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The U.S. Military on Peak Oil and Climate Change

The U.S. Military on Peak Oil and Climate Change

Preface. I find that of all the government branches, the military is the most realistic about the implications of Peak Oil and Climate Change.  The Department of Defense is also the largest consumer of energy in the federal government, spending about $20 billion on energy in 2011, and within the military, the air force consumes the most energy, $10 billion (84% liquid fuel, 12% electricity).  DuPont consumes as much energy as the Department of defense, so they’re not the only mega-consumer of petroleum (NRC 2013).

***

CNA. May 2009. Powering America’s Defense: Energy and the Risks to National Security. Center for Naval Analyses. 74 pages. 

[ Excerpts from this document follow ]

The destabilizing nature of increasingly scarce energy resources, the impacts of rising energy demand, and the impacts of climate change all are likely to increasingly drive military missions in this century.

GENERAL CHARLES F. “CHUCK” WALD, USAF (RET.) Former Deputy Commander, Headquarters U.S. European Command (USEUCOM); Chairman, CNA MAB

Retired Air Force General Chuck Wald wants to see major changes in how America produces and uses energy. He wants carbon emissions reduced to help stave off the destabilizing effects of climate change.

“We’ve always had to deal with unpredictable and diverse threats,” Gen. Wald said. “They’ve always been hard to judge, hard to gauge. Things that may seem innocuous become important. Things that seem small become big. Things that are far away can be felt close to home. Take the pirates off the African coast. To me, it’s surprising that pirates, today, would cause so much havoc. It’s a threat that comes out of nowhere, and it becomes a dangerous situation.

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

Melting polar ice sheets will alter weather

Melting polar ice sheets will alter weather

Melting ice off the coast of Greenland. Image: By Frank Busch on Unsplash

Sea level rise and melting polar ice sheets may not cause a climate catastrophe, but they will certainly change weather patterns unpredictably.

LONDON, 15 February, 2019 – The global weather is about to get worse. The melting polar ice sheets will mean rainfall and windstorms could become more violent, and hot spells and ice storms could become more extreme.

This is because the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica are melting, to affect what were once stable ocean currents and airflow patterns around the globe.

Planetary surface temperatures could rise by 3°C or even 4°C by the end of the century. Global sea levels will rise in ways that would “enhance global temperature variability”, but this might not be as high as earlier studies have predicted. That is because the ice cliffs of Antarctica might not be so much at risk of disastrous collapse that would set the glaciers accelerating to the sea.

The latest revision of evidence from the melting ice sheets in two hemispheres – and there is plenty of evidence that melting is happening at ever greater rates – is based on two studies of what could happen to the world’s greatest reservoirs of frozen freshwater if nations pursue current policies, fossil fuel combustion continues to increase, and global average temperatures creep up to unprecedented levels.

“Even if we do include ice-cliff instability … the most likely contribution to sea level rise would be less than half a metre by 2100”

“Under current global government policies, we are heading towards 3 or 4 degrees of warming above pre-industrial levels, causing a significant amount of melt water from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets to enter Earth’s oceans.

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

Al Gore’s Global Warming Deliberate Fraud to Increase Governmental Power

Al Gore’s Global Warming Deliberate Fraud to Increase Governmental Power 

There is a serious question that no one wants to address. How did Al Gore create the global warming scare and earn hundreds of millions of dollars in the process? Before Al Gore, science was worried deeply about what we are experiencing today — global cooling. On April 28, 1975, Newsweek magazine published an article in which they sounded the alarm bell and proposed solutions to deliberately melt the ice caps:

“Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climatic change, or even to allay its effects. They concede that some of the more spectacular solutions proposed, such as melting thearcticc ice cap by covering it with black soot or diverting arctic rivers, might create problems far greater than those they solve. But the scientists see few signs that government leaders anywhere are even prepared to take the simple measures of stockpiling food or of introducing variables of climate uncertainty into economic projections of future food supplies.”

