Sunday, 22 August 2010
If you're a denialist, with limited morals or knowledge or thinking skills, spreading the idea that CO2 is "plant food", to discourage vital attempts to limit the overloading of our atmosphere with it, is one of those sound bite arguments that sound so plausible to the unwary. Like many generalisations, sooner or later it runs afoul of the real world. Here below is Pete Sinclair's "Climate Crock of the week". It features one of the most prominent of the denialists, "Lord" Viscount Monckton of Brenchley. A very articulate and highly dangerous propagandist - allegedly (litigious, too). The material and "arguments" in his presentations have been repeatedly torn apart, yet he still keeps on presenting them to new cannon fodder. What should we make of someone like that?
The "CO2 is plant food" denialist argument basically ignores that one can have too much of a good thing. Rather as 2500 calories a day intake of food is good, but 10,000 a day will soon lead to big health problems. Come to think of it, Monckton’s brand of urbane poison seems to resonate very well with a lot of Americans who are no strangers to Supersize portions whether of food, oil, rapacious, “too big to fail”, international finance or whatever.
Extra CO2 can, in certain circumstances, increase crop yields but it depends on the other things that plants need to grow such as water, fertilising nutrients, temperature etc being optimised at the same time. If we get increased drought and floods alternately drying and saturating land then crop yields are likely to fall, not rise, due to increased atmospheric CO2. Yet denialists keep promoting this piece of misdirection regardless of the truth.
Wednesday, 18 August 2010
This is a great and inspiring trailer to the forthcoming movie “Fuel”. It’s slick – it’s American – it’s optimistic. It’s true that we’ll be lucky if “Annies” like this are correct - but ya gotta have hope haven’t ya?
Peak oil. Climate change. Whatever way you cut it, we’re in for big changes.
Friday, 13 August 2010
Edit - I should have attributed this cartoon - it comes from Tom Toles, who is a political satirical cartoonist for the Washington Post
Girl power. The Spice Girls spread it in the 90’s. It was all a bit trivial. This isn’t.
Have a look at this website - The Girl Effect - click agree or disagree and see what happens. It’s a bit simplistic but there is a big nugget of sense at the root.
Wednesday, 11 August 2010
Tuesday, 10 August 2010
There are quite a few "knowledgeable" pundits who are speculating that we might be heading for a double dip recession - which is where you have a recession then see "green shoots" for a bit but then the recession carries on down. A bit like a "dead cat bounce" in an individual share on the stock market.
We keep hearing about the "green shoots" from our economic advisers, both here and on the UK mainland, and those who trust in them, as they continue to believe, like Annie, that "the sun'll come out tomorra - bet your bottom dollar". Rose tinted spectacles.
The likes of Treasury Minister Ozouf and Economic Development Minister Maclean are wedded to the hope that a resumption in economic growth will solve all ills and they think that it's just a matter of the Island/World bunkering down until the recession ends. However, more significant figures are whispering the "D" word - Depression.
We've got to this point because of centuries of Ponzi scheme-like money systems and vast economic growth, fuelled by relatively easily available and cheap fossil fuels combined with a global population level, and average international "standard of living", that meant that the available resources of Planet Earth appeared ample (ish) and inexhaustible.
We are now at the point where we can say that Peak Everything will dampen the growth party - maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of our lives (yes, it’s from Casablanca).
The United Nation's Environment Programme (GEO4) identified a few years ago that we we are living at least 25% beyond what the Earth can sustainably supply. The current recession/incipient depression will slow the assault on our planetary life support systems down a bit but the end result will be the same.
Indefinite unending conventional growth in a finite world is not possible. That is not an opinion or an assertion – it’s a statement of a law of the Universe. Ye cannae change the laws of physics, Jim! He’s featured on this blog before but step forward one more time the 9 billion tonne hamster.
Global population is only forecast to stabilise at 9-10 billion using the assumption that a developed world standard-of-living spreads to the "undeveloped" world, as a higher standard of living (=impact on resources) is seen as part of the reason why population growth falls in developed nations. Clearly the "necessary" growth in the undeveloped world that is "needed" to stabilise global population will send us careering wildly even further into ecological overshoot mode.
If we don’t stabilise population, everything must go to hell in a handbasket. What is presented as the way to stabilise population means that, if we do it, we will end up also going to hell in a handbasket.
Further conventional economic growth would be "uneconomic growth" where the bad consequences outweigh any benefits. In short, we cannot afford conventional economic growth any more. We have come to the end of that particular road. Unfortunately, conventional economics says that we need growth to resume to get us out of this current colossal financial mess, let alone the staggering levels of international debt that depend on a huge expansion of the global economy to ever be paid back. If the reader didn’t know what unsustainable meant before, they ought to by now!
Back to the current recession/depression. Here's a couple of sites to make Geoff Cook's (Jersey Finance’s Chief Executive) toes curl. The first - The Energy Report - is relatively optimistic (although you'd never know it until you read the second, much longer, one...). Brace yourselves for The Automatic Earth (which references the first article). It takes a while to get going, but stick with it.
By the way, sustainable or ecological economics shows us a way out of the dilemmas but, until the powers that be acknowledge the grave problems the world faces honestly and in public, nothing is likely to be done. While the general population still have some faith in unbearably stupid irresponsible people, like our glorious leaders and their advisers, the pressure for real sustainable change will never build up. Our leaders will continue to prescribe more of what they think worked in the past. It won’t help. People need to get the rocks out of their heads. Bob Dylan said "Don't follow leaders". Until our leaders start speaking reality, I think we should agree with him.
When you hear the Geoff Cooks, Ozoufs and Macleans of this world banging on about economic growth and green shoots of recovery etc just consider that we have probably come to the end of the historical period when economic growth was either possible or beneficial. The future will be different, with different rules. Here’s a taster in this video.
Post Carbon Institute Senior Fellow Richard Heinberg relates the fundamentals of energy supply scarcity and how the economic markets will react. Richard is Senior Fellow-in-Residence of the Post Carbon Institute and is widely regarded as one of the world's foremost Peak Oil educators. He has authored scores of essays and articles that have appeared in such journals as The Ecologist, The American Prospect, Public Policy Research, Quarterly Review, Z Magazine, Resurgence, The Futurist, European Business Review, Earth Island Journal, Yes!, Pacific Ecologist, and The Sun; and on web sites such as Alternet.org, EnergyBulletin.net, TheOilDrum.com, ProjectCensored.com, and Counterpunch.com.
It’s been a while since I posted a “Climate crock” so here’s a BOGOF double. Most will be familar with the denialist arguments that take cherry picked graphs and time periods to “prove” that we are in cooling trends, that polar ice is growing etc. Greenman3610 gleefully cuts and pastes to show up the sheer idiocy of these dangerous “challenged” clowns
And here’s part 2 which concludes with a stunning display of the mad Goebbel’esque lies, deceit and garbage put about by American right wing talk radio/media pundits such as Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck and Alex Jones. Did you think McCarthyism was just something that happened in the 50’s?
Thursday, 5 August 2010
Descendants from Goro Fujita on Vimeo.