Failing To Comprehend

A few quotations and how even the ‘informed’ are still failing to comprehend the true outcome of what these measurements and observations really mean:

Are Jellyfish Going To Take Over The Ocean?

“The thing that grabs me the most is how something so diaphanous, so brainless — so incredibly, unbelievably simple — can cause so much devastation and so much death and so much harm.”

The author fails to understand that it is not the jellyfish who is at fault. It is the humans who intruded upon their environment, and who caused the warming acidic oceans in the first place. In an unbalanced environment, jellyfish populations are growing enormously. Ocean warming and acidification is caused by human emissions, there is virtually NO possibility of reversing this by human endeavor.

Warming World: Impacts by Degree

“This booklet, based on the National Research Council report Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts Over Decades to Millennia (2011) outlines the scientific information that makes it clear that emission reductions today matter in determining impacts that will be experienced over the next few decades and into the coming centuries and millennia.” – Download the pdf report here (recommended).

“CO2 is not like that… It lasts in the atmosphere for hundreds to thousands of years. It doesn’t go away when you stop emitting it. Whatever temperature we hit when we finally stop emitting CO2 will be the temperature we are stuck with for the next 1000+ years[1].”

“I know they’ve moved the goal posts recently on this but isn’t there still a 15-20 year lag time between the time the CO2 enters the atmosphere and the resultant increase in average temperature?”

“Extra CO2 reduces heat loss to space immediately. Most of the extra retained heat goes straight into the oceans. Since 1.3 billion cubic kilometers of seawater is a massive heat sink, it takes a couple of decades for the increase to appear in the surface temperature record. This is why there are so many gloomy faces among students of climate change, amateur or professional. Most of the effects we are seeing now are due to 1990s CO2 emissions. The effects of the 21st century emissions are barely starting.”

“In addition, once the heat builds through the atmosphere as the oceans respond, you add a number of albedo, water vapor, and natural feedbacks that produce longer-term warming. The full lag period is probably around 500 years.”

Pointed out here many times before, we haven’t even begun to experience the full-force of our climate contribution emissions, nor do we begin to truly appreciate how significant the effects will be once we take in all the other positive feedbacks now occurring. Not mentioned was permafrost melt, CO₂ emissions from tropical forests (recently detected as carbon emitters), the new study on soil emissions (55 billion tons of CO₂) and so forth.

Still not realized by the ‘informed’ is what this all means. It is unstoppable now. Temperatures will soon exceed human survival and beyond.

“It’s hard not to be fatalistic about this, but I’m always grateful for everyone who’s still pushing to fight it. I especially worry about how my kids are going to cope, and I often think about some form of survivalism. But I think you’re right about that too RS, that we need to fight to keep as much of civilization as we can for our best chance.

I also wonder about some kind of super flexible agriculture that can deal with droughts and floods – greenhouses at northern latitudes with some form of water storage in order to make small scale self sufficient farms.”

A good example of the disconnect and refusal to accept the facts of what is now known. The insistence that civilization must be preserved at all costs while continuing to ignore the contributions to global warming by civilization. Global warming didn’t just “happen”, it has a cause. The cause is civilization. It will make virtually no difference at all to switch to “renewables” which simply hide their energy consumption and contribution to greenhouse gas emissions in their falsely claimed “green energy” output (which in turn, powers yet more civilization). There is also no mention of Jevons Paradox, where any efficiencies allegedly gained are swiftly consumed with more growth and expansion.

This is always the “more” demands, as it always is. There is never any comprehension or discussion of less. More is certainly our destruction. It is the very dish that gives us such heartburn now.

Saving civilization and all that goes with it is going to be a gigantic mistake (as it already is). It would seem like the right thing to do, but it’s the wrong path, again. Even if, for a moment, we supposed that it were possible, the outcome would be the same as it is now. Incessant growth, consumption and destruction of planetary resources leading to the collapse of the biosphere.

There simply is no way to define this civilization as compatible with habitat. It is exactly the opposite. There are also the Wasters, who will always insist on consuming and taking more then is needed.

I just picked up the book, “Against His-story. Against Leviathan” by Fredy Perlman. I’m only in a few pages, but like Thomas Ligotti’s book “The Conspiracy against the Human Race: A Contrivance of Horror” it is already evident that this will be a fascinating read, exposing the folly of man and his many ambitions and his easy self-delusions.

