Archive for the ‘Apocalypse’ Category

Is The United Nations The Greatest Enemy Of The Climate?

October 9, 2018

In its latest report on climate change, October 2018, UN now claims that climate warming caused by human activities is reversible. That absurd claim is much more damaging than Trump clownish positions on climate change and coal. And yet, contrarily to what UN scientists claim, overshooting the target, and then cooling off will probably not work, because of nonlinear effects. Once ice is gone, ice doesn’t come back easily.

Climate change, so far, has been linear: every year a bit warmer, a bit more CO2. That’s not the main problem. The main problem is that the planet could switch to a Jurassic regime.

The UN scientific report on climate change claims that, in the likelihood that governments fail to avert 1.5 degree Centigrade (2.7 degrees F for US primitives) of warming, another scenario is possible: The world could overshoot that target, heat up by more than 2 C (3.6 F) degrees, and then through a combination of lowering emissions and deploying carbon capture technology, bring the temperature back down below the 1.5C (2.7F) degree threshold.

In that utopical UN climate round trip scenario, some damage would be irreversible, the report claims. (yes, sure, *some*). All coral reefs would die. However, the sea ice that would disappear in the hotter scenario would return once temperatures had cooled off, bleats the UN… The ice will return? This is unproven and most certainly FALSE: once the albedo of the Arctic is changed, it won’t come back, and the Arctic ocean will heat up. The Arctic ocean already contains enough heat 50 meters below its surface, to melt said frozen surface completely.


The global temperature graph up to 2018. One seems to see an overall acceleration, a nonlinearity, an exponential drawing itself… Exponentiation is the typical nonlinearity.

For governments, the idea of overshooting the target but then coming back to it is attractive because then they don’t have to make such rapid changes,” Dr. Shindell, a climate scientist at Duke University and an author of the report, said. “But it has a lot of disadvantages.” Yeah: like it won’t happen. Cheap enough CO2 capture, for example, doesn’t exist.  

Says NYT:

A landmark report from the United Nations’ scientific panel on climate change paints a far more dire picture of the immediate consequences of climate change than previously thought and says that avoiding the damage requires transforming the world economy at a speed and scale that has “no documented historic precedent.”

The report, issued on Monday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of scientists convened by the United Nations to guide world leaders, describes a world of worsening food shortages and wildfires, and a mass die-off of coral reefs as soon as 2040 — a period well within the lifetime of much of the global population.

The report “is quite a shock, and quite concerning,” said Bill Hare, an author of previous I.P.C.C. reports and a physicist with Climate Analytics, a nonprofit organization. “We were not aware of this just a few years ago.” The report was the first to be commissioned by world leaders under the Paris agreement, the 2015 pact by nations to fight global warming.

The report was written and edited by 91 scientists from 40 countries who analyzed more than 6,000 scientific studies. The Paris agreement set out to make a big wishful thinking about preventing warming of more than two degrees centigrade (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit as US primitives have it) above preindustrial levels — long considered a threshold for the most severe social and economic damage from climate change. Heads of small island nations, hounded by rising sea levels, also asked scientists to examine the effects of 1.5 C (2.7 F) degrees of warming.

Absent aggressive action, many effects once expected only several decades in the future will arrive by 2040, and at the lower temperature, the report shows. “It’s telling us we need to reverse emissions trends and turn the world economy on a dime,” said Myles Allen, an Oxford University climate scientist and an author of the report.

To prevent 1.5 C (2.7 F) degrees of warming, the report said, greenhouse pollution must be reduced by 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, and 100 percent by 2050. It also found that, by 2050, use of coal as an electricity source would have to drop from nearly 40 percent today to between 1 and 7 percent. Renewable energy such as wind and solar, which make up about 20 percent of the electricity mix today, would have to increase to as much as 67 percent.

These requirements are not planned by most of the industrialized world. The report concluded that the greenhouse gas reduction pledges put forth under the Paris agreement will not be enough to avoid 2C (3.6 F) degrees of warming.

Despite the policy implications, which go against Trump’s climate skepticism stance, the United States delegation joined more than 180 countries on Saturday in accepting the report’s summary for policymakers. A State Department statement said that “acceptance of this report by the panel does not imply endorsement by the United States of the specific findings or underlying contents of the report… We reiterate that the United States intends to withdraw from the Paris agreement at the earliest opportunity absent the identification of terms that are better for the American people,” the statement said. The Trump position has been that a number of provisions of the Paris Accord, such as a 100 billion fund to help the Third World, are unacceptable.  However the fact remains that, after Obama’s giant fracking effort, major US states have the most ambitious sustainable energy programs (especially mighty California).

The UN scientific report emphasizes the necessity of a tax on carbon dioxide emissions. “A price on carbon is central to prompt mitigation,” the report concludes. It estimates that to be effective, such a price would have to range from $135 to $5,500 per ton of carbon dioxide pollution in 2030, and from $690 to $27,000 per ton by 2100. 

