Why James Lovelock Is So Wrong

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From memory, Gaia: A New Look At Life On Earth came out on 1978. I didn’t read it until 1990, when I was studying for a Geography degree, then it hit home how little I knew about the world, and how little I was likely to ever know. James Lovelock has always been there at the back of my mind as a dominant figure, an intellectual giant who was responsible not only for bringing to wider humanity the concept of a self-regulating global system that would be able to take care of itself during even the darkest of times (and yes, Daisyworld was just symbolic, but a bloody good symbol at that), but also alerting us to the terrible dangers of CFCs, and the horrible potential of positive feedback loops in taking us towards climatic catastrophe. He is the public face of environmental scientific radicalism.

No wonder then, that when he speaks, we take note: even when he makes life difficult for himself in avowedly supporting nuclear power, or just making statements that are plain wrong. No one is perfect, and some people can be forgiven the odd quirk more than others.

Proposing a series of heavily-defended climate refuges, in which Industrial Civilization can remain, locking out the billions who failed to live in the “right” parts of the globe, is not a quirk.

In his latest book “The Vanishing Face Of Gaia”, Lovelock sees the world as already having passed the climatic point of no return – he may be right; in fact he is most definitely right, but only in the context of Industrial Civilization remaining as the dominant cultural influence on Earth. Whether we will definitely see the predicted loss of billions of humans, and the desertification of half of the Earth’s landmass, whatever we do, is another question entirely, but one that Lovelock is seemingly unable to contemplate.

I posed a difficult question to him (via an interviewer) on BBC Radio 5Live last week:

“I have been a follower of your work for a long time, and watched your views harden and become more apocalyptic in recent years. In many ways this is welcome, especially to warn people of the likelihood of catastrophic change, and also to ridicule the ideas of the mainstream environmental movement, who still think we can tinker around with civilization to make things better. I was wondering, though, whether you welcome the views of people like myself and Derrick Jensen, who see Industrial Civilization as the cause, and the removal of Industrial Civilization as the solution to our current predicament?”

The key point was the last one, which would reveal whether Lovelock could see beyond civilization into a world in which humans lost all pretence of domination over the Earth, and instead accepted that only true sustainability would allow humanity to continue as a going concern.

His response can be heard by clicking on this link.

His response is factually wrong: Industrial Civilization is an extreme way of living, and other ways of living are not “stone age” they are just non-industrial; whether hunter-gatherer, kitchen garden, permaculture or a hybrid of these, or any other way of life that is fundamentally sustainable. These ways of life can easily support as many people as are currently on the Earth, but with far less impact.

It’s difficult to explain to someone who is so cast in a civilized mould, that everything they believe about civilization may be wrong: even more difficult to convince them of this. After all, when you are civilized, surely that makes you the epitomy of what it means to be a fully developed human being – Homo sapiens sapiens civitas – and so anything else is a step down from your current position. Step down or not, it is surely not a morally defensible position to suggest that you can carry on living in much the same manner as you have become accustomed to – providing you have been lucky enough to have been born in the right place, at the right time, to the right people (you don’t really think everyone living in a Lovelock “Life-Raft” will be allowed to stay, do you?).

But we continue to defend this way of life, and this Culture of Maximum Harm, because it is all we have ever known: we are blinded by our lack of perspective, and are thus prepared to support this behemoth, even though we probably know it will end up killing most of us; just as it has started killing so much life already. No other way of life is more destructive than Industrial Civilization.

Your choice: do you follow Lovelock and the rest of the civilized world into a future where we live in city states, ringed by gun turrets, thronged by the bodies of the unlucky millions; or do you make the leap into a way of thinking that may be alien to you now, but which – when you have a chance to contemplate it – is really the only logical conclusion.



Keith Farnish is the author of “Time’s Up! An Uncivilized Solution To A Global Crisis.”
www.timesupbook.com


62 thoughts on “Why James Lovelock Is So Wrong

  1. Even if Keith Farnish is correct, that Industrial Civilization is the cause, and the removal of Industrial Civilization is the solution, such a pie-in-the-sky solution is out of the question in a practical sense. Instead, Mr Farnish ought to promote the following clean, cheap, and abundant emerging energy technology:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1iqa0dSJO0

    Check out above link to a 2 and a half minute youtube video of a CNN report. What are the odds that the independent testimony below is fraudulent (not bloody likely unless you are a paranoid conspiracy theorist)? Here is a silver bullet technology: clean cheap and abundant energy.

    In a joint statement, Dr. K.V. Ramanujachary, Rowan University Meritorious Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Dr. Amos Mugweru, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, and Dr. Peter Jansson P.E., Associate Professor of Engineering said, “In independent tests conducted over the past three months involving 10 solid fuels made by us from commercially-available chemicals, our team of engineering and chemistry professors, staff, and students at Rowan University has independently and consistently generated energy in excesses ranging from 1.2 times to 6.5 times the maximum theoretical heat available through known chemical reactions.”

    Also, check out this article: http://green.venturebeat.com/2008/05/30/blacklight-power-claims-nearly-free-energy-from-water-is-this-for-real/

    Brad Arnold
    St Louis Park, MN, USA
    dobermanmacleod@gmail.com
    http://www.myspace.com/dobermanmacleod

  2. Not pie in the sky. Not impractical. Just unthinkable – to people such as you. If we don’t do it voluntarily, the natural processes of the universe will do it for us.

  3. We actually have several environmental problems. Not just one. Even if global warming were not an issue, the current rate of extinction will continue to be a problem that will threaten our own survival over time. Jame Lovelock addresses this issue in his book, “The Vanishing Face of Gaia”.

    The problem with the planet is there are more people than the environment can support over time. Our numbers are breaking the bank as it were. We are looking at looming food shortages, water shortages, resources, etc. due to unsustainable population levels. These issues would still remain problems even if global warming were not an issue. In fact, we could have enjoyed the level of industrial development that we have if our population had been a good deal smaller than it is now. The earth could probably carried a billion of us at our current level of consumption and industrial development!

    That’s the sad fact. It’s our numbers that are precipitating all of this. Malthus predicted a HUGE population crash when our population was approaching 1 billion. It is suggested that it did not happen because we discovered technologies to harness fossil fuels and become much more efficient. Out technological development has enabled our population to expand to something well beyond the pre industrial limits. If we were to completely drop technology and industry the we would truly revert to a hunter gatherer society. For some revelation read Richard Duncan’s “Olduvai Theory”. It discusses a population collapse he predicts will begin sometime within the next 5 years or so due to ever increasing demands for fossil in the face of ever dwindling supplies.

    We are facing disaster from so many directions it is not funny!

    Our intelligence has ultimately worked against us by allowing us to develop methods to sustain our population all the way to the point of crippling our environment.

    We live in a fish bowl. It has finite limits. We broke them. The bigger the bowl, the longer the latency period before the inevitable becomes obvious.

    See the movie, “Rapa Nui” then read the essay, “Easter’s End”:
    http://dieoff.org/page145.htm

    As a matter of fact, take a GOOD look at the web site that hosts this article. Richard Duncan’s article is there also.

    Research the 6th mass extinction as well. We are in the middle of that right now.

    It is all part of a BIG ugly picture that we have created by our excessive numbers!

    You could argue the points individually and try to minimize them. But taken as a whole they present a VERY BLEAK picture that only the feeble minded would fail to grasp. You may have to STRUGGLE to see the gestalt exposed in all of this.

    If you don’t think the mass extinction is REAL the check out the failure of the Cod Fisheries in Nova Scotia (North Atlantic) in the early 1990s:
    http://archive.greenpeace.org/comms/cbio/cancod.html

    The seas are over fished. If you doubt it do some research on your own. In the eastern US, some bat species are threatened by White Nose Disease. Commercially kept hone bees die off a hive at a time. Salmon in the western US and Canada are threatened by reduced precipitation and water diversion. The list goes on and on and on.

    Essentially, plants and animals are threatened by human over predation, human land use and human encroachment on habitat.

    James Lovelock addressed these issues in bulk by discussing human over population and what it meant in general terms. if you want to attack specific points and claim he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, what does that say about you?

    I know what I am talking about. I have looked at ALL the stuff I have mentioned (plus about 100 times more) and several of James Lovelock’s books as well. I arrived at the conclusion that we were pretty well screwed before reading ANY of his books. When he wrote the “Revenge Of Gaia”, I thought he was being nice about it. It his most recent book, “The Vanishing Face of Gaia”, I believe he tells it exactly how it is!

    Our numbers are not sustainable. Peak Oil is just the first in a line of items that will affect our ability to MAKE IT in this world. The earth is over populated. It has been said that since about 1970 we have been annually consuming more than the earth produces. And each year we do it early in the year the the yea before. The first time it happened they estimated it was sometime in December. Now it happens sometime in October. Check out the special, “The End Of The Line”. It discusses the issues surrounding the over fishing of the seas.

    A while back there was a news cast talking about space usage. It was claimed that all the folks in the world could be placed in the state of Texas and the population density would be less that in New York city. I won’t swear to the numbers but is was something in the neighborhood of 32 square feet per person. A coworker used this as an argument to demonstrate that the earth had a long way to go before it was over populated. What a joke this statistic is. The place a person may occupy temporally speaks nothing to the amount of space required to produce all the thing required to sustain a person annually.

    I tried finds this figure. I read somewhere that it took around 23 hectares. The same article said that there was only about 15 hectares of arable land per person today. I won’t swear to the accuracy of these figures as I’m pulling them from memory but I will state that if they are inaccurate, they are not off by much.

    An article on Dieoff.org talks about the land use a little differently. It comes up with some different numbers but it speaks to the same fact. In the US, withing 20 years, there will no be enough arable land to produce enough food for exports.

    Overpopulated we are! Our population is damaging the environment to the point that species important to the support of the environment are becoming extinct. The rate of extinction is already a HUGE problem. Global warming will only assist in accelerating the inevitable. Oil supplies not capable of meeting the needs of an ever growing human population are just icing on the cake.

    It’s not a pretty picture is it?

    For comment, I can be reached at jhh at envirobat dot org

    John Hayes

  4. I beg to differ. The problem is not necessarily the number of people alive on the Earth (over 6 billion and rising fast), but the unsustainable way they are using the Earth’s resources.

    To make a long story short, I figure we can fit ten times more people if we use a cheap clean and abundant energy technology. Furthermore, if you connect all those people up on the internet, they will probably come up with better technology to increase that number another ten fold.

    By the way, Malthus forwarded a social Darwinian philosophy that has been proven incorrect because of the X factor of improved technology. While I personally don’t hold human life to be anymore sacred than is relative, there is no reason to be mean and sow war, disease, and famine, if for no other reason than it is destabilizing and therefore is a waste of resources.

  5. We are overpopulated, most definitely. The Earth cannot sustain the numbers that we currently have, not by a long shot. A billion people? Such a population might be sustainable, in the long run I doubt it is though. The world population before the Neolithic Revolution was around 5-8 million. Agriculture can feed a lot more people, and sensitively practised shouldn’t be too damaging in itself, but the effects on society (the development of civilisation) are not pleasant (hierarchies, inequality, standing armies, prolonged conflicts, etc.). We just kid ourselves as to the true nature of the beast, because we don’t want to admit we’re part of a monster. And that monster is a greedy one, and inevitably it demands more, and more, and more, and ends up doing nasty things to the biosphere. Our civilisation is just the latest, and most successful, monster. But in the end the monster starves to death. It destroys the base for its survival, and collapses. It’s happened over and over. We’ve just staved that collapse off, by burning fossil fuels, to the point where it’ll be catastrophic. Civilisation is inherently UNSUSTAINABLE – it does not sustain itself indefinitely.

    So yes, we are overpopulated. And it’s our consumption patterns that are a problem. They’re two sides of the same coin.

    “The earth could probably carried a billion of us at our current level of consumption and industrial development!”
    Two problems:
    a) we wouldn’t be content with our current level. We’d want more, and more, and more (remember, the nature of the beast always comes out)
    b) do you mean current levels of consumption in the West? Or the average for the whole globe? There’s a huge difference…

    “I figure we can fit ten times more people if we use a cheap clean and abundant energy technology. Furthermore, if you connect all those people up on the internet, they will probably come up with better technology to increase that number another ten fold.”

    “the X factor of improved technology.”

    Brad, you’ve been seduced by our common cultural myths of “progress” and “the wonder of technology”. You’re looking at the “advances” made in the last couple of centuries, and thinking that they magically came from human ingenuity.

    While human ingenuity did play a part, do you really think we suddenly got so much smarter than our ancestors thousands of years ago? What of the Antikythera Mechanism? What of Adam’s Calendar? Did we get a whole lot smarter than those people?
    No. What changed is that we have had access to a lot more ENERGY than they did (coal, and then oil). Thus, we were able to apply our ideas. Yes, I am aware that one doesn’t just stumble over these things, that there was a “march of technology” over the previous centuries, that there was an accumulation of knowledge, etc. It was all possible thanks to harvesting ENERGY (why do you think Europe has so little forest cover now?).

    Technology does ***NOT*** create energy. That would be the cart pushing the horse.

    Technology HARNESSES energy. No energy, no technology. No horse, no cart.

    A stone axe needs very little energy (solar energy, converted to food, burned by the person making the axe). Ditto for a small fire.
    The larger and more complex the technology, the more energy it needs. The more durable the material it is made from, the more energy it requires to manufacture. It takes a lot more energy to process iron ore into steel than to process a tree into wood.
    The Internet needs an enormous amount of energy. So does a car, or a brick building, etc. That energy has to come from somewhere.
    Technology can only harness energy that is already PRESENT. It cannot harness energy that is NOT PRESENT. We don’t have enormous amounts of energy present on the surface of our planet. The big reserves of energy are underground, stored up over millions of years.

    Our current “miracles of technology” are really miracles of oil. No more oil, no more miracles.
    When you speak about “cheap clean and abundant energy”; you are speaking about oil. It’s cheap – for now. It’s clean – relatively. It’s abundant – at present.
    All the renewables we can get our hands on are (theoretically) clean and cheap, but they are NOT abundant.

    We’re currently burning oil at a rate of 1 cubic mile per year.
    To replace that energy, we’d need to build either:

    4 Three Gorges dams OR
    104 coal-fired plants OR
    32 850 wind turbines OR
    52 nuclear power plants OR
    91 250 000 solar panels

    EACH YEAR, FOR 50 YEARS.

