Fossil-fuelled climate change: industry made

April 7, 2008

Manmade climate change is the most frightening term I am aware of. What bugs me though, is the fact that the whole term is so useless. We should be discussing another concept: industry made climate change. Or fossil-fuelled climate change. That way we’d probably raise the chance of us proving able to do something about it.

I mean: think about it. Manmade climate change is a term that might work to make people feel a bit numb. And it may even paralyse the masses of people collectively. As the easiest way to go about dealing with a problem is to exterminate. And I don’t long for people to start exterminating each other. Exterminating big industry on the other hand. Or doing away with all fossil-fuels use. Those would be things that I’d love to see happening. Because climate change is not necessarily manmade, in the sense that there truly are many people who hardly ever make use of fossil-fuels and who are certainly not in the habit of doing factory work.

Tribal peoples from around the planet shall be notified: the problem with global warming and climate change is hardly their fault. A tremendous lot of poor and unemployed westerners like myself shall also be notified: it is indeed possible to lead a perfectly normal low-carbon life, even here in modern Europe.

Climate change is not manmade in the sense that all humans are equally to blame. Some humans do have a bigger part of the responsibility around here. It goes without saying. What bugs me the most is the simple fact that those who are responsible for the most CO2 emissions are the same people who are in complete and unrestrained control of all possible policy making. The super-rich are responsible for all that big industry is doing and as concerns the interest-based decision-making of the political world, they’ve got a lot of control to answer for. And while I’m at it: every middle-class car owner has a stake in climate change which the poor and car-less do not have. It really goes without saying, but few people ever do so. Not on the internet and not anywhere else. It’s frightfully true to the point, that’s why. It makes you feel slightly nauseous and a little irritated, and that’s also why.

But let me return to my first case in point. Fossil-fuelled. Industry made. I think it would be easier to do away with a problem that is fossil-fuelled and industry made, and not manmade as such. I mean: I’d be killing off industries every day. I’d be boycotting all fossil-fuelled activities every hour of every day! No problem! And I would no longer need to think too much about what little the poor masses of this world really matters to members of the upper and middle-classes of society. But that belongs to a rant on the achievement of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. —

Slowing down on fossil-fuels consumption should come as the first and the best solution to global warming

April 5, 2008

APRIL 3, 2008: “Angry African” is stating the bleeding obvious, and quite eloquently so, saying: Global warming is just not cool. If you’re out there and wondering what is going on down here, you should read this post. It ends like this: “But those kids of mine. I sometimes wonder. Just wonder how cool it will be when they grow up. Will it be too warm when they are my age? Might be a bit too warm for them. A little bit too warm to live? And that is so way not cool…”

Has he got a point?

“Sure thing! He’s got a point alright. The strange weather reports from around the world are just starting to make themselves heard. There will be much more of the same on a later stage. Early warning signs include heat waves and periods of unusually warm weather, ocean warming, sea-level rise and coastal flooding, glaciers melting, spreading disease, earlier spring arrival, plant and animal range shifts and population changes, coral reef bleaching, downpours, heavy snowfalls, and flooding, droughts and fires. It’s definitely not cool. And casting a blind eye at these most worrisome signs do not make them go away either.”

So what are we supposed to do?

“Not much! And that is the thing: it is not primarily a question of what you choose to do. It’s more a question of what you choose to stop doing. You could start by putting an end to your excess fossil-fuels use. It’s not so difficult, really. And it would be a very wise response to the information that the coal, the gas, and the oil are the substances that are in fact warming this planet and thus making climate systems go weird. Slowing down on fossil-fuels consumption should come as the first and the best solution to global warming. But here we are, looking at a species of fossil-fuel addicts. And we can safely say it proves difficult for whole societies of people to kick the habit.”

As noted previously, almost a thousand new coal-fired power plants are being built around the world. In the light of manmade climate change, it is not the best of ideas, but okay: this is what the policy makers of this world is choosing to do, so.

“So?”

We got to accept it!

“You do?”

Unfortunately, yes! I mean, think about it: hundreds of new coal-fired power plants are being built all over the world. It’s not a good idea, but it’s what’s happening. The only thing we, as ordinary human beings, can do, is tell the policy makers that the development is going in the wrong direction. After which we can only hope that they care to listen. At the same time, we’re up against millions of not-so-informed ordinary citizens who crave for more energy to consume. We can tell them that it is not good for the environment, and then sit back and accept that we’re losing out here. Ignorance reigns supreme, you see. It’s strength.

“But all humans ought to realise.”

What?

