Organizing and Growing Individual Efforts: What Can I Do? (3)

By: Dr. Ricky Rood , 2:33 AM GMT on April 10, 2013

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Organizing and Growing Individual Efforts: What Can I Do? (3)

This is the continuation of a series in response to the question, “What can I do about climate change?” I thank Doug Glancy who helped me out last week with a blog Smoking, Marriage and Climate, which discussed the role of peer pressure and social networking to organize and develop a growing movement. These are ideas I will come back to later in the series.

In the first entry of the series, I set up the discussion with the definition of mitigation and adaptation. In this blog, I will focus on what individuals can do to mitigate climate change. That is, what can individuals do to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases?

The easy answer is to be more efficient. I included a complicated graph in the first blog that provided a foundation for thinking about efficiency. The message of that blog is that insulation improvements in building, fuel efficiency in transportation, elimination of standby losses, and more efficient lighting, air conditioning and water heating not only reduce emissions in a significant way but in a very short time they save money. “Standby losses” refers to computers that are left in a state of reduced power rather than being turned off. Chargers and adapters that are left plugged in when they are not being used also contribute to standby losses. According to Energy Star the average U.S. household spends about $100 per year on standby energy.

More efficient use of energy means less money spent buying energy. Over time, the savings in energy will pay for the upfront cost, for example, of installing better insulation or a more efficient water heater. Earlier, I wrote about personal barriers to taking action. Happily, federal and local governments and corporations have taken steps to reduce upfront costs, which many people cite as the reason they don’t spend on more efficient buildings and appliances. In other cases, there are local regulations and coding requirements that demand improving efficiency. A place, therefore, that an individual can contribute is to advocate and to support policies and corporations that advance more efficient use of energy. This helps to provide an environment that encourages better use of resources.

Individuals can and do make choices about fuel-efficient cars, public transportation, appliances and light bulbs. If your concern, however, is climate change, then you make these decisions and then don’t see immediate benefit to the climate. In fact, mostly we hear that carbon dioxide emissions continue to go up and that the planet is warming and changing in profound ways. Therefore, it is easy to become discouraged that an individual does not have a lot of impact. Turning this problem around, however, provides a different framing. Our individual behavior in the consumption of energy has, collectively, led to the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere: it has made the problem. Therefore, we have ample evidence that the collective behavior of individuals can have global consequences. This suggests that individuals should look at ways to promote the emergence of groups of people to enhance adoption of more energy-efficient buying and behavior.

Many individuals have the opportunity to contribute to the emergence of societal groups because they are part of organizations ranging from community associations to civic organizations – the list is long. As a member or leader of local organizations, you have opportunity to have a more direct impact. Students of mine have worked in efforts to improve insulation in entire neighborhoods and in the development of recycling and composting programs. Working in small organizations is also a place where people can take advantage of our natural competitive instincts and peer pressure to incorporate the power of social behavior.

A local activity that especially appeals to me is to get involved in local government and schools boards. This can either be as a citizen speaking at the meetings, volunteering, seeking appointments to committees or even getting elected. Activities range from working to assure excellent science education to asking for and developing weather and climate preparedness plans. Thinking about weather and climate in planning (adaptation) is a good way to make mitigation seem real.

Finally, individuals are often not individual in the resources they influence and control. People own businesses and work in management in companies. These are places where there is often strong attention to reducing cost; hence, efforts to reduce cost through efficiency are likely to be well received. Good businesses are often thinking long term – energy costs, appeal to customers who might be environmentally interested, emerging technology, protection of property, buildings and resources; therefore, business might see advantage in taking up initiatives that are beneficial to climate change. Businesses are places where individual influences have impacts that are far greater than that of a single person (UPS and Sustainability).

Here, I have provided a list of possibilities where the influence of an individual can reach beyond that of a single person. However, referring back to an earlier entry, I would argue that rather than a list of things that one can do, it is at least as important to state what to do and then provide the skills on how to do it. I need some help on skills of how to get things done, people with experience - perhaps the next guest blogger.

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Some Resources

Here are a couple of the better web sites I have found with the basic information of what individuals can do. Please send me more.

EPA: What You Can Do

Union of Concerned Scientists: What You Can Do About Climate Change

Links to the Series

Setting Up the Discussion Deciding to do something, definition of mitigation and adaptation, and a cost-benefit anchored framework for thinking about mitigation

Smoking, Marriage and Climate Behavioral changes and peer pressure

Organizing and Growing Individual Efforts A little detail on efficiency and thinking about how individuals can have more impact than just that of a single person

The Complete List Eight categories of things we can do to reduce greenhouse gases

We Are What We Eat Food and agriculture and greenhouse gas emissions

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Quoting allahgore:


So if he works at NOAA does that not mean anything? Do you really think people who work for NOAA can freelance?

