Category Archives: Ecosystems

The Overshoot Dilemma

Climate change and global warming, which is the largest part of the ‘change’ aspect, is suddenly getting the kind of special treatment that’s reserved for national tragedies. A special commission has been established to investigate a way out of the biggest human-caused failure of all time.

It wouldn’t be quite so disturbing if it were not for the fact that the truth about the widespread danger from fossil fuels has been in the public domain for decades now.

People in the highest positions academically, politically, and the business community have known for decades that CO2 emissions will eventually overheat the planet. But, none of them had the balls to stand up to the fossil fuel companies and right-wing hacks and the despicable denier core of charlatans. They are as guilty as the denier hacks.

Whenever society at large is under extraordinary threat, aka existential threat, special commissions composed of prominent members of the establishment pop up to study the situation and make recommendations. Only recently the 911 Commission (2002) and the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (2009) are two prime examples. These special commissions have a common genesis of responding to a threat to the established way of life.

Hooray (maybe, maybe not, but at any rate sorrowfully) climate change has now joined the ranks. It’s officially designated an extraordinary threat to society. As of May 2022 the Climate Overshoot Commission has been established. Its first meeting is June 2022 at Lake Como, Italy.

The commission is composed of a wide swath of pristine leadership personalities, including past presidents, prime ministers, ministers of foreign affairs, professors, former heads of international organizations like the WTO. Indeed, they are a shiny brass group with credentials up the wazoo.

The commission will consider the risks attendant to overshooting 1.5°C and the range of response options for addressing overshoot. Based upon their mission statement, 1.5°C overshoot is preordained.

But honestly, isn’t this commission comparable to creating a commission to study what to do after the dam breaks?

Why study an overshoot of 1.5C? Ecosystems throughout the planet are already nearly overshooting or maybe actually overshooting in some cases at only 1.2C above baseline. By the time 1.5C hits there may not be enough pieces left to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

The commission may have the wrong idea and wrong target. If the commission is going to tackle the manifold risks of climate change, they should focus on the root cause, not the after effects. Why should a commission spend time and energy trying to figure out how to handle a totally unprecedented blowup of the climate system, when they should focus on the root cause of global heat and try to stop it before exceeding 1.5C?

Maybe the answer is to pivot to the Special Commission on Removing Fossil Fuel Infrastructure.

Several ecosystems (the Great Barrier Reef) are already in trouble. In that sense the commission may be needlessly spinning its wheels. Moreover, the signs of irreversible collapse is discussed in several key situations described in a recent landmark study. 1

The Bergstrom study examined 20 ecosystems from Australia’s coral reefs to terrestrial Antarctica and discovered forces of ecosystem collapse driven by global climate change and regional human impacts. Nineteen (19) of the twenty (20) ecosystems are already bordering on irreversible damage.

According to the study group, an estimated 30% of global land area is already degraded, directly affecting nearly one-half of the world’s population. Ecosystems are deteriorating globally. “The endpoint of disruption and degradation of ecosystems is potentially or actually irreversible collapse.” The study found destructive processes at an advanced stage.

We assessed evidence of collapse in 19 ecosystems (both terrestrial and marine) … extending from northern Australia to coastal Antarctica, from deserts to mountains to rainforests, to freshwater and marine biomes, all of which have equivalents elsewhere in the world.  2

In other words, their domain of study is a facsimile for what’s happening throughout the planet. In their words: “We assessed evidence of collapse.” The evidence was ubiquitous, wherever they looked. “Our analysis clearly demonstrates the widespread and rapid collapse, and in some cases the irreversible transition rather than gradual change at a regional scale.” (Bergstrom)

Here’s a summation of the Bergstrom study findings: “The 19 ecosystems presented have collapsed or are collapsing according to our four criteria (see Table S1 for details). None has collapsed across the entire distribution, but for all there is evidence of local collapse. Rapid change (months to years) has occurred in several cases (Figure 2c, Table S1). We identified 17 pressure types affecting the 19 ecosystems (Figure 1). The key global climate change presses are changes in temperature (18 ecosystems) and precipitation (15 ecosystems), and key pulses are heatwaves (14 ecosystems), storms (13 ecosystems) and fires (12 ecosystems). In addition, each ecosystem experienced up to 10 (median 6) regional human impact pressures (presses and/or pulses) (see Figure 1). Habitat modification or destruction has occurred in 18 ecosystems, often at substantial levels, but over a relatively small spatial scale in the Antarctic ecosystem. Run-off with associated pollutants was the most common single human impact pulse (6 ecosystems).”

Note that “the key global climate change presses” are all directly or indirectly a result of global warming. Hence, the primary target for any commission should be how to prevent global warming in the first instance, not what to do once it’s exceeded a flash point of 1.5C above baseline. Then, it may be too late.

More to the point, we as a society know much more about how to control greenhouse gas emissions at the source than we know about mitigation of ecosystem damage once 1.5C is breached or metaphorically after the dam bursts.

Where’s the commission to get off fossil fuels?

  1. Dana M Bergstrom, et al, “Combating Ecosystem Collapse from the Tropics to the Antarctic”, Global Change Biology, Vol. 27, issue 9, February 25, 2021.
  2. Ibid.
The post The Overshoot Dilemma first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Wood-Pellet Manufacturing in a Rainforest

A wall of logs that will become wood pellets sits at a mill in Houston, B.C. (Stand.earth)

The wood-pellet industry has full-scale operations smack dab in the heart of British Columbia’s Inland Temperate Rainforest, the last rainforest of its kind in the North.

The fabled rainforest contains cedars of up to 12-15 feet in diameter and up to 2,000 years old. Its extraordinarily rich ecosystem is home to 2,400 plant species and numerous wildlife species.  It is one of only three inland temperate-boreal rainforest in the world. The others are in southern Siberia and Russia’s Far East.

Of significant concern, according to criteria by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) BC’s inland rainforest is endangered, susceptible to ecological collapse within only one decade, assuming current logging rates continue. Remarkably, a study found that 95% of the rainforest’s “core habitat” has been lost since 1970. 1

However, the wood-pellet industry says, “not to worry.” Pacific BioEnergy, the major wood-pellet manufacturer in the rainforest, claims the wood-pellets are made from low-grade timber. Accordingly, they claim to make pellets that are, “sustainable by-product of forests already being cut by using lumber waste such as sawdust and slash.” meaning larger debris left by loggers.

But, according to the independent NGO Sustainable Biomass Program, the use of whole logs has ballooned from 6% in 2019 to 50% in 2020. That is not slash or sawdust as represented by the company.

Moreover, satellite imagery by the Living Atlas of the World “confirmed a shift to whole trees.”

A 2021 Google Image shows log piles around the wood-pellet plant that’s equivalent to four soccer fields, which is an eye-opening 6xs the area of wood residuals on the property.

According to IUCN, ‘despite evidence to the contrary,’ the pellets are marketed as ‘clean, renewable energy’ by Pacific Bioenergy located near Prince George, BC and by bioenergy facilities in Europe.” 2

The Inland Temperate Rainforest is called the “forgotten rainforest” because, unlike its coastal counterpart, which is protected by the “Great Bear Rainforest Agreement” with 85% under conservation protection, it is does not have conservation protection status. It’s wide-open for development.

The Inland Temperate Rainforest needs similar protection. It’s a key part of Canada’s efforts to meet climate mitigation objectives, notably Article 5 of the Paris ’15 climate agreement that calls for conservation measures to enhance “carbon sinks,” especially forests.

Then, what purpose does woody biomass serve… other than as a profit source for private industry and serving as a faux alternative green energy source for electricity plants in Europe?

Wood-pellet manufacturing, a multi-billion dollar global industry, is expected to double again in the next five years. “European power plants have been among the biggest consumers—pellet-fired power plants are uncommon in North America—but demand from Japan and South Korea has also increased in recent years.” 3

Canada is knee-deep in the woody biomass industry. According to the Wood Pellet Association of Canada, BC’s forests produce more pellets than anywhere else in the world.

But, how is it possible with a straight face for anybody to claim burning trees is a substitute for fossil fuels? Wood-pellets emit carbon the same as coal. And, it’s pure poppycock to claim that new trees are planted to replace the cut downs to sequester the carbon released when the pellets burn. The science does not supp0rt that flimsy argument; it’s not even close!

“A forest of saplings may take a century or more to mature into an ecosystem that holds as much carbon as the one it replaced. An open letter from 500-plus scientists and economists sent last year to world leaders warned that burning pellets ‘is likely to add two to three times as much carbon to the air as using fossil fuels.’ Nearly 800 scientists and academics, including two Nobel laureates and three winners of the US National Medal of Science, signed a similar letter in 2018.4

The whole thing boils down to the obvious fact that burning things emits carbon quickly and regrowing things to sequester carbon takes a long time, according to Mary Booth, director of the Partnership for Policy Integrity, a US-based environmental nonprofit critical of the pellet industry: In other words, climate change will have wreaked havoc long before those young trees mature into an ecosystem that holds as much carbon as the one they replaced. 4

The UN and several nations classify woody biomass as “carbon neutral”. Yet, it is not carbon neutral, which isn’t even a scientific term. It is a carbon emitter, plain and simple!