“That they can’t just continue doing what amounts to plain stupid behaviour. Just continue doing what ought not to be done, and continue doing so until people start dying from climate change. In big numbers.”

You see: this is what we do not like to think about. The worst case scenarios. We don’t want to hear of them no more. We just want to be ignorant and forget about all the signs. Allow Mother Nature to do what She is doing, unabated. While we continue partying like it’s 1999. Because that is much more convenient than starting to make rash and active climate change decisions that have anything at all to do with the consumption of fossil-fuels. The vast majority of us don’t want to hear of it. — And that’s final. — Because we’re not quite ready for lifestyle changes. Not now. And probably not ever! We depend on fossil-fuels and are going to make use of them indefinitely. Unless, of course, a fucking miracle were to happen. And I don’t think that’s a thing to count on.

“It may seem as if a growing number of people are ready to accept the facts of global warming and world-wide climate change. So things are indeed happening.”

Yes. But these are individual people. I guess they’re just starting to cope with facts that they are going to keep on coping with until tomorrow comes. — Because on a societal level, I’m telling you: we’ve got so many problems, we’d much rather wish to pretend it’s just not happening. —

New coal-fired power plants are the last thing this planet needs

April 4, 2008

No matter what the science have to say about the atmospheric warming effects of CO2 emissions, hundreds of new coal-fired power plants are being built. I wish I was joking but I’m not. It seems like the policy makers of this world is trying to kid themselves and all others into believing in something that is very hard to tell. Only one thing is for certain: they are not taking the climate science very seriously. If they did, they would call off the building of all new coal-fired power plants, and put the blame on something as honest as relatively new scientific breakthroughs. They could even say that the decision not to build new coal-fired power plants came as a rational response to the same scientific breakthroughs.

New coal-fired power plants are the last thing this planet needs. It should really be as simple as that. But it isn’t, and you’ve got to wonder why. Having heard about the greenhouse effect ever since you were a child, you will be perfectly right in asking yourself simple questions. Like, are they not worried? Are they mad..?

And the simplest of all answers would be: “NO. THEY’RE NOT MAD. — It’s only that fossil-fuels are the cheapest of all sources of energy in existence.”

Money is money.

– — – — – —

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about the environmental impacts of coal-fired power plants:

The world’s power demands are expected to rise 60% by 2030. With the world-wide total of active coal plants over 50,000 and rising, the IEA estimates that fossil fuels will still account for 85% of the energy market by 2030. World organizations, and international agencies like the IEA are concerned about the environmental impact of burning fossil fuels. According to a 2005 report from the WWF, coal power stations are at the top of the List of least carbon efficient power stations in terms of the level of carbon dioxide produced per unit of electricity generated. The combustion of fossil fuels contributes to acid rain, global warming, and air pollution due to the impurities and chemical composition of the fuel (electricity generation is responsible for 41 percent of US manmade carbon dioxide emissions). Acid rain is caused by the emission of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide into the air. These themselves may be only mildly acidic, yet when it reacts with the atmosphere, it creates acidic compounds such as sulfurous acid, nitric acid and sulfuric acid that fall as rain, hence the term acid rain. In Europe and the USA, stricter emission laws have reduced the environmental hazards associated with this problem.

Paid vacation, anyone..?

April 3, 2008

“They should all have been in favour of taking workers out of the emissions prone industries. They should all be willing and eager to going as far as paying people to take a leave. It would certainly be the best thing they could ever do for the ecosystems of the planet. — Think about it: how many coal miners do the planet need? The answer seems to be none. And think again: how many truck drivers do the planet need? The answer is very few.”

I wonder what the average truck driver and coal miner would think about any of this?

“What do you think?”

First of all, I don’t think they’re thinking about what the planet needs. — Well, at least not in terms of their professions. — I think they’re thinking they’ve got every right to do what they do in order to place food on the table and pay the bills, that’s what I think. As for the manner in which your question is put, I think both the beginning and the end of it would be alien to everyone.

“Quite.”

But seriously?! You can’t expect the government to pay the people for not going to work anymore, now can you?

“Why not?! I mean: what’s good for the planet is good for humanity, and what’s good for humanity should be good for the government too. And if certain lines of work are easily found to be destructive to the environment, you know what I mean..?”🙂

It’s just that people do not think like that.

“Okay. Fine. But you see: I’m not people. All I am doing is think about what might come as good news to the ecosystems of this planet. As for how people think, I’m not sure: are they at all thinking?! I mean: how can they possibly look at environmental destruction due to the consumption of coal, for example, and then conclude that the building of several hundreds new coal-fired plants is a matter of great importance?”

