Record Arctic Melt Down

ARCTIC SEA ICE IS PLUNGING BELOW 2007 RECORD LOW

Sea Ice is now the lowest in maybe fifteen thousand years (and possibly 100,000 years). Just the beginning of the nuclearized Jurassic.

Ice August 26 2012 Versus Minimum 1980-2010

Notice that Greenland is sticking out like a sore, frozen thumb. Ready to melt, obviously. When the remaining huge white, reflecting expanses will be replaced by dark, light absorbing surfaces (that’s why they will be dark), the heating of the Arctic will accelerate, and become irreversible.

(I am using the adjective “heating” on purpose; it’s exactly how the average rise of maybe twenty degrees Celsius which is coming for the poles, should be qualified.)

With two to three more weeks left in the melt season, Arctic sea ice is certain to fall well below 4 million square kilometers. The previous minimum was the September 18, 2007 extent of 4.17 million square kilometers. The six lowest ice extents in the satellite record have occurred in the last six years (from 2007 to 2012).

And it’s not just the Arctic. In Antarctica, the temperature of the  giant peninsula down there has augmented by at least three degrees Celsius, and plants have started to grow around scientific stations (feeling culprit, the naïve scientists are trying to remove the grasses by hand). In Greenland, forests have been planted, and harvested, for the first time ever.  

Arctic Sea Ice in 2012 is less than half of the minimum extent of 1980. Everything indicates that, within a few years, ice will be at the lowest extent in three million years.

Another drastic fact: in mid July 2012 all of Greenland’s surface was melting, including at Summit Station (up at 3,216 meters altitude, 10,551 feet). Records from ice cores shows that this happens in the average ONCE every 150 years. Should it happen again next year, many of Greenland’s glaciers would become unhinged.  

Why? Because the water flows down “moulins“, all the way down the ice cap, 3,000 meters down, two miles down (to speak in units the Romans used to have before the planet went metric, except for a few savages in the woods). There the water flows below the ice, in channels (in Antarctica, there are hundreds of lakes, 4,000 meters down, some huge, up to 160 kilometers long, and below the icecap water flows from one lake to the next… rather ominously).

Should there be way too much water, it will have to break out of the channels, and force itself more below the icecap, and lubricate it from below.

Entire glaciers have suddenly slipped in Greenland, as if they were rumbling snakes come alive, generating up to Richter 6 quakes. Ice quakes.

Now what’s next? Well, as there is less sea ice than ever, solar radiation will penetrate the sea, even during Fall 2012, and warm it deep down inside. Even ultra violet light can penetrate sea for dozens of meters. So all this solar radiation, usually bouncing on the sea ice back to space, will dissipate itself deep down in the ocean, warming it up. In depth. The huge caloric capacity of the ocean will guarantee a milder winter, and even thinner ice, comes next Winter, and thus an even faster melt, starting next March.

All the more since solar activity is on the upswing (part of the sun’s eleven years solar cycle, which reached its nadir last year). So we can be sure that, come next July, all of Greenland’s surface will be melting again, including at Summit Station. And the glaciers will come unhinged.

What to do? Beyond getting properly informed about the unfolding disaster?

***

FIRST MOVE TO SAVE THE WORLD. A HEAVY CARBON TAX:

First one has to understand that the exponentially rising greenhouse gas curve is completely amoral. In the deepest sense of what “moral” means. See “Immoral CO2 Curve“. (See note.)  

To curtail the CO2 rise is very simple: just put up a hefty carbon tax. If fossil fuel energy is expensive inside the free market, the free market will adapt, and replace it by sustainable energy. Right now fossil fuels and their users are heavily subsidized. Strike those subsidies.

Sweden introduced a carbon tax in 1990. Not only it did not adversely affect economic growth, but now bio mass is massively used in Sweden, thanks to the tax. Most European countries have inchoating, or partial carbon taxes (even Britain). Even in the USA, the San Francisco Bay Area air quality management passed a (local) carbon tax in 2008. A question of intellect reaching a critical mass around UC Berkeley, UCSF, Stanford, the Silicon Valley.

The USA has done its best to block any worldwide carbon tax. The idea of such a carbon tax would be to tax any product according to how much CO2 was created to produce, transport and distribute it. Such a tax would lower the mercury in fish and the Arctic (which is condensed mercury vapor in colder regions from coal burning, mostly in China).

A worldwide carbon tax would not just lower the CO2 and give a chance to sustainable energies, but also a carbon tax would lower unemployment considerably in developed countries (good are transported using what is, by far, the dirtiest oil, bunk oil, being the cheapest and only giant ship engines can devour it).

So why is a carbon tax not implemented? Mostly through opposition of the USA. Because those who truly rule the USA make USA politicians understand they should not disrupt the entangled miracles that feed them so well.

***

CO2 PERPETRATORS ARE MOSTLY ANGLO-SAXON COLONISTS & THEIR SERFS:

One has next to understand that it is mostly the Anglo-Saxon colonies, which have created a mood of CO2 criminality. Here is the CO2 pollution of the USA: 18 tons per person per year. Here is Australia: 20 tons. And Canada: 16 tons. Canada celebrated its choice of the Dark Side by quitting the Kyoto protocol, the only country to have done such a thing. Why? Because not only Canada is not reducing its CO2 emissions, it’s planning to augment them as much as it can. Federal Canada is hell bent to exploit its tar sands. That means burning twice its tar sands, to extract all the money it can from hell itself (tar is so viscous one needs to heat those sands really hard; oil companies are hush about how exactly they heat up and extract the oil from the sands).

Provinces such as Quebec and British Columbia, with splendid unspoiled nature, and no fossil fuels, have implemented local carbon taxes.

By contrast to the federal behavior of the USA, Canada and Australia: Britain pollutes with 9 tons of CO2 per year, per person. Hint: there are hefty fuel taxes in Europe, including in Britain. The Europeans have been trying much harder, for much longer. Big industrial Germany is at 9.3 tons, Italy at 7 tons, France at 6.3. Switzerland, about twice richer than the USA per head, is at 6 tons of CO2. Japan, another industrial heavy weight is at 8.6 tons of CO2 per year.

So why does the USA block a carbon tax? One has to understand the USA is an imperial plutocracy made of entangled components: the banks, their banksters, and shady financial plotters, the Military Industrial Complex (MIC), the fossil fuel lobby, the plutocratic universities. The various components have a vested interest in the CO2 exponential, and even the CO2 catastrophe, and they reign in Washington.

For example some have evaluated the price of gasoline at 14 dollars a gallon, when hidden subsidies are incorporated, such as the cost of the various military programs that allow to control the Middle East (and, indirectly Venezuela, etc.) Of course the MIC has interest that this spending keeps on going. And even countries such as Israel, a sort of land locked USA carrier, receiving, with its Egyptian buddy, billions from the USA, are all entangled in the USA MIC and fuel lobby.

The plutocrats have lined up all the colonist Anglo-Saxon sheep, and taught them to bleat non sense. One can read deep consideration on why it is human nature that the Anglo-Saxons ought to use so much more oil than anybody else. Soon the bleating ones will be singing that the ice is not melting, it’s just going to heavens. Fossil fuel lobbyists even sing in unison that the more CO2, the better, CO2 is life sustaining. They congratulate each other for such strokes of genius, bleating even louder.

***

THE USA HAS GOT WORSE:

A fascinating experience in the USA is to visit a truck parking area where dozens of giant gas guzzling trucks can be parked, all running their engines. For hours, with no one inside (the truckers are partying somewhere else). A curious religion of waste erected as a basic expression of pride and freedom. What I deduce from that sort of scene, when I have recovered from the breathing difficulties that cause my brain to nearly shut down, is that the price of oil is ridiculously too low in the USA.   

In a country such as Switzerland, running a vehicle on idle is against the law. In countries with highly taxed fuel, it’s not an economic proposition. European car makers have even invented “stop-start” engines, which cut off, as soon as the car does not require traction. That saves up to 10% fuel (engines have to be redesigned so that secondary systems such as cooling can run on electric engines, as they traditionally run directly on the combustion engine). One may wonder why it is that the USA poisons the atmosphere twice more, per person, than Britain. Why is Britain so much more reasonable?

The fate of the gasoline tax is indicative of how regressive the USA has become. In constant dollars, that tax used to be much higher in the past, although then, people were driving gas-guzzlers. What seems to have changed is that people used to believe much more in sacrificing much more for the common good. Too long frequenting R. Reagan and G.W. Bush?

And the gasoline tax used to be high, just to pay for roads. Now we have a good reason to bring up the tax: Arctic sea ice is now at its lowest ever. And yet CO2 production in the USA peaked in 2005 (just before the Greater Depression took hold).

***

WHY ARE THE BRITS SO CO2 MORAL, & THE USA  SO CULPRIT?

Britain has learned to fear hubris.

