Drawing A Line in the Black Sand

Crossposted from DailyKos. (Thanks!) Promoted. It's quite long, but well worth it. -- GH

I think it was maybe a year ago I was flicking through cable TV, and I happened across a movie called "There Will Be Blood."

There Will Be Blood is a 2007 American drama film directed, written and co-produced by Paul Thomas Anderson. The film is loosely based on the Upton Sinclair novel Oil! (1927). It tells the story of a silver-miner-turned-oil-man on a ruthless quest for wealth during Southern California's oil boom of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

I'd read a few books, watched a few documentaries and done a ton of internet research not long before this and had been slowly coming to the conclusion that we genuinely had a whole bunch of powerful people who knew that emissions of C02 were endangering the ability of life to survive on our planet. The frightening thing was many of these people were working hard to make sure we kept burning fossil fuels at ever increasing rates and making sure the transition to cleaner sources of energy never happened.

I didn't really understand why though until I watched this movie and a few pennies dropped.

The tragedy of Daniel Planeview

The principal character in the film, Daniel Planeview runs a small silver mining company which has found oil in Southern California. At the time of his initial drill, one of the wildcatters/roughnecks working for him gets killed in an accident. The wildcatter killed had a baby boy called H.W. who he was looking after and so Daniel Planeview adopts the kid and treats him as his own. Now known as an oil man, fortune smiles on Daniel again with the brother of a preacher from a small farming town telling Daniel, for a small amount of money, of the oil on his fathers land. Before the community realizes its value, Daniel signs the family and the local community out of these oil rights for a song.

There are two clips of about 5 minutes each which cut to the character of this man who in every sense of the word, in our modern world, would be seen as the epitome of success. Through wheeling and dealing other people out of what is on their own land because they are unaware of its value, the inevitable change which occurs to his own character by doing this is unavoidable. The first video is of Danial playing up his 'love' for his son in public whilst gloating over an oil deal in front of an oil competitor who had approached Daniel about a partnership.

But it really is the end of the movie, this scene, which showed me an element of human nature I really did not want to see.

The movie struck home to me as it shows the model many have come to believe in as the way, the short cut, to successful lives. To so many this has become a romanticized concept. Where man can 'strike it rich' by tricking or stealing from another, or because he is the first, sneakiest or nastiest, in this case to extract essentially a 'free' resource from the Earth. If it belongs to or is at the expense of others, this is of no concern. I guess you could say a core belief founded not on the principles which make us human and civilized, but on greed alone. It is a major problem of our time and one which has infected and taken over our society as the value which overrides or trumps all others. But it is the wrong value to base your life upon.

The tragedy of Daniel Planeview was precisely this: the character of the man established by the end of the movie was one lacking what makes us human, empathy. The capacity to care about what impact your actions or words have on others because you have walked in their shoes at some stage in your life and understand that you wouldn't have tolerated people doing bad things to you. You care about others because you've 'been there, done that'. The ability to look at others and see yourself reflected right back.

"Evil is a lack of empathy, a total incapacity to feel with their fellow man." - Capt. Gilbert,Psychiatrist, at the end of Nuremberg trials.

Although he started with modest means, Daniels life purpose was corrupted by greed. It consumed and destroyed anything that really should mean anything to a human being, the things that make our lives really worth living. The most tragic thing of all in that second clip was that he told his adopted son, H.W. who wanted to go build his own business in Mexico at the end of the movie, that because of him wanting to establish a competitor to Daniels business, that he meant nothing to him, he was worse than a bastard child, that he was not his father, that he only adopted him so he had a cute face to win over people's hearts when negotiating business deals. Worse, by this stage Daniel had everything wealth and privilige could offer. But instead of encouraging his son to make a go of things and offering what support he could, Daniel instead chose to disown his son, destroy their relationship with spiteful, venomous words simply because he would now be his competitor.

