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 cyclonebuster:


Because we will die if we change our Goldilocks habitat...It would be analogous to changing Earth's orbit about the the sun...


Living things die, though. Its unavoidable. Planets die. Stars die. Galaxies eventually die.

Dying is a natural ingredient in change.

Because, as we know, energy is just transferred from one form to another. Energy changes form.

I think believing that things don't, or should not change is more unjust to science than anything else.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
"Well, if we can't adapt why is the human population at an ALL time high?"

Why is dinosaur population at an all time low? Because we have the brain capacity to extend our existence within our Goldilocks Zone other species don' have that capacity..BTW..Population would be ten times higher if we used Gulfstream kinetic energy..
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 128 Comments: 20481
Quoting yoboi:


if it's such settled science why are they using my tax dollars for more studies????????????


They are using your tax dollars because the wealthy in this country don't pay taxes. Surely, you already know this?

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting yoboi:


if it's such settled science why are they using my tax dollars for more studies????????????


Verification through repeated results. You act as if scientists are just running the same experiments over and over, which is not the case. Individual experiments on different aspects of climate allow us to get a more defined overall picture. Also it's our tax dollars, not just yours.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 4414
Quoting MisterPerfect:


Energy does not need to be transferred back out (or reflected) to space. It might suit our species and many other organisms well to keep Earth's climate in the general range it is today. But it doesn't have to be so.

Prior to the industrial revolution the climate did change from one extreme to the other. Prior to the industrial revolution polar ice did melt, sometimes at faster intervals, sometimes at slower intervals. Prior to the industrial revolution ocean levels rose and receded.

I'm a firm believer in climate change. I'm a firm believer that human progress has indeed affected nature's ever-changing flow. I'm a believer in natural selection. At some point, the atmosphere, the climate, the land, chemical bonds, and all that exists or is to exist will change its state.

Why then is it relevant to DENY the fact that the climate today, or 150 years since, must not change and stay in this seemingly comfortable state?





Because we will die if we change our Goldilocks habitat...It would be analogous to changing Earth's orbit about the the sun...
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 128 Comments: 20481
Quoting Xandra:
The best way to deal with trolls is to ignore them. When you ignore a troll, he doesn't get the satisfaction of creating an escalated conflict.
br>


There is a button for that.

It is as impossible to convince a troll of anything as it is to walk around the edge of the Mandelbrot set in finite time.

Member Since: June 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 3884
Quoting MisterPerfect:


Energy does not need to be transferred back out (or reflected) to space. It might suit our species and many other organisms well to keep Earth's climate in the general range it is today. But it doesn't have to be so.

Prior to the industrial revolution the climate did change from one extreme to the other. Prior to the industrial revolution polar ice did melt, sometimes at faster intervals, sometimes at slower intervals. Prior to the industrial revolution ocean levels rose and receded.

I'm a firm believer in climate change. I'm a firm believer that human progress has indeed affected nature's ever-changing flow. I'm a believer in natural selection. At some point, the atmosphere, the climate, the land, chemical bonds, and all that exists or is to exist will change its state.

Why then is it relevant to DENY the fact that the climate today, or 150 years since, must not change and stay in this seemingly comfortable state?





You are misrepresenting a concept. No one here says the climate must stay the same. What is being said is the changing climate is unprecedented in regards to the rate of change. Yes climate changes over time, and it is usually a slow process, no one is denying that. However, the climate is clearly changing more quickly than we can adapt and we are doing little to nothing to slow it down.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 4414
Quoting yoboi:



your math is off but your point is correct.


What did he have to do add some more zeros?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 128 Comments: 20481
Quoting Neapolitan:
From the link:

"...[T]he geomagnetic storm dumped enough energy into the atmosphere to power every home in the Big Apple for two years. [By way of comparison,] [t]he daily average infrared radiation from the entire planet is 240 W/m2—enough to power NYC for 200,000 years."

IOW, the storm did drop a lot of energy...but, given that--again according to the link--95% of that energy was re-radiated back into space, the amount that remained amounted to just one-twentieth of one-tenth of one-percent of one-percent (or about 0.00005%) of the total radiation the earth bleeds back into space each day. Meaning? Well, meaning that it's not, as some have suggested, solar storms that have heated the atmosphere and oceans over recent decades...


The effect is analogous to gnat hitting the windshield of Mack Truck traveling at 70 mph hoping to slow it down or an ant reliving itself on a forest fire hoping to put it out...
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 128 Comments: 20481
Quoting Daisyworld:
I see that there's a storm brewing in the comments here again, perpetuated by the inherently non-scientific input of people who "don't believe" in human-induced climate change.

Dr. Rood does not subscribe to that view.

If you're commenting in here by announcing your opinion refuting the existence of human-induced climate change, then you're being contrary to the undercurrent of this blog.

