Welcome Author, Journalist,  Dr. Gwynne Dyer, and Host Brendan DeMelle of DeSmogBlog.com

[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book.  Please take other conversations to a previous thread.  - bev]

Climate Wars: The Fight for Survival as the World Overheats

Brendan DeMelle, Host:

There are dozens of excellent books on the subject of climate change, dominated heavily by texts examining the scientific underpinnings of our current knowledge about how climate systems work, and looking into what we might expect in the future. Many focus on environmental changes, threats to wildlife and biodiversity, and the public health implications of a hotter world. But Gwynne Dyer’s book “Climate Wars” takes a rather unique approach to the subject, delving into the geopolitical implications of a rapidly destabilizing climate. Drawing heavily on interviews with a wide range of experts, as well as his own history, military and foreign policy expertise, Dyer examines how certain countries, both rich and poor, might respond to climate change, and details the stresses that every nation will face, regardless of their military might or last-minute attempts to build resilience to climate disruption.

Exploring the present and future geopolitics of a warming planet, Dyer notes that climate-change scenarios are already playing a large role in the military planning process. Defense agencies around the world are issuing increasingly gloomy threat assessments and developing long-range strategies focused heavily on the likely impacts of climate change described by the global scientific community. To be blunt, Dyer is not optimistic about what the future holds – global food shortages, waves of climate refugees challenging national borders, wars over water and dwindling resources, and increasingly tense relations between nuclear-armed nations.

“We are not going to get through this without taking a lot of casualties, if we get through it at all,” he writes in the Introduction (xiii).

While readers might be inclined to dismiss such a dire prediction as the view of some deranged, liberal, hippy scaremonger, Dyer is anything but.

With a solid academic background in history, impressive military service and a lengthy career in professional journalism, Dyer has arrived at this conclusion carefully. Having served in three navies (American, British and Canadian) as a young man, Dyer went on to earn a Ph.D. in Military and Middle Eastern History from the University of London. He currently writes a column on international affairs that is published in over 175 papers in 45 countries. His television documentary series ‘War’ was nominated for an Academy Award, among other notable achievements and credentials.

Through extensive research and interviews with soldiers, politicians, climate scientists and other experts, Dyer has produced a thorough look at the geopolitical implications of a warmer, destabilized climate system. Dyer argues, convincingly in my opinion, that politics will play a decisive role in determining the fate of nations stressed by future climate shocks. No matter how well prepared – or vulnerable – any individual country may feel, climate change will alter the global political landscape in severe and lasting ways for every nation. Not surprisingly, the poor will face the worst consequences, but even the wealthiest will not escape untouched.

Climate Wars is not for the faint of heart. The pages of Dyer’s book are peppered with stark warnings and cold hard realities about climate disruption. He notes for example that, “if we haven’t reached zero greenhouse-gas emissions globally by 2050—and, preferably, 80 per cent cuts by 2030—then the second half of this century will not be a time you would choose to live in.”

While potential readers might feel tempted to skip “Climate Wars” in favor of less ominous reading, Dyer’s book is truly a must-read for anyone interested in what life might look like in just a few short decades unless bold and decisive action is taken to eliminate industrial carbon emissions and quickly reduce CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.

Regardless if you agree with some of Dyer’s controversial suggestions for thwarting the worst impacts of climate change – notably geoengineering – Climate Wars presents a compelling and chilling look at the possible political and strategic consequences of run-away climate change. It is a thought-provoking book that will challenge the assumptions of even the most ardent climate denier.

68 Responses to “FDL Book Salon Welcomes Gwynne Dyer, Climate Wars: The Fight for Survival as the World Overheats”

BevW November 6th, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Gwynne, Welcome to the Lake.

Brendan, Thank you for Hosting today’s Book Salon.

egregious November 6th, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Welcome to Firedoglake – so glad you could join us today!

Brendan DeMelle November 6th, 2010 at 2:01 pm

Welcome Gwynne, and thanks for hosting once again Bev!

dakine01 November 6th, 2010 at 2:01 pm

Good afternoon Gwynne and Brendan and welcome to FDL this afternoon.

Gwynne, I have not had an opportunity to read your book but do have a comment/question and please forgive me if you do address this. When I get in a “discussion” with deniers, the very first point I like to make to them is to ask why we can’t err on the side of caution given the consequences if they are wrong about climate change and it is a reality after all.

