The Second Coming of Wake-Up Call

“Civilization is in a race between education and catastrophe. Let us learn the truth and spread it as far and wide as our circumstances allow. For the truth is the greatest weapon we have.”

H.G. Wells

Once upon a time Pamela Spota and I had a radio show on Carl and Linda Bott’s station, KCNR. So did Doni Chamberlain. Mine was called Wake-Up Call. Doni’s was called A News Café Radio. I think. We broadcast back-to-back from 10 to noon on Saturday mornings for about 18 months or so in 2010 and 2011. We had Doni on one show for the hour, interviewing her about her life. I loved that show and found Doni to be unusually open and honest about her personal challenges and triumphs. I came away from that program with great respect for her, respect that has only grown over the years.

And as of June 1, I am back on the radio, stealing Wake-Up Call from my previous self since he appears to no longer need it. The second coming of Wake-Up Call is a bit more grandiose than the previous version that relied mainly on local guest interviews. I have three types of guests in mind with this effort, two of which I will reveal in a future column (yes, I know…this is called a tease).

I am starting off with some of my favorite people in the universe who share my love of three things: writing, truth and the science behind the biggest challenge we’ve ever faced – human-caused climate change.

My first guest is D.R. Tucker, an old friend and a Boston-based environmental journalist who has written for the Washington Monthly and the Huffington Post, co-hosted the Climate minute podcast with physicist Ted McIntyre of the Massachusetts Climate Action Network and co-hosted The Green Front with former CBS Radio reporter Betsy Rosenberg on the Progressive Radio Network.

Since the show has already been taped and will be broadcast on Tuesday, June 4 from 4 to 5 p.m. on KKRN, 88.5 FM or kkrn.org, I can give you some hints about what we discussed. And perhaps entice you to listen in.

For example, most of ANC readers are probably aware that the media recently made a big deal out of the fact that atmospheric levels of CO2 recently reached 415 parts per million (ppm), higher than it has been for millions of years. They stated this is the highest level it has ever reached, as if that has not been true for every single year since 1958 when Charles David Keeling began measuring it on the pristine peaks of Hawaii at the Mauna Loa Observatory. The reason it is significant is that we have known for about 160 years that CO2 traps heat and we have had clear evidence for over 40 years that our planet would grow warmer as we continue to burn carbon-based fossil fuels like coal and petroleum products like oil, gasoline and methane.

What most people don’t know is that Exxon, one of the wealthiest and most successful corporations on the planet, had an active, unrivaled climate science program in the 1970s which they used to confirm the truth that humans would be heating the planet as they used Exxon’s main product. And they predicted back in 1982 that by 2020, CO2 levels would reach somewhere between 400 to 420 ppm.

And as you know, the predicted heat is here! Five of the hottest years ever recorded occurred in the last five years. And for every 1°C warming, the atmosphere holds seven percent more moisture. Our warmer climate means more droughts and more floods. The last twelve months have brought more rain to the continental U.S. than any 12-month span since they began keeping track 124 years ago.

A hotter world means less ice as any child could predict and April brought us temperatures nearly 40°F warmer than average in the Arctic and the lowest sea ice extent ever recorded. For the whole planet, April was the second hottest April since they began measuring it in 1880 and was the 43rd consecutive April with above average temperature. There have been 412 consecutive months with above average global temperatures. Anyone born after 1985 has never experienced a month cooler than the average for the twentieth century.

And a warmer Arctic means wacky weather for the rest of us in the lower 48. That’s because it distorts the jet stream and triggers extreme weather events.

What is the solution? For forty years, it has been well-understood that treating CO2 as a pollutant and taxing it accordingly will allow the free market to shift the world quickly away from dirty to clean energy sources. Over two years ago, James Baker, George Schultz, Walmart magnate, Rob Walton and others produced the Conservative Case for Carbon Dividends.

They wrote, “Mounting evidence of climate change is growing too strong to ignore. While the extent to which climate change is due to man-made causes can be questioned, the risks associated with future warming are too big and should be hedged.”

They added, “Any climate solution should be based on sound economic analysis and embody the principles of free markets and limited government. As this paper argues, such a plan could strengthen our economy, benefit working-class Americans, reduce regulations, protect our natural heritage and consolidate a new era of Republican leadership. These benefits accrue regardless of one’s views on climate science.”

Echoing this, Frank Luntz, the Republican pollster credited for getting all of us to call it climate change instead of global warming, has found that Republicans under the age of 40 support a carbon tax by a seven to one ratio.

I promised Doni and myself I would write shorter pieces so I will stop but I hope you tune into the second coming of Wake-Up Call and let me know what you think!

Douglas Craig
Doug Craig graduated from college in Ohio with a journalism degree and got married during the Carter administration. He graduated from graduate school with a doctorate in Psychology, got divorced, moved to Redding, re-married and started his private practice during the Reagan administration. He had his kids during the first Bush administration. Since then he has done nothing noteworthy besides write a little poetry, survive a motorcycle crash, buy and sell an electric car, raise his kids, manage to stay married and maintain his practice for almost 30 years. He believes in magic and is a Dawes fan.
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15 Responses

  1. Avatar Richard Christoph says:

    Thank you for this vitally important message, Dr. Craig. We look forward to your broadcast on Tuesday.

  2. Avatar George Parker says:

    Welcome back, Doug!

  3. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    Tonight at seven. Phoenix high schoolers plan a climate change protest to get leaders to take climate change seriously.

  4. Avatar Doug Cook says:

    The four warmest years on record are El Nino years. But far more damning is the fact since 2002 the temp increase is minuscule (0.05 at best) but CO2 went up 14 %. Always follow the data.

