Monday, April 22, 2019

Canada EVs

Canada iZEV Electric Car Incentive Program Begins May 1. Steve Hanley, Clean Technica. Apr. 22, 2019.

from the comments:
  • Canada's EV and transportation emissions strategy in general is one of the most pathetic in the world. It seems like we are actively trying to do everything wrong. The tax credit is small and applies to very few of the EVs on the market. There's little in the way of strategy to expand charge stations into more remote highways. The end of Greyhound means Canada has no national bus service. We have only one national train service and it's quality and reach is comparable to or worse than third world countries and only one province has any regional train service and that province has cut train services. And Canadians are switching from Sedans to the most gas guzzling vehicles on the planet and we're flying and driving everywhere. But we have a Carbon tax, well maybe not for long.
  • Generally pathetic...but 62% of Canadian Electricity is Hydro. And this EV incentive at $5000 Federal and in B.C. $5000 provincial means we will buy a Kia Niro Ev for $10,000 less. Should be next month if they are available. So some things are good... and then there are the oil sands
  • Being a Canadian, I have to say, Sorry this government sucks so bad and they dropped the ball after all their "Big Talk" (aka Bafflegab & doublespeak). Sadly the next one might be even worse, a "Conservative One". They are all pushing for more pipelines and more Tar Sands emissions and lip serving everything else.  This 5K with limits really is not going to help much as our dollar hurts us. Maybe some provinces will kick in Above & Beyond but forget the "Blue Ones", they won't. Even the new Premiere of Ontario Ol' Fordo kyboshed the BYD Factory being built... Not unlike the USA, We NEED a New Political Party with no deadheads & swamp creatures who will look to the future for all of us but alas it will never happen, just the same ol retreads who insist on painting pigs Black & White and calling them cattle.


Friday, April 19, 2019

Climate Links April 2019.

Canada in a Changing Climate. Environment and Climate Change Canada.


Canada says global carbon pollution must be reduced to 'near zero' to limit harsh impacts. Carl Meyer, National Observer. Apr. 1, 2019.

Canada's failure to fight climate change 'disturbing,' environment watchdog says. Mia Rabson, National Observer. Apr. 3, 2019.
'This is a wake-up call:' swift action needed on rising seas, experts say. Michael Tutton, National Observer. Apr. 8, 2019.

Last time CO2 levels were this high, there were trees at the South Pole. Damian Carrington, Guardian. Apr. 3, 2019.
Trees growing near the South Pole, sea levels 20 metres higher than now, and global temperatures 3C-4C warmer. That is the world scientists are uncovering as they look back in time to when the planet last had as much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as it does today.


This book ranks the top 100 solutions to climate change. The results are surprising. David Roberts, vox. Apr. 22, 2019.
A chat with Paul Hawken about his ambitious effort to “map, measure, and model” global warming solutions.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Topic: The Anthropocene

When Did the End Begin? A scientific debate that’s oddly amusing to entertain: At what point, exactly, did mankind irrevocably put the Earth on the road to ruin? Robert Sullivan, NY Mag. Jun 18, 2015.
In [a 2002 paper in Nature written by Paul Crutzen], he urged the scientific community to formally adopt what he named the Anthropocene (anthro from the Greek anthrópos, meaning “human being”) and to mark its beginning at the start of the Industrial Revolution. The evidence he cited is too depressing to recount in full here: The human population has increased tenfold in the past 300 years; species are dying; most freshwater is being sucked up by humans; not to mention the man-induced changes in the chemical composition of the atmosphere — essentially, all the facts the world is ignoring, avoiding, or paying people to obfuscate.

The Cataclysmic Break That (Maybe) Occurred in 1950. Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic. Apr. 16, 2019.
Later this month, a committee of researchers from around the world will decide whether the Earth sprang into the Anthropocene, a new chapter of its history, in the year 1950. If accepted, this delineation will signal a new reality, that human activities, not natural processes, are now the dominant driver of change on Earth’s surface—that carbon pollution, climate change, deforestation, factory farms, mass die-offs, and enormous road networks have made a greater imprint on the planet than any other force in the past 12,000 years.
...

Zalasiewicz chairs the Anthropocene Working Group, the committee that will soon vote on the existence of the epoch. “If you look at the main parameters of the Earth-system metabolism, then … things only began to change sharply and dramatically with industrialization,” he told me. He believes that the most significant event in humanity’s life on the planet is the Great Acceleration, the period of rapid global industrialization that followed the Second World War. As factories and cars spread across the planet, as the United States and U.S.S.R. prepared for the Cold War, carbon pollution soared. So too did methane pollution, the number of extinctions and invasive species, the degree of surface-level radiation, the quantity of plastic in the ocean, and the amount of rock and soil moved around the planet. 
It was “the Big Zoom,” he said, borrowing a phrase from the journalist Andrew Revkin. There is “nothing really comparable” to that shift in any other period of Earth history. Even setting carbon pollution aside, he said, the spike in fertilizer use led to the largest jump in surface nitrogen levels in 2.5 billion years.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Our Planet

A True Reality Show: The Unexpectedly Distressing ‘Our Planet’. Alison Herman, the ringer. Apr. 12, 2019.
Nature docu-series have traditionally been more of a comfort watch for curious animal-lovers. David Attenborough’s new Netflix series is decidedly not that.

The skeleton key to Our Planet, Netflix’s foray into the flourishing ecosystem of nature documentaries, is the word “remain.” In the voiceover that introduces each episode, narrator David Attenborough promises a survey of Earth’s natural wonders in all their splendor—or at least the ones we’ve left standing. Before Our Planet has shown a single mating songbird or grazing wildebeest, it’s already harshed its own vibe.

