"In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

“Limits To Growth” Published In 1972 Proved Correct: New Research Indicates We’re Nearing Global Collapse

In Uncategorized on September 14, 2014 at 7:32 pm

Piles of crushed cars at a metal recycling site in Belfast, Northern Ireland.Oldspeak:If the present growth trends in world population, industrialisation, pollution, food production, and resource depletion continue unchanged, the limits to growth on this planet will be reached sometime within the next one hundred years. The most probable result will be a rather sudden and uncontrollable decline in both population and industrial capacity.” -“Limits To Growth”, 1972

Consider that statement in the context of the present reality:

Humanity’s annual demand on the natural world has exceeded what the Earth can renew in a year since the 1970s. This “ecological overshoot” has continued to grow over the years, reaching a 50 per cent deficit in 2008. This means that it takes 1.5 years for the Earth to regenerate the renewable resources that people use, and absorb the CO2 waste they produce, in that same year.  How can this be possible when there is only one Earth? Just as it is possible to withdraw money from a bank account faster than to wait for the interest this money generates, renewable resources can be harvested faster than they can be re-grown. But just like overdrawing from a bank account, eventually the resource will be depleted. At present, people are often able to shift their sourcing when this happens; however at current consumption rates, these sources will eventually run out of resources too – and some ecosystems will collapse even before the resource is completely gone. The consequences of excess greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are also already being seen, like climate change and ocean acidification. These place additional stresses on biodiversity and ecosystems. The decline in biocapacity per capita is primarily due to an increase in global population. More people have to share the Earth’s resources. The increase in the Earth’s productivity is not enough to compensate for the demands of this growing population.” -World Wildlife Foundation, 2014

“So ignore all the chatter about “climate action” and “environmental activism” and the hoopla about the upcoming “People’s Climate March” and UN Summit on Climate Change. It’s all meaningless and masturbatory theater. Our fate was sealed 40 years ago. We are running up against the physical limits of the ecology and have shown no ability or will to stop. Continued growth in population and resource consumption all but guarantee collapse of the ecology and by extension industrial civilization. We’re witnessing the early stages of global collapse right now. We’re seeing the decline in industrial outputs predicted in Limits To Growth to start in 2015, now. The mounting pollution bringing about agricultural and food production failures in addition to cuts health and education services predicted to start in 2020 is happening now.   Infinity growth is impossible on a finite planet. The anthropocene epoch is nearing its end. Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick….” -OSJ

By Graham Turner and Cathy Alexander @ The U.K. Guardian:

The 1972 book Limits to Growth, which predicted our civilisation would probably collapse some time this century, has been criticised as doomsday fantasy since it was published. Back in 2002, self-styled environmental expert Bjorn Lomborg consigned it to the “dustbin of history”.

It doesn’t belong there. Research from the University of Melbourne has found the book’s forecasts are accurate, 40 years on. If we continue to track in line with the book’s scenario, expect the early stages of global collapse to start appearing soon.

Limits to Growth was commissioned by a think tank called the Club of Rome. Researchers working out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, including husband-and-wife team Donella and Dennis Meadows, built a computer model to track the world’s economy and environment. Called World3, this computer model was cutting edge.

The task was very ambitious. The team tracked industrialisation, population, food, use of resources, and pollution. They modelled data up to 1970, then developed a range of scenarios out to 2100, depending on whether humanity took serious action on environmental and resource issues. If that didn’t happen, the model predicted “overshoot and collapse” – in the economy, environment and population – before 2070. This was called the “business-as-usual” scenario.

The book’s central point, much criticised since, is that “the earth is finite” and the quest for unlimited growth in population, material goods etc would eventually lead to a crash.

So were they right? We decided to check in with those scenarios after 40 years. Dr Graham Turner gathered data from the UN (its department of economic and social affairs, Unesco, the food and agriculture organisation, and the UN statistics yearbook). He also checked in with the US national oceanic and atmospheric administration, the BP statistical review, and elsewhere. That data was plotted alongside the Limits to Growth scenarios.

The results show that the world is tracking pretty closely to the Limits to Growth “business-as-usual” scenario. The data doesn’t match up with other scenarios.

