Category Archives: arctic ice melt

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.

When to Build Sea Walls

During the month of December 2021 two warnings of impending sea level rise were issued by highly respected groups of climate scientists. These are professional scientists who do not deal in hyperbole. Rather, they are archetypical conservative serious-minded scientists who follow the facts.

The most recent warning on December 30th is of deteriorating conditions at the Arctic and Greenland. The second warning is the threatening collapse in Antarctica of one of the largest glaciers in the world. As these events unfortunately coincide so close together, one at the top of the world, the other at the bottom, should coastal cities plan to build sea walls?

The scale of time and material and costs to build seawalls is nearly overwhelming. In fact, it is overwhelming. The US Army Corps of Engineers is already drafting plans for a gigantic seawall to protect New York-New Jersey Harbour and Tributaries from surges and flooding. It’s a multi-year study that should be completed this year, 2022. The estimated cost is US$119 billion built-out over a period of 25 years for 6 miles of seawall. Yet, already there is concern that it may prove inadequate, only defending against storm surges, not rising sea levels. NYC Comptroller Scott M. Stringer has suggested 520 miles of exposed shorelines as an alternative plan. 1

The Army Corps of Engineers also estimated $4.6 billion for a one-mile wall for Miami-Dade and $2 billion for an eight-mile seawall around Charleston. It’s not known if these bids are only for storm surges or sea level rise but most likely it’s the former.

A study by the Center for Climate Integrity at the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, Washington, D.C. concluded: If seawalls were built in every coastal community, the national cost over the next couple of decades would be $400+ billion, which would be designated for storm surge protection. According to YaleEnvironment360: “That’s nearly the price of building the 47,000 miles of the interstate highway system, which took four decades and cost more than $500 billion in today’s dollars.” 2

Jason Box, professor in glaciology at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, created a seven-minute video on December 30th entitled: Recent Developments in Arctic Climate Observational Indicators.

His final statement in the video sums up the facts: “At these levels of CO2, the world needs to prepare itself for abrupt sea level rise.”

This can only mean nation/states need to start planning on either building continent-wide sea walls, which will hit taxpayers right between the eyes, or prepare residents of coastal cities, like Miami, to move to higher ground. There are no alternatives. For decades now it has become only too obvious that world governments are not going to seriously tackle CO2 emissions to slow down greenhouse gases from warming the planet with a resulting onslaught of rising sea levels.

Here’s Jason Box’s opening statement: “I am part of a team of about 20 scientists/authors where we look at all kinds of observational records of Arctic climate. We take in everything like rivers, temperatures, snow cover, and so I am going to quickly take you through our updated summary survey of these observati0nal records,” as follows herein:

The Arctic is getting wetter. There is more rain falling instead of snow. This is the largest trend in the Arctic, the increasing rainfall trend.

That’s an incredibly disturbing statement. Isn’t the Arctic supposed to be “the brutal cold of the North” that freezes over as endless solid ice and importantly serves as the planet’s biggest reflector of incoming solar radiation? Answer: Yes, that’s true, but that was pre-global warming. Nowadays, the planet’s Coppertone; i.e., multi-year thick ice, is almost gone, exposing it to severe sunburn.

Moreover, counter-intuitively, most of the warming occurs in the cold season of October thru May. It’s the most dynamic season in the Arctic and some of the biggest changes in the permafrost are happening in that cold season. Yes, but doesn’t permafrost mean “permanently frozen?” In fact, Dr. Box claims that permafrost is changing in the middle of the winter. Really!

According to the study details, using new more authoritative data sets, looking at the rate of warming in the Arctic, since 1971, it is warming at a rate of 3.3 times the globe. But, on a seasonal basis, it’s warming at 4 times the global increase during the cold season of October thru May.

Not only is it warming faster in the winter, but the studies also found a “non-surprising coincidence of extreme wildfires” when temperatures are extremely high. For example, only recently Biblical-scale fires, never before witnessed, hit Siberia. At the time, SciTechDaily’s headline stated: “Meteorologists Shocked as Heat and Fire Scorches Siberia,” June 23rd, 2020.

The crux of the matter links “land ice surveys” of Greenland and the overall Arctic, which are some of the largest sources of sea level rise, illustrated on a chart displayed in the video, demonstrating “an increase in sea level contribution every decade.”

Sea level rise, which has been relatively quiescent throughout the Holocene Era over the past 10,000 years is starting to accelerate. This is extremely bad news, meaning the climate system is breaking away from the wonderfully stable Holocene Era of the remarkable forgiving Goldilocks climate, “not too hot, not too cold.” But now, all of a sudden, it’s no longer ”remarkably forgiving.”

As a result of so many years of the wondrous Holocene Era, humanity got spoiled rotten with very stable sea levels and as a result far too complacent. But complacency gives rise to repercussions.

According to Jason Box “future sea level rise contribution from land ice, and especially ice sheets, is very difficult to project into the future.” However, here’s what sends a shiver down the spine, he went on to say: “At best, we can say at these levels of CO2, the world needs to prepare itself for abrupt sea level rise.”

“At best… prepare for abrupt sea level rise” is a powerful warning from scientists who do not take warnings lightly. He did not say prepare for “sea level rise.” He said prepare for “abrupt sea level rise.” There is no subtlety about abrupt. It means “sudden and unexpected.”

Which brings on climate change warning #2, Antarctica: The Thwaites “Doomsday Glacier” in West Antarctica. Satellite images shown at a recent meeting on December 13th of the American Geophysical Union showed numerous large, diagonal cracks extending across the Thwaites floating ice wedge. The ice sheet/glacier could collapse. And, it’s big, 80 miles across with up to 4,000 feet depth and with a 28-mile-wide cracking ice shelf that extends over the Amundsen Sea.

NewScientist d/d December 13, 2021 discussed the satellite images of Thwaites’ massive cracks: “Antarctica’s Thwaites glacier could break free of the continent within 10 years, which could lead to catastrophic sea level rise and potentially set off a domino effect in surrounding ice.”

Meanwhile, by year-end 2021, both poles, North and South, are rumbling and threatening coastal life throughout the world, but frankly, nobody knows how soon or how high the seas will react, 1-3 feet this century, 1-3 feet within a couple decades, or more in less time, maybe 10 feet, or how about “several meters” this century, which is a calculation used in a study in 2015 by Dr. James Hansen of Columbia University before scientists knew what they know today. Dr. Hansen’s paper was published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics: Ice Melt, Sea Level Rise and Superstorms Evidence From Paleoclimate Data, Climate Modeling, and Modern Observations that 2°C Global Warming Could Be Dangerous, March 22, 2016.

Part of the Hansen argument is paleoclimate evidence during the Eemian Period 120,000 years ago when “Earth’s oceans were six to nine meters higher (20-30 feet) at less than 1C warmer than it is today.” For perspective purposes, that was 6 years ago, today scientists claim we’re at 1.2°C above pre-industrial, or 0.8°C off the dreaded 2C level.

Six years after Dr. James Hansen’s warning, scientists who study the Arctic and Antarctica are echoing his words but with more immediacy and concern. In plain English, Jason Box did say: ““At these levels of CO2, the world needs to prepare itself for abrupt sea level rise.” After all, who else has a better grasp of the situation than Dr. Jason Box, professor in glaciology at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland?

Warnings today are more pronounced than ever before even though the biosphere is not yet at 1.5° C above pre-industrial, widely considered the IPCC safe limit, or is it? That depends upon how pre-industrial is calculated. Is it 1750 or 1880 or 1950? But even if we’re not there yet, the damage caused to critical ecosystems at only 1.2°C above pre-industrial, where we are today, is enough to write a book, a very long book.

Nevertheless, what is known today is that preparations and build-outs of sea walls will be decades in the making and dreadfully costly. Is there an alternative? Once sea level makes its mark, higher and higher, it’s too late to start drawing sketches and drafting plans.

Climate scientists who are on the frontlines of climate change are sending smoke signals of a looming threat on the horizon. It’s much closer than anybody expected.

Alas, considering the disquieting fact that climate change in real time has been outpacing the climate models of scientists by quite a wide margin for quite a long time, abrupt sea level rise needs to be respected as a distinct reality.

An article by M. Farquharson, et al in Geophysical Research Letters d/d June 10, 2019 stated: “Observed maximum thaw depths at our sites are already exceeding those projected to occur by 2090.” In other words, fieldwork in the High Arctic found cataclysmic impact of climate change happening 70 years ahead of what the scientific models expected.

Do something!

  1. “US Army Weighs Up Proposal For Gigantic Sea Wall to Defend NY From Future Floods”, ScienceAlert, January 20, 2020.
  2. “Who Will Pay for the Huge Costs of Holding Back Rising Seas?” YaleEnvironment360, August 9, 2019.
The post When to Build Sea Walls 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.

The Existential Threat of Global Heating

Once again, the hopes of billions have been raised, only to be dashed, this time by the cruel joke of COP26, the reality being that “By 2030, governments are planning to extract 110% more fossil fuels than their Paris Agreement pledge to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels would permit”.

