John Wawrzonek

Pretending to look knowingly.

LINKS

john@caringfortheearth.com

PROLOGUE ~ The Creation

please read first then come back here and read

EPILOGUE ~ A Planet On The Brink CODA ~ At The End Of The Day...


and maybe this...but no, this will not be the end of bad news...from The New York Times, January 11, 2020

The Academic Apocalipse Climate Change: Follow The Money

The first photograph of an earthrise taken in December 1964 from aboard Apollo 8.

Our Coutry And Our Civilization
Are Now In Mortal Jeapordy

It is no longer climate change:

It is tribalism and so it is everything.

This website is titled “caringfortheearth.com” and was intended to deal with climate change. However, my task is longer just climate change but the long arc of civilization itself.

HOWEVER WITH PRESIDENT TRUMP EVERYTHING HAS CHANGED.

The first words I heard from him were “I’ve been hearing things,” referring to the place of birth of Barak Obama.

No adult in a responsible position would act as if spreading a rumor, yet this was an indication of standard procedure for the president. It is as if he were walking with a big pack of note cards on his back and he spread them as he walked, spreading facts and counter facts or just plain lies. This is how he gathered his flock. On the note cards was something for everyone, and since all politicians have neglected much of middle America they fell for him as long as he said somthing they liked. This situation is the fault of Republicians and Democrats, for this was the neglected middle America and neglected people need affermation, they need something to rally around. And this is especially true for people struggling economically and feeling they have no champion in Washington. And so Trump Tribes have formed. As long as one thing (no legal abortions if you were an evangelical) and you had your tribe and tribes are fundamental to humanity.

There has always existed, since we lived in tribes as hunter gatherers, the potential to put on blinders and not see, understand or recognize the validity of other tribes, even (in the case of racism) not viewing them as human beings.

”...TRIBALISM IN THE AGE OF TRUMP.” is the subject of an article by George Packer in the October 12, 2018 issue of The New Yorker. I quote the whole first paragraph:

We live in a time of tribes. Not of ideologies, parties, groups, or beliefs—these don’t convey the same impregnability of political fortifications, or the yawning chasms between them. American politics today requires a word as primal as “tribe” to get at the blind allegiances and huge passions of partisan affiliation. Tribes demand loyalty, and in return they confer the security of belonging. They’re badges of identity, not of thought. In a way, they make thinking unnecessary, because they do it for you, and may punish you if you try to do it for yourself. To get along without a tribe makes you a fool. To give an inch to the other tribe makes you a sucker.”

This leads to qualities of human nature I have only recently realized were the driving force for warming. I also realized that these qualities, because they are so common were likely genetic, a variation on how we behaved as hunter-gatherers and perhaps even further back in our evolution. The are several reasons we are in trouble, all as a result of our hunter-gatherer heritage.

1. Hunter gatherers could not comprehend the time scales and distances we deal with.

2. Hunter likely stayed isolated from nearby tribes, just as hedgefund managers have little contact with lower class people.

3. The free-market capitalistic system is inherently unjust. Although millions of people work to support the large companies that earn the billions. These “worker-bees” have been stripped of the power by union busting, but I think most of all by the hideous ideology of low taxes and small government. On th surface this can appeal to almost anyone, but the low taxes combined with numberable tax avoindence techniques have brough the CEO scale to a ridiculous multiple of the minimu wage which has not been increased since it was instituted and is about 1/3 of what it should be.

Thus we all share a genetic heritage? The map above shows how we migrated out of Africa and the one above that how we populated the rest of the the earth. It was only about 12,000 years ago that humans reached the trip of South America.

What is the lesson here? If you know this bit of ancient history then you think very carefully about other groups of people. There is no rational reasion why we sould all be at war? We look for reasons to fight. We blame problems on others. Put your clan together and start a business or a serivce to help others. Or whatever, but not AGAINST others. Oh Hell. Nobody listens to me anyway.

That the earth is dying under our feet because we have not been able to shed the space and time blinders of our ancestors?

Somehow we have failed to recornize our own discoveries and so are constantly at war with each other and with the environment. And we will end with the next great extermination because such men and politial parties as Donald Trump and his conversative followers and the wealth of our nation, failed to build relationashiups, but give in to the insecurities that psychooogy disceovered eons ago.

And so perhaps we will get our just desserts.

Although I do not believe in any particular religion I know that science can tell so much but not why I exist nor what is the process by which I sense my existence, a conundrum if ther ever was one.

Thie is HighWay Robbery. The tribe of wealthy conservatives pulled a fast one on almost everyone. Low taxes and small government fooled those with less to give to those with more, a democrcy an life destroying coup that continues to this day with voter incapacitation by any means possible.

The New York Times Op-Ed piece: “Climate Change: Follow The Money” brought home a characteristic of humanity: the stronger the focus, the narrower the view. Goldman-Sachs and many other large financial firms are driving climate change by loaning to oil and coal companies. Each then reaps enormous financial rewards with no concern for collateral damage and makes the rapid progress we need impossible.

The rest of us suffer from seriously lacking education in science and civics as well as the huge difficulty of getting our arms around the complexity of climate change. And even if we did, there is no path that leads to salvation. The climate is on the verge of having a life of its own rather than being driving by carbon dioxide generated by humanity. The melting tundra will soon feed warming without our help.

We would expect that the president of the United States as in the past would lead us in attacking the problem, except Donald Trump is a very, very large part of the problem. If he is not re-elected, there is hope. If he is re-elected I, for once in my life, have nothing to propose. I fear for the earth and its inhabitants.

When I began work over two years ago I wanted to teach about the earth and how special it was, including how it became a part of the universe. At the time this seemed, in a somewhat spiritual sense, important. I am leaving the remainder of the material more or less intact except for cleaning up that which I was going to do anyway.

