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View Diary: The Antarctic Half of the Global Thermohaline Circulation is Collapsing (215 comments)

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  •  Tell me how you intend to kick energy company ass (1+ / 0-)
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    I have been looking for a solution all my life and the solution may well be there but its greatly unloved.

    Bad sci fi movies have come closer to addressing the situation than any governing body. Apocalyptic, distopian scenarios abound and are correct.

    Most of us are going to have to die miserably to reduce population levels and energy consumption to where the carbon we put in the atmosphere tapers off.

    Even if we do that as a species there is no free ride. Survivors if any won't have civilization, cities, economies or any well organized group to get things done collectively. The "Road Warrior" community eventually ends up as nomadic bands living off the land in deserts.

    In centuries to come what we have already put in the pipeline leaves whatever survivors there may be doing the "On the Beach" thing only in the Northern hemisphere with the southern hemisphere and tropics gone and no polar ice in the arctic.

    Coastal cities may be close enough to the surface to dive for artifacts as per "Waterworld", but its doubtful the oceans and rain forests survive so its also doubtful oxygen breathers survive unless they can somehow produce it artificially.

    With every species except humans extinct what do humans eat? The "Soylent Green" solution isn't really where I would like to see us go.

    Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

    by rktect on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 09:05:53 PM PST

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    •  Point by point (1+ / 0-)
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      The solution is unloved at the moment.  We need leaders who can develop more and better ideas and sell them.  That doesn't include just the politicians, pundits, and empowered, but you and anyone who feels strongly about this issue.  

      Yeah, the governing bodies are a problem, but that just means that we need to turn to NGOs and liberal philanthropists to get the momentum going until we can get government on board.  And the government problem is not universal.  Look at what Germany has done with renewable sources of energy.  

      We're all going to die.  I hope that you die well.  I hope that as few people as possible have to die because of climate damage.  But even if you are right, and climate change will kill most of us, that is not the end of the human race.  Even if we face a a significant bottleneck, we can survive as a species, and as a culture.  And there is something good worth preserving in that culture: perseverance, ingenuity, creativity (e.g. FDR, da Vinci, Rodin).  Even if those skills and those personalities become only the basis of the mythos of the post-bottleneck, they are worth preserving.  Not to mention the fact that even in your road warrior society (which I do not accept), the survivors can build on the artifacts, just as we did with Rome.  

      And what will be lost to the waters?  Yes, we lose much of New York and London, but there are repositories of knowledge less than a week walk away from each that could last for centuries (Ithaca, Oxford, Cambridge). If we are going to postulate a post-apocalyptic world, we shouldn't favor Road Warrior over Asimov.  

      Finally, every species will not go extinct: even a thermonuclear war would not lead to that result.  Earth is a planet in the Goldilocks zone.  Climate change may create a bottleneck, but life on earth will survive.  Homo Sapiens has a fighting chance.  If we choose to fight.

      I so choose.  I welcome you if you want to join us.  

      If we do not maintain Justice, Justice will not maintain us. -Sir Francis Bacon.

      by Res Ipsa Loquitor on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 09:54:26 PM PST

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      •  You represent survival by society (0+ / 0-)

        organization, consensus as to how to proceed. I don't expect nation states let alone empires to survive the loss of the coastal cities. I don't expect industries to survive.

        And yes we agree we are all going to die. I don't expect to die well. I'll be sick and tired, hungry, dirty, sad, depressed, anxious, no longer strong enough to keep things going. Now I have an orchard, dug wells and a spring; I have hand tools and a garden. I'm expecting that in my lifetime the climate here will be like North Carolina is now. What I don't have yet is off the grid power. I will need that for my well pumps.

        I expect somebody better able to use it, somebody with more perseverance, ingenuity, creativity, will come take what I have from me before I pass natural.

        What I expect to be lost to the waters is any reason to work for a living, government, religion, military discipline, institutions such as the family in the sense of organization by gene and oinkos and rather instead organization by extended family, by bands of brothers.

