Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Nature's Republic

The thing that a caring state concept such as Nature's Republic may show is that either each of us benefits, or very few (if any) of us will. This profound climate change on an epochal time scale leaves no other choice.

We should be able to take care of ourselves as independent adults, and state help can increase unwelcome dependence. But we are not just dependent on the eco-system. We are a part of it! And we simply cannot legislate for the trees to take care of themselves - they have no will. We can only legislate that they should be taken care of by us. That is, if we are convinced that that activity is PART OF TAKING CARE OF OURSELVES.

I don't think I am an idealist. Radicals, dictators and mad mans will still occasionally grab hold of power. But the resounding demand over other tribulations should simply be looking after Nature's needs first.

Human nature in all it's shades and glories
included. And that's cold hard reality and there's nothing new in that if you look at it that way.

So if anything, I am a Nature's Republican. And that power base - some kind of Green-Republican. Coalition that is both pragmatic and forward looking - may be a positive outcome of all these current birth pains.

Roosevelt's 'Republicans' in the US were largely the same progressive base as Menzie's 'Liberals' became in Australia.

Electric Sun Brightening

The cause for the Electric Sun is a very interesting one. Today I gave some serious thoughts to so called climate change sceptics or global warming sceptics as labelled in the media. And I came away with a mixed bag of thoughts.

The predominant among them is the consequence of an electric weather system on Earth caused by the activities of an ELECTRIC Sun.
But close second is that 'sceptics' don't seem to deny that something is profoundly changing. Instead, they emphasise two plausible axioms: (1) Changes may NOT be irrevocable; and (2) We humans may not contribute to the current rapid climate change as much as we think we do.

In other words, vast greenhouse component in the atmosphere in the past may have been the consequence of global warming and not the cause. Indeed, just thawing permafrost alone could have contributed to a runaway warming that stopped the Gulf stream so many times in the past and in the end triggered ice ages. The cause? Electric Sun proponents possible answer: Vastly increased Sun activity out of literally nowhere. And it comes and goes they say.

We still need to become self-sufficient, as the current overconsumption of Earth is tragically unsustainable. The last time I looked the US was 9-11 times overconsuming Earth's resources per capita. Even Switzerland was overconsuming it 5 times. This means that if the rest of the world would be consuming so hard and fast, we would need 5-11 Earths every single year to meet those demands.

Make no mistake. We WILL run out of affordable oil pretty soon, then gas, then a little later coal. Global warming is occurring and it WILL dramatically reduce the amount of potable fresh water. And we DO contribute to it with all the greenhouse gases that we emit in rapidly increasing quantities.

The only thing different with a view to a vastly brighter Electric Sun is the Sun's contributions to our unfolding drama. But it IS playing out at a scale that is indeed planetary.

If it is any consolation they say, ALL the planets are warming up. And our Sun HAS become vastly more bright in the past decades literally out of nowhere. It was expected to be more intense as the 11 year clockwork period for it has come. But NOT as much as it is NOW.

The Sun in recent decades must be channeling OTHER energy they say, we don't know what kind.

We also don't know, they say, to what extent out weather is electric in nature. But if so, which is not proven but increasing hypothesised, our climate including perhaps the more intense El Nino Southern Oscillation (or ENSO) is a much more a consequence of a so much brighter and more intense electric Sun then previously thought.

Do we need to prepare for a change. Oh yes. Is it going to be big? Oh yes. Will it take at least a millennium (1000 years!) for things go back to normal? You bet! (For instance there may be at least a 1000 years natural delay in the feedback between the Atlantic and the Southern Pacific thermohaline circulation.

So what's the difference between what scientists labelled 'sceptics' say from the vantage point of an Electric Sun. Nothing in terms of what we need to do to slow our appetite and change to renewables. But the difference is big in terms of our guilt and inability to change things back.

Because what they say is that (a) We are not guilty as charged - the Sun is the culprit; and (b) no matter how hard we try, we cannot work against the Sun and hence cannot change climate back.

Quite a food for thought. And the fact that we should not be shameful for all of the current changes as they say is a helpful ploy to ACT. Indeed, it would be so much easier without guilt.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Yesterday's Researcher Today's Witness

Time to give a new status to the research scientists of Global Warming and Climate Change. Let's call them Expert Witness instead of Scientific Researcher. Here is why.