It goes against the well-established science, it undermines public communication on the subject, and fails to show scientific literacy and critical thinking skills.

Therefore, if you're posting your opinion here against the scientifically-accepted truth of human-induced climate change, you're not doing anything productive.

Point in fact, you're putting your own opinion above the individual whose blog this belongs to, as well as that of every scientific professional in the field.

One might call that monomania.

One might even call that trollish behavior.

While you're free to express your opinion, you cannot re-write the laws of nature.


Or the laws of physics...
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 128 Comments: 20481
Quoting cyclonebuster:


That's correct and some of that energy needs to be transferred back out to space again in amounts equal to what it was prior to the industrial revolution by restoring summertime Northern Arctic Ice extent and mass, this will allow for more albedo. I have shown you people here many times how that can be accomplished.


Energy does not need to be transferred back out (or reflected) to space. It might suit our species and many other organisms well to keep Earth's climate in the general range it is today. But it doesn't have to be so.

Prior to the industrial revolution the climate did change from one extreme to the other. Prior to the industrial revolution polar ice did melt, sometimes at faster intervals, sometimes at slower intervals. Prior to the industrial revolution ocean levels rose and receded.

I'm a firm believer in climate change. I'm a firm believer that human progress has indeed affected nature's ever-changing flow. I'm a believer in natural selection. At some point, the atmosphere, the climate, the land, chemical bonds, and all that exists or is to exist will change its state.

Why then is it relevant to DENY the fact that the climate today, or 150 years since, must not change and stay in this seemingly comfortable state?



Member Since: Posts: Comments:
726. yoboi
Quoting Naga5000:


Question. Since you don't believe in testable, verifiable scientific observation and experimentation why post on the climate blog? There are surely many other places that would welcome your anti-science, anti-intellectual viewpoint.


if it's such settled science why are they using my tax dollars for more studies????????????
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MisterPerfect:


Thank you!


Question. Since you don't believe in testable, verifiable scientific observation and experimentation why post on the climate blog? There are surely many other places that would welcome your anti-science, anti-intellectual viewpoint.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 4414
Quoting Neapolitan:
Congratulations! With that perspicacious comment, you have single-handedly dealt a devastating blow--heck, a coup de grâce, a death blow--to the entire theory of climate change! The world's huge array of climatologists are no doubt at this very moment scrambling to retract the thousands of peer-reviewed papers they have written and published over the years, for those papers can clearly no longer stand as viable; they'll simply wither under the blistering onslaught of your impeccable logic! Nobel Prize, indeed! Were I you, I'd book a flight to Stockholm pronto!


Sometimes complex questions can be answered with the simplest answers. Thank you for your words of adulation.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Naga5000:


Impeccable science. I smell a Nobel Prize!


Thank you!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
722. yoboi
Quoting Neapolitan:
From the link:

"...[T]he geomagnetic storm dumped enough energy into the atmosphere to power every home in the Big Apple for two years. [By way of comparison,] [t]he daily average infrared radiation from the entire planet is 240 W/m2—enough to power NYC for 200,000 years."

IOW, the storm did drop a lot of energy...but, given that--again according to the link--95% of that energy was re-radiated back into space, the amount that remained amounted to just one-twentieth of one-tenth of one-percent of one-percent (or about 0.00005%) of the total radiation the earth bleeds back into space each day. Meaning? Well, meaning that it's not, as some have suggested, solar storms that have heated the atmosphere and oceans over recent decades...



your math is off but your point is correct.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting JupiterKen:
“This was the biggest dose of heat we’ve received from a solar storm since 2005,” says Martin Mlynczak of NASA Langley Research Center. “It was a big event, and shows how solar activity can directly affect our planet.”

Link
From the link:

"...[T]he geomagnetic storm dumped enough energy into the atmosphere to power every home in the Big Apple for two years. [By way of comparison,] [t]he daily average infrared radiation from the entire planet is 240 W/m2—enough to power NYC for 200,000 years."

IOW, the storm did drop a lot of energy...but, given that--again according to the link--95% of that energy was re-radiated back into space, the amount that remained amounted to just one-twentieth of one-tenth of one-percent of one-percent (or about 0.00005%) of the total radiation the earth bleeds back into space each day. Meaning? Well, meaning that it's not, as some have suggested, solar storms that have heated the atmosphere and oceans over recent decades...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MisterPerfect:
Does climate change? yes.