I don’t know the right thing to say.

“It’s irrational!”

That’s possible.

“Irrational seems to be the key word to all enhancement of understanding of what appears to be happening around here. More than 16.000 species are presently listed as at risk of extinction, and human activity threatens 99 percent of them. It’s irrational, isn’t it?”

It is.

“Now I wonder what good would be the end result if people in emissions prone industries were paid for taking a long vacation while a whole species at rest woke up to the fact that what they’re about to commit here is a crime against nature. — And all for what? Well, for nothing. You know what I mean.”

Yes, I do. But I also know that people won’t think like that. What you’re thinking has nothing to do with the globalized capitalist system of our times. Now, that’s a problem. You’re coming out as a real idiot here. Or an April’s fools prankster. —

“And that, my dear friend, makes me happy. Isn’t it perfectly clear by now that humanity is in need of a substantially new manner of thinking?”

Far out.

We’re creatures of nature, too

March 29, 2008

“So, what if nature itself decided for them to take notice of global climate change challenges? Would that be possible?”

Which kind of question is that?

“Never mind.”

Okay. — I think there’s really no saying what’s possible and what’s not. The only development that seems to absolutely impossible to achieve is that of getting hold of sociological and anthropological reports on the urgency of social changes taking place around here. It seems as if these people with those titles have already reached the consensual agreement that proposing that any form of social change must be considered, is a non-starter. It’s as if the social and cultural life academics have already concluded that people are not going to make any real lifestyle choices, and since it’s not going to happen anyway: why bother even to think about it?

“You know, that’s interesting. And I just heard a bird singing a song about the need to look into enviromental devastation on a more local level, and pointing to the simple fact that smog, water pollution and bloated landfills can be more clearly seen without graphs and charts and addressed regionally. Less abstract, in a sense. It’s a good point.”

It’s excellent.

“It’s all knit neatly together, of course. If only humankind would dare to consider the fact that they are not only creatures of society and culture, but indeed also creatures of nature. — It is difficult to them, now isn’t it?!”

It sure is. They like to think of themselves as creatures of society, first and foremost, and not at all as creatures of nature, unless they deliberately go trekking into the woods of the planet in order to do some actual hunting, shooting and fishing.

“But that’s the key! If they were to accept that they’re creatures of nature living in big cities, like ant-hills or bee-hives, and affecting nature in such a lot of ways, I think there would be a glimmer of hope to be spotted. But they’re so involved with the metaphors, the symbols, and the logos of theirs. It’s just fabulous.”

Yes, sir! It’s all about the money. And what’s more: it’s all about the nation-states, the big business corporations, and the ins-and-outs of the corridors of power. — The banks, the insurance companies, the hotels, the shopping malls, and the football stadiums. And then it’s all about the diplomatic envoys, the beaurocratic ways and ends, the powers that be, and the need to go to war on other powers that be, from other parts of the world. I just can’t get my head around this one. The military spending is awesome. It’s up, up, up, all over the planet. It may seem as if some very few of them are about to reach the decision to just bomb the whole place back into the stone age.

“And what a pity that would be.”

So let’s assume that they’re simply being very afraid of each other, and let that be the reason why the military spending is soaring. I mean: think about it — even though they’ve had access to nuclear weapons for more than fifty years, and wars have been taking place throughout this period they still haven’t made use of the technology more often than a very few times. It’s like they dread the possibility of destroying everything while at the same time they invent and produce even more new weapons and new war technologies, just in case.

“In case of what?”

I don’t know. In case of the Russians, the Americans, the Chinese, the British, the French, the Israelis, the Indians, or the Pakistanis. You know. Just in case.

“Okay. In case something happened, you mean. Newclearly.” —

That’s right.

“And this would probably be the reason why it is impossible for these people to agree on the emissions levels of CO2 and other toxic gases as well, don’t you think? Just in case of one local economy made this thing or that start to happen over there. — I hear they are going to meet in Bangkok soon. Where they are probably going to continue talking about how to stress the importance of the Kyoto agreement and the IPCC’s climate science, but not do something significant about it.”

Oh yes. There’s a meeting in Bangkok coming up. I wonder what is going to come of the final meeting, in 2009, in Copenhagen, Denmark, where (and when) they are supposed to reach some kind of a final agreement as to what they are going to do about the CO2 emissions. The meeting in Bangkok is nothing but a preparatory measure to that end. They’re buying time. In a year or so you’ll probably never be hearing about that 2005 augmented 10-year-window of opportunity no more, as they’re going to decide to start pushing and shoving at it until it finally cracks and breaks.