For the next 30-40 years and possibly longer, the most they can do is to research the consequences. As they are playing catch up to events out of our and their influence finding out new consequences daily pretty much overwhelms their task of finding out the reasons. By the time a new reason is pinpointed two new and unexpected consequences bob up redefining the status and validity of those earlier reasons.

You need facts? Here is the latest all encompassing and really disturbing set:

Changes play out with speed where a scientist can do a good job at following consequences on a hot trail, but a poor job in keeping with redefining the reasons. All they can do really is to investigate consequences and answering to questions we pose about WHAT is happening as Expert Witnesses.
Play video >>

And even that is not easy. In fact it is damn hard and eats up tremendous resources. The cause may be as simple as an overkill of green house gas in the atmosphere compounded with an increased sun flare activity that arrived as clockwork at the end of the zodiac age of Pisce to be concluded by 2012.

But the Earth atmosphere is an extremely hyper complex system. There is no direct cause and effect in any given sequence, micro or macro. Multiple events occur parallel and simultaneous all the time. Even simple causes play out on an imaginable scale of complexity. Even if scientists turn expert witnesses playing catch up they have more than a full time job on their hand.

We can not ask of them more than that.

We are on shifting sand. It is no longer viable to interrogate causes. That time has passed big time. We need to ACT boldly and go where instinct tells us we need to go.

Scientists now need to work on averting bigger disasters BEYOND the 40 years horizon. How we do that? We ACT WITH AN IMPACT and then keep doing what we do now. MONITOR THE CONSEQUENCES.

Fertilise the Oceans? I don't know. But if what we sow is effective to reap GLOBAL COOLING thereafter, then by all means. We are now global peasants plowing oceans. And all nations need to come plowing otherwise there will be no harvest to share. Otherwise many more will become disenfranchised as the desperate new nomads in Nature's Republic. But Nature, including our Human Nature can and will do better.

In this, scientists should be relieved of the burgeoning responsibility of finding the right causes and made Expert Monitors of the Consequences sought.

Earth needs a correctional facility with the best Expert Witnesses we can have.

Otherwise the carriage pulls the horse, and not the other way around.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

About Climate Change and the Law of the Land

Let's start by asking.

Can we exclude anyone from the changes we bring about that effect Global consequences?

The unwanted bi-product of progress and industrialization coupled with Solar Warming - energy changes in our entire solar system - is threatening to feed back on each other bringing about drastic and abrupt climate change that is collectively called Global Warming.

Something most of us fear of.

Suppose we could, could we then say: "oh but we only change back climate for this nation, this country or this race?" Yes we could. We could say that. But the point is, we can't really do that.

And that's one good thing in my book about trying to change climate back.

Now, can we abandon the task by saying: "Hey, we don't want to help some ignorant bastard who lives miles away and by the way, we don't even know him / or her. For all we know he or she could be ignorant by nature." Yes, that's true. We could say that. But would it make sense?

We would have to be kind to someone who may not deserve this. And that makes us uncomfortable.

Yet we would be acting on legal, not just moral grounds here. It is not about forgiving, because we don't even know those sins and whether or not they exist for those we are necessarily ignorant of. It is not about a spiritual strategy of moral preemptiveness of redeeming someone else to a cause by certain deeds either -- precisely for the same reason. It is about a legal foundation of believing in the common good. That we collectively have a purpose. And being a good shepherd - a responsible and independent carer of our resources - is part of it.

But we can only be independent of the wrath of nature if we allow ourselves to depend on it being our friend, not our enemy. Not something to be master of. But something to live in Alliance with.

Not to enslave nature but to cohabit with it. Do you think it possible?

CCB = NR x C2
Where Climate Change Back equals Nature's Republic multiplied by Care square.

In mathematics, a multiplying function such as this denotes homogeneity. And it IS tricky, because it would have to applied to a non-homogeneous system that is weather and other related biological patterns.

Perhaps a new tool set of legislature would have to integrate non-linear mathematics and systems science, and not just the occasional interrogation of scientists about this or that statistical deviation.

It will not be easy while a conventional jurisdictional discipline dominates the legislative process and science is just a side show clown.

