Why stimulus can’t fix our energy problems

July 11, 2019

via Why stimulus can’t fix our energy problems

Reblogged from Damn the Matrix

A Year of Deep Adaptation

July 8, 2019

Jem Bendell’s paper on Deep Adaptation is a year old and has been downloaded half a million times. It attempts to help people come to terms with the inevitable collapse of society— “the uneven ending of our current means of sustenance, shelter, security, pleasure, identity and meaning. Others may prefer the term societal breakdown when referring to the same process.”

Professor Jem Bendell

One year ago this month, our Institute at the University of Cumbria released my paper on Deep Adaptation to our climate tragedy. It has since been downloaded over half a million times, been translated into many languages, inspired Facebook groups (one with over 4000 people), many events, and been credited by commentators and activists as helping the Extinction Rebellion movement. Not bad for what one journalist suggested to me was a “career suicide note.” compendium

Over the past year I have sought to do what I could to channel the shock, anger, fear, despair, and passion of so many people who got in touch with me, into networks of solidarity, contemplation, inquiry and action. That has included the launch of the Deep Adaptation Forum for people who want to work through what this means for their day jobs – or whether to quit. I have also sought to…

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My new toy

June 28, 2019

As the owner of a bush block, I do a lot of burning off. When summer comes, bushfire is an ever-present worry, so keeping the bush free of fire fuel is a priority. A lot of pruning and raking of litter gets done on a regular basis throughout the year. I’ve always felt guilty about all that CO2 going back into the atmosphere when it should be sequestered in the soil and stored there.

Enter biochar. Some of you might have read about its value as a soil amendment and a means of keeping carbon in the soil. Here’s the Wikipedia entry on it. Making my own seemed like it wasn’t going to be easy, because of the need to burn material without oxygen to produce pure carbon and not CO2. So I gave the idea a miss.

Then I discovered you can actually buy a kiln in which to burn the material.


I checked out the video at the site. It looked easy, so I took the plunge and ordered one. (Note: I wrote this draft a couple of weeks ago and couldn’t do any burning off to try the kiln, because it wouldn’t stop raining! When the weather finally dried up, I went back to the site to check out the video again and got a message saying it was unavailable. I’ve emailed the company to ask why, but if you can’t see it, there are plenty of still photos)

It came in a flat(ish) pack of four bent sections of heavy steel with a bag of nuts and bolts. It weighed a ton! I couldn’t lift the package! But all was OK; I opened it and put the panels one at a time into the wheelbarrow. It was obvious it was going to have to be put together at the final burning-off site.

I managed to do it without having to ask a neighbour for help (it’s awkward to deal with because it’s a cone, but I propped it against a tree).

Finally, I got to try it out.

Here’s the fire just about died down. I only managed to half fill it :

I added the water. A lot of steam….. :

…..and kept adding till the steam and the sizzling noise stopped :

It really is charcoal! It crumbles :

I’ll be using this as a soil additive in all the wicking boxes and tubs and the raised beds I’ve bought for more veggies.

Quite happy with my new toy!


May 17, 2019

Reblogged from Damn the Matrix.

The Anthropocene

May 15, 2019

Very disturbing video from Ian Angus :

A couple of important videos

May 14, 2019

The first is an interview with Guy McPherson, who writes Nature Bats Last blog. In it he mentions ‘global dimming’. I’d seen it referred to but wasn’t really up to speed on it. It’s what happens when particulates from the burning of fossil fuels (which is actually pollution) collect in the atmosphere and reflect incoming sunlight back into space, providing a cooling effect to oppose the heating effect from CO2 in the atmosphere, also caused by the burning of fossil fuels. It’s a catch 22 situation—one cools, one heats. If we stop burning fossil fuels we lose the dimming/cooling effect and the earth cops the full brunt of the warming caused by CO2. If we continue burning fossil fuels, we add more CO2 and we get more warming.

Here’s Guy :


The second is a documentary on global dimming itself :


Reality bites

April 25, 2019

This excellent piece from meteorologist Nick Humphrey says it all :

Our Faustian Bargain with the Universe is Up

This is long, but I waste no one’s time. I want to address some issues here as they’ve been stated on multiple groups I follow by commenters related to weather, climate change and the permanence of humanity. Particularly the idea that a) climatologists are the only credible scientists to deal with the problem and discussion of the problem; b) the credibility of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projections; c) how realistic the assessment is that humans face the likelihood of extinction as part of the ongoing 6th mass extinction already underway; d) the problem with the illness impacting our planet beyond just the changing climate.

