Archive for the Earth Agony category

May 14th, 2013

Interviews from 1970:
Can We Survive Our Future?

 

 

cover

Perhaps the most amazing, and depressing, thing about this collection is the freedom and breadth of the discussion — in a book published by Radio Free Europe, which was more or less the CIA. The contrast to the present day’s mainstream discussion is a measure of how badly the American Mind has been closed since the advent of Reagan.

The following links go to jpeg files that can be grabbed and Zoomed in on for easy reading:

Table of Contents

Technical Advance and the Morality of Power — by Arnold Toynbee, author of A Study of History

The Loss of the Past and the Mystique of Change — by Philip Rieff, author of The Triumph of the Therapeutic

Conformism and the Rationale of Technology – by Jacques Ellul, author of The Technological Society

Learning to Live with a Doom-laden Future — by Brian Aldiss, a science-fiction writer

January 23rd, 2011

FBI and Fracking company contra woman in Pennsylvania

Fracking — a method of drilling for natural gas — poisons groundwater yet is steaming ahead under Obama.

Here is an ACLU video about a Pennsylvania woman active in trying to prevent local Fracking getting targeted by Homeland Security, which lumped her with terrorists and proceeded against her as such, and passed intelligence about her to the corporation doing the local Fracking.

We are so far gone down the road to perdition. That fracking is alllowed to occur anywhere is itself something out of dystopic science fiction.

January 22nd, 2011

Greenland melts
all the more

The year lately passed saw by far the worst melt in Greenland since worrywarts started watching in 1979.

Some background here.

M

January 4th, 2011

?? Russians say Wheeler assassinated re US chemical weapon disaster in Arkansas ?

Ed Note: See comments below to follow this strange story as it evolves — or more likely disappears in a cloud of web nonsense and, perhaps, professional disinformation.

JOHN WHEELER was the leader of the Vietnam Vets Memorial movement, among other things.

Career Air Force with sensitive assignments.

Showed up murdered in a dumpster the other day.

Meanwhile thousands of birds have been dropping dead out of the sky in Arkansas.

Now Inteltrends publishes a report that claims to have seen a Russian intel report saying that Wheeler was killed, by the Americans, because he

threatened to expose a U.S. Military test of poison gas that killed hundreds of thousands of animals in Arkansas this past week.

October 17th, 2010

Google blacklists documentary
about need and means of
change we desperately need

Curious. But Google won’t link to the website for 2012: TIME FOR CHANGE, a great documentary about, in a word, environmentalism, and the need for and possibilities for civilizational change.

Here’s the URL that Google won’t give you:

http://www.2012timeforchange.com/

The film is showing in Los Angeles and New York. Go see if you can, or put it on your rental/stream que.

M

May 30th, 2010

Matt Simmons re
The Gulf of Mexico

Simmons is a legendary oil service man. One of the planet’s genii in this sphere.

Both men offer practical containment ideas that should be used and don’t understand the government’s inaction.

And both assert at length that the little geyser we’ve been watching on TV is not the prime leak.

July 24th, 2009

A Dirty Vacation —
Greenland melts

Ed Note: See comments below to follow climate-change stories thru the dumb distraction of “Climategate” into the winter of 2010-11, when news comes that 2010 tied 2005 as the warmest year and saw Greenland’s ice melt continue to accelerate “beyond model.”

M

Una sporca vacanza

In June [2009] we learned that Greenland’s ice is melting even faster than the people who closely watch such things were shocked to report two years before.

Today’s news is that things are much worse:

“Runoff in 2007 was approximately 35% greater than average for 1995-2006. From 1995 through 2007 overall, precipitation decreased while ablation increased, leading to an increased average SMB loss of 127 cubic kilometers …”

But might one shrug 2007 off as an outlier?

Uh … No. Sorry. See the 2nd comment below for a brief history of public notices re the great melt. The trend is clear and recent.

(See in particular 2000 NASA and 2003 Pentagon reports. And note that in each of the past three years the rate of melt has increased well beyond model projections — suggesting nobody really knows how fast the ice will flow to the sea.)

The Idiot Box was abuzz about Greenland for a day or two in June before Michael Jackson died. The skinny for those too busy mourning or Making Ends Meet: The coastlines known throughout recorded history will (relatively) soon be gone.

Locals might also note that another recent report (by a different research group) forecasts the Greenland melt will make things particularly bad — nearly twice the global ocean-rise average — along the North American northeast coast: 12 to 20 inches higher than the roughly two-foot average rise predicted “by 2100.”