Except the answers are often frightening in the cluelessness. How do we overcome the cluelessness?

gwynnedyer November 6th, 2010 at 2:01 pm

I’m here. Thanks for inviting me.


Brendan DeMelle November 6th, 2010 at 2:02 pm

Gwynne, a few quick questions to get us warmed up. Your book is a heavy one to read, and I’m sure it was depressing to research and write at times. What inspired you to delve into the issue of the geopolitical implications of climate change?

gwynnedyer November 6th, 2010 at 2:08 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 4

There is no cure for cluelessness. There are an irreducible number of people who will believe almost anything they like and are immune to argument. It’s the rest who could provide a majority that supports a serious response to climate change in the United States. (Elsewhere, denial is not such a big problem).

The best thing to say to those people, since most folks are scientifically semi-literate at best, is that every single government on the planet takes climate change very seriously. In fact, in the past year they have all — 192 of them, including the US — signed up to an agreement that we will collectively never allow the warming to proceed beyond the “point of no return”, which is + 2 degrees Celsius. They have no agreement about how to do that, of course, but they have agreed on the goal.

gwynnedyer November 6th, 2010 at 2:10 pm
In response to Brendan DeMelle @ 6

“Heavy read”? That’s no way to sell books. I prefer to see it as a light-hearted look at Armageddon.


bigbrother November 6th, 2010 at 2:10 pm

Investments in Clean renewable energy have been put on the back burner by Obama. There are trillions of investment dollars waiting for green lights like tax credits, carbon trading credits and wind, wave energy. Look at the FECs web on proposed and in place plants. http://www.energy.ca.gov/reti/index.html If the administration wants tax cuts this is where it should go. California just defeated an anti energy bill soundly.

Brendan DeMelle November 6th, 2010 at 2:11 pm
In response to Gwynne Dyer @ 7

On the issue of climate deniers, which is the focus of my blog DeSmogBlog.com, what do you think their role was in derailing international action? How much are the front groups for dirty energy responsible for, if you had to assign a percentage of total blame for inaction?

Brendan DeMelle November 6th, 2010 at 2:13 pm
In response to Gwynne Dyer @ 8

That’s a much nicer description Gwynne! In your introduction, you write: “We are not going to get through this without taking a lot of casualties, if we get through it at all.” Do you think readers appreciate that kind of sobering honesty, or are people more inclined to ignore your views in favor of a more optimistic outlook on climate risks?

gwynnedyer November 6th, 2010 at 2:14 pm
In response to Brendan DeMelle @ 6

Further to the above: what got me started on this was the realisation that the US military were getting very interested in climate change. They had to do the research in the back room, so to speak, because this was back in the dying days of the Bush administration and taking climate change seriously in public was not a good career move. But in the back room at the Joint Chiefs of Staff, they were definitely investigating the roles that would arise for the military in a rapidly warming world.


Brendan DeMelle November 6th, 2010 at 2:17 pm
In response to bigbrother @ 9

Good point bigbrother. There are certainly plenty of opportunities for the Obama administration to move us toward a clean energy future rapidly, many of which could be implemented regardless of the balance of power in Congress. The defeat of Prop 23 was a strong indicator of public concern over attacks on clean energy and the millions of jobs that could be created quickly. But Prop 26 passed, what do you make of that? It had much less attention, did voters just not understand it, do you think?

Phoenix Woman November 6th, 2010 at 2:17 pm
In response to Gwynne Dyer @ 12

They were the first ones to buy Priuses.

They’re very into green energy, and not just because it frees their forward operations from one more thing that needs to be trucked in on a long and fragile jugular vein of a supply line.

gwynnedyer November 6th, 2010 at 2:17 pm
In response to bigbrother @ 9

If Obama has to get it through Congress — if it requires legislation — then it’s not going to happen. It wans’t going to happen even in the last Congress, once Ted Kennedy died and the Democrats lost their “super-majority”.

The bright side of this may be that Obama has not really lost any leverage as a result of the mid-term Democratic loss in both houses. He never really had that leverage to begin with.


Brendan DeMelle November 6th, 2010 at 2:17 pm

Gwynne, I was in Copenhagen for COP15 and watched the international progress on climate action collapse rather pitifully. It is a foregone conclusion that no deal will be reached at COP16 in Cancun later this month. The last line in your chapter “We Can Fix This” is: “We just have to hope that climate change will move slowly enough to accommodate our political habits.”
The way things are going, do you still think there is time left?