    Do we have the political will to do so?
    Do we have the OIL to do so? (it takes oil to build these things)
    Will they even replace oil? No, because they’re providing energy in a different form, which would mean converting our infrastructure and technological base – which takes (I hope you guessed it by now)…

    ENERGY

    Brad, we’ve hit barrier. It’s that simple.

  6. No, we have not hit a barrier unless you are considering the problem linearly. With a clean cheap and abundant source of energy we can escape the gravity barrier and mine the asteroids. Or, we can synthesis food, build underground, and even enjoy satisfying virtual experiences.

    I would like to remind you that most of the current environmental degradation is the result of the efforts of a small minority of the people living way beyond our current capacity to sustain. If only a half billion people lived like that it would still be unsustainable with our current technology.

    Obviously, on the current trajectory the carrying capacity of the Earth is going to dramatically shrink, but the silver bullet is a clean cheap and abundant source of energy, because with that we can adapt to living in ships (i.e. closed sustainable environments) sustainably.

    Our current lifestyles have hit a barrier, but that is all. We must either adapt or die. The good news is that there is strong evidence that a clean, cheap, and abundant energy technology exists, and that it is being stifled by those power-brokers who want to control the fuel, and therefore the population. But that is beside the point I am trying to make.

    My point is that a clean cheap and abundant source of energy would be a game changer that you appear to be grossly underestimating.

  7. Hi Brad

    No, I’m not grossly underestimating how game changing a “clean cheap and abundant source of energy” would be. We need only look at the utter transformation wrought by oil to see how much of a game changer such a source of energy would be. Oil is clean, cheap and abundant – in the short term, thanks to dodgy accounting surounding its price, which emerges from the fundamental flaw of neoclassical economics – it does not acknowledge the role that energy and resources contribute. It deals with labour and capital only, forgetting that these are built on a foundation of real world resources.

    What I saying is that a “clean cheap and abundant source of energy” does not exist. Oil isn’t really cheap, clean or abundant, we just kidded ourselves that it was.

    Silver bullets don’t exist, because they are products of our fevered modern brains dreaming our modern mythology of “technological progress”. They are not realistic products of cold, hard science.
    We cannot escape the laws of thermodynamics.

    To build underground, synthesise food, and have “satisfying virtual experiences” (whatever those might be), we need ENERGY. We would actually need MORE energy than we are currently using: all of those processes are incredibly energy intensive.

    That energy has to come from somewhere. Energy cannot be created or destroyed, only converted from one form to another.
    The conversion is never one hundred percent efficient. Thus, the more changes of form, the greater the energy loss. This is the reason that we observe food pyramids, with a large biomass of primary producers (plants or other autotrophic organisms) supporting a smaller biomass of primary consumers, in turn supporting an even smaller biomass of secondary consumers.

    Now, I know what you’re going to say in answer to that: we can improve on nature, because we are smart. We can do things more efficiently, because of our technology.

    This is simply not true. We have not dodged around the constraints that other living things (and any energy-using system) face. We have simply tapped into huge reserves of energy, by accessing ancient sunlight locked away for millenia. We have expanded the base of the pyramid. But in doing so, we have been using up those reserves. When they are gone (beyond our practical ability to extract), they are gone. Then we must attempt to survive on the energy base provided by the sun.

    We can do that – just not in huge numbers.

    I checked out about Blacklight, and came across the following red flags:

    self-perpetuating – its a perpetual motion machine. These don’t work, because of energy losses.

    lower energy state of hydrogen – not allowed by quantum physics. Quantum is probably the most successful theory of physics ever, and just because it’s weird as Alice in Wonderland does not make it wrong.

    catalyst – this is the big one. Catalysts are not magic. Enzymes can catalyse reactions in living organisms that otherwise could not happen. But because they are made of proteins, they need a lot of energy to make in the first place.

    Maybe, just maybe quantum physics is wrong, and the Blacklight process really works. Maybe all of their measurements of energy in and energy out are correct.

    But I’ll bet they haven’t measured how much energy went into making the catalyst. And that’s where the laws of thermodynamics are going to come back and bite, hard.

    There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. The Blacklight process belongs in the same delusional box as interest and lottery winnings, the box that says you can get something from nothing.

    Believe me, if there were a way to get such nice large amounts of energy from hydrogen, for next to nothing, it would have been done already. By bacteria.

    We believe in magic nowadays, as did our ancestors, only now it really does work. We call it “technology” and it works because it burns oil (and coal, and some other stuff). It won’t work when those are used up.

    The laws of thermodynamics (a loose phrasing):

    1. You can’t win
    2. You can’t break even
    3. You can’t get out of the game.

    A cheap clean and abundant source of energy would be game changing all right – it would throw some of the fundamental laws of the universe out of the window.

    Brad, I’m not really arguing with you. You appear to be a hopeless cornucopian. I’m posting this so that others who may be reading, will understand how irrevocably we are bound to the laws of thermodynamics, and prepare for what we are facing.

    We are Faust, we made a bargain with the Devil, and now he’s coming to claim his due.

    We won’t get out of this mess by striking another bargain with him. There isn’t another bargain being offered.

    The only salvation is repentance…
    We need to understand our place in the scheme of things, and accept it.

  8. David,

    I think you are wrong about no clean cheap and abundant energy technology existing.

    Think about equation E=mc2, mass (m) is equivalent (=) to energy (E).

    There are a multitude of places it can be gotten. Atomic fusion and fission are just two such examples.

    Even empty space contains vast amounts of energy! “The energy of a cubic centimeter of empty space has been calculated to be one trillionth of an erg, based on the upper limit of the cosmological constant” (Wikipedia).

    Have you ever heard of cold fusion? LENR (Low-Energy Nuclear Reactions) are a fact (I am now glancing at a paper by the DIA (US Defense Intelligence Agency) titled “Technology Forecast: Worldwide Research on Low-Energy Nuclear Reactions Increasing and Gaining Acceptance.”

    I could keep going, but I am at work, and besides, you probably get the idea by now.

    Am I getting this correctly, are you saying that clean cheap and abundant energy is a silver bullet, but you just don’t believe such technology is possible?

  9. Hi Brad

    You are understanding me correctly. Except my unbelief is more fundamental. I don’t believe in cheap, clean, and abundant energy. PERIOD.

    Cheap energy is useless. Energy can be cheap, but it’s no help.

    Point of clarity: I’m talking in terms of energy costs, which are the only REAL costs there are. Money is really only a convenient analogue for energy that we’ve invented. It doesn’t really exist. Think about it – have you ever touched money? Seen it? You’ve only touched bits of paper and metal, or seen figures on a screen. Money is only a symbol for the real thing: ENERGY.

    Energy sources have to be PROFITABLE to us. Paying MORE than we get out won’t work. If a lion uses only 3000 kilojoules to kill an antelope, it’s made a cheap kill (thumbsuck on the figures, but it’s the concept that’s important).
    That cheap kill is worthless if the antelope only yields 2900 kilojoules of usable energy to the lion.
    Kills have to result in net profit for the lion. It has to get more energy from the kill than it expended – which it then uses to stay alive, breed, &c.

    The same applies to us. Energy sources that we exploit have to give us a net energy profit. An oil well has to give more than one barrel of oil return for every barrel of oil used in extraction, or it is shut down. We’re not going to use two barrels of oil to extract one barrel!

    Please search the term “energy return on energy investment” or EROEI for short.

    But hang on, lions do kill antelopes! What gives? What gives is that there is continual energy inflow into the system from the sun. So on a cosmic scale, the laws of thermodynamics are not broken. They are only “broken” locally.
    But there’s only so much energy inflow per unit time (a good thing, we don’t want to be fried to a crisp).
    So what humans have done, is turn to energy that’s been stored away from an earlier time in the life of the universe, in an EASILY-ACCESSIBLE form. Oil. Coal. Uranium.

    You are completely correct to point to e = mc2 and state that energy is abundant. The entire mass of the universe IS energy, so how on earth can I be saying that we don’t have enough?

    The trouble is that it’s not easily accessible. Energy being present isn’t enough for it to be an energy SOURCE. That energy isn’t just sitting there waiting for us. It’s actually holding everything together, and to release it takes energy input.

    To break a rock takes energy. The same applies to an atom. Granted, the two are on very different scales. But the same basic principle applies: energy INPUT is required.

    There are some unstable elements around, itching to break down into simpler, more stable elements. We call them “radioactive”, and have used them in nuclear fission to provide us with energy.
    It’s essentially the same as using oil. We are using energy stored in an easily accessible form.

    Ok, why can’t we just find the next source? So we can only use energy once, is that a problem? That is where we might have breathing room for your approach. If we get off this planet, and find large quantities of uranium, we could keep a high technology going for a bit longer. But getting off, and finding the uranium, and extracting it, and building and operating reactors, all take (oh, bore) energy. Which has to come from somewhere.

    Am I not overlooking fusion?
    No. The trouble with fusion is that it only happens with matter in a plasma state. That requires enormous energy inputs, in the form of heat. That’s the other reason the sun’s running down: quite apart from using up the available hydrogen fuel, the amount of stored heat is declining.

    Cold fusion? It’s twenty years away. And twenty years ago it was twenty years away. And twenty years from now it’ll be twenty years away. It doesn’t work. Not in practice. Something that doesn’t work in practice doesn’t work.

    Finally, clean? There is no such thing as a clean source of energy. There is always loss of energy when converting energy from one form to another (first law of thermodynamics).
    So, living organisms produce waste (oxygen, carbon dioxide, urine, faeces, sulfur compounds, etc.). The precise nature of the wate depends on the processes the organism uses, but all organisms produce waste.
    Burning wood, coal, oil, gas – that produces carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
    Nuclear fission produces all sorts of radioactive waste.
    Any process of energy conversion produces waste; it’s simply the nature of the waste that is different. We only have a choice of whether we are going to have manure to deal with, or radioactive compounds. Manure can be used to grow plants in. Radioactive material is deadly. Tough choice, eh?

    Energy can be cheap – that doesn’t help. Cheap is still running at a loss (money comes from somewhere, and that somewhere is energy)
    Energy can’t be clean – we only have a choice of what pollution to deal with.
    Energy is abundant – but profitably accessible energy is not. It’s a rarity.

    As far as I can see, you are making the mistake of generalising the desirable qualities of oil to all energy sources, and to energy itself.

  10. It is easier to imagine energy as the power it takes to turn a crank on an electric generator. Copper wire passed by a magnet or a magnet passed by a copper wire generates electricity.

    We can physically turn the crank with our hands or feet. Or, we can turn the crank with running water or the expansion of heated water. Or we can use the sun to produce electricity in solar cells to power an electric motor to turn the crank.

    How much does the generation of electricity cost us? As long as the “cost” (i.e. the effort, resources, or time) is less than the cost of turning the crank with our bodies, then it seems like a good deal.

    As far as an economy goes, economic activity is reflected in GDP (gross domestic product). GDP is in some ways absurd, since you can pay people to dig holes in the ground, then refill them, and you have increased GDP. I hear people complain that our economy isn’t generating enough jobs, but we could run a rickshaw company shuttling people around the city. That would generate plenty of jobs, but it would be inefficient compared to those people mining coal, oil, or natural gas, and using the fuel to power vehicles that they then drive.

    What I am trying to say is that energy (the power to turn the crank) can be harvested from virtually unlimited wells at a low cost. It doesn’t necessarily have to result in radioactivity (a hidden cost). I will also observe that global warming is also probably contributed to by waste heat in oxidizing fossil fuels (I will furnish a peer-reviewed paper upon request). Another hidden cost.

    My point is that there is plenty of energy in the universe that only needs ingenuity to harvest, not muscle power, or the exploitation of non-renewable resources. Once you gain access to such a clean cheap and abundant form of energy you can use it to expand your access to more resources. By the way, I am not specifically thinking of BlackLight Power and hydrogen, but am just making a generalized observation.

    In summary, if mankind just had a method of accessing the wells of virtually unlimited energy that we know is out there, our ecosystem becomes a lot larger. If a problem is intractable (like the burning of fossil fuels to power our economy/civilization), then enlarge it. While the energy properties of fossil fuels is comparable to (for instance) zero point energy, it is inaccurate to say I am generalizing the desirable qualities of oil to all energy sources.

    Instead, I am pointing out that the same human imagination that expanded our vistas by burning fossil fuels can be used to expand our vistas much further by installing a superior energy technology (whatever that ends up being). Think of oil as a stepping stone, not as a onetime sugar high.

  11. I’m a zoologist. I’d like to think I have a pretty good understanding of energy limits. And a good appreciation of how rare and precious good quality energy sources are. If you doubt that my training in studying animals has any bearing, please search:

    Optimal foraging
    Resource patchiness

    I agree, we COULD HAVE used oil as a stepping stone. If there are other bonanzas out there, we could have used oil to get at them, just as we used agriculture and charcoal to get to the Industrial Era. But we’ve blown oil and coal on a big party instead.

    I’ve checked out your MySpace page, and you are obviously intelligent and well-read. Please do read the following article:

    http://www.eoearth.org/article/Ten_fundamental_principles_of_net_energy

    It will clarify many of the statements I have made in our discussion, and also show you were I have been wrong. (I am not claiming infallibility).

    My central points remain the same:
    1) Energy enables everything we do, and therefore also limits everything we do.
    2) While energy is the very stuff of the universe, easily accessible energy is rare and scattered. It is a precious resource to be carefully managed, not a blank check.

    Regards,
    David Franklin

    P.S. Nice dogs…

  12. David,

    Thanks for the nice note. The article you cite is relevant, but not specific to revolutionary new (is that redundant?) clean cheap and abundant energy technologies. EROI is definitely a factor, with too high of an EROI actually being dual-use and therefore dangerous.

    Let me cite two recent developments. The first has a relatively low EROI, the new Bloom Box. You ought to be hearing more about it today (Wednesday, Feb 23) because it is due to be introduced, having been covered in a Sixty Minutes segment last Sunday evening. Basically, it is a fuel cell that converts natural gas (methane, swamp gas, whatever) to electricity on-site at about 2X current technology. Combined with what Dr Craig Venter is working (GM microbes that produce methane from compressed CO2), that ought to kick butt, but has a relatively low EROI.

