Posts Tagged ‘UN’

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.

See: https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2018/09/12/prediction-the-arctic-will-melt-suddenly/

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:

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2009/11/18/2-c-is-too-much/

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

Give War A Chance

September 21, 2015

John Lennon sang, with a smug attitude: “All we are saying, is give Peace A Chance”. It could be argued that was justified, when the matter at hand was just the taking over of Saigon by Hanoi. (And the resulting flight of a few million “boat people”.)

A few years later, a calm maniac, who would later declare the singer an hypocrite, fired 5 hollow point bullets at John Lennon. Four of these bullets hit Lennon. Lennon was not ready for this: he was neither wearing a bulletproof jacket, nor had he a bodyguard with him. He declared he had been shot. Later he acknowledged to the police rushing him to the hospital that he was John Lennon, indeed. Every one of the four bullet was lethal. Only making Lennon nearly as cold as ice could have saved him. (But that technique is not used yet, 35 years later.) Lennon had been “peaceful”. However, Lennon’s insane aggressor judged him aggressive: aggression is, all too often, only in the mind of the beholder. Peace did not give Lennon a chance. Had a well trained armed bodyguard been there, Lennon would have survived.

Since then, authorities have kept Lennon’s murderer in jail, trusting force more than the promises of the assassin. When serious mayhem arises, men and women of good will intervene. Such should be the case in Syria, a place ripped apart by a terrible war.

In the grander scheme of things, peace, love, just as war and hatred, come and go. All what matters is to encourage, or carry on with, the most appropriate behavior at the time, given the circumstances.

Two years ago, the dictator Assad of Syria, son of Assad Senior, another dictator, killed more than 1,500, in just one chemical attack, crossing a red line Obama had brandished. France and the USA decided to punish Assad.

The Assad family is the number one cause of the civil war in Syria. As Assad launched the civil war against pacific demonstrators, and then put in the streets the Islamists of ISIS (who were in jail), terminating his brand of power was entirely appropriate.

However, at the last moment, Obama mysteriously called off the attack. France backed-off. This time indeed France was not even supported by Great Britain,differently from September 1, 1939 (when Britain had joined France in opposing Hitler).

Now Putin has surged ahead, sending fighter jets to support Assad. The reason? Russia has its sole basis on the Mediterranean on the Syrian coastal strip. For some reason, Russians consider they have to have such a basis.

France and the USA had a chance to get rid of Assad, and finding somebody more reasonable, and cleaner to lead the secular Syrian government. Now they are in the strange position to have to tag along Putin. But there is no choice. So the Obama administration has made some openings.

Another aspect where the USA has no choice: the failure to act against Assad in a timely manner, besides killing another quarter of a million Syrians, has created eleven million refugees.

In the 1939-1940 period, the USA distinguished itself by refusing all genuine Jewish refugees (hundreds of thousands got stuck in France, which was not cool, because France lost the first round with the Nazis, and got half invaded). Anxious not to look as vicious as in 1940, the USA has now announced it would accept 100,000 war refugees… next year. One cannot stop progress.

What is the conclusion of all this?

Who is going to run the empire? Putin? Which empire, some will sneer? The United Nations empire, of course. It exists, and it even has a law, the UN Charter, someone has to manage it, and, more pragmatically, to impose it.

The problem with the UN is fundamentally the same problem as with Europe: the European Union exists, it has to be managed. It has to be led. France and Germany, when awake, make a reasonable, and just forceful enough, leader of Europe.

For the UN, the leadership has to come from the three permanent Security Council members which are also the leading Western military powers. At this point, it’s pretty much the USA, and France (as Britain is increasingly unwilling to spend money on defense). However, Obama “leads from behind”, and France is already running a deficit more than 50% above the Euro Group limit (and gets little help from Germany which is well below the minimum defense spending theoretically agreed to inside NATO).

How to remedy all this? The USA ought to cooperate more with France, which, not being an island, but, instead, at the crossroads, instinctively understand the necessity to go to war. A way to cooperate is to foster the French military-industrial complex, instead of viewing it just as a deadly competitor.

For example, the USA ought to give up on the worthless and dangerous F35 program, and, conceding defeat, just buy the French Rafale.