“The wood pellet industry is a monster out of control… Burning wood puts out more carbon dioxide per unit of electricity produced then coal does.” 5

A letter from 500 scientists and economists: “Overall, for each kilowatt hour of heat or electricity produced, [burning] wood initially is likely to add two to three times as much carbon to the air as using fossil fuels,’ refuting the policy and industry claims of biomass zero emissions.” 6

“Because the combustion and processing efficiencies for wood are less than coal, the immediate impact of substituting wood for coal is an increase in atmospheric CO2 relative to coal. This means that every megawatt-hour of electricity generated from wood produces more CO2 than if the power station had remained coal-fired.”7

Stop woody biomass: (1) “The influx of 1/3 more trees would buy humanity time by adding 20 years to meet climate targets.”8; (2)  Carbon is emitted in the biomass combustion process, resulting in a net increase of CO2 9;  (3) Woody biomass power plants actually produce more global warming CO2 than fossil fuel plants. 10

An article entitled “The ‘Green Energy’ That Might Be Ruining the Planet” appeared in Politico in March 2021:

Here’s a multibillion-dollar question that could help determine the fate of the global climate: If a tree falls in a forest—and then it’s driven to a mill, where it’s chopped and chipped and compressed into wood pellets, which are then driven to a port and shipped across the ocean to be burned for electricity in European power plants—does it warm the planet? Most scientists and environmentalists say yes.

Yet, as the article suggests, governments around the world, as well as the UN, have embraced “biomass power” as a legitimate zero-emissions renewable energy. Europe now generates more energy from burning wood that from wind and solar combined, even though solar produces 100 times as much power per acre as biomass.

Biomass power is now a $50B global industry and growing fast, as it is now spreading to Asian countries. Policy-makers throughout the world believe they’ve discovered an answer to meeting carbon mitigation goals. Eureka! Burn wood!

But, what if woody biomass, like fossil fuels, causes global warming?

Academics and scientists say, yes, it does. Woody biomass blends with fossil fuels as a radical enhancement of global warming emissions.

It’ll put global warming on a rip-snorting bender. Buckle up!

  1. Brian J. Barth, “Burning Up: The Controversial Biofuel Threatening BC’s Last Inland Rainforests”, The Whale, 2022,
  2. “Primary Forest Case Study – British Columbia’s Forgotten Inland Temperate Rainforest”, IUCN.
  3. The Whale
  4. The Whale.
  5. Bill Moomaw, emeritus professor Tufts University and co-author of several IPCC reports — 2019 Mongabay interview.
  6. 500+ Experts Call on World’s Nations to Not Burn Forest to Make Energy, Mongabay, February 16, 2021.
  7. John Sherman, Complex Systems Analyst, MIT.
  8. ETH Zurich
  9. Columbia University
  10. Earth Institute
The post Wood-Pellet Manufacturing in a Rainforest first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Wood-Pellet Manufacturing in a Rainforest

A wall of logs that will become wood pellets sits at a mill in Houston, B.C. (Stand.earth)

The wood-pellet industry has full-scale operations smack dab in the heart of British Columbia’s Inland Temperate Rainforest, the last rainforest of its kind in the North.

The fabled rainforest contains cedars of up to 12-15 feet in diameter and up to 2,000 years old. Its extraordinarily rich ecosystem is home to 2,400 plant species and numerous wildlife species.  It is one of only three inland temperate-boreal rainforest in the world. The others are in southern Siberia and Russia’s Far East.

Of significant concern, according to criteria by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) BC’s inland rainforest is endangered, susceptible to ecological collapse within only one decade, assuming current logging rates continue. Remarkably, a study found that 95% of the rainforest’s “core habitat” has been lost since 1970. 1

However, the wood-pellet industry says, “not to worry.” Pacific BioEnergy, the major wood-pellet manufacturer in the rainforest, claims the wood-pellets are made from low-grade timber. Accordingly, they claim to make pellets that are, “sustainable by-product of forests already being cut by using lumber waste such as sawdust and slash.” meaning larger debris left by loggers.

But, according to the independent NGO Sustainable Biomass Program, the use of whole logs has ballooned from 6% in 2019 to 50% in 2020. That is not slash or sawdust as represented by the company.

Moreover, satellite imagery by the Living Atlas of the World “confirmed a shift to whole trees.”

A 2021 Google Image shows log piles around the wood-pellet plant that’s equivalent to four soccer fields, which is an eye-opening 6xs the area of wood residuals on the property.

According to IUCN, ‘despite evidence to the contrary,’ the pellets are marketed as ‘clean, renewable energy’ by Pacific Bioenergy located near Prince George, BC and by bioenergy facilities in Europe.” 2

The Inland Temperate Rainforest is called the “forgotten rainforest” because, unlike its coastal counterpart, which is protected by the “Great Bear Rainforest Agreement” with 85% under conservation protection, it is does not have conservation protection status. It’s wide-open for development.

The Inland Temperate Rainforest needs similar protection. It’s a key part of Canada’s efforts to meet climate mitigation objectives, notably Article 5 of the Paris ’15 climate agreement that calls for conservation measures to enhance “carbon sinks,” especially forests.

Then, what purpose does woody biomass serve… other than as a profit source for private industry and serving as a faux alternative green energy source for electricity plants in Europe?

Wood-pellet manufacturing, a multi-billion dollar global industry, is expected to double again in the next five years. “European power plants have been among the biggest consumers—pellet-fired power plants are uncommon in North America—but demand from Japan and South Korea has also increased in recent years.” 3

Canada is knee-deep in the woody biomass industry. According to the Wood Pellet Association of Canada, BC’s forests produce more pellets than anywhere else in the world.

But, how is it possible with a straight face for anybody to claim burning trees is a substitute for fossil fuels? Wood-pellets emit carbon the same as coal. And, it’s pure poppycock to claim that new trees are planted to replace the cut downs to sequester the carbon released when the pellets burn. The science does not supp0rt that flimsy argument; it’s not even close!

“A forest of saplings may take a century or more to mature into an ecosystem that holds as much carbon as the one it replaced. An open letter from 500-plus scientists and economists sent last year to world leaders warned that burning pellets ‘is likely to add two to three times as much carbon to the air as using fossil fuels.’ Nearly 800 scientists and academics, including two Nobel laureates and three winners of the US National Medal of Science, signed a similar letter in 2018.4

The whole thing boils down to the obvious fact that burning things emits carbon quickly and regrowing things to sequester carbon takes a long time, according to Mary Booth, director of the Partnership for Policy Integrity, a US-based environmental nonprofit critical of the pellet industry: In other words, climate change will have wreaked havoc long before those young trees mature into an ecosystem that holds as much carbon as the one they replaced. 4

The UN and several nations classify woody biomass as “carbon neutral”. Yet, it is not carbon neutral, which isn’t even a scientific term. It is a carbon emitter, plain and simple!

“The wood pellet industry is a monster out of control… Burning wood puts out more carbon dioxide per unit of electricity produced then coal does.” 5

A letter from 500 scientists and economists: “Overall, for each kilowatt hour of heat or electricity produced, [burning] wood initially is likely to add two to three times as much carbon to the air as using fossil fuels,’ refuting the policy and industry claims of biomass zero emissions.” 6

“Because the combustion and processing efficiencies for wood are less than coal, the immediate impact of substituting wood for coal is an increase in atmospheric CO2 relative to coal. This means that every megawatt-hour of electricity generated from wood produces more CO2 than if the power station had remained coal-fired.”7

Stop woody biomass: (1) “The influx of 1/3 more trees would buy humanity time by adding 20 years to meet climate targets.”8; (2)  Carbon is emitted in the biomass combustion process, resulting in a net increase of CO2 9;  (3) Woody biomass power plants actually produce more global warming CO2 than fossil fuel plants. 10

An article entitled “The ‘Green Energy’ That Might Be Ruining the Planet” appeared in Politico in March 2021:

Here’s a multibillion-dollar question that could help determine the fate of the global climate: If a tree falls in a forest—and then it’s driven to a mill, where it’s chopped and chipped and compressed into wood pellets, which are then driven to a port and shipped across the ocean to be burned for electricity in European power plants—does it warm the planet? Most scientists and environmentalists say yes.

Yet, as the article suggests, governments around the world, as well as the UN, have embraced “biomass power” as a legitimate zero-emissions renewable energy. Europe now generates more energy from burning wood that from wind and solar combined, even though solar produces 100 times as much power per acre as biomass.

Biomass power is now a $50B global industry and growing fast, as it is now spreading to Asian countries. Policy-makers throughout the world believe they’ve discovered an answer to meeting carbon mitigation goals. Eureka! Burn wood!

