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We are all dinosaurs now

Mon, Jun 11, 2012

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Paul Craig Roberts has noticed collapse is at hand. And small wonder, now that fear is starting to paralyze the entire global financial system and stock markets are more fragile than before the Lehman event of 2008, which nearly terminated industrial civilization. Derivatives represent yet another near-term threat to the industrial economy. They have run wild, they continue to run wild, and and they remain an unregulated global casino for banks.

The industrial economy of the globe is so interconnected at this point that the flapping of the proverbial butterfly’s wings at a coffee shop in Florence could well cause an economic tornado in Kansas City. Recognizing this threat to the world’s industrial economy, President Obama is begging Europe to print money to support failing banks while he continues to create an ever-increasing number of terrorists by approving weekly Predator drone strikes throughout Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere. The interconnected nature of the flawed and failing paradigm is all the more reason, as if you needed one, to invest in localization and your neighbors.

On the other side of the fossil-fuel coin, March 2012 was the warmest March on record for the contiguous United States, 0.3 degrees Celsius (0.5 degrees Fahrenheit) above the previous 1910 record, and 4.8 C (8.6 F) above the 20th century average. Meanwhile, some scientists have discovered a previously unknown and still little understood source of methane in the Arctic while others are really going out on a limb by concluding human activities probably are responsible for climate change. Additional positive feedbacks are on the rise, and completion of the ongoing collapse is the only way to stop them. Indeed, it might be too late already. But if we act as if it’s too late, that act becomes self-fulfilling prophecy. I’d rather not see how that turns out.


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My monthly essay for Transition Voice was published this morning. It’s here.
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Mike Sosebee was interviewed by Shift Shapers radio regarding Sosebee’s film, Somewhere in New Mexico Before the End of Time. The full interview is embedded below.

Listen to internet radio with Shift Shapers on Blog Talk Radio

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This post is permalinked at Island Breath.

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81 Responses to “We are all dinosaurs now”

  1. KK Says:

    That is a brilliant bit of “comedy” in the dinosaur video.

    The irony of cold killing the dinosaurs and the opposite likely wiping most of us out is just too precious.

    “Who could have foreseen?”

  2. Kathy C Says:

    “But if we act as if it’s too late, that act becomes self-fulfilling prophecy” – Guy what are your suggestions on how we should act other than trying to personally live in a durable fashion?

  3. Guy McPherson Says:

    Kathy C, I’ve mentioned the only relevant goal many times in this space: We must terminate the industrial economy. I described steps in this direction in terms of morality here — with additional clarification here — and pointed out how it can be done.

  4. Kathy C Says:

    Guy, given that many new posts attract people who are new to this space it might be good to add those links any time you make an appeal for action.

    I would take issue with your points that encourage using up energy. (per the link at “how it can be done”) It seems to me that the financial sector is ahead of us on collapsing the world economy and will do so quite soon. If that is right using more fossil fuel energy now would leave us with more CO2 in the atmosphere when collapse comes. Finance could well make it impossible to continue to pump even the still relatively easy to pump oil. Letters of credit are vital to international shipping. When trust disappears from the financial system so will letters of credit and trade will dry up. This happened to some degree in 2008. http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2008/11/trade-letter-of-credit-woes-finally-go.html And once collapse reaches the lights out stage there will be no way to pump what is left. So if you think finance is going to beat us to collapse, using less fossil fuel now means less CO2 in the atmosphere in the future.

    I also don’t find it entirely clear why we should increase fossil fuel use and water use because it uses fossil fuel, but decrease consumption. Everything we consume uses fossil fuels so increasing other consumption should have the same salutary effect as leaving the taps open and lights on. If the effect you want is to reduce the numbers of economic growth then you should reduce all consumption including fuel as that goes into the numbers used for growth, doesn’t it. If the effect you want is to use up the most fossil fuels then you should increase all consumption of any product that is made and transported with fuels. These suggestions 5 and 8 seem at odds with each other.

    If you still think using up fossil fuel is the way to go,I would argue that using water to use fuel should not be done if your water comes from wells. Stone Mountain GA does not use water from Lake Lanier but from deep wells. I don’t know how much they have depleted and how quickly it recharges, but if their water is still near the surface trying to pump it down would hurt future use of water from that resource. If it is already below what one can pump by hand it wouldn’t matter I suppose. I sure am not going to leave the tap on here as 2 years back our well went dry for a few days – scary.

    IMHO I think that perhaps it is best for everyone to perceive collapse as coming from the actions of empire rather than the actions of protesters. Then if any survive the 400+ Fukushima’s that happen after lights out, they will blame it on industrial civilization and the elites, not on counter culture folks.

    Well this week I did my part from the 100 ways to undermine at the earth blog “Give produce and other home made foods away that you have a surplus of, rather than throw it away, even to people you barely know.” Best year ever for yellow squash (and the whole garden so far) so I sent some with a friend to her church to just give away and shredded the older ones for the chickens. But I can’t refuse to pay my debts from your #4 as I don’t have any. :)

    Civilization is coming down with or without any action on our part. After Vietnam the students who were protesting were blamed for the exit from Vietnam. I think we were losing the war and it is possible that the protests allowed Generals to blame their own failure on protesters. Maybe it would have taken longer to end without the protesters. But maybe if there had been no protesters the military would not have been able to weasel out of admitting defeat and would not have gone on to other defeats at great loss of life in Iraq and Afghanistan. It seems to me to be very difficult to know which course of action will have the best end.

  5. Killian Says:

    Your suggestions on what to do are far too generalized in some respects. As a supporter of Transition, I assume you are also very permaculture aware. Incorporating those principles, which are applicable anywhere, by anyone, may help clarify for people what they can, and must, do.

    In fact, I disagree with your focus: bring down the industrial economy. The more accurate and effective focus, imo, is to build the system that must be. I characterize it as opting out of the old paradigm and opting into the new. In essence, they are the same dynamic, but the implementation is very different. E.g., we do not need to blow anything up, we can just opt out and let it fill of it’s own accord. This has the advantage of efficiency. We don’t have time to tear one system down then build the other; we might have time to build the new one and thus bring about the end of the old concurrently.

    http://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc7/406386_10150485879558285_2131452551_n.jpg

  6. Killian Says:

    “we can just opt out and let it **fAll** of it’s own accord.”

  7. Tom Says:

    guy name a Dutchsince follows weather, earthquakes, HAARP use, etc. and found something really interesting and unheard of (to me):

    It appears that the magma is rising or being pulled to the surface all around the globe and may account for the vast uptick in earthquake activity, venting of smoke from previously dormant volcanoes and now this:

    right around the 7 minute mark is the really interesting stuff: like aquifers being boiled into steam to the extent that it causes severe weather, and then it disappears!

  8. DJD Says:

    Pollyanna has just left the room. Killian, please clarify what “the system that must be” is and how this transformation is achieved. Opting out seems feasible, if not exceedingly challenging to you or me but what of the countless others who will never have a clue what a permaculture farm is, or a transition town is? When “we opt out and let it fill of it’s own accord” who will have time to power down ‘our’ vast nuclear plants?

  9. the virgin terry Says:

    bring down the industrial economy? it would be easier to bring down all the world’s governments. i also think the advice to consume as much fuel as possible is like throwing fuel on a fire in hope it will go out sooner and burn less. kathy’s idea is more sensible. live conservatively, so when it does go down, there’ll be a little less co2 in the air, a little more water in the aquifers, a little less garbage in the dumps. probably won’t make any difference, but such is the surreality of being born into a world as one individual among billions. outside forces, chief among them nature, overwhelm the individual. an individual can strive to not add to the problems caused by industrial civilization, but can not diminish them.

  10. Kathy C Says:

    Killian, I fully understand why Guy wants to bring down industrial civilization yesterday. His point is that we may already be in positive climate change feedback but if we aren’t perhaps we can save the climate from totally ruining the planet. Letting it fall on its own will only help if it falls very very soon. I think it will and thus I worry that some sorts of actions, perhaps even including Occupy Wallstreet might actually help them keep it going for longer by instituting marshal law and focusing the blame elsewhere than their own backyard..

    DJD again, if we sit on the edge of a climate disaster we don’t have the 5 years minimum it would take to power down all the nuclear power plants in the world (assuming that every country started decommissioning all their plants today). We need to shut down industrial society ASAP to prevent a climate extinction event but to do so means a possible nuclear extinction event. But to wait insures a climate extinction event with no likelihood that in an age of declining fuel countries would spend fuel to eliminate an energy source.