PeasantParty November 6th, 2010 at 2:18 pm

Gwynne, thank you so much for being here. I have not had the opportunity to read your book but have a few questions. Like you, I have noticed the military switching to some green energy. My question for you is why do you think the major energy corporations are always the ones to take the first steps and corner the market on newer ways to derive energy? Is there any way for a group or a start up to get a foothold on this without being wiped out by the big oil guys?

bigbrother November 6th, 2010 at 2:19 pm
In response to Gwynne Dyer @ 12

Many military bases are using renewable energy. Here is FERC website apps for wave energy take forever…fastracking applications can help. http://www.ferc.gov/market-oversight/othr-mkts/renew.asp
I tried to foster wave energy in CA and ran into stupidity and self interest.
Basically the nest generations are soo screwed.

gwynnedyer November 6th, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Once, about 80 percent. Now, no more than 30 percent. Denial has acquired an ideological life of its own, as a badge of membership in the right Republican/Tea Party tribe. Also, there are now a lot of people, especially in the media, with a vested interest in climate change denial, since that’s the ecological niche they flourish in. It’s like prison guards voting for tougher sentencing laws, or Mexican drug lords trying to subvert any attempts to legalise drugs.


Scarecrow November 6th, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Gwynne — have you noticed a great difference across different nations to the book’s conclusions — e.g., are some countries saying, “okay, if that’s what we face, then we need to start doing X,” while others remain in denial? What I’m getting at is how much more complex the solutions become once different countries facing different outcomes see themselves as hurting or benefitting from the changes — and behaving strategically,rather than cooperatively. What do you see happening?

Phoenix Woman November 6th, 2010 at 2:25 pm
In response to bigbrother @ 18

Hell, the Navy’s testing 50-50 mixes of diesel and algae-based biofuels in their jets. They pull this off, their economies of scale will allow them to refine the process and make it cheap enough for civilian commercial use.

The DoD’s the one sacred cow the Republicans won’t touch. Might be best to work with them on their own analogues to the Republican-hated civilian versions of various programs (such as the VA as opposed to HHS).

PeasantParty November 6th, 2010 at 2:27 pm
In response to Phoenix Woman @ 21

Yes, and I hear the algae and coral in the gulf are brimming with oil. They could burn that up first!

Brendan DeMelle November 6th, 2010 at 2:30 pm
In response to Scarecrow @ 20

Scarecrow I’ll chime in on that one too. I recently interviewed President Mohammed Nasheed of the Maldives, and his low-lying island nation is already feeling the impacts of climate change, including threats to their freshwater supplies. President Nasheed delivered a passionate plea for action at COP15 in Copenhagen, and held an underwater cabinet meeting last year to signal their potential fate. President Nasheed just installed solar panels on his roof as well. Nations that are feeling the threats already are much more aware of what the future holds

bigbrother November 6th, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Some say a court interpretation is required to know the impact. Concerns noted. 23 got spanked. We have DEM LT and Gov, 50% majority rule on budget and solid majority in both house. Things are possible in CA that aren’t nationally until we get renewable energy industry moving, Christians, conservative have invested in this industry. I am optomist if we pressure Brown for green jobs now we can make some headway. Tax credits for solar hot water worked until they were taken away. 10% state 40% Federal. Just need more strong advocates like you and a plan!

Brendan DeMelle November 6th, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Gwynne, when the military embraces technology as it has recently with solar and other renewable options for forward operating bases in Afghanistan – where it costs around $400 to deliver a gallon of gas that the military buys for $1 – that typically bodes will for rapid advances in technologies available to consumers, right? Do you think we’ll see a boost in tech advances now that the military is investing funds and R&D expertise on clean tech?

Scarecrow November 6th, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Yes, I read about the Maldives recently. Their plight is obvious, and they can’t afford to be in denial. What about larger nations that the US would pay attention to? I’m wondering what kind of strategic response from China, Europe etc it would take to convince US deniers they should do something. So far, telling Americans they’re falling behind China in building wind turbines doesn’t seem to be doing the trick. these people need a different kind of effect/shock — what is it?

gwynnedyer November 6th, 2010 at 2:38 pm

I think that there will be time left if we move fairly rapidly into geo-engineering; otherwise not.

The problem at Copenhagen, and at Cancun and future climate summits, is that there is only one possible deal, and that is one that you cannot sell to Western electorates.

