Addiction to Fossil Fuels, Capitalism, Climate Change, Collapse of Industrial Civilization, Corporate State, Ecological Overshoot, Economic Collapse, Environmental Collapse, Financial Elite, Inverted Totalitarianism, New Zealand's Kennedy Graham MP, The Elite 1%
Epic ice melt in the Arctic puts on a spectacular demonstration illustrating the consequences of our orgy on fossil fuel consumption, yet the global bureaucrats’ and corporatists’ only reaction is to race northward for further resource plundering.
Russia suffers its most severe wildfire season in recent history and discovers over 200 massive methane fields bubbling up from their seas, yet the Russian bureaucrats and corporatists plan to increase their coal exports to China by 50%.
Compared to forty years ago, American forests now succumb to twice as many conflagrations in burn seasons lasting over two months longer, yet the bureaucrats and corporatists proclaim that the development of the Keystone oil sands pipeline is inevitable.
The U.S. bread basket gets decimated by unrelenting drought, yet bureaucrats and corporatists institutionalize taxpayer-funded subsidies and insurance bailouts for Big Ag which is resposible for up to 30% of CO2 emissions.
“Much of the world’s photosynthesis, the basis of all of our food, comes from the ocean’s plankton. The oxygen in every other breath we take is a product of phytoplankton photosynthesis.” Yet we continue to burn ever more coal and other fossil fuels and carry out bottom trawling of the oceans, the end result being the death of the cradle of life on Earth.
You have cancer; please stop smoking.
New Zealand’s Kennedy Graham MP, who has tried to raise such points with his country’s bureaucrats and corporatists, has an interesting article out which questions whether these business suits he deals with are living on the same planet he is:
Climate change and human psychoses…
…A quarter century, actually, since the US Senate and the Brundtland Report put the issue on the international agenda. We’ve had, since then, Rio and Cairo, Kyoto and Marrakesh, Copenhagen and Cancun and Durban, and Rio again.
But the past week has been especially intensive, and this for two reasons. The NZ Parliament is conducting hearings on the Government’s bill to amend the ETS[emissions trading scheme], in response to the Advisory Panel’s report of 2011. And, concurrently and with no strong causal link, the latest scientific findings of climate change are reported in.
So, in the past week, I have asked two questions of the Government on climate change. Taken together, they traverse the range of the issue – the NZ Government’s domestic instrument for combating climate change, and its appreciation of the global reality out there.
The first questioned the Government on what the Green Party critiques as a weak emissions trading scheme, ‘subsidising polluters’ and incurring considerable net fiscal cost to the taxpayer. The second queried whether, in drafting the latest amendments to the ETS, the Government had sufficiently taken into account the latest scientific findings.
In short, the Government’s response was as follows:
– The amendments defer any strengthening of the ETS because we live in fragile economic circumstances and it is ‘not a stellar time’ to increase charges and taxes. The changes did not amount to ‘subsidies’, and indeed New Zealand was on track to more than meet its five-year Kyoto obligations.
– The Government had, indeed, adequately accounted for the latest scientific findings, but it has to take into account a whole range of factors such as the global developments and employment levels in New Zealand.
This is as close as it gets to a meaningful exchange in the NZ Parliament on the future of the planet. I acknowledge that Ministers Groser and Bridges are well-meaning and competent. I count them as friends. Tim Groser, in particular, has huge international experience and reputation.
That does not make them necessarily right in what they are doing. It is possible for such people to be egregiously wrong, fatefully, fatally.
Effectively, the ministers are acknowledging that the amendments weaken the ETS in the sense of deferring sectoral obligations, and seek to explain why – protection of jobs, firms and investment at home against risk competitiveness during tough global economic times.
That is circular logic, and it rests on an erroneous premise. We are entering the Global Ecological Crisis. An ecological crisis means an economic crisis. They are one and the same thing. You do not defer measures to combat an ecological crisis because you are in an economic crisis. You deal with them as one crisis, and seek to resolve ‘it’ immediately.
The latest scientific findings are alarming. They possibly portend a new era for humanity – one where dangerous anthropogenic climate change may arrive within half a decade out, not half a century.
