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RELIGION VERSUS CLIMATE SCIENCE Céad Aib 16, 2014 22:17 | firstname.lastname@example.org (Alex Smith)
Download/listen to this Radio Ecoshock interview with Michael Dowd in CD Quality or Lo-Fi
Connie Barlow wrote 4 books on biology. She says she was blind-sided by the immediacy of climate change, thinking of the long time changes in past mass extinctions. She founded the group Torreya Guardians to help save this endangered Florida conifer.
Michael has just written an article accusing big-time fundamentalist preachers as barriers to American climate change action.
E. Calvin Beisner from the Cornwall Alliance says more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is good for us and good for creation. Media figures like Glenn Beck agree. It seems like madness to me.
Michael Dowd writes "According to recent polls, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary 46% of Americans still cling to the idea that we live on a ?young earth? and 41% believe that we are in the ?end times?, creating a critical mass of voters whose representatives are blocking urgent legislation on climate change." Those are tough numbers to overcome, aren't they?
THE GREAT MARCH FOR CLIMATE ACTION
The big project now is "The Great March for Climate Action". This is not a religious movement, but has the support of many churches as well. Check out the Great March web site to see when it gets near you. Can you be part of the March? I hope so.
Michael describes it this way:
"The group is The Great March for Climate Action. From March through early November 2014, two hundred or more intrepid activists will march from Santa Monica California through the desert southwest, then up the Colorado Rockies and across the Great Plains, skirting the south side of the Great Lakes, aiming to arrive in Washington D.C. just before the elections."
"Connie and I will rarely be walking with the marchers. Rather, we will be speaking in churches, colleges, and other venues along their route. Our role is to rally citizen support to press for changes that will reorient the incentives of American industries and consumers toward a sustainable, green-energy future.
In the months before the action begins, another volunteer climate group is helping me schedule church venues. This organization is Interfaith Power & Light -- whose tagline is "A Religious Response to Global Warming". Truly, a groundswell of Americans -- religious and secular -- are rising up to demand action for intergenerational justice and to ensure ecosystem viability for centuries to come."
Michael is author of Thank God for Evolution: How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World -Viking Adult (June 19, 2008. Find more about the book here.
Follow Michael Dowd at his web site, and on Facebook.
Learn more about the books of his wife Connie Barlow here.
Dowd claims God is speaking to us through science, and fundamentalist beliefs will create "Hell on Earth":
?Irresponsible ?end times? thinking is condemning our children and grandchildren to rising sea levels and a literal hell on Earth. If humanity doesn?t come into right relationship with Reality soon, we will perish.?
His 2009 TEDx talk "Why We Struggle and Suffer" is found here.
MY BEEF WITH THE MARRIAGE OF BIG OIL AND COAL MONEY TO SOME FUNDAMENTALIST CHRISTIAN GROUPS
In our Radio interview, Reverend Dowd was reticent to tell us exactly who among the religious right claim environmentalism is a dangerous enemy, and that global warming is exaggerated and good for us. After all, he meets many from those churches, and hope to bring them around.
I think it's important to know who used Christianity in the service of fossil fuel corporation profits. Let's name names in this hate movie "The Green Dragon".
Speaking against the climate and fate of future generations in the trailer for the CD series are:
* Bryan Fischer, American Family Association
* Pastor jack Hibbs, CAlvary Chapel California
* E Calvin Beisner, Founder Cornwall Alliance
* Tony Perkins, President Family Research Council
* Richard Land, Southern Baptist Convention
* David Barton, Founder Wallbuilders
* Tom Minnery, Focus on the Family
* David Noebel, Summit Ministries
* Wendy Wright, former President of Concerned Women for America
* Harry Jackson, Hope Christian Church
* Frank Wright, President National Religious Broadcasters
* Michael Farris, Home School Legal Defense and Patrick Henry College
* Steven Hayward, Author
...and of course the hostess for the film, Janet Parshall. On her radio show, for example, one of her guests was Mark Musser, author of ?The Nazi Origins of Apocalyptic Global Warming Theory?; ?Green Lebensraum: The Nazi Roots of Sustainable Development? and other such books. That was on May 6, 2012. Find out more here.
We can add to this list the Canadian educated professor of Physics and Computer Science at Presbyterian College, James A. Wanliss. He's the author of the book "The Green Dragon: Is Global Warming a Religion", and a second book published by the Cornwall Alliance titled "Resisting the Green Dragon: Dominion Not Death".
Several points in the CD promotion trailer for this Green Dragon film caught my interest. First, Calvin Beisner of the Cornwall Alliance and Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention are worries that environmentalists will bring in new regulations on greenhouse gases. That's the first step to total tyranny they tell us. They don't say it could also hurt the oil companies and fossil fuel magnates who funnel large amount of money into their foundations and causes.
They accuse the greens, who have been far from power, of trying to take over the world. That's laughable, when we consider the wealthy 1% are always trying to take over the world, if they haven't already.
Second, these ministers, who demand total obedience from their flocks, right down to denying a scientific education to their children, call environmentalism a cult. Who are the cult leaders here?
The trailer and a shorter promo piece were posted on You tube, and on other web sites. The comments are almost entirely negative. Viewers reject this as the nonsense it is. Only the true believers will accept anti-science, and even in this film they admit their young leave the church, never to return, as soon as they become adults. Is this a dying gasp of older white folks, mostly white men, clinging to the fossil age?
What would Jesus think?
If you don't mind getting mad, check out the Green Dragon promo on You tube.
Or watch the whole awful 12 minute trailer here.