These graphs show real-world data (first from the MIT work, then from our research), plotted in a solid line. The dotted line shows the Limits to Growth “business-as-usual” scenario out to 2100. Up to 2010, the data is strikingly similar to the book’s forecasts.

limits to growth
Solid line: MIT, with new research in bold. Dotted line: Limits to Growth ‘business-as-usual’ scenario.
limits to growth
Solid line: MIT, with new research in bold. Dotted line: Limits to Growth ‘business-as-usual’ scenario. Photograph: Supplied
limits to growth
Solid line: MIT, and research in bold. Dotted line: Limits to Growth ‘business-as-usual’ scenario. Photograph: Supplied

As the MIT researchers explained in 1972, under the scenario, growing population and demands for material wealth would lead to more industrial output and pollution. The graphs show this is indeed happening. Resources are being used up at a rapid rate, pollution is rising, industrial output and food per capita is rising. The population is rising quickly.

So far, Limits to Growth checks out with reality. So what happens next?

According to the book, to feed the continued growth in industrial output there must be ever-increasing use of resources. But resources become more expensive to obtain as they are used up. As more and more capital goes towards resource extraction, industrial output per capita starts to fall – in the book, from about 2015.

As pollution mounts and industrial input into agriculture falls, food production per capita falls. Health and education services are cut back, and that combines to bring about a rise in the death rate from about 2020. Global population begins to fall from about 2030, by about half a billion people per decade. Living conditions fall to levels similar to the early 1900s.

It’s essentially resource constraints that bring about global collapse in the book. However, Limits to Growth does factor in the fallout from increasing pollution, including climate change. The book warned carbon dioxide emissions would have a “climatological effect” via “warming the atmosphere”.

As the graphs show, the University of Melbourne research has not found proof of collapse as of 2010 (although growth has already stalled in some areas). But in Limits to Growth those effects only start to bite around 2015-2030.

The first stages of decline may already have started. The Global Financial Crisis of 2007-08 and ongoing economic malaise may be a harbinger of the fallout from resource constraints. The pursuit of material wealth contributed to unsustainable levels of debt, with suddenly higher prices for food and oil contributing to defaults – and the GFC.

The issue of peak oil is critical. Many independent researchers conclude that “easy” conventional oil production has already peaked. Even the conservative International Energy Agency has warned about peak oil.

Peak oil could be the catalyst for global collapse. Some see new fossil fuel sources like shale oil, tar sands and coal seam gas as saviours, but the issue is how fast these resources can be extracted, for how long, and at what cost. If they soak up too much capital to extract the fallout would be widespread.

Our research does not indicate that collapse of the world economy, environment and population is a certainty. Nor do we claim the future will unfold exactly as the MIT researchers predicted back in 1972. Wars could break out; so could genuine global environmental leadership. Either could dramatically affect the trajectory.

But our findings should sound an alarm bell. It seems unlikely that the quest for ever-increasing growth can continue unchecked to 2100 without causing serious negative effects – and those effects might come sooner than we think.

It may be too late to convince the world’s politicians and wealthy elites to chart a different course. So to the rest of us, maybe it’s time to think about how we protect ourselves as we head into an uncertain future.

As Limits to Growth concluded in 1972:

If the present growth trends in world population, industrialisation, pollution, food production, and resource depletion continue unchanged, the limits to growth on this planet will be reached sometime within the next one hundred years. The most probable result will be a rather sudden and uncontrollable decline in both population and industrial capacity.

So far, there’s little to indicate they got that wrong.

 

“We’re running out of time. The laws of physics are non-negotiable”: Ocean Acidification & Greenhouse Gases Soar Fastest In 30 Years To New Record Levels

In Uncategorized on September 14, 2014 at 6:05 pm

Oldspeak:We know without any doubt that our climate is changing and our weather is becoming more extreme due to human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels…The Greenhouse Gas Bulletin shows that, far from falling, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere actually increased last year at the fastest rate for nearly 30 years. We are running out of time. The laws of physics are non-negotiable….The Bulletin provides a scientific base for decision-making. We have the knowledge and we have the tools for action to try to keep temperature increases within 2°C to give our planet a chance and to give our children and grandchildren a future. Pleading ignorance can no longer be an excuse for not acting.” -Michel Jarraud, secretary-general, World Meteorlogical Organization

