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Climate Apocalypse 
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Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
My reference to zombies was not to climate deniers, but to all humanity who are sleepwalking to oblivion like the living dead. Investment of a few billion dollars would do the trick to transform the global economy - less than one percent of military spending going to an actual major existential security threat seems reasonable.

McKibben says the current global situation is rather like a drink driver who knows they can have five drinks over an evening and stay under the legal limit, but they wilfully have twenty five drinks, get behind the wheel and crash and die.

The five drink legal limit represents the explicit agreement of governments to aim for a temperature rise of less than two degrees. The twenty five drinks is the amount of CO2 (ie 2500 gigatonnes) we plan to add to the atmosphere, already built into the current stock price of energy companies as recoverable reserves.

The science is clear - a two degree temperature rise is predicted if we release 500 more gigatonnes of CO2. But there are 2500 gigatonnes primed and ready to burn. A six to ten degree temperature rise this century very likely means the end of human civilization. We are on track to add 500 more gigatonnes of CO2 to the air by about 2023, like the day after tomorrow.

In the face of the global climate crisis, what anyone does as an individual to reduce personal emissions is like a fart in a hurricane. It is actually worse than useless because corking your farts (so to speak) promotes the delusion that personal action makes a difference. Only a systemic recognition of CO2 as the main security threat facing the planet will make any difference.


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Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:47 am
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Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
Robert Tulip wrote:
My reference to zombies was not to climate deniers, but to all humanity who are sleepwalking to oblivion like the living dead. Investment of a few billion dollars would do the trick to transform the global economy - less than one percent of military spending going to an actual major existential security threat seems reasonable.


I stand corrected on the zombies reference.

The second part is a rather bold assertion. Where in the world do you come up with this stuff?


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Tue Jul 24, 2012 11:49 am
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Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
Its pretty simple really.

The world spends about a trillion dollars a year on the military, supposedly for security.

One percent of a trillion is ten billion.

The Copenhagen Institute conducted a 'fix the climate' process, involving a number of Nobel Economics Laureates, in which they suggested research and development spending on our real security problem of about this scale.

http://fixtheclimate.com/ says what is required is work to identify and refine best value interventions, not subsidies to existing solar and biofuel products.


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Tue Jul 24, 2012 5:03 pm
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Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
But still, Robert, no one could possibly take seriously an estimate of 3 billion dollars to transform the world economy. Are you sure it wasn't 3 trillion--which still sounds low.

A question you may not be asking yourself about the importance of individual action is where the political will comes from to make the enormous changes needed. In a democratic process, the will of individuals will translate to government use of power. This will would naturally be expressed as individual actions. How do you propose that governments proceed in the absence of consent by constituencies?



Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:06 pm
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Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
The figure I gave was 1% of military spending, roughly ten billion dollars a year, for research and development. Rather like judo, smart strategic public investment could shift the momentum of the existing economy towards where we want it to go, a sustainable future. But the focus has to be achieving commercial viability through a free market, not the madness of solar panel subsidies in cold dark Germany.

The Nobel Laureates at Lomborg's Fix the Climate site take it completely seriously that it is possible to identify game changers, new technology that could make non fossil fuels economically competitive. I personally think such an economic transformation is both possible and necessary, primarily utilising the vast untapped scale of energy in ocean movement and heat. But at the moment there is practically no public investment in this central critical topic for the future of life on earth. The oil companies have successfully poisoned the well of public debate.

The sun pumps out ten billion times as much light as hits the earth. Energy is very abundant. Politics, stupidity, vested interests and lethargy are what stops us from beginning a new Manhattan-Apollo Project to deliver universal sustainable power.


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Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
DWill wrote:
But still, Robert, no one could possibly take seriously an estimate of 3 billion dollars to transform the world economy. Are you sure it wasn't 3 trillion--which still sounds low.

A question you may not be asking yourself about the importance of individual action is where the political will comes from to make the enormous changes needed. In a democratic process, the will of individuals will translate to government use of power. This will would naturally be expressed as individual actions. How do you propose that governments proceed in the absence of consent by constituencies?


