Fiddling while Rome burns

Nero didn’t get it either and cashed out the hard way.

OK, let’s see if I’ve got this right:

“A major scientific report issued by 13 federal agencies on Friday presents the starkest warnings to date of the consequences of climate change for the United States, predicting that if significant steps are not taken to rein in global warming, the damage will knock as much as 10 percent off the size of the American economy by century’s end.”

In response, the courtiers attending His Most Pissant Majesty, King Donald the Short-fingered, Terror of Twitter, are focused like the proverbial laser beam on whether trans folk may serve in the Empire’s armed forces.

Got it. Makes perfect sense. See, if they’re not camping in camo’ down by The Wall*, or using the wrong latrines in Afghanistan, they’ll be available to fight fire and flood elsewhere, p’raps in more fashionable neighborhoods, in order that the gentry may be both protected and entertained.

* Wall not pictured. Or even built.

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17 Responses to “Fiddling while Rome burns”

  1. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Damn near martial law down here by the border. In the mean time, donald dainty digits the draft dodger tells us the the climate will change back, maybe. And his minions have a coffee/trump gift shop in Snowflake, Arizona! Ya think Flake’s clan frequents the joint?

    The Professor is right save one important adjective. Some people are fucking stupid.

    Nero kinda looks like the dumpster.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      No worries. Soon, thanks to VR and AI, we’ll be able to play what feels just like golf, a spirited 18 holes in 72-degree temps under sunny skies, without leaving our waterproof, fireproof windowless concrete bunkers in Death Valley.

  2. JD Dallager Says:

    Jim Harrison had it pretty much spot on: “Everywhere we are witness to the complete confidence some people have in their stupidities.”

    Hopefully, the mention of the impact on the economy will engender some serious policy reflection and action on the part of our $$$-and self-obsessed emperor and minions.

    But as Kathleen Parker points out in her recent Washington Post piece, when you lack any sense of empathy for anyone/anything why should the fate of billions of people much less our little blue orb be of concern?

    • larryatcycleitalia Says:

      You got that right JD! Fat Nixon figures he’ll be off roasting in hell next to Dick Cheney (well I can dream, no?) long before Mar-A-Lago is underwater…really underwater rather than drowning in debt as is usual for Don-the-Con and Co. Perhaps he thinks he really can turn the calendar back to the 1950’s, including the climate? Nah, he just doesn’t give a f–k. And just to prove my wife’s point, the report claims the victims of the Chinese Hoax in the USA are likely to be mostly the dolts who voted for Orange Nero….or their offspring.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      That’s the thing, gents. His “thinking,” as feeble a flame as that may be, is on a par with that of his followers. Short-term gains outweigh long-term peril.

      And when the deal goes down, who do y’think will be first in line squealing for Big Gummint assistance?

  3. Herb from Michigan Says:

    As a New Year approaches all too soon, .it is time to begin thinking about resolutions. I resolve that whenever Adolph Trump does yet another “thing” to bring about the knashing of teeth and weeping and keening- I’ll listen to The Milk Carton Kids instead. The 2011-2016 vintage the best of their collection.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I’m striving not to devote too much attention to the Orange Skull, Herb. Not here at the ol’ blogeroo, anyway. I figure there are plenty of better places to get the bird’s-eye lowdown on his capers while Bob “Captain America” Mueller gets the old red-white-and-blue PJs on.

      The Milk Carton Kids, hey? I see from Wikipedia that they share a label (ANTI) with our old Pal Tom Waits. I know I’ve heard their stuff before, but I can’t bring any of it to mind, so I’l have to give ’em a listen.

      Meanwhile, here’s a tale about a Fanta Se fellow who likewise is using music as a distraction.

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      Nice harmony and flat picking. I try to ignore donny dipshit, but it gets harder every day.

      Speaking of flat pickers, this get our mind off that guy.

  4. khal spencer Says:

    There is a fair amount of actual uncertainty in all these projections and for a variety of reasons. We don’t know if the climate sensitivity is 1.5 or 4.5 degrees for a given CO2 doubling, for example. The models are well, models and the climate modellers are still dinking around with them. But the overall energy trend is undeniably upward, i.e., warming, and we are playing Russian Roulette with climate since as I said, we don’t know the response well enough to predict the outcome to a high degree of confidence. That’s what worries me as a geologist, and what should scare anyone with a vested interest in the future. I don’t have any kids so I don’t worry about my spawn roasting in the heat. Someone else should.

