Friday, September 30, 2011

Trial tests whether 'ecocide' could join genocide as global crime

It's a grim list: genocide, crimes against humanity, crimes of aggression (such as unprovoked invasions) and war crimes. All are recognised by the UN as crimes against peace and prosecuted through the international criminal court.

But should the bosses of polluting companies and the leaders of environmentally-unfriendly states join those responsible for mass murder in the dock. They could if a fifth crime against peace - ecocide - joined that list of human evils? The United Nations is now considering the proposal and the first test of how a prosecution for ecocide would work takes place on Friday, with fossil fuel bosses in the dock at the UK supreme court in London. It is a mock trial of course, but with real top-flight lawyers and judges and a jury made up of members of the public. The corporate CEOs will be played by actors briefed by their legal teams.

Trial tests whether 'ecocide' could join genocide as global crime

Hell yes it should be a crime! It's not as if humans can survive without our environment... so even if you're in the exploitation business, it's in your best interests to leave the our life support systems intact.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bill McKibben's Campaign for a Healthier Planet

Some new stuff, some old.

2011 Arctic Ice Minimum

Love Greenman

Monday, September 26, 2011

Goldman Sachs rules the world

Nieman Watchdog has a very good piece by John Hanrahan about press coverage of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. Coverage was initially dismissive and minimal — and mea culpa, I wasn’t paying attention myself. But it’s becoming clear that there’s something important happening: finally, after three years in which Very Serious People refused to hold the financial industry accountable, there’s a real grass-roots uprising against the Masters of the Universe

Unsavvy People- Paul Krugman

Paul Ehrlich on Surviving the Population Bomb: Sea Change Radio 5-17-11

My friends and I agree that collapse began with Reagan.

James Howard Kunstler: Sea Change Radio 7-26-11

Third Industrial Revolution

Rampant unemployment, rising food prices, a collapsed housing market, ballooning debt -- to Jeremy Rifkin, the American economist and president of the Foundation on Economic Trends, these are not simply symptoms of a temporary economic malaise. Rather, they are signs that the current world order -- long infused with and defined by fossil fuels -- is collapsing around us
The Third Industrial Revolution will move apace over the next several decades, probably peaking around 2050, and plateau in the second half of the 21st century. Already, in the shadow of its ascending bell curve, we can see a new economic era that will take us beyond the industrious mode that characterized the last two centuries of economic development and into a collaborative way of life. The metamorphosis from an industrial to a collaborative revolution represents one of the great turning points in economic history.
Jeremy Rifkin: The 'Democratization Of Energy' Will Change Everything

The The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power Is Transforming Energy, the Economy, and the World

We need a revolution for sure. I am afraid I do not share his optimism.

I feel we need a WWIII. The enemy: fossil fuels. There May Be Blood.

Everything is connected. The ongoing collapse may prevent a gentle transition away from fossil fuels. Of course the the deniers are blocking the exits of a crowded theater (Earth) that's really aflame.

Watch the full episode. See more Need To Know.

This guy is often over the top, but he says lots of stuff worth thinking about.

Total BS about Fukushima in above video

The radioactive fallout from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant accident has spread as far as California waters, according to scientists from the University of California, Berkeley.

But although the level of radioactivity in the water was higher than normal, they said, it was still very low and not harmful to humans.

“The levels of fallout we have observed in San Francisco Bay area rain water pose[d] no health risk to the public,” wrote the study authors, led by Eric B. Norman of UC Berkeley’s Department of Nuclear Engineering.
Fukushima Fallout in California Waters: A Threat?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Just when I needed you most

Senate Democrats were successful the second time around Tuesday, narrowly advancing a $7 billion disaster aid package that Republicans blocked a day earlier.

On a 61-38 vote, all 53 Democrats and eight Republicans from disaster-afflicted states agreed to move forward on legislation that would help areas of the country hit by Hurricane Irene and recent tornadoes, flooding and wildfires. Sixty votes were needed.

Republicans who cast an “aye” vote were Sens. Roy Blunt of Missouri; Scott Brown of Massachusetts; John Hoeven of North Dakota; Dean Heller of Nevada; Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania; David Vitter of Louisiana; and Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, both of Maine. In Monday’s failed 53-33 vote, Toomey had voted no, while Sen. Dan Coats of (R-Ind.) had voted yes.

The legislation actually is a noncontroversial bill to reauthorize sanctions against Burma, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has indicated he will use it as a vehicle for his stand-alone disaster bill and wrap up work on it by week’s end.