Misrepresentations abound:

  • The United Nations upper global temperature target of 1.5°C takes no account of the fact that, without the transient short-lived aerosols effect of over 0.5 to 1.0 Watt/m⁻², the mean global heating is nearing ~2.0°C.
  • It is the cumulative concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which controls temperatures, triggering feedbacks from land and oceans, and which has reached a high level of combined CO₂+CH₄+N₂O of >500 ppm CO₂-equivalent. Only sequestration / drawdown from this level may be able to lower terrestrial temperatures.
  • Polar temperature changes are critical: The Arctic temperature anomaly reached 3°C above 1981-2010 in 2016 and the increasing similarity between polar and northern latitude temperatures leads to weakening of the jet stream boundary effect, allowing cold and warm air masses to cross the boundary.
  • The tropical climate zone is expanding and Mediterranean climate zone, where much of the world’s crops are grown, is shrinking and shifting toward the poles.
  • As the polar ice sheets are melting sea levels are rising, initially on the scale of inches and subsequently toward as equilibrium with Pliocene-like temperatures equivalent to a sea level rise of ~25 meters, flooding extensive coastal zones and delta where billions live and grow food.

The development of hydrocarbon reserves is proceeding unabated (Figures 1 and 2). Since the Paris agreement in 2015, the world’s 60 largest banks have poured $3.8 trillion into fossil fuel companies. In the US, auctioning has begun of drilling rights in Alaskan waters and the Gulf of Mexico. In the UK, whose PM is talking about one minute to midnight, 113 new licenses are offered to explore offshore reserves. Germany is developing new coal deposits. Australia, accounting for about 29% of traded coal globally in 2016, has become the world’s largest coal exporter and near-largest natural gas (LNG) exporter, currently representing around 3.6% of global emissions.

Huge LNG projects were planned in 2020 in Alaska ($43 billion), Mozambique ($33 billion), Kuwait ($16 billion), Nigeria ($11 billion), Australia ($11 billion), Russia ($10.8 billion, pipeline), Louisiana ($10.8 billion), Greece ($5.5 billion, pipeline) and elsewhere. According to NES FIRCROFT “In terms of new projects, however, the outlook is wide open. According to sector research firm Rystad Energy, around 250 new Oil & Gas projects are likely to be sanctioned for development in 2020 – up from 160 in 2016. The number of floating production, storage and offloading vessels (FPSOs) is due to increase with as many as 28 currently on order or under construction, while around 4,000 km of subsea oil and gas flowlines are due for installation this year.

In India forecasts for 2024-2025 include utilization of energy supplies of 50% coal, 25% oil, 20% gas, 3% nuclear and 2% hydro.

Figure 1. EIA projects nearly 50% increase in world energy use by 2050, with no decline in fossil fuel

2014 analysis by Katherine Keil concluded that fossil fuels like they exist in the Arctic are expected to continue supplying much of the energy used worldwide.

Given that future emissions and temperatures may exceed what current policies would lead to (Figure 2. below), growth in the use of fossil fuels combined with the lack of effective methods of reducing the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere can only have catastrophic consequences. This means that unless civilization moves to a war-like footing, such as in pre-world war II, in an attempt to reduce carbon emissions from all sectors and to sequester greenhouse gas levels, large parts of the Earth may become uninhabitable.

So much for the term “security” repeated through corporate reports.

Figure 2. Climate Action Tracker Thermometer (Nov. 2021 update)

It is the children, led by an 18 years-old girl, who appear to have the perspective on what will determine the future of humanity and nature.

The post The Existential Threat of Global Heating first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Menacing Methane:  An Analysis

“The story of methane really is a story of a very serious definitive threat to our future existence on this planet.” (Peter Wadhams)

Legendary Arctic explorers Sir James Clark Ross, who located the northern magnetic pole in 1831 and Sir William Edward Parry, who set a record in 1827 for the Farthest North exploration serve as footnotes in the context of the Arctic’s most prolific scientist, Peter Wadhams, professor emeritus, University of Cambridge, with more than 50 expeditions to the world’s poles under his belt.

Dr. Peter Wadhams (A Farewell to Ice: A Report from the Arctic, Oxford University Press) delivered the principal lecture for a very special presentation by Scientists Warning/Europe ‘20: “The Threat from Arctic Methane” November 24, 2020 (1:32 m)

Within two weeks of his presentation, the annual Arctic Report Card, December 9, 2020, was released by NOAA: “Record wildfires, dwindling sea ice and ecosystem disruptions all point to the rapid change besetting the region.”1

In his lecture, Dr. Wadhams accentuated profound Arctic changes unprecedented throughout recorded history that go well beyond the context of NOAA’s Arctic Report Card. He discussed far-reaching Arctic changes with a distinct possibility of dire consequences for the planet’s climate system.

Based upon his presentation, highlighted herein, unless and until ongoing experimental efforts in England for remediation of the Arctic are proven to work, meaning revival of the Arctic, the planet is destined to become a vastly different place, not for the better, and likely not in the distant future but much sooner than that. The Arctic is changing too fast for comfort.

“The Arctic is no longer the Arctic” (Wadhams). It is something entirely different. The change is palpable. It has morphed into a looming threat of radical climate upheaval.

Regrettably, neither the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) nor any major nation/state is braced for Arctic upheaval. It is not universally recognized as an impending threat in the near future.

World opinion is broadly shaped by the IPCC narrative, which does not recognize a methane threat from the seas off Russia’s northern coastline. But, according to Professor Wadhams: They’re wrong!

Explained in detail during Dr. Wadhams’ lecture, the Arctic’s disintegration stems from rapid loss of sea ice due to global warming, specifically over the past 40 years, which now exposes shallow continental underwater shelves along Russia’s northern coastline to unheralded bouts of solar radiation because of loss of albedo, meaning loss of reflectivity (sea ice is very reflective, 80%-90%, of solar radiation). Nowadays, dark water absorbs that same extra heat that had been reflecting back into outer space for centuries upon centuries.

The major issue is continental shelves above Russia in extremely shallow water, only 50-100m in depth. Solar radiated warming now extends all the way to the bottom of the seabed, in turn, thawing the underwater sediment, which contains eons of accumulation of frozen methane.

That dangerous thawing process is happening now. Recent Russian expeditions discovered water columns with methane bubbling, emitting directly into the atmosphere on a scale never witnessed before.

“That is the threat. The thawing of the seabed … giving us a rapid increase in emissions… in this case of methane.” (Wadhams)

When Dr. Wadhams recently sailed north of the Bering Sea, which divides Russia from Alaska, he found temps of 17°C (62.6°F) and 11°C (51.8°F) in the Arctic Ocean. “These are temperatures like you get in the North Sea in summer when people go swimming. It’s not typically Arctic conditions anymore.” (Wadhams)

“When we look at temperatures at the bottom on the seabed, we find temperatures above the freezing point… Under the water we find a layer of permafrost and underneath that permafrost a couple hundred meters of sediment, and that sediment is filled with methane gas which reacts with the sediment to produce methane hydrate, which is ice that contains methane molecules… remove it from the sea and put a match to it and it burns.” (Wadhams)

In the end, as the permafrost protective layer melts, like it’s actually doing, the methane hydrates in shallow waters become unstable and release methane gas.

Among the seas north of Russia, the East Siberian Arctic Shelf is the one continental shelf that combines a curiously unique dangerous cocktail: (1) Extremely low water depth (2) High concentrations of hydrates in the sediment. The methane layer is approximately two kilometers (1.25 miles) thick. “So, that’s 2,000 meters (6,562 feet) of sediment that contains high concentrations of methane.” (Wadhams)

As the seabed warms, the permafrost melts, leaving naked hydrates. Naked hydrates are not stable. They quickly decompose into methane gas released in water columns directly into the atmosphere. Areas where naked hydrates are melting show methane measurements so extensive that a ship randomly sailing by, if it created a spark or dropped a cigarette overboard, would blow up.

“This is truly a frightening circumstance of huge amounts of methane released from the seabed coming up to the sea surface where it is released into the atmosphere.” (Wadhams)

Dr. Wadhams discussed the approach of mainstream science: “Scientists have been very complacent and the IPCC, in fact, has been totally complacent about this, because they say, oh well, methane released in the seabed dissolves in the ocean and doesn’t reach the surface. That’s actually wrong. It is true if the water depth is great, meaning in water depth greater than 200 to 300 meters. But, it is not true in water depth of only 50-60 meters because the methane gas rises quickly… it doesn’t have time to dissolve… a lot of scientists who’ve never been to the Arctic imagine that the methane dissolves in the water so we don’t have anything to worry about. They’re just not aware that the water depth is very shallow.”

The proof is convincing as methane emissions are rapidly increasing: “We know that something has been going on in the last few years because if we look at the amount of methane in the atmosphere, it rose steadily from the 1980s and then it reached a peak in the year 2000… since 2007, an increase once again, and it’s been going up ever since in an accelerating way.” (Wadhams)

What’s the risk?