There is a profound belief that science is value-neutral, and we can interrogate it for the benefit of an objective legislative process. Yet no legislative process is objective and science itself may prove less and less value-neutral to stay relevant to climate change priorities.

The task is, then, to integrate science in the law of the land while carefully avoiding to shake the belief system that science is the objective rock upon which one can build solid environmental legislation.

Perhaps, in this respect, the letter of the law itself may need some shake up.

Here, Australia occupies a unique place. We don't have a Bill of Rights, but we have a solid Constitution. This may be a blessing in disguise, if we talk about not certain inalienable and arguably disputable rights of individuals over communities and vice versa - such as happiness, freedom and self-expression, -- but of a community itself being inclusive of the Nature it is of, by and for.

Here come in the rights and values related to and subject of ownership, spiritual beliefs and common consensus. Land of old inherently holds spiritual values and these rights emanate from it being God given. Yet ownership rights and values of new frequently and arbitrarily override this it being subject to changes in common consensus.

Thus a scenario ensues that the legal owner of a land can force someone else to respect and maintain it's Natural Content. Should we keep defining that Natural Content in its renewable value measured in products or in some kind of world standard such as resource neutrality in respect to one or many limited resources -- coal, crude oil, gas etc, whatever the case of a world consensus may be?

If they were to be established, what would happen to such standards when significant new resources were discovered, or the Solar system passed back to its usual energy level - if it ever will? What body or institution would administer those standards and on what consensus still -- voluntarily accepted or partly forced?

Would there have to be one ultimate legal sovereign - an individual or a constituency such as a State or a Federation of States - for it to be successful in this respect?

And what is our collective overriding purpose? Perpetuating the life and well-being of a certain Constituency according to it's linear cause-effect-precedence hierarchy of structured Law of Order, -- or that of a large, highly complex, non-linear and unpredictable Chaotic System such as the Planetary weather or the biosphere the Ecological system are?

Are these good questions to ask? Well, what do you think?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Atlantic Carbon Uptake Halved!

Breaking news today: Now this is worrisome to say the least. In the narrow time space of the past 10 years the carbon uptake of the Atlantic ocean has shrunk dramatically. We need to watch this trend very closely. It could signal Purgatory time.

The combined data of some 90 thousand measuring time-points (that is a staggering set of almost 100 thousand separate measurement) shows a disturbing trend. In the past ten years since the 1990s the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) that the ENTIRE Atlantic ocean can mop up from the atmosphere has been cut i.

Why is it important? For two reasons at least.

One, the oceans are thought to be the real deal compared to old growth rain forest when it comes to cleaning up the atmosphere. And two, it is not just surface absorption by the huge body of water that helps. It is just as much important that the tiny crustacean organisms living there breath in CO2 and build it in the carbon of their tiny shells. When they die, they sink to the bottom, removing that carbon pretty much forever. And they live by the zillions, so this is a huge amount of carbon we are talking about.

The current measurement is alarming because it shows that a tremendous stress on those organisms could be taking its toll already. Their capacity to breath in CO2 may not have changed, but because of the salinity of the oceans that has increased due to the enormous amount of carbon it now absorbs, the size of shells those tiny creatures can grow is greatly eroded. Saline waters thin those shells. So when they sink in the end, they remove that much less carbon.

The halving of the overall carbon uptake in 10 short years is not a good trend. If it stays just linear then by the end of the next 20 years the uptake will be as little as 12.5% of what would be needed. However, because less uptake means more salinity which then means yet thinner shells, the trend is expected to feed back on itself. Further, yet thinner shells may no longer sink, only drift away and finally wash up. When those shells erode, the carbon is washed back into the waterways, soil and oceans increasing the salinity of all that.

So in case the trend is NOT linear, in just 20 years the uptake could reduce to just 3.125% of its original size. There in that period may actually come a point where shells could become so thin that they no longer sink at all. They would start drifting instead as it is not just the density of shells that matter but also the buoyancy of the water that would now keep them from sinking. Increasing storms would ensure huge braking waves and tornadoes sucking up then spitting the leftover CO2 into the lower atmosphere.

