Sunday, 29 July 2012

It would be funny, if only......

It seems that a study commissioned by the Koch brothers, the US, oil tycoons and Republican funders has found that  anthropogenic Climate Change is real.  There is an article reporting on it here  and the scientific papers should be available here from July 30th. 
This would almost be funny, but for the seriousness of the unfolding crisis.

In the US alone, the  most severe drought in 25 years is having a severe impact on the corn harvest, with knock on effects on prices of livestock and dairy.  When considered along with the wildfires, graphically illustrated here which threaten ecosystems, crops and peoples lives, the climate change denial of some US politicians seems increasingly unreal.  Given that this is an election yer in the US, one can only hope that these issues recieve more attention and maybe (I am cynical, but..) real action will be taken. 

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Greenland melting


I don't know what to say.  Seiing this dramatic image from NASA( http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/greenland-melt.html) really brings it home. 

While there have been past episodes of melting with the last one in the 19th Century, we are currently at the beginning of a very serious crisis.  Surely, seeing this stark warning we should pause and really think about the conasequences, but I am afraid that I do not have much faith, one only has to look at the TV to see what is more "newsworthy", and where our money is being invested and one can only speculate on how the companies such as Cairn Energy and Shell which are wanting to drill in the arctic will recieve this news

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Game Changer?

The publication of this report from Harvard, may be a game changer.
 It describes how the increase in oil investment since 2003 and the increased use of "unconventional" technology such as hydraulic fracturing (fracking) has led to increased production and predicts a net increase in  production capacity of 17.6 million barrels per day by 2020.   The report mentions that there is an economic prerequisite of a long term price of $70 per barrel, but when you consider that Brent Crude is currently about $100 per barrel this is not unfeasible. 
The report indicates that the 4 countries with the highest potential for growth in oil production are the US, Canada, Brazil and Iraq.  Largely by exploitation of "unconventional sources" such as Oil Shales, Tar Sands, Extra-heavy Oils and
Pre-salt oils. 
I (and many others) accept(ed) peak oil as near-future.  Which while having the potential to be a major crisis in its own right perhaps had the potential to "crash"  the current fossil fuel driven industrial paradigm and maybe help us to curb our emissions with the consequent impact in terms of climate change. 
With the idea that peak oil is no longer the likely near future and that our oil drenched society has the fuel to continue for some time with the impact which it has driving climate change, there opens the frightening vision of us rushing headlong off the cliff, without any "crash" to stop us first, especially when you consider the extra heavy environmental costs of unvonventional sources.

Of course there is still the question of the Energy Return On Energy Invested (EROEI), how much energy it takes to get the oil from "unconventional" sources and the economic and political impact that will have, the infrastucture difficulties such as supply pipelines etc which affect the all important "flow rate".   With increasing global demand, to some degree, the question of peak oil still remains and  this article in The Guardian indicates that peak oil may still be "on". 

The threat of "peak" other resources like water and metals and rare earths still remains and of course the political and economic climate may change.  But to my mind this highlights the importance of taking action to adress climate change now, to adapt before we unknowingly pass the tipping point. 

Monday, 2 July 2012

Up from the ashes

After the epic failure of the system at Rio+20, I have personally had a hard time getting beyond the rage and despair.  I have been feeling very bleak about the future. 
However, it seems to me that in accepting the failure of our political classes and our business leaders to take genuinely meaningful and appropriate action, there is an element of freedom. 
We do not have the time to wait for "due process", with Shell, Rosneft and Exxon drilling in the arctic, with highways coming through the amazon and the exploitation of the tar sands, with the permafrost melting and the threats to the gaian system we all depend on such as phytoplankton decline, loss of cold deep anatarctic water, biodiversity loss we stand on the very precipice. 
It is imperative that we take real action in our personal lives and our communities, we must organise and network.  We must each "do our bit" whether that is, low carbon living, direct actionactivist and prisoner support, growing our own and becoming at least self sufficientish or whatever else is needed.
 We must rise from the ashes of the failure of our political system to adress the greatest crisis of the modern age, if we fail to act then we and our children will face the consequences.