“As I’ve said many times before, it’s just physics at this point. Emissions and ocean acidification are accelerating faster and faster each day Industrial Civilization plunders on. We are in deadly paradox. If Industrial Civilization continues, we’re fucked. If Industrial Civilization stops, we’re fucked.  Contrary to the secretary-generals assertion, the knowledge and tools for action even if by some stretch of the imagination they are ever used, are useless. There are no truly effective mitigation plans or actions to make. Keeping temperatures below 10c is not gonna happen, much, much less 2c.  We’ve exited the window of time where human actions could affect the madness to come 40 years ago. Multiple non-linear irreversible positive feedback loops have started and there’s noting we can do to stop them. As the earth warms, more and more carbon will be released from permafrost & sea floors. There is no way to stop this from happening. We barely even understand truly what’s going on. The complex interactions among various systems in the ecology are too variegated and unpredictable for our climate models to account for. It’s just a matter of time before our mother ceases to support complex life. Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick…” -OSJ

By Alex Kirby @ Climate News Network:

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reports that the amounts of atmospheric greenhouse gases reached a new high in 2013, driven by rapidly rising levels of carbon dioxide.

The news is consistent with trends in fossil fuel consumption. But what comes as more of a surprise is the WMO’s revelation that the current rate of ocean acidification, which greenhouse gases (GHGs) help to cause, appears unprecedented in at least the last 300 million years.

The details of growing GHG levels are in the annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin [3], published by the WMO—the United Nations specialist agency that plays a leading role in international efforts to monitor and protect the environment.

They show that between 1990 and 2013 there was a 34 percent increase in radiative forcing—the warming effect on our climate—because of long-lived greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide.

Complex interactions

The Bulletin reports on atmospheric concentrations—not emissions—of greenhouse gases. Emissions are what go into the atmosphere, while concentrations are what stay there after the complex system of interactions between the atmosphere, biosphere (the entire global ecological system) and the oceans.

About a quarter of total emissions are taken up by the oceans and another quarter by the biosphere, cutting levels of atmospheric CO2.

In 2013, the atmospheric concentration of CO2 was 142 percent higher than before the Industrial Revolution started, in about 1750. Concentrations of methane and nitrous oxide had risen by 253 percent and 121 percent respectively.

The observations from WMO’s Global Atmosphere Watch [4] network showed that CO2 levels increased more from 2012 to 2013 than during any other year since 1984. Scientists think this may be related to reduced CO2 absorption by the Earth’s biosphere, as well as by the steady increase in emissions.

Although the oceans lessen the increase in CO2 that would otherwise happen in the atmosphere, they do so at a price to marine life and to fishing communities [5]—and also to tourism. The Bulletin says the oceans appear to be acidifying faster than at any time in at least the last 300 million years.

“We know without any doubt that our climate is changing and our weather is becoming more extreme due to human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels,” said the WMO’s secretary-general, Michel Jarraud.

Running out of time

“The Greenhouse Gas Bulletin shows that, far from falling, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere actually increased last year at the fastest rate for nearly 30 years. We are running out of time. The laws of physics are non-negotiable.

“The Bulletin provides a scientific base for decision-making. We have the knowledge and we have the tools for action to try to keep temperature increases within 2°C to give our planet a chance and to give our children and grandchildren a future. Pleading ignorance can no longer be an excuse for not acting.”

Wendy Watson-Wright, executive secretary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission [6] of UNESCO, said: “It is high time the ocean, as the primary driver of the planet’s climate and attenuator of climate change, becomes a central part of climate change discussions.

“If global warming is not a strong enough reason to cut CO2 emissions, ocean acidification should be, since its effects are already being felt and will increase for many decades to come.”

The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere reached 396.0 parts per million (ppm) in 2013. At the current rate of increase, the global annual average concentration is set to cross the symbolic 400 ppm threshold within the next two years.

More potent

Methane, in the short term, is a far more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2—34 times more potent over a century, but 84 times more over 20 years.

Atmospheric methane reached a new high of about 1,824 parts per billion (ppb) in 2013, because of increased emissions from human sources. Since 2007, it has started increasing again, after a temporary period of levelling-off.

Nitrous oxide’s atmospheric concentration in 2013 was about 325.9 ppb. Its impact on climate, over a century, is 298 times greater than equal emissions of CO2. It also plays an important role in the destruction of the ozone layer that protects the Earth from harmful ultraviolet solar radiation.