Scientists who study the Arctic fear the whole complex of protective permafrost will thaw and expose the shelf along the East Siberian Arctic Sea, as well as other seas nearby, like the Laptev Sea and the Kara Sea. In turn, causing a big burst of methane, an outbreak. Russian scientists have estimated such an outburst could be 50 gigatons, but that’s only for the initial release. That’s equivalent to 50 billion tons.

“I did an analysis with two colleagues on what that would do to global warming… we’d be getting an extra 0.6°C more or less immediately, a sudden rise of global temperatures… Now, this is not good news because the entire move up since the 19tb century has only been one degree centigrade for the planet as a whole, and here we are… adding 0.6°C instantly, within a few months or weeks, we don’t know how instant, but it would be very instant. It’s something we’ve never experienced on this planet.” (Wadhams)

Unfortunately, o.6°C would be just the start followed by more, as additional sediment thaws. Furthermore, the economic costs would likely be one trillion pounds per year.

What can be done?

CO2 can be removed from the atmosphere via Direct Air Capture (DAC), but it is very expensive. However, it’s an enormous job on the scale of existing planet-wide fossil fuel infrastructure. Even then, DAC does not apply to removal of methane.

Emergency plans should be formulated by nation/states and especially by coastal cities because a “big burst” could happen at any time. Estimates are within the next few years. Certainly, the underwater permafrost is thinning. Russian scientists measure it.

Other geo-engineering measures for amelioration of Arctic disintegration are under study. For example, Marine cloud brightening via drone ships at sea is one study underway in order to reflect solar radiation back into outer space. It could reduce temperatures to help stem and possibly (hopefully) reverse Arctic sea ice loss. This can be attempted on a localized basis.

A group of scientists in England is currently working on solutions for the Arctic, experimenting with a technique that blows a powdered solution on the sea surface where it’ll thwart the methane before it emits into the atmosphere. This is still only theoretical, as experimentation is ongoing.

Throughout the virtual online session with Dr. Wadhams, he emphasized the disconnect between the scientific community and the reality of what’s happening in the shallow waters of the East Siberian Arctic Sea (ESAS), which region is equivalent in combined size to Germany, France, Gr Br, Italy, and Japan with 75% of the area in 50-80m, shallow waters, allowing methane (CH4) release from the subsea permafrost without oxidation in the water column directly into the atmosphere. That is a very bad setup, just itching for trouble.

“I think you should be worried about the methane threat despite the fact that the International Panel on Climate Change is keeping very quiet about it.” (Wadhams)

  1. “Three Signs a ‘New Arctic’ Is Emerging”, Scientific American, December 9, 2020.

The post Menacing Methane:  An Analysis first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Menacing Methane:  An Analysis

“The story of methane really is a story of a very serious definitive threat to our future existence on this planet.” (Peter Wadhams)

Legendary Arctic explorers Sir James Clark Ross, who located the northern magnetic pole in 1831 and Sir William Edward Parry, who set a record in 1827 for the Farthest North exploration serve as footnotes in the context of the Arctic’s most prolific scientist, Peter Wadhams, professor emeritus, University of Cambridge, with more than 50 expeditions to the world’s poles under his belt.

Dr. Peter Wadhams (A Farewell to Ice: A Report from the Arctic, Oxford University Press) delivered the principal lecture for a very special presentation by Scientists Warning/Europe ‘20: “The Threat from Arctic Methane” November 24, 2020 (1:32 m)

Within two weeks of his presentation, the annual Arctic Report Card, December 9, 2020, was released by NOAA: “Record wildfires, dwindling sea ice and ecosystem disruptions all point to the rapid change besetting the region.”1

In his lecture, Dr. Wadhams accentuated profound Arctic changes unprecedented throughout recorded history that go well beyond the context of NOAA’s Arctic Report Card. He discussed far-reaching Arctic changes with a distinct possibility of dire consequences for the planet’s climate system.

Based upon his presentation, highlighted herein, unless and until ongoing experimental efforts in England for remediation of the Arctic are proven to work, meaning revival of the Arctic, the planet is destined to become a vastly different place, not for the better, and likely not in the distant future but much sooner than that. The Arctic is changing too fast for comfort.

“The Arctic is no longer the Arctic” (Wadhams). It is something entirely different. The change is palpable. It has morphed into a looming threat of radical climate upheaval.

Regrettably, neither the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) nor any major nation/state is braced for Arctic upheaval. It is not universally recognized as an impending threat in the near future.

World opinion is broadly shaped by the IPCC narrative, which does not recognize a methane threat from the seas off Russia’s northern coastline. But, according to Professor Wadhams: They’re wrong!

Explained in detail during Dr. Wadhams’ lecture, the Arctic’s disintegration stems from rapid loss of sea ice due to global warming, specifically over the past 40 years, which now exposes shallow continental underwater shelves along Russia’s northern coastline to unheralded bouts of solar radiation because of loss of albedo, meaning loss of reflectivity (sea ice is very reflective, 80%-90%, of solar radiation). Nowadays, dark water absorbs that same extra heat that had been reflecting back into outer space for centuries upon centuries.

The major issue is continental shelves above Russia in extremely shallow water, only 50-100m in depth. Solar radiated warming now extends all the way to the bottom of the seabed, in turn, thawing the underwater sediment, which contains eons of accumulation of frozen methane.

That dangerous thawing process is happening now. Recent Russian expeditions discovered water columns with methane bubbling, emitting directly into the atmosphere on a scale never witnessed before.

“That is the threat. The thawing of the seabed … giving us a rapid increase in emissions… in this case of methane.” (Wadhams)

When Dr. Wadhams recently sailed north of the Bering Sea, which divides Russia from Alaska, he found temps of 17°C (62.6°F) and 11°C (51.8°F) in the Arctic Ocean. “These are temperatures like you get in the North Sea in summer when people go swimming. It’s not typically Arctic conditions anymore.” (Wadhams)

“When we look at temperatures at the bottom on the seabed, we find temperatures above the freezing point… Under the water we find a layer of permafrost and underneath that permafrost a couple hundred meters of sediment, and that sediment is filled with methane gas which reacts with the sediment to produce methane hydrate, which is ice that contains methane molecules… remove it from the sea and put a match to it and it burns.” (Wadhams)

In the end, as the permafrost protective layer melts, like it’s actually doing, the methane hydrates in shallow waters become unstable and release methane gas.

Among the seas north of Russia, the East Siberian Arctic Shelf is the one continental shelf that combines a curiously unique dangerous cocktail: (1) Extremely low water depth (2) High concentrations of hydrates in the sediment. The methane layer is approximately two kilometers (1.25 miles) thick. “So, that’s 2,000 meters (6,562 feet) of sediment that contains high concentrations of methane.” (Wadhams)

As the seabed warms, the permafrost melts, leaving naked hydrates. Naked hydrates are not stable. They quickly decompose into methane gas released in water columns directly into the atmosphere. Areas where naked hydrates are melting show methane measurements so extensive that a ship randomly sailing by, if it created a spark or dropped a cigarette overboard, would blow up.

“This is truly a frightening circumstance of huge amounts of methane released from the seabed coming up to the sea surface where it is released into the atmosphere.” (Wadhams)

Dr. Wadhams discussed the approach of mainstream science: “Scientists have been very complacent and the IPCC, in fact, has been totally complacent about this, because they say, oh well, methane released in the seabed dissolves in the ocean and doesn’t reach the surface. That’s actually wrong. It is true if the water depth is great, meaning in water depth greater than 200 to 300 meters. But, it is not true in water depth of only 50-60 meters because the methane gas rises quickly… it doesn’t have time to dissolve… a lot of scientists who’ve never been to the Arctic imagine that the methane dissolves in the water so we don’t have anything to worry about. They’re just not aware that the water depth is very shallow.”

The proof is convincing as methane emissions are rapidly increasing: “We know that something has been going on in the last few years because if we look at the amount of methane in the atmosphere, it rose steadily from the 1980s and then it reached a peak in the year 2000… since 2007, an increase once again, and it’s been going up ever since in an accelerating way.” (Wadhams)

What’s the risk?

Scientists who study the Arctic fear the whole complex of protective permafrost will thaw and expose the shelf along the East Siberian Arctic Sea, as well as other seas nearby, like the Laptev Sea and the Kara Sea. In turn, causing a big burst of methane, an outbreak. Russian scientists have estimated such an outburst could be 50 gigatons, but that’s only for the initial release. That’s equivalent to 50 billion tons.

“I did an analysis with two colleagues on what that would do to global warming… we’d be getting an extra 0.6°C more or less immediately, a sudden rise of global temperatures… Now, this is not good news because the entire move up since the 19tb century has only been one degree centigrade for the planet as a whole, and here we are… adding 0.6°C instantly, within a few months or weeks, we don’t know how instant, but it would be very instant. It’s something we’ve never experienced on this planet.” (Wadhams)

Unfortunately, o.6°C would be just the start followed by more, as additional sediment thaws. Furthermore, the economic costs would likely be one trillion pounds per year.

What can be done?