The cost of fossil-fuel emissions rose to its highest level in more than a decade in Europe, in August 2018, surpassing 20 euros a ton ($23) and adding to the cost of electricity across the continent.

Carbon emission permits have more than quadrupled from less than 5 euros since the middle of 2017 after European Union governments agreed to cut away a surplus that had depressed prices of the CO2 permit market since the financial crisis that started in 2008. Utilities and industrial polluters need the certificates to cover greenhouse gas emissions they produce.

By comparison, in fossil fuel happy USA, under the Obama administration, government economists estimated that an appropriate price on carbon would be in the range of $50 per ton (but they did nothing, as usual in Obama’s administration). Under the Trump administration, that figure was lowered to a ridiculous $7 per ton. Those with Trump Derangement Syndrome will say: we told you so. However, in the area of climate change, Trump is mostly wind: he used to be a climate alarmist (not as bad as yours truly). Now Trump has skeptic, because it brings him votes (but in truth he does nothing, same as Obama).

Whereas what the UN is doing by claiming climate change can be reversed, (with sci-fi technology) is diabolical… and will hogtie leaders such as… Trump: how can one justify thorough changes in all of society, while being told, by the UN it’s all for nothing, it’s not necessary? 

What is going on? A form of ubiquitous corruption: scientists who authored the UN report are all, directly or indirectly, government employees. They want to please their employers, so that they can be paid, be influential, and honored. Those employers themselves are trying to please their plutocratic masters (and future employers). So they engineered a completely unrealistic wishful loophole, resting on non-existing technology (efficient, cheap, mass, planetary sized CO2 capture).

9 years ago, I pointed out the UN ignored the potential for a nonlinear climate change catastrophe:

Now the UN has done even worse: it claims that climate disasters are coming, but won’t cost that much (1% GDP for 1C of warming), & they are reversible. BS!

Patrice Ayme

Prediction: The Arctic Will Melt Suddenly

September 12, 2018

So far, the Arctic sea ice has melted at a pace which is best fitted with lines. 10.4% per decade, more exactly. It sounds reasonable, in first approximation, to suppose that will keep on that way. However, most changes start, in first approximation, linearly, before fitting higher power curves.

In the case of Arctic sea ice, a number of mechanisms seem possible to go from linear to nonlinear.  For example, the more sea ice melts, the warmer the sea gets, the harder it is to form sea ice. Such a self-feeding mechanism is an exponential.

However, we, humanity just found a huge new mechanism to potentially melt all ice, and it is operative. It is even of our own making! As with the Fall of Rome, one cause leads to others, which then can feed back on the first.

The discovery?

A blob of warm water, 50 meters below the surface of the Arctic ocean. Why does not come to the surface, if it is warmer than the water above it? Because it is abnormally salty, thus denser.

How was it created? The Chukchi Sea has become ice-free much too much of the year. It is just north of the Bering Strait, and lies on top of the flooded Beringia land bridge between Eurasia and North America. So it is shallow: average depth, 71 meters only, and warms up well. The Chukchi Sea warms up so much it becomes salty, and that salty water sneaks north below cold upper waters (it is blocked from going south by the Strait.

The redder, the more heat content in the Chukchi sea… When the Arctic Ocean starts to churn, the sea ice will all melt…Study lead author Professor Mary-Louise Timmermans, of Yale University (yes, a woman) said: We document a striking ocean warming in one of the main basins of the interior Arctic Ocean, the Canadian Basin… the upper ocean in the Canadian Basin has seen a two-fold increase in heat content over the past 30 years.

The researchers traced the source to waters hundreds of miles to the south, where reduced sea ice has left the surface ocean more exposed to summer solar warming.

Professor Timmermans added: This means the effects of sea-ice loss are not limited to the ice-free regions themselves, but also lead to increased heat accumulation in the interior of the Arctic Ocean that can have climate effects well beyond the summer season.


What next? A strong storm, an Arctic hurricane (they happen!)  could push cold waters out, and that would force the warm water up. I would venture to say that this is exactly what happened in August 2012 (generating thereafter the smallest Arctic sea ice ever recorded, by a long shot).

The same will happen again in the future, on a grander scale.

And all the Arctic sea ice could melt, thus warming the Arctic ocean enough to melt all ice, and that in turn, could warm up the ocean enough that summer to prevent the return of the ice thereafter…

It goes without saying that, after the Arctic ocean is ice-free, trillions of tons of methane hydrates laying inside the shallow sea floor will fiercely erupt, freeing trillions of tons of methane. It has happened in the past, and can be violent enough for tsunamis. It is actually already started, albeit on a small-scale, relative to what it could become. Methane is a greenhouse gas with more than 25 times the warming power of CO2 (the “forcing” effectiveness to be a bit more technical). Thus our effort to engineer a man-made Jurassic climate will make great strides. Maybe we will see class 5 hurricane strike Canada?

Fun springs eternal!