    Thus I think preparedness while the financial sector brings it down is the best option, preparedness for living without oil, and living in a time of mass dieoff (food, disease, disorder, possible war, and nuclear contamination) is the best anyone can do. However since population pressure is a huge part of the problem, and I doubt any potential children would choose to be part of this coming world, I would suggest permanent sterilization. There will be plenty of already born children, and children others bear after the crash to care for and modern birth control ceases when industrial civilization fails.

    I pin my hopes for any possible future for the human species on the self destructive nature of our finance sector. I doubt that a million of us could accomplish what they are accomplishing. Might be nice to feel one had a part of the dismantling of industrial civilization, but I am happy to let them get the credit.

  11. Victor Says:

    His point is that we may already be in positive climate change feedback but if we aren’t perhaps we can save the climate from totally ruining the planet.

    Kathy

    I think you might have an incomplete understanding of what passing the tipping point means in climate change. You have one final tipping point supported by multiple lesser, but incredibly dangerous, tipping points; eg, receding glaciers, release of methane from thawing Arctic tundra, release of methane clathrates, polar ice-cap shrinkage, melting of Greenland ice mass, breakup of the Antarctic ice mass, destruction of the rainforests, and I am certain others. Once you have hit these tipping points it is no longer under our control. We can do nothing to stop the process. With our without our help, the end is the same. The process becomes the last tipping point. It will feed on itself and begin to accelerate – one gigantic positive feedback feeding on itself until a new equilibrium state is reached. At that point, anything that humanity does to slow it down, will have negligible effect.

    I believe we have now passed that tipping point, and were we to destroy industrial civilisation, it would make little or no difference to the ultimate timing.

    You can’t stop these processes once they are initiated. You can’t regrow glacier loss. You can’t put the methane back where it was. You can’t put the CO2 back. You can’t regrow the Arctic polar cap. You can’t reverse the Greenland and polar ice mass loss. These systems work in harmony to keep the whole at a state of equilibrium equilibrium.

    But when system equilibrium is upset, it must find a new equilibrium point. And the new equilibrium point is very likely not going to be friendly to life on earth – even roaches.

    There will be those even on NBL who will think that I am being pessimistic about this. But I tell you that it is not me at all. It is simply a matter of the physics of the life-cycle management of physical processes like the science of state change and tipping point physics.

    Our end is inevitable and irreversible now. Permaculture can’t get us out of it. Destruction of industrial civilisation will no longer get us out of it. Nothing will get us out of it. The tipping point has been reached. Next stop – a series of catastrophic state changes that end in a final state change allowing for little, if any, life on earth. And along the way, the abandonment of 400+ nuclear power plants that will add to the terrible situation we and all of life are in.

  12. Kathy C Says:

    Victor, I wrote poorly – I agree with all you said. I too believe “Our end is inevitable and irreversible now” but on the slim possibility that it is not a complete and sudden collapse of industrial civilization might save us. Of course a complete and sudden collapse of industrial civilization would also neutralize the global dimming effect of all those coal plants in China and instead of relief we would plunge all the more quickly into out of control climate change.

  13. Guy McPherson Says:

    Economic recessions and depressions are preceded by spikes in the price of oil. Thus, consuming oil (i.e., driving up the quantity demanded of oil, but not other fossil fuels) is a reasonable route to terminating the industrial economy, particularly because Jevons’s paradox — and its updated version, the Khazzoom-Brookes postulate — ensures the oil will be used by somebody if not you.

    The following paragraphs will appear in a future essay, but I’ll present them here, too, because they are timely:

    Imagine this scenario: You walk past a house every day. In the house, an old man kills 200 human babies as you stroll by. What shall you do? The response to which I’ve become accustomed: You walk past the house, plugging your ears to the screams and closing your eyes to the sights.

    It’s not a hypothetical scenario, and it’s far worse than I’ve indicated. It’s not merely 200 human babies this old civilization is killing every day. It’s 200 species. In other words, it’s genocide. The majority responds by wishing this omnicidal system will continue forever. A slim minority wish it will end, thereby leaving habitat for humans for another few years. Vanishingly few people are motivated to the type of action that might preserve life, including habitat for humans.

  14. Kathy C Says:

    OK Guy, I see your point about using oil. However when one steps away from empire one often doesn’t have the money to use all the oil they can drum up a reason to use. So stepping away from a good paying job to homesteading would make that action of using all the oil you can difficult. However for those with the financial resources using energy to build structures and stock up on supplies would make sense.

  15. BenjaminTheDonkey Says:

    As the Animal Kingdom head,
    We’re smart, and know what lies ahead;
    It’s time to say ciao:
    We’re all dinosaurs now,
    And like them, we’re already dead.

  16. Victor Says:

    but on the slim possibility that it is not a complete and sudden collapse of industrial civilization might save us

    Kathy

    Apologies for pestering you, but there is absolutely nothing that can save us from what has now happened over the last few decades or so. We had our chance to look at the long-term view, but we blew that. We really, really, might I say, REALLY, blew it. So it truly does not matter what we do to turn this around or even stop it in its tracks – nothing. You can crash civilisation if you will, but it simply will not matter any more.

    What is difficult for us as a species to understand is that there is the distinct possibility that we can reach a point beyond which we actually have no hope. We has passed that point.

    By its nature a positive feedback process operates to a point that it cannot be reversed – it is headed for a specific goal:Change of state and a new equilibrium. It can’t be stopped because all its drivers remain in place. You must reverse those drivers to stop positive feedback.

    And the drivers are not only unstoppable in time, they are growing in intensity. You can’t cool the earth back to a sustainable point (well, you might have limited success, but instead cause other huge problems – don’t mess with Mother Nature!).

    We must find a way to understand and accept that there is a cold, hard fact staring us in the face now: there is at this very moment in time already enough carbon in the air and oceans now to sustain continued and worsening melting of ice, continued and worsening releases of methane, continued deforestation of the rainforests, continued and worsening acidification of the oceans – all for thousands of years, until the carbon works itself out of the system – all processes that will not be stopped – all processes that will drive multiple climate change state states.

    As long as the carbon is in the air, the earth will heat more, not less. Until you can find a way to stop the continued release of methane into the atmosphere, the earth will heat more….at this point..NOW. This is a situation that screams out “It’s bloody OVER…Face it!”. There will be no survivors. Civilisation will collapse. There will be survivors – many of them with the skills you folks have. But there will be no survivors. It’s the same question asked by so many since the development of the nuclear bomb – would you REALLY want to survive a nuclear holocaust?

  17. Madmanintheattic Says:

    I think there is one single option which has a good chance of preserving enough of the biosphere to support a reasonable ecology of complex life while at the same time neutralizing some of the effects of global heating. Our American comrades must make every effort to elect, in your up coming Presidential Puppet contest, the candidate most likely to precipitate nuclear war with Iran. Nuclear War would collapse global industrial civ in a day or a week while the dust and soot which is forced into the upper atmosphere will precipitate a Nuclear Winter which actually will actually put the glaciers and the polar ice cap back in place and stop the processes by which methane is being added to the environment by cooling the clathrates and the tundra. The curtailment of CO2 production combined with the extreme cooling of Nuclear Winter would leave current CO2 sinks plenty of capacity to deal with existing CO2 while neutralizing the disappearance of the global dimming blanket when civ falls. The abandoned lands left over to natural succession will spring forth fecund with new vegatation which will sequester back a lot of CO2. By the time the Nuclear Winter is finished Planet Earth could be a reasonable facsimile of our current Holocene with the added and huge bonus of being free of humans. I am certain this is the only strategy we can employ which will actually reverse our impact on the planet and maintain sufficient biosphere such that complex life may continue here.

    Contributors to this forum/comment board often mention we should preserve habitat for species AND for humans. Why? I do not understand the desire to preserve our despicable species. We have caused this catastrophe and we could wipe away an entire biosphere – the only one we know of in the Universe. So why would anyone want to preserve us. We are an evolutionary mistake and obviously mal-adaptive. We destroy everything we touch – this is OBVIOUS. We are alienated from nature as a true domesticate and thus are afraid of it and we destroy what we fear. What possible reason can anyone provide to justify the continuing existence of Homo Destructus?

  18. Victor Says:

    The curtailment of CO2 production combined with the extreme cooling of Nuclear Winter would leave current CO2 sinks plenty of capacity to deal with existing CO2 while neutralizing the disappearance of the global dimming blanket when civ falls.

    Madmanintheattic

    Really excellent point to be made here, and one which introduces a possible forestalling of the carbon problem. There are a couple of questions which must be answered, however.