    On the other side of the spectrum is WSFM (please don’t make me spell that acronym out for you). You probably don’t believe in UFOs, if only because you simply disregard any reasonable analysis of the sightings. Anyway, I can credibly argue that an cheap clean and abundant with an extremely high EROI exists, but is being kept from the public because empires want to control access to fuel. I strongly suggest watching this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FEyV_-NGyk

    For extra credit, read Defense Analysis Report DIA-08-0911-003 Technology Forecast: Worldwide Research on Low-Energy Nuclear Reactions Increasing and Gaining Acceptance. Basically, LENR is now out of the closet (you know, cold fusion), and there is every reason to believe that if we can better understand the principle of why this phenomena occurs, we can solve the “energy crisis.”

    To summarize, I learned in shop class in high school that gasoline fumes were the strongest non-nuclear explosive know, so it is fair to label oil as having a high EROI. Never the less, there is no reason to think that oil was our one-shot at energy nirvana. Yeah, we are wasting it big time, but lets face it, that black tar is gross, so I won’t miss it if we can find an intelligent replacement.

    My wife and I visited Alaska, and we took a tour to where the 49ers mined for gold. There many people died from lack of a certain vitamin in their diet. What they didn’t know is that the flower that grows all over there had that vitamin in abundance. In other words, they died in ignorance while the very solution to their problem was all around them. Really gets you thinking, huh?

  13. Ever wonder why projects like SETI listening for other civilizations in the universe never hear anything?

    Very probably hundreds or thousands of “earths” were born over the billions of years. But very probably they disoovered fossil fuel, that magic stuff that can provide so much power for easing life with cars and air conditioners and many things. They probably had their scientists who cried out about damage to the atmosphere done by CO2, but big businesses were able to minimize or shut down such warning voices.

    We want and expect happy endings. Hollywood tells us there will nearly always be a happy ending. Positive thinking gurus tell us “Everything will be all right in the end. Don’t worry, be happy!”

    Oh that Mother Nature and the universe operated by such cheerful rules! But Mother Nature is a cruel old gal. Its Her way or the highway. She has clear rules. Play by them or perish.

    CO2 is now nearling 400 parts per million. That is red lights and siren time. Anything over 350 is considered too much.

    People will wake up to all this. But unfortunately it is not the kind of crisis that provides time for recovery. Lovelock and others expect temperatures to spike suddenly – 9 degrees C in temperate zones like the US and 5 degrees C in the tropics. And that is an average. Highest temperatures can be much higher.

    What happens then? The agriculture we need to live vanishes very fast. As fast as food spoils in your refrigerator when the electricity goes out. Corn, Wheat and other staples of humans cannot live at those high temperatures.

    If it happens in your lifetime, and its likely, please give a few seconds thought to people like James Lovelock and others who were disparaged, maybe even by you. Offer a silent “thank you to them and say ‘sorry'”.

    Bill G.

  14. While I doubt abrupt climate change is the reason why SETI hasn’t reported hearing anything, it is a BIG concern because (like you said) non-irrigated crops will routinely fail in the near future due to record heat waves.

    On the other hand, there is a cheap and simple way to immediately cool down the Earth: just add a little (more) sun dimming aerosol to the air.

    Franky, I bet reality is much more rich than consensus reality would have us believe: for instance, there is overwhelming evidence that we are routinely visited by extraterrestrial life. Another example is Dr Lovelock (who is one of my heroes) who seems to have a linear view of the approaching challenges – while a human bottleneck is a real threat, technological innovations can minimize that risk.

    For example, what if BlackLight Power does really have a revolutionary new energy technology and they are able to get 100 times the energy from hydrogen than burning it? Problem solved – if fact such technology could be used to build a rocket engine that would get us to Mars in two months!

  15. Brad,
    Your comment raise some good points, and also some points that may need clarification.

    Why do you doubt SETI has come up empty-handed due to similar evolution on other earth-like planets? These planets very probably had fossil fuels available, and in time intelligent creatures will discover and use them. Of course, there is no hard evidence, but this scenario seems highly probable.

    Your observation regarding aerosols was on the mark. In fact, as you may know, our atmosphere is now loaded with aerosols from jet planes, from coal burning power stations, from cars and much more. This reduces the sunlight hitting earth, mitigating global warming. One Israeli researcher measuring sunlight striking earth over a long time period found an astounding drop of 22% sunlight striking earth.

    This does indeed reduce global warming from CO2 trapped sun heating. You may have read that right after 9-11 when planes were grounded all over the world, scientists studying heat from the sun, recorded a huge increase in temperature of 1 degree C after three days of plane grounding. This was recorded worldwide. This heating resulted from a drop in only one source of aerosols – jet exhaust and jet contrails.

    If most aerosols were to disappear in a greater amount from the atmosphere the conclusion is temperatures would rocket upwards immediately. So, the junk we pump into our skies is saving our lives! Some shock to our worldwide economy such as a global depression would reduce aerosols with very bad results.

    You have faith that technology will save us. Haven’t we been thinking that for a hundred years or more? Yet each technical discovery – atom splitting, the combustion engine, electricity and many more – seems to generate their own set of problems – often more severe problems than they solved.

    It just seems time to play defense now. At nearly 400 ppm CO2 in our atmosphere “solution time” seems long past. And the players fighting the very idea of man-caused global warming seem as active as ever.

    One blog site proposed construction of “Polar Cities” as a path for mankind. Lovelock and others speculate that polar regions may be habitable and support the agriculture we need to live. Perhaps we can start building these Polar enclaves, as gated communities we see now, for far sighted wealthy people. The example would probably get lots of press for global warming, the belief in it by responsible people and a viable response. That would be all to the good.

    One more point. I note you include only non-irrigated crops as those at risk from high temperatures. So, you seem to suggest irrigated crops will be OK. Irrigated or non-irrigated crops cannot survive in 120 degree heat. Episodes of much hotter days would certainly kill off all crops that survived the average rise in heat.

    Best regards

    Bill G

  16. It is reasonable to believe that we are getting visited constantly by cultures with advanced technology. Further, it is reasonable to believe that mankind already possesses a cheap clean and abundant energy technology, but empire is withholding/repressing it.

    On the other hand, it isn’t unreasonable that a revolutionary clean cheap and abundant new energy technology will appear on the market in the next few decades. For example BlackLight Power and the hydrino. Or solar power that is close to 100 percent efficient, or LENR (low-energy nuclear reactions or cold fusion), or GMO alga (converting condensed CO2 to natural gas biologically)…the list goes on.

    Yes, there maybe a low success rate for long-term alien life, but that would still mean countless technologically advanced cultures.

    By the way, soon methane will start dissociating from the methane hydrate, and a devastating and repeatable environmental catastrophe will occur (without human intention) as the massive positive feedback of the cryosphere melting will rapidly start.

    Furthermore, we depend upon oil not only for energy, but for fertilizer. With the degradation of the soil already from farming, increased number and severity of heat waves (especially if legislators try to “clean up the skies” with air pollution regulations), and add to that much less fertilizer, we better start learning to grow our food in vats.

    Sure hope Black Light is legit, because it would power a rocket engine that would get us to Mars in a month. Mining the asteroids would be cool.

  17. Hey Brad,
    You sure are a busy fellow on this blog.

    Respectfully, I’m not sure about the role of aliens or this Black Light thing. I prefer to go by hard evidence. There have been many exciting and hopeful technical developments that have not worked out in cancer research and things like cold fusion.

    Bottom line on what we know for sure: CO2 is approaching 400 parts per million in the atmosphere. That is according to the observatory in Hawaii who has been monitoring CO2 for a long time.

    400 PPM is extremely dangerous – way over acceptable levels and about what happened eons ago in previous CO2 associated warming of the earth and extinction of much of the life on it.

    It is time for defensive action now, and we need to get to it fast if any semblance of the USA and the good things in Western civilization are to survive. It is not a 100% certainty, as Lovelock admits, but its getting pretty close to that. As Lovelock says, we are the tourists in the sightseeing boat about to go over the edge of Niagra Falls and most of us think everything is just fine.

    I heard a very brief report that the Pentagon was working on plans for the US should the worst in climate change happen. Let’s hope this is true.

    Let’s not waste time waiting and hoping for technical fixes to the catastrophic CO2 levels we have reached, nor alien intervention for our salvation. It up to us, individually and as members of a democratic society to make all this heard by the widest possible audience to improve chances of our government engaging in massive planning and action to move the population north where we improve chances of survival.

    Its a huge undertaking. Will we have the will and foresight? Its up to us.

  18. Interesting…massive planning (and action) to move the population north. Sorry, but that is both unfeasible and unnecessary. Unfeasible because you have to consider the logistics, which are impossible: a sudden move north in response to abrupt climate change is romantic but look at the relatively simple logistics of evacuating the Louisiana coast and you will see that even on that relatively small of a scale such dynamic dramatic action was unfeasible. Unnecessary because way before moving away from all our infrastructure and property, we would dim the sun with aerosol, thus immediately cooling our territory.

    Nor is a severe carbon diet feasible unless a revolutionary new cheap clean and abundant energy technology is introduced to the market. Mankind is due to increase emissions over 50% by 2030, not severe decrease GHG emissions. Heck, even a population bottleneck like a severe pandemic wouldn’t do the trick because then our short-lived sun dimming pollution would quickly wash out of the air and we will suffer dramatic temperature increases that would cause ecosystems to collapse and massive amounts of methane to disassociate from methane hydrate.

    No, in the short run the only feasible strategy for maintaining a Holocene-like climate is to manage the solar budget. Without the Holocene, we would have to grow food mostly artificially, a romantic concept but one that would take many decades to put into place. Besides, why evacuate when our air conditioners would allow us to live comfortably as do those in other oven environments like Saudi Arabia?

  19. Brad,
    Thanks for your response.
    I want to understand what you mean by “managing our solar budget”. Does that mean reducing our emissions? Does it imply man-made solar dimming?

    I agree moving the population is an incredibly massive project. Probably we could not move everyone. Now you will ask, “Who moves, who stays behind”. I don’t know. It part of the very difficult project which would be full of stops and starts and error.

    But all that is better than the alternative – our nation being wiped out in a short time. I realize the mind’s first reaction to predictions of Lovelock and others is to simply revolt and throw it all aside. Its too catastrophic. Its too unpleasant (putting it mildly). We probably have some evolutionary mechanism for immediate rejection of such ideas as Lovelock’s. Unfortunately science points in the direction of his conclusions and no matter how distasteful that conclusion it could very well come true.

    There is no good, easy, happy response to all this, unfortunately. As Lovelock points out, its like finding out from the doctor your closest loved one has a terminal disease. We react the same way: denial, rejection of the doctor’s finding, anger, depression, etc. But sometimes in individual lives we must face such conclusions and deal with them in some way. This is the same, only on a national and world level.

    Katrina is not a great example of what I suggested about population re-location. We had a President who hated any government involvement, so he and Rumsfeld dragged their feet on a response. They had no plan. It was a mess, as you point out.

    What I am suggesting is a solid plan that we begin to construct now. We could build infrastructure in a safe northerly location, plan for agriculture and all the rest. It is the only alternative I see, given the reality that we did not begin to work on ruination of earth’s wonderful atmosphere that supports life thirty or forty years ago and we now have nearly 400 parts per million CO2 (not to mention other green house gases) in our atmosphere.

    We could pump pollutants into the atmosphere that would cause more global dimming, but where do we stop with that? We have global dimming now to a huge extent due to industrial and other particulate pollutants in our atmosphere (particles that block sunlight from striking earth, thus reducing its heating effect). As I pointed out in another post one researcher measured a huge 22% drop in sunlight hitting earth over a relatively short few decades of measurement. How far do we go? Pretty soon the pollutants we pump into our atmosphere may cause health problems for all living creatures. Extreme dimming would cause many species to go extinct, as well.

    Why do you shun nuclear? Think if we could perfect atomic fusion generation of electricity. Now there a solution! Unlimited power, almost zero radioactive waste. Zero CO2. But we can’t seem to push fusion over the finish line. For thirty years those working on fusion have been saying, “Just give us ten more years.” Its a very tough technology to develop and I’d like to see more spent on its development right now.

    Your air conditioner solution is great for us, but what about the corn, wheat, beans, and other vegetables we need to live? What would you feed our farm animals when temperatures no longer allowed growing their food?

    The world’s denial and procrastination on this lethal climate crisis is almost as interesting as the crisis itself. People don’t want to discuss it (except, thankfully, a few like you), they don’t want to think about it at all, they click off their minds to it immediately. This is why you almost never see it (and especially Lovelock) discussed in mainstream media in its true world-ending stark terms.

  20. Bill,

    First, I mean by “solar management” reducing the amount of solar heat added to the Earth. That can be accomplished by sun dimming aerosol in the air (some say the sun is already reduced 20% by our short-lived sun dimming pollution), or by increasing the albedo of the Earth (reflective surfaces like glaciers, white rooftops, etc.).

    Second, I fail to see how abandoning the current infrastructure would save our nation. If the only problem is growing food, then we’ll just have to import more of it. If things mature the way Lovelock predicts (fears?), then it will be a rout not an organized retreat north.

    Third, I am in 100% agreement (with Lovelock) on nuclear (i.e. hot fission) energy. Waste isn’t a big thing in my book, and neither is safety. On the other hand, it is not economical without gigantic subsidies, and the waste heat contributes at least as much to global warming as the emissions from natural gas (I’ll forward to you a great paper on the subject upon request). Now, if you are talking cold fusion (LENR), or hot fusion, then we’ll see when the technology matures.

    Finally, I assure you that I (unlike most people) am very capable of imaging worse case scenarios. I just caution against gauging their probability based upon linear analysis. I have this great story about fears New York City would be overflowing with house dung just before the introduction of the automobile. Nitrogen fertilizer and antibiotics allowed a gigantic jump in the human population. All we need is an energy breakthrough (like the BlackLight Process for example) to be able to build a new rocket engine (I have the article on my blog) that will get us to Mars in around 20 days. With that we can mine the asteroids, and live on other planets.

  21. We’re not going to get out of this spot of bother using fancy technology. Think about it – that’s what got us into this mess.
    By analogy – if you’ve injured your head bashing it against a wall, the correct response is to step away from the wall – not to keep on bashing in hopes that the wall will crumble. All you’ll do is split your skull open.
    The horse dung problem in New York was solved by introducing beasts that produce a far more deadly dung. But it’s invisible, so it seemed like a revolutionary solution. And now that we realise what its dangers are, we’re clamouring for a new breakthrough. Um, yeah… So, what about $700 for the bridge?

