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Olduvai III: Catacylsm
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Not enough fossil fuels left to trigger another mass extinction

Not enough fossil fuels left to trigger another mass extinction

Preface. Since both conventional and unconventional oil peaked in 2018, we clearly won’t be burning fossils at exponentially increasing rates until 2400 as the IPCC expected. Quite the opposite, currently the decline rate of oil is 8% a year, which can be reduced to 4% by enhanced oil recovery techniques. The other 4% could be remedied by finding more oil, but discoveries have been at their lowest point for decades the past 7 years, and with oil prices so low, exploration and new projects are on hold.

Many books, starting with Ward’s “Under a Green Sky” warned that we would bring on another major extinction event burning fossil fuels. News reports continue to assume that this will be the eventual outcome as well. So you may not be aware of what it took to bring on the mother of all extinctions: The Permian. Although it’s commonly said that we are emitting far more CO2 faster than ever in history, this isn’t true.

Amazingly, researchers don’t blame the 300,000 to 1 million years of volcanic traps. Rather, it appears there were two pulses of lava from deep beneath the earth that rose to the surface, burning through underground deposits of coal, oil, and natural gas. That released an enormous amount of CO2 into the atmosphere; 100,000 billion tonnes (= 1 × 1014 tonnes). That is an almost incomprehensible amount of carbon injected into the atmosphere in a short (geologically speaking) period of time. This is more than 40 times the amount of all carbon available in modern fossil fuel reserves including carbon already burned since the industrial revolution.”

Researchers also don’t find methane hydrates a suspect, because it was “highly unlikely based on our data” according to Dr. Marcus Gutjahr from GEOMAR, co-author of the study (SD 2020).

Related articles:

Clarkson, M. O., et al. 2015. Ocean acidification and the Permo-Triassic mass extinction. Science 348:229.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Lake Mead – The Largest Reservoir in the United States – Drops to a Record Low

Lake Mead – The Largest Reservoir in the United States – Drops to a Record Low

Lake Mead August 2000 Annotated

August 7, 2000

Lake Mead August 2021 Annotated

August 9, 2021

The reservoir stands at its lowest level since the 1930s.

Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the United States and part of a system that supplies water to at least 40 million people across seven states and northern Mexico. It stands today at its lowest level since Franklin Delano Roosevelt was president. This means less water will be portioned out to some states in the 2022 water year.

As of August 22, 2021, Lake Mead was filled to just 35 percent of its capacity. The low water level comes at a time when 95 percent of the land in nine Western states is affected by some level of drought (64 percent is extreme or worse). It continues a 22-year megadrought that may be the region’s worst dry spell in twelve centuries.

These natural-color images were acquired in August 2000 and August 2021 by Landsat 7 and Landsat 8. The tan fringes along the shoreline in 2021 are areas of the lakebed that would be underwater when the reservoir is filled closer to capacity. The phenomenon is often referred to as a “bathtub ring.”

The lake elevation data below come from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which manages Lake Mead, Lake Powell, and other portions of the Colorado River watershed. At the end of July 2021, the water elevation at the Hoover Dam was 1067.65 feet (325 meters) above sea level, the lowest since April 1937, when the lake was still being filled. The elevation at the end of July 2000—around the time of the Landsat 7 images above and below—was 1199.97 feet (341 meters).

Lake Mead Elevation

2000 – 2021

At maximum capacity, Lake Mead reaches an elevation 1,220 feet (372 meters) near the dam and would hold 9.3 trillion gallons (36 trillion liters) of water. The lake last approached full capacity in the summers of 1983 and 1999. It has been dropping ever since.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Myth of Climate Smart Agriculture – Why Less Bad Isn’t Good

The Myth of Climate Smart Agriculture – Why Less Bad Isn’t Good

The “modern” intensive agricultural system does the climate more harm than good. That’s a fact, no matter how much Big Data or precision farming you throw at it. We need to look outside that system for solutions. In this excerpt from an evidence-based study commissioned by Martin Häusling MEP, Dr Andrea Beste and Dr Anita Idel question the climate potential of precision agriculture and the demonization of cattle, and make the case for grazing animals, organic farming, agroforestry and permaculture.

Below is an excerpt from the study’s introduction, followed by an excerpt from Chapter 2: “Climate Smart Agriculture and Precision Farming – Why Less Bad Isn’t Good”.


