All posts by Robert Hunziker

Code Red on FacingFuture.TV  

FacingFuture.TV recently hosted a preview of the upcoming IPCC 2021 UN climate report, which report guides the gathering of dignitaries from around the world meeting in Glasgow this November to discuss, analyze, and decide how to deal with global warming/climate change.

According to the Code Red interview, the IPCC is taking off its ultra conservative facemask of prior years to reveal a surly cantankerous grim sneer on a darkened background. In short, climate change is much worse than the IPCC has previously been willing to admit.

The FacingFuture.TV interview features Mark Andersen, CEO of Strategic News Service, Brian Wright a natural medicine expert, and Peter Carter an IPCC expert reviewer. The threesome expressed dismay over the failure of the general public to “get the climate change message” clearly enough to force policymakers to take some kind of massive urgent all-hands-on-deck immediate without hesitation corrective measures to head off an undeviating course of surefire destruction.

The following snippets from that interview underscore a level of frustration and a sense of urgency as a clarion call for anybody and everybody to demand an immediate halt to fossil fuels.

What’s new with the IPCC?

For starters, according to Dr. Carter, the new report is a “definitive report.” Its conclusions are definite. In other words, the IPCC is taking the issue much more seriously than ever before. This is the first report to state that global climate change is “unequivocally caused by human activities.”

Moreover, previous IPCC reports inadvertently gave the impression that society has plenty of time until 2050 to make the necessary changes, which has unintentionally served to bolster the interests of the fossil fuel industry and extend forecasts for future production by the International Energy Agency

In strong opposition, this new report forcefully and effectively states that unless there are immediate rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that limit warming to close to 1.5° C or even 2° C, the problem will extend “beyond reach” and beyond any chance for some level of control. The three key words are: 1) immediate (2) rapid (3) large-scale.

The three participants discussed climate mega events that, by any and all standards, should be turning heads amongst the general public and certainly amongst policymakers as mega events openly display powerful destructiveness of a crazed climate system that’s been thrown off kilter by human activity.

Mega events are world-changing events that literally alter the dynamics of the climate system from friendly and supportive of life to difficult and horribly challenging for life. Alas, the worse has already started; for example, carbon sinks are starting to fail, meaning, nature is starting to emit greenhouse gases in competition with cars, planes, trains, and factories. What could possibly be more troubling?

According to Dr. Carter, one mega event that sends a clear message of unbridled double-trouble dead ahead:

We’ve lost the Amazon Rainforest. It’s a very hard thing to say… The Amazon has tipped. It is no longer a carbon sink buffering and soaking up some of our CO2 emissions. It has now started to emit CO2 emissions, and that is very, very clear from the satellite images… The Amazon is pouring out CO2.

Equally troubling:

The other mega event is the Arctic has also switched… first recognized by the NOAA in 2016, and in 2019 published via a report that the Arctic has definitely tipped and is now a source of greenhouse gas emissions.

Additionally:

Permafrost is emitting all three of the main greenhouse gases. It’s emitting methane, much more carbon dioxide than anybody anticipated, just discovered by research five years ago, but it’s also emitting the third and extremely powerful greenhouse gas, which is nitrous oxide … an absolute definite mega event.

Moreover:

A huge change in the amount of methane being emitted from the Arctic,” is now prevalent: “There is a vast amount of methane this year for the first time being emitted and it’s coming from a huge area of Siberia where the deepest permafrost is located. We’re talking about a thousand miles of permafrost.

1,000 miles of permafrost emitting greenhouse gases could easily be a stopping point for this quickie review of the interviews, especially as Biblical scale fires have raged in Siberia for all to see on TV. The Barents Observer recently reported more than 40% of Northern Russian buildings starting to collapse, including risks to hydro dams and a nuclear power plant. How much worse does it have to get to spell out the message that the planet is experiencing severe extreme levels of duress?

Yet, there is more.

Craters formed by methane bombs are erupting as permafrost melts, when methane vaporizes underneath causing enormous explosions leaving craters 100 feet across and 100 feet deep. Seventeen of these methane bomb explosions have been recorded in only one region of Siberia, indicating that methane under the permafrost tundra is reaching a critical stage and exploding.

Ipso facto, the planet is dispelling/forcing gas so powerfully that craters form, as if asteroids hit, like the surface of the moon.

Moreover, not only is permafrost blowing up in plain sight, the heating of the oceans is way ahead of the heating of the atmosphere. This is but one more example of a major carbon sink starting to lose its mojo by absorbing way too much CO2 and having absorbed way too much heat.

Indeed, the entire planet is bordering on a scale of trouble never experienced by humankind as major carbon sinks start to fail, one after another. There are no backups, and once carbon sinks completely fail, climate change will be wide open for rapid-fire expansion, but when? Answer: Nobody knows for sure but the early signals are not good.

According to the interview, the IPCC in the past has inferred that the carbon sinks that keep the planet in balance will be just fine. And scientific assessments of the carbon sinks, until only recently, said the carbon sinks would be fine. But no, all of that has changed in the new IPCC “Working Group I Report” major carbon sinks are going to fail, land first and then the ocean is going to fail. For innocent bystanders, that information is almost impossible to process, as believable.

This review of the FacingFuture.TV interview could easily stop right here, even though there is much more, but in point of fact, the big dance is over if the planet’s major carbon sinks fail. Thereafter, there’s not much to discuss.

For whatever reasons, which are likely obvious and right under our collective noses, with dispatch, the IPCC has taken off the gloves and decided it’s time to fight. Hopefully, policymakers wake up to the fact that time for dilly-dallying is up.

Stop talking, do something momentously big.

Still, here’s more crucial data from that interview: “There’s been a big shocking recent paper from NASA and NOAA on energy, in which they’ve done something pretty brilliant. They’ve combined, and reviewed, the satellite data on land energy and they’ve used the NOAA buoys (Argo floats) which are distributed all around the world’s oceans, and they’ve checked energy from the heat point of view, which is very reliable… what they found was that the energy imbalances doubled in just the past 14 years.”

If the energy imbalance for the planet doubled in only 14 years, which nature by itself should take centuries (100s) or more likely thousands (1000s) of years and not a measly 14 years, then, it’s almost impossible to know what else to say about the dire stage of climate change humanity is about to face.

The wake up call implied in the FacingFuture.TV interview is overwhelming and way beyond further attempts to try to explain more of the details in this lonely article.

Bottom line, it’s no surprise that the IPCC has finally decided to come out of its protective conservative shell because the data is one shocking event after another after another, almost impossible to describe without, by default, coming across as excessively pessimistic and fatalistic and difficult to read as well as almost impossible to accept. Therein lies the problem of conveying the message.

The post Code Red on FacingFuture.TV   first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Siberia’s Hot Streak

East Siberian Sea is boiling with Methane (EcoWatch)

Global warming in Siberia is on a hot streak! It was +6°C last year. In like manner, if the entire planet hit +6°C above pre-industrial, it would be lights out, life snuffed out, sayonara.

Meanwhile, the Siberian hot streak theoretically threatens the entire planet with methane-induced runaway global warming, the dreaded monster of the North that takes no prisoners. As it’s happening now, in real time today, Siberia is demonstrating the impact of deadly serious climate reactions to too much heat, too soon. This fiasco cannot be dismissed or ignored. It should be at the top of the agenda for COP26 in Glasgow this coming November.

Moreover, it should also be at the top of the agenda for every leader of every country that attends COP26, or does not attend. The underlying message is straight forward and simple: Clean up the fossil fuel death warrant or risk a red-hot planet with concomitant premature deaths of complex life at lower latitudes by the bucketful. And, that’s just for starters.

After all, already at only 1.2°C above baseline for the planet, where we are today, the Wet Bulb Temperature effect has been detected at the UAE and in Pakistan, accordingly.  At 95°F and 90% humidity a person seated under a shade tree with a bottle of water will die in approximately 6 hours, as organs shut down because the body cannot shed heat at that combination of heat/humidity.

Now, Siberia is presenting the world with a new problem. There’s a new methane kid on the block. Inordinate levels of methane in Siberia were traced to hydrocarbon reservoir rocks, not wetlands, not permafrost, not microbial methane. This ancient methane is stored in carbonates. This is not good news. It is horrible news. 1

The aforementioned study of a previously unexplored region in Siberia discovered large quantities of methane released from exposed limestone in the Yenisey-Khatanga Basin, which is a few hundred miles north of the Arctic Circle, one of the coldest regions of the planet, until recently. Hmm.