    Bill and Brad, you can both see what’s coming. How about looking at what you personally can do for your families to help them survive?

  22. This is the problem: mistrust of technology. Of course, the ONLY way out of this spot is using fancy technology. Think about it – CO2 lasts hundreds of year in the atmosphere. Furthermore, not only is there an excess in the air now, but we are committed to putting a lot more in (as well as gigantic natural emissions as the Earth continues to warm).

    Here is what Climate Code Red says:

    –Human emissions have so far produced a global average temperature increase of 0.8 degree C.

    –There is another 0.6 degree C. to come due to “thermal inertia”, or lags in the system, taking the total long-term global warming induced by human emissions so far to 1.4 degree C.

    –If human total emissions continue as they are to 2030 (and don’t increase 60% as projected) this would likely add more than 0.4 degrees C. to the system in the next two decades, taking the long-term effect by 2030 to at least 1.7 degrees C. (A 0.3 degree C. increase is predicted for the period 2004-2014 alone by Smith, Cusack et al, 2007).

    –Then add the 0.3 degree C. albedo flip effect from the now imminent loss of the Arctic sea ice, and the rise in the system by 2030 is at least 2 degree. C, assuming very optimistically that emissions don’t increase at all above their present annual rate! When we consider the potential permafrost releases and the effect of carbon sinks losing capacity, we are on the road to a hellish future, not for what we will do, but WHAT WE HAVE ALREADY DONE.

    By the way, here is another relevant quotation:

    “The Greens’ resistance to geo-engineering sits very uncomfortably with its message that the planet is screwed and we’re all going to die. It suggests that Environmentalism has less to do with saving the planet than it does with reining in human aspirations. It suggests that they don’t actually believe their own press releases, and that they know the situation is not as dire as they would like the rest of us to think it is. And that Environmentalists are cutting off their noses to spite their faces – “we’ll save the planet our way or not at all.” It suggests that Environmentalists regard science and engineering as the cause of problems, and not the solution.” –Climate Resistance, 24 March 2008

    You may find this hard to swallow, but your irrational resistance to geoengineering (and your unrealistic severe carbon diet prescription) will cause exactly what you are trying to avoid: a climate catastrophe.

  23. By the way, it maybe ironic to post this to the comment section of an article titled “Why Lovelock Is So Wrong” but:

    “The alternative (to geoengineering) is the acceptance of a massive natural cull of humanity and a return to an Earth that freely regulates itself but in the hot state.” –Dr James Lovelock, August 2008

    Amen brother.

  24. David,
    You wrote we should look to how we can help ourselves and our families survive.

    Right you are. That’s about all we can do. It is just totally amazing how mainstream media cowers from even whispering about warnings of the great scientist James Lovelock and other earth scientists.

    Can you imagine – there is a significant possibility that the end of the world as we know it is just around the corner and everbody wants to look the other way. Media would rather cover the latest infidelity of some movie star, or Sarah Palin’s latest statements. Its easy to understand how past great civilizations perished from things they could have avoided or mitigated.

    But maybe down through the ages we have had too many doom sayers from religious nuts to little guys in gowns on street corners with “The End is Near” signs. So people immediately throw out any thought that the end is really here.

    I agree with you about technology, including flying to another planet or inhabiting the moon. Its just not feasible at all. But I think the US, for example, could start some major preparations for people to move north where Lovelock and others say humans may be able to live on and grow the food we need.

    I brought up fusion – fusion of hydrogen atoms like the H-bomb. I meant fusion using heavy hydrogen – a reactor. But that technology seems to allude us. We can’t make it work in a way that would provide enough electricity for our massive human centers of population.

    Regarding taking care of my family, I do kind of have a “solution”. We own and live part of the year aboard our sailing yacht. If it came to it we could sail anywhere there is a sea and anywhere that seemed life could be supported. But unfortunately my boat is only large enough for maybe 6 people – not enough for my extended family.

    We are solar and wind powered to make electricity which gets stored in our battery bank. The diesel engine has an alternator to produce electricity if needed (99% of the time solar and wind produce all we need and more), also stored in the battery bank. Aboard we can make fresh water, we have a frig, lights, propane for cooking. We are in the Caribbean now and there is usually plenty of wind, so we mostly sail where we go, not using the motor. Again, solar and the wind especially usually provide more energy than we can use.

    However, I’m painfully aware of how all this stuff we have depends on our industrial society to replace parts, build new batteries when ours wear out and so on. I suppose we could become primitive sailors and have no modern technology on board, i.e., get our water from natural sources, sail everywhere (like Columbus), use primitive lights at night, and forage for food or grow our own somewhere. A few such sailors still exist out here.

    America is capable of great things. But we need a bomb shell to get us going – like Pearl Harbor. Now that was a Wake Up Call! And we responded wonderfully. The war effort of WWII in America was a miracle of might, everyone, I mean everyone, pulling together, and getting an “impossible” job done in an unbelievably short time.

    But where is that “bomb shell” to wake us up to the deadly probable outcome of global heating? Its a very slowly exploding bomb so far and people are getting used to the melting ice and rising waters. Plus we have great meteorologists like Rush Limbaugh to tell us it will all be OK and Al Gore made it all up. And THAT is what people much prefer to believe – not Lovelock.

    Thank you. Enjoy reading your comments.

    Bill G

  25. Adding to my last post, I do not want to leave the impression that solar and wind power can solve the nation’s power problems. Solar and wind are fine for our sailboat, but to run large cities they won’t do.

    Nuclear is the only possible clean form of power now available that can do the job. Reactor waste disposal is nothing compared to the problem we face with extreme global warming. Fusion reactors, could they be perfected, are conceivably the dream solution. Unlimited power, nearly zero radioactive waste.

    I would like to see the nation get into a Manhattan-style project on two fronts: Planning a move north for the nation, and finally making fusion commercially possible.

    Bill G

  26. “I’m going to tell you something I probably shouldn’t: we may not be able to stop global warming. We need to begin curbing global greenhouse emissions right now, but more than a decade after the signing of the Kyoto Protocol, the world has utterly failed to do so. Unless the geopolitics of global warming change soon, the Hail Mary pass of geoengineering might become our best shot.” –Bryan Walsh, Time Magazine, 17 March 2008

    “The Greens’ resistance to geo-engineering sits very uncomfortably with its message that the planet is screwed and we’re all going to die. It suggests that Environmentalism has less to do with saving the planet than it does with reining in human aspirations. It suggests that they don’t actually believe their own press releases, and that they know the situation is not as dire as they would like the rest of us to think it is. And that Environmentalists are cutting off their noses to spite their faces – “we’ll save the planet our way or not at all.” It suggests that Environmentalists regard science and engineering as the cause of problems, and not the solution.” –Climate Resistance, 24 March 2008

    “Recently some have begun to advocate engineered climate selection as a fallback or insurance policy, in case their preferred regulatory decarbonization approach does not solve the problem or an unforeseen event occurs that requires a rapid response. A more prudent and efficient strategy would appear to be to implement engineered climate selection first and then see what further needs to be done.” –Alan Carlin, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, June 2007

  27. Thanks for the replies Bill. It’s interesting to hear what someone else is doing to prep. I’m just starting out, so no way to afford any kind of watercraft fancier than a canoe right now, but I did look at the kind of things you’re mentioning – and came to the conclusion that late medieval – early industrial technology is about the highest that small communities (50 -200) can sustain (provided that they’re linked by trading networks – such as sailing craft). That could still leave you with a pretty decent craft – but no radar, radio, GPS etc. Break out the signal flags and sextant!
    So I’ve been concentrating on that level of technology (e.g. how to make and use a scythe).
    Being in the south of South Africa, there’s not really any higher latitudes to move to – south of us is the Indian Ocean, grading into the Southern Ocean. The city I’m in (Port Elizabeth) is already showing signs of becoming uninhabitable. The area’s always been dry, and it’s getting drier. I’ve a hunch the end result will be KwaZulu Natal being a full-blown tropical area like Moçambique is now, and the Western Cape being some sort of semi-Mediterranean area, and an uninhabitable zone over the rest of South Africa. The Cape “refreshment station” the Dutch East India Company established might revert to its old role. Certainly, the Suez is going to become unusable sometime soon – making the Cape sea route important again for a while. After that, who knows? The doldrums might be bad enough to sever contact between the two hemispheres.
    Family and (soon to be) in-laws of mine with the land to grow food are setting up food gardens. We’re having success with sweet potato – ideal crop for a warming world. The orange varietals are particularly nutritious. And of course, coconuts are an ideal food for long voyages.

    As far as planning moves goes, I don’t think most people will be enthusiastic. Evacuation plans for specific areas, as they get hammered by natural disasters, that might work. Settlement options for those who see what’s coming, definitely. What I’m really concerned about is that we plan moves (north or south, depending on location) for important non-human species, especially ecological keystone species. And make sure that we have open pollinated seed of as many varieties of food crop as possible. Forget stocking up on gold, seed is going to be commodity number one…

    As far as fusion goes, it would be great – if we could get our hands on loads of hydrogen. The problem is to get it out of water – that takes energy…

    Well, all the best with the planning!

  28. David,
    Your response full of good ideas, and practical ones. You do not go for the “tech” fixes that have their own downside. And most tech fixes I read here are in the “maybe” category. They are usually tech fixes we don’t have yet. I agree we can only go with what we have now.

    Unfortunately, there is not enough time to address what is coming due to global heating and also bring possible tech fixes to reality. This is even true with fusion which I have great hopes for.

    Lovelock and others say some areas may be spared the worst due to being near cool sea currents, plus having rainfall. It is probably pretty dicey to try to predict rain fall patterns under conditions of massive climate change. Rain may fall where we least expect it, and conversely not fall where we expect it.

    As a sailor, we are wary of every hurricane season (in northern hemisphere its June to November with the worst month most often being September) Considering the weather worldwide now seems to be destabilizing and wobbling from hot to cold, we are concerned about this year’s hurricane season which starts officially in about six weeks. Hurricanes have been dipping further south into the Caribbean, for example, in the last few years. We need a safe haven for our boat, but where is that now? Hurricane Ivan hit our boat while it was on land in Grenada in 2004, doing considerable damage. That boat yard had advertised they were “Out of the Hurricane Zone!”.

    I was not suggesting everyone get a sailboat. Moving population to “safe” areas is, I think, the best solution given circumstances. And to repeat myself, this is a HUGE and difficult undertaking that might fail for many reasons. Its just that we lack other possibilities.

    And no way we can move everyone. But perhaps we can preserve the best of civilization somewhere. In the Ice Age that was done to an extent. And man fought with those terrible elements and came out surviving. So that should be a hopeful sign we can survive the Hot State world that seems sure to come. Man is pretty tough.

    You may think of the billions who without their local supermarket and big mall for shopping would probably curl immediately into a ball and die should these go away. But I feel among our billions there are enough tough guys and ladies who would fashion spears and eat rats if the need was there. Society may evolve fast into tribes ruled by cruel war lords. Think of the office politics we have now which is a kind of low level warfare or soft warfare. These types of characters would take on a more sinister demeanor very fast.

    To prevent that, if it can be prevented, planning is needed to maintain a sensible government to lead and to protect the population.

    There is so much for discussion in all this and I think there must be many people thinking along these same lines. Maybe a blog is in order? How about “The Gaia Society” for a name? Or how about “Gaia Nation”?

    To many, the impending radical change of climate seems a hopeless, depressing situation. Their solution: don’t think about it. But that never got anyone anywhere. There is much that can be done to try to save some humans and preserve the civilization we have. But I have got to admit – that comes with a big “Maybe”. No one knows where this era of 400-500 parts per million of CO2 will lead, nor what the climate results will be. We just need to rely on the best scientific guesses by the best people. For me, Lovelock is at the top of the list.

    I’d like to discuss more via email with you and others of like mind. Would you think it wise to post an email address here?

    Best regards and keep developing your very good ideas.

    Bill G
    Bonaire, ABC islands, Netherlands Antilles, Caribbean and Santa Maria, CA, USA

  29. Brad,

    You wrote:

    “Second, I fail to see how abandoning the current infrastructure would save our nation. If the only problem is growing food, then we’ll just have to import more of it. If things mature the way Lovelock predicts (fears?), then it will be a rout not an organized retreat north.”

    We will not abandon our infrastructure by choice. We will abandon it because there’s no more food and the cities will fall into chaos and that will lead to their being abandoned as people flee to seek food.

    “Just import more food” you write. From whom? Argentina, Russa, Europe? No, they will all be experiencing the same chaos and will be in no position to be exporting anything except maybe their populations who will flee looking for a safe place with food and water.

    You wrote, “It will be a rout not an organized retreat north”.

    Yes, exactly. What I am saying is we may be able to prevent the chaotic rout by planning with great energy now. Corridors of transport could be set up. Facilities for housing people could be built. Agriculture could be started now and by the time it is needed be well developed. Water systems could be built. Nuclear power plants could be constructed. Communications networks could be put in place.

    I am fully aware if this were put on the evening news tomorrow, that somebody was proposing all this, it would be immediately dismissed as lunatic doomsday thinking and forgotten.

    Why is this? Because the public has been carefully shielded from the real and immense danger global warming poses. It has become too “political” and “controversial” because powers like the oil companies have funded “studies” to raise doubt. Exactly what happened with the tobacco companies and the effort to curb smoking.

    It took fifty years for the public to finally “get it” regarding smoking. It was a “controversial subject” and therefore avoided by news media and our legislators. The same thing is now happening with global warming. Powers who could be impacted financially have been successful in raising doubt – and that was their aim. Doubt freezes constructive debate, let alone actual programs to combat the threat.

  30. Hi Bill
    Sorry I haven’t responded sooner, have been out of Internet contact for a while. You can reach me at davidefranklin51[at]hotmail[dot]com; I don’t mind posting that one on a public forum.

  31. Hi Bill
    Sorry I haven’t responded sooner, have been out of Internet contact for a while. You can reach me at davidefranklin51[at]hotmail[dot]com; I don’t mind posting that one on a public forum. Let me know by posting here if you’ve sent an e-mail; I don’t check that address often.

  32. David,
    Good to hear from you. I guess our other posters burned out on us. People’s reaction to this topic is very interesting. Many rational, scientifically oriented people just don’t want to go near this topic.

