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Time For Some Climate Honesty

Half-truths are doing no good
Friday, August 3, 2018, 11:35 AM

Let’s assume that you have doubts about 'global warming'.  

Some people do and, truthfully, we utterly lack the ability to accurately model how much warming will happen, where and by when (emphasis on accurately).  

The reason is not for lack of trying or continual learning and model refinement, but centers on the complexity of the task.

Even seemingly simple systems that are actually complex are impossible to predictively model. An example is a pile of sand growing grain by grain that will finally slump at some unpredictable time and in an unpredictable way. You would think that such a simple system could be accurately modeled, but that’s not the case. Exactly when the pile will finally slump is unpredictable. Exactly how large the resulting slump will be is also unpredictable. The “when” and the “how much” are unknowable (using current modeling techniques).

All that can be calculated for certain is that a higher pile with steeper sides/areas (a.k.a. “fingers of instability”) is more likely to slump sooner and more catastrophically.

Now consider the tasks laid out before the global climate modelers where feedback loops abound, unknown variables still lurk, and the final result is the summation of multiple interacting complex systems. It’s not a pile of sand granules, it’s a gigantic interconnected system composed of heat flows, cloud formation, wind and oceanic patterns and currents, variable solar and cosmic radiation, volcanoes and dust and jet trails and a thousand other inputs all interreacting with and influencing each other…in unpredictable ways.

It’s chaos theory (i.e. the butterfly effect) which means it’s way beyond anything we can currently model with any accuracy or confidence. However, the inability to model the exact nature and timing of the “slumps” and magnitudes (to draw from our sand pile analogy) does not detract from the observation that the “fingers of instability” are growing.

Because greenhouse gasses trap heat by preventing it from radiating out to space more heat is being retained within the system. We know that for sure and the science is very settled. CO2 is a prime greenhouse gas, although not the strongest, and it is accumulating at a very rapid pace:

(Source)

What happens next? We don’t know. If the system were linear we could simply measure the concentration of greenhouse gasses, factor in solar input (which varies over time), and then tell you how many degrees of warming and by when.

But the system is anything but linear.

What we don’t know is if the climate models have erred by overstating or understating the rate of global warming that will result. It could proceed faster than we think or slower, maybe a lot faster or a lot slower. Honestly, it could be either way. The range of uncertainty is huge.

The warming will also certainly not be evenly spread. Some places will warm up a lot and some will actually cool down, such as has been postulated for the UK and other parts of northern Europe if/when the Atlantic gulf stream conveyor belt slows down and slides to the briny depths, no longer delivering vast amounts of southern Atlantic heat to the north.

Actually, that’s already happened:

Atlantic ‘conveyor belt’ has slowed by 15% since mid-20th century

Apr 11, 2018

The Atlantic Ocean current that brings warm water up to Europe from the tropics has weakened by 15% since the middle of the last century, new research suggests.

Two studies, published in the journal Nature, use different approaches to show that the “Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation” (AMOC) is in a weaker state now than it has been for decades – and possibly even centuries.

The two studies differ on when and how they think the weakening was triggered. While one suggests it began in the mid-20th century as a response to human-caused climate change, the second proposes that it began a hundred years earlier following a natural shift in regional climate.

Despite the debate on when the weakening started, the studies agree that there has been a “continued decline in AMOC over the 20th century that may be attributed to recent global warming and melting of the Greenland ice sheet”, one author tells Carbon Brief.

The Atlantic Ocean plays host to a perpetual conveyor belt that transports heat from the equator up to the North Atlantic. The warm water that the AMOC carries northwards releases heat into the atmosphere, which means it plays a crucial role in keeping Western Europe warm. Without it, for example, winters in the UK would be around 5C colder.

(Source)

If that conveyor belt breaks down, the UK suddenly discovers that its winters have a lot more in common with Hudson Bay (its actual latitude) than Virginia Beach.

Some models have predictions that the jet stream will become unreliable, and wobble out of its normal patterns bringing unseasonable cold (as New England and much of Europe experienced this “spring” which almost didn’t seem to happen as we stayed in winter mode and then lurched suddenly into summer) and allowing extreme heatwaves to settle in.

Actually, that’s already happened and here in August of 2018 much of the northern hemisphere is locked in a vicious heat wave. Records are being broken daily, and often by a lot.

Europe's all-time heat record could fall this weekend

Aug 2, 2018

A building heat wave in Portugal and Spain threatens to topple national and all-time high temperature records in a continuation of a series of remarkable heat waves that have roasted the Northern Hemisphere this summer.

The big picture: The heat wave will be most intense in Portugal, Spain and parts of France, although the U.K. will also see above average temperatures for this time of year. In Spain and Portugal, the fire danger will climb to dangerous levels as temperatures soar, humidity levels plunge, and downslope winds increase.

A massive high-pressure ridge, with a clockwise circulation of air around it, will pump hot, dry air filled with dust from the Sahara Desert into the Iberian Peninsula through the weekend. Already on Thursday, the high temperature in Alvega, Portugal reached 44.6°C, or about 112°F, according to the U.K. Met Office.

By the numbers: The heat is expected to crank up in coming days, with computer models projecting astonishing high temperatures of at least 118°F to 122°F, or 50°C, in southwest Spain and Portugal during the next few days.

(Source)

What’s happened here is that the usual steering jet stream pattern has gone missing which has allowed a persistent high pressure system to squat over Europe and funnel heat up from Africa for days on end.

The associated crop failures are astounding. Heat misery and deaths are climbing especially in places that are so unused to heat that they lack any appreciable numbers of airconditioned buildings in which to escape the heat.

‘Furnace Friday:’ Ill-Equipped for Heat, Britain Has a Meltdown

Jul 27, 2018

The monthlong heat wave has broken records, spawned wildfires in Wales and England, spurred delays in the transportation system and given birth to names like “Furnace Friday,” as Britons tried to find ways to describe this puzzling pain.

“Shops are out of fans, ice, sun cream, ice cream, and there’s a water shortage that has left our beautiful, lush parks all parched and yellow,” said Lucy Thornton, 36, an interior designer, as she walked into a west London cafe on Friday in search of cold water.

“We’re not equipped for this,” she added, “so it feels kind of apocalyptic.

Unlike other European countries that are accustomed to coping with hot weather, Britain had what others saw as a meltdown because it generally lacks the infrastructure and resources to deal with the effects of long spells of high temperatures.

(Source)

As far north as the arctic circle, above it actually, temperatures of over 32C (90F) have driven people and reindeer alike into the water.

(Source)

Records are being broken all over the place, smashed in some cases:

Death Valley Smashes Heat Record, 2nd Year in a Row

Aug 1, 2018

For the second year in a row, July in California's Death Valley National Park snagged the award for the "hottest month ever." Congratulations to this national treasure that is truly an unstoppable inferno.

Death Valley's Furnace Creek weather station recorded an average temperature of 108.1 degrees F (42.2 degrees C), according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's temperature database, xmACIS2.

To add to the misery, a whopping 21 days in July saw maximum temperatures of 120 degrees F (48.9 degrees C) or higher in Death Valley. While unusual, that stretch of days is, surprisingly, not a record for this area; 29 days in July 1917 reached temperatures of 120 degrees F (48.9 degrees C) or higher.

(Source)

Temperature records are being smashed which is an amazing feat because so many records were just broken last year.

2017 shatters global climate records including highest sea levels, hottest year without El Niño

2017 shattered various climate records, including the highest global temperature for a non-El Niño year, lowest Arctic sea ice extent, highest sea levels as well as greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, according to the American Meteorological Society's 2017 State of the Climate report released on Aug. 1, 2018.