“Another great opportunity lost. Another great idea turned to waste. That would be such a shame, you know.”

Yes, I know. But the population of this world keeps growing at an exponential rate. The world economy is also expected to grow at an exponential rate. The International Energy Agency (IEA) expects the fossil fuels consumption of this world to keep growing very fast. And the people, well, they are all news consumers. They won’t be doing nothing while they’re reading the latest newspaper articles on how the atmosphere and the ecosystems of this planet is being destroyed. They’ll just buy another cup of coffee and look forward to reading the next newspaper of the next day and the next magazine of the next week, and think: what a wonderful world, it’s amazing. —

“You’re growing tired down there. I can see that. It means that you’ve got to work harder, you know. Get a change on. And then a little fix it. You know.”

I wish you didn’t steal my flying saucer.

“You wish!”

A peculiar sense of identity

March 28, 2008

“So why don’t they change their ways? Now that they’ve got all this climate change science, and most of this science is all about the misuse of oil, gas, and coal. I mean: burning it. How stupid.”

Yeah.

“Why don’t they change their ways?”

Heh, well, that’s what we’re here to find out about, I suppose. But you see: first of all we’ve got to recognize the fact that the human species has never in history been in complete peace with themselves. And that’s a problem. All this shooting and killing, all this bombing, and all this placement of explosive mines in the terrain, hell you know, it’s a problem.

“The first problem.”

In a sense: yes. The first problem. But the real problem is the human beings’ strong ties to a multitude of flags, logos, symbols, and metaphors. The first and most important metaphor is that of the nation-state. Bigger and smaller, there are about 200 of those. Each of these 200 nation-states have their own laws and regulations, their own parliaments and governments, their own currencies, and of course their own armed forces. Police officers. Soldiers. People who get paid for hunting down and, sometimes, killing other people.

“Hm.”

Now, each and every nation-state has its own flag. That’s the national logo. Each and every nation-state has its own song, too. That’s the national anthem.

“Tell me about it.”

The national anthems are being used to create national identity on the part of the masses of the people who are born, live and do their business inside the nation-state’s borders. Each nation-state has its own national anthem. And the singing of the national anthem is, I believe, more of a ritual than anything else.

“I see.”

People don’t usually smile while singing the national anthem. They look rather mournful, really, as they’re doing it. —

“OK?!”

Ah, there are such a lot of things that are difficult to understand. They place a lot of value on the importance of the nation-state. — Patriotism, they call it. And it’s among the most important values any person can muster. Loving the country. Respecting the flag. Placing the right hand on the chest and rising to ones feet as the national anthem is being played. Things like that. I mean: strange things. But equally quite natural as they do the same things and act the same way all over the planet, no matter what might be the name of the nation-state. Every human is expected to show signs of reverence whenever a national anthem is being played. Yes, that would be the correct term. Reverence.

“How odd.”

Truly!

“Okay, continue.”

Each and every nation-state is divided into different sub-sections. A nation-state can consist of as many sub-sections as the founders of the states at some point found there was a need for. 50 or 400 sub-sections, it doesn’t matter. But these are all sectors belonging to the realms of beaurocracy. This is the point where the human species is starting to look retarded. They all need to control each other, you see. There’s no music in that. Not many songs about beaurocracy are written and composed, hm … to put it that way. But it’s the beaurocracies that bring a sense of stability into the lives of human beings. That, and family affairs. It’s important to humans. A sense of stability. Balance, so to speak. Only never any kind of balance as concerns the whole planet. The ecosystems of this world get lost under a carpet of metaphorical sizes: nation-states and counties. They’re all tied down to the different nation-states of theirs; each individual person being a member of a nation state. Tied up and held down by a massive force of symbolic power! It’s extraordinary!

“No ties to the planet?”

None. Well, not officially anyway. If you make the claim that you’ve got this certain tie to the ecosystems of the planet, or even to the planet itself, you will be understrood as some kind of a whacko. Or an artist at best. Which is often about being a serious whacko on a professional basis, so to say. But still a legal citizen of some country, of course. There’s no getting around this one.

“So how are these people going to go about saving the planet from all sorts of environmental devastation, if they are hardly even allowed to call the planet their home, but lead their entire lives tied down to some metaphorical nation-state entity?”

It’s going to be difficult.

“You’re damned right about that! They’ve got to connect with the fact that they’re disturbing the ecosystems of this planet on a global scale as well as a local one. They’ve got to connect with the fact that planet Earth is their planetary home.”