        I don't expect any industry to survive, no large scale agriculture, no chain stores, money as something people can use to buy things.

        There will be no workers commuting to work, no energy powering infrastructure, refineries and power plants, water treatment and sewage, utilities, no healthcare, transportation, communication, or control. No FEMA or disaster relief. No money.

        There will be a lot of species extinctions, how will you take care of domestic animals without stores, are we all going to hunt and gather without agriculture rain forests to forage in or or oceans to fish in, seven billion of us, hungry and looking for food and no stores to buy it in. What species survive that?

        Will there still be police, fire, ambulance, hospitals with healthcare, rescue workers, people who aren't panicked and irrational, any sort of organized militia which can keep order?

        I don't think any of that that is going to be there. I don't expect people who need leaders to act to survive.

        Those who are self actualizing outlaws may have to take some risks that won't appeal to the followers that have to pay the price for failure.

        You speak of fighting for survival farther down. I don't know if you have ever been a street fighter, I don't recommend it. Its not an old man's game. I'd be inclined to hole up as best I could and let the well armed finish each other off.

        We don't live in communities that are in walking distance of one another anymore. A lot of our ideas are on electronic media that it takes a source of electricity to recover. All we are going to take with us is whats in our heads already.

        Cities and their slurbs have a socio economic influence that crosses state borders. New Englands Bos Wash corridor extends for hundreds of miles. Without its cities there is no economy, no transportation, no stores selling stuff; very soon the coastal populations become refugees headed inland toward the mountains.

        The people already living in the mountains may not welcome them with open arms but rather see them as a horde of locusts ravaging crops, looting, so there will be another band of destruction extending still more hundreds of miles inland.

        I'm not a joiner, but good luck to you and yours.

        Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

        by rktect on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 10:28:28 PM PST

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        •  It is possible that you are right on many aspects (1+ / 0-)
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          of these things.  

          But I don't think the final outcome turns on people who need leaders.  I think it is about the same people who have made a difference over the ages: those who can both lead and be led.  

          The anthropological data suggests that any society over about 200 develops specialists: police, healers, jurists, protectors (militia).  If the climate goes really bad, these small community units will become the functional units of humanity.  If the historical genealogical data is correct, we survived bottlenecks down to the level of a few dozen as little as a couple of hundred of thousand years ago.  Leave behind societies even an order of magnitude larger than that specialization baseline of 200 and you will see the appearance of historians, teachers and engineers.  I am convinced that the odds are good that humanity will survive a climate crisis.  

          Mind you, what I hope for is much more.  We have challenges to face.  We have obstacles to overcome.  But we can do it.   We can survive as a species, even in the face of a really bad climate outcome, on a scale that preserves a significant fraction of our technology and knowledge.  Something that preserves understanding and theories that allow us to maintain both analog forms of critical information (many of which still exist), and information theory.  

          If we are able to build distributed systems of energy and food supply in the near future, we can preserve even more.  In that way, minimizing climate impact is an insurance policy for survival.  Honestly, if we lose malls and reality television, we might be better off.

          No.  I have never been to war.  I have never been a street fighter.  But I think when survival is at issue, when people become more connected with and dependent on the people around them, the dynamic changes.  Yes, you protect your own, but when survival is dependent on the survival of the group, you present with force that is overwhelming to outsiders, but you ask questions before shooting.  

          All this is somewhat hypothetical with respect to how climate change plays out.  But I choose to approach it with optimism, rather than with certainty of doom.  

          If we do not maintain Justice, Justice will not maintain us. -Sir Francis Bacon.

          by Res Ipsa Loquitor on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 12:29:34 AM PST

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          •  Ok you remain optimistic (0+ / 0-)

            I'm generally pretty optimistic myself. As regards the sociology of survival I'm wondering what node causes the coalescence of groups of 200 and that's where it breaks down for me.

            We used to have family groups that lived close together, people stayed in the same neighborhoods, got together regularly.

