Last updated: November 9, 2010 | aft a long-long break, June 15, 2012 | October 16, 2012

…so here I am, labouring on the alphabetically arranged list:)

The “Offsets”: The etymology can be fun, the history mind-boggling, yet without either of them mitigating the conceptual forcing of the exercise, which – through iterative re-modelling – is bound to yield positive hermeneutic feedback in the final analysis.

BUT: Juggling CC terms aside, I suspect that the opportunity to subvert the blog entry standard length-wise could very well have been the profound subterranean impulse: mea culpa – hopefully minima, rather than maxima, you’d agree (?) FTR: 5 screens tall at birth, @17 entries weight!

albedo = the ability (for the issues at hand, of sufficiently large objects on Earth’s surface) to reflect solar radiation. Reflectivity has a cooling effect, which is helpful in restraining global warming (GW). [etymologically: “whiteness” < Latin albus “white”. Thus the whiter, the more reflective, the darker the more absorbent – think of snow/ice (reflect => cool off) vs land or water mass (absorb => warm up)]

axiology = (theory of) system(s) of values

All.Is.Amazing, acronymized AIA, pronounced /ei-ya/ : Ecosonance axiom. Can be acronymized as AIAA, to distingguish it from the otherwise homophonic Average.Is.Amazing Principle, even if the same-sounding phonetics (AIAP cf. AIAA) delightfully echoes the conceptual inheritance. In a way, AIAA’s genealogy goes back to Natality (introduced by Hannah Arendt, a student of Martin Heidegger), though from the point of view of non-neutral, i.e., eco-consonant perception, rather than that of potentiality (and will) for (political choice and) action.

Average.Is.Amazing, acronymized and pronounced as All.Is.Amazing, or AIAP to distingush the two: Ecosonance principle premised on the axiom All.Is.Amazing, which entails that every single one or a group of 2 and more has “amazing” as its predicate. This derivative principle debunks the connotation of pejorativity (cf. “mediocre”), drawing around it instead the aura of “special, unique”. See Average.Is.Amazing post, rid of formal logic heuristics.

AGW = anthropogenic global warming. Do not miss the “anthropogenic” intro to the “global warming” phenomenon! Just “talking to people”, including e.g. medical professionals and relatively well educated selves, I keep hearing comments like, “No-no, we humans cannot possibly cause a change of catastrophic proportions to something like the Earth’s climate”. There are also those who insist that the “forces of nature” have the potential to balance out whatever “harm” puny humans can possibly concoct. Hansen (2009) places scientist Richard Lindzen in the latter category, defining his ideas in the vein noted above as being of “a theological or philosophical perspective that he [Lindzen] doggedly adheres to” (p 55) – and the stance he assumes – firmly against “alarmist” tendencies among scientists, thus in support of dodging GHG emissions reductions.

biosubjectivity – per the 2011 book  Becoming Biosubjects by Gerlach et al. (see Alexandrova 2012) relates to subjectivity that comes specifically with genetic technologies, in the latter part of the 20th century; to my mind, staying with the meaning of the lexical components, the term can encompass any kind of biological subjectivity, from the macrobiological to the gene/submolecular level.

cf. = I use it in the meaning of “compare with/to” [Latin confer], “see (and compare)”, “refer to (and compare)”. Bypassing the book binding and baseball senses.

climate vs weather: A useful analogy, perhaps, is thinking of climate as the “category”, a generalized abstraction, and of weather as its actual “instantiations”, in real time. It can be expected, then, that climate modelling and weather forecasting are significantly different.

climate and social climate: standardly used metaphorically, “social climat-e/-ology” – in a sense a mirror counterpart of “technoscience” (see respective entries) – gestures to the continuum that the totality of human ~ other fauna ~ flora ~ abiotics represents, along the lines of global ecosystematicity.
Notion of social climatology employed in this post.