They all know that.

“And yet they do nothing about it, am I right?”

You’re right.

“I thought so. You know, this species is never going to stop amazing me. As a matter of fact it is going to amaze me ceaselessly.”

You’re right about that too, I suppose.

“That’s too bad. They’d better make a clean break with the nation-state system if they are going to succeed here. They should, as a matter of urgency, make way for a planetary sense of identity down here. And they’d better do that as fast as possible. — I hear they’ve given themselves a window of opportunity of about ten years, isn’t that so?”

That’s so.

“Now, they have the internet and they’ve got all these satelites, so communication should not be a problem. It makes you wonder what’s keeping them from coming together and dissolving a few symbols and metaphors, don’t you think?”

I sure do. But it’s not all that easy. We’re talking hundreds and thousands of years of keeping the national borders under strict military control. That’s a very long time. It’s long standing tradition. And bad habits are hard to change. —

“So, what if nature itself decided for them to take notice of global climate change challenges? Would that be possible?”

I don’t know.

“Hm.”

Civilization: what a joke

March 24, 2008

Two years before I was born, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first two men on the moon. — Well, that’s official history anyway. What’s also official history is the stated fact that NASA will be looking to prepare its astronauts for “the next steps of space exploration: human missions to Mars and to worlds beyond.” What’s not official history is the basic (smoke screen) that there are several species of space aliens out there, watching us here: little green people (some grey ones as well) who are finding their sightings of white men jumping through the sky on top of giant rockets (how would they at all put this?) a tiny piece hilarious. Well, we’re exploring the inner layers of the last frontier, that’s all. And the words of Stephen Hawking is ringing in my head: “Once we spread out into space and establish colonies, our future should be safe.” And this is the point when the space aliens start chuckling a little. But that’s not official history, remember: those are nothing other than the strange noises resident in this writer’s head. —

Sincere adults, indeed! Uhhrgh! — With their power structures that are all about war. The guns and the ammo, the handgrenades, the bazookas, the rockets, the mine fields, the cruisers, destroyers, and jet fighters and stealth bombers, the nuclear bombs, and the satelite controlled tracking systems. War and utter bloodbath, goddamn it! That’s all there is to it; honestly! War and a superficial readiness to invade space, that’s it. What we’re watching here is a species of bed-wetters that is head-on into the exploration of the last frontier, as they have come to see it: Alfa Centauri, Barnard’s Star, and beyond.

Human suffering is the order of the day. There’s no truth in it, really, only the baddest of all luck, and screamingly unfortunate omens. What some of us care to look at is a future in which levels of human suffering must be brought in check, and peace should reign so that we can get ourselves ready to do something useful about the ways in which we are disconnecting ourselves from Mother Nature, and start to tend to the interest of all these ecosystems of ours, which we seem to be destroying. None of this has anything to do with the proposed invasion of space, of course. So beat me up for being blunt about it, okay? That’s good, yeah. Burp. Sigh. Ah. —

I often think of myself as an internet idiot who is here on a fact finding mission at the service of a group of space alien planetary life systems investigators. I think of them as a very practical lot, and that they would like to teach the human species a little something about planetary home protection. But first they need to get their heads around the idiot complexity of the situation here. It’s not all that easy. The human species, which is on top of the food chain here, is generally unaccustomed with the idea of that ecosystems need protection. We’re pumping the fumes of our oil, gas, and coal consumption straight into the atmosphere here (for starters), and thereby heating it up and creating climate chaos. We’ve done so wrong for so long, today we haven’t got a clue as to how to live without doing it. In the minds of my space aliens it really should be so much easier. In my own personal mind I also think it should be so much easier. But it isn’t. — There’s a world of spiritual and structural problems down here.

I’m definitely under the influence of space aliens here. They must have invaded my brain. And I think they think this war story is truly too much. Furthermore, I think they think the human suffering story is the same: too much. And it sure makes you wonder why to bother. And to think to yourself: what is it with people? Could it be that bloody war and human suffering are the surest of all signs that humanity is sane like it should be? I mean: that war and human suffering work as evidence to conclude that sanity reigns amongst our number? I mean: whow! Could it be?