            Now people are much more closely tied to their jobs, their friends are co-workers who come from suburbs to work in a city. Most live outside some radius that defines the urban area where they work and is usually on the order of ten to fifty miles.

            That puts the diameter of participation at twenty to one hundred miles. In some cases there may be two or more states involved in furnishing the extended group.

            Even in rural areas where there are clusters of small towns of perhaps 1,000 to 5,000 it would be hard for you to get a group of 200 people out of politics, religion, family, co-workers, team sports, education, or people who have breakfast in the same diner to organize in a survival strategy, to prepare in any way, to have a secure place to go to avoid or escape chaos.

            I think disaster comes on us slowly at first, takes out one small group after another like Katrina or Sandy as hurricanes, floods, fires, tornadoes, so called natural disasters, and then gets complicated by a second wave of some less natural cause, power outages, gas shortages, a blackout, then a lack of response because of some circumstance nobody thought of, plague, pestilence, famine, and its the combination of blows that brings some region to its economic knees causing government to fail, riots to break out, looting to take place.

            If you look around the world you can already name dozens of places that have become bogged down in their no more business as usual personal disasters, war zones, drought ravaged famine stricken places with people fighting over food and water.

            By 2050 we will have hundred year storms every decade, heat so oppressive that large numbers of people will die from it, heat that saps peoples will to live to do what is necessary to grow food, to take care of each other. With mass death comes epidemic disease, the guards begin to abandon their posts to take care of their families, stockpiles of resources get looted, you and I will remain bright and chirpy and optimistic, other people will want to kill us for it.

            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

            by rktect on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 04:09:35 AM PST

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            •  The incredible economic stratification (0+ / 0-)

              I believe that the intense economic stratification we are seeing is a buildup to what will come. Most of us by the next century will be fighting not to live in conditions like Haiti or central Africa. A few of us will be insulated and protected and coddled by technology in secure enclaves. The future is already out there a-building.

              •  I don't think we have to the next century (0+ / 0-)

                Much of what I'm seeing is being rolled back to 2050. There are more of us doing things; too many people doing too many things in too small a geographical area. That's why some concerns get squeezed out of the attention of media pundits and left to shift for themselves.

                As an example look at the coastal flood plain insurance maps. The decision has been made to abandon our coasts. All the people with pricey shore front property are now on their own, no more replenishment of beaches, jetties, sea walls, levees paid for by tax payers. A policy in category V will now cost $2.10 per $100 per year; a prohibitive expense for most people so even if you desire to stay and rebuild again and again you will have no neighbors, shops or stores.

                By 2050 all our coastlines will be several miles inland and all of our transportation and utility infrastructure will have gaps in it isolating any urban areas not drowned by floods, burnt by fires or blown away by hurricanes and tornadoes. In Maine which has more coastline than the rest of the East coast combined all our peninsulas will be cut off from Route 1.

                Go back for an instant and look at how fast the Americas have changed since the Vikings first landed.
                That's one millenia of time. Not much happened for the first five hundred years of it.

                Take a look since Columbus. Half as much time rather more going on but up until the American revolution half as much time again what would become the United States were still a handful of European colonies.

                Look at us in the period of the French and Indian wars

                Social rather than economic focus is the first mapping and its principally ethnolinguistic.

                In this period my data suggest relationships were loosely organized by gene (kin), oinkos (tribe) and phratre (brotherhood).

                Certainly there was a subsistence level economy plus trade. If you think about how and when was American settled by Indian tribes, what was their economy based on its dramatically different than what came after this period.

                Plains Indians had economies that went beyond hunting and gathering to nomadic pastorialism with the Sioux becoming horse people c 1750. There were some maritime fisheries and agricultural settlements but its a Chalcolithic economy, in some places still aceramic neolithic.

                European colonization focused on economic interests as opposed to religion, military expansion, exploration, but all of those things also put down their roots and grew

                There was a period of exploration for scientific cataloging of fisheries, fur, agricultural interests, mineral resources, not just gold but also copper tin, iron and coal.