I had a dream last week of frowning Age-of-Reagan Yuppies — today’s midlevel eager beavers and Free Marketeers, raised on patriotic television — elbowing around Manhattan in power boats. Getting Their Own. Working Hard and Playing Hard …

One wonders when coastal real estate will collapse. Perhaps in Florida the top, for the duration, is already in.

CNN reported a few months ago that the Carteret Islands in the south Pacific have lost 60% of their land to the ocean in recent years. Trying to imagine hundreds of millions of people retreating inland worldwide produces a disaster movie full of shotgun violence and sociopolitical dissolution. But perhaps people and governments will rise, with the oceans, to the occasion.

Frontierland USA, however, populated with plastic Rugged Individualists, seems less than fruitful ground for a sociable ever after. Pious inwoners of the hinterland will tell their children the submersion of Boston, New York, Philadelphia was God’s vengence upon the Liberals.

Europe seems more promising sociologically. But will the cessation of the Gulf Stream leave what remains above sea level covered with ice? And pious Likudists nodding with deep and grim satisfaction, thinking of Noah and the 1940s? Shall any ‘scape whipping by this vengeful God?

Will the grass nowhere be greener?

Perhaps the recent development of expensive gated communities with autonomous power generation in the mountains of Tennessee, North Carolina, Montana, has something to do with the recent hydrology — and, too, the incoherent violence of American foreign policy in the brave new century.

The Pentagon, after all, warned (itself) years ago of abrupt climate change, reporting measured declines in the flow of the Gulf Stream, and issuing new criteria re base location.

Recall the decision to abandon Homestead Air Force Base in Florida after Hurricane Andrew — a shocking decision announced in a live press conference by Secretary of Defense Cheney in 1992. People everywhere were wondering what the heck Dick was doing.

Playing catch up, the maps on the tube this past June, accompanying reports of the latest data, showed all of south Florida (north of Okeechobee on down) under water “by 2100.”

Not to speak of the Netherlands, Bangladesh, a good deal of southeast Asia …

Venice …?

A Dirty Vacation indeed …

March 28th, 2009

Dem Builderburgers ain’t so bad,
heck, I seen worse

An American in Ireland, Richard Moore, worries often aloud about the world in articulate, informed style — at the moment about the Bilderbergers. Just now I dashed off a reply email that without trying hard encapsulates a view of the world (if not a Worldview):

The Bldbrgers are good and useful to consider. They don’t Run the World but they give insight into some of the people involved in the high level struggles to operate and endure the world.

They express a more European point of view than, eg, the Davos gatherings, which are more technocratic and global and American influenced. This European view is caught in our time in the middle, and I tend to sympathize with it.

I mean — the world today is dividing in a new way:

1. Russia and China, among the major powers, are still nation-states. Their owner-operators are still wed to their Nations (ie People). These powers can be read fairly easily as to what their interests are and how they are likely to behave to protect and forward them.

2. The US since the advent of the bomb has been ceasing to be a nation-state (if indeed it was ever a good idea to consider it as such).

(The bomb brought pressure to control events globally and to do so without major-power war; this pressure has been bending the minds of the people who run the National Security Apparat since the end of the war 1945. This is one big reason why the Apparat has grown so strong in Washington while the Congress has almost ceased to exist as a policy making body and the White House careers back and forth, with presidential heads more often than not winding up on platters.)

The owner-operators of the US began to reassert themselves behind Reagan’s smile and broad shoulders, having gone to school on the lessons of Vietnam (an educated working class is not a good idea, reliable pensions are not a good idea, fairly free and balanced mass media are not a good idea) and having realized that the technological revolution meant (re capital) that Globalization was the ticket.

To be extremely brief then: The US since the war has been morphing from something like a nation-state to a thing bestride the globe with two primary interests: to float the National Security Apparat (chiefly the Pentagon but also the mature so-called intelligence agencies) and to float the large globalizing corporations. Responsibility of the owner-operators for and to the Nation (ie People) has become almost neglible.

(Even the most Progressive voices among the American owner-operators are corporate-centric, as if someday Google may just blast off into space, Silent Running with Hughie, Dewey and Louie … )

3. Europe occupies too a rather new and strange space — having undertaken the Euro Union. But the traditional bonds between the component ruling classes and Nations (Peoples) — born of millenia of strife and tight geography — are still rather strong.

The Bilderbergers convey this uneasy place in the middle — between the brute classico Russian and Chinese nation-states and the global military-industrial enterprise based in the U.S.