This sounds very similar to today’s proposed solution of putting particles in the atmosphere to deflect the sunlight to reduce global warming.  Indeed, TIME magazine’s January 31, 1977, cover featured the cover story, “The Big Freeze.” They reported that scientists were predicting that Earth’s average temperature could drop by 20 degrees fahrenheit. Their cited cause was, of course, that humans created global cooling. Then suddenly the climate cycles shifted and it began to warm up.

There was this core group of people who seemed to enjoy all the attention they were gathering by predicting the end of civilization caused by humans. As the temperatures began to warm, suddenly they had to switch the dire forecasts from global cooling caused by humans to global warming caused by humans.

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

The Renewable Revolution Has A Lithium Problem

The Renewable Revolution Has A Lithium Problem

Lithium ponds

As the global middle class rapidly expands, so too does the worldwide demand for energy and its subsequent carbon footprint. Global climate change will be one of the greatest, if not the single greatest, challenges of this next century, and one of the few feasible solutions that is generally agreed upon by scientists and politicians alike is a wide-scale transition from the use of traditional fossil fuels to renewable energy resources.

Around the world, there is a race among researchers to more efficiently and cost-effectively implement renewable energy as a long-term solution to global climate change, and there is even a concerted effort to switch Europe’s energy consumption to 100 percent renewable energy as soon as the year 2050. However, even if Europe achieves this target and takes the lead as the rest of the world follows down a path toward 100 percent renewable energy, we still would not be living in a completely sustainable, green energy utopia–there is a considerable downside to this seemingly perfect plan.

Even renewable energy relies on certain decidedly non-renewable resources. Even the eco-friendliest solutions such as solar panels can’t be made without the use of finite rare earth elements. Batteries, too, are completely dependent on finite earth-sourced materials for their fabrication. What’s more, China currently has an overwhelming monopoly on a great number of these rare earth elements (although not all are as rare as this label implies). This means that in a renewable energy-based world, energy security could become a major issue. In addition to rare earth elements, there are myriad other non-renewable materials used in the production of renewable energy. Currently, the one that has everyone talking is lithium.

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

Climate change is killing off Earth’s little creatures

Climate change is killing off Earth’s little creatures

Climate change gets blamed for a lot of things these days: inundating small islands, fueling catastrophic fires, amping-up hurricanes and smashing Arctic sea ice.

But a global review of insect research has found another casualty: 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered. It confirms what many have been suspecting: in Australia and around the world, arthropods – which include insects, spiders, centipedes and the like — appear to be in trouble.



The global review comes hard on the heels of research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA that suggests a potent link between intensifying heat waves and stunning declines in the abundance of arthropods. 

If that study’s findings are broadly valid – something still far from certain – it has chilling implications for global biodiversity.

Our natural world depends on arthropods. Steve Raubenstine/Pixabay

Arthropod Armageddon

In the mid-1970s, researchers on the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico conducted a large-scale study to measure the total biomass (living mass) of insects and other arthropods in the island’s intact rainforests, using sweep nets and sticky-traps.

Four decades later, another research team returned to the island and repeated the study using identical methods and the same locations. To their surprise, they found that arthropod biomass was just one-eighth to one-sixtieth of that in the 1970s – a shocking collapse overall.

And the carnage didn’t end there. The team found that a bevy of arthropod-eating lizards, birds and frogs had fallen sharply in abundance as well.

Insects are crucial in food webs for species such as this hummingbird. Pixabay

In the minds of many ecologists, a widespread collapse of arthropods could be downright apocalyptic. Arthropods pollinate some of our most important food crops and thousands of wild plant species, disperse seeds, recycle nutrients and form key links in food chains that sustain entire webs of life.

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

Finance, Fossil Fuels, and Climate Change

Finance and Fossil Fuels: Mark Hudson and Katelyn Friesen

Finance, Fossil Fuels, and Climate Change

Networks of Power in Canada

In our home country of Canada, the disparity between climate rhetoric and practice was recently pushed into the spotlight when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – an avowed climate champion – purchased on behalf of Canada an unfinished bitumen pipeline from Houston-based corporation Kinder-Morgan. The construction and operation of this pipeline will contribute to a planned increase in oil and gas extraction that will blow Canada’s already-weak Paris commitments out of the water.