Our Planet is an unusually brazen instance of a deep-pocketed tech company airlifting a successful TV show template through sheer financial might. Not that Netflix is alone in adapting this strategy: Amazon is currently developing a fashion competition show starring the former co-hosts of Project Runway and a would-be next Game of Thrones with the quarter-billion dollar rights to another beloved series of epic fantasy novels. The marquee offering of Apple’s soon-to-launch TV+ streaming service will Voltron together the stars of Big Little Lies, Friends, and The Office. 
Our Planet, meanwhile, doesn’t just follow in the footsteps of the BBC’s bar-setting opus Planet Earth. Its production company, Silverback Films, is headed by Planet Earth and Blue Planet maestro Alastair Fothergill; its distinctive sound is that of Attenborough, the nonagenarian whose trademark instrument my colleague Brian Phillips has described as “somewhere between the voice of a golf announcer and the voice of a loving god.” 
Plenty of tropes carry over from Planet Earth to its successor. Shot over four years in 50 countries, Our Planet can’t resist the occasional humble brag about just how difficult and rare it is to capture an Arabian leopard in the wild, or a concentration of cheetahs hunting as a group. Episodes are organized into biomes like “Frozen Worlds” and “Fresh Water,” hopscotching continents to spotlight nature’s recurring patterns. Scoring and narration help anthropomorphize the animals onscreen, turning courtship rituals into full-blown relationships and the everyday work of survival into an epic struggle. 
But Our Planet distinguishes itself by emphasizing nature’s fragility as much as its beauty. Attenborough’s script is deeply concerned with the immediate effects and potential fallout of climate change. Forests and ice caps are shown shrinking from space to emphasize the sheer scale of humankind’s destruction; animals are depicted suffering the consequences of limited resources to show the intimate and devastating impact of global warming. So distressing are certain passages of Our Planet that Netflix issued a content warning for certain scenes that might disturb sensitive viewers, complete with time stamps. An interlude featuring walruses, overcrowded by vanishing sea ice onto a rocky beach, tumbling off a sheer cliff face to their likely deaths has already become infamous. Emotional trauma is an occupational hazard more commonly associated with slasher films than ecological surveys, but in this case the heads up is warranted. 
If Our Planet’s intention is to impress upon viewers the gravity of the crisis facing its namesake, Fothergill and his team succeed. But in the process, the show threads several tricky lines: between the expectations of viewers and the goals of producers; between the need to communicate a message and keep audiences engaged so they can absorb it.  
How will those who tune in expecting a mellow, possibly THC-assisted evening of stunning visuals react to an abject lesson in the impending apocalypse? Once they’ve been suitably cowed by the carnage we’ve wrought on our home and its occupants, will viewers have the will to continue or will they remain curled into the fetal position on their couch? 
Like many, I took in the recent Planet Earth and Blue Planet sequels in long, sustained gulps. I wanted to live in the world these shows presented—or rather, take reassurance in the knowledge I already did. These updates included their fair share of concessions to environmental realities, including a heartbreaking sequence in which newly hatched sea turtles were drawn to city lights instead of the sea. Mostly, however, they served as an escape from the pressures of everyday life, not a reminder of them. Nature documentaries tend to emphasize the simplicity of life in the wild, in contrast with the complexities of human civilization. Much like the gathering spots where the film crews strategically position their cameras, they serve as an oasis, a resting place for weary travelers to zone out and take in some beauty. 
Our Planet does not have this same effect, nor is it meant to. Rather than illustrate nature’s separation from humanity, Our Planet underscores how every region explored is connected on a geologic level—and that disrupting any point on this supply chain can lead to an unpleasant domino effect. Ice caps reflect sunlight back into space, keeping the rest of the planet cool; rain forests emit clouds of vapor, which result in precipitation hundreds if not thousands of miles away. Interfere with one part of these reactions, as we continue to with alarming speed, and you choke off the other. Even the rare unsullied patch of land Our Planet manages to stake out comes with a reminder that while this watering hole may be legally protected from poachers and development, others aren’t. A scenic interlude in a Madagascar forest is followed by a somber announcement the grove has been razed entirely since filming. 
Our Planet impresses the dire threat posed by climate change and unchecked growth; it does not quite inspire the compulsion to continue watching. This is not, precisely, Our Planet’s stated goal; on the spectrum of education to entertainment, this show skews heavily toward the former. At times, such commitment to principle sharpens Our Planet’s appeal as an empathetic argument for climate justice. At others, the prospect of queuing up yet another cavalcade of man-made atrocities heightens the temptation to defect for lighter fare. This creates something of a dilemma: Can Our Planet fully get its point across if receptive viewers can’t bear to stick around? Ironically, the very sympathy Our Planet works to foster is exactly what can make it so hard to endure. 
Fittingly, Our Planet’s most optimistic scene is also, in another light, its grimmest. The show’s final episode, “Forests,” includes a look at an unlikely hotspot: the ruins of Chernobyl. Among Soviet-era signage and concrete apartment blocs, trees have flourished and wildlife moved in. The result is a lush, haunting postapocalypse, with shades of films like Annihilation or Stalker—except this dreamscape is very much real. In the forced absence of human life, nature has reclaimed itself, with wolves and deer thriving where radiation-infected Homo sapiens cannot. Here, Our Planet presents a potential solution to its seemingly intractable problems. Earth is surprisingly durable, capable of recovering once its immediate source of distress is removed from the picture. 
Our Planet may be able to survive after all. The question is: Will we?

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Topic: Divestment


Are Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaigns Working? A Conversation With Economist Robert Pollin. C.J. Polychroniou, Truthout. May 28, 2018.
We found two basic things from this research. First, to date, we found the total level of divestment commitments to be at about 0.7 percent of total global private fossil fuel assets (assets committed to divestment are at about $36 billion while total global private fossil fuel assets are at $4.9 trillion). Second, we found no evidence that any divestment actions, including the recent New York City pension fund decision, has had any significant negative effect on the stock prices of fossil fuel companies. 
The basic problem with the strategy is straightforward. Ethically motivated owners of fossil fuel stocks and bonds — such as the New York City Council — do certainly have the power to sell these assets as a statement of principle and act of protest. But this act of protest will have no direct impact on the operations of the fossil fuel companies as long as investors who are profit-seekers, as opposed to being motivated ethically, are willing to purchase the stocks and bonds that ethically motivated investors have put up for sale. Indeed, the core divestment strategy of selling fossil fuel assets is, at best, incomplete until one addresses this question: Is there somebody out there still willing to purchase these fossil fuel assets, and if so, and at what price? The answer is, yes, there are plenty of people ready to purchase shares of fossil fuel companies as long as they can profit by owning these shares.

American Psychiatric Association Assembly Passes Action Plan on Divestment of Fossil Fuels. Robin Cooper, MD, Psychiatric Times. Apr. 12, 2019.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Irrationality and Survival

Zero Sum Survival. Part III. Survival Acres. Apr. 6, 2019.

In Part I, bullets over beans, and Part II, sudden collapse were revealed to be false memes, and yet still widely embraced.

This post is Part III, and deals with religious ideology and survival strategies.

Readers will already know that I spent years of my early life in the ministry, following and practicing what I believed to be factual and true. Just like any new zealot, I fervently embraced my new found ‘salvation’ with ardor and zest. As part of the religious teaching and indoctrination that I had once accepted as “biblically true” are the following statements – still being taught to millions today:
  • Human are not responsible for the condition of the Earth;
  • Humans do not have control over outcomes, including any and all human events that occur on the Earth;
  • God governs all things, both the good and the bad and everything that happens is in accordance to his will and desires;
  • God will “Rapture” the faithful from the coming wrath and judgement on the Earth;
  • End Time events were happening then and now;
  • God’s Word is found in the Bible and must be rigorously enforced and adhered to;
  • The future of the Earth is not man’s concern or responsibility;
  • All of the wicked and sinful will be judged;
  • All the righteous will be rewarded;
  • Prophecy was and has been fulfilled;
  • Christianity was the true religion among all other religions;
  • The Bible accurately portrays historical events, facts, people and places and is considered the final authority on all matters.
Later, I came to deconstruct each of these beliefs and their foundations by extensively examining the source of all Christian belief, the Bible. The reason for this “search for truth” became painfully obvious as I witnessed intense conflict with the church, the ministry, the membership and the world itself. Something seemed deeply amiss, including errors and contradictions that were in conflict with other parts and passages of the Bible. Explanations and attempts at clarification did not resolve these conflicts – they only worsened them.

Thus begin decades of independent study and reading by turning to historical experts, archeologists, researchers and theologians that provided evidenced based explanations to the deepest questions, on belief, on faith, on historical accuracy, on biblical characters and events, on epistemology.

I’m not going to attempt (again) to repeat here what has already been published, but if you are even slightly interested, you can read the following:
I realize it is very unlikely all of these previous posts will actually be read by those that reject anything that violates their own bias, but that’s on you if you don’t. They each convey in different ways, what I eventually found to be factual and true:
  • The Bible is not God’s Word and never has been;
  • The Bible is a fictional book for the most part, portraying events and characters which have never been verified or known to exist despite extensive research now spanning thousands of years;
  • Entire “books”, chapters, passages and words were removed, added, modified and redacted to suit the era;
  • The Bible still contains thousands of errors, contradictions, omissions, and interpolations despite this centuries of editing;
  • There is no such thing as non-human responsibility for human events on Earth, humans alone are entirely and solely responsible;
  • God is not real and never has been;
  • Christ is not real and never has been;
  • There is no such thing as the End Times;
  • The Rapture is imagined fantasy;
  • The early church “fathers” were quite willing to fabricate, lie and invent whatever was deemed necessary to preserve power and influence;
  • Christianity was and still is a cult of significant influence on human behavior, thought and action;
  • A “bible based” life of belief, faith, thought, and action is based on mostly fiction, imagination and falsified words;
  • The rejection of reality by religion (all religions) has had enormous, harmful and lasting consequences upon humankind;
  • Christianity has held back civilization and human development for at least one thousand years (and still counting);
  • Religion and religious belief has deeply and negatively influenced politics, commerce, trade, finance and spawned numerous brutal wars and genocide (including the recent Iraq War);
  • Any country that permits religion anywhere near a place of leadership is risking a return to the Dark Ages of suffering and intolerance;
  • Religion operates on the principle of layered lies, sins of omission, distorted reality and mind control;
  • Religion was fabricated whole cloth to attempt to explain the unknown world, and then later, to control it;
  • Anyone and everyone who attempts to convert, preach, teach, testify or indoctrinate anyone else with religion is selling snake oil.
It is irrelevant to me if anyone accepts or rejects any of this. I have come to know that all of the above statements are true, factually correct and historically accurate.

