Extinction Aversion 1214


Man made climate change has appeared to me for three decades to be sufficiently proven, and it has that cardinal virtue of a scientific hypothesis, you can see the things which it predicts will happen, come to pass before your eyes, like being uncomfortably hot in your Edinburgh flat on Easter Monday.

Direct action of the illegal kind is a very important weapon in the arsenal of protest. It represents a challenge to the state’s monopoly of force. While it may appear non-violent, in fact by imposing your body into a space and blocking it off, that is an assertion of physical force. What the Extinction Rebellion protests showed this week was the reticence of the Metropolitan Police in dealing with nice, middle class and largely white protestors. That reticence is to be welcomed; the fact that it is not extended to other groups is what is to be deplored. The alternative is to argue for everyone to get beaten up by Plod equally, which is not a sensible line to take.

I broadly support the Extinction Rebellion protest. In terms of gatecrashing climate change on to the political agenda, they have had a good and entirely necessary effect. Their use of what was in effect force, certainly did some harm in restricting the movement of people around London, and in some cases will have impacted the ability of struggling people to earn their living. It also disrupted public transport systems which are a good thing. But these are minor items if you accept that climate change is whirling its way to becoming an existential threat – and that is a premise which I do accept. The disruption is outweighed by the intent to do a much greater good, in terms of the justification of the people doing the protesting. Whether it succeeds in prompting real action by government and achieving a balance of good, is a different question. I fear we have to get rid of the Tories first.

I accept that climate change is a worldwide phenomenon and action in individual states of limited utility. But individual states can inspire by example, not least by showing that a switch to a greener economy can lead to a major stimulation of economic growth. I do not pretend to expertise in green economics. What follows are rather some homely policy nostrums which I believe should form a part of a coherent approach to green policy.

1) Home Insulation

The Tory Government has effectively abandoned and cancelled home insulation schemes; in effect nothing whatsoever is happening. Yet the government’s own plan to reach committed emissions targets by 2050 explicitly depends on one third of all savings being achieved by insulation in Britain’s existing stock of over 20 million very poorly insulated homes.

There is the clearest case here for government action. The aim should be to upgrade 4 million homes a year. Full funding should be provided to local authorities and housing associations for their stock. Householders should face a legal obligation to bring home insulation up to high defined standards – with generous means-tested grants available from central government funds, which should meet 100% of the cost for all those in straitened circumstances, and a decreasing percentage thereafter based on income and wealth. Private landlords should be forced to comply and self-fund up to the value of four months’ rent, with grants available for higher costs. Failure to comply should lead to the landlords’ property being confiscated by the local council, with tenancies protected.

Those are the broad outlines of a policy which would provide massive employment and contribute to a major Keynesian boost for an economy crippled by years of austerity, as well as make a major difference to emissions.

2) Ocean Energy

Wind energy has made massive strides, and to a lesser extent solar and hydro. But disappointingly little has been done to harness the restless energy of the seas. Government support for research programmes into utilising wave and current energy is pitifully small, given the potentially vast and reliable energy resource available, to the UK in particular.

On tidal energy, those objecting to the Severn or Wash barrage schemes on the grounds of effect on wildlife habitat are failing spectacularly to see the wood for the trees. Of course biodiversity is massively important, but we are fighting a battle in which some resources will need to be sacrificed. The Severn, Wash and Swansea Bay schemes do not require substantial technological innovation – they are basically just low head hydro – and should be pushed ahead as urgent projects. Simultaneously major research funding should be given to innovation. I suspect the harnessing of currents rather than waves would be the first to fruition.

3) Aviation Fuel Tax

Cheap flights are the opiate of the people. I cannot buy in to the argument that aviation fuel tax is only viable if everybody does it. Planes landing can very easily be taxed on any fuel they have in their fuel tanks brought in from third countries. If hub passengers transiting are reduced in favour of fuel tax free destinations, I cannot see that as a bad thing. An aviation hub is a particularly undesirable thing to become, from any sensible environmental view.

Flying is a major contributor to pollution and there is far too much of it. The tax free fuel status that makes flights cheaper than trains is ludicrous. Aviation fuel should be taxed at the same levels per calorific value as road fuels.

4) Expand Rail Networks

Nationalisation and re-integration is of course the sensible prelude to any development of rail transport. The UK is chronically behind most of the developed, and even much of the developing, world in terms of high speed rail lines. This needs to be rectified as does the chronic over-concentration of transport resource on South East England. HS2 should run on to Aberdeen and Inverness, not just be confined to the southern third of the UK.

On a wider note, with demand for rail transport buoyant, re-establishment of many Beeching axed lines should be undertaken with a view to a simple containerised nationwide freight distribution system as well as passenger transport. Rail is far more energy efficient than road. The preponderance of road transport is simply the result of perverse incentive from government policy.

Light rail and tram systems should be expanded in cities. Here in Edinburgh, the poor planning and execution of the start of a tram system should not put us off. Trams should be a local service, not fast and stopping frequently, but rather akin to buses, as in Manchester. They should not be confused as in Edinburgh with an express airport service, with very few and inaccessible stops.

5) Encourage Micro-Generation: Abolish Nuclear

The UK had an immensely successful programme of encouraging domestic solar generation through feed in tariffs, so the Tories cut it, as they cut the less successful insulation grants. Generous feed-in tariffs for domestic generation should be rebooted, while technologies such as heat pumps and exchangers should be zero rated for VAT (as should bicycles).

By contrast, the massively expensive nuclear power projects should be scrapped immediately. I lived almost all my adult life under the impression nuclear energy involved some fiendishly clever technology, until I realised it generates from bog standard steam turbines, and the nuclear part is simply a ludicrously complicated, incredibly expensive and devastatingly dangerous way to – boil water.

The real attraction to governments of nuclear power is the precise reason governments dislike micro-generation – nuclear power promotes a massively centralised security state, and links in well to weaponisation. It is the most expensive electricity of all, and should be immediately closed down.

The above represent my own thoughts on possible short term policy responses to climate change. I acknowledge quite freely that it is not my area of expertise and is perhaps insufficiently radical, and certainly insufficiently broad and detailed. It has however focused my mind on the great economic stimulus that can be gained from wholesale pursuit of the necessary technologies at the government level.

I have deliberately concentrated on unilateral measures rather than international negotiation, because I am sceptical there is sufficient will for progress on the latter or that governments around the world intend to stick to commitments. I have viewed it from a UK not a Scottish perspective because action is required immediately, and Scotland starts from a much better place anyway.

That I am thinking on this at all is in a way evidence that Extinction Rebellion achieved their aim from their immediate action, though it is those in power they seek to influence, not random bloggers. I am very sceptical of their declared desire to “negotiate with government”. If David Cameron were still in power, he would undoubtedly “hug a swampie” and make all kinds of green noises, then continue shutting down environmental programmes. Those around Theresa May are quite clever enough to recommend such an approach, as a potential Tory rescuing image as the party otherwise crashes to electoral disaster.

I would recommend Extinction Rebellion to keep blocking the roads and stay clear of the politicians. If they could refine their tactics to concentrate more on direct action against the big polluters and their financial backers, and move away from shocking the public through inconvenience, that might be tactically good for a while. But on the whole, I applaud. Vigorously.


1,214 thoughts on “Extinction Aversion

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  • Clark

    Sharp Ears – 55 (and 57) Tufton St, near Westminster:

    Liam Fox, Atlantic Bridge (again), ALEC (again), the Heritage Foundation (US global warming denial – Koch Bros).

    https://www.desmog.co.uk/2017/01/16/mapped-new-special-relationship-america-and-britain-emerges-between-climate-science-deniers-trump-and-brexit

    Global Warming Policy Foundation (deniers including Nigel Lawson), Institute for Economic Affairs (neoliberal think-tank). European Science and Environment Forum (ESEF), free market think-tank – engaged lobbyists who had distorted the science about smoking:

    https://www.desmog.co.uk/2015/02/18/how-tobacco-funded-think-tank-recruited-scientists-attack-against-climate-change

    All rubbing shoulders at 55 Tufton St, revealed in court documents:

    https://www.desmog.co.uk/2018/07/23/mapped-whistleblower-accuses-nine-organisations-colluding-over-hard-brexit

  • Clark

    I suppose the tsunami was just a coincidence then.

    Maybe we shouldn’t site forty year old reactors with a known susceptiblity to LOC, meltdown, and hydrogen explosion on the coast in earthquake zones? Nah, nothing happens by stupidity and accident; it’s all part of a plot.

  • arnott

    Its not just fossil fuels. How we get our food also matters ! Destroying grasslands, forest, swamps etc. for agricultural fields to grow wheat, rice, corn, soy and potatoes does not help.

    Do check the book : The Vegetarian Myth – Lierre Keith.

    • Clark

      Indeed it is much more than fossil fuels. Species are becoming extinct at around 200 species per day, which is estimated to be between 100 and 1000 times the pre-industrial rate. There are massive declines in insect numbers, some 60% loss of wild vertebrate biomass in less than 20 years, but an even greater increase of biomass in a tiny number of agricultural stock species. Ruminants in particular (mainly cattle and sheep) produce a lot of methane, contributing around 30% of the increased greenhouse effect I think. Cut-and-burn deforestation contributes a lot of the increasing CO2, and the habitat loss from intensive, essentially industrial farming is a major driver of the dangerously high extinction rate.

      I have read a summary of that book’s argument. Personally I’m neither veggie nor vegan, but my consumption of animal produce is much lower than the unsustainably high Western average. I agree that agriculture has to become far less destructive and far more symbiotic with the natural world, but the book shouldn’t be taken as an endorsement of Western consumption levels.

  • michael norton

    Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said reducing air departure tax – which will replace air passenger duty in Scotland – was “no longer compatible” with its climate targets.

    Sturgeon declares ‘climate emergency’

    Things are starting to escalate,
    let’s see what she does with the Scottish oil industries?

    • Clark

      North Sea oil has been in decline since about 1999; there can’t be much left. According to the map that Craig posted, just 2.6 Gbbl, or less than one month’s worth of global consumption.