This has led to some head-scratching in Canada. Why has Trudeau expended so much political capital and CAN$4.5 billion of national revenue on expanding a pipeline – particularly one that actually has a pretty shaky business case? If his government is vocally committed to action on climate change, why is it hell-bent on digging up and sending yet more of our high-carbon, oil-sands bitumen out to be burnt?

This line of questioning has turned the gaze of many inquiring minds toward examining the power of the fossil-fuel industry in Canada’s national politics. Is the industry on its own powerful enough to drive federal policy, even when that policy clashes with highly-publicized commitments on climate change?

Outright denial, once the favoured elite option, and still held in reserve as a fallback position at the centre of global capitalism, has given way to a new elite consensus. ‘Climate change is happening; “humans” are the main cause; it’s serious; it will have major costs.’ From there, however, the dissonance begins.

In order to understand power, we have to look not just to the fields of extraction and their ruined landscapes, nor only at the immediate effects on water, air, wildlife, and the nearby communities that rely on all three. We also have to look up and down the commodity chain. Attention is currently fixed downstream, at the politics and power manifesting in decisions about who and what is expendable in order to get the bitumen to market.

Tar sands, Alberta. Photo credit: Dru Oja Jay, Howl Collective
Tar sands, Alberta. Photo credit: Flickr/Dru Oja Jay, Howl Collective/CC BY 2.0

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

Greenwashing the Climate Catastrophe

Greenwashing the Climate Catastrophe

“With “capitalism in danger of falling apart” (a rare, cryptically honest quote from Al Gore), and years of stagnant global economic growth now in a free fall, the Greta campaign must be understood for what it is. An elaborate distraction that has nothing to do with protecting the natural world, and everything to do with the manufacturing of consent. The required consent of the citizenry that will unlock the treasuries and public monies under the guise of climate protection.” –

– Cory Morningstar and Forest Palmer, from The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – For Consent: The House is on Fire & the 90 Trillion Dollar Rescue, 2019

“One might think that if someone were conscious enough to recognise that global ecology was compromised and that pollutants were destroying fresh water, and the land, and that global warming was quite possibly going to make huge swatches of land non arable — you might think that person would look for solutions in a political frame. After all it was global capital that had brought mankind to this historic precipice. But instead, many if not nearly all the people I speak with, frame things in terms of personal responsibility. Stop driving big diesel SUVs, stop flying to Cabo for vacation, stop eating meat, etc-. But these same people tend to not criticize capitalism. Or, rather, they ask for a small non crony green capitalism. I guess this would mean green exploitation and green wars? For war is the engine of global capitalism today. Cutting across this are the various threads of the overpopulation theme. A convenient ideological adjustment that shifts blame to the poorest inhabitants of the planet.”

– John Steppling, Trust Nothing, 2019

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.”

– Noam Chomsky, The Common Good, 1998

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

UK’s Met Office Warns Global Temperature Could Soar Beyond 1.5°C Threshold Within Five Years

UK’s Met Office Warns Global Temperature Could Soar Beyond 1.5°C Threshold Within Five Years

Breaching the Paris accord’s designated limit temporarily doesn’t mean all hope is lost for the long-term target, experts explain, “but it does ring an alarm bell.”

coal plant

The Met Office reported this week that global average temperature for 2019 to 2023 will likely be between 1.03°C and 1.57°C above pre-industrial levels. (Photo: Danicek/Shutterstock)

As NASA on Wednesday confirmed that the past five years have been the hottest on record, the United Kingdom’s national weather service warned that the next five years could see global average surface temperature temporarily surpass the end-of-the-century target of the Paris climate agreement.

