2011-01-25 09:36:49Driving Straight Into Catastrophe
John Hartz
John Hartz

“Driving Straight Into Catastrophe” is an article about climate change posted today (Jan 24, 2011) on IPS.


The meat of the article is drawn from an interview between the reporter and Anders Levermann, professor of climate system dynamics at the Physics Institute of the Potsdam University.

Levermann makes some startling and frightening predictions.

Are these commonly accepted among climate scientists? Is Levermann held in high esteem by his peers?

2011-01-25 17:19:59
Rob Painting

Badger, it's the stuff that no one really likes to talk about. People tend to despair when faced with such awful truths.

It has always seemed so strange to me how few climate scientists are actually speaking up. Well, strange isn't really accurate, it pisses me off!. 

2011-01-25 17:49:46
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey

No one likes to be publicly ridiculed (well, maybe Monckton does); hence the trepidation on the part of climate scientists to speak their mind & lend voice to their fears and suspicions.  Even Hanson doesn't fully air his.

I lack that reserve, not being a climate scientist.

It's gonna be bad.  Real bad.

2011-01-25 23:08:14


Another point:

- We know it's heading in a bad direction.

- We know it's going to be hard to stop.

- We know that human nature is making it hard to stop.

However, voicing such despair is not conducive to winning the fight. You really can't win a war on despair: in the words of Bob Dylan, "negativity won't get you through." You can't convince people to unite behind a vision of hopelessness.


2011-01-26 01:03:30Damned if we do, Damned if we ...
Glenn Tamblyn



There is a lot of really bad shit out there because it is justified. But Neal is right, 'negativity won't get you through.' But how do we deal with the disconnect between reality and wishfull thinking?

We do the best we can! With every fibre of our being. Because negative and positive thinking has the central fault of being Black & White Thinking. Maybe the future will be bad. But by your actions and mine and everyone elses, it won't be as bad as it would have been. Shades of grey. Lives saved. Poems remembered, Books not lost. I don't know what can be achieved, only effort and time will tell. But less will be lost than if we didn't act.

Civilisation is always about the long game. Our ancestors gave us the Law Codes of Hamurabi, Writing, Wheat. What can we give the futiure? The Declaration of Independence, the ascerbic wit of Homer Simpson, Goeddels Incompleteness Theorem, That we remember the past and pass it on.

For that is all we are really. The Keepers of the Dead. We hold the past in trust and pass it on. As we hope we will be held in trust after we are gone.

And on that note it is time too stop drinking red wine and go to bed...

2011-01-26 02:23:31Anders Levermann
John Hartz
John Hartz

Rob, Daniel, Neal & Glenn:

Thanks for the feedback. After 10 years of immersing myself into the science and poitics of climate change, I am well versed on how bad it is likely to get.

Until reading the IPS article, I had not heard of Anders Levermann. Is he well respected in the climte scientist community?

My mantra:

"Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Native American Proverb

2011-01-26 03:32:26Levermann and frightening the horses
Stephen Leahy


Badger. I don't know Levermann personally but I know PIK where he works and it is an outstanding science institute. I also know the IPS jurno, Juilo Godoy and he knows his climate science. Full disclosure: I also cover climate science for IPS. Few scientists will tell jurno's their worst fears on the record. And I do sometimes ask what keeps them wake at night but I don't usually get a real response. But lately there has been more willingness to go public with personal thoughts and feelings, especially by those who are younger or retired.  

And on the subject of negativity, as someone often accused of 'frightening the horses' with my articles: "Would you rather I talk about last night's football game or warn you that a bus is about to run you over?"  

2011-01-26 05:43:18Stephen Leahy
John Hartz
John Hartz

Thanks for the feedback and thanks for all that you do. 

Personally, I'm convinced tha the human race is on a glide path to human extinction. It may, or may not, be able to climb ouit of it.

I'm a retired transportation planner/administrator who refuses to throw in the towel on climate change. I owe it to my children and grandchild not to do so.

John Hartz