Dec 302015
 

Everybody with a television should know by now about the historic flooding occurring in the Midwest. Pretty normal, right?

No, not really. In fact, it’s really abnormal. Here’s why:

a) There has been no spring rains;

b) There has been no snow melt that occurs with the usual flooding of rivers;

c) It’s December. Absolutely not Spring or the “rainy season”.

d) All that water came down in just 4 days – from just 1 storm.

e) And in case you missed it – it’s raining at the North Pole. Also in December. Also historic. Much of England is (still) drowning too. And that is a situation that won’t be going away – UK’s Extreme Storms Are Here To Stay.

Looks like England is going to be on the top of the list for climate refugees – who would have thought? Actually, climate scientists realized this several years ago, but the general public didn’t believe it. A modern advanced country? Well, why not? They’re right in the middle of some of the worst weather we’ve seen dished out yet. And it’s going to get worse.

Jennifer Francis has shared with the world the facts: the Jet Stream is now severely disrupted. This means that any location on the planet can and probably will receive extreme weather. For months I’ve done a bit of documentation on these events, but to be honest, there are so many of these now that it would take a full-time dedicated effort to record them all.

Sorry – no can do. I have a life, somewhere around here… what I’ve shared should be enough to convince the naysayers or at least keep the rest of the sane humanity mildly alarmed. Time to get busy people… you will need to start working on your migration / adaption / endurance / family / business / life strategies. Climate change will NOT be a ‘spectator sport’ that any of us get to sit and watch from the sidelines. It will be a matter of life and death as the weeks, months and years ahead unfold.

Dec 292015
 

No mention of deep water ports being lost to rising sea levels in this article – Who pays the enormous cost of moving all our stuff?

But you will read a happy note:

“Not anything within a year or two, but within a decade or so we could see very interesting stuff,” says Rodrigue. “A lot of vehicles will be self-driving, dropping stuff automatically at some specific, pre-set points, and the loading and unloading will be somehow automated, and people will just need to pick up their stuff.” The reduced energy costs of automated vehicles and optimized routing and deliveries could mean we’ll need fewer energy-sucking vehicles on the road to get all the stuff we need.

This is the typical disconnect from reality that passes for news these days and a point that I’m going to keep bringing up. You. Are. Being. Lied. To. By. The. Media.

If we assume that climate change does not wreck absolute havoc upon sea shipping, does not devastate economies, factories and production, does not impact resources, and does not affect spending for consumer products (by some imaginary miracle – but check the Baltic Dry Index for a reality check) – we can still know that most ports around the world will need to be replaced due to rising ocean levels.

Who’s going to pay for that?

You are (of course) – while you struggle for daily survival and sustenance. Meanwhile, this type of ‘thinking‘ (insanity) is still being proposed.

I need to add a “Stupid Human” category to this blog.

Dec 292015
 

This may be far away and out of sight / out of mind, but it has serious implications.

Warm Storm Brings Rain Over Arctic Sea Ice in Winter

In the dark no less, in an area that hasn’t seen the sun for two months. Where it should be bone-chilling cold.

So… maybe the idiotic denialisphere will wake up? Nah… there’s been plenty of opportunity for that. Ok then, never mind, they’re the walking dead anyway.

What about next  year? What will this mean? Well, for starters, where ice should be building up, it’s diminishing, so the Jet Stream will be even more erratic then ever. And the weather variations (‘extreme’) will be pretty wild and crazy.

There will also be an increase in albedo due to the additional missing ice and exposed ocean. This will warm up the Arctic ocean even more. It could be that 2016 will be the year with virtually no summer sea ice at all – we will have to wait and see, but personally, I think it’s more likely then not. If so – decades sooner then ‘predicted’ elsewhere.

All this additional heat pumping into a region that should be very cold bodes ill for the entire planet. It’s a prediction that is now coming true – will anybody now finally listen?

The Storm That Will Unfreeze the North Pole

Dec 292015
 

This has already been posted elsewhere – but it’s a great read and deserving of a posting here.

Too Little, Too Late

Last week, after a great deal of debate, the passengers aboard the Titanic voted to impose modest limits sometime soon on the rate at which water is pouring into the doomed ship’s hull. Despite the torrents of self-congratulatory rhetoric currently flooding into the media from the White House and an assortment of groups on the domesticated end of the environmental movement, that’s the sum of what happened at the COP-21 conference in Paris. It’s a spectacle worth observing, and not only for those of us who are connoisseurs of irony; the factors that drove COP-21 to the latest round of nonsolutions are among the most potent forces shoving industrial civilization on its one-way trip to history’s compost bin.