It has to do with Britain suffering terribly in WWI and WWII. The British elite knows that hubris is the source of most flaws that affect civilization, because that is what the Greeks believed. Hitler’s hubris that he could free himself from his American masters’ oil, and invade all places with fossil fuels such as Poland, Romania, the USSR, Iraq, was what set him on a collision course with France, igniting World War Two…

Britain knows hubris well, and knows it can work for quite a while. Britain’s murderous expansion in Ireland and then in North America was driven by the “West Country Men” the plutocrats who ruled England in the Elizabethan age. That spirit of relentless exploitation was leveraged further when tobacco growing in America made them rich and the Dutch took control of England, leveraging the bank of England and the Royal Navy to the hilt, in the hope of subduing their creator (at the time autocratic) France… And that in turn also worked.

All fair and good… Until the “West Country Men” exploitative logic backfired, when Twentieth Century USA plutocrats learned to use it against Europe. England, that, ever since Guillaume Le Conquerant had created it, had been obsessed to prevent the rise of a super power in Europe, found itself the pawn of the one, on the other side of the pond. The one that Britain and France had given birth to.

The British started to feel progressively, same as a lot in Europe, as the new Indians. A change of paradigm was in order, and the French ultraconservative approach, to husband one’s resources, won over. Same in Germany (this also explains why the German birth rate has collapsed). And all over Europe.

Where does the ultraconservative French approach comes from? From the fact that, from government policy through the Middle Ages, by 1600 CE, French peasants were small owners of what they cultivated (the opposite of the situation in England, ruled by enormous land owners). The French peasant-owners were no non sense, they were very close to their sous ( a word denoting money that evolved from the Roman “solidus”). The first thing they did was to curb their birthrate, to protect their resources (as they owned them). When Louis XVI, in an astounding access of hubris, idealism and naivety, spent money, trillions, that he did not have, to make a revolution in America, he lost the support of French peasants..

So doing nothing about CO2 is, first of all, an Anglo-Saxon “West Country Men” led phenomenon. It’s a mental world of ravenous exploitation united by hunting Mr. Assange, Mr. Manning and denying that the ice is melting, while having an open season on Iraqis, Afghans, and singing the praises of global, delirious finance.

Unfortunately the USA-Canada-Australia block has 370 million gas guzzling souls, and their collaborator is called China. All together this axis of fossils produces about two-thirds of the world CO2.

***

PLOTTING AGAINST THE MOTHER OF THE GODS:

For the Greeks, Gaia, Earth, was the mother of all gods (including Zeus-Deus). Great powers have always conspired to further their rule. As the power of human technology has exploded, those conspiracies have reached new heights (the arch example being Auschwitz). Now they involve conspiring against the entire biosphere.

Some will say I am going too far by supposing that letting the CO2 catastrophe run its course is part of a conspiracy. But the facts support this. For years great billionaires of the USA, such as the (fossil fuel) Koch brothers have paid professors in what are supposedly the world’s best universities to come up with obviously false science (like CO2 does not cause warming, and there is no warming, etc.)

Here is an anecdote showing that the plutocrats who leads the USA really view hell as a friend. For years USA taxpayers have given, through their government, hundreds of millions of dollars to the Pakistani theocrats to make nuclear bombs. Very strange but true (and reminiscent of the USA support for Hitler!). An excellent proof, though, that the Washington leaders (whoever they truly are) see great opportunities in future crises, such as a nuclear war in Asia. Let alone some terrorists getting their hands on a nuke (of which Pakistan has more than 100). So that they see great opportunity in the mess the CO2 catastrophe will entail, is a small logical step to make.

In this general mood, a melting Arctic crisis spells an even greater opportunity. And it’s coming, much faster than people expect. When there is no more Arctic sea ice in summer, it’s just a matter of a very short time before there will be no more in winter. Because the ocean will warm up irreversibly (while cold sweet light water on top will shut down the Gulf Stream beyond Iceland).

In the Jurassic not only were there polar dinosaurs in Alaska, but crocodiles in Greenland.  Some will scoff, and say it’s an opportunity: Washington will be among the places to drown. Actually fossil fuel and mining companies are scrambling to exploit the parts of the Arctic freed of ice. However the whole planet’s climate will lurch into the Jurassic. In a few decades.

Most of the Earth’s greenhouse is from water vapor (about two third). As the oceans get warmer, steam content is going up. Some scientists say it’s already 5% up. Steam increasing fast is one of the NON linear effects that is going to make planetary heating exponentiate.

The planet, as it is, function as a giant Carnot engine. The moving parts of the engine are the sea currents and the wind. The expansion and contraction come from heating and cooling sea and air. All this will come to a halt as the cold sinks the poles, disappear. Thus a lot of sustainable energy will disappear.

Excepting man, any exponential phenomenon is an immoral phenomenon.

***

Patrice Ayme

***

Note: Why is the rising greenhouse gas curve exponentiating? Because the CO2 equivalent gases brings up the temperature, which then brings up the water vapor, at a rate proportional to the temp rise! (Thanks to Paul Handover for chastising me for a careless version of this statement)

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74 Responses to “Record Arctic Melt Down”

  1. EugenR Says:

    Dear Patrice,
    Sorry to disappoint you. As i am following the process of political decision making in US, i don’t see any chance for carbon tax, before Wall Street is flooded. New Orleans is to small piece of cake, to change anything. To much is on stake. Not only the industries dependent on the cheap fuel, but all the “American way of life”. Just think about all these cities, without proper urban center, not to speak about public traffic, where to buy a packet of milk you have to drive in your private car to the next, at summer over cooled at winter over heated, mall.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Eugen: My good frienemy Obama is thinking carbon tax. So much reading my site and never doing anything about it, that’s got to be hard. I was right about housing, BTW, and now he is paying the price…

      But of course Obama has to be re-elected, and control congress. First. Two difficult feats, as you say. Especially as Europe is going to tank big time, making vast waves like a big iceberg overturning. Guess the ECB will be able to move only once Germany joins France in one more recession in this unfolding Greater Depression (caused by the lack of carbon tax, hahahha).

      Fact is, even the USA citizens are encroached by some understanding. The SF Bay Area has a carbon tax, and the passed laws in California are NOW about as aggressive towards implementing a sustainable economy as they are in the EU. Califonia still calls the tune, in spite of returning to Mexico (well the Mexicans were very respectful of the ecology…) california has several referenda to tax the rich coming up in November, and battle for the Very high Speed train has been joined against the Silly Cone Valley plutocrats (electric train hurts their ears and minds, just thinking about it).

      A carbon tax is a win win, for the reasons I said. Maybe when USA citizens have had enough to be unemployed… As Paul Handover said, it could turn on a dime.
      PA

      • EugenR Says:

        Dear Patrice,
        Finally i found time to read you replies to comments, and as response i have to remain to you a debt you own me.

        Since you see revolution as an only solution, I send to you the following article (still draft) i wrote about revolutions and about their tendency to end as dictatorships.