CC = climate change. Introduced as a gesture to political correctness of sorts, to euphemize the much more unequivocal “global warming”.
CC results from altering the Earth’s energy balance (aka global energy balance) between the light and ultraviolet radiation that the planet receives from the Sun and the infrared heat energy that it sends back into space.

climate forcing = any process or event that causes a change in the Earth’s climate due to a change in its energy balance.
External forcings may come from comets or meteorites, which happen not more often than every 20-30 million years. Changes in the Sun’s own energy cycle can also impact the planet’s energy balance.
Forcings from within the Earth’s climate system operate on shorter time scales. The global energy balance can be altered due to changes in ocean circulation or in the chemical composition of the atmosphere. Volcanoes can also act as planet climate system-internal forcings and, I’d imagine, including indirectly, by influencing or even triggering either of the above forcings.

climate feedback = processes that augment or diminish the original influence of a climate forcing, thus in a sense, acting as secondary forcings. The respective alternative terms are positive and negative feedback.

climate system inertia – see inertia of the climate system below

CMP = annual meeting of the parties to the Kyoto Protocol. The most recent one, CMP5 was held in Copenhagen, December 7-19, 2009, parallel with COP15.

communication = within Ecosonance Theory, Communication would be the various modes (supporting technologies, if you like) of Relatedness, i.e., what bridges the two terms of the Relatedness function.

  • profound communication = Crucially to Ecosonance Theory, which encompaces Human, other Biotic and Abiotic Relatedness, communication goes beyond (non-)verbal human communication. ES allows, e.g., two-term combinations of H-H, H-oB, H-A, oB-oB, A-A, oB-A, … Hence the qualification “profound”, which in addition to the universalist dimension implies conceptual depth. More in  Nov 3 2010 Profount Communication post

context = see situated(ness) entry

COP = annual conference of the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The most recent summit, COP15, was held in Copenhagen, December 7-19, 2009. Contrary to hopes, yet predictably, it did not achieve a “binding” (=having legal implications) international agreement of a scope much wider than that of the Kyoto Protocol (see entry below), potentially incorporating all Convention signatories (currently 194 parties, approx. the number of countries represented in Copenhagen per CBC radio coverage).

cyborg = cyber [= (mechanical) ctrl, steering] + organism. See website of University of Toronto’s Prof. Steve Mann, hailed as the creator of the first human cyborg, himself + vision-correction&video-recording device (the “wearable camera”).

deniers-denialists-(skeptics) and alarmists: Reciprocal far-from-flattering labels traded between those who know CC is happening or believe so based on trusted sources/opinions, and those who either honestly believe (some) scientists may be exaggerating or doing bad science, and may even have proof (including fraudulent or controversial) that scientists make mistakes (disputable or not – see Canadian “skeptic” Steve MacIntyre), or just as genuinely insist on representation of alternative views (the media), or represent/are recruited to/prefer to support (e.g. oil) industry interests.

As a working taxonomy, I’d opt for the label “denialist” (due to a measure of affective/derogatory neologistic impetus) in the case of people with partisan interests, or e.g. those who mistrust “fear-mongering” (cf. Iraq), or “scientists”, or whatever is mainstream, as a matter of principle; giving credit to the heritage of philosophy, “skeptics” for those who are withholding their trust and searching for evidence to confirm or overturn a currently contra or at best ambiguous (A)CC position; “deniers” for those who say No – for whatever reason – for the time being or “now and forever”, either to CC or to its (critical!) anthropogenic causes. To visualize, in my mind’s eye, Denialists are a subset of Deniers, Skeptics partially overlap with Deniers, and I’d imagine the stubborn but “innocent”/misinformed part of Denialists.

But what do we do with the demographic who cannot make up their mind about, or never thought to get interested in the “debate”, e.g., because it’s a moot point – for a surprisingly wide range of reasons? In an upcoming blog “The Denialism vs Alarmism Dichotomy Revisited” – further thoughts, including on:

  • James Hansen’s The Storms of My Grandchildren: The truth about the coming climate catastrophe and our last chance to save humanity (2009)
  • Stephen Schneider’s Science as a Contact Sport: Inside the battle to save Earth’s climate (2009)
  • The Current’s interviews with CC media/PR profiler James Hoggan, CC skeptic-denialist Lawrence Solomon, UofT compu wiz Jim Prall

eco(logical)-evolutionary ethics – the composite qualifier foregrounds the organic entanglement of ecological interdependencies and evolutionary consequences, which ethics can be recruited to keep healthy, or at least healthier. (my coinage, see book review essay 2012)

ecosonance n (ecosonic adj, ecosonize, v) = (the study of) Human Relatedness to Self, Other, biotic and abiotic Nature.