More like 3 kerplillion, I'd think. And transform the world economy into what?

I must have a dim view of human nature. The only way people will stop their profligate ways is at the point of total economic collapse. A climate apocalypse would precipitate this event, but so would any major disruptions in the supply of oil. We catch small glimpses of this during hurricanes when some of our refineries go offline. A couple of years ago here in Asheville, none of the gas stations could get gas for about a week. The first thing that happens is everyone tries to top off their tanks, so there are huge lines at any of the gas stations that do have gas. But that doesn't last for long. Pretty soon people can't get to work. The next thing that happens is people stock up on food and bottled water and grocery stores shelves are depleted. It doesn't take long for this to happen. Our petroleum supply is our lifeline and it's very precarious. And the existence of cheap energy has allowed our population to burgeon far beyond a sustainable level. Where are these magical alternative energy sources?


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Wed Jul 25, 2012 10:27 am
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Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
geo wrote:
More like 3 kerplillion, I'd think. And transform the world economy into what?
The 'Fix the Climate' study by the Copenhagen Institue argues that research and development can identify commercially competitive sustainable energy sources that could save us from our current global hurtle towards disaster. The problem is that current resources and attention to this problem are far too small in view of the scale and urgency of the risks, since climate change has been captured by a left-right political divide that undermines the need for capitalist solutions. My view is that algae biofuel produced at sea would produce abundant cheap energy in a way that would be ecologically beneficial. But the attention to this issue is miniscule. A few billion of public private partnership seed funding would be transformative, enabling us to keep the petroleum and coal infrastructure of cars and refineries and power stations while shifting the fuel source to abundant renewable systems that would suck carbon out of the air, cool the ocean, expand fisheries and rapidly drive CO2 back down to a safe level.
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I must have a dim view of human nature. The only way people will stop their profligate ways is at the point of total economic collapse. A climate apocalypse would precipitate this event, but so would any major disruptions in the supply of oil. We catch small glimpses of this during hurricanes when some of our refineries go offline. A couple of years ago here in Asheville, none of the gas stations could get gas for about a week. The first thing that happens is everyone tries to top off their tanks, so there are huge lines at any of the gas stations that do have gas. But that doesn't last for long. Pretty soon people can't get to work. The next thing that happens is people stock up on food and bottled water and grocery stores shelves are depleted. It doesn't take long for this to happen.

This reminds me of the analysis of psychological stupidity in our current fiction selection on the zombie war. People dither, avoid, deny, until it is too late. Brooks has written a parable for the looming climate apocalypse, providing a warning that could be heeded.
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Our petroleum supply is our lifeline and it's very precarious. And the existence of cheap energy has allowed our population to burgeon far beyond a sustainable level. Where are these magical alternative energy sources?

My personal view is that large scale ocean based algae biofuel is a key transformative energy source that could sustain human population at far larger scale than now, while being good for the planet. Nothing magical, just a need for analysis and investment. Otherwise we are possibly doomed to species extinction, like the myths of the frog in the pot, or the lemming rushing over the cliff. In my study of the topic I have not seen anything comparable to algae biofuel as a global game changer.


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Wed Jul 25, 2012 7:37 pm
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Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
Book Review: Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity, by James Hansen, 2009

James Hansen is a true prophet of the new age for planet earth. He explains with great clarity the scientific and social problem of climate change, which he sums up by saying that “coal trains are death trains.” Against all the political hawing that seeks a negotiated solution, Hansen explains that the laws of physics do not compromise, and that we are placing our planet on an inexorable death track by our psychotic fixation on fossil fuels. His argument suggests that the evil corruption of our political systems by the big energy firms will kill all life on earth unless we transform global politics with a new energy paradigm.

As a leading spokesman for America’s NASA space agency, among the most authoritative scientific organisations in the world, Hansen’s views are guided by simple physics. Mars is very cold because it has no CO2 blanket, earth is liveable because our CO2 blanket is just the right thickness, and Venus is a 450 degree boiling hellhole because it has a CO2 atmosphere. CO2 lets light in but does not let heat out. Every step we make towards the Venus Syndrome is seriously poisonous for the earth. Coal is the main poison we are addicted to. We have to kick the habit of fossil fuels, which are more cancerous than nicotine. But like with other drugs of addiction, we talk all the time about cutting down on our use of fossil carbon, while in fact our use level is growing at an accelerating rate, like the tolerance of a heroin addict.