The authors would like to state clearly: Agriculture’s purpose is to maintain its ability to produce enough food on planet earth and continue to do so in the future. This will only be possible if the basic resources – soil, watercourses, biodiversity – can be maintained. It is not the purpose of agriculture to “sequester” or compensate for greenhouse gasses released through industrial production. The latter would equate to an irresponsible climate “sale of indulgences”.

Soil management can be climate-damaging if soils emit N2O due to excessive N fertilization or, it can be climate-friendly if humus is built up and thus C is stored. At present the world’s soils store 1,460 billion tons of organic carbon, that is more than twice the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Whether emissions or storage of carbon dominate on agricultural land depends on the type of land use as well as on how and with what dynamic vegetative cover and vegetation are being changed.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Tao of Degrowth

Tao of Degrowth

I am a degrowther and a doomer but this is not what your first reaction indicates.  We are taught to be optimistic and so forth.  People loath pessimist and doomers.  People tire of people who cry wolf constantly.  This is what the doom movement has done for decades now.  There is some truth to this but there is also the reality of the slow boil.  A frog will slowly boil without realizing its fate.  Humans because of our short-termism and immediate gratification tendencies slow boil with periods of change.  Some of this is beneficial because it is the degree of shock and the duration that is the key variable of survivability so adapting slowly allows survivable change.

My doom approach is different.  I am a visionary of sorts in regards to the tipping over of an age.  This is academic and I have been studying this for decades now.  I have been living the response for over a decade.  I have digested the available science not as a specialist but as a generalist with some specialization.  I study all fields in general picking through them in relation to decline.  I specialize in energy and systems for my theoretical approach.  It is my assessment that a multifaceted tipping over is now at or near the peak point.  The tipping over is at or near where diminishing returns to technological efforts go non-liner into problem creation.  I see an extinction event for life systems with localized failure and general decline.  The planetary systems that support life is in abrupt change with climate but also the nutrient, carbon, and hydrologic cycles.  Finally, systematically, civilization is in a phase of degrading.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Reality of Climate Change v People Believe What They Want to Believe

QUESTION: You have been against the global warming agenda and often say that climate responds to standard cyclical events. Do you have any examples of this?


ANSWER: If you look at the data objectively, you will see that from the great period of monument building during the stone age around 10,000 BC, there was first a Mini Ice Age that began and destroyed much of the rising civilization. But this developed into the Ice Age by 8,000 BC before it bottomed and began to warm again. There were few humans on earth and they were not using fossil fuels. So what you see is an interval of 2,000 years in decline.

Now, look at the Great Depression. That peaked in September 1929 and bottomed in July 1932. Such sharp contractions always unfold in units of 2 to 3. That is what I have always said is the standard period for reactionary trends. Even the Little Ice Age lasted for about 200 years.

There was a reversal of the pole about 42,000 years ago which also seriously altered the climate. The world experienced a few centuries of apocalyptic conditions back then that was triggered by a reversal of the Earth’s magnetic poles combined with changes in the Sun’s behavior. That’s the key finding of our new multidisciplinary study, which was published in Science.

This attribution of the warming period post-Little Ice Age to exclusively human activity and fossil fuels is absurd. We have NOT reached the high during the 1300s insofar as the temperature is concerned. This Global Warming is yet a lower high again which does not speak well of the future for it is pointing to a retest of the Little Ice Age low.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Where Best to Ride Out the Climate Apocalypse? The Billionaires’ Bunker Fantasies Go Mainstream

Where Best to Ride Out the Climate Apocalypse? The Billionaires’ Bunker Fantasies Go Mainstream

Mill, Halsey, Oregon. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

Having written about the media for several years now, I have become ever more sensitive to how we, as news consumers, are subject to ideology – the invisible, shifting sands of our belief system.

Those beliefs are not inbuilt, of course. How could they be? We are not born with pre-loaded software like a computer – even if our mental “hardware” may shape what kind of information we are capable of processing and how we process it.

And whatever we may imagine, our belief system is not really self-generated, dictated by life-experiences. It isn’t only real-world events that determine our values and views. Events and experiences are interpreted and given meaning by those beliefs and values. Which is why it is quite possible – common, in fact – for us to hold contradictory beliefs at the same time: like worrying about the threat posed to our children’s future from climate change, while supporting political systems committed to building more roads and runways.

Psychologists have a term for this phenomenon: cognitive dissonance.

Rather, our ideological landscape is socially constructed and largely imposed on us from outside. Ideology frames experiences for us, adding a hidden layer of interpretation that encourages us to make sense of the world in useful ways. The most liberating question one can ask, therefore, is: to whom is any particular ideology useful?

