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Once you are a proficient leader, your choice of gym routes will be limited only by your skill. You will be able to explore new terrain, such as meandering routes or those that go through large overhangs. Because lead climbing involves setting anchor points in addition to moving up the wall, it is more mentally engaging than top-rope climbing.


Lead climbing has its own constraints and considerations, however. For example, instead of worrying about big top-rope swings, you must be prepared for longer falls than in top-roping—a leader who falls from a point above the last clipped bolt travels the distance to that bolt and then that distance again. These longer falls end with a sudden jerk as the rope pulls taut. Leading also requires greater endurance, poise, and efficiency than top-roping the same grade, since you must stop several times during a lead route to pull up slack with one hand and clip the rope into the quickdraw.

Because the commitment level of lead climbing is greater than top-roping, it is not something beginners should jump right into. Those attempting to learn how to lead climb should feel confident climbing a grade of at least 5. While this is not a magic grade, gyms seldom set lead routes easier than 5.

And even more important than the ability to ascend a certain grade is a solid foundation in movement and kinesthetic awareness. If your climbing is not yet smooth and graceful, consider putting in more time on your technique before embarking on lead climbing. Remember, as a lead climber, you contend with not only the actual act of climbing but also managing and clipping the rope to ensure your safety.

Keep in mind, though, that a fall before making the first clip will result in hitting the ground. There are a couple of precautions you and your belayer may want to take to prepare. If the opening moves of the climb are difficult, preclipping the first bolt is not a bad idea—staying safe should be your first priority.

If possible, climb up an easier neighboring route, properly clip the rope into the first quickdraw, and climb back down to the ground. Make sure to confirm the role of the belayer before you attempt this maneuver because you may choose to down-climb or be lowered from the first bolt.

Another option for protecting a fall prior to the first bolt is to have the belayer spot the climber during the opening moves of the route. With this approach, your belayer will first pay out enough slack for you to clip the first draw and then assume a spotting position as in bouldering see Chapter 4, Bouldering. As soon as you have clipped the first bolt, the belayer takes in the appropriate amount of slack, and you will be on belay.

The correct way to clip a rope into a carabiner is with the climbing end running up along the wall and then out through the carabiner to the climber. An incorrectly clipped rope, also known as a back-clipped rope, passes through the carabiner from the climbing side and then into the wall. Because a back-clipped rope can become unclipped in the event of a fall, great care should be taken to ensure that you clip the rope correctly every single time. The mechanics of clipping the rope into a quickdraw are as simple as they seem; however, applying those mechanics with pumped-out forearms and shaking legs can make things much more complicated.

The use of a practiced, fluid, efficient technique is an absolute necessity.

Retraction Cord

The following section introduces methods for efficient clipping. Although these are not the only ways you might get the rope into the carabiner, they are among the most commonly used. If these styles do not work well for you, experiment with other approaches. Ultimately, the best way is the fastest and most comfortable option for you. When encountering a quickdraw, the gate will either face toward or away from you, and this determines how you grab and handle the rope before clipping.

Middle-finger grab technique. Use this method when clipping a carabiner whose gate faces the opposite direction as the hand you are clipping with, such as when the gate faces right and you are clipping with your left hand. Stabilizing the quickdraw with the middle finger makes clipping easy. If they do, how much closer? Why do the media and the public tolerate being given their information in such a jumbled way? The USA was not alone in making things cloudy in Paris. Obama was following what has become the standard way in which the vital statistics for climate emissions data are released and published.

By contrast, Economics would not tolerate such numerical ambiguity. It is informative to make a comparison with another institution. The Bank must write an open letter of explanation to the Chancellor of the Exchequer if the CPI index roams more than one percentage point away from this target in either direction. In the letter, it has to explain how long it expects the inflation rate to remain off target, and the bank must also explain the policy actions it is taking to rectify the problem.

This is just common sense. In a democratic society, government institutions are accountable to the public and whether they succeed or fail in their goals, everyone has the right to know what is happening. This is especially true with something as fundamentally important to the economy as interest rates and inflation. Anyone, whose interests include treasure hunts and wasting valuable time, could spend several days clicking around the website looking for the key information.

There are interesting articles about beating plastic pollution, how people in the Sahel are developing solar energy, and so much more. It is a busy webpage with many layers and hundreds of articles that are related to climate change. All of which creates the impression that something is being done. However, the fundamental question about climate change remains unstated and unanswered. The essential target for humans is buried far away from the home page, and the essential data that demonstrates our progress towards that target is missing. It is a systemic problem that extends from the webpage to the podium.

It is a systemic problem that is also mirrored in the way the media reports on the UNFCCC; their motivation to get to the roots of a story has been undermined by commercial pressures to appear interesting and busy. Back to School There are two school-related issues here. Given such a foggy and muddled format, you would rightly insist that the school provide another document. It is a notation system that is transparent, and it enables the reader to draw the main conclusions easily.

They show where improvements have been made, and where more effort or interventions are needed. Every child in a class has the right to know how well they are performing, for better or worse. Every citizen has the right to clear information about the atmosphere. Secondly, many students who fail an exam or an assessment do so because they do not answer the question. At the bottom of this scale is horseshit. Although it is a very unpleasant thought, at the top of the scale is dogshit. These are outstanding essays, characterised by a very meaty content, a compact size and a strong impression that is difficult to forget.