    First, a nuclear winter will likely kill most flora and fauna on the earth – plants can’t grow, and so anything that depends upon plant life will likely disappear due to lack of energy from the sun and life-threatening temperature declines – like animals and humans? Even roaches can’t live in Arctic temperatures.

    Secondly, even if some life survived somehow, you then are faced with a continuing global warming disaster that will resume as soon as the nuclear winter disperses and the particles are removed from the atmosphere – and they will be eventually. All the carbon that was left in the atmosphere and in the oceans will still be there – waiting patiently. There is no way to remove it – nuclear war will only forestall the inevitable end.

    Global warming will resume and take care of the remaining life.

    And on top of all this, as previously discussed remains the issue of 400+ nuclear reactors going pear-shaped after the nuclear exchange.

    It is the end.

  19. Victor Says:

    Madmanintheattic

    What possible reason can anyone provide to justify the continuing existence of Homo Destructus?

    Again, excellent question. If the nature of mankind is tending towards goodness or one of caring responsibility towards itself, fellow creatures and the natural world, as several on this site suggest, then your question denies the truth. If, however, the human nature is corrupt to the core, then you have answered your own question – we simply do not deserve to live.

    I come down on the side of “we simply do not deserve to live”…. ;-)

  20. Kathy C Says:

    Guy, if everyone who draws water from the Chattahooche and Apalachicola water system (Atlanta, parts of Alabama and Florida) turns on their taps and leaves them on this might use up more energy and make the collapse come sooner saving species BUT it would also seal the fate of many species in the Apalachicola Bay – some of them endangered
    “The Apalachicola River is the largest in Florida in terms of flow and the fourth largest river in the southeastern United States. The River is formed at the union of the Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers. The Chattahoochee River originates in north Georgia, runs along the Alabama and Georgia border, and joins the Flint River at the Florida and Georgia border to become the Apalachicola River. The Apalachicola River discharges its nutrient-rich freshwater into the Apalachicola Bay, one of the most productive estuarine systems on the Gulf of Mexico coast.

    The biological productivity of the bay is strongly influenced by the amount, timing and duration of the freshwater inflow from the Apalachicola River. The river provides the bay with essential nutrients that form the base of the bay’s food web. Alteration of the river’s flows disrupts the input of these nutrients and undermines the foundation for the unique ecosystem found there. The freshwater flow into the bay also affects the bay’s salinity. Oysters, the hallmark commercial species of the bay, depend on freshwater regulated salinity to protect them from disease and excessive predation.” http://www.dep.state.fl.us/mainpage/acf/timeline.htm

  21. Kathy C Says:

    Rare and endangered species of Apalachicola Bay http://www.dep.state.fl.us/coastal/sites/apalachicola/species.htm

    Sophie’s Choice was to let the Nazi’s kill her son or her daughter or if she didn’t choose both. There are cases in which calling any choice or non choice moral is impossible.

    If we lower the price of oil, it might take longer for the industrial civilization to collapse, but if low enough it would make tar sands, oil shale, deep water drilling unprofitable and perhaps forestall those plans long enough for the finance sector to do its work of collapsing things.

    Victor you wrote “Apologies for pestering you, but there is absolutely nothing that can save us from what has now happened over the last few decades or so.”

    I agree that it is too late, but I am trying to address Guy’s idea that there is a slim chance. You note that after mentioning the slim chance that we were not to late, I addressed the removal of global dimming which will certainly get us when industrialization collapses. Perhaps you need to pester Guy and not me? Guy put forward the idea in this essay that “Indeed, it might be too late already. But if we act as if it’s too late, that act becomes self-fulfilling prophecy. I’d rather not see how that turns out.”

  22. Victor Says:

    Kathy

    I don’t recall saying there is a slim chance – if I did then I stand corrected, because there isn’t. I no longer hold to there remaining any chance at all. Think about it. There is enough carbon in the atmosphere right now that it has begun the warming process and to date has initiated resultant processes, and once started, once started, they can only be controlled by reducing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere and the seas. That carbon will stay in the atmosphere for thousands of years. There is no chance.

    And additionally, as soon as civilisation falls, the nuclear power plants go, then it’s probably all over as well.

    Not entirely certnblain,

  23. Victor Says:

    Sorry for the miss-post, see finish below…

    Kathy

    I don’t recall saying there is a slim chance – if I did then I stand corrected, because there isn’t. I no longer hold to there remaining any chance at all. Think about it. There is enough carbon in the atmosphere right now that it has begun the warming process and to date has initiated resultant processes, and once started, once started, they can only be controlled by reducing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere and the seas. That carbon will stay in the atmosphere for thousands of years. There is no chance.

    And additionally, as soon as civilisation falls, the nuclear power plants go, then it’s probably all over as well.

    Not entirely certain, but I suspect that I disagree with you, Guy and most of the rest of the NBLers… :-)

    It will be wonderful if I am proven wrong… :-)

  24. The REAL Dr. House Says:

    Victor and Kathy, I’m of two minds on the matter of whether or not there is any chance at all that something resembling what we call “home” will survive what’s coming. I think that most of my posts have reflected a very dim view of the future. I base my opinion on a variety of things but mostly it comes from my experience with human actions thus far. If we base our opinions strictly on human beings’ record of fixing its harmful ways, then, there is no chance whatsoever.

    If, however, we take in all the possible variables of an infinite universe, then I concede that the probability is not zero. Just not much more than zero. :-)

  25. Robin Datta Says:

    We are all dinosaurs now. Actually, the class Aves (birds) are the only extant representatives of the clade of the dinosaurs. I guess being named after a bird is ironic and appropriate. (My father saw the bird in a tree when he stepped outside while thinking about what to name me, when I was born). When I related that a a place where I once worked, I was nicknamed “Dr. Two-dogs” after the joke about Native American names.

  26. Victor Says:

    If, however, we take in all the possible variables of an infinite universe, then I concede that the probability is not zero. Just not much more than zero.

    TRDH

    Spoken like a true evolutionist… :-)

  27. Kathy C Says:

    Victor, you did not say there is a slim chance and I did not say that you did. What I am trying to convey to you is that I said ” on the slim possibility that it is not a complete and sudden collapse of industrial civilization might save us”. I only used those words because Guy said “Indeed, it might be too late already. But if we act as if it’s too late, that act becomes self-fulfilling prophecy. I’d rather not see how that turns out.” I personally think that we don’t have even a slim chance, but since Guy thinks we might be too late, he by using the wording is also saying we might not be to late and therefore is urging us to action.

    I chose to not argue the “might” with Guy but look at the actions suggested and see if any of them might be moral and efficacious. I believe that the complexity of the situation means that we cannot know anymore what is the action that will not have negative effects, such as turning on the water taps in Georgia and Alabama to use up energy and thereby perhaps extincting all of Apalachicola Bays already fragile ecosystem and endangered species. The end of industrial civilization will mean that the dieoff of humans to a more sustainable number will begin. This does not mean people will die who otherwise wouldn’t (since we are mortals), it means the timing of their death will change. The sooner industrial civilization comes down the less total will die (can’t have anymore babies when you are dead) so I can’t even say it is immoral to want it to end now. But nor do I want to take a more active stance in making it happen. The morality of the situation is as hard to discern as are the unintended consequences of any action we would take. That is what I am trying to address, because Guy put in that “might” and that call to action. I suppose it would have been simpler and avoided your picking on me if I had just said “Guy, I think you are wrong, its too late”.

  28. Kathy C Says:

    Finance seems to be well along in its unintended plan to end industrial civilization

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2012/0612/breaking24.html

    “European finance officials have discussed limiting the size of withdrawals from ATM machines, imposing border checks and introducing euro zone capital controls as a worst-case scenario should Athens decide to leave the euro.

    EU officials said the ideas are part of a range of contingency plans. They emphasised that the discussions were merely about being prepared for any eventuality rather than planning for something they expect to happen.

    But with increased political uncertainty in Greece following the inconclusive election on May 6th and ahead of a second election on June 17th, there is now an increased need to have contingencies in place, the EU sources said.”

