Climate Broderism

As in the late Washington Post columnist David Broder, who made a real name for himself with the kind of ‘both sides do it’, why can’t ‘Obama and Boehner have a drink and settle this like Tip and Ronny used to’ false equivalence Villager-ism that makes anyone paying attention from outside the beltway feel like they’re picking up a signal from Venus on the state flower satellite dish. Anyway, this is a bizarre turn but because it’s right there in the paper of record (and elsewhere) we would be remiss in not mentioning it. Dave Roberts, via LGM:

Self-proclaimed moderates like to lecture anti-Keystone XL activists that they are “distracting” and “counterproductive,” without spelling out what the hell that means, yet they seem bewildered when that makes the activists in question angry.

Let’s review. This weekend, close to 50,000 people gathered for the biggest rally ever against climate change, a threat Revkin acknowledges is enormous, difficult, and urgent. Revkin and his council of wonks took to Twitter to argue that the rally and the campaign behind it are misdirected, absolutist, confused, and bereft of long-term strategy. They had this familiar conversation as the rally was unfolding.

As a result, Revkin suffered the grievous injury of a frustrated tweet from Wen Stephenson, a journalist who has crossed over to activism. This gave the wounded Revkin the opportunity to write yet another lament on the slings and arrows that face the Reasonable Man. He faced down the scourge of single-minded “my way or the highway environmentalism,” y’all, but don’t worry, he’s got a thick skin. He lived to tell the tale.

This is all for the benefit of an elite audience, mind you, for whom getting yelled at by activists is the sine qua non of seriousness. The only thing that boosts VSP cred more is getting yelled at by activists on Both Sides.

Read the whole thing. This is happening on the NYT Green blog. As Loomis explains, the most important thing for Revkin is compromise with the big polluters, no matter how wrong they are or how much their industries are the cause of it all and their lobbying keeps any solutions from being considered much less implemented.

Green Super Bowl Ads

It’s a bit of a misnomer, but amid the sexy starlets, wacky animals and wacky adorable kids – oh, and farmers – hawking all kinds of beer and chips and cars and sandwiches, there was very little green-shaded buying cover. This could mean several things:

1) we’ve finally reached a sustainable level of everything – from renewable fuels to mass transit and locally grown [and consumed] food.

2) we’ve reached the point where there is not even the need for greenwashing anymore; the trend is over and we will continue as before, without even the conceit of change or its need.

3) we’ve entered a new realm of hyper-expensive spectacle advertising. This is the God and the devil realm, where even the military is a puppet controlled by heart strings in service to selling Jeeps.

Far more shameless than the cartoon renderings of routes out of planetary peril, (3) actually leaves me feeling soiled with a new brand of sinister. So I guess that’s something.

Radical Solutions, Inc.

That’s some kind of dystopian corporation of the future, sort of like Executive Outcomes. Remember that? Now try to dig up that Harper’s article from 1997; it’ll learn ya.

So… you wouldn’t think that an article on eliminating college football would be relevant on a blog like this. But then you didn’t name your blog this either, did you? Oh, Wall Street Journal, reminding me that Eco also stands for economy:

Who truly benefits from college football? Alumni who absurdly judge the quality of their alma mater based on the quality of the football team. Coaches such as Nick Saban of the University of Alabama and Bob Stoops of the University of Oklahoma who make obscene millions. The players themselves don’t benefit, exploited by a system in which they don’t receive a dime of compensation. The average student doesn’t benefit, particularly when football programs remain sacrosanct while tuition costs show no signs of abating as many governors are slashing budgets to the bone.

I’m down with his argument in many ways, but this part of it reminds me of a near exact parallel with the sacrosanctity of military spending in our larger budgetary reality. It is Eliot Ness. It is untouchable, all other things being up for negotiated elimination. Which is itself a reminder of what our government is becoming: an insurance company with an army.

But, to the point about college football green and the NCAA’s reluctance to part with it. No solutions are just going to prevent themselves, until the sport completes its slide toward boxing – and with solutions like, who needs problems? The idea of a triple AAA minor league paid for by the NFL seems like a no-brainer and will only take a little getting used to. In business speak, they’ve already created demand for their product, and maybe even overshot that. Time to re-route the supply.

Handling the Scandal-ing

You might think throwing money at problems is one one to do it. Turns out: not so much.

Litigation can have an annealing effect on companies, forcing them to re-examine the way they do business. But as it was, the full extent and villainy of the hacking was never known because the News Corporation paid serious money to make sure it stayed that way.

And the money the company reportedly paid out to hacking victims is chicken feed compared with what it has spent trying to paper over the tactics of News America in a series of lawsuits filed by smaller competitors in the United States.

The thing is, they really didn’t want any ‘annealing’ effects on company practices to take effect after this or any other scandal. Not interested. There is a disconnect – one of many – between the perception that major corporate entities care about doing business honestly, even making huge money – honestly – and… reality. Which is that they don’t care about it at all. We’re not talking about their advertising and what it says about them. You can do it. But that’s not their game. Murdoch wasn’t interested; and if he had a private moment today, would probably say he still isn’t interested in running his or any company (or country, for that matter) honestly. What would be the point?

Watch this story; it will continue to evolve.

update: Suing his mother?

Climate Evasions Test Nation’s Denial Abilities

It’s getting more and more difficult to disconnect our crazy weather from climate change – but we, and our media, keep on trying:

The PBS News Hour did a long story Tuesday night on “Sweltering Heat Wave Roasts 24 States, Feeds Wildfires,” but the only explanation they would offer up is “Meteorologists say the immediate culprit is a high-pressure system stalled over much of the country’s midsection.”