I coined the term because I wasn’t thrilled by the sound of “ecosophy”, which was the obvious choice for a generic philosophy of ecology. In the way of compensation, perhaps, the two can be acronymized as ES. Not unimportantly, while the –soph– = Gk “wise, wisdom” part of the stem is not all that obviously ascribed to abiotic surroundings, –son– < Lat sonus “sound”, [apologies: had Gk instead of Lat] and by extension vibration, are equally applicable to biotics and abiotics.  Even on the (let us call it) aesthetic side, there’s the added bonus of equitably combining the sound of English in eco [‘eekow] and French [so’na:ns]. Ecosonics was given consideration too, but compared to ecosonance, it somehow lacks the latter’s cadence, not to mention the Eng-Fr connection, and also seems somewhat bland stylistically.

Using sound as a proxy for vibration (through the –son– root) lends etymological support to the Profound Relatedness/Communication thesis, whereby relatedness and (Gregory Bateson-style) communication obtain at all levels of the known universe.

eco-consonance, (-ant) = (causing, characterized by, having to do with) felicitous, harmonious Relatedness

eco-dissonance, (-ant) = (causing, characterized by, having to do with) infelicitous, disharmonious Relatedness

Oct 1, 2010 update


It’s been 2-3 months and no one commented on the con-/diss- switch: eco-consonance had the explanation for eco-dissonance, and eco-dissonance the one for eco-consonance. I’ll draw the natural, doubly eco-consonant conclusion: either our audience has an ironic sense of humour (if the switch was interpreted as a rather unfortunate flat joke, and left to fend for itself) or you are all people of noble spirit (if the switch looked like an honest cut&paste error that did not need commenting)

    . What was the HTML code for the “hats off!” symbol again?

Exx-ez, or EXX, for short = a unit of oil pollution, equal to the amount that oil tanker Exxon Valdez spilled in Alaska on March 24, 1989, estimated at 257,000 barrels total. Established by ES, July 12, 2010.
Cf.: The US Gov’t (Flow Rate Technical Group, including scientists) have had to raise their “best estimate” from 12,000-19,000 barrels per day announced on May 27 to 20,000-40,000 bpd on June 10 to 35,000-60,000 bpd (1.47 million and 2.52 million gallons/5.57 million and 9.54 million litres) as of June 15, 2010. Kristen Hays, Reuters.

FTR = for the record, of course 🙂

geosubjectivity – applies to the abiotic component of the planet (and beyond, if we have to be thorough) and seems like a fit coinage to complement my broader use of Gerlach et al.’s (2011) biosubjectivity, so that the submolecular – planetary stretch of the existential continuum gets “covered.” (my coinage, see book review essay 2012)

GHG = greenhouse gas (listed in descending order according to positive forcing ability: water vapour, CO2, methane, black carbon, a.k.a. black soot – Hansen p 51)

CO2 and H2O vapour
Q: Why target CO2 if water vapour causes the largest climate feedback, and is natural? (In Hansen’s experience, a recurring contrarian pique – the point being, who on earth would even think of treating as “harmful” all those huge amounts of H2O vapour; by comparison, CO2 seems insignificant)
I certainly agree with Hansen, and others, that a strong argument in favour of prioritizing CO2 reductions is the fact that it, e.g., influences the acidity of oceans, with serious implications for sea life, hence for various chemical processes throughout the climate system.
A: As to Hansen’s immediately quoted standard rebuttal to the pique above – “[silent “But,”] the amount of water vapour in the air is determined by t” (p 43), I inadvertantly collided with what looks like an implied “by contrast, the amount of CO2 in the air is NOT determined by t”. Working on it – and Sci Innocence does work in strange ways: Temperature works for H2O vapour but not for CO2.

habitable conditions/zone = the narrow margin of geophysical conditions that accommodate a water-habitable Earth in large part determined by its position relative to the Sun => there is (enough liquid) H2O, gravity is just right, a sufficient amount of atmospheric GHGs to keep it just warm enough (-15 Celsius average surface t) for life as we know it…
[entry inspired by “At the Outer Limit of the Habitable Zone“, the last of 5 lectures by U of Chicago geophysicist Raymond Pierrehumbert, U of T, April 23, 2010]