The only deal that have saved Copenhagen (and everybody there knew it, whether they agreed with it or not) was one that acknowledged the history. Eighty percent of the greenhouse gaes of human origing that are in the atmosphere now were emitted by the old industrial powers — North America, Europe, Japan and a few other bits — over the past two centuries since we started burning fossil fuels. If we hadn’t done that, the Chinese and the Indians could happily industrialise for a hundred years, fuelling the process with coal, gas and oil, before we ran into serious warming problems.

But we did do that, so there’s no room left in the atmosphere for them to industrialise in the same cheap and nasty way that we did. They have to do it all using clean energy — wind, solar, wave and tidal, nuclear, and geo-thermal — that doesn’t emit greenhouse gases, or we all go down together. So the one deal that addresses the issue of historical justice is this.

The rich countries make really deep cuts in emissions up front: try 20 percent by 2020. The rapidly developing countries just cap their emissions where they are now, because they are still emitting far less per capita than we are — the average Chinese emits a quarter as much as the average American — but even after that they still want to go on growing their economies. They have no intention of staying poor.

But since they have capped their emissions, all the new energy sources they put in to keep the lights on (China needs 7 percent growth in energy per year) will now have to be clean. that costs more than cheap and dirty coal-fired plants, so who pays the difference? Answer: we do. We pay the difference between what it will cost to grow their power cleanly and the much lesser amount it would cost if they did it the way we did.

In the end, that’s only fair. But can you see any western leader coming home and telling the voters that he has signed that deal? Obviously not. And until Western voters understand enough to accept that deal, there will be no deal.


PeasantParty November 6th, 2010 at 2:39 pm
In response to Scarecrow @ 26

It was a shock to me that China is building and placing the turbines and solar panels. Americans were ready to roll and have a new wave of employment. Something they can make, be proud of, and save the planet was something to cheer about. Then we learn that again, China got all the plants and money for it. SHOCK!

gwynnedyer November 6th, 2010 at 2:40 pm
In response to PeasantParty @ 17

I realise that this is politically incorrect, but I WANT to see the big corporations piling in. When ExxonMobil started investing in algae as a biofuel rather than funding denial, I was delighted. This is an emergency, and we cannot afford to be picky about our allies.


Brendan DeMelle November 6th, 2010 at 2:42 pm
In response to Scarecrow @ 26

Scarecrow, I think the issue that anyone can relate to – even the most ardent deniers – is jobs. The fact that we are falling behind China in renewables production means there will be fewer jobs available here in the sector. The Chinese will be selling to us for a long time, because we haven’t built the clean tech manufacturing sector up. Regardless of your views on climate change, embracing clean energy leads to job creation. Who can argue with more jobs?

gwynnedyer November 6th, 2010 at 2:42 pm
In response to Phoenix Woman @ 21

I entirely agree. Amory Lovins is my guide in all this, and he has done a brilliant job in persuading the US military to stop treating fuel as a free good.


spocko November 6th, 2010 at 2:43 pm
In response to Gwynne Dyer @ 19

Thank you for the question Brendan and the response Gwynne. I find this switch fascinating. I have been tracking for years a former weatherman who does not belive in human caused climate change. He is not funded directly by energy industries but he wants to be against what Al Gore is for. He wrote a book challenging Gore’s views.

What has astonished me is the number of outlets for his book. Reviewers who have no science background or aren’t going to question his findings. He was on Hannity pushing it recently.

Have you experienced a massive number of outlets wanting to write about your book? Have you gotten time on cable TV and Talk radio to discuss your book?

PeasantParty November 6th, 2010 at 2:45 pm
In response to Gwynne Dyer @ 29

True. I’m just thinking about the need for jobs and manufacturing something here in America. Even a new power grid across the country that can handle a new energy source.

Scarecrow November 6th, 2010 at 2:46 pm
In response to Gwynne Dyer @ 27

The possibility for such a deal seems even less remote than a mere two years ago. In my former field, electricity, many utilities/independent developers were holding off investments, waiting for some clarity on CO2 targets/limits, but assuming there would be something. And whatever that was would determine whether they switched off coal to X, Y, Z or went ahead with coal plus capture, or just plain coal with slightly better emission characteristics/efficiency.

Now the answer seems to be — you probably don’t have to change much and can go head with trad coal. There will be local/state fights, but little pressure from national. Even EPA regs likely to be under Republican siege.