1. Climate change is an interdisciplinary problem. Climate scientists are trained in various interconnections within the atmosphere-ocean-cryosphere systems…but they aren’t necessarily trained to understand biosphere impacts, societal impacts, or even all impacts on events in the real environment based on field work if they are more focused on modeling. Or real effects on extreme weather events. Such as the rapid collapse of sea ice and feedback mechanisms. Or the jet stream circulation or hurricanes. Marine biologists, conservation biologists, sociologists, political scientists, geologists, meteorologists, glaciologists, etc, really fill the gap where the climate scientists do not go because it simply isn’t their specialization or have the time to go in their research. I’m a meteorologist, not a climate scientist, but have some academic understanding of global climate and am doing interdisciplinary communication and focusing on extreme weather events and relationship to abrupt climate change.

2. While the IPCC does suggest there are paths to avoiding catastrophic climate change, the IPCC isn’t strictly a “scientific warehouse”.. It involves credible and well-seasoned scientists obviously, but also policymakers and governments who have varuous interests economically, politically and socially, as well as a desire to create a narrative with their populations. I feel like this should be common knowledge that even what the scientists put out (which is already overly conservative as the parties involved in the working groups must come to a consensus and it is based on research 5-10 yrs old), must be vetted by govt negotiators. This is actually one of the issues which tipped me off about how dire the situation was when the 5th assessment came out. Essentially making sure it’s not too dire or shows economic paths to success. Remember, the scientific consensus is already conservative and reality is much worse.

3. The paths laid out by the IPCC are based on the assumption that greenhouse gases can be removed from the atmosphere. Such tech does not exist to scale at this time for obvious regions of energy and land requirements. Paleoclimate records easily show that you aren’t going to simply stop global warming at +1.5-2 C by ending emissions (the current carbon dioxide equivalent concentration is 500 parts of million; 1700s concentration was ~275-280 ppm, even with other greenhouse gases). The 1.5 C report last autumn suggested another 0.6 C of warming was locked in based on recent emissions and we must be net zero carbon by 2050; but this is based purely on emissions from *humans*, removal of carbon on scales of hundreds of gigatons (basically removing what took plants tens of millions of years to sequester…bind as solid matter via plant growth…in *tens of years*…really? With what energy source…what land?) and fast feedback sensitivity. Water vapor…loss of sea ice and albedo…some effects from clouds…other feedbacks which are clearly showing an exponential behavior are simply neglected in models. Even the feedbacks which are easily seen and more quantifiable are accelerating much faster than expected.

4. Speaking of which…Permafrost is melting much faster than anticipated, methane is emitting at a higher rate than expected, nitrous oxide is emitting much faster than expected, sea ice is melting much faster than expected, alpine and polar glacial ice is melting much faster than expected, global forests are experiencing massive tree fatalities, globally acidification is accelerating, the ocean warming is accelerating faster than expected with extreme heat events increasing. The combination of thermal expansion and ice melt is causing a roughly 7 yr doubling time for sea level rise. And more.

5. Essentially, while “first-order” changes have been reasonably anticipated up until recently (carbon dioxide and fast feedback temperature response); however, the “2nd-order” effects of that warming…everything mentioned above and more are deteriorating much faster than modeled. But none of the IPCC projections include these accelerating 2nd-order effects. And these 2nd order changes are beginning to have profound feedback on the overall rate of the 1st-order changes (increasing the rate of global temperature rise) as well as causing their own more intense extremes not captured simply by looking at averages (massive Greenland surface melt in 2012, destabilizing jet stream circulation, weakening Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, extreme heat\drought in Europe in 2003 and 2018-19, decreasing forward speed and prolific rains of tropical cyclones, almost violent swings between polar opposite extremes in some places…extreme cold to extreme heat, extreme floods to extreme drought, etc). Much of these changes and trends are seen either in more detailed modeling or field research from the various disciplines. These changes threaten human civilization adaptability as well as those of other species.