(Source)

To add to this the Arctic sea ice extent is withering away under all of the intense arctic heat and may even break the all-time low set in 2012. I predicted this, rather casually and unscientifically, when I was freezing my butt off this winter. Each arctic cold snap was the loss of a gigantic blob of cold air from the arctic. That was like a resource it lost that came south and so I surmised that there would be less cold and more heat up there this summer. Ergo less ice.

(Source)

Maybe that’s a too-simplistic view of things, but the ice loss is very real at the moment and some are concerned that a “blue ocean” event is far closer than we think for the arctic. While the decrepit mainstream media nearly always wraps that idea up in the prospect of easier shipping or more oil and mineral exploration, what should really be at the center of our attention is the prospect of what will happen to weather patterns in the mid-latitudes due to the fact that blue oceans absorb and retain heat in far greater amounts than white ice.

While we don’t really know yet, the effects of all that new heat up north could be both quick and extreme, which you might say we’re already seeing in our abnormally harsh winters and brutal summers.

The question always emerges, what can we do?

Climate Change Movement Needs Some Honesty

I have some experience being the deliverer of tough news. The Crash Course takes an unflinching look at the intersection of the economy, energy and environment and concludes that our entire way of life, the very systems of money and economy that deliver our daily comfort are unsustainable.

Harsh message, right?

Then why was it so successfully propagated? Why did the Crash Course reach millions of people, and influence so many thousands of them to reshape their view of the world and take entirely new actions as a result?

Because I told the truth, as best I understood it, and did not pull any punches.

As the evidence mounts and the world is “on fire” here in the summer of 2018, I continue to be baffled and annoyed by the climate change spokespeople who hurt their own aims by failing to be honest and complete in their answers about what needs to be done.

I was listening to an NPR piece talking about the scorching summer and the climate advocate they had on was asked quite directly “so what can we do?” The answers he gave were evasive and incomplete. “We should return to the Paris Climate accord.” “People should examine their own carbon footprint and try to reduce it.”

Utter rubbish!

Here’s the unvarnished truth.

Cutting carbon by 50% right now would result in massive starvation and the collapse of our economy and financial system as we know it. Massive joblessness, deprivation, and suffering would result. We are utterly addicted to fossil fuels and the constant barrage of “solar this” and “wind that” along with a daily dose of Elon Musk has blinkered most people to the true reality; ending fossil fuel use will be painful.

Full stop.

Very few are ready or able to hear that message, and the masses certainly aren’t, which is why the mainstream media goes out of its way to avoid bringing in voices that say such things.

Surplus energy is the lifeblood of any economy. Fossil fuels delivered the greatest and most concentrated burst of surplus energy ever enjoyed by any one species. Removing that surplus energy would shove the entire machinery of our industrial economy into reverse. Living standards would slip. Easy comforts would vanish. What we’d experience as hard times would return, although every single generation prior to 1900 would simply call that ‘life.’

There’s no political will for enforced simplicity or deprivation. Every possible element of the status quo machinery is arrayed towards the advancement of business as usual.

That’s just how it is…but you can feel the fear creeping in, the concern mounting as the world burns and the ice melts.

Nobody has a clue what to do about it because the answer is just too painful to consider.

So it’s time for some honesty.

Here’s what’s on the table:

This is Armageddon Summer in the northern hemisphere: out-of-control wildfires all around the Arctic Circle (not to mention California and Greece), weeks-long heatwaves with unprecedented high temperatures, torrential downpours and Biblical floods. And yes, it's climate change.

It's quite appropriate to be frightened, because the summers will be much worse 10 years from now, and much worse again 10 years after that. Prompt and drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions now might stop the summers of the 2040s from being even worse, but they wouldn't do much to lessen the mounting misery of the next 20 years.

Those emissions are mostly in the atmosphere already.

[For humans] food is the key issue: as warming turns whole regions into desert, mass starvation is imaginable, although actual extinction seems improbable. It's also still possible that we will react fast enough to stop well short of mass death.

The situation is quite grim. Bad news, of course, but when you find yourself in a high-stakes game you should know what the stakes are.

(Source – canfield oceans)

If the oceans warm even further and then fail to turn over because circulation has collapsed, as seems increasingly likely, then the deep oceans will be deprived of oxygen, which means anaerobic bacteria will begin to produce hydrogen sulfide. That, in turn, will wipe out all the life in the ocean and most or all of it on the surface of the planet as has happened 3 or 4 other times throughout geologic history.

That’s what’s at stake, and the climate change activists and mainstream media cannot bring themselves to say the truth; cutting carbon means cutting jobs, reducing the easy abundance of our modern lives. It means making huge changes that practically nobody is ready or willing to make. It means applying self-imposed limits and admitting that our entire economic model is not just unsustainable, but self-destructive.

Which is why telling the truth matters. It’s why you don’t attempt an intervention on a drunk by telling them pleasant half-truths like “sometimes, Dave, when you drink you are little bit unreasonable, but not all the time, and I think we should hold some more meetings about that in the future.”

You say what needs to be said straight up, and brutally true. “Dave, your drinking makes you a complete asshole who nobody wants to be around and if you keep it up you’re going to die early and miserable and alone.”

Here’s my message to the world: If we don’t stop the destruction of the planet's ecosystems, we’re totally screwed.

So it’s time for some honesty. No, we’re not going to save anything at all by driving sexy electric cars. Instead we need to reconfigure our lives so we are not driving so much or at all.

We need to stop washing topsoil into the sea and begin farming in ways that build soils and store carbon.

We need to wean ourselves off of eating fossil fuels.

A lot of bullshit jobs are going to go away, themselves merely an artifact of surplus energy and the false belief that a 40-hour work week is some sort of honorable necessity.

Retirement? That too was an artifact of surplus energy and it’s already crumbling as an idea for the vast majority of US citizens who lack any retirement savings and depend on pensions and Social Security that simply won’t be there.

But mostly we have to give up on this crazy idea of infinite growth on a finite planet. That’s a relic of our system of money, and the sooner we do away with debt-backed fiat money the better. It was a passable idea in 1913, it’s a disastrous idea here in 2018.

None of these changes are going to be easy, but fibbing to ourselves and white-washing the “solutions” and understating the risks harms the cause.

A proper intervention requires unflinching truth.

So let’s have that discussion.

In Part 2: Building Resilience in a Warming World we discuss considerations for where to live and where not to live based on various climate and weather-related threats. If you're considering moving, or already planning to move, then you'll want to read Part 2 and join the conversation with our subscriber community.

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81 Comments

debu's picture
debu
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
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Posts: 237
Milestone

Outstanding post (along with its companion piece). In confronting this topic head-on it marks something of a milestone for PP.

My only quibbles with it are:

  • the coming out was long overdue but good on CM anyway;
  • there was no need to bring my drinking into it:)

Naomi Klein, who is so good on some topics has a wrongheaded article in The Intercept today blaming climate change on capitalism rather than human nature.  But what is capitalism if not an expression of human nature? CM has the prognosis exactly right, I believe, as grim as it might be. 

 

robie robinson's picture
robie robinson
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On point

However, each of us mustn’t hesitate to get our mare settled. She and her offspring will ensure a pleasurable transition. Working, even today, with low no carbon energy is satisfying. Fullfilling my existential bucket while delighting in natural relationships.