  29. Kathy C Says:

    And while I am not a fan of personalizing the planet, it could be said that the planet is trying to get rid of its human fleas

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/47789782/ns/technology_and_science-science/#.T9hUARdYuCM

    “A large eruption in the volcanically active region of Central America could release enough ozone-depleting gases to significantly thin the ozone layer for several years, researchers announced Tuesday.
    Such a volcanic eruption could double or triple the current levels of the chemical elements bromine and chlorine in the stratosphere, the upper atmosphere layer where ozone gas protects us from ultraviolet radiation, the researchers calculated, based on the levels of these chemicals released from 14 volcanoes in Nicaragua over the past 70,000 years. The researchers presented their work at a scientific conference in Iceland.
    Bromine and chlorine need an electron to become stable, and can easily rip it off passing molecules, like ozone. They are gases that “love to react — especially with ozone,” study researcher Kirstin Krüger, a meteorologist with GEOMAR in Kiel, Germany, explained in a statement. “If they reach the upper levels of the atmosphere, they have a high potential of depleting the ozone layer.”

  30. Victor Says:

    I suppose it would have been simpler and avoided your picking on me if I had just said “Guy, I think you are wrong, its too late”.

    MUCH more understandable to a simple lad like me…. :-)

    Of course, we also have to consider the probable results of successful action to bring down civilisation. It almost certainly means the abandonment of 400+ nuclear reactors which will not be managed in any way, erupting and spewing out devastating nuclear poison over the entirety of the earth for possibly hundreds and thousands of years….who or what could survive that?

    We can’t hang on, and we can’t let go.

    In more colourful language – “We’re FUCKED for certain”

  31. Victor Says:

    BTW, Kathy, my wife has the same problem with me… sometimes she asks me if I can’t understand because she is speaking Russian because she thought she was speaking English… :-)

  32. Kathy C Says:

    “We’re FUCKED for certain” – OK Victor we are now back on the same page. :)

  33. Kathy C Says:

    The planet is fucked for certain
    Not even Thomas Merton
    Could speak more clearly
    For the truth is merely
    We are pulling the final curtain

  34. David Says:

    Guy,

    I think a more positive approach to bringing down the system instead of burning up natural resources would be to encourage or advise others to stop all forms of payment (housing,phone,electric,insurance etc)then max out all credit cards purchasing items such as greenhouses, solar panels, fencing material, food supplies, hand tools, clothing etc.

    Just a thought…

  35. Kathy C Says:

    Might mean nothing but

    http://fukushima-diary.com/2012/06/osaka-bay-looking-yellow/

    Osaka bay looking yellow
    Posted by Mochizuki on June 13th, 2012 · 6 Comments
    At this moment, people in Osaka and Kobe are tweeting the color of Osaka bay looks strange.

    From the picture, it looks pale yellow.

    From local citizens, it became strange color before The great Hanshin earthquake (1995) as well. They might need to stay informed just in case.

  36. Michael Irving Says:

    Victor, Kathy C,

    I’ve been balancing your “WE’RE FUCKED” assessment against my admittedly incomplete understanding of paleo-climate and the results of the Chernobyl experiment. My understanding is that we may be headed toward 1000ppm of CO2 but that that would still leave us within the levels that were present during the Mesozoic Era and allowed the proliferation of the dinosaurs and the development of mammals. I also understand that wildlife is booming within the exclusion zone around Chernobyl, although of course there will be still unexpressed genetic consequences. So here’s my take on it:
    1. Suggesting that all life on earth will end and the planet will end up resembling Mars or Venus is unsupported by current information. Earth systems tend to seek equilibrium in such a way that passing a tipping point unbalances the system but at the same time sets it up for the expression of a new set of feedback loops that counter the trend. Example: and this ONLY an example of the process—– CO2 increases –> atmosphere heats –> more water is evaporated –> more clouds form –> sunlight reduced –> atmospheric heating reduced. Again, this is only an example of dampening counter-processes and a bad example as well because you will be quick to note the role of water vapor as a greenhouse gas. The point is that we have an incomplete knowledge of earth systems and we cannot know the future.
    2. Even suggesting that all humans will necessarily die is not validated by current projections.
    3. Collapse of civilization with the concurrent meltdown of all 400 nuclear power plants will not necessarily kill us all (of course it won’t be a good thing either). I’m suggesting an all-out nuclear exchange would be more devastating that the meltdown of all the power plants.
    4. Vague memories of studies of nuclear winter resulting from an all-out nuclear exchange between the US and the USSR leaves me with the thought that there was the projection of some level of survivability (On The Beach notwithstanding).
    5. If our civilization comes down soon there is also the chance for the survival of the majority of the other life forms on the earth.
    6. I am left with the feeling (sure you can bludgeon me with refuting data) that if the civilization comes down soon there is a chance of our species being able to survive the collapse.
    7. If there is a chance of survival we should work to promote it.
    8. I do not subscribe to the belief that all mankind is bad. I need only point to the work of The Real Doctor House in his practice, or for that matter your work in Haiti, Kathy, to make my point.

    Michael Irving

  37. Steven Earl Salmony Says:

    “If we agree to “think globally” about climate destabillization and at least one of its consensually validated principal agencies, it becomes evident that riveting attention on more and more seemingly perpetual GROWTH could be a grave mistake because we are denying how economic and population growth in the communities in which we live cannot continue as it has until now. Each village’s resources are being dissipated, each town’s environment degraded and every city’s fitness as place for our children to inhabit is being threatened. To proclaim something like, ‘the meat of any community plan for the future is, of course, growth’ fails to acknowledge that many villages, towns and cities are already ‘built out’, and also ‘filled in’ with people and pollutants. If the quality of life we enjoy now is to be maintained for the children, then limits on economic and population growth will have to be set. By so doing, we choose to “act locally” and sustainably.

    More economic and population growth are soon to become no longer sustainable in many too many places on the surface of Earth because biological constraints and physical limitations are immutably imposed upon ever increasing human consumption, production and population activities of people in many communities where most of us reside. Inasmuch as the Earth is finite with frangible environs, there comes a point at which GROWTH is unsustainable. There is much work to done locally. But that effort cannot reasonably begin without sensibly limiting economic and population growth.

    Problems worldwide that are derived from conspicuous overconsumption and rapacious plundering of limited resources, rampant overproduction of unnecessary stuff, and rapid human overpopulation of the Earth can be solved by human thought, judgment and action. After all, the things we have done can be undone. Think of it as ‘the great unwinding of human folly’. Like deconstructing the Tower of Babel. Any species that gives itself the moniker, Homo sapiens sapiens, can do that much, can it not?

    “We face a wide-open opportunity to break with the old ways of doing the town’s business…..” That is a true statement. But the necessary “break with the old ways” of continous economic and population growth is not what is occurring. There is a call for a break with the old ways, but the required changes in behavior are not what is being proposed as we plan for the future. What is being proposed and continues to occur is more of the same, old business-as-usual overconsumption, overproduction and overpopulation activities, the very activities that appear to be growing unsustainbly. More business-as-usual could soon become patently unsustainable, both locally and globally. A finite planet with the size, composition and environs of the Earth and a community with the boundaries, limited resources and wondrous climate of villages, towns and cities where we live may not be able to sustain much longer the economic and population growth that is occurring on our watch. Perhaps necessary changes away from UNSUSTAINABLE GROWTH and toward sustainable lifestyles and right-sized corporate enterprises are in the offing.

    Think globally while there is still time and act locally before it is too late for human action to make any difference in the clear and presently dangerous course of unfolding human-induced ecological events, both in our planetary home and in our villages, towns and cities. If we choose to review the perspective of a ‘marketwatcher’ who can see what is actually before our eyes, perhaps all of us can get a little more reality-oriented to the world we inhabit and a less deceived by an attractive, flawed ideology that is highly touted and widely shared but evidently illusory and patently unsustainable.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/Story/story/print?guid=5690DE5A-B033-11E1-AB8D-002128049AD6

    This situation is no longer deniable. During my lifetime, many have understood the Global Predicament we are facing now, but only a few ‘voices in the wilderness’ were willing to speak out loudly and clearly about what everyone can see. It is not a pretty sight. The human community has precipitated a planetary emergency that only humankind is capable of undoing. The present ‘Unsustainable Path’ has to be abandoned in favor of a “road less travelled by”. It is late; there is no time left to waste. Perhaps now we will gather our remarkably abundant, distinctly human resources and respond ably to the daunting, human-induced, global challenges before us, the ones that threaten life as we know it and the integrity of Earth as a fit place for human habitation. Many voices, many more voices are needed for making necessary changes.

  38. Victor Says:

    Michael Irving

    Excellent points. You gave this a lot of thought… :-) That’s good.