There was a brief moment there when the industry might have been open to a new direction, but it’s gone.

gwynnedyer November 6th, 2010 at 2:47 pm

Nasheed is a very useful global citizen, although he probably secretly knows that the Maldives are doomed. I was in the Betherlands recently interviewing the guy in charge of raising the dikes to deal with anticipated sea level rise in this century, and he wasn’t using the numbers from the IPCC report of 2007, like everybody else still does. His job is to keep a whole country from going underwater, and the numbers he is using are between three quarters of a metre and one-and-a-half metres (2.5-4.6 feet). Goodbye Maldives. Also goodbye downtown Washington and Baltimore, by the way.


gwynnedyer November 6th, 2010 at 2:48 pm
In response to spocko @ 32

Not much. Elsewhere lots, but not in the US. Are you surprised?


bigbrother November 6th, 2010 at 2:49 pm
In response to Gwynne Dyer @ 12

Smart strategy is to take path of least resistance. T.Bone Pickens, GE and many other can get up and running pretty fast if regulatory is pressed to open the doors by Obama. Wave energy can be produced for less than 5 cents a KW (continental shore are quite extensive). Reducing greenhouse gas footprint has to come with tax credits and other perks.
I have read some 2008 books on the subject detailing these technology and the investors. We need grid and storage: both will create sustainable job growth.

Brendan DeMelle November 6th, 2010 at 2:49 pm
In response to Gwynne Dyer @ 27

Gwynne, on the subject of geoengineering, which is of course a controversial topic, how do you anticipate the global military industrial complex would handle deployment of geoengineering techniques? Who would decide what tinkering is ok and what isn’t? I would imagine that would create a lot of tension between nations. Do you foresee wars breaking out over disagreement on geoengineering?

Scarecrow November 6th, 2010 at 2:51 pm

What’s been the reaction so far to the bio-engineering approaches you discuss? Are they seen as a realistic solutions, or do they risk convincing people we don’t have to change much else, because the engineers will solve that and we go on about our lives? How should citizens view this?

Brendan DeMelle November 6th, 2010 at 2:52 pm
In response to spocko @ 32

Spocko, what is the name of that weatherman you mentioned?

Brendan DeMelle November 6th, 2010 at 2:54 pm

Thanks to everyone for joining us today. You can learn more about Gwynne Dyer’s extensive body of work at his website, http://gwynnedyer.com/

November 6th, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Hi there – late to the discussion, but in your book do you cover the geo-political resource problem that’s happening right now, under our eyes at our southern border?

I think part of what is driving the “illegal” immigrant debate is facts on the ground at the AZ/MEX border. The Colorado River doesn’t fully flow into the Sea of Cortez anymore, and I used to fish down there as a kid.

Now, it’s brackish and doesn’t support the former Mexican Shrimper livelihood anymore. Coupled with US Ag practices, that drives campesino fishers and farmers away from their native homes.

That’s mild compared to what’s coming in the future, isn’t it?

spocko November 6th, 2010 at 2:56 pm
In response to Gwynne Dyer @ 36

Not surprised. Depressed maybe. I would think that some right wing stations might bite on the book if you played up “the Chinese are beating us!” issue. Or “even the Military is paying attention to this?”

The right loves the military. They can do no wrong. They sometimes are critical of China when they are taking business away from their sponsors. If this aspect of the boom was pitched you could slip in your other messages.

gwynnedyer November 6th, 2010 at 2:58 pm

The US military have figured out that half their casualties in Iraq were incurred directly or indirectly by road convoys — and 80 percent of what those convoys were carrying, by weight, was fuel. That’s stupid. So all new tenders to the Pantagon for new weapons systems have to include an assessment of the lifetime fuel cost of running these vehicles.

On past performance, the new fuel-efficient technologies that these tenders generate will transit rapidly to the civilian economy.


spocko November 6th, 2010 at 2:58 pm

Br ian Suss man on K S F O book is C limate g ate
I think I dropped you a note about his book asking you some one to review it on Amazon.

gwynnedyer November 6th, 2010 at 2:59 pm
In response to bigbrother @ 37

I entirely agree.


gwynnedyer November 6th, 2010 at 3:00 pm
In response to Kelly Canfield @ 42

Yes, alas.


gwynnedyer November 6th, 2010 at 3:06 pm

I think wars over when and how to deploy geoengineering are quite likely. Any single country can do it, and it’s relatively cheap, but once it’s done it affects the whole atmosphere and climate for everybody.

