Over the weekend, two stories came together at the same time.
I was particularly moved by the synchronicity.
Almost mystically, they were both posted on the 11th.
One was this piece from the Independent.
Global warming: passing the 'tipping point'
Copyright 2006, Independent
February 11, 2006
A crucial global warming "tipping point" for the Earth, highlighted only last week by the British Government, has already been passed, with devastating consequences. Research commissioned by The Independent reveals that the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has now crossed a threshold, set down by scientists from around the world at a conference in Britain last year, beyond which really dangerous climate change is likely to be unstoppable.
The implication is that some of global warming's worst predicted effects, from destruction of ecosystems to increased hunger and water shortages for billions of people, cannot now be avoided, whatever we do. It gives considerable force to the contention by the green guru Professor James Lovelock, put forward last month in The Independent, that climate change is now past the point of no return.
The danger point we are now firmly on course for is a rise in global mean temperatures to 2 degrees above the level before the Industrial Revolution in the late 18th century.
At the moment, global mean temperatures have risen to about 0.6 degrees above the pre-industrial era - and worrying signs of climate change, such as the rapid melting of the Arctic ice in summer, are already increasingly evident.
But a rise to 2 degrees would be far more serious.
By that point it is likely that the Greenland ice sheet will already have begun irreversible melting, threatening the world with a sea-level rise of several metres.
Agricultural yields will have started to fall, not only in Africa but also in Europe, the US and Russia, putting up to 200 million more people at risk from hunger, and up to 2.8 billion additional people at risk of water shortages for both drinking and irrigation.
"The passing of this threshold is of the most enormous significance," said Tom Burke, a former government adviser on the green issues, now visiting professor at Imperial College London. "It means we have actually entered a new era - the era of dangerous climate change.
We have passed the point where we can be confident of staying below the 2 degree rise set as the threshold for danger. What this tells us is that we have already reached the point where our children can no longer count on a safe climate."
Then, there's this story from Kenneth Deffeyes, author of Beyond Oil.
Join us as we watch the crisis unfolding
February 11, 2006
In the January 2004 Current Events on this web site, I predicted that world oil production would peak on Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 2005. In hindsight, that prediction was in error by three weeks.
An update using the 2005 data shows that we passed the peak on December 16, 2005.
Mr. Deffeyes continues,
"Since we have passed the peak without initiating major corrective measures, we now have to rely primarily on methods that we have already engineered. Long-term research and development projects, no matter how noble their objectives, have to take a back seat while we deal with the short-term problems.
Long-term examples in the proposed 2007 US budget (Feb. 9, 2006 New York Times page A-18) include a 65 percent increase in the programs to produce ethanol from corn, a 25.8 percent increase for developing hydrogen fuel cell cars, and a 78.5 percent increase in spending on solar energy research.
The Times reports that solar energy today supplies one percent of US electricity; the hope is to double that to 2 percent by the year 2025.
By 2025, we're going to be back in the Stone Age. "
And he closes with this.
I can now refer to the world oil peak in the past tense.
My career as a prophet is over.
I'm now an historian."
To make it a trifecta, I went over to Jim Kunstler's site.
He says we have been played.
February 13, 2006
The failure to lead in this country now includes all the major fields of enterprise and resolves into a general and total failure of authority that threatens to drag us into darkness.
Leaders in politics, business, the news media, science, medicine, education, and the organized religions have all failed to prepare the public for the hardships that will attend a global energy crisis supercharged by climate change, disorder in the financial markets, and almost certainly more war.
The major news media's failure is near total, especially at the highest level of the New York Times, which gives more ink to narcissistic blather about gender identity than to the issue of how industrial civilization is going to carry on without its primary resources.
The cable news networks have sunk into such mires of craven whorishness that they don't even pretend to broadcast news between eight o'clock and midnight anymore, just tabloid crime spectacles and celebutante melodramas.
The Wall Street Journal has resigned from reality in order to DJ the financial sector's dangerous game of musical chairs."
After asking where are our academics, our doctors, our businessmen, and clergymen, Kunstler closes with these words:
"Where are the scientists who will inform the public and its political leaders that we really are in trouble with oil and natural gas, that markets do not magically deliver rescue remedies on demand, that technology and energy are not interchangeable and mutually substitutable, and that our nation is about five years from falling into a condition of energy starvation that will bring down all our complex systems of daily life?
When the public finally discovers how they have been let down or played by these leaders, there will be a convulsion more severe than the one that tore this country apart in 1861."
I went to a party this weekend and several readers remarked that I had become a little negative in the last month or so.
Facts are stubborn things.
Especially when they are
I see a different future.
But only if we accept the present.
"Are you going to believe me or your lying eyes."
Each drop of rain pleads "not guilty" in a flood.
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