The core issues up for debate at the Paris meeting were the same that have been rehashed endlessly at previous climate conferences. The consequences of continuing to treat the atmosphere as a gaseous sewer for humanity’s pollutants are becoming increasingly hard to ignore, but nearly everything that defines a modern industrial economy as “modern” and “industrial” produces greenhouse gases, and the continued growth of the world’s modern industrial economies remains the keystone of economic policy around the world. The goal pursued by negotiators at this and previous climate conferences, then, is to find some way to do something about anthropogenic global warming that won’t place any kind of restrictions on economic growth.

What that means in practice is that the world’s nations have more or less committed themselves to limit the rate at which the dumping of greenhouse gases will increase over the next fifteen years. I’d encourage those of my readers who think anything important was accomplished at the Paris conference to read that sentence again, and think about what it implies. The agreement that came out of COP-21 doesn’t commit anybody to stop dumping carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, now or at any point in the future. It doesn’t even commit anybody to set a fixed annual output that will not be exceeded. It simply commits the world’s nations to slow down the rate at which they’re increasing their dumping of greenhouse gases. If this doesn’t sound to you like a recipe for saving the world, let’s just say you’re not alone.

It wasn’t exactly encouraging that the immediate aftermath of the COP-21 agreement was a feeding frenzy among those industries most likely to profit from modest cuts in greenhouse gas consumption—yes, those would be the renewable-energy and nuclear industries, with some efforts to get scraps from the table by proponents of “clean coal,” geoengineering, fusion-power research, and a few other subsidy dumpsters of the same sort. Naomi Oreskes, a writer for whom I used to have a certain degree of respect, published a crassly manipulative screed insisting that anybody who questioned the claim that renewable-energy technologies could keep industrial society powered forever was engaged in, ahem, “a new form of climate denialism.” She was more than matched, to be fair, by a chorus of meretricious shills for the nuclear industry, who were just as quick to insist that renewables couldn’t be scaled up fast enough and nuclear power was the only alternative.

The shills in question are quite correct, as it happens, that renewable energy can’t be scaled up fast enough to replace fossil fuels; they could have said with equal truth that renewable energy can’t be scaled up far enough to accomplish that daunting task. The little detail they’re evading is that nuclear power can’t be scaled up far enough or fast enough, either. What’s more, however great they look on paper or PowerPoint, neither nuclear power nor grid-scale renewable power are economically viable in the real world. The evidence for this is as simple as it is conclusive: no nation anywhere on the planet has managed either one without vast and continuing government subsidies. Lacking those, neither one makes enough economic sense to be worth building, because neither one can provide the kind of cheap abundant electrical power that makes a modern industrial society possible.

Say this in the kind of company that takes global climate change seriously, of course, and if you aren’t simply shouted down by those present—and of course this is the most common response—you can expect to hear someone say, “Well, something has to do it.” Right there you can see the lethal blindness that pervades nearly all contemporary debates about the future, because it’s simply not true that something has to do it. No divine providence nor any law of nature guarantees that human beings must have access to as much cheap abundant electricity as they happen to want.

Stated thus baldly, that may seem like common sense, but that sort of sense is far from common these days, even—or especially—among those people who think they’re grappling with the hard realities of the future. Here’s a useful example. One of this blog’s readers—tip of the archdruidical hat to Antroposcen—made an elegant short film that was shown at a climate-themed film festival in Paris while the COP-21 meeting was slouching toward its pointless end. The film is titled A Message from the Past, and as the title suggests, it portrays an incident from a future on the far side of global climate change. I encourage my readers to click through and watch it now; it’s only a few minutes long, and its point will be perfectly clear to any regular reader of this blog.

The audience at the film festival, though, found it incomprehensible. The nearest they came to making sense of it was to guess that, despite the title, it was about a message from our time that had somehow found its way to the distant past. The thought that the future on the far side of global climate change might have some resemblance to the preindustrial past—that people in that future, in the wake of the immense collective catastrophes our actions are busy creating for them, might wear handmade clothing of primitive cut and find surviving scraps of our technologies baffling relics of a bygone time—seems to have been wholly beyond the grasp of their imaginations.

