Wednesday, 24 July 2013

a very stark warning

I saw this article in the Guardian online and it is extremely worrying.  The authors of a forthcoming paper in Nature, one of whom is Professor Wadhams, argue that melting in the Arctic could trigger a massive methane release, the impact of which would cost roughly the GDP of the entire planet to remediate, they do propose a "slower release" scenario which they say would cost an extra $37 trillion of climate impacts.  and they emphasis that in concentrating on just one factor (methane release) their estimate is conservative.  An article in New Scientist, covers the same ground and mentions previous work done by Natalia Shakhova and Igor Semiletov in 2010.  On being asked how likely a methane belch is, Shakhova apparently responded by saying that an abrupt release of 50 billion tonnes is "highly possible at any time"  .  Nafeez Ahmed has posted a very good article, countering the dismissal of this issue here

Are we looking at the clathrate gun?  Will our political and corporate leaders take this on board or will we continue to drill, frack and burn our way to destruction.  I know what I think.....

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Maybe I am extreme but.....

As I have stated many times on this blog, I have very little to no hope left.  In a recent conversation someone close to me said I was a bit extreme and when asked to explain, said that while they did not think I was wrong in my collapsitarian view, they said that my rage was a bit extreme. 
In considering this, I had to look at where my rage comes from, it comes from my despair.  I am a parent.  I believe that unless the system comes crashing down "overnight" we face the very real possibility of the planet tipping over into a "hot phase" fuelled by carbon dioxide and methane release.  In this scenario, I believe we face a likelihood of real mass extinction.   
The thing is that our current system rewards and protects corporate entities and individuals who are, in a large part, responsible for the ecocide.  You only have to look, in the UK, at the revelations about the government adviser Lynton Crosby and his links to fracking, tobacco, and private healthcare.  When you consider the tax breaks given to the oil and gas industry, when you look at the police spying on green activists and the suppression of effective environmental activism, the government lobbying for GMO and Tar Sands fuel. You can see where the state's priorities are. 
I accept that we, especially in the global North, must take some personal responsibility for our impact but....
I see this protection and reward as a very real threat to the lives of my children and many, many other beings, also as a pagan who identifies as Gaian, there is a real ethical/spiritual aspect to this.   This is where the rage comes from. 
I have some real sympathy with folks like MEND or DGR who advocate fighting back to change things locally or to try to bring the system down soon enough that there is something left.  We can only adapt so far and I do not see the real meaningful mitigation happening.  And does anyone believe that the corporate and political elites will give up power willingly?  I do not and I wonder how much of our window of opportunity (if any) is left.

Friday, 19 July 2013


So Mr Osborne is to give the most generous tax breaks (for shale) in the world to fracking companies! 
This seems to be me to be just plain mad.  While we seem to be facing a very bleak climate outlook, while scientists from the Potsdam Institute predict a sea level rise of 2.3m per degree Celsius rise in global mean temperature, with all the impact that is likely to have on cities and low lying cropland, while we face real hardship in the future.
 With all the water which fracking will require, when we will need it  and the contamination of said water, the burning of more fossil fuels just seems so unwise.
  We as taxpayers are effectively subsidising our own and our children's destruction, to "keep the lights on". 

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Over the edge

This article in The Guardian is extremely frightening. 
Former NASA Scientist James Hansen's new paper paints a very bleak picture, we are on course to exploit the remaining planetary fossil fuels, triggering runaway global climate change, sustained for centuries possibly reaching 16 to 25 degrees C
As we face a boom in fracking, as mountaintop removal coal mining and "clean coal" boom, as the tar sands are mined and as E.ON, Gazprom and all the rest queue up to drill in the arctic.  We are on course for this, the UK govt and others give them tax breaks for this. 
We should be investing in reducing our demands on the planet and in renewable energy. 
As I have referenced earlier on this blog. a 1.5 degree C rise may be the tipping point for the permafrost and as  Carbon in Arctic Reservoirs Experiment( CARVE ) says 

"If just one percent of the permafrost carbon released over a short time period is methane, it will have the same greenhouse impact as the 99 percent that is released as carbon dioxide."

Climate Action Tracker has previously reported that we are on track for a 3 degrees C rise by 2040

With the forthcoming IPCC assessment, like it's predecessors,  apparently likely to specificly exclude permafrost carbon feedback  and with the UK decarbonisation bill defeated and all the rest,  then the outlook really seems very bleak. 

Friday, 5 July 2013

An interesting week

There has been some good news in the UK, with the opening of the London Array, the largest offshore wind scheme in the world, which should produce enough electricity to power 470,000 homes.    On the minus side, E.ON has pulled out of a wave power research scheme in Orkney, and while apparently saying that it  "will now focus its efforts on wind, biomass and solar energy instead." has been gaining exploration licenses for arctic drilling, along with Centrica and RWE. 
On another topic, the UN FAO has improved it's forecast for grain production and this has lead to a fall in food prices.  But in the UK, The Environment Select Committee has realeased a report, which warns of the risk to food security posed by flooding.  And the number of people using Food Banks has apparently nearly tripled in 2012-13.

What can I say, I am not optimistic.  I feel that the rush in the arctic is just utter greed driven and irresponsible.  With all the fossil energy which is estimated to there, it seems we are rushing blindly over the edge.