Does paint dry? yes.
Congratulations! With that perspicacious comment, you have single-handedly dealt a devastating blow--heck, a coup de grâce, a death blow--to the entire theory of climate change! The world's huge array of climatologists are no doubt at this very moment scrambling to retract the thousands of peer-reviewed papers they have written and published over the years, for those papers can clearly no longer stand as viable; they'll simply wither under the blistering onslaught of your impeccable logic! Nobel Prize, indeed! Were I you, I'd book a flight to Stockholm pronto!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
“This was the biggest dose of heat we’ve received from a solar storm since 2005,” says Martin Mlynczak of NASA Langley Research Center. “It was a big event, and shows how solar activity can directly affect our planet.”

Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Good grief. From now on when I see a handle is a troll I'll just ignore it without comment.
Member Since: August 9, 2011 Posts: 26 Comments: 9315
Quoting TheDevilsAdvocate:

Good to see that you've dropped the the whole "impartial" moderator charade - finally getting down to brass tacks here. You've obviously been sweet on Amy for a long time, now the bias is clear. At least I know why all of my comments keeps disappearing. I'm sure this one will follow soon.

Just when I think this blog can't get any weirder, it does. Man, I can hardly wait til we have a full moon. Devil, do you think I should stock up on silver bullets?
Member Since: January 6, 2013 Posts: 3 Comments: 2501
I see that there's a storm brewing in the comments here again, perpetuated by the inherently non-scientific input of people who "don't believe" in human-induced climate change.

Dr. Rood does not subscribe to that view.

If you're commenting in here by announcing your opinion refuting the existence of human-induced climate change, then you're being contrary to the undercurrent of this blog.

It goes against the well-established science, it undermines public communication on the subject, and fails to show scientific literacy and critical thinking skills.

Therefore, if you're posting your opinion here against the scientifically-accepted truth of human-induced climate change, you're not doing anything productive.

Point in fact, you're putting your own opinion above the individual whose blog this belongs to, as well as that of every scientific professional in the field.

One might call that monomania.

One might even call that trollish behavior.

While you're free to express your opinion, you cannot re-write the laws of nature.
Member Since: January 11, 2012 Posts: 6 Comments: 895
Quoting MisterPerfect:


Perhaps.

Or, perhaps not.

First Law of Thermodynamics: Energy can be changed from one form to another, but it cannot be created or destroyed. The total amount of energy and matter in the Universe remains constant, merely changing from one form to another.


That's correct and some of that energy needs to be transferred back out to space again in amounts equal to what it was prior to the industrial revolution by restoring summertime Northern Arctic Ice extent and mass, this will allow for more albedo. I have shown you people here many times how that can be accomplished.
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 128 Comments: 20481
Quoting Naga5000:


Impeccable science. I smell a Nobel Prize!

I smell something too, but I don't think it's dynamite.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MisterPerfect:


Here's my basis:

Does climate change? yes.

Does paint dry? yes.

Can you see the resemblance? I can, yes.


Here's my backup:

Let's address backgrounds in avatars. I notice your avatar background is surrounded in top of the line designer furniture. That lamp is a marvelous piece.


MisterPerfect - Member Since: November 1, 2006 Posts: 68 Comments: 19383

BaltimoreBrian - Member Since: August 9, 2011 Posts: 24 Comments: 2875

Got you beat in every category, if that's your definition of a troll, so be it.


Impeccable science. I smell a Nobel Prize!
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 4414
Quoting RTLSNK:


That is their Wedding Photo.

An apology from you for your tacky comment would now be nice.:)


Good to see that you've dropped the the whole "impartial" moderator charade - finally getting down to brass tacks here. You've obviously been sweet on Amy for a long time, now the bias is clear. At least I know why all of my comments keeps disappearing. I'm sure this one will follow soon.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting cyclonebuster:



We have changed our Goldilocks world.


Perhaps.

Or, perhaps not.

First Law of Thermodynamics: Energy can be changed from one form to another, but it cannot be created or destroyed. The total amount of energy and matter in the Universe remains constant, merely changing from one form to another.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MisterPerfect:


Here's my basis:

Does climate change? yes.

Does paint dry? yes.

Can you see the resemblance? I can, yes.


Here's my backup:

Let's address backgrounds in avatars. I notice your avatar background is surrounded in top of the line designer furniture. That lamp is a marvelous piece.


MisterPerfect - Member Since: November 1, 2006 Posts: 68 Comments: 19383

BaltimoreBrian - Member Since: August 9, 2011 Posts: 24 Comments: 2875

Got you beat in every category, if that's your definition of a troll, so be it.



We have changed our Goldilocks world.
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 128 Comments: 20481
Quoting BaltimoreBrian:


Any basis or backup for that? Sounds like another troll to me. The cheap looking high school prom background for his avatar suggests as much.


Here's my basis:

Does climate change? yes.

Does paint dry? yes.

Can you see the resemblance? I can, yes.


Here's my backup:

Let's address backgrounds in avatars. I notice your avatar background is surrounded in top of the line designer furniture. That lamp is a marvelous piece.