Perlman refers to “10,000 generations” of human experience wiped out by “time and motion engineers” in the opening pages, who having triumphed through bloodshed and destruction, eradicated the entire human history almost completely from memory, replacing it with the “cannibalization” of existence, enslaving everything. That’s a good description of civilization, a damned poor substitute for what could have been a survivable habitat for millions of years more.

But no longer. Once you grasp what these rising temperatures means, the staggering number of positive feed backs, and the sheer folly and hubris that we continue to embrace, you will realize that we are now all looking at the very end of human history on this planet.

Every single day I read commentary and articles that fail to comprehend their own words. Generally always written with an implication of success because it is simply assumed to be within our power, the vast, vast majority of authors and commentators continue to espouse the false belief that preservation and salvation of the status quo, “this set of living arrangements” must be preserved at all costs. I guess that means we should ensure that the cannibalization of existence also continues, along with the horror and slavery this really inflicts.

I’ve never believed that this is the answer and it is becoming more and more apparent every day that I’m right. Comprehension truly begins when you stop defending the indefensible.

Google reveals 90,000 square kilometres of water has VANISHED from Earth’s surface in 30 years



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9 thoughts on “Failing To Comprehend

  • December 10, 2016 at 4:40 am

    I’ve had the CO2 argument dozens of times (maybe hundred of times, I haven’t counted) over the past 20 years, including with Guy McPherson, so it’s good to see the truth written here: Extra CO2 reduces heat loss to space immediately.

    I taught physics for a while and think a speed-time graph is a reasonably good analogy for the effect of excess atmospheric CO2. The area under a speed-time graph equates to the distance covered, and when the speed is increasing the area under each time segment gets greater.

    I think it is appropriate to say that the effect of excess CO2 is instantaneous and cumulative. Sure, there are processes that remove CO2 from the atmosphere, particularly absorption into the oceans and conversion of silicates into carbonates, but rate of emission of CO2 has already overwhelmed the latter and at some stage is likely to overwhelm the former. Indeed, there is a very real prospect of warming oceans becoming sources of CO2 in the future. Irrespective of oceans becoming CO2 sources in the future, the displacement of atmospheric CO2 from the geochemical norm increases with time and the cumulative and instantaneous effect get greater.

    Theoretically, the warmer the Earth becomes, the faster it will lose heat. But in practice that is not entirely clear because the role of water vapour and clouds is still poorly understood, despite claims to the contrary. Increased atmospheric CO2 will cause heating, which will cause an increase in water vapour (a greenhouse gas) in the lower troposphere, which could well cause more warming. However, additional cloud cover could reflect heat into space to a greater extent and slow the rate of overheating..

    All of this is theoretical and will make little difference to the overall picture, which is one of planetary meltdown being driven by industrial civilization releasing humungous quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere.

    I worked out a number of years ago that there are two kinds of people: those who seek the truth and those who run from it . And there are two kinds of organisations: those that embrace the truth and those that attempt to conceal it.

    It also became apparent, after I spent many years attempting to get the government and local councils to formulate policies based on reality, that the mainstream culture will continue to do what it does -silence truth-tellers and promote consumption of fossil fuels- until it can’t.

    • December 10, 2016 at 5:28 am

      I have read through the 40 page pdf document linked above. It is dishonest. Typical these daze of science reporting, whereby the actual, real, on-the-ground measurements and observed results do match up with the charts, graphs, predictions being claimed. It is apparently, the best we are going to get.

      The situation (real observation) is already much worse then this report indicates. Specifically, page 8 which shows which impacts can be expected in a graph format. Several points: sea ice is already far lower at only .85C – 1C warming then charted, rivers already show greater losses of flow then charted, fires already exceed percentage increases estimated (to say nothing of tree loss due to drought, not charted). The 3C estimates are even worse, (seriously underplayed); no mention of the 4C survival limit; a truly ridiculous “potential doubling of grain prices” at 5C and so on. “Damage to corals and shell-forming marine life due to increased acidity and warming” at 5.5C. These people are smoking crack. All this is happening NOW at .85C – 1.0C claimed measurements (which in reality, is also inaccurate).

