THE END OF SUPERGIANTS: And What It Means

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 :

https://archive.org/details/PBCInConversation042GuyMcPherson

The second is a documentary on global dimming itself :

https://topdocumentaryfilms.com/global-dimming/

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 :

A Surfeit of Tims

April 8, 2019

There are three bloggers called ‘Tim’ writing on the energy scene whose blogs I read regularly (and often get confused) —Tim Watkins, Tim Morgan and Tim Garrett.

Tim Watkins is a UK blogger and writes The Consciousness of Sheep. A huge variety of posts come under the headings, Economy, Energy, Environment and Society. He also has a book with the same title as the blog, which condenses writings on all the concepts into one place. The blog actually started as an offshoot from the book. Read his ‘about’ page for a bio. He says his aim is to provide…….”a running commentary on the slow motion train wreck that is Western civilisation in general and its British variant in particular.” If you want to understand Brexit or the ins and outs of fracking, he’s the one. I know I’ll be in for an interesting and informative read when I see his name in my blog feed reader.

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Tim Morgan, also from the UK, writes Surplus Energy Economics with the by-line, How the economy REALLY works. He says: “Although this blog will cover a wide range of topics, my main interest is in a radically new way of thinking about economics. This is explained in my 2013 book Life After Growth.”  I’m currently reading it (for the second time).

The ‘radically new way’ of thinking about economics is to see the economy as basically an energy system and not a monetary one. Everything we do, use, consume and buy is provided by energy, mostly fossil fuel energy (about 80% of the total energy mix). Tim says: “Money is the language used in the discussion of economics, but the real economy is not a monetary system at all. The economy is a function of energy, a term which needs to be defined to include human labour and nutrition as well as external inputs such as oil, natural gas and coal. The sophisticated societies of today are a function of enormous inputs of energy.”

The most important thing to understand is that, “whenever energy is accessed, some energy is consumed in the extraction process and it is surplus energy—that is, the difference between these amounts—that determines economic output.” Hence the blog’s name—surplus energy economics. Anyone familiar with the concept of EROEI—energy returned on energy invested—will see where this is going.

There’s plenty of information on how the financial system works—something that’s always been a mystery to me.

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Tim Garrett is physicist studying atmospheric science. His blog is called Nephologue—Exploring the interplay of thermodynamics, economics, and climate. He also has a home page with links to his papers here. I found lots of interesting information in the links. Tim has discovered a theory that explains and quantifies the relationship between wealth and energy consumption. The Wikipedia page explaining that is here.  I must admit that I’ve ignored the maths (not my thing) and just focused on the descriptions, such as: “Civilization is an open thermodynamic system. It uses external sources of primary energy and raw materials and dissipates waste heat and materials.” There are thus implications for sustainability and climate change. The Wikipedia page is a bit on the technical side for me, so I prefer his writings in the blog and home page.

Preparing for collapse

March 30, 2019

One of my favourite bloggers on the collapse scene is Irv Mills from Ontario, Canada. Irv is currently writing a series of posts with advice on preparing for the collapse of industrial civilisation.

The blog is called The Easiest Person to Fool.

I can’t remember how I found Irv’s blog; I suppose I just followed a link, as you do. When I find a new blog I always read the ‘about me’ section first. I want to know who this person is, their backgound and qualifications, if any, and their reasons for writing. When I read what Irv had written about himself and his beliefs, I could have been reading about myself. I knew I was going to like this blog.

So far he’s up to part 8 in the series on preparing for collapse. The full list of posts is below. There’s some very good advice there. I’ll add a link to new pages as they appear. He also does a regular post on what he’s been reading each month and there are often some interesting links there, too.

“Renewables” – reality or illusion?

March 27, 2019

Preamble:
I haven’t posted here for about 6 months, because there are so many good food-growing blogs around and considerably better than this one. However, there are apparently people still reading the older posts and so it seemed silly not to capture that audience to spread more information about the three important concepts that are now the centre of my focus and interest:

  • financial collapse
  • net energy decline
  • climate change

There seems to be a general belief that “renewables will save us”. Not so. Increasing numbers of people ‘get’ that fact and why. But it seems from my reading and speaking to people that there are still those who don’t and are doing nothing to prepare themselves mentally and physically for the coming problems (and those crises already underway).