        ….At first as the dictatorships start to rule, it can be very effective and successful. The dictators are good to annihilate the opponents and opposition, and if some obviously right decisions with obvious advantage it would have for the islanders if taken, and in spite of it, it couldn’t be decided because of competing interests of different sectors of the societies that could not make compromise, the dictator can act out of resoluteness, without too much hesitation. For example they can remove easily people from their key position, if they oppose needed change out of representing rather some particular interest of some people, whose interest opposes the interest of most of the islanders, or by not being able to agree to the solution out of extreme difference of opinions and stubbornness, the dictator can solve the problem by annihilating the fractioned parties. By doing so, at first it seems, as if the dictators restored “ORDER”. But then, since the political power of dictatorship is based on network of supportive people, whose loyalty is bought on each level of the political and administrative system, by corrupting them with letting them abuse their power, the island government will necessarily run into deadlock and lose its efficiency. The result is that political corruption, even if legally a crime, unofficially is excepted, since it is the building block of the dictatorships political system. As contrary to it, in the democracies, where corruption of political elites is also common, it is illegal not only according to the law, but quite often, with the seasonal change of elected government even persecuted.
        The dictators have several common characteristics. In the modern times, they usually come to power at turbulent times, when chaotic economic-political situation prevails, that radiates into the hearts of too many individuals feeling of loss of common way and loss of common goal that could stand as pillar of fire to unite the society. It can be caused by lost war, or deep economic un-functionality, or demographic unbalances caused by massive immigration or emigration, or non-proportional internal growth of certain segment in the society, that starts to threaten the very existence of the ruling elites. When a dictator is nominated, or when he grabs the political power, he does it for whole life, and the only way to remove him from his position is by his death or revolution. The dictator puts himself above the laws he creates, and by doing so, he commits crimes against the people whom he is supposed to serve as their leader. Then the dictator divides the nation into two sectors,; first sector of ordinary citizens, who will be strictly controlled,; and second sector of relatively small group of recruited army of agents, whom he puts above the law and whose only prerogative is to control the others.
        The army of agents are carefully chosen for their job among the most desperate levels of society, who have the feeling of been mostly neglected by the previous regime and elites, and having no strong connection to others, not even to their family. The chosen islander are sometimes even raised intentionally in orphanages created especially for this purpose. These are the Janissaries of the modern world. To this agents is given the position of immunity in front of the law of the island, unless they act against the dictatorship itself.
        Their immunity, together with their continuous criminal acts against the ordinary population makes them a separated community, and the rest of the population feels fear and enmity towards them. As they are trained to be alert to follow the acts and even the feelings of the ordinary islanders, they feel the fear and animosity of the ordinary towards them.. This position of being the chosen one, will give them the feeling of importance, uniqueness, and belonging to sub society, dependent and loyal to the dictators. They know very well, that those, who oppose the dictator and want to fight him, is their personal enemy, who may threaten the very existence of their sub society, and even their personal life. These islanders chosen by the dictatorship, are well aware of the daily realities of the ordinary islanders, their duty is to inspect and follow on the daily basis, and not always agree with the deeds and ways of the dictatorship. But the personal benefits they receive from the dictatorship, the position of immunity from the law subordinating the ordinary islanders and feeling of belonging to the sub society of the chosen ones, who are above the ordinary people, causes them being loyal to the dictatorship and the dictator himself. This corruption of the leading political elites doesn’t stop with the abuse of power against real or imaginary political opponents of the regime, but it penetrates also into every niche of life and mainly the economy. This corruption of economic system is the reason why the dictatorship necessarily has to run into economic difficulties.
        These chosen islanders, agents of the dictatorship, operate in agencies, with different names, that are never real words, but some kind of very dehumanized symbols like KGB, SAVAK, SAVAMA, Stazi, Gestapo, et.c., that maybe mean something in real language, but soon enough they will become frightening icons of evil, oppression and injustice. This technique of deforming the meaning of the words, is part of the system created by the dictators, to create confusion, fear and submission in the heart of ordinary citizens, who are indoctrinated to feel piety and love towards the dictator himself, so even if something in the politics and economy doesn’t work, as it was supposed too, according to the plans and promises made by the dictatorship, the ordinary people could not distinguish between the real meaning of the words and the meaning implanted in them intentionally.
        Some dictators, even if controlling almost completely the deeds of the islanders, are not satisfied by it, and try to control their thought too. They do it by manipulating with their instinct of self-preservation, that they attack continuously with every mean they have in their possession. These rulers impose their authority and respect, by arising fear in their closest associates, who transmit this fear to their subordinates down to the last citizen. Many of the islanders will feel fear and respect to the dictator, that suppresses their own self, and they identify themselves with their ”leader”. They will nurture the same mustache as their leader has, wear the similar clothing, use the same wording in conversations, they will even adopt the new meaning of the words. They will say, “friendship and personal contacts are subversion”, or“ expression of individuality is nihilism”. Their support for autocratic government will be called revolutionary act, hatred of the mainlanders patriotism. As the time flows and the dictator continues to rule as an indestructible mountain, when the laws of nature after all subdue at the end the dictator, who dies, many islanders will feel as if they died themselves with him, and feel as part of their self died in them too. So don’t be surprised to see people crying with the death of the “Supreme Leader”. It is not necessarily out of fear and hypocrisy. Only very few can resist such a dictatorship, and they have to be on hide, because if discovered, they are immediately annihilated.

        Your response;
        Patrice Ayme Says:
        July 5, 2012 at 5:47 am | Reply

        Dear Eugen: OK, I am going to need some time to read your work. Turns out I am going on a trip tomorrow early, and I am zero ready. The quip of Churchill about democracy being the worst, but for the others is denied by Switzerland. I hate Swiss pseudo neutrality, but the more direct democracy inside works better than what exists in France, UK, USA. If one says representative democracy Germans 2,000 years ago would have called dictatorship. The worst is that the present system prevents necessary debates. That’s particularly and increasingly true in the USA with Obamoney against Robama (ooppss). There are ways to re-establish democracy, once one has enough anger against the present system.

        For example one could organize giant Internet debates, with a progressive sorting out of innovative props, in a process mimicking biological evolution, and then graft that to the present system.

  2. Paul Handover Says:

    Yet another significant essay. And yet, surprisingly, the general strong theme of the essay is marred, well it is for me, by some glitches.

    Like this one. You write, “… the exponentially rising CO2 curve …” While global CO2 levels are rising, they are not rising exponentially. Exponential is a series 2:4:8:16:32:64…. and that is not the shape of the global CO2 emissions over time.

    Let’s take US CO2 emissions. As I wrote on the 17th August, see http://learningfromdogs.com/2012/08/17/us-cutting-co2-emissions/ the US trend is in the right direction. OK, so it is from terrible levels but we are seeing a reduction. It may be insignificant at the moment but it is still a reduction that has to be welcomed. It is largely caused by the huge rise in low-priced natural gas. Granted that ‘fracking’ does not come without issues but any move away from the use of oil is a plus. Indeed, I’m trying to ground a story that I heard recently that there is a move to convert the bulk of US trucks from diesel to LPG.

    The track record of the USA in terms of its energy policies is not good, to say the least. But when the USA decides to change, for better or for worse!, the speed of change that results is breath-taking. Look at the NEON project, for example, something I am writing about on Thursday.

    Finally, can you explain the justification of your closing sentence, “Excepting man, any exponential phenomenon is an immoral phenomenon.”? That one misses me completely.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Paul: OK, you have got an excellent point. The “exponentiating CO2 curve” has to be rephrased seriously (clearly written a bit too carelessly). What’s exponentiating is the “CO2 equivalent greenhouse gas curve” (it includes water vapor, as is made clear later in the essay). I am going to modify that.

      The (Obama war on coal + utilities afraid of being sued later for killing people with coal + fracking for CH4 + Greater Depression + USA industries in China) has indeed lowered the USA’s CO2 emissions of CO2 (although it’s less clear when USA production in China is incorporated.

      Running cars and trucks on Liquid Natural Gas was done in France in World War Two (there was no oil). The billionaire Boon Pickens has made himself a champion of the idea in the USA. However there have been lethal accidents with LNG cars in France in recent years (although now they are safer, thanks to valves). It would happen if and only if the price of gas will keep on climbing (like doubling from here).

      All I know about neon, is that’s a bunch of French engineers who invented and developed it (I met one of them, and he was not happy about what the licencing agreements evolved into in the USA).

      The last quote is an allusion to the contents of “IMMORAL CO2 curve”. It’s the MOST important point about morality.
      PA

      • Paul Handover Says:

        Patrice, your response is a gracious one! You and your readers may be interested in the latest report from the UK Met Office blog, see http://metofficenews.wordpress.com/2012/08/29/record-low-for-arctic-sea-ice-extent/ from which I note:

        Satellite records began in 1979 and have shown a long-term decline in sea ice extent. However, the rate of decline has accelerated in the past 15 years and the last five years make up the lowest five extents in the 32-year record.

        Climate models which simulate future Arctic sea ice extent show wide variations, but Met Office results suggest the area could be nearly ice-free in summer as early as 2030.

        However, models do not suggest the current accelerated rate of decline would continue or that there was any ‘tipping point’ from which ice extent could not recover.

        What are the impacts for the UK?

        Long-term changes in Arctic sea ice are likely to have impacts locally in the Arctic as well as driving changes in European and global climate.

        As the sea ice decreases, the immediate impact is for a the lower atmosphere in the Arctic to be warmed by the Arctic Ocean – which is relatively warm compared to the ice cover.

        However, there is also evidence that depleted sea ice alters atmospheric circulation patterns outside the Arctic throughout the following months and into winter.

        This appears to result in high pressure over the Arctic and low pressure further to the south over the mid-latitudes – which in turn tends to drive more easterly winds across Europe, particularly in winter.

        While other factors are also involved in determining winter climate, this raises the risk of cold winter conditions over northern Europe.

        However, the relative importance of sea ice conditions and other factors in producing cold winters is being investigated by Met Office scientists and others.

        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          Dear Paul: Models are made by modellers. The only interesting model is not what the average 9 to 5 salary man modeller models. The most interesting model is the worst possible case. I am a mathematician, top notch, and I can make models in my head quicker than a 9 to 5 salary man can get to his computer. ice loss keeps on accelerating, decade to decade, year to year (once averaged out), and day to day. Ice extent is still plunging, August 28, 2012. The worst impact is going to be sea level rise.

          We will have a Jurassic climate within decades. And Washington can’t drown soon enough, some will pointedly notice. Obama did nothing, much, and now Rommney, who promises plenty of coal in every chimney, may well win the election.
          PA

    • Martin Lack Says:

      With all due respect, Paul, you are quite simply wrong about this: The rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration since the Industrial Revolution has been exponential. In fact it is super-exponential.

      What you describe (above) is a geometric progression: 2-4-8-16.

      Exponential growth is any percentage increase in a fixed unit of time. Therefore even 1% growth per annum is still exponential growth.

      Super-exponential growth occurs when the same percentage increase happens in decreasing increments of time (i.e. annual percentage growth increases over time).

      • Paul Handover Says:

        Martin, I would be the first to admit that I am not a mathematician. Thus I carefully looked up the meaning of exponential before writing my comment above. I used both this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exponential_function and this one http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exponential_growth

        In both cases the graph shown does not reflect the growth in global CO2 emissions, hence my conclusion.

        I would be delighted if you could point me to a place which supports the definition of exponential that you challenge me on.

      • Martin Lack Says:

        Hi Paul. Sorry if I was a bit blunt. Thanks for the links to Wikipedia. In the first paragraph of the latter, it says that exponential growth…“occurs when the growth rate of the value of a mathematical function is proportional to the function’s current value”. In other words consistent percentage growth. For example, 1% p.a = exponential growth with a doubling time of 70 years.