Finally I say this to any parents whose pastor or preacher tells them global warming science is not true, or still uncertain. How can you not speak out for your children? How can you let authority deny them a safe climate to grow up in, the patterns you and your ancestors depended upon? I hope mothers at least, if not fathers, will tell such religious leaders that Hell on Earth is not worth anybody's profits or positions of authority.
The God of love would never approve of wrecking creation for a buck. As Reverend Dowd says, God is not a terrorist.
Please keep in mind, I am not bashing Christianity here. There are plenty of climate leaders who believe deeply. Bill McKibben founder of 350.org is an elder in his Church. South Africa's Bishop Tutu has spoken out against climate change. The two most recent Popes have call climate distruption a "sin". The last Archbishop of Cantebury was very outspoken for climate action. Many churches are spearheading the move out of fossil fuel investments, and corporate responsibility. We need the support of good Christians to help stop this fossil fuel juggernaut.
But the Christian climate deniers need to be called out. Others have tracked the trail of oil wealth, from Exxon/Mobil to the Scaife family, pouring money into front groups like the Cornwall Alliance and the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow or (CFACT). CFACT received $542,000 from ExxonMobil, $60,500 from Chevron, and $1,280,000 from Scaife family foundations, whose money came partly from Gulf Oil. The head of the Cornwall Alliance is on the Board of CFACT, and they all share the sam eoffice in Virginia. Find more about all this from the Climate Progress blog.
Right Wing Watch continues to watch these Green Dragon participants/conspirators here.
Here is another good piece on the whole Green Dragon ploy by fundamentalist churches and their corporate backers.
That is a great expose on this whole Green Dragon play, written by a group called Right Wing Watch. Look for the report "The "Green Dragon" Slayers: How the Religious Right and Corporate Right are Joining Forces to Fight Environmental Protection".
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Who knows how many millions have poured into fundamentalist churches and their schools from wealthy oil and coal men and their well-hidden foundations?
These are the lobbyists who work connections in the Tea Party, in the Republican Party, and in State Legislature to gut environmental regulations, to deny climate change, to even pass laws outlawing any provisions or preparations for climate change. I have to say it: they are traitors to our children, the future, and all species. And so far, they appear to be winning.
NOTHING IS BEING DONE TO STOP CLIMATE CHANGE
The Guardian newspaper reported last week, a leaked advance copy of the next IPCC Working Group Three concludes: greenhouse gas emissions grew nearly twice as fact in this new century, from the year 2000 to 2010, as in the previous 30 years. The economic troubles did not slow down that outpouring of carbon pollution.
Every year of delay kills more species, kills more changes of living in a world worth living in.
As the retired professor Guy McPherson reminds us there is about a 30 year delay in the full impact of greenhouse gases. The serious disruption we are experiencing now, all around the world, is from emissions in the 1970's and 1980s. We know this for a scientific fact. That means we are already assured of worse to come, from our accumulated and even higher emissions so far this century. All that will strike humanity in the 2020's and 2030's.
With the combined positive feedback effects already triggered, things like melting permafrost, Greenland glaciers, Arctic methane, dying forests, we may already be beyond the point where human intervention can save us. Nature's great wheels of a massive climate shift appear to be already engaged.
There are things we can do. We can probably prevent the climate from soaring up 6 or 8 degrees Centigrade within the lifetimes of the young now on Earth. We can probably still prevent total disaster unfolding over the next century or two. We can certainly begin to prepare a civilization flexible and sustainable enough to maintain a human social life, and preserve many of our fellow species. We can do that.
UNITED NATIONS REPORTS ON GLOBAL GROWTH OF ALTERNATIVE ENERGY IN 2013
The United Nations Environment Program, UNEP, has just released a report on the growth of renewable energy around the world. It's good news and bad. The UNEP report is called "Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2014". It was launched in the second week of April.
Eric Usher is responsible for renewable energy and sustainable energy finance for UNEP's Division of Technology, Industry and Economics. To get the latest, we reached him in Stockholm, Sweden.
Download/listen to this Radio Ecoshock interview with Eric Usher in CD Quality or Lo-Fi
According to the report, investments in renewables went down in 2013 despite our hopes and all the hype. But the better news is that is partly because of a steep fall in the cost of solar panels. Even better, "renewables account for 43.6% of year's newly-installed generating capacity".
In fact, you need to know these key findings from the UNEP Press release:
"Frankfurt / New York, 7 April 2014 - Renewable energy's share of world electricity generation continued its steady climb last year despite a 14 per cent drop in investments to US$214.4 billion, according to a new report released today.
According to Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2014 - produced by the Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance - the investment drop of $US35.1 billion was partly down to the falling cost of solar photovoltaic systems. The other main cause was policy uncertainty in many countries, an issue that also depressed investment in fossil fuel generation in 2013.
Globally, renewables excluding large hydro accounted for 43.6 per cent of newly installed generating capacity in 2013. Were it not for renewables, world energy-related CO2 emissions would have been an estimated 1.2 gigatonnes higher in 2013. This would have added 12 per cent to the projected 2020 emissions gap that needs to be closed to remain within the global target of a 2 degree Centigrade temperature increase (the temperature rise we need to stay under to avoid catastrophic effects of climate change). "
We discuss the burst of renewable energy in China. They started making solar panels and wind machines on a huge scale for export. As export markets fell in tougher economic time, more Chinese sustainable energy production was applied in China itself.
I was surprised at some of the countries who spent more on renewable energy. They include Canada, Chile, Israel, and New Zealand.
Japan's investments in alternative energy went up an astounding 80% following the shut-down of their nuclear reactor fleet. Perhaps there was a small silver lining to the radioactive cloud that is the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Find a brief summary of key findings, and other links to follow up on thie UNEP report here.