A headline in Smithsonian Magazine tells the story: “Permafrost Thaw in Siberia Creates a Ticking ‘Methane Bomb’ of Greenhouse Gases, Scientists Warn,” Smithsonian Magazine, August 5, 2021.

According to the lead author of the methane study, Nikolaus Froitzheim, a geoscientist at the University of Bonn:

Interpreting this data correctly ‘may make the difference between catastrophe and apocalypse’ as the climate crisis worsens. 2

Those two alternatives as mentioned by Dr. Froitzheim do not leave much room for error.

Scientists were surprised by the discovery, as stated by Dr. Froitzheim:

We would have expected elevated methane in areas in wetlands… But these were not over wetlands but on limestone outcrops. There is very little soil in these. It was really a surprising signal from hard rock, not wetlands. 2

According to the Smithsonian article, methane in the Far North is very rambunctious, to say the least, and very dangerous for numerous reasons that could impact the entire planet. In fact, along similar lines, the Climate Crisis Advisory Group/UK is calling for a “Global State of Emergency.” Sir David King chairs the Climate Crisis Advisory Group with an advisory team at Cambridge University.

A Moscow Times article “Rapid Arctic Warming Is Accelerating Permafrost Collapse in Siberia, New Report Warns,” (September 7, 2021) goes on to explain that Arctic temperatures are now 3.5°C above pre-industrial while the planet in general is 1.2°C above that baseline. Furthermore, “Scientists have been shocked that the warm weather conducive to permafrost thawing is occurring roughly 70 years ahead of model projections.”

Meaning, certain aspects of climate change are already at the year 2090 when compared to climate models. Does this mean that climate science and policymakers for major countries are behind the eight ball, by a lot, really by a lot? Answer: Yes, it does!

Of particular interest and of more than passing concern, the Moscow Times article claims the nuclear facility Bilibino Nuclear Power Plant, as well as numerous hydro dams around Magadan (far northeastern Russia) are threatened with collapse because of cascading permafrost. It should be noted that Russia is home to 10% of the world’s hydro resources, mostly in Siberia.

Furthermore, according to a terrifying article in The Barents Observer: “The Looming Arctic Collapse: More Than 40% of Northern Russian Buildings are Starting to Crumble” d/d June 28, 2021, up to 30% of Russia’s oil and gas production facilities are not operable now because of the collapse of infrastructure (thank god for small favors). That same article quotes Dmitry Drozdev, Head of the Russian Cryosphere Institute:

This process is irreversible, and it is impossible to stop it.

Does anybody anywhere on the planet doubt the importance of COP26 getting it right?

  1. Nikolaus Froitzheim, et al, “Methane Release from Carbonate Rock Formations in the Siberian Permafrost Area During and After the 2020 Heat Wave”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, August 10, 2021.
  2. Ibid.
The post Siberia’s Hot Streak first appeared on Dissident Voice.

What’s Up With COP26?

The UK (in partnership with Italy) will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties, COP26 in Glasgow on October 31- November 12, 2021.

COP26 will be one of the most significant meetings in modern human history, comparable to the meeting of the Big Three at the Tehran Conference November 28, 1943 when the Normandy invasion was agreed, codenamed Operation Overlord and launched in June 1944. Thenceforth, tyranny was stopped, an easily identified worldwide threat symbolized by a toothbrush mustache. Today’s tyranny is faceless but recklessly beyond the scope of that era because it’s already everywhere all at once! And, ten-times-plus as powerful as all of the munitions of WWII.

What’s at risk at COP26?

Chatham House, The Royal Institute of International Affairs answers that all-important query in a summary report intended for heads of governments, entitled: Climate Change Risk Assessment 2021.

The report introduces the subject with three key statements:

1) The World is dangerously off track to meet the Paris Agreement goals.

2) The risks are compounding.

3) Without immediate action the impacts will be devastating in the coming decades.

The report highlights current emissions status with resulting temperature pathways. Currently, Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) indicate 1% reduction of emissions by 2030 as compared to 2010 levels. To that end, and somewhat shockingly, if emissions are not drastically curtailed by 2030, the report details a series of serious impacts to humanity locked in by 2040-50, which is the time-frame for item #3 to kick in, which states: “Impacts will be devastating.”

But, hark: Governments at COP26 will have an opportunity to accelerate emissions reductions by “ambitious revisions of their NDCs.” Whereas, if emissions follow the current NDCs, the chance of keeping temperatures below 2°C above pre-industrial levels (the upper limit imposed by Paris ’15) is less than 5%.

Not only that, but any relapse or stasis in emissions reduction policies could lead to a worst case 7°C, which the paper labels a 10% chance at the moment.

The paper lambastes the current fad of “net zero pledges” which “lack policy detail and delivery mechanisms.” Meanwhile, the deficit between the NDC targets and the carbon budget widens by the year. In essence, empty pledges don’t cut it, period!

Failure to slash emissions by 2030 will have several serious negative impacts by 2040:

  • 9B people will be hit by major heatwaves at various intervals of time.
  • 400 million people will be exposed to temperatures that exceed “the workability threshold.” Too hot to work!
  • Of more immediate and extremely shocking concern, if drastic reductions do not occur by 2030, the paper suggests “the number of people on the planet exposed to heat stress exceeding the survivability threshold is likely to surpass 10 million a year.” This can only refer to the infamous Wet Bulb Temperature, meaning:A threshold is reached when the air temperature climbs above 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) and the humidity is above 90 percent. The human body has limits. If “temperature plus humidity” is high enough, or +95/90, even a healthy person seated in the shade with plentiful water to drink will suffer severely or likely die. Climate models only a few years ago predicted widespread wet-bulb thresholds to hit late this century; however, global warming is not waiting around that long. Indeed, the Wet Bulb Temperature death count of 10 million per year nearly scales alongside WWII deaths of 75 million, both military and civilian, over six years or 12.5M per year.
  • Population demands will necessitate 50% more food by 2050, but without huge emissions reductions starting now, yields will decline by 2040 as croplands hit by severe drought rises to 32%/year. Fifty percent more food demand in the face of 32% rise in drought impact does not add up very well.
  • Wheat and rice account for 37% of calorific intake, but without drastic cuts, >35% of global cropland for these critical crops will be hit by damaging hot spells.
  • By 2040, without the big cuts in emissions, 700 million people per year will be exposed to droughts lasting at least 6 months duration at a time. “No region will be spared.”

Accordingly “Many of the impacts described are likely to be locked in by 2040, and become so severe they go beyond the limits of what many countries can adapt to… Climate change risks are increasing over time, and what might be a small risk in the near term could embody overwhelming impacts in the medium to long term.” (Pg. 5)

Chapter 4 of the paper covers Cascading Systemic Risks, which is an eye-opener. Systemic risks materialize as a chain, or cascade, impacting a whole system, inclusive of people, infrastructure, economy, societal systems and ecosystems. 70 experts analyzed cascading risks, as follows:  “The cascading risks over which the participating experts expressed greatest concern were the interconnections between shifting weather patterns, resulting in changes to ecosystems, and the rise of pests and diseases, which, combined with heatwaves and drought, will likely drive unprecedented crop failure, food insecurity and migration of people. Subsequently, these impacts will likely result in increased infectious diseases (greater prevalence of current infectious diseases, as well as novel variants), and a negative feedback loop compounding and amplifying each of these impacts.” (Pg. 38)

“Climate change contributes to the creation of conditions that are more susceptible to wildfires, principally via hotter and drier conditions. In the period 2015–18, measured against 2001–14, 77 per cent of countries saw an increase in daily population exposure to wildfires, with India and China witnessing 21 million and 12 million exposures respectively. California experienced a fivefold increase in annual burned area between 1972 and 2018. There, average daytime temperatures of warm-season days have increased by around 1.4°C since the early 1970s, increasing the conditions for fires, and consistent with trends simulated by climate models.” (Pg. 39)

And, the biggest shocking statistic of all pertains to the high risk red code danger region of the planet that is ripe for massive methane emissions: “In Siberia, a prolonged heatwave in the first half of 2020 caused wide-scale wildfires, loss of permafrost and an invasion of pests. It is estimated that climate change has already made such events more than 600 times more likely in this region.” (Pg. 40)

“600 times more likely” in the planet’s most methane-enriched permafrost region is reason enough to cut CO2 missions to the bone, no questions asked.