But, what if woody biomass, like fossil fuels, causes global warming?

Academics and scientists say, yes, it does. Woody biomass blends with fossil fuels as a radical enhancement of global warming emissions.

It’ll put global warming on a rip-snorting bender. Buckle up!

  1. Brian J. Barth, “Burning Up: The Controversial Biofuel Threatening BC’s Last Inland Rainforests”, The Whale, 2022,
  2. “Primary Forest Case Study – British Columbia’s Forgotten Inland Temperate Rainforest”, IUCN.
  3. The Whale
  4. The Whale.
  5. Bill Moomaw, emeritus professor Tufts University and co-author of several IPCC reports — 2019 Mongabay interview.
  6. 500+ Experts Call on World’s Nations to Not Burn Forest to Make Energy, Mongabay, February 16, 2021.
  7. John Sherman, Complex Systems Analyst, MIT.
  8. ETH Zurich
  9. Columbia University
  10. Earth Institute
The post Wood-Pellet Manufacturing in a Rainforest first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The Truth About IPCC Reports

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in many respects, is a Delphic institution whose reports are a function of political discretion as it provides justification for nation/state policies that are seldom fulfilled; e.g., only a handful of the 193 signatory nations to Paris 15 have met commitments. This scandalous outright failure at a dicey time for the climate system only serves to hasten loss of stability and integrity of the planet’s most important ecosystems.

That provocative depiction is examined in a recent Nick Breeze ClimateGenn podcast interview: Existential Risk Management with David Spratt, research director of the Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration in Melbourne. Dr. Spratt is highly regarded for solid research, which is evidenced throughout his refreshingly straightforward interview.

Spratt’s interview tackles: (1) failings of the IPCC, (2) tipping points, and (3) a nearly out of control global warming challenge that’s not realistically understood, even as wobbly ecosystems start to falter.

The truth is the IPCC has been politicized to such an extent that its reports unintentionally confuse public opinion whilst misdirecting public policy issues for mitigation. At the center of the issue the IPCC does not expose the full extent of existential risk, which happens to be such an unthinkable event so hard to accept that nobody believes it will ever really truly happen. More on this later.

During the interview a tipping point is discussed in the context of reduction of Arctic summer sea ice to 3/4ths of its volume, as the Arctic’s highly reflective ice melts into a dark background of sea water that easily absorbs almost all of the incoming solar radiation, in turn, absorbing warmth that would otherwise be 80%-90% reflected back to outer space via the long-standing albedo effect of ice. In turn, a warming Arctic causes excessive warmth to hit Greenland, which, according to Dr. Jason Box (professor in glaciology at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland) is already “past the point of system stability,” meaning past a tipping point of no return. Recently Box publicly warned of abrupt climate change forthcoming. Meanwhile, Greenland’s melt releases cold water into the Atlantic, in turn, slowing down the Atlantic Gulf Stream, and, as follows, weakens Atlantic circulation that, in turn, negatively impacts precipitation in the eastern Amazon.

Like a series of dominoes falling one onto another, one initial event (a) loss of Arctic sea ice brings (b) warmer Arctic waters (c) cascading into more Greenland melt-off, causing (d) slower Atlantic circulation, triggering (e) loss of precipitation for the eastern Amazon. The net result because of one non-linear event; i.e., loss of Arctic sea ice triggers four additional major events. Ipso facto, those five events reinforce each other for who knows how long?

According to Spratt: “So, we see that a change in one system; i.e., Arctic ice volume echoes or has domino effects through other systems,” which triggers a tipping point that, in fact, is already at a seminal stage.

Regarding the IPCC’s approach to risk, first it is important to emphasize the fact that big risks must be the key to successful climate change analysis. By definition, big risks are at the top end of a range of possibilities. But, the IPCC does not see risks that way. Their view is more generalized and this has become normalized over the past 20 years; e.g., we have a 50% chance of not exceeding 2°C with our current carbon budget. According to Spratt: That is catastrophically wrong. That type of risk assessment has been normalized now for 20 years in policy-making, and “it is horribly wrong.”

When risks are existential, and they clearly are in this particular instance, everybody knows if it gets to the range of 3C to 4C pre-industrial (and 60% of scientists say we’re already headed for 3C plus) “we’ll destroy human civilization.”

Therefore, when risks are existential, you can’t look at an on-average analysis. Rather, you must look at the worst possible outcome as your primary calculation. It’s the only way to approach an existential risk.

In that regard, and interestingly enough, the foreword of the IPCC report of a few years ago actually said: “Critical instances calculating probabilities don’t matter. What matters is the high-end possibility.”

But nowadays a figure such as “50% probability” introduces a fundamental problem with the assessment process. More realistically, the proper way to look at existential risks is by stating x-amount of additional carbon has a 50% chance of reaching 2C but also has a 10% chance of 4C, or in other words, a 50% chance of staying below 2C is also a 10% chance of reaching 4C.  Would you take an elevator ride with a 10% chance of the cable breaking at the 75th floor?

When it comes to existential risks, the expectation should be: “Why should we accept risks with the climate system that we would not accept with our own lives?” They are really one in the same.

Thus, the core of existential risk management must focus on the high-end not middling ranges of probability. The focus must be, and this is an absolute: “What is the worst that can happen, and what do we have to do to prevent it?”

That assumption is not part of the latest IPCC report. When it comes to non-linear responses of cascades, the IPCC says: “There is no evidence of such non-linear responses at the global scaling climate projections for the next century. But, according to Spratt: “This is just wrong.”

After all, “everybody knows, for example, that emissions from permafrost are non-trivial at the moment. We know that warming in the last decade has been higher than in previous decades and the system is about to warm at an accelerating rate as major systems are already changing state. And the IPCC says there is no evidence of moving into non-linear climate change.  This is absurd!” (Spratt)

Ipso facto, because of a badly misjudged bias, IPCC models can’t deal with non-linear processes. As a result, they’re missing the big picture by a country mile. And, mitigation policies, for what that’s worth, are inadequate.

Yet, according to Dr. Spratt: “The paleoclimate record tells us that, in the long run, each one-degree of warming brings 10-20 meters (32- 66 feet) of sea level rise. Frankly, that would be a legitimate statement for the IPCC, but they do not deal with non-linear events.”

All of which leads to inadvertent problems for policy makers because people judge the IPCC report as pure science. “It is not. The IPCC is a political body. Diplomats of 190 governments run the IPCC. They appoint the lead authors for reports. The IPCC is the intersection of policy and politics.” (Spratt)

Meanwhile, as if misdirection by the IPCC is not enough of a problem, change is happening so much faster than forecasts. For example, early IPCC reports said Antarctica would be stable for a thousand years. But, back in 2007, Richard Alley (Penn State) said it’s already melting 100 years ahead of schedule.

Of special concern in the near future, when the Arctic goes Full Monty, a 100% ice-free summer, “it will drive changes that will be unstoppable.” This existential risk is already capriciously inconstant across the entire northern horizon.

Furthermore, it’s already apparent to many scientists that we’ll be at 1.5C a decade from now, regardless of emissions over the next 10 years. In fact, 1.5C around 2030 looks to be locked-in in part because of the aerosol dilemma. If so, we’re only a decade away from Hot House Earth becoming reality.  Thenceforth, the climate system will accelerate much faster than ever before.

Fourteen years ago Spratt published a book Climate Code Red, which codified the idea of a climate emergency by conceptually stating that the climate problem could not be solved “with business as usual.”  (It’s still business as usual, but bigger.)

A review of the book states: Climate Code Red: The Case for Emergency Action is a 2008 book which presents scientific evidence that the global warming crisis is worse than official reports and national governments have so far indicated.

Based upon this current interview, Spratt seems to indicate that it is even worse (actually bigger) today than it was in 2008.

To avert what looks to be an inevitable existential event requires an enormous commitment of resources comparable to a wartime economy with single-minded focus on climate policy, and it also requires a major change in the way society works. Those are awfully big requests, so one has to wonder what’s truly feasible.

As things now stand current mitigation stems from the IPCC’s embedded idea that there can be “incremental non-destructive change as a solution… This will not work.” (Spratt)

The harsh truth is global emissions are continuing to go up, as all of the decarbonization efforts like wind, solar, electric cars, and energy efficiency only serve to produce “more energy for growth.” For example, if the global economy grows 2% per year and 2% of the energy system converts to renewables, then the same amount of fossil fuel energy is used every year. That is a very rough facsimile of what has been happening. Fossil fuel use as a percentage of all energy is essentially the same today as 50 years ago.

Moreover, “there is no way that a system with ‘hands-off’ government, other than a few token regulations, and ‘the free market deciding the outcome’ is going to work.” In fact, the evidence is already telling us it does not work. Not even close.