– Arctic ice extent, as measured this month by the US Snow & Ice Data Center, is 49% below the past 30-year average. Between 2007 and ’11 it has dropped from 4.17 m. sq. km to 3.41 m. sq. km., an 18% drop in four years. The different trends in Antarctica, where there is some cooling and ice-accretion, is understood by scientists to be consistent with an increase in average global temperature.
– Russian scientists on the Viktor Buinitsky research vessel have found methane fields in the Laptev Sea of 1 km. in diameter. Methane deposits in the seabed near Spitzbergen are effervescing to the surface.
– This has been described by Cambridge University scientist, Prof. Wadhams, as ‘terrifying news’. It facilitates the release of potent methane gas from land-based tundra and seabed floor, reducing Earth’s albedo effect, risking a positive feedback loop on temperature increase that can breach unpredictable tipping-points. While we must await the IPCC’s 5th assessment report in 2013, the latest specific findings are of far-reaching concern.
I confess I experience my share of surreal moments in the NZ House of Representatives when I ask these questions and receive the answers I do. It is as if we truly are, my National MP colleagues and I, on different planets.
For I am asking questions, in as measured tones as I can, of what appears to me to be about the future of the planet and humanity, and they are answering as if (a) it is just another problem and (b) I am something of an irritant.
No-one will be more relieved than I shall, if the science proves to be wrong or excessively ominous. I shall simply look stupid. That will be my preference, since my grand-children will have a decent future.
But I do not see how that can be the case.
Paul f. Getty said:
I lose all hope that we can make any dent at all in the increasing problems from global warming when I speak to my patients, friends, and family… There simply is little interest. It is on a level, maybe, of concern about war with China. People who are worried and involved in the issue of climate change are considered sort of fringe, and most people don’t want to be thought of that way.
I think if there would ever be a real move to make big changes in our laws and regulations that would limit fossil fuel burning or extraction, we’d have a rebellion. The people simply don’t see any need to move even slightly into a time of economic sacrifice. They truly want MORE availability of oil and coal and natural gas. Those of us who want these energy sources restricted are in a tiny minority.
I’m watching the human race destroy our beautiful world, I’m powerless to stop it, and I really don’t know what can be done. I’m on a speeding train, headed for a cliff, and there is no way I can see to stop it. I tell all the passengers about the coming calamity, and they are completely unconcerned no matter what I say, far too busy with other matters and very much enjoying the,ride. They seem quite annoyed with me and my warnings.
I’m so sorry……..It’s so sad to watch. At least we could be banding together to help each other………
John Christian said:
The majority of people still dont think CO2 is a greenhouse gas, hence no amount of statistics about CO2 concentrations or methane for that sense, will convince them this is truly a problem to consider. Most people who view statistics about global warming today generally conclude that its a natural variation in the earths cycle that humans have had no influence on, hence there is no need for us to change any of our behavior.
I am personally at loss at how to convince people that this is truly a matter of serious attention and one that we should all be concerned with. Several I have confronted have a “what will be, will be” kind of attitude which means we just have to adapt to circumstances, whether we are the cause of them or not. I guess its partially in the belief that this is “scaremongering” and is just like any other doomer prediction (I hear that one a lot). That i have to be positive about it… always look on the bright side of life. Well, how can you do that as an intelligent species well trained in numbers and estimation. Absolutely all the numbers I look at really look like a runaway train just about to crash seriously. Everything from the insane population increase, CO2 concentration we haven’t seen in millions of years, Artic Ice melting away, draughts in USA, even the amount of rainy days we have per year in my little town Bergen here in Norway (second biggest but small in US scale). At the same time we see acidifying of the oceans, fish harvesting gone crazy, oil producers using dirtier and dirtier methods to get the oil out (btw very few I talk about even believe in peak oil), an un-sustainable agriculture treating the soil as a swamp for artificial fertilizers. Very few people I speak to view these as bad things, but merely us applying the best technology to “solve our problems”.
Oh well, I think we are in for a pretty bad ride soon…
Kevin Moore said:
Life at the End of Empire on the Planet of the Maniacs.
I have included that expression, plus an in-depth catalogue of environmental collapse in the document I sent to my local council yesterday (I live in NZ) knowing full well that local government will not take any notice of anything I say.
They’ll just keep doing it till they can’t. (I included that expression in the document too.)
I think you just gave me an idea for my next post.