Several climate change issues dangerously reflect on fragility of the food system and a pronounced lack of adaptation measures as well as natural systems and ecosystems “at the edge of capacity.” Lack of social safety and social cohesion is found everywhere, all of which can erupt as a result of an unforgiving climate system that is overly stressed and broken.

Cascades will likely lead to breakdown of governance due to limited food supplies and lack of income bringing on increasingly violent extremists groups, paramilitary intervention, organized violence, and conflict between people and states, all of which has already commenced.

Already, migration pressures are a leading edge of climate-related breakdowns in society. Each year in 2008-20 an average of 21.8 million people have been displaced by weather-related disasters of extreme heat, floods, storms, and wildfires. In the most recent year, 30 million people in 143 countries worldwide were displaced by such climate disasters.

Without doubt, the eyes of the world will be focused on COP26 to judge commitments by governments.

There is no time left for failure because failure breeds even worse failure.

The post What’s Up With COP26? first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Trump’s Favorite Pesticide Banned!

The Biden EPA has put a stop to use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos on food crops, thereby reversing a decision by the Trump administration to allow it to continue to be sprayed on vegetables and fruit in spite of an Obama administration order in 2015 to ban the pesticide for public health reasons.

This is but one of many examples of Trump’s public health plans ignoring science and debilitating federal programs that safeguard the public, prompting the idea of whether Trump and his henchmen should be locked in pillory, as the pillory device was commonly used in the Middle Ages for moral and political crimes. People can throw tomatoes at them or commit other devious acts not mentionable herein.

Moreover, in April 2019 Trump’s EPA refused to ban asbestos, disregarding the advice of its own experts. Fifty-five industrial nations have already banned it.

Did the Trumpeters know their decision to ignore the Obama ban on the toxic pesticide would inflict harm on American citizens?

What scientific evidence did Trump follow to ignore peer-reviewed science that connected the dots of chlorpyrifos to serious irreparable damage to the human genome.

In fact, Trump’s EPA twice refused to honor banning chlorpyrifos in both 2016 and 2019, a remarkably similar trajectory back in time to chlorpyrifos’ origin and founders as first developed by the Nazis in the 1940s for chemical warfare, Trump evidently fell in love with the persistent human destructive capabilities of the chemical. Spraying toxic chemicals on food with foreknowledge of its danger is metaphorically awkwardly similar to an organized gas chamber.

In 2016 the EPA released a revised human health risk assessment for chlorpyrifos that confirmed: “There are no safe uses for the pesticide.”1

Trump violated that EPA confirmation, which states: “There are no safe uses for the pesticide.” It couldn’t be any clearer! He violated it twice, thereby demonstrating serious intent to ignore the science. What can or should be done about Trump knowingly putting the public in harm’s way?

According to food residue-monitoring data obtained by the USDA Pesticide Data Program (PDP) “chlorpyrifos is widespread on food products sold in the U.S.”2

How many people did Trump put at risk?

Was it thousands or tens of thousands, or more, or was it millions?

Environmental groups stood behind the appeal process of Trump’s actions and the court ordered the EPA to either prove the pesticide harmless or ban its use. Now, it is banned! As a consequence, America’s families dodged a deadly toxic bullet on November 3rd of 2020.

Subsequently, following the court decision to ban chlorpyrifos, EPA administrator Michael S. Regan exclaimed: “Today EPA is taking an overdue step to protect public health.” 3

It should be noted that Dow Chemical, the manufacturer of chlorpyrifos, contributed $1 million to Trump’s infamous inauguration funding scheme. Inquisitive parties continue asking about the money, where’d it go?

Still, the toxic poisoning of America goes much deeper than Donald Trump’s ignorance, stupidity, and callousness. According to Earthjustice: “Chlorpyrifos is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of exposures to organophosphate pesticides, which all act in the same way and cause the same type of harm.”

Accordingly, Stephanie Seneff, PhD has written a new book that focuses on our pesticide-enriched world: Toxic Legacy, How the Weedkiller Glyphosate is Destroying Our Health and the Environment, subtitled: One Scientist’s Determined Quest to Reveal the Truth, Chelsea Green Publishing, 2021.

Her book covers the grand scale of pesticide toxicity poisoning the planet and its inhabitants. It’s an important book.

Toxic Legacy focuses on the kingpin of chemicals, glyphosate, which is the primary ingredient in herbicides used throughout the world, like Roundup, AquaMaster, Aqua Neat, Polado, Accord, Rodeo, Touchdown, Backdraft, Expedite, EZ Jet, Glyfos, Laredo, Buccaneer Plus, and Wrangler among many others.

According to Dr. Seneff:

Something terrible seems to be affecting every living thing on the planet — the insects, the animals, and the health of human beings, including children. Something hiding in plain sight. While we can’t reduce all environmental and health problems to one insidious thing, I believe there is a common denominator. The common denominator is glyphosate. My goal, by the end of this book, is to prove to you that I am right. (pg. 7)

Seneff’s argument is based upon connecting the dots of peer-reviewed science. Her analysis is imperative for almost every living person because:

We are all being exposed to glyphosate— primarily from the food we eat but also from the water we drink… When a chemical is so pervasive, so ubiquitous, so nearly impossible for even the most diligent person to avoid, it is especially incumbent on regulatory agencies and elected officials to ask tough questions… But in the case of glyphosate, this hasn’t happened. (pg. 12)

Yet, scientific evidence of glyphosate’s enormous range of impact is mind-boggling; for example, when human liver cells are exposed to low doses of glyphosate, DNA damage ensues, and when human white blood cells are exposed to glyphosate, DNA damage occurs, including the gene that suppresses cancer tumors, the p53 promoter gene, which paves the way for invasive leukemias and lymphomas. (pg. 21)

Anyone who has read the scientific literature, even the most conventional medical doctors, understands now that glyphosate is carcinogenic, priming the body to fall prey to cancer. Throughout the book, I address evidence that glyphosate causes physical damage…. (pg. 8)

Seneff’s book not only follows the science of perhaps the world’s most dangerous chemical of everyday use throughout the entire world, but according to her book, it destroys ecosystems and alters human DNA and likely spikes chronic diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, autism, celiac disease, diabetes, encephalitis, inflammatory bowel disease, obesity and other chronic diseases.

Interestingly enough, it’s nearly impossible to watch television without seeing an ad selling a product to combat one of those debilitating chronic diseases. Yet, the origin of chronic disease is still a study in progress, but connecting the dots, like Seneff’s book exposes, opens the public’s eyes to a chemical monster lurking in the shadows.

How influential is glyphosate’s role? Seneff addresses that very question in great detail, and she explains how best to avoid it.

  1. Update: Human Health Risk Analyses for Chlorpyrifos, for release: November 10, 2016, EPA – United States Environmental Protection Agency.
  2. “Poisoned Food, Poisoned Brains, Mapping Dangerous Pesticides in the Foods We Eat”, Earthjustice, August 2021.
  3. “EPA Finally Bans Dangerous Pesticide”, Grist/The Beacon, August 19, 2021.
The post Trump’s Favorite Pesticide Banned! first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Brazil’s Fierce Drought

Photo:  Rainforest Trust

The Amazon rainforest is arguably the world’s premier asset. Indeed, it’s the world’s most crucial asset in a myriad of ways, nothing on Earth compares. Yet, it is infernally stressed because of inordinate drought. The bulk of the Amazon rainforest is located in Brazil, where, according to the title of an article in NASA, Earth Observatory, the country headline says it all: “Brazil Battered by Drought.”

Moreover, the planet is becoming a drought-besieged planet (see Drought Clobbers the World, August 27, 2021). As for the Amazon, according to NASA, it has been battered by serious bouts of drought every 5 years 1998, 2005, 2010, 2015, 2020-21. As such, the normally resilient forest does not have a chance to catch breath and repair damage.

Sassan Saatchi, NASA JPL claims:

The old paradigm was that whatever carbon dioxide we put up in (human caused) emissions, the Amazon would help absorb a major part of it… The ecosystem has become so vulnerable to these warming and episodic drought events that it can switch from sink to source depending on the severity and the extent. This is our new paradigm. 1

The Amazon rainforest is 60% of the world’s rainforests; the rainfall and rivers cover 70% of South America’s GDP; its skyborne river of moisture sends rainfall to the Western US and as far as Iowa cornfields and Central America; its trees store 86B tons of carbon; 30% of world species, medical discoveries galore, and automatically one of the biggest consumers of the industrial world’s CO2. Its health is crucial to the functionality of the entire planet. As it goes, so goes the world.