Europe: Trying to “compete” with the run-amok North American colossus, while trying (as always) to survive the “Asian Hordes,” while trying to maintain the distinctly European take on the Individual-in-Society.

For my money, Europe’s approach to Modernity (the technological civilization that in the West succeeded Christendom) is superior to the American, the Russian and the Chinese. European societies seem to me superior.

So then — even though my own feet are rooted in the Working Class, I don’t find the Bilderbergers as alarming as some. (And I have always valued the reports from the chamber that Mr Estulin has been channeling for some time now.)

Rather, I find the entire careering planet alarming. Chiefly the unbridled advance of science these past two centuries, which has created monstrous wealth, technological processes and weapons that have left us and the earth at the mercy of forces I think NO one or one body of people has a chance to control, let alone govern. Everything put together sooner or later falls apart, as Paul Simon noted circa Watergate.

My view of Europe’s “superiority” doesn’t mean, of course, that if one had to bet on the Last Man Standing he should bet on the European Union. Indeed, many have been writing that the current financial crisis may ruin it.

Would Europe survive the Union’s disintegration? In some fashion, surely. Might that seismic de-centralizing move actually, despite costs, show us something of the way out of Modernity’s disaster? Too much to hope for, I suppose.

March 16th, 2009

Fusion energy update /
Gore sees global plan coming together

Posted in Earth Agony by ed

Here’s that compromised fellow at the Times with an encouraging update on the practical side of what has always been possible.

Then again, it’s rather late.  Too bad the Oil Mafia ran so much of Washington in the 20th century.

But … Al Gore (glad to say) is still stumping.  Stiff upper lip eh what?

November 7th, 2008

American automakers to be
born again as Green
“gov’t-sponsored entities”?

The President Elect met with his econoteam and then answered press questions for the first time today.

Meanwhile the people running GM and Ford told the world that time is running out.

Brusque types are saying “Let them go.” Down the drain.

But the employment consequences nationwide would be catastrophic, and it’s clear that Hammerin’ Hank Paulson, after fucking the globe royally with Lehman, is on the case.  A Treasury spokesman indicated that some of the TARP $700 billion might get thrown over the automakers to keep them dry awhile.

The full resolution may be nationalization (perhaps through the equity-kicker provisions of the TARP) — leaving something like Airbus in Europe:  a unified quasi-nationalized auto company.

Such an enterprise could be effectively directed by the incoming Donkey regime to the ends often indicated across the campaign years: a native auto industry fully dedicated to green cars.

Similar initiatives were crushed by the Reaganites immediately upon assumption of power in 1981, as they shut down Jimmy Carter’s Energy Department in support of the Oil Mafia status quo ante.

It illumines American democracy to look back across that expanse of time — lost time — and to think that it may take the triple whammy of high oil prices, a ruined financial system and bankrupted Ford and GM to finally pry loose the Oil Mafia’s grip on Washington.

(It’s often left unsaid that the core of the OM’s political power these many decades has been the Pentagon — which cannot run its tanks and aircraft on natural gas or the sun or the wind or nuclear power.)

The first Earth Day was in 1968.  Everything in the way of knowledge needed to act on our energy problems was known in the wake of the oil crunches of the 70s. Instead we got Reagan.  This time … We shall see.

September 20th, 2008

Green cars

Posted in Earth Agony by ed

People in California are already driving hydrogen-fueled cars made by Honda.

People in France are saying they will have cars running on compressed air on the road by 2010.

People in Detroit are still trying to keep their heads above water, still crazy after all these years.

April 24th, 2008

The Sane Society: US leads world in “prisoner production”

As we pack our lives into pickup trucks and head down the dusty road of dearth for Depression, the Times is good to point out that by at least one measure of socioeconomic production the US is still number one.

An old friend who was raised to hate the Soviet Union always refused to grasp that since the advent of the War on Drugs the US has a higher rate of incarceration than the Reds at the height of Stalinism.

(One angle: Seems we freed the slaves then put them in jail.)

Do we live in a Sane Society?

There are other measures. Suicide rates. The now fairly well entrenched fad of adolescents massacring fellow students.

I’ve never, at least since the passing of Santa Claus, been a faithful Christian. But since that same time it has also been clear, in the bones if not between the ears, that the American Civilization (as certain stodgy Brit historians insist on calling it) or, better, the Scientific Civilization, which in the west succeeded Christendom immaturely when the latter blew its brains out in 1914, is off its rocker.

