Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Stranded in our own communities: Transit deserts make it hard for people to find jobs and stay healthy

San Francisco Chronicle: "This is a large-scale problem. In San Antonio, the seventh-largest U.S. city by population, some 334,530 people – nearly one-fourth of the population – need access to public transportation in a city that doesn’t even have rail service. In Chicago, where there are high levels of transit dependency all across the city, just three of the transit desert neighborhoods that we identified house approximately 176,806 residents. Even in a city as progressive as Portland, Oregon, thousands live in transit desert neighborhoods."

Corporate US knew and lied about #climate. Big surprise.

eneryandpolicy : "Scientists had begun to warn electric utilities about climate change by 1968, and by 1988 the industry’s official research and development organization had acknowledged that, “There is growing consensus in the scientific community that the greenhouse effect is real.”

Despite this early knowledge about climate change, electric utilities have continued to invest heavily in fossil fuel power generation over the past half a century, and since 1988 some have engaged in ongoing efforts to sow doubt about climate science and block legal limits on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants."

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Next Financial Crisis Is Not Far Away

Our Finite World: "In fact, affordability is the key issue. When the world economy is stimulated by more debt, only a small part of this additional debt makes its way back to the wages of non-elite workers. With greater global competition in wages, the wages of these workers tend to stay low. The limited demand of these workers tends to keep commodity prices, especially oil prices, from rising very high, for very long."

Capitalism and overpopulation

It may seem confusing that capitalism is always pushing for more babies, but at the same time allows starvation and disease.

People are just another resource. Of those educated, healthy, and mobile, they want more. Poor or self-sufficient are worth little to them.

The system is caught in a vise, because birth rates are falling fast in the group of which they want more. This forces them to increase immigration in some areas. But they are careful to make sure the immigrants are abused and kept second class so there is no upward pressure on wages.

The people of Yemen are suffering because the capitalists don't need them. The war in Yemen is mostly about protecting oil shipments.

So we are seeing a massive, preventable, epidemic of cholera.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Oil wars and oil glut, no contradiction

There has not been a good price for oil since conventional (easy-to-get) oil peaked in 2005. Any price is too high for consumers and too low for producers.

Oil still is the blood of capitalism. There is no easy substitute. Trillions of dollars of infrastructure and systems are dependent. Things like millions of square miles of sprawl can not be converted quickly enough.

The owners of this infrastructure have decided to squeeze it until the last dollar and if the biosphere goes down, oh well, too bad. They don't really have much choice given they are locked in a dog-eat-dog system of competition.

There is still some conventional oil in Iraq, under Kirkuk. So war is raging over that. All the profits have been borrowed-against, but the oil is needed just to keep the whole debt-ridden system working for another decade.

It's no longer about profit, it's about interest on debt -- survival of the billionaires.

Leading the Public Into Emergency Mode: A New Strategy For the Climate Movement

The Climate Mobilization: "The climate crisis is an unprecedented emergency. It is, far and away, the United States’ top national security threat, public health threat, and moral emergency. Humanity is careening towards the deaths of billions of people, millions of species, and the collapse of organized civilization. States under severe climate stress, such as Syria, are already starting to fail, bringing chaos, violence, and misery to the region and political instability to Europe. America’s political system is also starting to convulse as the two-party system is showing signs of fragility.

How we react to the climate crisis will shape centuries and millennia to come. Given the stakes, and the extremely short timetable, it is imperative that we strive to maximize the efficacy of our actions — from ourselves as individuals, from our nation, from the global community of nations, and from the organizations that are trying to avert this catastrophe. "

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Staving Off the Coming Global Collapse

The Tyee: "The biophysical evidence — that is, reality — shows that material consumption and waste production are still increasing with population and GDP growth. Meanwhile, carbon dioxide is accumulating at accelerating record rates in the atmosphere and the years 2014, 2015 and 2016 sequentially shared the distinction of being the warmest years in the instrumental record.