A man who had lived his life fearful of what threats others posed to him, because he had bought such immense heartache, unfairness, despair and even hatred into the lives of others. He was afraid because he knew what horror one person is capable of inflicting on another. He knew all the dirty tricks, the worst things that human nature can do because he had lived his life by them. Living by the belief that it was more important to be a destroyer of competitors dreams, to covet what he had, by being afraid of anyone who'd challenge his business model. It was his fear, acted out in hatred and anger, which consumed him, destroying a life which could have been better lived. Pushing away all that could redeem some of his humanity, the child he raised. In the end, a life which did little to make the world a better place, a wasted life. He may have had money, but at what cost?


Climate Disruption as a result of C02 emissions


Shell Oil Company


“...any debate about whether climate change is real is over. “ “We agree with Mr.Friedman that a price on carbon is key to stimulating what he calls innovations in the next great global industry, E.T. (Energy Techonology). That's why we support a cap and trade approach to placing a price on carbon as it provides the most efficient and economically viable approach to addressing emissions of greenhouse gases. “ “Climate change is a "global commons" problem and it will take the collective efforts of industry, governments, and everyday people to effect change. “


Senior Advisor, CO2 and Environmental Affairs,


BP - British Petroleum


Greenhouse gas emissions may need to be reduced substantially in coming decades, even as energy use goes up The world is getting warmer. In fact, the world has been getting warmer for several centuries, although in recent decades recorded temperatures have risen more distinctly. Forecasts suggest that in coming decades global temperatures will continue to go up.

Human activity, largely through greenhouse gas emissions, is an important factor in this warming, although some scientific questions remain. “The solution won’t happen overnight, although reductions in CO2emissions achieved now may lighten the burden on future generations. “




BHP Billiton


Chief Executive Officer, Chip Goodyear, said BHP Billiton acknowledged that the risks of climate change associated with increasing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere must be addressed. "BHP Billiton has recognised that our company, as well as society generally, must make real behavioural changes and accelerate technological progress if we are to achieve a meaningful reduction in energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

BHP Billiton - Major coal, oil and gas company





Meeting the enormous energy demand growth and managing the risk of GHG emissions are the twin challenges of our time. We all must engage in the search for solutions if we are to succeed at mitigating these risks.

Priority issues

Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our own operations as well as from energy use by consumers. Policy Engagement. Help shape energy policies that support long-range thinking, encourage long-term investment, and allow for an integrated set of solutions.






However, the increase in greenhouse gas levels caused by human activity since the Industrial Revolution means that scientists agree climate change is now happening much more quickly. Rather than over centuries and millennia we are starting to see changes within our lifetimes.

Eon - UK major electric utility - coal fire power stations


OK so what would a bunch of Fossil Fuel companies know about this Climate Disruption thing and a relationship to Carbon Dioxide emissions anyway? There are all sorts of people trying to pull the wool over our eyes and it could be any one of a number of things. Maybe they have just joined the 'global warming bandwagon, right'?

Well, with regards to weaning ourselves away from a fossil fuel based energy system, I've heard all the reasons why nothing should be done - It will cost too much, it will shift companies overseas, it will cost jobs, it is uneconomical, China and India are worse, we are only a small part of it, it is a hoax, C02 is not a pollutant, it is a religion, it is not man made, it is caused by sunspots, we have been in a cooling period, we should spend our money on other more worthy causes, we should drill more, drill now, last time they claimed it was cooling.


Global Cooling

One of the arguments for inaction, that is adopting a 'wait and see' approach to the issue of climate disruption being bought on by excess carbon dioxide emissions which the fossil fuel companies above are warning us about, is the claim that scientists at some inderterminate time in the 1970's were warning us about Global Cooling, ie an upcoming Ice Age. This has been presented in the media as a counter argument in order to establish in peoples minds that by doing nothing, the 'reported' consensus that Global Cooling was imminent, was eventually proven wrong. However this is a distortion on the part of the media and fails to recognize the vast advances in science and technology, including computing (MS-Windows was 1995) which allows us to more accurately determine meteorology, weather and predict future effects of our actions on our climate. Besides that it is wrong, as the majority of the scientific thought was already, way back in the 1970's, discussing warming, not cooling.