Answer to first question: Not to the question of whether this particular piece of work is correct.

Answer to second question: I don't know, but I'm sure that people who work for NOAA are allowed to make mistakes and allowed to be wrong.
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Quoting allahgore:



Did not know you are off the grid and use zero oil products!

Power is not control. I hope your generals are kind to you. You do your job so well.
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The Great Unmentionable

We have offshored both our consumption and our perceptions



By George Monbiot, published on the Guardian’s website, 12th April 2013



Every society has topics it does not discuss. These are the issues which challenge its comfortable assumptions. They are the ones that remind us of mortality, which threaten the continuity we anticipate, which expose our various beliefs as irreconcilable.

Among them are the facts which sink the cosy assertion, that (in David Cameron’s words) “there need not be a tension between green and growth.”
...


...
But, just as our position is flattered by the way greenhouse gases are counted, China’s is unfairly maligned.A graph published in a House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee report (Fig, #3 in linked report)
shows that consumption accounting would reduce China’s emissions by roughly 45%. Many of those power stations and polluting factories have been built to supply our markets, feeding an apparently insatiable demand in the UK, the US and other rich nations for escalating quantities of stuff.



The second thing the accounting convention has hidden from us is consumerism’s contribution to global warming. Because we consider only our territorial emissions, we tend to emphasise the impact of services – heating, lighting and transport for example – while overlooking the impact of goods. Look at the whole picture, however, and you discover (using the Guardian’s carbon calculator) that manufacturing and consumption is responsible for a remarkable 57% of the greenhouse gas production caused by the UK.

Unsurprisingly, hardly anyone wants to talk about this, as the only meaningful response is a reduction in the volume of stuff we consume. And this is where even the most progressive governments’ climate policies collide with everything else they represent. As Mustapha Mond points out in Brave New World, “industrial civilization is only possible when there’s no self-denial. Self-indulgence up to the very limits imposed by hygiene and economics. Otherwise the wheels stop turning”.

Member Since: June 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2764
Quoting NeapolitanFan:


It's too bad the entire premise of the story is false. The world is not warming. It's amazing how warmists simply ignore data and keep repeating the same old nonsense.
NeaFan! Long time no see! The 51 believers here are still waiting for the science to support your position. Bring any with you this time?
Member Since: January 6, 2013 Posts: 3 Comments: 1900
Quoting JohnLonergan:
Climate change: how a warming world is a threat to our food supplies

Global warming is exacerbating political instability as tensions brought on by food insecurity rise. With research suggesting the issue can only get worse we examine the risks around the world.

Infographic: the impact of climate on food
Talk about scaring the children! The graphic notes that China may be able to mitigate the food crisis by using its wealth to buy food on the international market. That begs the question: who won't get to eat because their food has been sold to China?
Member Since: January 6, 2013 Posts: 3 Comments: 1900
Now for a little encouraging news.

Is 70 Percent Renewable Power Possible? Portugal Just Did It For 3 Months

Portugal’s electricity network operator announced that renewable energy supplied 70 percent of total consumption in the first quarter of this year. This increase was largely due to favorable weather conditions resulting in increased wind and water flow, as well as lower demand. Portuguese citizens are using less energy and using sources that never run out for the vast majority of what they do use.
Member Since: June 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2764
Climate change: how a warming world is a threat to our food supplies

Global warming is exacerbating political instability as tensions brought on by food insecurity rise. With research suggesting the issue can only get worse we examine the risks around the world.

Infographic: the impact of climate on food
Member Since: June 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2764
Quoting allahgore:



Did not know you are off the grid and use zero oil products!


Quite the question, and this is the second time in a week that you asked it. Why? Because you think it works for your denialist argument. Well, it doesn't work, for three reasons:

1. Boring
Yes, this is perhaps one of the most boring, cliché, glib and useless question posted on the internet:
"Did you know using the internet burns carbon?"
"What have you done to reduce your carbon footprint?"
"Do you heat your home?"
"Do you have a car?"
"Do you exhale CO2?"

I've been asked the question at least a dozen times and I've seen it asked dozens more times. What does it mean? Nothing.

It is used to point to guilt, but the questioner (who is invariably a denier) usually has not thought about it.

2. My Guilt
We are all culpable and to some extent guilty. We are evil to a greater or lesser degree and it is our choice.

Start with the Greedy Lying Bastards. To use a holocaust example these guys are like the extermination camp guard that loves to watch the people get stripped, but must run to the top of the gas chamber afterwards so that he can pour in the Xyclon-B with is own hands. People like that are lucky since they probably feel no guilt at all.