    My responses:

    1. Good point about opposing negative feedback processes. And you are right – we surely don’t know enough yet about the complexity of the earth’s ecosystem to be able to predict with accuracy either the time or the sequence or the unknown processes or the sequence of those processes or the significance of those processes or the full impact of those processes. But as I understand what is happening we know enough to know that the build-up of CO2, methane and water vapour has no known predator enemy that could stop them from inflicting mortal damage to the ecosystem. BTW, just because more water vapour is present in the air does not necessarily mean more clouds – it more likely just means less rain as the air will hold most all moisture that is driven to it – why do you think a desert exists? You rarely see a cloud. All available moisture is in the heated air and the water vapour can only rarely assemble itself into droplets and form clouds, and even more rarely rain. But we shall soon see. The real problem with global warming is that of abrupt climate change which leads me to your next question which is a question you raised in your introductory remarks.

    The Mesozoic Era was a long time coming. Lots of time for adaptation on the part of both plants and animals. We have no such luxury with global warming and climate change, which will take place suddenly in the wink of an eye in geological terms. Climate change will happen so fast that neither animals nor plant life will have enough time to adjust, and as the earth warms further climate will get much much more erratic and unpredictable, which for living creature is a deadly prospect, not being able to adapt quickly enough.

    2)Whose projections?

    3) A nuclear exchange would be far less dangerous to life than 400+ nuclear plants going off. It’s a timing issue. The nuclear winter will last a few years perhaps, eventually dispersing and perhaps even allowing for a return to some semblance of order. But nuclear plants going off would last for thousands of years, spewing and spewing and spewing, and eventually wiping out all life – probably even roaches… ;-)

    4) See above.

    5) Yes, there is a likelihood of some level of survivability post all-out nuclear war. The problem is that such a war will most certainly cripple that 400+ reactors, which will in turn take out the survivors. Chernobyl would not at all be a good measurement of survivability – it was capped relatively quickly. Animals and plants did not receive the radiation they would have if it had not been capped.

    6) No bludgeoning…just simple disagreement.

    7) There is no chance of survival. But do what you feel is best – that’s important

    8) ‘Good’ or ‘bad’ has little to do with it…it is propensity to act genetically – short-term survival instincts, if you will. And there it is the law of the jungle.

    In short, “We’re fucked….”

  39. Kathy C Says:

    Michael,
    Global dimming has been proposed as a way of offsetting climate change such as increasing the amount of sulfates in the atmosphere (total insanity IMHO). This is because it is understood that global dimming is in fact holding back climate change. One scientist DR DAVID TRAVIS (University of Wisconsin, Whitewater) confirmed this on 911 when all the planes in the US were grounded for several days. http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/tvradio/programmes/horizon/dimming_trans.shtml He found the effect to more than expected.

    None of the global warming predictions that I know of accounts for what happens if industrial civilization collapses and all the particulate falls out of the air. Probably because they are all still trying to figure out how to keep industrial civilization going with solar panels and windmills and they don’t want to even think that this civilization is on the skids.

    Since predictions climate events to happen years in the future keep occurring now, one can guess that climate warming predictions are probably all optimistic. If the only way to stop climate warming is the total collapse of industrial civilization then you have to add to where we are at, the effect of the end of dimming. That leads me to believe we have already passed the point of no return.

    Now that may not seem like a very scientific answer because it isn’t based on science so much as the trend for the scientific community to hold out hope where there is little or none.

    Victor and I are only a tad more pessimistic than Guy who says “Indeed, it might be too late already.” I agree that if that might holds any water, ending industrial civilization is the best thing that can be done, but when we do that we probably tip the scales past “might” because of the dimming factor. However it still seems good to end industrial civilization NOW for if we do so we stop some forms of pollution and reduce the total number of deaths by stopping most reproduction.

    But I don’t see any action mentioned or unmentioned that I think will do the job quicker than TPTB are doing. I have noted some of the reasons in earlier comments. In fact as I have noted some actions might give TPTB an excuse for martial law and use that to hold things together a little longer. Perhaps it is a cop out, but I am willing to let TPTB do the job.

    I do not accept the idea that we have a moral choice because the consequences of bringing down industrial civ or not acting to bring down industrial civ are so consequential for both humans and other species that I cannot label any of them moral. What one can do is tote up the numbers of human deaths and species deaths on each side of action or inaction and try to make a decision based on the numbers, But moral? What is left for us and the planet is so immoral (even without human extinction) that I cannot find a way to label some action or inaction moral.

    When in Haiti I realized that saving the lives of babies was increasing overpopulation on an ecologically devastated island. I could not label saving babies moral, nor could I label not saving babies moral. I was left with a terrible angst that almost caused me to self destruct. And now this angst – I will not go down that morality argument again. But I understand what Guy feels 100%

  40. Resa Says:

    Victor:

    I have to confess. You keep me chuckling. Thanks.

    Michael’s correct. “Earth systems tend to seek equilibrium in such a way that passing a tipping point unbalances the system but at the same time sets it up for the expression of a new set of feedback loops that counter the trend.” That’s why it’s very difficult to computer model the future.

    Why you would think all 400+ reactors would go critical at the same time is (what I’d call ludicrous but since I’m a data person and statistically it’s possible, instead will call) presumptuous. I’m not holding my breath, however.

    It takes mere seconds to SCRAM a reactor and mere minutes to reduce output to 7% or less. If anything, the meltdown that occurred at Chernobyl’s reactor #4 is a good measurement of survivability because that incident illustrated what could happen if a SCRAM went wrong. In addition, Chernobyl had no containment structure, something that has since been regulated. The circumstances leading to the accident (it actually happened during a scheduled test run, not a production run) were unfortunate, but as Michael pointed out, 25 years later, wildlife is thriving. And, for the adventure-seeking tourist (and there are plenty of them), the site is open for business.

    BTW: Plants and animals adapt far quicker than you think. I’ve seen it happen with my own eyes, and my lifespan (thus far) has been a mere speck in geological time.

  41. the virgin terry Says:

    victor, first u agree with michael about inherent scientific uncertainty, then u turn around and revert to dogmatically vehement insistance that both climate change/chaos and untended nuc plant meltdowns and radiation sources globally shall render gaia sterile, case closed! i’m inclined to weigh in with michael. the history of sciencific knowledge is rife with incidents of new knowledge eclipsing old. assertions to the contrary, there is no scientific consensus to support the more extreme ‘doomer’ positions often expressed here.

    ‘BTW, just because more water vapour is present in the air does not necessarily mean more clouds – it more likely just means less rain as the air will hold most all moisture that is driven to it– why do you think a desert exists?’

    deserts are dry because they are typically dominated by extraordinarily dry air masses, not because their air masses ‘hold moisture better’.

    ‘In meteorology, humidity indicates the likelihood of precipitation, dew, or fog.’ -from this informative wikipedia article:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humidity

    combining dogmatic certainty with assertions which are easily shown to be wrong doesn’t make a good impression.

    ‘trend for the scientific community to hold out hope where there is little or none’ -kathy

    the so-called scientific community suffers from politicized institutions which fund their work. i suggest this is the primary reason official climate change predictions are highly skewed on the conservative side.

    kathy, if u don’t mind please send me an email so i can get your address in my current email address book.

  42. The REAL Dr. House Says:

    On the lighter(?) side:
    As a way of dealing with obesity at my clinic, once a month I give a seminar on weight loss. It’s about 45 minutes long and is essentially a commercial for my weight loss clinic. I bill it as “the most unusual talk about weight loss you’ll ever hear”. Just in case anyone’s interested, I’ll put up a link on my website to the slides.

    Anyway, I tie-in obesity and all it’s associated ills with cheap oil. In a nutshell, I discuss how fat is stored energy and oil is stored energy. When we use the stored energy known as oil to do our work, we don’t burn the stored energy known as fat. Thus, we gain weight.

    During the talk, as an aside, I always mention that the age of cheap oil is rapidly coming to a close. What I find amazing is how many people accept that fact and readily agree. Generally, they are thinking about gasoline and high prices, but when I point out all the other products which oil makes possible, they quickly see the importance of the topic. I’ve presented this talk at least 10 times now and no one has ever disagreed or even expressed disdain for the concept of declining oil availability. Maybe they just don’t appreciate the gravity of it.

    FYI, in the talk I give pretty much everything anyone needs to know about losing weight. Anyone paying attention doesn’t need to enroll in my weight loss clinic. All they need to do is apply the principles that I share for free. Most don’t. That’s too hard. They’d rather have a pill. Sigh.

