Brazilian Protests, Capitalism, Climate Change, Climate Refugees, Collapse of Industrial Civilization, Corporate State, Eco-Apocalypse, Economic Collapse, Environmental Collapse, Extinction of Man, Financial Elite, Floating Ecopolis for Climate Refugees, Gross Inequality, Inverted Totalitarianism, Libertarianism, Methane Time Bomb, Neoliberal Capitalism, Poverty, Privatization, Seasteading Institute, Social Unrest, Techno-Optimists, Technophiliacs, The Elite 1%, unwashed public, Wall Street Fraud
More threatening than the recent milestone of reaching 400 parts per million CO2 (ppm) is that of a methane level reaching 1800 parts per billion (ppb) which occured on the morning of June 16, 2013. This is more than two and a half times the methane levels of pre-industrial times.
From a historic perspective, greenhouse gas levels have risen abruptly to unprecedented levels. While already at a historic peak, humans have caused emissions of additional greenhouse gases. There’s no doubt that such greenhouse gas levels will lead to huge rises in temperatures. The question is how long it will take for temperatures to catch up and rise. – source
Robert Scribbler also reports that a persistently stagnant(blocked) and bulging Jet Stream has delivered historic heat waves to that region of Alaska and the Arctic. Melt ponds can be seen from satellite images:
…Yesterday, temperatures in Prince William Sound hit upwards of 93 degrees. Communities there, including Valdez and Cordova, both set new record highs. Talkeetna hit 94 degrees, also an all-time record high for the date. Meanwhile, Seward hit a new record of 88 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures in the interior rose to between the mid 80s and lower 90s.
This pulse of heat was driven by a persistent bulge in the Jet Stream over the Pacific Ocean, the Western United States, and the Pacific Northwest that has been present since mid winter. The bulge has resulted in warmer than normal temperatures and drier conditions for much of the Western US while keeping temperatures warm for western Canada and Alaska. It is a blocking pattern implicated in the ongoing drought conditions in places from Colorado to Nevada and California. A pattern which sees 44% of the US still locked in drought.
Sunday and Monday, this blocking pattern enabled warm air to flood north into Alaska, setting off a record heatwave there. You may not think of 50 and 60 degree temperatures in Barrow, Alaska as a heatwave. But when average highs for June there are about 38 degrees, 50 and 60 degree weather is quite hot for this time of year…
Last month it was reported that America will ‘officially’ see its own first climate refugees within the next four years:
The 350 residents of Newtok, Alaska, will soon be the country’s first “climate refugees.” The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the village is likely to be underwater in just four years…
…”The snow comes in a different time now. The snow disappears way late,” says villager Nathan Tom. “That’s making the geese come at the wrong time. Now they’re starting to lay eggs when there’s still snow and ice. We can’t even travel and go pick them. It’s getting harder. It’s changing a lot.”…
…The U.S. Government Accountability Office has estimated that the cost of moving Newtok — with 63 homes — might reach $130 million. The people of Newtok do not have that kind of money, Goldenberg says.
“These people are living well below the average income of other Americans. They’re able to live that way because they hunt and fish for what they eat,” she says. “So they can’t all of a sudden go and build and pay for new houses on the other side.”
The money has not been forthcoming from the government either, Goldenberg says. Neither the state nor federal government recognizes climate change as a disaster for the appropriation of relief funds…
Contrast this stark reality with the wildly unrealistic views of man’s technological infallibility. A concept which appeared back in 2008 is the utopia of floating cities, called “Floating Ecopolis for Climate Refugees”, which would hold 50,000 climate refugees as the coasts become inundated with rising sea water. I wonder how well these things, if they even were feasible and the money, materials, and energy were available, would hold up to the kinds of hurricanes that climate chaos would throw at it. No doubt it would fold up and sink to the bottom of the ocean like a tin pan:
Actually, there is another idea similar to the one above which was/is being planned by a billionaire libertarian. I can’t think of a more elitist view towards the Earth and fellow humans than this libertarian wet dream:
Picture from the Seasteading Institute…
Pay Pal founder and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel has given $1.25 million to an initiative to create floating libertarian countries in international waters, according to a profile of the billionaire in Details magazine.
Thiel has been a big backer of the Seasteading Institute, which seeks to build sovereign nations on oil rig-like platforms to occupy waters beyond the reach of law-of-the-sea treaties. The idea is for these countries to start from scratch–free from the laws, regulations, and moral codes of any existing place. Details says the experiment would be “a kind of floating petri dish for implementing policies that libertarians, stymied by indifference at the voting booths, have been unable to advance: no welfare, looser building codes, no minimum wage, and few restrictions on weapons.”