There was no scientific consensus in the 1970s that the Earth was headed into an imminent ice age. Indeed, the possibility of anthropogenic warming dominated the peer-reviewed literature even then.

According to the article referenced below this particular rumor is "number 1 in the list of top 20 viewed articles on the American Meteorological Society (AMS) website. The title: "The Myth of the 1970s Global Cooling Scientific Consensus".

Dispelling Climate Research Myths: The 1970s "global cooling consensus"

From the period where this rumor of a consensus on global cooling originates, the table below is a summary of the peer reviewed papers published which contained reference to climate predictions be they cooling, neutral or warming.


The remaining two tables demonstrate how weighted the overall reporting on the subject of climate predictions were. Overwhelmingly, even back in the 1970's were citations and reports around anticipated climate change where the overall climate would in fact warm.

Just as a side note, resources of a significant news organisation have been used to push the meme that a single irregular year has now erased the accumulated effects of climate temperature rise and we are now headed into a 'Global Cooling' period.

The new consensus: global cooling

Sorry to ruin the fun, but an ice age cometh

The Herald Sun and the Australian, both News Corp publications.



Another claim often made is that the warming trend of Earth has been as a result of changes in Solar activity - that is the more active the Sun is, the hotter the Earth becomes and therefore there is nothing we can do about this.

The Sunspots themselves are created by variations in the Sun's magnetic fields. Unlike the Earth, the Sun is a ball of plasma and rotates at different speeds twisting the gravitational or magnetic fields. Where the Earth has two poles, a North and a South, the sun has many millions.

With areas of rotation also a little like this.

However it has recently been recorded that the Sunspot or solar activity has dropped to a very low level.


The solar wind is the lowest ever measured, the sun has had most spotless days in 100 years, and the solar magnetic field is inexplicably fading away.


Normal sunspot on left. Recent solar pore - sunspot with a weak magnetic field - on right.

Please refer to this article on the nil effect solar activity is having on the Earths temperature.

Sun's Magnetic Field Fading, No One Knows Why

Or further information visit this article.


Normal solar activity on the left with current activity on the right.

On top of this, beginning around 1975, there is no correlation between the amount of solar activity and Earths temperature. The Earth is heating independently.

Climate myths: Global warming is down to the Sun, not humans

Once again a Newscorp publication gives credence to a debunked theory

Bulled by a Gore


Temperature increase not decrease

There has been some recent conjecture that the temperature is now falling not rising, as per fluctuations seen in the global average over the past year. From a site creatively called "Gore Lied" the following proof has been presented.

However if we go to longer records from NASA outside this trend window, which would take into account the 1975 period where the solar influence and temperature also start to show no relationship to each other, we get these graphs.

Newscorp once again pick up and run with the disinformation

Facts debunk global warming alarmism

Climate contrarians

A cool idea to warm to

Vote fuelled by hysteria

But in August guess what?

NOAA: Warmest Global Sea-Surface Temperatures for August and Summer

And instead of a source calling someone a liar, the source for this data was the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.


• The June-August worldwide ocean surface temperature was also the warmest on record at 62.5 degrees F, 1.04 degrees F above the 20th century average of 61.5 degrees F. ..... • The worldwide ocean surface temperature of 62.4 degrees F was the warmest on record for any August, and 1.03 degrees F above the 20th century average of 61.4 degrees F.

• The Southern Hemisphere average temperatures for land and ocean surface combined were the warmest on record for August.

From Ministry of Truths diary on this


This August was the second warmest on record for land and water just behind the super El Nino year of 1998. The cooling effects of the deep solar minimum, the quietest sun in 100 years, were not able to counteract the effects of anthropogenic greenhouse gases and a weak to moderate El Nino.