Then there is the guy who answered the question by proudly defending his right to his luxurious lifestyle. "I worked hard, and I deserve it!" I suspect his guilt will be very difficult to deal with if not now then soon and likely for the rest of his life. He will be asking himself, "Could have I saved one person by making a few changes?"

Al Gore is rich. There i said it. I won't say Al Gore is rich and therefore AGW theory is bunk, but we've all heard it in that context. Yes, he is rich, and so he has to deal with more guilt than the average Joe. Maybe he should write books and do lecture tours to help assuage that guilt. Oh, wait ...

What if my buddy Al gave his money away, donned a hair shirt and moved into a cave. Would he be a saint, or a chump? Even a rich family with a couple big houses contributes a small proportionate amount to the problem.

I place myself further down the guilt ladder (of course). My wife and i logged millions of air miles and hundreds of thousands of highway miles to make our living (you would be surprised how much money it takes to build and run a subsistence farm starting with undeveloped land).

At this point, we are doing much better carbon footprint wise than the average American (or European) ... but the guilt is there.

We try to balance our guilt with the level of chumpitude with which we can deal. And we work to forgive ourselves every day. We've apologized to our children for our part in the death of this ecosystem.

We had friends that wore the hair shirt for years. They lived in an earth-ship (i.e. cave) For those of you who have read romanticized accounts of life in an earth-ship, let me be clear. They are hot in the day time, and cold at night summer and winter. They are a maintenance headache, and you generally need to (as my friend did) build the thing by yourself and by hand. They drove a 10 year old Geo Metro, shopped in the used clothing stores, etc.. One day these people showed up and confessed that they had (in one day) purchased a new condominium and a new car. They are done trying.

If you are in it for the long haul, you must have a balance.

At the bottom of this guilt-o-meter are the Inuit and others who are the immediate victims of our carbon addition. They still live, breath and work and so they are culpable even while their lives, and culture are being destroyed.
Does that make you feel better?

Yes, it does at a very fundamental level.

3. Your Guilt
Aside from the idiots, the psychopaths and the paid liars, why do deniers ask the question?

I think it has to do with their (clinical) denial. When they ask the question, they are really saying, "You are culpable too, so I'm not really a bad person."
... "Al Gore is rich, so I can drive my hummer."

The denier can use the question (and its all too obvious answer) to push their guilt into a corner of their mind and ignore it for another day because the people Kiribati used to run a diesel generator to produce their electricity. "See, its all THEIR fault."

Ultimately, the denier (well, those few who can feel compassion, and empathy) must face reality. The longer they put it off, the harder it will be.

So ... to directly answer your question:

Are you being paid to ask the same question over and over, or are you trying to compensate for something?
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Political Prisoner

Link

Link
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How soon we forget..


Link



...
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20219
How soon we forget....

Link


...
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Quoting beell:
Prevented Mortality and Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Historical and Projected Nuclear Power

Pushker A. Kharecha * and James E. Hansen
NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Columbia University Earth Institute, 2880 Broadway, New York, New York 10025, United States
Publication Date (Web): March 15, 2013

Copied this link from a post on Dr.M's blog.
507. kparcell 2:11 PM GMT on April 14, 2013

So, Natgas is out, nukes are in.


Can't have nukes as the heat from them also gets trapped by fossil fuel GHG's and the reactors EXPLODE during earthquake/tsunamis due to loss of electrical power which in turn causes loss of reactor cooling water...... Gulfstream kinetic energy is much better and safer...
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Quoting Xandra:
How to climate troll

by Eli Rabett

We have always wondered how the climate trolls do it. Matt Nisbett points to the Denial Industrial complex which is busy funding the best and dumbest of trolldom. Tim Lambert identified the Lake Denial Echo Chamber where blather is amplified. Sure enough, came one BernardBlythe swimming up the Ethernet to mate with the comment section. Eli, with thanks to Crooked Timber has discovered the School of Denial Final Exam. (somewhat modified from the original by Bill Pollard and Soran Reader). All the best trolls have to pass this test before they are transmongrified into electrons and whizzed onto the INTERTUBES.

If you are ready to take the test, read below.

1. Patch together some things you have read on blogs, in no particular order

2. It is well known that all complex problems have simple, but wrong answers. Provide examples but explain in detail how YOUR wrong answers are right.

3. Create an impression of original thought by impassioned scribbling (your answer may be ungrammatical. Extra points if the post is all CAPS).

4. Does the answer to this question depend on your personal political or theological beliefs? Explain how this makes everyone else an atheist communist eco-Nazi.

