Saturday, 30 March 2013

Local Drilling

A consortium of companies, including BP, Shell, ConocoPhillips and Chevron.  have announced a further £330 million investment in the Clair oilfield 75 km west of Shetland.  This field has previously benefited from government largesse to the tune of £4.5 billion and is estimated to hold around 8 billion barrels, the plan is apparently to drill 12 new exploratory wells. 
At the moment there is a particular political resonance to this issue.  The Referendum on Scottish Independence is due on 18 September 2014 and energy reserves and their economic power come into this.  Alex Salmond has already been accused of cherrypicking forecasts to boost the case for Independence  and our local MSP, Tavish Scott made a recent speech at the Liberal Democrat Conference advocating "home rule" and claiming "'s wir oil" adding to the local debate around Shetland's status regarding independence. 

Politics  and jobs seem to be a much greater priority for many than the planet. 

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

More weather

Just a quick line.  As Spring seems to be on hold and as severe weather affects much of UK.  An article in the Guardian seems to me to be worth a read. 
Loss of arctic sea ice affecting the jet stream,  affecting the weather in the Northern hemisphere. 
We can look forward to more of this in the future I imagine....

Monday, 25 March 2013

Fracking export

I saw this article in the Guardian and it got me pretty angry. 
So Centrica is making a deal with Cheniere to import gas produced by fracking from the US as Liquified Natural Gas into the UK. 
With all the issues surrounding fracking this just seems to guarantee it's continuation and expansion.
It is really not good

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Frack, frack, frack.....

So the budget has come and gone.  With debt increasing and social inequity a real issue. 
George Osborne has commited the UK to more fracking.  Apparently there will be more tax breaks for fracking companies and they will be allowed to offset their exploration costs against tax for a decade.  While there seems to be a "sweetener" in the form of proposed incentives for local communities, my cynical self wonders if this is an attempt to divide and lower opposition  (get locals on side against the protestors and also divide local people).  Where I live, the economic benefits of oil and gas make opposition to them difficult. 
This comes as EDF, who have been in the news recently for targeting individual protestors, get planning permission for nuclear new-build at Hinkley Point. 
Cairn Energy have reduced their losses to $194 million and are planning exploratory drilling in Morocco and Greenland. 

This determination to "keep the lights on" as our energy needs blossom in the increasingly obvious face of the crisis seems to me to be really putting our head in the sand. 

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Earth Hour 2013

As Earth Hour approaches, when across the planet, electric lights will be quenched.  I imagine that many of us will be thinking about the state of the planet. 
While this action is symbolic and certainly "speaks from privelege" I think awareness is growing. 

For all my cynicism and despair, I have not entirely lost hope.

  While Earth Overshoot Day, (which was on August 22nd  last year), seems to come around earlier each year, and while the permafrost looks set to melt and we look to be headed blindly over the cliff.

I think hope has to come from alternative sources. The growth of resistance, consideration of post collapse such as...
 What can we remake after the collapse? How will we function within the ecosystem? These can be sources of hope.  The Transition movement is in part about this, and it is to be hoped that we can build a more unified culture which  resists and is different from the current ecocidal consumption paradigm. 
It will not be easy but it must be done. 

Wednesday, 13 March 2013


I don't know if I am completely off the wall here?   As you know I have real concerns about the melting of the permafrost and the release of the methane locked up as methane clathrate. 
It seems Japan has no such qualms....
Japan has demonstrated the ability to extract and burn the Methane Hydrate off shore and plans to develop this to meet (at least part of) its energy needs. I believe that this is in part driven by their need, after Fukushima, to find alternate ways of fueling their energy "needs" and in trying to be less dependent on importing energy. 
I know that we produce methane from other sources such as coal mining, fracking, landfill and agriculture, and that in burning the methane we reduce it's greenhouse gas effect considerably (it still produces CO2).  My big concern is leaks and disruption to the methane hydrate,  presumably some care will be taken but  this just seems like SUCH a bad idea to me.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

A relevant question

This was a post on the Deep Green Resistance page on Facebook (sadly I am on facebook).  and it seemed to me a relevant question

"What are you going to do when you've filled in all the petitions and gone on all the marches, and the world is still being ravaged? What's left? Are you going to withdraw and build a lifeboat? Are you going to put your faith in prayer? Or are you going to join together and do your utmost to incapacitate the Machine that is destroying our world? Begin it now..."