There is a direct relationship with the religious beliefs and zero sum survival planning.

There will be no “intervention” by God, Christ or space aliens to “save” anyone or anything on Earth from the destructive power now being unleashed, which I will call climate change, collapsing Earth systems, natural disasters or any other events. If you are expecting this type of salvation at any level, then your survival plan is deeply and tragically flawed. In effect, it is no plan at all, and thus, zero sum survival.

There will be no Rapture, no End Times, no Tribulation, and no prophecy fulfillment. What has been, and still is, being passed off as “prophecy fulfilled” simply isn’t – it’s a highly contorted, deliberately twisted and force fit attempt of actual events (like the election of Donald Trump) to “fit” either contemporary or historical “prophecy”. NONE are accurate. None have any “meaning” whatsoever. You have to suspend all the demands for evidence, proof, verification and truth to be convinced otherwise.

ALL of the “faithful believers in Christ” (and every other religion in the world today) will endure, suffer, and die right alongside everyone else as climate change erases human habitability on planet Earth. Nobody will be raptured, nobody will be saved, nobody will escape the effects of climate change and all that it means. There are no “chosen people” or “preferred nations” either.

The longer religious cultists of the world today embrace a imaginary world-view of how life actually works on Earth, the worse things will become for everyone. The non-reality based worldview that religion teaches will continue to have a devastating impact on Earth systems, civilization and societal interactions world-wide and will, in all likelihood, lead to massive civil conflict and death (like it always has).

The rejection of science, facts, evidence, reason and even common sense by the “faithful” to imaginary deities, angels, demons, and flights of fancy are among the primary reasons the world systems are what they are today – corrupt, abusive, destructive, intolerant, unjust and greedy. Religion is not the only cause of these human ills, but it remains the largest contributor for repressing human development, reason and intelligence through fact-based education, science and literature.


This post will be painful for some and of course, rejected by others, but it is still necessary as the world and individuals “decide” how they will attempt to grapple with the existential threat that climate change has now become. Will we devolve into useless prayers and imagined fantasies of a magical but unfulfilled rescue? Or will we finally reject superstition and powerless pretending at “divine will” and accept the factual human responsibility that we did this to ourselves, and that it is solely OUR responsibility to finally act?

If there is to be a solution, or even any kind of a survival strategy – or even if there can only be an individual response to any of this, it will need to be based upon reality. Anything else is a zero sum survival strategy.

Religion must be understood to be nothing more than human constructs in the mind. That is what makes it so powerful – and so attractive. Nothing is actually required of you – just “belief”. From there, it’s supposed to be smooth sailing into eternity. Except that none of this is factually true. Humans bear the responsibility for everything that has happened on Earth (minus events of nature). Either we finally, collectively accept that responsibility – or we go on pretending otherwise.

In effect, a significant portion of the human world is having to be dragged along by every one else that has a fact-based, reality world view. It’s exhausting, and it isn’t working. It’s never worked. But it is a primary source of the problems we have with human development and human conflict. This needs to change, desperately and immediately.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

some recent CJ

People Will Never, Ever Rebel As Long As They’re Successfully Propagandized. Caitlin Johnstone. March 31, 2019.
Our predicament is simple to describe. 
Since the dawn of civilization, powerful individuals have controlled the stories people tell themselves about who they are, who’s in charge, how a good citizen behaves, what groups should be loved, what groups should be hated, and what’s really going on in the world. When you study what we call history, you’re mostly just reading the ancient proto-propaganda of whatever kingdom happened to win the last war during that period of time. When you study what we call religion, you’re mostly reading stories that were advanced by ancient governments explaining why the people should be meek, forgiving taxpayers instead of rising up and killing their wealthy exploiters. 
This continues to this day. We fill our children’s heads with lies about how the world works, how the government works, how the media works, and, on a deeper level, how their own consciousness works, and the entire process is shaped to funnel power toward the people who control our stories. The modern schooling system was largely formed by John D Rockefeller, widely considered the wealthiest person in modern history, in order to create generations of docile gear-turners for the industrial plutocratic machine. Modern schooling is essentially mainstream media in a building; it promotes authorized narratives day in and day out to ensure that children will have a reaction of cognitive dissonance and rejection when confronted with information which contradicts those narratives. 
This funnels the populace seamlessly into the narrative control matrix of adulthood, where childhood indoctrination into mainstream narratives lubricates the way for continual programming of credulous minds with mass media propaganda. All the print, TV and online media they are presented with supports the status quo-supporting agendas of the same plutocratic class that John D Rockefeller dominated all those years ago. This ensures that no matter how bad things get, no matter how severely our spirits are crushed by end-stage metastatic neoliberalism, no matter how many stupid, pointless wars we’re duped into, no matter how much further we are drawn along the path toward extinction via climate chaos or nuclear war, we will never revolt to overthrow our rulers. 
That’s three paragraphs. Our predicament is simple to describe and easy to understand. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to solve. 
... 
The fact of the matter is that a populace will never rise up against its oppressors as long as it is being successfully propagandized not to. It will never, ever happen. The majority will choose the prison cell every time. 
... 
Nothing will ever be done about our predicament as long as powerful people are controlling the stories that the majority of the public believe. This is as true today as it was in John D Rockefeller’s time, which was as true as when Rome chose to spread the “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” submissiveness of Christianity throughout the Empire. The only difference is that now the powerful have a century of post-Bernays propaganda science under their belt, and a whole lot of research and development can happen in a hundred years. ...


and, for an excellent example of the power of propaganda:

The Illusory Truth Effect: How Millions Were Duped By Russiagate. Johnstone. March 26, 2019.
“Mueller Finds No Trump-Russia Conspiracy”, read the front page headline of Sunday’s New York Times. Bit by bit, mainstream American consciousness is slowly coming to terms with the death of the thrilling conspiracy theory that the highest levels of the US government had been infiltrated by the Kremlin, and with the stark reality that the mass media and the Democratic Party spent the last two and-a-half years monopolizing public attention with a narrative which never had any underlying truth to it
There are still holdouts, of course. Many people invested a tremendous amount of hope, credibility, and egoic currency in the belief that Robert Mueller was going to arrest high-ranking Trump administration officials and members of Trump’s own family, leading seedy characters to “flip” on the president in their own self-interest and thereby providing evidence that will lead to impeachment. Some insist that Attorney General William Barr is holding back key elements of the Mueller report, a claim which is premised on the absurd belief that Mueller would allow Barr to lie about the results of the investigation without speaking up publicly. Others are still holding out hope that other investigations by other legal authorities will turn up some Russian shenanigans that Mueller could not, ignoring Mueller’s sweeping subpoena powers and unrivaled investigative authority. But they’re coming around. 
The question still remains, though: what the hell happened? How did a fact-free conspiracy theory come to gain so much traction among mainstream Americans? How were millions of people persuaded to invest hope in a narrative that anyone objectively analyzing the facts knew to be completely false? 
The answer is that they were told that the Russiagate narrative was legitimate over and over again by politicians and mass media pundits, and, because of a peculiar phenomenon in the nature of human cognition, this repetition made it seem true. 
The rather uncreatively-named illusory truth effect describes the way people are more likely to believe something is true after hearing it said many times. This is due to the fact that the familiar feeling we experience when hearing something we’ve heard before feels very similar to our experience of knowing that something is true. When we hear a familiar idea, its familiarity provides us with something called cognitive ease, which is the relaxed, unlabored state we experience when our minds aren’t working hard at something. We also experience cognitive ease when we are presented with a statement that we know to be true. 
We have a tendency to select for cognitive ease, which is why confirmation bias is a thing; believing ideas which don’t cause cognitive strain or dissonance gives us more cognitive ease than doing otherwise. Our evolutionary ancestors adapted to seek out cognitive ease so that they could put their attention into making quick decisions essential for survival, rather than painstakingly mulling over whether everything we believe is as true as we think it is. This was great for not getting eaten by saber-toothed tigers in prehistoric times, but it’s not very helpful when navigating the twists and turns of a cognitively complex modern world. It’s also not helpful when you’re trying to cultivate truthful beliefs while surrounded by screens that are repeating the same bogus talking points over and over again. 
... 
The manipulators understand our psyches better than we understand them ourselves, and they’re getting more clever, not less. The only thing we can do to keep our heads while immersed in a society that is saturated with propaganda is be as relentlessly honest as possible, with ourselves and with the world.


