Wednesday, December 30, 2015


Extremism is not just a vice someone picks up on a Dark Web Internet forum. The fight or flight response triggers Extremism as a reaction to an existential crisis. Vulnerable people take the tiny seed of instinct about mortality, grow their Extremist view into a giant species-wide folly and then go too far. (edited by me)

"So why can’t we wage a war on extremists? Why can’t we just embrace the moderates to counter extremists?  Because extremists aren’t born, they’re forged in failed states, failed prophesy and, yes, failed ideas. Social upheaval, isolation, perceived humiliation or moral outrage, powerlessness and/or scarcity are what make extremists, not some innate evil."

"...not that extremists are losers; according to social scientists, failure makes people more extreme." 

As chaos increases across the Middle East, Africa, India and China, due to drought and food insecurity contributing to destabilized local and national governance, the failures will breed more extremists with more extreme goals.

How will America respond?


The Fourth Turning, 2015 Update

England approached Germany 80 years ago in 1935 with negotiations for a peace agreement that later became known as Appeasement (1936-1939).  France hosted 195 nations in Paris for COP21 with negotiations for a peace agreement that will become known as a 21st Century Appeasement (2015-2020).  During this time of change, the news media spreads fear because of water and food scarcity, destabilized governments and civil wars, millions of refugees, and domestic or foreign terrorists.  No one avoids being vulnerable to violence or the consequences of economic and social conflict.

A rosy picture of 2015 is also portrayed by a media biased toward entertainment.  What is the truth? Are we living in a time of abundance or scarcity, peace or war, stability or chaos?  Why are people afraid and angry? We could get really confused listening to Apologists, Denialists, Technologists, Incrementalists, Isolationists or Activists.

The headlines might be confusing to many, they are to me sometimes.  Observing a pattern over time encourages hope that we will overcome the consequences of ignoring for decades the cause and effect of climate change.

2015 status of The Fourth Turning

1. Great Recession aligns with the stock market crash of 1929 and beginning of Great Depression.  The Great Recession, officially for U.S. began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009, however the consequences lasted for years afterward, like the Great Depression.

2. The UN concentration camps for climate refugees and migrants align with the concentration camps started in 1933 in Germany and the migration of refugees pre-WWII.  During 2015, over 1 million people migrated into Europe, and almost 60 million worldwide are in concentration camps.

3.  Pope Francis (born 1936, Silent) issues Climate Change Encyclical (June 18, 2015) that gives Boomers moral guidelines to realign governance and commercial organizations.  The Pope critiques consumerism and irresponsible development, laments environmental degradation and global warming, and calls all people of the world to take "swift and unified global action.” 

4. 2015 COP21 agreement aligns with Appeasement 1936-1939.  COP21 is a peace agreement that ignores the non-negotiable physics of the consequences of heat transfer in the atmosphere.  195 countries negotiated transferring money and maintaining peace while ignoring the consequences of drought and food scarcity that destabilize governments like Syria. 195 countries ignored cause and effect.

5.  By 2020, Baby Boomers (then ages 60 to 78) will play the role of Elders with a moral agenda outlined by item 3 above. Boomers will be 1/3 retired comfortably, 1/3 part retired/part working, and 1/3 working poor. GenXers (ages 39-59) will be in top management and supervisor positions throughout the economy, however many will be just getting by or working poor.  As you know, Millennials (in 2020, ages 16 to 38) have a significantly different set of values and beliefs from the older generations.  Each generation will step forward and fill their roles as outlined in “The Fourth Turning.”

6. The term Climate Patriot is emerging as a way to begin to describe the actions and future sacrifices that Americans, and specifically Millennials, are going to need to take to survive from 2020 until after 2028.  The growth of a global grassroots movement for climate justice and ecology has taken a long time to emerge, and now appears to be unstoppable.

One example is “Climate Mobilization”
advocating that the only way to save civilization from climate change is with a wartime-style mobilization like WWII. 

The Fourth Turning by Strauss and Howe

Generations by Strauss and Howe

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Dear President Obama

This is not a friendly conversation about war.  This is about National Security.