    Maybe it just scares the hell out of them. Maybe its deep denial. I have one friend in Mountain View, CA near where we used to live who is an amazing guy. He has read science for years (such as Scientific American, a great magazine we have in the US) and is really good on a broad range of scientific subjects which I often discussed with him – and I learned a lot from him.

    He won’t touch global warming with a ten foot pole, as they saying goes. Completely refuses to say a word on it. Others will attack Lovelock, using words like “gloomy” or “he’s old”, or similar irrelevant answers to his findings.

    To me, Lovelock is one of those people who I read and he brings a clarity that is only possible with someone who knows exactly what he is talking about. One other guy who did that for me was Warren Buffett, the investor who is or was the world’s richest man. I read a piece Buffett wrote on bonds – what they are, how they work, etc. It was like the ringing of a perfect bell. His grasp of the subject and his knowledge came through and I could tell this guy is “it” in discussing economics and business. That was long before Buffett was as well known and famous as now.

    I wish we could have attracted a small group of people here who are interested and somewhat versed in science. We could have developed an interesting dialog that might have matured into some answers of some sort. But I guess people mostly flit around on the blogs, dropping a comment, then moving on to another blog or activity.

    The other part of is, as I said, is the nature of this topic which is close to talking about the End of the World. I feel we have to deal with what we have produced here on planet Earth. Turning one’s back leads to no where. Its a real “head in the sand” approach and I think that’s where we are with most people.

    I will drop you an email and suggest that anyone who may still want to continue the discussion join us. My email address is
    oflibertysons AT Yahoo.com

    See you on the email, Dave.

    Best regards,
    Bill

  33. I have been reading articles and essays about Lovelock and other global warming theories. I am not sure if he is right. But one thing for sure is we have gone beyond a tipping point in one way or another, whether global heating, pollution, wiping out ecosystems, pollution, acifying oceans etc. What can we do? We can not exactly rely on corporations to be good, or for politicians to protect, but we can create and live a new social meme. Anyone who is concerned about these issues should propose new ways of living beyond florescent light bulbs and recycling. We should look at the worst case scenarios and become inventive now, and find ways that do not just work in the western world but also in India, Indonesia, etc. You obviously like using a computer, we need some degree of an industrial world to make them.

  34. Matthew,
    I would like to be more positive in responding to you but things are not developing well. You may have noticed that no one wants to talk or write about the true end results of global warming. Well, hardly anyone but people like James Hansen and James Lovelock, great scientists both.

    The New York Times, for example, must know the gravity of our situation with CO2 nearly at 400 parts per million, but they write indirect comments on global warming only, instead of laying it out as a major and lethal threat to all man.

    Even on the individual level I know people very well read in science who will talk about any scientific topic with accuracy and knowledge, but when it comes to global warming they clam up. We are getting a true “Head-In-The-Sand approach” on this topic all around.

    So what can be done in face of this total denial? Governments should be acting urgently in big ways – but nearly nothing except worthless talk. I think there is a high likelihood we are all doomed and soon. Sounds impossible, right? Read the science and weep. Its true. Methane, heated by global warming of the seas is now bubbling up along the Arctic Siberian coast in great volumes from the sea bed. Methane is much more powerful for creating the green house effect than CO2. The hundreds of fires in Russia now are very probably directly related to global warming. They lost 25% of their wheat crop and canceled all exports.

    The only long shot I could see is if some private effort got enclaves constructed in the far north as escape venues for humans. Lovelock feels that northern region and some others may be habitable. Agriculture would have to be developed, but must wait until temperatures climb sufficiently to make northern areas livable. But construction could start immediately.

    If it did, this would be noticed and reported upon. That, in turn, might jar governments into some kind of meaningful action.

    I think now all we have left is to go on defense and save some of humanity and its history in such enclaves. There is far too much CO2, and now more methane, in our atmosphere. We should have been working hard on curbing CO2 thirty or forty years ago.

    It may be “lights out” for human kind and someone suggested to me that this could be a part of evolution. Intelligent creature evolves. Intelligent creature discovers the power in fossil fuel which probably existed on other “earths” and uses it to extreme. The green house effect kicks in and kills off the food source for this “intelligent” creature. No more intelligent creature. Why do we hear no radio signals from vast space which must have contained other earths?

    Good luck to you and to all.

    Bill G

  35. The Singularity is coming. Instead of doom and gloom (about the approach of the Sixth Great Extinction), we ought to be optimistic: AI will probably save our butts. We create a superior mind, and it creates an even more superior mind…who knows what technologies exist just beyond our understanding.

    By the way, have you heard of a company in New Jersey called BlackLight Power? They credibly claim that the “BlackLight Process” gets about 200 times the heat from hydrogen than burning it (if so, that would be “bigger than fire”). The guy that leads it (Dr Randell Mills) seems credible enough, and they got a regional University (Rowan) to verify the results.

    Water would suddenly be the new gasoline – power can be produced at 1 cent/kilowatt hr, not 5-10 cents now. It would blow the doors off of old dirty energy production technologies. It think you could design an rocket engine using this to get to Mars in a couple of weeks – it would open up the stars to humanity.

  36. Brad,
    Thanks for your piece. But I can’t share your optimism at this point. Cold Fusion was another miracle that was going to save us. The black light idea may pay off some day. But we have an immediate problem and, like terminal cancer, its hard to find the optimism in it. How long would it take to replace all the coal fired power plants with black light or some other unproven power source? Fifty years – after we perfect it?

    I love new gizmos, too. But we are down to the short strokes here, Brad. Look at the huge fires in Russia. They lost 1/4 their wheat to heat. Its going to happen in more and more places in the world. And I think it could come faster than some think. All the IPCC projections have been way, way off. Models are no good in this situation. We don’t have any previous experience to model properly. At least none whereby we have all the data as to what happened.

    Man needs to go north and a few other places where survival may be possible. That’s the form optimism should take at this point. Plans need to be made starting today and action needs to come quickly thereafter. I am hopeful private initiatives might start the ball rolling. We need to get cracking on a back up plan if global warming spins suddenly out of control.

    Someone said to me maybe global warming is part of evolution. He meant on other “earths” in our universe creatures like us find coal, gas and oil, find out all the work it can do for them, then escalate its use while ignoring the lethal pollution it creates. Maybe they have capitalists just like us who have the power to shut off debate about that pollution.

    Perhaps that’s why we hear no voices (radio) from space. Other planets like earth have burned their resources and atmosphere out – many “Easter Islands” out there in space.

  37. See, this is the problem with linear thinking. Yes, the current trajectory is disastrous, but there are options: for instance, how about a method of immediately cooling down the Earth for pennies per ton of CO2 mitigated? Just add a little (more) sun dimming aerosol into the air.

    Eventually, if energy comes down enough in price, we can construct machines to remove the excess carbon from the air. As far as how long it would take for the “BlackLight Process” to replace other forms of energy production, the cheaper the alternative the faster the market will switch to it.

    Of course people will try to cling to the past, but a clean cheap and abundant new energy production technology would be a game changer. By the way, don’t be depressed over cold fusion – it is still a promising technology (see LENR – low energy nuclear reactions).

  38. Brad,
    Many of the options you list have been available for a long time. Some for 30 years or more.

    I see no significant movement toward adopting them. We have little initiatives toward wind, solar and a few others, but no effort of near the magnitude needed to make a difference.

    My conclusion, based on these facts, is we are not going to innovate our way out of this. Time is up. That’s not defeatism, its facing reality.

    The recent escalation of temperatures worldwide, the death of 33,000 people in Europe from a global warming event in 2003, the current big fires in Russia plus loss of 25% of their wheat crop, the floods, the hurricane increase – all this tells me its getting near closing time.

    We need to face it. I think the die is cast and most of humanity is going the way of large parts of Africa today, plus now parts of India. In those places there is mass starvation. That’s the picture of the future.

    The only true option now is a crash program to save a part of humanity – hopefully the best part in terms of knowledge, art, music, history, etc.

    Again, our democratic governments haggle and diddle on things forever. So private effort is the only remaining option.

    If conditions today, August 10, 2010 are not enough of a signal for you that we are way past inventing clever gizmos to save us, let’s talk in five years from now – 2015 – and see what you’re thinking then.

    I send best regards,

    Bill G

  39. Again,there is a cheap and simple way to immediately cool down the Earth: just add a little (more) sun dimming aerosol to the air.

    “The alternative (to geoengineering) is the acceptance of a massive natural cull of humanity and a return to an Earth that freely regulates itself but in the hot state.” –Dr James Lovelock, August 2008

    We are too late for a severe carbon diet to be enacted. Here is what Climate Code Red says:

    –Human emissions have so far produced a global average temperature increase of 0.8 degree C.

    –There is another 0.6 degree C. to come due to “thermal inertia”, or lags in the system, taking the total long-term global warming induced by human emissions so far to 1.4 degree C.

    –If human total emissions continue as they are to 2030 (and don’t increase 60% as projected) this would likely add more than 0.4 degrees C. to the system in the next two decades, taking the long-term effect by 2030 to at least 1.7 degrees C. (A 0.3 degree C. increase is predicted for the period 2004-2014 alone by Smith, Cusack et al, 2007).

    –Then add the 0.3 degree C. albedo flip effect from the now imminent loss of the Arctic sea ice, and the rise in the system by 2030 is at least 2 degree. C, assuming very optimistically that emissions don’t increase at all above their present annual rate! When we consider the potential permafrost releases and the effect of carbon sinks losing capacity, we are on the road to a hellish future, not for what we will do, but WHAT WE HAVE ALREADY DONE.

    “I’m going to tell you something I probably shouldn’t: we may not be able to stop global warming. We need to begin curbing global greenhouse emissions right now, but more than a decade after the signing of the Kyoto Protocol, the world has utterly failed to do so. Unless the geopolitics of global warming change soon, the Hail Mary pass of geoengineering might become our best shot.” –Bryan Walsh, Time Magazine, 17 March 2008

  40. I’m a little confused with where you end up standing with conflicting views you post.

    I just think its time to go on defense and save what we can, if anything. Governments are never going to take action until something drastic falls on us, maybe like a big ice chunk falling off Greenland or Antarctica and immediately drowning many cities and coasts. But by then it will far too late to do anything to stop the green house warming.

    As said, this whole scenario may be built into our evolution.

    David Franklin – I’d like to hear from you.
    Bill G

  41. what about polar cities for survivors of global warming in year 2323 AD? re David re SETI etc. have you ever heard of my work on POLAR CITEIS and a new book wirtten by a friend titled POLAR CITY RED

  42. Sci-fi writer Jim Laughter: ‘Polar cities no laughing matter’ — ‘Envisions so-called ”polar cities” for future survivors of devastating climate change disasters’ …..Visit Site
    via gogle this headline

  43. ONLINE INTERVIEW WITH OKLAHOMA SCI-FI WRITER JIM LAUGHTER ON HIS BOOK “POLAR CITY RED” — SET FOR 2012 RELEASE
    NOTE: AUTHOR NAME ON COVER DESIGN WAS MIS-SPELLED BY THE DESIGN LADY IN TAIWAN, BY MISTAKE. IT SHOULD READ, of course, JIM LAUGHTER

    (c) JIM LAUGHTER 2011

    [NOTE; This is NOT the book cover. This is just a draft cover designed by an artist overseas merely as a draft. The final book cover will be mucb different. Just to add some color to this page only.]

    NOTE: This blog recently spent some quality online time with American author Jim Laughter and asked him a series of questions about a new book he is writing that I believe will forever change the face of apathy on global warming. I believe you will find it both interesting and entertaining. Please note that Jim is not an environmentalist. He is a writer who has tackled the issue of global warming head-on and is writing a fascinating fiction novel about the possible effects it will have on future generations. He has been kind enough to share the text of this new book with this blogger, but we are sworn to secrecy, so we’ve agreed not to post the content of his novel on this blog. Instead, we’ll let Jim reveal as much detail as he wants to, then we’ll wait for the book.

    [DAN ADDS: I can tell you this; I’m hooked. I’ve read over and over the pieces of rough draft that he has sent to me and I can’t wait for the book to find a publisher and hit the market. If you are concerned about global warming and the damage it is causing to our planet, you will also want this new book.]

    QUESTION #1: Without giving away the title of your book or its setting or time frame — although if you wish to dish, please do — what is your new book about, and what genre is it? Sci/Fi? Adventure thriller? Speculative fiction? What? Do any terms come to mind?

    JIM lAUGHTER: I don’t mind telling YOU the title of MY new book. Unless something changes,
    the title will be ”Polar City Red”.

    I’ve never heard of speculative fiction, but I like the sound of it. I’m a fiction writer. I co-author a young adult sci/fi adventure series called ”Galactic Axia”. It is fiction based in science, but it’s not hard science fiction. Although I have a vivid imagination, I’m afraid science was not my strongest class in school. I tended more toward business math and English, literature, spelling, typing, recess; you know, the creative arts. I worked on the school yearbook staff and found the publishing aspect of the procedure fascinating. When I entered the Air Force in 1971, I instinctively gravitated toward the administration side of the service and became a supply specialist. I won’t tell you the names the mechanics and other grease monkeys tagged us supply types, but I always let them know that you can’t fly without supply.

    Along with my sci/fi series, I also dabble in true crime, murder thriller, and children’s books. My most challenging book was writing From Victim to Hero – The Untold Story of Steven Stayner. This is a book about a 7-year-old boy from Merced, California that was kidnapped and held captive and abused for 7-years by a convicted pedophile. But after seven years, Steven escaped from his captor and rescued a second abducted child and returned him to his family. Although I wrote the book in fiction format, the facts of the book are true, and even ninety percent of the names are real people. It took me six months to write this book because the facts involved tore at me every day. There were times when I didn’t think I’d be able to finish it, and then I would think about this brave child that risked his own life to rescue another boy. I knew I couldn’t lay the project aside, if for no other reason than to preserve his legacy.