All of its great attributes, and yet, President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil last week said the country’s hydroelectric dam reservoirs are:  “At the limit of the limit.”2

Reservoirs in the Paraná River, which provide power for Sao Paulo and several states in Brazil “have never before been so depleted, the grid operator said this month. ”3

The Paraná River basin is home to several hydroelectric dams and reservoirs. Water levels on the river are more than 30 feet below average at the Brazil – Paraguay border. This threatens to disrupt cargo ship traffic. Brazil’s National Weather and Basic Sanitation Agency has declared a “critical situation” for the river basin.

For the first time in 100 years, because of the long drought, the National Meteorological System (Inmet) issued an emergency alert for Brazil at the end of May 2021.

The Paraná River runs from Brazil to Argentina. It is the second longest (4,800 km or approximately 3,000 miles) river in Brazil, just behind the Amazon. It supplies electricity and water to 40 million people. At the current hydro flow rate, blackouts are likely this year, especially during peak hours.

Additionally, Brazil’s Pantanal, the world’s largest tropical wetlands, not only suffers from global warming’s knack for spiking severe drought, more than 25% of Brazil’s Pantanal forest went up in flames last year in the worst annual fire devastation since records started. As it happens, developers set fires to clear land to grow crops, raise cattle and mine. People are responsible for 95% of the fires. It’s important to emphasize that fires in rainforests are not a regular feature of the natural environment.

As it happens, Brazil is not alone as hemispheric drought is now occurring in parallel, north and south.

Both northern and southern hemispheric droughts are running in parallel, sending a strong message that something’s horribly wrong. It should not be this pervasive. Brazil’s depleting reservoirs provide electricity and water to 40 million people. In tandem, the depleting Colorado River provides electricity and water to 40 million people. Both systems, at the same time, will likely be subject to water rationing within months, not years, which is currently under consideration by authorities in both hemispheres.

The worldwide drought is universally connected and thus compounded, maybe feeding on its own energy, enhanced by massive human-generated emissions of CO2 (carbon dioxide) and CH4 (methane) blanketing the atmosphere.

Additionally, in Brazil and only recently, scientists have discovered a very disturbing consequence of drought: Brazil’s share of the Pantanal, the world’s largest tropical wetland, has seen its water-cover area drop to one-quarter (25%) of its area of only 30 years ago. However, that analysis does not include 2021, which is shaping up as Brazil’s worst drought in over 90 years.

Pantanal wetlands are enormous, sprawling across three countries. The loss of so much water cover is a real shocker to the scientists that conducted the study. According to Mažeika Patricio Sulliván, an ecology professor at Ohio State University, the human footprint of deforestation, fires, and plowing under wetlands is, in part, to blame as well as greenhouse gas emissions, prompting global warming: “We’re altering the magnitude of those natural processes… This is not just happening in Brazil. It’s happening all over the world,”3

Increasingly, scientists send the same message… “It’s happening all over the world.”

Nearly 90% of South America’s wetlands have vanished since 1900. Wetlands are the kidneys of the planet, essential for wildlife and retaining water to be released into rivers and aquifers all of which also serves to prevent destructive flash floods — think Germany’s and China’s loss of wetland regions, thereafter submerged in flash floods.

According to Cassio Bernardino, a project manager for WWF-Brazil:

The prospects are not good; we’re losing natural capital, we’re losing water that feeds industries, energy generation and agribusiness… society as a whole is losing this very precious resource, and losing it at a frighteningly fast rate. 3

By now, with a Brazilian quasi-dystopian experience front and center for all of the world to see, plus the affront by society’s lack of concern for life-sourcing ecosytems, a provocative question arises: Where is all of this headed?

The current trajectory looks dark and bleak.

What can be done?

A good starting point would be for the world’s leaders to agree to tackle the source of the problem, fossil fuels, by first admitting there is a problem, which is the problem. They really have not admitted it forcibly enough to make a big enough difference. Will they?

And, so it stands.

  1. “NASA Finds Amazon Drought Leaves Long Legacy of Damage”, Capitals Coalition, August 9, 2013.
  2. “Diane Jeantet, Associated Press, “Brazil Water Survey Heightens Alarm Over Extreme Drought”, Midland Daily News, August 27, 2021.
  3. Ibid.
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Drought Clobbers the World

According to SPEI Global Drought Monitor, no continent is spared the ravages of severe drought, except for Antarctica. This is happening at a global temperature of 1.2°C above baseline, not 1.5°C above baseline which climate scientists agree is locked in. This article explores the countrywide impact of 1.2°C above baseline for the most vulnerable as well as the most privileged. The journey starts in Glasgow.

The world’s political leaders need to pay special attention to the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference scheduled for November 1st-12th in Glasgow as scientists of the world meet to present the latest info on climate change/global warming.

Those world leaders need to hone in on the most far-reaching most effective most promising ideas to fix the climate, tame global warming, and stop fossil fuels by doing whatever it takes to halt carbon emissions (Biden’s plan won’t do it).

Climatically, how much longer can the planet hang in there?

The world is coming apart at the seams as a result of greenhouse gas emissions from factories, utilities, cars, planes, trains, agriculture, and a horrifying meltdown of permafrost in the farthest northern latitudes, spiked by Biblical fires, and soon the rainforests will kick in as tipping points trigger, thus reversing the world’s greatest carbon sinks to carbon emission sources in competition with cars, trains, and planes. The entire planet is trapped in a drought that’s so severe that it’s difficult to quantify. It’s that pervasive.

By ignoring science for far too long, leaders of the world have failed their own people. To that end, if the world’s leaders cannot figure out what’s happening to the climate system as fire, drought, and floods strike like never before (explained in more detail herein) then they should be tossed out of office. Weak leaders beget feeble solutions.

After all, there is little room for error for society at large. Climate change has backed them into a corner from which they can barely escape, maybe not at all. Soon, there will be no choice other than outright revolution, forcing the world’s leaders out, similar to the French Revolution of the late 18th century when aristocracy and royalty, the one percent (1%) of the era, holding onto their heads for dear life, fled Paris by the thousands, many fleeing to England (See: Ninety-Three, by Victor Hugo, 1874 publication detailing The Great Terror)

Throughout history when the masses are harmed or abused beyond some undefined incongruous limit, but enough to seek recompense, they follow the money, similar to The Revolutions of 1848 and actually witnessed in person by aristocrats in the streets, holding their breath whilst horrified by the Storming of the Bastille, July 14, 1789.

As it happens, ubiquitous drought conditions know no boundaries. A Middle East water crisis is threatening millions of people to the precipice of famine. According to a recent AP article, Aid Groups: Millions in Syria, Iraq Losing Access to Water d/d August 23, 2021, it is a dire situation that, by default, could lead to desperate open warfare and massive human tragedy.

In the face of extreme heat, millions of people in Syria and Iraq and Lebanon are at risk of losing access to essentials for life: (1) water (2) electricity (3) food. Similar to America’s West, water resources are at record lows due to little rainfall and drought conditions caused by global warming now widely recognized as an anthropogenic affair, meaning “human-caused” for the benefit of those who’ve missed class.

More than 12 million people in those countries are at risk, today, right now. And, making matters much worse, two dams in northern Syria that supply power to 3 million people face “imminent closure” because of low water levels (a new phenomena starting to appear throughout the world). Moreover, drought conditions are spreading water-borne diseases throughout displacement settlements. Alas, the Middle East crisis stands above all crises.

What will the people do? Will they fight for survival? Indeed, the situation is fraught with danger. It’s a time bomb that’s already ticking.

In Lebanon 4 million people face severe water shortage. Not only that but making matters equally bad, in addition to severe drought, the Litani River is overloaded with sewage and waste and polluted nearly beyond recognition. It is the country’s longest river and major source for water supply, irrigation, and hydropower.

The planet is aching, crying out for relief. It’s truly a worldwide crisis. Global warming is strutting its stuff whilst greenhouse gases increase beyond all-time record levels, never decreasing, heating up the planet more and more to the breaking point at the global temperature of 1.2°C above baseline, not 1.5°C above, not 2.0°C above.

What of 1.5°C (IPCC’s top end preference) or 2.0°C above baseline as discussed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, levels that should not be exceeded? Yet, uh-oh, the planet is already in trouble at 1.2°C above baseline. Indeed, it’s an open secret that the climate system is struggling; it’s in trouble.