Government is necessary to ensure the proper use of force.  The purpose of government is to protect the individual rights of citizens.  In the Preamble to the Constitution, the people want to: “… establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…”

Now in December 2015, we look back on the global wars and internal conflicts since the American Revolution with pride and sadness.  We honor those who gave their lives that we might enjoy the benefits of justice, freedom and liberty.

There have been times when the welfare of Americans has been threatened by external forces and at other times by internal conflicts.  Always there have been working people listening to their leaders, and rising to the challenges in the name of national security.

Today, working people are again listening to their leaders, to news media, to conversations online, and to the news coming from the assembled delegates in Paris at COP21.  Why would tens of thousands of people from all over the world come together like never before in one place, unless there was a global crisis?

We will face this new crisis, this new threat to our security, with the same determination and courage as we have in the past.  Since WWII, we have not faced a global threat to civilization like the one organized against us now.  But who is the face of the enemy?

Who do the Chinese families blame when their children, parents and grandparents die prematurely from respiratory diseases caused by air pollution?

For decades, the fossil fuel industry has made clear that they intend not only to dominate all life and beliefs within their corporations but also to enslave the world and then extract all the resources from the earth for profit.  They play us off against each other, creating two world views opposed to each other.  When we follow the money there is a path from energy consultants and politicians back through clandestine relationships to the fossil fuel industry.  The politicians admit  that others are correct when we say that these two world views will never reconcile.

In other words, the peace talks going on in Paris at COP21 will result in appeasement for a few years, maybe five years.  Ultimately, there can be no peace with the present inequality of energy, food, water and security in the world.  The refugee flow will increase over the next five years, creating a humanitarian crisis never experienced before. Forget what you believe or don’t believe about the climate and weather, the current events are evidence of the growing crisis.

Let’s not ignore the 1936-1939 Appeasement by England with Germany prior to WWII. There is a lesson to learn about how the delayed action makes things worse later.  Now COP21 is our modern day appeasement.

At this moment, the forces allied against us are modern day isolationists within America. These forces are using a delaying strategy to keep the federal government from acting to ensure the proper use of force and to protect individual rights.  All the while, local city, county and state governments who understand cause and effect are taking action to deal with the coming crisis.

The Republican politicians in the House and Senate are blocking action to put people to work, invest in infrastructure and improve the American economy.  Their world view is not going to change.  The civil wars in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and many other countries are creating thousands of refugees and Republicans continue to support a wall between America and any other country.  

Some people like to believe that what happens in other countries is of no concern to us.  But the quality of the oceans on our two coasts is of vital importance.  What happens when China’s air pollution floats on the wind across the Pacific to America?  The Pacific Ocean is warmer, more acidic and more polluted because countries have blown past pollution limits. They seem to be pivoting now to reduce emissions but still polluting.

Does anyone seriously believe that America does not have a national security problem of global magnitude?  Intense weather events and refugees are a threat multiplier for America’s Armed Forces.  Now, in 2015, they bred terrorists and destabilize governments in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.  America’s strong economy and wealth are the most tempting targets in the world. 

The Navy already owns three Montford Point-class vessels, a fourth is under construction and a fifth will be built starting in 2016.  Originally designed to support amphibious beach assaults, the ships are also ideal for swiftly responding to natural disasters by delivering relief supplies by air and by sea, as well as helping to care for victims.  

The government-sponsored National Research Council studied military disaster-relief efforts.  "The U.S. Navy, as a forward-deployed force, is in position to reach disaster relief sites faster than other agencies and will almost assuredly experience increased demand for assistance if disasters increase due to climate change," the Council stated in its official report.

Flooding and extreme weather pose risks to existing Naval ports and military bases that will compromise our military readiness. Our National Security does not ignore cause and effect.  We do not make unexamined assumptions. We do not express beliefs without facts.  We do not use correlations without evidence of cause and effect.

Americans like to remember the past and many believe we can maintain our present lifestyle without making changes or giving up on idealistic dreams.  Of vital concern for National Security is that our control of the oceans does not falter as millions of refugees migrate and governments destabilize when flooding and extreme weather deny people fresh water, food and shelter.  We do not face an enemy that can overwhelm us with their weapons.  The threat is that we will be overwhelmed trying to respond to disasters all over the world at the same time we are trying to deal with the same problems at home.