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Climate Change Has Arrived Déar Aib 10, 2014 00:14 | email@example.com (Alex Smith)
"Politicians discussing global warming" by Isaac Cordal of Berlin. Great stuff.
Download/listen to this Radio Ecoshock show in CD Quality or Lo-Fi
JESSICA BLUNDEN AND NEW WMO REPORT ON CLIMATE 2014 - IS THE WORLD WARMING OR NOT?
If you live in eastern north America, it felt like the ice age is returning. Meanwhile millions of people in Europe got a winter of mild rain. So what is it, global cooling or global warming? We don't have to guess. Scientists measure temperatures all over the world, on the ground and by satellite. That information pours into the U.S. National Climatic Data Center. Jessica Blunden is a climate scientist and lead editor writing reports there.
Here is a blurb from NOAA:
"Have you ever wondered who writes the monthly global climate reports? Her name is Jessica Blunden, and she is a climate scientist with ERT, Inc., working here, at NCDC. In addition to writing those reports, which analyze global temperature and precipitation, Jessica is a lead editor for the annual State of the Climate series that is a supplement to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.
Jessica?s academic training is in atmospheric chemistry and air quality. She did her fieldwork and research in this area for both her Master?s and Doctorate degrees, but she wasn?t always an atmospheric scientist. Before she became a scientist, Jessica spent several years working in the hospitality and tourism industry. During that time, she always felt something was missing. 'I eventually came to the realization that atmospheric science was my true calling,' Jessica said. Her love of weather and climate first blossomed in Mrs. Heath?s eighth grade science class. Jessica found her teacher fascinating and loved studying clouds and weather phenomena."
The State of the Climate series doesn't attribute causes for changes in weather, doesn't suggest policy, and doesn't make predictions about the future. It's an accurate, triple-checked reliable assessment of Earth's climate, month by month, and year by year.
Although it was still pretty cold by our standards, the Arctic was way above average this past winter. The non-scientist, the average person, wonders whether that forced some wicked cold weather further south. What is behind the infamous Polar Vortex that kept pounding Eastern North America?
The World Meteorological Association just released their new report titled "WMO statement on the status of the global climate in 2013". Find a good meaty press release summarizing the report here.
Read the full WMO 2013 report online for free here.
You can also access a fascinating interactive map showing the extreme weather events here. Be patient. It takes a bit to load, but it's worth it.
Get the latest climate reporting about the past winter from NOAA here. Despite what you may have experienced, it was the 8th hottest winter Earth has seen since we began measurements.
Find all the global and national reports on climate from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center here.
Jessica edits the monthly and annual State of the Climate Report.
Download/listen to this Radio Ecoshock 18 minute interview with Jessica Blunden in CD Quality or Lo-Fi
OF NORWEGIAN PETRO-WEALTH AND INDIA'S SOLAR NEED - JUSTIN GUAY
Norway, right up to the Prime Minister, made important promises this spring. With a state investment fund of almost a trillion dollars, Norway suggested they would divest from coal, and invest heavily in renewable energy.
Pundits estimated Norway could put 5 to 10% of it's oil and gas fund into solar and wind energy. That would be 50 to 100 billion dollars! Considering the whole world invested about $215 billion in renewables in 2013, that would be a boost of almost 20%. It could make a HUGE difference in the markets and progress toward safer energy.
Justin Guay of Sierra Club India, and author Jigar Shah invited Norway to plug the gap of a measely $500 million needed to finance solar power for about 200 million people in India. They didn't want a grant or charity, it would be a good investment which could change a lot of lives.
Came the day of the announcement last Friday April 4th, the Norwegians pulled back. Instead they promised to study the whole problem for another year (another year of record greenhouse gas emissions on Earth). Even the coal investments stayed in place. There will be plenty of pressure on Norway to keep to their former promises. And along the way, the Norwegians got rid of their pesky ethics committee too. That should solve the problem.
Groups from India have been seeking this $500 million all over. They tried the World Bank, which definitely should have funded this, instead of the failed and dangerous coal plants in India. No luck.
What we're talking about here are millions of people who have no light when the sun goes down. Children can't do homework, home business must close, there are no fans for the brutal summer heat.
Those who have light pay far more than your or I, being forced to buy polluting kerosene for lamps. That's the irony, the poorest people pay more for light than the richest.
A project to install solar in Africa has really taken wings. It's called "Lighting Africa". Instead of having to buy panels up front, a prohibitive cost for the poor of sub-Saharan Africa - companies make loans so the consumer pays as they use the energy. That works!
Next door to India, the renewables company Grameen Shakti is installing solar in 30,000 to 40,000 homes a month. Bengladesh has over 1 million solar installations, already ahead of much bigger India.
As Justin Guay tells us, India doesn't need more centralized plants and money wasted on a huge inefficient grid. They've been trying that for decades, and failed for over 200,000 million residents still without power. Solar takes power right where it is needed, without the 50% loss of energy associated with big energy grids.
Tune in to this Radio Ecoshock interview with Justin Guay here in CD Quality or Lo-Fi.
Here are some helpful links:
Jigar Shah is the solar entrepreneur and author of the influential book for developing countries, "Creating Climate Wealth".
Sierra Club India on the state of solar in that country. And this piece on solar in Uttar Pradesh, one of India's poorest states, with over 200 million people. Find Justin's piece on solar investment in India here and another here. These are all good reads with hard-to-find info seldom touched by the mainstream media.
THE SECOND BIG IPCC REPORT JUST RELEASED
IPCC REPORT - My take for Radio
No doubt you've heard the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has released it's second major report. This one is not about proving climate change is triggered by human emissions.