Some countries (mostly those closer to the equator) are going to want to do it much sooner than others who are in less trouble (like the US or Russia). It’s Bangladesh or China that will decide to do it unilaterally, if they cannot get global agreement on it — and then what will the great powers further away from the equator do to them?


Lorraine Watkins November 6th, 2010 at 3:10 pm

very interesting reading. I personally am coming to accept that the human species has not evolved to a point of rationally approaching effective solutions. I think we are in a phase of progressive destruction of what creates and nurtures us. I have no hope for avoiding an eventual massive kill off.

I applaud this book and the many other thoughtful efforts to inform but I have to admit I have just about quit trying my own small ways.

The planet will of course survive as it has both geological and organic cataclysms. It’s a crap shoot as to what form the new life will have, Sort of wish I could be around to see how it turns out

Brendan DeMelle November 6th, 2010 at 3:12 pm
In response to Scarecrow @ 39

Scarecrow, good question on geoengineering. People do have a tendency to think we can “fix” any problem with technology, don’t they? But I’m not sure how many people would entirely dismiss the need to take a wide range of actions to avery climate disruption. How much of the population would really put their trust in leaving it all to a gamble on a geoengineering quick fix once things get ugly? What do you think?

Lorraine Watkins November 6th, 2010 at 3:13 pm
In response to Gwynne Dyer @ 48

I am not up to date but I read headlines in the scientific journals that indicate the scientific community has serious reservations in regard to current designs for geoengineering. Could you address that? (I hope this is not redundant as I skimmed and could have missed an earlier comment.)

Brendan DeMelle November 6th, 2010 at 3:31 pm
In response to TalkingStick @ 51

TalkingStick, geoengineering is definitely controversial in the scientific community. Gwynne, do you think the concerns of scientists would take a back seat to the views of military generals once things deteriorate? Or will scientists still have the final say on whether geoengineering techniques get deployed?

dakine01 November 6th, 2010 at 3:36 pm

It always does seem that any geo-engineering is going to be a classic “law of unintended side consequences”

Which is why it scares me almost as much as doing nothing does.

Lorraine Watkins November 6th, 2010 at 3:36 pm

The generals have quite a record of advocating mutual assured destruction as an acceptable strategy.

My pessimism as to long range outcome is based on the observation that our world civilization has not progressed much beyond that. The scientists are the least noted.

Scarecrow November 6th, 2010 at 3:36 pm

I’m pessimistic about how responsible we’re capable of being now. The American myth is that we can solve any technological problem with creative technology. After all, we went to the moon, right? All we need is another Manhattan project, right? But this problem is bigger, more complicated, and requiring more international cooperation than anything we’ve ever attempted, short of World War II. So where is the American electorate? Where is it’s media? They in denial, anti-science, anti-rationality, and definitely anti-complexity. And the people who have the money to control the message have a vested interest in keeping it that way. We’re going to need a massive outside shock to change this.

And there’s nothing like WW II’s obvious threat facing us — it’s too non-transparent. If I’m missing some hopeful news, tell us. We need it.

Brendan DeMelle November 6th, 2010 at 3:37 pm

Gwynne, you discuss many likely scenarios in the book about political shifts and the increasing difficulty of securing borders. Are there any areas of the planet that you think might be relatively safe to live in a warmer world? Where would you suggest your grandkids settle down to weather the storm, for example?

Brendan DeMelle November 6th, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Also Gwynne, I’m curious about what technologies you think have the best chance of supplanting fossil fuels to meet future energy needs. Any personal picks? Do you think we could meet future demand with wind, solar, geothermal and other renewables? Or do you think nuclear has to be in the mix?

BevW November 6th, 2010 at 3:51 pm

As we come to the end of this Book Salon,

Gwynne, Thank you very much for stopping by the Lake and spending your late evening with us discussing your new book and climate change.

Brendan, Thank you very much for Hosting this Book Salon.

Everyone if you would like more information:
Dr. Dyer’s website, book
Brendan’s website

Thanks all,
Have a great evening.

