Monday, February 07, 2005

Apocalypse Now

I sent an e mail out a minute ago.

It said.

"I don't know what is worse or happening faster"

Climate Change or Peak Oil

The Kyoto Treaty will go into effect on the 16th of Feb.

That is the good news.

The bad news is

it's not nearly enough.

Today's story in the Independent says it pretty well.

Apocalypse Now: how mankind is sleepwalking to the end of the Earth

Floods, storms and droughts. Melting Arctic ice, shrinking glaciers, oceans turning to acid. The world's top scientists warned last week that dangerous climate change is taking place today, not the day after tomorrow. You don't believe it? Then, says Geoffrey Lean, read this:

06 February 2005

Future historians, looking back from a much hotter and less hospitable world, are likely to play special attention to the first few weeks of 2005. As they puzzle over how a whole generation could have sleepwalked into disaster - destroying the climate that has allowed human civilisation to flourish over the past 11,000 years - they may well identify the past weeks as the time when the last alarms sounded.

Last week, 200 of the world's leading climate scientists - meeting at Tony Blair's request at the Met Office's new headquarters at Exeter - issued the most urgent warning to date that dangerous climate change is taking place, and that time is running out.

The alarms have been going off since the beginning of one of the warmest Januaries on record.

First, Dr Rajendra Pachauri - chairman of the official Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - told a UN conference in Mauritius that the pollution which causes global warming has reached "dangerous" levels.

Then the biggest-ever study of climate change, based at Oxford University, reported that it could prove to be twice as catastrophic as the IPCC's worst predictions. And an international task force - also reporting to Tony Blair, and co-chaired by his close ally, Stephen Byers - concluded that we could reach "the point of no return" in a decade

This is like one of those stupid disaster movies.

Christ! There is one.

It's called the Day after Tomorrow.

You know the basic story,

The hero can't get anyone to listen until it is too late.

Then the bad guys try to marginalize him.

Then things start to happen.

And the hero becomes the "go to guy".

But we don't have one disaster movie.

We have two.

Last week, James Woolsey, former CIA director and other neo con type groups had a teleconference:

NRDC and national security policy groups agree to join forces
January 27, 2005

EV World was invited to participate in a telephone press conference sponsored by the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS), Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), Center for Security Policy (CSP), Hudson Institute, National Defense Council Foundation (NDCF), and the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE).

The purpose of the conference was to announce the Natural Resources Defense Council's participation in an initiative by national security policy "Hawks" that calls on Congress to provide national leadership in reducing the nation's demand for oil by unleashing technology and innovation in the auto sector.

The security groups' plan, "Set America Free" , cites a "perfect storm" of geopolitical, economic, and environmental problems with continued high U.S. oil consumption, and recommends rapid development of hybrids and other available technologies, new fuels, and cars that can use them. The groups will put pressure on Congress to turn the plan into legislation.

Somebody else sees a Perfect Storm too.

Peak Oil is now everywhere.

And what is on the News?

We are talking Social Security because it will have shortfalls.

In 2042.

We are talking Super Bowl.

It was 24-21.

We are talking Iraq,

We're ahead 100,000 to 10,000.

but we are not talking about why we are there.

We are talking bad about Iran.

They have oil too.

Like most disaster movies,

this one will end with uplifting music,

and a bright clearing sky,

and a significantly reduced cast.


Blogger Urban Denizen #512 said...

Tonight I closed the restaurant talking to a middle-aged woman about the conflict in Iraq. She confessed that my choice for wine was so impeccable that she was certain we'd agree on foreign policy.

I said very little; I listened mostly.

Any conversation requires a certain context to jusify said conversation's retelling, but in the name of brevity, the one thing I took from the conversation follows:

When I spoke of oil, and expanding markets as the
real motivation for the conflict in Iraq, she responded with, "If the valve to the oil faucet of the world was turned off tomorrow, America with all of her scientists and innovators would create alternative fuel sources. It is as easy as splitting the atom. We do not need oil. This conflict is about freedom."

Regardless of the rightness or wrongness of my conclusions on the conflict, the thing that will stick with me is this woman's faith in this impromptu innovation... that someone is ready to take the wheel, if only the wheel presented itself.

It is a good segue to a quotation I read years ago in the liner notes of an album jacket.

"...people would like to think that there's somebody up there who knows what he's doing. Since we do not participate, we do not control and we don;t even think about questions of vital importance. We hope somebody is paying attention who happens to have some competence. Let's hope this ship has a Captain, in other words,since we're not taking part in what's going on...
It is an important feature of the ideological system to impose on people the feeling that they really are incompetent to deal with these complex and important issues: they'd better leave it to the Captain. One device is to develop a "star system," an array of figures who are often media creations or creations of the academic propaganda establishment, whose deep insights we are supposed to admire and to whom we must happily and confidently assign the right to control our lives and international affairs..." (I am keeping the source to myself, for now... just so long as you know it was not me.)

10:13 PM  
Blogger oZ said...

Nice post SG. thanks for the comments.

As Hubbert said, "Or ignorance is not so vast as our failure to use what we know"

And Caesar said, "Men willingly believe what they wish."

For your friend to see the world otherwise, she would need to completely reorder her world view. This is generally possible once there is no other alternative.

8:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

climate change science is still very uncertain.

11:10 AM  
Blogger oZ said...

Sorry to say, at this point, the only thing that is uncertain regarding the growing concensus on climate change science is your ability to accept information you don't want to believe. CO 2 concentrations are shooting up. The oceans are rising and warming.
Glaciers are melting.

People who choose to not see this are coming close to the edge of criminal negligence.

If you are in a position of public trust and you do not weigh this information fairly, you are acting no differently than the government official who did not believe that the Indian Ocean earthquake would inundate his tourist laden beaches.

And you would be criminally negligent in your duty to warn the public of the oncoming danger.

11:36 AM  
Blogger oZ said...

Thanks for your comments Memo. Especially the Hope and Love. It the foundation of our mental and emotional prosperity.

8:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am counting on a margin of flawed quantification by the scientific community. At least sufficiently for our continuation. Afterall, this techno logical revolution is in its infancy, as demonstrated by the fix we're in. Our tools are relatively crude when it comes to measurement on a global scale. Certainly we can depend upon our flaws, no? I am not campaigning that we dismiss the certainty of science that serves us so well and affords us a realist infrastructure to our movements, just Hoping for some miscalculable leeway.

In the meantime, I think I will oil up my bike and fill as many canning jars with cool air as I can find.

11:07 AM  
Blogger oZ said...

I will post soon on my own ideas regarding proper preparations. thanks for your comments

7:28 AM  

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