CO2 can be removed from the atmosphere via Direct Air Capture (DAC), but it is very expensive. However, it’s an enormous job on the scale of existing planet-wide fossil fuel infrastructure. Even then, DAC does not apply to removal of methane.

Emergency plans should be formulated by nation/states and especially by coastal cities because a “big burst” could happen at any time. Estimates are within the next few years. Certainly, the underwater permafrost is thinning. Russian scientists measure it.

Other geo-engineering measures for amelioration of Arctic disintegration are under study. For example, Marine cloud brightening via drone ships at sea is one study underway in order to reflect solar radiation back into outer space. It could reduce temperatures to help stem and possibly (hopefully) reverse Arctic sea ice loss. This can be attempted on a localized basis.

A group of scientists in England is currently working on solutions for the Arctic, experimenting with a technique that blows a powdered solution on the sea surface where it’ll thwart the methane before it emits into the atmosphere. This is still only theoretical, as experimentation is ongoing.

Throughout the virtual online session with Dr. Wadhams, he emphasized the disconnect between the scientific community and the reality of what’s happening in the shallow waters of the East Siberian Arctic Sea (ESAS), which region is equivalent in combined size to Germany, France, Gr Br, Italy, and Japan with 75% of the area in 50-80m, shallow waters, allowing methane (CH4) release from the subsea permafrost without oxidation in the water column directly into the atmosphere. That is a very bad setup, just itching for trouble.

“I think you should be worried about the methane threat despite the fact that the International Panel on Climate Change is keeping very quiet about it.” (Wadhams)

  1. “Three Signs a ‘New Arctic’ Is Emerging”, Scientific American, December 9, 2020.

The post Menacing Methane:  An Analysis first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Expert IPCC Reviewer Speaks Out

Roger Hallam, co-founder of Extinction Rebellion/XR recently interviewed Peter Carter, M.D., who has the distinguished title – Expert IPCC Reviewer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The interview was conducted to get to the bottom of what science says about the state of affairs, specifically the health of the planet.

The following is a video link to that brilliant interview, inclusive of a treasure trove of contemporary science events (time: 41:21 November 11, 2020).

Additionally, a synopsis of the interview follows herein, but it does not do justice to the emphasis as expressed by the participants:

Dr. Carter is currently reviewing the 6th Assessment (AR6) of the IPCC. Additionally, he reviewed the IPCC Special 1.5°C Report of 2018 that exposed a new reality about the global climate emergency. As a result, the depth and breadth of a true emergency is gaining recognition throughout the world. The fact that 1.5°C above baseline is now the prescribed upper limit to global warming accomplished more than just turning heads.

Dr. Carter:  “We are in a climate emergency, in an unprecedented Earth emergency… it’s an emergency of our climate, an emergency of our oceans… this is not one of many challenges, this is the challenge for all of humanity.”

The upcoming 26th COP (Conference of the Parties) to be held November 2021 in Glasgow is on the docket for scientists and bureaucrats, as well as big moneyed interests, to knock heads in a formal setting to discuss the state of the planet. If all goes according to plan, like past COPs, powerful economic interests will sabotage what would otherwise be a rather dim forecast of a planet in various stages of collapse, some terminal.

We’ve seen this act (COP) repeat over and over, ever since COP1 in Berlin in 1995, as each successive COP-ending-ceremony finds the Parties congratulating each other, slaps on the back, for one more successful climate conference of 20,000-30,000 able-bodied professionals wiped-out from overconsumption of Beluga caviar and Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, but subsequently carbon emissions increase the following year, and every following year thereafter. What’s to congratulate?

More to the point, the annualized CO2 emissions rate is +60% since COP1, not decreasing, not going down, not once. After 25 years of the same identical pattern, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the take-home-work from all 25 COPs mysteriously turns into the antithesis of the mission statement of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Dr. Carter has a unique front-row seat to science; thus, the following highlights of his interview include a wide range of topics that assuredly demonstrate new all-time climate records, none of them positive, successively, each and every year:

At the outset, Dr. Carter commended XR (Extinction Rebellion) for insisting on a target of “net zero emissions within a matter of years,” not decades. That dovetails nicely with his viewpoint that the climate story should be labeled “the terrible truth,” and something that society must face up to.

Correspondingly, Dr. Carter praised the current Secretary-General of the UN António Guterres (Portuguese) for telling the truth. In his first public statement about climate change, he famously zeroed in on the heart of the issue: “Climate change is an existential threat to the survival of life on Earth, particularly including human kind.”

At this late point in time, there are no easy choices. The challenge ahead is daunting: “Everything is accelerating, everything is at a record high. In a nutshell, everything is getting worse faster.” (Carter)

Global warming has morphed into a quasi-heat machine as global temperature for the first six months of 2020 registered 1.3°C above baseline, a number that has new significance ever since the IPCC Special Report/2018 about the risks of exceeding 1.5°C.

Accordingly, it is generally acknowledged that 2.0°C above baseline is, in Dr. Carter’s words: “Out of the question, a catastrophe!”

Carter: “A world at 1.5°C is a disastrous world, no question.”

Carter: “2.°C is an impossible world.”

The problem arises because global surface heat is accelerating, not decelerating. Atmospheric greenhouse gas concentration, accelerating like never before, is widely acknowledged by scientists throughout the world. New research published only a couple of weeks ago shows atmospheric carbon dioxide now at the highest level in twenty-three million (23,000,000) years.

Carter: “That’s insane! It’s absolutely climate crazy!”

Moreover, there is random CO2 data that goes back as far as 40 million years, bringing to light one more bleak data point, namely: We are increasing CO2 faster than at any time over the past 40 million years that’s 100 to 200 times faster than natural background rates. As such, according to Carter: “It’s gotten so out of whack that we are now looking at survival for our children, not survival of our grandchildren.”

It’s not only atmospheric greenhouse gases that are gassing like crazy. We are also changing the chemistry of the oceans for the first time since humans first gathered around fire. The world’s leading expert on “ocean heat” has researched how many Hiroshima bombs equal the amount of heat added to the ocean on a daily basis. Which is a major byproduct of global warming. “As of a few years ago, the answer was three (3) Hiroshima bombs per second; now it is five (5) Hiroshima bombs per second… and that’s real” (Carter).

It’s impossible to fully comprehend numbers like that, which may be one of the biggest obstacles to fully understanding the depth and breadth of climate change. But still, 5 Hiroshima bombs per second!  Wow!

Meanwhile, according to Dr. Carter, the root cause of climate change is that countries are not de-carbonizing. It is at the heart of the problem, countries not de-carbonizing, the world not de-carbonizing. Moreover, making matters doubly worse, the rate of de-carbonization has actually slowed over the past few years.

Carter: “So, we’re doing things worse, instead of doing things better.”

The Arctic is a key factor in the planet’s unwieldy climate dilemma. According to Carter:  We are now looking at the Arctic switching from a cooling source to a warming source as the ice melts away, losing its big ice reflector, which in past years reflects 80-90% of solar radiation back into outer space where it belongs, but lo and behold, with the loss of most of the ice, the background is dark, not reflective, it absorbs 80-90% of solar radiation, heating things up double or triple time.

In one of the biggest human feats of all time, The Anthropocene Era (the current geological age of human influence) flexed its muscles enough to almost totally undermine the infrastructure of the planet’s largest solar reflector, Arctic sea ice.  It’s impossible to conceive how quickly multi-year ice, the true infrastructure of the Arctic, melted (almost a Blue Ocean Event, but not yet) in a very short time frame of only a few decades. Nobody knows the specific repercussions, but in general, it’s not viewed favorably and possibly really bad. It’s part of the global warming end game.

NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) publishes an Arctic report card every year. “In 2016 the results were downright shocking but surprisingly not picked up by the media. The report said that Arctic permafrost warming, thawing, and emitting had switched the Arctic from a ‘carbon sink’ to a ‘carbon source.” (Carter)

According to Dr. Carter re the NOAA report: “It is Earth catastrophic news. This is not modeling; it is actual catastrophic news happening in real time. There is no other way to look at it.”

And it’s not just the Arctic that is under siege: “We’ve lost the Great Barrier Reef,” which has been obvious over the past few years due to a heated ocean that is devastating coral reefs. The GBR suffered its third major bleaching in five years. “Nothing like this has ever happened before… to the Great Barrier Reef.” (Carter)

“We have two gems on Earth, (1) the Amazon rainforest and (2) the ocean. In the ocean, the GBR is the largest living organism on the planet, easily viewable from outer space. It is dying.” (Carter)

It hurts and hard to believe that we could lose the largest living organism on the planet. That’s all one needs to know that something is horribly wrong. The Amazon rainforest and the GBR are the planet’s two most significant canaries in the coalmine. They’re both under considerable stress, and dying.

Dr. Carter has tracked Amazon fires for six years via NASA satellite reports. Earlier in the month, he “was shocked to his core,” monitoring more fires in the Amazon rainforest than he’d ever seen, “Way-way-way more fires… Those fires, I look at them every couple of days now, they’re now encroaching and showing up in the entire Amazon. These fires, by the way, are intentional.”