One of the biggest arguments for inaction has been the feared impact on jobs in the energy sector, particularly oil and coal, which could come from a transition to cleaner sources of Energy production. But what is inexplicable is the loss in jobs whilst the friendliest fossil fuel industry administration in American history was in office. If anything there should have been an expansion in employment numbers as the extraction of fossil fuels was a number one priority for George W Bush and Dick Cheney. But the numbers don't lie. Loss not gain in oil jobs 2002-2006

Employees 92,500 88,300 85,900 83,700 92,500 Exxon Employees 116,300 103,700 102,900 96,200 97,000 BP Employees 111,000 102,000 114,000 109,000 67,000 Shell Employees 121469 110,743 111,401 112,877 95,070 Total Employees 66,038 61,533 53,534 53,440 62,000 Chevron Employees 57,300 39,000 35,800 35,600 38,400 Conoco


Pretty bad when you also consider that turnover went through the roof per employee from around $1 Million per employed person to over $3.5 Million due to such a friendly energy policy focussed on fossil fuels alone.


And right at the end of the Bush administration, as it was looking like a change in US as well as Australian administrations, the price of oil skyrocketed.


It is very difficult to justify this sudden price spike under these circumstances, particularly when extraction costs were still so low.


According to BHP's oil man Mike Yeager, BHP's cost of production for a barrel of oil is between $6 and $12 a barrel.



Coal Jobs

Coal jobs don't follow the same trajectory with a net increase in numbers from 2000 - 2006. 2000 71,522 2006 82,595 There is a big difference however if the numbers from 10 years prior are added in when the variance in tonnage mined from 1990 at 1,029,076 tonnes to 2006 1,162,750 tonnes. 160,000 tonnes more with almost 50,000 less workers. 1990 131,306 1995 83,462

It is here where another consideration must be made. The vast majority of the productivity improvements from 1990 to 1995 will have come via larger machinery and automation of certain tasks, reducing the number of employees required. Right now in Australia, and in fact internationally, there is a major push on to automate many more of the labor intensive functions humans perform in place of robotics. Vehicle management - truck transport in particular,


Rio Tinto unveils research centre

RIO Tinto has unveiled its expanded Advanced Technology Research Centre in Melbourne to further develop remote operation and robotics technology.


Australia wins Rio Tinto's mining automation effort

An Exciting Era of Automation

Rio Tinto is to expand its technical innovation activities, committing A$21 million over five years to a new Research & Development (R&D) centre for mining automation at The University of Sydney.

So the next productivity gains will come from the elimination of some semi-skilled positions with the implementation of advanced automation and robotics. The trajectory of lower skilled job creation will turn down. Excessive protectionism of this industry in the belief that job numbers will increase, is misguided as productivity gains will be sought at the expense of workers.



This argument makes little to no sense at all. Somehow the argument goes that adopting new businesses which will bring to life the small business sector through wind turbines, solar panels, weatherproofing, electric cars, smart meters and all the NEW products a green energy revolution will create, will somehow mean that the American economy will suffer. IMO, this is kind of like being scared of computers when they first appeared on the scene because the products didn't exist in your world yet. But this economic fear-mongering is not being played out in the real world. Clean forms of energy or efficiency are creating lots of investment opportunities if not jobs.


A Big Breakthrough on Green Jobs

...with strong support from Republicans, Democrats, and the Working Families Party, which spearheaded the legislation. The bill—expected to be signed into law this week by Gov. David Patterson leverages $112m in revenue from the Northeasts’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) into $5 billion of private investment to finance home weatherization, energy efficiency projects, and green jobs creation.


Whilst the leveraging of a small investment can pay off to the tune of 50 times, the equivalent sized economies to the US are competing with each other to implement solar and other renewable technology industries at break neck speed, the US is appears to be a laggard. I can guarantee you that the coal and oil industry didn't magically appear overnight and jobs suddenly appear. There were plenty of false starts, government assistance and breaks, research and development dollars before these unclean forms of energy became economically viable. The same need not happen with renewable technologies however with the vast computing skills of Americans to program technology simulations on new means of energy production.



