Newsletter – Issue 30

Global Warming Is a Timebomb — Statement by James Hansen (must read).

I just learned that he survived prostrate cancer, and has come out with a few comments and a new book in December 2009.

I hope it makes clear that the €œsolutions€ favored by Congress (Waxman-Markey in the House and related cap-and-trade bills in the Senate) would lock-in disastrous outcomes for young people. Among other things.

[A solution must attack the fundamental problem by placing a rising fee on carbon, collected at the mine or port of entry. 100 percent of the fee should be distributed monthly to the public. I have argued for 100 percent as a uniform dividend, but 50 percent dividend and 50 payroll tax deduction would make sense. The dividend is needed because not everyone is on a payroll. Fee-and-dividend is a progressive tax, most low-income people will gain more than they lose, and it stimulates the economy €“ it gives the public the means to replace carbon-clunker technology with low- and no-carbon technologies, allowing the market place to choose winning technologies. Cap-and-trade is a hidden regressive tax, benefitting the select few who have managed to get themselves written into the 2000-page bill. How could Washington possibly choose lock-in failure over what is obviously the essential approach (they ignore the Larson bill, for example)? As I discuss in the book, think revolving door between the government and Wall Street. Think revolving door between Congress and lobbyists. Goldman-Sachs makes a mint with cap-and-trade (off the public). Goldman-Sachs does not make one thin dime with fee-anddividend.]

I made the same type argument regarding the bailouts.  Give the money directly to the people and provide a real stimulus.  I took some heat over that one, but have been proven right — the stimulus didn’t work at all, and only benefited the same hucksters that had stolen billions already.

I feel the same way about carbon credits, it won’t work.  It’s a screwball plan altogether, which of course, our clueless and cowardly Congress is quite willing to embrace.

Hansen warns of several critical tipping points that lie directly in our path ahead.   The very rapid rise in ice melt in Greenland, Arctic and Antarctic bear special consideration.  A very rapid sea level rise could result from the West Antarctic shelf disinterrating (most of this ice lies below sea level).

It’s a great presentation, one that will make the denialsphere foam at the mouth (again).  To say that these people are rabid is an understatement.  No amount of innoculation or treatment (education) seems to penetrate the fog of confusion they express.

What is clear is that we cannot burn all the fossil fuels. There is a limit on how much
carbon we can put into the atmosphere.  These graphs tell us unambiguously that we must phase out all coal emissions rapidly, not develop the unconventional fossil fuels, and not even go after every last drop of oil on the planet. In that case, our children and grandchildren have a chance of inheriting a planet that is not spiraling out of their control.

In reality our governments are continuing to build new coal-fired power plants, develop
unconventional fossil fuels, and encourage the search for more oil. Instead of taking a strategic approach, governments pretend that they will solve the problem by setting €œgoals€ for large emission reductions for some future date €“ say 80 percent by 2050 or some other target. They say that they will set €œcaps€ on emissions to achieve the emission reductions. Our governments are lying to us, or, if you want to be generous, they are kidding us. That is easy to prove.

I’ll be more blunt — they are killing us, and any hope for a future generation.   This is already a life or death issue (for them), but it’s in our hands now.

The BBC has a report on climate skeptics, The Top 10.

Copenhagen Climate Change Negotiations – Secrecy News sent this along.

Stolen Emails

I saw the flap over the stolen emails.  Frankly, the hoopla is just noise.   Real Climate has done a writeup on the foaming at the mouth by the denialist crowd, and like me, they don’t think it adds up to much of anything at all.

I certainly don’t, the science is still in place, there are thousands of peer reviewed research papers and data records, the global consensus remains the same as ever.   We’ve even got the historical record in photographs, so whoopdeedooda, I don’t think the flap over this is anything to be concerned about.

Food Production

George Monbiot says we need to save the food production.  He’s right of course, oil is food and as it disappears, so does global food production.

Perspective

It has more then once occurred to me that all this yapping about peak oil, peak energy, food production, climate change and environmental collapse and even war is, well, sort of misleading.   Despite all the evidence that we can share that these things are happening, here and now, we’re still not really aware in a conscience sense of their yearly decline or the ongoing destruction.

The misleading part I refered to is how we are still failing to understand the gravity of the situation.  Statement like “billions will go hungry” or “100,000 now dead” just doesn’t convey much meaning to us.

