[Coral-List] New York Times op-ed piece - thoughts for Phase II

Bill Rohring br_czm at yahoo.com
Mon Jul 23 15:39:16 EDT 2012

Good Afternoon,

I very rarely contribute to the discussions that occur on the list, but feel I need to throw my 2 cents in on this particular topic.  While both Ove & Alina have very valid points, the concept of tipping point where non-fossil fuel suddenly becomes attractive and everything will rapidly shift to the new fuel sources is optimistic at best.  This is primarily due to the fact that the GHG which are emitted by the fossil fuels are not factored into any of the costs of producing/consuming energy from these fuel sources.  Even if GHG are ultimately taxed, that will mean all the material and equipment needed to produce the non-fossil fuel energy will also go up somewhat in price.  Couple that with the inability of the renewable energy resources to easily tap into the nation's electrical grid (30 miles offshore is not near the grid, nor are windmills in the Great Plains region very close to Chicago and other mid-western and southern users) and the price for
 renewable energy goes even higher.  Ultimately, what will probably occur, at least in the U.S., is that individual regions within states will shift as it makes economic sense for them to do so.  Gradually, and only when enough systems are shifted over, will a tipping point be reached.

As far as large, nation-wide outreach campaigns, in my mind they are primarily a waste of money.  Recent research has shown that there are fewer children (%-wise) than ever in the U.S. that have never camped out or been involved with any kind of sustained outdoor experience.  What is need is somehow getting people at the local level, block by block involved with outdoor or environmental issues that affect them, even if it doesn't immediately hit our objectives, that we will be able to actually bring about the change that is needed.  One example, helping lower income neighborhoods reduce the effects of climate change by reducing or eliminating the areas that invasive mosquitoes and other insects prefer, thus reducing the threat of new diseases.  Once that kind of rapport is created, then the teaching of larger issues, problems, and possible solutions can be discussed.  



 From: Steve Mussman <sealab at earthlink.net>
To: "coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov" <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> 
Sent: Sunday, July 22, 2012 9:42 PM
Subject: [Coral-List] New York Times op-ed piece - thoughts for Phase II

   It is with great interest that we should consider the exchange between Alina
   and Ove

   because therein lies our salvation.

   I  believe  that Ove is spot on to point out that "seemingly immovable
   ideological positions

   will fall away if only because it will become increasingly uneconomic not to
   shift towards renewable energy sources. In this regard, individuals and
   organisations that are pumping

   money into gas and coal infrastructure today are probably doing so at great
   risk to their


   But Alina counters by pointing out "The truth is that the human species
   seldom responds

   to a problem until after a disaster happens, seldomly as a preventative".

   So can we patiently wait until the economic realities ultimately tip the
   balance in favor of renewables or will such moderation doom our coral reefs
   along with other vulnerable ecosystems?

   Alina reminds us that it is critical to "educate sufficient people about
   this and get our leaders to make wise choices and that it will take more
   than  a  panel  of  experts at a meeting attended by a couple thousand
   people". Ove's solution is to suggest to his fellow scientists that "not
   only should we continue to expand our interaction with the mainstream media
   but we must also focus on capturing hearts and minds of hundreds of millions
   through effective social media campaigns and other mechanisms. Only then
   will we have the chance to speed up the transition that desperately needs to

   I say to that . . . . please listen.

   Thank you both and . . . amen.
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