  43. Kathy C Says:

    To date we have seen what happened at Chernobyl and Fukushima in a situation where extensive clean up has been done. One cannot compare that to what might happen if no clean up or containment is done. When the grid finally fails from lack of fuel, or solar flares, 400+ plants will go Fukushima, but no one will be able to do any containment or clean up. Perhaps we should not complete the new dome over Chernobyl (necessary since the first one is cracking) or do any further work at Fukushima so we can find out what will really happen in such a situation rather than pointing to the returning wildlife at a cleaned up, contained Chernobyl. We do want to compare apples to apples don’t we, bad science to compare apples to hypothetical oranges.

    Meanwhile anyone who thinks it isn’t going to be so bad should head over the Fukushima – I hear they are having a problem getting workers now.

  44. Victor Says:

    Resa

    I am happy to amuse you….I must admit I have that with many, I fear… ;-)

    But on the more serious side, I can’t disagree with you about the ability to SCRAM reactors within minutes. No argument at all from me on that point. You and I have had this discussion before so I don’t think it necessary to go through it in its entirety again (mercies on the rest of NBLrs), but what I am attempting to get across is that even if a nuclear power plant is SCRAMed (proper use of the word?), under a full on nuclear exchange, you will likely be left with no one to maintain the plant and its cooling support after the attack, or in the case of a full collapse of civilisation, there would simply be no one available. Unless you believe an unattended nuclear reactor could not melt down, it along with its cache of stored fuel rods, I don’t see how you could believe that a SCRAM is the solution for anything other than a short term fix.

    As for 400+ reactors going critical at the same time, I had no intent to communicate a ‘simultaneous’, merely a process that will happen in a relatively short period of time as each reactor fails due to lack of maintenance, spare parts, and cooling support. But it won’t take long.

    As for adaptivity of plants and animals, we have a world that within 200 years or so has found the fish of the world faced with pollution of the waters, drought conditions, over-fishing, spilled oil and chemicals, and probably a multitude of other man-made predatory actions that has produce a severe population reduction, and even extinction of several species. Some 90% of the large predatory fish of the world have died (been killed) off. Another few decades and it could all be over for most of the ocean population.

    Where is their adaptability in the face of a killer species who robs them of life and environment?

    And as has been noted loss of biodiversity is accelerating across the world in the face of global warming, climate change and loss of habitat. Surely you have an understanding of the implications of this?

    Yes, I believe strongly that the flora and fauna of the world is highly adaptive to one extent or another, but no, I DO believe that that adaptability has limits. Just consider the dinosaurs, as seems to be a popular subject when these issues come up. How well did they adapt to the sudden impact of climate change forced upon them by the meteor blast? Indeed if I remember correctly, some 90% of all life on earth was destroyed during that time. Just from one meteor! Think of a massive world-wide nuclear missile exchange, followed by 400+ reactors going critical over the next couple years, followed by a resumption of global warming? And that’s just one scenario – there are lots more awaiting us.

    Sorry, but to me the odds on survival are simply not there.

  45. Victor Says:

    vt,

    first u agree with michael about inherent scientific uncertainty, then u turn around and revert to dogmatically vehement insistance that both climate change/chaos and untended nuc plant meltdowns and radiation sources globally shall render gaia sterile, case closed!

    Not entirely certain about what you mean by that statement. Where do I suddenly agree with Michael Irving re:inherent scientific uncertainty? I’m trying to find the context of your statement. Could you help me out? Was it with regards to the statement of survivability after nuclear exchange? I have never indicated that all would be lost after a nuclear war. It simply isn’t true.

    As for my ‘dogmatism’, well I do have a tendency to state my case about something is relatively strong terms – I’ll certainly give you that. But, unlike the true dogmatist, I am very much open to new evidence and I usually mitigate my ‘dogmatism’ with a statement like ‘until someone shows me substantial contrary evidence to my opinion, I’ll not change my mind’. And it is true of me. I can change my mind after considering new and persuasive evidence. I’ve done it on numerous occasions, even since I started posting here – as an example, Kathy changed my mind about the dangers of nuclear reactors to humanity (don’t get big-headed, Kathy!). It’s just that in your case and others, I have not been presented with anything new to persuade me otherwise.

    As for your point about deserts, please consider your point taken – I was mistaken on that. I find myself frequently acting before thinking…..just me, I’m afraid.

    If, however, that spoils my credibility with anyone, such as yourself, so be it. I’m not looking for credibility. I might have at some point in my early years, but not now. I am happy to share my views, right or wrong. If you believe them, that’s ok, or if you disregard them, that’s ok too. Sometimes I say something not very clever such as the desert comment, and I am rightly chastised. But whatever, they are shared in order to bring another view to the table for discussion.

    As for the cloud issue, if I am correct, I believe that as warming proceeds, if clouds are produced, they will be produced at higher and higher altitudes, and producing lighter and thinner clouds, offering much less chance for rain and producing whither and thinner cover as they rise to meet high altitude cooling. There is not yet consensus over whether these higher and thinner clouds will help or hinder global warming. Their whiteness and sheerness will reflect some light back into space, but for light getting through to the surface, they will act to reflect heat back to the surface. Which will have the greater impact. We don’t know yet. My guess is that the greater effect will be to heat the planet more.

  46. Kathy C Says:

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/definitive-lesson-new-normal-european-geography

    The Definitive Lesson In “New Normal” European Geography
    Submitted by Tyler Durden on 06/14/2012 08:13 -0400

    For your definitive documented “X is not Y” atlasing needs.

    1. “Spain is not Greece.”
    Elena Salgado, Spanish Finance minister, Feb. 2010

    2. “Portugal is not Greece.”
    The Economist, 22nd April 2010.

    3. “Ireland is not in ‘Greek Territory.’”
    Irish Finance Minister Brian Lenihan.

    4. “Greece is not Ireland.”
    George Papaconstantinou, Greek Finance minister, 8th November, 2010.

    5. “Spain is neither Ireland nor Portugal.”
    Elena Salgado, Spanish Finance minister, 16 November 2010.

    6. “Neither Spain nor Portugal is Ireland.”
    Angel Gurria, Secretary-general OECD, 18th November, 2010.

    7. “Spain is not Uganda”
    Rajoy to Guindos… Last weekend!

    8. “Italy is not Spain”
    Ed Parker, Fitch MD, 12 June 201

  47. Kathy C Says:

    Guy noted that we are losing 200 species a day. That is 73,000 a year. This article says that we know of 8.7 million species and add 15,000 to the list each year. 73,000 less 15,000 is 58,000 down per year so in 150 years we have 0 species left. OK I know it doesn’t work quite like that, but it gives you an idea. At the current status of human population and climate change we are wiping out 73,000 species a year. Add a bit more and the rate is likely to increase. Clearly we are fucked even without 400 un-contained Fukushimas. I think Guy is exactly right about the problem, it is the solution I disagree with. I think that in fact such efforts as Occupy Wallstreet might actually serve to keep things going longer by creating the stage for larger state control. So I intend to keep making this patch of ground a better garden.

  48. Laura Mae Says:

    The Real Dr. House mentioned that he dovetails peek oil into his obesity classes and that most people seem to understand and agree but they are not able to implement the priciple solutions in their behavior modification.
    That does not surprise me. Our western civilization pradym going back to Aristotle and Decartes is mentally ill by definition. Yesturday an article that The Power Elite of this world really are certifiably ‘Crazy’…and it’s not just me who see’s that ‘it’s a world gone mad’
    http://psychcentral.com/news/2012/06/10/worldwide-economic-collapse-a-result-of-shared-manic-behavior/39870.html – Short summary
    http://org.sagepub.com/content/18/2/173.full.pdf – Full article

    TPTB may own the entire world but have lost their souls…like any addict, they are not going to be able to be stopped and will lie cheat steel and kill to keep their fix going. The sooner bottom/collapse is hit the less species lost but there seems to be no end to the ‘rabbits these criminal junkies can pull out of their collective hats’ drawing out the enevitable and wasting precious time we do not have. We need to realize what all the living species and plants on this planet are really up against….ADDICTION and MANIACS

  49. Darth Imperius Says:

    For those who believe that we are in the End Times rather than what Wells called “the beginning of the beginning”, why not put your money where your mouth is and cease using the tools of industrial civilization which are so strangling the life out of Gaia, and soon to go the way of the dinosaurs? WTF are you all doing using the internets to spread your savage Stone Age religion? Forget the old ways, the global warming science, the petroleum production graphs, the animated dinosaurs, the doomer blogs and the physics of nuclear meltdowns, and start developing some skills that will matter in the new Stone Age, like cannibalism, trepanation, fire-making and trapping rodents with rocks and sticks. Beat your drums, use runners and pigeons, draw pictures on cave walls with chalk, but keep your filthy hands off my internets, you damned dirty apes!