Nor does it suggest how to reduce that greenhouse gas pollution of the atmosphere and ocean.This report says climate change has arrived already, and that further warming will occur. It tries to use science to outline who is most vulnerable to coming impacts, where the greatest risks lie, and how humans can best adapt to changes in everything from rainfall to violent storms, rising seas and a hotter world.
The lead authors present very severe impacts, but remain strangely optimistic that humans will find a way to manage these risks. They assume global governments will react to public pressure, and find rational solutions. In the press conference, co-chair of Working Group II, Chris Field from the Carnegie Institute, still talked about making a better world, as did other speakers on the panel.
Let's go to my recording of the press conference held in Yokohama Japan on March 31st, 2014. First, Dr. Michel Jarraud of the World Meteorological Organization says we now have no excuse for ruining the planet. We cannot claim ignorance.
Then I play you about 10 minutes from the presentation by Co-Chair Dr. Christopher Field, founding director of the Carnegie Institution Department of Global Ecology.
As you hear, several lead authors remain optimistic we will somehow "manage" the risks of climate change, even as they conclude agricultural production could drop as much as 50% by the year 2100, even as human population increased by billions. At another point they admit some scientists fear we are already entering the sixth great mass extinction. One source of their optimism is due to the assumptions in the reporting process. Pressed by a reporter in the Q and A, Dr. Field admits they did not consider global warming beyond two degrees, because they had no dependable science to predict such a scenario. I've had dozens of scientists on Radio Ecoshock who fear we will go well beyond 2 degrees C of warming. That's a big one to leave out!
Remember that every word of this IPCC report has to be approved by consensus by all world governments. Of course it's going to be political, and watered down, despite this feel-good approach by Dr. Rajendra Pachauri.
To be fair, Dr. Pachauri was the most realistic in his other assessments of our predicament, and I regret we didn't have time to run more of what he said. Pachauri warned that if we cannot reduce emissions soon, the whole of human society is in grave danger. Considering emissions have continued to rise despite more than 20 years of IPCC reports, it's hard to know where he finds even "guarded optimism".
Is is part of a culture of "hopium" at the point where science interfaces with governments?
In a couple of weeks, we'll have another brief round of media attention, as Working Group three releases their report on how to cut emissions. For one day, and one day only, the words climate change made the Google list of top story topics in the news. Considering we risk our future, and the whole ecosphere, should it not be a permanent fixture? Instead of the Karadashians or the latest juicy murder story?
This newest IPCC report is an improvement over the past reports. It has more current reporting, and is more blunt about the challenges we are facing. Even in it's watered-down form, it should be taught in every classroom in the world, starting next week. But who can tell the children what we try so hard to hide from ourselves?
I suggest you spend an hour of your life to watch the IPCC press conference in Yokohama on You tube.
Find the full IPCC Working Group II report "Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability" free online here.
Get my full report on this IPCC release, complete with the key quotes from the Yokohama press conference, here in CD quality or Lo-Fi.
As always, you can help get the word out by reposting those links, or the whole audio piece.
SPRING FUND-RAISING DRIVE FOR RADIO ECOSHOCK - JUST 15 NEW SUPPORTERS CAN DO IT!
I'm on a fund-raising drive this April for Radio Ecoshock. I'm looking for just 15 brave subscribers willing to help carry the load and keep this going.
Just 15 people can make a huge difference keeping our big archives free and open for thousands of downloads each week, from all over the world. Subscribers also help me cover costs when equipment needs to be replaced, distribution costs, telephone bills, and all that.
Can you help? Head over to the web site at ecoshock.org to sign up for a small monthly donation. I'll send my personal thanks, opening up a chance to chat over email if you have suggestions or comments on the program. Monthly subscribers and one-time donations keep this whole show going. I appreciate your support - it inspires and drive me, every week.
By the way, this blog now gets over 10,000 views a week! Plus thousands of downloads. Since I have no advertising budget, that means a lot of you have spread the word about Radio Ecoshock. Thanks!
RADIO ECOSHOCK NOW ON SOUNDCLOUD
Take a look at our new SoundCloud page!
Trying to reach still more listeners using every medium, I've opened up Radio Ecoshock on Soundcloud. Please tell your friends. It's a good way to shop around different shows, and download the ones you want.
This will be filed every week. But all the past programs are still at ecoshock.org. Head over there, and browse through our free downloadable programs from the past 7 years of broadcasting!
I'm thinking of offering private downloads from Soundcloud of the music I'm writing. This would be for Radio Ecoshock supporting members and donors. To add extra value, I'll specify that the member or donor can use these bits of music royalty free for their own podcasts, organization, or whatever.
It's hard to find lively Royalty free music that's affordable for non-profits. Believe me I know. I started writing my own music, to save the costs of buying expensive short pieces for the show.
Let me know if getting some of my music interests you. You can write any time, to radio //at// ecoshock.org.
I'm Alex Smith, working for you, the listener, and maybe for some other species who cannot speak for themselves. Thanks for listening!
Rapid Collapse Céad Aib 02, 2014 22:49 | firstname.lastname@example.org (Alex Smith)
There is a small industry of pundits warning something is about to collapse. A large and growing public who suspect they are right. It's hard to pin down what sets analyst David Korowicz apart from the pack. Maybe it's his detailed big picture outlines that just make sense. Is that why he's in demand across the world, advising governments, business, and non-profits alike? Strangely, most of those organizations could become dis-functional very quickly, if David Korowicz is right.
It doesn't hurt that David is based in Dublin. Ireland just went through an economic beating ahead of us all. He's part of an organization named Feasta, advises government there, and runs his own business called "Human Systems Consulting". We're going to talk about two of his papers that explain why fragile systems, from the economy to the environment, could fall apart much faster than we think.