        As I have illustrated on my blog, David MacKay demonstrates in his book Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air, that growth in CO2 emissions since the Industrial Revolution has actually been super-exponential.

        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          Dear Martin: Agreed 100%. However, it’s even more true when one considers the greenhouse gases, overall, as I pointed out. So Paul’s objection was useful…
          A famous mathematician (Rudin) said that the exponential was the most important function in mathematics. At least, that’s the one chimps cannot get.
          PA

      • Patrice Ayme Says:

        Agreed. But I found an even bigger fish, the exponential growth of greenhouse gases, so I hauled up that one.
        PA

  3. Martin Lack Says:

    I am glad to see that you, Patrice, are putting the record straight regarding the USA’s culpability in our unfolding environmental catastrophe. The USA may claim to lead the world in reducing its CO2 emissions but, economic recession or not, that is very easy to do when you are so ludicrously far ahead of everyone else in absolute – or per capita – terms.

    In the meantime, the main reasons that Antarctica is not warming as fast as the Arctic is because (1) it is surrounded by the Great Southern Ocean and (2) it is overlain by a man-made hole in the ozone layer – both of which keep it colder than it ought to be by now (because of our stupidity).

    Globally, the problem is that the fossil fuel industry is not paying the price for the damage done by the pollution our use of its product causes. Everyone else has to pay to dispose of their waste; and yet the fossil fuel industry, because it has made itself synonymous with progress and development, is paid huge sums of money by governments to generate its waste; and encouraged to go and find ever-more inefficient sources of fuel from which to generate it — rather than invest in alternative forms of energy.

    It is utterly insane and, sadly, I think it will take a revolution (or a shut-down of ocean circulation patterns) to bring about the paradigm-shift now required in energy policy.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      dear Martin: Thank you for your support, and in joining me to condemn the USA federal policy. USA federal opposition has put Europe at a disadvantage, short term. Actually the Italian deficit short fall is exactly equal to the over payment in buying oil overseas. This is caused by the USA’ s determination to keep the price of oil high, by refusing a carbon tax (looks counter-intuitive, but there is a logic there).

      Antarctica is warming up big time. Antarctica sea ice has been expanding, though, because it’s dispersed by the higher winds. Snowfall in East Antarctica has been augmenting, because, the temperatures are higher (warmer air has more water transport capacity).
      What we need is what you are doing, namely figthing point by point against the lies of the fossil fuel propagandists. it’s a preliminary to a revolution, if nothing else.
      PA

  4. Old Geezer Says:

    I think that it is too late to stop the accelerated warming of the planet. Even if we were to STOP all CO2 emissions tomorrow, it would take centuries for the temp rise to stabilize.

    We will need to resort to climate engineering if we are to arrest the melting of the ice.

    For instance, there are schemes on the drawing boards to use sailing ships to spray ocean water into the air, making clouds which reflect incoming solar radiation. The ocean’s rising acidity can be stanched by adding alkaline material. There are on-going experiments in Antartica adding iron filings to the ocean to aid the growth of phytoplankton.

    My question about all this is — who will be in charge?

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Old Geezer: In depth thinking shows that proposed planetary engineering to cool the planet would probably make the situation worse. So the only “solution” for now is mitigation. That means bringing up the price of fossil energy (= carbon TAX).

      It’s clear the Arctic is a goner: sea ice is still plunging, polyannas are opening not far from the pole.

      Once ice is gone in summer (a matter of a few summers), it will quickly follow in winter, and the Greenland icecap will shrink on itself, like a big white mountain, while melting tremendously in July August. The unknown is whether the considerable warming of the Arctic ocean will be accompanied by tremendous methane outgasing.

      Bioengineering may allow us to develop bacteria capable of swallowing the CO2 (“blue-green algae”). while making fuel.

      Otherwise we will have to use thorium or thermonuclear fusion reactors to extract the CO2 from the atmosphere, using brute force. With tremendous energy, the CO2 can be frozen out, and then injected deep in the ground in the right places (a French program inject at 4.500 meters down…) That’s probably the only feasible solution. Weirdly, nobody has proposed to just froze the damn thing out.

      Actually, it’s not so weird. Because it calls to realize that it would be even cheaper, with available tech, to simply outlaw fossil fuels. hence the present situation:
      1) CO2 runs amok. Planet goes Jurassic in short order. Pandemonium, nuclear wars.
      2) Tech advances and immensely powerful nuke reactors of some sort allow to prevent planet from going Venusian, by freezing enough CO2 out.

      Meanwhile, as Larry Summers reportedly said at the White House:”Nobody is in charge, we are home alone.”

  5. J McG Says:

    Patrice,

    Good article. Unfortunately, it will become worse if Romney becomes the next President. Romney is already priming his followers for a new state of denial. With Obama, the rhetoric is different but the substance is largely the same.

    In an economy in which growth is predicated upon waste and consumption there can be no realpolitik about the true costs of burning too many fossil fuels in order to further increase the billions of a few. Politicians know only too well that Americans can be pacified with lower fuel prices to compensate their habits of wasting so much energy in buildings and motor vehicles and from inadequate and undersubsidized public transportation systems.

    Lower oil prices, except in the case of a severe recession, have become a forlorn hope made more unlikely due to excess speculation in the oil markets which accounts for as much as 40% of the price. The result is simmering discontent among the working class.

    The question is, will unscrupulous politicians and industrialists exploit this discontent in a way that plunges America further into the abyss or will more sensible policies prevail. The bill has not yet been paid for the Bush years while the weaknesses of the Obama administration continue to frustrate real progress in developing an economy that accounts for waste in its calculus of what economic growth actually consists of.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Yes Jeff, I’m afraid you are very right on all counts;” the substance is largely the same”.

      Except Romney is such a liar, should he become president, it’s imaginable that he would push sustainable energy. It’s pretty easy to guess he would, as sustainable energy is a job producer. More generally coal usage seems to be decreasing in the USA for reasons that have nothing to to with human leadership, butthe fear of utilities to be sued in the future, and the very low price of natural gas, thanks to fracking. Republicans feign to believe it’s all Obama’s fault. Wish it would be…

      I used to be against fracking, still am, but it’s possible I am wrong. In any case, it’s having a positive effect in the USA at this point. The Economist’s lead editorial is asking Obama to explain what he intends to do, it re-elected. I’m afraid that he will not be able to answer this question.

      A deeper question is whether a third term for G.W. Bush would have been different, but for the color of the skin.

      It’s clear that Bush would not have been permitted to quadruple the number of dead USA soldiers in Afghanistan. The lack of protests in the USA since Obama was elected as Brown Bush, it turned out, has been astounding.
      I was viewed as a “troll” on supposedly left sites, for criticizing Obama, early on, although I had supported him enormously (giving basically a year in time and income). I was banned from all such sites. Some are, it turns out organized by the CIA, others, by bankers…In retrospect, I would not have done it. Supporting Obama.

      At least, not to that extent. It has been a personal disaster.
      PA

  6. Martin Lack Says:

    If Romney wins, it is Game Over for planet Earth.
    http://bethechange2012.wordpress.com/2012/08/30/mitt-romney-blah-blah-blah/

    Fracking is insane. End of story.
    http://grist.org/natural-gas/collective-hypnosis-or-hysteria-on-natural-gas/
    http://climatecrocks.com/2012/08/30/the-illusion-of-fracking/

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Martin: Well, Romney has a slogan:”Jobs“. What’s Obama’s slogan:”Change that won’t happen”? Obama’s campaign has been completely empty. Here is a sample:”Michelle says: tell Barack you are in!” It’s sheer hypocrisy. In truth, they make a highly insular clique. Slogans are important, as you demonstrate, ;-)!

      Fracking maybe insane, but, in the worst imaginable case, namely peak oil has already happened (which I believe), we are simply running out of energy. It’s not covering the landscape with windmills for Don Quixote to charge, that will change a thing. There is only that much time to develop clean nuclear (thorium).

      Sun energy will also change things, but it will work only south with existing tech. Plans to develop it in southern Europe and Africa means military control (in any case, unavoidable).
      Infra Red PV has reached .1% efficiency, in the best lab (Victory!Before it was zero). 40% of sun energy is IR. Progress needs to be made on superconductive carbon nanotubes for IR PV.
      PA

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Martin: I looked at anti-Romney, pro-Obama site you linked to.

      I disagree on one thing: it’s Obama who blocked reformS in the first two years, when he had total control. He could have fix medicare in 90 seconds, have it into law the next day. And so on. In truth he went over to the Dark Side. My family knows Obama for much longer than his wife. It was astounding to see some people who are right wing republicans turned Obama fanatics overnight accusing me of being a ultra right wing racist, just because I noticed Obama did nothing very positive, and lots of negatives, when he could do everything.

      So guys like this one, in your link, are probably planted by the banksters to plant, in turn, Obama as a big democratic alternative to Romney. Robama, or Obaromney, huge difference, they say. I say all we need is revolution… And Obamarom will not bring it. Even less so, if all what pseudo-leftists can do is to sing the praises of the partisans of high finance.

      True, Obama inherited a mess, thus a wonderful occasion. But it’s a waste of time to talk right in a world of fools. Let it be, as it’s all there is.