  50. Michael Irving Says:

    Victor,

    #2—Good point! Shallow, dull minds being what they are mine may have been filled with projections, my own and others, here at NBL that are completely unsupported. In fact, on reflection, I may be guilty of thinking that because a certain number of people are thought to have inhabited the earth prior to the advent of industrial civilization it is reasonable to suggest that a post industrial earth could support that number also. If I then subtract some arbitrary amount from that to account for negative overshoot (undershoot?–the bottom of the big hill on the rollercoaster) during the collapse mode prior to some rebound, I end up with some small number of people surviving a civilization-ending collapse. In other words I may have made it all up.

    You might suggest that my guess does not take into account the negative input of the nuclear power plants melting down, nuclear/non-nuclear resource wars, climate change reducing the amount of arable land, etc., etc. and those are just the non-biosphere-ending inputs.

    I will have to spend a little time researching/thinking about this.

    #3/4. Yes, it is a timing thing, however, it is also a matter of how much radiation is released all at once and the ability of organisms to deal with that level over time. Another factor you’ve not taken into account is the possibility that people will start to pay attention the alarms you, and others, keep raising about the dangers of these power plants and they will be shut down and their accumulated waste will be put in long-term storage (like Yucca Mountain). Shutting down the plants in Japan and German may be the first step in a planet-wide rejection of nuclear power. If (I know that’s a big “if”) both of those countries shut down and properly disposed of the waste it would be a significant reduction in your 400+ number (71 total).

    Of course Japan/Germany may not get their plants shut down, and other countries (like the US) might begin a massive expansion of their nuclear power industry. However, we were discussing possibilities and I was coming down on the side of “all is not lost”.

    #5. See #3/4 above.

    Thanks for once again impaling me on your knitting needle. I’m starting to think of you as Victor the Impaler. I’ll work on this some more later. Now I have to plant some corn.

    Michael Irving

  51. Michael Irving Says:

    Also, you’ll note that the transition to civilian rule in Egypt ended today with a military coup engineered by the court.

    http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/06/14-0

  52. Victor Says:

    A new reaction surfaces that the sea might have on life under global warming at a point – removal of oxygen from the deepest part of the ocean where it keeps a certain sulphur bacterium under control today. Loss of oxygen at the bottom of the ocean might end up releasing vast quantities of hydrogen sulfide (smell of rotten eggs) from the depths and swamping the atmosphere and the waters with this deadly chemical. Read about it here:

    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/06/14-10

    Bloody ‘ell

  53. Victor Says:

    I read somewhere that Osaka Bay in Japan has recently turned yellow. One of the commentators on the site mentioned that that sometimes happens prior to a major earthquake. Sound like to me some kind of release of sulphur into the waters. This should be interesting. Go to this link, and note the photo.

  54. Victor Says:

    If I then subtract some arbitrary amount from that to account for negative overshoot (undershoot?–the bottom of the big hill on the rollercoaster) during the collapse mode prior to some rebound, I end up with some small number of people surviving a civilization-ending collapse.

    I think the expression you are missing here is ‘natural carrying capacity of the earth’. Traditionally, it has been a couple billion people. As population overshoot becomes reality, vital resources are depleted or destroyed, thus reducing that natural carrying capacity significantly. Aside from climate change and nuclear reactors, water scarcity, soil erosion, etc, that natural carrying capacity has probably been reduced to closer to 500M, perhaps even less.

    I’m starting to think of you as Victor the Impaler.

    I kinda like that. Certainly better than a credible reputation… ;-)

  55. Kathy C Says:

    Victor re the yellow bay that would be me above on June 13th :) Since you failed to provide the link others can go to my post where I put a link to Fukushima Diary.

    Michael, when we first enclosed 1 acre for our chickens it might have supported a few chickens without feed. Thanks to this summer’s breeding it now encloses 150 chickens who survive because we feed them. Should we stop they would start cannibalizing and eating everything in sight and in the end it would probably not support even 1 chicken. That is the sort of problem we are facing when oil no longer subsidizes food and warming reduces yield.

    Laura Mae, the way I think of it is that we are caged by ourselves in civilization and self domestication. Caged animals are usually a bit or a lot insane.

    Darth Imperius – is that you Sean. How ya doing buddy?

  56. Victor Says:

    Kathy….oops…..I knew I had seen that article before…somewhere…recently…now I know!…. :-)

    Thanks for providing it in the first place! As some are too lazy to go back and find it, I will provide again as penalty for my failure:

    http://fukushima-diary.com/2012/06/osaka-bay-looking-yellow/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+FukushimaDiary+%28Fukushima+Diary%29

  57. Victor Says:

    Hi Sean….yawn….

  58. Victor Says:

    The author of this article has no clue as to what ‘peak oil’ is, as is evident by his chart.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-peak-oil-2012-6

  59. Michael Irving Says:

    Victor,

    I’m going to do the same thing to you that you did to me.
    Carrying capacity = 500 million—Whose projections?”

    I’m asking because that is exactly the figure I have been using here at NBL for several years. Beats the heck out of me where it came from. It comes to something like 1/14 of the current population level.

    My point did address carrying capacity but more specifically it was trying to describe a graph of population where it starts from a low number, stays static for a long time, begins an exponential increase leading to where we are now, and then as per Olduvai Theory collapses back to a level lower than the previous static level. If you can picture my graph in your mind you will see that there is a little up-tick out on the extreme right-hand end of the graph, out in the future, indicating a rebound in the population (I hope you can see that, you might need a magnifying glass). All the graphs on google show that until about 1500 AD we were below 500 million and that for a long time we were static at about 250 million. I’m not sure what the estimate is for the population prior to the advent of agriculture; however, Wikipedia does have an interesting article about Toba catastrophe theory. It suggests that when the Toba supervolcano erupted about 67,000ybp the resultant “volcanic winter” reduced the human population worldwide to under 10,000 or perhaps even as low as 1,000 breeding pairs (I do not know how valid this assessment is). If this is accurate to any degree it speaks to the idea that human population could come back from a very low level subsequent to a catastrophe such as a nuclear winter event or an extreme global warming situation, if the changes are not too great and if the bottleneck is not drawn out too long. It does suggest there is reason to hope that even in an extreme event conditions might be such in some locations that a small population is able to survive and rebound.

    After typing what you see above I was sitting here thinking about what your response would be, especially after your comments about Osaka harbor and sulfur dioxide releases, and the old Paul Simon song “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover” started playing in my head. I’m guessing you can think of at least 50 ways we will not make it through this as a species. Regardless, and no matter what DJD says, Pollyanna has not left this room.

    Michael Irving

  60. Michael Irving Says:

    Katy C,

    “Man,” he says, tongue firmly stuck in cheek, “I thought carrying capacity only applied to yeast.”

    Michael Irving

  61. Michael Irving Says:

    Sean (aka Darth Imperius),

    Trepanation. Good word. I had forgotten what that procedure was called. Thanks.

    Michael Irving

  62. Victor Says:

    Michael Irving

    I’m an old man (at least in most people’s terms of reference). I’ve read a lot, and seen a lot over my time. I have seen a lot of estimations on natural carrying capacity from many different people. I suspect that I read this most recently in Wm Catton’s book – Overshoot – where he took a lot of time with the concept so people could get a proper understanding of it. I might also have seen it in some of Richard Duncan’s writings around his Olduvai Theory. But yep, you caught me – never was much of one keeping references in my head… ;-)

    If this is accurate to any degree it speaks to the idea that human population could come back from a very low level subsequent to a catastrophe such as a nuclear winter event or an extreme global warming situation, if the changes are not too great and if the bottleneck is not drawn out too long.

    IF the changes are not too great and if the bottleneck is not drawn out too long? Are you serious?….LOL But seriously, as I said before, there is a limit to adaptability, and if all the things we have mentioned today are not enough to call them limits, then I have difficulty with assessing what a limit might be.

    Regardless, and no matter what DJD says, Pollyanna has not left this room.

    You are the kind of person I would most like to sit in a Pub with and discuss all the woes of the world.

  63. Michael Irving Says:

    Victor,

    Now that would be a fun time. It’s too bad about the little 4800-mile problem.

    Michael Irving

  64. Michael Irving Says:

    Victor,

    The Japanese are scheduled to restart at least two reactors this weekend. It seems the mayor of Oi has agreed to the wishes of the prime minister and will restart the plants. Why would he do that? Oh, I know, he started a company that supplies the plants with pipe and other materials. And he’s just so worried about power shortages. The one percent strikes again. So much for my wishful thinking about 71 reactors remaining shut down. Remaining perpetually cheerful is difficult.