Here are the two papers we discuss:
1. "Trade-Off: Financial System Supply-Chain Cross-Contagion: a study in global systemic collapse"
This paper is available free from feasta.org here.
2. The second is: "Catastrophic Shocks Through Complex Socio-Economic Systems: A Pandemic Perspective"
Download that paper as a free .pdf file here.
First, we note Ireland didn't go into the Dark Ages when it hit a financial brick wall a couple of years ago. Public services still work, the roads are open, the supermarkets well-stocked. Why did Irish society surive its flirtation with utter bankruptcy? David explains.
On You tube, I watched one of David's lectures. It was titled "The Modern Economy, Civilization, Complexity, and Collapse". He began with a picture of life in Kyrgyzstan, and how that local and resilient economy will be sucked into our globalized scheme, like everybody else. Won't they be better off? Yes probably, but they will be dependent on a super-system which is in itself very fragile, and open to rapid collapse.
History shows that once a country decides to join the global economy, its difficult if not impossible to go back to self-sufficiency.
We all like to blame the bankers or Wall Street manipulators for the current economic woes, David disappoints many a conspiracy theorist by saying there is no real organizing power behind the global economy. It works the way a forest does, he says. Things work together, but there is no one in charge. That's difficult for us to accept, so this was a good talk.
We also look into how a shut-down of relatively small commodities could ripple into really big events. We discovered that when just one or two factories in Japan shut down after the Tsunami of 2011, much larger car plants in the US and Europe had to close temporarily.
Some system losses are more critical than others. A failure in the perfume supply chain is survivable. A failure in our electrical, food, or sewage systems may not be. Even a small or publicly unknown component, such a rare earths, could trigger a much larger event.
One of the cases we examine in detail is the fuel truck protest on the United Kingdom in September 2000. Refineries were blockaded, and local gas/petrol stations ran out. All sorts of business and government offices had to close or go to a skeleton staff. Supermarket shelves were about to become empty, when leaders in the food industry warned the government to take action. It was a valuable lesson.
So what could happen. Korowicz looked at the case of a failure in the European banking system. We all know Spain, Italy, and Greece banks are close to bankruptcy, requiring aid. If there is a major failure, that will not stay in Europe, Korowicz says, but echo all over the world. In just a few weeks, masses of people could lose their jobs, and maybe their food supply. It's amazing how fast those coupled system breakdowns can happen in these modern times.
It is frightening to realize that most of our goods are no longer in warehouses. The rolling trucks are the only storage for outfits like Walmart or Tesco. If the trucks stop, for any reason, supplies end, with no backup. We see this in miniature when severe weather closes roads. How many days food supply does the average city have now? Maybe 3 to 5 days worth?
The second of his papers considers what could happen if a virulent disease erupts somewhere. It could be a new strain of Bird Flu in Asia, or SAARS or something we haven't seen before. With international air travel, it could spread widely in the world in just days. Our health systems might be overwhelmed. People would be afraid to go to work.
What if 50 million people died, as happened in the 1918/1919 outbreak of Spanish influenza? David tells us when at least one third of Europeans died during the Black Plague, around 1348-50, society was far less specialized. No technology was lost. But today, if we lose just a small number of key scientists, experts, or highly specialized workers, others cannot simply fill in those gaps. Systems begin to collapse.
I won't go on about solar storms - other than to say even the U.S. Federal Electricity Regulatory Commission, FERC, quietly admitted that if just 9 key electric substations went down, the whole of the United States could be without power for weeks, or maybe even months. Don't believe me? Check it out here, here, and here (last one is a paywall Wall St Journal).
These substations could be attacked by terrorists, as we now discover happened last year when a unit was shot up by snipers. A single solar storm could do it. Or they may just fail because the U.S. hasn't invested in it's electricity system in decades.
Picture a modern country without electricity. No gas pumps, no supermarket checkouts, no heating or cooling. Municipal water systems would fail. You wouldn't have a TV or the Internet to hear about it. Social chaos is guaranteed.
That's just one scenario among many. We return to David Korowicz, who studied the possibilities due to an infectious disease, like Bird Flu, SAARS or even Ebola getting loose. Are you ready? Nobody is.
Don't miss this in-depth interview. Find out more about David at his web site or on Facebook.
Still hungry? Try this History Channel special, packed with experts, on what happens with a global pandemic, on You tube.
THANKS FOR SUPPORTING RADIO ECOSHOCK!
Radio Ecoshock is listener-supported radio. My thanks to those who keep it going. Download this program, and all our past programs as free mp3s from our web site at ecoshock.org.
As we close up shop for today, I've got one last musical comment on the push to distract everyone with a new version of the old Cold War. The TV talking heads and right-wing politicians want you to get pumped up for a new enemy, 1984 style. Never mind the weather has gone strange. A nice little war, and some fat military spending, might cover up the holes in our economy, the shady banks, and all the coal and oil we burn every day.
Feel free to use my new song in any way you like, except selling it. I'm Alex Smith. Thanks so much for listening to Radio Ecoshock, and caring about your world.
Listen to this song, "Let's Have A War" or download it, here.
It was all written using my beloved DAW program Ableton Live 9 and the Massive Synthesizer from Native Instruments. My thanks to the Ableton crew in Germany for getting me this software at a big discount to help Radio Ecoshock's non-profit effort.
The Center Sees the Edge: Methane, Science, and Future Food Céad Márta 26, 2014 23:21 | email@example.com (Alex Smith)
Let's find out from the lead author of a new study looking at methane escaping from the gas system. Dr. Adam R. Brandt is with the Department of Energy Resources and Engineering at Stanford University.
The latest report on this problem is found in the paper "Methane Leaks from North American Natural Gas Systems". It was published in the February 14th edition of the journal "Science".