Global warming is a social phenomenon, too

March 22, 2008

Global warming is a social, a cultural, a spiritual, a mental, and a psychological problem. But as a topic for social research it remains largely untouched. As for now, it remains a topic left with the experts of the physical and natural sciences to map out, wrap up, and resolve. As these scientific reports we are getting are becoming more and more worrisome, and it may seem as if solving the problem of global warming — making global warming stop — is going to take a lot of social change. Unless we are all supposed to come to believe there will be new technological fixes to the problems of emissions from oil, gas, and coal on a relatively short notice, it means the consumption of oil, gas, and coal must be brought down from the current level, and not be allowed to increase as expected by the International Energy Agency (IEA). Now, as there is virtually no social indicator available to say otherwise, it seems as if the IEA will be right in assuming that CO2 emissions will increase in the coming years, and not decrease, as would be required (the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has issued statements to the effect that we have an eight-year window of opportunity at our hands here). I say: this should in every possible way leave the social sciences with a task that should not be overlooked. But the masters of the social sciences keep overlooking it. Why? Because the probable end results of the proposed social scientific investigation into the matter of the social changes required to prevent the heating of the world to dangerous levels are way too depressing to even try to cope with. And I say this because it is everywhere for everyone to see that there is not much that is being done to curb greenhouse gas emissions. — Not here, not there, and not anywhere. While we all ought to know that we got to get started here, we keep procrastinating.

This is a social dilemma which is not being studied by anyone (I just googled the line “global warming social challenge” and didn’t find much of interest, I’m afraid). But I’d like to believe the ugly truth must someday come out of the social sciences departments and institutions of the university sector. As it is: I’m still waiting for signs of warning coming from other fields of study than the psychological science (some research on the actual human side of the global warming situation is actually being studied by psychologists). I am thinking first and foremost of the departments of philosophy, sociology, and social anthropology, and I ask myself: why are these people keeping their mouths shut? Can’t they see that global warming is also a social phenomenon? And that it needs to be adressed?

Whenever media outlets are broadcasting the publications of new physical science reports that says things about the emissions cuts that needs to be undertaken, I am not among those who instinctively start thinking about possible technological fixes. I’m left thinking about the social aspects involved in reducing fossil fuels use. As for now, I’m quite ready to accept the notion that I’m thinking like a madman, and that most people believe technological solutions to global warming is right around the corner. But I doubt that there is. The solution to global warming is a global-wide social revolution, that’s my belief. But it’s also my belief that this is not going to happen. We’re going to sit around waiting for technological fixes until our faces turn blue. As the class system and the nation-state system continues to pose as among the most important sources of grievances amongst our number, and also as the most important sources of social distractions available to us, as a relatively high CO2 emissions output remains an indicator of wealth, happiness, and joy all over the planet. While relatively low individual and societal CO2 emissions levels are the safest of all statistical signs of poverty.

Global warming is a hypocrisy issue. As bad news is the fastest kind of news available to the human brain, I know that global warming is something that all sincere adults are aware of, and worried about, no matter where on the planet they are living. I’d also like to believe that most adults are indeed sincere. A fact which leads me to believing that the current world civilization must collapse as soon as possible, and be replaced by a much more nature friendly civilization: one that puts a greater value on what’s best for Mother Nature than it does on the interest of the nation-state, the corporate economy, the great wealth of the very few, and so on. I don’t believe it is going to happen.

So I’m off to meet with my space alien friends again. The little green people who are all baffled by what they’re seeing on this planet. Watching this species of four-wheeled mammals about to going absolutely insane by way of coming to understand and realize what a social mess we are all wading into here. As a whole species of ecosystems destroyers are coming to realize that we should be living a bit more like red indians here, or stop driving cars until the new and eco-friendly batteries have gone safe. And rage aginst the soothing tele-vision machines while we’re at it. As we understand that they are making our present times appear so very beautiful and cosy while the whole planet is seething with fantastic climate chaos and exhilarating extreme weather events, just waiting for us to connect with a future that is looking dimmer and dimmer as procrastination is left to just continue. And so on.

Now, my space aliens belong to my Dream-Lands. Where they’ll stay. Always with me, but never part of me.

Distantly introspect.

The original idea of curbing CO2 emissions is going to prove impossible anyway

March 21, 2008

Washington Post, March 10, 2008: Carbon Output Must Near Zero To Avert Danger, New Studies Say

“The task of cutting greenhouse gas emissions enough to avert a dangerous rise in global temperatures may be far more difficult than previous research suggested, say scientists who have just published studies indicating that it would require the world to cease carbon emissions altogether within a matter of decades.”

“‘The question is, what if we don’t want the Earth to warm anymore?’ asked Carnegie Institution senior scientist Ken Caldeira, co-author of a paper published last week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. ‘The answer implies a much more radical change to our energy system than people are thinking about.’