      In short, pure pablum for the masses.

      It’s a good report – but highly inaccurate. Still, informative if you realize that their projections are way off to reality. Probably another one of those studies that took 3 – 5 years to write and produce, but I’m guessing at that. I don’t know how long it actually took.

      Other points of falsehood are expected sea-level rise – it’s expected to be much worse then this report conveys (higher / faster). Not sure why this is so inaccurate. Downplay the fear? Cater to special interests who will continue to insist that there is plenty of time to solve the “problem”?

      The proposals to continue along this path are noted (save civilization).

  • December 10, 2016 at 5:16 am

    JRR Tolkien was right. We should be living like Hobbits. The guy knew, even back then. But no, we have to go and live like Smaug. So, yeah, fits into your theme about people not understanding what they read!

    • December 10, 2016 at 1:08 pm

      Living like Smaug = money-lust and exhaling fire. There’s also Saruman’s fascism, based upon his facility with deceit, and Sauron’s all-seeing eye, which has become our eavesdropping, electronic panopticon state. Then inhale the sulfurous fumes of Modor; could it be any worse than Beijing?


      “Much of our Fear, is based in the fear of loss. We fear losing our own lives. We fear death for our family and friends. We fear the loss of our means of survival. In the Western World that’s tied up in the way we make money to support ourselves and families. In many parts of the World, it’s more basic: food and water. We fear violence, oppression. We fear others.”

      “I think that the root of Willful Ignorance, is Fear. We’ll return to that in a minute. But the root of Fear, is Simple Ignorance, at least I think that our original Fear is rooted in simply not understanding the World around us: not knowing.”

      “If you have to wear a hazmat suit to raise crops, why would you ever eat them? If you’re afraid of getting that crap on your skin, how much more insane would it be to put it in your mouth! Seriously? I often wonder, and I wish someone would research it if they haven’t already, whether the CEOs of Monsanto, Dupont, etc., eat GMO products and feed them to their families, or if they send out their ‘personal shoppers’ to the local farmer’s market to bring home fresh, organic produce every week? I suspect the latter. I’m quite sure they all have reverse osmosis water systems in their mansions. Let me put it bluntly, if I haven’t been clear so far. The day the CEO of Monsanto guzzles a gallon of Roundup, is the day I’ll consider buying their products, maybe.”

      “I had hit on the most positive solution to the world’s most negative problems. What we needed were a bunch of little, hairy Hobbits! Not large armies of Gondoreans and Rohirrim, just beer drinking, song-singing, riddle-solving, barrel-riding, pipe-weed-smokin’, second-breakfast-eatin’, long-walkin’ Hobbits!”

      “WE the people, whether acting out of ‘fear factors’ or intelligence, are saying that we will not buy your products anymore. We are tired of being lied to, bamboozled, and poisoned. If you can’t honestly tell us what’s in your products then there is only one ‘scientific’ and logical conclusion we can come to: YOU have something to HIDE. And that’s all we need to know when we pull out our wallets.”

      “What’s interesting is that most free-marketers don’t seem to want a free market at all, but a status quo market. The market in the United States is anything but free. If it were, big business would have to survive without corporate welfare to the tune of about $1 trillion (that’s trillion) in government subsidies, the majority of which, about $650 billion, go to the fossil fuel industry! They are living off of the public dole on subsidies totaling billions of dollar—that we hand out either directly, or through tax breaks for their big corporations—with the false assumption that they are creating jobs. They are not. They are creating yachts, Leer Jets, and McMansions with swimming pools.”

      “During a Facebook discussion awhile back, I posted something to the effect that we didn’t need GMOs and that no one did. While this was a generalization, I refused to retract it when a friend of a friend argued that I shouldn’t speak for everyone, and that we shouldn’t, “throw out the baby with the bathwater.” I would argue that the last thing we need on this planet, is a lot of two-headed babies. Toss the water, and whatever’s in it. GMOs simply have not, and I would argue further, probably never will be demonstrated to be safe, and we do not need them.”

      We’re long past saving the earth, of course, but essentially, both Tolkien and Divans are correct. We should have gone the route of the Hobbit, not the route of Smaug, Saruman and Sauron. Pretty amazing how JRR tapped into some very essential truths about the human story, all without ever hearing the words “global” and “warming” coupled together. Truth really does have a universal quality to it.