The Met Office forecasts that the average for 2019 to 2023 will likely be between 1.03°C and 1.57°C above pre-industrial levels, fluctuating each year depending on variations in human activities that produce greenhouse gas emissions as well as natural phenomena such as La Ninã and El Niño.

The global average reached 1.0°C for the first time in 2015, “and the following three years have all remained close to this level,” Adam Scaife, head of long-range prediction at the Met Office, noted in a statement. If that trend continues as expected, the decade from 2014 could be “warmest in more than 150 years of records.”

@metoffice Our 5year global average surface temperature forecast predicts that 2019 to 2023 will be near or above 1.0°C above pre-industrial levels. If observations track the forecast, it would make 2014-2023 the warmest run of years since records began. http://bit.ly/2SeCq6N
Forecast suggests Earth’s warmest period on recordThe forecast for the global average surface temperature for the five-year period to 2023 is predicted to be near or above 1.0 °C above pre-industrial levels, says the Met Office.  metoffice.gov.uk

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

SOTU’s glaring omission

SOTU’s glaring omission

Trump missed two little words

President’s Trump’s State of the Union address on February 5 was a call for bipartisan action. But mostly of the wrong kind. His southern border wall is of course a controversial and expensive proposition, but it was his boast that the USA now exports more energy than any other country in the world that got my attention. Since President Trump mis-remembers, mis-speaks, and exaggerates so frequently, the fact-checkers will be hard at work to verify that claim.  

It may well be true: the quantities of natural gas and tight oil produced by fracking have increased hugely, and while the demand for coal as a fuel for power plants has declined, the export of coal to Asia has picked up the slack, together with exports of liquid natural gas.

Two words that never passed Trump’s lips were ‘climate change’. One might have thought that a review of the state of the union might have dwelled for a moment on the huge wildfires that scorched California last year, and the two devastating hurricanes: Florence and Michael, that caused billions of dollars’ worth of damage during the summer. The Camp fire destroyed the town of Paradise in California; while Hurricane Michael devastated the town of Mexico Beach on the Florida panhandle. 

Trump continues to pretend that climate change is fiction and that global warming can be disproved by the first winter snowstorm. Since the previous week had seen record frigid temperatures occurring across Canada and most of the USA, it was of course predictable that Trump would tweet that the best remedy for the sub-zero conditions was a good old dose of global warming.    

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

So When Will the Yellow Vest Movement Take Hold in the USA?

So When Will the Yellow Vest Movement Take Hold in the USA? 

The Yellow Vest anti-government movement (#YellowVests, #GiletsJaunes) began in France on November 17, 2018, when over 300,000 people across France protested a carbon tax on fuel. President Emmanuel Macron claimed the French were leading the world in the battle against climate change. The Yellow Vest protests evolved rapidly into an all-out general anti-government movement that was supported by 70% of the French population. When Macron was forced to back out of the tax, the first thing he did was look for something else to tax to make up the difference. Then the French government had to ask Brussels for an exemption from austerity. This all proved one thing — the fuel tax was really about just raising taxes.

Now, the Yellow Vest Movement has gone worldwide, spreading at first to Belgium, where Brussels riot cops had to deal with them for week after week of protests blocking an oil depot. Then on December 8, 2018, the Belgians attempted to breach a riot barricade while calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Charles Michel, resulting in around 100 arrests. So in both France and in Belgium there are demands for the heads of government to resign.

What is conspicuously absent from the list below is the United States. Trump has rejected the climate taxes and lowered tax rates, moving directly opposite of all the other countries on the list. Nevertheless, the future for the United States is looking very bleak. The budget will force a rise in taxation as more and more government workers retire, thereby dramatically increasing the cost of government.

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

What will it feel like to be left behind?

What will it feel like to be left behind?

Chris Martenson’s recent article about collapse and the plummeting of biodiversity made me think about what it feels like to be left behind.  Few people living in affluent countries or communities understand what this means. 