Most importantly, dogshit essays point somewhere. If I invited my students to assess any of the speeches made in all of the COP meetings, or indeed any political comments about climate change, they would be graded as horseshit. They simply do not answer the question that they have set out to answer. Although teachers can monotonously repeat the same message about focus, and although many students struggle to see why this is so fundamentally important in an assessment, the dull fact is that not answering the question posed makes all of the knowledge and understanding they might have used irrelevant.

In an odd way, they are the most exciting questions, because nobody is asking them. It is weirdly mesmerising that every year thousands of delegates, with thousands of scientists, accompanied by thousands of staff, tracked by thousands of reporters, all assemble in one town for 2 weeks — and the main reason for them all being there is not directly addressed or openly discussed. They have to consider so many variables when making the calculation. The detailed qualifications to these figures will be explored in Part Two of the book.

It also assumes that the speed of global emissions remains the same as today. The simple point of this graph is to show that there is a limit to what can be put up into the atmosphere. After decades of scientific enquiry, we have a clear understanding of where that limit is. It is an absolute number. At current speeds of emissions, we are due to spend this budget by Graph 5 - Where are we now? However, here is a strange fact. The level of CO2 that is in the atmosphere now basically guarantees that a rise to 1.

There is a time-lag between the CO2 going up into the air and the thermal effects taking place. To avoid a 1. This mechanical detail about the climate system is well understood by science, but that was not evident at COP21 when the targets for climate action were being set up. Neither the highest-ranking politicians, nor the media seemed to be aware of the implausibility of even negotiating anything relating to a 1. It was almost surreal to follow the coverage of the COP21 in Paris because this most basic fact about the situation was simply not on the table. Energy system transformations for limiting end of century warming to below 1.

Change 5, — However, no comment was made about this ambition being such an improbable goal A BBC Sport correspondent would not ask a football manager what result he might be hoping for in a match, in a post-match interview. He should have watched the game and questioned the manager about the performance and the result.

Despite this, none of the major industrialised nations are even on track to fulfil their Paris commitments. The red line shows what would happen if we took no further action. This was not because of some delusional leader like Donald Trump, but rather nobly, it was because they simply wanted to point out the size of the emissions gap and they wanted to protest the lack of serious action. Indeed, even when all of the NDCs are added up, and assuming that every nation will follow through on its commitments and all major industrialised nations are failing to meet their pledges32 , humanity is still heading for a climate that is an intolerable 3.

That is bad news. However, it is bad news in another sense. What this graph does not disclose is that this emissions gap makes a huge technological assumption. It imagines that we are able to suck CO2 out of the atmosphere on a truly massive scale. Without dabbling in the scientifically and ethically dubious potentials of geoengineering, and with carbon capture still a far distant reality for the scale required, we are committed to overstepping a 1. Prove Paris was more than paper promises. Nature , Another way of stating the facts is to acknowledge that the current NDCs only add up to a commitment that is one sixth of what is required This final graph will be discussed in greater detail in Chapter 7 on Rousseau.

However, it needs to be placed up front, in this first chapter, because of its significance. As different editions of the book are published, these figures will be updated. To get a sharp picture of who is causing the emissions, the figures require some adjustment. Given that the atmosphere is shared by every human being, the statistics should show the figures divided on a per capita basis.

For example, China has 1. In comparison, the USA with only 0. This calculation of emissions measures the volume of CO2 that are emitted from within each national boundary of the globe. Indeed, that seems like the common sense way of counting emissions. Portugal and Peru, Bulgaria and Brunei should all be held accountable for what they produce within their territory.

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This means that if a European buys a product that was made in China, then the emissions that occur because of their consumption are counted as European, not Chinese. Once all of this has been taken into account, a clearer map emerges of the distribution of CO2 emissions. Apart from the basic inequity of these proportions, it is also instructive to remember that those countries who contribute the least to the problem also have the least resources to stop it from happening. This historical fact means that they had a large head start in filling the atmosphere with CO2.

Nicaragua with the final words In an interview covered with Democracy Now! Three degrees Celsius is a disaster. It is catastrophic. So, we think that we have to get out of this spin and back to where the problem can be solved. Do we feel responsible for having caused climate change? No, not at all. Are we doing something about it? Oquist had framed the whole discussion in a clear way that helps wrap up this section of key data. He explained that Nicaragua had not signed the Paris Accord for three reasons:. It was much too quiet when my son was born, he had scored only 1.

The ward was busy with general checks and moments of paper work, close family visitors were ushered in during the afternoons, sometimes behind portable green curtains, key surgery was carried out. If the oxygen level in their blood dropped below a certain level, the digital numbers would turn blue, a small light would flash, and the tone of a slow ticking chime would start to accelerate and rise in pitch. Someone in a medical uniform would then swiftly appear to make the right adjustments. Thibault pulled through.

Here, all the vital statistics of the global economy were presented perhaps tellingly, just before the Obituaries on the very last page. These indices can control the social and political weather - a drop in the price of oil had given a boost to the profit margins of the Pirelli in Italy, but it was causing social unrest in Venezuela. The long term unemployment data in France and the UK had swollen the numbers of voters on the political edge, especially towards the Right.