France has not remained completely despondent: an accord was just signed with Morocco to train Islamist preachers there. This is actually an astute move. A dance with the Dark Side. But this is a long story by itself, and better treated another time.

The Romans used to say: “Si vis pacem, para bellum!” (If you want peace, prepare war). We are beyond that point now: war is here. In 1936, the Western democracies stayed out of the wars Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy had launched. That enabled the dictators to train their armies, and gain unwarranted confidence. In the shock of one week in May 1940, the French and British armies found, the hard way, that the training of their air forces was insufficient.

We don’t want such a surprise again. Putin has demonstrated he was ready to invade countries. To accept to be led by him is troubling, to put it mildly. Especially as we have a precedent: in the 1930s, the Western democracies agreed to be led by Stalin against Franco and by… Mussolini, against… Hitler. What happened next is that both Stalin and Mussolini allied themselves with Hitler against… the French Republic (hence the fall of the latter).

One cannot “lead from behind”. Obama will stay an object of ridicule, in the eyes of history, and he has more than ten million refugees to contemplate.

All over, the West is cooperating with horrendous dictators: in Gambia (!), in Eritrea, in all places in Africa which contain precious ores, etc. In Libya, the liberation of the country from the bloody dictator ought to have been followed by a military and administrative occupation, with the aim of proposing an association with Europe (the same ought to be extended to Algeria and Morocco, or Egypt).

The empire exists, and it has to exist, lest war spread uncontrollably. Simply, it’s not Mr. Putin who should be left to administer it, because Obama leads from way in the hell back there.

When peace does not work, one has to give war a chance. The alternative is meaningless annihilation.

Patrice Ayme’

 

 

 

Outlaw Carbon Burning

December 11, 2014

Abstract: Uncertainties of climate scenarios from human pollution are so great, and potentially so catastrophic, that the only reasonable course is to outlaw carbon burning. Replacement technologies already exist. We have ten years to catastrophe. This is the bottom line for the world climate talks right now in Lima, Peru.

***

The USA and its dictatorial poodle, the People’s Republic of China, cause 44% of the Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emission in the world.

The European Union causes only 11% of said emissions. The spectacular relative decrease of European Union pollution exacted a heavy price in comparative advantage.

Great Acceleration: World Ocean Temperature Record, September 2014

Great Acceleration: World Ocean Temperature Record, September 2014

Of all excess heat caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gases, 93.4% goes into oceans. Thus the temperature of oceans has reached new records, month after month in 2014.

The average September GLOBAL ocean temperature marked a record high for that month in 2014, at 0.66°C (1.19°F) above the 20th century average, breaking the previous record that was set just one month earlier.

The American and Chinese economies are progressing by leaps and bounds, greatly from their wild and cheap carbon burning. But the price on the planet will be heavy.

China and the USA are progressing by leaps and bounds, or, at least their plutocrats are: President Xi’s family has hundreds of millions of dollars of real estate, in Hong Kong alone. The climate crisis is entangled with the plutocratic crisis.

Right now, the CO2 density in the atmosphere augments by 1% a year. CO2 blocks Infra Red (IR) radiation. Thus the heat of the ground, instead of fleeing back to space, is blocked in the first few kilometers of the atmosphere (yes it should lead to a decrease of temperature at very high , stratospheric altitude, and it, indeed, does).

The rise of temperature next to the ground heats up the oceans, liberating water vapor, H2O, itself a potent greenhouse gas, which amplifies the CO2 greenhouse effect blanketing the ground.

These are highly non-linear effects, extremely difficult to compute.

Although we do not understand the details with certainty, paleontological records clearly show that high CO2 concentrations are associated with complete melting of the icecaps, as happened, say, 100 million years ago, or during the Carboniferous era.

Yet, in these cases, the changes were progressive, so life on Earth, and the Gaia system of temperature regulation by weathering of silicate rocks, volcanoes and plate tectonics, had time to adjust accordingly.

The change the present human industry is imparting on Earth is too fast for Earth’s biosphere and geology to compensate.

Hence an extreme risk to launch a run-away greenhouse episode.

The argument has been deployed by fossil fuel partisans that all is fine: OK, the ten warmest years on the record are all since 1998, but nothing much has happened. So what?

