The Corpus Callosum

Global Dimming

topic (global dimming) has already been mentioned on SB twice, once on Stoat,
once on Living
the Scientific Life
.  Others have picked up on it,
too (1
among others).  It was featured in a news article here.

The Nova video that was linked to on Living the Scientific
Life is “no
longer available,” but Nova has other features on the subject, on their
website here.
 Plus, there is a copy of a BBC feature on the subject here:

though the topic has been covered by others, I think the video is
sufficiently compelling that it is worth highlighting…  

The basic idea is this: particulate pollution and jet aircraft
contrails have combined to reduce the effect of global warming.
 This suggests that the models used to understand global
warming need to be revised.  There are several lines of
evidence that indicate this is true.  The implications are
bad.  There is reason to believe that it has already led to
the deaths of millions of people.

I need not belabor the point: the emotional message is carried in the
video, and the technical details are
covered well in the Wikipedia
entry on



  1. #1 Roy
    May 20, 2007

    China is revving up for the greatest economic expansion of all time — with zero regard for pollution, gaseous or particulate. It is seen as a cost of becoming prosperous.

  2. #2 Kapitano
    May 20, 2007

    What to do when the world climate change problem seems insurmountable: Blame China.

  3. #3 Eric Johnson
    May 20, 2007

    Thank you very much for the post.

    Very persuasive and almost numbingly alarming. Unfortunately, I think it very unlikely that things will get bad enough that the wait-and-see coalition will concede early enough that there is still a possibility of mitigation. The only hope I see for us is that the climate scientists are wrong – at least by enough that the window between those two events is wide enough for us to squeeze through. The more I see however, the less likely it seems that the climate scientists are erring on the side of overestimation, and the less likely it seems that there is anything that will convince those with the power to act. Many of them in this country, after all, believe that catastrophic climate change would hasten the Apocalypse…

    Recently PZ commented that the very idea of cataloging religion’s sins against science was ill-conceived, that it missed the bigger fact that religious thought, as a whole, is antithetical to rational thought, and that even a subtly religious environment is hostile to the scientific enterprise. I wouldn’t presume to contradict him directly, but I would suggest that the set of attitudes predominant among the nationalistic Evangelicals in this country regarding everything that can be safely ignored because ‘Jesus is coming soon anyway’ (read any type of conservation, any long-term sustainable solution to the Palestinian problem, anything that sacrifices immediate profits for sustainability…) – this set of attitudes deserves a place in the anti-religion dialog as a concrete example of what religiosity can cost in real terms.
    Thanks again for the post.

    Eric Johnson
    What is it that Republicans are conserving? Is it the same thing with which Democrats are liberal?

  4. #4 Joseph j7uy5
    May 20, 2007

    It is true that China and India are trying to be bill players, and that they may not be as environmentally friendly as environmentalists would like. I don’t think it terms of blaming them; they are only following our example.

    The first thing we need to do, really, is stop the war. Then we can turn our attention to doing something that is actually worthwhile.

  5. #5 Georg
    June 1, 2007

    Hi everybody,

    Glad to see I am not the only one writing about “global dimming”. Let’s hope for the best.

    Georg, France

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