                In the last hundred and fifty years, since the American Civil War we have gone from a land of pioneers, virtually every man woman and child an immigrant surrounded by a strange land already occupied with other people some of them themselves having civilization and economies based on slaves and indentured servants acquired by conquest, to what we now refer to as the end times.

                We might blame all of this on the rise of the corporate state beginning by bringing military conquest often with mercenaries and following up with an industrial revolution of trains, shipping and logging interests, mining interests, agricultural and manufacturing interests directly a nation focused on the provision of franchised services. That's just the way its always been with people.

                There is as much of a gap between the days of the Pinkertons and the cattle drives and the slaughter of the great herds of buffalo on the plains and what the United States looked like around the time when I was born in the forties prior to Eisenhower's great American Defense Highway System when I as a kid could go to the fourth of July parade and watch the Red Men and the Civil War veterans marching on dirt roads, and Steam Locomotives tooting their horns in celebration of the United States left in the role of the Worlds Greatest arms dealer following the second world war as any of those gaps preceding.

                Suddenly the entire world and not just the US got covered with miracle miles of automobile dealerships,  gas stations, malls, fast food restaurants, big box stores, automotive stores, office buildings, ambulatory healthcare, electronics outlets, grocery stores and all of that connected by suburbs that have swallowed up all the thousands of years of previous history.

                Thus its understandable that in the next 35 years change again comes with unimaginable rapidity and our present economic disparities and hopes for re-distributions of wealth will be the least of our problems as the mighty ships of state sink beneath the waves and we all find ourselves in the same boat

                Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                by rktect on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 05:06:55 AM PST

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      •  Preserving culture/heritage (0+ / 0-)

        "And what will be lost to the waters?  Yes, we lose much of New York and London, but there are repositories of knowledge less than a week walk away from each that could last for centuries (Ithaca, Oxford, Cambridge)."
        Scratch Oxford and Cambridge - Oxford practically drowned in the winter floods this year, and Cambridge is near the North Sea in a very flat landscape. but Ithaca yes, and it's time to think of more places inland, elevated, that can become repositories of the contents of museums, libraries, galleries, scientific collections, etc. - a bit like the plant and seed collections now being stored in caverns, etc. that may save whatever humans manage to make it to the next century. These places will of course also be under tremendous pressure from ordinary human beings and also animals - so it will be interesting to see how cultural artifacts fare in the scramble for higher ground. It will be interesting to see which locations become important: during the Viking invasions of the British Isles, islands like Lindisfarne and Iona with their monk-inhabitants became important citadels of preserving knowledge. Will that be replicated in other places in the near future? Places that can maintain power to keep computers going, or other communications systems? Or will these only belong to the elite, like James Bond's Blofeld on his island?

    •  3 possibilities: 1 Bribe fossil fuel firms to turn (0+ / 0-)

      into renewable energy firms including buying reserves as mineral rights, 2 Give up and die with fossil fuel firms insisting on extracting and selling fossil fuel full speed ahead and ** the torpedoes, 3 Consumer boycotts of fossil fuel and crowd source funding of renewable energy.

      With Algae Systems funded by US Navy expecting to get down to $10/gallon diesel algal bio-fuels in 2016, and probably needing between 5 and 10 years more to get to $5/gallon and tar sands being 3 times as dirty as conventional crude oil, it should be worth over $3/gallon subsidy to replace tar sands fuels with algal bio-fuels.
      Bribing existing powers that be is always more politically feasible than fighting them.  It will mean huge amounts of fiat money borrowed from the Federal Reserve--but that is still a lesser evil than famine or suffocation.
      Algae is edible--not food we are used to but better than hunger.  If algae fail to thrive outdoors--we are really in trouble.  The powers that be will do as in Australia now, move underground and air condition.  They will grow both algae and something like salad hydroponically in their underground air-conditioned homes with LED grow light.
      If oxygen really gets to be a problem, PV might fail in the heat, but concentrated thermal solar will still work to generate electricity--just keep birds etc. out of air space over it.  Electricity can easily split water into oxygen and hydrogen.

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