    Michael Irving

  65. Darth Imperius Says:

    Michael, trepanation is a lot of fun, you should try it. If you’re lucky you might even open up your third eye chakra and develop force powers, like being able to see into the future. This is what I did, and when I foresaw the Galactic Empire I quickly changed my doomer ways. Collapse? Bah! These are just birth pangs!

  66. Resa Says:

    Victor:

    Re: “I am happy to amuse you …”

    I don’t quibble over amusement. It brightens my day.

    Re: “You and I have had this discussion before so I don’t think it necessary to go through it in its entirety again …”

    Ditto. I have no desire to rehash. If a discussion didn’t make a difference the first round, it certainly won’t make a difference the second round. I have better things to do. If tomorrow dawns rain free, and it looks like such will hold for five days, then haying gains top priority. I know well the difference a full stack of hay can make.

    Do I believe an unattended nuclear reactor couldn’t melt down? Heck no. Only a fool would believe otherwise.

    Do I believe a SCRAM is a long-term solution? Absolutely not. It’s a first step and serves the purpose of reducing critical to manageable. That’s by design.

    Re: “Where is adaptability in the face of a killer species who robs them of life and environment?” It’s in every new generation.

    Where I differ with you is on outlook. You’re glued to complete and utter devastation. I’m considerably more practical and see a range of possibilities, of which one could be your outcome. But as I mentioned previously, I’m not holding my breath. If there’s one thing my experiences have taught me (and that includes my time in the nuclear field) it is the resilience of life. It greets me first thing in the morning. It puts me to sleep at night. And no, I’m not thrilled with (nor do I win) every instance I face. I have dealt with more challenging days than I care to recount.

    I see adaptation every day.

    Maybe the difference between you and me is that I don’t live out of a book.

  67. the virgin terry Says:

    ‘you are right – we surely don’t know enough yet about the complexity of the earth’s ecosystem to be able to predict with accuracy either the time or the sequence or the unknown processes or the sequence of those processes or the significance of those processes or the full impact of those processes’ -victor, in earlier response to michael’s comment refuting victor’s earlier assertions about the certainty of soon to be human extinction. it was this that i interpreted as a very short lived retreat by victor from his position, which i call dogmatic, because in my view it’s unjustified by either science or (un)common sense.

    ‘During the talk, as an aside, I always mention that the age of cheap oil is rapidly coming to a close. What I find amazing is how many people accept that fact and readily agree. Generally, they are thinking about gasoline and high prices, but when I point out all the other products which oil makes possible, they quickly see the importance of the topic. I’ve presented this talk at least 10 times now and no one has ever disagreed or even expressed disdain for the concept of declining oil availability. Maybe they just don’t appreciate the gravity of it.’

    that’s about the situation in a nutshell, the surreal dr. house.

    ‘keep your filthy hands off my internets, you damned dirty apes!’

    lol, darth. i suggest u not sully your superior mind with filthy blogs such as this one. certainly u can find pristine corners of your ‘internets’ yet unsullied by ‘damned dirty apes’ like us nbl-ers!

    ‘Loss of oxygen at the bottom of the ocean might end up releasing vast quantities of hydrogen sulfide (smell of rotten eggs) from the depths and swamping the atmosphere and the waters with this deadly chemical. Read about it here:’

    i already read a book some years ago whose author delved into this subject, victor. no doubt, no doubt, climate change could easily spell our doom in the not distant future. no doubt, no doubt, it might not.

    ‘If you’re lucky you might even open up your third eye chakra and develop force powers, like being able to see into the future. This is what I did, and when I foresaw the Galactic Empire I quickly changed my doomer ways.’

    darth, one man’s vision is another man’s nightmare, or lunacy. just because u supposedly have a vision doesn’t mean it has any substance.

  68. Victor Says:

    Resa

    It’s a first step and serves the purpose of reducing critical to manageable.

    Too bad there won’t be anyone around with the capability of managing it.

    Where I differ with you is on outlook. You’re glued to complete and utter devastation. I’m considerably more practical and see a range of possibilities, of which one could be your outcome.

    Good point. We should all recognise that our opinions, by and large, are just that – opinions, not scientifically held truths. I have lived a long time and have thoroughly enjoyed life unlike so many humans in the world. And I enjoy books, learning from the experiences of others rather than listen to myself. I am not ashamed of that.

    To see what is most likely coming at you, based upon current scientific discovery, is important to formulating an integrated view of where the world is headed, and is most useful for determining where one should plan emphasis on their own life into the future. For me, I have finally adjusted to the idea that we are truly fucked, and my decision, on a personal level, is to accept that and spend the remainder of my life focussed on my family, trying to make others see what is coming so they too can plan (which is a mountain of a task as you might imagine with pollyanna ruling the world), continuing my ‘educationn’ and building my little garden.

    Civilisation is dying and dragging the rest of the world with it.

    Maybe the difference between you and me is that I don’t live out of a book.

    I stand humbled before such a master of practicality and self-esteem. Your world needs more of you.

  69. Victor Says:

    If you’re lucky you might even open up your third eye chakra and develop force powers, like being able to see into the future.

    Did this..saw even more disaster, so closed it quickly.

  70. Robin Datta Says:

    A rooster interjects his opinions, twice, in the Shift Shapers podcast on blogtalkradio:
    Dr. Guy McPherson, Helping Others to Walk Away from Empire

  71. Robin Datta Says:

    Darth Imperius, you should really follow Dmitry Orlov’s advice to have kinky sex with chickens on alfalfa roofs for gold bullion.

  72. Victor Says:

    vt,

    it was this that i interpreted as a very short lived retreat by victor from his position, which i call dogmatic, because in my view it’s unjustified by either science or (un)common sense.

    I am merely asserting that whilst ‘the end of humanity and a climate friendly to life’ can be formed by accumulated evidence and scientific knowledge we see today and can further be understood in the light of human behaviour, we can not yet determine what precise course the destruction will take, when it will be most evident to people, what the full number of processes will be involved and precisely how long it will take – only that given current knowledge accumulated we can see that it can no longer be stopped, no matter what we try. I am not into hard predictions. Indeed, dogmatic or not, the only prediction I see right now is the end of life and the world as we have known them.

    I am saying further that the only hope we have now is if there exists a God that will intervene on behalf of the world. (Now don’t jump to conclusions here and start another discussion…. :-) ). I am simply saying that the only thing that could possibly save us and the natural world would be a direct intervention by God.

    i already read a book some years ago whose author delved into this subject, victor. no doubt, no doubt, climate change could easily spell our doom in the not distant future. no doubt, no doubt, it might not.

    Actually, the release of hydrogen sulphide would likely occur some significant time after the killing off of humanity, so I really don’t place much emphasis on it. I was merely saying that the phenomenon just adds more to our knowledge of key processes which will come as a result of humanity’s presence on the earth. Most all the new knowledge coming out about the results of global warming is seemingly detrimental to life rather than supportive of life.

    As I have said before, my opinion is just that – my opinion. But it is opinion that I have formulated on knowledge of current scientific opinion, hard evidence accumulating globally, and the human behavioural factor. I know no other basis for arriving at an opinion. What is your ‘it might not’ be based upon?

    Bring up something that you believe offers a silver lining that in light of the processes at work today overwhelms the apparent course of those known processes today, and let’s discuss it.

    Fair enough?

  73. Tom Says:

    Jevon’s paradox debunked:

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2011/02/16/207532/debunking-jevons-paradox-jim-barrett/

    It doesn’t undo the argument to get off fossil fuels because their use is killing the planet, nor does it touch the argument that the entire industrial civilization is doomed to fail.

  74. Robin Datta Says:

    One discussion of carrying capacity: 
    Peak Oil, Carrying Capacity and Overshoot: Population, the Elephant in the Room
    This article by Paul Cherfuka is also to be found on his blog, Approaching Limits. 

  75. Guy McPherson Says:

    I’ve posted anew. The essay is here.

  76. Kathy C Says:

    Victor, since there is no god, only aliens can save us now.

  77. Victor Says:

    Robin Datta

    Good essay on Carrying Capacity – very much enjoyed it. It does a good job at explaining the concept. Not sure I agree with much of what he says about population reduction, and I think he is a bit optimistic on how to go about it. But there you go – I’m being pessimistic again… ;-)

  78. Victor Says:

    Kathy

    I suppose there is always the aliens. Saw one the other night. Know what he said to me?

    “You’re fucked!”