Don’t watch this!

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Smoke and mirrors…

My driftwood burner — OK, Im guilty too

… delusions and ignorance.

Anyone who believes that the human race can burn 4,000,000,000 tonnes of oil every year along with 7,000,000,000 tonnes of coal (and who knows how much wood and waste matter) without having a significant effect on the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is deluded, ignorant, devious or, at best, sadly misinformed.

When you add to that the massive vandalisation of the world’s forests over several millennia, desertification, pollution, species destruction and what have you, anyone who looks at the facts but still can’t accept that the planet is on a collision course with humanity is deluded.

And if you don’t believe that increasing significantly, over an extended period, the amount of CO2 and methane in the atmosphere is not going to lead to an increase in atmospheric temperature then you are just plain flat-out wrong.

I just read of a learned gentleman (sorry, lost the link, but you’ve heard it all before) who said something along these lines, “CO2 started at 0.02% of the atmosphere and it’s gone up to 0.04%. Those tiny amounts are too small to have any effect on the climate.

The man is wrong, and he’s ignorant. It requires abandonment of all logic. If it wasn’t for that “insignifcant” amount of CO2 in the atmosphere the planet would be too cold for us to survive on. That’s how we discovered the greenhouse effect in the first place, by investigating why we didn’t freeze and why Venus was hot enough to melt lead.

1 gram of arsenic is enough to kill me. That’s about 0.000014% of my body weight. By that idiot’s logic I should be able to cope with a couple of mouthfuls.

You could as easily say, our planet’s average surface temperature is 288ºK, so an increase of 12ºK would only be about 4.2%. What’s the problem? In fact it would kill most life on Earth.

It’s dire.

It’s coming soon to a planet near you.

I’m 71. Until recently I thought my only worry was for the world I’ll leave my grandchildren. I’m in reasonably good health, I’m fit. I may live another 20 or 30 years. It’s going to affect me too.

Check the latest projections on how far underwater you’ll end up right here on Just Wondering.

Recovery? Don’t hold your breath

John Key, in yet another triumph of hope over experience, maintains that we’re on an economic roll. There are some minor problems with Mr Key’s super-optimism. Not unlike the now abandoned “catching up with Australia” pledge, or the “Working for Families is communism by stealth” backtrack.

Over 50 years of voting I’ve been a swinging centre-right voter and a supporter of capitalism. I’m a slow learner. I didn’t notice that the system that once worked very well is now absolutely broken.

When Henry Ford invented the production line and started churning out Model T cars in vast numbers, he concluded that if he wanted to create an economic and transport revolution he needed to ensure that his car was affordable. More specifically, he had sufficient insight to realise that success depended upon the people who built the car being able to afford to buy it.

For several decades this was understood by economists, money managers, reserve bankers, and capitalists. For the market to work successfully ordinary workers had to be sufficiently well paid that they were empowered to be consumers. It’s no use producing vast quantities of junk if nobody can afford to buy it. Trouble is, sometime in the last 20 or 30 years they’ve forgotten the basic message. The ratio between the incomes of the top earners and the average worker has increased enormously, but for 10 or 20 years the inflation adjusted wage of the average worker hasn’t increased. The top earners are nevertheless creaming the system more and more with every passing day and they’re apparently oblivious to the fact that they’re strangling the golden goose.

From SmartBlog

In 2010, the average annual wage for U.S. workers in production operations was $33,770 while the average CEO pay in S&P 500 companies was $11,358,445. CEO pay was 336 times more than the average employee.

The Wall Street crowd and their cronies around the Western World are sucking more blood out of the system than they were before it all turned pear-shaped in 2007-8. Before your money bailed them out. It’s unsustainable.

From MarketWatch

The left-wing Institute for Policy Studies found that the CEOs of the job-cut companies on average took home nearly $12 million in 2009, above the $8.5 million brought in by the average CEO of an S&P 500 company. The study found that 72% of the announced layoffs came at a time when the company was reporting positive earnings.

“This reflects a broader trend in Great Recession Corporate America: squeezing workers to boost profits and maintain high CEO pay,” said the study.

The growth occurring in the US and elsewhere is a jobless recovery. How does China remain an engine for growth when the people who buy their products have empty wallets? Sure, they can generate some internal consumption from their massive surplus, but that won’t last long when their own individuals and local authorities have been indulging in a borrowing spree which has created a massive real estate bubble. Negative equity is knocking on China’s door too.

For 2 or 3 decades the underpaid workers in the Western World have been borrowing to buy stuff that they previously could afford to buy for cash, or that didn’t exist, or that they chose not to buy. Now those people are pulling up the drawbridge. Countries like China and Germany who have relied on manufactured exports for growth are heading for a train wreck.

Millions of people around the world have lost their jobs and their homes. The rich are getting richer after the system that feeds their greed was bailed out using the taxes of those who’ve been destroyed. A revolution is overdue and I suspect that it’s coming.

From the horses’ mouths

The Wall Street Journal and Forbes Magazine are hardly bastions of Liberalism, nevertheless they can spot a trend when it hits them in the eye.

As you can see from this graph from the WSJ, the rich are doing OK. In 1965 they earned, on average, a mere 24.2 times the average employee’s income. In 2009, long after the recession hit, it was 185.3 times, and if you check this link at Forbes magazine, you’ll see that the thin red line is now on the rise again.

These people just don’t get it.

this is a dummy line break

CEO salary disproportionate growth

Nature in subjection

Where does it all end?