A true fixit requires overwhelmingly powerful political leadership. In that regard, according to Spratt: “What I really fear and my experience is that those in the elite, whether it’s in business or in politics, simply, I think, do not understand the problem as it really exists.”

There’s a profound ignorance because of the IPCC telling a story that incrementalism is a successful approach when it’s clearly not.

A collateral problem is a large segment of the professional climate advocacy NGO community has been “swallowed by the whale,” meaning they buy into the lame Conference of the Parties “COP” meetings and swallow the corporate-origin net zero nonsense by 2050, over and over again, umm, but it’s too little too late, horribly misdirected. Whereas, according to several scientists, 2030 is the deadly deadline, not incremental movement to 2050.

The crux of the matter is that the most prominent existential risk in human history does not conform to scientific models. It’s almost always ahead of the scientific models, sometimes by several decades. Then, why would it wait around for net zero by 2050?

The post The Truth About IPCC Reports first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The “She’ll Be Right, Mate” Syndrome: Australia’s Doomed Koalas

In a country expert in killing off mammal species at a rate exceeding that of others (to be fair, there are so many more to destroy, with more to come), Australians now face the prospect that the koala, one of its most singularly recognisable animals, has its days numbered.

Divergent attitudes to such animal species, notably indigenous ones, has been a point of some despair for conservationists.  In 1995, Ron Green, the zoological director of Canberra’s Australian National Wildlife Sanctuary, put his finger on the matter by suggesting that Australians were “unique” in their “blasé” disposition.  “They’ll look at the white rhinoceros going into extinction on the TV, and become outraged but [have] an illusion that everything is fine in Australia; the ‘She’ll be right, mate’ syndrome, but we’ve wiped out the most mammals of any country in the world.”

Despite an emerging ecological awareness in Australia, the syndrome still stalks the halls of power. Last month, the Morrison government found itself in the unenviable position of having to declare the koala an endangered species in Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.  In 2012, the species had been listed as “vulnerable” in the same jurisdictions.  As conservation scientist Stuart Blanch from WWF-Australia glumly observed, “Koalas have gone from no-listing to vulnerable to endangered within a decade.  This is a shockingly fast decline.”

The koala species has been savaged by an assortment of environmental changes, many of them of human making.  Through the 1920s, hundreds of thousands were shot for their fur.  Then came the devastating effects of tree-clearing in such states as Queensland and New South Wales for reasons of urban and agricultural development.  The effects were such that they led the Australian Koala Foundation in the mid-1990s to urge the Queensland government to place the species on the endangered list.

Over the vicious summer of 2019-2020, the Blackfire bushfires killed some 5,000 and affected 24% of the habitats in New South Wales alone.  The entire conflagration is said, according to WWF-Australia, to have “killed, injured or affected in some way” 60,000 koalas.

The endangered status imposes no obligation upon the government to actually take any measures, odd as that sounds, but Prime Minister Scott Morrison never misses a chance to advertise a funding spray.  At the end of January, a joint media release from his office and that of Environment Minister Sussan Ley announced that $50 million would be provided “to boost the long-term protection and recovery efforts for Australia’s koalas.”

The package would, in the Prime Minister’s words, aid in “restoring koala habitat, improving our understanding of koala populations, supporting training in koala treatment and care, and strengthening research into koala health outcomes.”

On February 11, Ley was tooting and hooting away with another announcement that levels of protection for the species would be boosted “under National Environmental Law.”  The government was “taking unprecedented action to protect the koala, working with scientists, medical researchers, veterinarians, communities, states, local governments and Traditional Owners.”

When struggling for answers, those in power find it best to defer matters to a committee or working group.  Not wishing to buck this tendency, Ley announced that the Threatened Species Scientific Committee would be considering “the status of the Koala.”

The language of the announcement was a jarring mix of promotion and doom, with the doom element – namely, declaring the koala as endangered in three jurisdictions – buried in over the rainbow promises of protection. “Together we can ensure a healthy future for the koala and this decision, along with the total $74 million we have committed to koalas since 2019 will play a key role in that process.”

Such empty displays of political theatre are acts of distraction and denial.  The koalas may have been offered “a nice new word,” huffed Deborah Tabart, veteran chairwoman of the Australia Koala Foundation, “but behind all the photo opportunities and political rhetoric they continue to approve the destruction of the koala habitat.”

Little is made of climate change, a phenomenon which Morrison has found hard to contend with.   There is also little in the way of teeth in the proposed actions.  Blanch makes the point that slapping an endangered status upon a species is one thing but, in this case, it “won’t stop koalas from sliding towards extinction unless it’s accompanied by stronger laws and landholder incentives to protect their forest homes.”

The Australian Koala Foundation also notes the absence of specific legislation across the country to protect koalas and their habitat.  It recommends the drafting and passage of the Koala Protection Act, with a focus on protecting the trees themselves.  “The reason we have been so clear about protection of trees is because if you are a Koala and lose your home, you have nothing to eat, and you are lost, leaving you more susceptible to threats such as cars and dogs.”

The organisation claims to have a “precise list of trees” covering the geographic scope of the koala and insists that the onus be placed on any developer to demonstrate that their actions “will be benign to the landscape.”

With such stewards of the environment as Ley, animal species are doomed.  This was predictable enough.  For decades, Australia’s environmental portfolio has been leased, if not bought outright, by fossil fuel and developer interests.  It was Ley who used her good offices to convince international officialdom that the world need not worry about the ailing health of the Great Barrier Reef.  It was yet another example of the odious “She’ll be right, mate” syndrome.

The post The “She’ll Be Right, Mate” Syndrome: Australia’s Doomed Koalas first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Factory Farms Destroy Ecosystems

Factory farms are the Grim Reapers of civilization, inhumanely penning up and slaughtering cows, pigs, and chickens by the tens of millions, as well as unintentionally, but effectively, poisoning, maiming and/or killing birds, insects, amphibians, mammals, and crucial life-supporting ecosystems that are key to human life. And, it’s legal.

Factory farms have suddenly arisen out of nowhere; e.g., in Iowa “the state’s number of concentrated animal feed operations, known as CAFOs, grew from 722 in 2001 to more than 10,000 in 2017, according to a study on the industry by two retired University of Iowa professors.” 1

The first sentence of the Pew Trust article reads; “Iowa has a poop problem.”

Meanwhile, factory farms are an environmental train wreck gone ballistic. The Center for Biological Diversity in conjunction with World Animal Protection-US released a new report entitled Collateral Damage (February 4, 2022) that studied the impact of an estimated 235 million pounds annually of herbicides and insecticides applied to feed crops for factory farms in the US for the most recent year for which complete information is available. The chemicals are applied to corn and soybeans for farmed animal feed in the US. Roughly 50% of highly hazardous toxic pesticide use on a global basis is for corn and soy for factory farms.

The report describes a brutal process of extremely tight-fitting ill-conforming inhumane penning/feeding of animals to fatten‘em up as quickly as possible for slaughter to satisfy the world’s addiction for fast food. The entire process from A-to-Z uses assembly line techniques to get food from pesticide/herbicide enriched mono-crop farm plantings into the grubby hands of stretched-wide-open-mouth humanoid creatures, eating and sweating like stuffed pigs, as the death knell of the Wet Bulb Syndrome –WBS- (95°F/90% wet) starts ringing its bell above and below the equator. Global warming has brought the onset of this deadly event that can kill a person within 6 hours, if they cannot escape the deadly combination of heat and humidity.

The Collateral Damage report describes the impact of widespread use of highly toxic chemicals, specifically herbicides and insecticides, applied to feed crops for factory-farmed animals.

According to the study – “Collateral Damage: How Factory Farming Drives Up the Use of Toxic Agricultural Pesticides” by World Animal Protection, New York, NY, February 2022:

High levels of meat consumption are driving the decline in wild animal populations via the ever-increasing intensification of monoculture feed crop cultivation to feed the farmed animals raised in the factory farming systems that produce the majority of meat consumed in the US today. This is best evidenced by the hundreds of millions of pounds of hazardous chemicals applied to corn and soy crops as pesticides in the US. These toxic chemicals are impeding the ability of insects, birds, fish, and other taxa to survive and thrive as well as destroying the diversity of native plants on which they rely for shelter and food.

That’s a mouthful. In other words, the life cycle of entire ecosystems are put at risk so humans can stuff food down their throats. That entire process is loaded with moral issues, and even plain ole common sense says “something is not right.” Prompting the question of whether humanity is trapped within a toxic chemical world for its survival. That paradox is beyond the pale, but real.

Glyphosate, which is the most widely used herbicide worldwide, is used extensively in factory farming. This is a nightmarish chemical that literally hangs over society like a hangman’s noose. Studies show that glyphosate reduces overall biodiversity by 22%. According to a 2020 EPA study, “it harms, injures or kills 93% of plants and animals protected under the Endangered Species Act,”2 That’s in line with total extinction numbers. Meaning that one chemical is accomplishing over the course of a few decades what the Permian Triassic extinction event, aka: the Great Dying, of 252 million years ago accomplished over a period of a few million years.

