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Climate Apocalypse 
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Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
World ocean heat content
Image
Graph Credit: Adapted from S. Levitus et al., Geophys. Res. Letts.; © AGU 2012

For those who imagined that the stability of global air temperature at record high levels over the last decade means we can keep cooking the planet, think again - the heat is going into the oceans.
Science wrote:
Global warming contrarians remind the public that the world has not warmed all that much, if at all, during the past decade or so. But that's the atmosphere. Oceanographers with their thermometers in Earth's biggest reservoir of heat—the world's ocean—report in a paper to be published in Geophysical Research Letters that greenhouse warming has in fact been proceeding apace the past decade, not to mention the past half century. Ninety-three percent of the heat trapped by increasing greenhouse gases goes into warming the ocean, not the atmosphere. So taking the ocean's temperature is the most comprehensive way to monitor global warming. A group of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists has revised and updated their decade-old compilation of temperature measurements from the upper 2000 meters of the world's ocean. Its store of heat (red line with error bars in graph above) steadily increased over the past 20 years. And the upper ocean has warmed so much in the past 50 years that its added heat would be enough to warm the lower atmosphere by about 36°C (thankfully a physically impossible feat).
http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2 ... orlds.html

Main Artlcle ($25)
Quote:
Summarised from http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2012/2 ... 1106.shtml
GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 39, L10603, 5 PP., 2012
World ocean heat content and thermosteric sea level change (0–2000 m), 1955–2010

Key Point: The rise in world ocean heat content since 1955 is due to the increase in atmospheric greenhouse gasses
S. Levitus National Oceanographic Data Center, NOAA, Silver Spring, Maryland, USA
et al

- updated estimates of the change of ocean heat content and the thermosteric [heat induced] component of sea level change of the 0–700 and 0–2000 m layers of the World Ocean for 1955–2010.
- estimates are based on historical data not previously available, additional modern data, and bathythermograph data corrected for instrumental biases.
- heat content of the World Ocean for the 0–2000 m layer increased by ... 0.09°C.
- Ocean accounts for approximately 93% of the warming of the earth system since 1955.


http://www.skepticalscience.com/Breakin ... A_LOT.html notes that the ocean is very big, so the tiny temperature increase found by such studies has been enough to boil Sydney Harbour dry twice a day
From
Image

To
Image

Equivalent to twice a day. How come? This massive heat increase is due to humans adding CO2 to the atmosphere, which lets light enter from the sun but does not let heat escape. CO2 is like a transparent blanket. "NOTHING ELSE FITS THE EVIDENCE... When the first analyses of Ocean Heat Content calculated from old temperature data from the oceans were first published in the early 2000's, they were described as the 'Smoking Gun'. Because they were. They are the primary observational evidence for Global Warming and the human nature of it."


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Last edited by Robert Tulip on Tue May 22, 2012 5:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
I'm not sure what any of this shows.

The first dramatic chart, shows ocean heat content in joules (10 to the 22nd), which according to my research amounts to about 0.1 degrees C increase in ocean temperature. Wouldn't you expect some ocean temperature fluctuations over a 50-year time frame? So it looks scary, but if you look at other time frames you'd be likely to see slight cooling fluctuations as well. I'm not saying the earth hasn't warmed because it has. But the graph that shows a 0.1 degrees C rise in temperature over fifty years is simple cherry-picking and says nothing about the cause of the warming.

The other photographs show a hypothetical scenario if all that extra heat was tallied up it would be enough to boil Sydney Harbour dry EVERY 12 HOURS! This is sheer hysterical nonsense, as you well know. The ocean contains a lot of damned energy, so yes a slight variation in temperature over fifty years amounts to a lot of energy. The fact is that ocean acts as a huge buffer so all that energy is dispersed and Sydney Harbour isn't, in fact, boiled dry, not even once.

It even says this in the first piece above: And the upper ocean has warmed so much in the past 50 years that its added heat would be enough to warm the lower atmosphere by about 36°C (thankfully a physically impossible feat).

Saying something could happen is hardly an argument. It surprises me that you would post such propaganda. It's fairly well accepted by the scientific community that the earth has warmed, so any argument for warming does not automatically follow that the warming is caused by human emissions, nor does it follow that continued human emissions will cause a climate apocalypse.


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Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
Geo, thanks.

Your use of the phrase "cherry picking" here is fallacious. What the graph shows is a very clear and obvious direction upwards. The average temperature of the ocean at any given time is hotter than at earlier times. The ocean is the main repository of heat on the earth surface, containing about 1.3 bilion teralitres of water, or an estimated 93% of any warming. Unlike the atmosphere, which has been in a hot lull since the turn of the millennium, the ocean temperature has continued its remorseless increase. So showing that the "missing heat" from the last decade can in fact be seen in the main repository is not selective use of data, the real meaning of 'cherry-picking', but correct analysis of the whole system.