Although many nations have been pledging steps to curb emissions for nearly a decade, the world’s output of carbon from human activities totals about 10 billion tons a year and has been steadily rising.”

– — – — – — –

IT’S THIS CONTRADICTORY DEVELOPMENT: on the one hand the physical sciences want us to know that fossil fuels consumption is a very bad idea. Great many of us have come to accept this by now. On the other hand, however, there is the realization that emissions are steadily rising. And the social sciences don’t want to touch the subject. Why? Probably because it is pretty easy to understand that the original idea of curbing CO2 emissions is going to prove impossible to bring to life. Just think about it: do you think it would be possible to bring the pollution from just one city — for example: the postcard city of Las Vegas (by night) — to zero?! Now, think again. If you’re finding it difficult to think of curbing CO2 emissions from just one city (I’m sure you do), then think about those other millions of similar cities around the world. You’ll be perfectly able to grasp the enormity of the problem.

Chances are, the proposed reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is going to end up as the good and commendable idea that it was, and not much more than that. In the short term it seems to me like social systems are quite ready to allow the whole planet to choke under the greenhouse effect atmospheric carpet which human activity keeps making thicker. In the long term we’re all going to die, and that’s a most basic fact of life and not some doomsayer’s dumb warning. We’re all going to die, and the oldest among us whither away and die, the youngest among us are going to have to deal with a lot of problems as the effects of global warming and manmade climate change are becoming grimmer and grimmer as years and decades go by. And here is the generational dilemma spread out for you, but the social sciences still don’t want to touch the subject of climate change and whatever it may have to do with the different human cultural systems and social structures of ours.

What comes next, then, is a period in which more and more people are starting to realize that it is indeed going to hell. And that there is nothing anyone can do to stop this. At least not so long as fossil fuels consumption is at all legal. The masters of the physical sciences are going to keep telling us that fossil fuels consumption should, in essence, be banned by law. As it is destroying the natural world at a very high speed. And as this fact is simply too stupid to continue living with, I suppose. But the social sciences are still going to stay mute about it. This is not considered to be a social problem, that’s why! It is totally absurd, of course, but it seems to me that the social scientists of this world are all tone deaf. Physical or natural problems have an effect on the social life of the people. Unfortunately it also has the social effect of making most professionals of the social sciences go disinterested. They jump to simple conclusions and decide they’d better not tell.

I think it would be very interesting to study the possible social reasons why things are going all wrong and awry here. I think it would be extremely interesting to investigate — from a social scientific point of view and a cultural/social anthropological perspective — the social reasons why it is proving impossible to curb greenhouse emissions. But it’s a non-starter, it seems. All because common sense tells social scientists not to worry about it. Why? Possible because the most probable conclusions of the said study would be way too gloomy to even publish. As it is: in the face of physical/natural disasters, the world simply doesn’t appreciate social truths. The social, cultural, and civilizational truths concerning manmade climate change is there for politicians and economists to deal with, and not for social scientists to start meddling with. Or so it may seem to an internet idiot like me.

Or so it may seem to an unpublishable author of essays, faction and fiction, prose, plays, and poems like me. A sad thing.

I’m thinking of my space aliens. The extraterrestrial fact finding mission from a different galaxy from ours, here with agents to monitor the situation here, as watching us turn into a species of mammal parasites engulfing and devouring the ecosystems of this whole planet of ours must indeed be extremely interesting to the worlds of extraterrestrial humanoidologists. Watching us knowingly and willingly destroying the planet by use of fossil fuels. And at the same time watching us chop down all rainforests at the highest possible speed, depleting fish resources at the highest possible speed, and destroying the natural habitat of many, many other species as well. And all the while pumping toxic substances straight into the rivers, seas, and oceans of this planet, like the flushing of toilets. And taking a good look at some of these mountaintop removal sites, where the quest for fresh coal to burn is there in the open for everyone to see, and are aw so telling, don’t you think?! — Little green people would certainly be very interested in these things, I can tell you that much. While the family of humanity gladly wants to keep quiet about it and get on with their lives, travelling about from here to there, unmoved and completely unabated. On a planet which, from the outside perspective, might appear like this giant centrifuge in which cars, buses, trains, aeroplanes, bicycles, prams, boats, ships, giant oil tankers, space shuttles and other movable devices containing raw materials, stuff and staff are shifting places continuously. — But oh! Oh oh! Don’t even think about it! There’s not a single thing you can do about it, so. —

Nevermind.

“The question is, what if we don’t want the Earth to warm anymore?”