MisterPerfect - Member Since: November 1, 2006 Posts: 68 Comments: 19383

BaltimoreBrian - Member Since: August 9, 2011 Posts: 24 Comments: 2875

Got you beat in every category, if that's your definition of a troll, so be it.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Skyepony:

You are going to make the ozone hole bigger with that can..

Could've been worse, I left Dale in the truck ;-)

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
At least I got a date...

;P
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting BaltimoreBrian:


Any basis or backup for that? Sounds like another troll to me. The high school prom background for his avatar suggests as much.


That is their Wedding Photo.

An apology from you for your tacky comment would now be nice.:)

Member Since: September 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 22878
705. yoboi
Quoting BaltimoreBrian:
I have heard talk linking the intensity of Sandy and Katrina to global warming on some reputable sources but I don't know the validity of such a linkage.



kind of what TWC was saying sorta confusing there take on it........
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MisterPerfect:
Climate change is a wasted psuedo-science. One might as well get a certificate in the observation of drying paint.


Any basis or backup for that? Sounds like another troll to me. The cheap looking high school prom background for his avatar suggests as much.
Member Since: August 9, 2011 Posts: 26 Comments: 9315
703. Skyepony (Mod)
Another link between CO2 and mass extinctions of species




Quoting WeHaveHadIT:


You are going to make the ozone hole bigger with that can..
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 245 Comments: 39996
I have heard talk linking the intensity of Sandy and Katrina to global warming on some reputable sources but I don't know the validity of such a linkage.
Member Since: August 9, 2011 Posts: 26 Comments: 9315
701. yoboi
Quoting Naga5000:


No one ever said Katrina and Sandy were caused by climate change. Don't start. You've heard the loaded dice analogy before, I'm sure. Climate change increases the probability of anomalous weather events.


go to TWC site they talk about sandy and climate change.......
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
699. yoboi
Quoting Naga5000:


No one ever said Katrina and Sandy were caused by climate change. Don't start. You've heard the loaded dice analogy before, I'm sure. Climate change increases the probability of anomalous weather events.


I will have to go to TWC website they were talking about sandy and climate change.......
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Explaining climate change science & rebutting global warming misinformation

ScienceSkeptic.com

Just a few of the Topics covered:

Alberta Tar Sands and Keystone XL Pipeline

Global Warming: Not Reversible, But Stoppable

Andes’ tropical glaciers going fast

Global Warming is Accelerating, but it's Still Groundhog Day at the Daily Mail

It’s getting hotter – despite cooling from cosmic rays

The History of Climate Science
Member Since: September 18, 2005 Posts: 29 Comments: 1032
697. yoboi
Quoting Naga5000:


No one ever said Katrina and Sandy were caused by climate change. Don't start. You've heard the loaded dice analogy before, I'm sure. Climate change increases the probability of anomalous weather events.


I was tlking about the media saying it not people on here.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting yoboi:



that's not what was said about katrina and sandy.....


No one ever said Katrina and Sandy were caused by climate change. Don't start. You've heard the loaded dice analogy before, I'm sure. Climate change increases the probability of anomalous weather events.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 4414
695. yoboi
Quoting BaltimoreBrian:
First--snow is common in New York State in April. There have been many cases of accumulating snow in May and June in New York State.

Second--single weather events are not markers of global warming.

Is that clear enough for you Amy?



that's not what was said about katrina and sandy.....
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694. yoboi
Quoting NRAamy:
Snow in NY today.....global warming?


I think that falls under climate change according to my agw/gw/cc spreadsheet..........
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Climate change is a wasted psuedo-science. One might as well get a certificate in the observation of drying paint.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CEastwood:


Don't cry yourself to sleep tonight as your AGW world comes crashing down. An actual climatologist? How about an actual climatologist whose salary doesn't depend on inventing new climate changes. You are intelligent. How long are you going to defend this charade that is based on nothing but Marxism? It has no basis in fact and the rest of the scientific community actually laughs at climate "science". It's pseudo-science at best, and outright fabrication at worst. "Scientists" such as Mann know their information is fraudulent, yet they publish it anyway. Perhaps you can give me your list of "scientists" so I know which ones are reputable.


Look, linking to the same three denier websites when trying to engage in an academic debate on climate change is like trying to use wikipedia as a source for a college paper. It doesn't work. Besides the glaring misconceptions, misuse of data, and bad math being used by most of those folks, if they actually had a real counter argument it would be listened to an acknowledged. So far, they haven't. Those sites are the infowars of the academic world
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 4414
Climate change is real and the last time I talked to the wind it wasn't quoting Marx.

Belle Glade's Florida has been doing real bad because of lack of water. Sugar Cane crops are really suffering. That's real climate change. The kind that hurts bad.
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Thank you keeper.....
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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.

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