Americans closed their eyes to the plight of people in underdeveloped countries whose soil, water, and air were exploited by US corporations seeking profits at the expense of people.  Instead we touted our booming economic growth as American exceptionalism.  We deserved a better lifestyle because we earned it, right?  But today as billionaires are capturing more and more of the world’s wealth and most of the rest are being left behind, we no longer think the situation is fair.  We don’t enjoy it when we are the ones left behind. “The 12% increase in the wealth of the very richest contrasted with a fall of 11% in the wealth of the poorest half of the world’s population.”

Human exploitation of the environment is competing for the resources other species of life need to survive.  Climate change and the use of pesticides toxic to most species is causing a severe decline in species of insects, amphibians, birds, butterflies, bats, etc.  It is also causing a decline in human health.  Species are going extinct at rates unprecedented except by catastrophic natural events such as a meteorite impact.  Our decision to protect or conserve nature has evolved from ideas in the 1960’s that we should protect “nature for nature itself” to the idea in the 1990’s that we should preserve “nature for people”.     Economic policy dictated that the needs of people mattered first and foremost.  It is only more recently that people are slowly realizing the importance of natural ecosystems, and that it is “humans and nature” we need to understand and protect.

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

Calling for ‘Unprecedented and Urgent Action’ to Solve Climate Crisis, Four Organizers Shut Off Valves at Enbridge Lines 3 and 4

Calling for ‘Unprecedented and Urgent Action’ to Solve Climate Crisis, Four Organizers Shut Off Valves at Enbridge Lines 3 and 4

“This is some serious climate leadership.”

Four Catholic Workers shut off valves at Enbridge Energy Line 3 and 4 in northern Minnesota on Monday. (Photo: @4necessity/Twitter)

Condemning “the imminent and irreversible damage being done to the climate” by fossil fuel extraction, four Catholic Workers took non-violent action to help stem the climate crisis on Monday in northern Minnesota, shutting off valves at Enbridge Energy Lines 3 and 4.

Allyson Polman, Brenna Cussen Anglada, Michele Naar Obed, and Daniel Yildirim were identified as the Four Necessity Valve Turners who shut off the valves. They took the action to protest the pipelines which cut through Native American reservations and jeopardize fresh water resources in the region, as well as perpetuating an energy economy reliant on fossil fuels.

“The group acts in solidarity with the most vulnerable worldwide who suffer the greatest impact from climate change,” said the group in a press statement. “The Four Necessity Valve Turners believe it is time to take personal responsibility for preventing the dangerous expansion of the oil industry, because governments and regulators have failed to do so.”

“This act is step towards reparations for the damage that colonization has done both to the indigenous peoples of this continent and the land,” said Cussen Anglada.

The group shared a video on Facebook of the action. The demonstrators shut off the valves at about 10 minutes into the video:

The group displayed a sign reading, “The time is now for unprecedented and urgent action,” at the site where they shut off the valves.

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

UK vegetable and fruit supplies at risk

UK vegetable and fruit supplies at risk

Potatoes on the wing – and thin pickings for all as UK crops wilt. Image: By Lucas Sankey on Unsplash

Britons’ familiar and well-loved fish and chips could become scarcer as politics and climate change imperil UK vegetable and fruit supplies.

LONDON, 5 February, 2019 − A combination of Brexit − Britain’s move to leave the European Union − and climate change is threatening UK vegetable and fruit supplies for its 66 million people.

Brexit-associated delays at ports could result in widespread shortages of a range of imported vegetables and fruit such as lettuces and tomatoes, particularly if the UK crashes out of Europe at the end of March this year with no deal in place.

Now there’s more bad news on the British food front; a just-released report says climate change and resulting abnormal weather conditions are causing significant decreases in the UK’s own vegetable and fruit harvests.

The study, produced by the Climate Coalition in association with the Priestley International Centre for Climate at the University of Leeds in the UK, says about 60% of food consumed in Britain is domestically produced.

The unusually warm summer in 2018 – the hottest ever in England since records began in 1910, according to the report – led to a drop in the onion harvest of 40% and a decline of between 25% and 30% in the carrot crop.