There is no exaggeration when we rely on our Armed Forces to tell all Americans that the consequences of climate change are happening now and things are going to get worse before they get better.  Our technology advantage is not going to save us from a catastrophe that is already baked into the Earth System.  Over decades, past industrial development has increased the heat absorbed by the oceans and the atmosphere to a level such that we will all be living with the consequences.

We can no longer ignore the undeniable fact that the evil forces that have corrupted so many others are already within our borders. Our experience over the past decade has proven beyond a doubt that no nation can negotiate with drought, floods and famine that force people to extreme idealogical violence.  There can be no appeasement with ruthlessness.  There is no reasoning with a suicide bomb.

We know now every nation on earth must deal with the consequences of climate change or face total surrender.  Terrorists have become accomplices with the forces of nature.  They do not understand how soon they will be surrounded by an uninhabitable landscape.  They are attempting to draw us into their chaos.  We must form a global alliance to fight the root cause of the failure of governments to deal with terrorism within their borders.

European governments and our allies are conducting an active war against the unholy alliance of terrorists in many different countries.  America’s future security is very dependent on the outcome of the fight to avoid famine and chaos in other countries. There is less chance that America will get involved in a ground war if we do all we can now to support the countries fighting to avoid famine and chaos caused by the consequences of climate change.  If we allow the weak and vulnerable countries to fail, one by one, then we will be waiting our turn to be attacked by a stronger enemy later.

Any path we choose has risks.  Our National Security reports prioritize the risks, then analyze ways to adapt and mitigate those risks. COP21 in Paris confirmed that a majority of people in the world support the course advocated by governments, business, NGOs and religious organizations that involves the least risk now and the greatest hope for global peace and economic progress for everyone in the future.

The people of Europe who are on the front lines defending themselves, welcoming refugees and attacking the enemy, are not asking us to do their fighting for them. They are asking us for the implements of economic growth: financing, leadership, existing technology and equipment to fight for their lives, liberty and freedom.  Clearly, America must deliver to the global community the tools they need to transition to a clean energy economy so that our children’s children can be saved the agony of the consequences of a global catastrophe that we will have to endure.

We are not defeated, do not let anyone deny our future or tell us we are too late. Now is the time for a global mobilization. Working people are voicing their support for action. Businesses are investing time and money to mobilize their employees, products and services to support a transition to a clean energy economy.  Local authorities are the real trailblazers in the fight against climate change. With cities and regions behind more than 70% of climate change reduction measures, they’re a crucial partner that needs to be included in future mobilization plans.

There are many things we can do at home to transition to a clean energy economy.  Energy and transportation are two sectors that get a lot of attention.  We also will need to change our diet and eat less meat, specifically consumption of beef will need to be reduced. Out of all the other things we can do, one thing that government can do is to put a price on carbon.  This would be a way to phase out the subsidies currently given to resource extraction and provide a way to value the costs to society of carbon pollution.

The GI Generation never gave up on their goal of liberating Europe.  We have good reasons for hope that America’s new generational alignment in 2020 will never give up on the goal of equality and justice for survivors of the consequences of climate change.  We have hope for the defense of our homeland against the silent invasion of a warming atmosphere, rising sea levels, acidic oceans, and extreme weather events.  We have hope for delivering aid to migrants and refugees crossing our borders.  We have hope for America to adapt, to mitigate risks and to develop a sustainable economy.

The US Military report to the President has stated that climate change is a national security threat that will continue to produce waves of refugees, caused by food crises and destabilized governments leading to local conflicts and regional wars.  A significant threat multiplier for a US combat commander is the moral dilemma of dealing with refugees in the line of fire.

As President of the United States, you can call on a national mobilization to fight the common enemy of every country.  Our common cause will succeed only when we align our national security with the security of every nation.


Richard K. Turnock

Friday, October 2, 2015

The Sound of One Hand Clapping

Hakuin Ekaku (1686-1769), "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" is the best-known koan devised by a Japanese master.