So I want to move the blog away from food-growing and concentrate on these important concepts. I won’t be doing much writing as there are so many people in Facebook Groups and in blogs that do it better than I. I’ll be linking to and copying what’s already out there.

The first is copied below. It’s from Erik Michaels. It’s an excellent summary of the problems with renewables. It’s long and there are lots of links but well worth the read.

“Renewables” – reality or illusion?

ERIK MICHAELS

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 27, 2019

Originally posted in the Methane News Group (a considerable additional amount of information and discussion can only be seen by joining): https://www.facebook.com/groups/methanehydratesnews/

Lately I have fielded some rather interesting perspectives on “solutions” to climate change; not just here but in many other groups as well. I have pointed out that the ideas proposed as solutions are in fact just ideas; most of which require substantial amounts of energy not only to build, transport, erect, maintain, and replace at the end of their service life, but most of which serve no useful purpose to any other life form on this planet but us. Not only are these ideas unsustainable; if they don’t benefit other species, then they are ecologically extinct. Building a sustainable future means that we must incorporate ideas and things that interact with our biosphere in a manner that provides some sort of ecosystem service.

“Renewables” do not fit that description, so they are patently unsustainable.

Ladies and Gentlemen, “optimism must be based in reality. If hope becomes something that you express through illusion, then it isn’t hope; it’s fantasy.” — Chris Hedges

I have spent a great deal of time lately discussing the issue of “renewables” and since this has been so pervasive as of late, I decided to draft a new file specifically for this purpose of outlining the facts.

Before proceeding, please view this short video featuring Chris Hedges: https://vimeo.com/293802639

Recently, I discussed the fact that “renewables” are not a solution, and in fact, are actually making our existing predicaments worse. A considerable number of individuals are questioning these facts using all types of logical fallacies. I understand these questions; as I once thought that “renewable” energy and “green” energy and other ideas would save us as well – as little as 5 years ago. As I joined more climate change groups, I recognized the constantly repeating attack on these devices as non-solutions; so I decided to find out for myself once and for all, precisely whether they would work or not.Before going into further detail, I need to explain that IF these devices had been developed and installed back in the 1970s and 80s, along with serious efforts to quell population growth and tackling other unsustainable practices, they may have been beneficial.

However, the popular conclusion is not simply that they do not work (to serve their original intended purpose); but that they are actually causing more trouble than if they hadn’t been built at all. Many claim that these “solutions” are better than utilizing fossil energy; but this too, is an illusion. Having said that, please note that this article is in NO WAY promoting fossil energy; fossil energy use is every bit as bad, if not worse, than these devices; AND its use created the desire to build these devices in the first place.

Many people are utilizing a false dichotomy to justify continuing to build and use these devices. Using them creates no real desire to learn how to live without externally-produced energy, a loss we ALL face as time moves forward. Once the fossil fuel platform that these devices currently depend on disappears, so will the devices. Some individuals claim that we can continue to extract resources, manufacture, transport, and erect these devices after fossil energy is no longer available. This is true only on a MUCH smaller scale than the energy systems we have today, and only in small localities. On top of that, the systems of the future will continue to degrade over time and eventually, electricity will disappear altogether. Given this imminent fact, it makes little sense to continue building these devices, recognizing the environmental damage they are causing which only promotes the continued use of fossil energy as well.In order to comprehend why these devices are such a delusion, one must understand many different predicaments at once.

First, an understanding of energy and resource decline is critical. Secondly, a thorough understanding of pollution loading is essential, especially of the electronics, rare earths, mining, metals, plastics, and transportation industries. Understanding climate change and how our energy “addiction” has propelled it and continues to fuel it is absolutely necessary. Comprehension of biology along with the ecological and environmental degradation of habitat destruction and fragmentation is also necessary.

New information is constantly being made available as well, highlighting yet more reasons to stop building these devices. They are little more than energy “traps” that chain us to the same paradigm that is already killing life on this planet. The secret to resolving these issues isn’t a “new or different” energy source. It is eliminating the energy addiction altogether.The reason that eliminating energy addiction altogether is the only real strategy towards living a sustainable lifestyle is because of one seriously inconvenient fact: the diminishing returns on increasing complexity along with the fact that continuing to build these devices requires the continuation of mining, energy use, and industrial civilization – the very things killing all life on this planet.