The oceans currently absorb a quarter of anthropogenic CO2 emissions—about 4kg of CO2 per day per person. Acidification [7] will continue to accelerate at least until mid-century, according to projections from Earth system models.

 

 

 

“Peak Water,” Giant Methane Blowholes And Ice-Free Arctic Cruises: The Climate Crisis Deepens

In Uncategorized on August 29, 2014 at 9:08 pm

Anthropogenic climate disruptionOldspeak:If even a small fraction of Arctic sea floor carbon is released to the atmosphere, we’re fucked.” -Jason Box, Climatologist.

As the world burns, this month’s installment of Dahr Jamail’s climate disruption dispatch, is more of the same. Shitty. The latest illustration of the rapidly increasingly deterioration of earth to a state unsurvivable by life forms.  A day after this story was published marked Earth Overshoot Day, the day humanity had used up the carbon storing abilities and all the planet’s natural resources that Earth can provide in the year. Consider this information in the context of a brief description of the state of affairs from the latest IPCC report:

currently observed impacts might already be considered dangerous…. Extreme weather and rising sea levels, such as heat waves, flooding and droughts. It even raises, as an earlier report did, the idea that climate change will worsen violent conflicts and refugee problems and could hinder efforts to grow more food. And ocean acidification, which comes from the added carbon absorbed by oceans, will harm marine life…. Without changes in greenhouse gas emissions, climate change risks are likely to be high or very high by the end of the 21st century.”

The end of the 21st century projection is bullshit. It’s only purpose is to lead us to believe that the extinction inducing impacts are very far away. They are not.  The currently observed impacts will likely increase in a non-linear, exponential fashion, as more greenhouse gas emissions are released into the environment. It’s physics at this point, many of the conditions that existed during all of earth’s other mass extinctions exist now. Massive climactic shifts were the usual hallmarks of all previous extinctions. In short, as the esteemed climatologist said, we’re fucked. Burn baby burn!” -OSJ

By Dahr Jamail @ Truthout:

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.” 

- Mahatma Gandhi

We begin this month’s climate disruption dispatch with comments from NASA’s Earth Observatory about the extreme juxtaposition of temperatures we are experiencing in North America this summer.

“If you live in the northern hemisphere, the past few weeks have been strange,” NASA states. “In places where it should be seasonably hot – the eastern and southern United States and western Europe – it’s just been warm. In places where weather is usually mild in the summer – northern Europe, the Pacific coast of North America – it has been ridiculously hot.”

To get a look at how this appears on a map of the northern hemisphere, click here.

NASA continues:

Records for high temperatures (mid-30s°C, mid-90s°F) were approached or broken in Latvia, Poland, Belarus, Estonia, Lithuania, and Sweden in late July and early August. Searing temperatures also dried out forests and fuelled wildfires in Siberia; in the U.S. states of Oregon, Washington, and California; in the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, and Northwest Territories; and even in Sweden. At the same time, cool air moved from high northern latitudes into much of the U.S., setting record-low daytime and nighttime temperatures as far south as Florida and Georgia. Temperatures dropped to the winter-like levels in the mountains of Tennessee.

The extremes generated by anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) were off the charts last year, as well, according to a recently released report from Live Science.

In 2013, global temperatures continued their long-term rising trend as the planet hit new records for greenhouse gases, Arctic heat, warm ocean temperatures and rising global sea levels. Additionally, Arctic sea ice extent was its sixth lowest and continued to decline by 14 percent per decade, Super Typhoon Haiyan recorded the highest wind speed for a tropical cyclone with sustained winds reaching 196 mph, record high temperatures were recorded in the Arctic, including record temperatures being recorded 60 feet down into the permafrost.

Indeed, when we observe what is happening in the Arctic, just one look at this before (1979) and after (2014) photo of the ice cap makes the stark reality of our situation clear.

A study recently published in Nature warns that the two-headed dragon of air pollution and ACD will likely result in 50 percent more people going hungry by 2050, due to damaged crop growth.

This month’s overview of how the four aspects of the planet are being impacted by ACD provides another sobering reality check, demonstrating how rapidly our world is moving toward an unsurvivable state.

Earth

Examples of the impacts of ACD across planetary species (including our own), which are struggling to adapt, are plentiful this month.