Framing the world

We inherit much of our ideology from parents and teachers. But ideology is not static. It is adaptive. Our assumptions, beliefs and values subtly change over time. And they change as the needs of the powerful change.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“Code Red For Humanity” – UN Warns Climate Change Likely Can’t Be Stopped, And China Is Biggest Contributor

“Code Red For Humanity” – UN Warns Climate Change Likely Can’t Be Stopped, And China Is Biggest Contributor

Paging Greta Thunberg…

On Monday morning millions of smartphone users awoke to a flurry of push alerts from news organizations touting urgent, ground-breaking news: what Bloomberg described as an “epochal” new report from “the world’s top climate scientists” warned that the planet will likely warm by 1.5ºC over the next two decades…without a dramatic reduction in emissions resulting from a change in human activity.

Source: CNN

The report represents the latest update from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Although scientists have been warning for years that climate change represents an apocalyptic threat to the human race (it’s the stated motive behind Elon Musk’s mission to Mars), this latest report “for the first time speaks with certainty about the total responsibility of human activity for rising temperatures”…so human responsibility for climate change hasn’t been a ‘sure thing’ in the eyes of science…until now? CNN added that the scientific community has concluded for the first time that human responsibility is “unequivocal”.

“It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land,” wrote the authors of the IPCC’s sixth global science assessment since 1990 and the first released in more than eight years. The crucial warming threshold of 2°C will be “exceeded during the 21st century,” the IPCC authors concluded, without deep emissions cuts “in the coming decades.”

Bloomberg explains it thusly, while also noting the timing of the report, arriving just three months before the UN’s next round of climate talks – setting up three months of media programming about the importance of these talks:

“More than any other forecast or record, this report’s determinations establish a powerful global consensus less than three months before the UN’s COP26 international climate talks.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Threat of an Ice Age is Real

The Threat of an Ice Age is Real

Most people have NEVER heard of the Beaufort Gyre, a massive wind-driven current in the Arctic Ocean that actually has far more influence over sea ice than anything we can throw into the atmosphere. The Beaufort Gyre has been regulating climate and sea ice formation for millennia. Recently, however, something has changed; it is not something that would create global warming but threatens a new Ice Age.

There is a normal cycle that appears to be about 5.4 years where it reverses direction and spins counter-clockwise, expelling ice and freshwater into the eastern Arctic Ocean and the North Atlantic. The 5.4-year cycle is interesting for it is two pi cycle intervals of 8.6. The immediate cycle has suddenly expanded to two 8.6-year intervals, bringing it to 17.2 years as we head into 2022.

What you must understand is that this Beaufort Gyre now holds as much freshwater as all of the Great Lakes combined. Why is that important? Saltwater freezes at a lower temperature than the 32 degrees F at which freshwater freezes. The difference between the air temperature and the freezing point of saltwater is bigger than the difference between the air temperature and the freezing point of fresh water. This makes the ice with salt on it melt faster, which is why we salt the roads in an ice storm.

Now, think of the Beaufort Gyre as a carousel of ice and freshwater. Because it is now spinning both faster and in its usual clockwise direction, it has been collecting more and more freshwater from the three main sources:

  1. Melting sea ice
  2. Runoff from the Arctic Ocean from Russian and North American rivers
  3. Lower saltwater coming in from the Bering Sea

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Explainer: Will global warming ‘stop’ as soon as net-zero emissions are reached?

Media reports frequently claim that the world is facing “committed warming” in the future as a result of past emissions, meaning higher temperatures are “locked in”, “in the pipeline” or “inevitable”, regardless of the choices society takes today.

The best available evidence shows that, on the contrary, warming is likely to more or less stop once carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reach zero, meaning humans have the power to choose their climate future.

When scientists have pointed this out recently, it has been reported as a new scientific finding. However, the scientific community has recognised that zero CO2 emissions likely implied flat future temperatures since at least 2008. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2018 special report on 1.5C also included a specific focus on zero-emissions scenarios with similar findings.

Much of the confusion around committed warming stems from mixing up two different concepts: a world where CO2 levels in the atmosphere remain at current levels; and a world where emissions reach net-zero and concentrations begin to fall.

Even in a world of zero CO2 emissions, however, there are large remaining uncertainties associated with what happens to non-CO2 greenhouse gases (GHGs), such as methane and nitrous oxide, emissions of sulphate aerosols that cool the planet and longer-term feedback processes and natural variability in the climate system.