With massive fires blazing around the world, on every continent this year, except Antarctica, Carter recommends the nations of the world come together to apply pressure to stop Amazon fires, “so that the Amazon is left in some kind of state of retrieval and not completely destroyed.”

Moreover, unprecedented endless fires are hitting Siberia hard. These fires will never extinguish. Russia calls them “Zombie Fires” because they subside but keep on burning at a lesser rate in smoldering peat in the winter and return with a vengeance the following spring/summer, emitting vast amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere.

In the final analysis, survival of civilization that resembles the current setup means the notorious neoliberal brand of capitalism needs a major work-over. The world community has been fully exposed to the ruthlessness and rapaciousness behind rampant, nearly unchecked, neoliberal capitalism; e.g., it searches out and captures the world’s lowest wages with the world’s weakest regulations to manufacture goods for the richest people… and that’s just for starters.

According to Dr. Carter: We must-must-must change the world’s economic direction as the current system destroys our planet faster and ever faster. It’s the sixth mass extinction, accelerating at an unbelievable pace: “It is, for certain, the most rapid extinction Earth has ever experienced.” (Carter)

Those are fighting words Down Under where they’ve already had a scrape, or a preview, with runaway global warming, circa 2019, as bats dropped dead out of the sky, streets buckled, and fruit on trees cooked from the inside out, too much heat for too long.

“If we continue to emit, there’s no question about what’s going to happen. Earth is going to become an intolerable place to live with intolerable heat waves, but those heat waves will not be just intolerable, they will crush our crops because there’s a definite limit to heat that crops can tolerate, even with irrigation.” (Carter)

The prominent Hot House Earth analysis (Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene, Will Steffen, Johan Rockström, et al) a couple of years ago alarmed people, discussing the danger of cascading climate feedbacks impacting individual components of the climate system.  Nowadays, there’s a rub, a very big rub: “They’re actually happening altogether at the same time.” (Carter)

Roger Hallam: “We’ve established two things so far in this interview: (1) If this (abuse, overuse of the climate) carries on, they’ll be no humans left; humans are going to die and it’ll be the end of the human race. (2) The mechanism for which this happens is the compounding effect of feedbacks triggering, and thereafter triggering more and more feedback loops and more trigger points.”

Accordingly, what’s evolving is a “slow death scenario” with hundreds of millions starving, which is the end game of excessive global warming. Similar climate conditions have occurred in the past, but not nearly as fast, not even close. Nature is much, much slower than the human fast lane as the two ingredients mix like oil and water.

Adequate food and water are the main risks to human survival in a world of collapsing ecosystems. It’s a known fact that excessive global heat causes multiple levels of damage to crops. Regrettably, with the world already at 1.3°C above pre-industrial, another 0.2°C pushes some crop growing regions into flashing red zones.

“We’ll lose food production at 1.5°C.” (Carter)

All over creation, danger is flashing in unison: “All of the accelerating data trends together result in a trend that the biosphere is headed in direction of collapse, meaning the human species will be lost.” (Carter)

Agriculture is one of the worst offenders of the climate system. In all respects, organic agriculture is the best form of agriculture. Modern agriculture is a huge emitter of greenhouse gases and other suspect chemicals. Ironically, changing agricultural practices is another “must do” for survival.

Carter: “We must change our agriculture in order to survive… All of our energy and climate plans of all governments and corporations throughout the world are, not only for more, but continued increasing greenhouse gas emissions… so, we’re headed for a post-agricultural world. We’re changing the climate of the past 10,000 years into a completely different climate which is not an agricultural climate.”

A post-agricultural world is defined as one without enough food to feed all of the people. Shortages hit hard… grocery stores carry empty shelves and on it goes.

In the face of scientific evidence of trouble looming ahead, the only plans society at large has to combat it all lead to “global suicide.” Today’s most prominent economic system has roots in the late 19th century, circa: The Gilded Age, when nobody had heard the word ecosystem.

Hallam: “If you have not got enough food and if you have infectious diseases, then, you’re going to get social breakdown; social breakdown gets you to the security issue of transporting food… in other words, like all these things, they’re are interrelated, and they go exponential, they happen fast, it doesn’t just gradually creep up on societies; once a society passes a certain point, it will cascade downwards with slaughter and death. That’s what we’re looking at.”

Carter: “We’re now facing what people call ‘the unthinkable.’ But, ironically, we cannot afford not to think about it. That’s one of the principal values of XR; it challenges people to sit up and think, pay attention.”

To date, it’s clear that warnings have not worked: “For example, the 2007 IPCC Assessment stressed over and over again, and again, that emissions had to be in decline by 2015 for a 2°C limit. We’re already years and years too late.“ (Carter)  That was 13 years ago.

According to Carter: The world community needs to sink their teeth into the science and wake up. The world needs to take a hard look because what’s happening is equivalent to “the crime of all time, undercutting all society… Our perverse form of economics is destroying the planet, disrupting all the oceans, poisoning the oceans, entire oceans with acidification, with heating, which disturbs and breaks down all the healthy ocean currents and… it is the definition of evil.” (Carter)

There are solutions: “The most effective, definitively effective, immediately effective, readily doable action that everybody in the world can do is Go Vegan. In theory, we can all do that. If we do that, emissions drop immediately.” (Carter)

Hallam: “Enormous changes in our personal lifestyle are now necessary. Let’s not beat around the bush, they’re necessary. It’s necessary for people to massively reduce their travel; it’s necessary for people to review their lifestyles, their jobs, and their careers. Because we’re facing a massive indescribable suffering of billions of people if we don’t… it seems unavoidable. I cannot avoid that conclusion.”

Hallam: Extinction Rebellion is at the forefront of a fundamental new message, which is: “If a government does not change, we shall… go into a rebellion via civil disobedience against the government in order to fundamentally reduce carbon emissions… It’s not actually that complicated, is it?”

At the end of the day, Dr. Carter suggests a glimmer of hope, the potential for a “Golden Age.” Acknowledging humanity has accomplished a lot that is good, which we must not forget, he suggests we need to build upon it and break away from that which is destructive.

But, time is short.

The post Expert IPCC Reviewer Speaks Out first appeared on Dissident Voice.

A Troubling Discovery in the Arctic

A notable satellite-telephonic call to colleagues in late October from Swedish scientist Örjan Gustafsson of Stockholm University briefly described a haunting discovery. On board the research ship R/V Akademik Keldysh, a 6,240-ton Russian scientific research vessel equipped with 17 on-board laboratories and a library, far off the coast of Russia, Dr. Gustafsson reported:

This East Siberian slope methane hydrate system has been perturbed and the process will be ongoing. 1

That satellite call referenced a sleeping giant that has enough carbon firepower to adversely impact the world’s climate system. The expedition discovered methane (CH4) that had been securely frozen in shallow subsea permafrost waters forever, and ever, and ever, now “stirring.” Colloquially, “The Monster of the North awakened.” (Although, in fairness to accuracy, the ESAS has been perturbed and leaking/seeping into the atmosphere for some time… but, now it’s much worse than ever before, and terrifyingly, it’s more noticeable to passersby, like expeditions of discerning scientists).

After all, there are scientists who believe the East Siberian Arctic Shelf and neighboring Russian coastline continental shelf seas contain enough methane in frozen hydrates to change human history forever, unfortunately, not for the betterment of civilization.

The East Siberian Arctic Shelf, as well as other Arctic seas off Russia’s northern coastline, has been the subject of clashing opinions within the scientific community.

Over the years, mainstream science has “talked down the risks” of a massive methane breakout in Arctic waters which could start a vicious cycle of runaway global warming that would be devastating on several fronts for civilized societies, and uncivilized too.

Three years ago, the U.S. Geological Survey labeled Arctic hydrates as one of the world’s four most serious causation events of abrupt climate change. Yet, according to USGS geophysicist Carolyn Ruppel, who oversees the USGS Gas Hydrates Project:

After so many years spent determining where gas hydrates are breaking down and measuring methane flux at the sea-air interface, we suggest that conclusive evidence for release of hydrate-related methane to the atmosphere is lacking.2

According to USGS calculations, sediments in the Arctic contain a huge quantity of frozen methane and other gases – known as hydrates. Along those lines, it’s important to note that methane (CH4) has a warming effect 80 times stronger than carbon dioxide over its initial 20 years. Meaning CH4 has a sharper, quicker impact on global warming than does CO2.

That USGS position (“no conclusive evidence”) about the risk of methane release is now three years old. Thus, this new discovery prompts a logical question: Does the current expedition provide conclusive evidence of a change? Meaning, what’s the likelihood of an abrupt shift in the planet’s climate system as a result of the new discovery?

Assuming a major CH4 release, or big burp, is it possible it could lead to planet-wide upheaval?  Accordingly, the expedition team reported:

At this moment, there is unlikely to be any major impact on global warming, but the point is that this process has now been triggered. (Gustafsson)

Therein lies the problem: “It has been triggered.”