    • khal spencer Says:

      Below is a toned down explanation of climate sensitivity. Also, some of the NY Times stuff depended on the RCP8.5 assumption, i.e., that high emissions will continue indefinitely, thus driving a shitload of warming. Judith Curry (some think she is a bit of a contrarian but she is a well published climatologist) called that the “demand side” assumption, i.e., that there is enough easily extractable fossil fuel to keep powering the human race at whatever level we wish to burn it at least through the end of the century.

      Click to access factsheetclimatesensitivitycsiro-bureau.pdf

      This administration’s response leaves me pretty demoralized. Climate is far more of a critical issue than a lot of the currently popular culture wars stuff (bathrooms, microaggression, guns, etc) and its getting kicked down the road. Well, the pavement may end before we wish it would.

      • psobrien Says:

        Thanks Khal. I read it twice and got from it, like you said above, that the models aren’t extremely accurate with climate sensitivity factors ranging from 1.5 to 4.5C, but the results of the models show we are in trouble anywhere within that range. The only thing that changes is how fast the warming occurs. And, if it goes to the high end, shit starts happening at a faster rate than the latest government report says. The part I don’t understand is the acceleration of the warming from glacial melting, ice shelf/sheet melting at the poles, ocean floor methane release, and ocean CO2 saturation. I assume the models have a hard time calculating that factor as well. Is there a tipping point at which all our greenhouse gas reduction efforts become much less or totally ineffective? Bottom line in all my reading is that we have about 12 years to cut our greenhouse emissions by 50% to avoid catastrophic climate change. This latest report agrees with that. And, I don’t need a model to guess that just ain’t going to happen. If everyone wants economic growth to stay at 3% a year or better, I think you have to furnish the energy for that growth with fossil fuels. Greenhouse gas amounts in the atmosphere rose again in 2017, and they are on track to increase again by the end of this year. The correlation of CO2 increases and temperature rise are undeniable. And, the pace of warming in the last 50 years is the fastest in the history of the planet is also undeniable. I am not optimistic, and I am leaning towards the conclusion that we have already hit the tipping point in global warming.

        • khal spencer Says:

          If you melt the polar ice caps you reduce the albedo (reflectivity) of the poles, i.e., they don’t toss that solar energy back to space. So that presumably accelerates warming. Same with clathate releases from the ocean, i.e., methane is an extremely powerful greenhouse gas (much stronger than CO2 but fortunately, has about a 20 yr residence time in the atmosphere whereas CO2 lingers in the atmosphere-ocean terrestrial cycle for centuries). So these are positive feedbacks. Whether we are at a tipping point I don’t know. I’ll have to read more but suspect the climatologists are hedging their bets on claims that the sky is falling.

          CO2 in the oceans

          I have not had a good long talk with my cycling/academic buddy Gary Barnes in a while. He was a meteorology prof. at the U of Hawaii and studied hurricanes. As of a few years ago he said the climate models can’t make clouds (that may have changed) so possible negative feedbacks are harder to model since clouds drastically affect the heat budget. But it ain’t my field.

          Bottom line is the world is warming at the fastest rate we have measured in our earthly existence here. How much of that is our efforts vs. short term fluctuations are what people argue about but meanwhile, we are shoveling in the coal and wondering why its getting hot out there. Seems awfully risky to me.

        • khal spencer Says:

          Of course we are also coming out of the Little Ice Age, so those NOAA graphics look alarming in part because it is coming out of a serious temperature dip after the Medieval Climate Optimum or whatever the real scientists call it.

          But what bothers me about all this is that its easy to lecture people on “fighting climate change” but for the fact that:
          1. The world, and the US in particular is consumer-driven and that requires energy to make shit. There has been no moratorium on buying cheap shit from China until they retire their coal fired plants.
          2. Even Progressive California can’t control its transportation emissions, in spite of its sanctimonious preaching to those knuckle-dragging red states that don’t have enough people to make much difference. California has 40 million people.
          3. Meat eating is not going away any time soon. We know what eating at the top of the food chain does to CO2 emissions, not to mention methane from cow farts.
          4. I heard on NPR that the biggest single US CO2 source is the military. But our overseas adventures are likely to continue. In fact, my concern is a confrontation in the S. China Sea.
          5. You know what Larry’s wife says…and meanwhile, the Hockey Stick lives on.

  5. larryatcycleitalia Says: pretty much sums it up for me.
    But of course too many people’s salaries depend on them not understanding this. Same with the Federal budget – when someone says “We don’t have the money for that” my answer is always, “Really? Why not just take a slice out of what we waste on so-called defense each year? That’ll cover it easily, no matter what it might be,” But you know what my wife says…

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