However, Thibault was born into a world in which the most fundamental index of all was not recorded. The most recent measurement of carbon concentration particles per million had been recorded at parts per million. Very dangerous territory. However these publications are mostly far too technical and complex for concerned citizens to understand. Indeed, getting a clear understanding about the significance of the various climate change statistics and graphs requires so many qualifications, it is hard to keep a secure view of what really matters.

Given the scale and significance of the problem, regular TV and Radio do not accord these most basic facts the prominence and clarity they deserve. Worse, anyone who choses to go surfing on the internet for their understanding of climate change will find a huge amount of flotsam and jetsam of uninformed opinions. There are numerous articles about climate change from different angles in mainstream journalism. However, the core conclusions of the mainstream science seem to get crowded out or badly skewed by improper assumptions.

What everything comes down to Returning to Graph One. This really is what everything comes down to. Human civilisation needs to use its extraordinary capacity for technological invention and social organisation to tip the slope in the opposite direction. The human race is utterly remarkable and it is not too late to act decisively. For example, he did detailed calculations about how the American Colonists could match the might of the British Navy His prose was not just tub-thumping, his convictions were rooted in a firm grip on reality.

He was not afraid to look at the full reality of being a human being. If I had any talents for either, they were buried in me, and might ever have continued so, had not the necessity of the times dragged and driven them into action. I had formed my plan of life, and conceiving myself happy, wished everybody else so. But when the country, into which I had just set my foot, was set on fire about my ears, it was time to stir. Nietzsche the Prophet Choose your own Adventure. The importance of Language 99 2. The importance of irony, metaphor and paradox 3. The importance of not retreating into a cave a.

The cave of denial b. The Christian cave c. The Climate Change cave 5. The importance of thinking things through until the end. Christian Shadows c. Climate Change Shadows Conclusions - 34 -. Introduction Climate change is not just a problem of perception We have made long strides forward in climate science, especially in the last few decades. Although our models and projections require constant revision and improvement, the basic summary of where we are is unambiguous.

It is true that many of the problems that we have with understanding climate change are simply problems of Epistemology — or more specifically, problems of perception. Our routine understanding of the world is sometimes just not good enough. However, it was also evident in Chapter 1 that some moral and political influences are at work in our lack of awareness. Some of the forces that prevent us from getting a clear picture of climate change are simply rooted in our natural human reactions to danger, suffering, or perhaps just plain inconvenience. We often recoil from difficulties and prefer to push problems away, in order to tend to the peace of our own lives.

These individual instincts become powerful political forces when they play out at a social level. Gaining a more reliable understanding of what is real more often than not is connected to ethical issues about what is right. Epistemology and Ethics are tightly bound together.

There are so many examples throughout the history of human culture where certain fields of knowledge were blockaded because of some very forceful ethical or political concerns. In fact, there are often very interesting consequences when the truth pushes against power or desire, fears or anxieties, tradition or authority. These confrontations are a pervasive problem in human affairs and, unsurprisingly, they will continually surface in a book about climate change. When confronted by an uncomfortable truth, we have a remarkable capacity for hiding reality with illusions.

The human psyche is a fascinating and curious thing. There is a rich tradition of thinkers who have explored how we can create fictions around reality because of a deep ethical impulse working at the base of our minds. Schopenhauer, Feuerbach and Freud to name a few all have quite brilliant insights in this field.

However, it is Nietzsche who will help to build this bridge from Epistemology to Ethics. The most basic answer is that Nietzsche was a philosopher who was concerned with social illusions. As explained in the opening, we have already started walking into the minefield of climate change. The further we go into this minefield of a warmer planet, the more likely it will be that we will trigger major damage to our civilisation. Despite this existential threat, there is has been no meaningful impact on government policies.

We are still striving for maximal economic growth without decoupling it from carbon emissions Population growth is not considered to be a critically urgent debate. We still invest more in fossil fuels than in green technology. Climate change is a seismic event and yet millions of people have not really understood it. Indeed, even if it was to be explained, there are hundreds of possible bypasses in the network of the human mind that can see the problem, so that we somehow do not react.

Yet, no explicit reference was made to it, and the only policies that had any relevance to climate change was an almost farcical endorsement of tree planting and a plastic tax. Nietzsche faced a parallel problem at the end of the 19th century in Germany. He was an atheist, and he had observed that even though the idea of a Christian God had just been through some bruising cultural battles, most people had not really shifted their lifestyle or their beliefs to fall in line with the reality of a godless world. The theological questions posed by Newtonian Physics, Darwinian Biology, Psychological Reductivism and Biblical Criticism to name a few had really shaken the viability of Christian belief.

Yet even though many of these new scientific theories and critical methods of thinking about God had progressed from academia into popular culture, Nietzsche was frustrated to see that the implications of these ideas were having a small impact on the ground. He thought that important psychological and social forces were at work in this inertia. Indeed, there are two major reasons for picking out Nietzsche to make the bridge from Epistemology to Ethics for this book on climate change: Firstly, Nietzsche was intolerant of the comfortable social illusions that he saw around him.

Nietzsche thought that he lived in a culture that had lamentable attitudes to the truth. He argued that they were sloppy at best, and manipulative at worst. Crucially, he was disturbed by this lack of respect for critical thinking because he thought that it was behind some very unhealthy social realities. Nietzsche the Psychologist Nietzsche was very perceptive in his examination of how our beliefs are affected by psychology. His work poses interesting questions about how the complex drives and desires of our subconscious are plugged into the mind.