Towards the close of Storms of My Grandchildren, Hansen sketches a beautifully poignant and terrifying science fiction story. Aliens living on an earth-like world 40 light years away discover our radio signals in the twentieth century, at a time when their own sun is swelling to cook them. They send a ship to colonise earth which arrives after 500 years. They are too late, and find a dead planet. Thick clouds swirl over boiling oceans. Continents that once supported abundant life are now desolate deserts. We killed our home.

Who killed Cock Robin? Not I say the energy barons, not I say the politicians, not I say the stupid environmentalist opponents of fast nuclear energy. But for Hansen all are judged as guilty, condemned for failure to comprehend the fragile complexity of our wonderful planetary biosystem and the urgent need for action to reverse global warming.

In the Bible, Jesus Christ tells us to beware of false prophets. Christians have sown confusion by their aggressive insistence that true prophets must express a magical supernatural message from God. Unlike the Christian tradition, all of Hansen’s prophecies are based solely on evidence. There is certainly a strongly Biblical apocalyptic tone in Hansen’s explanation of how our CO2 emissions are unleashing the four horsemen of death, war, plague and famine. He fully expects catastrophic sea level rise this century. Yet there is nothing false in Hansen’s prophecies. They are the scientific reality, against which the popular indifference and denial is a mad sickness. Climate denial is worse than Holocaust denial. Hitler only killed millions – the coal kings will kill all life unless we stop them.

One of the most interesting aspects of Storms of My Grandchildren is Hansen’s analysis of political tactics. He gets to meet national leaders, and despairs that the lobbying power of money is greater than the power of truth. In the three years since he wrote this book in 2009, the climate of political debate has only worsened, with arrogant denialists emboldened by their idiotic group-think, like a pack of Nazi thugs delighting in their freedom to intimidate and bully. Even as Hurricane Sandy showed everything Hansen predicted to be completely true as it devastated the US northeast, Obama expresses nothing but platitudes about protecting the planet, showing he is a weakling puppet of the evil despots who run the USA.

Hansen provides an excellent and highly readable scientific factual explanation of why the climate situation is dire. Everyone should read it. But his suggestion for how to solve the problem, focussed on building popular support for 350.org, is not the strongest part of the book. I don’t disagree that the goal of reducing CO2 to 350 parts per million in the air is needed. But the problem is that this worthy political strategy is far from enough to address the scale of the climate problem, failing to come to grips with the moral, psychological and spiritual foundations of the political and economic drivers of business as usual.

The great scientist Buckminster Fuller once said that it is more important to build the new than to fight the old. Hansen flags this view with his suggestion that perhaps a new technology, for example in algae biofuel, will save us. Such a change of our energy security paradigm could be implemented through a massive resource deployment, modelled on the Manhattan and Apollo Projects that produced the atom bomb and the moon landing. I think this is true, and agree with Bjorn Lomborg of the Copenhagen Consensus Center that funding of research and development into ways to stabilise the global climate is the biggest human security problem of our day.

But Hansen puts far too much weight on the market mechanism of price signals through carbon tax. Tax is necessary but not sufficient. The urgent sound of the four horsemen of the climate apocalypse is bearing down upon us, like Tolkien’s ring-wraiths riding in black. We need dramatic sudden change or they will kill us. Tax reform did not stop Hitler, and nor will it stop the evil momentum of carbon extraction.

Despite his bold language, Hansen retains a scientific caution regarding moral argument. He expressed doubt about the merit of condemning his enemies as wicked. He does not describe global warming as an apocalyptic clash between the forces of good and evil, although that is precisely what it is. Evil must be named and fought. The evil vested interests of business as usual have poisoned the public mind so they can keep poisoning our air.