“There are quite a lot of people who think it’s not possible,” Thiel said at a Seasteading Institute Conference in 2009, according to Details. (His first donation was in 2008, for $500,000.) “That’s a good thing. We don’t need to really worry about those people very much, because since they don’t think it’s possible they won’t take us very seriously. And they will not actually try to stop us until it’s too late…
As I said in my previous post, the über wealthy will try to insulate themselves from climate chaos, leaving the masses in their countries as climate refugees and victims of industrial civilization’s climate disaster. And the shit rolls downhill; third world countries and the poor will bear the brunt of it all. As you can see from the first part of this post, Native Americans in Alaska, some of America’s most disenfranchised and poverty-stricken citizens, will be the first to be flushed down the toilet of neoliberal capitalism. Perhaps we should take note of current events in Brazil.
John Christian said:
When I saw those images I immediately thought about an important film about the subject, The Age of Stupid – which setting is a huge library created in the sea like an oil rig.
No doubt when the shit starts to hit the fan, a lot of the elite will try to barricade themselves in superstructures. Although I am a bit amazed that they haven’t started doing that already with the clear path the future will follow with BAU.
Yeah, kind of ironic and funny that such a good documentary would use such improbable sci-fi/futuristic technology in its storyline to tell the facts about climate change and the history of mankind. Perhaps an underground bunker atop a mountain would have been better. LOL.
Kevin Moore said:
1.Some of the elites are already having some of their fantasies fulfilled in and around Dubai.
It will be interesting to see which get abandoned first, the Palm Island Resorts -due to sea level rise- or the mega tower blocks -due to lack of electricity.
2.The images you have displayed remind me of the fantasies of the 1950s, which included ‘people living on the Moon by the year 2000’.
3. Most people still do not seem to understand that human ingenuity and technological innovation are not energy sources.
4. Most people still do not understand that almost every action or process in a ‘developed’ economy results in an escalating CO2 level in the atmosphere.
Burning natural gas.
Sowing, irrigating, harvesting crops, processing food, distributing food, deali8ng with food waste.
Processing human waste via sewage works.
5. Most people would rather lose everything they have, or even die prematurely, than become informed and make appropriate changes. So they will lose everything they have or die prematurely.
6. The elites already have plans to profit from the misery of others..
The sunken costs are mind-boggling!!! The phrase “You can’t take it with you.” comes to mind, but it seems like nearly everyone is trying to do just that.
Jacob Horner said:
Kevin, just now came across this from down your way.
“…it is strictly monitored and the drilling muds improve coastal sandy soils for productive farming.” Talk about mind-boggling…
Possible radioactivity is not mentioned. Here on the Marcellus it’s becoming a big issue.
Kevin Moore said:
Well spotted, Jacob.
The Taranaki Regional Council just rubber stamps dysfunction and destruction of the future. Like all central and local government bodies, it is sick to the core, and concerns itself with promoting business-as-usual, even when business-as-usual is seen to be failing and is seen to be a path to future destitution and environmental collapse.
A time bomb which is rarely mentioned is the build-up of cadmium in soils, as a consequence of decades of application of superphosphate to stimulate grass growth. The level of cadmium is approaching critical in the Waikato region.
We need a major jolt to ripple through the global economic system right now to put an end to the insanity of it all. But, as we all know, Bernanke Inc. will do everything in their means (and attempt many things beyond their means) to keep the show on the road. .
I wonder how many people are aware of the information that Sam Carana highlights, and how many understand it and what it means. A few thousands. Perhaps tens of thousands. Even the people on RealClimate and Climate Progress and many on NBL seem clueless, and once you step out into Transition land and 360.org and all the hopeychangey green groups they have no idea at all, and you’re still only into a small fringe fraction of the total population.
I don’t think becoming informed, spreading the information, is an issue anymore. If you want a big audience, then reddit works well, but as I see it, the situation is irretrievable. What’s the point in telling them ?
There’s the time lag of 30 years or so. Switching off everything we’re doing today ( as if we could ) doesn’t have an effect for decades. It still doesn’t bring back the Arctic ice and restore what we had. So much heat and CO2 has gone into the oceans. The whole climate system is already destabilised. Etc.
I think, if we see whatever, 1850, or 1900ppb methane in 6 months or next year, sometime soon, an indication that the level is rising steadily, then that means we get the ten or twelve degree spike over a decade, and most everything gets quickly frizzled. So forget all the twaddle about 4 deg C by such and such a date.
That might be good in one way, because civilisation will be gone, humans will be gone, much of life on Earth will be gone, but the methane heat spike will quickly be over and drop back to the steadier CO2 forcing, and whatever has survived will have a chance to bring on some recovery in a few million years. Not that it makes any difference to us.
Will cockroaches survive the global nuclear meltdown? I’ve been trying to get someone to write an article about that for this site.
red admiral said:
Actually many insects have a higher tolerance for radiation exposure than cockroaches, like the fruit fly for example, but the roach is extremely efficient in terms of its ‘energy needs’.