Your Plans For Revolution Don’t Work. Nothing We’ve Tried Works. Johnstone. March 28, 2019.
All the old ideas for uprooting the status quo have failed. I point this out not to depress people, but to persuade them to stop twisting on locked doorknobs. The old ideas don’t work, so we need new ones. 
The political process has failed. Capitalism has failed. Socialism has failed. 
Libertarianism has failed. Marx has failed. Populism has failed. Anarchism has failed. I say this not because of any glaring flaws in any of those ideas (in theory any of them could potentially work in an alternate universe), but because we are hurtling towards extinction in the fairly near future, and none of them have saved us
“But Caitlin!” you may object. “My particular favorite ideology would have saved us long ago if only everyone had gotten on board with it!” 
Okay. But they didn’t. And now we’re on the brink of armageddon. That means it has failed. It doesn’t work. 
We are well on our way to extinction via climate collapse or nuclear holocaust, and even if we miss those by some miracle we are headed toward an artificial intelligence-led tech dystopia in which our consciousness is permanently enslaved by a propaganda network that is far too advanced for there to be any hope of escaping into truth. 
We are witnessing a mass extinction the likes of which we haven’t seen since the end of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, with some 200 species going extinct forever every single day. The very ecosystemic context in which we evolved is vanishing underneath us. More than half the world’s wildlife has vanished in forty years, and the worldwide insect population has plummeted by as much as 90 percent. Fertile soil is vanishing, and so are forests. The oceans are choking to death, 90 percent of global fish stocks are either fully fished or overfished, the seas are full of microplastics, and phytoplankton, an indispensable foundation of earth’s food chain, have been killed off by 40 percent since 1950. Science keeps pouring in showing that global warming is occurring faster than previously predicted, and there are self-reinforcing warming effects called “feedback loops” which, once set off, can continue warming the atmosphere further and further regardless of human behavior, causing more feedback loops. 
Our ecosystem is very fragile and rapidly fading, and the difference between the ability to survive without it and our current scientific capability is the difference between flying and jumping. Which won’t matter if one of the many small, unpredictable moving parts in the steadily escalating new cold war with Russia results in a nuclear weapon being deployed as a result of misunderstanding or miscommunication and sparking off the annihilation of every organism on earth, as nearly happened during the last cold war on more than one occasion
This is where the status quo has gotten us. All attempts to overthrow it have failed. The time is up, and the results are in. 
The political process doesn’t work. 
I say this not because the political process can’t work, due to some technical failure in the way it has been applied. I say this because it doesn’t work, as evidenced by the fact that we’re on the cusp of the apocalypse with no signs of steering clear of it. Attempts to uproot the status quo via political engagement and voting does not work. 
“But Caitlin!” you may object. “The only reason the political process doesn’t work is because it has been hijacked by corrupt powers with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo! If we can extract those corrupt powers, we can make the political process work!” 
Okay. But you didn’t. You were unable to extract the corrupt powers, and now we’re on the brink of extinction. Your strategy has failed. 
Capitalism doesn’t work.
... 
Socialism doesn't work. 
... 
Libertarianism doesn't work. 
... 
The reality is that as long as powerful people control the dominant public narratives, no ground will be gained in steering our species away from the status quo trajectory that’s killing us, because you won’t be able to awaken mainstream consciousness to what’s going on. The only thing that has any hope of prying the oligarchic hands off the steering wheel is the mainstream public seeing what they’re doing and using the power of their numbers to force drastic change in a wildly different direction. If we can’t make that happen, we’re all just banging on locked doors while the curtain closes on humanity.


Sin is a made-up religious marketing scheme. Johnstone. April 3, 2019.
... 
The popular acceptance of the concept of sin is a consequence of the way we are psychologically hardwired and the way that that wiring has been manipulated, and you see that same wiring fiddled with in similar ways in many other areas. The way centrists browbeat leftists for not falling in line with Hillary Clinton in the lead-up to the 2016 US elections, for example, often looked barely distinguishable from a gaggle of church ladies abusing one of their sisters for wanting to leave the church or get a divorce. Instead of the promise of hell it was the promise of Donald Trump ending the world, and instead of sin being disobedience to God it was disobedience to the mainstream liberal orthodoxy. But the same kind of shaming, manipulation and groupthink herd bullying was present in both cases. The notion of personal sovereign responsibility was violently rejected as anathema by the Church of the Blue Donkey. 
Sin is a tool of social manipulation just like advertising, and just like propaganda. Religion, advertising and propaganda all pull the same psychological strings. Since as far back as recorded history stretches, those with wealth and power have been using whatever tools they have at their disposal to control the ways people think and behave. When religion held more psychological weight, they used that to justify book burnings, heretic burnings, and the destruction of anything that challenged the ruling order. Now that humanity is vomiting up the plague of religion from its DNA, propaganda and advertising are taking its place.


The Revolution Has No Hollywood Ending. Johnstone. March 11, 2019.
After struggling against our own self-destructive tendencies throughout the entirety of recorded history, humanity is now at a point where that struggle is probably going to be resolved, one way or another, within the lifetime of most people reading this.
The movie about this struggle has been written with one of two possible endings. In the first, we are unable to overcome our self-destructive tendencies, and the last of our species dies by radiation poisoning or choking on the dust of an uninhabitable planet. In the second, we evolve beyond our self-destructive tendencies and move into a healthy relationship with our minds, our ecosystem, and each other. 
Neither of these two endings would work in a Hollywood blockbuster. In the first, humanity dies off not with a bang but with a whimper as a result of nuclear fallout or climate collapse. In the second, conflict and drama as we know it will cease to exist as we pull up and away from the self-destructive patterns which brought us to this point. We’ll either keep along this same destructive trajectory and meet its inevitable end very soon, or we’ll deviate from that trajectory into something wildly different. In either case, there is no kissing the girl while the credits roll, no coolly striding away from the explosion, and no spin-kicking the bad guy off a cliff into lava after uttering a short, memorable line. 
I say this because it seems like a lot of people are kind of hoping for a Hollywood ending in some way. People are hoping that Donald Trump gets arrested for conspiring with Russia and dragged off in chains and everything goes back to normal. People are hoping that President Trump drains the swamp, locks up Hillary Clinton, arrests most of Capitol Hill for child molestation, and destroys the Deep State. People are hoping there’s a violent revolution which restores individual sovereignty to the citizenry. People are hoping there’s a peaceful people’s revolution which ousts the ruling class and replaces the status quo with whatever their personal favored strain of leftism is. Everyone’s subconsciously looking for some big, momentous climax where the Good Guys are vindicated and the Bad Guys are brought to justice. 
And it just isn’t going to go down like that.
....


Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Don't be a fool

Asteroid to hit Earth in August 2046 - Emergency IPCC UN panel formed. Skeptical Science. April 1, 2019.

Scientists have today revealed that thanks to new radar imaging system, a 20 km-wide asteroid is on a probable collision course with earth and they calculate it has an 85% probability of striking the planet between 23-25 August, 2046. Observers from centers in Chile to Finland have confirmed the observations and are urging governments worldwide to begin efforts to avoid a global catastrophe. The plan is to mobilize industry and research together into an effort to deflect the asteroid before a collision. Briefed earlier in special meetings, the UN has formed an Intergovernmental Panel on Cosmic Catastrophe (IPCC), to consider options and advise governments. The asteroid is of a similar size to that associated with the dinosaur extinction.


Cartoon by John Cook, https://crankyuncles.com/

The plan however has immediately run into opposition from dozens of retired scientists and bloggers.

“This is just alarmist talk based in computer models. So far there is no solution to the 3-body problem in gravity and this is clearly a much more complicated N-body problem. The system is chaotic and tiny errors in measurement will blow the computer models away” said Prof Al Kaos. He dismissed the accuracy with which solar orbits are determined and navigation of planetary rockets. “The dirty secret is that they are making course corrections all the time. Tell me how Hyperion will look next year before telling me where an asteroid will be in 2046”. Scientists acknowledged some uncertainty but have stuck to their probability estimate.

Uncertainty is always our friend

“There is just so much uncertainty” said Emeritus Prof J Spicey. “Orbital measurements are complex. Telescopes need constant correction and disputes about celestial codes are famous. The critical inclination problem is still not solved and if the public were aware of the controversies concerning analytical and numerical approaches they would be far less likely to spend money on these alarmist proposals.” Blogger, A Wotts, cried FRAUD! "The scientists would make you believe that they have directly observed the asteroid and have simply applied newtonian physics. In fact, the observations have been ‘corrected’ for atmospheric refraction, telescope optics and more recently the expected track was "adjusted" for the influence of Jupiter and Saturn. Just look at the raw data - the asteroid misses by thousands of miles! They are just fiddling the data to push a global liberal agenda."

“All this alarmism depends on gravity” said Dr Richer Limpian “Fundamental to this, is the value of the gravitational constant and there is no resolution to determining its value yet” he said citing https://physicsworld.com/a/gravitational-constant-mystery-deepens-with-new-precision-measurements/ “I don’t think we should be wasting money on these hair-brained schemes until at least this has been sorted out.

Meanwhile the Flat earth society has vigorously campaigned for the disbandment of the IPCC. “All this poppy-cock is based on a fundamentally flawed cosmic model. Once you realize that all those telescopes are mounted on a flat earth, their calculated impact disappears” claimed their spokeswoman. She also expressed her frustration at getting Flat Earth papers published in regular journals. “It’s pal-review and they just throw out anything that would interrupt their nice gravy train”.
It's not bad

Other interests have claimed that a 20 km asteroid wasn’t that bad. “Sure it would be tough on those where it landed, but you know, the earth is mostly ocean and so it will likely just cause a big splash somewhere. Only 0.00001% of earth's area will be directly hit. The suggested IPCC approach and its expense is out of all proportion to the danger. Asteroid impacts are a natural process. Without them we would still be fighting for space with dinosaurs.” Similar sentiments were echoed by Emeritus Prof Hopper who expressed dismay at what he terms "a smear on innocuous orbital bodies akin to attacks on the poor Jews by Hitler." Elaborating, Hopper asserted that "Earth is made of the same materials and without these we could not survive. This asteroid will only add a tiny fraction of additional life-sustaining mass to our home planet and should be welcomed, not feared."

It's too hard

The projected cost of solutions has sparked outrage among some business leaders. “Who is going to pay for all this? Taxpayers that’s who, and businesses who have enough problems without worrying about events in 2046. When we have a strong economy again, then we would support some extra money going into trying to refine the probability of impact but now isn’t the time”. When it was pointed out that time was short, the spokesperson angrily decried the proposals saying it was just government support for select industry sectors like rocketry at the expense of traditional industry. “Besides, there is no real consensus. In an open democracy, more weight should be given to contrarian views like the flat earth people. While I have always thought the earth was round, they do have some good points to make”.

Meanwhile, several prominent scientists including a nobel laureate biologist have noted that no technology was yet available to deflect the asteroid and “since when has spending time and money trying to solve problems ever achieved anything. We would be better off digging some deep caves”.

The usual suspects

President Trump tweeted that the "idea" of an asteroid "was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive." Speaking to reporters from a putting green at Mar-a-Lago, he said “I think we can be pretty sure it won't hit America, you know, it'll probably be someplace we're better off without—the moon? Kenya? I don't know, I'm not a scientist, but if I were, I wouldn't be saying these crazy things.” Meanwhile, a GOP spokeperson questioned whether it was appropriate for the U.S. government to contribute heavily to a rocket programme when scientists still couldn’t say whether the asteroid would hit the United States. "They can't even be sure it will hit Earth at all."

Dr. Sherfire Idiom, retired, pointed to a new scientific paper suggesting that a large asteroid by itself may have been insufficient to kill the dinosaurs. "Life is resilient, it finds a way. The evidence now shows that a giant asteroid is not an extinction-level event unless there's a combination of factors, such as major climate change, happening at the same time." There was no cause for alarm, he added, "because climate change is a hoax too."

School children went on strike today in support of the IPCC noting that their generation would be the ones dealing with a strike larger than one that possibly ended the dinosaurs.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Concerning Humanity's Future

Concerning Humanity’s Future: Interview with Nick Humphrey, Climatologist and Geoscientist.
Collapse of Industrial Civilization.
March 30, 2019.


NOAA image of the “bomb cyclone” that struck the Midwest earlier this month, triggering flooding in three states and taking the lives of humans and livestock. The National Weather Service described it as “incredible” and a “Great Plains cyclone of historic proportions.”

I first discovered the writings of Meteorologist/geoscientist Nick Humphrey with his brutally honest essay The Conversation No One Knows How To Have and since then have followed his posts and comments. He has been featured or quoted in a number of publications such as Mother Jones, New York Times, Washington Post, and Science Alert. Few scientists will publicly tell you how dire things are, but Nick Humphrey is not one to shy away from the truth. What follows is a Q&A interview I held with him on a variety of questions concerning humanity’s future.

ML: Can you give us a brief summary of your background and why you became interested in studying the detrimental effects of climate change?

NH: My background is in meteorology, geosciences and interdisciplinary studies. I have a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from South Dakota State University. I completed a Master of Science in Geosciences with a concentration in Applied Meteorology from Mississippi State University in 2016. My education and research studies have been in the societal impacts of weather/climate, natural hazards, and advanced forecasting techniques. I also have a background in global climatology. I did undergraduate research into human decision-making in response to tornado warnings and graduate research in tropical cyclone impacts.

I have been following news and research into climate change for about the past decade. However, I became more intensive in my personal research as a result of an apparent acceleration in climate impacts in the past 4-5 yrs. My study took me to look into the research of scientists such as Dr. Natalia Shakhova, Dr. James White, Dr. Peter Wadhams, Dr. James Lovelock, and Paul Beckwith. I also looked into the interdisciplinary connections between ecological and environmental variables by Dr. Guy McPherson.

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ML: What is the most disturbing aspect of anthropogenic global warming that you are seeing today and what are its implications for the future?

NH: To me, the most disturbing aspect is the destruction of ice on the planet. It is commonly discussed among climate scientists that the planet has a high “inertia”. This means in natural climate change, there is typically a significant lag between what is happening in the atmosphere (rise in greenhouse emissions) and climate response (warming of the planet), forcing a more gradual temperature rise.