Good and evil are religious concepts. As a scientist, Hansen does not wish to express the moral certainty of a religious evangelist who preaches that the end of the world is nigh. He is no John the Baptist preaching in the wilderness with a message of forgiveness for the repentance of sin. But that is what we need. The world of fossil fuels is at an end, and we behold a new heaven and a new earth, a sustainable planetary ecology. The psychological mystery of how people can ignore the big story of planetary survival is essentially a religious problem, grounded in old deep concepts of human identity as spiritual rather than natural.

We need a new global natural spirituality, repenting of the false religion of the last age. The alienation of human spirituality from nature is at the core of the economic and political drivers of our present climate rampage.

The Bible tells us at Revelation 11:18 that the wrath of God is against those who destroy the earth. This little-known verse would surprise many if they pondered it, since it shows that God is with those who are working to sustain human life, not against us. Scientists are so used to seeing religion as an enemy that they have left the powerful resources of religion to the false prophets of supernatural redemption and their farcical magic stories of rapture. But as this verse from Revelation 11:18 shows, religion can itself be redeemed as a force for good against evil. A new Christian reformation can build on the observation that only a God can save us, recognising that God can only work through natural science.

We truly are lost and fallen, stumbling about stupidly in the dark, fouling our own nest with CO2 emissions that are a ticking time bomb. Rather than build a secular consensus, we need a global transformation of thinking for a new age, placing the mythical messianic stories of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ within the entirely scientific understanding of our real planetary fate. Hansen provides essential steps along this path.

Robert Tulip, 25 December 2012


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Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
Climate scientists are revising estimates of how hot the planet will get. In short, it's not as bad as it first seemed. In terms of climate sensitivity, the higher prognostications are being revised to reflect a more moderate increase.

This can be viewed as giving us more time to reduce carbon emissions. Andrew Revkin here also discusses briefly the problem of tribalism that exists in climate science circles, a mindset that resists this more moderate view of warming trends.

http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/ ... nsitivity/

By the way, this is science at work. We are now several years into studying the problem of global warming and getting a more refined and probably a more accurate picture of what's going on.

One thing's for certain though. There's still a tremendous amount of uncertainty with respect to global warming. Another certainty is that fossil fuel use is till very much on the rise and will remain so in the near future.


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Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:14 pm
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Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
An article, Some Like It Hot!, published in the New York Review of Books on May 9, 2013, written by Bill McKibben, investigates implications for security analysis of global warming. The emerging scientific consensus is that a hotter world must be avoided because climate change presents high risk of the collapse of civilization. Here I summarise McKibben’s article. The original, with sources, is at http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archive ... ke-it-hot/

The Arctic has only one fifth as much sea ice as in 1980. The planet is heating up fast. Arctic vegetation zones have moved seven degrees latitude towards the North Pole since 1983. Global warming is melting the Arctic with likely catastrophic feedback loops. We will find out soon what effect further increases will bring.

Our political and economic systems have a constant push to extract more oil and gas and coal. Exxon plans to double its oil exploration area. A new oil find in California was reported to be four times larger than a patch in North Dakota, which was itself compared to Saudi Arabia. In Australia, a shale oil find has estimated recoverable reserves worth $20 trillion.

The mighty political power of the fossil fuel industry has so far been enough to obliterate reason. The US Government has passed no real climate legislation. A few countries have made efforts, but in most places the fossil fuel industry has prevailed by funding disinformation and by purchasing governments.

The facts are noble and despairing. Academic and bureaucratic warnings provide only faint hope that we’re still capable as a species of recognizing oncoming catastrophe and heading it off before it reaches its full-blown form. The US National Research Council has prepared a report for the US intelligence community which finds that security analysts should expect climate surprises to become progressively more serious and frequent. Things are bad already and getting worse. Climate change will bring catastrophic effects on water, food, migration and diseases. Yellow fever, for example, is likely to produce large, explosive fatal epidemics. Climate change makes systems unstable, multiplying threats, as seen in the link between drought-induced rises in food prices and the Arab Spring.