It now seems so normal to accept that we do not hold our beliefs simply because they are logical or coherent; we are very aware that there is a whole matrix of psychological forces at work under the surface. It was Nietzsche who did so much to put the notion of psychological and social illusions forward as a mainstream idea. Indeed, it is probably wise to approach Nietzsche as a psychologist first, given that it provides an accessible entry point to his ideas before.

Its author, Ludwig Feuerbach was a thinker who had a massive and lasting impact on Philosophy. However, his own work tends to get overlooked because the thinkers he most markedly influenced went on to become the major constellations of 20th century culture. The three stellar thinkers of Marx, Nietzsche and Freud are all indebted to him for his pioneering contribution to psychology Looking at the major social thinkers that were roughly contemporary with Nietzsche, it seems like the extent of facial hair was somehow related to the depth of psychological insight.

If we fear death, we imagine an everlasting afterlife awaits. If we suffer from prejudice or poverty, we imagine a God that will act with justice. By his God you can know the man, and by the man, his God; the two are identical. Schopenhauer born in , dealt with psychology systematically but it is telling that Schopenhauer leans a huge amount on Eastern Philosophy for his insights. Indeed, Eastern Philosophy has an ancient and astonishingly rich tradition of psychological examination.

Therefore, Feuerbach argued, it was time for mankind to step out of his long shadow. We could, and should, stand alone. Feuerbach had planted Psychology into the middle of Philosophy and it took root quickly. Reading Feuerbach46 provoked in Marx something akin to an inverted religious epiphany. He suddenly saw that the workers were being exploited by the owners of capital under the illusion of an afterlife and various capitalist values.

The promises and hopes that were provided on Sunday enabled the workers to face work again on Monday. Freud read Feuerbach47 and he saw that men needed to create a huge range of illusions to cover up their dark drives and sexual impulses from themselves. Any male reader who is offended by such a suggestion is simply confirming the existence of the suppression in their mind. Freud would argue that a closer inspection of their dreams at night, some analysis of any compulsive behaviour, or deeper reflection on their genuflexions in church on Sunday morning, might prove to be more revealing.

Ethics according to Nietzsche Finally, the moustachioed hero of this Chapter we turn to Nietzsche. Sometimes this drive can be simple and explicit, as exemplified in the value that most Greek and Roman culture placed on strength and overcoming. In both cases, those without power, realising that they could never beat their masters on their own terms, decided to reverse the value system in order to get it.

More specifically: Poverty, weakness, humility and suffering became values in the Christian revolution, because they had them in abundance. Conversely, wealth, strength, power and comfort were made evil because they were simply permanently out of reach - the powerless Jews, after centuries of frustration under the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks and Romans, could never conceivably take back their land and laws from the fist of the occupying Army.

History for Nietzsche is dominated by the story of a struggle between people who are trying to define good and evil on their own terms. We have to examine the family tree of where current values came from. Nietzsche teaches us to examine our culture with a sceptical distance. This is especially true for the values we prize the most, and which direct the. They are only merely fashions that switch. Moreover, these fashions are an expression of a human drive for power in all its diverse appearances. Nietzsche is, therefore, a thinker who can help us lift the rug of our beliefs to see what might be hiding underneath them.

Getting a clear vantage point It is illuminating to explore what might have caused the collapse of different ancient civilisations, especially if the fall was abrupt. How did the people involved in the final years of such powers understand what was happening around them? As members of advanced societies with evident flair for technology and organisation, how did they not see what was coming?

For example, much sociological, anthropological and historical ink has been spilt over end games of the civilisations Angkor, Easter Island and Maya. It is widely accepted that one of the primary causes49 of the collapse of the Polynesian civilisation on Easter Island was their extensive deforestation on an island with a fragile ecosystem. By the time Europeans started dropping in in , the population had already sunk from a high of around 15, a century earlier to between 2,, The details of their demise remain very cloudy for this remotest of islands, but one darkly ironic aspect to their trouble is the transportation of their monumental heads, the moai.

These huge sculptures now look out with long faces towards the rest of the world. They required large pathways to be cut through the forests and they were probably rolled into place on logs These desperate appeals to the gods, summoned with such art and a huge commitment of resources, highlight the fact that they could.

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Closer to home, Barbara W. Tuchman writes with such insight into the human condition, and she also writes from the high and advantageous vantage point that time affords to a historian. Reading her book throws up a painful contrast: the clarity of her vision, and the assuredness of her historical dot-to-dot, contrasts deeply with the failings of the fumbling egos and the poignancy of all the poor decisions made inside the fog of war.

In the bluster of all of these events, there seemed to be no route to a better perspective of what was taking place. So once all the nationalism had been blown aside, and there was no noble cause to be found uniting the dead, the war became a monument to human irrationality. Nietzsche was very sensitive to how our instincts and drives can warp our perspective on life, his psychologically informed philosophy is well-placed to help us grapple with the irrationality of climate change. From the Mayans to the Brits and the Germans and the Easter Islanders in between , history offers us a view that enables us to see how combustible human affairs really are.