Like all Zen methods, the Koan is a way to practice meditation. Meditation focusing on the Koan is a path.  The purpose of a Koan is to create doubt in the conscious mind because the Koan does not have one logical, reasoned answer. The Koan is like an onion that you peal back to find infinite layers of answers. The practice of repetition to find a deeper answer to a Koan increases doubt and leads to the Great Doubt. 

On the path one answer to the Koan: Nothing.  As a metaphor, one hand becomes one person. An individual taking action results in no sound other than the individual action.  We are nothing without others. Our thoughts continue along this path of increasing doubt that we have one logical and reasoned answer.

In Zen the word Mu means nothing. Using logic and reason, we use words to describe what is happening in the conscious mind. Mu means without logic or reason, without using our conscious mind. Zen is the art of always going deeper into our subconscious.

We have two parts to our brain. The art of mediation is to probe the conscious mind to find connects with the ancient part of our brain that does not use logic or reason, words or numbers. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Carbon Confederacy

When we read about the American Civil War, the similarity and parallels between then and today are remarkable. First, the Civil War was America's greatest moral, constitutional, and political crisis. As of 2015, America is again entering a crisis era, however this time the whole world and 7 billion people will be involved.

Climate Change, as defined by Pope Francis in the Encyclical, is a moral crisis.  Supreme Court rulings, EPA regulations, and President Obama's administrative orders have been challenged as unconstitutional.  A demand for leadership without a quality supply at the federal level has resulted in a political crisis.

September 30, 2015
As a moral crisis, the poor and those most vulnerable to climate change will suffer the worst consequences.  As a constitutional crisis, self-selected states with Republican leaders are going to challenge any federal regulations or mandates.  As a political crisis, the Republican vacuum of leadership is being filled by Donald Trump.

The Carbon Confederacy
by Terry Tamminen

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Climate Change: America Dithered for Decades

Posted: 8/30/2030

Twenty-five years ago, in 2005, Hurricane Katrina was the costliest natural disaster, as well as one of the five deadliest hurricanes in the history of the United States.  Eighteen years ago, in 2012, Hurricane Sandy was the deadliest and most destructive hurricane and the second-costliest hurricane.  American attitudes did not change and recognize climate warming as a strategic threat to their very existence.  Before 2020, opinions in the United States varied intensely enough to be considered a culture war.

As the Fourth Turning began in 2008 with the Great Recession, American politicians and the majority of the public had ignored decades of warnings about climate change, beginning with James Hansen’s 1988 testimony before Congress. After Hurricane Sandy, 68 percent of Americans acknowledged “Global warming is at least a somewhat serious problem.” 

Since the Third World War ended in 2028, we have hindsight now to see how the US dithered for decades until a WW Two style mobilization to the climax crisis was forced on America. The US military began warning politicians decades earlier that climate change was a threat multiplier and still they waited until the US was attacked.

Almost 80 years after Pearl Harbor, America finally mobilized again with an all or nothing response to the worldwide destabilization of governments and the hundreds of millions of starving refugees.  

The leading edge of the chaos were the Middle East and Asian civil wars and roving gangs beginning in 2011 in Syria, with a few million refugees displaced, only a few thousand making their way to Europe and America, and by 2015, 300,000 had died in Syria.

Although President Obama launched the Clean Power Plan in 2015 with the goal to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, that obviously was not nearly sufficient.  Net Zero soon became the new goal.  Then basic survival instincts kicked in.

Just as Germany’s military intentions were clear in 1937, two years before WWII started, Global Climate Change consequences seemed obvious in 2015, well before the beginning of the Third World War.  By 2009, we had moved three-quarters of the way to the two-degree target and experienced unprecedented heat waves, severe drought, sharp sea level rises, dissolving coral reefs, and catastrophic weather events like Sandy.

Like the Nazi's march through Europe, the onslaught 80 years later of global climate change was relentless across the whole world. Back in 2015, we were uncertain how long we could postpone action.  Like the Allies ignored the concentration camps of 1933-1939 in Germany, America and Europe ignored the refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey for Syrians, and the refugee camps in Africa for displaced persons. Soon, however migrants and refugees began moving within North America.  That’s when the USA mobilized, almost too late.