    So Dr Craig,, we are only going to analyze the last 40 years, since satellites started keeping records? what about the rest of time?

    Since 1979 the trend is about 1.2c per century. that doesn’t sound really bad at all when you consider the extra warmth and co2 is resulting in planet greening and crop yields up and none of the bad predictions. kinda cherry picking, 40 years out of 4 billion or even the last million years to try and make some bold, end of the world, mankind is going to kill the planet.

    if we are cherry picking, lets use the 1940’s to 1980, another 40 year cycle. co2 went up, temperature went down, ice increased. Or the 40 years in the depths of the little ice age

    bottom line. 40 years is nothing in the cycle of this planet. it warms it cools, over and over again. sometimes lots warmer and sometimes (12000 years ago) it was really cold. if you want to believe that co2, going from 300 ppm to 400 ppm is the magic sauce that will tip the balance, go ahead. if one wants to believe that its all about co2 and ignore the sun, orbits, ocean heat movement and currents, that’s ok too. I don’t see enough data to justify my electric rates jumping from $0.10/kwh to $.20 or $.30/kwh and completely stopping all fossil fuel use and modern chemistry and medicine…..to save the planet.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Mr. Cook’s is the usual lame clap-trap that climate scientists ignore long-term climate cycles—as if climatic cycles were discovered by deniers, and climate scientists are taken by surprise by the revelation.

      *Of course* climate scientists see global warming as a long-term trend against a background of a fluctuating climate. All of the factors Doug claims are being ignored are most certainly not being ignored.

      Mr. Cook wants a debate, but his understanding of the issues superficial, and based on the spin of conservative opinion-shapers.

      If Mr. Cook professed a belief that the moon is made of cheese, he might demand a debate. I wouldn’t be inclined to bother.

  5. R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

    Climate AGW deniers remind me of days long gone by, pre-Enlightenment times. What did they call that? Oh yeah, the Dark Ages.

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      My personal experience with discussing climate related issues with believers invariably resolves into them wanting to not have a discussion because their beliefs about it are more important than an honest dialogue.

      • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

        You don’t have discussions, and if you did, they wouldn’t be honest. You just browbeat. You don’t know the science, you don’t believe the science, you deny the science, that’s why you can’t see that you undermined your own argument in the above post.

        • Avatar Doug Cook says:

          Can you dispute the facts I posted above? Do you have evidence to the contrary? If you wish, I can get into the weeds with temperature changes, the changing of the methodology of measuring temperatures since 2012., the actual measurements of global temperatures. But people like you aren’t interested in facts, it is the personal attacks that interest them. Dark ages? Really? science is not belief… or consensus, 97% or otherwise. Real science constantly asks questions, expresses skepticism, reexamines hypotheses and evidence. If debate, skepticism and empirical evidence are prohibited… it’s pseudo-science, at best.

      • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

        I think you’re misinterpreting why realists don’t want to “debate” you, Mr. Cook.

        Conservatives who have actually researched the climate change issue have come around to seeing it as an existential threat. It’s more fruitful to interact with them than to “debate” someone who wants to regurgitate denier talking points he’s picked up watching Fox News and such.

        • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

          Steve, I watch Fox News a lot, especially with CBS’s recent travails, and they report the same news as other news media. They have special programs, all the networks do, that do a lot of tin foil features but their main news is highly respectful. And if you don’t watch Fox you are missing a lot of sports.
          And Redding is well represented in world news as the US Women’s soccer team shows it’s world dominance.

          • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

            Hey there, Bruce. As I’ve mentioned before, I almost never watch TV news—any of it, because I think it’s all garbage—but I do keep up with what the Foxoids are saying by paying attention on the internets. On climate change, they are a prime purveyor of disinformation.

            I have no strongly held reservations about watching Fox Sports.

    • Avatar Tim says:

      RV says: “Climate AGW deniers remind me of days long gone by, pre-Enlightenment times. What did they call that?”

      Answer: Sustainable living 😛

  6. Avatar Gary Solberg says:

    As the planet’s climate continues to change, many studies predict massive human migration. A 2018 World Bank Group report estimates that the impacts of climate change in three of the world’s most densely populated developing regions—sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America—could result in the displacement and internal migration of more than 140 million people before 2050. The families seeking to enter the U.S. on our southern border will likely increase significantly. No wall will prevent the desire for those families to seek to survive worsening conditions and food shortages. The good news, I suppose, is that over the course of millions and millions of years, new species will undoubtedly evolve, even if the planet becomes uninhabitable over the next few hundred years for humans and other large mammals. If we could solve the problem of climate change simply by doubling what we currently pay for electricity, I for one would gladly pay the extra, while cutting back much further on energy use.

  7. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    Is the planet warmer or colder because of man kind use of fossil fuels I’ll leave that up the googlists to battle over. What I do know is the air and water is becoming more polluted due to fossil fuels, uses or creating, by man kind. Wyoming is the cleanest air state and Casper is the cleanest air city, yet in western Wyoming there are problems, man caused, where the water has to be trucked in and air quality becomes so bad the young and elderly have to wear masks on some days. Denver used to be one of the cleanest air cities and in recent years the air quality has gotten so bad on some days that it was compared to Beijing. I saw this personally when I could see the Rockies clearer from 100 miles away in Cheyenne than Denver could see then 15 miles away. The air pollution is caused by increased population using fossil fuels. Every year seven of the top ten dirtiest air cities in the nation are in southern California. When I lived in San Francisco, a supposedly clean air city, I could see the air pollution every morning as the fog cleaned the air and deposited the pollution on cars.
    American cities don’t even make it into the top 50 dirtiest air cities in the world according to WHO. But unless we curtail a growing population using fossil fuels we will be wearing masks and having smog day closures like most Asian cities.