As for human health, already more than 13,000 lawsuits claim the pesticide causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The WHO “Research on Cancer” claims that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

“Scientific studies show a strong correlation between glyphosate and serious health hazards including disruption of the hormonal system and beneficial gut bacteria, damage to DNA, developmental and reproductive toxicity, birth defects, other cancers, and neurotoxicity,”2

Other than glyphosate, atrazine is one of the most widely used, and toxic, agricultural pesticides in the US, primarily used on corn, sorghum, and sugarcane. According to Collateral Damage: “The vast majority applied in the US, some 87%, is applied solely to corn and an estimated 60-70% of all corn is treated with atrazine.”

Moreover, as stated in the report and of heightened concern, and nearly beyond belief:

Despite its popularity in the US and the Asian-Pacific region, atrazine has been banned in 35 countries. It was banned in the EU due to persistent groundwater contamination. It is relatively mobile, regularly entering water bodies via runoff and rainfall, and has been detected in rain or air in Europe and the US more than any other currently used pesticide. According to United States Geological Survey (USGS) assessments, atrazine has been detected in streams at levels of 200 micrograms per Liter (μg/L) and repeatedly detected at above 100 μg/L. In waters adjacent to treated fields atrazine was found in concentration as high as 1000 μg/I. 2

For comparison purposes of the impact: “Atrazine is highly toxic to algae in culture at concentrations ≥100 μg liter.”.3

According to the report, atrazine is a known endocrine disrupter with high toxicity, for example:

Atrazine is a potent endocrine disruptor and is linked to a variety of human health issues, including different types of cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and harm to the reproductive system. After just six hours of exposure an increase in cell death and DNA damage were observed. The same level of damage from exposure to Gamma radiation would take a full 15 minutes. Atrazine also alters the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain and decreases the electrical activity of certain cells in the cerebellum (the region of the brain that controls motor function). As an endocrine disruptor it can interfere with the balance of hormones in the body, significantly impacting overall physiology and development. 2

It’s not at all surprising that 35 countries, including the EU, banned atrazine. But, it’s enormously popular in the US.

The aforementioned citations from Collateral Damage only scratch the surface of the 50-page in-depth analysis of the “toxic cost of industrial agriculture.” See the full report here.

The report does provide three pages of specific recommendations for governments and intergovernmental orgs and businesses and institutions and individuals. And, as a general approach, the report calls for individuals and institutions to opt for healthier diets and menus that prioritize plant-based foods to “lower impact on animals and the planet.”

It’s also worth noting that only recently a major international study on the impact of chemicals on the planet was released. It substantiates Collateral Damage, to wit: 4

The study states that chemicals have exceeded the limits of safety for the planet: “We have overwhelming evidence of negative impacts on Earth systems, including biodiversity and biogeochemical cycles.”

In total, three hundred fifty thousand chemicals are now altering the composition of the surface of the planet. Switzerland’s Institute of Environmental Engineering only recently compiled the quantity, surprisingly finding the quantity of chemicals to be three times more than prior estimates.

In similar fashion, greenhouse gases alter the composition of the atmosphere. All in, Earth has become an artificial chemically charged planet. Consequently, nobody knows what’ll happen next with the biggest chemistry experiment of all time. But, how could it possibly be good?

  1. “Environmentalists Make Long-Shot Attempt to Ban New Factory Farms”, Pew Trust, February 19, 2021.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Kyle D. Hoagland, et al, “Effects of Organic Toxic Substances”, Algal Ecology, 1996.
  4. Marc Préel, “Plastic, Chemical Pollution beyond Planet’s Safe Limit Study”, Phys.org, February 15, 2022.
The post Factory Farms Destroy Ecosystems first appeared on Dissident Voice.

A Wall Street Veteran Speaks Out:  Bubbles and the Planet

Some time ago Jeremy Grantham (83), a renowned value investor who runs the $65 billion asset fund GMO, called the stock market a “super bubble.”1

Nowadays, a lot of the air has come out of hot stocks of the covid era, losing 30%-40%-50%, or more, in only a couple of months; e.g., Netflix falling from $700 down to $390/share within 3 weeks. That’s a lot of hot air wheezing out quickly. As Joe Granville, market technician 1923-2013, famously said: They (investors) are “bag-holders.”

The title of the Bloomberg Grantham article refers to more than overvalued stocks, wherein he claims a Goldilocks period over “the past 25 years is ending, and the world needs to prepare for a future of inflation, slower growth, and labor shortages,” as stated in the Bloomberg Front Row interview.

Beyond the scary world of overvalued stocks, Grantham also launched into some biting commentary about the scary real world, the tangible earthy world, saying what few on Wall Street care to admit, as follows: “Climate change is coming with heavy floods, serious droughts and higher temperatures – none of these make farming easier. So, we’re going to live in a world of bottlenecks and shortages and price spikes everywhere.”

The octogenarian Wall Streeter went on to discuss more than climate change, floods, droughts and temperatures, he also claimed: “The growth of the past century in pursuit of ever-higher standards of living left depleted soils, poisoned ecosystems and a changing climate… That’s why wildlife is disappearing, biodiversity is in jeopardy and human reproductively is slowing.”2

Pointedly, Grantham said: “We have simply shot way beyond the long-term capacity of the planet to deal with us… Nature is beginning to fail. And in the end, if we don’t fix that, we begin to fail as well.”

Of course, Grantham’s referring to the Great Acceleration since WWII as population tripled in only a few decades, thus, according to the Global Human Footprint Network utilizing 14,000 data points to determine that humanity is using 1.75 Earths to support life whilst “failing to husband its resources.” The lines first crossed to a deficit in 1977, meaning the year when humanity started using more resources than Earth can naturally replenish in any given year. We’re already 45 years on borrowed time. By definition, that’s an on-going formula for disaster.

In harmony with thoughts about the state of the planet, the Grantham Foundation has venture capital investments in renewable energy and carbon capture. Good luck with that, as the scale required for carbon capture to make a serious dent in greenhouse gases is, in a word, enormous!

According to renowned physicist Klaus Lackner, director of the Center for Negative Carbon Emissions, in order to stay abreast of current emissions: “If you built a hundred million trailer-size units you could actually keep up with current emissions.” 3  Ergo, one hundred million (100,000,000) 55-foot units end-to-end would circumnavigate the planet 42 times.

Assuming Grantham’s statements about the sorry state of the planet are on target, the bigger issue is what can be done about a worsening condition that appears to be tumbling apart in several ecosystems, like the Far North where the world’s primary fisheries are threatened by global warming. Yes, global warming reaches all the way down into the sea, as the oceans have been absorbing 90% of the planet’s heat and a third of fossil fuel CO2. 4

It is doubtful that the current socio-economic game plan of neoliberal capitalism in harmony with the rapaciousness of Wall Street’s slam-dunk investors will be of much help. After all, that’s the primary cause of the sorry state of the planet in the first instance by advocating growth to the moon at any costs as long as profits hit the bottom line, and not to worry about Earth’s ecosystems, which are there for the taking. After all, seemingly, although he did not say as much, that’s what led to Grantham’s rant. Maybe they need to try a different approach, like Amsterdam’s experiment with doughnut economics.5

Mr. Grantham has nailed a problem, actually a series of problems, that have the potential to make a vicious bear market on Wall Street look like a walk in the park. Maybe it’s true that what goes down on Wall Street comes back up, but ecosystems that go down stay down and do not come back up. Major ecosystems of the planet are listing/heeling right now on the precipice, like the Great Barrier Reef, Amazon rainforest, the Arctic, Antarctica, Siberia, Greenland, worldwide drought; e.g., the Hoover Dam at its 1937 level when it was first filling up and Brazil’s 62% hydro power at risk of cut offs.

The planet is in deep trouble and rising stock prices aren’t going to fix it nor will falling stock prices, which only serve to piss off a bunch of people who jumped on the bandwagon as it was nearing the end of the parade route.

Hopefully, Mr. Jeremy Grantham’s precocious words will cause others to stop and think through how best to navigate the most challenging times since Homo sapiens first huddled together in caves.

But, what if degrowth is the only possibility? Umm….

  1. Erik Schatzker, “Jeremy Grantham Has an Even Scarier Prediction Than His Crash Call”, Bloomberg, January 26, 2022.
  2. For scientific reviews of those subjects, see: “Poisoning the Planet’s Web of Life“, May 12, 2021 and “Toxic Chemicals Engulf the Planet“, June 11, 2021, and “Complex Life Threatened“, January 22, 2021.
  3. Elizabeth Kolbert, “Can Carbon-Dioxide Removal Save the World?” The New Yorker, November 20, 2017.
  4. See: “Warnings from the Far North“, December 27, 2021.
  5. See- “Doughnut Economics Boots Capitalism Out!” February 2, 2021.
The post A Wall Street Veteran Speaks Out:  Bubbles and the Planet first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The Oceans Are Overheating

A polar bear and her cub on sea ice in the Arctic north of Svalbard (Image © Larissa Beumer / Greenpeace)

The world’s oceans in 2021 witnessed the hottest temperatures in recorded history. 1

According to the Ocean Conservancy:From the beginning of industrialization until today, the ocean has absorbed more than 90 percent of the heat from human-caused global warming and about one-third of our carbon emissions. But we are now seeing the devastating effects of that heat and carbon dioxide.”