The US Navy’s senior Pacific commander, Samuel J. Locklear III, said that climate change “is probably the most likely thing …that will cripple the security environment, probably more likely than the other scenarios we all often talk about …There is real potential … of nations displaced by rising sea level… Weather patterns are more severe than they have been in the past. We are on super typhoon twenty-seven or twenty-eight this year in the Western Pacific. The average is about seventeen. … It is imperative to get military capabilities aligned for when the effects of climate change start to impact massive populations… You could have hundreds of thousands or millions of people displaced and then security will start to crumble pretty quickly.”

The World Bank has made climate change a priority. Turn Down the Heat, published by the Bank in 2012 points out that current policies will produce a world at least four degrees warmer. Different policies could keep the rise below two degrees. The 4°C scenarios would cause inundation of coastal cities, malnutrition, drought, flood, unprecedented heat waves, high-intensity tropical cyclones; and irreversible loss of biodiversity, including coral reef systems. We would experience a completely new class of heat waves, with magnitudes never experienced before in human history. The rise in heat and humidity we’ve already experienced has reduced by about 10 per cent the amount of outdoor work humans can do. In the coming century, conditions in the southern USA will prevent sustained outdoor work. The urgency required by these facts is not however on display. The World Bank continues to finance large-scale coal projects.

The Keystone Pipeline is for the dirtiest extraction of the dirtiest crude from the tar sands in Canada’s far north. It seeks to lock in dangerous emission levels for many decades. Keystone is a powerful symbol for the whole damned category. When you’re in a hole, stop digging.

A second Dark Age has fallen on Western civilization, in which denial and self-deception have disabled the world’s powerful nations in the face of tragedy, leading to a “Great Collapse.” It sounds both biblical and like something out of science fiction, but it is painfully real. What remains to be seen is whether reality still has any traction in our public life.

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archive ... ke-it-hot/


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Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
Cover story in the May Atlantic: "We Will Never Run Out of Oil: Why the fossil-fuel boom is good for America, bad for Saudi Arabia--and scary for the planet," by Charles C. Mann.

The title intends to be provocative, as is the habit with this magazine. The point Mann makes is simply that "there will always be petroleum to mine later," even if due to current costs of extraction we have turned to alternate sources. This article talks about a petroleum source being hotly pursued by the Japanese and others without domestic petro supplies: methane hydrate, deposits from dead organic matter lying in layers on the ocean floor. The projected reserves are fairly staggering. Not just Japan, but much of the world could be freed from reliance on Mideast oil. The lesson is that in the category of alternative fuels, petroleum is effectively one of them and the one that nations will continue to find the most desirable. Just when we believed, because of the now-outmoded threat of Peal Oil, that solar, wind, etc. were our only ways out of energy scarcity, the ingenuity of our species comes to the "rescue." Here in the U.S., without any use of methane hydrate, we're projected to be able to meet our energy needs within 20 years or so, largely due to fracking for oil and gas. "Fracking" doesn't get by my spell check, but that will soon change.

The natural gas boom is said to be good environmentally, but Mann points out that gas is only relatively clean-burning. Gas is okay as a bridge fuel but still far from benign. If leaks from wells aren't stopped, natural gas may in fact be no better for the planet than oil and coal.

I sometimes think of all of us as like beavers, who are said to need to keep chewing away at trees because if they don't their front choppers will grow into their brains. They can't stop; we can't stop.



Sun May 19, 2013 7:32 am
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Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
Headed for the apocalypse...

Quote:
Burn our planet or face financial meltdown. Not much of a choice
Last week's collapse of a European carbon emissions scheme makes an agreed approach to climate change all the more urgent