5. How much irrelevant scientific background can you give before addressing this question? Extra points for including references to papers that say exactly the opposite of what you claim

6. Describe the consensus view of climate change and your personal view are simply two equal sides of the argument, then say what you personally feel. When it is pointed out that there is no reason to listen to you say that the atheist communists eco-Nazis hate freedom.

7. Rise above the fumbling efforts of others and speculate freely on why climate is changing (it's pirates!).

8. Either (a) Answer this question by announcing that it really means something different (and much easier to answer, see question 1) or (b) Give the same answer you gave in your 50 previous comments in the same thread. This is very easy using copy and post.

9. Protest your convictions in the teeth of obvious and overwhelming objections.

10. Insult the blog owner and then whine that you got banned.

Source



Sounds like a few commenters around here.
I wanted to give you a double + just for citing Dr. Rabett.
Member Since: June 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2764
How to climate troll

by Eli Rabett

We have always wondered how the climate trolls do it. Matt Nisbett points to the Denial Industrial complex which is busy funding the best and dumbest of trolldom. Tim Lambert identified the Lake Denial Echo Chamber where blather is amplified. Sure enough, came one BernardBlythe swimming up the Ethernet to mate with the comment section. Eli, with thanks to Crooked Timber has discovered the School of Denial Final Exam. (somewhat modified from the original by Bill Pollard and Soran Reader). All the best trolls have to pass this test before they are transmongrified into electrons and whizzed onto the INTERTUBES.

If you are ready to take the test, read below.

1. Patch together some things you have read on blogs, in no particular order

2. It is well known that all complex problems have simple, but wrong answers. Provide examples but explain in detail how YOUR wrong answers are right.

3. Create an impression of original thought by impassioned scribbling (your answer may be ungrammatical. Extra points if the post is all CAPS).

4. Does the answer to this question depend on your personal political or theological beliefs? Explain how this makes everyone else an atheist communist eco-Nazi.

5. How much irrelevant scientific background can you give before addressing this question? Extra points for including references to papers that say exactly the opposite of what you claim

6. Describe the consensus view of climate change and your personal view are simply two equal sides of the argument, then say what you personally feel. When it is pointed out that there is no reason to listen to you say that the atheist communists eco-Nazis hate freedom.

7. Rise above the fumbling efforts of others and speculate freely on why climate is changing (it's pirates!).

8. Either (a) Answer this question by announcing that it really means something different (and much easier to answer, see question 1) or (b) Give the same answer you gave in your 50 previous comments in the same thread. This is very easy using copy and post.

9. Protest your convictions in the teeth of obvious and overwhelming objections.

10. Insult the blog owner and then whine that you got banned.

Source

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Quoting allahgore:



They are your generals also.

No, not at all, but apparently they are okay with a carbon tax.
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319. beell
Prevented Mortality and Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Historical and Projected Nuclear Power

Pushker A. Kharecha * and James E. Hansen
NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Columbia University Earth Institute, 2880 Broadway, New York, New York 10025, United States
Publication Date (Web): March 15, 2013

Copied this link from a post on Dr.M's blog.
507. kparcell 2:11 PM GMT on April 14, 2013

So, Natgas is out, nukes are in.
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Quoting allahgore:



2012 drought report is the topic and report WE are ALL discussing.


Nope, I'm done with you...
Quoting allahgore:



2012 drought report is the topic and report WE are ALL discussing.


Right and as previously noted in Dr. Master's blog, there are heavy critiques of this current work by fellow scientists. You are just a troll of very little skill. Keep up the shoddy work.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 2694
Quoting allahgore:




Well, NAGA does Hoerling work at NOAA?
Well, NAGA does NOAA peer review?


You missed it all, I explained to you how science and academics works.
Quoting allahgore:




Well, NAGA does Hoerling work at NOAA?
Well, NAGA does NOAA peer review?


One last time, before I'm just done with you. If you don't get it after this, you go on ignore.

"Hoerling — who clearly accepts that man-made global warming is making weather hotter and more extreme — has published several non-peer-reviewed reports as the lead of NOAA’s Climate Scene Investigators that claim global warming did not influence recent catastrophic extremes, such as the 2009-2010 Snowmageddon, the 2010 Russian heat wave, and the 2011 tornado outbreak. Hoerling’s team did conclude, however, that “human-caused global warming was a factor in the Midwest flooding disaster” of 2008. Hoerling’s method of ascribing attribution to global warming relies primarily on statistical analysis of weather records. His method can miss phenomena that occur because of non-linear changes in the climate system, such as how the decline in Arctic sea ice caused by global warming is influencing large-scale circulation patterns.