6. One issue I find is consistently underplayed is the rate of change. Rising 2 C/3.6 F globally in a 1000 yrs is a big difference from rising 2 C in 250 yrs…most of which has occurred in just the past 30-40 yrs. Global land areas are experiencing temp anomalies of +1.6-2 C above preindustrial because of amplication of warming over land. Even worse in the Northern Hemisphere. The ability of ecosystems to adapt is stressed not by the different environmental conditions, but the rapid change and destabilization of the environmental conditions in what amounts to a blink of an eye.

7. Our global problems threatening our extinction and already causing global extinction are not just a climate change problem. It is an entropy and Jevon’s Paradox problem. The former from the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Entropy is the tendency for systems to evolve to disorder the more energy is transformed. More and more waste is being produced (greenhouse gases, plastics, industrial chemical, radiological, pharmaceutical, etc) which is literally turning the planet into a toxic soup, while forests, insects and large wildlife species are being annilhilated at accelerating rates. All in the name of “efficiency” of energy use, which ultimately accelerates consumption of resources (Jevon’s Paradox), but the energy efficiency is “local”, while the greater environmental system of Earth used to produce it is, as mentioned being flooded with useless waste, with the Earth “battery” being ground to dust. From the drive for more money (and worshipping those who take from so many, while those very people starve), to the dreams of electric cars, bigger buildings and artificial intelligence, to the desire to have the biggest, baddest militaries…there is a pathology of destruction which plagues so many humans on this planet. I am not immune to this…we are all complicit, some far more than others, but our increasingly raging planet does not know the difference. We all suffer.

On a personal note…I’ve been accused of being against advocating for “change”, being irresponsible for talking about dire impacts, being a member of a “doomer death cult” or asked “would you say that to the children of the world” as if they or me can do anything to change the outcome…and that’s just horrid things directed at me, not others I know.

No, I just know more than most and realize the full ghastliness of what we are facing in its totality and the humbling scale that most humans…who all strive…via their cars, cell phones, computers, internet, 4 to 5G services, planes and exotic vacations, buildings, or just their money…to arrogantly be gods over fellow humans and nature…in a universe governed by the laws of physics…have no appreciation for. Others are ignorant at the fault of those who wish them to be ignorant and stay in mental slavery and not demand accountability for their mistreatment and path to ruin. I live with this knowledge everyday and get on the hamster wheel like everyone else, raising my kid and making the most of life knowing our species will not last much longer, much like the others in the genus Homo.

I’m not an unhappy man (well most days) but I am a realist. I’ve made it my job to inform as many as possible who will listen or who wish to not be ignorant of what is happening to our once beautiful planet. We face the end of the reign of humans, many who are completely unwillfully ignorant and far less complicit on this path we are on, all while many other species are and will fall with us. We are perhaps special in that we are life in a Universe where complex life may be rare. But we were never so special so as to be immortal from its governing laws. The reality is that we did not appreciate those laws and now we have to pay our debt in the Faustian Bargain in the most unfair means possible.

-Meteorologist Nick Humphrey

Not so good news

April 16, 2019

Below is another important post from The Consciousness of Sheep.

It’s important because it explains the differences between the terms electricity generation capacity, electricity generation and capacity factor, all of which need to be understood when reading some of the usual hype about renewables.

Another phrase he uses often in the piece which might cause confusion, is ‘non-renewable renewable energy-harvesting technologies’.

No, he didn’t accidentally type ‘renewable’ twice. ‘Renewable energy-harvesting technologies’ refers to those technologies that are harvesting energy, e.g. energy from the sun (wind turbines and solar panels). As long as the sun keeps shining, that energy will be renewable. Non-renewable doesn’t refer to the energy itself, it refers to the technologies; they are not renewable, because they cannot renew themselves. It might have been clearer to write: technologies which harvest renewable energy but which are not themselves renewable—and add—because they are made, installed and maintained with energy from fossil fuels which is not renewable energy.

It’s not rocket science but I find many people who cannot get their heads around the concept. The denial that we cannot keep this way of life going is just so strong.


Not so good news

New Blog

April 13, 2019

Found this guy on Facebook and liked what he had to say. Then he started a blog :

Now We Drift

Love the image of the drifting dandelion seeds. Have a look.

Renewables will not save us

April 11, 2019

Energy expert Pedro Prieto. Brief and to the point :