Many people would imagine that we have moved on from the main illusions of the past - many of the ancient statues of the gods now live behind glass in air-conditioned museums. What could Nietzsche tell us that might be useful for our modern, high-tech world? Apart from his reductivist account of traditional religious beliefs, can he still speak to us? Are there any major illusions about reality that we still live with? To help get a mental map of the current gap between culture and reality, it helps to look at the image below. This chart provides an approximate sketch of the situation that exists when scientific knowledge and media coverage are superimposed onto each other.

The lines and curves in this image by US scientist Michael Tobis53 are not based on a statistical study. However, people familiar with climate change at a serious level will recognise its basic accuracy. The reason for the spread of the informed opinion is that the climate system is so complex and that working out how quickly all the different mechanisms will interact, and on what timescale, is very demanding. Yet despite all the numerous variables that lie behind this sketch of the predicted impacts, the overall image remains informative.

Without any viable technology to capture enough carbon from the atmosphere, and without an appropriate set of changes to government policies, the probabilities will move against us. The arguments put forward in the following chapters will be based on the mainstream conclusions of the science that informs the IPCC.

However, the arguments will also be mindful of the fact that there is a strong consensus that an even more negative outlook is looming. The climate does not tend to behave in linear, predictable ways, but a simple rule guides most of the scientific thinking: the longer that we stay in our heated conditions, the shorter the odds are that substantial damage will roll on into an uncontrollable catastrophe.

A disjunction It is very likely then that some of the conclusions reached in this book will be jarring. This is simply because the coverage that is afforded to climate change in the general media is mostly out of step with the science. The problem is solvable, but it is only solvable once we look at it. Climate change is almost never addressed as a central, headline concern. By always framing it as a weather event, it makes the core science projections appear to be distant or improbable. The disjunction between what is known by science and what is permitted to be known by our natural psychological make-up and the interests of the media is very significant.

It looks like this: Po opular. For example, in the 18th century a vote for all women would have been an unthinkable policy. Likewise, the abolition of slavery would have probably been unthinkable for some and radical for most Now they are considered as common sense policies. Moves like this along the Overton window can take centuries, but sometimes the cultural shift is dramatic.

For example, after the Fukushima disaster in there was a dramatic swing in public perception about the merits of Nuclear power, not only in Japan but in Germany too. In the case of climate change, this distance between the science and the public debate is due to a couple of reasons. Firstly, our natural instincts to shy away from negative news; this is something that politicians are also very reluctant to handle. Secondly, climate change is very often lumped in with other environmental news, like plastic straws, recycling, or natural disasters. The problem is that this gives the public no sense of proportion about the scale and the depth of the problems.

There is something really quite disconcerting and very odd about the current preoccupation with plastic straws when it is juxtaposed with our relative lack of action about climate change. However, there is a huge rock that was launched high into the air several hundred frames previously. This rock starts casting an increasingly large shadow over the two of them — and as Tom slowly pieces the evidence together in his head, we all know what happens after his smile disappears… Comical.

Thirdly, climate change is a bit of a downer for advertising revenue. Moreover, for some major multi-national companies who have commercial interests in the status quo, it is not that sensible to allow the media companies that they own to publish or broadcast information that will damage their short-term profits. However, perhaps most significantly, the small bump on the left is very influential in pulling the public discourse away from reality. For decades, right-wing think tanks have been flooding the media with content and messages that are empty of any genuine scientific content as explained in Chapter 6.

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Their strategy has been incredibly successful. The alignment of the Overton Window with any social issue is determined by a combination of numerous social and psychological forces. Trying to understand the disjunction between the science and our perception of will require of a lot unpicking — Nietzsche is rightly labelled a Philosopher, however, his work would comfortably sit alongside a line of Psychology books. It found that those Americans who were surveyed about their belief in the warming of the Earth would respond more affirmatively if they had experienced a high frequency of extreme weather events in their life Perhaps any presentation about climate change should then be made in rooms where the air-conditioning fails unexpectedly, or maybe in rooms where the heating is turned up to the maximum?

It quoted experts warning that this would become the new norm under climate change. This is the very positive upside that extreme weather has on the public perception of climate change — of course, it goes without saying that the heavy human price that such events carry is a totally unacceptable way of shifting public opinion.

The significance of our increased propensity to absorb climate science in extreme conditions might be demonstrated in the next few years. This is due to the fact that there is plenty of extreme weather in the pipeline — according to a scientific paper of August Previously, natural factors have offset part of man-made warmings. Forecasts say we have now entered a period where this effect is reversed, adding to total warming. On a human scale, it is what we feel. All we can do [as scientists] is give people information and let them make up their own mind. It could be that the next few years will be a very bumpy ride for human civilisation, but if there is one positive consequence - it could wake us up.

Watching the BBC This psychological tendency to be more accepting of climate science was notable during the exceptionally dry and intense heatwaves of the European summer in A case study of the BBC shows that this improved sensitivity to climate change science is unfortunately often stuck within the usual limitations of the Overton window. However, it is also possible to make the case for some genuine optimism. The extreme weather of did also show that the public discourse does have the potential to suddenly shift.

After illustrating the rising bar chart of temperatures since the turn of the century, and the run of record temperatures in recent years, the segment was particularly concerned with how the current weather might related to climate change. They used a graph very similar to this one:. However, even though the scientific experts provided important explanations, the framing of the material by the BBC was interesting.