      • Martin Lack Says:

        I too am very angry about Obama’s acquiesence in the face of big money (i.e. not removing anyone from office for causing the financial meltdown and/or being asleep on the job)…

        However, “So guys like this one”…? – You are losing me! Who is this one?

        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          Guys like the guy in your link, who are obvious plants by financiers, and banksters, covering their tracks, because they propagate the legend Obama did nothing because of republican opposition. In truth Obama had total control, and let the plutocrat Nancy Pelosi, from a political dynasty, owner of a major ski resort, among other things, play revolutionary on TV, with plastic surgery exorbited eyes!
          Obama did nothing becuse once he is out there, he wants his place in the plutocracy, like the Clintons.
          PA

          • Martin Lack Says:

            The guy to whom you refer is called “Jennifer” and, with all due respect, I think you need to review her biography before risking making an ass of yourself by appearing to spout merde like this.

            • Patrice Ayme Says:

              Dear Martin: Insults don’t always serve a purpose. “Merde” means “shit”, in French, for readers who would not know. “Ass” is not a favorable epithet, either. I don’t care about her biography, just the fact she tries to propagate obvious lies, here she is, from your link:

              “Obama inherited this total mess. All things considered, he’s done a heroic job at trying to make progress while blocked at every turn by hysterical, idiotic, crazy Tea Party Republicans.
              It’s true that he hasn’t been able to do more than keep his finger in the dyke.
              That he was able to pass a very positive and beneficial health care reform act is miraculous.

              Given the constraints he has been forced to live with, how could we expect him to be our hero on the climate change front? To lead the charge to renewable energy? Isn’t it enough that he has pushed through significant new fuel economy standards for U.S. vehicles?”OK, first of all the Tea Party was created well after Obama was in the White House, with total control of Congress and a super majority in the senate (more than 59 votes). During these two years, Obama was in total control, and he did nothing except a health care plan that cut 740 billion FROM Medicare. Also he tripled the USA army in Afghanistan, and sextupled NATO deaths there.

              At that point the republicans could ABSOLUTELY NOTHING against Obama. So he waited until he could claim they blocked him. As I said, the leader of the pseudo left in the USA owns a ski resort. Obama put her in charge of making sure there would be no progress.

              Other point; the health care reform is NOT in place. Obama made it so that it could be blocked. Same for the car standards, which are coming on line in the 2020s. What would have been effective was a gas tax. Right away. But Obama did nothing. Or at least nothing, right away, except for assassinations worldwide, and sending troops to AfPak.

              Anywa, I have to leave for a trip with people who would be outraged to hear that I am ass who writes shit, as you did. So I will be momentarily unable to pursue this fascinating exercise into what makes people crazy. And Jennifer is a plant, because I know, from inside, that that story was deliberately planted. You find it all over the Internet.

              The last thing the financiers behind Obama want, is for the little guys from the pseudo left to realize that Obama was not a genuine alternative. And that they, the financiers, can buy anybody they choose. Even if Romney is more their man.

              I despise Reagan, but he and Bush Sr prosecuted more than 10,000 banksters. Obama: none. With a fraud a thousand times bigger. And yes I intent to vote Obama, but with eyes wide open.
              PA

      • Martin Lack Says:

        Thanks for the detailed rebuttal and justification of your position. I was in fact, very careful, not to insult you or your writing – merely to imply that you were in danger of appearing to be just guessing the motives of someone whose gender you could not even get right…

        I trust I am forgiven; and genuinely hope you have a good trip… If I was in the USA, I would vote for Obama as well (and my eyes are very much open too)…

        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          Another point Martin: I know Obama personally, and consider him a very very very old family friend, who he is. I also contributed enormously to his 2007-2008 run. Not just in time and huge money (the .1%!), but in the writing of several books (by telling the writers what to say, and proof reading an entire book). The Obama presidency was perceived by me as a deep personal tragedy (all the more as several family right wingers, turned Obama fanatics overnight, crowing about their White House stays, suddenly told me I invented the Tea Party, or something…Some have refused to meet my baby daughter on the ground of my overnight Clint Eastwood status!)
          So I have little patience for opportunists, nowadays… The irony is that if Obama had done what i said he should have done, his re-election would be automatic. As it is, he has a good chance to lose.

          Putting CAFE standards for cars in the 2020s is a joke. California had done something like that in the past, and then rescinded the “law”. A law for the future is not a law. Especially in more than a decade.

          Ideas drive people crazy, more than anything else. Thanks for the good wishes, and now on the road to generate CO2…
          PA

        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          Another point: I don’t care about gender or sexual orientation. My own gender is unknown to the Internet, as I never confirm nor deny it. I do publicize my baby daughter’s gender, but that is because baby daughters are often, extremely erroneously and grieviously, despised in much of the world. For me, she is the world.
          The world has got to learn to appreciate baby girls, as much as the other gender, or all the genders in between…
          PA

      • Martin Lack Says:

        Dear Patrice: You said you were off on a journey somewhere, which may mean you do not read this for some time. If so, please take the time to re-read all my comments in this thread. I think you will see that we agree about 99% of this stuff. The only thing I got annoyed about was your willingness to indulge in axiomatic criticism and labelling of someone whose gender you could not even be bothered to get right. I’m all in favour of sexual equality but labelling a women as “some guy” is just indicative of laziness.

        Even if you are right about the fables being propagated to explain Obama’s inaction; he is still the best hope the World has got for preventing the continent of North America becoming an anti-scientific and anti-intellectual backwater – and thereby accelerating the Earth towards the sixth mass extinction of species.

        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          Martin: I look at the ideas. The ideas have to be right. Biographies and gender are irrelevant. You sent a link, and it’s full of exactly what has been the problem with Obama: claiming he had to be a republican to solve problems. Obama was elected to implement change, and he had total command of Congress and Senate (60 votes) to do so. He did nothing. He had no reason to do nothing. So he invented one. He had to go crying on his knees, until the republicans would understand his soul, and he meant well, and this town would change once they all cry together, and agree.

          That ridiculous diversion was an insult to the USA, democracy, and the entire planet. Now that I did not get the gender of some cackling chicken out there repeating the same brainless stuff is excellent. I have seen enough of these obnoxious immoral sycophants. So, frankly, not obsessing about the gender of somebody intellectually dishonest is not a symptom of laziness. It’s astounding you would say such a thing. You really think that if I converge at high speed onto a rattlesnake on a trail, I want to worry about its gender, to prove to the Internet readership I am not lazy?

          And not just that: only the sexist obsess about gender. For someone such as me, it’s a moral principle to NOT enquire about gender. There are some people I have read many times on the Internet (say Ives Smith), and I don’t know their gender. Why should I? I am not sexist, and I am not trolling the Internet looking for a sex partner, being neither gay, lesbian or heterosomething as far as debating ideas is concerned. And when I eat lobster, of the gender, I don’t enquire. Ah, also people lie. Did you hear of the ones of the gendarmes impersonating pedophiles?

          You can search throughout the Internet, my gender is not published (although some people I never heard of, or unidentified, wrote to describe the real me in details!). Why is my gender not on the Internet? Because not only is it irrelevant, but it’s immoral to ask what it is. Men and women are equally mentally endowed. Let’s worry about mind, not gender. PA

      • Martin Lack Says:

        Patrice: I do not care what your gender is; I am not demanding that you reveal it; and I do not see how it is relevant to your presuming to know why Jennifer wrote what she did… However, all three of us appear to agree that Obama has been very disappointing and has sold-out to the ‘Dark Side’ (as you call it). We also all seem to agree that he is better than what is on offer from the Republican Party. Therefore, I do not see the point of continuing this particular “discussion”.

        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          Martin: Agreed.

          The Dark Side was strong with Obama because people did not protest, they even refused to think. I wrote a very negative essay about Obama, just the day after his election, when he flaunted his close association with the Dark financial Side. That did not prevent him to stay all smiles and hugs even months later. The real betrayal was from the lack of vigilance of the left, and the fact the democratic party is pretty much corrupt. Obama was terrorized to be labelled a fanatic far left hyper progressive, intellectuallo mystifying and thus intrinsically treacherous, in my style, so he favored a more subtle approach. An all too subtle approach.

          Something related to this is happening in France. Although there major reforms were passed at light speed, now there is stasis, within the crisis, and the popularity of Hollande, recently higher than Obama, ever, has plunged well below Obama ever. Demonstrations are planned. That’s good: at least a debate will happen. As Sarkozy explained one day, Obama is much more progressive than his country. Ryan can brandish a gun, and 73% of USA citizens love that (whatever they say, he is one of us). The fact Obama and Biden don’t brandish guns is to their credit, but they then smack of anti-Americanism… whatever that is.
          PA

  7. Gillian King Says:

    Hello Patrice, you last statement has triggered some thoughts….

    Surely exponential phenomena are amoral, not immoral? Exponential is a mathematical characteristic, and neither moral nor immoral.

    Only humans can be immoral. So, for me the true statement would be something like:

    “The only immoral exponential phenomenon is the human one.”

    Then I wonder what are the exponential phenomenon pertaining to humans? Population increase? Innovation and creativity? Polluting activities?