Yes, 0.1 degrees is small. But the ocean is very big. All of that extra heat, with its continued upward trend, has to have come from somewhere. Energy cannot be created or destroyed. As the scientific paper and summaries explain, the only plausible explanation for this obvious heating trend is the extra blanket we have added to the air through CO2 emissions.

As to the Sydney Harbour example, that is just a vivid way of showing how big this heat increase really is. The Harbour seems big, but it is tiny compared to the whole ocean. If all the extra heat measured in the whole ocean had been concentrated in a body of water the size of Sydney Harbour (known as a Sydharb in Australian water circles), 0.1 degrees over the whole ocean would reportedly be enough for 100 degrees every twelve hours.

Lets try and work it out.

0.1 Degrees for 1.3 billion teralitres over 50 years
=
100 Degrees for 1.3 million teralitres over 50 years
=
100 Degrees for 26,000 teralitres over 1 year
=~
100 Degrees for 400 teralitres over 12 hours

In fact Sydney Harbour only contains 0.56 teralitres. So it seems there is a mathematical error in the source I used above, and the amount of measured ocean warming could boil dry more than 1000 Sydharbs every day, starting from ice.

You are welcome to check my calculations here. Once we understand the orders of magnitude, the steady continued rise in ocean temperature translates to a massive system heat increase, that has to go somewhere. We are accelerating the addition of the CO2 blanket, and now there are feedback loops from Arctic methane, etc. We will hit climate tipping points faster than we realize. This is the real apocalypse.


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Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
The Economist Magazine has a special report this week on the warming of the Arctic Ocean.

The report is available at http://www.economist.com/node/21556798 and is highly informative.

The Economist wrote:
A heat map of the world, colour-coded for temperature change, shows the Arctic in sizzling maroon. Since 1951 it has warmed roughly twice as much as the global average. In that period the temperature in Greenland has gone up by 1.5°C, compared with around 0.7°C globally. This disparity is expected to continue. A 2°C increase in global temperatures—which appears inevitable as greenhouse-gas emissions soar—would mean Arctic warming of 3-6°C.

Almost all Arctic glaciers have receded. The area of Arctic land covered by snow in early summer has shrunk by almost a fifth since 1966. But it is the Arctic Ocean that is most changed. In the 1970s, 80s and 90s the minimum extent of polar pack ice fell by around 8% per decade. Then, in 2007, the sea ice crashed, melting to a summer minimum of 4.3m sq km (1.7m square miles), close to half the average for the 1960s and 24% below the previous minimum, set in 2005. This left the north-west passage, a sea lane through Canada’s 36,000-island Arctic Archipelago, ice-free for the first time in memory.

Scientists, scrambling to explain this, found that in 2007 every natural variation, including warm weather, clear skies and warm currents, had lined up to reinforce the seasonal melt. But last year there was no such remarkable coincidence: it was as normal as the Arctic gets these days. And the sea ice still shrank to almost the same extent.

There is no serious doubt about the basic cause of the warming. It is, in the Arctic as everywhere, the result of an increase in heat-trapping atmospheric gases, mainly carbon dioxide released when fossil fuels are burned. Because the atmosphere is shedding less solar heat, it is warming—a physical effect predicted back in 1896 by Svante Arrhenius, a Swedish scientist. But why is the Arctic warming faster than other places? more


This excellent report prompted me to formulate the following idea.

Geoengineering the climate can focus on cooling the Arctic Ocean in order to slow the ice melt and increase albedo, reflecting incoming solar radiation back to space. One potentially commercial method to achieve this goal is to float large sheets of reflective plastic just below the ocean surface, released from Norway into the Gulf Stream. The design would aim to optimise algae and fish growth, using wave energy to raise deep nutrient-rich water to the surface in 'Lovelock Tubes', and spreading this rich water across the surface sheet to mimic the upwelling of currents that are the source of the richest fisheries. This method would cool the surrounding water, reducing the heat input that is melting the sea ice. The systems would attract and feed fish with naturally produced algae, serving as efficient fish farms. They would float along the Gulf Stream as shown at map below into the Barents Sea, where produced fish could be harvested. Small initial prototypes would identify design issues for potential scale up. The primary natural geoengineering impact would be entirely ecologically beneficial, cooling the Arctic Ocean to delay the risk of catastrophic warming.
Image


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Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
We're not smart enough to be thinking about doing this. That's my first reaction. We've done so many stupid things to put our systems in peril, but thinking that we can control nature is only going to turn out to be another one, regardless of how many brainy people are involved in doing it.