It is most important that if you can vote, that you cast your vote for the canidate with the strongest climate policy.

The earth was made for us.

There may be others, but we do not know of any
that embody all the whims our bodies and minds need.

Gestation for the earth was four plus billion years and about the same for us. A long time? It all depends on which clock you are watching. Its creation was the epic of epics. However, it seems some multi-tasking was in order, for while the earth was evolving we were evolving.

The earth has been trampled, fracked, strip mined, deforested, drilled, pipe-lined, torn asunder, polluted, poisoned, over populated, and generally decimated. And that was before global warming. It is now being burned, overheated, flooded, its homes crushed by hurricanes and cyclones, dried out, every possible drop of oil and liter of gas extracted, millions of tons of coal removed all to line pockets or, in technical terms, increase stockholder equity. Its ice and snow are melting, coastal cities are being flooded, water supplies are drying up. It is becoming less of a good place to live. And this is just beginning.

The great mystery of civilization is the nature of humanity, how it can be brilliant enough to discover where the universe, the earth and humanity itself came from yet be blind enough to destroy it. (Check the link above to see how shareholder equity propels Chase Manhatten and the rest to finance the destructon of the earth.) Humanity knows the joys of joining with other humans yet wars against others and kills without mercy.

Humans acquire great wealth and hord it, leaving just enough for poor workers to survive and serve them. As their wealth becomes greater, humans narrow their field of view to acquiring still greater wealth.

Something is wrong. It is incomprehensibe how much beauty, joy, destruction, and suffering humans have caused, created or motivated. But only a few that we know of were conscious of the landscape, the purple mountains majesty or the tumbling flowing rivers and how wonderful they were when prestine. Henry David Thoreau was one of the first and I photographed his back yard near Walden Pond and many other back yards that hosted the same spirits. But when I gave seminar/lectures to at the summmer meetings of the Thoreau Socity there seemed to be no more interest then elsewhere.

I presume that the earth seems to each of us permanent. Stable, returning day after day and year after year in about the same form and color and temperature. We do, I suppose take it for granted. But that time is passed. I photographed with a view camera and 4" x 5" film. Twenty-thousand sheets over twenty-eight years. All the seasons, but never where other photographers had their cameras out, or rather they never came when I had mine out.

I found my images so nearby that if you looked stright ahead you missed them, because they were at your feet. Or they were adjacent to guardrails on high-speed highways. I called my work The Hidden World of the Nearby. So where I looked and my expectations were everything and I looked everywhere and expected nothing in particular and found untended gardens.

I am now 78 and as I look back over my life, since I was a child I wanted to understand. Until this millinium it was a passing and passive desire while I shared unbelieveable fortune and joy among my struggles. But early this century it all came crashing down when I discovered the unchecked damage a changing climate was causing and that humanity was the cause of the limate change. And then in a jolt as if by lightening I realized that the path ahead led to an uninhabitable planet.

So I have tried to switch my focus to context, a portion of what should have been taught in the classroom. We need to overcome our tunnel vision and our tunnel morality. There is a term for this: it is reciprocity. The general trend I blieve will be the higher the income, the less appreciation there will be for the golden rule, which is in the western world the same as reciprocity.

Ironically I view the meaning of life in terms of beauty, be it music, fine art, or the gentle process of getting to know someone unlike yourself. Members of our own tribe have the same tunnel vision as we do. I think we all would be surprised if we got to the place where the cashiers, store clerks, hamberger flippers, and all the “servants“ that do not live in our quarters but are desperate for a sztisfying life. In a recent issue of the New York Atigaile Disney revels her experience of realizing the stress of coming short $500 every month to raise one child and not be homeless.

Joy is the meaning of life, and if you tell me that landing one billion more than your competitors makes you happy, they you should go to an ashrom and study the meaning of happiness.

—JW

Caring For The Earth


How Much Is It Worth To Keep It?

A Risky Perch: Playing on the Edge of Victoria Falls (click on image)

I. The View From Here


On The Brink

If global warming is not out of control today, 01 01 2020, it will be soon. The heat from burning fossil fuels is melting enough tundra to release more carbon and methane so that global warming is now fueling itself. As the earth warms it makes more greenhouse gases and so it warms more. Additionally, less ice and less snow in the Arctic means less reflection of sunlight and more warming.

There will be arguments whether this “tipping point,” where the earth takes over its own warming, has been passed. If it hasn't it will very soon. Oil, coal and gas companies will see to it.

Humanity is not responding and actually seems unable to respond. If the Madrid conference can fail, it reveals a fundamental human failing, an isolation from nature that is killing civilization. Where revolution was necessary, the larger countries which are most critical to stopping warming, asked for concessions. This is beyond comprehension.

Figure 1 shows a red line going sharply down and a “business as usual” line going up. The contrast is dramatic. The Green New Deal is intended to close that gap.

However, it is already behind schedule and will require an incredible new American president to lead its acceptance and implementation. A bit like England defeating Hitler without American help.(more)

Victoria Falls

II. How Bad Is It?

Siberia, Australia, Greenland, India

The Earth Is In The Hands Of The Next President

You are now surrounded by four slide shows with examples of some events caused by global warming. Most events would have happened any but exacerbated to a terrifying leve. However, these all happened with 1°C temperature rise or less. This represents a staggering amount of energy because it requires heating the land and ocean to significant depths plus the ensitre atmosphere. To be specific it is about 1022) Jules of energy (that is a 1 followed by 23 zeros). A good summary is When Will The Earth Become Too Hot For Humans?” And because of rapid changes in the permafrost dealing with carbon dioxide emissions has become extremely urgent.

Few believe this, especially our national leaders. We may be genetically unsuited for this kind of problem. We evolved to deal with the quick and nearby and global warming is neither.