The NBC Evening News also did a long story on the “massive and dangerous heat wave” that has “half of the US population … under a heat advisory.”  Then NBC’s Ann Curry mentions the superstorms and floods the nation has experienced, along with the heat wave, and asks a “Weather Channel meteorologist” just “What Explains This?”

What follows is one of the great tautological non-answers ever seen on a major network:

Well, Ann, during the spring time we were stuck in a very active spring pattern.   Now that it’s summer, we’re stuck in a very active and persistent summer pattern.

The idea that even this brand of non-sensical excuse-finding would have its limits is an increasingly bizarre form of optimism. Still, I think we have much in us by way of abilities to block out, not see, entertain fantasies and generally look the other way – which itself informs an equal and opposite hopelessness. The middle is in there somewhere, as the rest of the world leaves decides to take measures aimed at AGW. While we look for more things green might possibly mean, other than the one thing. What’s a metaphor for, anyway?

Cy Twombly, R.I.P.


‘In his own particular way, Twombly tells us that the essence of writing is neither form nor usage but simply gesture – the gesture that produces it by allowing it to happen: a garble, almost a smudge, a negligence. We can reason this out through a comparison. What would be the essence of a pair of trousers (if it has one)? Certainly not that carefully prepared and rectilinear object found on the racks of department stores; rather the ball of cloth dropped on the floor by the negligent hand of a young boy when he undresses tired, lazy and indifferent. The essence of an object has something to do with the way it turns into trash. It is not necessarily what remains after the object has been used, it’s rather what is thrown away in use. And so it is with Twombly’s writings. They are the fragments of an indolence, and this makes them extremely elegant; it’s as though the only thing left after the strongly erotic act of writing were the languid fatigue of love: a garment cast aside into a corner of the page.”

Roland BarthesNon Multa Sed Multum 1976

(Quote found in Christie’s Print catalogue, for 31.3.10 Auction, King Street)

Also, there are a few choice quotes from the man himself in the NYT slideshow. Godspeed, sir.

Closed (Collision) Course

How close do you have to get to being a doomsayer to get the point across about resource depletion without seeming like a kook and therefore being easily marginalized? It seems like we are on a collision course with finding out. The idea filters down (or up, depending on your orient) to every sort of green advertising, book selling, and opinion writing you can find by opening your iLid. To even get in the door to policy discussions, the apocalyptic ends must be sufficiently trimmed to keep the discussions civilized (i.e. potentially profitable) to the corporate nervous Nellies who control everything. But any serious steps to alter the trajectory of planetary ruination will be absolutely predicated on a series of disasters, sufficiently devastating as to be impossible to iSleep through. It’s an indelicate path between catastrophe and optimism. Joe Romm quotes little Tommy Friedman, channeling Paul Gilding:

This is not science fiction. This is what happens when our system of growth and the system of nature hit the wall at once. While in Yemen last year, I saw a tanker truck delivering water in the capital, Sana. Why? Because Sana could be the first big city in the world to run out of water, within a decade. That is what happens when one generation in one country lives at 150 percent of sustainable capacity.

The need for crises; the will to avert them.

Closed (collision) course. Amateur driver.

The Cost of What You’re Not Doing

Should energy oil companies continue to receive government subsidies at a time of record profits? Seems like an easy one: No! Congress does’t agree, but there’s certainly a case to be made.

But what about us? Our highways are heavily completely subsidized. Gas taxes are relatively low, encouraging us to drive. Single-family, detached houses with minimum lot requirements? Check. Minimum parking requirements for new business? Ccchhheccckkk. The government requires all of these things of us, or we do of ourselves, through our government, that in turn compel us to, um, consume mass quantities, in the common parlance. And of course, when we do some things, we don’t do others. If we drive, we can’t also bike, sure; but what about all those other things we might be doing to save money or use less energy that we’re not doing – and our government is not forcing us to not do them… we’re just not. Hey, wait a minute! They can’t not make us not do something! But they are.

JR has this post on energy efficiency as a resource… not a resource but the resource.

Energy efficiency is the most important climate solution for several reasons:

  1. It is by far the biggest resource.
  2. It is by far the cheapest, far cheaper than the current cost of unsustainable energy, so cheap that it helps pay for the other solutions.
  3. It is by far the fastest to deploy, without the transmission and siting issues that plague most other strategies.

People on the right freak about this all the time – although they seem to believe with 1st century zealotry in eliminating government waste, they are wholly ambivalent about their own. Anything but being told what to do, ha. As if. It’s true that energy companies and their legions of shills have to demonize efficiency all-day every-day because if people found how easy it is – we would soon begin taking on the harder stuff. But that would be good, right? What are they/we so afraid of?

Even without the government subsidies, we could do it. We could pay our utilities more for selling us less – or at least incentive them properly in that direction. As it is, the more we use the more they earn. Like everything else. But maybe this is our greatest resource, the one we’re not using.

Biking = $$$

So… I’m contemplating getting rid of my parking sticker to become, for the second time, exclusively a walker/biker to work. There are a few different reasons for this, which shall remain obscured for the moment, but all of them are good. But even thinking about it seriously, where you consider a change in behavior and perhaps various alternative uses for a non-trivial yearly sum, you stumble onto all kinds of causation-related affinities for greater Bikedom. If you live in any place even remotely bicycle-friendly, reasons to give up the car are literally all around. And many of them wind up with reserved seats on the green-means-green continuum. To wit:


More here.

Green Quiz

Which is the more eco enviro? No fair if you recognize your ‘hood.

1. Paris3rd

2. allemagne

3. alpharhetta