      The real test is whether she pushes to licence extraction from the much greater fields off the Western Scottish coast, though that involves deeper drilling which is more challenging, which is why it hasn’t been exploited so far. Meanwhile, how well is the Scottish government encouraging development of wind power? Scotland has lots of that, and already supplies most of the hydro and pump storage of the UK, and Fred was moaning that wind turbines have sprung up all over Caithness.

      • Clark

        There will probably be natural gas above the oil off the Western Scottish coast which could be worth tapping to buy time; academic study needed on that question – would its short-term reduction in CO2 emissions outweigh the longer-term contribution or vice-versa?

  • Clark

    Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.

    Its latest assessment report was released on Monday. Humanity is big trouble; where are the headlines, the emergency meetings? Only two UK papers covered it at all. The whole report is 1800 pages; the following is just the summary for policymakers:

    https://www.ipbes.net/sites/default/files/downloads/spm_unedited_advance_for_posting_htn.pdf

    Some summary from the Guardian:

    nature is being destroyed at a rate tens to hundreds of times higher than the average over the past 10m years. The biomass of wild mammals has fallen by 82%, natural ecosystems have lost about half their area and a million species are at risk of extinction.

    – Two in five amphibian species are at risk of extinction, as are one-third of reef-forming corals, and close to one-third of other marine species. The picture for insects – which are crucial to plant pollination – is less clear, but conservative estimates suggest at least one in 10 are threatened with extinction and, in some regions, populations have crashed. In economic terms, the losses are jaw-dropping. Pollinator loss has put up to $577bn (£440bn) of crop output at risk, while land degradation has reduced the productivity of 23% of global land.

    – The knock-on impacts on humankind, including freshwater shortages and climate instability, are already “ominous” and will worsen without drastic remedial action, the authors said.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/06/human-society-under-urgent-threat-loss-earth-natural-life-un-report

    The scale of what we see in this image is truly unfathomable. It’s been reported that the landscape being industrialised by Tar Sands development [‘unconventional’ oil production] could easily accommodate one Florida, two New Brunswicks, four Vancouvers, and four Vancouver Islands:

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/07/the-future-of-life-on-earth-lies-in-the-balance-a-picture-essay

    • Clark

      To have any credibility, Macron will have to reverse his neoliberalism. It is only the better-off who have the spare resources that must be put towards symbiotic production methods. The majority can’t afford most “environmentally friendly” products and services. Such products merely salve the consciences of the richer minority, achieving far too little to be worthwhile.

      All production must be harmonised with Earth’s natural systems; it will be hugely expensive because it has been left so late. If Macron again tries to raise that money from those least able to pay, well, XR France upholds non-violence, but Les Gilets Jaunes won’t.

      • Clark

        Politics is dominated by the rich and finance. Every UK Cabinet has been full of millionaires, and May’s husband is a hedge-fund manager I think. This is why XR demand a Citizens’ Assembly chosen by sortition, so that decisions are made by a representative cross-section of society.

        • Clark

          That’s four centigrade increase to the global average; that’s catastrophic – the last ice age was only 4 to 6 centigrade colder, and it placed Boston under a mile of ice. At those levels of global increase hundreds of millions of people will be displaced, by famine and flooding. Ecosystems can’t adapt to a change like that in the eighty years left to the end of the century.

          The article’s worth a read; it sounds nothing like a summer holiday:

          “…in some places “the scale of the threat may be so significant that recovery will not always be the best long term solution” and communities would need help to “move out of harm’s way”.

          – The agency expects more intense bursts of rain and continuing coastal erosion.

          – It calculates that, for every person who suffers flooding, about 16 more are affected by loss of services such as power, transport and telecommunications.”

  • Clark

    Warmongers, oil men, just like the Bush administration all over again.

    – Several key directors at Cambridge Analytica’s parent company have direct connections to the fossil fuel industry,
    – By Nafeez Ahmed:

    https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/gymvaw/cambridge-analyticas-fossil-fuel-connections-scl-group

    Among Hanson’s major acquisitions, for instance, was the Peabody Holding Company, the largest coal producer in the United States in the 1990s. The firm was sold and grew into Peabody Energy—now the largest private-sector coal company in the world.

    – In April 2016, Peabody filed for bankruptcy due to plummeting coal prices. Trump’s election victory, which Cambridge Analytica helped target ads for, turned Peabody’s imminent collapse around. One day after Trump’s win, Peabody shares surged by over 50 percent, and six months later the global coal giant came out of bankruptcy.

    – Cambridge Analytica’s connection to Hanson’s wealth appears to have been close during that founding year. The company correspondence address for Teroerde’s directorship at SCL Elections was the same address as Hanson Asset Management, meaning he essentially fulfilled his duties to the company from the Hanson office.

    Big Oil

    – Cambridge Analytica has other ties to fossil fuel interests. Julian Wheatland has been chairman of Cambridge Analytica parent company SCL group since 2009. During this period, Wheatland has simultaneously held a number of other directorships in companies with overlapping energy and military interests.

    – Wheatland is listed in the document as Phi Energy Group’s Chief Finance Officer; he also lists that position on his LinkedIn page. The document identifies the companies that Phi Energy worked with: Shell, Noble Group, Eni, Esso, BP, Statoil, Tamoil, Total and Saras—a veritable who’s who of international oil majors.

    – Since 2009, Wheatland has also been Chief Executive of Hatton International, a company about which almost no public information can be found. The Phi Energy document shows, however, that Hatton also overlapped with fossil fuel interests.

    – The regions where Phi Energy/Hatton’s energy work was carried out include Iraq and Libya, both subjected to US-UK military interventions.

    – Kreimeia’s Phi Energy bio, for instance, depicts him as a key player in negotiating refining agreements in key Middle East countries, specifically assisting major EU refineries in negotiations with the Libyan National Oil Company (LNOC), the Iraqi State Oil Marketing Company and the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG).

  • Garth Carthy

    There’s a new article on the Media Lens site that I think is well worth reading: “The London Climate Protests – Raising the Alarm”.
    I think particularly those cynics on here who say Greta Thunberg is being used should read it.

    • Clark

      Garth Carthy, thanks. I was glad to see it too. Here’s the permalink:

      http://www.medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/2019/903-the-london-climate-protests-raising-the-alarm.html

      “Morningstar is clearly sincere and well-intentioned, and her argument of course has some merit. We have been documenting for decades, in media alerts, articles and books, how corporate interests have been working all-out to co-opt Green concern. The problem with Morningstar’s focus is that it plays into the hands of corporate climate deniers and delayers whose strategy we have already described:

      – ‘The weight of impressions on the public must be balanced so people will have doubts and lack motivation to take action.'”

  • michael norton

    Today on the BBC Webpage they claim the United Kingdom will be four degrees warmer in less than one hundred years,
    here is a different news agency.

    Scorching weather and back-to-back heatwaves threaten to overwhelm U.K. emergency services and increase the likelihood of heat-related death, climate change experts have shockingly warned.
    https://www.express.co.uk/news/weather/1124893/UK-weather-heatwave-met-office-warning-temperatures-forecast-climate-change-hot-weather
    The U.K. Met Office estimates the effects of climate change make record-breaking summer heatwaves likely to appear twice a year by 2050.

      • Clark

        You can see that far from turning the CO2 increase around, it rises faster year on year:

        https://scripps.ucsd.edu/programs/keelingcurve/wp-content/plugins/sio-bluemoon/graphs/mlo_full_record.png

        Governments have failed in their duty of care. They have lost their legitimacy. They may have started to mouth some of the right words, but the UK government is still investing far more into fossil fuel extraction than renewables and HVDC links – the latter are woefully inadequate.

        You could argue further that most of the money they pour into wars are a massive subsidy to the oil companies; I can’t see who else they’re supposed to benefit, certainly not the people of Iraq and Libya.

        • michael norton

          The Lying BBC claim the U.K. Government ( which is political speak for taxing the shit out of the working poor, same as is happening in France, leading to Yellow Vest disruption, which is starting to depress the French Economy)
          more than one billion pounds will have to be lavished on coping with climate change in the U.K., every year for the next one hundred years.

          • Clark

            That report is from the Environment Agency, which isn’t actually a department of government – it certainly doesn’t decide who to tax the most! It’s a “Non-Departmental Government Body”, partly funded by DEFRA, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and like all public services they’ve had their budget cut:

            Arlin Rickard, chief executive of the Rivers Trust, which helps the EA police England’s waterways, told Unearthed: “If you ring the hotline and report a pollution incident, the Environment Agency are unlikely to come and visit unless there are dead fish. Local communities are having to take things into their own hands.”

            – His equivalent at the Angling Trust, Mark Lloyd, told Unearthed that Environment Agency staff were privately angered by the scale of the cutbacks.

            – “EA staff are very frustrated that they’ve had their budgets cut, and we have an increasing number of EA officers saying ‘it’s impossible we can’t do our jobs properly’ but they’re not allowed to say that publicly.”
            […]

            – Farmers, he said, were responsible for the largest number of both serious and non-serious pollution incidents: “It’s the death of rivers by a thousand cuts. All these little trickles of pollution coming out of fields, slurry stores and farmyards add up to a giant flood of pollution which is killing our rivers slowly but surely.”

            – Political pressures and drastically-diminished resources have driven the EA “to take a light touch approach to regulating farmers that does not even resemble a credible threat of enforcement,” Lloyd said.

            – He continued: “The agency used to be able to visit farms once every 100 years, about 1% of farms in a year, which was bad enough, but the cuts have reduced their resources by half, so the average farmer can expect a visit every 200 years. Many farmers will never see the Environment Agency on their farm.”

            – It’s a recent development, according to Rickard. The agency were “far more active 10 years ago. They had a much bigger team of people, they were much better resourced. Although there was a reluctance to take prosecutions, you would get a visit, they would follow up and gather some evidence.”

            https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2018/12/08/environment-agency-pollution-inspections-cuts-rivers/

            Here’s the Environment Agency’s press release, if you want to check if the BBC have reported it accurately:

            https://www.gov.uk/government/news/environment-agency-chair-calls-for-new-approach-to-flood-and-coastal-resilience

  • michael norton

    The United Kingdom has first coal-free week for a century!
    Fintan Slye, director of ESO, said this would become the “new normal”.
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-48215896
    The government plans to phase out the UK’s last coal-fired plants by 2025 to reduce carbon emissions.