Whether we now have enough greenhouse gasses for global warming to supply its own fuel is moot, because if we do not we soon will. There is not only no sign of a war on carbon, there is not even a plan to start one. The earth will never return to its former self. We will have destroyed a gift of the universe as a place for us to live. It will be the greatest tragedy in the history of humanity and it will be caused by closed and greedy minds unwilling to think.

Archimedes Northwest Passage Expedition

III. How Horrible Is It?


What Stupidity Can Accomplish

Australia is changing the game all by itself. We should be looking forward to 3°C which has been my optimistic guess for some time. Unless a fully researched, valid, intelligent Green New Deal with trillians in back of it and a president to bash anyone who doesn’t go along is implemented in 2021 it will be hell here.

So the question is now more urgent about how bad it will get. A week ago I was worried about 2°C. Now it is 3°C.

Figure 2

Drop a match on the snow in the tundra and you start a fire of methane, a greenhouse gas 30 times worse that carbon dioxide.

Global warming releases the methane and fuels itself.

We have to stop it because it gives warming a will of its own. Warmth creates methane creates warm without need for human help. Getting warm while just looking on.

IV. One Line To Rule


Two Lines To Frighten

It is inconcievable on many levels that those running this quasi-civilization should be so oblivious to loosing our home planet. But the top line, “business as usual” is business, wealth, lower wages, everything the supply-side could wish for, and one thing to avoid which is comprehending what is being done.

Everything made needs carbon either for materials, transportation, or energy. Not to mention food and clothing.

Ironically, one way to avoid seeing anything is more carbon: a private jet or a limo with darkened windows.

And the irony never stops.

Secluded places to live. Barriers to pollution, private gatherings to share the fun and fruits of their labor.

Where does it stop? History says with violence. And the climate may deliver that too.

“A report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned of disastrous consequences if current trends of global warming are not reversed immediately.”

If Donald Trump is relected it will be huge setback. Any of the Democratic canadates could rise to the occasion but the intelligence to understand the severty of the problem is rare. To understand the underlying science is still more unusual, but the courage and character to declare and execute a world-wide emergency would be a first.

Only the United States has the resources to lead such an enterprise. As long as the president is Donald Trump there is no hope. He does not have the mental capacity to comprehend the problem nor the desire to do so. He may go down in history as the destroyer of the earth.

More insight is provided by asking about the benefits of holding temperature increase to 1.5°C. This link connects to a discussion of these benefits which are very great. However, discussions of this possibility have virtually ceased and 2°C is now the optimistic limit but given the drive for profits thus far, I would not be surprised that 2.5 or even 3°C becomes the target. An MIT scientist described over 2°C as “horrible.”

Millions march from the inspiration of the most coregeous young women on this planet. In Madrid, the worst of the emitters ask for concessions or make no promises at all. Scientists tremble at the possibily of a tripping point where the climate supplies its own greenhouse gases.

All I can do is think, explain, make lists and try to get them read. For I think I have made a fundamental discovery about our civilization.

A small group of humans, either by luck or study comprehend what is really going on. They support The Green New Deal and the taxes that would bring in the trillions of dollars that will be necessary. But even the most esteemed, those with law degrees from Harvard, and literary degrees from Swathmore and positions as editors and writers and pursuaders, cannot penetrate the fog of complexity, time and space and a life devoid of the concepts of science that allows them to follow arguments, although they may have the courage that D. J. Trump lacks, to admit they do not know and sit and listen and engage learning.

In a separate section I discuss the details of the challenge and how desperate is our situation and why so many of those with limos and private jets cannot see or hear or worst of all refuse to admit that they cannot.

If John Greenleaf Wittier were here he might note that of all the words heard here today, the saddest are from those who lack the courage, despite entire nations beginning to fail, to say: I don’t understand what a tripping point is, or how carbon dioxide gas becomes a blanket and who, as would our president and our richest citizen, rather let the earth die.



About twelve years of study and two very full-time years on this web site (most is hidden from the world was changing faster than I could keep up with it; just ask my editor). My fear has grown to the point that I can no longer see a way clear that might provide a respite from disaster. The break came suddenly when I learned that Jeff Besos and instructed his employees not to speak abut global warming. For the first time in 78 years, including 7 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology I put my pen down, defeated. The wealthest man in the world, whose company pays no taxes, who crushes his employees, who squeezes everything he can squeze is now going after the planet we live on. Neither it nor I can survive this.
Life is composed of many things, some just plain workand some exhaulted. But something is wrong here and I must think about it. Some part of humanity is civilied, but in the deepest sense I am deciding it is a very small part. That small part has learned science, philosophy and psychology, would not blanch at the mention of conservation of energy or be unable to discuss a theory of science that is just a theory and distinguish it from a proven theory. Or comprehend what is the meaning of an experiment or a model or a full proof. Or cvand rejoice when both converge on the truth.
Or, could possibily absorb the idea that we are all of one race. That the only view we can have of each other and have a civilization of joy rather than suffering, beheading and all manner of conflict based on fabels. Often because the citizens of our civilization do not know how do to anything except fire a gun, and for whom a symphony orchestra playing a symphony or concerto that is the pinacle of humanitys labors. The sadness I feel between what I can hear from 100 instruments of joy and the rot that I hear from one instrument of ignornance is incalculable.
I know how this creation happened, but I only know why when I can reciprocate in conversation in knowledge or deed or just plain enjoyment. A thousound joys vs billions of crimes. In my mind every failure to let what is reality penetrate the mind and soul instead of bouncing off a brick of ideology or religion or myth or fackery or whatever gets in the way of an idea called reciprocity, that if embraced could make us a civilization. If it is not too late.”

V. One Mindlessness That Fools


One Head That Frightens

Yes. That is Donald. He thought he would try it on for size, but it broke at which time a glimmer of a thought appeared (there were never any more than glimmers) that when those around him called him “swell,” they really meant “swelled head,“ which explains the broken earth, but not the depressed and insane that surround him.