Desertec: The $560 Billion Plan To Bring Solar Power To Europe

Here's a bold plan for renewable energy: 12 European companies are going to work together to build the world's largest solar farm in Northern Africa. The project will be called Desertec. The electricity it generates will not travel south to Africa, instead it will head north to Europe, with the dreamy ambition of providing 15% of Europe's electricity by 2050. The total cost of the project is a jaw dropping $560 billion (€400 Billion).


Big picture solar

An initial 250-megawatt unit may start up in 2011 at a cost of about $1 billion, Peter Meurs, managing director of WorleyParsons' EcoNomics unit, said. Some $34 billion of projects may be built by 2020, by companies including BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, he said.



China powers ahead as it seizes the green energy crown from Europe

China is running away with the green technology prize. It has conquered a third of the world market for solar cells and is on a breakneck course to build 100 gigawatts of wind turbines by 2020


That covers Africa, Australia, China... But nothing scares investors off more than a negative environment which is why China is leading the way.

China Takes Lead From America in Future Energy Race

If the policy is no good, then this happens.

Deutsche Bank: Absence of US Clean Energy Policy Will Send Global Capital Elsewhere

Remember Sputnik America? Well it looks like it is happening again this time with clean energy. Are you being left behind? Can you remember what you did after Sputnik? Does America think they can do it again or even want to get in the game, or is everyone too scared now because of all the media and GOP fear mongering?


C02 is not a pollutant

This is a massive over-simplification of the processes involved in the cycle of plants. In other words the claim is that C02 actually helps plants survive therefore the more C02, the better plants will survive. But as I have indicated below it is only when it is in balance with all the other elements of nature, and we have simply over filled our atmosphere with additional buried carbon. Kind of like blowing cigarette smoke into a clear soft drink bottle. So I'll let you see in the video below what actually happens when C02 rises, temperature rises and then the photosynthesis cycle breaks down.

Photosynthesis stops

And we're off to the races once again with a Newscorp publication

Reason clouded by carbon obsession

Let alone these professionally financed websites in the US

Plants need C02

C02 is Green

And a classic comment summing up the irrational logic of this argument:


The argument being:

Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. We create it when we exhale.


The response: Shit is not a pollutant. We create it when we eat. Urine is not a pollutant. We create it when we drink. Methane is not a pollutant. We create it when we digest.

In other words C02 may be a by-product of natural processes, which in this case we have industrialized, but it doesn't mean we can simply ignore the excessive production of it as with those other items, it creates conditions harmful to life. We need to deal with it as we do other 'natural' pollutants. Reduce or recycle which up until now we have not even begun to do.


But all jokes aside, if the planet is in danger of becoming uninhabitable, how much faith are those that have the power to do something about it putting in these rather tired old excuses? Maybe it's too much and I needed to know what the truth was and why if the scientists were so alarmed, our business and political people, the ones in control of energy policy in particular, seemed hell bent on continuing as if nothing was going on.

I didn't understand exactly why but I kind of figured it was a money thing, maybe a power thing, and a peer group and working environment thing ie what you are told, if reinforced by your employer, friends and the people who surround you, is what you believe. So if you surround yourself with people whose business interests are the extraction, use and sale of fossil fuels, they will tell you what they want you to hear. But it wasn't until I watched the movie above that I truly began to fear that maybe the psychological divide is something more than just a different set of commercial values. Maybe it was more than who could best 'sell' their version of the facts to decision makers and the public in general. Maybe the people working so hard to stop us from developing and adopting clean and renewable sources of energy had developed a belief system so foreign to my own that there was little I could do to 'change their minds'.

Although I believed this to be somewhat true, maybe it wasn't as simple as this.


It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!

Smart guy that Upton Sinclair fellow.