Imagine the realized joy of working with a willing partner who was genetically arranged by my ancestors to be both capable and willing to throw shoulder into labor for good of the herd.

There is some hope in the coming days

Mark_BC's picture
Mark_BC
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Congratulations on writing

Congratulations on writing this since so many in the alternative movement are "AGW deniers". I predit there will be lots of comments on this one!

Cutting carbon by 50% right now would result in massive starvation and the collapse of our economy and financial system as we know it. Massive joblessness, deprivation, and suffering would result. We are utterly addicted to fossil fuels and the constant barrage of “solar this” and “wind that” along with a daily dose of Elon Musk has blinkered most people to the true reality; ending fossil fuel use will be painful.

Just one comment: I generally agree but I think the reason we'd see starvation is simply because the monetary / financial system isn't currently set up to allow society to function without growth. Think about this: how much would carbon emissions drop if the world stopped growing: WAAYY less mining which is a huge consumer of FF's; little more construction except for simply maintaining the existing infrastructure; half the workforce who are currently employed in some sector of the economy that is growing could instead spend most of their time at home because their services wouldn't be needed anymore and therefore wouldn't need so much fuel for transportation; manufacturing would decrease substantially. We'd still need FF's to make food however. Overall, ending growth would probably result in about a 50% drop in emissions. But this would result in mass starvation because half the workforce would be unemployed and unable to support themselves.

My point: we could, if we really wanted to, cut carbon emissions by 50% next year, if "we" wanted to, and it would actually result in an improvement to most people's quality of life. This would require a complete overhaul of the financial and monetary system so that the 50% of the population who would become unemployed would somehow be supported. That's not going to happen because it would entail the elites giving back to the masses what they have stolen and re-working the finaincial system so that the elites can no longer accumulate further wealth. The world would have to basically fall apart before this happens; and by that time it will be too late. Don't mean to be a pessimist but that's the way I see it; I am a realist.

We will maintain BAU until the bitter end:

treebeard's picture
treebeard
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Robie as soooo right

The lives people are living now are not good, disconnected disaffected stressed unhappy.  When people become disassociated from the natural systems that support them, a kind of unhealthy insanity seems to infect their lives.  The two most popular hobbies these days are gardening and geneology.  People are desperate about reestablishing connections.  I you will see this moving ahead at an astonishing pace, which is a good thing, we are going to need a lot of people living a lot closer to the land doing truly useful things in the near future.

whoknew79's picture
whoknew79
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Posts: 6
Way overdue

Since 2014, I have moved away from PP.com because there wasn't a discussion of this issue. I see climate change as the single biggest issue that we are facing. Mass death is probable and human extinction is possible. The data that Guy Mcpherson collated appears to be more correct than wrong. We are looking at abrupt, irreversible climate change. Recently, Chris Martenson penned two posts that had language that caught my attention. He was using phrases that were reminicent of Guy Mcpherson. Climate change will be much faster and much worse than most realize.

robshepler's picture
robshepler
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Posts: 112
As a grower we are looking ahead...

Zone change! The USDA effectively moved us down the mountain a few miles. We are re-looking at our 100 year old apple orchard and planning ahead for peaches. We are also looking at growing them in high tunnels to protect against our late frosts, early frosts and mid summer hail. We are watching the big growers doing the same. The end result will be higher food costs for everyone.

Drought stress has hammered many of the growers in the southwest as we compete with veggies flowing across our borders from third world economies (the wal-mart factor), a strong dollar makes prices even lower. At a time when our growers need to be investing in the future, margins are tight.

LesPhelps's picture
LesPhelps
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Posts: 811
Global Warming, Sixth Mass Extinction...

Excellent article.  There is no painless way to mitigate what is happening.

The handwriting is on the wall, in bloody, bold caps!

First, I believe the climate is changing and warming is part of it.  

I also believe that proponents of global warming have made massive mistakes and that some of the "science" employed has been, not so scientific.

I still have not heard a valid reason why both NASA and NOAA have rewritten climate temperature history by replacing historic recorded temperatures, in their databases, with lower numbers.  

One of the consequences of this is that, now, when they say a record high temperature is being broken, I never know if it's true, or if it is just a case where todays temperature is higher than any of the changed database numbers at NASA or NOAA.  It's a sad state of affairs.

Regardless, we each need to change.  If that causes temporary disruption in jobs and industry, then, that's the price we need to pay.  If the transition results in a population decline, that is also a price that we must live with.  As Chris pointed out, there is no benign fix, nor can we completely avoid what is happening.

I'm just over two months into a WFPB diet (no animal sourced foods).  Late last week, my primary physician cleared me to get off of the blood pressure medecine I've been taking for almost a decade.  I've lost 17 lbs, so far, look better, feel better and have more energy.   And, I'm not supporting the animal agriculture industry and barely supporting the processed food industry.

If you haven't done so yet, watch the documentary "Forks Over Knives," or read the book "The China Study" and join the anti cardio vascular disease protest movement, while helping to save the planet at the same time.

There is some compelling evidence that people who eat plant based diets, while sparingly driving an F150 are more green than meat eating Prius drivers.

Or, keep doing what you are doing.  But:

Quote:

      "If you keep doing what you are doing, you will keep getting what you are getting."

 

Hotrod's picture
Hotrod
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Posts: 187
Useless Jobs

While driving down the main street of our tourist town my son blurted out, "Do you have any idea how many of these tourist shops are unnecessary?  We concluded that practically all of them would go out of business in an economic reset.  And with them the jobs generated by selling knicknacks, trinkets, and collectibles.

If people only made a few more home-cooked meals the fast food business would collapse as it is so overbuilt.

 

Carl's picture
Carl
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Posts: 24
Animals

LesPhelps,

I am happy for you that the diet you have chosen works well you. I completely agree with your indictment of the industrial agriculture system we currently enjoy. It is bad for customers (eaters), workers, animals, and the soil. It serves only to enrich those at the very top of the agri-business companies.

Animals, however, are not the problem. Ruminants raised on pasture, as they should be, enrich the soil and provide productive use of non-tillable land. (Should we discuss the horrible effects of tilling on soil health?) I will grant you that many in the West eat more meat than we need, but please explain how crops will be raised without fossil fuel or animals.

My recollection is that you were one of the first commenters to objectively point the finger at over population as the source of most of our problems. I could not agree more. I see no solution as it appears we are just wired that way.

David Huang's picture
David Huang
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Posts: 77
daylilies and milkweed

Thank you Chris for putting forth some of brutal honesty of the situation.  I'll add something that I've come to realize for a while now.  Because of the scale of change needed, and the effects such change would have to have if it were effective on what we consider normal modern life real leadership on this will never come from the political/government realm.  That naturally means we can't count on some anonymous "they" to start or do the actions needed. 

The good news is that anyone who really wants to see these changes happen doesn't need permission from a government agency to take action in their own lives immediately.  I feel like it's this sort of individual action that is the only place the sort of real cultural change we need can start anyway.

More good news is that this sort of life doesn't have to be one of awful misery.  In basic economic terms living on less translates into needing less money to live, which can translate into either needing to work paying jobs less, being able to live well on lower paying jobs, or rapidly building up savings.  I say this as someone who has been on this path for many years now, living a good life on a modest income with a much smaller ecological footprint that the average american.  Mind you, I'm far from perfect.  I'm still learning and trying to get better.  My current personal challenge is to get my monthly living expenses under $500 on a consistant basis.  To that end one of my approaches this year has been to drasically cut my grocery bill by eating food I've grown myself. 