Peer-reviewed studies that don’t rely on a single test for attribution have found a clear link between global warming and the 2009-2010 Snowmageddon and the 2010 Russia heat wave.

In a peer-reviewed work, Hoerling did find that the increasing frequency of Mediterranean droughts is caused by global warming." Link

You are allowed to publish outside of your job. Just because he works for the NOAA doesn't mean all his publications are peer reviewed. Your argument is invalid.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 2694
Quoting NeapolitanFan:


It's too bad the entire premise of the story is false. The world is not warming. It's amazing how warmists simply ignore data and keep repeating the same old nonsense.


Source please.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 2694
Quoting allahgore:



Well, the game started at post # 147! bashing NOAA, YOU said I am taking things out of context. How can I be taking things out of context? If you think NOAA does not do ANY peer review, then you are correct with me taking things out of context.


No one is bashing the NOAA. You are slow on the uptake. You took Neapolitan's statement out of context. Post 147 does not even mention the NOAA. So, like I said, what are you even talking about anymore? Of course the NOAA does peer review.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 2694
Quoting JohnLonergan:
Millions face starvation as world warms, say scientists

World is unprepared for changes that will see parts of Africa turned into disaster areas, say food experts


"Ertharin Cousin, the UN's World Food Programme director, said: "We are entering an uncertain and risky period. Climate change is the game changer that increases exposure to high and volatile food prices, and increases the vulnerability of the hungry poor, especially those living in conflict zones or areas of marginal agricultural productivity. We must act quickly to protect the world's poorest people."



It's too bad the entire premise of the story is false. The world is not warming. It's amazing how warmists simply ignore data and keep repeating the same old nonsense.
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Quoting allahgore:



Well, the game started at post # 147! bashing NOAA, YOU said I am taking things out of context. How can I be taking things out of context? If you think NOAA does not do ANY peer review, then you are correct with me taking things out of context.


What are you even talking about anymore? I think you have Link
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 2694
Quoting allahgore:



So you are saying data at NOAA is not peer reviewed?


Quoting allahgore:



So you are saying data at NOAA is not peer reviewed?


Really? What in my comment led you to that? Games...
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 2694
Quoting allahgore:


I see you avoided the 2nd question!


No, I answered the second question, but ignored the first. I will explain it more simply. Most jobs in science and academics require or encourage professional development or "free lancing" as you like to call it. So yes, completely, he is allowed to "free lance".
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 2694
Millions face starvation as world warms, say scientists

World is unprepared for changes that will see parts of Africa turned into disaster areas, say food experts


"Ertharin Cousin, the UN's World Food Programme director, said: "We are entering an uncertain and risky period. Climate change is the game changer that increases exposure to high and volatile food prices, and increases the vulnerability of the hungry poor, especially those living in conflict zones or areas of marginal agricultural productivity. We must act quickly to protect the world's poorest people."

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Quoting allahgore:


Well, guess who the tax will be passed on to?

Yeah, but your generals don't care.
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Quoting allahgore:


So if he works at NOAA does that not mean anything? Do you really think people who work for NOAA can freelance?


Yes, "Dr. Hoerling is Chairman of the US CLIVAR (Climate Variability) research program. Dr. Hoerling served as Editor for the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate, and has published over 50 scientific papers dealing with climate variability and change. " taken from his official NOAA bio.
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Lighten up Allah. Apparently the oil industry is content with a $20/tonne tax on carbon. The generals have deserted you.
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Quoting allahgore:



Who does that person work for Naga? Funny how he can post something but other people have to talk for him.


Ha, whatever. It doesn't matter who he works for. You infer and assume too much and no one is speaking for anyone here, just trying to explain something to you since you continue to harp. Stop playing games, use that Stanford critical thinking.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 2694
Quoting Naga5000:


Come on, now you're just purposely taking something out of context. No one has an issue with the NOAA data, just an issue with one person who has repeatedly misused and misinterpreted the data. Don't play games...


Since I can't find 253, it must be worthless; the wonders of the ignore button.
Member Since: June 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2764
Quoting allahgore:



WOW you are going to post a NOAA link, look at post 253 concerning how some feel about NOAA.


Come on, now you're just purposely taking something out of context. No one has an issue with the NOAA data, just an issue with one person who has repeatedly misused and misinterpreted the data. Don't play games...
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 2694
Quoting goosegirl1:


Wow, what a rant concerning something that was NOT the point...snip...
Well, look at the up-side. At least he's not confused any more.
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About RickyRood

I'm a professor at U Michigan and lead a course on climate change problem solving. These articles often come from and contribute to the course.