In the far south, Antarctic climactic variations are causing dramatic changes in fur seals that are being born smaller, showing genetic changes, and breeding later in life.

Speaking of the poles, ACD is causing fish and other ocean life to migrate into previously cooler waters, causing disruptions of the previously balanced ecosystems in both areas.

Southern Britain is now beginning to be invaded by birds and bugs from the Mediterranean, which are being drawn by the UK’s abnormally hot sun.

Across Africa, population growth and ACD are causing increasing competition for land, which is leading to increasing violence across much of that continent. One example of this is the al-Shabaab Islamist militants forcing people off their lands for farming purposes.

In southwest Florida, mangroves already on the move due to ACD are now appearing as though they will drown within the next 100 years due to ever-increasing sea-level rise.

In the North Atlantic, the numbers of codfish spawning are at an all-time low, and regulators are pointing towards ACD as the reason.

Salmon in Oregon are feeling the impacts, as diminishing river flows, higher water temperatures and the effects of drought are combining to take their toll on the Klamath Basin fisheries. Not surprisingly, drought-plagued California is also seeing large numbers of juvenile salmon die off due to low river flows and hotter-than-normal temperatures.

In Washington State, Gov. Jay Inslee, a champion of working to both educate and mitigate the impacts of ACD is working overtime to inform people about how billions of baby oysters in his state are dying.

And finally, in what could easily be categorized as “disgusting human tricks,” ACD tourism is coming to the Arctic, where people can take a cruise ship for a trip through the now ice-free Northwest Passage.

Water

We know water is essential for the survival of all life – but it’s not just about drinking water. Seventy percent of world’s freshwater use is for irrigation. While each person drinks an average of one liter of water daily, it takes 2,000 liters per person to produce the food we eat.

Irrigated areas on the planet tripled to 700 million acres between 1950 and 2000, but after decades of constant and rapid increase, growth has slowed dramatically. This, coupled with a dramatic depletion of underground water resources, comprises an example of how “peak water” is likely upon us. The term frames our understanding around the growing lack of availability, quality and use of fresh water.

As of today, 18 countries that contain half the population of humans on the planet are over pumping their aquifers. China, India and the United States, which are the three largest grain producers on the planet, are included in these. Saudi Arabia has become the first country to predict that its aquifer depletion will shrink its harvest of grain, and will thus soon become completely dependent upon imports for all of its grain. Saudi Arabia has a population of 29 million.

Rivers that now run dry or are reduced to a tiny trickle before reaching the sea for at least part of the year now include the Colorado (a major river in the southwestern United States), the Yellow (the largest river in northern China), the Nile (the lifeline of Egypt), the Indus (which supplies the majority of Pakistan’s irrigation waters), and the Ganges (which is situated in India’s most populated area – the Gangetic basin).

Land grabs for farming are essentially water grabs, as demonstrated in Ethiopia, Sudan and South Sudan, where three-fourths of the Nile River Basin is located. These countries are already in a struggle with Egypt for that river’s water. This is but one example of dozens.

Speaking of conflicts over water, in India, armed bandits were recently threatening villagers with death unless they delivered 35 buckets of water a day. This is due primarily to the fact that since 2007, water in northern India has been scarce due to the annual monsoon delivering only half of what it used to.

In the United States, examples of “peak water” abound. Nowhere is peak water more evident than in California, where more and more farmers lack enough water to maintain their livelihoods. The record-breaking drought across the Golden State is hammering the lake and river tourism industry there, where marinas and boat ramps are becoming high and dry. Entire cities in California are now under threat of running completely out of water, and country groundwater levels are falling at higher rates than is normal as a result of the severe drought.

In fact, California’s drought has become one of the worst in North American history, as the state is short more than one year’s worth of reservoir water for this time of year. The streams continue to dry up, and crops are dying off as three years of persistent drought conditions continue. Recently, dire conditions forced the state to implement statewide emergency water-conservation measures to preserve what is left of the water.

The drought has continued to intensify relentlessly throughout much of the summer, transforming the global food market in the process, since California is the nation’s biggest agricultural state by value. Impacts have reverberated as far away as China, where the California drought has resulted in an increase in the price of milk.