Last edited by DWill on Tue Jun 19, 2012 7:02 am, edited 1 time in total.



Tue Jun 19, 2012 7:01 am
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Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
DWill wrote:
We're not smart enough to be thinking about doing this. That's my first reaction. We've done so many stupid things to put our systems in peril, but thinking that we can control nature is only going to turn out to be another one, regardless of how many brainy people are involved in doing it.


Consider the alternatives. We are geoengineering the planet by default because of the scale of the economy and its complete reliance on fossil fuel extraction. CO2 input rates are rather like adding arsenic to the water supply. The current global situation is dominated by a path-dependence in which the energy industry corrupts the political process to intensify business as usual with accelerating emissions. The science indicates that emissions at current rates, let alone at the accelerated rate that is now in prospect, will increase global temperature by 4-6 degrees Celsius this century, the equivalent of a person contracting a raging fever. Business as usual means human extinction. It is evil and Satanic.

So we do have to consider how we can manage the climate on a global basis to prevent the collapse of civilization, if not also human extinction from a runaway greenhouse effect. Managing the global climate requires a transition strategy to evolve from our current instinctive idiocy towards a rational scientific ecology. The sort of strategy I outlined above for small prototypes to produce algae and fish in the Arctic is a practical way to prepare for a new earth economy that will be sustainable. Even if this specific application runs into scientific and commercial obstacles, the prototype investigation will readily identify the constraints before major investment, and will be able to identify workable solutions and profitable alternatives that will maximise ecological protection. In the future I expect we will have algae farms at sea that will abundantly support human population bigger than we have now with a lifestyle that is in harmony with nature.

(btw Mr Erickson is a creationist troll and deserves to be ignored, if not banned, unless people enjoy teasing him. I will let others give him enough rope to hang himself.)


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Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
Robert Tulip wrote:

. . . So we do have to consider how we can manage the climate on a global basis to prevent the collapse of civilization, if not also human extinction from a runaway greenhouse effect. Managing the global climate requires a transition strategy to evolve from our current instinctive idiocy towards a rational scientific ecology. The sort of strategy I outlined above for small prototypes to produce algae and fish in the Arctic is a practical way to prepare for a new earth economy that will be sustainable.


The idea of global climate control seems arrogant, a product of great hubris. To what degree do we terraform our planet to suit us? To cram a few more billion humans on an already burgeoning planet? If we accept that global warming is human-caused, the result of overpopulation and our profligate ways, do we then assume that we should do everything in our power to prevent the collapse of civilization, no matter what the cost? The whole earth can become one vast garden for us, damned the other life forms. Will wildlife become a quaint relic of the past?