The material was centred by the Overton Window. It was not framed by the science. Do you worry less about security on fuel? Could it be that there is an upside to all this? Admittedly, the context for these was how climate change would impact the UK. Climate change is great news for the vineyard owners in England, it will probably reduce energy bills60 and in the shake-up of the economy there will be numerous winners.

But then, why not ask if climate change will lead to many employment opportunities in security as the borders become stressed with migrants, or perhaps comment on the boom in the construction industry as a consequence of flood damage? Indeed, the burden of the programme was trying to solve the riddle of how individual weather events fit into climate change.

Again, this is a valid question; however, by starting with posing questions to the experts that focus on the difficulty in ascribing particular days or months of weather to climate change it could be suggestive of a general ambiguity about the core science. By contrast, the link between smoking and cancer is an established scientific fact, so the news coverage of smoking has moved on, mainly to the policy decisions, or further research conclusions into the impacts of smoking.

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By approaching climate change through the weather, it almost as absurd as interviewing some poor casualty of lung. As with cancer, complex issues would be involved in ascribing an individual case to an overall theory; maybe the patient worked in a mine, maybe he cycled to work in a busy city, or perhaps his mum was a smoker, and that is before the mysterious deep biological behaviour of our DNA is approached. Climate change is so overwhelmingly obvious now at the research level that this line of questioning is frankly a bit silly. Indeed, it was rather peculiar for the BBC to be preoccupied by the complex probabilities of how the weather connects to the climate when some much more pertinent and pressing questions could have been asked.

In July , there were some unusually clear examples of the major wheels of the climate system starting to come off — these events were not only highly significant for the future of humanity, they were also of huge importance for scientific research. Yet for a rare moment, July was also a brief period when some of the long-term and most pressing questions about climate change were actually part of our common sense.

The unusual condition of the Arctic Circle and the corresponding slowing down of the Jetstream had caused the unusually hot patch of weather to take a long summer stay over the top of the UK and Northern Europe. Hot and bothered Northern Europeans, seeing their farmers struggle with drought, seeing their trees and grass looking a scorched and brown, would have been much more receptive to some proper analysis.

However, analysis not of the popular expectation, but by the main concerns of science. The scientific significance of the Arctic and Jetstream climate hubs acting out of character will be examined in the second case study on Sweden. To give a clear example of how misaligned our public debates are with the science, here is a more definitive example from the BBC. He was not corrected or challenged.

Does this mean that any segment of news that involves assumptions of Darwinian Biology might have to be balanced by a Creationist? Or any technology feature about satellites might need to be balanced by a member of the Flat Earth Society? Would such counter views also be unchallenged? The webpage on the BBC site that reported the complaints was rather unrepentant. Shame on you. This mistake was not an isolated error. Precisely the same thing happened on the same programme in As this whole discussion is.

Lord Lawson and Sir Brian Hoskins, thank you very much. For the BBC to allow another interview with Lord Lawson after the flood of complaints, after this blunder, shows a grating level of incompetence to handle the issue of climate change. In the light of how sharp the science has become in the most recent years, it is almost eye-watering.

However, this major mistake does also help to explain all the other minor editorial mistakes too. In a world where democracy and society are so vulnerable to the manipulation and subversion of the truth, the science needs to be shown genuine respect. If the BBC is getting it so wrong, then this poses real concerns for the wider media. Climate Sceptics like Lord Lawson know how powerful this tactic is.

This was confirmed by the Merriam-Webster reference book company, after President Trump was heard to use it in September The BBC has been rather lethargic in its response to this report. For example, in , the BBC was once more criticised by Professor Justin Lewis72 for its poor level of science coverage.

Perhaps it is not just extra science specialists that the BBC needs to employ? Perhaps they should also employ more philosophers? An analysis of market-driven and publicly funded news coverage. Mair, R. The course also aims to make students attentive to the different types of truth that exist mathematical, logical, social, scientific…. Indeed, looking at the BBC in some detail like this is problematic, because any one segment or programme has to be examined in the context of all their other material.

The BBC Barometer The other problem with selecting the BBC is that it is only a singular broadcaster in the world, and it might not be typical of the overall media coverage. However, the particularity of the BBC is precisely the reason for its selection as a case study. The BBC should be different. Looking at the BBC is a useful barometer of climate change coverage.

Picking it as a case study exposes the lag and the gap between the science and our public awareness. The nature documentaries produced with the wisdom and skill of David Attenborough are some of its world class productions. Furthermore, its position as a touchstone of the truth means that it has an important role in setting the standards of independent and analytical reporting. If something major is happening in the world, it would be on the BBC and it would normally be reliable The problem is wrapped up in so many concerns that the BBC is celebrated for - such as a commitment to the truth, a fascination and love of the natural world, and also its aspiration to provide probing and independent political analysis.

By taking on this gap between the media and the science, it could show itself to be entertaining in a truly informative and educational way. It does not need to be explained that when we chuckle at a comedy, get hooked on a series, or are drawn in by a TV drama, that we are being entertained. These arts are a beautiful part of the human condition or perhaps just a great way of escaping the human condition Furthermore, teachers find out very quickly that if their lessons are just informative, but not entertaining, the class will become restless.