Captive Market

With the ongoing denial of the incontrovertible international scientific consensus with respect to man-made influence on our climate, I once referred to this as similar to what happened with the tobacco/cancer denialist approach. Where an advertising industry was built up around a certain product simply to distract and mislead the public as to the causation link between smoking and ill health. The tobacco industry make a product which was easy to produce, easy to market, and because it got people hooked on nicotene, was incredibly profitable. So profitable in fact that vast sums of money could be spent on advertising, complementary bought science reviews, obsfucation about the science or counter argument 'facts' in the media, lobbyists and of course politicians receiving support. Not to mention governments themselves being party to this through tobacco taxes on each packet. Because people became addicted to this product from a young age, there was a guaranteed revenue stream every day of their lives. A captive consumer who can't do without this drug. Health care is similar in that no-one can do without that. Energy, as I explained in a previous diary, is the biggest captive market there is.

So I understand the economics, I understand our need to find energy sources and I know the correlation between consumption of energy and our standard of living. What I didn't understand however was, like the tobacco industry, people who had the power to choose in what form our primary energy came, would adamantly ensure it was the most destructive possible form. That any effort to develop competing technologies would be crushed. That they would actually employ so many people to deliberately NOT tell the truth.


C02 as a greenhouse gas

Fact - digging or extracting resources out of the ground, in this case fossil fuels, and burning them, will release more stored gases and material into the air than currently exists in the atmosphere.

There are many people out there who may not yet understand nor accept the science of climate disruption and its cause being a human induced one through a release of stored carbon, so I'll do my best to use some resources to explain why it is real below.

Incorrect figures based on correct science


“The burning of fossil fuels sends about seven gigatons of CO2 per year into the atmosphere, which sounds like a lot. Yet the biosphere and the oceans send about 1900 gigatons and 36000 gigatons of CO2 per year into the atmosphere – ... one reason why some of us are sceptical about the emphasis put on the role of human fuel-burning in the greenhouse gas effect. Reducing man-made CO 2 emissions is megalomania, exaggerating man’s significance. Politicians can’t change the weather.”

Now I have a lot of time for scepticism, and not everything that sceptics say is a crock of manure – but irresponsible journalism like Dominic Lawson’s deserves a good flushing.

The first problem with Lawson’s offering is that all three numbers that he mentions (seven, 1900, and 36000) are wrong! The correct numbers are 26, 440, and 330. Leaving these errors to one side, let’s address Lawson’s main point, the relative smallness of man-made emissions.


From Without the Hot Air

And a review of this document

For demonstration purposes lets take these figures as accurate. The biosphere or land based plants and animals generate

440 Gigatons of Carbon Dioxide per year. The Oceans about 330 Gigatons. Humans 26 Gigatons.

OK this sounds like our impact is minimal, right? Wrong.

If we consider that release of the Carbon dioxide by our oceans, plant life and biosphere has been essentially 'in balance'

because as much as they release, an equal amount will be absorbed by animals, plants or phyto-plankton or even the ocean itself absorbs a good deal of our carbon dioxide emissions. So every year for thousands of years, these 'natural' systems put out 770 Gigatons of carbon dioxide through plant decay, animal burps and farts, decaying animals or any number of other natural emissions such as volcanic vents. But every year 770 Gigatons was being reabsorbed back into these natural systems. A balanced carbon cycle.


The Earth breathes. There’s more land in the northern hemisphere than the southern, so carbon dioxide levels dip noticeably from April to October.


Makes sense right? More C02 is absorbed when the growing conditions are better for plants.

So as you can see from the Mauna Loa data which has been collecting C02 readings for a long time, the concentration of C02 in ppm has fluctuated between seasons, with a definite trend upwards.

So the system was in balance, then along we humans come to dig up and start to burn all the carbon which had been stored away for millions of year. Each and every year we add 26 Gigatons EXTRA to the atmosphere and just expect the in balance systems to pick up the slack.