Along those lines, a Latin proverb suffices: “Forewarned is forearmed.”  Clearly, the results of the Akademik Keldysh expedition qualify as “forewarned,” no doubt about that.

All of which prompts a significant question: How will countries throughout the world respond to this newly discovered risk to climate systems with its potential to damage agriculture and coastal cities beyond recognition?

In that regard, and based upon the nations of the world failing to adhere to voluntary commitments to the Paris 2015 climate accord to reduce carbon emissions, which, in fact, increase (Oops) year-over- year, the answer is: “It’s not encouraging, not at all.” Indeed, it is questionable that any nation/state anywhere will actually “forearm” as a result of this new report signaling: “The East Siberian slope methane hydrate system has been perturbed.”

Furthermore, what does “forearmed” even look like? Realistically, how does a country prepare for an all-out assault on agriculture and coastlines by an out of whack runaway climate system? Good luck with that.

Meanwhile, according to the initial report from the 60-member team onboard the Akademik Keldysh expedition, the findings are only “preliminary.” The true scale of the discovery will be confirmed when full complements of data are analyzed and published peer-reviewed in a scientific journal.

Significantly, and tellingly, the discovery includes six monitoring points over a slope area of 150km (93 mi.) by 10km (6 mi.) with “clouds of bubbles released from sediment.” It should be noted that “clouds of bubbles” obviously implies one helluva lot of methane erupting from the seafloor. In point of fact, some measurements registered “methane concentrations 400 times higher than should be seen if the sea and the atmosphere were in equilibrium.” (Gustafsson)

By way of comparison to planetary distances, “400xs higher than equilibrium” is a trip to Pluto.

  1. “Sleeping Giant Arctic Methane Deposits Starting to Release, Scientists Find”, The Guardian, Oct. 27, 2020.
  2. “Gas Hydrate Breakdown Unlikely to Cause Massive Greenhouse Gas Release”, US Geological Survey, February 9, 2017.

The post A Troubling Discovery in the Arctic first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Like a Rowboat in a Typhoon: Why 2020 Center-Right Yankee Election Outcomes are Dead in the Water

Image courtesy of our comrade Hermit

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the center cannot hold
Mere anarchy is loosed up the world….
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

— The Second Coming”, William Butler Yeats, 1919

ORIENTATION 

How dare you?

“Oh, great, that’s all we need. A cynical radical leftist who is so out of touch that you would jeopardize losing the elections to Trump out of some purity. Noam Chomsky thinks this is the most important election in U.S history. How can you be so apathetic at a time like this? We have to get Trump out of office or we will have fascism. If Trump wins there will be blood on your hands. I can’t believe any radical news site would even publish this article. Up yours.”

My claim

First of all, I am not cynical in general. I am, however, cynical that any capitalist party can keep Yankeedom from collapsing. Secondly, this article does not tell anyone whether or not to vote or which party to vote for. My claim is that both Yankee political parties have already demonstrated for the last 40 years they are incapable of managing to reconstruct or repair deep ecological, infrastructural and structural problems that are engulfing us right now. Yankeedom is collapsing and it will continue to collapse regardless of who wins this “election”. Thirdly, fascism is already here and it will continue even if Trump loses the election. Though I don’t make a case for socialism, I will say that our choices are either fascism or socialism.

WHAT IS POLITICS? RULING VS GOVERNING

One of the root meanings of the word “politics” is to steer. In other words, deliberative political bodies ask themselves big sociopolitical questions like – “where have we been based on past practice and where are we going, based on future plans?” Steering is something like the word “governing”. In cybernetics, to govern is likened to a heart in the human body.  It is the grand central station in which all subsystems of the body meet. These subsystems are integrated and monitored for feedback about the system’s past behavior and fed forward, anticipating where the system is going. No subsystems are left floating on their own, freely determining their own direction.  Applying the words “governing” and “steering” to politics in human societies, the sad truth is that with the possible exception of hunting and gathering and simple horticultural societies, agricultural state civilizations and industrial capitalist societies do not govern their populations, they rule them. We have oligarchies struggling for power, but part of their power should not be defined as steering. They are not steering. In fact, nobody’s driving, yet they imagine they are steering and governing.

Turning specifically to Yankeedom, it is a deeply stratified class system in which the ruling class controls the major resources and the lower classes are granted just enough resources to make it to the next day. The different parts of the political system have regional struggles between the core and periphery rather than cooperation. Technology is developed not in a systematic, forward-looking way to make life easier, but mostly as weapons of war for destruction. Spiritual institutions are organized by the rulers to terrorize, demoralize and mystify their own populations. The religious authorities sanctify the rule of the rulers, just as Marx said. On the whole, at their best, the ruling classes everywhere, not just the United States, are no better than the general population. They really can’t think beyond one generation. Neither ruling class party in the history of Yankeedom has governed their populations. They have taken turns ruling them.

SIGNS OF STRUCTURAL COLLAPSE

Part of the drumbeat of the “Lesser of Two Evils” folks, is the hope that a democrat will bring things “back to normal,” meaning Yankee social life as it was before March 2020. But thinking there is a “normal” to get back to is a pathological denial of the fact that the Yankee empire has been collapsing for 50 years. All this while both parties have ignored the long-standing ecological and infrastructural problems, including the fallout from the pandemic over the last six months of 2020.

COVID -19 has expanded rather than leveled off because the nation-state ignores what scientists say and it has no national plan that all states must follow, unlike countries that have resolved the pandemic crisis, often with half the resources of the U.S. Socialist countries like Cuba, North Vietnam and China have responded quickly and admirably. Here in Yankeedom, neither Republicans nor Democrats have risen to the occasion. Each party has had six months to step up to the plate. They have done nothing systemic.

Large parts of the population are in denial that there is a pandemic and are ignoring what scientists say, spreading the virus as they dance in the clubs and on the beaches. This self-destructive behavior is partly explained by the refusal of both ruling class parties to educate their populations in basic science. Both parties have been anti-science for 50 years and have allowed college courses to skimp on science classes. At the same time movie and television producers flood the air waves and movie screens with ESP claims, extraterrestrials and reports of people who have returned from the dead. Most of the Yankee population is scientifically illiterate and innumerate (without a basic knowledge of mathematics and arithmetic).

Extreme weather is a very serious problem that has been neglected for 50 years and there has been no long-term plan to address this. Every year we have record-breaking temperatures in the summer, along with massive fires in the West. In the winters, record cold spells hit the East and North-central states. Glaciers are melting and water is rising. Has either party come to the table with a long-term plan? They haven’t because both parties are beholden to capitalists who refuse to think beyond three months into the future.

Police departments have turned into state terrorist organizations which have been amassing more and more weapons for decades. There is no structural reform, as the police are handed bloated budgets while they are trained to mutilate and kill as a matter of course, treating the citizens as enemies. Neither party has done anything to reign in police violence. Self-destructively, by not reigning in the police, capitalists who own both parties keep people in the streets protesting – the very people they need to get off the streets and back to work if they are to rehabilitate the physical economy.

There is an open rebellion against police terror which the ruling class has failed to address structurally. Any claim for reparation for minorities, not just for being killed by police but also for being housed for decades in prison for minor crimes is like spitting in the wind. Sadly, some of the most rabid “Back the Blue” folks are white working-class people who are also most likely to be beaten by the police. Unbeknown to most white working-class in this country, there was a time when to be a redneck meant to be against the police.

Openly armed fascist groups wave confederate flags and white power signs that will probably get worse if the Idiot-King loses. Is this a serious political problem for either party that requires a long-term solution? Apparently not, as these right-wing groups have been three and a half years in the making, bringing to the surface a racist undercurrent that has been festering in Yankeedom for hundreds of years.

We are in the worst capitalist crisis in history because COVID-19 has crippled the physical economy. Respected political economist Jack Rasmus tells us the real unemployment rate is between 25-30%, not the much lower numbers publicized by the Department of Labor. Those who have jobs are often working at reduced work hours. Consumer spending is at a low point. Both parties sing a capitalist tune that workers can be sacrificed so the economy can live. This is an economic policy? Where are all the bourgeois economists who populate every university, pumping out ideological propaganda about the free market? Do they have any policies for fixing the existing physical economy other than to say “let ‘er (the market) ride!”? These same economists are consultants to each party. Are they recommending any governing policies? For them, the physical economy and the stock market are all the same thing.

Capitalists and the state want to open up the schools this fall to in-person learning despite the fact that the COVID-19 has not even reached its peak yet. It risks jeopardizing the lives of 7-14-year-olds, as well as college students, faculty and staff. In part, capitalists want children back in school to increase the chances of their parents going back to work. Parents are more likely to stay home to guide their children through Zoom sessions rather than go to work and leave them on their own. Capitalists need workers back at work – even if they are killed. This is an economic policy?

Economically, finance capital has produced a runaway fictitious capital bubble that was not even checked after the Great Recession. The neoliberal choir boy, Obama, offered no structural reform of banking institutions. Capitalist economists blithely ignore growing bad debt. They imagine that a gambling casino (the stock market) and the use of financial instruments, like derivatives, pose no problems.

