Saturday, October 22, 2011


An important new report this week gives new urgency to our efforts to slow the pace of climate change. Richard Muller, a physics professor at Berkeley whose critiques of climate science have earned considerable support among climate change deniers, released the results of a two-year study of surface temperature data  from the last two hundred years. His conclusions? The earth is warming, and the pace of warming is increasing at a disastrous pace. As Kevin Drum writes in Mother Jones, not only is the rate of warming accelerating, but Muller's findings are even more alarming than those of some of the other scientists whose methodologies he faulted.

Coincidentally, I found myself killing time in Key Biscayne last night, working on a conference paper in between stints as a parent-chauffeur. While eating dinner outdoors at one cafe and sipping coffee outdoors at another, I watched one car after another pull up at take-out restaurants and bank ATMs while they left the engines running. Presumably this was to leave the air conditioning going, but keep in mind that the weather was a perfect 75 degrees, with low humidity. And this isn't the first time we've witnessed this bizarre behavior. For those unfamiliar with south Florida, Key Biscayne is a wealthy island community with several billion dollars of real estate sitting just a couple of feet above the Atlantic. Kinda like Dubai, but with the threat of hurricanes. And yet they sit in their cars, idling.

Seems like a metaphor for something really bad.

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