Earth is positioned between Venus and Mars, Venus being closest to the Sun, and Mars the farthest; Venus is the warmest (450 Celsius average surface t), and Mars the coldest (-50 Celsius average surface t): Venus is 95% of Earth’s size, Mars is by far the smallest, thus with weakest gravity. Neither Mars nor Venus have water currently (Hansen 2009, Chapter The Venus Syndrome, pp 223-236); Venus lost hers in her infancy, due to a steep rise in temperature, Mars must have had at some point his share of water too, judging by the canal-like prints on the planet’s surface. (I take blame for anthropo-morphizing, theo-morphizing, rather – but we are speaking of Gods, no?)
More thoughts on whether we have a Plan(et) B, if we some day achieve sufficiently thorough destruction of our fair planet – in the Pierrehumbert post.

IM(H)O = in my (humble) opinion

inertia of the climate system: This is what explains why, despite the significant human-inflicted GHGs forcing, overall “we” do not see significant changes to the climate at present; thanks to this same inertia, once the ball (CC) gets rolling, it will be much harder to stop it, and whatever measures get introduced, however efficient they may be, they will not be (immediately) effective – per Hansen (2009:274-275).
On the relative socio-political and geographical nature of “no visible CC at present”, see upcoming post “A Note on the Relativity of Climate System Inertia”.

IPCC = Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988 to assess the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant for the understanding of *human induced* climate change, its potential impacts and options for mitigation and adaptation.” (see, emphasis added)

By 2007 IPCC had published 4 assessment reports (ARs), and AR5 is planned to be completed by 2013-14, including the Synthesis Report.

The IPCC executive bodies include 3 Working Groups, a Task Force on Greenhouse Gas Inventories, supporting technical units.
WG I (The Science of CC) assesses the physical scientific aspects of CC.
WGII (Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability) moves into the policy making stage, evaluating the scientific, technical, environmental, economic and social aspects of CC.
WGIII (Mitigation of CC) analyses the costs, benefits and risks of the different approaches to mitigation, considering also the available policy tools domestically and internationally.

JIH = just in case

kudos, also kudoos What did you know (well, I didn’t), it comes from the Greek κῦδος – kydos, (literally “that which is heard of”), and the expressions (to give) kudo(o)s to s.o. have come to communicate giving/an invitation to give someone (well deserved) credit/praise. [sources: regular dictionaries and online references, incl. Wikipedia]

Kyoto Protocol (a.k.a. Treaty) – 1997. [Link] An international agreement, an extension of the UNFCCC and – unlike it – meant to be (legally) “binding”. It was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, on December 11, 1997 and entered into force on February, 16 2005. It sets targets for 37 industrialized countries and the European community for greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions reductions, which amount to an average of 5% compared to 1990 levels over the five-year period from 2008 to 2012. At this point, more “developed” countries have failed to meet their targets (notably Canada and the US), less have made progress.

mobilis in mobili = Lat. [something to do w/ movement?]
You are right, “mobilis in mobili” is the motto of Captain Nemo’s ship (the) Nautilus from Jules Verne’s (1828–1905) novels 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and The Mysterious Island . Yes, in Latin, which learned men of the time were taught as a matter of course and could use. And, it’s explained in 20,000 Leagues Under the Seago look. Can’t guarantee the quality of translation from French.
An M.Ed.’s site of the same name

Montreal Protocol – 1987. [Link] An international agreement signed by 191 countries concerning measures to compensate for ozone depletion. It has been successful – by the mid-1990s, developed countries phased out 5 of 7 targeted substances (Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and others) and froze the remaining 2 (Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and Methyl Bromide). Developing counties had lower targets. A complete phase-out around the globe is projected by 2010-2015, the only outlier being HCFCs, with respective target phase-out dates for the two groups 2020 and 2040.

The difference between level of success in bridging the science-policymaking&implementation distance for ODSs as opposed to GHGs deserves some elaboration.