And they can survive without their heads, among other things.
Jacob Horner said:
Dunno if you’re too young to remember The Hellstrom Chronicle…
Re Utopian Visions – coming Aug 8…
“Would you like a pill?”
Wow. Thanks for turning me on to the “Hellstorm Chronicle”. Part one was great. Can’t wait to watch the rest tomorrow.
Nonetheless, humans are doing a number on insects:
Study links insecticide use to invertebrate die-offs
Aptitude Design said:
HO HO Zadok on Steroids
Robin W posted this on NTE, explains where we are going quite well imo, big extinction event coming up shortly, just around the corner
Ted Howard said:
Mike, you forgot that other 1970’s engineering wet dream: The Venus Project.
I was at the Australasian Permaculture Convergence last year, and someone was giving a presentation on “sustainable cities”…I went out of curiosity, found it was a VP geek, argued with him for 2 minutes and left…I was gob-smacked it was even on the programme….complete utopian vapourware!
Thanks for telling me about that one. I wasn’t aware of their complete detachment from reality.
I agree, the physical manifestation that Jacque Fresco the originator of the Venus Project presents will never happen, nevertheless some of his writings do indicate a correct understanding of the sociological changes that are necessary.
Personally, just because someone doesn’t have it all right, I don’t necessarily discount everything they say or appreciate what they’re reaching for.
In my opinion, the (individual) solution as expressed in homesteading, self-sufficiency or permaculture when subject to calm, critical analysis is not a solution either. Again, sure, it’s reaching in the right direction, but it’s the (individual) nature of it that reveals itself as not a realistic or radical solution to the radical problems we have today (and a long while before as well). The problems are as much sociological (well, I have to say mostly sociological) as they are technical. And I view food production as a technical issue. It’s one close to my heart as I am a farmer, it’s still I view farming is nothing “special” it’s just farming, it’s something you like to do or don’t.
A recent book I read (probably heard about it on this website, I can’t remember) but the book is Why America Failed, The Roots of Imperial Decline by Morris Berman. It’s all there, who we really are as a people, not just in America but a good portion of the planet as well. It’s sobering yet reassuring that many before have seen what the problem is and tried to alert humanity; alas, to no avail.
Apparently rather than live simply and to some degree egalitarian; rather than cooperate and share the resources of the planet, we shall all go our individual ways and watch the planet fry.
Well stated. Some also think that we are genetically inclined to always overshoot and collapse no matter what the social sciences have to say. Technology simply gave us better tools to do it faster and on a global scale. I refer you to these posts:
De-Evolution and the Supremacy of Mass Destruction
Higher Intelligence and the Descent of Man
Comedian Bill Maher says America is the “land of big swingin’ dicks”, but I’d have to say that maybe it’s Japan. Not Fukushima nor their debt to GDP ratio of more than 200% will stop them from building the world’s largest elevator…
Kevin Moore said:
Japan looks set to be the first highly developed nation to return to a pre-industrial levels of energy consumption. With no significant natural resources and near total dependence on imported liquid fuels Japan is now suffering the predictable effects of Abenomics and frantic money-printing. The Yen buys less oil now than when oil was trading at over $120 a barrel.
The speculation amongst informed observers centres on whether collapse will come in the next 12 months, or whether ‘the magicians’ can hold it together for as long as three years. The bubble economy, already shrinking and suffering population decline,, won’t need much bad news to cause a rapid unravelling.
Presumably, that why all the ‘news’ is good.
Aptitude Design said:
I guess that the Japanese have not heard about the Tower of Babylon?
If that billionaire libertarian had simply agreed to pay more in taxes, had simply supported renewable energy programs, had supported sustainability and population restraint, had not pushed fossil fuels so hard, had promoted more efficient living and less consumption based growth, we might have had the public funding, the time, and the wherewithal to avoid the necessity for floating cities no libertarian billionaire would ever invest in.
Long-term thinking for the wellbeing of society as a whole turns out to be better for each and every person individually. I don’t think our economic system ever operated with that goal in mind, although our oft-quoted motto seemed to point in that direction: “United we stand, divided we fall.” Hyper-individualism, a dog-eat-dog society, and the rule of monied interests spells disaster for everyone in the end.
1. No building codes.
2. Weapons for everyone.
3. Floating cities on giant oil platforms in the middle of the ocean.
4. No welfare or public healthcare.
5. No government but corporations.
6. Everything for profit.
7. Loot and pillage mentality.
Sounds to me like a floating pirate state. A ‘Lord of the Flies’ experiment until the next Sandy devours it whole.
Of course, they would endlessly raid the legitimate nations of the world until they got their just desserts. But that’s probably what the billionaire had in mind.
Right on! Great comment.