The first year : 770 Gt floating around the system + 26 extra Gt = 796 Gt now in our system. Second year 822Gt, third 848Gt, by year 26 we have doubled the C02 in the atmosphere to 1446 Gigatonnes. But the Earth is a big place right? It can handle this release of stored Carbon? Well not really, eventually we reach a point of saturation and something starts to give.

Think of a glass of water and what happens when you add a teaspoon of salt and stir it up? The water goes cloudy for a little while but then the salt dissolves and it is clear again. Well we have kind of been doing that, adding something extra every single year to the point that the water wont go clear any more, the salt wont dissolve. It is so saturated that it would be poisonous if you stuck in a salt water fish from the ocean.


On a longer scale carbon dioxide moves from 180ppm to 280ppm in hundred thousand year long cycles.

Referring back to Stranded Winds diary on C02 concentration, there have been samples taken which show that over roughly one hundred of thousand years the Earths C02 can fluctuate between 180ppm and 280ppm.


Now the nice graph above came from the Vostok Ice Core data but be assured there are others that reach back nearly twice as far as the Vostok’s 450,000 years. The rule seems to hold – 1ppm CO2 uptake per each thousand years.

But we are now at 387ppm and have gotten there in less than 100 years or 1 ppm per year

where previously this was 1ppm per 1,000 years. 1,000 times acceleration.

Referring back to the analogy on salt, it is not just the C02 which we are putting into the atmosphere which is a problem, but the C02 is being absorbed in larger and larger quantities by the oceans. C02 is the same gas we dissolve in water to give soft drinks and beer its fizz.


Carbonation occurs when carbon dioxide is dissolved in water or an aqueous solution.

This causes the pH level of the water to shift and therefore acidification of our oceans as a result of increasing saturation in the atmosphere of C02 not being absorbed.


Ocean acidification effects on marine food chain


Destroying the ability of shell fish to survive



Scientists sound Oceania extinction warning(Australia/NZ) A survey of conservation research in the Oceania region says the area is losing species at least as fast as the rest of the planet - and maybe even faster. "Whether you look at the land biodiversity, the freshwater biodiversity, or the marine ecosystems, we are in some way having a major impact on all of those."


Methane clathrates

Methane is capable of trapping 20 times the heat as Carbon Dioxide. So it is of much concern that the ice in the polar regions contain significant quantities of Methane hydrates.


Methane hydrates

are believed to form by migration of gas from depth along geological faults, followed by precipitation, or crystallization, on contact of the rising gas stream with cold sea water.

So as the ice melts, the compressed gas is released.


In Siberia, this can be seen in this clip where a frozen lake is releasing large amounts of combustible Methane.

You can find more information on this release of gas in the articles below.

What about Earth Burps?

Huge Carbon Traps Melting

Methane rise points to wetlands


Remember earlier the reference to 770 Gt of C02 which held the Earth's thermostat and carbon cycle in balance long enough for the current diversity of life on the planet to thrive. Including of course humanity. Well the pie chart below tells a significant story. According to estimated records amounts of C02 in our biosphere are broken down as follows. Atmospheric C02 - 3.6Gt Ocean - 983 Gt Land - 2,790 Gt Fossil Fuels - 5,000 Gt Gas Hydrates - 10,000 Gt

Which brings us back to our balanced carbon cycle which was about 770 Gt. We have 10-15,000 Gigatonnes of stored Carbon and Gas hydrate carbon much in the form of Methane which could add 10-20 times as much if the methane stored in the ice melts. The methane with a warming factor of 20 don't forget.


After watching that last Youtube video showing the Methane release from the ocean floor, the prognosis if this really takes off is not very good.

Large Methane Release Could Cause Abrupt Climate Change As Happened 635 Million Years Ago


Sea Level Rise

This is the one most people are conscious of which according to these videos shows potential sea level rise if the entire Greenland Ice sheets melt, as raising sea level by 23 feet or 7 meters. This is what is happening at the polar ice caps right now.


Video of melting ice.


