The Pentagong Show

The Pentagong Show
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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

It's the Stupid Economic System.

On the Arctic Weather blog's article entitled,"The Tipping Point" , the author, Dorsi, argues that "it's vital that international mitigation and adaptation responses become swifter and more ambitious." 

I have extreme reservations about this conclusion. Watching the "International Community" (there's no such thing) tackle the problem of ACC (Anthropogenic Climate Change) makes me feel like Chief Inspector Dreyfus, Inspector Clouseau's long-suffering boss in the Pink Panther movies.

As the yearly roster of weather events of an extraordinary nature continues to escalate, and calls of alarm go out from the scientific community proclaiming that the pace of change is accelerating beyond their most horrific calculations, while sites such as The Energy Bulletin suggest the self-evident truth that economic growth and mitigating the rate at which climate change is occurring are incompatible, I would take their argument one step further and claim that every single one of the steps that has thus far been taken are, just like in the US, formulated to give the parent country a less rigid dependence on fossil fuels from an unreliable source, and then sold to the public as strategies for reducing the rate at which climate change is occurring, were instead ploys to build a new energy infrastructure, one that, far from slowing down the accumulation of  global-warming gasses in the troposphere, instead accelerated it. 

From Germany's bio-fuel programs to the USA's disastrous ethanol program, they are on such an enormous destructive scale that it could be no other way, even if the amount of CO2 going into the atmosphere from their activities were to eventually taper off, which is showing no signs of happening. Let's look at the logic and see how absurdly skewed it is.

Biodiesel is made from palm oil. But there are not enough palm oil trees in the world to economically produce the amount of fuel necessary to feed the voracious appetite for energy of the German's export machine, the size of which rivals China's. The solution, of course, is to mow down thousands and thousands of hectares of Rainforest in Indonesia, that used to act as a carbon sink, to plant palm oil trees, turning those acres into carbon pumps instead. Just as Brazil is doing to the Amazon rainforests, and the US to its Midwest, both to manufacture ethanol, having nothing whatsoever to do with being "green", but marketed as such to the purposely ignorant masses who will believe anything  to be allowed to sit on their ever-expanding posteriors for hours at a time staring dementedly into the space between themselves and the vehicle two feet in front of them.

In other words, creating another CO2 pump from what used to be a CO2 sink.

Alaska's permafrost and Russia's tundra: same dynamic. Even more dangerous, as the gas is methane.

When you span the globe changing what were once carbon sequesters into carbon generators, the rate at which carbon's accumulating in both the atmosphere and the oceans of the world, accelerates at an unforeseen rate, because those rates were calculated with the naive assumption that humankind, once alerted to the danger confronting them, would at least try to slow the rate at which it was filling the troposphere with a gas that displaces the very oxygen it breathes. That instead, they would start to systematically destroy the only natural systems capable of absorbing some of that gas and building instead systems that would pour out even more of it, was simply so absurd, it was not even something that occurred to them to consider.

And yet that its exactly what is happening on an enormous scale. So enormous as to mirror the culprit that's charged with the crime in the first place: the fossil fuel industry.

This dynamic has been repeated over and over again, as Capitalism's true nature cannot be altered. It is akin to a voracious maw that the more you feed it, the more it demands .... needs! Two of the best-known examples, and therefore, least cited by greenies, are the paperless office dreamed up to promulgate computerization in the eighties, which instead increased the amount of paper used in businesses ten-fold, as everyone now had access to a printer; and the tele-commuter fantasy in the nineties that built an information superhighway infrastructure right on top of/alongside the automobile highway system, and thereby INcreased the amount of, not only oil that was being consumed, as its rate of consumption continued to grow unabated (don't need to drive as much? Buy a bigger vehicle!), but also drastically increased the amount of coal burned as it sucked up electricity at an unprecedented rate.

Capitalism isn't going to solve the ACC problem, it IS the ACC problem, and no amount of Jerry-rigging, or pie-in-the-sky fantasies of a clean-coal, solar, wind, bio fill-in-the-blank fuel substitution is ever going to change that. 

Sandy, Katrina, Wilma, these are mind-boggling phenomena, but if you think that they're aberrations, or that your leaders are doing anything to solve the dilemma, thereby substantiating the claim that they were once-in-a-hundred-year storms, you really need to get a grip ... 'cause you're going to need one.

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