggered that my first reaction is that it’s a joke. What sane public official could utter such lunacy? But I kept reading the post and come across this equally whacked Perry quote:

I really don’t see why high schools should have to teach college level courses like calculus, economics, physics, chemistry or biology. Not all children go to college anyway.  Texas has plenty of on the job training programs that teach skills and trades. Oil field workers need to know how to operate machines that extract oil. They don’t need calculus to do their job.

Evidently, Perry was speaking to conservative business leaders at a luncheon in Houston and the press corp is mentioned as being there. So that’s it, I figure something like this has to be covered in bold print by the Houston Chronicle and other Texas publications. Nada.

Now I’m suspicious. So I scroll down to the comments at Daily Kos and see that the whole post is a joke and readers are pissed.

Lots of people, including PZ Myers, got fooled, which I find amusing. I guess atheists can be just as credulous as believers.

Category: Texas