Habitat loss, pollution, desertification, over-population, vanishing topsoil, the resource crunch—it’s not just about climate change…Jonaton Schell

Jonathan Schell is an insightful writer and scholar. A man of many accomplishments. He has elegantly summed up my generation’s legacy to our children’s children in this quote:

“Taken in its entirety, the increase in mankind’s strength has brought about a decisive, many-sided shift in the balance of strength between man and the earth.”
“Nature, once a harsh and feared master, now lies in subjection and needs protection against man’s powers.”
“Yet because man, no matter what intellectual and technical heights he may scale, remains embedded in nature, the balance has shifted against him too, and the threat that he poses to the Earth is a threat to him as well.”

Believe it. Those cupfuls of oil add up. Whether you’re a climate change evangelist, a climate change sceptic or just in denial you can’t escape the fact that we’re fouling our grandchildren’s nest and squandering their heritage. Whether or not you believe that our output of greenhouse gas is contributing to climate change, it’s undeniable that the measures which need to be addressed in order to limit pollution and to husband non-renewable energy sources are the same measures as those which the proponents of anthropogenic climate change promote.

One world, one people, one chance

If nothing else disturbs you, contemplate the source of funding for Al Qaeda, Hamas, Abu Nidal, Islamic Jihad and dozens of other groups. Every time we buy petroleum based fuels we’re contributing to their cause. Those groups obtain most of their funding from oil money: mainly, but not exclusively, from Iran and from the USA’s bosom buddies in Saudi Arabia. We’re funding an openly declared war upon ourselves. A quote from the Middle East Forum in 2003:

“The Saudi government has admitted to spending more than $87 billion over the last decade in an effort to spread Wahhabism. This money has been spent on the creation of Mosques, schools, and other institutions that have constituted the breeding grounds for the foot soldiers of the global Islamic terrorist movement.”

“Political considerations, and oil, have prevented Washington from holding the Saudis accountable for their role in promoting terrorism.
A briefing by Rachel Ehrenfeld September 19, 2003

Eventually, the rising cost of oil is likely to be seen to have been a very good thing in every conceivable way. We only get one bite of the cherry.

Also on mistywindow

See David Roberts from Grist with a convincing climate change update and the resource crunch video:
There’s no tomorrow“,
a half-hour animated documentary about resource depletion, energy and the collision of infinite growth with the brick wall of a finite planet.

Climate change scepticism

Lies, damned lies, and statistics – scepticism and denial

Whichever way you look at it, it's getting hot in here.

There’s a world of difference between climate change scepticism and denial. The first is healthy, the second is often one-eyed, fanatical, or both. There are a number of things I don’t understand about the climate change denial industry:

Why do denialists have to be so obnoxious? They invariably use the same sarcastic, sneering tone that Richard Dawkins uses when reviling creationists in his best-selling books. Although I agree with Dawkins’ views on evolution, I suspect that his methods only serve to entrench the beliefs of those whom he belittles—he ends up preaching to the converted and loses an audience of potential converts. The same argument applies with the denial industry. If they have faith in their beliefs, why not state their truth calmly and lucidly and let the facts sway the skeptical?

Ian Wishhart’s recent book Air Con is a case in point. Sneering is the most apt adjective for the tone of the whole book. I tried to read the book in the hope of finding some insight into the denialist case. I was disappointed. After the first 3 or 4 chapters I’d had it with the half-truths, the interminable ramblings and the lies of omission; I gave up on it.

Where’s the problem?

As a denialist, is it not possible to accept that, even if you’re right, the actions promoted by anthropogenic climate change supporters would be good for the planet no matter what the global temperature graph looks like 20, 50 or 100 years on? Why not just get over it?

  • What’s wrong with replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy sources?
  • What’s wrong with denying the oil producers the wherewithal to continue to fund extremist Islam, anti-Western jihadist, and fanatical terrorist groups?
  • What’s wrong with reducing atmospheric pollution?
  • What’s to like about the coal industry?
  • What’s wrong with creating new hi-tech technologies, new green industries, and new clean jobs?
  • Who doesn’t want much more energy efficient cars. Which transfer the (reduced) pollution they generate from exhaust pipes to power plants far from choked city streets?

Most of all, how can you be so certain? Scratch the most prominent denialists and you’ll find that they’re doing very nicely out of it – like Bjørn Lomborg (a political scientist) with his money-making books and lecture circuit, or they’re like David Evans (a mathematician) who pads his résumé, or they’re working for big oil, or they’re just plain out-there, like the physicist at Auckland University who seemed to claim that the sun must be driving the change because it’s very big! Bjørn Lomborg on the BBC recently:

For me there’s no choice

Most of all I ask the denialists, “What if you’re wrong?” What will you tell your grand-children? If you’re right, it won’t matter too much, we’ll have made some overdue changes to the way things are done and my grandchildren will benefit.

If you’re wrong, and you succeed in sowing enough doubt, you could doom millions, maybe billions, to a far more apocalyptic outcome than would otherwise have been the case.

  • accepts that global warming is real,
  • that it’s man-made,
  • and it’s an important problem.

So he’s gone from denial to saying that we have more important things to worry about.

I’m not a climate scientist, I’m a retired engineer. My past income has depended upon my success in monitoring processes in thermodynamic systems and I can spot a trend as well as anybody.

When the denial industry tell me that the planet’s been cooling since 1998 I know that they’re either mistaken, can’t read a graph, they’re ignorant, or they’re lying. One El Niño induced anomalous year notwithstanding. That tired argument is particularly mystifying when one considers that the last decade is the warmest on record even though we’ve been in a low period of solar forcing for the latter part of it.

When they tell me that Arctic ice cover is increasing while they confuse extent with volume my eyes glaze over.

When the realities of Milankovitch Cycles are ignored and they equate cooling of Pluto with Earth’s climate I smell a very dead and decomposing rat.