Two factors make this blindness to an entire spectrum of probable futures astonishing. The first is that not that long ago, plenty of people in the climate change activism scene were talking openly about the possibility that uncontrolled climate change could stomp industrial society with the inevitability of a boot descending on an eggshell. I’m thinking here, among other examples, of the much-repeated claim by James Lovelock a few years back that the likely outcome of global climate change, if nothing was done, was heat so severe that the only human survivors a few centuries from now would be “a few hundred breeding pairs” huddled around the shores of the Arctic Ocean. Continue reading »

Dec 292015
 

At the risk of being crude, but considering the urgency of the message, this is a “Holy Fuck” moment in human history. People had damn well better start paying attention to this because they are going to DIE if they don’t.

Right now, this is what is happening: Freak storm in North Atlantic to lash UK, may push temperatures over 50 degrees above normal at North Pole

Computer model simulations show the storm, sweeping across the north central Atlantic today, rapidly intensifying along a jet stream ripping above the ocean at 230 mph.

People do not seem to realize exactly how much heat is being pumped into the Arctic – but it is absolutely GIGANTIC.

Consider this commentary:

As interesting as the N.A. temps are, the arctic is simply gone nuts. Longyearbyen, Svalbard: “The warm season lasts from June 15 to September 4 with an average daily high temperature above 41°F. The hottest day of the year is July 23, with an average high of 48°F and low of 42°F.”

Current temperature: 43F.

That’s insane since considering they haven’t seen the sun since October 27th. Two months with no sun and the temps are as high as mid-summer?

Global warming? Arctic amplification? Of course not – it’s the sun …. oops 🙂

Scientist are trying to get this message out – but the world is still barely listening. It may be the middle of winter – but it’s not a traditional kind of winter at all.

2015 Warmest Year On Record

The Scariest Part of This Season’s Weird Weather Is Coming Soon – Tornadoes, floods, and a heat wave at the North Pole.

On Wednesday, the North Pole will be warmer than Western Texas, Southern California, and parts of the Sahara.

Read the links! The ice is MELTING IN WINTER. The permafrost will now melt all that much faster, releasing more carbon into the atmosphere. Methane hydrates will also melt much quicker now, there is no more seasonal ‘buffer’ to keep the Arctic cold like before.

These extreme temperature changes in winter have huge significance to our climate and our weather in the lower latitudes. 2016 will undoubtedly be devastating to humanity as a result with mega-storms wiping out infrastructure and lives, extreme heat waves and gigantic deluges of water falling from the skies. This is what this means when we lose winter. Imagine what summer will bring. Imagine what storms will be spawned. Imagine what temperatures this is going to mean. Now imagine how many people are going to die.

There is no doubt that multiple ‘tipping-point’s have been exceeded. Accelerated climate collapse is now in effect. It will severely impact the whole of human civilization and our ability to survive on this planet. Extinction rates will also accelerate as other lifeforms try to survive these changes. Most won’t. Estimates are 50 – 75% will die by 2100.

Discussions are now focused on “limiting warming to 1.5C” but clearly this is much too late. Yes, better late then never, but the global response has been quite pathetic in comparison to the size, scale, speed and severity of climate collapse. It’s like driving a VW Bug at the Indy 500 – you’re really not even in the race. You’re a joke, a laughingstock, a humorous buffoon pretending to be competing. That’s a good summary of what the world is “doing” and what Cop 21 advocates. It’s not even remotely close to a survival strategy or even a basic preparation strategy for what is clearly already happening.

Are you prepared? Or are you still unconvinced? Maybe so – but you’ve been repeatedly warned. The world now has to accept the responsibility for inaction, disbelief and its refusal to accept responsibility – it has NO other choice. And that is what is going to happen to every human on the planet. The inescapable reality that we caused this – and we did nothing. Many of us didn’t even believe there was a crisis, let alone a planetary emergency. But we are definitely going to reap what we’ve sown now, the warning signs are absolutely everywhere.

 

Dec 282015
 

Battered, bruised and jumpy — the whole world is on edge

It’s not a surprise, not to this writer anyway, that the media continues to completely fail to grasp the significance of climate change and how this is driving the majority of issues plaguing the world.

Everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY knows that something is amiss. The world of yesteryear is gone. Some of us recognize that it is gone forever – it’s actually extinct, never to return. The reason is obvious, but you still won’t find it in print on the popular websites and news outlets.

The media continues to fail the public by refusing to do their job and report what is really happening and why many of us are on edge. This is a good example of what I’m talking about: Pew: Americans the least concerned about climate change.

Yet this makes no sense – the disconnect from reality continues. It shouldn’t – but the media continues to ignore the issue and label this for what it really is (climate collapse). Punishing Four-Season Storm Grips U.S. during the Holiday Week, Killing Over 40.