There are two very important components of Earth’s inertia.
1) Water (which can gain/lose a huge amount of heat with a gradual temperature change) and 2) Ice.
Ice, in my view, is the biggest climate regulator because it can do two things:
1) In the process of melting and freezing, heat is latent or “hidden”. Meaning it does not contribute to temperature, but to melting (heat gain) or freezing (heat loss) of ice.
2) Ice is white, so as a result, it is a high reflector of visible light, preventing absorption of heat at the surface. So it has a double impact. As the planet loses ice because of warming temperatures, there is less total ice to melt and more heat goes into warming the oceans, land and atmosphere. It takes nearly 80 times more heat to melt ice than to warm the same amount of liquid water by 1 degree C/1.8 degrees F. The less ice there is, the lower the planetary albedo, resulting in more heat entering the climate system, creating a feedback loop to destroy ice faster and accelerating planetary heating. The loss of sea ice in the Arctic is a planetary catastrophe.


Trends in sea ice thickness are another important indicator of Arctic climate change. While sea ice thickness observations are sparse, here we utilize the ocean and sea ice model, PIOMAS (Zhang and Rothrock, 2003), to visualize mean sea ice thickness from 1979 to 2019. Updated through February 2019. https://sites.uci.edu/zlabe/arctic-sea-ice-volumethickness/


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ML: With the environmental damage that has already been put into the pipeline, modern organized human society may not survive this century and we are already seeing signs of this with the destruction caused by recent extreme weather events. The city of Beira in Mozambique, recently hit by Cyclone Idai, is said to be “the first city to be completely devastated by climate change.” Do you think it’s possible to transition to a net-zero carbon emission civilization within a brief period? Would this not require a radical reconfiguration of every sector of our economy and the way in which we treat each other and the environment?

NH: In short, no, I do not think it is possible to transition to a net-zero carbon emission civilization within a decade. The idea itself is simply absurd because it would require basically returning to a pre-industrial society with none of the benefits which came from building the society provided by fossil fuels. There are some economists and environmentalists who believe you can have “green growth” but such growth leads to further environmental destruction as population and energy demands continue to grow exponentially. In order to go to a net-zero carbon civilization, you must first, ironically, increase carbon usage. More building of solar panels around the world, more building of wind farms, more building of electric cars, more concrete, more metal manufacturing, more highly polluting mining, not only of the land, but more rare Earth metals will be needed from the seas, harming ecosystems and polluting the oceans. Meanwhile, none of this stops climate change because, as you mention, there is already much damage in the pipeline.

At 500 parts per million of equivalent carbon dioxide concentration, enough greenhouse gases are currently in the atmosphere to ultimately warm the planet 4-5 degrees C/7-9 F above 1700s temperatures, raise the sea level by 220 feet/67 meters (assuming 1 ppm CO2 equivalent = 1 ft sea level rise, based on past longer-term paleoclimate change response), remove significant amounts of soil moisture, leading to the destruction of agriculture. And this is without any other carbon releases or feedbacks. Building more in an attempt to maintain civilized society with high energy consumption makes this all worse.

~~~~~~~~~~~

ML: There are around 454 nuclear reactors around the world with several dozen more currently under construction. At least 100 U.S., European and Asian nuclear power stations are built just a few meters above sea level. With accelerated sea level rise and stronger storms on the horizon, we should be planning right now to decommission and close down these future nuclear disasters. What is your stance on nuclear energy?

NH: Nuclear reactions themselves are an effective way to produce energy. The problem is that, like any form of energy, it requires energy to produce it and leaves waste products. Fossil fuels are needed to build the nuclear reactors (especially all the concrete), water is needed to keep the reactors fuel rods cool, and nuclear waste results from the use of the reactors which must be stored safely for thousands of years. It requires civilization to function for thousands of more years to keep it functional and safe or alternatively decades to properly decommission them. Given sea level rise is accelerating with a doubling of approximately 7-10 years (possibly causing a meter of sea level rise as early as the 2040s-2050s, faster in some regions like the US East Coast), I do not believe we should building more nuclear reactors and should decommission all others as quickly as possible to save what remains of the natural world from devastating impacts of nuclear failures if civilization collapses and humans are unable to care for those sites.

I make note, it is not only nuclear power stations on coastal areas which are of concern. Stations located along rivers are at risk as well…from increasingly larger floods, drying rivers which are used for cooling, and warming rivers which do not bring in cool enough water to keep the reactors cool. These events are already happening.

~~~~~~~~~~~

ML: What do you think about geoengineering schemes by scientists to dim the sun in order to reduce global warming and buy humanity more time to “fix” the problem? Proposed technology that could pull CO2 out of the atmosphere at the scale required is generally considered a pipe dream. At what point do you think our civilization will lose faith in technology to solve all our problems?

NH: Geoengineering schemes, to me, are equivalent to using a small band-aid for a large stab wound. It is and will be completely overwhelmed by what is happening. Spraying aerosols over the Arctic to try to cool the Arctic with increased summer cloud formation doesn’t solve the fact that there is 500 ppm of equivalent carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere which cannot be removed with the speed and scale required. You are not dealing with regions where the geoengineering is being done in closed systems. You cool one area, other areas will respond by warming further. You cool one region, atmospheric and ocean circulations will develop and intensify to transport heat to the cooling area to try to equalize the temperature imbalance. Direct ocean heating from below the ice will make it difficult to grow thick ice and not allow ice to reform in the polar night. These heat balances have always existed of course, but it was still cool enough to allow significant ice to exist in the Arctic. The atmosphere is now too altered to allow widespread sea ice to exist in the near future and geoengineering doesn’t prevent this or even delay it in a meaningful way.

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ML: In the recent extreme flooding in the U.S. Midwest, farmers suffered devastating losses with similar food shocks on the rise around the world. How do you see the world feeding itself in such an uncertain future, especially when industrial monoculture is actually increasing worldwide?

NH: In short, I do not see a way for humans to feed themselves in an organized manner. Using the worse-case estimate for warming since pre-industrial times, the planet’s land air and sea surface has averaged around +1.2 C relative to pre-industrial the past 5 years with a peak of +1.4 C in 2016. The Northern Hemisphere land masses (where most of the food on the planet is grown) are quickly approaching +2 C. And we are already seeing the impacts of both extreme heat and extreme precipitation events on crops which depend on stability at mild temperatures and an expected range of moisture. This will only worsen and in between +1.5-2 C, we will conservatively see a reduction of US crop yields by between 30-46% of recent levels. By +4 C, that falls to 63-82% as aridification —droughts which are never-ending— dominate the Great Plains/Midwest and California Central Valley with very extreme summer heat and occasional intense rainfall as well as destructive flood events, exacerbating soil erosion.

We are entering a range of weather conditions not supportive of agriculture. And not simply monoculture. All agriculture. Even other ways of doing Ag require stable weather conditions, seasonality, soils and ability to conduct economic activity between peoples. None of this will be possible in these conditions. And that assumes the ecosystems which support agriculture also remain stable and available and that is not likely given the ongoing global extinction of insects.


NASA Before/after imagery of flooding near Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska.
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ML: Many mainstream scientists feel that to “work within” the system, they have to use language that politicians and economists can understand in order to maintain credibility, i.e. the “value of ecosystem services”. Attempting to place a monetary value on every aspect of nature while externalizing the environmental cost of pollution is a major flaw of our economic system. Inaction by governments and corporations on climate change may have already condemned a large percentage of the global population to a premature death. Do you think ecocide should be an international crime?