    My most recent novel is a murder thriller titled The Apostle Murders. Including the research involved, as well as other circumstances, it took almost two years to complete this book. I know that sounds
    excessive, but I wanted to be absolutely certain that given the premise of the
    book, I had all of my facts correct. This is a book about a modern-day Christian
    evangelist that has grown discontent with the state of Christianity and believes
    God has called him to restore order to the modern church. Although he is a
    true believer, and his faith is unwavering, he believes that God has called him
    to recreate the martyrdom of the original apostles of Jesus Christ. So while he’s
    preaching on the weekend, he’s a serial killer during the week, traveling the
    country in search of God’s next apostolic sacrifice. Of course, there’s a dedicated
    team of federal investigators hot on his trail, one of which is perfectly suited to
    track a religious fanatic, one that is an ivy league-educated female agent, and
    another that is the crabby old uncle we all try to forget. This eclectic cast of
    characters will keep you on your toes. By the way, I based the serial killer on my
    own father. Enough said…

    And now for one more shameless plug. October 1, 2011 saw the release of my first
    children’s book. Strangers in the Stable is a look at the birth of Jesus Christ
    as seen from the viewpoint of the animals in the stable that first Christmas over
    2000 years ago. It is a beautifully illustrated 3-D graphic book that tells the story
    of Jesus’ birth from a unique perspective.

    All of my books can be viewed at my website http://www.jimlaughter.com/
    where
    readers will find all the links they need to order paperback, kindle, and nook
    versions. The paperback versions of my books are less expensive at my website
    than they are anywhere else in the world, and I usually have a ready supply on
    hand for immediate shipment. I’d love to sign 100,000 copies and mail them out
    tomorrow. Well, maybe not all 100,000 tomorrow, but pretty darn quick.

    Now back to your original question about the genre of Polar City Red. To say this
    is science fiction might be a bit of a stretch, and I don’t think it’s an adventure. It
    is shaping up into a bit of a thriller but I don’t expect it to continue in that vein.

    You asked me what the book is about. If you were anyone else, I’d come back with
    a smart-aleck reply and say it’s about 300 pages. Instead, I guess my simplest
    answer would be that it’s about the effects global warming will have on the planet
    and on future generations faced with either survival or extinction.

    From the reports I’ve read and the research I’ve done, global warming is a real
    threat to the survival of our planet. I don’t really know enough about the hard
    science behind global warming to make any scientific predictions, but it doesn’t
    take a rocket scientist to see that the worldwide climate is going through dramatic
    changes. Unless governments around the world gain control of the carbon
    dioxide levels overtaking the atmosphere, we are going to lose our planet. We’ve
    seen weather-pattern shifts over the last twenty-years that may set the standard
    for climate changes for thousands of years to come.

    I did something this year that I never thought I would ever do in Oklahoma – I
    bought a snow blower! Why? Because Oklahoma has suffered unprecedented
    blizzards the last several years and I’ve been snowed in over a dozen times. Quite
    frankly, I’m tired of shovels.

    2. Dan: When did you start writing Polar City Red, and when do you hope/plan to
    finish it and send it to your longtime publisher, where you have already published
    a half-dozen of your books?

    Jim: I wrote the prologue for ”Polar City Red” in August 2011. As you know, a
    mutual friend of ours, author Charles W. Sasser approached me with information
    that you had sent to him concerning the effects of global warming on the
    environment. He thought the information was intriguing and would make a
    good book but he was tied up in two or three other projects that he could not
    get away from, and I had had just finished The Apostle Murders and Strangers
    in the Stable. Charles endorsed The Apostle Murders, so he asked me if I’d like
    to take a stab at global warming. After spending a few days on the computer
    reading everything I could find about the phenomenon, and after communicating
    a couple of times with you, I decided this was a story that needed to be told.

    I don’t really have a deadline for Polar City Red. I am not locked into a next-
    project contract, so I plan to keep my options open and possibly publish this one
    through a larger publishing house.

    If I can stay on my current
    schedule and working outline, I hope to have the first draft finished by the end of
    January. Since I am writing it as a fiction, it will depend on my characters and if
    they stay focused on the task at hand. I try to not let them wonder too far afield,
    but to paraphrase something Forest Gump’s momma told him, “A novel is a box
    of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

    3. Dan: Who is your target audience for this new book? Teens? Young adults?
    College students? Middle-aged adults? Climate activists? Climate
    denialists? Who? Just in general or in a few categories.

    Jim: I don’t really think I’d tag an age group to the readership of this book. It
    will be entertaining enough to hold the interest of the most avid fiction reader,
    yet factual enough to stir the hearts of politicians and other civic leaders to action
    to protect our world. I had a man tell me yesterday that global warming is just
    a myth. He saw a program on television, so it must be true, that said it’s a scare
    tactic to direct people’s attention away from truly serious issues such as the
    economy and the state of international affairs. He’s right about one thing; it’s a
    scary subject. And if projections are correct about the amount of carbon dioxide
    polluting our atmosphere, and about the oceans and forests losing their ability to
    absorb nitrogen from the air and produce oxygen, we’d better be scared. We may
    not be at the point of panic yet, but the day is coming when this old world is going
    to turn its back on us and invite us to leave forever.

    4. Dan: Who do you hope reads your book? Al Gore? Bill McKibben, James
    Hansen?

    Jim: I hope this book will be read by everyone concerned about the world we
    live in; by people who care about the future of their children and grandchildren,
    and about the planet we leave for succeeding generations. Of course, I’d be very
    happy if any of these gentlemen would read the book. They are all respected
    leaders in the fight against global warming. Being a writer, I’d certainly welcome
    a blurb or endorsement from any of them. I believe this book will not only
    entertain readers but will also help bring to light the dangers our planet faces.

    5. Dan: Who is the book about? What is the theme of your new book, without
    giving away too much of the plot or intricate details in terms of the characters you
    are creating? A family in the future? Scientists in the future? Average Joe in the
    future?

    Jim: Polar City Red is set near the end of the 21st century after the Earth has
    been devastated by the effects of global warming. The polar caps have melted

    and sea levels have risen past their capacity. Trillions of tons of water have
    moved inland, devastating the infrastructures of the world. Massive fires have
    devastated the Earth’s woodlands, weather patterns have changed, glacial melt
    has swelled rivers and lakes out of their banks, and governments have fallen. But
    situated 300 miles north of the city once known as Fairbanks, Alaska, one of a
    dozen scientific communities set up in the early 21st century is now home to a
    remnant of humanity’s survivors that have migrated to the once-frozen tundra to
    carve out new lives for themselves and their children. This city is Polar City Red.

    Yes, there is a scientific element central to the story, and I’ve created a cast of
    very strong characters. One of the families is a doctor and her school teacher
    husband, the scientist in charge of the city, an eccentric hunter, a military
    element, and scavengers that refuse to live by the laws established by the
    community. Woven together into a fast-paced narrative, you will experience their
    frustrations and their delights. There is a tragic element to the story. There has to
    be when you talk about the loss of billions of lives. But there is also a human and
    humorous element in the story when mankind proves once again that we are not
    only capable of destroying everything around us, we’re still able to keep our noses
    out of the water to live another day.

  44. Dan,
    You have the right idea. Do something. I look at all the “air” I and others generated above (hot air?) and where did it get us all this time later?

    Not too far.

    Now starting work on a Polar City – that is impressive, concrete and worth many railroad cars of hot air.

    Good luck, Dan.

    Bill G

  45. The ESAS is now venting enough methane to trigger abrupt climate change. 10% release over 20 years would amplify global warming by a factor of 40 resulting in the extinction of most multicellular life. Once runaway warming is clear and billions are starving, I advocate:

    1: Detonation of nuclear weapons in space to create a solar shroud.
    2: SRM cloud nucleation using Steven Salter ships.
    3: Capture and flare of methane using Steven Salter sheets.
    4: SO2 stratospheric SRM using airplanes and blimps.
    5: Liming of oceans to prevent catastrophic acidification.
    6: Development of integral fast reactors.
    7: Development of synthetic carbohydrates and oils for nutrition, lab fungal proteins, and tissue culture. Also insects.

    Runaway GW will be remediated by the application of technology, or we will be wiped out. In any case billions will die. That is our reality.

    We face an extinction crisis. Now is not the time to fold.
    Former Port Elizabethan, now Canadian.

  46. I should have added. Natalia Shakhova and Igor Semilitov presented to the US Dep of Defense Environmental Research Program in Nov 2010. They estimate 3.5 billion tonne release is occurring. ESAS contains 1300 billion tonnes carbon of which 600 bt is free gas, 700 bt methane clathrate. My suggestion – move to Canada or New Zealand.

  47. Perhaps they overestimated, perhaps I am mistaken and alarmist, although it may be wishful thinking. Report should be out in 5 months elucidating the situation. None the less we should also develop small modular reactors to power cloud nucleation oil platforms and onshore geoengineering projects – ex mineral silicate weathering.

  48. Shaheer,

    You need to fill in some blanks in your posts. Maybe one post explaining things got lost.

    What is ESAS?

    Who are Natalia Shakhova and Igor Semilitov? (wild guess: Soviet scientists working on methane gas bubbling up from Arctic Sea).

    Finally, have you gotten any information out of the DoD Environmental Research Program? Or are they “classified”?

    Your catastrophic thesis is generally correct. But consider this: picture of our future too extreme, despite conclusive evidence that may be presented, will be rejected by most established scientists and the general public (the latter will toss it out, for sure). That is unfortunately just the nature of human beings and its probably a fatal human flaw that will lead to our extinction.

    Just look at the silly title of this blog article: “Why James Lovelock is So Wrong”. James Lovelock is the greatest living climate scientist. His understanding and work on earth systems is the foremost work we have. Yet we get this article title, i. e., what he is telling us is rejected because it is unacceptable to human nature and our approach to truth which will accept facts only so far as they are not overly threatening.

  49. Sorry if I am not more thorough as I do my typing on a blackberry.
    Natalia Shakhova is from Alaska Fairbanks University, International Arctic Research Centre, and can be googled. Igor Semilitov I believe works for Russian Academy of Sciences, Far Eastern Branch, Pacific Oceanological Institute, and can also be googled.

    Sadly the presentation was only available for a few months before being pulled from the DoD ERP site.

    I did however download the presentation and can email you the pdf if you wish to supply your email. If they are correct that 3.5 GT methane is being emitted then we are in for a rough abrupt change if this continues for decades or accelerates, especially now that 2011 PIOMAS data indicates a record low volume in Arctic sea ice and trend line indicating disappearance by 2015 +3 -2 although unknown negative feedbacks could slow this the melt. Google Bravenewclimate.com Depressing climate related trends.

    Perhaps ocean inertia and ice sheets may also slow rapid warming.

    If such an extreme scenario actually is happening then it is probably not worth knowing about (unless you are a stoic or hard survivor type), as many will fall into despair. In such case better to hope for government geoengineering/synthetic food intervention and I do believe we have the capability, however corporations want to melt the Arctic rapidly to get at the 1/3 global fossil fuel and mineral reserves there, and perhaps poach tropical fisheries by migrating them polewards..

    Did you see Russia is building a nuclear powered space station city 1000 miles from the North Pole, capable of housing 5000, self sufficient in food, and capable working on the moon or any climate. Google dailymail Umka Kotelniy.

    As I listed above in 7 points we do have the capability to mitigate the catastrophe.
    I can mail you the pdf. Perhaps they overestimated. However I suspect the methane is in the high troposphere.

  50. Sorry, ESAS is East Siberian Arctic Shelf. There are some posts on it by the National Science Foundation, interviews with Shakhova and Semilitov, as well as on climateprogress.org. 3.5 Gt has not been formally released except on the DoD presentation, so I hope they are wrong.

    Igor and a team are on another expedition and they say numbers will be available in 5 months. So I suggest we wait before fretting. Nonetheless I will place my faith in effective geoengineering.

  51. Here’s an antitode to my doom mongering (reality mongering…), I just typed it up. Enjoy.

    1: The world is home to over 22 000 nuclear warheads. In the event that methane release becomes intolerable, space based nuclear detonations can offer a protective metallic-ashen sun shroud. This can be done near earth or Lagrange 1. The atomized metal will contain a vastly greater reflective surface than any amount of thick gaudy space mirrors. This is cheap, easy, and effective. We already have the rocket and weapons technology now. Sadly I have not seen this idea mentioned in any literature. Lesser more expensive options are rail-guns and artillery capable of shooting regular projectiles into low-orbit.

    2: Solar Radiation Management via cloud nucleation can be accomplished using Steven Salter ships. He predicts a 2% reduction of incoming solar radiation can be accomplished relatively easily. Small modular reactors can be mounted aboard retired oil rigs and rigged to seed low level cloud. Retired or unemployed ships can be converted into cloud seeders, powered by small modular reactors.

    3: Sulfur dioxide, aluminum, titanium, or other sub-micron particles can be delivered into the stratosphere using airplanes, blimps, or Branson’s White Knight from his Virgin Galactic Spaceport. Monsanto is developing aluminum resistant seeds according to the chemtrail conspiracy kooks. Perhaps this is a good idea, since in a hotter world, rain will fall less frequently and when it does, it will come in torrential floods. Rain seeding over essential cropland can be accompanied by SRM resulting in both irrigation and cooling. The potential for this type of engineering is nearly unlimited but ozone and acid rain constraints will impose an upper limit for SO2 aerosols. Targetted Arctic applications could regrow the sea ice, however fossil fuel corporations in Russia, US, and Canada may desire an ice free Arctic.

    4: Methane escaping from melting permafrost and undersea hydrates can be flared off by an airborne laser system mounted to a Boeing 747. Satellites can provide real-time monitoring of abrupt emissions. The combusted methane becomes CO2, a marginal greenhouse warming agent by comparison. Significant methane leaks can be captured using Steven Salter sheets, basically kilometre wide plastic sheeting stitched together and placed over large methane discharges. The gas can be sold, flared, or converted into fertilizer. Trace metals can be dispersed by plane over thawing permafrost to enhance microbial degradation of methane.

    5: Through physical manipulation, volcanoes can be triggered in order to provide a burst of sulphur dioxide. The Mount Pinatubo eruption resulted in a cessation and reversal of global warming for a period of years. It’s possible that the extreme changes occurring worldwide may actually enhance volcanic activity, but don’t count on Nature to bail us out.

    6: The reflectivity of the oceans can be increased through the use of microbubbles. In the event the oceans become less oxygenated, or simply for reflectivity reasons, pipes strung below the ocean surface can inject microbubbles into the water providing an easy controlled albedo-flip mechanism.

    7: With the rapid release of methane and ongoing fossil fuel exploitation, coral reed, molluscs, phytoplankton, basically the entire ocean food chain is placed at risk. Liming of the oceans to reduce acidity and maintain essential species will be necessary, especially with the ongoing destabilization of ocean floor methane further acidifying oceans. The market WILL develop, there is no doubt about it, both for liming and algae fertilization. These services are too valuable to lose.