Ungovernable. At odds with the Kind-of-Being-that- is-Human. Chronically mass murderous. And (the most Inconvenient Truth of all) suicidal.

But the new Grand Theft Auto is dynamite. And there’s always Second Life when your first one gets snuffed. (Or …? How does that work?)

April 14th, 2008

Impression: Bush on global warming

A funny imposter.

January 23rd, 2007

Big brains at Davos re “climate change”

Posted in Earth Agony by ed

“Climate change” seems to have become, across 2006, the authorized euphemism in the corporate press, where “global warming” is now rare.

Opinion at Davos seems mixed re global warming seems mixed:

A.  John McCain is on one of 17 panels on “climate change” at the annual gathering in Davos, Switzerland of the brutish masters of business administration who run the so-called western democracies. Apparently “the environment” is atop the To Do List. Busy beavers.

B.   January 23, NY TIMES:Where are the snows of yesteryear? That is a question that many attendees of this year’s conference are pondering as they arrive in Davos and notice that the scenery looks a lot less wintery than in previous years. Coincidentally or not, the strange weather comes as Davos has put the issue of climate change high on its agenda, scheduling 17 sessions to discuss it.

Floyd Norris of The New York Times was struck by the difference even before he pulled into town. He sent us this report:

The first thing I noticed as the bus approached Davos for this year’s World Economic Forum was how green and beautiful the hillsides are. There are patches of snow, but it looked like a magnificent spring.

But it isn’t spring.

“It’s a catastrophe,” sad the shuttle bus driver taking me to my hotel. “It should be 10 degrees colder.”

There is skiing in the mountains above Davos, but in town most of the roads and sidewalks are clear. This is my fourth forum, and I’ve never seen anything like it.

C.   January 24 NYT
The Times’s Floyd Norris spoke with one Davos attendee, PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ Sam DiPiazza, about climate change and sent us this account:

It is not just the politicians in the United States who are unconcerned about global warming.

PricewaterhouseCoopers does a survey of chief executives every year, and this year it asked if they were concerned about climate change. For the world as a whole, 40 percent said they were at least somewhat concerned. In the United States, the figure is 16 percent.

Sam DiPiazza, the chief executive of PWC, had one explanation: “It won’t affect next quarter’s earnings.”

But he said some chief executives were showing more concern, and added: “Maybe the North American C.E.O.’s will notice there is a lot more green outside than snow.”

January 18th, 2007

Hurricane-force winds blast Europe

Posted in Earth Agony by ed

Strange, ahistoric hurricane-force winds have been killing people and pushing cars around these past days from the British Isles to Germany.

amsterdamwaves.jpg

Those who have never seen harmonious Amsterdam should perhaps book a trip (when master permits) before it becomes a watery necropolis.

January 12th, 2007

EU Report: Europe will be ruined by global warming

Posted in Earth Agony by ed

From The Independent in London:

EU: Climate change will transform the face of the continent

By Michael McCarthy and Stephen Castle

10 January 2007

Europe, the richest and most fertile continent and the model for the modern world, will be devastated by climate change, the European Union predicts today.

The ecosystems that have underpinned all European societies from Ancient Greece and Rome to present-day Britain and France, and which helped European civilisation gain global pre-eminence, will be disabled by remorselessly rising temperatures, EU scientists forecast in a remarkable report which is as ominous as it is detailed.

Much of the continent’s age-old fertility, which gave the world the vine and the olive and now produces mountains of grain and dairy products, will not survive the climate change forecast for the coming century, the scientists say, and its wildlife will be devastated.

Europe’s modern lifestyles, from summer package tours to winter skiing trips, will go the same way, they say, as the Mediterranean becomes too hot for holidays and snow and ice disappear from mountain ranges such as the Alps – with enormous economic consequences. The social consequences will also be felt as heat-related deaths rise and extreme weather events, such as storms and floods, become more violent.

The report, stark and uncompromising, marks a step change in Europe’s own role in pushing for international action to combat climate change, as it will be used in a bid to commit the EU to ambitious new targets for cutting emissions of greenhouse gases.

The European Commission wants to hold back the rise in global temperatures to 2C above the pre-industrial level (at present, the level is 0.6C). To do that, it wants member states to commit to cutting back emissions of carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas, to 30 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020, as long as other developed countries agree to do the same.

Failing that, the EU would observe a unilateral target of a 20 per cent cut.

The Commission president, José Manuel Barroso, gave US President George Bush a preview of the new policy during a visit to the White House this week.

The force of today’s report lies in its setting out of the scale of the continent-wide threat to Europe’s “ecosystem services”.