    Which of these could be called immoral?

    …………………

    Maths is not my strong suit, and I may have mistaken your intention. So I can only explain how the statement struck a non-expert reader.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Hello Gillian, and welcome to this site! The more people are debating, the better, and the point of debate is to make deeper points, as the one you are making; immoral, versus amoral. So I thnk you for it, because it gives me an occasion to deepen my thoughts, and go from implicit, to explicit. I made a whole essay on the “Immoral CO2 Curve“…

      Well, let’s suppose somebody tortures to death some innocent, and makes a picture out of it. The picture, per se is not immoral. However the act that the picture depicts is. If one watches SS henchmen killing innocent civilians, one says: this is immoral, one does not say that it is amoral. why? because SS henchmen operated according to their own (perverse) moral system. Those who push for ever more CO2 production also operate according to a perverse moral system. The ever greater CO2 production is a symbol of that perversity. Watching the Nazi flag, one does say: this is “amoral”. One considers it, instead, as the symbol of immorality.

      Morality comes from “mores”, which means what has long happened, hence was is sustainable. By definition an exponential phenomenon is not sustainable, hence immoral. That was the gist of the “CO2 Curve Immoral” essay.

      This, by the way opens a much greater perspective on the nature of man. Obviously man’s mental capabilities and physical powers constitute, at least, an exponential phenomenon. So, is man intrinsically immoral? Well, of course, man is intrinsically immoral, at the greatest evolutionary scale, and that is why it’s a mix of Love and the Dark Side, always. But the Dark Side is only a corrective mechanism to Love. One cannot live off correction alone. Submitted to too high an acceleration (the imposition of force) any mechanism or logic breaks.

      Unbound plutocracy is unbound Dark Side, and this is unsustainable right away, the problem at hand.

      The exponential is the most important function in mathematics, because it forces the transition from addition to multiplication. It’s the function whose rate of growth is proportional to itself, so it’s in nature everywhere. Nobody ought to claim leadership of many men who does not master the notion. (Said perfidically while thinking of many of the ignorant leaders… BTW, not the case of Angela Merkel, obviously.)
      PA

    • Martin Lack Says:

      Hi Gillian. I have only just noticed that you too have tried to get Patrice to explain his use of the term immoral in relation to an impersonal abstract mathematical function. As he says, he has written a great deal on the subject before, but I remain totally bemused by it.

      Exponential growth is a common feature in Nature but, as William Ophuls and many others have observed, if nature fails to heed the warnings of approaching limits, overshoot and collapse are always the result:
      http://www.greatchange.org/ophuls,ecological_scarcity.html

      Therefore, now that we humans know this, to do nothing to avoid the consequences may well be immoral; but a mathematical function itself cannot be immoral.

      • Patrice Ayme Says:

        Martin: Heard about the moral code? Can a code be moral then? And the CO2 curve is not just any exponential. It describes a human act.
        If I showed a graph of the number of Jews assassinated by the Nazis, I could point at it, and call it immoral. This is actually the essence of advanced mathematics, identifying two objects that are not the same.
        For example 2 is the set of all objects that can be put in a bijection with the set: {0, {0}}, where 0 designates the empty set. So two bananas, although not “2” is still part of 2.
        PA

      • Martin Lack Says:

        You are worse than my ex-Wife, Patrice. Indeed, were it not of the fact that seem to know an awful lot more about a lot more things, seem to be almost as selectively blind to the fallibility of the Jews as you are to your own; and claim to be a close relative of a very prominent politician… you could very well be my ex-Wife (just trying to give me a hard time)! ;-)

        Seriously though, why can you not just admit you are wrong about this? I think my previous response (citing Ophuls) was, at very least, good grounds for acknowledging that we are, yet again it seems, arguing about semantics.

        However, for the record, a “moral code” tends to be a series of commands or prohibitions. The words themselves are amoral (not immoral) but the acts they prohibit would thereby be deemed immoral (if ignored by someone who knew them); or amoral (if acting in ignorance of them). Of course, the latter requires them be below the age or criminal responsibility (whatever on Earth that is).

        Are you being paid by someone to bring Hitler and the Nazis into your responses on just about any subject? I am sorry to be so blunt but the longer you take to answer this question, the more I feel you are not being truly objective.

        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          Martin: I don’t see what “the faillability of the Jews” has to do with this present debate. Nobody mentioned “the Jews” before you in this present debate. I am myself extremely tough, but “fair” about “the Jews” (whatever “the Jews” is). Some of my Israeli friends have accused me to find that “Israel was always right”. But that’s not the case.

          The reason for talking about Hitler and the Nazis is that Germany was the most literate country in 1900. What caused German racial fascism next was a combination of the fascist instinct, tribalism and plutocracy. That mix stalks all of humankind, and actually the biosphere. Precisely because nobody talks about it.

          Nazism or more generally political fascism in the Twentieth Century is an uncontrovertible example. More than 200 million people goose stepped behind it, and about 80 million got killed (the equivalent proportionally of about 300 millions now). And the numbers jump when if one includes Stalinism and aspects of Maoism and the like (as one should).

          Moreover the ultimate and correct conclusions have not been drawn, not at all. So we stand ready to repeat something similar, and we are, with the CO2 crisis.

          I gave an answer to your question, and it’s neither the willpower nor the lack of solutions that are more prominent in the CO2 crisis. It is a deliberate plot in the USA, Canada and Australia which has been most effective to block a solution (the solution the EU strongly pushed 20 years ago).

          Those three countries pollute in CO2 nearly three times the European average, per capita. Moreover, they collaborate tightly with China. I also explained that this deliberate strategy on their part is a product of the usual combination between fascism (in this case intellectual fascism, namely having people believe whatever propaganda) and plutocracy (fossil fuel lobby, plus MIC and banksters in the case of the USA).
          PA

          • Martin Lack Says:

            I mentioned the Jews because, yet again, you mentioned Hitler and the Nazis first. So, zen, you vill probably not appreciate zis but, I zink it is very funny.

            • Patrice Ayme Says:

              Hitler’s revolution (back to the jungle!) started by eliminating the Slavs. Auschwitz was open for the Poles, not the Jews. The Jews were an afterthought as a holocaust. Hitler’s “Mein Kampf”starts with anti-French hatred. The Jews appear later, under the question: “is this guy all dressed in black with weird hair and a funny hat really a German?”
              I will look the video later as I am at 7.100 feet, higher than anywhere in Britain, and my connection is terrible.
              PA

  8. Old Geezer Says:

    Regarding the newly passed CAFE laws mandating 54.5 miles per gallon for cars can only be met using hybrids. So unless the world can ramp up production from a few hundred thou a year to 20 million a year in a very short time, this standard will never be met.

    Just more empty promises, like change we can believe in.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear OGP: It’s always the same approach. The French have a proverb for it:”Demain on rase gratis!” (“Tomorrow, shaving is free”.) namely, indeed, empty promises. Obama ought to have imposed energy taxes, very small ones (and damn the recession-depression to hell!). with the plan of making them bigger. So now the debate would be about that.

      Hybrid cars is a vast subject. Hybridized technologies are in more and more cars, sometimes very discreetly. BMW does not advertize that some of its monster cars have some elements of hybridization, such a regenerative braking (a subject I know well; a monster sport BMW can have an excellent mileage, much much better than a standard Ford…). “Stop and Go” saves 10% fuel and requires to add little electric engines, etc…

      This being said, the naive who just go and buy a Prius are actually bad ecologists, as the Prius is not ecologically friendly to make. Not at all. If those would be heroes want to save the planet, they should go buy a used car… And let the state of the art BMWs leave them in the dust…

      The change we can believe in is the one that will happen long after Obama is not president anymore, Obama himself set it up that way, to the aplause of the pseudo left, with its empty slogans.

      Fact is Obambi could do anything in the first two years, and besides no brainer stuff like saving the car companies (GM, just as GE, was brought down by being a shadow bank, that’s why Ford needed no help, by the way I drive a Ford, besides the monster car), Bambi did nothing. Except tripling the troops in Afghanistan, just because he could, and the Military-Industrial Complex told him he should.

      I think both the Ferguson blast in Newsweek (“Hit the road Barack”) and the The Economist leading editorial, latest issue, had (many) excellent points. The insular clique around Obama has to answer them correctly.
      Obama in one of his remarkably self centered stupid adverts was speaking recently of “the end of this opportunity” for him to be president. If he keeps on making that sort of egomaniacal case, Romney and Ryan have just to sing “jobs jobs jobs” from every rooftop, and they will win. PA

  9. Old Geezer Says:

    Too late. Romney has already proclaimed it.

    TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Mitt Romney launched his fall campaign for the White House Thursday night with a rousing, remarkably personal speech to the Republican National convention and a prime-time TV audience, proclaiming that America needs “jobs, lots of jobs” and promising to create 12 million of them in perilous economic times.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      …Funny part is that jobs have to be created, as others are lost. 12 millions over 4 years is exactly what’s needed to… stay in place with 8,3% U2 unemployment…
      PA

    • Martin Lack Says:

      Dear Old Geezer: I am not a US citizen but, since what happens in the USA will unfortunately affect the entire planet, I take a keen interest. I saw the highlights of this speech on the British TV news. It was scary (even more so than was the sight of Clint Eastwood attempting to legitimise it).