      • December 11, 2016 at 4:43 am

        I highly recommend Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ (1931) to anyone who has not read it: a stratified society of alphas, betas, gammas, deltas and epsilons, in which the all normal human development and activities have been severely distorted or replaced, and in which soma is the universal ‘answer’ to discontentment.

        In ‘1984’ (1948) Orwell foresaw a squalid future world of perpetual war, social conditioning, mass surveillance, mass propaganda and hypocrisy, in which ‘ignorance is strength, war is peace and freedom is slavery’, and from which there is no escape.

        John Wyndham’s ‘Day of the Triffids’ (1951) is an excellent depiction of the collapse of a complex. industrial society. Yes, walking plants are a bit far-fetched, but in every other respect DotT is superb -the fight for survival when none of the systems one has taken for granted functions and resources become increasingly scarce.

        I see the present world as a blend of BNW and 1984, and headed for something akin to DotT, with the added ‘spice’ of increasing climate chaos.

        I live in a relatively small provincial city that did not know what a traffic jam was 40 years ago: yesterday, cycling through the CBD, I witnessed multi-street gridlock, as crazed consumers attempted to stock up on things they do not need (much of which does them considerable harm)….as required by the ‘the system’.

        As we know, the same indoctrinated mass insanity prevails throughout the western world and much of the ‘developing’ world.

        We will soon find out what 412 ppm atmospheric CO2 does to the Earth’s heat imbalance.

      • December 11, 2016 at 5:28 am

        There was once a gal on this blog who was very much into the whole “Shire” movement during the early years of this blog and on one of the forums I ran. We discussed at length the whole movement, including eco-villages, intentional communities and so forth. She understood it well and pointed out the same flaws that I’d uncovered. Many of these efforts fail due to unrealized expectations. Coming from a corrupt civilization, we carry inordinate amounts of baggage, assumptions and expectations that are poorly articulated.

        I organized groups all over the country in the early years. They all failed for these and other reasons. I no longer embrace the concepts that that isolationist efforts are insulated sufficiently or ever will be from the abuses of the larger civilization. There is too much influence, control and destruction now to hope for such independence, and as Ian has pointed out so accurately, too few who are even interested in doing the right thing.

        We absolutely should have built an entirely different civilization. One which Nature remains firmly fixed within our daily lives. Limited our abuses and numbers, built no cities or sprawling Empires. We would have endured for a million more generations if we had done so. We traded it all for mere porridge, the commonality of ‘civilization’ stamped onto the lives of all who now exist.

  • December 11, 2016 at 3:59 am

    Another good one, just out from Ian Welsh, also on point with the theme of ‘failing to comprehend’:

    “[T]he moment their tribe was involved, they became evil again.

    “So, I looked at that feedback, and realized that most people can’t reason; can’t separate morals from interests; can’t separate ethics from identity, and so on. Worse many couldn’t even separate their own interests in terms of health, money and staying alive from tribal identity.

    “To put it simply, they were living in completely delusional fantasy worlds, so separate from any even vaguely objective reality that they might as well be living in a TV show (and, in effect, many are.)

    “Yes, they were incapable of basic ethical and moral reasoning. Yes, many were incapable of thinking a few years into the future, or evaluating opportunity cost (look it up.) Yes, if they identified with a politician or a group, they were largely incapable of applying ethical rules or even self interest to the actions of that politician.”

    • December 11, 2016 at 5:06 am

      Thanks. I’ve now read several of Ian’s essays, enjoyed them all. His latest is a worthy read.

      I would more narrowly define Ian’s point – “I examined the situation, and realized that people couldn’t reason morally and ethically.”

      Reason needs to be independent of propaganda, ideology, theology and bias in order to be sound. Perhaps this is part of his ‘tribe’ teaching, I don’t know as I’ve not read enough of Ian yet.

      Billions don’t have any intentions at all of doing the right thing, but they remain ensnared in the propaganda and ideology of today’s time. They will die, of this I have no doubt, but so will most or all of the others that do intend or want to do the right thing. The cross-fire is going to be horrendous.

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