The Federal Reserve has to pump blood transfusions (money) on a regular basis into financial markets to keep them from tanking. Does either party think this might be a long-term problem? Now, the Fed has promised to keep interest rates at 0% for the next 3 years in the hopes that even more people will fall into credit card debt. Does either political party think there might be something wrong with printing more money as an economic policy? Apparently not.

Both major political parties are hated by their populations, as evidenced by the winning party being unable to attract more than 20% of the population. When these politicians are told that 60% of the population doesn’t vote or is ineligible to vote, do they say, “hmm, this is a problem, especially if we claim to be a democracy”. The answer is no. They imagine the people who don’t vote are ignorant, stupid, poor or have mental health problems. It never crosses their minds that these potential voters might not vote because these two parties and their grandstanding, lying and back street deal-making have nothing to do with the lives of most of the population. This is a great example of a political system that ignores the feedback from its periphery – that its system simply isn’t working.

Short-term thinking – Another of the many problems with the political system of Yankeedom is that it is ruled by capitalists who refuse to think beyond a single quarter. They want their assets liquid and ready to move at any time. Capitalists are incapable of governing in the way we’ve defined the word. In addition, the electoral systems that capitalists control last only four years. As long as Republicans and Democrats switch administrations every four years, there can be no long-standing policy that would supersede the various revolving doors of regimes.

All these twelve points are signs of neglect and decay that are very typical of the research Joseph Tainter did for his book The Collapse of Complex Societies many years ago. In the face of all these deep, long-term systemic problems, Congress was adjourned for one month! Given these points, do either the Democrats or the Republicans “govern” our society today? For the 40% of the population who vote for either party, voters think whichever political party wins, they govern. But from their lack of response to any of these problems, these parties do not govern – they rule.

QUALIFICATION

As a socialist, I have absolutely no confidence that an enlightened long-term thinking capitalist could solve any of the problems above. However, since those of you are convinced that these presidential elections are so important, let me propose some things that an enlightened, long-term thinking capitalist might do to address these problems, whether the solution comes from a Republican or a Democrat. Then at the end I will ask you if you think the political party of your choice would implement even one of these solutions when they begin their term. The purpose of the proposals below is to get our bearings about what an overall plan might look like. I am not attempting to prioritize in what order this reform would come.  Under a socialist party, we would have both a short-term and a long-term plan so we could attack these problems systematically. However, I am not arguing for socialism. I am only arguing that neither party will lift a finger to address the multiple crises we are facing.

WHAT WOULD AN ENLIGHTENED CAPITALIST PARTY DO WITH THESE PROBLEMS IF THEY WERE CAPABLE OF GOVERNING?

Have a national plan to deal with the pandemic

First, we will follow the lead of countries who have successfully managed the COVID-19 virus and will implement a long-term plan even if it means shutting down businesses and schools for six months. We will have a national plan that every state will follow. No longer will states decide their own policy in the bumbling way that has been done so far.

Overcome scientific illiteracy and innumeracy

Furthermore, long-term, we will redevelop our higher education programs to stress mastering the sciences and expand courses on critical thinking. There will be scientific boards of directors who will redesign movie and television curriculum to emphasize stories based on science, not fantasy. Science fiction writers will have to demonstrate to scientists how their script is based on scientific findings and not just on fantasy. This will begin to cut into the rampant scientific illiteracy and innumeracy that has existed for two generations. There will be required courses in geography and international politics. The reign of businessmen determining course development while sitting on the boards of directors will end.  College instructors and scientific researchers will have prominent seats on those boards.

Redeploy the military for infrastructural building and repair

The enlightened capitalist party will reorient our resource base. As it is, we are currently involved in at least seven wars. We have come to realize that capitalism can only grow long-term if it invests in life rather than death. Therefore, all the troops will be called home and redeployed. Once home they will work at rebuilding the crumbling infrastructure that has been decaying for decades and will cost trillions of dollars. They will fix roads and repair bridges. They will also build low-cost housing to get every person off the street. City budgets will hold a certain percentage of land for low cost housing. City life will no longer be determined by the whim of real estate agents, given the virtue word “developer”.

Systemic climate change plan

An additional benefit to closing down our war machine will be its effect on global warming and pollution since the military is the world’s largest polluter. We will begin implementing the scientific recommendations to combat extreme weather and pollutions that have been sitting on the shelves of the U.N. for 50 years. A major part of the budget will be spent on trying to halt or reverse all the devastating fires, sickening smoke, pollution, ever more fierce hurricanes and tornadoes and melting of glaciers.

Full employment, satisfying basic needs

Next, we capitalists have come to realize that there are many needs people have that are not realized because they have low profitability returns. As capitalists we have tried to create needs that don’t exist to get people to buy products and services that do not last, either materially or by providing real emotional satisfaction. As it turns out, people have considerably more needs than we realized and so there will be no longer any unemployment. Everyone will work to satisfy the needs of all social classes. Capitalist societies are the only types of societies in history to have unemployment. This is a waste of our collective creative power. “Yes” says the short-term thinking capitalists, “but if you don’t have unemployment, wages will rise and cut into our profit margins.”  As long-term thinking capitalists, we learned in the 1950s and 1960s high wages and profitability can easily go hand-in-hand.  The amount of creativity that will be unleashed will more than make up the difference. In addition, a great deal of new revenue will be generated by a return to taxing corporations as was done in the 1950s and 1960s. Corporations used to be taxed at a far greater rate than today. These corporations took it in stride and still made a fortune.

Installing economic floors on the economy

Economically, everyone will receive a basic income so that no one ever has to be concerned about starving or not having a place to live. That is, in addition to increased investment in the “matriarchal” state, including universal health care, expanded pensions, mental health and physical care for veterans.

Alternatives to state terror

Police departments will be abolished, and the revenue redeployed into community defense councils following the recommendations of critical criminal sociologists who have developed alternative systems using recommendations that have been on the shelves for years. Up until now, they could never be put into practice because of the fear of police lobbies and their unions. Police will be replaced by social mediation teams, social workers and neighborhood review boards.

Next, prisoners of non-violent crimes will be released and put into rehabilitation centers and transition programs where they will either learn a trade or develop a skill they already have. They will be able to get a good college education if that is what they want. The pouring out of prisoners into the workforce will be a tremendous boon to the economy. Prisons will be modeled on the method currently in use in Norway, with the focus on rehabilitation, rather than punishment.

Attacking the National Rifle Association

As capitalists we want to invest in the reduction of violence in our population. All weapons beyond simple handguns will be illegal. The purpose of a gun should be simply for protection. No one needs machine guns to protect themselves. Open Carry gun laws will be abolished.

Long overdue reparations

The demands of the current uprising are larger than simply a reduction of police brutality. They are about restitutions.  Systemic racism has continued and even worsened since the civil rights movement. To begin to make up for this, we capitalists will follow the guidelines of criminal sociologists who have calculated what would be fair restitution based on centuries of slave labor. The reparations packet would include funding employment opportunities, grants in the arts and sciences and education, childcare tuition reduction for trade as well as other programs sociologists would recommend.

Savings banks and public banks free of stock market speculation

Economically we will be transforming banks that are reinstated and can be used for commercial purposes, rather than solely for financial investment and not tied to the stock markets. Furthermore, public banks will be established in most states in order for people to invest in community institutions that have no investments in the stock market. Banks will reinstitute the rule where there can be no investments made without a certain proportion of gold to back them up. Capitalist speculation will be discouraged and penalized.

Switching to political proportional representation according to social class

Politically we will begin a process of overhauling the two-party system, with which Americans have expressed frustration for decades. What we must face is that right now sociologists tell us that there are eight social classes. The two major political parties represent at best the top 1%; 5% of the upper class; and 10% of the upper middle class. As it stands now, about 85% of the population has no representation. The middle class needs its own separate party; the working class needs its own party and those below the working class need their own party. Each party can only have representatives from its own social class. If we want people to become more political and be real citizens, we must give them their own representatives and pay them the salary of a middle-class citizen. There will be no more political representatives who are millionaires pretending to represent the middle and lower classes.

Conclusion

I want to point out that none of these suggestions are socialist. There is no call for the abolition of private ownership of resources. There are no constraints on inheritance. There is no proposal to freeze the assets of the 1% and redistribute them. There is no call for workers to seize the workplaces and run worksites themselves. There is no call for the nationalization of banks and industry. There is no call for closing the stock markets. My proposals are all long-term structural reforms to do damage-control over the continuing collapse of Yankeedom.

I believe most of you reading this would agree that many of these improvements would be necessary. Yet you hold on to the belief that the political parties controlled by the capitalists would in some way address these problems. They have not and they will not. In all cases up until now, both parties have done nothing. They are either unaware of the level of crisis we are in, they are in denial there is even a problem, or they recognize a problem, but their response is anemic, erratic and not well thought out. What makes you think that after this election any of these politicians will do anything differently? Vote for whomever you want but whoever your favorite candidate is, understand they operate under a political party owned by an incompetent, myopic, irresponsible capitalist class who will go down dancing on the deck of the Titanic. Paraphrasing Freud, compared to the conflict between id and the superego within the individual, the ego is helpless, much like being in a rowboat with one oar in the middle of a typhon.  The ego doesn’t have a prayer. Neither do these existing political parties.