Moreover, temperatures are expected to remain steady rather than dropping for a few centuries after emissions reach zero, meaning that the climate change that has already occurred will be difficult to reverse in the absence of large-scale net negative emissions.

Constant concentrations vs zero emissions

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 Is Earth’s climate about to pass the tipping point?

Ferran Puig Vilar. CEDIDA POR EL ENTREVISTADOEd. note: This article first appeared in Spanish here. This is an interview with an expert (Ferran Puig Vilar) and award-winning author of a climate blog on tipping points. Photo credit: Ferran Puig Vilar. CEDIDA POR EL ENTREVISTADO

The straw that breaks the camel’s back. The last time the axe hits the tree before it falls. The last profitable barrel to be extracted from an oil well. There are many examples of Tipping points (TP). Although tipping points and points of no return are the buzzwords of our times, we should probably be using them more than we are.

A range of studies have long indicated that attention should be paid to the effects of climate change on subsystems such as the Amazon, Greenland ice or permafrost. These effects have been debated for more than 20 years. Since then, thousands of pages have been written describing their interrelationships, warning of a coming disaster. As in this article published in Nature by key figures in climate science, or this article published in National Geographic. However, despite the seriousness of the issue, mainstream media silence remains thunderous. We can even hear climate change deniers on prime time TV.

We ask engineer and climate journalist Ferran Puig Vilar, who is publishing a special report on tipping points, and has been doing amazing work on climate education in his prestigious, prize-winning blog for more than a decade:

What is a climate tipping point?

It is an inflection point in the equilibrium of a significant element or subsystem (permafrost, Amazon, thermohaline current, Greenland) whose overshoot destabilizes it and generates a phase change, bringing the system to a new state that may – or may not – be one of equilibrium. There are 15 specified, 9 of which are in the degradation phase or have already been passed. They interrelate with each other causing knock-on effects.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Are we Headed into Another Ice Age?

Our model has projected we are entering another “grand-minimum,” which will overtake the sun beginning in 2020 and will last through the 2050s, resulting in diminished magnetism, infrequent sunspot production, and less ultraviolet (UV) radiation reaching Earth. This all means we are facing a global cooling period in the planet that may span 31 to 43 years. The last grand-minimum event produced the mini-Ice Age in the mid-17th century. Known as the Maunder Minimum, it occurred between 1645 and 1715, during a longer span of time when parts of the world became so cold that the period was called the Little Ice Age, which lasted from about 1300 to 1850.

If Gates blocks the sun as he has been suggesting off-camera, we are looking at not just the reduction of population by 70%, but all life. Gates is surprised about how he and Fauci are the #1 targets. This again only shows his elitist position. Others have used a Deep Learning AI program that can only do one dimension. Nevertheless, applying it to sunspots they interestingly arrived at a similar forecast — Gates & Schwab are DEAD WRONG!

It has been Klaus’ main man in Washington, John Kerry, who is leading the charge on changing the economy entirely. He told coal miners to make solar panels instead, indicative of these elitists who think people can just work like drones. There is no consideration that the miners would have to sell their homes and move near a factor that makes solar panels if they are even hiring. If people do not enjoy what they do, they will never do it well. We all can’t be brain surgeons, a quarterback, or a programmer. We all have different talents and callings. Kerry knows nothing about humanity. You can see he has the same mentality as the Communists. The next job opening is a trash collector — you are next in line.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…


Guardian Promotes ‘Global Lockdown’ Every Two Years To Combat Climate Change

Guardian Promotes ‘Global Lockdown’ Every Two Years To Combat Climate Change

We told you this was coming next…

The London Guardian has suggested that global lockdowns will be needed every two years in order to save the planet.

The outlet used the (now changed) alarmist headline ‘Global Lockdown Every Two Years Needed To Meet Paris CO2 Goals – Study’.

The piece refers to study published in the Nature journal by a team of researchers at the University of East Anglia, who concluded that CO2 emissions need to drop by the same amount as they have during the recent lockdown period “roughly every two years” in order to offset global warming.

The study did not advocate global lockdowns in order to achieve this, despite the Guardian’s misleading headline. In fact it called for “completely different methods”.

The headline was changed to the slightly less fear mongering ‘Equivalent of Covid emissions drop needed every two years – study’ after a backlash ensued.

After many climate alarmists began touting the environmental virtues of lockdowns last year, we warned that climate lockdowns would become a thing:

The Guardian also has a history of over-hyping alarmist climate warnings, having previously reported that by 2020 we would be seeing  “millions” of deaths, major European cities being sunken, and nuclear war due to planetary warming.