    Mr Slye said: “As more and more renewables come on to our energy system, coal-free runs like this are going to be a regular occurrence.

    “We believe that by 2025, we will be able to fully operate Britain’s electricity system with zero carbon.”

    This seems like good news, pity about China
    who initiate two or three new coal fired power stations, each week.

    • Clark

      Coal use in China is increasing, but the situation looks complicated. The central government is demanding cut-backs but local authorities don’t all comply – China has had no central energy authority since 1993. The proportion of coal in the electricity generation mix has decreased, and yet overall generation from coal continues to increase as electricity generation increases even faster. Likewise, China’s coal production has recently started to decrease, but imports have increased even more.

      On the other hand, China has the largest renewables sector in the world, and only the 42nd highest per-capita emissions. From 2010 to 2015 China reduced energy consumption per unit of GDP by 18%, and CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by 20%. Also, much of China’s industrial production is exported to countries like our own, so whose emissions are those?

      Governments blaming each other has caused this crisis through decades of delay. Western governments can point to China’s higher emissions as a country, and the Chinese government can point to the much higher emissions per capita in the West. Excuses all round, while fortunes are made and the crisis deepens.

      It seems to be up to us, the people, to rise above this and find solutions that are fair to all.

      • michael norton

        If only we could stop advertising.
        Stupid people buy stuff they did not know they either needed or wanted.
        Why so much stuff.
        Why buy so much stuff from China.
        New mobile phones, new electric hair curlers, new electric shoe polishers, new electric fruit blenders,
        we just do not need all this stuff.

        • Clark

          I agree. And much of it is so badly made that it gets thrown away in a couple of years. Then there’s all the electronic stuff like iThings and Android tablets – deliberately made obsolete with malicious software updates and imposition of replacement proprietary communication protocols. Unique plugs and sockets. Remote controls that only work with one model, and the main unit becomes useless without it.

          Personally I’d rather never encounter another advert ever again, because I can feel them working, the ways they insinuate themselves into the emotions like computer viruses crafted to exploit weaknesses in software. But if I said I wanted adverts banned I’d probably get called an eco-fascist.

        • Clark

          I absolutely loathe advertising. One of the major techniques is to induce a feeling of inadequacy or insecurity in the audience, and then offer the product as the solution. So we get ads, designed by psychologists to convince us that we or our home or our clothing is smelly, dirty or infectious. That we’re not interesting enough and we don’t look attractive like the people in the ads do. Hardly anyone can live up to these optimised images. First, highly attractive people are selected to appear in the ads. Then they’re dressed, coiffured and made up professionally. Then they’re videoed in idealised surroundings. And then multiple takes are sifted, edited and overdubbed.

          Advertising is literally a multi-billion industry manufacturing personal insecurity, inadequacy, envy and mental illness, and offering its own cures which can’t work.

          • michael norton

            I had formed my view more than thirty years ago that Advertising was evil, designed to get you to feel insecure and rob you blind of your hard earned cash.
            I am very lucky that I am an individual who has little susceptibility to fashion or being tricked, not many people are that strong willed.
            I called on a very strong willed friend, a couple of years ago, he had been sold a water purifier by a salesman who came to his door, nearly £400, he was taken

            Marketing,

            it ought to be made illegal. It is a way of manipulating the weak minded.

          • Clark

            I just assume advertising works on me and therefore I avoid it. The thing is, hardly anyone believes themselves to be susceptible to advertising, yet it has been proven to work. Just like people claim to not believe the news, yet claims promoted in the news become prevalent anyway.

            It’s no good me assuming I’m somehow superior to the majority – everyone feels superior to the majority in some way, even if it’s subconscious. This has been demonstrated in many psychological experiments, and so has our subconscious tendency to conform to majority viewpoints. So the only safe assumption is that I’m influenced, by the media and by its advertising.

            I had an experience years ago that demonstrated the power of subconscious suggestion. Back in the ’80s when sampling became popular in dance music, there was this track that my group of friends enjoyed. It had a vocal sample in it, but none of us could make out quite what it said. “Listen to the bass drum boom” was about as close as we could get, but it never seemed quite right.

            A decade later I’d moved on and 200 miles south, and I was working with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra. A few times after sound-check or in the lunch break I’d go and find the bass trombonist, and ask him to play the lowest, loudest note he could, straight at me so that I could soak up the powerful, rich sound.

            Some more years later after I’d finished with NYJO I realised what the actual words were in that ’80s sample:

            “Listen to the bass trombone”.

      • Clark

        Ha! China passing the buck for generation of emissions:

        The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis reports that China’s financial institutions are providing $36 billion in funding to build coal power plants outside the country. China has committed or offered funding for 102,000 MW of coal-based electricity, mostly in Pakistan, South Africa, Bangladesh, and Vietnam.
        […]
        – And almost a quarter of the coal plants China is funding in other countries would be less efficient, higher emission subcritical units that are no longer allowed to be used in China. These nations have less environmental standards and are desperate for investment of any kind.

        That’s not a new technique. Western countries have been moving production overseas for decades, to take advantage of lower labour costs and poorer conditions for workers. Same principle, and the same motive – profit.

  • michael norton

    Climate Change
    Now a senior civil servant has told a green group that means ministers may have to review aviation strategy.

    The group says climate concern is so high,
    the decision on Heathrow expansion should be brought back to Parliament.

    The Department for Transport defended the proposed Heathrow expansion, saying it would “provide a massive economic boost to businesses and communities” across the UK, all at “no cost to the taxpayer and within our environmental obligations”.
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-48233548

    I did not fly for thirty years,
    have only ever been off continent once
    but in the last few years we have flown up to Scotland for family events.
    I feel guilty about that but is so much quicker than driving and cheaper flying than going by train.

    https://www.theweek.co.uk/98201/why-are-uk-trains-so-expensive
    Why are UK rail fares so expensive?

    If they want us to move by public transport, they will have to lower the cost.
    Somebody said it is many times cheaper to drive from Southern England to Scotland than it is to go by train.

    • Clark

      Train fares are scandalous; renationalise the railways! There’s a celebration at my local station, tomorrow I think; 175 years since the railway was built – it must have paid for itself by now.

      The toxic system isn’t your fault or mine; we’re all just flies stuck in the supposed ointment of neoliberalism. I run a diesel car, but I’m five miles out of Chelmsford, the bus runs six times a day and the last one home is at six in the evening. None on Sundays any more. The fares aren’t cheap, diesel costs me less, and the afternoon run is packed with and dominated by school kids.

      It’s the council’s fault; for historical reasons, the rural 32 route is extended to two schools on the north side of town. The kids all pile on, partly to save changing in the town centre, but mostly I think because they like being a crowd. Most get off by Oxney Green, Chelmsford’s last suburb to the west, but the 32 route serves all the villages to Ongar, ten miles further on. Oxney Green is served by the 45 which runs every twenty minutes, but it’s the council-funded 32 that’s packed with kids before it reaches the the town centre shops, completely ruining that run as a rural service.

      On the days you can get on it isn’t pleasant. I saw a lady of 85 have to stand; the kids jeer and throw old sandwiches. ‘Course buses used to have conductors to take care of all this, but apparently society can’t stretch to the expense any more. Is that meant to be progress?

  • Clark

    Some interesting graphs in this article:

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/02/four-charts-that-show-how-the-uk-stacks-up-on-climate-change

    First chart – per capita: I’m surprised to see that the UK’s per-capita emissions are lower than China’s. On that metric, the UK has just caught up with nuclear France. India’s is about one third of that. Note Russia’s huge plummet after the dissolution of the USSR – falling population, economic recession, or both?

    Second chart – CO2 to GDP ratio: first prize to China, by a country mile! But every country on this chart proves that it’s possible to grow economically without increasing emissions. Of course it’s the Graun so they have to have a dig at Russia, though it wasn’t doing that much worse until about 2014.

    Third chart – emissions by country: China’s emissions went up like a rocket from about 2002 to 2011, but they seem to have managed to level off a lot. But India’s are climbing steadily.

    Fourth chart – developed countries versus developing: now the way the Graun have reported this seems overly sympathetic to us in the developed countries; “Average carbon emissions of developing countries have risen from a tenth of those in OECD countries to almost half”. Yeah right; theirs have risen lots while ours have fallen a bit. But the OECD consists of only 36 of the worlds ~193 countries, comprising just one fifth of the global population ie. about the same as the whole population of China. Yet us in the OECD emit over twice as much as the other four-fifths put together.

    So, emissions can fall even when economies grow, but haven’t done so nearly enough so far.

    • michael norton

      I would think that the greatest bio region on Earth, the Conifer – Northern grasslands, would move Northwards, if the World warms by four degrees as the BBC predict.
      The greening of the Arctic, should take in a large volume of Carbon Dioxide.

      • Clark

        The four centigrade increase figure was from the UK Environment Agency. It was a fairly arbitrary choice. From the 2014 IPCC AR5 report:

        https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2018/02/ipcc_wg3_ar5_summary-for-policymakers.pdf

        “Anthropogenic GHG emissions are mainly driven by population size, economic activity, lifestyle, energy use, land use patterns, technology and climate policy. The Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs), which are used for making projections based on these factors, describe four different 21st century pathways of GHG emissions and atmospheric concentrations, air pollutant emissions and land use. The RCPs include a stringent mitigation scenario (RCP2.6), two intermediate scenarios (RCP4.5 and RCP6.0) and one scenario with very high GHG emissions (RCP8.5). Scenarios without additional efforts to constrain emissions (’baseline scenarios’) lead to pathways ranging between RCP6.0 and RCP8.5”

        Concentrations have continued to rise despite the Paris Accord, so we’re still following RCP8.5. The following temperatures are relative to the 1986 to 2005 global average temperature, so you’d need to add about another 1 centigrade to be relative to the pre-industrial baseline:

        “The increase of global mean surface temperature by the end of the 21st century (2081–2100) relative to 1986–2005 is likely to be 0.3°C to 1.7°C under RCP2.6, 1.1°C to 2.6°C under RCP4.5, 1.4°C to 3.1°C under RCP6.0 and 2.6°C to 4.8°C under RCP8.5”

        But on RCP8.5, temperatures are only half way up their climb by 2100. By 2300, RCP8.5 predicts between 4°C and 9°C rise, and that’s without including tipping points such as massive release of methyl hydrates, currently on the sea floor.