It is not possible for me to be other than depressed when thinking of The Donald, for a tragedy of this size to befall us.... What did we do? Tell me. What did we do to deserve this. Well Donny Boy, let’s try some truth and see how that fits. Well for one, I am looking forward to the first intelligent sentence, one that showed rhyme or reason.

Sea level rise has shrunk India's Ghoramara Island from nearly 8 square miles to 2 square miles in recent decades.
ZUMA PRESS/ALAMY

Figure 2–Siberia, showing the effects of melting permafrost

Figure 3–Greenland ice sheet melting 7 times faster than expected.

Slide Show from around the world

Figure 4. A small taste of the future: A nation-wide storm.

Figure 5. Greenland ice sheet summer melt example.

Print

VI. After All It Is A War, Isn’t It?


You’d Better Believe it Buddy!

War is used loosely as a metaphor. It usually is inappropriate and can lead to tragic behavior. An ounce of weed is jail for life. Or trivial strikes and you are out. Simplemindedness goes a long way in winning elections, cutting down on serious work, and filling jails.

However, there are times when intense focus is appropriate. Logistics won World War II. An inconcievable number of vehicles, planes and everything else supplied war on two fronts. In this case I would add Apollo, putting men on the moon. Apollo 8, which produced the photograph above, in the book Rocket Men begins to give a sense of the utter impossibility of the task. Four-hundred thousand people in a task that any scientist or engineer in his or her right mind would have called impossibly impossible. Yet five missions, four completed, and no lives lost. To this engineer it is inconcievable. But this is why I think we can scrub the atmosphere, the entire atmosphere of the earth. If only John Kennedy could stand on inauguration day and tell us we had to do it.

In my experience it is amazing the level to which good people can rise when the challenge is important and the support is there. We need it.

All the events in the above images, including all in the slide show, have happened with warming of 1°C or less. Without the utmost effort beginning immediately, it is difficult to imagine a temperature of less than 3°C by the end of the century. It is even concievable, if we stay the course we are on, that we could reach 5, 6 degrees or more.

We will then find that all the fires, storms, heat and flooding thus far will be a picnic compared to what is to come.

The stimulent for all this is graphically obvious in Figure 6 (below).

In 1800 there was 0.03 billion tons of carbon dioxide addeed to the atmosphere. The rise began in mid-1800s with the invention of the steam engine and has grown exponentially since. Fossil fuels, especially refined petroleum, were essentially packaged fire and became essential for virtually every engine made increasing every year as technology evolved.

How to tame the fire breathing dragon is the question and its answer will likely occupy humanity for the remainder of the century and beyond.

Figure 6

VII. Climate Change


How I Learned About It

About 15 years ago I read about global warming on the internet. It was the first I had heard of it. Part of the story was about the danger of the tundra melting and releasing methane, a very powerful greenhouse gas. I thought “we’re screwed,” followed by intense depression.

By training I am an engineer (MIT 1963, 1965, 1967) and engineering has always been an important part of my life. I learned the intuitive side as a kid building electronics for sound systems. That was the first time I smelled electronics overheating. I worked on high power electronics on a NASA contract when I went to work at Bose Corporation as its 5th employee. (Professor Bose had been my faculty advisor at MIT.)

My experience with the NASA contract taught me a certain respect for high power electronics and how to discern normal odors of electronic equipment from those that spelled impending disaster. An essential lesson is to take care of a problem quickly before it gets out of hand. The attitude becomes part of you.

The methane in the tundra was, in my mind, a global warming time bomb. We fed global warming by burning oil and coal that gave off carbon dioxide. This began warming the tundra where rotting vegitation would give off methane, a greenhouse gas about 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide. This is a positive feedback (amplifying) mechanism. The warming also melts snow and ice which reflect light. Without the snow and ice, the tundra then absorbes light and turns it into heat further accelerating warming.

Positive feedback is, in situations like this, terrifying to an engineer because it exacberates the problem and is unpredictable in how rapidly it will happen. I also could not find any significant natural negative feedback mechanism.

Looking back over the various models and predictions made by scientists sets off other warnings. In scientific lingo, the climate is not a “tractable” problem, that is it is very difficult to model, computers are not fast enough and it is impossible to get enough data from sensors around the globe to provide accurate input to the models.

VIII. How To Think


Analysis vs Risk

IX. The Nub


HUMAN NATURE

X. Evangelicals


The Need For Self Validation

It is difficult to believe in a successful outcome. Climate change is happening much faster than anyone expected and actions are happening far more slowly than necessary. The United States has likely contributed the final nail in the coffin. Donald Trump’s actions and inability to comprehend almost anything with a significant scientific or even intellectual component makes one stretch to find words strong enough to characterize the enormity of his lack of ability.

A sorry contribution is the reaction of evangelicals. Christianity Today, the intellectual arm of evangelicalism, a small (80,000 circulation) publication founded by Billy Graham published a scathing (and I really mean that) editorial about President Trump. It angered the rest of the evangelicals. This is a fundamnetal human disaster. Evangelicals (I am a former one) of the conservative kind are longing for validation. I could sense that when attending Park Street Church in Boston in the 1960s. It prides itself on its intellectual standing. The pastor must have a PhD (although honorary will suffice). But in their college groups I could sense a need for validation. In other churches today there is a welcoming of the “end times” or of a second coming of some kind that will give a new recognition and influence to what it means to be an evangelical. So Donald Trump comes along, claims he is one of them (which is pure bullshit), validates their anti-abortion position (and I would guess others like anti-gay and anti-transgender) and so they embrace him although he is effective the "devil." This is insanity. This is the breakdown of the human mind under the stress of threat to a tribes meaning. And so evangeicals will be a huge factor in the coming election and not a welcome one. Hillary Clinton gets roasted for using the wrong e-mail server. Donald Trump gets away with murder, literally. Many Ukrainains have died because of his witholding funds.