o Will Hutton
o The Observer, Sunday 21 April 2013

The polluted town of Huaxi in China, where excessive carbon use isn't penalised. Photograph: Carlos Barria/Reuters
The world is going to fry – unless there is change soon. There is weakening political will to make national and international targets for carbon reduction stick, no strong business and financial coalition prepared to lead and a weakening groundswell of public opinion prepared to foot the bill.
Instead, the international consensus of 25 years ago – that the world must act to challenge climate change – is dissolving. Individual countries are trying to steal a march on each other in a race to the bottom, dropping whatever scant penalties there have been for burning fossil fuels.
This new political geography has been obvious ever since the Copenhagen talks collapsed in 2009, but last week the speed with which ground is being lost became sickeningly obvious. The European parliament refused to back a stop-gap measure to save the European carbon emissions trading scheme. This allows EU companies economising on carbon to sell an allowance to those who are less efficient.
The theory is that the higher the price, the greater the incentive to economise on carbon use and the greater the value in being carbon efficient. But overloaded with sellers and too few buyers, because policing the use of carbon is completely ineffective, the European carbon price has collapsed. The European Commission proposed to clear away the backlog of sellers with a one-off buyout of the overhang of carbon permits and so support the price, but parliament was not prepared to back the cost. The scheme is as good as dead.
What's more, a new report, Unburnable Carbon 2013, showed that stock markets worldwide are cumulatively valuing coal, oil and energy companies' huge reserves of fossil fuels as if they will all be burned, even though, at best, only 40% could ever be used if the world is to cap the increase in global temperatures by 2C this century. Further, in 2012, the top 200 energy companies spent $674bn on finding new reserves, reinforcing the collective absurdity. In other words, there is either a carbon bubble with investors and companies wildly over-speculating on the value of owning fuel reserves that can never be burned, or nobody believes there is the remotest chance that the world will stick to the limits on fossil fuel use congruent with containing global warming.
The report's authors, the Carbon Tracker Initiative and the LSE's Grantham Research Institute, gamely assume the former and thus warn that the world stands on the verge of another financial crisis. The world's top 200 fossil fuel companies are currently valued at $4trn, with $1.5trn of debt. But that implies they would burn all their carbon reserves, increasing global temperatures by at least 6C, with untold consequences for life on Earth. As that is too awful to contemplate, there is a rapidly approaching moment of reckoning for world stock markets as the realisation grows that valuations and business strategies are self-defeatingly irrational – and $4trn of value could be suddenly halved.
The markets are only reflecting the political and cultural reality. A decade-long fierce fight-back by the conservative right, especially in the Anglo-Saxon world against what it sees as environmental socialism, has struck a near-fatal blow to the climate change case. Climate change deniers insist that the volatility in world weather patterns and the rise in temperatures evident in the rapidly melting Arctic are most likely natural phenomena and the science is wrong. Or, even if it is right, the better option is to adapt to climate change rather than give in to "socialism" to prevent it.
It is a case history of how today's political economy works, with the US the heartland of a dysfunctionality that has spread across the west. It is impossible to muster a congressional majority for what the right depicts as policies that are anti-American, anti-liberty and – given the shale gas revolution – unnecessary. It took some bravery from President Obama, in the land of free expression, even to mention that climate change was a challenge in his victory speech last November.
The long-contained depression, coupled with rising energy prices and squeezed living standards, makes matters harder still. Consumers don't want to pay even higher energy prices for either renewables or nuclear fuel, or taxes to subsidise their production. They just want cheap energy. Companies resent any kind of levy that makes their energy costs higher and point out that any levy's impact would result in production being relocated to countries that don't penalise excessive carbon use – China and almost all of Asia. There is growing awe of the US shale gas revolution and a keenness to copy it and there are fewer and fewer voices in business who make the case for green technologies. Of course, world stock markets think that the 200 top companies will burn all the fossil fuel they own and encourage them to find more: who is going to stop them? For the time being, nobody.
But keep faith with democracy, science and the power of argument. One of the reasons Obama won the election was the devastation wreaked by hurricane Sandy in the days before the election, following a drought in the Midwest. It was obvious to most Americans that weather patterns are changing. This spring in Britain is one more piece of evidence. The links to the exponential growth of carbon in the atmosphere are indisputable. Galileo had to take on the Catholic church to prove the world was round, today's scientists have to take on the right to prove that climate change is man-made.
Contemporary capitalism faces both a crisis of legitimacy and effectiveness. We have been told for a generation that self-organising markets and business, with minimal public intervention and oversight, are the route to wealth generation, prosperity and jobs – justifying the self-serving extravagant rewards for those at the top. Bankers claimed that their actions as debt levels reached irrational levels were sound. We know differently. Now fossil fuel companies and business are saying the same about burning oil, coal and gas.
Western people will sooner or later agitate for change, as will China's millions as pollution makes its cities unbearable. Nobody wants a return to the command and control economies that failed. What is needed is a new vision of how to do capitalism in which enlightened self-interest is hard-wired into its operation, saving us from decades of austerity and environmental disaster. There are instruments at hand – the Unburnable Carbon report sets some of them out – and they mesh with larger arguments for stakeholder capitalism. The political task is to bind them together to underpin a new consensus and a new narrative. There is no time to lose.