        These are scenarios with three metre of sea level rise just from thermal expansion; the complete melting of major ice sheets would take that to nine metre. In such scenarios half a billion people are directly displaced by rising waters, the majority of coastal cities are flooded and much of the world’s productive agricultural land is submerged.

        The IPCC reports are quite dense because they outline multiple emissions scenarios, and describe upper, lower and likely outcomes for each, with reference to several hundred different projections from the many computer simulations. But it’s probably wise to start reading them, to gain practice in understanding such material – I certainly wouldn’t leave that task to politicians, most of whom obviously haven’t read them.

        • Clark

          From WG1AR5_Chapter12_FINAL.pdf

          “Abrupt Change

          – Several components or phenomena in the climate system could potentially exhibit abrupt or nonlinear changes, and some are known to have done so in the past. Examples include the AMOC, Arctic sea ice, the Greenland ice sheet, the Amazon forest and monsoonal circulations. For some events, there is information on potential consequences, but in general there is low confidence and little consensus on the likelihood of such events over the 21st century.”

          This is the big problem with all the projections; the world has never been in its current state, so it’s impossible to know what tipping points exist, nor at what temperature they would be triggered.

        • Clark

          The thing is, if global average temperature is up 4C by 2100, it’ll mean we’re on course for +6C to +9C by 2300. On this path fossil fuels run out before 2100, but the CO2 is in the atmosphere by then where it continues to gather more heat.

        • James Charles

          “The IPCC report that the Paris agreement based its projections on considered over 1,000 possible scenarios. Of those, only 116 (about 10%) limited warming below 2C. Of those, only 6 kept global warming below 2C without using negative emissions. So roughly 1% of the IPCC’s projected scenarios kept warming below 2C without using negative emissions technology like BECCS. And Kevin Anderson, former head of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, has pointed out that those 6 lone scenarios showed global carbon emissions peaking in 2010. Which obviously hasn’t happened.
          So from the IPCC’s own report in 2014, we basically have a 1% chance of staying below 2C global warming if we now invent time travel and go back to 2010 to peak our global emissions. And again, you have to stop all growth and go into decline to do that. And long term feedbacks the IPCC largely blows off were ongoing back then too.”
          https://www.facebook.com/wxclimonews/posts/455366638536345
          As for a 2+ degree increase?
          ‘Further, they warned that a global temperature increase “beyond 1 degree C may elicit rapid, unpredictable and non-linear responses that could lead to extensive ecosystem damage.” A temperature increase of 2ºC was viewed as “an upper limit beyond which the risks of grave damage to ecosystems, and of non-linear responses, are expected to increase rapidly.” [For “non-linear,” read “runaway global climate change.”][2] ‘
          https://thebiggestlieevertold.wordpress.com/2010/12/10/part-1-expose-the-2%C2%BA-death-dance-%E2%80%93-the-1%C2%BA-cover-up/

      • michael norton

        It would be wonderful if the extra free Carbon in our Atmosphere would be mostly sucked up by the Greening of the Arctic,
        and the vast Northern Lands.
        They will soak it up but how soon.
        Maybe if we kicked started the process by planting forests, say one hundred Kilometres further north than the current tree line?

        • Clark

          Here’s two years of the Keeling curve, the best known of the measured CO2 records:

          https://scripps.ucsd.edu/programs/keelingcurve/wp-content/plugins/sio-bluemoon/graphs/mlo_two_years.png

          From May to September each year the CO2 concentration falls quite rapidly as plants grow, most land being in the northern hemisphere. Then, during northern hemisphere Autumn and Winter, plant matter decays returning CO2 to the atmosphere.

          The rapid May to September fall looks quite encouraging because it’s a lot steeper than the ongoing rise from industrial emissions. If that drop could be sustained the CO2 problem could be fixed in a decade or two – but that would still leave the problems of habitat and biodiversity loss, other greenhouse gases, and pollution in general.

          Plants don’t grow so well in the shade of other plants, so the availability of area in sunlight imposes a limit. Maybe this is why land plants decrease the CO2 concentration more than oceanic algae; trees, for instance, capture carbon in their leaves but then transport it internally it to build woody trunks and branches, whereas algae are single-celled. No; that effect must be minor or the curve wouldn’t climb so much in Autumn and Winter. Ah! I reckon it’s because a tree provides long-term infrastructure that optimises leaf growth – roots that collect water and nutrients, sap that acts as a nutrient reservoir, and branches and twigs that provide a framework for positioning leaves in the sunlight.

          Forestation and rewilding look like good tactics to me, though I read one professor who said they’re too slow to address rising emissions. James Lovelock proposed an idea; I think it was to pump water from continental shelves to the surface. This brings nutrients up to the sunlight, encouraging algae growth. The return downward current carries algae out if the sunlight, so it dies, depositing its collected carbon on the sea floor.

        • Clark

          Sorry Michael, some bad news for that idea.

          IPCC 2018: sr15_spm_final.pdf, section B.3.3:

          “High-latitude tundra and boreal forests are particularly at risk of climate change-induced degradation and loss, with woody shrubs already encroaching into the tundra (high confidence) and this will proceed with further warming.”

  • Clark

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/08/global-warming-must-not-exceed-15c-warns-landmark-un-report

    “The IPCC maps out four pathways to achieve 1.5C, with different combinations of land use and technological change. Reforestation is essential to all of them as are shifts to electric transport systems and greater adoption of carbon capture technology.”

    But carbon capture is looking hugely expensive to scale up – yet it is required for the great majority of mitigation scenarios that level off at +1.5C and less.

    For specific effects in specific regions, that seems to be Working Group II. From WG1AR5_Chapter12_FINAL:

    “More detailed regional information may be found in Chapter 14 and is also now assessed in the Working Group II report, where it can more easily be linked to impacts.”

    • michael norton

      A warning of the potential for wildfires has been issued as Scotland looks set for a spell of dry, warm weather.

      The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) said the warning was in place across the country until Friday.

      Temperatures are expected to rise above 20C during the week.

      The warning follows wildfires in April, including a blaze in Moray that was described as one of the largest wildfires seen in the UK in years.
      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-48254661

      When I was in Scotland a few years ago, it was amazingly hot, we were sat in my cousin’s back garden sunbathing, they claimed this hot and this much sun, was quite unusual.

      • Clark

        It was 32C in Glasgow last summer; another record broken. I was at the Eden festival. When I got back to Essex after Doune the Rabbit Hole, the grass was more than parched; it was black. I’d never seen anything like it.

  • Clark

    Climate change in Greenland, with an Inuit scientist describing the massive ice loss. Loss of the entire Greenland ice sheet would raise sea level seven metre:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AV2DvfWKyC0

    In 2007 farmers found the growing season had lengthened by three weeks, and thought that climate change would be a boon. But ten years later they have suffered from drought and inundation by insects, and they say that the weather has become too unpredictable.

    The fishing industry has expanded as mackerel and tuna have moved into Icelandic waters.
    – – – – – – –
    A major problem in different parts of the world seems to be the rapid rate of change. It makes conditions unpredictable, which is very bad for agriculture.

  • glenn_nl

    This may be of interest:

    http://www.lifeworth.com/deepadaptation.pdf

    From the abstract:
    —start
    The purpose of this conceptual paper is to provide readers with an opportunity to reassess their work and life in the face of an inevitable near-term social collapse due to climate change.

    The approach of the paper is to analyse recent studies on climate change and its implications for our ecosystems, economies and societies, as provided by academic journals and publications direct from research institutes.

    That synthesis leads to a conclusion there will be a near-term collapse in society with serious ramifications for the lives of readers. The paper reviewssome of the reasons why collapse-denial may exist, in particular, in the professions of sustainability research and practice, therefore leading to these arguments having been absent from these fields until now.

    The paper offers a new meta-framing of the implications for research, organisational practice, personal development and public policy, called the Deep Adaptation Agenda. Its key aspects of resilience, relinquishment and restorations are explained. This agenda does not seek to build on existing scholarship on “climate adaptation” as it is premised on the view that social collapse is now inevitable.
    —-end

    • Clark

      Thanks Glenn. I’m currently reading through the papers cited for tomorrow evening’s XR public talk in Chelmsford, but the paper you’ve linked looks like a good one to take to my XR planning meeting on Monday.

      • glenn_nl

        Good work, Clark. I’ll have a bit more time to look at all this in a few days… been really held up recently with stuff.

        • Clark

          Glenn, it turns out that the paper you linked is indeed some of this evening’s source material; I just hadn’t read that far through the sources list. Just as well that I started reading it anyway, then…

  • Clark

    IPCC 2018: sr15_spm_final.pdf – section B.2.2:

    “Sea level rise will continue beyond 2100 even if global warming is limited to 1.5°C in the 21st century (high confidence). Marine ice sheet instability in Antarctica and/or irreversible loss of the Greenland ice sheet could result in multi-metre rise in sea level over hundreds to thousands of years. These instabilities could be triggered at around 1.5°C to 2°C of global warming (medium confidence)”

    So even 1.5°C isn’t safe. But we’re already around 1°C warmer.

  • Clark

    IPCC 2018: sr15_spm_final.pdf – section C.1.3:

    “Limiting global warming requires limiting the total cumulative global anthropogenic emissions of CO2 since the pre-industrial period, that is, staying within a total carbon budget (high confidence). By the end of 2017, anthropogenic CO2 emissions since the pre-industrial period are estimated to have reduced the total carbon budget for 1.5°C by approximately 2200 ± 320 GtCO2 (medium confidence). The associated remaining budget is being depleted by current emissions of 42 ± 3 GtCO2 per year (high confidence). The choice of the measure of global temperature affects the estimated remaining carbon budget. Using global mean surface air temperature, as in AR5, gives an estimate of the remaining carbon budget of 580 GtCO2 for a 50% probability of limiting warming to 1.5°C, and 420 GtCO2 for a 66% probability (medium confidence). Alternatively, using GMST gives estimates of 770 and 570 GtCO2, for 50% and 66% probabilities, respectively (medium confidence). Uncertainties in the size of these estimated remaining carbon budgets are substantial and depend on several factors. Uncertainties in the climate response to CO2 and non-CO2 emissions contribute ±400 GtCO2 and the level of historic warming contributes ±250 GtCO2 (medium confidence). Potential additional carbon release from future permafrost thawing and methane release from wetlands would reduce budgets by up to 100 GtCO2 over the course of this century and more thereafter (medium confidence). In addition, the level of non-CO2 mitigation in the future could alter the remaining carbon budget by 250 GtCO2 in either direction (medium confidence).”