NH: If ecocide were an international crime, we would all be guilty in some way. Obviously, I do not believe all humans are *equal* in terms of blame. A person living in the US is a far far larger consumer of energy with a bigger carbon footprint than a person in say, Kenya or Indonesia. And of course, the developing world receives cheap products (coal, plastics, etc) from the developed world. However, while greenhouse gas pollution is significant from countries such as the US and China, plastic pollution is significant *everywhere*. Mining pollution is significant everywhere. Deforestation either is or has been in the past significant from Canada to Europe, increasing in the Amazon, the continent of Africa, etc. Water is nearing depletion on the Great Plains, parts of Europe, Australia and falling quickly in the Amazon. We’ve required more energy on this planet for all the technologies which many would consider have enhanced human life and existence on this planet…improved infrastructure, medicines, monoculture farming which did allow for much higher and resilient production of crops, etc. But all of those “improvements” to the human condition come at a cost and that cost is the destruction of the natural world, and ultimately ourselves.

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ML: I understand wealthy countries have much larger carbon footprints per capita than the rest of the world due to our unsustainable consumption patterns, but the other much overlooked factor is overpopulation. We are adding roughly 90 million more people onto the planet per year, many of whom are striving to attain a similar western standard of living. Is there any ethical way to control population growth or will nature be the final arbiter? What do you think is the maximum carrying capacity for the Earth’s human population?

NH: Overpopulation is a major problem and factor in the mass extinction ongoing on the planet. However, given the scales required to fix the problem, I do not see a way to fix it which would fix the damage already done to the planet within the timeframes necessary. The only *ethical* means to control overpopulation is to educate a free population (in particular, women must have reproductive freedom) on the benefits to humans by improving the natural world. Laws will fail because it is ultimately an issue of personal physical sovereignty and humans will always fight for personal sovereignty over their bodies as it relates to sex and reproduction vs. govt interference. China’s one-child policy had a lot of unintended consequences. There are other ways to try to “control” but ultimately, what would really be needed is population decline. Given humans are a relatively large land mammal, in order for Earth to have kept ecosystem stability, the human population would have to have stayed in the millions, spread thinly across hospitable regions of the planet as hunter-gatherers. The population of hunter-gatherer/early agricultural humans in the Early Holocene (10-12,000 years ago) is estimated at 1-10 million.