ODS = ozone depleting substance

p.c. = personal correspondence/communication

ping, n and v = the WP signification aside (sorry, can’t be sure what it is), I take the term to mean automatic linking of posts/comments (by keywords). [WP has definitions of “pingback” and “trackback”]
== Para-ping = (para = “beside”) tags posts on the Posts/Blogs of Note list which I find and link to after I follow a ping to a post by the same author, on the same blog. So, “beside” the original(ly) ping(ed post).
== Meta-ping = (meta = “beyond”) tags posts on the Posts/Blogs of Note list which I find and link to after I follow a ping to a post by a different author, on a different blog/site. So, “beyond” the original(ly) ping(ed post).
== WPfind = I hope is self-explanatory – a post/blog I come across, not prompted by a ping.

profound communication: see communication above
[November 3, 2010]

rhizome   [rahy-zohm] < Neo-Latin rhizoma  < Greek rhízōma  root, stem. noun: a rootlike subterranean stem, commonly horizontal in position, that usually produces roots below and sends up shoots progressively from the upper surface.

notion in Deleuze and Guattari’s book A Thousand Plateaux: Refers to knowledge and its mental representation, revolving around the idea of multiple connections, absence of fixities.

rhi·zom·a·tous  [rahy-zom-uh-tuhs, -zoh-muh-] adjective of rhizome: As translation of Deleuze and Guattari’s adjective: rhisomatic

semiotics = theory of signs and their meaning; paternity (with an emphasis on language) attributed to Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure and American philosopher (logician and pragmatist) Charles Sanders Peirce (pronounced like “purse”)

Sliding Divide = a divide between presumably different entities, states…, which cannot be drawn invariably in the same way in the same “place”. In a sense, it stands for a deconstruction of (fixed) dichotomous pairs: See post Ecosonic Dilemma…

situated(ness) = “marked[ness] by [own] social positionality and … operation as political events in political contexts.” (emphasis in original, see Maureen Ford’s def. in “Situating Knowledges as Coalition Work” Ms. (n.d.), University of Toronto (read by L.A. Winter Semester 2009))
This author tends to use it in a broader sense, to include, e.g., professional/occupational, disciplinary background, nationality, “racial” and historical belonging… Interchangeable with “context”? I’d say, if the core signification of “siteated(ness)” is to include what basically comes down to “ideology”, e.g., “mindset”, and by extension “psychological make-up, temperament” would be drawn to “situatedness”, delineating it semantically from “context”.
FYI, Maureen references “social positionality” to Linda Martin Alcoff. 1988. “Cultural Feminism vs. Post-structuralism: the Identity Crisis in Feminist Theory.” Signs. 13,3(Spring): 405.

technoscience = technology + science. Term attributed to Gaston Bachelard (Robert C. Scharff and Val Dusek, 2003, p.85). It already appears in the names of journals and associations, and is currently being used by a growing number of scholars (Donna Haraway, Bruno Latour, Robert C. Scharff, Sherry Turkle), including in theorizations about Martin Heidegger and Auguste Compte’s philosophies, the former adherering to a negative and the latter to a positive view of technology. = tongue in cheek – I don’t completely acronymize, to make it more easily decypherable, hopefully

UNEP = United Nations Environmental Program. In 1988, UNEP and the WMO founded the IPCC.

UNFCCC = United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. An international agreement “enjoying near-universality”, which came into force on March 21, 1994. Starting in April the following year, conferences of the parties to the convention (COP – see entry above) have been held annually. UNFCCC has much broader participation (194 signatories) and is nonbinding in contrast to the Kyoto Protocol (see entry above), which it initiated to set binding targets specifically for developed countries.

virtual(ity) A funny twist on this one. In They know virtually nothing, “virtually” means “practically, totally, really/in reality”. In “virtual reality” which, on the former reading would be a bland tautology, “virtual” has morphed into an antonym of sorts, so we end up with a meaningful oxymoron – “unreal reality”, which presumably feels like it is “real”. Derrick de Kerckhove’s quip (p.c., not that it is not in his books, and the writings of many others) is pertinent here: “There is no “real”, there is “actual” and “virtual”, both are “real” to the mind.”

vision-and-rhyme = I am assigning this term to the genre of poetry that combines verbal flow rhythm and visual presentation – be that layout or image… See my poem in post …Mayfly Perfection…

viz. = namely, i.e. [< Latin videlicet, pronounced /videl’isit/ choosing Brit. pron., which departs minimally from the original, in contrast to the Am.]

WMO = World Meteorological Organization. No further comment, I think, they’ve earned it.

WPfind = I hope is self-explanatory – a post/blog I come across, not prompted by a ping. See entry ping.

WWF = World Wildlife Fund

Last updated: November 9, 2010