Australia scored lower then the United States, but that’s not a surprise either – Australia has been actively denying climate change and its effects while their countryside and homes burn to the ground while Australia’s carbon emissions are increasing, government report shows.  Up to a million animals may have died in the fires.

The massive influx of refugees pouring out of the Middle East will continue even if peace is attained – because the environmental conditions there are impacting economic activity now in a major way. This is true for many parts of the world now and happening sooner then most estimates.

England is getting the life pounded out of the country (again). That’s how many times this month? Three separate flood events? And it is expected to continue.

Recall that higher temperatures means more evaporation and higher intensity of precipitation? It’s happening and having a terrifying impact upon economic activity. Thousands of temperature records are being shattered.

Internationally, there seems to be lot more awareness of climate effects – these families are really starting to suffer.

More than 100,000 flee El Niño flooding in Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay

China’s air pollution is now so bad that thousands of people are getting sick every day. Airplanes are grounded, factories shut down, roads are being closed.

Why Is Russia Warming More Than Twice As Fast Than Rest Of World? Climate Change Experts Raise Concerns.

But back at home, in the land of Fee and Home of the Slaves, awareness remains dismal, despite escalating disasters.

Monster storm system spawns tornadoes, blizzards, flooding. Texas seems to be a large target these days, yet Texas politicians continue to pretend that climate is not a factor. It’s a repeat of what happened in Oklahoma and the idiocy spouted by Senator Inhofe.

Mississippi River to reach flood stage, 17 ft, in New Orleans by Jan. 19

Continue reading »

Dec 282015
 

I suggest anyone interested in learning more about one of the carbon tax ideas watch these videos.

 

I have listened to this series by James Hansen a couple of times. I have never been a supporter of the carbon tax concept because I do not believe it will solve anything. But I have no doubts about it being tried for many years by most of the countries around the world.

A carbon tax does not address consumption. It continues to emphasize the monetization of the environment but does nothing to change human behavior or perception. A cultural change at the very roots of civilization is what is required. Humans had this once – and we lost it when the capitalistic model was adopted. Endless growth, consumption and resource extraction was the result. Yes, we have a ‘better world’ in some respects, but we’ve also trashed the place rather badly and wiped out a lot of life. Now we risk human extinction due to climate change because we still link everything to monetary values and profit margins – which monetized the entire natural world we rely upon for sustenance.

I’ve always said, “it didn’t have to be this way” – and until enough of us realize this, nothing is going to change. We WILL continue to plunder what remains.

Hansen advocates a carbon tax on fossil fuels – which is akin to saying “go ahead and use it” – the tax then is to be given back to every citizen which will then “stimulate the economy”. I fail to see how this will help anything. It does not address the core issues at all.

Under this scenario, this is what happens:

a) Fossil fuel companies raise prices, which are paid by the citizenry to purchase fossil fuel products and services;

b) The carbon tax funds raised are then redistributed back to the citizens. In effect, citizens are ‘paying ahead’ to purchase more expensive fossil fuels.

c) Fossil fuel consumption (and greenhouse gasses) do not go down because consumption of these polluters does not go down either.

d) This proposal is a merry-go-round concept, nothing changes. Stimulating the economy will simply mean more consumption, when less is needed. Redistributing carbon taxes back to the citizens is no different then not having a carbon tax at all, ie., you’re paying Peter to pay Paul who pays Peter, etc. Nothing has changed.

e) Consumption of fossil fuels HAS to go down (lower greenhouse gas emissions) across the entire economy. We need a strategy that is very different then this one (imo).

f) We are not going to “buy” ourselves out of this predicament (this is the same strategy that got us here).

Dec 252015
 

Paul Beckwith (University of Ottawa) gets it:

Door A: If we carry on business-as-usual and continue to burn fossil fuels, the chemistry of the atmosphere and oceans will continue to change, trapping more heat in the former and destroying the marine food chain in the latter.

The enormous Arctic warming has already disrupted Earth’s heat balance from the equator to the poles causing global circulation patterns in the atmosphere to go haywire, and now recently the ocean currents and surface heat patterns are completely changing. Extreme weather events around the planet are wreaking havoc on our cities and infrastructure and global food sources. If continued, with abrupt climate change, first cities will drop like dominoes cascading to nation state failure and even societal collapse.

Door B: We accept that we have an unprecedented global emergency on our plate from abrupt climate change. We realize that this emergency threatens to take out our societies, and our technologies, and our subsidence and our humanity. Not only that, it threatens to remove all of our structures and science and historical signatures and achievements that have been accomplished on the Earth throughout human history.