    Grief; the uncertainties and error-margins in that are pretty dense, and utterly disquieting.

    So, the only conclusions they’re highly confident of are (1) that to limit warming to a given increase, total emissions including historical emissions have to be kept below a limit called the “carbon budget”, and (2) that at the time of the report (2017 / 2018) we were depleting that budget at between 39 and 45 gigatonne per year.

    The maximum estimate for the remaining budget is 770Gt, and the minimum is 420Gt, but even at best those budgets only give us a two-thirds chance of staying below 1.5°C increase. But four major uncertainties can move those figures; three can go either way, and one can only make matters worse; ±400, ±250, -100 and ±250.

    Best case: 770 + 400 + 250 + 250 = 1670 in credit.
    Worst case: 420 – 400 – 250 – 100 – 250 = 580 in debt.

    So in about one of every four scenarios, ~1.5°C increase has been inevitable for a decade or more.

    Damn and blast the fossil fuel companies and the Republicans. Not for pumping gas; they’re paid to do that. For muddying the damn waters for so damn long.

    • glenn_nl

      What really gets me about denialists / minimisers is how eager they are to look at margins of error, and supposing even larger rates of error, to scoff at the predictions and warnings. They never, ever, consider the actual result might just as easily be on the _other_ end of the scale. The latter is more than likely, given how concerned scientists are to be conservative in their predictions, lest any actual result coming up short would be leapt upon by denialists with great glee.

  • Clark

    D.4: Mitigation options consistent with 1.5°C pathways are associated with multiple synergies and trade-offs across the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). While the total number of possible synergies exceeds the number of trade-offs, their net effect will depend on the pace and magnitude of changes, the composition of the mitigation portfolio and the management of the transition. (high confidence)

    D.4.1: 1.5°C pathways have robust synergies particularly for the SDGs 3 (health), 7 (clean energy), 11 (cities and communities), 12 (responsible consumption and production) and 14 (oceans) (very high confidence). Some 1.5°C pathways show potential trade-offs with mitigation for SDGs 1 (poverty), 2 (hunger), 6 (water) and 7 (energy access), if not managed carefully (high confidence).

    D.4.2: 1.5°C pathways that include low energy demand, low material consumption, and low GHG-intensive food consumption have the most pronounced synergies and the lowest number of trade-offs with respect to sustainable development and the SDGs (high confidence). Such pathways would reduce dependence on CDR [Carbon Dioxide Removal]. In modelled pathways, sustainable development, eradicating poverty and reducing inequality can support limiting warming to 1.5°C (high confidence)

    • michael norton

      A helicopter has been used to water bomb a wildfire in north Sutherland.

      Firefighters have been tackling the blaze between Melvich and Strathy since Sunday morning.

      It has burned across about 5,000 acres (2,023 ha) of moorland and at one point it affected electricity supplies to 800 properties.

      The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has warned of a heightened risk of wildfires across Scotland until Friday due to warm and dry weather.
      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-48280002

      As the World warms by four degrees ( BBC WARNING)
      why not plant trees on the Scottish moors
      to absorb some Carbon?

      • michael norton

        This reads like the Greenland ice is thinning less quickly than once it was, if so positively good news.
        https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-48265217
        “All this is a reminder of how unpredictable glaciers can be,” she told BBC News. “We didn’t predict this change in behaviour, and if Jakobshavn does start thinning and retreating again – we can’t predict when that will happen.

        “The rate of sea-level contribution from Greenland has slowed in recent years and it’s because some of the biggest ice evacuators like Jakobshavn aren’t contributing as much as they used to.”

        Dr Hogg was speaking here at the Esa’s Living Planet Symposium, Europe’s largest Earth observation conference.

        • Clark

          So I looked for the source, which seems to be the following article, and associated academic paper:

          https://cpom.org.uk/sentinels-track-greenlands-summer-speed/

          “The research, published in The Cryosphere, used Sentinel-1 data to show that Greenland’s largest glacier has actually slowed down by 10% since 2012, but that flow is seasonal, with summer ice speeds increasing by up to 25% on some parts of the ice sheet.”

          Hmmn. Not nearly so optimistic. Here’s the academic paper CPOM’s article is based upon:

          Ice velocity of Jakobshavn Isbræ, Petermann Glacier,Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden, and Zachariæ Isstrøm, 2015–2017,from Sentinel 1-a/b SAR imagery

          https://www.the-cryosphere.net/12/2087/2018/tc-12-2087-2018.pdf

          Those seem like the right links; more accurate measurement based on analysis of the new Sentinel satellite observations. Why don’t the BBC link to their sources? Why should I have to do their work for them? Same as their Environment Agency article.

          I’d be interested in how that BBC article came to be; CPOM didn’t issue a press release, and Dr Anna Hogg isn’t actually CPOM staff; rather, she’s an expert in processing satellite data whose major work has been for the European Space Agency:

          https://environment.leeds.ac.uk/see/staff/1330/dr-anna-e-hogg

          • Clark

            Sorry Michael; you’d included BBC’s source but I missed that bit:

            “Dr Hogg was speaking here at the Esa’s Living Planet Symposium, Europe’s largest Earth observation conference.”

            I’ll try to follow that up later.

        • Clark

          I think I’ve found the most relevant article:

          Jakobshavn Isbrae Glacier bucks the trend:

          https://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Observing_the_Earth/Jakobshavn_Isbrae_Glacier_bucks_the_trend/

          “…between 2013 and 2017, the ice at terminus of the glacier stopped decreasing in height, and started to thicken. The overall effect is that Jakobshavn Isbrae is now flowing more slowly, thickening, and advancing toward the ocean instead of retreating farther inland.

          – Even so, the glacier’s drainage basin as a whole is still losing more ice to the ocean than it gains as snowfall, therefore still contributing to global sea-level rise, albeit at a slower rate.”

        • Clark

          Scotland is increasing its forests:

          “In 1900, only about 5% of Scotland’s land area was wooded. Large-scale afforestation had increased this figure to about 17% by the early 21st century.

          – The Scottish Government’s Draft Climate Change Plan, published in January 2017, proposes specific targets for future woodland expansion to cover 21% of Scotland by 2032. To deliver this, the draft plan proposes that the rate of new afforestation rises to 15,000 hectares per year by 2024”

          https://www.nature.scot/professional-advice/land-and-sea-management/managing-land/forests-and-woodlands/woodland-expansion-across-scotland

          But a lot of the 20th century expansion was monoculture of conifers for the timber industry. I have spoken to various people in Scotland about reforestation. There is an ongoing programme of replanting a mix of species that were naturally present in earlier times.

          • michael norton

            If Greenland was warmer, greener and more habitable in the ( since the end of the last glaciation) human past,
            then it is unlikely that it was warmer because the Carbon dioxide was at a greater volume in the atmosphere than it is these days.

            So a conundrum opens up,
            why was Greenland,
            warmer and greener and more habitable in the past with lower CO2 than now?

          • Clark

            No, CO2 certainly wasn’t responsible for Greenland being warmer, because CO2 hasn’t been as high as it is now for (from memory) twenty million years.

            https://www.google.com/search?q=why+was+Greenland+warmer

            There’s no doubt that our world is warming, and it’s beyond reasonable doubt that greenhouse gases are the cause. From what I know of the ongoing changes, here’s my very rough guess. The global average temperature has risen 1°C, but the Arctic has warmed over twice as much as that, at times and in places it has been 20°C warmer than usual. So maybe northerly latitudes are more susceptible to warming.

            The top hit on my search above seems pretty informative; the Greenland ice sheet is estimated to be 400,000 to 800,000 years old – physical ice core drilling reaches back over 100,000 years, so most of Greenland was icy even in Viking times.

            “So how did Greenland get its name? According to the Icelandic sagas, Erik the Red named it Greenland in an attempt to lure settlers in search of land and the promise of a better life”

            Ancient propaganda! And even then, it seems, Icelanders were keen on freedom of information. Plus, Erik got there during the Medieval warm period.

    • Clark

      Well not exactly ‘nothing’. Without CO2, Earth would be a lot colder:

      https://www.google.com/search?q=what+temperature+would+earth+be+with+no+co2

      CO2 is closely involved with all climatic temperature changes. But during the time your Science Daily article refers to, “the early Holocene and Last Interglacial periods”, the concentration of greenhouse gases (reconstructed from ice cores and other data) was similar to or lower than their pre-industrial level, so they couldn’t have been responsible for the higher temperature.

      We know that heat retention by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is responsible for the current warming because satellites record less heat radiating away into space, and surface measurements record more heat radiating from the atmosphere back to the surface. The wavelengths of these radiations match those of the greenhouse gases. This, and the other evidence for the greenhouse effect, are nicely summarised in the following pdf, backed by 68 scientific citations:

      https://skepticalscience.com/docs/Guide_to_Skepticism.pdf

      • michael norton

        Clark
        you are missing the point about Greenland.

        Our early atmosphere contained a dominating mix of Carbon dioxide and Methane and water vapour.
        Single celled organisms which we now call Stromatolite, photosynthesised, this from maybe three billion years, eventually about one and a quarter billion years ago, free Oxygen built up in the atmosphere, replacing the Carbon dioxide and Methane.
        The rout to evolution was opened, multicellular life erupted.
        Again, the make up of the atmosphere changed with forming of the mostly Angiosperm forests.
        This profusion of life, sucked even more Carbon out of the atmosphere, then the creation of C4 photosynthesising plants, came about to use even less Carbon dioxide.
        So life has been sucking Carbon out of the atmosphere for a long time, the Pleistocene had the lowest level of
        Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere – ever, only the natural end of the most recent glaciation allowed a little rise of CO2 in our atmosphere.