Find the paper summary here.
Brandt was part of a big team, with many names I recognize from universities, NOAA, the Lawrence Livermore Lab, even the U.S. Department of State. So we know this isn't going to be an attack piece on fracking or the gas industry. In fact, Adam tells me right off the bat, this study was funded by the foundation established by one of the wealthy pioneers of fracking, the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation.
This is part of my continuing coverage of methane emissions from natural gas. What could be more timely after a deadly blast in New York City, and a barrage of ads from the industry saying how green they are. Please notice I take care in the first story to let you know who funded this assessment of the industry, and some of the energy-friendly government labs who took part in it. Even so, they found a lot of leaking methane, and super-emitters in some states.
The study found that previous Environmental Protection Agency figures on methane emissions from gas production and distribution were low by about 50%. But that excess gas, Brandt tell us, isn't necessarily from fracking, but from the gas industry as a whole. For example, natural gas processing and compression plants have been underestimating their emissions.
In past weeks on Radio Ecoshock, we heard how studies of Boston, Los Angeles and Washington D.C. found between 3 and 7% of all gas entering the city leaks out on a daily basis. Some of those leaks are large enough to be explosive, but authorities and industry have been slow to act. No wonder we see some tragedies.
Brandt's study found that a tiny percentage of equipment in the gas industry is leaking most of the methane. If those broken pipes, connections, and valves could be located inexpensively, it wouldn't be too hard to greatly reduce the methane loss. Scientists and industry are working on cheaper locating devices. It's not easy, because there are over 200 million miles of natural gas pipes under the United States alone!
Download/listen to my interview with Dr. Adam Brandt here.
Here are a few links to follow up. A decent summary of this study is here. Stanford's press release is helpful here.
I also liked this article in Technology Review, and check out the further links it contains, to track the problem further.
THE AAAS SCIENTISTS WARN ON CLIMATE CHANGE - DR. JAMES MCCARTHY
Scientists know we are heading over a climate cliff, something not seen in human times on Earth. Why are they not speaking out? They are. The American Association for the Advancement of Science is launching a new report called "What We Know".
To talk about it, I reached Dr. James McCarthy - Alexander Agassiz Professor of Biological Oceanography, at Harvard University.
Find some good articles articles covering the release of this report here, here, and here.
And check out this short and realistic video, and get the report from the AAAS here!
AN UNUSUAL INTERVIEW WITH A WALL STREET RISK MANAGER - BOB LITTERMAN
I seldom interview wall Street players about climate change and industry responsibility. So this release by the triple AAAS was a good chance to do just that.
Bob Litterman is a former partner and risk manager at Goldman Sachs. With other Goldman alumni, he's now with fund manager Kepos Capital. He was a Partner at Goldman Sachs, as the legendary "grandfather" and originator of "Quant" trading!
To open, I ask Bob about the Carbon Tracker report outlining the huge risk that stranded assets of unburnable fossil fuels pose to the world financial system. Litterman was well aware of this, but says that without a price on carbon, or at least an expectation of a price on it, the market was unlikely to change its investment in energy companies.
That is disappointing to me. I had hoped Wall Street executives would notice their kids and grandkids, asking themselves what kind of future they would have. That should be motivation too. Because I don't see the U.S. instituting a price on carbon any time soon. According to Bob, that means no change from financial institutions. Which kinda means we are doomed to excessive climate change, according to the scientists I talk to.
Anyway, I appreciate Bob Litterman talking about climate change, and the importance of this new release from the AAAS. Bob is aware of climate risks, and hopes a solution can be found. Read his interesting article "What Is the Right Price for Carbon Emissions" here.
Almost as an aside in the interview, as a Board Member of the World Wildlife Fund, Litterman explains the WWF has investments in both coal and the Tar Sands. Fearing a possible price on carbon, they didn't sell those investments. Instead, the WWF kinda green-washed the situation by using a derivatives swap to be able to say the income was from a general stock index instead. I'm sure wildlife heading for extinction would understand.
None of us can afford to wait for a price on carbon. Pension funds, universities, non-profits and anyone with a brain needs to get out of fossil fuels right now. They are killing off our future.
Congratulations to the American Association for the Advancement of Science for having the guts to speak against climate change and denial.
CLIMATE THREAT TO WORLD FOOD PRODUCTION - DR. A.J. CHALLINORE
We've all got the sinking feeling. Climate change could mean food shortages in the coming decades. But we don't really know how, or how much. An international team of scientists has plowed through vast numbers of studies, trying to add up what we know. They've published a first look at their findings in the journal Nature Climate Change. the Nature Climate Change letter titled "A meta-analysis of crop yield under climate change and adaptation" was published online on March 16, 2014.
Dr. A.J. Challinor.
Food experts, including Lester Brown of Earth Policy Institute, have used the maxim that for every degree of warming, world food production would be reduced by 10 percent. All though this new study doesn't measure things in those terms, Challinore says that figure does that hold up.
I ask how this new paper compares to the previous AR4 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and will it be part of the new Fifth Assessment report coming out this year? Previous IPCC estimates thought food production might be the same, but this new study finds real problems as we go forward into climate change. As Challinore is also an author of the Fifth Assessment due out in a week or two, his work will be included. Radio Ecoshock listeners get an advance preview in this interview!
Download/listen to this interview with Dr. Andy Challinore here, in CD Quality or Lo-Fi
Find articles about this study here and here.
YOU CAN HELP KEEP NON-PROFIT RADIO ALIVE!
That concludes another packed show from Radio Ecoshock. I'm your reporter Alex Smith. Please help this program keep going, with your financial support at our web site, ecoshock.org.