In the 5 years between 2015 and 2020, the US indifference to the civil wars in the Middle East, Africa and Asia was justified by public sentiment. The public just didn’t believe that a climate crisis would happen in America.  Recovering from the severe recession of 2008-2010, and years of fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, Americans turned inward. America seemed secure in the knowledge that thousands of miles of ocean separated us from foreign battlefields. After a decade of economic hardship, citizens were not emotionally prepared for the austerity that war would bring. Then the attack left us no choice.

Prior to 2020, events like the refugees from Syria and hundreds of thousands killed; or Hurricane Sandy deaths and financial damage; or pollution in China causing pre-mature deaths; or aerosols drifting from Asia across the Pacific to the west Coast of America; none of these were sufficient to move Americans to make the sacrifices necessary to curtail global climate change.

Congress did provide some funds necessary to repair the damage from Sandy, but did not call for a national mobilization on the scale last seen when the U.S. entered World War II. Diplomacy by Secretary Kerry was very much the way to deal with holding off disaster approaching from civil wars like Syria, and unstable governments like Iran and North Korea. Appeasement, like 1936-1939, was key the COP21 climate negotiations of 2015. After all, 74 years had passed since Americans were last called upon to sacrifice, and we're not used to to taking extreme steps to protect our selves and our families.

Those were extreme steps America took from 2020 to 2028, but America had gone through something like this before, after we entered World War II. There were extreme hardships but our people adapted and the American economy thrived. We did this again when we viewed global climate change as World War III and mobilized.

A Future Story Based on Foresight
By Richard Turnock

Monday, September 14, 2015

Open Letter to Politicians

September 14, 2015

Governor Kate Brown
Mayor Denny Doyle
Senator Ron Wyden
Senator Jeffrey A. Merkley
Representative Suzanne Bonamici

The consequences of decades of CO2 emissions are already baked into the Earth System.  However, as a consequence of climate change, the human suffering is just beginning. 

The CO2 emissions now in the atmosphere and the oceans have enough momentum to shift the heat energy and chemistry of the Earth System so that many millions of humans are going to suffer.

So what?  Why am I writing this letter?

In western Oregon, especially the Willamette Valley, we are uniquely positioned to have a mild marine climate, plentiful rainfall, a few more hot dry days in the summer, and plentiful farmland for crops and grazing. While the rest of Oregon is under drought declarations, NW Oregon has so far been spared from the extreme consequences.  However that leads us to a future problem, everyone is going to want to move to western Oregon when they run out of water and experience food insecurity.

16.1 percent of people in Oregon experienced food insecurity in 2012-2014 period (per FDA). That means over 630,000 real people did not have enough food at least one day of the year.  But there was growth in that number over time.  Why?

The ones who suffer from the consequences of climate change are those vulnerable to food insecurity.  Pope Frances’ Encyclical makes clear that the world’s poor are going to suffer the worst consequences.

One possible impact of climate change is that migration could shift away from California and up into Oregon, where resources, especially water, are more plentiful (See Reference below).  Climate change refugees will come to Oregon, not just from other countries, but by the thousands from California and Texas, and any other state that suffers from extreme weather, loss of jobs and food insecurity.  There won’t be enough jobs here for them.  We will need to figure out how to feed and provide shelter to what will feel like an invasion.

Unlike the exodus from New Orleans in 2005, where the people with the resources were able to avoid the life threatening disaster.  The exodus from drought areas in California, Arizona and Texas, coming to Oregon will not have jobs here, will not have resources to find shelter and will experience food insecurity.  

There are many unanswered questions:
  • Is Oregon going to be organized, efficient and welcoming like Germany?  Or are we going to be like Hungary and keep them moving into Washington?
  • What principles, values and beliefs are going to be used to justify Oregon’s official actions?
  • Does Oregon have the connections to the Federal resources to be able to get help quickly enough to respond?
  • Where are all these people going to find shelter? Or are we going to concentrate them in migrant camps like we did the Japanese during WWII?
  • Are the climate migrants going to be primarily Hispanic from Mexico, and Central and South America? 
  • Are we going to deport people? There are still at least 10 million undocumented people living in America.  They are the poorest and least able to adapt where they live.