This leads me to a small actionable tip I thought I'd share from what I've learned this year so far.  It can help to recognize that "food" is not just what we find in grocery stores.  There are many other food plants that are perfectly good, easier to grow, and more sustainable.  Two I've really been focusing on this year are daylilies and common milkweed.  Both of these are perennial plants.  Both of these grow wild in my region, though I will say that I've planted several other varieties of daylillies beyond just the ones that were already growing here.  Why I've also liked these so much this year when I'm trying to eat mostly from what grows here is that they both give a steady supply of food over a long period of time, rather than a large crop all at once.  The large crop all at once is a trait desired for grocery stores but not so much when eating directly from the garden.  Daylilies provide early spring greens from the young tender shoots.  They seem to be some of the earliest greens around here.  Then the buds and daily flowers provide significant volumes of food over a period of weeks during the summer.  I didn't plan it this way, but a happy thing happened with the other varieties I planted.  They don't all reach the flowering stage at the same time, some are earlier and some later.  So I've been able to daily harvest buds and/or flowers for a couple months now, and I've still got one variety going.  Daylilies also produce an edible tuber, though I admit to not having tried these yet as I've been wanting to develop my colonies more rapidly.

With the common milkweed it's a similar thing.  The early shoots are edible, though again I will admit I haven't used these much yet.  I need to next year.  Then the buds, flower clusters, and immature pods are all good food which have been available daily for many weeks now.  Milkweed does need to be cooked.  I've found it to be massively abundant for providing food, esp. for the labor involved, which for me is basically nothing.  Right now my biggest problem is figuring out how I want to use or preserve this abundance.

efarmer.ny's picture
efarmer.ny
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Carl beat me to it

Carl said:

Animals ... provide productive use of non-tillable land.

I have a pretty steep hill on my small farm and it makes a great pasture. Plowing it up for crops would be a disaster. Yes, I could plant trees there instead of having it be a pasture, but I need the manures that I collect all winter to fertilize my gardens.

Tude's picture
Tude
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Posts: 38
My friend sent me this, I

My friend sent me this, I thought it was really interesting, but it certainly makes sense that different people have different diets in different areas. This whole idea that there is one way on the planet to live that will "save us all" is part of the problem...

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1006363772838170629.html

 

efarmer.ny wrote:

Carl said:

Animals ... provide productive use of non-tillable land.

I have a pretty steep hill on my small farm and it makes a great pasture. Plowing it up for crops would be a disaster. Yes, I could plant trees there instead of having it be a pasture, but I need the manures that I collect all winter to fertilize my gardens.

mjtrac's picture
mjtrac
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This will appear in The New York Times

This excellent and to the point piece, or something equivalent, will appear in The New York Times...but in about 30 years, if the paper still publishes.  

I offer as proof the following excellent if slightly late review of attempts at slowing climate change in the 80s.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/08/01/magazine/climate-change-l...

The sad truth is that our economic and governmental systems all support the ongoing destruction; it's not obvious to me what the response to that must be, but I certainly agree that it will require those who understand the situation to deal with enormous discomfort in dealing with others, not just in coping with the effects of climate change.

ftealjr's picture
ftealjr
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Posts: 33
I have been waiting years for you to say this.

I just renewed my account after a several year hiatus. I was waiting for a solid acknowlegment of cllimate change here. I don't have a lot of answers but I can see the problem. Your advocacy and that of your team will be of significant help.

Pipyman's picture
Pipyman
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Posts: 64
Thanks!

I am also a little tired of all animal based agriculture being put into the same pile. Speaking from experience, my productive animals are extremely useful in sustainable agriculture. They eat gladly what you can’t or won’t, they produce first class compost and they put joy in my heart; even if I have to endure the pain of personally slaughtering them. It feels in harmony with the way things are to me. Further, I’m far from convinced of the health based argument; particularly the saturated high quality fats which i intentionally eat in good quantities. Nevertheless, each to there own, and I’m sure veganism “works” for some.

woody's picture
woody
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(non-native english so

(non-native english so excuses in advance)

"We are the first generation to experience climate change, and the last one to do something about it.." (quote. source?)

As pointed out above (like the NYT-article) we are "late in de game" but to late? The only thing we can do is try, and try hard. On an individual level, but predominantly on a global level. The democratic system does not suit this radical changes we need, because there is always a large part (majority?) who is not aware of the problem ("nice weather, isn't it?") or simply denies the existence, sometimes for one's conveinience.

I think it is easily possible to cut 50% of carbon output without big starvation. Unemployment should not be a problem. In the town where I live (40.000) I read records of the 1920's of the occupations of the inhabitants. At that time the number of people was about 2000-3000. About 80% worked on the land employed by a farmer. I guess nowadays only 10 people are employed by a farmer.. Indeed, the job will be a bit different, not behind a screen, but much more physical. As a medical doctor, most of my patients have self-inflicted diseases. I guess that 70-80% of my patients have preventable diseases. Much will be gone with a rigorous change in lifestyle.

The biggest issue to prevent run-away climate change is the communication/politics. See the NYT-article mentioned earlier. How to convince (or force?) the masses to (voluntarily?) change their life-style.. We do need massive increase in petrol-tax / CO2-tax etc. A (more or less) vegetarian lifestyle is easily arranged. A great deal of car trips are solely for pleasure / hobby / etc and not vital. Growing your own food is a necessary skill. Indeed, live near your work. Take the bike.

There are many handles to pull reducing CO2. The issue is that one has to pull harder than one is (initially) willing to admit.

We have to try, we have to try hard..

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Carl
Carl wrote:

LesPhelps,

(Should we discuss the horrible effects of tilling on soil health?) I will grant you that many in the West eat more meat than we need, but please explain how crops will be raised without fossil fuel or animals.

My recollection is that you were one of the first commenters to objectively point the finger at over population as the source of most of our problems. I could not agree more. I see no solution as it appears we are just wired that way.

I don't till my garden.  I don't even broad fork my garden any longer, thanks to learning from Singing Frogs Farm.

Part of the problem today is that we expect to grow food with 2% of the population.  Eventually, we will have to transition back to a more normal low energy farming equilibrium of 30-40% of the population involved in farming.  Then and only then, can we farm sustainably.

Some monkeys are omnivores, but with the exception of man, the percentage of their diet that is meat is very small.  Chimps, in the wild, get perhaps 2% of their calories from meat.

We are genetic herbivores.  We can eat animal sourced food, but the health cost is not insignificant.  The list of diseases that could be almost entirely eliminated with a nutritious plant based diet is longer than my arm, topped by cardiovascular disease and cancer.  CVD and cancer send somewhere in the ballpark of 60% of people on the Western diet to an early grave.

I grew up on a small hobby ranch in Texas.  We raised black angus, but we did it the old fashioned way.  Today, many cows spend their entire adult life chained in a stall.  Some pigs never see the light of day, in their entire lives.  

Nutrition and health not withstanding, once you learn what goes on in CAFOs, it's much harder to purchase and consume animal sourced food, or at least it is for me.

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Canfield Ocean's & cliff edges

For more information about Canfield Oceans, above and beyond Gwynne Dyer's "Climate Wars" reference (https://www.amazon.com/Climate-Wars-Fight-Survival-Overheats/dp/1851688145), you might try Peter Ward's "Under a Green Sky" (https://www.amazon.com/Under-Green-Sky-Warming-Extinctions/dp/0061137928).