Let’s re-engineer a few dinosaurs and pterosaurs, once Canada’s Arctic archipelago is covered with forests, as we are at it…

Patrice Ayme



Cool: Species Nearly Destroyed All Life Before

August 8, 2018

Earth. The Dark Side. Homo. It has become standard to point out that the genus Homo may destroy life, or, our species, or, at least, civilization itself. This is related to the “Fermi Paradox” (“Where is everybody?” asked Enrico Fermi around 1950…) The idea was that civilizations self-destruct, hence no civilization is visible in the galaxy. To which I retorted that we overestimate the likelihood of advanced life in the galaxy, for a galactic sized number of reasons:

One argument I rolled out is that life was nearly extinguished on Earth by life itself: consider “Snowball Earth”. This weapon of mass life extinction was generated by the advancement of life itself. Let me quote myself:

“Primitive bacterial life is probably frequent. However advanced life (animals) is probably very rare, as many are the potential catastrophes. And one needs billions of years to go from primitive life to animals.

After life forms making oxygen on Earth appeared, the atmosphere went from reducing (full of strong greenhouse methane) to oxidizing (full of oxygen). As methane mostly disappeared, so did the greenhouse. Earth froze, all the way down to the equator:

When Snowball Earth Nearly Killed Life

Yet volcanoes kept on belching CO2 through the ice. That CO2 built up above the ice, caused a strong greenhouse, and the ice melted. Life had survived. Mighty volcanism has saved the Earth, just in time.

That “snowball Earth” catastrophe repeated a few times before the Earth oxygen based system became stable. Catastrophe had been engaged, several times, but the disappearance of oxygen creating life forms had been avoided, just barely.”

Intense chemical weathering by massive acid rain is the likely cause of the end of a period known as the Marinoan glaciation, which happened form 650 to 635 million years ago, according to a paper published in the journal PNAS. This was the last occurence when nearly all of the Earth’s land and seas were frozen over, known as snowball Earth, with glaciers as thick as 2km. Other times, on the right, Earth had no ice at the poles… Present day civilization can survive a warm Earth (right)… Not a Snowball. However, to get from what we have now to no ice, in a geological blink, means ultimate war…

What does this mean philosophically?

Most philosophical systems in the traditional sense don’t consider the truism that, to get creation, one needs destruction, and the more creation, the more destruction. Why? That sounds childish, thus unwise. But children encounter the primeval. Philosophy extended to religion revels in destruction. Actually the Deus/God/Allah destroys the entire universe to establish Heavens.

The universe is a brutal place: not only do planets get flung into space, stars explode, but even entire galaxies get destroyed. The universe is also a happening.

In the greater scheme of things, a war where, say, seven billion people got killed would be nothing special: that was the world population in 1803, when the imbecile Napoleon, having mightily endeavored to reestablish slavery, losing an army in the process, sold a third of the present day US to the USA for 11 million dollars.

In the movie Terminator, Artificial Intelligence takes over, causes a nuclear holocaust, and tries to extinguish humanity. It is more likely though that more and more formidable wars would accompany a Hot Earth scenario… which is what we are going towards, quickly. As I have argued in the past, 2C Is Too Much! Under 2C of global warming, a chain reaction of tipping point would unleash itself, and self-accelerate:

Now the idea is hitting the mainstream, nine years later. See: “Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene” in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. There, scientists argue that there is a threshold temperature above which natural feedback systems that currently keep the Earth at a nice temperature (around 15 C, global) will unravel. At that point, a chain reaction of climate events will thrust the planet into a “hothouse” state. Though the scientists don’t know exactly what this threshold is, they said it could be as little as 2 degrees C (4 degrees F) of warming above preindustrial levels. We are above that half-way point…

As they put it in scientese: We explore the risk that self-reinforcing feedbacks could push the Earth System toward a planetary threshold that, if crossed, could prevent stabilization of the climate at intermediate temperature rises and cause continued warming on a “Hothouse Earth” pathway even as human emissions are reduced. Crossing the threshold would lead to a much higher global average temperature than any interglacial in the past 1.2 million years and to sea levels significantly higher than at any time in the Holocene. We examine the evidence that such a threshold might exist and where it might be. If the threshold is crossed, the resulting trajectory would likely cause serious disruptions to ecosystems, society, and economies. Collective human action is required to steer the Earth System away from a potential threshold and stabilize it in a habitable interglacial-like state. Such action entails stewardship of the entire Earth System—biosphere, climate, and societies—and could include decarbonization of the global economy, enhancement of biosphere carbon sinks, behavioral changes, technological innovations, new governance arrangements, and transformed social values.”

People are deeply unaware, they believe that the planet’s climate is more stable than it really is. The episodes of Snowball Earth show that this is not the case. This erroneous feeling of ecological stability is the main source of the indifference which brings the destruction of the planetary climate.

The apocalypse, in the greater scheme of things, is not apocalyptic. After all, an apocalypse, etymologically speaking, is just an uncovering… And this is precisely this normalcy of the abnormal, which will make go so smooth…

Patrice Ayme