Psychology of climate change: Why people deny the evidence

CBC News / Nicole Mortillaro / 02 December 2018

The message seems to be clear: Earth’s climate is rapidly changing as a result of human activity. So how is it that some people are still reluctant to acknowledge it?

According to some psychologists, there are a number of reasons, including the prevalence of deceptive or erroneous information about the topic […]

There’s something else that may be at play at the subconscious level that allows us to disregard the evidence that’s in front of us.

“A big part isn’t the experience; it’s the motivation,” said Paul Thagard, professor emeritus at the University of Waterloo’s Department of Philosophy, who specializes in cognitive science.

“Psychologists talk a lot about ‘motivated inference’ … when people have strong motivations, they’re very selective in the sort of evidence they look for.”

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

A ‘new abnormal’ — megafires explode with off-the-charts fury

National Observer / Barry Saxifrage / 29 November 29 2018

Author’s note: The size and destruction of the Camp Fire grew significantly since this article was originally published. Now that this record-breaking fire has been fully contained, I’ve updated the charts and article to show its shocking “off-the-charts” scale.

California is on the burning edge of climate breakdown. Record-breaking drought and heat have turned the Golden State into a tinderbox. The megafires have followed. In the last two years a string of off-the-chart wildfires have exploded with stunning speed and ferocity across forests, grasslands, rural areas and city neighborhoods. California Governor Jerry Brown has called it “the new abnormal.”

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

Quantifying climate hypocrisy – the Canada file

An Outside Chance / Bart Hawkins Kreps / 28 November 2018

It was within the first few weeks of the Justin Trudeau administration that Canada surprised most observers by backing a call from island nations to hold global warming to 1.5°C, as opposed to the 2°C warming threshold that had been a more widely accepted official goal.1

Yet according to a new peer-reviewed study2 of countries’ pledged emissions reduction commitments following the Paris Agreement, Canada’s level of commitment would result in 5.1°C of global warming if all countries followed the same approach to carbon emissions. In this tally of the potential effects of national climate commitments, Canada ranks with the worst of the worst, a select club that also includes Russia, China, New Zealand and Argentina.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

All about geothermal heating systems

Mother Earth News / Donal Blaise Lloyd / April 2017

If you dig down about five feet or so in the ground to below the frost level, you will find the ground temperature to be amazingly constant, 40 degrees to 70 degrees F (4–21 degrees C), depending on the location.

It is cooler than the air in the summer and warmer in the winter. The earth’s subsurface is an enormous heat sink — a solar battery — and it takes a large amount of energy to keep it in equilibrium. This heat energy comes in great part from the sun, a renewable and inexhaustible source of energy. In lesser amounts, it also comes from the center of the earth that we now know is a heat generator. The inner core of the earth is primarily made of a solid sphere of iron within a larger sphere of molten iron. Calculations show that the earth, originating from a molten state many billions of years ago, would have cooled and become completely solid without an energy input. It is now believed that the ultimate source of this energy is radioactive decay within the earth that continues to this day; the decay produces gradually diminishing temperatures from the earth’s center to the surface. This does not mean that dangerous radioactivity is a hazard to us. We can tap into all of this heat energy, transfer it into our home for heating and return that energy back to the earth during cooling: thus we are really borrowing heat from the earth.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

Alberta’s problem isn’t pipelines; it’s bad policy decisions

The Tyee / Andrew Nikiforuk / 23 November 2018

The Alberta government has known for more than a decade that its oilsands policies were setting the stage for today’s price crisis.

Which makes it hard to take the current government seriously when it tries to blame everyone from environmentalists to other provinces for what is a self-inflicted economic problem.

In 2007, a government report warned that prices for oilsands bitumen could eventually fall so low that the government’s royalty revenues — critical for its budget — would be at risk.

The province should encourage companies to add value to the bitumen by upgrading and refining it into gasoline or diesel to avoid the coming price plunge, the report said.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

Plastic bottle recycling needs deposit incentive

The London Free Press / Robin Baranyai / 23 November 2018

Two years ago, the World Economic Forum made a frightening prediction: By 2050, there could be more plastic in the world’s oceans than fish.

Staggeringly, these projected rates of consumption are calculated by weight. One of the reasons plastic packaging is so popular is its lightness. Yet each year, on average, eight million tons of plastic waste ends up in the ocean.

It doesn’t disappear or decompose; it simply breaks down into smaller and smaller shards, until it looks a lot like fish food.

It’s also choking lakes. Plastic waste in the Great Lakes has been found in concentrations comparable to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, as high as 6.7 million pieces per square kilometre.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

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The Transition Framework

What the Transition movement does incredibly well is small-scale experiments which are practical, which resonate with local people, which look as if they’re doable, and that can engage people at a practical and meaningful level. It connects up the big issues and the local issues and shows you that change can happen at a local level.

— Julian Dobson, 21 Stories of Transition
TB Projects

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