In 2017 the UK’s apple growers lost 25% of their produce due to unseasonably warm weather followed by an unusually late series of frosts.

“It’s really hard work growing fruit and vegetables, but erratic and extreme weather pushes you over the edge”

The study says climate change-related extreme and unpredictable weather is putting at risk future supplies of potatoes – a staple of the British diet.

“The UK could lose almost three-quarters of the area of land currently well-suited for potatoes by the 2050s under climate projections”, says the report.

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

Why Liberals Should be Conservative: Climate Change, Excellence, and the Practice of Happiness, Part 2

Why Liberals Should be Conservative: Climate Change, Excellence, and the Practice of Happiness, Part 2

Ed. note: Part 1 of this series can be found on Resilience.org here.

The Resurgent Aristotelians: Hopkins, Fleming, Francis, and Holmgren

What then does a modern Aristotelianism look like?  How might we reconcile his ideal of a singular, philosophically deduced definition of a “good life” with modern pluralism and heterogeneity, and the Liberal insistence on individual expressive self-creation?  How do we define “good” or “excellence” without imposing an ideology or world-view on others who have their own?  Who judges and according to what standards?  If such a reconciliation is impossible, will we be required to make a difficult choice?  Or is there no real choice at all?

These are the questions that I will be considering, and to which in some cases I will hazard an answer, as we go forward.  To start that process, a quick recap may be in order.  I have outlined a philosophical and political standoff between Liberalism and a still-being-defined conservative Aristotelianism using common terminology, but in a particular way that may also need clarification.  I take Liberalism to represent the broad post-Enlightenment political and moral philosophy that has found its home in societies organized around a market economy, in which the primary location of agency, obligation, and desert or rights resides in the individual, who is freed from the “constraints” of “kinship, neighborhood, profession, and creed,” and given over to seemingly voluntary “freedom of contract” (Polanyi, 171).  Liberalism, as I use the capitalized version of the term, includes both political liberals or progressives of the sort that one might associate with Democrats, the Labor party, or Democratic Socialism, on the one hand, and “conservatives” (with scare-quotes) of the sort associated with Republicans, the British Conservative Party, and Christian Democrats, on the other. 

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

Climate Misinformation Researchers Throw Support Behind California Communities Suing Fossil Fuel Companies

Climate Misinformation Researchers Throw Support Behind California Communities Suing Fossil Fuel Companies

Stand up for Science rally

Just in case fossil fuel companies had forgotten when and how much they knew about the impacts their products have had on the climate, a reminder came at them in court this week.

On January 29, six researchers studying climate misinformation filed one of eight friend-of-the-court briefs in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals supporting the California communities suing fossil fuel companies for climate damages.

The dozens of companies, which include a variety of oil, gas, and coal producers and refiners, such as Chevron, ExxonMobil, and Peabody, are trying to get the cases moved from state to federal court, where similar climate liability lawsuits from San Francisco, Oakland, and New York City have not fared so well. The Court of Appeals is lumping together six suits from California counties and cities while deciding where they should be tried.

Some of the top academics examining fossil fuel companies’ actions and communications around climate change were involved in filing the brief, which rather concisely summarizes the major take-aways from their research in its table of contents.

To sum up even more, fossil fuel companies:

  • knew the risks of burning their products on the climate.
  • worked proactively to cover up that knowledge and discredit climate science.
  • tried to protect their own assets from climate impacts by using the very same science they sought to undermine in public.

The researchers filing the brief include Naomi Oreskes (co-author of Merchants of Doubt) and Geoffrey Supran of Harvard University, Robert Brulle of Brown University, Justin Farrell of Yale University, Benjamin Franta of Stanford University, and Stephan Lewandowsky of the University of Bristol, UK. They’re joined in this brief by the Center for Climate Integrity, an initiative that provides legal, scientific, and policy support for affected communities seeking climate damages from polluters.

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
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