Conversely, a series of lessons that only aims to entertain, leaves the students with a similar disenchantment. One of perennial challenges of teaching a class is how to properly balance the informative with the entertaining, how to deliver a heavy challenge in an engaging atmosphere. Human beings are curious creatures, hungry for understanding and anxious to find out their place in the world.

They know if they are being sold a dud. Any class that is only given a diet of entertainment will also become restless in the end. We have come to associate entertainment with comfort and happiness, but one of the first lessons of doing the Philosophy of Ethics is that human beings are much more. His exploration of this paradox of art is a very rewarding body of work. Nietzsche is a thinker who can help us to get over these simplistic divisions of life. It is no surprise to find out that Nietzsche really did not admire the English Utilitarians, like Jeremy Bentham, who cashed out all ethical considerations into a simple balance of pleasure against pain.

It is just that these programmes are not the full picture of what it is to be human. Few people would have bought a book on climate change and Philosophy to giggle; the burden of the scientific prognosis is no joke, but is a powerful kick that humans get by being able to look at themselves and the world from a higher perspective — either scientific or philosophical. It is not entertainment in the narrow sense, but we are more alive for it. Brief Conclusions Pulling together a couple of loose threads: Firstly, it seems quite plausible to argue that one of the main reasons why many people do not have a sharp concern about climate change is that it is simply not frequently or predominantly in the news.

If the dangers posed to human civilisation are so potent, then it would be a core news item. The fact that it is not a central concern of the media suggests that the opposite is true. When my students have made presentations about climate change to adults, even if highly qualified scientists have been present to back up the statistics that they use and the statements they make, there is often an odd lingering doubt that becomes quite obvious in the question and answer sessions at the end.

Many adults, on hearing about the reality of the mainstream science for the first time in stark detail, cannot reconcile the truths to the fact that they have not heard these conclusions repeatedly on the news. Why would the BBC report the emissions gap77 with such a sizeable assumption that we can achieve massive negative emissions in the very near future? Why would the BBC talk about the Paris target of 1. If the slowing down of the Jetstream and the rapid melting of the Arctic ice are not hugely significant, then why is this not headline news? If plastic waste and recycling feature more often on the news, then it strongly implies that these are the most pressing environmental issues.

Things cannot be that bad if they are not being reported, surely? After my students have made a climate change presentation, there is often lingering suspicion from the way that some adults frame or tone their questions that either these children have been on a weird website, or they have been listening to too much grunge music. Or perhaps they are tapped into some sort of conspiracy or anarchist theory against the state, or worse, they are watermelons — thinly green on the outside, but deep communist red to the core. All of the main conclusions of climate science that this book makes are all out there in public, all the essential data is referenced and available to anyone with the interest to pursue it.

The problem is that there is simply a gap between the scientific publications and news agendas. Everyone has at least some cynicism about governments and the state. We all have our critical views about the media too. But somewhere at the back of our minds it is very difficult to believe that we could be allowing a total catastrophe to unfold in our full view. The fossil fuel industry have been very smart to dig a big trench for climate debate so far away from reality.

A new centre of gravity for this public debate is urgently needed. Just as Feuerbach thinks that we build an image of God in our own image, we also tend to build an image of nature in our own image too.

DLT Books Blog: 'A threefold cord is not easily broken.'

At a basic, instinctive level of our mind, perhaps we simply cannot accept that the planet might let us down. The earliest human societies were very explicit in their anxieties about the natural world, they worshipped the rain, the sun, the crops and the animals out of respect and fear. Yet, it is almost as if we have become over-familiar with her The Apollonian aspect of existence celebrates order and symmetry.

Likewise, the Apollo. Whatever the psychology, it is certainly true that the last 17, years of human history took place in the Holocene that was an unprecedentedly favourable period of climatic stability. It enjoys the instinctual, primal, and anarchic reality. Too much of this potent truth and our hearts and minds are simply overwhelmed.

Too much Apollonian order and we reduce ourselves and nature to sterility. Nietzsche thought that the Greek tragedies were a real high point in human culture because they achieved a magnificent fusion of the two. The Apollonian was to function as thin cover to the Dionysian, framing it and alluring the reader towards its power. The notion that this co-operative, generous mother might turn against us and unleash powerful and devastating attacks on our ambitions with fitful and unpredictable carelessness is just too much for our psyche to deal with.

Human civilisation has become so advanced - in our technological age we have become so accustomed to our high level of control over nature. Our supermarkets are full of food from all of the seasons and from every continent, all year. We can design artificial realities to live in just with our minds, and artificial realities to live in with our bodies — with homes that can be heated or chilled, and everything else to make life tame for us. These are not complaints, these are not the observations of a luddite, it is simply the case that all of this makes it so easy to forget what our economy79 is actually rooted in — a planet with both physical limits and extraordinary raw power.

Facing the reality of a crashed computer that takes with it all of our investments in time, our completed work and our uncompleted projects, is a truly gut-wrenching experience. Trying to restart it in an increasingly frantic state, stroking it, talking to it, cursing ourselves for not backing up our work more systematically, promising to. But in our technological age there is often a backup, or recovery version — and if we manage to reinstall everything we are flooded with such an intense relief. For our relationship with Planet Earth, this recovery version is still available to humanity for a few years — we can still reconfigure things to keep the system running.