In my mind Trump is guilty of treason to humanity.

IX. Wealth


The Ultimate Corruption

Sometimes the cause is deep and obsured and that is what I have thought for 15 years. Then I read a long essay by Abigail Disney in a December issue of The New Yorker. The subject is money and an organization called ......Millionaires.

There is one image that

CODA

A hymn from 1750 that makes me weep for 2150

For the beauty of each hour Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flower, Sun and moon and stars of light.
For the joy of ear and eye, For the heart and brain’s delight,
For the mystic harmony Linking sense to sound and sight.



X. Wealth


Having It All

click above

There are many graphs of the earth’s temperature over time. Most show a linear increase which is more or less what you see if you look at 20 years of data. I took the simplest approach I could with the available data from NASA and that is what is called “curve fitting.” You take a guess at the basic function (here an exponential) and fudge it anyway you wish until it looks right. It turns out that if you ask excel to do the matching you get a polynominal series of the same shape as this curve, but either higher or lower. I view this as a kind of business as usual model and it predicts 6.6°C in 2100 which is roughtly right for continuing doing what we have been doing. It is of course catastrophic as is any temperature over 2.0°C.

Americans Continue to Deny Scientific Facts. Why?

Donald Trump may reach several pinacles all at one time. Impeached. Inhuman. Destroyer of the earth, but most of all, it seems to me pathetic, diplaying real human needs is the most corrupt possible way.

Trump praises people who flatter him, so he can pretend he is rising to a high level. But he cannot tollerate intelligence. Asking for an explanation is impossible for he trembles that he would likely not understand the explanation. So global warming or anything else with intellectual content must be brought down to his level. To my mind this is the tragedy of tragedies, the planet and civilization in perril from the lowest of the low.

Modern scientific thought may have begun with Gallelio and progressed very slowly until Issac Newton, and blossumed in Europe from the 1700s through Einstein and relativity and hosts of others: Clerk Maxwell, standing on the shoulders of determined experimentalists gave us Maxwells Equations and knowledge of all of electro-magnetism and on through Kip Thorne and a panopoly of 20th century physics until a republician head of a science comittee said he doesn't believe in science.

It may have been religion, or racicism, or unwise theories of educztion but science, to my mind has died, for Trump could not be Trump were it alive.

I cannot concieve of thinking about a problem without first learning what illumination science has provided.

Race is a good example. It has only been revcently that we learned that we are ALL Africians, decended from central Africian tribes of the first homo sapiens some 50,000 years ago.

Or learning what our brains can (and cannot) do: what you are experienceing (sentience) at this moment, every detail and color and motion from two small images on your two retinas. Knowing how the universe came into existance 10.8 billion years ago, but no clue (outside of god, which is the name of a clue)as to why.

So we are letting the earth cook it its own juices with the power of shareholder value driving the earth into uninhabitability.

I sat in on a couple of 5th grade science classes with my son. An attempt was being made to teach electrical engineering (not kidding) with the most atrocious material I have ever seen. Someone had to meet a goal or demonstrate prowess in “advancing” these kids. You can’t build without foundations and so it was almost certainly a waste of time.

And clearly the man or men who just dismantled the Boeing engineering culture, full of himself and a financial plan to drive development, has created one of the most monumental disasters ever in American industry. Shareholder value not connected to a human and intelligent standard is a clamity.

Not knowing what you are seeing and not able to recognixze that you do not know is a collapse of civilization. If the trump card is in charge it may become just that.

And what’s the answer?

Frances Moore Lappé changed how we eat. She wants to do the same for our democracy

....the dominant story in our culture is one that creates a feeling of powerlessness...it starts with this reductive understanding of human nature. We’ve taken Adam Smith and Charles Darwin and distorted their real messages. We grow up in this culture believing that the only thing we can count on is materialism, selfishness, competitiveness. It’s survival of the fittest, and the way we handle it is this wonderful device Adam Smith told us about called the free market. But Adam Smith understood the depth of our social nature.


But we do not. American text books and science teaching are dreadful, but what is more dreadful is parents do not understand enough to motivate their children.

There are many graphs of the earth’s temperature over time. Most show a linear increase which is more or less what you see if you look at 20 years of data. I took the simplest approach I could with the available data from NASA and that is what is called “curve fitting.” You take a guess at the basic function (here an exponential) and fudge it anyway you wish until it looks right. It turns out that if you ask excel to do the matching you get a polynominal series of the same shape as this curve, but either higher or lower. I view this as a kind of business as usual model and it predicts 6.6°C in 2100 which is roughtly right for continuing doing what we have been doing. It is of course catastrophic as is any temperature over 2.0°C.

Americans Continue to Deny Scientific Facts. Why?

Is their an explanation?

12/16/2019

I know this man, or rather I know the look on his face. It’s the look of someone baffled but terrified to admit it.

The earth is dying and he cannot admit that it’s our doing. Why? Because if he is in a room of oil barons he knows they will skin him alive if he deserts them.

The bad news is coming faster than at any time in the 15 years I have worked on global warming. And if you are a scientist you are trembling. Iam an engineer with considerable science background (three MIT degrees). When I first read of all this 15 years ago I said “we’re screwed.” Well we are.

See that rampaging river below. That’s the Greenland Ice Cap melting, 2000 or so years early. Yet if you look over the entire planet, there is not one person who can stand up and command the attention of national leaders. Not one. And explain to them what thermal runaway means and how we are going to be part of it.

Note: Why Americans Continue to Deny Scientific Facts.