Another sobering thought is that with the redefinition of the inner edge of Earth's "Habitable zone" being (on average) 0.99 AU from the Sun, instead of the previous 0.95 AU, that means we are just 0.01 AU - or 930,000 miles - away from the inner edge of the Sun's "Goldilocks Zone". That's less than 4 times the distance to the moon. ( https://io9.gizmodo.com/5980232/new-definition-of-the-goldilocks-zone-pu...).

Although this probably has no practical impact on our Global Warming problem, it just seems to me that when we're already so close the point where Earth would be too hot for life, being so cavelier about heating up our planet further is kind of like standing a few inches from the edge of a cliff and choosing to hop around on one foot with our eyes closed.

Just sayin'.

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Re: genetic herbivores

"We are genetic herbivores. We can eat animal sourced food, but the health cost is not insignificant."

Not really. We lost our ability to produces B12 and are dependant on animal protein to get it. 

"How Humans Evolved To Be Natural Omnivores"

https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2016/12/23/how-humans-evolved-to-be-n...

"Humans are definitely omnivores.The best evidence is our teeth: we have biting/tearing/ripping incisors and canines (like carnivores) and chewing molars (like herbivores). Animals with such diverse teeth tend to be omnivores."

"Chemically, we lack cellulases or cellulosic symbionts that many herbivores have, and have lots of proteases that carnivores do"

"Interestingly, we have very powerful livers (the detoxification organ) and a very strong ability to smell rot/decay/decomposition relative to other animals. This suggests we may have evolved as scavengers, eating dead (but not too decayed) carcasses killed by other animals."

"I grew up on a small hobby ranch in Texas. We raised black angus, but we did it the old fashioned way. Today, many cows spend their entire adult life chained in a stall."

I don't believe that to be true either. Where I am located (semi-rural) there are lots of cattle farms (raised for beef) and all of them are grass feed and are free ranging (keep in grass fields). Most of the farm land here grows hay, which is used to feed cattle. Its cheaper to raise grass feed cattle since there is minimal effort (no feed costs, no infrastructure to shelter the cattle in pens, etc).

 

 

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Flawed conclusions

 

LesPhelps wrote:

We are genetic herbivores.  We can eat animal sourced food, but the health cost is not insignificant.  The list of diseases that could be almost entirely eliminated with a nutritious plant based diet is longer than my arm, topped by cardiovascular disease and cancer.  CVD and cancer send somewhere in the ballpark of 60% of people on the Western diet to an early grave.

 

Les,  Humans are not genetic herbivores.  That assertion is simply wrong. While it is true that the Western Diet is sending people to an early grave, Campbell and the China Study's 'conclusions' that the culprit is animal protein and fats is bad science.  The evidence is much more compelling that the problem lies with grains, and processed carbs. etc.

Here's a good starting point if you want to understand What's wrong with Campbell and China Study conclusions:

https://deniseminger.com/2010/07/07/the-china-study-fact-or-fallac/

Denise Minger wrote:

The China Study: Fact or Fallacy?

Disclaimer: This blog post covers only a fraction of what’s wrong with “The China Study.” In the years since I wrote it, I’ve added a number of additional articles expanding on this critique and covering a great deal of new material. Please read my Forks Over Knives review for more information on what’s wrong with the conclusions drawn from Campbell’s casein/aflatoxin research, and if you’d rather look at peer-reviewed research than the words of some random internet blogger, see my collection of scientific papers based on the China Study data that contradict the claims in Campbell’s book. I’ve also responded to Campbell’s reply to my critique with a much longer, more formal analysis than the one on this page, which you can read here.

LesPhelps wrote:

Nutrition and health not withstanding, once you learn what goes on in CAFOs, it's much harder to purchase and consume animal sourced food, or at least it is for me.

No argument here.  Yes CAFO's and the industrial meat system in general is bad for the animals and the planet.  That is not the same as saying humans were not evolved to eat meat.    The reality is that Industrial Society is bad for Society.

 

 

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can you share the source?

Thank you for this article Chris. This was new for me:

"If the oceans warm even further and then fail to turn over because circulation has collapsed, as seems increasingly likely, then the deep oceans will be deprived of oxygen, which means anaerobic bacteria will begin to produce hydrogen sulfide. That, in turn, will wipe out all the life in the ocean and most or all of it on the surface of the planet as has happened 3 or 4 other times throughout geologic history."

Can you link to your sources of hydrogen sulfide poisoning due to lack of ocean circulation in the geologic record? I'd like to read more.

Thank you

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TechGuy wrote: Not really.
TechGuy wrote:

Not really. We lost our ability to produces B12 and are dependant on animal protein to get it. 

No, we are not dependent on animal protein to get B12.  It's source is bacteria in the soil.  Animals ingest the B12 while grazing.  Non-factory-farm cultures get B12 in their produce that is grown in a more traditional manner than our produce in the US.

We only need a tiny amount of B12 and our liver stores 3 to 5 years worth.

Yes, if I eat factory farmed vegetables in the US, I have to take a B12 supplement, but that is because of our crappy farming techniques.

Conversly, as you suggest, I can get my B12 from fast food burgers, fill my veins with plaque and take blood pressure medecine counteract the effects of that choice.  That's what I've been doing, until recently.  That is considered the "normal" source of B12 in the Western diet.

As regards omnivore/herbavore, you can find detailed articles and science on the interenet to support either argument.  A good way to choose which side you believe, is to determine which group is living longer, with fewer health issues.

Look at the people around you, with a critical eye.  Can you say that the Western diet is healthy?

Hey, this is all Adam's fault!  In May, I went out to his Peak Prosperity recommended book list and picked one at random.  I am not acting on any sort of five year plan to become a vegan.

Actually, I'm rethinking my position as I type.  If I convince a bunch of people to eat healthy, they will live significantly longer lives, thus exacerbating the overpopulation problem.

I retract everything I've said.

Eat a bunch of meat!  It's good for the planet.

 

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Some change

Like many other of your readers, I am surprised and delighted to read your full throated acceptance of climate change science.  The coincidental appearance of these articles and the NYT Magazine being devoted to the subject at the same time are notable.

I followed climate science long before coming to this site and would occasionally bring the subject up in the early days of my membership, about 10 years ago.  As I recall, your position at the time came close to banning all mention of the subject because it was too "controversial."  But then Mark Cochrane came along and volunteered to monitor a thread dedicated to the subject.  That appeared to give you an outlet for the sometimes heated debate without "polluting" the rest of the site.  Still, you steadfastly declined to discuss the subject in an open and forthright manner until today.

It would be interesting to hear how your thinking evolved during those 10 years.  I thought the science was pretty clear at the time and the NYT article makes that explicit.  I was somewhat surprised to learn that the science has actually been pretty clear since the 50s.

This transition is also interesting given the high correlation between conspiracy theoricists and denial of climate change.

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0075637

I don't know what your thinking is on conspiracy theories in general, but it is clear you buy into the  9/11 and JFK CTs.  Since several of your readers are confirmed CTers and many also denied climate science until recently, I'm sure they would be interested also.

Still, the transition is welcome.  I however somewhat disagree with your seeming doomsday predictions.  The need to address the situation is urgent but I think the Guy McPherson scenarios are unnecessarily alarmist.  Of course, our current POTUS exacerbates the problem exponentially.  The idea that climate change can be adequately addressed without government actions is ludicrous.  It needs global action and, aside from governments, what other entities can respond quickly and comprehensively.  Certainly not the corporatocracy.  They have a lot of power, but lack the motivation to do anything, except those very few who can profit from mitigation.  After all, Exxon has been very familiar with the science since the 70s and chose to deny climate change existence until very recently.