And during the spring fund-raising drive, I ask you to pledge support for your local non-profit radio station. These are not easy times, and we need that platform for the uncomfortable truth to get out there. Here is a list of stations that broadcast Radio Ecoshock.
Thank you so much for listening, and I hope we'll meet again next week.
CLIMATE DARK AGE Céad Márta 19, 2014 19:53 | firstname.lastname@example.org (Alex Smith)
Here are the details on that paper:
Climate Disruption: Are We Beyond the Worst Case Scenario?
Published in Global Policy, Volume 4, Issue 1, Article first published online: 3 SEP 2012 and in print: Global Policy Volume 4 . Issue 1 . February 2013
"Climate disruption: Are we beyond the worst case scenario?" was published by the London School of Economics journal "Global Policy", free online here.
Michael wrote me in an email:
"If we are to maintain the climate of the Holocene?which is the climate that agriculture, economies, and societies evolved with over the past 10,000 years?we can emit no more than a total of 500 billion total tons of carbon without a large scale perturbation of the biosphere as we have known it since the dawn of agriculture. So far we have emitted a total 370 billion tons since the beginning of the industrial revolution. That leaves us with 130 billion tons of carbon emissions until we reach the safe limit of 500 billion tons. Right now we are emitting more than 9 billion tons per year; it?s actually closer to 10. So, 130 billion tons at 10 tons per year leaves us with how many years, assuming no annual increases?
At the same time, burning all of the fossil fuel that is currently owned, accounted for and held in known reserves would emit 2,795 billion tons of carbon dioxide. That is more than 20 times the 130 billion tons that is safe. But, our global economy is predicated on not only the value of the existing reserves of coal, oil, and gas as they are traded around the world, but the economic yield of the goods and energy that would be derived from those 2,795 billion tons of emissions. What would you do if you were invested in those carbon stocks?"
More about investments in carbon stocks further, in a segment with Mark Campanale of carbontracker.org. See below.
Dr Jennings pointed us toward a pivotal paper led by Dr. James Hansen, formerly of NASA. It's titled "Assessing ??Dangerous Climate Change??: Required Reduction of Carbon Emissions to Protect Young People, Future Generations and Nature" It may be the most important paper of the year. Read it in full text here.
There are two items in the paper by Hansen et al. that seldom get attention. The first is our obligation to coming generations. The second point raised by James Hansen and a who's who of illustrious scientists is the threat posed by climate change is not just to ourselves, but to all the other species of plants and animals in nature.
OUT OF THE SAFE ZONE IN 13 YEARS, BUT IT WON'T ALL HIT BY THEN
I clarified one thing with Dr. Jennings. He explained we would hit the ceiling for any "safe" climate change, if there is any safe climate change, in just 13 years at our current rate of consumption (which is actually going up every year). But Jennings is not saying we will experience the full impacts of climate disruption in 13 years.
The good news is the ocean and many other factors will probably buffer and delay the true damage for another few decades. Certainly rising seas will take several decades to really manifest, as it takes time for glaciers to melt, for example.
The bad news is the true impact could be hidden to humans for several decades, during which time we will continue to burn fossil fuels. Then the world changes beyond recognition, and possibly beyond our survival.
After the interview, Dr. Jennings wrote me an email saying:
"One of the really difficult things is that we can't say exactly how, when, and what will happen. It's a bit like breaking the news to someone that they have cancer and we don't really know whether you are going to live or die. And if you live, what sort of life you will have. Or if you die, what sort of death it will be. One huge difference is that with cancers we have doctors and scientists who work with it and study it and we have case studies. We have no previous experience with climate disruption, no indicators providing hints as to what might happen next.
But like a cancer that someone has not been able to come to terms with, climate disruption now has a stranglehold on the most basic systems by which our planet operates."
"It will not manifest at the same rate, intensity, or magnitude everywhere. Generally, it's safe to say that temperature extremes will be greater at higher latitudes, storm activity will be greater at lower latitudes. Dry places will get dryer and wet places will get wetter. But the key thing is that in a global economy the disruption of agriculture in one place is likely to destabilize economies and social order in other places that are far away, to say nothing about the potential risk of greater armed conflict."
Download/listen to this Radio Ecoshock interview (21 minutes) in CD Quality or Lo-Fi
DR. SING C. CHEW - ARE WE HEADED TOWARD A NEW DARK AGE? IS THAT WHAT NATURE NEEDS?
Is it possible we are already entering another "dark age"? Is that what nature needs to recover?
Next in my series of experts on the coming collapse, we enter the long-view world of Professor Sing C. Chew. Dr. Chew is a global teacher. He's a Professor of Sociology at Humboldt State University in California. He's a Senior Research Scientist at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Leipzig, Germany. Dr. Chew has been a visiting professor at universities in Singapore, Hong Kong, Sweden, and Hawaii.
As you might imagine, Sing C. Chew is the author of many papers and books. We'll be drawing from just his trilogy on how civilizations rise and fall with their degradation of nature.
Yes, Dr. Chew tells us the coming Dark Age is an inevitable cycle of civilization consuming the natural world. That is not a tragedy. It means a rest for the natural world, and eventually a re-birth for the human story.
Read more about his predictions for ecological futures here.
For this program we focus on his trilogy:
1. World Ecological Degradation: Accumulation, Urbanization, and Deforestation 3000B.C.-A.D.2000 Vol. 1 Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press/Rowman and Littlefield Publishers 2001.
2. The Recurring Dark Ages: Ecological Stress, Climate Changes, and System Transformation Vol. 2 Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press/Rowman and Littlefield Publishers 2006
3. Ecological Futures: What History Can Teach Us Vol. 3 Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press/Rowman and Littlefield Publishers 2008.