Tar Sands, Alberta, Canada/Credit, Alex MacClean

Tar Pit #3


Carbon dioxide, is the highest in human history.
The planet will continue warming.
Many parts will become uninhabitable.
Seas will rise 200 feet and inundate coastal cities.
The population will mostly die off.
The earth will keep getting warmer indefinitely.
And we just keep burning coal and oil.
Carbon dioxide is increasing.
Humanity is commiting suicide.

Coal Power Generation Continues



Invigorated by the US withdrawal and rising nationalism at home, Brazil, Australia and Saudi Arabia, defended loopholes and opposed commitments to enhance climate action. Other big emitters such as China and India insisted on the delivery of finance and support promised by rich countries before 2020 as a precondition to any discussion on enhancing their current targets.

But there is more. Dictators are to be admired as they destroy him.

The Devil with a smirk on his face.

“I Have Become The Destroyer of Worlds”

Melting Glacier

A fraction of the destruction at the Alberta Oil Sands. Credit Alex McClean

Greta Thunberg: Time Magazine Person of the Year

says school strikes have achieved nothing.

she is right.

America was once a beacon. For all its faults its industrial, intellectual and moral power set a standard for the world.

Donald Trump and the Republicans have replaced the beacon with a cesspool. There is nothing good. There is a sinkhole where there had been a beacon and everything, land, sea and air, morality, compassion, justice have all splintered into a million pieces.

Locally we will survive for a while, but what is now clear is that it will take a miracle to save the planet.

Donald will go down into whatever history we have, as the devil with a smirk on his face.

In a way it is pathetic, for I have spent years thinking about what makes men like this. At some deep level Donald Trump knows he is nothing. He is too weak to ever accept teaching. It would terrify him for he knows he would not understand and he would be exposed as a crippled mind and crippled human being.

My god. What did we do to deserve this?

If this former KGB man does not perfectly resemble the cat with the canary then no one ever has.

Putin knows weakness when he sees it and he is seeing it in spades. God only knows what a second term will bring.

One giant puzzle is the falling of evangelicals, falling down and falling in love with Donald, for in return for crumbs they have conned themselves into the utter opposite of Jesus. The supposed stewards of the earth and followers of Jesus have burned and buried all of his teaching.

It would have never entered our imagination to believe that God would forgive a man for everything and now we will learn just how all encompassing this is.

part ii

seeing and hearing reality


Who Are We

I cannot think of something more controversial, impossible to convince people of, or leave a presentation in one piece.

We consider ourselves to be of different “races” without knowing what we mean by race.

We believe we came from the garden of Adam and Eve.

Or we believe nothing at all.

We believe different skin colors make us different.

We are all descended from the tribes of eastern Africa some 50,000 years ago. So we all carry much the same genes. We changed color based on how far north we settled. More sun, darker skin. Less sun, lighter. It is all about vitamin D.

Perhaps something happened in our evolution while in hunter-gatherer tribes. Or something failed as we approached the enlightenment, and then failed again to make the enlightenment part of our civilization.

It is so common to want to be in a tribe where we are the chosen, knowledgable, and privileged ones. Our ability to see and hear the truth dies, and we see what we want to see and hear what we want to hear. We see and hear what the tribe wishes us to see and hear and we do not teach in our schools the incredible danger of this.

In these times an old problem, lying, manufacturing a new “reality” is part of the norm in many places and those who practice it do not realize the insidious danger it is. Imagine designing an airliner in a tower of babel. It is spiritually and intellectually a dissolving of civilization.

Perhaps worst of all the examples set begin to permeate the society. Children emulate it and it destroys the confidence of all. The joy of reciprocal exchanges vanishes along with the meaning of life. We demolish the reach of reason, create false ideologies and drive impenetrable wedges between tribes, tribes and we desperately need is work in concert.

Replacing reasoned thought and reciprocity with intellectual noise spells the termination of civilization. Moreover it replaces the joy of life, for which we were created, with a venomous tickle in our consciousness. To not know the joy of life, the experience of beauty and of genuinely appreciative relationships leaving one a human devil. A consequence, that seems long ago, was America in her corruption starting two cruel and useless wars.

Accompanying all is an abandoning any pretense of fairness, compassion and justice with mindless ideologies. Low taxes and small government is nothing but a license to steal from the poor to give to the rich. America is now a government of the rich by the rich and for the rich. In this environment reciprocity dies and partisanship rules.

A consequence of not hearing and seeing truth will destroy the very planet that gave birth to us, nourished us, sheltered us, and warmed us. And worst of all, being one of the carbon producers and continuing to pour it on when we know, and we absolutely know for certain, that it will destroy this planet seems tragically a possible genetic failure of evolution.

When I thought reason potentially a rescue I often quoted John Greenleaf Whittier:

Of all the words of voice or pen, the saddest are these: it might have been.

I would now write “it could never have been.”

Do We Want To Know The Truth

Once we join a tribe, the tribe is the truth. A religion, a denomination, a political party, an outlier party each has its version of life. Shite, suni, conservative, liberal, Protestant, catholic.

“Do you believe in global warming” is not a question with an answer.

The Unbelievable Subsidies of the Fuel Industries


“The pursuit of happiness” may be the most misleading phrase of all time.

I think Tom Jefferson sold us a bill of goods. Or perhaps humanity was always like this. Happiness is not joy. Joy is being in touch with the Universe. It is the purpose of being.

I think Tom Jefferson, and for that matter, all of us rarely feel the essence of why we exist. I have pondered from the big bang to the internet. Some say god is the answer, but that is only a name for an answer. Some say science is the answer but science does not know why the creation happened.

So I ask what is the best life has to offer and who is stealing it from us and why we gladly participate in the theft.

Each of us has our own idea of what is beautiful, enlightening, fulfilling. There are of course more than I could count. But happiness strikes me as short of what the Creation or Creator intended. I can describe what makes me happy, but words never suffice as a substitute for joy, just as prose is never a substitute for poetry.