“The climate in trouble” resonates far and wide; e.g., Fridays for Future, started in 2018 by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, which is a very popular org for young activists, is openly critical of the outright stupidity and blatant ignorance of adults. “How Dare You!” blurted Greta Thunberg age 16 at the UN Climate Summit in NY in 2019, as she addressed an imperial body of climate intellects.

Droughts take no prisoners, as the entire Mediterranean region has been hit hard. Turkey faces its most severe drought in a decade. Istanbul is dangerously close to losing its water supply. Dr. Akgun Ilhan, a Turkish water mgmt. expert told Euronews: “The natural water cycle is already interrupted by climate change,” but Dr. İlhan suggests it’s also affected by urban surfaces that are sealed with asphalt and concrete (the human footprint) “leaving very little green spaces where water can meet soil and fill groundwater resources.”

Worldwide, wetlands are down 87% over the past 200+ years, only 13% remains as they’re plowed under or covered over with no green spaces for water to meet soil or fill groundwater resources. It is significant that wetlands are the primary source for replenishment of aquifers.

Alas, with 87% of wetland hydrologic systems gone, massive destructive floods precede ironic losses of aquifer resources. With wetlands gone, water goes to where the people live (think Germany or China) and not through nature’s wetlands for distribution via the natural hydrology network. Meantime, according to NASA, one-third of the world’s largest aquifers are “stressed” because of the loss of wetland feeder systems. This is an invisible monumental festering problem.

In the United States, nearly one-half of the country is currently afflicted by drought. Worse yet, the West is experiencing ultra dire conditions, the worst in 1,200 years, with several small outlying communities suffering complete (100%) loss of water. Arizona is already calculating what industries will be forced to cut water in the near future as the Colorado River is already overly stressed and overly depleted, unable to meet heavy demand.

Brazil’s drought is the worst ever recorded. Hydroelectric plants can’t fully operate because of low reservoir levels. Chile has endured a mega drought for years. According to a recent Reuters report: 400,000 people who live in rural areas of Chile today receive water via tanker trucks. Chile’s spectacular “Mediterranean climate” in the central region, home to vineyards and farms, has taken a big hit. Scientists doubt it’ll ever recover its spectacular climate zone.

Even Israel, which invested $500 million in the world’s largest desalination plant, supplying 20% of its water needs, is warning citizens that the drought/water crisis is so severe that it will “struggle” to provide all residents with enough water to meet basic needs by next summer.

In Russia, some agricultural regions are at risk of losing up to one-half of their harvest because of punishing drought. Russia’s famous Black Earth Region, nicknamed as such because of its world famous high soil moisture content is now a bleak greyish color. Meanwhile, drought in Madagascar has pushed the country to the edge of famine.

A recent major research report claims that since 2014 Europe has experienced the most extreme series of droughts and heat waves in more than 2,000 years.  1

According to BBC News, in Taiwan, considered one of the “rainiest places in the world,” many reservoirs are at less than 20% of capacity and some below 10%. At the primary water source for Taiwan’s $100B semiconductor industry, the water at Baoshan No. 2 Reservoir is at 7%. This has serious international business ramifications.

The list of drought conditions hitting every continent, except Antarctica, is overwhelming. Indeed, the worldwide drought should be categorized as a triple-extra-alarm emergency with all hands on deck. Will it be?

Will world leaders convene to stop fossil fuel destruction of the planet?

Or, will a neglected broken climate system force people to fight for survival, and what does that imply?

  1. “Recent European Drought Extremes Beyond Common Era Background Variability”, Nature Geoscience, March 15, 2021.
The post Drought Clobbers the World first appeared on Dissident Voice.

GPI vs. GDP

U.S House Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) recently introduced a bill in Congress to overhaul GDP, the nation’s most watched economic indicator. July 30th she introduced the Genuine Progress Indicator (“GPI”) Act. It would be a significant change for the trajectory of the socio-economic system.

GPI is a new way to calculate GDP, but passage of the act in Congress is dependent upon whether it can displace the all-important “only size matters” syndrome that underlies and determines GDP. In contrast, GPI offers considerable substance and a new way to measure economic performance that’s in concert with the planet and with its inhabitants.

Hopefully, GPI gets a decent hearing in Congress because major turning points in socio-economic and political affairs can make a difference for generations to come.

A prime example of a positive turning point is the Battle of Saratoga in 1777 victory by the colonists over the British, which was the world’s greatest army at the time. It was a crucial turning point in the American Revolution, convincing France to enter the conflict on behalf of the colonists. That turning point brought forth a new nation.

In contrast, an example of a negative turning point is the Supreme Court 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision upholding Louisiana’s statute mandating segregation in all public facilities, thus legally embedding bigotry for nearly 60 years. That turning point still stings.

Today, we may be witnessing one more major turning point via Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN). Her proposal has the potential to change the socio-economic trajectory of America and the world in a multitude of ways by leveling the playing field for income distribution, infrastructure development, fair labor practices and ecosystem sustainability, none of which GDP recognizes.

GDP only measures the “size of the economy” whereas GPI measures the true breadth of economic benefits and losses, such as: (1) unpaid labor (2) sustainable job skills (3) infrastructure and (4) ecosystems services, as well as accounting for the costs of growth and its collateral issues: (a) resource depletion (b) greenhouse gases (c) income inequality, and (d) domestic abuse. GDP ignores all of the aforementioned.

GPI may be the only way to unify attention for badly needed mitigation efforts of life-sourcing ecosystems. Without them, the planet will die.

Meanwhile, as for GDP, certain questions must be addressed: Growth for whom and at what costs? GDP does not husband life-sustaining resources, but it does consume those same resources, which is an overt expression of a civilization that has lost its way on a trip down the proverbial rabbit hole.

Omar’s proposed bill says: “To direct the Secretary of Commerce to establish an alternative metric for measuring the net benefits of economic activity, and for other purposes… the ‘genuine progress indicator’ to measure the economic well-being of households, calculated through adjustments to gross domestic product that account for positive and negative economic, environmental, and social factors that contribute to economic activity….” That is brilliant!

The “costs” listed within GPI actually define the impending extinction risks for the world at large, for example, costs that are missing from GDP but included within GPI: (1) water, air, and noise pollution at the household and national level (2) loss of farmland and productive soils, including soil quality degradation (3) loss of natural wetlands, primary forest area and other at-risk ecosystems (4) high amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions (5) depletion of the ozone layer (6) depletion of nonrenewable sources of energy.

Unfortunately, it’s not likely that GPI will get out of committee in the House of Representatives for several obvious reasons: If the costs listed in GPI were adapted to GDP, actual reported GDP would be all minuses, like -5% to -25%, not +2% to +6%.

Oops! How would the Dow Jones Industrial Average react? Most likely, it would go haywire, directionless, out of control, similar to many ecosystems of the planet that have gone haywire, like the Amazon Rainforest (alarmingly becoming a carbon emitter instead of a carbon sink) or the Great Barrier Reef (>50% of corals bleached in only 5 years) or Siberian permafrost (biggest fires ever recorded) or the Arctic (tragic loss of world’s biggest reflector of solar radiation) or Greenland (big super meltdown underway) or Antarctica (glacial ice flow accelerating way beyond expectations) or the 2/3rds loss of wild vertebrates in less than 50 years.

So, yes Representative Omar’s GPI bill is an excellent idea, but it will likely fail because only size matters in America, and America’s GDP proves it by ignoring reality: (1) pollution costs ignored (2) loss of crucial farmland (3) toxic poisoning (pesticides) of soil (4) monoculture artificial fertilized crop soil degradation (5) paved wetlands destroy “kidneys of the planet” (6) excessive greenhouse gases (the US emits 28% of world emissions with only 5% of world population) (6) subsidizing depletion of nonrenewable sources of energy.

It’s little wonder that the planet is regurgitating a sickness that is endemic to anthropogenic influence throughout the biosphere with raging fires, destructive flooding, and killer heat waves.

Alas, focus on GDP will never heal a broken planet.

GDP does not calculate its own costs of infinite growth. It cannot because the calculation would be negative every year. And, in an act of absolute absurdity, GDP is measured quarterly, as are corporate profits. So, every three-month performance is meaningful, which is insane, childish, and flat-out stupid. This “hurry up and report the quarter” dicta resembles a shell game. In contrast, ecosystems require a lot of time, much longer than three months. Nature doesn’t compute by the quarter. Conversely, GDP is in such a hurry.

Ilhan’s proposal for GPI is geared to a society that values sustainability of resources and concern for the health of the biosphere and for its inhabitants. But, sad to say, it doesn’t realistically fit into today’s world of neoliberal capitalism. There’s no open slot for anything other than profits. We all pay a price for those profits.

