Tacitus talks of t’apocalypse

From a brilliant book called Reports from a Wild Country: ethics for decolonisation by Deborah Bird Rose UNSW Press 2004

Tacitus wrote of the Roman conquest of Britain. He put some of the most damning critique into the voice of one of the natives, Calgacus:

‘Pillagers of the world, they have exhausted the land by their indiscriminate plunder, and now they ransack the sea. A rich enemy excites their cupidity; a poor one their lust for power… To robbery, butchery and rapine, they give the lying name of “government”; they create a desolation and call it peace. (Tacitus in the Agricola: 80-81)

What is new is the technological power and the calculus of progress that together promote loss of ecological sustainability, and ongoing social violence in rapidly amplifying dynamics. Page 4-5

Yep. Humans have been dickheads (the insult is chosen with some care) for a looooong time. Putting fossil fuels in his grubby little opposable-thumb mitts just took a shitty situation and turned it much much shittier for every living thing on t’planet.

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Climate warnings too conservative…

“All the climate warnings are actually very conservative. Things are deteriorating very fast. You can ignore it as politicians if you want to, and most of them do because it’s not on their time frame.”

So says well-known communist stooge, um… Jeremy Grantham, founder and chief investment officer of the £110 billion Boston-based fund manager GMO.

Quoted in Australian Financial Review 5th May 2011

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Concentrate on this…

Story from Climate Progress full of good cheer, on atmospheric concentrations come the year 2100. Fubarred…

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In a hole, looking for new places to dig

Australia is “jokingly” referred to as China’s quarry. The Australian economy is booming, and very tied to China‘s seemingly insatiable demand for raw materials.

And here’s this from today’s Australian Financial Review:

The federal government has been pressed by a think tank of scientists to provide funding to ensure subsurface exploration for future resource discoveries.
“A few tens of millions of dollars of co-ordinated research and mapping could reveal hundreds of billions of dollars of potential new mines,” said one of the scientists and director of Western Mining Services, Jon Hronsky.”
A report by the the 2010 Theo Murphy High Flyers Think Tank at the Australian Academy of Science said what was needed to promote future exploration was to geologically map Australia’s subsurface.
Australian Financial Review12 January 2011
“Miners need deeper maps: scientists” by Louise Dodson

Words you won’t find in the story “Emissions,” “Climate Change,” “Carbon Dioxide,” “Ecological Limits.” They’ve obviously been taking lessons in missing the point from the Manchester Evening News…

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The wrong kind of ice…

This comment:

I’ve been thinking about how lots of the commentary generally in Australia (and elsewhere) about disastrous winter weather in the northern hemisphere ignores how _higher_ winter temperatures can be responsible for catastrophes.

I watched a fascinating doco on ABC a few months back about freezing rain bringing down the Quebec power grid a few years back (1998?). As the temperatures at ground level plunged, the rain continued to fall. Unlike snow, the rain formed a growing hard frozen coating (‘glaze’) on everything it touched – limbs were stripped from forests of trees, roofs collapsed, and kilometres of high tension power lines came down along and their pylons rendered into scrap metal. Roads became impassable by anything but tracked vehicles, and the glaze ice could not be removed by snowploughs. As the power grid came down, Quebec’s citizens began to die in increasing numbers, freezing to death in unheated homes and flats, crushed under collapsed roofs and in vehicle accidents.

Events like this are, however, caused by warm air aloft trapping cold air on the ground. Clouds in the warm air mass form rain drops, which are then supercooled in the last 500 metres or so of their descent. The point being that what is perceived as a cold weather disaster is actually caused by the anomalous presence of a mass of warm air, in the American continent typically originating in the Gulf of Mexico.

Similarly, snow becomes relatively easy to handle at cold temperatures – dry and pliable. An anomalous thaw, or a series of fluctuations in temperature as unstable weather systems pass over, changes the dry powder into a substance with the consistency of concrete, able to be removed only by jackhammer. If thaw water pools and then refreezes it forms a surface similar to that on a skating rink. A disaster similar to the freezing rain event can result. I’ve actually stayed in Moscow over this time of year and the Muscovites all rejoice when the temperature falls below minus 10 and getting around becomes easier.

The point of all of this is that it’s actually quite easy to misperceive the symptoms of global warming as signs of cooling. Disastrous winter weather can often be attributed to warming.

is bloody good. It is comment number four under this post at Larvatus Prodeo, an Australian site.

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A species determined to kill itself

Sometimes the blog posts just write themselves

Global Carbon Dioxide Emissions Climb as Economy Recovers
EXETER, UK, November 22, 2010 (ENS) – Global emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide are likely to reach record levels in 2010, according to research…

Rich Nations Fail to Keep Copenhagen Climate Funding Promise
LONDON, UK, November 22, 2010 (ENS) – Rich countries are failing to keep the $30 billion promise they made last year to provide “fast-start climate finance” to help the world’s poorest countries adapt to the impacts of climate change,….

We fly tonight, btw.

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UNFCCCC talks go nowhere – Colour Me Amazed

Well, gosh, I am such a Nostradamus. Just last week I said to someone “these climate talks in China are going to achieve nothing.” It was a brave prediction, that few could have dared to make. And so it is with grim satisfaction that I read on the BBC website that

UN climate talks in China have ended without a major breakthrough and with angry words about the US from Beijing.

At the talks in Tianjin, China blamed the US for failing to meet its responsibilities to cut emissions and for trying to overturn UN principles.

The US accused China of refusing to have its voluntary energy savings verified internationally.

Make this shit up. I defy you to.

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