So I give you two joys of mine. The photographs were made by me. In the Beethoven 3rd piano concerto the pianist is Krystian Zimerman, the conductor Leonard Bernstein, the orchestra the Vienna Philharmonic and the concert hall the MusicVierien in Vienna. All are on the very short list to be the finest in the world. The result is stunning and joyful. Zimerman is also the soloist in the ballades and the sonata.

PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE EARTHEN LANDSCAPE

CHOPIN FOUR BALLADES

BEETHOVEN PIANO CONCERTO NO. 3

BEETHOVEN SONATA OP 13, Pathétique.

(Note the 601 comments on the music and the performance.)


The way we think

We don‘t, for the most part. It is a different malaise for different folk but we let ourselves be convinced that two cars and out of site out of mind is just fine. And so by acceptance of a style of life that destroys environment, we become accomplices.

Who understands what is happening today? Oil barons and a few scientists. Who tells what is going on? No one, for there was no way to speak loudly. A few have tried. Edward Teller did. Speaking to the oil barons who knew already. James Hansen did to Congress. And now comes the young woman who may lead us. But stone ears and eyes are difficult to open.

Oil Refineries Continue to Add Enormous Quantities of Fossil Fuels/

Failing Reduction of Emissions

The way we live.

There is a way of life that we never did seek, but when it was put before us it seemed like heaven. And the two car garage became a way of life, nice for us, spectacular for the barons of oil and their political partners in wealth.

Today, this very day 12/12/2019 no one can explain that the end of the world is at hand. That we are owned by an invisible gas that has wrecked unbelievable havoc and will do so for a thousand years and melt all the ice on the planet and flood all the coastal cities and perhaps make it impossible to live here. But no progress. Who or what will lead us out of this land of promises with small type too hard to see. Or perhaps a young girl may.

Being blind and deaf to the joys of reality is a reality I discovered late in life.

There are many difficulties to overcome in life but the most difficult are those nearest to us for they are so nearby they are hidden.

A great portion is inflicted upon us by our own civilization, how it has evolved and which part of it we belong to.

For the fortunate with eyes to see and ears to hear without effort it is a gift, the ability to hear music and see images and have them excite your body and mind. Others learn. When I was very young I listened to classical music without comprehension but something told me it was good so I kept listening. Now a few notes from a great artist may make we weep. My god, what good fortune. And in the same way I learned to make photographs.

We are still subject to out of sight, out of mind as you can see from Alex MacClean‘s arial photograph of the tar sands of Canada but that is not the end of the story. It is only a prelude. For next come refineries, trucks and automobiles and electricity and what was in the ground is now part of what we breathe.

I have been panicked for 15 years. What you are seeing here is why. What I read 15 years ago told me this was coming. At that time the melting of the Greenland Ice Cap was considered 2,000 to 3,000 years away. It is melting 7 times faster than expected and if the past is any guide, it will speed up.

The following is from the Guardian story:

“The IPCC is the gold standard for climate science, but some experts are concerned that its findings do not take into account the potential for “tipping points”, thresholds beyond which climate breakdown accelerates and becomes catastrophic and irreversible.”

I believe that is happening now. Earth is going down. The planet has no leader. Donald Trump has sown so much confusion that there is no time or place for world leadership, someone like Roosevelt in World War II.

We need a World War on the climate, and whoever is elected in 2020 better do it as priority 1,2 and 3. And the billionaires had better be prepared to fund it. Or we are going down. Soon. Keep reading. Click here for the GREENLAND STORY.

The Arctic may have crossed a key threshold, emitting billions of tons of carbon into the air, in a long-dreaded climate feedback.

A report finds sweeping changes underway across the Arctic.

Permafrost, seen at the top of the cliff, melts into the Kolyma River outside of Zyryanka, Russia on July 4, 2019.

Melting permafrost is altering Siberia's landscape and economy. (Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post)

Greenland's ice sheet is melting seven times faster than in 1990s

Scale and speed of loss much higher than predicted, threatening inundation for hundreds of millions of people

The IPCC is the gold standard for climate science, but some experts are concerned that its findings do not take into account the potential for “tipping points”, thresholds beyond which climate breakdown accelerates and becomes catastrophic and irreversible.

The Guardian, December 10, 2019

“Scientists are floored
by what is happening right now.”

click above for the full story

The temperature in the Arctic reached over 90°F. Why isn’t this front page news?

Why is no one telling us?

Why is no action being taken?

Why is action on the Paris Accords being postponed another year?

Climate Home News

In 200 (or 100 or 50) years the Earth will be destroyed as a place to live.

Oil companies are destroying the earth for the next THOUSAND YEARS just for profit.

If Trump is reelected he will go down in history (if there is one) as the destroyer of the earth.

Start screaming at your leaders.

I want to see Greta smile.

Climate Panic Attack (CPA): greenland

Greenland's Massive Ice Melt Wasn't Supposed To Happen Until 2070

Scott Snowden, Contributor Science

In less than the past 30 years, we have put into the atmosphere as much carbon dioxide as in all of humanity’s previous history, and we continue adding it at an ever increasing rate. The total is over 1.4 trillion tons.

What we must do is very clear: stop the emission of the carbon and start removing it from the air and burying it deep in the earth. And we must do it as quickly as humanly possible.

It is a challenge as great as putting a man on the moon in less than 10 years, and it may take more than 400,000 people and more money than putting a man on the moon. But there is no choice. We cannot live on the moon.

The science is more complex than putting a man on the moon and it is complicated by our loss of trust in science and in each other. Our leaders fight for power, exclusion, money and separating us from each other. They cannot listen, even to Greta, pleading for the earth.

Perhaps we all might listen to these words. They come from deep in my past, were created for a few, but I think belong to us all. I have, of course, recast a bit, for religion should not divide.