The US Southwest is showing broader signs of “peak water,” as a recently published study by NASA and University of California, Irvine has revealed that groundwater in the Colorado River Basin is disappearing at a “shocking” rate.

Mapping the droughts across the United States over the decades reveals that in the last 10 years, droughts in some regions are rivaling the epic droughts of the 1930s and 1950s.

Nevada’s Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States, is currently at an all-time low, which translates to water shortages likely being declared across a region that is home to 40 million people located in seven of the fastest-growing states in the country.

Other global examples of decreasing water availability include snow missing from New Zealand’s ski slopes, and severe drought in China looking as though it will end 11 years of harvest growth.

The other end of the water spectrum, too much water, is being impacted by ACD, including rising sea levels and ocean acidification. Boston city leaders are looking into building canals in order to mitigate and adjust to ACD as global sea levels continue to rise.

The city of Miami Beach is proposing an increase in storm water fees to fund city projects in an effort to deal with sea-level rise. In nearby Miami, the contrast is clear in a city leadership who is populated largely by ACD deniers, hence the low-lying city is looking like it will be the first American Atlantis for lack of acceptance, mitigation and adaptation measures.

North Carolina’s Outer Banks are vanishing due to development and ACD, according to scientists, while up in Alaska, several communities that are fishing-dependent are under threat from increasing ocean acidification, which is what happens when large amounts of carbon dioxide are absorbed into marine waters.

Back in New Zealand, rising sea levels are threatening to drive Torres Strait Islanders from their homes as the low-lying islands are becoming engulfed by the ocean.

These are but a few examples of what is to come, as recent information published by the National Climatic Data Center shows that the planet set the new mark for the hottest June on record. This was due in large part to the planet having the hottest ocean temperatures since recordkeeping began over 130 years ago.

Air

The capital city of Texas is expected to see summertime high temperatures six degrees above its current average high, in addition to seeing temperatures over 110 degrees Fahrenheit in the city more than 20 days per year by the end of this century, according to a recent study commissioned by the city of Austin.

New research has shown that tornadoes are becoming increasingly common over the last 60 years, and ACD is the driver of the change.

July saw new all-time heat records in the Siberian town of Norilsk, which is just above the Arctic Circle and known as one of the world’s coldest cities, where temperatures were on par with those in the Mediterranean.

Several massive methane blowholes that left craters in Siberia recently have left much of the scientific community scratching their heads, but the fact that methane is involved is extremely worrisome. One of the craters is 200 feet across, and appears bottomless. Russian scientists found extremely high concentrations of methane at the bottom of the first crater found.

In the atmosphere, methane is a greenhouse gas that, on a relatively short-term time scale, is far more destructive than carbon dioxide.  It is 23 times as powerful as carbon dioxide per molecule on a 100-year timescale, 105 times more potent when it comes to heating the planet on a 20-year timescale – and the Arctic permafrost, onshore and off, is packed with the stuff.

NASA has already reported about the threat posed by the distinct possibility of a massive amount of methane being released from the Arctic – which holds five to six times the carbon equivalent of that humans have burned in our entire existence on Earth – along with the fact that most of this carbon is located in thaw-vulnerable top soils within 10 feet of the surface.

However, the NASA report was from June 2013. Now, researchers surveying the Arctic Ocean’s seafloor are expressing even graver concerns over their findings, which include plumes of methane rising in bubbles from the sea floor.

Widely published climatologist Jason Box, who closely followed the research expedition, responded to what he saw with a tweet that quickly went viral: “If even a small fraction of Arctic sea floor carbon is released to the atmosphere, we’re f’d.”

Moving beneath the Arctic Ocean where methane hydrates – often described as methane gas surrounded by ice – exist, a March 2010 report in Science indicated that these cumulatively contain the equivalent of 1,000 to 10,000 gigatons of carbon. Compare this total to the 240 gigatons of carbon humanity has emitted into the atmosphere since the industrial revolution began.

This is why Box’s abrupt and blunt statement is as prophetic as it is shocking, coming from a scientist of his caliber.

To underscore this point, a study just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciencesshows that the rapid rise in temperatures in the Arctic (since 2000, temperatures in the Arctic have risen twice as fast as the rest of the world) are linked directly to changes in extreme weather and global wind patterns.