      One of my more recent blogosphere acquaintances, Schalk Cloete (oneinabillion blog), has recently emailed me something on the subject of jobs which will eventually appear on my blog in its own right. However, for now, I would say this… The green economy may well be capable of creating jobs but, even though we surely must do it, de-carbonising our economies will put an awful lot of people out of jobs. Furthermore, even though the longer we wait to do it the more severe the reduction in CO2 emissions required, any sudden decision to stop exploring for fossil fuels will send stock markets crashing and unemployment soaring… Therefore, it is indeed one hell of a mess that we have gotten ourselves into!

  10. Old Geezer Says:

    Dear Martin:

    It is one hell of a mess, As I posted earlier, I believe it is too late to decarbonise. We must take control of the planet’s thermostat. Sadly, we lack the global global spine or political structure to do it, even thought the technical components are available.

    Transitioning to the solar economy we all know is inevitable and which will create lots of jobs is deadlocked in the comatose political system in DC.

    I wish I could be more hopeful.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Greenland and the WAIS should be goners, in any case… On the hopeful side, it’s going to be a most interesting tragedy.
      Although solar bio mass, etc, could be perhaps made to work, the ultimate solution, to avoid a run away greenhouse, will be to freeze the CO2. Thorium and giant fusion reactors, to freeze the CO2 out… I pretend there will be not other way. All other “solutions” I have seen, in my opinion, will not work, and some will backfire. From making clouds to a space umbrella, to weatherization of rock… it’s all silly.
      The problem with solar is that cloud coverage could augment, so perfect IR solar would have to be developed, and even that won’t be enough, for thermodynamics reasons.
      PA

  11. Old Geezer Says:

    The earth receives in ONE HOUR the same wattage as the earth consumes in electricity in ONE YEAR.

    OK, so half the earth is dark at any one moment, and 70% of it is water. Still, the numbers are in our favor by a huge margin.

    If we only had the nerve.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      dear Old Geezer: I agree with you 100% on the emotional level. A few points, however:

      1) 40% of the sun’s energy is in the Infra Red. Recently, using superconducting carbon nanotubes, .1% (one tenth of one percent) efficiency was achieved picking up that infrared. That would mean PV cells could work at might. This also means that governments have to support fundamental applied research. Nobody else will.

      2) The main greenhouse gas is water (vapor, also known as humidity, steam, mist, etc.). As heat augments, so does the steam. Thus in case of much more serious greenhouse, one can expect, in SOME regions, much more clouds… Thus the importance of IR PV.
      BTW, that is the reason I despise the “solution” of creating fake clouds. I have some experience being stuck outside in the mountains att night, and know very well that, if clouds come, it will not be as cold. A warm blanket may as well be coming. I also have experience with the desert, which gets very very cold at night, precisely because the IR flees into space.

      Sweden is around 5.4 ton CO2 per capita, about 25% of Australia. OK, maybe a cheat as it is roughly half hydro, half nuclear (not everybody has mountains!). By comparison, Australia generates 91% of its electricity from fossil fuel… And it’s not from lack of sun, except inside Australian leaders’ heads, maybe?
      PA

      • Paul Handover Says:

        Question I keep forgetting to ask. That is what the effect of a large volcanic eruption would be, say from Iceland? There was a BBC programme the other evening that reviewed how much more active the volcanoes in Iceland were becoming.

        If an eruption spread ash clouds across much of the Northern atmosphere, surely there would be significant cooling effects, perhaps over years?

        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          Dear Paul: You are right to bring volcanoes forward. Volcanoes are central to the Earth’s Biosphere.
          They regulate climate, by injecting CO2 in the atmosphere, as needed.The best example is “Snowball Earth” (itself caused by oxygen creating life). As Earth got covered by ice, CO2 from volcanoes, usually absorbed by rock weathering, built up in the atmosphere, until the resulting greenhouse melted the ice. 650 million years ago.

          Volcanoes can, and have, injected enormous amounts of materials and gases in the atmosphere, with very deep effects. For example transient bursts of CO2. Indonesia’s Tambora in 1815 caused freezing summers in Europe. For two years. Thera, the most formidable eruption in 23,000 years, mortally wounded Cretan civilization. The eruption of a volcano in Iceland killed about 200,000 people in Europe, from gases, and then caused massive crop failures, helping to bring the French revolution of 1789 (precisely because the Crown had been very helpful to the peasants, when the later got destitute, the Crown lost its main support).

          That particular volcanic eruption caused both heat and cold, depending upon which gases dominated.

          Volcanoes probably caused the extinction of dinosaurs (Dekkan Traps), and certainly the greatest extension of all, 250 millions years ago (Siberian Traps). Of course that has to do with CORE eruption, a subject that is starting to come into focus (it requires all Earth tomography, and that’s not financed ENOUGH). For more subtilities about volcanism:

          http://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2009/11/21/trapped-by-super-traps/

          Krakatau threw up material in the atmosphere that made for spectacular sunsets for three years (19C). Pinatubo’s large eruption in the 1990s cooled the Earth by half a degree Celsius, for a year. But then the greenhouse rise took over again…

          [I wrote a first answer, but my computer was shut down at a distance, apparently by Microsoft, by surprise, so I lost it.]
          PA

      • Martin Lack Says:

        Paul, I saw that programme too; and plan to blog about it. When Katla erupts it will make Eyjafjallajokull (2010) look like a flea farted… The scientists estimate Katla (with a 10km-wide Caldera buried beneath 750 metres of ice) will be 50 times more powerful eruption than Eyjaf. in 2010.

        The last time anything similar happened (Laki in 1783), 300,000 people died in Europe (and no-one had the faintest idea where all the poison/acid gas came from). Sadly, understanding will save no-one; but remote-sensing may just give us some warning:
        http://www.katla-volcano.co.uk/

        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          Martin: Indeed. Laki was, is, really weird. It consisted in a long (10 kilometers) fissure with spewing centers, all along. The nature of Iceland volcanism is controversial. For more on Iceland, watch, mesmerized, the begining sequences of the movie “Prometheus”, and when the spaceship lands on another planet. Shot in Iceland. Stunning. Breathtaking. (The rest of the movie, not so much.) Iceland is indeed another planet.

          Although across the mid-Atlantic ridge, some have suggested a plume from the core below it, as is proposed for Hawai’i. However the picture is not certain (a plunging slab from the Aleutians is increasing evoked for Hawai’i). Geology is not all about plate tectonics, but also about much deeper stuff, all the way to the core, that much is certain.
          A back of the envelope computation shows that a maximum volcanic can contribute a disruption at least two orders of magnitude greater than a colliding asteroid (an old observation of mine). Agreed, those occur only 200 million years apart, but the whole spectrum of milder disasters exist, and Iceland is a prime offender.
          PA

          • Martin Lack Says:

            Try and catch the episode of the Life on Fire series (narrated by Jeremy Irons) about Iceland. It probably gave the producers of Prometheus the idea for their film sequence. Iceland has over 30 volcanoes plus the Laki fissure. There are about half a dozen that are of most concern and, of these, Katla represents the gravest threat and is known to be ready to blow its top already (overdue). Iceland is also home to Europe’s biggest glacier; beneath which lies the Grimsvotn volcano. Like you say, it is believed to be over a hotspot (nothing to do with mid-Atlantic ridge). It erupts frequently but doesn’t have adverse consequences because it is buried under so much ice. Conversely, the Laki fissure eruption is believed to have been eventually responsible for over 1 million deaths; and the three years of colder-than normal summers and winters it caused may well have precipitated the French Revolution.

            • Patrice Ayme Says:

              Yes, Martin, all correct. Katla generally blows up within 18 months of the other one, which just blew. This ought to be fun. I will try to watch Life On Fire. Better: buy the series (?) But days have only so many hours and my mind insists to sleep…
              PA

  12. JR Says:

    Certes tout ceci est troublant et le réchauffement climatique s’avère vrai.
    Mais soyons modestes: est-ce vraiment notre faute?
    N’y a-t-il pas d’autres raisons pour l’expliquer? Combien de glaciations puis de réchauffements dans les Âge? Pour exemple j’avais naguère été frappé en visitant le musée de Tautavel, dans les Pyrénées Orientales:, où a été découvert le premier Homo Erectus européen il y à quelques 500.000 ans: une étude des variations climatiques y est représentée, où l’on passe de la forêt méditerranéenne à la toundra arctique en passant par le faciès tempéré.
    Le seul mérites de l’écologie scientifique (je ne parle pas de l’écologie politique) est de nous imposer deux vérités: la finitude des énergies fossiles (d’où l’urgence de leur trouver des remplaçants, énergies “renouvelables” ou fusion nucléaire) et la nécessité de nettoyer la place pour les générations futures.
    A bientôt,
    Jacques

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Bonjour Jacques!

      Soyons modeste? Elle est bien bonne cette reflection, excellent retournement de situation! La modestie m’habite pas assez! J’en suis tout secoue’ d’un irresistible rire, tout en haut de la Sierra a 2,100 metres, a Bear Valley, par 25 C… En bas dans la plaine, il fait 37 degres. Peut-etre suis-je a la philosophie ce que Gargantua etait a la gastronomie.