When you look at the scale of the crisis and the window we have to really adapt.  When you look at the planetary effects of corporatisation, whole ecosystems turned into commodoties for our consumption  and corporate profit.  Maybe we need to be asking ourselves this.  What are we doing?  What can we do when we really put our hearts into it?  What steps can we take to make the change happen?

Business as normal is not an option if we want things to change. 

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Time to end the fantasy

The recent news, reported in the Guardian, that the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, has recorded an increase in CO2 emissions of 2.67ppm in 2012, to 395ppm, which although there is seasonal fluctuation, indicates the trend of increasing emissions, despite the much vaunted attempts by governments to curb them.   There is of course the difference between substance and speech when it comes to these pronouncemnets by governments of measures to curb emissions. 

The idea of being able to curb emissions enough to keep the rise below a "safe" 2 degrees C seems to increasingly shown to be a fantasy.  As well as the recent research which indicates that a warming of 1.5 degrees C may be the tipping point for the permafrost and so bring about a "clathrate gun" type scenario.  Maybe, with the permafrost going and the warming arctic , we will see a something like the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM).  It seems that at current rates, anyhow, we are on course for a 6 degrees C mean rise. 

It is time to end the fantasy!  We have already set this in motion.  We cannot deny responsibility or the scale of what we face.
It is time for us to face facts and start acting accordingly.  We cannot rely on our political or business leaders to do this for us, they have shown again and again that they are are only interested in the bottom line and are just broken reeds.  We need to pull our heads out of the pillows of our comfortable lives and actually start the process of adaptation now, build it up, talk to people, educate ourselves and others, skill share, seed bomb, use imagination, get active and actually get to work before it hits us all unprepared. 

Monday, 4 March 2013

On the "Great Turning"

Do you believe in the "Great Turning"?  Personally I do not, more than that, I find it actually enraging!  I feel that the myth of the "Great Turning" is just the delusional fantasy of the guilt-ridden priveleged.  I count myself amongst the guilt-ridden priveleged to be sure, but so many I have met who profess that we are on the edge of the "Great Turning" do not even seem to be aware of our privelege.  In the global North, we live in privelege.  Our lives are built on the backs of others and at the cost of lives and ecocide.  Our lives are the major cause of the crisis we and our children face. 
"The Great Turning" is millenialism, just like "sending our energy" to the whales and dolpins while they are being slaughtered in the Southern Ocean or "engaging with our inner wolf spirit" while wolves are being killed in the US and Scandinavia.  It is a way that we, the privileged, assuage our guilt, without actually lifting a finger or losing any of our comfort.  It totally ignores the causes and the scale of the crisis we face. 
We are already about 0.8 degrees C warmer than pre-industrial and if the permafrost tipping point is 1.5 degrees C then we are already half way there.  As far as I am aware, the last time all that methane was up in the atmosphere, was around the time of the Permian Mass Extinction.  This is the scale of what we face.  We are in the middle of a man made mass extinction as we slaughter species by the bucketload every day and that is without this on top. 
If we do not start facing up, adapting now and taking real action, beyond just emailing our MPs, what hope do we have?
  Civil Disobedience at the very least, is what each of us should be doing.  Build the culture of resistance.  Support those like the Sea Sheperds, the activists in the Niger Delta, Idle No More, The Zapatistas, Rising Tide, Earth First, No Dash for Gas, Deep Green Resistance and so many others, who are actually stepping up and trying to end the ecocide.  They are the frontline heroes. And we need to be equally strong.