Notice that by this point, OCEANS COULD BE CO2 (or carbon dioxide) contributors. That level of salinity might start locally rotting a lot of surface plants such as sea weeds and such. And so OCEANS COULD BECOME CH4 (or methane) contributors. And that would be a big bad news as methane is much more potent greenhouse gas then carbon dioxide. Saline surface waters would also erode the thin shells now drifting and floating aimlessly there.

Weaker and weaker thermohaline circulation in the Atlantic could further exacerbate the trend as heavy and salty cold waters would not be available by then to still help with the sinking of critically thin shells.

By then oceans would no longer be refusing to mop up, but they would be net emitters of massive quantities of CO2 and possibly methane. We need to watch this disturbing trend VERY CLOSELY.

And regardless of what alarming data scientists measure, drastically reduce your personal carbon emission. If but one of us does not do it, the effort of all the rest of us becomes disrespected and soiled. Also mop up carbon individually as much as possible. The picture in 30-40 years is ain't pretty any way you cut it.

But if you don't stop engine when idle, don't walk or bike instead of any form of transport, cremate instead of burials and the list goes on, the picture is not likely to clear up after the PURGATORY of the next decades.

Do we really want to burn alive? Why bring Hell on Earth when it could be the stepping stone to Heaven.

The good thing about changing climate back is that path is now OPEN to ALL OF US. By the People, Of the People, for Mother Earth - All the Peoples Included.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Beholden to Digital Limits

At times of hardship we try to deceive ourselves that all may be well it is just us who worries. And pass up the proper looking at the bottom of it. Now, with the ever increasing problem solving power of computer models it may be no different. In fact, the digital realm itself could be a problem.

In the old days, folks saw drying rivers and crops wilting from searing heat and they KNEW they were in for rough times. Today to believe most anything we are beholden to the might of all-knowing digital models. The extent of the changing climate included. But digital models are the product of the mind well fed from the abundance of food and prosperity. Little wonder it is then that at the time of the hardships we face digital worlds can just as well blindfold us. And when they do, they do it with a false authority of objectivity.

Today, we see what is on our nose but don't necessarily believe it. Not unless digital models can simulate in minute detail the same. There are scientists who now want to simulate Earth weather in fine detail. That is - the weather system of the entire Planet. Never mind that cloud formation alone is an incredibly complex algorithm. And even though we may need advanced modeling very much, science is just not almighty. Human synergy is, because it is so much more powerful. But it needs to act on the same premises - danger, but without panic. And that's not easy. So digital models are good proxi to calm our mind because until those models are conclusive enough, we don't really know HOW to act.

In the old days people gathered reserves to overcome extended drought. A seven years drought was not unknown even though it may have been quite a stretch back then.

Today we are looking down the barrel of a mother of all droughts minimum decades long. At any rate it is already in its 6th year with little sings of relenting. And we just don't know what to do individually. You ask why that might be happening? I don't quite know. But we don't really associate our food with drying, starving soil do we? Sure we know about the stuff, but we don't even know the region of the world where the farmer got the stuff off mother Earth we eat. So what we really associate our food with is the safe and air-conned environment of supermarkets. Food for us comes in nice packages off shelves.

There is nothing we can smell about its origin so why should we care anyway. It may become less, less nutritious and much more expensive, but why worry now. We'll deal with it then. When it will be a real problem for us. Sure there is a problem out there for farmers, produce, cattle and game food, but scientists are on the job. Sure there is a problem for fish, fruit and crops, but our computers are so much more powerful we can even simulate how it happens.

In a few years time where many rivers will run half dry or flood mightily depending on the season, who knows, we might even simulate how our future will look like by then.

But can you imagine any scenario of it looking any better if You don't act? Find out what you can do and do it. If it is just to blog about it. Daily, weekly, monthly, yearly. It is ok to doubt, but when convinced and compelled so, mobilize others. No panic. Timely and calculated calm. That's what leaders do and you are one if you act and get others act too.

Because when digital models are an excuse NOT to act, they are a much more powerful blindfold than old fashioned self deceit has ever been.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Gore - Obama 08

This Blog is much apolitical. But our best hope for a long term Nature's Republic is a Gore-Obama ticket in 2008. Let me explain.

The ticket would have all the money Obama raised. It would also have Gore's tremendous standing. Gore would probably be easily re-elected if climate would show a worsening trend in a 4 year term. Obama would be a Governor General type Vice President with a growing standing. He is the most talented politician of his age in the States today. After 8 years he will have easily won nomination.