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Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
geo wrote:
It would be interesting to try some of these things on a limited scale and see if they work,
Yes, that is what I am suggesting. If the Norwegians tried to cool the Gulf Stream using floating reflective plastic sheets to grow fish and algae at sea, they might find it is a profitable way to address climate change. In the example here, they might find it better to anchor the sheets in place in their coastal waters rather than floating them along the current, depending on cost and oceanography. But then, maybe the Scandinavians and Russians are in favour of global warming and want to see an ice free Arctic so they can sail to Asia and develop the north. That would be a tragedy of short term thinking. As the Economist report puts it, the Arctic is an example of the tragedy of the commons, where the locals want development but the broader global interest is in keeping it pristine and cold to help prevent planetary climate change. Globally, keeping the summer sea ice means the sunlight reflects back to space, whereas melting of the sea ice as currently happening means the light and heat go into the sea, and create a feedback loop for further warming, including with the danger of permafrost melting leading to large scale methane release which is an even more potent short term greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. A warming Arctic means a global climate catastrophe, while a stable Arctic can help stabilise planetary climate.
Quote:
realizing that most of this is pure conjecture.
Yes, correct, as no one has ever offered to help me build even backyard prototypes although that would be quite simple. I started building a prototype for my invention of a tidal pump, and will probably finish it this year. I remain of the view that my conjectures here will work, but they are extremely different from current practices. I may be missing something, but until ideas are tested that remains to be seen.
Quote:
You always seem to start with a few interesting ideas, then veer off into pure fantasy.
I don’t accept that. ‘Pure fantasy’ contains a judgment that the ideas are physically impossible or unrealistic, whereas I maintain that everything I have suggested is eminently practical, while recognising that practical testing is the guide to feasibility.
Quote:
The idea of global climate control seems a product of great hubris.
Hubris is an interesting term in this context. An example is the Greek myth of Icarus, who flew too close to the sun and melted the wax on his wings. But the situation with climate is more like riding a tiger, you have to hang on or you get eaten. The alternative to climate control is climate chaos. The fact is that humanity is a decisive destabilising factor for climate, and we need to find global antidotes for the poison we are putting in the system.
Quote:
To what degree do we terraform our planet to suit us?
That is an interesting question, since terraforming is usually used to describe making Mars habitable. The fact is that we are fouling our nest so our own planet will become uninhabitable unless we take combined action. That requires terraforming, or as more usually termed, geoengineering. It is about considering the consequences of alternatives. The four horsemen of the Apocalypse, plague, war, death and famine, are on the march, and will be victorious unless humanity evolves to a more rational and cooperative global culture.
Quote:
To cram a few more billion humans on an already burgeoning planet?
Current projection is that global population will rise to nine billion in our lifetimes. If we allow climate chaos, then the four horsemen might drop that number to one billion or less. That would be a cataclysm. Alternatively, if we work to regulate the climate, it is likely that we could maintain a peaceful and stable global society in harmony with nature. My view is that we have barely begun to tap the sustainable bounty of the sea, and that churning the ocean using natural energy will unlock undreamt of riches in food and energy, enabling people to achieve such abundance that many more people could live on our planet, especially on floating islands, with the resources available to pursue culture rather than subsistence.
Quote:
Will wildlife become a quaint relic of the past?
Unmanaged politics would worsen the current extreme extinction rate, but moving to the sea could allow current farmlands to revert to parks aimed at increasing biodiversity.
Quote:
If we accept that global warming is human-caused, the result of overpopulation and our profligate ways, do we then assume that we should do everything in our power to prevent the collapse of civilization, no matter what the cost? The whole earth can become one vast garden for us, damned the other life forms.
If we take the view that humanity are stewards of creation, then taking up this stewardship is the only way to protect and increase biodiversity. The cost of collapse is far higher than the cost of transformation.


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Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
Reducing heat entering the Arctic Ocean could well be the most effective way to manage global warming, while preparing for transition to a low carbon economy.

The Arctic is warming at double the rate of the rest of the planet. This appears to be largely due to albedo - the melting of summer sea ice means that instead of white ice reflecting light back to space, dark water allows light to enter, where it turns into heat, producing a feedback loop of increasing pace of summer ice melt. The Arctic is also particularly significant for the global climate because of the potential for methane release from melting permafrost, and because the midnight sun in summer means that level of insolation is actually high in summer, so if this heat can be reflected rather than absorbed it is possibly the most efficient location for geoengineering.

As well as sunlight, the major source of heat entering the Arctic is the Gulf Stream, the Atlantic Current that warms Britain and Norway. This Map of Arctic Currents shows the main sources of warm water entering via the Norwegian Sea.

If a large fraction of the heat in these north flowing currents could be siphoned off and shifted either into energy production or sunk into the cold south flowing currents, it might provide a significant contribution to slowing the melt of summer Arctic Ice, and to increasing Arctic albedo.

One way to achieve this diversion of heat entering the Arctic is as I explained above, locating large reflecting sheets of plastic just below the ocean surface to trap and reflect the entering solar heat in the surface layer of water. Trapped heat could be used for algae and fish production, or alternatively, could be pumped using wave power down into cold deep currents where it would flow south away from the Arctic. This Map of Thermohaline Circulation shows various points where warm surface currents flow directly above cold deep currents. Closer detail for the Arctic is in the map of Arctic Currents linked above.

Diverting entering ocean heat would slow the melt of summer Arctic sea ice, increasing albedo and providing a positive feedback for global cooling.


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Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
Continuing to blog on my favourite thread, I just wanted to check in with some interesting information. Last week I stumbled upon the World Development Indicators produced by the World Bank, and downloaded a spreadsheet with 64 megabytes of data covering 51 years in 309222 rows. As you do, I honed in on world CO2 emissions, and made this chart of Annual World CO2 Emissions Since 1960. It shows that business as usual is cooking the planet, and that rhetoric about reducing emissions hides an agenda that bases economic growth and political stability on accelerating growth in emissions. The end result of this is either paradigm change or kaboom.
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Annual World CO2 Emissions Since 1960.gif
Annual World CO2 Emissions Since 1960.gif [ 16.63 KiB | Viewed 1935 times ]


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Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
Kaboom!