Lorraine Watkins November 6th, 2010 at 3:51 pm
In response to Scarecrow @ 55

In my view, the big transforming insight that could save many of current lifeforms is of the facts of zero sum when it comes to this so far balanced terrarium we live within in. We must embrace the concepts of sustainability, of replenishing what we use. Man crates nothing out of a vacuum. A price is extracted. The bills are coming due. I do think the virtually all people have the capacity to hold that simple concept.

Brendan DeMelle November 6th, 2010 at 3:53 pm

Gwynne, you raise the question in the book about how climate change became such a polarizing and politicized issue in the U.S. – pointing out that other countries have avoided such partisan splits and recognized climate change as a scientific issue, not a political or emotional one. You note that conservatives like Margaret Thatcher and Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel have even been seen as “climate activists” (pg 144). Why do you think climate denial has become, as you call it, “a badge of ideological allegiance” for conservatives in the U.S.?

Brendan DeMelle November 6th, 2010 at 3:55 pm

Thanks for hosting Bev, and thanks Gwynne for taking the time to be with us today. I greatly enjoyed your book. Keep up the good work. Thanks to everyone who asked questions and participated in the salon today.

TheLurkingMod November 6th, 2010 at 4:00 pm

Ruth Calvo is upstairs!
Fencing off Those Illegals

Scarecrow November 6th, 2010 at 4:02 pm
In response to TalkingStick @ 59

I can accept the logic, but doubt most others do. How to sell it to the TPee-ers? Many believe God put earth here for our exploitation, and wouldn’t have done so if we could exhaust it. Therefore, it follows, we can’t. And those who profit from the exploitation are more than willing to convince them that belief is just fine.

I watch commercials every night from Chevron that basically say: “trust us, we can solve this, and we at Chrevron are working on it.” That to me is the perverse interpretation of the engineering fix, and it plays into the religious beliefs and the faux-patriotic notions of American exceptionalism. So, the argument goes, the rest of us don’t have to change what we do or how we think, and if politicians ask us to, it’s just more big gubmint telling us what to do. We’re fighting a whole panoply of frames that have been pounded into us.

To our guests: how do you turn that around??

Scarecrow November 6th, 2010 at 4:04 pm

Thanks much to Brendan and Gwynne.

donbacon November 6th, 2010 at 4:15 pm
In response to Gwynne Dyer @ 35

he is using are between three quarters of a metre and one-and-a-half metres (2.5-4.6 feet). Goodbye Maldives. Also goodbye downtown Washington and Baltimore, by the way.

Actually the Maldives are not sinking and the global increase in sea level is a foot a century, if that.



Phoenix Woman November 6th, 2010 at 5:51 pm
In response to donbacon @ 65

Um, no. Mister Anthony Watts Up is a guy who did the weather for a FOX station, not an actual scientist. He has been caught in lies before:

http://climateprogress.org/2009/01/02/weblog-awards-duped-by-deniers-again/ (where his sea-level lie is debunked)

http://climateprogress.org/2010/07/03/watts-goddard-arctic-ice/ (where he’s forced to back away from a crock he was pushing)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kevin-grandia/debunking-another-climate_b_244903.html (this one is particularly good because Watts tried to get YouTube to suppress it)

donbacon November 6th, 2010 at 8:02 pm
In response to Phoenix Woman @ 66

If the evidence shows that the Maldives are NOT sinking, then you attack the messenger.

The Swedish geologist and physicist Nils-Axel Mörner, formerly chairman of the INQUA International Commission on Sea Level Change, using every known scientific method to study sea levels all over the globe, says that all this talk about the sea rising is nothing but a colossal scare story.

Al Gore has delivered scare stories about Florida becoming submerged because of ice melting in Greenland. “Recent Greenland Ice Mass Loss by Drainage System from Satellite Gravity Observations“, Scott Luthcke et al, Science, 24 November 2006: The Greenland mass loss contributes 0.28 ± 0.04 mm/year to global sea level rise, which is nearly 10% of the 3 mm/year rate recently observed by satellite altimeters.

“How Fast Are the Ice Sheets Melting?“, Anny Cazenav, Science, 24 November 2006 — “Remote-sensing data suggest that ice sheets currently contribute little to sea-level rise. etc.

One simply has to look at a globe with its vast expanses of ocean surfaces and compare those to the comparatively small sizes of Greenland and even Antarctica to know that the scare stories are implausible.

wahyusamputra November 7th, 2010 at 3:34 am
In response to donbacon @ 67

However, the island historically disputed between India and Bangla Desh DID disappear beneath the waves.

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