The Newspaper’s alarmist call for lockdowns comes days after the World Economic Forum was slammed for praising the effects lockdowns have had on cities:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…


Mass Education and the Climate Crisis: Lessons from the Pandemic (Part 2)

This is part two of a five-part essay that highlights lessons from the coronavirus pandemic which could advance the fight for a Green New Deal. Part one (published on Resilience.org here) argues that money is not scarce. Part two argues that control of government policy by wealthy elites tends to produce unnecessary suffering and inadequate responses to major crises. Part three argues that plutocracy is incompatible with serious climate action. Part four explores how the public can easily draw very different conclusions and argues that the climate movement must undertake mass education to ensure these lessons are learned. Part five outlines a broad curriculum containing these lessons and many more.

Lesson 2: Plutocracy’s Deadly Cruelty

Many Americans recognize that their government does not represent them. Political scientists have shown that we live in a vastly unequal society where the wealthiest individuals and large corporations control not only the economy, but the political system as well. When the policy preferences of the superrich diverge from the rest of the population, those are the policies typically implemented. Though it possesses some essential elements of a democracy, the US political system often operates as a form of plutocracy. However, discussions of politics tend to explore the surface phenomenon of Democratic and Republican politicians’ approaches to social issues like the pandemic. Seldom does the public hear serious discussion about how political decisions reflect the dynamics of a profit-maximizing economy and the priorities of the wealthy elites that control both parties.

Many crises facing society can be explained simply by reference to the economic goal of profit maximization. When greed is an economy’s central organizing principle, it means that financial self-interest is pursued even at the expense of diverse public interests…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…


Heal the Planet for Profit – Redux

Giorgione The Tempest 1508
“Mankind’s only chance to not destroy its planet lies in diverging from all other species in that not all energy available to it, is used up as fast as possible. But that’s a big challenge. It would, speaking from a purely philosophical angle, truly separate us from nature for the first time ever, and we must wonder if that’s desirable.”

I wrote that 4 years and 2 months ago today, and I’m still thinking about it. It came to mind again, along with the article it comes from, see below, when I saw a few recent references to climate change, and to how any policy to halt it should be financed. It’s all painfully obvious.

Bill Gates, while on a virtual book tour, says governments should pay. In particular for the innovation needed. We’re going to solve it all with things we haven’t invented yet. That kind of thinking never fails to greatly boost my confidence in people and their ideas.

Overall, Gates’ words feel like a stale same old same old been there done that tone. But one thing is changing. Since Joe Biden became the most popular US president ever, according to his vote count, there is now a climate czar at the US Treasury, and a climate change team at the US Fed. Progress! At least for those seeking to use your money to solve their problems.

Bill Gates: Solving Covid Easy Compared With Climate

Mr Gates’s new book, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, is a guide to tackling global warming. [..] Net zero is where we need to get to. This means cutting emissions to a level where any remaining greenhouse gas releases are balanced out by absorbing an equivalent amount from the atmosphere…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

un-Denial Manifesto: Energy and Denial

un-Denial Manifesto: Energy and Denial

Winners and Losers

Six years ago this essay launched and defined un-Denial.com. I’m featuring it on the home page to celebrate 500 posts.

This is the story of the two most important things that enabled the success and possible demise of humans: energy and denial.

Simple single cell (prokaryotic) life emerges as a gradual and predictable transition from geochemistry to biochemistry, in the presence of rock, water, CO2, and energy, all of which are found within alkaline hydrothermal vents on geologically active planets, of which there are 40 billion in our galaxy alone, and probably a similar number in each of the other 100 billion galaxies.

Simple life like bacteria and archaea is therefore probably common throughout the universe. Strong evidence for this is that prokaryotes appeared 4 billion years ago, as soon as the earth cooled down enough to support life, and never once winked out despite many calamities throughout geologic history.

LUCA (the Last Universal Common Ancestor), and all life that followed, is chemiosmotic meaning that it powers itself with an unintuitive mechanism that pumps protons across a membrane. This strange proton pump makes sense in the light of its hydrothermal vent origins. For a sense of the scale of life’s energy, consider that the human body pumps a staggering 10**21 protons per second of life.

The transition to, and existence of, complex multicellular life, like plants and animals, is much less predictable and certain. All of the complex life on earth has a common eukaryote ancestor, and it appears this ancestor emerged only once on Earth about 2 billion years ago. This is a vital but rarely acknowledged singularity in biology.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…


Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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