About seventy years ago, Arthur Schlesinger Jr. triumphantly proclaimed that centrist liberalism was a “Vital Center” against the twin dangers of left and right-wing totalitarianism. Today we can say the “vital center” has collapsed with both parties falling into the abyss. Our only solution to the collapse we are experiencing is to develop a mass socialist party with a plan and systemic steps to be taken over the next 5, 10 or 15 years. That is our only hope for reducing the fall as a result of the collapse. Capitalist parties are incapable of solving these problems.

• First published in Socialist Planning Beyond Capitalism

The post Like a Rowboat in a Typhoon: Why 2020 Center-Right Yankee Election Outcomes are Dead in the Water first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Thawing Arctic Permafrost  

It’s no surprise that first prize, or the blue ribbon, for exceeding 2°C above baseline goes to the Arctic with permafrost that covers 25% of the Northern Hemisphere. Recognition is long overdue, as it’s been totally neglected far too long by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

This crucial nugget of knowledge comes by way of a recent virtual science session (1:27 in length) sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences and can be watched in its entirety on YouTube:

The webcast is entitled: Thawing Arctic Permafrost: Regional and Global Impacts, hosted by John P. Holdren, Teresa and John Heinz, Professor of Environmental Policy, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

The timing couldn’t be better. The Arctic Circle has been very newsworthy. As such, people must be wondering what to make of the disturbing news that’s unsettling, to an extreme.

According to Euronews, as of July 14th:

The extreme north and beyond the Arctic Circle has this year registered record temperatures. On June 20, the meteorological service of Russia recorded a peak of 38°C in Verkhoyansk, the highest recorded temperature since records began in the late nineteenth century.

This is contributing to the rapid melting of permafrost, the region’s frozen ground, on which are built many industrial construction sites and buildings, many for mining hydrocarbons.

The melting of the poles that act as temperature controls for atmospheric currents has consequences for the entire climate..

Decidedly, what happens in the Arctic does not stay in the Arctic.

According to Professor Holdren:

Temperatures across the Arctic are increasing 2 to 3 times faster than the global average… The Arctic will continue to be the leading edge of climate change.

The first speaker on the virtual webcast was Dr. Susan M. Natali, Associate Scientist and Arctic Program Director, Woods Hole Research Center, an Arctic ecologist focusing on the ecosystem and carbon cycling consequences of permafrost thaw.

According to Dr. Natali, the Arctic temperature anomaly is already 2°C warmer than the long-term average. The consequences include sea ice loss, melting of Greenland ice sheets, and permafrost thaw.

Permafrost thaw is monitored by boreholes drilled at depths of 20 meters (66 feet) throughout the Arctic. Thus, measured temperature changes avoid seasonal dynamics. These deep permafrost temperatures, in some instances, have been measured for up to 40 years. Results: Permafrost temps are markedly warming across the board, regardless of season.

Of note, Northern Hemisphere permafrost contains 1100-1500 billion tonnes of carbon in the form of ancient organic matter. For comparison purposes, this is twice the amount of carbon already in the atmosphere, and it is three times as much carbon as in the world’s forest biomass.

An obvious implication of Dr. Natali’s statements is humanity is playing with fire in a very big way by allowing anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions (cars, planes, and trains, etc.) to run wild, increasing by the month, by the year, by the decade with absolutely no end in sight, none whatsoever. At some point in time all of those billions of tonnes of carbon stored in frozen permafrost will start breaking lose beyond normal background rates and humanity will find its goose cooked, maybe well done.

According to Natali, permafrost carbon emissions are not included in the IPCC’s global carbon budget that targets 2°C or below, preferably below 1.5°C. Well, maybe a suddenly overheated Arctic will bring on an eventual recalculation of how the IPCC looks at and calculates the carbon budget. Better late than never.

And, here’s the distressing part (one of many): Fieldwork by scientists proved that permafrost is already a “net emitter of CO2,” this after thousands of years as a “carbon sink,” but no longer! As such, thousands of years of one of the largest carbon sinks on Earth erased by recklessness of human-generated over-heating ecosystems.

Not only that, according to Natali, permafrost thaw alone is equivalent to ~25% of the IPCC’s allowable emissions to stay below 1.5°C. Yet, the IPCC does not include permafrost in its carbon budget, meaning there’s a very nasty surprise down the line for the rah-rah climate mitigation crowd.

The second virtual speaker was Katey Walter Anthony, Aquatic Ecosystem Ecologist and Professor, Water and Environmental Research Center, University of Alaska/Fairbanks.

Dr. Anthony has done fieldwork throughout Russia with a lot of work in Siberia (a hothouse nowadays). Her research focuses on thermokarst, lake formation, and greenhouse gas methane.

Per Dr. Anthony, current climate models in the world do not include carbon emissions from thermokarst lakes. Yet, they’re plentiful with millions of thermokarst lakes expanding and releasing methane all across the Arctic.

Not only that but permafrost soils contain 1500 gigatons of carbon which, according to Dr. Anthony, equates to 150 years of fossil fuel emissions under present conditions. Imagine turning lose a sizeable fraction of that carbon. Once again, nation/states’ carbon emission mitigation plans are dead certain to come up real short of professed goals.

Field tests on thermokarst lakes are conducted by lowering a bubble trap into the water to trap microbial methane seeps as the methane bubbles year round. Bubble traps exist in over 300 lakes throughout the Arctic.

It was 14,000 years ago, as the climate warmed, when permafrost thermokarst lakes flared up on the landscape, bringing 4°C warming over a period of 8,000 years. Nowadays, according to Dr. Anthony, a similar 4°C warming will likely occur over only 80 years in sharp contrast to 8,000 years in the paleoclimate record. Obviously, without her stating as such, it implies a climate system that’s on turbo charger training-wheels, real big ones.

We are standing at the threshold of abrupt change in permafrost carbon emissions.1

Mercy! And, all of those mitigation plans by 195 nations, but did they ever really get off the ground? The truth is emissions relentlessly climb upwards, ad nauseam. Thus, questioning who’s seriously watching the store?

John Holdren wrapped up the virtual session: We’re probably looking at 80 to 100 gigatons of carbon released from permafrost over this century. In turn, this takes a big bite out of the global carbon budget. According to Dr. Holdren, that prospect is in addition to a global temperature increase, to date, of 1.1°C to 1.2°C above baseline.

Permafrost, which is not included in the global carbon budget by the IPCC, could add 25% to 40%. That’s an enormous problem that lends itself to big trouble down the line. What’s a nation in the throes of carbon emission mitigation plans to do?

Nevertheless, Dr. Holdren, who co-chaired Obama’s President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, says it is still possible to mitigate enough to hold temps to 2°C. But at a cost of ~3% of world GDP. Ahem! He further nearly apologetically suggested that the hit to civilization for failure to mitigate would far exceed that cost, which happens to be 3% of $85T or a whopping $2.55T (that’s trillions). Hello, anybody still out there?

Meanwhile, after years of handwringing and gushing teardrops of green sympathizers, the world is still 80% dependent upon fossil fuels, a fact revealed by Dr. Holdren at the close of his presentation. That’s very troubling.

That’s the same 80% as 50 years ago and a clear signal of absolute failure by governments around the world and a resounding failure by the IPCC to fully implement/organize/promote its heavenly Paris ’15 plans to save the planet. It’s disgraceful!

As for final questions/thoughts via the virtual webcast:

According to Dr. Anthony: The East Siberian Arctic Sea is a place where “we’ve seen really large numbers of CH4 release.”

The following was not discussed in the webcast: Temperatures were recently 30-34C (86-93F) in the East Siberian Arctic Sea (ESAS) region, which region is equivalent in size to Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, and Japan combined and with 75% of the area in 50-80m, shallow waters, allowing quick and easy CH4 release from the sub-sea permafrost without oxidation. Drilling by other scientists has discovered enormous quantities of frozen methane, and noticeable thinning of the subsea permafrost. Trusted sources that closely follow CH4 emissions in the ESAS region are of the opinion: “It may be out of control.” But, it’s important to note that’s anecdotal information.

Also, disconcertingly, the heaviest season for methane release into the atmosphere has only just begun.

Making matters even worse, at the Top of the World, Arctic Ocean sea surface temperatures, which this time of year are typically 0.3°C (32°F) were recently 12°C (54°F). That’s downright spooky!

Postscript: Scientists have identified the first active methane gas leak in Antarctica, announced July 22nd, discovered by researchers led by Andrew Thurber/Oregon State University, who commented: “I find it incredibly concerning.”2

Speechless!

  1. Dr. Anthony
  2. Andrew R. Thurber, et al, “Riddles in the Cold: Antarctic Endemism and Microbial Succession Impact Methane Cycling in the Southern Ocean”, The Royal Society, July 22, 2020.