The reason is because it is entirely outside of our experience, and we’re still badly distracted from the whole issue of what this means, and what it will mean in the future for everyone else.

For now, these disasters are far off for most of us. We’re not hungry, not yet, so we don’t understand what this means.  Nobody is shooting at us, a least not here, so we can still expect to wake up in the morning safe and sound.  We’re not having to walk twelve miles to find water, so we don’t understand what that means either.  We’re still living high on the hog for the most part, and we just can’t comprehend the future that claims to be dramatically diminished from what we are experiencing today.

We’re not witness to the sea level rise forcing people from their homes, or the massive inflow of ice into the Arctic ocean, or the huge Greenland melt, or the disappearing glaciers in the Andes and a whole lot of other things going on all over the world.

The rainforest is still “there” for us, because it’s simply an image we keep in our head and it never changes.  The furniture we buy made from Brazilian hardwoods just doesn’t connect to a towering tree crowning the rainforest, now cut down and reduced to sticks and furniture.

We’re still pumping gas whenver we want, still buying food trucked in from thousands of miles away, still eating fine fish and well marbled meats from far flung oceans and feedlots scattered around the nation.

Yeah, all these things are more expensive now, but we’re not really noticing much, other then our economy and maybe our jobs are (still) in the tank.

But suffering?  Shortages? Loss? Or the complete absence of a whole bunch of products and goods which we’ve always had?

No, not yet….

So we’re still plodding along, watching the sky, our wallets, the news, listening to what people are saying and staying on our steady course.  Waiting….

It’s still not real enough for us.  Not yet.  Still hasn’t crashed here yet, although if you lived in a number of places elsewhere, they are definitely in the throes of major collapse.  See here, here and here for just a few examples.  There are many more.

But we’re still here, still living pretty much the same as before.  We still have the same abundance as ever, it just cost more is all….

Monbiot and others are saying that the world economy is probably knackered, no matter what we do.  And I think that is the point here.  No matter what we do, the reality of our situation is going to come home to roost.    We are going to have to live with it (somehow).  It will happen by all indications (which are widely reported to flashing bright red now).

There really doesn’t seem to be much anybody can actually do about either, not when we have built an entire civilization and infrastructure on cheap oil and all the former abundant resources.  When those run out or peak, well — it’s knackered.

But the point here is, well, we don’t really believe all of this. If we did, doesn’t it stand to reason that we’d actually be trying to do something about it?

I’d like to think that if we did believe this, we’d be pulling out all the stops right now to do something about it.  Like Monbiot says, we’d better save the farming and food production!!  But of course, we’re not going to do any such thing it seems, even though now is the time to do it…

The challenge of feeding 7 or 8 billion people while oil supplies are falling is stupefying. It’ll be even greater if governments keep pretending that it isn’t going to happen.

Really?  Ok then.  So why are we being staggeringly stupid about all of this?   Is that too harsh to say?  I think not, not really.

Consider what our inactions are going to mean.  What the gravity of the situation actually conveys.  We built an entire world based upon cheap oil and easily plentiful food was the result.  Populations shot through the roof, so we had to go forth and conquer everything and everybody and compete for scarcer and scarcer resources, and now we’ve got a big problems, all self-induced too….

I always equate “false belief” to those things that we do not act upon.  When we say we “believe” something, it requires more then just our acknowledgement between our ears. That’s actually meaningless.  That doesn’t add up to diddly squat.  Anybody can say that, “I believe yadayadayada“, but what are they actually doing with those beliefs?

Belief that is real, verifiable and demonstratable is belief that is acted upon.  In other words, you “live your beliefs“.  If you do not live your beliefs, and nothing is preventing you, then you are a hypocrite.   Or more politely put, you don’t really believe what you claim to believe.  You’re more comfortable with just the head knowledge to carry around, convincing yourself that this is sufficient. You’re a believer after all….

I call these things false beliefs.  It’s pretty clear that we don’t really believe what the scientist and researchers our telling us, or the reports of all the deaths and tragedies going on.  I know that we are suspended in the cognative dissonance mire of our “reality”, but we’ve had plenty of warnings now to get with the program as a nation and as a people, but haven’t.  We are already in a state of global emergency and the sirens aren’t going off in our minds.