This brings into focus big questions about the overall condition of the ecosystems of the planet. The oceans, by far the biggest, cover more than 70% of the planet. As readily seen from outer space, the oceans are the essence of the planet.

Indeed, every ecosystem on the planet is nearly stressed to its limit and showing alarming signs of deterioration. This is factual. It’s not hard to prove. The evidence is compelling and straightforward.

Yet, that evidence shows up first where nobody lives in the least populated regions of the planet like the Arctic, Siberia, Patagonia, Antarctica, rainforests, mountain glaciers, Greenland, and, of course, the oceans.

The great cities of the world are the last to experience the loss of wildlife and to witness deterioration of ecosystems supportive of life. However, interestingly enough, rural residents throughout the world do see the radical changes in ecosystems and send messages or emails about the devastating, nearly unbelievable, loss of insects and wildlife. Their personal messages say, “it’s different now, something is missing,” a void or emptiness stares them in the face every morning.

This past year 2021 is the sixth consecutive year of increasing ocean temperatures. It’s the hottest in recorded history and a threat to marine life. In fact, it’s already impacting marine life, as increasing numbers of emaciated birds, whales, and fish wash ashore. Who will take notice of this tragedy and do something with enough international impact that it truly makes a difference?  That important question is searching for answers.

A team of journalists from the LA Times traveled to the Far North only recently. Here’s what they reported:

Forces profound and alarming are reshaping the upper reaches of the North Pacific and Arctic oceans, breaking the food chain that supports billions of creatures and one of the world’s most important fisheries.2

People do not cherish articles like this, or the referenced LA Times article or any article that deals with loss of wildlife and loss of habitat and loss of ecosystems. The negativity is too much to handle on a personal basis. Nevertheless, if reality is not recognized for what it really truly is, then nobody will ever strive to change things for the better.

For some time now scientists have been beating the drums about the risks of loss of ocean life. Now, their warnings have turned real. Alas, scientists’ warnings have not stopped the ravaging of CO2 emissions, heat, plastic, pollution, agricultural runoff, overfishing, or garbage.

It is important to contemplate the possibility that the human footprint is altering ocean life so much so that it risks not only the world’s fisheries, it risks loss of all marine life. In fact, at the current rate, scientists believe ocean life will be gone by mid century. It can already be seen right before our eyes.

An article by the Natural History Museum/London claims: “Nature is stretching to a breaking point. If we don’t stop, the ocean could be drastically changed within our lifetimes.”

One year ago the Alliance of World Scientists, 13,700 members, delivered a biting report, not mincing words: “Scientists now find that catastrophic climate change could render a significant portion of the Earth uninhabitable.” 3

As a follow up: It’s already happening.

According to Janet Duffy-Anderson, who is a marine scientist, interviewed by the LA Times team, and the leader of surveys of the Bering Sea for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center: The ripple effect of what’s happening in the Far North could shut down fisheries as well as leave migrating animals starving for food, which, in fact, is already omnipresent. For the third year in a row, Gray Whales have been found in very poor condition or dead in large numbers along the west coast of Mexico, USA and Canada.

Since 2019 hundreds of Gray Whales have died along North America’s Pacific coastline. Many of the whales appeared skinny or underfed. 4

Even though protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Gray Whale is on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (“IUCN”) Red List of Threatened Species.

Starving whales at the top of the food chain can only mean the ocean is sickly. Too much heat and overfishing and discarded fishing nets (4,600,000 commercial fishing vessels either legally or illegally prowl the seas. (See the Netflix documentary: Seaspiracy) and too much CO2 combined with pollution cause a multitude of deadly problems for marine life.

It’s estimated that one billion sea creatures died off the coast of Vancouver, as extreme heat hit the Pacific.  5

Recent studies of the Pacific Ocean inflow to the Arctic from 1990-2019 registered significant annual mean temperature warming of plus 2°C to 4°C It’s believed that 4°C above pre-industrial for the planet as a whole is a killer for terrestrial life. 6

Moreover, according to scientists interviewed by the LA Times team: “Data from a Bering Sea mooring shows the average temperature throughout the water column has risen markedly in the last several years: in 2018, water temperatures were 9F degrees above the historical average.”

Not surprisingly, people do not want to accept the facts about how bad things really are, but it is becoming only too apparent that to maintain life on the planet, the world economy must stabilize with massive reduction of greenhouse gases accompanied by flat-line economic activity. It is not difficult to make that case with plenty of evidence readily available.

Changing, mitigating, even moderating the world’s massive economic growth trend is as big of a problem as it creates for the planet’s ecosystems because of the carelessness of the growth machine. Economic growth and the condition of the planet work inversely, and, of course, the planet loses. Why is that? Answer: According to the Global Human Footprint Network (14,000 data points), humanity is using 1.75 Earth’s whilst “failing to husband its resources.” That’s an on-going formula for disaster.

What has already happened is hard to accept: “Today’s seas contain only 10% of the marlin, tuna, sharks and other large predators that were found in the 1950s.” 7

Yes, only 10% left within only 70 years.

How about the next seventy?

  1. Lijing Cheng, et al, “Another Record: Ocean Warming Continues Through 2021 Despite La Niña Conditions”, Advanced in Atmospheric Sciences, January 11, 2022.
  2. Susanne Rust, “Unprecedented Die-offs, Melting Ice: Climate Change is Wreaking Havoc in the Arctic and Beyond”, Los Angeles Times, December 17, 2021. The Susanne Rust research trip was covered in more detail in “Warnings from the Far North.” December 27, 2021.
  3. William J. Ripple, et al, “The Climate Emergency: 2020 in Review”, Scientific American, January 6, 2021.
  4. Mary Lou Jones and Steven Swartz, Aarhus University, “A Large Number of Gray Whales are Starving and Dying in the Eastern North Pacific”, ScienceDaily, January 22, 2021.
  5. “Heat Wave Killed An Estimated 1 Billion Sea Creatures, And Scientists Fear Even Worse”, NPR Environment, July 9, 2021.
  6. “Warming and Freshening of the Pacific Inflow to the Arctic from 1990-2019 Implying Dramatic Shoaling in Pacific Winter Water Ventilation of the Arctic Water Column, Geophysical Research Letters, April 2021.
  7. “Will the Ocean Really Be Dead In 50 Years?” Natural History Museum, London.
The post The Oceans Are Overheating first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Warnings from the Far North

Forces profound and alarming are reshaping the upper reaches of the North Pacific and Arctic oceans, breaking the food chain that supports billions of creatures and one of the world’s most important fisheries. 1

“Breaking the food chain that supports billions of creatures” is horrific to contemplate. It sends a powerful signal of trouble dead ahead. In that regard, scientists agree that what happens up North signals what’s in store to the South, and what’s happening up North is a gut-wrenching reality of life on a knife’s edge of catastrophe.

It’s never been more urgent and timely for the world to change its ways and abandon the current economic maelstrom that haunts all life on the planet. The pros and cons of capitalism’s experiment with neoliberal tendencies that enrich the few and bury the many should be debated in the context of strained resources throughout the biosphere, including all life forms. The GDP-to-infinity paradigm is barreling towards a wall of impending extinction. It’s already on a fast track.

In the aforementioned LA Times, aka The Times, article:

Kuletz, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologist who has been observing birds in Alaska since the late 1970s, said she’s never before seen the large-scale changes of recent years. In 2013, the dead birds did not show signs of being emaciated, but in 2017, hundreds to thousands more began to wash up dead on beaches with clear signs of starvation. 2

A team from The Times traveled to Alaska and spoke with dozens of scientists conducting field research in the Bering Sea and the High Arctic from whence they describe the harsh reality of a vastly/rapidly changing climate system that threatens basic food resources for marine life, as well as for humanity.

The fingerprints of anthropogenic global warming are all over the discernable shifts of sea life and/or loss of species captured in a whirlwind of unpredictability. According to boots-on-the-ground scientists in the far north, these radical shifts in the ecosystem have… “ramifications that stretch far beyond the Arctic. Moreover, the Bering Sea is one of the planet’s major fishing grounds.”

Janet Duffy-Anderson, a marine scientist who leads surveys of the Bering Sea for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center said:

Globally, cold-water ecosystems support the world’s fisheries. Halibut, all of the cod, all of the benthic crabs, lobsters, this is the majority of the food source for the world.