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Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
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Hey zombies, check out Bill McKibben's apocalyptic facts in Rolling Stone

Summary: 500 gigatonnes of carbon will increase world temperature by 2 degrees. Fossil fuel companies plan to burn 2500 gigatonnes, five times as much as is thought the upper political limit. They hold the power to change the physics and chemistry of our planet, and they're planning to use it. Obama's response? "You have my word that we will keep drilling everywhere we can... That's a commitment that I make." Exxon plans to spend about $100 million a day searching for yet more oil and gas. In December, BP finally closed its solar division. Shell shut down its solar and wind efforts in 2009. The five biggest oil companies have made more than $1 trillion in profits since the millennium – there's simply too much money to be made on oil and gas and coal to go chasing after zephyrs and sunbeams.The fight, in the end, is about whether the industry will succeed in its fight to keep its special pollution break alive past the point of climate catastrophe. Moral outrage just might give rise to a real movement. If people come to understand the cold, mathematical truth – that the fossil-fuel industry is systematically undermining the planet's physical systems – it might weaken it enough to matter politically. Just like us, our crops are adapted to the Holocene, the 11,000-year period of climatic stability we're now leaving... in the dust.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/ne ... z21RryJgg4


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Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
I'll tell you when humans will stop using fossil fuels. When we run out of fossil fuels, or when extracting them becomes too prohibitive. Until then, if there's a profit to be made, you can bet Exxon will continue pumping and selling oil. Our very lifestyle is fueled by cheap energy and there is no alternative that comes close to fossil fuels. I just don't buy this notion that all of our problems will be solved if only the climate deniers would get on board. But I suppose ranting about climate deniers make people like Krugman feel like he's doing something useful.

Anyway, I suppose you've already given up your car and don't use air-conditiioning, right?

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/23/opini ... ce.html?hp


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Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
geo wrote:
I'll tell you when humans will stop using fossil fuels. When we run out of fossil fuels, or when extracting them becomes too prohibitive. Until then, if there's a profit to be made, you can bet Exxon will continue pumping and selling oil. Our very lifestyle is fueled by cheap energy and there is no alternative that comes close to fossil fuels. I just don't buy this notion that all of our problems will be solved if only the climate deniers would get on board. But I suppose ranting about climate deniers make people like Krugman feel like he's doing something useful.

Anyway, I suppose you've already given up your car and don't use air-conditiioning, right?

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/23/opini ... ce.html?hp

I haven't been following this debate closely, but I can see it's a good one. Our reliance on this miracle energy source, fossil fuel, can be seen as a historical accident, going way back in history, as all of this organic matter deposited 200 million years or so ago has been the enabler of the industrial revolution. Alternative fuels don't come close in bang for the buck, I agree. I wish we would get more serious about them, but there's little real chance of that when we're so damned clever about finding new ways to get fossils out of the ground or from under the ocean floor. Our economy and that of the rest of the world being predicated on growth--well, it just raises one more huge obstacle to freeing ourselves from our addiction to oil, in G.W. Bush's immortal phrase.



Last edited by DWill on Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
DWill wrote:
geo wrote:
I'll tell you when humans will stop using fossil fuels. When we run out of fossil fuels, or when extracting them becomes too prohibitive. Until then, if there's a profit to be made, you can bet Exxon will continue pumping and selling oil. Our very lifestyle is fueled by cheap energy and there is no alternative that comes close to fossil fuels. I just don't buy this notion that all of our problems will be solved if only the climate deniers would get on board. But I suppose ranting about climate deniers make people like Krugman feel like he's doing something useful.

Anyway, I suppose you've already given up your car and don't use air-conditiioning, right?

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/23/opini ... ce.html?hp

I haven't been following this debate closely, but I can see it's a good one. Our reliance on this miracle energy source, fossil fuel, can be seen as a historical accident, going way back in history, as all of this organic matter deposited 200 million years or so ago or so has been the enabler of the industrial revolution. Alternative fuels don't come close in bang for the buck, I agree. I wish we would get more serious about them, but there's little real chance of that when we're so damned clever about finding new ways to get fossils out of the ground or from under the ocean floor. Our economy and that of the rest of the world being predicated on growth--well, it just raises one more huge obstacle to freeing ourselves from our addiction to oil, in G.W. Bush's immortal phrase.


Most of the time there's no debate at all, only ridicule and scorn of climate deniers or "zombies" as Robert has lately called them. No one bothers coming up with solutions, only hints that the government should impose taxes and make laws against drilling oil and then all will be right with the world. This resembles the God-of-the-Gaps argument in many ways. If only the deniers would quit hiding their heads in the sand . . . Behind the global climate scare is a presumption that the government will rescue us from ourselves. There's also a huge conspiracy preventing these new technologies from being developed, but the deniers of course can't see this.

We are addicted to oil and there are no easy alternatives waiting in the wings. Humans are partying like there's no tomorrow.


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Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:02 am
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