Moreover, it is doubtful that an accurate calculation of depletion and destruction of ecosystems is possible at today’s rapid rate. Who could possibly keep up with it?

Still, it’s brilliant to get the concept into the public domain, and one can only hope.

The post GPI vs. GDP first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Drought Flood Fire

The world is on fire like never before: “Wildfires Have Erupted Across the Globe Scorching Places That Rarely Burned Before” (CNN headlines July 22, 2021) but not only is fire raging, Biblical floods are destroying entire communities; e.g., 9,000 homes swept away in central China (BBC News) as towns were nearly decimated in Germany, “Europe’s Deadly Floods Leave Scientists Stunned” (Science, July 20, 2021). All of that with worldwide droughts at a fever pitch.

Is the sky (actually) falling?

According to SPEI Global Drought Monitor, the current drought cycle is worldwide. Only Antarctica is spared. In some corners of the world water reservoirs are dangerously low, big hydroelectric plants sputter, as long-standing verdant forests morph into dried-out firetraps.

This shocking coincidence of three major catastrophic events hitting at the same time is likely unequaled in modern history. Why are the most serious threats to 21st century civilization; i.e., drought, fire, and floods simultaneously ravaging the planet from east-to-west, north-to-south?

Answers can be found in a new book:  Drought, Flood, Fire, How Climate Change Contributes to Catastrophes by Chris Funk (Director of Climate Hazards Center, UC Santa Barbara) Cambridge University Press, August 2021.

Funk provides a very accurate description of the linchpin of climate-related trouble in one brilliant paragraph:

We hang isolated in space, with only an incredibly thin layer of atmosphere standing between us and oblivion. If we could drive our car straight up at highway speeds, we would approach the edge of the atmosphere in a matter of minutes. And into this thin membrane we are dumping about 28 million gigatons of carbon dioxide every day. The rational decisions of nearly 8 billion people are resulting in collective insanity as we choose to destroy the delicate balances that support Earth’s fragile flame.  (p. 21)

Moreover:

Climate change is making climate extremes more frequent and intense… Not in the future, but right now… Over the past few years (2015-2020) the fingerprints of climate change have seemed more like a slap. Extreme heat waves, floods, droughts, and wildfires have exacted a terrible toll on developed and developing nations alike. These extremes have impacted hundreds of millions of people and resulted in hundreds of billions of dollars in losses, all across the globe. (p. 5)

Early on in Funk’s book a chart of weather-related losses (1980 to 2018) clearly shows a four-fold increase in less than 40 years, which is foreboding and demanding of attention. Funk educates readers how and why such huge increases have occurred in such a short time:

One goal of this book is to describe how energy moves through the Earth’s energy system, so you can both better appreciate the beauty of our life-sustaining complex planet, and how human-induced warming is altering this system in a dangerous and alarming way. (p. 12)

Drought Flood Fire delves into the onset of complex life, as well as the rudimentary basics of the mechanisms by which greenhouse gases warm the planet, to wit:

Even most people who believe in climate change don’t really understand the basic mechanism of why adding greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere has to increase the amount of energy reaching the surface of the Earth.  (p. 65)

This book serves as a tutorial and, as such, a compelling asset for students and advocates and world policymakers. It’s an authoritative teaching tool with occasional fun images that depict the ironic fragility of our enduring planet, e.g.,

Imagine an egg painted blue. The atmosphere is as thick as the blue paint. (p. 67)

Ever wonder how tropical storms originate or hurricanes or cyclones via understanding the intricate details behind the reported facts, in plain English?

Is Earth uniquely fragile or steadfast and how is it that humans disrupt its ecosystems?

Indeed, Drought, Flood, Fire is a primer on the most elemental developments of all aspects of the universe and solar system and the origin of complex life itself. This seminal book is essentially a lecture series about the remarkable features and development of the universe ultimately devolving into today’s anthropogenic distortion of nature. It’s well worth the read.

Funk personally describes his approach, as follows:

Some aspects of climate change are complex and hard to fathom. Some are fairly straightforward concepts and facts that everyone really needs to understand. This book is mostly about the latter. Some of the most important mechanisms of climate change can be understood by everyone: Why do greenhouse gasses have such a direct warming effect on our planet? How does this warming intensify the impact of droughts and fires? How can this same atmospheric warming, paradoxically, also increase the frequency of extreme precipitation events and floods? This book approaches these questions with a Do-It-Yourself  (DIY) attitude.  (p. 59)

He explains the dynamics of extreme events, as for example, the interrelationship of California fires, warmer air temperatures, and drier vegetation like the infamous Thomas Fire of 2017, which was for a brief period the biggest most damaging fire in California history with flames roaring six stories into the sky.

Interestingly enough, along with that California example, Funk spells out warning signals for all of humanity, to wit:

By looking carefully at both weather data and disaster statistics, we can see with our own eyes that a 1°C warming is already having dire consequences.  (p. 64)

That one fact alone “dire consequences” at only 1°C, especially in the context of a world currently at 1.2°C above baseline, should alert policymakers around the world to the inescapable gravity of today’s scenario with worldwide firestorms, floods, and droughts bordering on the apocalyptic, which are broadcasts on TV for all to see.  These are unprecedented, out of control real time scenes of climate destructiveness never witnessed before. And, it’s happening around the world, and it’s happening now. It’s unvarnished reality!

According to Funk:

The intent here is serious. California just experienced a large increase in fire extent, due in part to an exceptional increase in temperatures. We will likely see this happen again, and again, over the next forty years. (p. 65)

Statements like that are backed up by scientific data that needs to be front and center for policymakers. His book should be on the desks of every policymaker because immediate remediation measures have never been more urgently crucial, especially with so much destruction at today’s global temperature of only 1.2°C above baseline. Whether they thoroughly read the book or not, policy wonks need a reminder of Drought Flood Fire on their desktops. It’s essential.

The rate of increase of global warming, as detailed in Funk’s book, sends a clear message of deep concern. Figure 5-3 in the book demonstrates “exceptionally warm” ocean and air temperatures throughout the planet. It’s the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s monthly temperature data set of sea surface and land temperatures. In true Michael Mann fashion the graph is parabolic!

The graph shows the fraction (percentage) of Earth that’s exceptionally warm over time, as explained by Funk:

This time series should deeply disturb you. The fraction… is increasing very rapidly. When I was born, it was about 2%. By the time I started graduate school it was around 5%. When my children were born, it hovered around 7%. Since that time the area of exceptional warmth has doubled again to around 17%, increasing rapidly just between the beginning and end of our focus period (2015-2019). Now almost one-fifth of the globe experiences extreme temperatures at any given time. (p. 99)

Those extremes result in severe health impacts, including death. For example, China has reported “at least 300 deaths” as a result of recent record-making floods whilst the same flooding traps passengers in subway trains standing in neck-deep water in the provincial capital Zhengzhou; meantime, hundreds of people died in the recent Pacific Northwest heat wave, according to estimates; there were at least 486 deaths in British Columbia, 116 in Oregon, 78 in Washington… there were more than 3,500 emergency department visits for heat-related illness this past May and June in a region that includes Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington State, which is normally a very cool region.

Funk’s research group has developed a methodology to provide accurate estimates of maximum air temperatures called the Climate Hazards Center Infrared Temperature dataset.  His accomplishments at U of Calif. Santa Barbara involve satellites and computers used to identify and predict climate hazards. Because of the planet’s berserk climate system of late, Funk’s work should be mandatory for nation/state policy wonks.

Funk’s Extreme Event Attribution methodology identifies “the fingerprint of climate change” well ahead of time.  For example, his research group explains the mechanisms or observations by which extreme weather events can be anticipated to help formulate humanitarian aid well ahead of a severe drought. As for example:

In late 2016 we predicted the spring 2017 drought that struck Kenya, Somalia, and southern Ethiopia.  (p. 15)

According to Funk, we live on a “Goldilocks Planet” with a life support system entirely dependent upon a “very thin atmosphere and the absolute necessity of maintaining temperatures with a narrow range.” In that regard, Drought Flood Fire focuses on what’s happening to the planet now vis a vis extreme heat, extreme precipitation, and out of control droughts, wildfires, and hurricanes turbocharged by human-generated greenhouse gases.