We, as individuals, can reduce our carbon footprints and that is a good thing, but to be really effective we need to press our local, regional and national representatives to do the big things that absolutely need doing.  Carbon taxes are probably the most urgent and hopefully meaningful.  To do that we need to overcome the influence of entities such as the "freedom caucus" in Congress and the private sector denialists like the Koch Bros.  But, even if we do that, we as a nation cannot do the job without the cooperation of all other nations on earth.  It is their future that is at stake also.

Whatever we do, it must be soon and on a very large scale.  Backyard gardens won't do the trick, and if we just attend to our personal survival the problem won't go away.  Its too pervasive.

Oh, and yes we are seeing extinctions.  We are in the 6th great extinction event according to PNAS, and many others.

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2008/08/08/0801921105.short

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Vegans vs omnivores

Vegan's don't stastically live longer than omnivores. Most of the differences attributed to vegan's living longer are attributed to better lifestyles: Don't smoke, drink much less, not obese, etc.

http://theconversation.com/do-vegetarians-live-longer-probably-but-not-b...

"We followed a total of 267,180 men and women over an average of six years. During the follow-up period, 16,836 participants died. When we compared the risk of early death for vegetarians and non-vegetarians, while controlling for a range of other factors, we did not find any statistical difference.Put more simply, when we crunched the data we found vegetarians did not have a lower risk of early death compared with their meat-eating counterparts."

"It’s important to acknowledge that in most studies vegetarians tend to be the “health-conscious” people, with overall healthier lifestyle patterns than the norm. For example, among the Sax Institute’s 45 and Up participants, vegetarians were less likely than non-vegetarians to report smoking, drinking excessively, insufficient physical activity and being overweight/obese."

FWIW: The only proven way to extend life is to consume less than 2/3's of a normal, health diet.

 


Caloric restriction increased lemur lifespan by 50% in long-term study"


https://newatlas.com/lemur-caloric-restriction-lifespan/54135/

 

FWIW: I prefer a balanced diet of protein, Fruits & vegetables. that said, I doubt I will die of natural causes attributed to old age or health related issues. More likely I will die from war (global nuclear war), pandemic, or some event caused human caused crisis triggered from  these pending problems: Debt, resource depletion, demographics cliff.

The Next decade (2020's)  is looking to be a tough challenge to avoid a global war: We have the pensions & entitlement crisis coming do between 2021 & 2024, Peak Oil (probably 2020-2023), Debt (2021-2026), Resource depletion (Already underway), Trade wars (already underway). All these crisis's are bound to make most of the world's populations very unhappy and they will very likely select very crazy leaders that make insane promises to the people. If you think our current batch of politicians are crazy, just wait for the next batch! 

 

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Conspiracy Theories
David Collum wrote:

I am an out-of-the-closet conspiracy theorist.  If you think that conspiracies do not exist, then you are a card-carrying idiot.

Source: 2017 Year in Review Introduction

Man did I laugh, when I read that.

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First things first

Can't get over how he/she leaves the tailgate UP while returning the shopping trolley to the corral! Shoulda put a windmill in there and generated a few hundred kWh while attending to BAU.

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Really?

Must every comment include pasting the label of "conspiracy theorist" on people. That technique is old and easy, Doug. Surely, you can do better. It cheapens your argument. It is no different  than using the label haji, gook or kraut so that we can go kill some people. Dehumanize and ridicule.

For the record, I believe in climate change. However, also find the government's story on some of the major events of my lifetime to be laughable. No, I don't necessarily have a "theory" on the "conspiracy". So, save your name calling. Our government's propensity for lying has been proven time and again.

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Carbon Concentrations to Levels Not Seen in 800,000 Years

Earth’s Carbon Concentrations Soar to Levels Not Seen in 800,000 Years (Jessica Corbett, Common Dreams)

Quote:

As temperatures bust heat records across the globe and wildfires rage from California to the Arctic, a new report produced annually by more than 500 scientists worldwide found that last year, the carbon dioxide concentrations in the Earth's atmosphere reached the highest levels "in the modern atmospheric measurement record and in ice core records dating back as far as 800,000 years."

While the most significant jump was the global average for carbon dioxide (CO2)—which, at 405.0 parts per million (ppm), saw a 2.2 ppm increase from the previous yearconcentrations of other dominant planet-warming greenhouse gases, methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), also hit "record highs," according to State of the Climate in 2017 (pdf) released Wednesday.

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Card-Carrying
Doug wrote:

Like many other of your readers, I am surprised and delighted to read your full throated acceptance of climate change science.  The coincidental appearance of these articles and the NYT Magazine being devoted to the subject at the same time are notable.

I followed climate science long before coming to this site and would occasionally bring the subject up in the early days of my membership, about 10 years ago.  As I recall, your position at the time came close to banning all mention of the subject because it was too "controversial."  But then Mark Cochrane came along and volunteered to monitor a thread dedicated to the subject.  That appeared to give you an outlet for the sometimes heated debate without "polluting" the rest of the site.  Still, you steadfastly declined to discuss the subject in an open and forthright manner until today.

It would be interesting to hear how your thinking evolved during those 10 years.  I thought the science was pretty clear at the time and the NYT article makes that explicit.  I was somewhat surprised to learn that the science has actually been pretty clear since the 50s.

This transition is also interesting given the high correlation between conspiracy theoricists and denial of climate change.

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0075637

I don't know what your thinking is on conspiracy theories in general, but it is clear you buy into the  9/11 and JFK CTs.  Since several of your readers are confirmed CTers and many also denied climate science until recently, I'm sure they would be interested also.

I find it both ironic and amusing that you've chosen to 'praise' Chris' "evolution" of thought to what you think is your viewpoint by insulting him with your favorite pejorative "Conspiracy Theorist"  and insinuating his heretofore unenlightend rejection of the scientific method by linking to the ridiculous article which attempts to correlate those things.  (Good luck with that!)

PLOS wrote:

We highlight the manifold cognitive reasons why conspiracist ideation would stand in opposition to the scientific method. The involvement of conspiracist ideation in the rejection of science has implications for science communicators.....There are also growing indications that rejection of science is suffused by conspiracist ideation, that is the general tendency to endorse conspiracy theories including the specific beliefs that inconvenient scientific findings constitute a “hoax.”

This is particularly ironic because Chris (who is both a scientist and a science communicator) has been so far unable to get you to adhere to any sort of of minimal standards of evidence or employ basic logic inherent in the scientific method in your commenting and the sole thrust of your arguments/logic never seems to extend past it is so... because the New York Times* said it is so... (*insert mainstream propaganda/authority source here)

 

mm

 

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Another excellent presentation

Another excellent and patiently written expose. 

Human culture needs to change (or grow up) but nature is a cruel teacher and the time to change was 100 years ago.  The idea that we can fix the environmental (or economic) situation is a sales pitch the politicians broadcast to win votes and maintain the status quo under a rosey glow.

The future can't possible get better, there are simply too many people with too much dependence on heavy industry and energy for rationing to do a damned thing. 

In other words the best we can do is prepare for disaster.  That doesn't mean "partying like it's 1999" it means learning how to face a negative reality even death while accepting that we, as a species, have terrible flaws in culture, belief systems and thinnking that might work for us in a tribal system but which are simply incompatible with "big civiliization".  We should do that so that our children's children, the survivors of this frackar we call the "new world order", finally have the tools, awareness and motivation to evolve more sustainable and stable poltical ideas.  So the future 200 years from now isn't just another repeat of past mistakes.