Ultimately, nature appears to be “loading the gun” to make it difficult for the human population to grow much longer; and really, it will crash. The 6th mass extinction is underway and humans will be a part of this given we are at the top of the food web.

~~~~~~~~~~~

ML: Who, living today, serves as a role model and inspiration for you and in what way? Do you follow any particular philosophy in your life?

NH: I’d say one role model of mine is my father. He died in January 2017 after a battle with cancer. He spurred my interest in science as a child and was one who always strongly emphasized the importance of finding the truth, no matter how difficult it was or the barriers that happened to be in the way. Another is Dr. Albert Einstein, who had many personal flaws, but wanted to use science to improve society and found its uses for killing and destruction of life abhorrent. He spoke the truth even when it marginalized him. Also Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson, who works hard to communicate complex topics in a way that can be understood and appreciated by the average person.

My only philosophy in life is to live my life to the fullest, given the incredible changes underway, and bring truthful information to people who can see what’s happening and want to know “why?”. I’m an interdisciplinarian and work to bring a more comprehensive understanding of the predicament we face to anyone willing to listen.

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ML: What do you think of the Dark Mountain Project whose members have “stopped believing in the stories our civilization tells itself”? What new stories should we be telling ourselves in this age of ecological catastrophe and extreme economic inequality?

NH: I’m not familiar with the Dark Mountain Project; however to answer the questions, I think we should stop telling stories about how grand our civilization is and celebrating its attempts to dominate nature and impose fake human superiority. Civilization, which served the purpose of insulating humans from the dangers Nature posed, has destroyed Nature at the expense of its own growth. This was true long before the development of the modern fossil-fueled world. In order to be sedentary and not be dependent upon the local forces of Nature, we needed to build towns and cities. This requires destroying forests, damming rivers, taking over land with agriculture we would control the growth and development of. This means other species, who could not stop us, lost territory. Each improvement in protecting ourselves from Nature meant more population growth, more resource needs, more energy, which in turn meant more destruction and more attempts at control. Humanity, as a hunter-gatherer species, meant our growth was dependent upon what we could find for food and water within the bounds of the climate. Our ability to enclose and mass manipulate our environment and resources meant we could grow beyond our resources and, in the process, mass pollute the world. Civilization has been an 8,000 year attempt to win a war against Nature. A war we are losing because Nature —following the laws which have governed the Universe for 14 billion years— always wins.

Nature is in control, not humans. Even our current catastrophes which were sparked by humanity’s activities were ultimately governed by the laws of Nature (physics, thermodynamics, chemistry, etc). We never were separate from it all, but a part of it. We should be telling ourselves to do what we feel is right to respect Nature and its unbreakable laws, accepting our place in the Universe as just one of many species which have a finite existence on this planet.

Nick Humphrey’s blog can be found here: https://www.patreon.com/MeteorologistNickHumphrey

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Nick Humphrey: The Conversation No One Knows How to Have

The Conversation No One Knows How To Have. Nick Humphrey. March 26, 2019.
--------------

Interesting to see how abrupt climate change is entering the common discussion without being called what it is.

Today, my fiance and one of my son's teachers were discussing the flooding disaster here in Nebraska. One of them were talking about how bad it was and that people outside of Nebraska and Iowa just do not understand the significance of the damage to food and agriculture that had occurred from the flooding.

This seems to be true. And it may be even non-farmers living in this region do not fully appreciate how bad it is (although it's easier to pay attention and know someone who does). But this sh*t is bad. From the mass destruction of infrastructure and private equipment to the losses of grains both stored from last year sitting out and spoiling in polluted water and more rain. And parts of the region may see more snow and rain Friday-Saturday. But the inability to plant this year as well...eroded soils, polluted soils, soil covered in sand from rivers. In many cases, because of melting of the previously frozen soil with the mass melting and runoff, has now turned to muddy mush. And this is literally one part of the world. Let's not forget all the recent and current disastersimpacting our world.

People who say that "this has happened before" because water happened to rise over the bank of a river which flooded before anger me. "The climate is always changing" others say. "We don't know whether this is climate change".

There's denial...blaming our increasingly energetic, steroid-juiced destabilizing climate with more and more explosive extremes on "poor infrastructure" or "building in the wrong places" or "variability"...and then there's simply the equivalent of looking at a terminally ill patient straight in the eye and telling them to get over it, take some meds and walk it off. It's to the point of like..."what??" When we call the variability of a cataclysmic sh*tshow right before our very eyes killing our fellow peoples and species normal, we've gone from denial and bargaining to plain absurdity in the face of the climate and ecological destruction monsters we have released.



I'm literally watching the Arctic "roast" itself in temperatures more than 20 C/36 F above normal across vast areas, bringing sea ice to the brink of "extinction" within years (not decades) and no one cares. A destroyed Arctic air mass and sea ice will mean basically unstoppable rapid global warming on timescales meaningful for humans and other species on this planet. Killer heat waves, hurricanes with intensities that shake your bones, rain "bombs" which destroy livelihoods. Freely available info on public government sites. Anyone care?

Perhaps such things shouldn't bother me as I cannot control other feelings and beliefs. Controlling and trying to convince everyone is not my "thing". I'm a scientist and presenter of info, it's your job to be open to accepting it and studying it for yourself. But when we actually get to the point where so-called "fake news" becomes part of the psyche simply terrified of the news...that a civilization and biosphere are facing catastrophic to existential dangers..."everything's fine", "this is hardly new", "this has happened before"...then I know that we as a species are on the brink of implosion from our inability to deal with the extreme changes underway. Not that we could deal with them anyways. Physical laws on the books for 14 billion years are commanding authority over us and our planet. But, being a sentient species who know these laws exist, we could choose to deal with our likely downfall in ways humane to each other and compassionate to other species. But we simply aren't.

We live in an ocean of air, with dependence upon an ocean of water. Scientists say, we are forcing the climate system to retain the equivalent of 4 Hiroshima bombs worth of energy every second.  But why use Hiroshima, and not the biggest bomb ever detonated by humanity, the Tsar Bomba. Tsar Bomba, tested by the USSR, released 50 megatons of energy. The Earth is forced to retain 104 Tsar Bombas worth of solar heat energy every day. Equivalent to 5200 megatons of TNT or nearly 22 exajoules of heat (22 followed by 18 zeros).

However, instead of 104 actual titanic bombs going off, the extra heat retained from our thermonuclear furnace 93 million miles away is distributed across our planet. 93% in the oceans. So we have instead...the accelerating destruction of 1) ice across the planet, 2) the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets, 3) the Arctic air mass keeping this planet cool, 3) permafrost from land, shallow Arctic seas and alpine zones which will release far far more methane and carbon dioxide to retain more heat, 4) collapsing jet stream and ocean overturning circulations, 5) extreme precipitation events turning agricultural lands into inland seas, 6) blizzards followed by abrupt melting of snow, 6) more violent cyclones, 7) greater heat waves causing wildlife to fall out of trees and the sky or roast coral in the oceans, 8) forests burning to the ground with apocalyptical ferocity or just standing dead, gutted by beetles, ready to burn and release more carbon.

Oh and there's the 6th mass extinction underway, including of insects.

We are slowly "nuking" our world and we cannot even talk about it amongst ourselves in a realistic manner.

What I know is that things have reached the point on this planet where denial by a rational mind is impossible. Transport someone directly from 1950 to 2018 with no opportunity to normalize what's happening around them and the world will seem alien to them already, beyond the technology. And frightening. We scientists look at these numbers, these temperature graphs, these ice losses, the "superstorms", and the resulting fires, extinctions, etc with an almost grotesque sense of amazement, curiosity and shock. But these events actually mean something. They mean the destruction of the things civilization and human life depend on; we forget how much we've demanded of the natural world to have our industrialized food, cities and fancy tech, including what I'm using to write this article; resources we have abused insanely, with sacrifices only to be forgotten or thrown away (literally) as an afterthought; the death of species we've abused and whom had no part in their own demise; the reshaping and scarring of the landscape...and of course, the weather juiced up on the steroids of so much...heat.

When one raging cyclone can ravage entire islands, leaving them uninhabitable...others which can turn land into a deep "brown ocean", another can devastate the agricultural activity of a superpower...we know we are facing something...while ignited and exacerbated by humanity...is now well beyond the power of humanity to control. Heat and water...once the thing humans were in search for in a world of widespread continental glaciation, are now becoming our terrifying enemies toward our existence on this planet.

I do not write this to give hope or give solutions or some magic pill which will make it all better. I write so that maybe a few more people on this planet will realistically digest the realities, grieve over them, show better respect for Earth and fellow humans in any way they feel is possible for them. Be compassionate, show humility and understand just how small and powerless we really are. And there's nothing wrong with that. We are only one puzzle piece in a grand Universe that will continue long after we are gone.

---Meteorologist Nick Humphrey

Friday, March 29, 2019

Climate Links March 2019 #2

State of Ontario's climate policy is 'frightening,' watchdog says. CTV News. March 27, 2019.
Diane Saxe: "If the world can't hold together on the Paris Agreement we are toasted, roasted and grilled."

Your plans for revolution don't work. Nothing we've tried works. Caitlin Johnstone. Mar 28, 2019.
We are well on our way to extinction via climate collapse or nuclear holocaust, and even if we miss those by some miracle we are headed toward an artificial intelligence-led tech dystopia in which our consciousness is permanently enslaved by a propaganda network that is far too advanced for there to be any hope of escaping into truth. 
We are witnessing a mass extinction the likes of which we haven’t seen since the end of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, with some 200 species going extinct forever every single day. The very ecosystemic context in which we evolved is vanishing underneath us. More than half the world’s wildlife has vanished in forty years, and the worldwide insect population has plummeted by as much as 90 percent. Fertile soil is vanishing, and so are forests. The oceans are choking to death, 90 percent of global fish stocks are either fully fished or overfished, the seas are full of microplastics, and phytoplankton, an indispensable foundation of earth’s food chain, have been killed off by 40 percent since 1950. Science keeps pouring in showing that global warming is occurring faster than previously predicted, and there are self-reinforcing warming effects called “feedback loops” which, once set off, can continue warming the atmosphere further and further regardless of human behavior, causing more feedback loops. 
Our ecosystem is very fragile and rapidly fading, and the difference between the ability to survive without it and our current scientific capability is the difference between flying and jumping. Which won’t matter if one of the many small, unpredictable moving parts in the steadily escalating new cold war with Russia results in a nuclear weapon being deployed as a result of misunderstanding or miscommunication and sparking off the annihilation of every organism on earth, as nearly happened during the last cold war on more than one occasion
This is where the status quo has gotten us. All attempts to overthrow it have failed. The time is up, and the results are in. 
The political process doesn’t work.
... 
The reality is that as long as powerful people control the dominant public narratives, no ground will be gained in steering our species away from the status quo trajectory that’s killing us, because you won’t be able to awaken mainstream consciousness to what’s going on. The only thing that has any hope of prying the oligarchic hands off the steering wheel is the mainstream public seeing what they’re doing and using the power of their numbers to force drastic change in a wildly different direction. If we can’t make that happen, we’re all just banging on locked doors while the curtain closes on humanity.

Here's a running list of all the ways climate change has altered Earth in 2019. Mark Kaufman, mashable. Mar. 16, 2019.

Study shows IPCC is underselling climate change. University of Adelaide, phys.org. Mar. 19, 2019.
A new study has revealed that the language used by the global climate change watchdog, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is overly conservative – and therefore the threats are much greater than the Panel's reports suggest.

3-5°C temperature rise is now ‘locked-in’ for the Arctic. UN Environment. March 13, 2019.
  • Even if Paris Agreement goals met, Arctic winter temperatures will increase 3-5°C by 2050 compared to 1986-2005 levels.
  • Thawing permafrost could wake ‘sleeping giant’ of more greenhouse gases, potentially derailing global climate goals.
  • Ocean acidification and pollution also posing major threats to Arctic



Arctic Warming Locked In. Survival Acres. March 15, 2019.
here’s what the article DOESN’T tell you: 
This is the death of the planetary biosphere, i.e., “extinction of most life forms, including humans”.Warming of this magnitude in the Arctic means MORE then this warming in the rest of the world where nearly everyone else actually lives. As I’ve often explained, we starve first as food crops fail. There will be no escaping this fact. And this level of warming means a massive “carbon bomb” is released into the atmosphere and will be virtually unstoppable. 
Greenland and Antarctica will also contribute to massive sea level rise, inundating the coastlines worldwide, triggering a widespread refugee crisis. The article plays this down, but it’s a fact. Moreover, the article pretends to portray the “possibility” of meeting the Paris Agreements (a fabricated lie), and that “the impacts globally would also be huge”. No – they will be absolutely catastrophic, a extinction level event. 
This is yet another example of totally failing to report the actual facts (impacts) on what it’s going to mean for the world environment and human survival to lose the Arctic. This “soft approach” may appease editors and publications, but it’s definitely worse then disingenuous now, it’s downright genocidal. 
Predictably, they’re not going to bother and try to tell people what to do, because they have no idea.

Proposal for U.N. to study climate-cooling technologies rejected. Laurie Goering, Reuters, Mar. 14, 2019.
A push to launch a high-level study of potentially risky technological fixes to curb climate change was abandoned on Thursday at a U.N. environmental conference in Nairobi, as countries including the United States raised objections.

New Climate Change Visualization Presents Two Stark Choices For Our Future. Brian Kahn, Earther. Mar. 20, 2019.