Of interest, in spite of Funk’s careful examination of the dangers presented by human-generated greenhouse gases and examples of how devastating those have been at only 1°C above baseline, towards the end of his book he discovers an upbeat note by referencing the German and California experiences of effectively mitigating GHGs whilst experiencing rapid economic growth as examples of what the world can do to favorably resolve the climate crisis.

He goes on to tabulate all of the wonderful positives of modern day society, the accomplishments in medicine, science, etc., which are all true.  Yet, it somehow comes across as way too Disneylandish in the face of repeated failures by the nations of the world to uphold their climate mitigation commitments. After all, every world climate conference, like Paris 2015, has failed, horribly failed. This is worse than a tragedy and cause for not holding one’s breath over the outcome of the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference to be held in Glasgow in November called COP26 where 30,000 delegates are expected.

Yes, since 1995 in Berlin, the world has already held 25 COPs! Begging the question: What results? Namely, annual CO2 emissions have skyrocketed (double the 20th century rate), unrelenting global warming (a new heat record, 2020) CO2-e at record levels year-by-year. Meanwhile, Biblical fires, massive flooding, and killer droughts haunt civilization like never before.

What’s to celebrate?

Maybe it would be better if COP26 is cancelled and save the millions spent on 30,000 professionals gathering to chitchat, meaning “lots of smoke but no flames,” except for the long-standing forests of the world, which are burning like crazy.

At the end, Funk comes back to reality, which is crucial for understanding where the planet’s health stands and what must be done, to wit:

Right now we appear to be headed for 3°C of warming or more. This level of warming would almost certainly have catastrophic and potentially irreversible impacts on our planet’s life support system. (p. 299)

But, according to Drought Flood Fire, it’s already happening with just 1°C warming, as Funk additionally queries: Imagine +3°C or +4°C bringing on decimated crops, super storms, and considerably higher sea levels, but yet:

Even the difference between 1.5°C and 2°C of warming will make an incredible difference.  (p. 300)

Nobody knows for certain where climate change/global warming is headed, but one thing is certain, it’s always worse than climate models; it’s always worse than scientists expect. That’s a concerning preamble to yet one more UN Climate Summit.

All of which gives one pause with today’s 1.2°C above baseline as Biblical droughts, floods, and fires scare the daylights out of scientists. They’re publicly admitting it, which is a refreshing bold approach.  Hopefully, their deep-seated concerns override, supersede the bureaucratic nightmarish results of past COPs.

Meanwhile, Drought Flood Fire, How Climate Change Contributes to Catastrophes puts everything into perspective.

The post Drought Flood Fire first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Apocalypse

Apocalypse is complete destruction of the world as described in some detail in the biblical book of Revelation. Nothing worse can happen to humanity. Interestingly, it has been a recurring aspect of civilization for over two thousand years but every prediction of “End Times” has failed.

Yet, modern day society is proving that apocalypse has multiple possible outcomes. In fact, a case can be made that it’s never been closer to reality because it’s already happening here and there.

At the turn of the new century Frontline aired a two-hour PBS Special, APOCALYPSE! The program traced the evolution of apocalyptic belief from its origin within the Jewish experience after Babylonian exile, to modern times.  Historians and biblical scholars were interviewed to discuss the concept of End Times and doomsday in order to elucidate the ideas of mass destruction and how those ideas shape the cultural world. Indeed, the concept of apocalypse has influenced civilization in a multitude of ways for over 2,000 years.

The Book of Revelation, the last book of the New Testament, is central to Western consciousness of apocalyptic belief, and a considerable portion of Revelation originated in the six hundred year period of Jewish political history involving wars and defeat by foreign invaders, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans. As a result, visions of heaven and hell and the eternal battle between good and evil arose, shaping culture for 200 years before the birth of Jesus. Ever since, apocalypse has been on people’s minds as a final reckoning.

The concept of apocalypse remains a very powerful force to this day, especially amongst true believers. Not only that but recently apocalypse has transitioned a new variety known as “Climate Apocalypse,” a term that interestingly enough generates 7,610,000 Google hits in all of 0.58 seconds. Truly, Climate Apocalypse has an audience as well as strong adherents and strong detractors, like Forbes magazine and several mainstream publications. As for those editors, apocalypse is only for doom-and-gloom Cassandra’s that should be discounted and maybe ridiculed.

Yet, some of the Google searches turn up the darnedest doom-and-gloom sources, for example: “Leaked UN Climate Report: The Apocalypse Is Almost Here… The Worst Is Yet To Come….” references the recently “leaked draft” climate report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that allegedly proclaims: “A dire warning that we are on the cusp of planetary destruction thanks to the myriad dangers of worsening climate change.” This references the 4,000-page UN report leaked to Agence France-Presse.1, which isn’t due for publication for some months.

What if the IPCC “doom-and-gloom report,” as alleged, is on target, dead-on but similar to all past IPCC reports, it ends up as way too conservative?

In point of fact, it is not all that difficult to make a case for Climate Apocalypse by simply observing what’s happening today. What are the signs? By definition, normalized climate behavior is not an apocalyptic signpost. It doesn’t count if it’s normal regular ole climate behavior that humans have seen over the centuries. To be apocalyptic, a climate event must be damaging “beyond human experience, and then some.”

Unfortunately the list of actual apocalyptic events is a very long one. A few recent real events make the point, to wit:

The Guardian newspaper recently (July) interviewed Diana Six, an entomologist for 30 years who teaches at the University of Montana. She took her students to Glacier National Park on a field trip and reported the following:

Life doesn’t just deal with this. When I went up Glacier with my students a few weeks ago, the flowers were curling up. At some of the lower elevations, glacier lilies were shriveled, lupins didn’t even open. The flowers should extend for another three weeks and they’re already gone. Any insects or birds that depend upon them, like bees or hummingbirds, are in trouble, their food is gone. Bird populations have just baked… People seem to think of extinctions as some silent, painless statistic. It’s not. You look at birds that can no longer find fish because they’ve moved too far off shore. They’re emaciated; they’re starving to death. We are at the point that there’s nothing untouched. 2

It is instructive, as well as extremely troublesome, to note that her experience took place in a “protected national park.”

Referencing how climate change impacts life, Diana said:

Somewhere along the way, I had gone from being an ecologist to a coroner. I am no longer documenting life. I’m describing loss, decline, death. 3

Diana, an entomologist, is “… no longer documenting life. I’m describing loss, decline, death.” That describes an apocalyptic event on a very personal level.

On a larger scale, Krefeld Entomological Society (est. 1905) issued a report of more than a 75% decline over only 27 years in total flying insect biomass in several protected European nature reserves.4

And, on a larger scale, last year the World Wildlife Foundation in collaboration with the Zoological Society of London issued an eye-popping report that over-exploitation of ecological resources by humanity from 1970 to 2016 caused a 68% plunge in wild vertebrates. Numbers of that magnitude border on the onset of apocalypse, especially considering it happened within one human lifetime. According to the Report, tropical sub-regions were clobbered, hit hard with 94% loss of wild vertebrate life, which is apocalypse in spades.

Throughout the planet, apocalypse is hitting, but on a regional basis, especially where few, if any, people live to see it happening.

That is, until it did started hitting where lots of people live. In China in July 2021, “apocalyptic flooding” trapped passengers in subway trains standing in neck-deep water in the provincial capital Zhengzhou, a metropolis of 12 million where chaos descended as entire neighborhoods were covered in waist-deep water, and a massive unrelenting inordinate rainfall caused a 60-foot crevasse in the structure of the major dam of the region, which could collapse at any time, possibly drowning thousands. 5

According to Reuters in China, several people have died as a result of massive rains and dozens more cities have flooded in the country. Zhengzhou evacuated 100,000. Over three days, two feet of rainfall devastated parts of central China, smashing homes apart. That describes a severely damaging climate system that is not normal, not even close to normal. It’s one more signpost of apocalyptic behavior.

According to Reuters:

Like recent heat waves in the United States and Canada and extreme flooding seen in Western Europe, the rainfall in China was almost certainly linked to global warming, scientists told Reuters.6

According to a recent CNN article:

Scientists have warned for decades that climate change will make heat waves more frequent and more intense. That is a reality now playing out in Canada, but also in many other parts of the Northern Hemisphere that are increasingly becoming uninhabitable. 7

Apocalyptic is the most apt description of formerly inhabitable regions turning uninhabitable. It’s the onset of apocalypse, as hundreds of people died of too much heat, which also triggered 240 wildfires across British Columbia, with global warming turning verdant forests into tinder.