      Bon revelons les choses suivantes:

      1) Il y a un peu plus de 100,000 ans, pendant un age qui s’appelle l’Emien, un interglaciaire, il faisait un peu plus chaud que maintenant… dans ce sens que les glaciers etaient beaucoup plus fondus. Le niveau des mers etait 4-5 metres plus haut. L’emien c’etait le plus chaud depuis un million d’anneees…

      2) Pendant l’Emien le niveau de CO2 etait tres haut, beaucoup plus haut que lors des 25 derniers millions d’annees… Mais pas aussi haut que maintenant. Le CO2. Par contre le niveau de la mer etait 4 ou 5 metres au-dessus du present…

      Le niveau normal de CO2 est 280 ppm… depuis au moins 25 millions d’annees.

      D’ici 2 ans, le CO2 sera a 400 ppm. de plus il y a a peu pres 60 ppm de gas industriels humains CO2 equivalents.

      3) Donc on est a 460 ppm, avec une augmentation de 3.5 ppm par an, l’antarctique est instable a 440 ppm.

      Je recommande la lecture de:

      http://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2009/05/31/sun-cooling-ice-melting/

      Tu as raison, les seules solutions passent par la haute technologie. La solution ultime et de secours: geler le CO2 grace a nos (futures) centrales thermonuclaires. Bien que les centrales au Thorium pourraient aussi le faire (et le Thorium, ca marche!).
      A bientot!
      PA

  13. Paul Handover Says:

    Replying to Martin and Patrice’s replies to my question about a volcanic eruption

    ———————-

    Gentlemen, both of you educated me but didn’t answer my question, ergo “surely there would be significant cooling effects, perhaps over years?”

    Yes, or No?

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Paul: There is an answer called “YES & NO”. To quote myself replying to you earlier:
      That particular volcanic eruption caused both heat and cold, depending upon which gases dominated.”
      I was alluding to the Laki eruption of 1783 CE (which went on, in a milder way, for years).

      If you read my “Trapped By Super Traps”, http://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2009/11/21/trapped-by-super-traps/
      you will realize that a volcano can both heat and cool, depending upon what and when, it hits you with.

      We have measures with Laki 1783, and there were poisonous gases heating up the landscape like a fog in July August, followed by great cold a few months later, then heat again, etc. What’s sure is that agriculture and herding suffered tremendously.

      When Tambora exploded (upper two kilometers gone), there was total obscurity in the whole region for four days, and temps plunged. So did they, worldwide. The following summer it froze and snowed in July-August… In Europe. This was a tiny eruption relative to a Traps event.

      One has to be careful with what the atmosphere is injected with, and how, and at what altitude. Same volcano blowing up is completely different if blowing at 45 degree angle… different volcanoes have different chemistry, and mineralogy. Size of grains matter.

      If the question is: could Iceland devastate the European economy? The answer is yes. In the worst, rather unlikely case, millions could die before evacuation (some eruptions in Iceland killed at least a fourth of the Icelandic population).
      PA

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Another point; Iceland does not have volcanoes such as Tambora, Krakatau, Thera, and the one that created a giant Caldera in North West Sumatra, 78,000 years ago (most recent most violent eruption). Icelandic volcanoes are shield volcanoes, which tend to spew at low elevations, not 30 miles up, like Pinatubo. So their planetary global cooling effects are less severe.
      Trying to fight global heating by imitating volcanoes would be a most ominous doom. http://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2009/11/21/trapped-by-super-traps/
      PA

      • Paul Handover Says:

        Thanks Patrice. Of course, I wasn’t advocating attempting to use volcanoes to reverse the effects of excessive CO2 emissions. Your answer was most comprehensive. Paul

        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          Paul: I knew you were not advocating, to spew like a volcano, but some scientists have. We know who pay them. Shield volcanoes are not explosive, but that can still wreck an entire ocean with 30 meter tsunamis (by collapsing islands)… on all the shores. (Rare.)
          PA

  14. Chris Snuggs Says:

    “..A carbon tax would help nearly everybody. Sweden passed one in 1990. Result: three times less CO2 than USA, & higher GDP, both per capita!”

    Chris Snuggs says: I don’t trust any European government to use any kind of tax to do anything useful but merely to continue their bloated bureaucracies. quangoes, lunatic welfare states and aid to developing countries that have nuclear weapons and of course …increase their contributions to the surreally-monstrous EU which currently costs the British taxpayer TWENTY MILLION GB NET PER DAY, for which you get insane centralised bureaucracy and a daily lecture from ex-Maoist Boringissimo plus if you are German the chance to pour your hard-earned money down a black hole to bail out feckless, idle, arrogant political elites in southern Europe – and France of course, which has NOT SET A BALANCED BUDGET IN FORTY YEARS- Well done chaps – always stronger at literature than economics. Brilliant. NO WONDER you need the Germans to bail you out.

    Environment? The European pleb now has to pay a vast amount for EU imposed so-called long-lasting light bulbs with mercury in them which pollutes the enviroment for EVER. THANKS FOR THAT. I don’t suppose van Clowno is worried about the cost of light bulbs on his 300,000€ per annum + VAST expenses + ALMOST NO TAX. BTY. Is Van Clowno’s THREE HUNDRED MILLION EURO palace in Brussels finished yet? I say 300,000,000€, but of course that excludes furniture, fittings and the inevitable posh art collection.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Chris: That there is extravagant spending by the European elite, no doubt. Same with USA elite (even worse, actually). But the carbon tax would displace and replace some of the usual tax, and help the biosphere. I am not advocating to add a carbon tax to all other taxes. BTW, in a state run optimally, the budget should not be balanced… It’s a way, precisely, of keeping taxes to a minimum.
      PA

  15. Patrice Ayme Says:

    When a civilization descends to hell, there is no bottom until the past has become legendary..

    • Martin Lack Says:

      Hi Patrice, Sorry to butt-in like this but another programme you need to watch is “How small is the universe”… Amongst the amazing revelations was the one that if we could drill a hole connecting any two points on the earth’s surface and suck out the air, an object would take a 42mins and 15 seconds to reach the other end… all thanks to gravity.
      http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/mechanics/earthole.html

      • Patrice Ayme Says:

        Martin: 42 minutes? After 100 seconds, the object would be going gt = g (100) = 1,000 meters per second. After 1,000 seconds, 14 minutes, it would move at 10 kms per second. Anyway, a direct consequence of x = 1/2 gtt…

        Even more amazing, the core is roughly as hot, as bright as the sun… I made tremendous enemies in academia, with some top notch geophysicists, more than a decade ago, by telling them haughtily that the Earth’s core was a nuclear reactor. Just from the heat flow numbers. They were positively enraged, although they could not say exactly why, except that it was well known I was wrong.

        One of them even accused me to have caused his divorce, as I humiliated him in front of his spouse, with my big ideas approach, so he claimed later.

        And yet, now, indeed, the Earth-as-the-Universe-largest-known-fission-nuclear-reactor is getting ever closer to becoming the official knowledge. I have an essay on this, ready to post:‘Iron Weather’. This could have some consequences, once the freaking pseudo ecologists realize that we owe our existence to nuclear fission, not just in supernovas, but below our feet… That would mean their fanatical opposition to nuclear power is somewhat hypocritical and ungrateful.
        PA

        • Martin Lack Says:

          Patrice, I think the link I provided explains why, starting and finishing at sea level, the return journey is 84.5 minutes irrespective of the location of the other end of the borehole (all that is required is for it to be straight). Acceleration due to gravity is a function of radius; the object does not accelerate at a uniform rate; and decelerates in the second half of it’s (one-way journey) to zero when it is reaches sea level again.

          I am astonished that your academic friends disputed your assertion; behaviour more akin to ideological opponents of civil nuclear power generation… I notice that J. Marvin Herndon suggested something similar in 1992…?
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._Marvin_Herndon

          I hope you will enjoy my forthcoming post (at midnight UTC) entitled <a “Entropy – an unauthorised biography” – I would be flattered by any comments you care to make.

          • Patrice Ayme Says:

            Martin: OK, right, I forgot that g would vary, hahaha. Asleep at the wheel, I am.

            My (ex) academic friends were young, but prestigiously endowed with special scholarships (Miller Fellowships) at top universites (UCB for ex). However, that’s typical of the pigeon hole nature of modern scholarship. And the aggressivity is due to the fact that the pigeons don’t like transversal minds to poke in their nests… Science is pretty much a social process, with a pecking order, and territories… Truly a chimp world, but with really arrogant chimps.

            Thanks for the wiki link, I will look at it, and at your post too (if i find time; I have to look at today’s banking considerations on LfD too…)
            PA

  16. Dean Hillel Weiss Says:

    Then the perpetual longing for the non-existent good old days which dot history’s time line imply a semi-permanent residence in which of Dante’s circles? Only a fool pines for the myths of yesterday. But things will probably descend to a …point where we achingly yearn to return to the horrible days of today. Unfortunately, the law of entropy precludes the possibility. (Personally, my revelation this morning was realizing humanity has a less than one percent chance of reaching the year 2100 without completely destroying the planet.)

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