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Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
I have successfully reached the second round of an MIT competition for geoengineering concepts, for my Large Scale Ocean Based Algae Production proposal. The Climate Collaboration (CoLab) competition is run by the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence.

The website link to my proposal is at climatecolab.org/web/guest/plans/-/plan ... ESCRIPTION

The competition reviewers have provided detailed and constructive comments, to which I have just responded.


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Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
Since methane gas has 20 times the potential than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, we must capture this gas instead of releasing it into the atmosphere. One way this is being done today is by dairy farms trapping methane from cow manure and producing electricity.
Let me give a basic explanation of how they collect methane gas from cow manure. They collect and move the manure to a large lagoon. Most of the methanogenic bacteria are present in the manure. However, they can add more of these bacteria to speed up the anaerobic digestion of this organic waste. For the anaerobic process to occur, they must cover the lagoon with a nonporous cover. This biological process occurs in what is referred to as a methane digester. This captured methane gas is purified and is equivalent to natural gas which can be used to fire up electrical generators and produce all the electricity needed for the dairy farm. Any excess electricity is sold to the local power company.
The idea of using this alternate energy source inspired me to write an environmental thriller novel entitled Green Power. My protagonist sets up these methane digesters on dairy farms. However, when an epidemic breaks out pointing to the methane lagoon as the cause, the safety of this alternate source of energy is questioned.
My book also points out the problems of using nuclear energy for our power needs. Still, I feel we must find other sources than fossil fuels for our energy needs.


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Post Re: Climate Apocalypse
Round Two of the MIT Climate Competition has closed. I have updated my proposal in response to comments. Here is the summary. More detail on proposed actions and benefits and sources is at the link.

climatecolab.org/web/guest/plans/-/plan ... Id/1302503

Plastic tubes of fresh water floating at sea (waterbags) power an algae photobioreactor (PBR) using wave and tide energy to produce algae with a method that is ecologically friendly, commercially profitable and rapidly scalable to slow climate change and replace fossil fuel. Moving with the waves or tide, a waterbag can pump nutrient-rich water and CO2-enriched air into a PBR to suck carbon from the air at low cost. Bubbling CO2 up through the PBR will maximise algae growth to convert CO2 into fuel and food products. The algated soup produced by the PBR will be pumped into sealed bags and sunk to the ocean floor to settle, forming a carbon bank of oil and protein. Using nutrient-rich waste water in the pilot phase, use of salt water PBR input may be possible later. The eventual aim is to mine more carbon from the air than total human emissions.

This system can cool and clean the water in the Gulf of Mexico, reducing heat input to the Gulf Stream and therefore the Arctic, aiming to reduce hurricane intensity, polar ice melt and methane release. As a breakthrough method to drive CO2 levels down to a safe level and reverse local ocean heating and acidity, the big aim is to work out the fastest, safest and most cost-effective way to stabilise the global climate, as a Gaia Project.

Current trends will lead to catastrophic global warming in our lifetimes. CO2 is a primary security threat. Human ingenuity has to work with nature to remove excess CO2 from the air. First, governments and communities need to be confident that a proposed technology is beneficial and well regulated, and that all risks are understood.

Algae PBRs have already produced biomass yield double the fastest growing crops and could more than double this rate yet again. My proposal addresses problems of the cost of land, labour, materials and energy inputs. Algae farms at sea can be profitable to replicate around the world, while protecting the environment against climate change and habitat loss.


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