    8: The rapid build-up of Integral Fast Reactors, boiling-water reactors, thorium, and small modular reactors would give us virtually unlimited carbon neutral energy. The stockpiled supply of reactor waste sitting in US nuclear waste repositories represents a >1000 year supply of free energy. This can be used directly to pulverize and disperse silicate rock, increasing carbon drawdown. Carbon neutral electricity can also be used to pump CO2 into empty or saline aquifers, and desalinate water.

    9: I don’t know if this has been invented yet – but we’re trying to figure out how to eject CO2 into outer space using some form of photoelectric levitation. I actually don’t know anything about this one or if development has been successful, but it seems promising.

    10: Civilian residences can be designed as energy efficient, storm resistant, quake-resistant, air-conditioned apartment complexes. Vertical greenhouses can be built atop apartment building for veggies and fish. Rainwater harvesting can occur. Solar panels can provide cooling due clear-day heatwaves. Nuclear power plants are hardy structures and can be designed to withstand any climatic punishment.

    11: Factory-lab synthesized sugars and oils can provide emergency sustenance in the event of a famine. As cheap oil and phosphorous depletes, industrial agriculture will suffer. Fungal proteins such as Quorn (developed during WW1) can be cultured in giant factory-labs. Tissue can be cultured into artificial meat in labs. Ever more genetic engineering will be necessary to resist migrating pests and fungi, as well as for inundation, drought, and salinization protection. Permaculture farms can provide valuable local food, but simply isn’t enough. We must accomplish all the above in order to prevent societal collapse through famine. If we prevent the planet from overheating agriculture will remain viable, if we fail, we will need every synthetically engineered food possible.

    12: Nuclear war with Iran or Pakistan – the resulting slowdown in the global economy may collapse emissions, and allow forests and fish carbon biomass to increase, and perhaps even cool the oceans and regenerate Arctic ice. Those poor overpopulated countries that experienced food riots during 2008 are most at risk of starvation. There is no risk of a catastrophic nuclear winter, but perhaps just a reduced thermal anomaly. This would be a shitty way of doing things, but I suspect it will happen especially if an extreme right-winger comes into US presidency. Since the US empire is losing its monetary and imperial hegemonic powers over Eurasia, and has become humiliated in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, re-establishing their military might by crushing a moderate nuclear-armed enemy could restore its status as a powerful world asshole and also slow global warming.

    13: carbon sequestration through biochar, better forestry management, restored wildlands, artificial trees and those giant contraptions David Keith is building.

    So, there is no need for panic or despair. If you’re young, study hard in a technical science course and don’t waste your life. There is simply too much work to do. As is always the case, the rich and well-educated will be insulated. If you’re in a marginal country, migrate.

  52. Shaheer, Thanks for all the links. You have put out a lot of information here. I must take some time to read it over. You raise some interesting points.

    How will that Russian enclave survive near the North Pole? How do they plan to grow there food up there if the rest of the earth loses agriculture? (and people).

    My guess is that global warming will accelerate, maybe in a sudden, tipping event, and we will lose agriculture in the temperate zones where most food is grown. Or It could happen slowly with food supplies winding down. I don’t think anyone has figured that out. The IPCC models, for example, have really been pretty poor at predictions to this point.

    A sudden tipping would throw the world into instant chaos. We could see wars, even nuclear ones, as nations and populations scramble for food and water. Or if this comes on more slowly, say by wiping out larger and larger patches of agriculture as happened in Texas and the South just this summer, interim steps could be made to import food and transport it from wetter regions to dried out ones. I believe the food shortages that some say are already evident, will be the wake up call for people about global warming. Alarm bells will start ringing finally.

    Now we have a Denier Industry, greatly helped by main stream media, and really boosted by our propaganda media who work for the 1% – Fox “News”, Limbaugh, other right wing media. They are peddling hard to protect their sponsors and friends – Big Oil and Big Coal in particular. These media reach millions of Americans who have been brain washing into thinking global warming is a myth. Of course we have our Republican Party working also for the 1% (corporations and very wealthy) and they try to disinform about global warming.

    The big question I want answered is can man survive this? Some scientists like James Lovelock say yes – in the northern regions. Others like James Hansen say no – earth will become a new Venus – 450F temperature. Maybe it is beyond science to predict if survival is possible at this point.

    But I think the green wash efforts, and I include well meaning groups trying to reduce CO2 emissions, are wasting their time and money. That game is over. But leaders of these movements are not about to give up the enjoyable celebrity they have gained, to say nothing of money. They will also refuse to say we cannot reduce CO2 to the last day just like the commercial Deniers.

    We are at nearly 400 parts per million in the atmosphere now and there is no pause. We have had zero success regarding international agreements – they are just a lot of hot air and words. The big polluters, very much including the US, are putting out more CO2 every day, not less.

    All efforts now should be on determining if survival is feasible, then if it is, getting to work on a plan and program to implement survival. Otherwise we could descend into a Mad Max world resulting in no survival.

    We in America think we deserve a happy ending to all problems. Hollywood has told us that is the way the world works. Unfortunately Mother Nature does not subscribe to Hollywood script rules. But its the Hollywood conditioning that makes it hard or impossible for anyone to accept the true situation on global warming and where it is going. We are just not prepared to think in those terms.

  53. Hey Shaheer,

    One more thing. You are to be congratulated in realistically reaching the conclusions you have and your willingness to think in realistic terms about what must be done. Very, very few are capable of that kind of thought for reasons discussed above. So, good for you. Nothing was ever gained by sticking ones head in the sand as so many do on this topic.

    By the way, I don’t think putting up materials to dim sunlight will work. This is a highly problematic route that can cause unintended negative results as recognized by many scientists. It may come to trying some albedo methods in desperation, however.

  54. Shaheer,

    Just read your antidote for doom thinking. Might the nukes spread enough radiation to wipe out large populations and wouldn’t that be counter productive to saving mankind?

    The things you mention are interesting, but don’t they take time to do? I guess a Nuke war could happen fast.

    But most albedo ideas are expensive, take a lot of planning, are filled with unforeseen consequences, etc. I am afraid we are, as a world, in such Denial mode on global warming that there will be no planning or preparation right up to the tipping point.

    Then its too late for elaborate salvation schemes. Man is like that. “Got a big problem? Just put on the blinders! They work – up to a certain point.”

    A small migration effort is probably the best man can devise. Planning is required to do that right, too. Governments won’t do that planning because politically they cannot face the reality. The Denier Industry (Big Coal, Big Oil) is just too powerful and can shut down any planning before it starts.

    But it can be done privately. My vision of hope is that that happens giving man a chance for a new beginning on earth. That is my silver lining to this cloud. Its a thin lining – but it does provide hope of some kind.

    What country do you live in?

  55. To be honest the nuke idea won’t work – radiation isn’t an issue but there won’t be any ash in space, and the particles will keep moving forever. I’m actually more pessimistic than I let on, but I’ve put a few nice people into despair so I’m more careful now.

    I do think synthetic carbs, oils, and fungal protein could feed a few billion or more if we prepare now, and that stratospheric SRM and cloud nucleation is possible – certainly the scientists in those fields are optimistic – and the hydrological effects really aren’t a big deal compared to 3+ degrees of warming.

    However consider this – Shakhova says up to 50 Gt methane can be released at any time – this has the warming potential of 50 00 billion tonnes CO2 and would send thermal anomalies rocketing well over the lethal 6 degrees within years or decades. Hansen thinks we may even turn ourselves in to Venus once we melt all the worlds ice and the clathrates destabilize. Sooooo, where does that leave us? Our situation today is so much worse than the PETM and I suspect it will be more like an accelerated Permian.

    There are some black swans that could help slow the process – pandemics or nuclear war. NASA actually did a study on that I think, but I only read the news release not the actual report. Or perhaps geoengineering may actually work, Lovelock has acknowledged that but suggests it will only slow the process and not reverse it. I know Boeing is working on something – they have discussed the issue on fora tv.

    The public may be in various forms of denial – even the ones that understand GW don’t realize the gravity of it. Scientists, Al Gore and the IPCC have been very conservative…in any case don’t for a minute believe that the power elite, including the republicans, don’t know what’s going on. They understand and probably have self contained island biodomes stocked with decades of food as their backup. They’ve placed false hope in carbon sequestration and assume because of our current technological prowess that our best physicists will develop a geoengineering technofix. Who knows…one things for sure, well get what’s coming to us. The universe is a deadly place for life. Entropy is a bitch and Earth is no friendly mother.

    I live in Canada now, on the west coast. You know the high latitude islands will fare best, by comparison.

  56. The Arctic space station city is supposed to produce its own food and even contain a wheat mill and kindergarten. Once people are dead resource depletion will not be an issue and mineral mining can be done at night or wearing an airconditioned suit. I really don’t think the elite care what happens outside their own lifetime. The US is probably building bunkers in Alaska for the elite. Bush was a fundamentalist, he probably longs for the end of the world in the belief that God and technology will save him while purging the unbelievers. – that’s just part of being a psychopathic ape – to become an elite you need to be a psychopath. But there’s something wrong with all of us… I think it takes some kind of mental defect to destroy, eat, and send every species on earth extinction without the slightest compassion. Not that were evil; we just didn’t evolve in a manner that allows us to survive long term.

    Climate change made us who we are today, and if we survive, even just 1 breeding pair, then perhaps our distance ancestors may be different. In any case, we wouldn’t be the first species or even the first Homo to go through a catastrophic bottleneck.

  57. Speaking of radiation – a nuclear war is more likely now than ever. Humans fight when there is resource shortages, and boy will there ever be a shortage of food, water, oil, and arable soil. Nuclear armed countries will seek lebensraum and kill the untermenschen for their land – we will probably make up some silly reason about terrorism or freedom to moralize our behaviour. And non-nuclear armed countries will all seek weapons, and be so angry at the rich nations that contributed the most emissions but end up least affected.

    So I expect WW3. Perhaps this one really will be the war to end all wars (because we go extinct)

    I don’t like quoting the same scientist over and over but hasn’t Lovelock mentioned that global nuclear war would be less damaging than climate change? In any case we evolved on a highly radioactive planet and perhaps that radiation will promote speciation of whatever survives.

  58. With regards to the Venus syndrome – before that can happen warming will need to melt thousands of cubic km of ice as well as as heat up the oceans sufficient to boil – I doubt that will happen in our lifetimes. However with 3+ degrees of warming were probably in for chronic earthquakes since the crust won’t dissipate heat anymore. The melting poles and rising seas will proper trigger earthquakes too. Methane hydrate releases could create 25+ metre high tsunamis that will knock out coastal cities. Massive methane discharges could ignite setting our sky on fire and killing everyone in a concussive burst, while asphyxiating any survivors. The oceans could turn anoxic, releasing hydrogen sulfide into the atmosphere and destroying the ozone layer.

    With that in mind, it makes sense to geoengineer using SO2, aluminum, iron, crushed rock, dirt, etc. Fuel can be provided from coal, oil, tarsands, liquid gas hydrates, nuclear derived synfuel, etc. With the global fleet of Airbus and Boeing aircraft we can basically blacken the sky and I suspect we will.

  59. Polar Cities — the Ultimate in Long-Term Real Estate Speculation??

    PlanetSave

    I was recently contacted by a Danny Bloom, who seems to be putting his heart and mind into a “Polar Cities” project, basically arguing that due to our sloth …

  60. zach shahan wrote re why Lovelock is SO right;

    We’ve got two extremes when it comes to climate change predictions: we’ve got the most extreme climate science predictions based on worst-case scenarios, some of which have the world becoming completely unlivable, and we’ve got many of the world’s politicians thinking or acting like we’ve got all the time in the world to cut our emissions.

    I was recently contacted by a Danny Bloom, who seems to be putting his heart and mind into a “Polar Cities” project, basically arguing that due to our sloth in acting to prevent catastrophic global warming and climate change today, we could be headed for a world where that is barely livable, where humans can mostly just live close to the poles. To highlight the urgency of the issue we’re facing, just as a thought experiment, it seems, Bloom contends that it would be wise of us who are not fooled by the fossil fuel lobby to start looking at real estate in such regions… today! Of course, this is a little ridiculous, but it does serve a purpose….

    “Polar cities? Well, on one level, my project is just a wake up call, an alarm bell, shouting from the rooftops that we must do all we can now to avert climate disasters in the future,” Bloom writes. “On another level, purely architectural and philosophical, let me put it gently this way: Polar cities are envisioned as safe refuge communities where
    climate refugees can live if — and only if — worst comes to worst.”

    While this is all a bit of fantasy thinking, I do think that we are putting off action for too long to not run into massive droughts, floods, and other natural disasters.. which will lead to massive famine and death. And what I like about what Bloom is pushing (despite not being much of a fantasy fan) is that I think it can help to wake some people up to the scale of the issue facing us. I hope it can. And, I think Bloom is looking at it this way himself, more or less.

    “Of course, I hope it never comes to that. We must work our tails off now — now! — with as many geoengineering and technology ideas as we can to save our planet. It can be done, and I am optimistic that it will be done. We will not go gently into that good night of climate chaos that the doomsayers like to speak of. I am not a doomsayer. I am a Bloomsayer.”

    Bloom is clearly having a bit of fun with this. And trying to wake people up using a mixture of extremism and humor. Regarding the quote above, while I don’t think we should be fiddling with geoengineering, I do think the important thing is that we act now to address this issue. And that should be our #1 focus when it comes to this topic.

    But Bloom is clearly working on his Polar Cities project with vigor, and I think that’s still infinitely more useful than what the fossil fuel industry, numerous banks, and numerous politicians (ahem, the whole Republican leadership) are doing.

    More from Bloom:

    I’ve lived in Asia since 1991, and began working on the polar cities alarm bell project in 2006, James Lovelock is my teacher. He’s 93. I’m 63. You who are 43 and 23, please listen: we need your help. Check out my Polar City site here and remember that it is just a what-if project and not something I ever want to see happen. Imagine: I am the head of a global project that I hope never becomes reality. I want to fail. I want you, dear reader, to succeed, to survive and flourish and persevere.”

    The polar cities website may be the best site on the internet for long-term real estate speculators — really long term speculators! Humor helps here. In fact, I’ve put together a map of where I think the best polar real estate lies.