        If in the past, the climate of Greenland has been more favourable to tree growth, it was not because of high levels of CO2
        so the reasons must have been otherwise.

        • Clark

          “Clark you are missing the point about Greenland”

          Not just Greenland, I suspect; since your above comment I have no idea what point you’re making.

  • michael norton

    We have recently and continually been told we need to get off Carbon or we will fry.
    All the people with money in coal, oil or Methane will have to lose their stakes, all the millions of people world wide who work in coal or oil or gas or in air travel, will have to lose their jobs, car makers will lose their jobs, gas boiler makers will lose their jobs.
    The real crunch will be when there are hardly any jobs.
    About fifteen years to go to year zero.

    • Clark

      “We have recently and continually been told we need to get off Carbon or we will fry”

      The warning was made official in 1988 when Hansen testified to the US Congress, and since then the corporate media have done their usual dreadful job, confusing the public by applying “journalistic balance”, degrading matters of hard fact to “Adam said this but Bert said that”.

      But we needn’t take anyone’s word on matters of science; with a bit of scientific background eg. Bad Science by Ben Goldacre, it is easy to tell a coherent scientific argument based on multiple, supporting evidence bases, from a corporate hodge-podge designed to confuse.

      “About fifteen years to go to year zero”

      Zero hour was decades ago. Now, by making every effort in our power, we can minimise the damage. Delay has reduced us to crisis management.

      • Antonym

        CO2 fear driven politics is going to do more damage to all poor on the globe that any climate change. XR is made up of self loathing middle class with enough money to weather any storm.
        For significant mass chance look at France’s Gilets Jeunes, the real economic underclass protesting.

        The MSM & social media attention / neglect difference between both shows you the Establishment positions = power to be gained / money to be made by the Few: XR.

        • Clark

          “CO2 fear driven politics is going to do more damage to all poor on the globe that any climate change”

          Evidence and examples please. The much maligned carbon tax is a proposition not a reality; the global warming denial industry stokes fear of this proposition, simultaneously diverting away the legitimate fear of ecological collapse. The real damage to the world’s poor comes from pollution, exploitation, racial prejudice, the extractive industries, industrial farming for export, habitat loss for native populations, corporate-driven warfare for resources, and all the other manifestations of the worship of greed, as well as from very real sea level rise, more frequent droughts, heatwaves, wildfires and record-breaking storms.

  • Alistair Granham

    The really big train heading for us all is climate breakdown and ecological devastation. Everything else is peanuts by comparison – why is everyone looking the other way???

    • Hatuey

      Because we don’t believe it’s necessarily true and/or, even if there is truth in the climate change prophecies, we aren’t certain that the consequences of say a 2 degree rise in temperature over a hundred years are likely to be as dire as some have predicted.
      I’m personally more concerned about pollution, which is measurable and apparent, habitat destruction, and species loss.
      I’m also of the view that we need to move towards a phased reduction in population since that would solve a bunch of problems but for some reason most Green politicians are not so keen on discussing that.

      • Clark

        “I’m personally more concerned about pollution, which is measurable and apparent, habitat destruction, and species loss.”

        Equally important; this isn’t really a separate issue from climate breakdown. Ruminant livestock plus cut-and-burn for industrial agriculture together account for about half of greenhouse gas emissions, and about half of biodiversity loss.

        Two degrees is bad; the ice sheets are already destabilising at around one degree. I won’t launch into a lecture on likely cascades of climate tipping points (polar albedo, methane, clathrates, forest fires etc); these are risks we should make every effort to avoid.

        Regarding population, you may find it comforting that humanity has already passed the peak birthrate. Population will continue to increase due to increasing life expectancy, but beyond that population may well fall, as birthrate has fallen in most rich countries.

    • glenn_nl

      Alistair : Because it is not in the interests of the fossil fuel complex, or the consumerist capitalist model for that matter, to look at what’s happening very closely. They have done a tremendous job at encouraging doubt, and the denialist industry has produced great results.

      For examples of this, look just above. Haughty suggests he knows better than accredited experts on the subject of climate change, whose consensus can be dismissed as “Meh – it might not happen. And it might not be so bad.”

    • mog

      Thanks for the link Clark.
      These people are not really radicals in my definition. They come accross as decent people, and they seem genuine in their efforts, but also somewhat naive, to me.
      We are confronted by radical evil that threatens our survival. A psychopathy that comes in many guises. How do we respond?
      Some say we need to (practically) remove the psychopathic element from society and render it powerless, dismantle the structures that harbour it or promote it.
      Others say we need to work with it, and try to compromise with it, to negotiate with it for change that we want, to call to its sense of reason or empathy.
      Difficult isn’t it?
      Probably beyond the realm of politics to be honest.
      “Gandhi won through non violent disobedience”, they say. Yet 70 years later India is a neoliberal, authoritarian state playing nuclear brinkmanship with its neighbour and tearing its own social and environment fabric apart at the seams.
      What then, in the end, was ‘won’?
      I feel the same about the ‘broad church’ of XR.

      • Clark

        Mog, I agree that there is naivety in XR, but if non-radicals join in, that’s a good thing, because it means the cause is spreading.

        “Psychopathy” is a very emotive term. I do not accept that everyone who sees value in trade or industry is a psychopath. Rather, the neoliberal system selects for ruthlessness, and the corporate system dilutes and displaces responsibility from individuals into its structure. It is easy to dismiss terms like “green industrial revolution”, but industry is going to have to be revolutionised, or else abolished, with inevitable consequent suffering and loss of life.

        Wretched of the Earth have written to XR; this letter will be widely read within XR, and in fact similar messages were already arriving from within XR, for instance, at my Wednesday public meeting, a similar message from XR-USA was appended to XR’s Demands. XR Principle 5: “We value reflecting and learning – Following a cycle of action, reflection, learning, and planning for more action. Learning from other movements and contexts as well as our own experiences.”

        Any suggestions appreciated.

        • mog

          I am genuinely interested to see the conversation expanding out.
          I am not sure that I can make any suggestions that might be taken remotely seriously.
          Britain is so badly placed to deal with this crisis that it is hard not to be an out and out doomsayer.
          I would support a (real) state of emergency if it was enforced by a genuinely reformed government system. It’s hard to see this happening without a full blown revolution : the incumbant powers are so entrenched and so corrupt.
          Practically, my emphasis would be (and has always been) community building through hands on food growing. The state must empower local projects and hubs to train up the nation to grow food and harvest fuel and fibre. Everything else (i.e. the economy, democracy) must be built around this fundamental re-connection with the ecosystems around us.
          This kind of thinking was always in the margins but has become increasingly marginalised over the past 30 years of my involvement with the Green movement, and much is now focused on technological fixes and the urbane fads of a population disconnected from the natural world and from community.
          ….you did ask.

          • Clark

            Well, XR-Chelmsford does have a gardening and biodiversity group, and guerilla gardening is one of their activities. Get involved and strengthen one of the cultivation groups. I suspect you’re already doing that outside XR, so join, and spread your skills to others.

            Are you anti-technology? I suppose I’m an advocate for sharing of technological skill, eg. I’m a GNU/Linux user and installer, and I endeavour always to teach and thus empower those who ask for help with technology. I suspect I feel about technology the way you do about cultivation; the value lies in the understanding, the connection.

            The commercial world has headed in the opposite direction for decades, whether we be talking about cultivation or computers; people are reduced to customers by being disempowered. “No user-serviceable parts inside”? Stuff that; I rebel! For me, technology is the natural world; technology is having sufficient experience with natural law, and having a sufficiently experimental approach, to be capable of arranging desired outcomes. I see that as the same, in principle, as cultivation.

          • Clark

            Mog, having experienced a few meetings, XR-Chelmsford (at least) really is decentralised. So the sooner you get involved, the more influence on direction you can have.

          • Clark

            “Britain is so badly placed to deal with this crisis…”

            But Britain has considerable political and economic influence – don’t scoff, for better or worse it’s nuclear armed and thus one of the five Permanent Members of the UN Security Council – plus it harbours the financial centre in the City, and it has all those UKOT tax havens… Other sources of influence descend from its colonial past, the ‘Commonwealth’, the “special relationship” with the USA, and being the origin of English, now important as an international language. It has several old and very influential universities. Even the old monarchical and Church of England structures provide links to other centres of power.

            Thanks for that objection. I too had seen Britain as a poor starting place, but contradicting your point brought to mind various British levers of influence that can be leant upon, and they’re far from insignificant.

          • mog

            Clark,
            I appreciate you taking the time to reply and I appreciate the positive encouragement.
            I cannot though see myself getting involved with XR.
            The familiar sentiment reminds me of the Transition movement, it reminds me of Occupy, it reminds me of a campaign called Positive Money, Permacuture and various other worthy and sensible efforts (by essentially the same crowd moving from one to the other) stretching back into the 20th century. I’ve been in them all, then finally in the Labour Party, holding my nose and trying to push for a change from the ‘Neoliberal consensus’. I’m somewhere quite different nowadays.
            If the green anarchist vision of appropriate, convivial technology and a land based society survives within XR it will be at the margins, mark my words. I cannot see any path but co-option or dissipation unless the core problem is confronted head on with honesty and a degree of unanimity. This I do not see.
            But thanks again.
            And good luck. I know from my own circles that there are many good souls in XR.

          • Clark

            Mog, please expound. I think that network-connected appliances etc. could be used to reduce some energy expenditure, though in the current system it’s likely to promote new uses with their own power demands. The great technological hope, I would say, is computer-controlled vehicles revolutionising urban transport, slashing that sector’s energy demand and emissions.

            Of course those of a capitalist persuasion see this as an opportunity for economic growth becoming decoupled from increasing energy use and its consequences. I wouldn’t insist that this is wrong, but I’d say that industry can be destructive in a lot more ways than emissions. I’d also say that it doesn’t have to be destructive, but from the current state of industry there’s a hell of a lot of improvement needed, necessitating a lot more scientific scrutiny – genuine science, not the rubbish we get with private control, non-disclosure contracts, commercial confidentiality and publishing bias.

            What specifically about Christiana Figueres?