The technology is there, the understanding is there, we just have to do it. This is because by the end of the summer, this melt had taken the Southern icy peak of the mountain to down below the 2, This glacier is a symbol for all the glaciers in the world. This whole. Climate change is so rarely a sensory experience. The week after the reports about the Kebnekaise mountain, Sweden was in the news again in relation to climate change. A significant contribution to the study of climate change had been published by the Stockholm Resilience Centre.

A lot seemed to be melting in the summer of — and not all of it was ice. First the bad news. Crossing the threshold would lead to a much higher global average temperature than any interglacial in the past 1. We examine the evidence that such a threshold might exist and where it might be.

If the threshold is crossed, the resulting trajectory would likely cause serious disruptions to ecosystems, society, and economies. Collective human action is required to steer the Earth System away from a potential threshold and stabilize it in a habitable interglacial-like state. Such action entails. When the details of the article are opened up, here is what a plan view of the dense science looks like as an image:.

In the bottom left corner, the Earth has been going in and out of different ice-age epochs for millions of years, each time with undulating temperature and sea level changes. In the top right corner of the image, at point A, we exited this stable cycle because of the sudden jump in CO2 emissions produced by the Industrial Revolution. Having been knocked out of a long-term loop, we are now heading towards point B. This still gives us a chance to turn back towards the relatively stable conditions that human civilisation grew up in.

Chapter 5 on Descartes will map out the details of what those different degrees of climate change will look like, degree by degree. Therefore, huge efforts to improve artificial and natural carbon capture would be needed in such a scenario to pull the temperature down even lower, as carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere for thousands of years. This is what that trajectory looks like from side-on:. Starting at the back. For the most recent 11, years, this position afforded humans a benign climate to establish and advanced their civilisation including the development of major cities on the coastlines and rivers.

The first thing to note about this pathway is that the temperatures will increase. The second thing to note is that the trench gets deep with steep contours, which makes it more and more unlikely that we would be able to swing the Earth back into a stable set of conditions. This signifies that it may not be possible to establish where such a tipping point exists, but if it were to be crossed, the feedback loops latent within nature kick in. After such a point, the contour lines start to work powerfully against us. Why ? Two hugely important events happened in It was also the year in which James Watt had his first steam-powered engine used in a commercial operation.

These two events put humanity onto a fast track to modernity. This key signature has framed the progress of human civilisation ever since and have defined which developments are in or out of tune. The transformation of human life and the planet has been truly astonishing. For just two hundred years of work, this is quite A major achievement In fact, if some precise cosmic maths is done, these two events both happened years ago.

It is remarkable to think that within one lap of the solar system by Pluto, humans on planet Earth will have shunted the planet onto such a markedly different path. The Triggers This scenario makes more sense when the triggers to the feedback loops are identified. The trees that border the traffic had often turned into autumn colours at the end of July.

Apart from looking a weird mix of green and bronze, this also meant that they were not sucking out CO2 from the atmosphere at their usual rate. On a huge scale across the Northern hemisphere, including the burning forests in the Swedish Arctic Circle, this meant that Planet Earth would not be taking such a deep gulp of CO2 during the summer.

With this smaller breath, the level of CO2 for the next year would be higher, and therefore would make another heatwave and drought that bit more likely in the years to come. And so on… This is one small aspect of a much bigger map of feedback triggers. Forest fires in this section of the Earth are increasingly common, but a full collapse of this ecological zone is, for now, a distant possibility.

Here is a full map of those triggers, published by The Guardian. If you were going to play God, and set up the co-ordinates of your planet before you brought it into existence, this is the sort of network map that you would draw. Each coloured disc is a major node of the system; they are the main cogs that determine all life on earth today. The rest is details. As the arrows demonstrate, each cog is locked into the Earth System with other cogs.

As mentioned previously, Chapter 5 of this book also explains the main highlights of this possible cascade of consequences. The bleaching of the coral reefs and the melting Alpine glaciers are already evident. The 40 meters of ice that has been lost on the Kebnekaise glacier is typical of many glaciers all over Europe. These images are taken of the fast-retreating Pasterze glacier in Austria.

The melting permafrost in the mountains has made many rocks unstable and this has forced mountain guides to switch their routes. The melting ice had previously held together loose rocks in the highest European peaks, and although this creates dangers and difficulties for mountaineers, it does not pose a large wider threat to the Earth system. However, it offers a small glimpse into the future when a defrosting layer of ice will pose a massive threat to humanity.

When the permafrost thaws on a large scale in the Arctic regions it will not only loosen the ground, it will enable potent methane gas to escape into the atmosphere. Methane is global warming dynamite — it is around 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide for. A huge planetary burp of methane CH4 would not be funny. In , land surface temperatures were 2.

However, the good news is that mainstream scientific consensus is that the permafrost and the East Antarctic Ice shelf are not expected to be pulled into play for a century, or perhaps centuries. Good news if you belong to this side of the century. The next most significant yellow trigger is the melting of the Arctic summer ice. In , the decline of the sea ice to a widespread depth of barely 50cm in July was something of a metaphor for the whole situation with climate change.

On the surface, the visible ice cover is shrinking but still extensive — however, it is under the surface that the major change is taking place. Melting Points in Society It is about time for some good news.