According to the implications within a recent article in Scientific American, the Pacific Northwest just experienced early stage apocalypse:

Hundreds of people died in the recent Pacific Northwest heat wave, according to estimates; there were at least 486 deaths in British Columbia, 116 in Oregon, 78 in Washington… there were more than 3,500 emergency department visits for heat-related illness this past May and June in a region that includes Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington State.8

According to Kristina Dahl, a senior climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists who was interviewed about the heat wave, the climate models did not come close to predicting the level of heat in the Northwest. She added: “But then to realize that I am seeing it in my lifetime, and living it right now, is really terrifying.” 3

Early stage apocalyptic events are hitting terrestrial regions of the planet, region by region over time, but it’s much more universal or across the board in the oceans. According to the documentary film Seaspriacy (Netflix, March 2021), which focuses on whether the planet’s fish stock survives and for how long, five million fish are killed per minute. Global fish populations are plummeting and already at apocalyptic levels, to wit: (1) halibut -99% (2) cod -86% (3) Bluefin tuna -97% (4) haddock -99% (5) thresher shark -80% (6) bull shark -86% (7) hammerhead shark -86% (8) total shark mass decimation of 80%-to-99%. Shark deaths (100,000,000 annually) at the top of the food chain bring in their wake the death of almost all other ocean species down the marine food chain. The oceans used to contain 80% of all life. Nobody knows that number now with killings too rapid to keep count of what remains. By all accounts, apocalypse is already rampant in the world’s oceans.

Above all else, the results of a new research discovery must be broadcasts as wide as possible: “Planet Earth is now trapping twice as much heat as it did 14 years ago.” 9

The nations of the planet must get their act together and do something extremely big, very, very major very soon to tame the climate monster, as well as put a halt to the insanity of stripping natural resources like the ocean’s fish stock down to the bone or suffer unfathomable adversity, meaning some advanced stage of apocalypse which unfortunately has already started to strut its stuff.

  1. The Byte/Climate Report, June 23, 2021
  2. Top US Scientist on Melting Glaciers: “I’ve Gone From Being an Ecologist to a Coroner”, The Guardian, July 21, 2021.
  3. Ibid.
  4. PLOS ONE -Public Library of Science, October 18, 2017.
  5. “Unprecedented Floods in Central China, Passengers Trapped in Subway Train With Neck-Deep Water”, Outlook, July 21, 2021.
  6. “At Least 25 Dead as Rains Deluge Central China’s Henan Province”, Reuters, July 21, 2021,
  7. “Unprecedented Heat, Hundreds Dead and a Town Destroyed, Climate Change is Frying the Northern Hemisphere”, CNN, July 4, 2021.
  8. “Why Extreme Heat Is So Deadly”, Scientific American, July 22, 2021.
  9. Norman G. Loeb, et al, Satellite and Ocean Data Reveal Marked Increase in Earth’s Heating Rate, Geophysical Research Letter, June 15, 2021.
The post Apocalypse first appeared on Dissident Voice.

A World of Total Illusion and Fantasy

Facing Future.TV founder and executive producer Stuart Scott and co-host Dale Walkonen recently broadcast a wide-ranging interview with Noam Chomsky about the state of human existence in the face of universal decadence.

They started by referencing the Doomsday Clock (Science and Security Board Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists), which has pegged humanity’s risk of annihilation at an all-time high of only 100 seconds to midnight. Chomsky feels we’re actuality closer to midnight than that. For example, his opinion is influenced by information in a leaked draft of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) upcoming report, “which is much more grim than earlier reports,” keeping in mind it is only a draft so far, and he believes the final report may temper the initial draft.

With regard to nuclear weapons, the situation is far more dangerous than the last Doomsday Clock report.  New weapons systems under development are much more effectively dangerous. The Biden administration, expanding upon Trump’s confrontational approach, has Chomsky at a loss for words to describe the danger at hand. Only recently, Biden met with NATO leaders and instructed them to plan on two wars, China and Russia.  According to Chomsky: “This is beyond insanity.” Not only that, the group is carrying out provocative acts when diplomacy is really needed. This is an extraordinarily dangerous situation.

According to Chomsky, the Doomsday Clock setting at 100 seconds to midnight is based upon: (1) global warming (2) nuclear war and (3) disinformation, or the collapse of any kind of rational discourse. As such, number three makes it impossible to deal with the first two major problems. Along those lines, within the Republican Party there’s virtually a disappearance of any pretense of rational discourse. Twenty-five (25%) percent of Republicans believe the government is run by an elite satanic group of pedophiles. Seventy percent (70%) of Republicans believe that the election was stolen. Only fifteen percent (15%) of Republicans believe that global warming is a serious problem. Therein lies an insurmountable problem to solving the main issues that continually tick the clock ever closer to a disaster scenario that will likely be unprecedented in the annals of warfare and environmental degradation.

As a result, Chomsky says: “We’re living in a world of total illusion and fantasy.” Accordingly, “Unless this is dealt with soon, it’ll be impossible to deal with the two major issues within the time span that we have available, which is not very long.”

In Chomsky’s opinion the Republican Party, especially if it regains control in 2024, will take society down the tubes, down for the final count into the depths of a nether world. In Chomsky’s words: “If they return to power, it is very likely it will be an organized death knell for human society.”

However, on a positive note, boots on the ground political activism is still a political factor that works. A prime example is the Sunrise Movement that has effectively lobbied for a civilian climate corp. Chomsky applauds Sunrise as well as The United Mineworkers agreement to support a transition program of miners to sustainable energy via government-sponsored programs. Additionally, nineteen unions in California have agreed to a similar program.

Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the ledger, OPEC is planning to increase investment and production of fossil fuels because the price of oil is going up. According to Chomsky: “It is totally suicidal.” It’ll be suicidal in due course, but over the short term it’ll produce more wealth for Saudi Arabia.  However, there’s little doubt that the country will be uninhabitable within a few years in a self-afflicted pogrom.

Chomsky: “Whatever is going on in the minds of human beings, they’re capable of saying let’s destroy ourselves, let’s destroy life for our children, because I can make a few more dollars tomorrow.” Not only are countries blind to an encroaching hothouse Earth, the wealthy countries are basically monopolizing vaccine for Covid 19 in the face of variants of the virus that will come back more powerful and deadly to haunt the wealthy countries. Indeed, the world is at odds with itself!

Chomsky claims there are opportunities and ways to reach people to resolve issues. But, “we do not have much time.”  He warns that if the Republicans come back to office in 2024, it may be too late. “The programs they are pursuing offer no hope for survival.” After all, every year that Trump was in office, the Doomsday Clock minute hand moved closer to midnight. Eventually, the Doomsday Clock analysts gave in by shifting from the minutes-hand to the seconds-hand.

There are opportunities that must be grasped to stop the madness. To be effective, change must come from below from the general population not from above or the politicians. For example, Congress passed a resolution calling for a Green New Deal introduced by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey. He claims: “It’s a very good proposal.” Extensive activism got it to this point. The key to making things happen is “boots on the ground.”  The Sunrise Movement occupied Nancy Pelosi’s office and got support from AOC. That’s grass roots activism at work and it has succeeded, so far.

Chomsky: “There are good people like Ocasio-Cortez and Markey but they’re not going to get anywhere unless there’s extensive popular pressure compelling the legislative authorities, the Congress, the White House to pursue these objectives.” For example, when FDR wanted to pass New Deal legislation, he told the public: “You have to make me do it, I cannot do it myself.” It takes human bodies with boots on the ground to effectively influence legislation. Whereas, clicking a mouse gets nowhere and easily ignored.

In retrospect, it is important to emphasize that throughout history political parties that rely upon lies bring society down to its knees in piles of shameless destruction. A prime example of this is the fall of Rome, which resonates today:

By the time of Augustine (354-430 AD), the Roman Empire had become an Empire of lies. It still pretended to uphold the rule of law, to protect the people from the Barbarian invaders, to maintain the social order. But all that had become a bad joke for the citizens of an empire by then reduced to nothing more than a giant military machine dedicated to oppressing the poor in order to maintain the privileges of the rich. The Empire itself had become a lie: that it existed because of the favor of the Gods who rewarded the Romans because of their moral virtues. Nobody could believe in that anymore: it was the breakdown of the very fabric of society; the loss of what the ancient called the auctoritas, the trust that citizens had toward their leaders and the institutions of their state. 1

  1. Cassandra’s Legacy, “The Empire of Lies”, February 8, 2016.
The post A World of Total Illusion and Fantasy first appeared on Dissident Voice.