    Sometimes I like to think of myself as “James Lovelock’s Accidental Student” because while I am an optimist, and I think everything will work out fine, eventually, one way or the other, it was Dr Lovelock in Britain who first woke me up with his calls for deep thinking about our future on a warming Earth. Before that, I was, like most people, asleep at the wheel of my own SUV. Now I am fully awake, alert, concerned. I hope you are, too, and I hope you plan to do something about it.

    Dr. Lovelock has seen the polar cities images that Taiwanese artist Deng Cheng-hong has designed for the future. Lovelock told me in an email two years ago that these polar city ideas might even be useful later on.

    Okay, look, I admit it: I am an affable, avuncular, slightly loopy eccentric, but certainly not a dangerous end of the world survivalist at all. Polar cities are just something to think about. Again, I repeat, a wake up call so that we never have to live in such God-forsaken places.

    I know that there is a huge team of climate activists and engineering experts the world over, all working in our own ways to raise the alarm about global warming and climate change. I’ve had my say here. Would love to hear your comments as well.

    Danny Bloom, a 1971 Tufts graduate who now lives in Taiwan, can be reached at danbloom@gmail.com, if you’re interested in chatting more about this.

    Now, luckily, is not the time to think about migrating to the Arctic. However, now is the time to put in some real effort to preserve the world full of life’s basic necessities that we have today. Please, help to spread the word and do your part! And, if you want, have a little fun dreaming about polar cities.

    Source: Planetsave (http://s.tt/14zzD)

    We’ve got two extremes when it comes to climate change predictions: we’ve got the most extreme climate science predictions based on worst-case scenarios, some of which have the world becoming completely unlivable, and we’ve got many of the world’s politicians thinking or acting like we’ve got all the time in the world to cut our emissions.

    I was recently contacted by a Danny Bloom, who seems to be putting his heart and mind into a “Polar Cities” project, basically arguing that due to our sloth in acting to prevent catastrophic global warming and climate change today, we could be headed for a world where that is barely livable, where humans can mostly just live close to the poles. To highlight the urgency of the issue we’re facing, just as a thought experiment, it seems, Bloom contends that it would be wise of us who are not fooled by the fossil fuel lobby to start looking at real estate in such regions… today! Of course, this is a little ridiculous, but it does serve a purpose….

    “Polar cities? Well, on one level, my project is just a wake up call, an alarm bell, shouting from the rooftops that we must do all we can now to avert climate disasters in the future,” Bloom writes. “On another level, purely architectural and philosophical, let me put it gently this way: Polar cities are envisioned as safe refuge communities where
    climate refugees can live if — and only if — worst comes to worst.”

    While this is all a bit of fantasy thinking, I do think that we are putting off action for too long to not run into massive droughts, floods, and other natural disasters.. which will lead to massive famine and death. And what I like about what Bloom is pushing (despite not being much of a fantasy fan) is that I think it can help to wake some people up to the scale of the issue facing us. I hope it can. And, I think Bloom is looking at it this way himself, more or less.

    “Of course, I hope it never comes to that. We must work our tails off now — now! — with as many geoengineering and technology ideas as we can to save our planet. It can be done, and I am optimistic that it will be done. We will not go gently into that good night of climate chaos that the doomsayers like to speak of. I am not a doomsayer. I am a Bloomsayer.”

    Bloom is clearly having a bit of fun with this. And trying to wake people up using a mixture of extremism and humor. Regarding the quote above, while I don’t think we should be fiddling with geoengineering, I do think the important thing is that we act now to address this issue. And that should be our #1 focus when it comes to this topic.

    But Bloom is clearly working on his Polar Cities project with vigor, and I think that’s still infinitely more useful than what the fossil fuel industry, numerous banks, and numerous politicians (ahem, the whole Republican leadership) are doing.

    More from Bloom:

    I’ve lived in Asia since 1991, and began working on the polar cities alarm bell project in 2006, James Lovelock is my teacher. He’s 93. I’m 63. You who are 43 and 23, please listen: we need your help. Check out my Polar City site here and remember that it is just a what-if project and not something I ever want to see happen. Imagine: I am the head of a global project that I hope never becomes reality. I want to fail. I want you, dear reader, to succeed, to survive and flourish and persevere.”

    The polar cities website may be the best site on the internet for long-term real estate speculators — really long term speculators! Humor helps here. In fact, I’ve put together a map of where I think the best polar real estate lies.

    Sometimes I like to think of myself as “James Lovelock’s Accidental Student” because while I am an optimist, and I think everything will work out fine, eventually, one way or the other, it was Dr Lovelock in Britain who first woke me up with his calls for deep thinking about our future on a warming Earth. Before that, I was, like most people, asleep at the wheel of my own SUV. Now I am fully awake, alert, concerned. I hope you are, too, and I hope you plan to do something about it.

    Dr. Lovelock has seen the polar cities images that Taiwanese artist Deng Cheng-hong has designed for the future. Lovelock told me in an email two years ago that these polar city ideas might even be useful later on.

    Okay, look, I admit it: I am an affable, avuncular, slightly loopy eccentric, but certainly not a dangerous end of the world survivalist at all. Polar cities are just something to think about. Again, I repeat, a wake up call so that we never have to live in such God-forsaken places.

    I know that there is a huge team of climate activists and engineering experts the world over, all working in our own ways to raise the alarm about global warming and climate change. I’ve had my say here. Would love to hear your comments as well.

    Danny Bloom, a 1971 Tufts graduate who now lives in Taiwan, can be reached at danbloom@gmail.com, if you’re interested in chatting more about this.

    Now, luckily, is not the time to think about migrating to the Arctic. However, now is the time to put in some real effort to preserve the world full of life’s basic necessities that we have today. Please, help to spread the word and do your part! And, if you want, have a little fun dreaming about polar cities.

    Source: Planetsave (http://s.tt/14zzD)
    Source: Planetsave (http://s.tt/14zzD)

    We’ve got two extremes when it comes to climate change predictions: we’ve got the most extreme climate science predictions based on worst-case scenarios, some of which have the world becoming completely unlivable, and we’ve got many of the world’s politicians thinking or acting like we’ve got all the time in the world to cut our emissions.

    I was recently contacted by a Danny Bloom, who seems to be putting his heart and mind into a “Polar Cities” project, basically arguing that due to our sloth in acting to prevent catastrophic global warming and climate change today, we could be headed for a world where that is barely livable, where humans can mostly just live close to the poles. To highlight the urgency of the issue we’re facing, just as a thought experiment, it seems, Bloom contends that it would be wise of us who are not fooled by the fossil fuel lobby to start looking at real estate in such regions… today! Of course, this is a little ridiculous, but it does serve a purpose….

    “Polar cities? Well, on one level, my project is just a wake up call, an alarm bell, shouting from the rooftops that we must do all we can now to avert climate disasters in the future,” Bloom writes. “On another level, purely architectural and philosophical, let me put it gently this way: Polar cities are envisioned as safe refuge communities where
    climate refugees can live if — and only if — worst comes to worst.”

    While this is all a bit of fantasy thinking, I do think that we are putting off action for too long to not run into massive droughts, floods, and other natural disasters.. which will lead to massive famine and death. And what I like about what Bloom is pushing (despite not being much of a fantasy fan) is that I think it can help to wake some people up to the scale of the issue facing us. I hope it can. And, I think Bloom is looking at it this way himself, more or less.

    “Of course, I hope it never comes to that. We must work our tails off now — now! — with as many geoengineering and technology ideas as we can to save our planet. It can be done, and I am optimistic that it will be done. We will not go gently into that good night of climate chaos that the doomsayers like to speak of. I am not a doomsayer. I am a Bloomsayer.”

    Bloom is clearly having a bit of fun with this. And trying to wake people up using a mixture of extremism and humor. Regarding the quote above, while I don’t think we should be fiddling with geoengineering, I do think the important thing is that we act now to address this issue. And that should be our #1 focus when it comes to this topic.

    But Bloom is clearly working on his Polar Cities project with vigor, and I think that’s still infinitely more useful than what the fossil fuel industry, numerous banks, and numerous politicians (ahem, the whole Republican leadership) are doing.

    More from Bloom:

    I’ve lived in Asia since 1991, and began working on the polar cities alarm bell project in 2006, James Lovelock is my teacher. He’s 93. I’m 63. You who are 43 and 23, please listen: we need your help. Check out my Polar City site here and remember that it is just a what-if project and not something I ever want to see happen. Imagine: I am the head of a global project that I hope never becomes reality. I want to fail. I want you, dear reader, to succeed, to survive and flourish and persevere.”

    The polar cities website may be the best site on the internet for long-term real estate speculators — really long term speculators! Humor helps here. In fact, I’ve put together a map of where I think the best polar real estate lies.

    Sometimes I like to think of myself as “James Lovelock’s Accidental Student” because while I am an optimist, and I think everything will work out fine, eventually, one way or the other, it was Dr Lovelock in Britain who first woke me up with his calls for deep thinking about our future on a warming Earth. Before that, I was, like most people, asleep at the wheel of my own SUV. Now I am fully awake, alert, concerned. I hope you are, too, and I hope you plan to do something about it.

    Dr. Lovelock has seen the polar cities images that Taiwanese artist Deng Cheng-hong has designed for the future. Lovelock told me in an email two years ago that these polar city ideas might even be useful later on.

    Okay, look, I admit it: I am an affable, avuncular, slightly loopy eccentric, but certainly not a dangerous end of the world survivalist at all. Polar cities are just something to think about. Again, I repeat, a wake up call so that we never have to live in such God-forsaken places.

    I know that there is a huge team of climate activists and engineering experts the world over, all working in our own ways to raise the alarm about global warming and climate change. I’ve had my say here. Would love to hear your comments as well.

    Danny Bloom, a 1971 Tufts graduate who now lives in Taiwan, can be reached at danbloom@gmail.com, if you’re interested in chatting more about this.

    Now, luckily, is not the time to think about migrating to the Arctic. However, now is the time to put in some real effort to preserve the world full of life’s basic necessities that we have today. Please, help to spread the word and do your part! And, if you want, have a little fun dreaming about polar cities.

    Source: Planetsave (http://s.tt/14zzD)

    We’ve got two extremes when it comes to climate change predictions: we’ve got the most extreme climate science predictions based on worst-case scenarios, some of which have the world becoming completely unlivable, and we’ve got many of the world’s politicians thinking or acting like we’ve got all the time in the world to cut our emissions.

    I was recently contacted by a Danny Bloom, who seems to be putting his heart and mind into a “Polar Cities” project, basically arguing that due to our sloth in acting to prevent catastrophic global warming and climate change today, we could be headed for a world where that is barely livable, where humans can mostly just live close to the poles. To highlight the urgency of the issue we’re facing, just as a thought experiment, it seems, Bloom contends that it would be wise of us who are not fooled by the fossil fuel lobby to start looking at real estate in such regions… today! Of course, this is a little ridiculous, but it does serve a purpose….

    “Polar cities? Well, on one level, my project is just a wake up call, an alarm bell, shouting from the rooftops that we must do all we can now to avert climate disasters in the future,” Bloom writes. “On another level, purely architectural and philosophical, let me put it gently this way: Polar cities are envisioned as safe refuge communities where
    climate refugees can live if — and only if — worst comes to worst.”

    While this is all a bit of fantasy thinking, I do think that we are putting off action for too long to not run into massive droughts, floods, and other natural disasters.. which will lead to massive famine and death. And what I like about what Bloom is pushing (despite not being much of a fantasy fan) is that I think it can help to wake some people up to the scale of the issue facing us. I hope it can. And, I think Bloom is looking at it this way himself, more or less.

    “Of course, I hope it never comes to that. We must work our tails off now — now! — with as many geoengineering and technology ideas as we can to save our planet. It can be done, and I am optimistic that it will be done. We will not go gently into that good night of climate chaos that the doomsayers like to speak of. I am not a doomsayer. I am a Bloomsayer.”

    Bloom is clearly having a bit of fun with this. And trying to wake people up using a mixture of extremism and humor. Regarding the quote above, while I don’t think we should be fiddling with geoengineering, I do think the important thing is that we act now to address this issue. And that should be our #1 focus when it comes to this topic.

    But Bloom is clearly working on his Polar Cities project with vigor, and I think that’s still infinitely more useful than what the fossil fuel industry, numerous banks, and numerous politicians (ahem, the whole Republican leadership) are doing.

    More from Bloom:

    I’ve lived in Asia since 1991, and began working on the polar cities alarm bell project in 2006, James Lovelock is my teacher. He’s 93. I’m 63. You who are 43 and 23, please listen: we need your help. Check out my Polar City site here and remember that it is just a what-if project and not something I ever want to see happen. Imagine: I am the head of a global project that I hope never becomes reality. I want to fail. I want you, dear reader, to succeed, to survive and flourish and persevere.”

    The polar cities website may be the best site on the internet for long-term real estate speculators — really long term speculators! Humor helps here. In fact, I’ve put together a map of where I think the best polar real estate lies.

    Sometimes I like to think of myself as “James Lovelock’s Accidental Student” because while I am an optimist, and I think everything will work out fine, eventually, one way or the other, it was Dr Lovelock in Britain who first woke me up with his calls for deep thinking about our future on a warming Earth. Before that, I was, like most people, asleep at the wheel of my own SUV. Now I am fully awake, alert, concerned. I hope you are, too, and I hope you plan to do something about it.

    Dr. Lovelock has seen the polar cities images that Taiwanese artist Deng Cheng-hong has designed for the future. Lovelock told me in an email two years ago that these polar city ideas might even be useful later on.

    Okay, look, I admit it: I am an affable, avuncular, slightly loopy eccentric, but certainly not a dangerous end of the world survivalist at all. Polar cities are just something to think about. Again, I repeat, a wake up call so that we never have to live in such God-forsaken places.

    I know that there is a huge team of climate activists and engineering experts the world over, all working in our own ways to raise the alarm about global warming and climate change. I’ve had my say here. Would love to hear your comments as well.

    Danny Bloom, a 1971 Tufts graduate who now lives in Taiwan, can be reached at danbloom@gmail.com, if you’re interested in chatting more about this.

    Now, luckily, is not the time to think about migrating to the Arctic. However, now is the time to put in some real effort to preserve the world full of life’s basic necessities that we have today. Please, help to spread the word and do your part! And, if you want, have a little fun dreaming about polar cities.

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