She emphasized the fact that the ripple effect of what’s happening in the far north could shut down fisheries as well as leave migrating animals starving for food, which, in fact, is already omnipresent. And, of concern: “Alaska is a bellwether for what other systems can expect.”

The top of the marine food chain is in deep trouble. Since 2019 hundreds of gray whales have died along North America’s Pacific coastline. Many of the whales appeared skinny or underfed.

Addressing the whale issue, another scientific study from a year ago stated:

It is now the third year that gray whales have been found in very poor condition or dead in large numbers along the west coast of Mexico, USA and Canada, and scientist have raised their concerns. An international study suggests that starvation is contributing to these mortalities.” 3

When the top of the marine food chain (whales) starve, it’s only too obvious that the lower levels are failing. This one fact is cause for serious concern and thus demands action by the leaders of the world to commit to a series of international studies of marine life and ocean conditions with recommendations on how to solve the anthropogenic cause of excessive greenhouse gas emissions.

Yet, it appears that as some species in the far north struggle, some do adapt and even thrive. Thus, there may be some tradeoffs on a slightly positive note, but still, it’s the emaciated animals en mass that cannot be overlooked. The fact of the matter, stated in The Times: “Data from a Bering Sea mooring shows the average temperature throughout the water column has risen markedly in the last several years: in 2018, water temperatures were 9 degrees above the historical average.”

It should be noted that if overall global temperatures averaged 9 degrees above average, it would be “lights out” for terrestrial life.

Warmer waters appear to be at the heart of the problem, e.g., as the planet warms both humans and wildlife become more vulnerable to infectious diseases that were previously confined to certain specific locations and environments. Additionally, toxic algae that kills marine life thrives in warmer waters. Plus, marine animals do not naturally mature, and reproduce as waters warm far above historical averages. Furthermore, ocean acidification, caused by excessive CO2, is already threatening sea life by reducing carbonate, a key building block in seawater.

Only recently, a death march of extreme heat hit the Pacific. A study in Canada showed the enormous impact of heat, as an estimated one billion sea creatures off the coast of Vancouver died because of excessive ocean heat. According to professor Christopher Harley, University of British Columbia: “”I’ve been working in the Pacific Northwest for most of the past 25 years, and I have not seen anything like this here. This is far more extensive than anything I’ve ever seen.” 4

The oceans are suffering a triple whammy, and as a result scientists believe it is distinctly possible that life in the wondrous blue seas could be gone by mid century, unless humanity changes course. Overfishing, pollution, and climate change are battering the oceans. It’s all human-caused. The question then becomes, if humans have caused the onslaught, can they reverse it, or at least stop?

In all, it’s becoming only too apparent that to maintain life on the planet, the world economy needs to stabilize by massive reduction of greenhouse gases accompanied by flat-line economic activity, forget the death wish of GDP up and up “whatever percent every quarter,” which runs roughshod over the planet’s ecosystems. Worshipping GDP growth is akin to idolatry, and its moral corollary is greed. Maybe try worldwide socialism and see how that works for the planet’s life-sourcing ecosystems.

Not only that, but plain and simple, we’re running out of nature’s resourcefulness. “Today’s seas contain only 10% of the marlin, tuna, sharks and other large predators that were found in the 1950s… Overfishing puts the whole ocean ecosystem out of balance.” 5

Of additional interest, the documentary Seaspiracy/Netflix by Disrupt Studios, March 2021 is an eye-opener on the goings-on of marine life, what’s left of it, in the oceans.

Museum scientists have studied past periods of climate change:

Research leader Prof Richard Twitchett says, ‘We have a really good idea of what oceans look like when the climate warms. It has happened to Earth many times before, and here in the Museum we have collections of fossil animals and plants that date back millions of years, so we can see how they responded. The rocks and fossils show us that as temperature increased in the past, oxygen levels fell and huge areas of the seafloor became uninhabitable. 2

“The same oceans that nourished human evolution are poised to unleash misery on a global scale unless the carbon pollution destabilizing Earth’s marine environment is brought to heel.”6

  1. Susanne Rust, “Unprecedented Die-offs, Melting Ice: Climate Change is Wreaking Havoc in the Arctic and Beyond”, Los Angeles Times, December 17, 2021.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Mary Lou Jones and Steven Swartz -Aarhus University- “A Large Number of Gray Whales are Starving and Dying in the Eastern North Pacific”, ScienceDaily, January 22, 2021.
  4. “Heat Wave Killed An Estimated 1 Billion Sea Creatures, And Scientists Fear Even Worse”, NPR Environment, July 9, 2021.
  5. Katie Pavid, “Will the Ocean Really Be Dead In 50 Years?” Natural History Museum, London.
  6. “Oceans Turning From Friend to Foe”, Warns Landmark UN Climate Report, Agence France Presse, August 29, 2019.
The post Warnings from the Far North first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Here’s to our Health: Well, To the Health of the Profiteers!

“You know what I think?” she says. “That people’s memories are maybe the fuel they burn to stay alive. Whether those memories have any actual importance or not, it doesn’t matter as far as the maintenance of life is concerned. They’re all just fuel. Advertising fillers in the newspaper, philosophy books, dirty pictures in a magazine, a bundle of ten-thousand-yen bills: when you feed ’em to the fire, they’re all just paper. The fire isn’t thinking ‘Oh, this is Kant,’ or ‘Oh, this is the Yomiuri evening edition,’ or ‘Nice tits,’ while it burns. To the fire, they’re nothing but scraps of paper. It’s the exact same thing. Important memories, not-so-important memories, totally useless memories: there’s no distinction–they’re all just fuel.”

– Haruki Murakami, After Dark

I’m thinking about nuclear energy, the waste, the fallout, radioactive new elements. I’m thinking about all those antibiotics, about all those rat-roach-flie-mosquito poisons. I’m thinking about the sprayed-on litany of food enhancers (sic) and the artificial colorings, and the Round-up Ready, for sure. I am thinking about opiod deaths for 18-50 year olds in USA as the number one cause of death for that demographic, at 80 K last year.

But I am also thinking about immune-compromised folk, the gut diseases, the array of diseases of the liver, kidneys, thyroid, stomach. Really, all of those malnourished and over-nourished and oddly chemicalized humans sucking up sugar sugar sugar. All of the combinations of bad in utero bombardments; i.e., epigentics, and then all the fun once coming out of the birth canal or c-section cut. DNA collected. How many jabs at birth? Then, how many (pre-mRNA maintenance series forever) vaccinations before age 5, 8 10, 12?

But thyroids, man, they are so compromised (in women especially) because of a variety of reasons that the entire ranch has been sold down the river. Thyroid issues here; chronic pain, brain fog, gut issues, psychological issues.

Serious-serious chronic illnesses associated with thyroid issues. And, this chart below is cartoonish, but if you look into thyroid diseases and the effects, you will shiver. And this is a common problem, becoming bigger with poisons, background radiation, pregnancy, bad food, bad nutrition, stress, plastics in the air-blood-intestines. Oh, what a world, and, of course, AMA, CDC, NIAID, NIH, WHO, you name the outfit, they are so hobbled by their germ theory crap, all other things really killing people (and planet) are not only a drag on a broken medical system, but on their economy.

Common symptoms of hypothroidism: depression, brain fog, fatigue, muscle cramps, cold intolerance, weight gain, dry skin

So, that’s just one arena-terrain of issues, the thyroid. Add up the entire issues flooding our endrocrine systems, then add up the microbiome maladies, add up the weathering of humanity under inflammatory capitalism, and here we are going into 2022.

Shoot, let’s inset doomsday #999 just to get gargantuan — the glacier down under:

The Thwaites “Doomsday Glacier” in West Antarctica is spooking scientists. Satellite images shown at a recent meeting December 13th of the American Geophysical Union showed numerous large, diagonal cracks extending across the Thwaites’ floating ice wedge.

This is new information, and it’s a real shocker if only because it’s happening so quickly, much sooner than expectations. It could collapse. And, it’s big, 80 miles across with up to 4,000 feet depth with a 28-mile-wide cracking ice shelf that extends over the Amundsen Sea.

Well, Greta and COP26, and the bagpipes of Glasgow. Another fun reality TV show, is the blank mentality of mainstream and left-stream media: how stories about Omicron and about mandated vaccination boosters x 5, and the complete loss of critical thinking when attempting to challenge the narratives/motives around the shifting baselines on steriods; i.e., fully vaxxed was one (1) J & J and two (2) Moderna’s. Now? The schedule of boosters will be determined not by doctors, not by us, not by the public, us, not by the thinkers, but by them, the elites, and those oh-so-perfectly honest and heroic folks working for Big Pharma which by the way foots the bill for most media in the mainscream, and foots the bills of many university research facilities, and foots the bill for NIH, WHO, FDA, etc.

a vaccine syringe

This is the Atlantic Magazine, one of the elites’ best source of information. When I say elite, I mean highly college degreed folk, the woke folk, all those beautiful and wannabe beautiful people. Note, when you read these rags, and I include The Nation or even Mother Jones, you get no other perspective outside the mainstream Big Pharma Has All the Answers for SARS-CoV2. DARPA?