That is a relatively new but powerful concept, which recognises essential elements of civilised life – such as food, water, wood and fuel – which may generally be taken for granted, are all ultimately dependent on the proper functioning of ecosystems in the natural world. Historians have recognised that Europe was particularly lucky in this respect from the start, compared to Africa or pre-Columbian America – and this was a major reason for Europe’s rise to global pre-eminence.

“Climate change will alter the supply of European ecosystem services over the next century,” the report says. “While it will result in enhancement of some ecosystem services, a large portion will be adversely impacted because of drought, reduced soil fertility, fire, and other climate change-driven factors.

“Europe can expect a decline in arable land, a decline in Mediterranean forest areas, a decline in the terrestrial carbon sink and soil fertility, and an increase in the number of basins with water scarcity. It will increase the loss of biodiversity.”

The report predicts there will be some European “winners” from climate change, at least initially. In the north of the continent, agricultural yields will increase with a lengthened growing season and a longer frost-free period. Tourism may become more popular on the beaches of the North Sea and the Baltic as the Mediterranean becomes too hot, and deaths and diseases related to winter cold will fall.

But the negative effects will far outweigh the advantages. Take tourism. The report says “the zone with excellent weather conditions, currently located around the Mediterranean (in particular for beach tourism) will shift towards the north”. And it spells out the consequences.

“The annual migration of northern Europeans to the countries of the Mediterranean in search of the traditional summer ‘sun, sand and sea’ holiday is the single largest flow of tourists across the globe, accounting for one-sixth of all tourist trips in 2000. This large group of tourists, totalling about 100 million per annum, spends an estimated €100bn (£67bn) per year. Any climate-induced change in these flows of tourists and money would have very large implications for the destinations involved.”

While they are losing their tourists, the countries of the Med may also be losing their agriculture. Crop yields may drop sharply as drought conditions, exacerbated by more frequent forest fires, make farming ever more difficult. And that is not the only threat to Europe’s food supplies. Some stocks of coldwater fish in areas such as the North Sea will move northwards as the water warms.

There are many more direct threats, the report says. The cost of taking action to cope with sea-level rise will run into billions of euros. Furthermore, “for the coming decades, it is predicted the magnitude and frequency of extreme weather events will increase, and floods will likely be more frequent and severe in many areas across Europe.”

The number of people affected by severe flooding in the Upper Danube area is projected to increase by 242,000 in a more extreme 3C temperature rise scenario, and by 135,000 in the case of a 2.2C rise. The total cost of damage would rise from €47.5bn to €66bn in the event of a 3C increase.

Although fewer people would die of cold in the north, that would be more than offset by increased mortality in the south. Under the more extreme scenario of a 3C increase in 2071-2100 relative to 1961-1990, there would be 86,000 additional deaths.

December 31st, 2006

Ayles Ice Shelf cracks at the North Pole

Posted in Earth Agony by ed

Al Gore focused on the collapse of the Larsen ice shelf into the sea off Antartica in An Inconvenient Truth. I remember watching those photos, across that month in 2002, as the expert commentators reeled. It seems something similar is happening up north:

Ancient Ice Shelf Snaps, Breaks Free in Canadian Arctic

The Associated Press, December 28, 2006

TORONTO — A giant ice shelf has snapped free from an island south of the North Pole, scientists said Thursday, citing climate change as a “major” reason for the event.

The Ayles Ice Shelf — 66 square kilometers (41 square miles) of it — broke clear 16 months ago from the coast of Ellesmere Island, about 800 kilometers (500 miles) south of the North Pole in the Canadian Arctic.

… “This is a dramatic and disturbing event. It shows that we are losing remarkable features of the Canadian North that have been in place for many thousands of years,” Vincent said. “We are crossing climate thresholds, and these may signal the onset of accelerated change ahead.”

The ice shelf was one of six major shelves remaining in Canada’s Arctic. They are packed with ancient ice that is more than 3,000 years old. They float on the sea but are connected to land.

… Using U.S. and Canadian satellite images, as well as seismic data — the event registered on earthquake monitors 250 kilometers (155 miles) away — Copland discovered that the ice shelf collapsed in the early afternoon of Aug. 13, 2005.

… Copland said the speed with which climate change has effected the ice shelves has surprised scientists.

“Even 10 years ago scientists assumed that when global warming changes occur that it would happen gradually so that perhaps we expected these ice shelves just to melt away quite slowly,” he said.

aitposter.jpg How long, Adonai, how long?