All this talk about the fate of Earth

“Everything is changing about the natural world and everything must change about the way we conduct our lives. It is easy to complain that the problem is too vast, and each of us is too small. But there is one thing that each of us can do ourselves, in our own homes, at our own pace—something easier than taking out the recycling or turning down the thermostat, and something more valuable. We can call the threats to our future what they are. We can call the villains villains, the heroes heroes, the victims victims, and ourselves complicit. We can realize that all this talk about the fate of Earth has nothing to do with the planet’s tolerance for higher temperatures and everything to do with our species’ tolerance for self-delusion. And we can understand that when we speak about things like fuel-efficiency standards or gasoline taxes or methane flaring, we are speaking about nothing less than all we love and all we are.” from Losing Earth by Nathaniel Rich

“Losing Earth” by Nathaniel Rich

Available April 9

From the Editor: “By 1979, we knew nearly everything we understand today about climate change—including how to stop it. Over the next decade, a handful of scientists, politicians, and strategists, led by two unlikely heroes, risked their careers in a desperate, escalating campaign to convince the world to act before it was too late. Losing Earth is their story, and ours.”

“The New York Times Magazine devoted an entire issue to Nathaniel Rich’s groundbreaking chronicle of that decade, which became an instant journalistic phenomenon—the subject of news coverage, editorials, and conversations all over the world. In its emphasis on the lives of the people who grappled with the great existential threat of our age, it made vivid the moral dimensions of our shared plight.”

“Now expanded into book form, Losing Earth tells the human story of climate change in even richer, more intimate terms. It reveals, in previously unreported detail, the birth of climate denialism and the genesis of the fossil fuel industry’s coordinated effort to thwart climate policy through misinformation propaganda and political influence. The book carries the story into the present day, wrestling with the long shadow of our past failures and asking crucial questions about how we make sense of our past, our future, and ourselves.”

NB: NPR’s Terry Gross Fresh Air interview with Nathaniel Rich HERE.

On climate change becoming a partisan issue
We’ve entered this weird funhouse realm where now if you jump ahead to the present day you have a political party … that endorses a position that’s essentially to the right even of what the industry now says in their public statements. Exxon publicly today doesn’t deny climate change, but you have a party that does. I think it’s something that future historians will spend a lot of time piecing out is: How this little lie grew into a big lie and overwhelmed our politics.

Nathaniel Rich

Ten Good Books: A Climate Change Reading List

For those of you looking for a list of good books on climate change, I thought I should offer this link to David Wallace-Well‘s climate change recommended reading list.

I am presently reading one of his recommendations, “Field Notes from a Catastrophe,” by Elizabeth Kolbert. Of this book, Wallace-Wells says: “Alongside Bill McKibben, Elizabeth Kolbert is probably the leading journalistic chronicler of the way climate has changed, is changing, and will change our planet — and in addition to being informative, these books are full of exquisite writing.” I’ll review the book when I finish it. For now, check out his reading list.

What is the Relationship Between Rock Weathering and Carbon Dioxide?

When silicate rocks, a very common class of rock, are exposed to the air and to normal weathering, they erode. Carbon dioxide is attracted to these eroding rocks and binds to them, forming calcium carbonate.

Calcium carbonate is eventually washed into the ocean where it settles to the bottom. This process, this forming of calcium carbonate, has the effect of sucking the carbon dioxide out of the air and storing it at the bottom of the ocean. {~H�


The Biggest Control Knob: Carbon Dioxide in Earth’s Climate History

Here is an excellent keynote address by Dr. Richard B. Alley, Penn. State Univ., from December 2009 in which he shows that the important controller of Earth’s Climate is carbon dioxide, mainly through volcanic forcing and rock weathering, and on a small scale, plate-tectonic drifting and the evolution of plant life. He also points out the changes in the sun, cosmic rays, space dust, and magnetic fields have little bearing on climate.

He is an animated speaker and, though the subject is somewhat difficult, it is well-worth the time. You will find the address HERE.