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11 responses to “Why Rescuing the Frog?”

  1. Tony Adamson

    Hi Andrew. I enjoyed your post on the Liberal’s cap and trade program and I hope that your insight can help me form my personal position on this complicated subject. You can thank @ghoberg for the publicity.



  2. Gregory Sokoloff

    Hi Andrew. Good luck with your blog–you seem to be off to a good start. However, I fear your titular metaphor may not have been wisely chosen. The boiling frog story would seem to have been disproved by science, and watch out for James Fallows who is obsessed with pointing this out whenever somebody prominent invokes it!

  3. Gregory Sokoloff

    A few year back, I sent Fallows an email on the subject which he posted to his blog, but it no longer seems easily accessible on the Atlantic site. Here’s a cached copy:

    Reader Gregory Sokoloff points out a version of the boiled-frog story that, if we called it boiled-salaryman, might actually be true. He lived in Japan when I did, in the late 1980s, and reports:

    You may remember that the most common form of bath in homes was of a design not found in the West. The bath would first be filled with cold water, then a natural gas heater would be lit and the water would slowly circulate from the bath into the heater and then back into the bath, much like a heated swimming pool. The recirculation was achieved simply through convection without any pump, and thus the device was very, very quiet. Apparently, people commonly would get into their baths when the water was tepid, fall asleep, and then wake up with serious burns requiring treatment in a hospital. I don’t know if there were deaths. Of course, only one who has lived in Japan can fully appreciate how sleepy and inebriated many Japanese are by the time they take a bath after rounds in the local bars (the best named one where I lived was the “Salaryman Daigaku” [“Salaryman University”]).

    I may be repeating an urban myth here, but a good friend of mine there swore she witnessed the aftermath of such an incident.

    So, consistent with my emphasis on the scientific approach to tall tales, I hereby request that henceforth people begin the cliched story thus: “Throw a salaryman into a boiling hot bath, and he’ll scramble right out. But put a salaryman in a nice comfy tub, and…..”

  4. David Wilson

    I am wondering if you watched this debate? ( and there is a link there to a video webcast with just about 18:30 minutes of silly CBC fol-de-rol up front – the interface does allow you to skip) if not why not? and if so, what did you think?

    I found your blog via a link at the Globe and so far I am very pleased to have found it, maybe there is a possibility of civil (& polite 🙂 discussion on these very important issues, though I am afraid you may be exhausted by the effort, I hope not, be well.

  5. David Wilson

    simplistic eh? well, I wouldn’t say so, and I’m not clear on the distinction between “not a policy choice” and “not one that realistically confronts policy makers” but ok … if it is up to policy makers as first movers then I would say we are definitely diddled

    the way I read the science is that we have until about 2015 to turn carbon & equivalent emissions around or pass tipping points which will decide the issue, is that also too simplistic? I am not a scientist but there are some credible scientists who agree

    this paper ( Reframing the climate change challenge in light of post-2000 emission trends – ) puts it in perspective – the authors’ bottom line is about this: “The current framing of climate change cannot be reconciled with the rates of mitigation necessary to stabilize at 550 ppmv CO2e and even an optimistic interpretation suggests stabilization much below 650 ppmv CO2e is improbable.”

    2015 is a number which relates to my own mortality as well as the science, since I am getting older and 2015 is towards the end of any useful inputs I am likely to make, but 650 ppmv CO2e, whenever it comes, is well past irretrievable by any human measure

    maybe policy makers would like to be the tail that wags the dog? the people I talk to think that it will take dramatic events, some kind of climate armageddon, to activate the necessary political actions – which will then be too late, I am hopeful that economic collapse may save us before that, or at least a remnant

    be well, David Wilson.

  6. David Wilson

    good, I must say I like your approach to comments, very helpful, thanks

    I think it is important to get the notion of growth brought up to date, particularly in the minds of politicians, first, the notion that an economy without growth is entirely feasible has to attain some critical state in the ‘social imaginary’ and then (or simultaneously, since time is short) develop policy tactics to achieve or permit it, Robert Solow and other eminent economists have been putting the notion out there for some time and yet politicians are still effectively saying ‘you can’t stand in the way of progress’

    all good, thanks again.

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