This first book begins from Chew's background in studying forests and deforestation - a factor he finds influential in the decline of very early civilizations.
The Recurring Dark Ages takes a natural resources explanation of the collapse of previous civilizations. Dark Ages, he tells us, are not temporary blips in history, but necessary and in themselves natural results of civilizations. One leads to the other.
Ecological Futures tries to take this work, what we know, and apply it to where we are going. That doesn't look good.
Under Chew's system, we may be approaching a dark age, but this would be natural, and could be the necessary resting space that nature needs to recover from us.
He predicts there will be a hit to the neo-liberal profit system (say the world banking system) but the real driver of civilization's decline will be deterioration of the ecosystem, especially through climate change, but also, as before in history, via deforestation, reduction of species due to agriculture and cities, pillaging the ocean beyond its capacity, and so on.
As it says in this Daily Kos review: "That there be a social/ technological fragility to the civilization in question which does not allow it to persist. "
Dr. Chew just returned from Singapore where he delivered Keynote Address for Conference on Sustainability in Education: Pedagogical Themes and Practices in Asian Countries. That was at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, running from February 26-28, 2014.
You can find The Recurring Dark Ages: Ecological Stress, Climate Changes, and System Transformation in paperback on Amazon here.
Find a detailed review here.
Also find a good overview discussion here in the World Financial Review.
Further, Dr. Chew writes about the confluence of Peak Oil and climate change:
"The declared impending scarcity of fossil fuel (energy) by this mid-century therefore poses a global threat to the reproduction of life on this planet, and the thousands of years of human evolutionary development will be in peril.
Without energy the devolution of the complexity of life will start. Life chances, expectations, and growth will slow down, and eventually growth will end. Such conditions will generate global instability as different regions, political and economic powers compete to ensure their own economic, political and social survival. A natural system crisis including interconnected complications such as global warming brought on by excessive consumption without any regard to sustainability of energy resources has spilled over to the socio-economic system sphere leading to a global crisis."
Download/listen to this Radio Ecoshock interview with Dr. Chew in CD Quality or Lo-Fi
BURNING THE LAST CARBON: MARK CAMPANALE OF CARBON TRACKER
In both of this programs' interviews, I raise the eerie economic danger of thinking we can burn all the carbon reserves that big companies and fossil-fuel rich countries claim on their books. Earlier this year, Mark Campanale of Carbon Tracker startled world markets with his analyis of the business side of extreme climate change. A couple of weeks ago, Mark gave an hour-long web conference, organized by the British Columbia Sustainable Energy Association, the BCSEA. Long time energy man Guy Dauncy was the host.
You can watch that full presentation on You tube.
Here is why you should tune in. Campanale is asking why big oil, gas and coal companies can raise hundreds of billions of dollars on the stock and bond markets, without disclosing they may not be able to burn all the reserves they claim to own.
The details are in the Carbon Tracker report: "Unburnable carbon 2013: Wasted capital and stranded assets".
I know your objection right away. Of course they will burn it. Governments aren't going to limit fossil fuel use. Mark answers that objection raised during the Q and A, and I play his response in this radio show.
It's partly just our inability to imagine the empire of fossil fuels could end. Picture the situation in the late 1890s when the first horseless carriages appeared. Everyone knew these were freaks, while horses would continue to be the major vehicle for personal and business transportation. Just three decades later, cars and horses were battling it out on the roads. By 1950, the last horses in the city were drawing a few milk wagons. And then they were gone. Large changes can and do happen, even if we can hardly believe it now.
Mark Campanale is calling for two things. First, fossil fuel companies should be regulated to divulge the full climate risk of what they do, and the probability they cannot capitalize on all the oil, gas, and coal they have in the ground.
Second: Divestment, selling off investments in these climate killing companies, makes sense, especially for bodies like universities who claim to represent the future of younger people. But, Campanale, who knows the markets well, suggests simple greed and risk aversion can help these fossil giants wind down, as they must, one way or another.
Campanale says there is no point in spending more billions, actually trillions over the next years, to discover more reserves that can never be burned. For example, oil companies have to spend more and more to get less and less, using expensive processes like the Tar Sands or deep sea drilling. Why not simply return the profits to the shareholders, as the companies move away from what will eventually be an unsaleable product? Investors will like that, whether they care about climate change or not.
Sooner or later, the world mega-projects for oil, gas, and coal won't be viable. Either they will be limited by public and government demand, perhaps following years of climate-driven weather tragedies. Or they will burn on until an economic collapse snatches the funding mechanisms away, again perhaps due to storms and agricultural collapse so severe society cannot recover. That is the worst stage scenario. Far better, Campanale says, for these companies to voluntarily wind down, giving up new exploration, and paying out more to shareholders now.
Behind the scenes, major financial institutions, like HSBC bank and the Norwegian investment fund, and big companies, like Shell and BP, are starting to recognize the giant lop-sided risk unburnable reserves pose to the overall markets. Once shareholders and investors realize the books are cooked, there is a possibility of collapse of the economic system, from that one carbon bubble alone.
Tune into this important slide show and talk by Mark Campanale of Carbontracker.org at the bcsea web site, bcsea.org.
Next week we'll continue this barrage of good-times radio, with a full feature interview with David Korowicz. He'll explain why the crash could happen much faster than you think.
Help yourself to all our past programs, as free mp3's at ecoshock.org.
Please don't forget to donate or subscribe to Radio Ecoshock, if you can. It all helps me keep this show in production and on the air. Get the at the web site, ecoshock.org.
I want to thank all the listeners for their show suggestions. You can contact me any time, using the contact form on the web site, or email to radio //at// ecoshock.org
I'm Alex Smith, saying thank you for listening, and caring about your world.
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