The predicted sea level rise in New York


What floods do to a city - Video from Manila 26 September 2009


Physical Evidence of thinning Ice

Lasers from Space Show Ice Sheets Thinning — Greenland and Antarctica

Time lapse video of the Arctic ice melt and projections over time. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXhcKyYOb9Y http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hgvNO_WT9o http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4IY4WyYDm8 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=neXB1XzMu7Y


Peak Oil

There are a number of blogs run on this subject, peak oil, with some very good analysis identifying the reserves being tapped, their size, worldwide oil usage versus new discoveries. Below is a video of a very good panel discussion dealing with the subject of Peak Oil and cleaner energy.


The graph below is from the Oil Drum showing the estimated recoverable resources and where we are headed with a decline in total recoverable resources and daily oil able to be extracted beginning around the start of 2010. I guess we can expect higher oil prices as a result.


First EIA report under President Obama predicts major American lifestyle change


Story of Stuff


“Buying is much more American than thinking, and I’m as American as they come.”

Andy Warhol

I can remember reading this in the Pittsburgh Warhol Museum and it is probably the quotation most seared into my memory. I guess its not until it is blatantly stated like this that you recognize that of all the things the world has adopted, consumerism has been pushed so strongly on us it is hard to keep up. Our capacity to consume has been made possible by the exploitation of those fossil fuels above, which, as it appears are running out. The video filmed below has been put together which endeavors to explain our consumption lifestyle and why it will have a finite ending, and it may not be very good for many people.


Newscorp, once again with prime time resources dedicated to discrediting this video.


However the video really covers the production life cycle of consumer items, following pretty much the graphic below. Note that at every step of the value adding chain, energy is an essential input.


Risk Analysis

So taking all the above into consideration, the knowledge that buried carbon is being released into the atmosphere, that many companies which have the extraction, sale or use of fossil fuel resources as a core business are openly discussing it, that the excuses being made not to address it are based on shaky foundations, that the possibility of the climate change being at a runaway stage is potentially here with Methane releases and with threats being multitude with higher temperatures, sea level rises, glaciers disappearing, photosynthesis ceasing, storm intensity increasing and oceans becoming dead zones, wouldn't it be prudent to at least consider that something needs to be done?

The video below shows how a risk analysis on the threat of climate change and arguments for/against are laid out by a science teacher. Concluding that the risk of inaction far outweigh any risk of action.



These are some of my reasons for concluding that this risk of climate disruption is one which must be faced head on, that any further discussion about the merits of whether the planet is warming, whether it is man made, celebrating any 'gotcha' moments from those denying the science against those trying to warn us to face up to this inherent danger, are simply juvenile taunts from those with a vested interest in maintaining a status quo which will send us all off the cliff. But the story doesn't end there. Admitting the facts are overwhelming and terrifying at the same time, has created a dual purpose for me. One is to identify how we managed to get this far without addressing this impending threat to us all as we should, the other is to figure out how we begin to fix the problem. Which I believe we can. To do that, recognizing that we do have so many people acting like Daniel Planeview has been the hardest thing for me to accept. People whose entire lifes purpose is to make sure we keep on that path of destruction. But I don't accept that as the way forward, so I guess a line must be drawn in the black sand, time to walk away and try something else as I could not live with the knowledge that I have and simply go on pretending things were OK when quite obviously they are not.

So here's my line.

It's already been crossed.

I think we need to stop making a mess of this as its the only one we have... HOME


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Thank you for crossposting it here.

...and I think you've beaten my record for longest single post... ;)

I really appreciate this commentary because I'm over it. All of it. I mean really really over it. Someone at work was showing off some new electronic gadget - I honestly don't remember what it was - and I just remember thinking, yet another toy that won't work in 3 years.

What's the point?

What's the point of all of this stuff we've spent so much wasted time and energy collecting?

Thank you for such a remarkable commentary.

And, Unenergy, thank you for what's both a moving and informative piece!


"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government in a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country." - Thomas Jefferson