          • mog

            Clark,
            If you are an advocate for smart cities, 5G networks and AI as a ‘great technological hope’ in the face of climate change (and other environmental crises), then XR is the ‘broad church’ that seems right for you, I would say.
            Figueres is heading up organisations that regard these technologies as ‘the backbone of climate action’ – combined with carbon offsetting and CCS. I am confident that many at XR would find this problematic if they knew, considering her involvement in XR promotion.
            I think the point has been made now. There are quite distinct visions of any response to the situation we find ourselves in vis a vis the ecology of Earth. One vision is open to the ‘solutions’ of the techno-finance-capitalist elites. One is not. One sees capitalism carrying on in some form as part of the solution, the other sees capitalism as the very cause of the problems. One sees marketing and manipulation of the public mind as either unproblematic or even a positive tactic, the other sees it as dangerous and manipulative. One focuses almost exclusively on greenhouse gas emissions as the problem, the other sees these as one aspect of a wider crisis of overshoot.
            I take the point that XR is a broad coalotion of opinion. But like the Labour Party, that never seems to work out (by my standards). E.g. Emily Thornberry proudly tweets that she supports the Eurovision, Corbyn has appointed members of the LFI to manage Labour foreign policy.
            Great that the conversation continues though…

          • Clark

            XR was founded by Gail Bradbrook and Roger Hallam. Christiana Figueres is nothing to do with XR, so whatever she says about it is irrelevant. She’s obviously just bandwagoning. You may as well argue that because Trump said “I love Wikileaks”, Wikileaks supports Trump firing fifty missiles at Syria.

            And I’m not the least surprised that the Global Covenant of Mayors are wetting their pants about “Smart Cities”; that’s what mayors do. Again, this is irrelevant to XR.

            Mog, you could look at these matters far more positively. From now on, if political friends of Figueres denounce protests by groups you consider sufficiently genuine, they can be confronted with Figueres’ endorsement of XR. Similarly, you said you’d “support a (real) state of emergency” as if the UK government’s declaration was worthless, but if they try to undeclare it they’ll look too stupid for words, and if they don’t then all their other policies are open for scrutiny in its light. It’s a small but worthwhile victory.

            You do better to drop the binary anti-capitalist arguments. If you’re right and capitalism is fundamentally destructive to the environment, then insisting upon protection of the environment will undermine capitalism, brick by brick, and you’ll win by default. We already know what happens if you don’t drop it; every argument founders on the political rocks, nothing changes and we get environmental collapse by default. The choices aren’t as they seem; go around the head-to-head obstruction because it’s deadlocked, while the current carries both parties towards the waterfall.

          • Clark

            “The choices aren’t as they seem…”

            You seem to be seeing the choice as:

            Choose capitalism > get environmental collapse.
            Defeat capitalism > survive.

            But try swapping that relationship diagonally:

            Choose capitalism > get environmental collapse.
            Choose survival > get capitalist collapse.

          • mog

            You do better to drop the binary anti-capitalist arguments. If you’re right and capitalism is fundamentally destructive to the environment, then insisting upon protection of the environment will undermine capitalism, brick by brick, and you’ll win by default. We already know what happens if you don’t drop it; every argument founders on the political rocks, nothing changes and we get environmental collapse by default. The choices aren’t as they seem; go around the head-to-head obstruction because it’s deadlocked, while the current carries both parties towards the waterfall.

            You’ve inverted what has happened Clark.
            The Green movement – in its big NGOs, has, over the years, dropped the anti-capitalist arguments, and look what has happened: Co-option, prevarication, retreating boundaries of what constitutes meanigful aciton and the creation of a highly profitable market for carbon trading whilst emissions have flat lined then risen again.
            The only effective thing to reduce carbon emissions was the financial crash and great recession.

            Re: Figueres – I got that muddled, in that she has been an active promoter of Greta and I have conflated that with XR. God only knows why.

            XR will succeed and flourish to the extent that it embraces a capitalist solution to this crisis.

          • Clark

            XR occupied Greenpeace’s offices, precisely because of the complaints you make.

            “One focuses almost exclusively on greenhouse gas emissions as the problem, the other sees these as one aspect of a wider crisis of overshoot”

            The public talk on Monday had a section about Earth Overshoot Day. Haven’t you seen XR’s flags and patches with bees in hexagons? Or XR Rebels dressed as insects doing a die-off? Or the graffiti “No Pollinators – No Food”? Or all the big puppet skeletons of extinct species in the processions? Or the collage of species with the year they became extinct, or the year they’re expected to? You must have noticed the word ‘extinction’ in the name…

            Maybe you’ve been following proceedings too much via the corporate media or its reposted memes; no blame, that slime gets everywhere. XR’s strength is, each group decides their own actions among themselves; Principle 10:

            We are based on autonomy and decentralisation:
            – We collectively create the structures we need to challenge power. Anyone who follows these core principles and values can take action in the name of Extinction Rebellion.

            Of course that does mean that ‘capitalists’ can participate too, but it shouldn’t be a problem since they can’t put profit ahead of Principle 1:

            We have a shared vision of change:
            – Creating a world that is fit for generations to come.

            And they mustn’t blame their political opponents because of Principle 8:

            We avoid blaming and shaming:
            – We live in a toxic system, but no one individual is to blame.

            I dunno Mog, Have you run out of hope and thus fallen into despair?

          • mog

            You seem to be seeing the choice as:

            Choose capitalism > get environmental collapse.
            Defeat capitalism > survive.

            I mostly don’t think that many of us will survive regardless of the course of action. I don’t really despair anymore, but rather have detached somewhat.
            I think some will survive, and I think it is important what survives with them in terms of ideas and truth. (XR business was objectional.)
            Maybe something will emerge which is beyond our imagination or comprehension that will radically change the situation. I don’t rule that out, not rely on it.
            You misrepresent my other point.
            I get (and have said) that XR are a broad church and that there is an anti-capitalist representation amongst the membership. Good. What I am saying is that I am not interested in joining an organisation that is not exclusively anti-capitalist. You think that is self defeating or defeatist. So be it.
            I think this conversation has come to an end.

          • Clark

            “I don’t really despair anymore, but rather have detached somewhat.”

            You really should come along Mog. Principle 6:

            We welcome everyone and every part of everyone:
            – Working actively to create safer and more accessible spaces.

            And one that was frequently said on camp, but I don’t know where to look it up; something like:

            “the appropriate response to losing hope is not despair; it is grief.”

            Your grief will be accepted Mog; mine was. Really, for the first time in decades, I wasn’t ridiculed or told to toughen up. If I cried, others suffered with me. No one tried to ‘cure’ me. It was truly refreshing.

            Part of the ethos is about not taking this destruction lying down; to at least rebel against the toxic system, to at least express our objection. But not through violence, because violence against nature is the problem, and we too are part of nature.

            “I mostly don’t think that many of us will survive regardless of the course of action.”

            We don’t and can’t know how bad things are, or how bad they might get. The web of life is an almost incomprehensibly large system, literally incomprehensibly complex, and it has massive recuperative powers. All we can do is to try our best to reduce the ongoing damage and destruction. And so doing helps heal us. As Craig’s latest post is called: The Struggle Is The Meaning.

            – – – – – – –
            “XR business was objectional.”

            Why? What did it actually do that was objectional? Please define ‘capitalist’ and outline your political ideology.

            My political position is that I don’t know. Personally I’d happily live in a nearly communist manner, though I would like some personal possessions, often just because I develop familiarity with certain things. I’d like my own tool kit, for instance, so that I know what tools are in it, and because I get used to the feel of tools that I have had for a long time. I wouldn’t mind others using my kit, but they should accept that I have first call upon it – unless life is at stake or something. But from a strictly communist perspective, that’s a ‘capitalist’ sin.

            I think that the basic necessities should be available to everyone – air, water, food, clothing, shelter, information, free time to be creative/constructive. But if people want money to buy stuff from others or play poker, I don’t object. I can see value in the competitiveness of a market, and I can see the point of investment. Such activities don’t look inherently evil to me, so long as they don’t become exclusive (as they nearly have in our society) and thus prevent people living cooperatively / communally if they wish, and, very important, so long as they don’t corrupt information – deception is a fundamental evil.

            To me the above just seems like common decency and tolerance, and I don’t really understand why there’s a load of Left-Right animosity.

          • Clark

            Mog, I know my last comment was a long one with several points, and I hope you have enough time to absorb my position calmly. But I have even more for you. At Marble Arch I happened upon a discussion group being facilitated by Alim and Karl Lam. I cannot express my relief at hearing the things I have been thinking and feeling for decades, and trying, mostly unsuccessfully, to express to others. Working from a single page of notes, Karl succinctly described in a few minutes the structure of the toxicity of human interaction that has plagued me for half my life. He did not have a spare copy of his notes, and I had to leave to fulfil a prior arrangement. Then I lost their ‘phone number when I lost my ‘phone, on the Saturday. When I read the following it didn’t chime as deeply with me as did listening to his clear and concise lesson, but providing this link is the best I can do:

            https://www.karllamwriting.com/a-framework-for-understanding-exploitative-societies-3/

          • Clark

            Mog, I’d really like you to continue discussing this with me; there are things I’m trying to understand.

  • Casual Observer

    Electricity demand in the developed world is falling. Think about those bulbs that now burn 5 or 6 watts instead of a hundred, or the monitors that now consume a quarter of the old CRT’s ? So probably less to do with GDP, and more to do with the more efficient use of energy ?

    Interestingly the graphs you link to show the former Communist countries having higher consumptions from about 95 ? So likely to be as a result of the fall of Communism, and the ability of Capitalism to provide items to burn more electricity ?

    Its also worth pointing out that the energy companies are more than happy for the climate scare to persist, simply because they can make a little extra by handling the green subsidies. In fact thats probably what enables them to continue paying the shareholders ?

    • Blissex

      «So probably less to do with GDP, and more to do with the more efficient use of energy ?»

      As I wrote, that’s just pure imagination supported only by energetic handwaving. Why hasn’t this happened in Malaysia or south Korea? Why should the electricity saving investment have been much higher in an area of diffused poverty like the north-east rather than in the rich London and Home Counties areas?
      As the map I show of house prices by region, in the north east both house prices and electricity consumption collapsed 2005-2015, with house prices booming in the areas where electricity consumption did not collapse.