There is little question that the immediate drivers of overshoot are overpopulation and excess consumption, so there is widespread support for the idea of “clean production and consumption.” What only a few realists are willing to state out loud is that this must soon translate into less production/consumption by fewer people."

Monday, July 17, 2017

People trying to stop the exploitation of nature are being murdered

Global Justice Ecology Project: "Nearly four people were murdered every week in 2016 whilst protecting their land, forests and rivers from mining, logging and agricultural companies, a new report from Global Witness reveals."

Thursday, July 13, 2017

1989 - U.N. Predicts Disaster if Global Warming Not Checked

ap: "UNITED NATIONS (AP) _ A senior U.N. environmental official says entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000.
Coastal flooding and crop failures would create an exodus of ''eco- refugees,' ' threatening political chaos, said Noel Brown, director of the New York office of the U.N. Environment Program, or UNEP.
He said governments have a 10-year window of opportunity to solve the greenhouse effect before it goes beyond human control.

...The most conservative scientific estimate that the Earth's temperature will rise 1 to 7 degrees in the next 30 years, said Brown.

...He said even the most conservative scientists ''already tell us there's nothing we can do now to stop a ... change'' of about 3 degrees."

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Inevitability Of DeGrowth "Humans can print currency (money) but we can’t print fresh water, energy, wild fisheries, etc. If one unit of currency currently buys one liter of petrol, printing 10 more units of money doesn’t create 10 more liters of fuel. --Creating currency out of thin air isn’t free in our system: all new currency is loaned into existence and accrues interest. As a result, all currency is a claim on future earnings. If we borrow enough from the future, and earnings remain flat or decline, eventually there’s not enough income left to support the debt service and the expanding consumption the status quo needs to keep itself glued together."
Basically correct, but leaves out the fact that most of the energy we use is wasted on stupid things like autos and sprawl.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

End, don't mend, the auto system

People are struggling with the hell caused by the private auto. They call for
  • tougher enforcement of infractions
  • campaigns against distracted driving
  • lower speed limits
  • more bike/ped infrastructure
  • more subways
  • traffic calming
These are not solutions. They are weak attempts to beg for mercy. We need a strong campaign to get back to bikes and walking by breaking the monopoly of the subsidized auto. The best path is fare-free buses.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

How harsh #degrowth will play out over next ten years

The future will look like the present... but with the bad things getting worse and the good things getting to fewer and fewer people.

The dollar will be protected through energy wars to the bitter end. Nukes will be used, if necessary, but in a "limited" way.

100's of millions of poor people will die from heat, drought, flood, starvation, and disease, though the focus will be on drowning refugees and suicide attackers.

The 10% energy-haves, who use 50% of the energy, will get electric self-driving cars and batteries and such.

Corporate media propaganda will take over more and more of social media.

Reducing carbon emissions not enough to save us

theconversation : "It’s possible that even as emissions decrease, the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will continue to increase. The warmer the planet gets, the less carbon dioxide the ocean can absorb. Rising temperatures in the polar regions make it more likely that carbon dioxide and methane, another greenhouse gas that warms the planet, will be released from storage in the frozen land and ocean reservoirs, adding to the problem."

Friday, July 7, 2017

Hopes of mild climate change dashed by new research

businessgreen : "But the new work, using both models and paleoclimate data from warming periods in the Earth's past, shows that the historical temperature measurements do not reveal the slow heating of the planet's oceans that takes place for decades or centuries after CO2 has been added to the atmosphere."

Scientists ring more alarm bells, call for immediate action

Arctic Methane Emergency Group: "You will have received an increasing number of warnings from scientists about the seriousness of climate change and therefore how important it is to reduce CO2 emissions.   We take the logic further, using the latest scientific evidence about the current situation and observed trends.  Our conclusion is that interventions must be taken immediately to reduce the forcing agents that are driving climate change, especially in the Arctic.  At minimum, CO2 must be taken out of the atmosphere and the Arctic cooled."