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Just Another Intractable Problem

Really, these problems won't be solved.  The personal consequences can be managed. That's it.   It makes no difference at all to the majority of the people on the planet. Even if they agreed and had a perfect information, I don't believe most people will change their behavior.  Sadly, this applies to entitlement reform, climate change, etc. Pain will be our master and teacher. 

Rector

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What is climate

Chris, I agree the existing global economic system is unsustainable and unfortunately I think the only way it will change is by horrific, catastrophic upheavel. We surfs are slaves to the ever growing cancer that is government. I am forced to pay almost $5000 a year in property taxes for a system that is so grossly inefficient that it boggles the mind, unless of course you are employed by or are receiving some part of your daily bread from the government. Every year, growth or recession, I am paying more. Never a reduction. I am paying into pensions for government employees that, after 25 years on the gravy train, uh, I mean, public service, are grifting $45k-$120k or more a year and not contributing anymore to the economic engine. Paying taxes on money that was taxed from private employment is not contibuting to the econimic engine. I am forced to work just to pay the taxes to "rent" a small piece of dirt from my benefactors in the government. If I could produce all the means necessary to live simply, I still have an albatross around my neck and that is the ever growing national debt and increasing government budgets. This was planned. Perpetual enslavement to a system that is benefiting the few at the expense of the many.

The Bible speaks of a time when the love of many will grow cold and I suspect we are close.

Is the planet getting warmer a bad thing? Yes the pollution of the planet caused by our consumption, debt based lifestyle is disastrous. The earths eco-systems are being devestated  by our habitrail of consumerism, however, I would postulate that the Earth is recovering back to "normal" from a last ice age that plunged the Earth into a period of extended darkness and cold.

What is a stable climate? When was the last time the climate was stable? How did the dinasours grow to such immense size and last for so long? I suspect the atmosphere was much different than it is now. An atmosphere with a 25% or 30% oxygen content could produce such animals.

There are salt deposits that are thousands of feet above sea level, some are remnants of evaporated seas and have different salinity than our current oceans. How can a saltwater sea get to such an elevation?

When constructing the Trans Siberian railway, workers uncovered fully intact frozen Wooley Mammoths with undigested plant material in their stomachs/throats. The meat of the animal was still edible and eaten by the workers. How can an animal of such size be flash frozen so quickley and thouroughly enough as to not spoil? How can a herd of these animals eat and survive where they were discovered, which is a frozen tundra? This area was once a tropical environment with lush, abundant vegetation. When a dead animal lies around for a couple days today it starts decomposing.

When they drilled core samples from the ice in Antartica, they found plants. Antartica was not always covered with ice, in fact it was probably tropical. As evidenced by the Piri Reis map, the coastline of Antartica was known to be ice free by maps posessed by the Turkish Navy around 1513 A.D.

Thanks to nearly a century of government control of many critical institutions, we have a society that is now in a psychological straight-jacket or chemically neutered, who dare not to think outside or against the programmed/educated thought process of the status quo their professor "taught" them.

The climate has not always been like we currently perceive from our brief geological/observable history. History as most are taught, is selective, partial and incomplete at best. At worst, it is incorrect. Someone that has devoted their entire life and resources to believing and possibly teaching a certain perspective of history, rarely has the fortitude and humility to admit they were wrong. The Earth has undergone multiple global, climate changing events in its history before we started burning up oxygen through combustion and spewing unhealthy amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. Several are recorded in common manuscripts like The Bible, ie Noahs flood, the Moses event, and others are recorded in less common manuscripts like the Popul Vu and the Kolbrin, ie The Venus event.(Not the one you buy on Amazon, check The Culdean Trust)

Times change, epochs come and go. Man and his quest for control and power is predictable.  Could we be approaching the end of this age?

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early adopter

Doug-

Congratulations on being an "early adopter" in your climate change beliefs.

Now if only you could overcome that backfire effect that dooms most of us to cling grimly to long-held mistaken beliefs (such as "phlogiston", "the-world-is-flat", and "people in government never fabricate the reasons to go to war" - the same bit of human biological structure that results in "science advancing one funeral at a time"), and view the historical record just as clearly as you do in climate, I'd be really impressed.

I'm not holding my breath, mind you, because the backfire effect is so powerful that most people cannot overcome it, but I do allow that it could happen in your particular case.  You're a smart guy, and if you just relax, you might just be able to view certain events through the historical lens comprising the pattern of fraud that is evident from any serious review of the historical record of how the US gets into war.

I think it is interesting - there is a whole lot of "truth" out there, and people are often quite selective about which truth they will let in.  Some truths are ok, even popular, while other truth dares not be spoken about, lest we be ridiculed for even considering it.  Still other truths threaten the incomes of the well-connected, and they must not be spoken about either.  One wonders just how much of this is all connected.

Why is it ok to speak about the climate change truth, while so many other truths are subject to intense ridicule?  Peak oil, for a long time - and even now - has been heavily ridiculed.  And its just math.

 

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WHAT HAPPENS NEXT ...

Hi Chris, 

Great article, but one thought on the CO2 graph, posted early on. Which is that I would challenge the idea that we don't know what happens next. I think we do, at least in one way. 

Although the upward slope of the CO2 graph has an exponential look to it, it is likely not exponential. Or at least not for those components of the CO2 emissions that are a consequence of fossil fuel combustion. Rather, it will be the first derivative of a logistics curve. Because this is the equation which best explains peaks, whether they be peak oil, gas, coal or CO2. 

From IEA data, CO2 emissions have been largely flat for the last 3 or so year, although I'm unsure about the last year. The reason is nothing to do with policy and the shift to renewables - which I welcome, working in the offshore renewables industry - and everything to do with 'peak fossil fuel', which I'd say we're at.

So what happens next is that, sooner probably rather than later, CO2 emissions start to decline, because the less economic fossil fuel for us to burn. The problem with the climate models is that I haven't yet seen an analysis, most obviously by the IPCC, that models this scenario. Almost all show increasing fossil fuel burning. This makes me uncertain about their predictions. But nevertheless the good news is that we will likely be emitting much less CO2 than the climate scientists fear. That's the good news. 

The bad news is that, as you quite rightly point out, energy is the essential economic factor of production that powers our economies. And with decreasing amounts of energy, so there will be decreasing production, in other words economic deceleration (a term I prefer to 'de-growth'). Thus less wealth creation at a time when the global population is increasing, due to demographic lag. This will give us a global economic situation that will make the great depression feel like a walk in the park. 

Overall, I think its a good thing, even though it won't be much fun at all. But a good thing because it will stop us damaging the planet in the way that we have until now, even if the driver not intelligent policy but rather that we will simply run out of energy. 

 

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Climate and big green

Thank you Chris!  I so welcome these articles!

I work for one of the "big green" environmental organizations - in general these organizations avoid the obvious connect-the-dots conclusions about AGW that you lay out here so ably like the plague, simply because the very act of accurately characterizing the situation (skewering our economic system and relationships with energy and nature) would impair donations.  Large non-profits have very professional fundraising teams that explicitly focus on the types of people who have gotten wealthy off of our financial "markets" and have large surpluses to donate.  And unsurprisingly, no one within these organizations (except outlier cranks like me) are eager to look very deeply into the relationship between asset bubbles and the strength and size of environmental organizations.  

As is, the big green organizations exist and thrive because people who have gotten wealthy off of our financial "markets" at present feel quite flush.  Once the bubble bursts, these organizations will diminish if not outright wither (along with jobs like mine!).  And the strategies that they work on to mitigate and adapt to climate change (official mitigation strategies are quite feeble) will have no hope of reaching their needed scale, even if they were properly oriented to the true nature of our predicament.