March 17, 2008

Washington Post, March 10, 2008: Carbon Output Must Near Zero To Avert Danger, New Studies Say

“The task of cutting greenhouse gas emissions enough to avert a dangerous rise in global temperatures may be far more difficult than previous research suggested, say scientists who have just published studies indicating that it would require the world to cease carbon emissions altogether within a matter of decades.”

“Their findings, published in separate journals over the past few weeks, suggest that both industrialized and developing nations must wean themselves off fossil fuels by as early as mid-century in order to prevent warming that could change precipitation patterns and dry up sources of water worldwide.”

“The world must bring carbon emissions down to near zero to keep temperatures from rising further.”

“The question is, what if we don’t want the Earth to warm anymore?” asked Carnegie Institution senior scientist Ken Caldeira, co-author of a paper published last week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. “The answer implies a much more radical change to our energy system than people are thinking about.”

“‘People aren’t reducing emissions at all, let alone debating whether 88 percent or 99 percent is sufficient,’ said Gavin A. Schmidt, of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.”

– — – — – — –

The International Energy Agency prepares medium- and long-term energy projections, which are published in the Agency’s flagship publication, World Energy Outlook. The latest edition, World Energy Outlook 2007, released in November 2007, contains global projections through 2030. … World leaders have pledged to act to change the energy future. Some new policies are in place. But the trends in energy demand, imports, coal use and greenhouse gas emissions to 2030 in WEO-2007 are even worse than projected in WEO-2006.”

– — – — – — –

On the one hand we have increasingly alarming reports on global warming, climate change, and actions required. On the other hand we have statistical evidence indicating that humanity as a whole is not ready to make any admissions. All official projections of fossil fuel use are up, up, up.

It’s what I call a contradictory development of sorts. On the one hand we have the science. On the other hand we have the social fact. Few people feel any need to take the science seriously, in the sense that all this science is requiring of us to start reducing greenhouse gas emissions; it may seem as if people and societies are quite ready to sacrifice the future for the convenience of increased fossil fuels use as of today. It may seem as if people and societies are bracing themselves for the extreme weather events, floods, draughts, climate change to come while doing absolutely nothing of what would be required for us to bring global warming to a halt.

WHAT WILL BE, WILL BE. — Now, as it is becoming clearer and clearer that societies of people just aren’t ready to respond to the science indicating global warming and climate change as a result of increasing fossil fuel use, I wonder how the politicians are going to go about making people respond when they just don’t want to do that?! I mean: if the people of this world is truly ready to accept severe and potentially deadly climate change as one of those things, while waiting for peak coal to kick in some three-hundred years from now, there will not be much the politicians of our times can do to change that. If the people in general has come to accept that there will be hard times ahead, but that there is not much use trying to change that, then what? I’d rather not think about that.

So I can sit here like some moron and know, fully well, that the technological fixes are already in place (nuclear power, solar power, wind, wave, and tidal power, etc.) and all the while come to understand that humanity as a whole is fossil fuel fanatic. I can sit here and conclude, as much as I please, that the human species has, as a ruinous collective, gone fossil fuel insane. Some people are discussing the urgent need for reduction of fossil fuel use while at the same time fossil fuel use are projected to increase. Come what may, we are not going to allow for lifestyle changes that would involve a slow-down on fossil-fuels consumption. It’s insane, isn’t it? Or is it? I may be insane myself for thinking that a slow-down on consumption would be the only way forward, — if we don’t want the Earth to warm anymore, that is. And if we want to do something about so many of the drivers of global warming, including factory production of consumer goods, and transportation of things, thangs, stuff, staff, and fuck all: it sure seems like we’re a species lost in traffic.

Or is it the fear factor? — I’m still thinking about the notion that global warming is such a dangerous subject that actually doing something useful in order to stop it (a cumbersome task to say the least) would be the same as admitting to the fact that global warming is a serious threat to life, and a threat that must be adressed. As it is: we all instinctively know that lowering emissions sufficiently for putting an end to global warming would take a lot of effort. Problem is: it might take a lot of courage, too.

I believe the only good way forward would be to stop talking about “the reduction of CO2 emissions,” but instead start talking about “the reduction of fossil fuels consumption.” It is a trick of the mind, this. As “reduction of CO2 emissions” is an undertaking which involves factories and power plants (for starters), while the “reduction of fossil fuels consumption” would be a thing that involves actual human beings of flesh and blood as well. We need to do something about the fossil fuels consumption. And we’re in need of a language that can make that happen.


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