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Environmental supply-siders

If supply is the water coming over the falls, demand is gravity. In economics demand is everything. There is a lot of writing about how people are brainwashed in to being consumers. But think about it. That is a wealthy-persons outlook. Poor people do not need adverts to tell them they need heat in winter.

Just as gravity drives the waterfall, demand drives the economy.

If you believe that supply-side is "voodoo" economics, then would you support supply-side environmental action?

Yet that is what all the Big Enviro orgs are doing. Trying to block or stop the water falling down.

Let's look for what policies or actions take away customers.

Let's make cities car-free and attractive and encourage birth rates to drop faster.

Two-party system perfect for false dichotomies

The GOP wants to grow the economy by increasing carbon emissions.

The Dems want to grow the economy by investing in renewables.

Both wrong, growth means more heat.

This is the standard false choice system used in the US. People are given a choice between the red poison and the blue poison.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017


Electric auto-autos

By now you have heard about how self-driving (auto-autos) will run on batteries and with crowd-sourcing and crowd-funding and moore's law, etc will put an end to the private auto.

How much lithium mining will be needed? How much heat will be generated? Will all the "savings" go into more growth?

Answer. We got where we are by over-growing our numbers and over-using resources. All the technological progress simply made us more efficient at destroying the biosphere. We have smart phones and smart bombs, but we are just racing to extinction faster.

The answer is in the second law of thermodynamics. Energy used for life is just passing through from sun to space. Human activity puts that energy in the form of heat. Plant activity stores it. 

Why arctic ice is so important

As long as there is ice, the water nearby is freezing temperature. The ice is absorbing energy from the sun and nearby water to break down its solid structure, so nearby water stays cold.

It takes 80 calories to melt a gram of ice. When that gram becomes water, it is still at freezing temperature. Then next 80 calories will then raise it to 176F degrees.

So the solar energy coming into an ice-free arctic will more quickly warm the water. A few hundred meters down on arctic coastal shelves there is methane that if exposed to a few degrees above freezing, will melt and bubble up. This is already happening.

Methane for its first 10 years in the air, is 100 times as strong as carbon dioxide for trapping energy. It takes about a year to spread around the earth.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Solar panel and battery prices falling fast

But even if free, they cannot save us.

The Jevons principle tells us that as long as there is demand, all energy savings are consumed in growth.

Assuming capitalism ends, then there is the second law of thermodynamics which tells us that all human activity generates heat.

That leaves degrowth as the only way to reduce heat and green-house gas emissions.

Degrowth is upon us already and is harsh.

Rapid elimination of wasteful systems, such as cars, might ease the pain.

Human capitalism destroying the biosphere

EcoInternet: "The point is that while abrupt climate change may well become runaway, collapsing society, the economy, and the biosphere; it is but one of nearly a dozen means whereby humanity has overshot the carrying capacity of the Earth System. Consider this: nearly half of all topsoil has eroded, 90% of large fish are gone, 4,500 kids die from bad water a day, nearly a billion human-beings live in abject poverty, and daily an unknown numbers of species disappear forever."

Sunday, July 2, 2017

What to do?

  • The methane is releasing.
  • The poles are melting.
  • People are dying from heat.
  • Floods are getting worse.
  • Drought getting worse.
  • Millions of climate refugees.
What are leaders doing? Fighting a war on #Islam to get control of oil.

Even if it is too late to save the human race. Let us at least go down with some dignity. How about we stop wasting energy on cars? Join your local public transit advocates.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Human population grows by 200,000 per day. Yes, per day.

The least painful way to reduce population is through falling birth rates. In some places the birth rate is below the replacement rate. Those places also usually have excellent public transit.

Good public transit makes urban living more comfortable. When people urbanize, they find out that education is more important than having more farm hands. They also find that raising children is very expensive. Birth rates fall.

Video on the importance of population reduction