Addiction to Fossil Fuels, Capitalism, Climate Change, Collapse of Industrial Civilization, Corporate State, Disaster Capitalism, Eco-Apocalypse, Ecological Overshoot, Economic Collapse, Environmental Collapse, Extinction of Man, Financial Elite, Graceful Shutdown, Hard Shutdown, Inverted Totalitarianism, Mass Die Off, Military Industrial Complex, Nuclear Waste, Profitting off Disaster, Resource Wars, Social Unrest, The Elite 1%
A few noteworthy news stories came across my desk. If anyone still believes the human race will suddenly become endowed with a collective enlightenment to stop throwing its fossil fuel garbage into the air and avert climate chaos, theses recent news articles should put that pipe dream to rest. The first two are further confirmation that we are on a fast track to nowhere with human-induced climate change. 2012 CO2 levels increased by 2.67 parts per million and marked the second biggest jump since records began in 1959, bringing the planet to just under 395 parts per million (ppm). 1998 has the record with a CO2 jump of 2.84 ppm.
Also, this graph courtesy of the Early Warning blog:
A widely reported study recently confirms that the Earth has not been this warm in 11,300 years. See the spike at the end of the graph up above; that’s from man’s frantic industrial activities over the last few hundred years which have actually reversed what should have been a continued cooling trend. Plants are responding to this aberrant spike in global temperature by migrating northward.
Some major institutions of industrial civilization are taking note of this reality while others are not. Firstly, the U.S. military is reaching out to foreign governments in order to prepare for what will be a humanitarian catastrophe:
…when it comes to pragmatic military planning, Locklear said he is increasingly focused on another highly destabilizing force.
“The ice is melting and sea is getting higher,” Locklear said, noting that 80 percent of the world’s population lives within 200 miles of the coast. “I’m into the consequence management side of it. I’m not a scientist, but the island of Tarawa in Kiribati, they’re contemplating moving their entire population to another country because [it] is not going to exist anymore.”
The US military, he said, is beginning to reach out to other armed forces in the region about the issue.
“We have interjected into our multilateral dialogue – even with China and India – the imperative to kind of get military capabilities aligned [for] when the effects of climate change start to impact these massive populations,” he said. “If it goes bad, you could have hundreds of thousands or millions of people displaced and then security will start to crumble pretty quickly.’- source
While on Wall Street, investors are accepting the mindset that climate change is inevitable and instead of investing in “green energy”, they are taking a more catastrophic approach:
Working under the assumption that climate change is inevitable, they’re investing in businesses that will profit as the planet gets hotter. (The World Bank says the earth could warm by 4C by the end of the century.) Their strategies include buying water treatment companies, brokering deals for Australian farmland, and backing a startup that has engineered a mosquito to fight dengue, a disease that’s spreading as the mercury climbs…
…When investors think about global warming, “there is an overemphasis of its negative impacts,” says Michael Richardson, head of business development at Land Commodities, which advises rich individuals and sovereign wealth funds on purchases of Australian farmland. The company’s pitch: The gloomy prospect of hotter temperatures, scarce arable land, and rapidly rising populations will make inland cropland Down Under—far from rising seas yet close to Asia’s hungry customers—more valuable…
To which a reader makes the following comment about this shameless profiting from doom:
SOX – Sarbanes-Oxley reports that most global insurance companies are not prepared for the havoc that is to be unleashed from climate chaos:
…This could be disastrous for the global economy. As Ceres notes, the global economy would be paralyzed without insurance lubricating commerce. And since the insurance industry is also a major institutional investor-to the tune of $5 trillion-bad bets on companies exposed to climate change risk could erode insurers’ own balance sheets and their ability to cope with multiple Sandy’s in the years to come. Not to mention liability from litigation arising from customers such as power plant operators whose emissions contribute to climate change. “A substantial proportion of the revenue generated by insurers is derived from investment returns,” the Ceres report notes. “Just as climate change may substantially increase insured losses, it may also adversely affect the investment performance that insurers rely on to meet their liabilities.’
In his latest post, scientist Brad Jarvis talks about a “hard shutdown” versus a “graceful shutdown” of industrial civilization:
I have not read the book “Lights Out,” but I imagine one of the devastating consequences of a “hard shutdown” would be the loss of energy to nuclear plants and those unspent fuel rods sitting there like ticking time bombs.
U.S. reactors have generated about 65,000 metric tons of spent fuel, of which 75 percent is stored in pools, according to Nuclear Energy Institute data. Spent fuel rods give off about 1 million rems (10,00Sv) of radiation per hour at a distance of one foot — enough radiation to kill people in a matter of seconds. There are more than 30 million such rods in U.S. spent fuel pools. No other nation has generated this much radioactivity from either nuclear power or nuclear weapons production…
Even though they contain some of the largest concentrations of radioactivity on the planet, U.S. spent nuclear fuel pools are mostly contained in ordinary industrial structures designed to merely protect them against the elements. Some are made from materials commonly used to house big-box stores and car dealerships…”
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission estimates that many of the nuclear power plants in the United States will be out of room in their spent fuel pools by 2015, most likely requiring the use of temporary storage of some kind. – source