Climate Change Puzzle Pieces (See Reference below)

Carbon Management
  • Energy production transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.
  • Transportation transition from internal combustion engine vehicles (cars, trucks, buses, light rail trains, mass transit) to electric vehicles.
  • Energy use transition to upgrade built environment energy efficiency.
  • Agriculture and grazing land management practices to reclaim land from desertification and maintain existing productive land.
  • Forest land management practices.
  • Removing CO2 from the atmosphere and Sequestering carbon.

Consequences of Climate Change require people to adapt, mitigate risks and communicate.
  • Water sources, use and storage.
  • Food security.
  • Refugees migrating across America.
  • Refugees from Mexico, Central and South America.
  • Refugees from other countries.
A Preliminary Exploration, USP 594: Planning in the Pacific Northwest Fall 2011

SOLVING THE PUZZLE:  Researching the Impacts of Climate Change Around the World

Friday, August 28, 2015

Dr. Katharine Hayhoe

Dr. Katharine Hayhoe is an Atmospheric Scientist originally from Canada, now a Professor in Texas. She consults with cities and municipal governments about climate change actions as well as giving public talks. She was in Portland this summer speaking at the World Affairs Council International Speakers Series.

"When Katharine Hayhoe, associate professor in the political science department at Texas Tech University in Lubbock and director of the school’s Climate Science Center, speaks to community groups, she often opens with a statement of faith. This 42-year-old atmospheric scientist is deeply religious and married to an evangelical Christian pastor. But she also begins that way because she finds it helps her connect to her audiences. “People will listen to you if they see you as someone who shares their values,” she notes. “I try to illustrate how if you are a person of faith, you should also care about climate change. It’s not always an easy argument to make. People think you’re asking them to join the Church of Al Gore. I try to show how this is about caring for others and protecting our families, communities—our way of life.” Hayhoe’s consulting work involves helping municipalities plan for climate change. After record heat waves in Chicago, for instance, her report to city officials prompted them to initiate a green-roof program, which saves money and alleviates the urban heat-island effect."

“I feel climate scientists are similar to physicians. We’ve determined the climate is running a fever. We know if nothing is done, there will be serious consequences. For me, my faith takes me further. This affects God’s creation, which is people and the earth, which we are commanded to love.”

Friday, August 14, 2015

Leverage Points in the System

From a Systems Thinking and System Dynamics perspective, The 4th Turning crisis era escalates from using low leverage changes to high leverage. Two high leverage points include changing the goals of the system, and then changing the mindset or paradigm from where the system arises.

Millennials bring a new set of goals and mindset to the current system creating a gap or difference between the past and the future expectations.  Any difference becomes information included in narratives/stories.  The narratives/stories told by Millennials will change from low leverage changes to the system (like who they vote for) to high leverage changes.

The Pope’s Encyclical marked a pivot toward a high leverage action. Intervening in the current system to change the goals and change the present mindset or paradigm of why the present system exists.  POTUS Clean Energy Plan and COP21 are weak leverage points in the system.  They deal with constants, parameters and numbers.

Here is an example of a systems perspective:

Monday, August 10, 2015

Step Up

When we need to step up and be an advocate for a loved one with medical issues, we do whatever is required. My brother could not drive after having a brain operation to remove a tumor and then another to remove scare tissue from the first operation.  My sister stepped up and was his advocate with the medical professionals. I volunteered to drive him to appointments, the grocery store and other errands. After I retired, and my brother developed leukemia, I drove him to regular blood treatments.  We stepped up when we were needed. Sadly, my brother died from complications due to the leukemia.

There are many stories of people stepping up to advocate for a loved one. A child needs an advocate with teachers and administrators at school. An elderly parent needs an advocate with medical professionals. Volunteer advocates help children in Family Court cases. Children left with their grandmother need an advocate everyday for everything. Non-profit organizations advocate for special constituents that might otherwise not get their basic needs met so that they have access to clean drinking water, food safe to eat, shelter and security.