Fire

It is now well known that ACD is generating larger, hotter wildfires burning earlier and later than their historic seasons. This summer we are witnessing “unprecedented” wildfires across Washington and Oregon, where evacuations are ongoing and homes continue to burn to the ground.

One of the fires in Washington smashed all previous records, becoming the largest that state has ever seen, so far. The governors of both Washington and Oregon declared states of emergency because of several major fires burning in their states. California’s Gov. Jerry Brown did the same, as he declared a state of emergency due to threats posed by several dozen wildfires in his state.

Just after California was declared in a state of emergency, the Obama administration released a video that linked the fires to ACD. In it, White House science adviser John Holdren said: “While no single wildfire can be said to be caused by climate change, climate change has been making the fire season in the U.S. longer and on average more intense.” He went on to say that annual western wildfires in the United States had “increased several-fold in the last decade” alone, and pointed out how the eight worst years on record for “area burned” by wildfires had all occurred “since 2000.”

In total, the amount of acres consumed by wildfires has doubled to more than 7 million annually, and the US fire season has expanded from 60 to 80 days since 1980.

Canada is being hammered by record-breaking wildfires as well. Large forest fires across the remote Northwest Territories are extending their reach far above average for the year, thus far. Canadian scientists are all too aware of the fact that fires like this are the new normal for their country, thanks to ACD. Across the globe, desertification is threatening what is left of the planet’s fertile lands, as extreme heat and aridity are spreading as ACD progresses.

Denial and Reality

The willful ignorance of the fossil-fuel industry-funded ACD denier/skeptic movement in the United States continues to astound.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) recently told reporters that “climate change occurs no matter what,” and that the EPA’s efforts to reduce emissions from existing power plants are “outside of the confines of the law,” and amount to no more than “an excuse to grow government, raise taxes and slow down economic growth.”

A poll involving 20 countries and more than 16,000 people revealed that the United States leads the planet when it comes to ACD denial, finding that 52 percent of US citizens agreed with this statement: “The climate change we are currently seeing is a natural phenomenon that happens from time to time.” The United States was tied by India, and China was a close second.

The United States also got the blue ribbon for having a scant 32 percent of its population disagree with this statement: “The climate change we are currently seeing is largely the result of human activity.” Australia, which just repealed its carbon tax, came in second with that statement, with 25 percent of its population saying they didn’t believe in ACD.

Back in the real world, the US military is not letting polls nor politicians hinder its planning for ACD as it is pushing forward on strategies with partner nations to mitigate security effects resulting from ACD.

NOAA recently released its 2013 State of the Climate, and said the planet continued to warm at an unhealthy pace last year, and in fact revealed, “The planet is changing more rapidly . . . than any time of modern civilization.” Meanwhile, Climate Central released an amazing tool, where you can view “1001 Blistering Future Summers,” enabling the user (us) to interact and see what 1,001 cities’ summers will be like by 2100. By way of example, using the tool you can see how, by 2100, summers in Phoenix (103.96 degrees Fahrenheit) will be like summers now in Kuwait (114.08 degrees Fahrenheit).

A recent NASA study showed that as climate models factor in temporary warming and cooling impacts of El Nino and La Nina, they are accurate predictors of global warming. This is consistent with recent studies that show how global temperatures appear to be set to rise rapidly.

As has been mentioned in these dispatches previously, the planet is now in the early stages of its sixth mass extinction event, and humans are indeed responsible, according to yet another published study, this one in Science.

According to the study, large vertebrate animals (megafauna), which include elephants and polar bears, face the steepest decline since they require large habitats and are targeted by human hunters. The loss of megafauna places ecosystems off balance and leads to consequences like massive rodent infestations that proceed to impact the well-being and stability of a large segment of species, including humans. The study highlights how the particularly steep decline of megafauna we are seeing now is characteristic of all the previous mass extinction events.

Massive climactic shifts (cooling or warming) were the signatures of the five worst mass extinction events of the planet, and each are believed to have been triggered by either asteroid impacts or volcanism.

Given the massive injection of carbon dioxide gasses into the atmosphere by humans and the fact that large amounts of methane are already being released in the Arctic which many scientists believe is already a runaway feedback loop that will add several more degrees warming to the planet, the current mass extinction event may closely resemble the Permian-Triassic extinction that happened about 251 million years ago.

During that extinction event, earth’s worst, 95 percent of all species were killed off.

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