      «show the former Communist countries having higher consumptions from about 95 ?»

      Thanks to the switch to capitalism, it took a decade for their level of electricity consumption to reach the level of 1989.

      «the ability of Capitalism to provide items to burn more electricity ?»

      There are few countries where libertarian “dog eat dog” capitalism is more developed than in the Ukraine and Moldova, and their electricity consumption has been collapsing. There are other notable examples…

      • Casual Observer

        Malaysia and South Korea are still on the upwards swing of economic development.

        The former Communist countries did indeed suffer a period of depravation following the collapse of the command economies. But then started to grow again, but still not at the levels of prosperity enjoyed in the ‘West’

        The Ukraine has been the victim of its own home grown parasites since it became independent, so its probable that the circumstances of individual Ukrainians has indeed led to lower consumption. Although I doubt the GDP of the Ukraine has fallen due largely to its becoming a sham battleground between Russia and America ? The same can be said of Moldova, but in spades. As for either country being Capitalist, I’d venture they are more in the nature of kakastocracy’s ?

        The GDP aspect is an interesting angle, but declining usage must take notice of technological progress ?

        • Blissex

          «Malaysia and South Korea are still on the upwards swing of economic development.»

          Then they would be adopting the very most modern electricity saving technology, while the UK, Spain, Italy, Greece have plenty of less efficient legacy electrical devices, so energy efficiency should be improving much faster in south Korea and Malaysia.

          There is also the matter of absolute levels: you may have noticed that Malaysia has reached the level of consumption per head of the UK, Greece, Italy, Spain, and south Korea has surpassed it by far. They are pretty developed already in terms of electricity use.

          «The GDP aspect is an interesting angle, but declining usage must take notice of technological progress ?»

          In the past hundred years technological progress in electricity consuming devices has been massive, with enormous improvements in electrical device design, generators, transformers, motors, and consumption per head has been growing on a straight trend. If anything, except for LEDs, that kind of progress has slowed down as technology has matured.

          Also, I still find no reason to fantasize that electricity efficiency per head has improved by 20% in the north-east and not at all in London, a pattern that is repeated in regions of some other “first-world” countries, and among “first-world” countries too.

        • Kempe

          ” Also, I still find no reason to fantasize that electricity efficiency per head has improved by 20% in the north-east and not at all in London ”

          The graph you provided doesn’t show per capita electricity consumption, just consumption per region.

          https://blissex.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/dataelectrukfallbyregion2005to2015.png

          Population of the north east has remained fairly static at a little under 3 million since 2005, over the same period the population of London grew from 7.5 million to 9 million; an increase of 20% which I think answers your question.

    • Clark

      Casual Observer: “Its also worth pointing out that the energy companies are more than happy for the climate scare to persist…”

      It is “worth pointing out” that it was a billion dollars from fossil fuel energy companies that caused so many to dismiss the climate crisis as merely a scare. It is very real, and here’s how we know:

      https://skepticalscience.com/docs/Guide_to_Skepticism.pdf

  • Gary Weglarz

    One could be forgiven for thinking that the assemblage of psychopaths, madmen and idiots conducting American foreign policy are perhaps doing the world a favor by diverting attention away from our rather dire global economic situation by leading intelligent people everywhere to reach the almost unavoidable conclusion that we Americans won’t truly be happy until we are either economically sanctioning, outright invading, or publicly regime-changing – every nation on the entire planet simultaneously. No need to thank us for this service. It’s just what we do. And, it is completely bi-partisan.

    Outside of Tulsi Gabbard there does not appear to be anyone in the current running for our presidency who possesses even a passing familiarity with “reality.” This is evidenced by the total mainstream media acceptance and normalization of the utter amoral madness that is our U.S. foreign policy. It is now simply “heresy” to mention phrases like “international law” or expect government war-mongering to be supported by any actual “evidence.” I suspect that when the coming global economic and ecological collapses become undeniably apparent to us all, that the majority of my fellow Americans will evidence all the awareness the dinosaurs likely exhibited eons ago when one day they simply heard a loud – “boom” – before things quickly and mysteriously deteriorated and then ended for them.

    For those willing to consider just how dire our collective situation might be and how we might respond: https://www.lifeworth.com/deepadaptation.pdf

    • Hatuey

      I guess you have little to offer those of us who aren’t willing to consider how dire our collective situation might be…

      That’s not to say that I think our collective situation isn’t dire. I just don’t want to further consider it.

      But I have something for you; get into nature and wildlife. Assuming something will survive all this — ants, rats, chipmunks, who knows? — then you will at least get to be on the winning side.

    • Clark

      Gary Weglarz, Professor Jem Bendell’s Deep Adaptation paper was some of the background material for our local Extinction Rebellion meeting in Chelmsford UK on Wednesday evening. Please support the rebellion, to wake up the USA!

      https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=11jUqqjTHMThksd4KbvGGzb3I3Cr3PkBl&ll=41.999391608482064%2C-88.18238580368143&z=4

      https://www.democracynow.org/2019/4/17/headlines/dc_extinction_rebellion_stages_protest_in_front_of_rnc

      “We set our mission on what is necessary – Mobilising 3.5% of the population to achieve system change”

      https://extinctionrebellion.us/

      • michael norton

        Clark, the point I was trying to make with Greenland,
        was,

        If Greenland was warmer and more sustainable for tree growth in the past,
        it was not because of extra warmth caused by more Carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.

        Therefore, something other than Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere made Greenland more equitable for tree growth.

        • michael norton

          Greenland was relatively warm between about 800-1300 AD due to the well-defined 1500 year solar cycle, as detailed by Singer and Avery in:

          “Unstoppable global warming every 1500 years”.

          We are currently in another upswing in the solar cycle, which started about 1750, and which will probably rise about another 0.5-1 degree C over the next few hundred years. Current T to the 21st century is entirely in line with this solar cyle trend. C02 is irrelevant to this cycle,it has been traced 600 times over the last 1 million years in ice cores, and is a result of an overlap between the 87 and 210 year solar cycles.

          It is well documented, world wide, and climatologists have conveniently forgotten about it (see reference given above).

          Greenland was settled by vikings during the last solar warming period, which is also why they travelled so far in general during this time period-the northern world was warm.

          • Clark

            “…and climatologists have conveniently forgotten about it”

            Look, if you’re going to allege some vast conspiracy, at least be even handed. It is well documented that the fossil fuel industry has ‘invested’ about a billion dollars to confuse the scientific message. Their internal documents have emerged during court cases etc. I suggest you look into Singer’s long association with Exxon, Shell, Unocal, ARCO, Lockheed Martin, Martin–Marietta and McDonnell Douglas, and the funders of Avery’s institute; Monsanto, DuPont, Dow-Elanco, Sandoz andCiba-Geigy.

            If you look at the IPCC WG1 reports, you’ll see that solar variations are accounted for; they’re one of the three main ‘forcings’, if I remember correctly – solar output, greenhouse effect and aerosols/particulates. In any case, there’s no way the climate scientists could fudge the solar output and get away with it; we have the SOHO and STEREO solar observatory satellites now.

            The IPCC also underestimated in their prediction of the warming of the Arctic; it warmed about twice as fast, and the ice melting faster than predicted too.

  • James Charles

    The ‘deniers’ need not ‘worry’?

    “ The level of fossil fuel consumption globally is now roughly five times higher than in the 1950s, and one-and-half times higher than in the 1980s, when the science of global warming was confirmed and governments accepted the need to act on it. This is a central feature of the “great acceleration” of human impacts on the natural world. . . .
    CO2 emissions are 55% higher today than in 1990. Despite 20 international conferences on fossil fuel use reduction and an international treaty that entered into force in 1994, man made greenhouse gases have risen inexorably.”
    https://piraniarchive.files.wordpress.com/2018/08/pirani-helsinki-wern2018-paper.pdf

    “The IPCC report that the Paris agreement based its projections on considered over 1,000 possible scenarios. Of those, only 116 (about 10%) limited warming below 2C. Of those, only 6 kept global warming below 2C without using negative emissions. So roughly 1% of the IPCC’s projected scenarios kept warming below 2C without using negative emissions technology like BECCS. And Kevin Anderson, former head of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, has pointed out that those 6 lone scenarios showed global carbon emissions peaking in 2010. Which obviously hasn’t happened.
    So from the IPCC’s own report in 2014, we basically have a 1% chance of staying below 2C global warming if we now invent time travel and go back to 2010 to peak our global emissions. And again, you have to stop all growth and go into decline to do that. And long term feedbacks the IPCC largely blows off were ongoing back then too.”
    https://www.facebook.com/wxclimonews/posts/455366638536345

  • michael norton

    global warming concerns for Scotland

    The Scottish Conservatives claimed the long distances to disposal sites operated by the new contractor Tradebe were at odds with the Scottish government’s stated climate change goals.

    MSP Graham Simpson said: “No sooner had Nicola Sturgeon announced a climate emergency than her government confirms plans to send clinical waste 250 miles
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-48298987

    It does seem quite off, sending the waste of Scotland to Wales, not very concerned with their Carbon Footprint.

    • Clark

      XR Principle 8:
      We avoid blaming and shaming:
      – We live in a toxic system, but no one individual is to blame.

      The same could be applied to the Scottish Government, or the SNP, or to these particular Conservatives, come to that…

      No doubt the Scottish Government’s policy is encouraged by the toxic system, and it looks cheaper, in terms of mere money, to transport clinical waste hundreds of miles than to invest in infrastructure, jobs and education by setting up clinical waste disposal nearer to source. And the Tories could have helped (and maybe they did, BBC?) by pricing up and proposing their preferred approach.

      Or maybe, if in power, they would have made a similar choice, and are just exploiting an opportunity to criticise, attempting to decrease their opposition’s popularity. Political “opponents” should really be cooperating whenever possible and not wasting effort jousting for power; that was how the government of the time managed to get through WWII.

      • Clark

        Hmn. Toxic system. Principle 8:

        – We avoid blaming and shaming:
        – We live in a toxic system, but no one individual is to blame.

        I’m already suspecting that a blaming-and-shaming will ensue. Maybe some poor truck driver on a zero-hours contract but a fifteen hour shift and can barely pay his exorbitant rent?

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