Once we realize this, we must ACT, in concert and with all our resources and capital to fight this. We may fail in the end to reverse our course, but we must try. Nations of the planet must declare a global emergency, and act in unison.

A global emergency needs to be declared. It’s way, way overdue. Climate collapse has been recognized for many years as being dangerous to the survival of the human community.

Daffodils in bloom, the warmest ever December: how worrying is the world’s strange weather?

December temperatures in London have been warmer than July’s. Scotland is balmier than Barcelona. Artificial snow covers European ski slopes. Africa faces its worst food crisis in a generation as floods and droughts strike vulnerable countries.

I finally have utility power here again, but thousands of other people still do not. The storms here have been severe enough to cause multiple power failures, but I don’t think we’ve seen anything yet. There are too many easily broken links in the power grid that are suspect to extreme weather events.

Multiple tornadoes reported across Northern California

Power poles topple under force of wind-fallen tree, causing outage in Modesto

We’re Doomed. Now What? (New York Times)

The time we’ve been thrown into is one of alarming and bewildering change — the breakup of the post-1945 global order, a multispecies mass extinction and the beginning of the end of civilization as we know it. Not one of us is innocent, not one of us is safe. The world groans under the weight of seven billion humans; every new birth adds another mouth hungry for food, another life greedy for energy.

We all see what’s happening, we read it in the headlines every day, but seeing isn’t believing, and believing isn’t accepting. We respond according to our prejudices, acting out of instinct, reflex and training. Right-wing denialists insist that climate change isn’t happening, or that it’s not caused by humans, or that the real problem is terrorism or refugees, while left-wing denialists insist that the problems are fixable, under our control, merely a matter of political will. Accelerationists argue that more technology is the answer. Incrementalists tell us to keep trusting the same institutions and leaders that have been failing us for decades. Activists say we have to fight, even if we’re sure to lose.

Meanwhile, as the gap between the future we’re entering and the future we once imagined grows ever wider, nihilism takes root in the shadow of our fear: if all is already lost, nothing matters anyway.

There are a lot of people that advocate we should give up (already). I have my own vacillation at times on this topic, but always land on the side where we must continue to try. This is now our task as a species – to remake our entire civilization as fast as we can emphasizing sustainability and survival. It’s the same baseline message on this blog since its inception. But on the other hand, I well realize that our collapse as a civilization is inevitable – we do not have a power-down plan, nor any of the other elements required to navigate climate collapse.

 

 

Dec 232015
 

Isn’t it strange that so many of us humans can now foresee our imminent demise – and yet do nothing about it?

Isn’t it strange that we can intelligently discuss this topic and still, despite all of the meetings, conferences, scientific papers and research, do nothing to stop it?

Isn’t it strange that with collapse now spreading like ripples in a pond rising into a tidal wave, eliminating species, homes, farms and crops, we’re still strangely fascinated by all of it?

Isn’t it strange that here we still sit, every single one of us, devouring the latest news that depicts our fate?

Isn’t it strange that we are so preoccupied with collapse that we’re staring at this screen while it’s unfolding around us?

Isn’t it strange that the Internet has become the source of news and entertainment that it has instead of real life?

Isn’t it strange that our fascination with screens is part of the problem humans have?

Isn’t it strange that there are some who seek to gain fame (and fortune) in collapse?

Isn’t it strange that they have any audience at all?

Isn’t it strange that Americans, the most ‘informed’, ‘free’ and ‘righteous’ country on Earth – is near-totally blind to what is unfolding worldwide?

Isn’t it strange that we’ve yet to turn off the television, shut down the Internet, roll up our sleeves and DO SOMETHING TO SAVE OURSELVES?

Continue reading »

Dec 232015
 

Not that this is of great interest, but in the past 48 hours, we’ve lost power here about 14 times. I’ve got generator backups, but it’s not something I always kick on when the power goes out – unless it’s going to be a while.

Last week, there was no snow here at all. I had green grass on my lawn that was very unusual for December. Now it’s blanketed in 15″ or so of snow. I’ve had to plow out twice already. Winter has finally and belatedly “arrived”.

This is my new normal, apparently. I did plan for this and was able to keep things running, at least as long as the generator has fuel and the batteries don’t run out.

More snow is expected for the rest of the week. Not a big surprise, but the power outages have been quite extensive, impacting many thousands of people.  And a few weeks back, the wind storms here were horrific with thousands of trees knocked down. Now weakened, the heavy snowfall is bring them down on the power lines (again) everywhere.

Fun times ahead!