For nearly a year now, the phrase fully vaccinated has carried a cachet that it never did before. Being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 is a ticket for a slate of liberties—a pass to travel without testing and skip post-exposure quarantine, per the CDC, and in many parts of the country, a license to enter restaurants, gyms, and bars. For many employees, full vaccination is now a requirement to work; for many individuals, it’s a must for any socialization at all. (source)

I could write this entire blog just looking at the Atlantic’s story here, and how cavalier and how snobby and so tragically hip the verbiage is and the folks cited and interviewed so much on the same sheet of music, which is entirely planned. This is how these writers do their journalism — no push back, no alternative views, no outside the paradigm thinking. Here, last point I can make by pasting another paragraph:

Countries such as Israel have already done it; Anthony Fauci has been gunning for the switch. As he told me this summer, “I bet you any amount of whatever” that three shots, spread out over several months, will ultimately be the “standard regimen for an mRNA vaccine.” Even the CDC told me this week that it “may change [the] definition in the future”—a line it’s never used with me before. For a cautious government agency, that’s kind of a gargantuan leap. A new floor for full vaccination, one that firmly requires what we’re now calling booster shots, is starting to look like a matter of when, not if.

No other sources of medicine and immunology or virology to be consulted??? These writers are dangerous, but they always have been on all given topics — war, surveillance, finance, everything in the Complex. They have credos and pledges to not drill into capitalism. And that means, that this pig of a human, Tony Fauci, can play “I bet” shit word games about boosters that well, hmm, sort of work. Imagine that, funny Tony. And, what the fuck is happening in Israel? Please, look into that mess of vax madness there. “Israel.” How quickly the vaxxed lose immunity, which they never had.

Hands up, or else:

kids covid

Kids who are exposed to COVID-19 can stay in class as long as they are tested in schools, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a news release on Friday.“Test-to-Stay is another valuable tool in a layered prevention strategy that includes promoting vaccination of eligible students and staff, requiring everyone age 2 and older wear a mask inside schools and facilities, keeping at least 3 feet of distance between students, screening testing, ventilation, handwashing, and staying home when sick,” the news release reads. The Test-to-Stay initiative was put into motion by the CDC to help “minimize absenteeism and learning loss which can occur during traditional quarantine at home.”

Again, read the story on “Test to Stay,” and you will get no person or journalist pusing back on the policy, on the stupidity of testing, on the masking requirements, on the 3-foot distance lies, man, so-so much wrong with this picture. (Source)

But again, it’s not the air, stupid. It’s not the water, stupid. It’s not the food, stupid. It’s not the chemicals offgassing and in every product a child first comes in contact with up until the grave, stupid. It’s coronavirus, and, it’s compliant people, labeling and creating the “Dirty You,”which in the old days (not so old) was the Dirty Jew-Japanese-Indian-Irishman-Chinaman-Gypsy-Communist-Catholic-Disabled-et al.

I am asked about climate change, as the existential set of crises for humanity. How to stop it, how to mitigate it, how to prepare for it?

Here, from friend, Joe, then my snarky answer —

Paul– It’s pretty fucking obvious the government doesn’t plan to do anything except to promote more air travel, more military use of hydrocarbons, more roads for increased auto and truck travel, more planet destroying corporate agriculture and the list goes on. Besides that most people are not willing to change their lifestyles one bit. They will continue to support the things that kill the planet as they shroud themselves in selfrighteousness because they recycle and separate their food waste and put it in their compost bins made of plastic. They will pat themselves (and on each other’s) backs as they eat organic cucumbers flown in from Chile for their Super Bowl parties. Sick cognitive dissonanced bastards riding towards Hell on earth.

+–+

Joe — And the same tools to say stop companies from forcing low wage workers working in warehouses while tornadoes are about to hit and then once those workers are killed injured and traumatized will be the same needed to reorganize humanity for a world without ice: compassion, moral compass, communitarian guidance, systems thinking, socialism, democracy, resiliency, end of economic classes, justice, integrity, regional & multinational planning, valuing safe/ food/ air/ water/ soil, those plus redistribution of work and economic well being …. some or all of these needed to solve little things (sic) and yet we can’t tackle opioid crisis or housing crisis or industrial torture factory animal crisis.

A world without ice without those human values above? Road Warrior and The Road and Minority Report and Soylent Green and Bladerunner all mashed up

Seagulls stand on the Caddebostan shore, in Asian side of Istanbul, Monday, June 7, 2021, partially covered with marine mucilage, a thick, slimy substance made up of compounds released by marine organisms, in Turkey's Marmara Sea. Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised Saturday to rescue the Marmara Sea from an outbreak of "sea snot" that is alarming marine biologists and environmentalists.

Again, the loopy writing of this mainstream and influential rag, The Atlantic. “Climate Change is Going to be Gross: The thick layer of mucilage that covered the Sea of Marmara for weeks was an unsettling glimpse of climate change’s more oozy effects” by Jenna Scatena This Jenna will not interview ecosocialists or those looking at the systems of collapse. Putting one part into the system, and then looking at the system. So, all this dead algae and plankton, off-gassing, mucking up ocean floors and coming to the surface and destroying fish stocks. And yet, no one interviewed looking at how this is just a slice of the destruction pie, and that, yes, bacteria and viruses live in the muck, and, yes, they can get passed on and on and on.

Under a Green Sky by Peter Ward

Under a Green Sky : Global Warming, the Mass Extinctions of the Past, and What They Can Tell Us about Our Future

Paleontologist Peter Ward’s book on mass extinctions and climate change provides a deep-time perspective that is both sobering and necessary. Under a Green Sky puts the present within a geological context while also making the climate crisis feel even more personal and pressing. Before getting that perspective in full, however, readers encounter several fetching narratives of paleontological and other scientific fieldwork across the globe. Captivating as they are, the stories are mostly used to set up later passages that aggressively dismantle an argument Ward clearly loathes: that most past mass extinctions — especially the Permian, some 250 million years ago — were caused by huge meteorite impacts. Ward takes scientists and the media to task for, in his mind, recklessly embracing impacts as the culprit du jour for nearly all prior mass extinctions, when an impact is clearly responsible for just one such die-off: the famous dinosaur-killer 65 million years ago.

Ward presents a powerful alternative model for explaining these extinctions. In short, an increase in carbon dioxide — from volcanism (in the past) or from humans (in the present) — warms the oceans enough to change circulation patterns. When this happens, sulfur-eating microbes sometimes thrive. These bacteria produce hydrogen sulfide, which, in sufficient quantities and under certain conditions, outgasses into the air, shreds the ozone layer, and poisons other living things. The warming also causes methane ice under the seas to melt and, well, burp, adding to the nasty mix. The end comes not in a bang but a stinky whimper. (Source)

Quoting: “Where is the “Misanthropocene” right now in relation to past extinction events? The chart below tells the tale. Notice that our current rise in GHG’s is essentially instantaneous in relation to past warmings which took place over thousands of years. As far as scientists can tell, the current warming from industrial civilization is the most rapid in geologic time. Ice core and marine sediment data in the paleoclimatology archive have revealed brief periods of rapid warming and there is no reason to believe modern man is immune to such catastrophic and abrupt climate events. In fact, we know that the Arctic is already warming twice as fast as anywhere else on the planet. Earth sensitivity to climate change is now thought to be possibly double that of previous estimates. An entirely different planet can result from just a slight change in temperature:

Snap 2015-01-14 at 23.36.48
We’re about halfway towards the same CO2 levels as the Paleocene Thermal Extinction, but our speed of trajectory surpasses even that of the Permian Extinction:
wardco2big

In 2005, Lee R. Kump and fellow scientists published a paper describing what would become known as the Kump hypothesis, implicating hydrogen sulfide (H2S) as the primary culprit in past mass extinctions. According to OSHA, “a level of H2S gas at or above 100 ppm is immediately dangerous to life and health.” Prior to Kump’s study, the working theory had been that some sort of singular, cataclysmic event such as an asteroid strike was to blame for all mass die-offs, but Kump and colleagues proposed that a global warming-induced asphyxiation via hydrogen sulfide gas (H2S) was to blame for snuffing out life under the sea, on the land, and in the air. In past mass extinctions, volcanic eruptions and thawing methane hydrates created greenhouse-gas warmings that culminated in the release of poisonous gas from oxygen-depleted oceans. Humans with their fossil fuel-eating machines are unwittingly producing the same conditions today. The Kump hypothesis (elevated CO2 with lowering O2 levels) is now regarded as the most plausible explanation for the majority of mass extinctions in earth’s history.”

The post Here’s to our Health: Well, To the Health of the Profiteers! first appeared on Dissident Voice.