Ironically, there is a drive within the organization I work for to train employees to be better at "systems thinking", but there is a very sharp edge to the overton window that allows which aspects of systems to be considered, along the lines of your NRP example.  It drives me nutso.  I think silently: "you want better systems thinkers?  Be careful what you wish for!".  To be sure, there is a sizable minority of people within the organization that I work for who deep down know the true nature of the predicaments that we face, but thus far this has not bubbled up in a way that influences the outward face and direction of the organization.

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newsbuoy
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File Under: non-scientific future science-fact

People will scouff at you if you say this too. Because Jesus is a good god acting on bad men?

https://phys.org/news/2018-08-quakes-systematically-trigger-side-earth.html

Speakers On:  

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Not interested in debating

Not interested in debating this topic with you TechGuy.

If your way of maximizing your happiness and mimimizing your impact on the planet is to eat cows, I'm cool with that.  You certainly aren't alone.

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Peter Ward interview

This is a very good, if disturbing, interview with Peter Ward regarding ocean states (Canfield Oceans/Hydrogen Sulphide/mass extinctions/etc.).

While it seems to be done by some sort of religious organization for which I cannot/do not attest, I think one would have to give them their due credit for the excellent production quality of their piece.

I also find their multi-lingual subtitles very laudable (although admittedly, somewhat visually annoying) .

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Ruminants PRODUCE B12, not eat it

Les,

I have raised sheep and goats for several years.  Early in this adventure I learned that the bacteria in ruminants digestive system (particularly the rumen) produce all kinds of vitamins.  Particularly the B vitamins.  They don't acquire B vitamins from the green plants they eat.  Cobalt (a metal) is part of vitamin B12 and ruminants do require this in their diet to produce vitamin B12.  See the link below.

Julie

https://www.agric.wa.gov.au/livestock-biosecurity/cobalt-deficiency-sheep-and-cattle

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A New Inconvenient Truth

Climate change has quickly morphed into climate chaos, and is a threat to all life on earth here and now, not in 2050 or 2100.   I'm hoping the masses are slow to realize that, b/c once they do, widespread hysteria and human chaos could make life unliveable even before the climate does.

However, in good conscious I'll continue living a low-impact life.  It helps me sleep at night, and if there is a god or reincarnation, it can't hurt. 

In the meantime, what an emotional roller coaster! Anger, frustration, anxiety, sorrow, depression...another reason to maintain an environmentally conscious lifestyle, as it keeps feelings of guilt at bay.

 

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Embrace

your mare, get her settled, and enjoy your life. There is so much to enjoy other than longs and shorts.....go long on life and garden in....

 

i am am waiting for coustralees, n sweete taters. Butter beans are in abundance. You can’t imagine their flavor rendered in chicken fat, preserved in garlic n onions. Folk the suburbantopic existence is passing, get over your returns on investment and get your mare settled.

 

love yawl and am missing oog 

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robie robinson
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Les?

All you say is true in certain boundaries. Would love to see, personally, some family, not a starved individual,live their vegan life without animal assistance.

my mare is going in Oct. for her fourth exposure in 16 years. Kelsey is a loving and willing partner she is,(ASHA registered) they won’t let you on their site, suburbantopic people mustn’t be valuable to those herding the gene pool of the draft animal world, their pursuits being something other than the betterment of our race and the fruit of their ancestors drafts.

too much typing for both a reluctant and poor communicator.

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clarificaiton

We are talking about b12 not other b vitamins. only bacteria make b12 in the gut.  We make it but cannot absorb it because it is manufactured in the large colon. B12 is ONLY manufactured by single cell organisms. Lots of it in poo, manure, some soils. Stored in liver. LesPhelps doesn't have a history of telling lies here.  The point is subtle regarding how b12 is made versus how it is transferred into your food.  

That being said it costs less htan a penny a day to supplement if you get the tablets on sale. To each his/her own.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_B12

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CO2 is not the reason

Please stop pushing false narratives. 

The Earth is not a closed system. If it were, then CO2 would make sense. 

Let's look at the facts

Atmospheric CO2 has increased over 50% in the last 20 years

There has not been a noticeable increase in temperature during that period. 
 - If CO2 would have been there primary cause then we would have noticed a significant increase.

Global temperature readings weren't consistant nor accurate until the mid-90's 
 - before this is was basically a person standing with a thermostat and then "doing math" to figure out the temperature readings in other areas.
 - in the mid-90's they launched satellites with accurate laser thermostats able to read the temperature at different altitudes and guaranteeing accuracy in locations. 
 - These measurements have shown a "city effect" where cities retain heat overnight instead of dispersing it naturally. 

All models don't take into account Negative Feedback, only Positive Feedback
 - this overemphasises the importance of CO2 and doesn't take into account the impacts of clouds (h2o - which is a much more "powerful" greenhouse gas)

The Sun has been warming for the last century and has been more volatile (higher frequency of solar flares and much larger solar flares). 

The Sun's magnetic field is in it's waning period, a weaker magnetic field allows more cosmic rays to enter, these are more likely to raise the temperature than any other factor. 

These warming periods have happened before and at the same pace.
 - Using proxies it's been determined that this has happened during the Roman and Medieval times. Both times the temperature acceleration was similar. 

 

TL;DR:

CO2 is a greenhouse gas

CO2 is NOT the primary cause of global Warming

The models used are lies that overemphasis positive feedback and minimize or even neglect negative feedback. 

Humans have minimal impact on the climate

The primary cause is most likely the SUN and it's weakened magnetic field (cyclical)

No one is denying the climate is warming up...just the cause. 

Summary:

We just have to let the cycles be cycles. Quit propagating a false narrative that we are the problem

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Climate change is a natural

Climate change is a natural cycle caused by the Sun's intensity and it's magentic field cycles. 

Humans have a minimal impact on the climate

CO2 is not the primary cause. 

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Doug
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Cite your sources

Cite your sources

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Fractured Thinkng

Mammals are an integral part of grassland ecologies.  A terrible tragety occurred in the not to distant past when thirty thousand elephants were slaughtered in misguided effort to save African grasslands from degredation.  Elephants were thought to be one of the major causes of the problem.  As is turns out the removal of the elephants caused a percipitous decline of the Serengeti, they were not the problem.  The case was rather the reverse.

Millions of Buffalo roamed the great plains of the US for millions of years, no global warming problems.  They say the herds were so large that when they moved, it felt like there was an earthquake.  Don't think the Buffalo created water shortage problems either.  That ecosystem, as a matter of fact, built the huge reserve of top soil that modern industrial agriculture is now mining to grow, you guessed it, grains and vegetables (even if they are stupidly used in feed lots and for ethanol).  Grazing mammals have a key role to play in building top soil (that sequesters a lot of carbon) and maintianing prairie ecologies and soil fertilities.

Farming these dry grasslands now to grow fruits, vegetables, and grains is about as ecologically destructive as you can get, which involves mining both topsoil and water.  Aquifer depletion, which has been commented on here before, is a major issue in the central US.

The problem is, industrial style agriculture in all its forms, and simple minded silver bullet one size fits all solutions.  Solutions need to be as varied as there are planetary ecosystems, diversified, small scale, wholistic, regenertive, and sustainable over the long haul, humanistic and not money centric. Cooperating with and mimicking existng ecologies is our best bet, cocreataion.

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