Showing posts from September, 2022

The Gun We Point at Our Own Heads

  If you're sitting at a table and there's a loaded pistol in front of you, do you pick it up and point it at your own head?  Probably not, unless something has gone terribly, terribly wrong. How would you feel if someone else was holding that pistol to your head? But there is a pistol pointed at our heads and, unless we do something about it, we're goners. It's not a Glock. It's fossil fuels and the industry is slowly squeezing the trigger. Proven fossil fuel reserves are sufficient to generate 3.5 trillion tons of greenhouse gas emissions .  Russia and the United States each have massive reserves of fossil energy sufficient to push humanity through the 1.5C heating limit, sometimes called the "carbon budget."  I have it on reliable authority that Washington and the Kremlin aren't getting along very well these days. After all, if you won't hold the line on nuclear proliferation, you might not be inclined to voluntarily give up a major source of na

Devil Take the Hindmost

  It's been a while so let's return to the subject of climate breakdown. There's news. No, it's mainly bad. Remember when we first heard about "tipping points"? Back then the narrative was these were "do not exceed" limits beyond which we risked waking the sleeping giant, nature, triggering runaway climate change. We even crafted this political process that this year celebrates its 27th anniversary to do, basically, next to nothing. The business about tipping points has lost most of its urgency even though it's there for all to see. We've become somewhat inured to the process, perilous as it may be. A new report  in the journal, Science, clarifies how near we are to five major tipping points that would drastically alter human life and that of most other species. Here are excerpts of the summary from "Getting Tipsy" - Climate tipping points (CTPs) are a source of growing scientific, policy, and public concern. They occur when change

The Queen is Dead, Long Live the King

Elizabeth II, 70 years Queen, has died at age 96.

The Uber-Rich and Have Their Own Climate Worries

  How is a mere billionaire to cope with climate breakdown? The rich and powerful have sought answers to their angst from Douglas Rushkoff, media theorist, lecturer and author. His most recent book, " Survival of the Richest ," draws them to him as a light draws moths. Rushkoff writes of a meeting with five of the uber-rich seeking his advice.  All had their luxury subterranean retreats, pantries larded with everything they would need to hold out for a year, even more. Some even had US Navy Seal alumni on retainer to defend their quarters from the Great Unwashed.  There was just one snag. Finally, the CEO of a brokerage house explained that he had nearly completed building his own underground bunker system, and asked: “How do I maintain authority over my security force after the event?” The event. That was their euphemism for the environmental collapse, social unrest, nuclear explosion, solar storm, unstoppable virus, or malicious computer hack that takes everything down. Thi

How Secure is Canada's Bountiful Fresh Water Resource?

We think of Canada as a vast land studded with lakes assuring a bountiful supply of fresh water. Things change. Across the high north, lakes are vanishing - much faster than we had imagined. Arctic lakes are drying out nearly a century earlier than projected, depriving the region of a critical source of fresh water, according to new research. Models had predicted that as warmer weather thaws the Arctic, melting ice would feed into lakes, causing them to expand. Eventually, as ice melted away, those lakes would drain and dry out, sometime later this century, according to earlier projections. But satellite imagery reveals that lakes across the Arctic are shrinking rapidly today. Researchers tracked a distinct downward trend in Arctic lake cover from 2000 to 2021, observing declines across 82 percent of the study area, which included large swaths of Canada, Russia, Greenland, Scandinavia, and Alaska. As warmer air and more abundant autumn rainfall melt permafrost around and beneath Arcti