What we have, and all that we have, is a whole bunch of false beliefs. That’s is now very clear. We hear, and we even acknowledge these beliefs, but we do not act.  We do not even take the responsibility to act either.

And this is why I find most misleading about the collapse and all that this means.   If we really, truly believed in the things we embrace in our heads, then we would have acted upon those beliefs decisively.  Self-preservation, or conservation or any number of activities to mitigate what is headed our way and of course, what is already happening.  But for a relatively few people, we’re not doing what needs to be done, which simply proves we don’t really believe it.

This is going to have catastrophic consequences.

We are running out of time and options.  Every single day I read doom news of such magnitude and severity that it makes my head spin.  Only a tiny fraction is shared here.  How can we not act upon this information?  Why do we still go on pretending that this data is meaningless?

I don’t know how much time we have, but I do know that experts all over the world are predicting our collapse.  Their nation, our nation, everybody, everywhere.

Should we listen to them?  Or just go on half-listening, half-believing and doing nothing?

I think we should act upon our beliefs — with extreme urgency.  I say this because it takes a great deal of effort and time to even take the smaller steps of trying to help your own self, let alone change the course of history.


Deploying the Undeployables by Dahr Jamail – Desertion rates and deals being made by the military to force up troop levels using the mentally ill.  Head case?  Got PTSD?   Doesn’t matter, you’re going to Iraq or Afghanistan.  Refuse?  You’re going to jail.

Pretty damned pathetic what the military is doing to their own people.

Resistance within the military is on the rise, but it’s being swiftly punished:

Since 2002, the Army has court-martialed twice as many soldiers for desertion and other unauthorized absences per year than for each year between 1997 and 2001. AWOL rates in the Army are at their highest since 1980, with the desertion rate having jumped 80 percent since the start of the Iraq War, according to The Associated Press.

Courage To Resist has a number of stories about resistors and the actions being taken against them.

In case you’re wondering, this is the kind of things (pdf file) that they are resisting (warning, graphic). They simply do not want to be a part of the killing.

Conspiracy of Ignorance – Something that Scott Ritter said, but it fits so well (for so many).  Here is the original YouTube video where I found it.

Ecuador is kicking out the United States.  So the US has started to build 7 new bases in ColumbiaColumbia and Venezuela are have a spat over some blown bridges that were allowing in drug traffickers to Venezuela.  This oil rich country is the next target for the United States.  Not hard to see where this is going.  Somewhere on the blog I’d predicted this too.

Graph of declining oil production

This and many other data points indicate that there will be more war ahead and conflict over resources.  The US remains committed to domination. What we should be doing is rolling back our military expenditures and focusing internally on what we need to do survive in a collapsing world.

Unemployment Rates By County — Be sure to see this (click the image), because it’s like a plague of black death sweeping over the nation.  Just remember, these are the reported statistics — the real stats are twice as high as those being reported.

Contrast this to the report on Human Trafficking in the American heartland.  I don’t know if this is related to the unemployment stats, but it is a “dot” to keep in mind.

Medical Condition

I’m supposedly healed up, although I did not keep my last doctors appointment to get his seal of “approval”. At the rates he’s charging, I simply skipped it.

There is some nerve damage of course, but these are growing back, I’ve got some feeling again.  I was told it would take six months to recover completely, but I’m not real sure what that means.  There is scarring unfortunately, but that’s life I guess.

I tell people that zombies did this to me — which is actually true by the way.  If it weren’t for the zombies, this would have never happened.  Next time, I’ll make sure my gun doesn’t jam….

Winter

Winter appears to have arrived here.  The snow is sliding off the roof (nice!) into the french drains, which will redirect the melt to the pond.  So far, so good.

Now is the time to plan for your next round of projects.  Look far, far down the road and figure out what you will need that will last and make your chances of survival better.

I’m working on some major “water works” in my head right now, cisterns, another pond, piping and water backup systems.  Water is going to be a huge issue.  Get a good water filter, I like the drip filters best.  They’re hands free for the most part, and last a long time.  Get a few spare elements too.

Hope everyone saw the deluge news in England, 12″ of water all at once.  Even in a flood, a water filter is critical, it will filter out all the bacteria and sediments and give you something to drink while surrounded by all that (polluted) water.

Other areas will experience severe drought, everything is changing, very rapidly.

Take the time this winter to make a list of your essential needs, if you haven’t done so already.

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