On a global scale, there are many non-profit organizations advocating for the poor, low-income, refugees and disaster victims. The Catholic Church is an advocate for the poor.  Pope Francis was born in Argentina and witnessed first hand the suffering of the poor.  On June 18, 2015, the first ecological encyclical “LAUDATO SI’ “ was published to advocate for the poor who now and will continue to suffer the worst consequences of climate change.  In paragraph 105, Pope Francis wrote, “Our immense technological development has not been accompanied by a development in human responsibility, values and conscience.”

Living in America, how can I be responsible for the poor in Pakistan or France? The poor who die from complications caused by high summer temperatures. The poor in Asia who die from flooding caused by typhoons with higher than average rainfall.  The refugees from Syria driven from their homes by civil war that started after farmers had moved to cities because of drought.  The refugees dying while attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Greece or Italy. How can I be responsible for the deaths of poor people worldwide that are a consequence of climate change?

Extreme weather events have driven food prices to record highs.  For example, on August 6,  2010 Russia banned the export of wheat after drought reduced the harvest and wildfires burned many acres. The price of food in Tunisia and Egypt increased dramatically in a short time, and that led to food riots. Rising food prices destabilized governments in the Middle East and resulted in the Arab Spring.

What happens in China affects the air pollution in America.  Pollutants travel in the wind over the Pacific Ocean and are detected on the west coast of America.  Pollution from coal plants in China can be measured in America.  CO2 emissions from America can be measured in the worldwide increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations.  The heat absorbed by the atmosphere increases when there is more CO2 and the poor worldwide suffer the consequences.

Therefore causality, a long chain of cause and effect, links my CO2 emissions with the death of poor people worldwide. What can I do? As an individual, I can not shutdown the coal plants in America nor convert the transportation industry to zero emission buses, trucks and cars.  I can join with others to advocate for the reduction of CO2 emissions and support the new EPA Clean Energy Plan of 2015. 

First, for many years we have paid extra on our electric bill to purchase 100% renewable energy and we use a high efficiency heat pump for heating and air conditioning. Second, we replaced a car with a Prius to use less gasoline and we are planning on buying an electric car in the near future.

We reduced our purchases of consumer goods and other polluting activities.  We have reduced our waste at home.  We reuse items, donate items for reuse, and give away items to family, friends and neighbors.  We recycle everything possible every week.

Oregon was the first to announce the shutdown by 2020 of a coal plant.  In December 2010, the state's environmental protection agency approved the plans for the 2020 closing of the 550MW Boardman Coal Plant. The summer of 2015 saw the announcement of the 200th coal plant planned for shutdown.  

Also, President Obama and the EPA announced on August 3, 2015 the Clean Power Plan that will increase the number of coal plants that shutdown.  Total CO2 emissions need to be reduced in the present and then faster over time so that eventually, we have zero CO2 emissions.  The Clean Power Plan is only catching up to what the States have already done and will not get us to zero CO2 emissions.  We need to do more faster.

As an advocate for the poor, Pope Francis implied we ought to ask ourselves: 
  • How might I support development in human responsibility, values and conscience to change the structure of the system we have in America? 
  • How might I accept responsibility, advocate values and express a conscience that supports America developing human responsibility, values and conscience to deal with climate change?

It Can't Be Done

It Can’t Be Done

Easter, Fifth Avenue, 1900.One car visible, coming towards foreground.

Oakman (1899–1900)
Packard Model A (1899–1900)

Lozier (1900–1915)
Packard Model B (1900–190)
Skene (1900–1901)

The Belmont Coach, 1905, four horses pulling coach. Dogs run free.

1902 - First Cadillac
1903 - Ford Model A

Eight new models introduced in 1904 and eight more in 1905.

Herald Square, 1909. Skyscraper beyond is NY Times Building in Times Sq. Cars have replaced horses.

Fifteen new models introduced 1906 to 1909.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Climate Strategy Framework

DRAFT September 2015
By Richard Turnock

The Climate Strategy Framework emerges from a three dimensional framework of Core Ideas, Practices and System Concepts as defined in the Next Generation Science Standards.  Climate Practices guide investigations and the design thinking for problems and solutions to support implementation over time of the Core Ideas.  The Climate Practices depend on science and engineering skills, capabilities and experience.  The System Concepts bridge the gaps between the Core Ideas and inform the Climate Practices.