As a system increases its complexity, the returns on that increasing complexity decrease. As we find more new ways to reduce the harm caused by energy use, misuse, and abuse, we continue to increase the complexity of producing said energy. Resistance and friction cause losses in motors, and inefficiency and sheer transmission losses produce yet further losses in all electrical systems. All these losses produce waste heat, no differently than traditional mechanical systems.

There is NO system that can be made 100% efficient, so there will ALWAYS be losses. This waste heat does nothing but add to the existing predicaments we already face; considering that in order to produce the energy to begin with, one must also pollute our atmosphere, water, and soil with toxins and byproducts of the processes themselves. Watch these three videos to understand why building each of these devices is a disaster in and of itself to wildlife around it. Focus on the devastation of the land that each unit sits on, as well as the habitat fragmentation caused by each road:

Here is a handy reference guide about “renewables” with frequently asked questions:

https://deepgreenresistance.org/en/who-we-are/faqs/green-technology-renewable-energy

Here are some links to more information that will help you understand WHY “renewable” energy is NOT a solution to climate change in any way, shape, or form:

http://www.sixthtone.com/news/1002631/the-dark-side-of-chinas-solar-boom-
https://www.wired.co.uk/article/lithium-batteries-environment-impact
https://phys.org/news/2018-05-e-waste-wrong.html
http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20150402-the-worst-place-on-earth
https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/2104162/chinas-ageing-solar-panels-are-going-be-big-environmental-problem
https://www.nationalreview.com/2017/06/solar-panel-waste-environmental-threat-clean-energy/
https://www.city-journal.org/wind-power-is-not-the-answer
https://www.resilience.org/stories/2018-08-01/an-engineer-an-economist-and-an-ecomodernist-walk-into-a-bar-and-order-a-free-lunch/
https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2018/10/large-scale-wind-power-has-its-down-side/
https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aae102
https://phys.org/news/2018-11-farm-predator-effect-ecosystems.html
https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/05/how-do-aliens-solve-climate-change/561479/
https://patzek-lifeitself.blogspot.com/2018/10/all-is-well-on-our-planet-earth-isnt-it.html
https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/3797-end-the-green-delusions-industrial-scale-renewable-energy-is-fossil-fuel

On a particular thread which featured the story link above, I wrote this detailed observation: “Ecocide is continuing BAU, which is precisely what “renewables” will allow for. They are nothing but a distraction for three reasons:

1. Building “renewables” does nothing to solve the predicament of energy use and energy growth. Replacing one type of energy with another is doing nothing but choosing a slightly less evil bad choice.

2. “Renewable” energy will never be able to replace the concentrated energy available in fossil fuels, and this fact is missed by both the MSM and most people in society. This is a recipe for disaster as the amount of fossil energy available inevitably dwindles and countries begin to fight for survival.

3. “Renewables” can not replace fossil energy in another way besides concentration of energy – each popular device such as solar panels and wind turbines only last around 20 years. This is if they survive that long – many have met an early demise due to extreme weather events. So not only do they represent a never-ending merry-go-round of maintain and replace, rinse and repeat; but due to continued energy growth, more are constantly needed as well. That is precisely what makes them every bit as unsustainable as fossil fuels.

4. Now, for a fourth issue that hasn’t been mentioned in the first three – building “renewables” doesn’t serve any truly needed service. Human beings and all other life forms on this planet don’t actually require external electricity in order to survive. So the ONLY species that benefits from building these devices is us. Sadly, building these devices kills off species through habitat destruction and habitat fragmentation along with pollution loading and other causes.

So in effect, these not only don’t solve the issue they were designed for, they continue the same ecological destruction that we are accomplishing through utilizing fossil energy. As we continue pulling the Jenga blocks out of the tree of life, how long will it be before we unwittingly become functionally extinct through using these to continue BAU? As one can clearly see, if humans want to continue living, they have no choice but to reduce fossil and all other energy use and bring it down to zero very quickly.

Sadly, I have little doubt that this will not be accomplished in any kind of reasonable time frame, IF AT ALL (we are currently going the wrong direction and have been for the last two decades DESPITE these devices having been built and installed), given what has transpired over the previous five decades even though we’ve known about these predicaments since then.” Here are several links to files that contain yet more links to more info:

https://www.facebook.com/notes/erik-michaels/climate-change-and-collapse/10156734475101878/