Well, the climate is the largest system known, aside from astronomical phenomena. Thus, it has extreme inertia. Yes, it barely moved. So far. But that does not mean that an enormous force is not applied to it. When the climate starts to move significantly, from one year, to the next, it will be unstoppable.

Most of the warming will be concentrated in the high latitudes: the tropics cannot get much warmer, but the poles can get much warmer. And we know that this is what happened in the past: there used to be dinosaurs in Antarctica, and Alaska, crocodiles in northern Greenland.

That may sound pleasant and intriguing, but those dinosaurs had evolved over millions of years to handle months of obscurity.

Right now, the biosphere has no time to adapt (some species will, contributing to further imbalance: for example, some parasites are infesting forests in North America, because of the lack of frigid winter weather; the forests then die, and burn).

What to do?

The case of Europe shows that there a price to be paid for expensive energy.

Europe was caught flat-footed: it decided to cut on its CO2 emissions, but that meant cut on cheap energy, thus on industry…

Proof? As the USA produced cheap energy from fracking, industry in heavy duty fields such as chemicals came back to the USA.

Cutting in European industry meant cutting on the economy, and thus on Europe’s place in the world… And thus in Europe’s influence in the fight against carbon burning.

However sustainable energy, at this point mostly solar and wind, are getting as cheap as fossil fuels.

Yet, they cannot replace fossil fuels completely, because they are intermittent, and we don’t have ways of storing massive energy, besides dams. Building dams and elevated lagoons everywhere is not realistic.

Fortunately, we have advanced nuclear energy. Or, rather, we could have it, had we tried to develop it.

Civil nuclear energy has never killed anyone in the USA, or France. (Even including the expensive Three Mile Island snafu.)

Fossil fuels kill at least seven million people a year, say the World Health Organization, which adds that the unfolding climate catastrophe kills already 500,000 people a year.

Denmark and Germany decided to use fossil fuels for base energy (and French and Swedish nuclear reactors; besides Norwegian dams). That’s the energy they need to produce when the winds die, and the sun cannot be seen.

This is not a correct decision: fossil fuel plants cost are of the same order as an Advanced Nuclear plant. That means that they cost billions of Euros. Once built, they, and the whole energy system they are part of, have to be used.

It is crucial to change the attitude relative to nuclear energy. It is changing.

In May 2011, the Swiss government decided to not build new nuclear reactors. The country’s five existing reactors would be allowed to continue operating, but would not be replaced at the end of their life span. The last would have been closed in 2034.

However, by 2014, the grotesque, and self-contradictory coal circus in Denmark and Germany came to the attention of the Swiss. In December 2014, the Swiss government announced that the lifespan of the nuclear plants would be extended indefinitely, with the same thorough controls every ten years, which presently exist.

Switzerland, once again, shows the way.

Let me hasten to add that the design of the Swiss reactors is nearly seventy years old. Although they probably can be operated safely (once taken into account quakes and terrorism), Advanced Nuclear reactors and Thorium plants ought to be developed. Those could be made safer than a wind turbine.

Uncertainties On Sea Level Rise Are Even Greater Than This 2012 Graph Shows.

Uncertainties On Sea Level Rise Are Even Greater Than This 2012 Graph Shows.

In any case, the worst case climate scenario is what ought to enter the political computation, because not only it cannot be excluded, but it seems all too likely. In that worst case scenario, the impact of the greenhouse gas crisis would not be far removed from that of a large comet.

We can avoid this because the three leading non-CO2 emitting technologies: Wind, Solar and Advanced Nuclear are all cost competitive with the cheapest fossil fuels.

Outlaw carbon burning: it is technically feasible, and it is a precaution we have to take.

Patrice Ayme’

Questions About Genocide

November 16, 2014

Periodically, the question of genocide resurfaces. What is genocide? I believe that it is quite a bit like all obscenity. A famous American judge, speaking about the latter, quipped that he knew it, when he saw it.

A problem with genocide is that mass homicidal violence can be perfectly justified. By this I mean that there are cases, in history, where it looks as if it were justified.