Core Ideas

The Core Ideas are the first dimension to the Climate Strategy Framework.  They are meant to be applied by individuals, neighbors, groups, cities, counties, states and at the federal level. Anyone, anywhere, at any time can implement these ideas.  These are actionable ideas.

First, to survive, we must adapt, mitigate risks and communicate.  We must recognize and prepare for Worse-Before-Better.  We must then work to adapt and mitigate risks faster than the crisis happens. We must deal with insecure sources of water, food and shelter, the migration of refugees and the violence of collapsing governments.   

In America, refugees will migrate to avoid the lack of drinking water, high food prices and inadequate protection from high temperatures.  Refugees will migrate north and west. Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and Alaska plus southern Canada will experience an influx of migrants.  Those with vehicles, money and privilege will be invisible.  The visible refugees will be low income and poor, without private transportation and lacking jobs when they arrive.

Second, we must work to stop CO2 emissions and rebuild our energy and transportation infrastructure to replace the use of fossil fuels.  Performance depends on multiple capabilities.  To survive, investments in renewable energy must rise above basic replacement. 

Third, we must learn to adapt faster, mitigate risks faster, communicate faster and invest in renewable energy faster than the consequences of climate change erode our capabilities and sap morale.  The target needs to start with reduced CO2 emissions, then jump to net zero emissions and finally sequestering CO2 to reduce the concentration in the atmosphere.

The feedback loops in the atmosphere have a time period of decades.  Any decrease in CO2 emissions will not slow down the rising average temperature until at least ten years after they happen. Quarterly income statements are not going to tell the story of climate change. 

From 2015-2025, a critical capability is that we must improve the diversity of capabilities to do all of the above. We will not survive just by stopping CO2 emissions and investing in renewables.  We must also invest in carbon sinks to take CO2 out of the atmosphere.

List of Core Ideas

  1. Adapt
  2. Mitigate Risks
  3. Communicate
  4. Invest in Renewable Energy
  5. Stop CO2 emissions
  6. Remove CO2 from the atmosphere

Climate Practices

These Climate Practices are a second dimension to the Climate Strategy Framework. The Practices guide investigations and design of problems and solutions to support implementation over time of the Core Ideas.  The Practices depend on science and engineering skills, capabilities and experience.

The difference between success and failure is asking questions to support specifying criteria and constraints for acceptable solutions; generating and evaluating multiple solutions; building and testing prototypes; and optimizing a solution.  The Design Thinking Process used by Stanford dSchool is an example.  Also, here is an example of science and engineering practices paraphrased from the Next Generation Science Standards:

1. Ask questions and define problems
2. Develop and use models
3. Plan and carry out investigations
4. Analyze and interpret data
5. Use mathematics and computational thinking
6. Construct explanations and designing solutions
7. Engage in argument from evidence
8. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information

System Concepts

These System Concepts bridge the gaps between the Core Ideas and inform the Practices. System Concepts reveal the consequences of whole systems, while each of the Core Ideas are a way to divide a large issue like Climate Change into smaller problems. These concepts apply to all the Core Ideas and Practices. 

Systems Thinking is a way of describing the qualitative process of applying System Concepts to Climate Change.  System Dynamics implements a quantitative process.

Systems Thinkers see problems entirely differently. They see immense reinforcing feedback loops causing swarms of agents to exploit the Earth for their own benefit and population growth. This mode becomes unsustainable when balancing feedback loops finally start to push back as we approach environmental limits. 

Systems Thinkers do not see people’s misbehavior as the core problem. Instead, they see the structure of the system causing that misbehavior. To solve the problem, the system structure has to be understood and changed, so that feedback loops can be redesigned to cause people to behave more sustainably as a natural part of their everyday existence. (Dr. Michael von Kutzschenbach,

These System Concepts were paraphrased from the Next Generation Science Standards:

  1. Patterns
  2. Cause and Effect
  3. Systems and System Models
  4. Function and Structure of Systems
  5. Stability and Dynamics of Systems

Next Generation Science Standards