Q & A

“But we are doing so much already. Look at the windmills and solar cells.”

It would take a physics class to explain (click on LINKS) but what we are doing is trying to empty Lake Erie with a coffee cup.

So what are the biggest problems?

Where do I begin?

Comprehension. Climate change is a huge collection of scientific phenomena that confuse almost everyone, even scientists. Yet it is lethal to the earth. An example is how fast it is moving compared to predictions.

Probably worst of all: the carbon that is in the atmosphere will continue warming the earth for thousands of years until all the ice melts and the sea rises 200 ft. THIS IS TRUE EVEN IF WE REDUCE EMISSIONS TO ZERO.

So how can we overcome this?

This will sound crazy, but we have to take the atmosphere to the laundry. We have to clean out the carbon we have put there.

As of December 2019 we are doing virtually nothing to halt the warming of the planet. We are on track for a 6°C temperature rise by 2100. This will be result in a virtually uninhabitable planet.

Despite windmills and solar, these efforts pale in comparison to the needs of transportation, power generation and new demands in developing countries.

The earth may be one of billions of planets supporting life such as ours, it may be one of a few, or it may be the only one, for despite decades of listening for radio signals (see project BEAKTHROUGH LISTEN) there is no sign of another. Yet we treat the earth as if it were expendable.

As of December 2019, we are facing the result of unimaginable failures to deal with global warming by virtually everyone.

Following are explanations of failures, consequences and desperate measures necessary to retain hope of a habitable planet.

iv

possible


It has been done once before. It was called World War II.

The second world war was won by a combination of persuasion, logic and logistics, the incredible industrial might of America.

As of today, December 13, 2019, I have difficulty imagining a more grim situation. The Madrid Conference is stalled. Faster warming is reported in numerous places, more emissions and exploration are planned.

Money wins. Greed wins. Civilization looses.

However, if there were to be something to do (assuming world wide dictatorial powers):

1. Establish a World Climate Authority with unlimited funds and power. (but oversight)

2. Work out a plan with each country that is fair and enforceable.

3. Start building prototype prefab ultra-safe, nuclear reactors in various sizes to facilitate siting.

3. Build prototype negative emissions systems of one or more kinds.

4. Do the above bipartisan, and as fast as humanly possible. Consider this to be a combination of WW II and Apollo.

5. Make a global plan.

6. Implement it.

7. Get carbon back to 270 ppm.

Success would give humankind the confidence to accomplish anything. Failure to try will simply require a lot of tombstones.

The Critical Details

1. Carbon dioxide accumulates in the air and ocean and continues its effects for centuries.

2. Going back to at least 1959, despite warnings and full knowledge of the consequences, including indisputable evidence from their own research, fossil fuel companies have pushed the consumption of these fuels and continue to do so, promising to continue decades into the future, even to the point of using up their reserves.

3. Emissions are increasing for all large countries in approximately a “business as usual” manner.

4. In comparison, the graph above/right shows (red curve) a need for an extremely rapid decrease in emissions.

5. For many reasons, to have any possibility of success it is necessary to have the United States lead the effort to reduce emissions. It is, of course, doing the opposite. (President Trump has a good chance of going down in history as the destroyer of the earth.)

6. Continuing what we are doing could get us 6°C in 2100. An MIT scientist called over 2°C as “horrible.”

7. Most countries who have promised compliance with the Paris or Katowice agreements show programs that would result in temperatures in the range of 2.5°C to 3.5°C in 2100. This is unacceptable.

8. To accomplish the reductions of the red curve, two massive programs, reminiscent of the industrial efforts of World War II are necessary:

a. The design and large scale deployment of nuclear power reactors of new ultra-safe designs. These would be of prefab construction in more than one size to permit flexibility in serving a wide range of installation conditions. (See MIT REPORT on the future of nuclear power.)

b. The design and large scale deployment of negative emission capability. As shown in the diagram above, we have delayed so long that negative emission capability is needed within ten years to meet the “net zero” emission goal. (See the NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES report on negative emission and sequestration technologies.}

A New Terror Each Day

As I have worked on this site the arrival of bad news has gotten to be at least one terror story per day and sometimes several. Sometimes just as I am writing about the topic. However, this one is especially frightening.

Below, the temperature in Santa Barbara is 2°C over the pre-industrial average and is decimenting about everything. The source is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. For the link, click on the image. From the story:

“The result, as The Post’s Scott Wilson reports, is an eroding bluff-side beachfront that has led to the condemnation of apartment buildings, wildfires that have forced thousands to evacuate and heat waves that have scorched orchards and killed livestock.”

This is 2°C and is considered acceptable by the standards of Katowice. As is stands now, we are heading for 3°C. If oil companies have their way, it will be closer to 6°C.

There used to be a saying that if someone were very successful he or she would “light the world on fire.”

I cannot believe that I am writing this.


Analysis and Dangers

There is stored in the Arctic huge quantities of methane that if released by continued warming will likely trigger further warming with catastrophic consequences. Leaders, media, fuel producers, and the public all fail to comprehend the seriousness of the situation.

It is, in fact, a scientific phenomena very difficult to grasp. On the earth we experience isolated events.

I picture the earth as a large orange with many pits scattered throughout. In any given location, inhabitants may see or experience none, one or a few of the pits but cannot comprehend what is happening in the entire sphere. Only from outside and at a distance does the whole problem come into focus.

When taken as a whole we find mega damage and the damage is irreversible. Worse, even if we managed to reduce emissions to zero (and we are still increasing them) the carbon dioxide and other gases will continue to warm the earth for hundreds of years, and the sea level will continue to rise.

On November 26, 2019 CE there was released a UN UPDATE, the latest report on how we are doing. Like previous reports it is ominous, only more so.

The Ideology of Climate Change In The US

Figure 1

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