The vast coalition which exterminated the Assyrian empire seems to be a case in point. The vigorous way with which Charlemagne annihilated Saxon power in Northern Germany (deporting part of the population in South-West France, among other feats), is another example. The Saxons had stood in the way of civilization for centuries, when not eradicating it outright, after landing in Britannia. Charlemagne’s view was that, after trying everything else, deportation was in order.

A Cherokee Born Long After The Trail Of Tears

A Cherokee Born Long After The Trail Of Tears

A recent example of massive violence to save us from unfathomable evil was the defense against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in WWII.

A number of philosopher have struggled mightily, splitting hair to define genocide. Examples are found in Scientia Salon.

Trying to find a general definition of genocide is best done through examples: by kidnapping their children, did Australia commit genocide against the Natives in the 1960s genocide? According to the United Nations definition, it did. Or was that just a good gesture to give those children a chance?

Was what the USA do to American First Peoples genocide? If so, are there mental structures in the American psyche deriving from that?

Did the invasion of America by Europeans constitute genocide, and, if so, was the genocidal aspect necessary? Otherwise asked, was the genocidal English American invasion model superior to the French “Mission Civilisatrice” in Canada? And if so, in which sense?

Studying particular examples informs the general definition. In mathematics, physics, law, or ethics.

Exterminating the most spectacular aspects of the Aztec civilization was certainly culturocide, and, according to some, all too broad, definitions, would also constitute genocide.

In general stamping out a nasty religion, such as the Punic, Celtic, or Aztec, does not constitute genocide, just well-deserved ethical cleansing. Nobody is crying because we don’t conduct human sacrifices, Celtic, Punic, or Aztec style.

The Roman civilizing principle was that religions requiring human sacrifices ought to be obliterated. Everybody agrees (so why is Abraham, the would-be child killer, so popular?)

However, extermination of 15/16 of the Aztec population, including its leaders and thinkers, certainly constituted genocide (although how it happened was not clear: immunity was partly at fault). After a spectacular trial instigated by rancher cum adventurer and bishop Las Casas, the highest authority in Spain and the Roman Empire, Charles Quint, decided to stop the Conquista.

Revenge and exemplary killing do not constitute genocide: they may be viewed as measures to prevent future genocide, by telling future perpetrators that they could not get away with it.

An example is the 40,000 collaborators executed by France in 1944, and thereafter. Although they all got justice, as deserved, some of this justice was express justice, as deserved.

On the other hand, the behavior of Stalin in Ukraine in the 1930s, or Putin in Chechenia around 2000, seems to fit the definition of genocide. The latter case is an example where a bad man and his collaborators (say the French actor Depardieu) could be put under public disapprobation (Depardieu actually owns property in Chechenia: does that make him an accomplice of genocide, and a violator of the Fourth Geneva Convention?)

And the awkward questions keep on coming: when a nation commits genocide (say Turkey with Armenians) do other nations which conduct business with it become accomplices of said genocide?

The question of the Kurds also surfaces: by cutting Kurdistan into little pieces thrown to the four winds, did colonial powers become accomplice of conditions conducive of genocide against the Kurds?

The genocide of the Jews in World War Two was a mix of the deliberately vicious (Zonderkommandos, as early as June 1941), and deliberate happenstance (famine in 1945). The latter means that one should include in the will to genocide, the will to create such circumstances that cause in turn genocide.

The Nazis knew they were going to go extinct, in 1945. However, consumed by rage, but still full of desire to escape their well-deserved punishment, they remembered the “Trail Of Tears”.

The government of the USA had deported the Cherokee, Muscogee, Seminole, Chickasaw, and Choctaw nations, among others, exterminating many in the process. One third of the Cherokees died.

Thus the Nazis decided to force march all concentration camps inmates they did not outright assassinated in a rush. Their hope was that hundreds of thousands, if not millions of these embarrassing witnesses and hated subhumans, would died. They did.

Rwanda’s Kagame is a modern example of that: after having shot down the Rwandan and Burundi presidents, or stealing through proxies the wealth of Congo, he deliberately created conditions for the evil spirits of genocide to raise.

A crime should be defined: endeavor conducive to genocide.

We need to refine our analysis not just of facts but mental plays on the fragile condition of the human spirit. This is true not just for genocide, but for war in general.

Patrice Ayme’