Now for the climate part. Gore is undoubtedly equipped with what it takes to shift the economy into a new and very profitable trajectory. This would be not just the cutting of losses because of major re-tooling. (That's what corporations would do without the Gore vision that already exists and well manifested. It has tremendous reach. It is also and very clearly working.)

Check it out for yourself how Gore's vision would re-engineer triple bottom line on the scale of interacting global economies. is the work of a Gore project Fellow Jed Emerson is Gore's ecological investment foundation

To readers of this blog Obama needs no introduction I am sure.

Capitalism would get a new impetus by NOT exploiting ecology, and America would gain back the title of tour de force in progress and innovation.

But no one is infallable. Too much time with too much power in the same hand is not good for any democracy. Gore HAS the Oscar and the Noble. He is the great man of today. But he is only human. After 8 years Obama would inevitably take over and refresh the movement with new energy and insight.

Think about it. IF CLIMATE IS REALLY A PROBLEM, wouldn't this be the Only plausible ticket: - For now and for the future?

Three headed dog

We knew that changing climate back was long term. But 600 years ? At least that is what the a phenomenon called by CSIRO climate scientist Dr Wenju Cai (marine and atmospheric research) calls the "three headed dog." Avid Planet Ark-ers will have read this already to much of their dismay I am sure.

But even if we fix climate and arrest global greenhouse gas emissions (he mentions CO2 but one may also count in methane) the recovery will take longer than our lifetime, much longer. Over half a millennium, according to Cai and his calculations.

What it means that in southeast and southwest Australia their is an unsavory combination of climate elements causing extended drought. The Indian Ocean Dipole, the Southern Annular Mode shifting westerlies southward, and increasingly powerful El Nino events create three interacting prongs.

1. Confluence of a "wet weather" La Nina event in the Pacific and a "dry weather" Indian Ocean Dipole effect in the west, where the dry Indian Ocean weather effect is overwhelming the wet La Nina event. As a result, El Ninos become more frequent and possibly more powerful.

2. Rising temperatures warm the dry Australian landmass faster than the ocean [partly due to much of it's barren surface]. In southwest Western Australia, the drying-out is being intensified by westerly wind jets shifting towards the Antarctic in response to ozone depletion over the last 30 years.

3. Unabated and increasing carbon dioxide emissions. This third prong also intensifies the other two.

Putting it in perspective: If farming will relocate to wetter areas (where-ever they may form) for the next 600 years, would you call that adaptation to climate or an utter change of nomadic proportions?

The questions now on everyone's lips: is that INEVITABLE?

Friday, October 5, 2007

Ice age favours North

Another reason to start 'house cleaning' at the North Atlantic thermohaline conveyor belt. Ice age if it comes, may affect less the the Southern hemisphere.

We knew from earlier and Change-Climate-Back has reported on this at some length that the warming will actually increase ice in the Antarctic because snow precipitation there is still more than ice melting.

We have also reported that due to fresh-water leaks from melting ice in the North Atlantic the thermohaline circulation here (also known as the Gulf Stream) has already weakened significantly. Some estimate that decrease at 30%. The process may foreshadow a potential shut down of the circulation, which from earlier data appears to conclude in 3 short years substantially decreasing the mean temperature at the North - that is much of the northern part of the Northern hemisphere.

But it has received less public attention that the Atlantic and the Pacific ocean conveyor belts are linked though the connection appears less direct. There may also exist a substantial delay between a mass off water exiting the one stream and entering the other.

But the sum effect of that link according to a report by Timothy Burrows published in the journal Science is that when it works the south exports heat to the north. But when the link is broken, there is no more export and the cooling of the Northern hemisphere is offset by a relative heating of the South.

This appears to have happened many times over, most notably at the end of the last Ice Age called the Younger Dryas geological event around 13,000 years ago. This meant rapid cooling for the North right after rapid Global Warming at the end of the Ice Age called the Pleistocene geological epoch. It was due to the same process that is happening now - the rapid mass melting of the Northern ice sheets that accompanied rapid global warming shut down the Gulf.

Back then the Southern hemisphere actually got warmer with the mean temperature here being 2 degrees higher than it is now.