Senate Republicans, who have objected to the bill’s price tag and the fact that it doesn’t include an equal amount of savings, have said they’ll back a separate, smaller disaster bill that the GOP-led House plans to attach to legislation needed to avert a partial government shutdown by Oct. 1.

Tuesday’s Senate vote came after Reid hammered Republicans for holding up funding that would replenish the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s nearly exhausted disaster relief fund. This year alone, President Barack Obama has declared emergencies in all but two states in the country, Michigan and West Virginia, Reid said.

“To say now it’s not the time to turn to it is really not fair," Reid said. “We need the money now.”

Senate Dems finally move disaster aid

HT Think Progress via twitter

And eventually we will run out of money...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

State of the World

Only one of the graphics in a comment by aangle over at TOD which is totally worth a read. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Friday, September 9, 2011

All my life

All my life my cohort has been under some existential cloud or another. It was the communists, it was the USSR, it was nuclear war, the Cuban Missile Crisis. It was DDT and silent spring, it was mercury in the fish, it was the population bomb or acid rain, the ozone hole, AIDS, and on and on and on.

None of those things materialized in a catastrophic fashion. We muddled through. We put a band-aid on it.

This time I think we're in for it. The band-aids were temporary, we failed to "get it". We're looking at less than half of the warming that is already in the pipe. You don't believe we are having a record La Nina do you? Nobody is saying the La Nina is that extreme... but  record rainfall, record drought... and Katia may hammer Europe... this is different. I'm an old woman. I have memories, and I know this is different than anything I have ever seen.

We need to hope that the weather catastrophes settle down  long enough for us to get a handle on the emissions issues. Otherwise we're looking at a domino effect. No money to fix stuff  because the economy can't grow... due to, among other things, climate disasters. Stuff stays broke... civilization degrades. You get the picture.

All my life, and the lives of my generation, we've been under some threat or another... duck and cover.

This time it's for real. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Peak Oil, Peak Debt, and the Concentration of Power

When theorists approach the peak oil problem from the perspective of finding a substitute that will allow us to maintain our present energy infrastructure, their conclusion is one of despair. There may be many substitutes for oil as a concentrated form of storable energy, but none of them are nearly as good as oil itself. Those invested in the status quo would, quite understandably, like to maintain it, but it is becoming apparent even to the most highly invested that the status quo is doomed; that it can be maintained only temporarily, and at a rapidly accelerating environmental cost. The transition before us is not merely a transition in fuel types. It is also a transition in the whole energy infrastructure, both physical and psychological; a transition away from big power plants, distribution lines, and metered consumers; away from capital-intensive drilling, refining, distribution, and consumer fueling stations. More broadly, it is a transition away from centralization, concentration, and all the social institutions that go along with it

Peak Oil, Peak Debt, and the Concentration of Power

Go read the whole thing.

A Farm for the Future

HT Peaktweat via twitter

Climate report links extreme weather events to global warming

"Greenhouse gases are the steroids of weather," says climate projection expert Jerry Meehl of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, at a briefing held by the report's expert reviewers. "Small increases in temperature set the stage for record breaking extreme temperature events." Overall, says the report, higher temperatures tied to global warming, about a one-degree global average temperature rise in the last century, have widely contributed to recent runs of horrible weather:

•In 1950, record breaking hot weather days were as likely as cold ones. By 2000, they were twice as likely, and in 2011 they are three times more likely, so far. By the end of the century they will be 50 times more likely, Meehl says.
•With global warming's higher temperatures packing about 4% more water into the atmosphere, total average snow and rainfall has increased by about 7% in the past century, says the study. The amount of rain falling in the heaviest 1% of cloudbursts has increased 20%, leading to more flooding.
•Early snow melt, and more rain rather than snow, has led to water cycle changes in the western U.S. in river flow, winter air temperature, and snow pack from 1950 to 1999. The effects are up to 60% attributable to human influence.

Climate report links extreme weather events to global warming

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


NEW SEASON! FOUR DEGREES OR MORE Disturbing speech by world's most influential climate scientist Dr. Hans Joachim ("John") Schellnhuber of the Potsdam Institute. Given July 12th to "Four Degrees of More" climate conference in Australia. The same warnings he delivered personally to Heads of State and Ministers, including China, Europe & the White House. We are headed over the climate cliff. New science you have not heard, and must hear. Ecoshock 110831 14 MB 1 hour.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Global Roundtable: The Future of Economic Competition

Without mentioning the coming resource shortages this roundtable has limited value in terms of seeing the future.
But they do discuss interesting stuff.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


HT David Roberts over at Grist and Treehugger: A Dialogue Economic Growth's Great Dilemma

New Normal

In the United States so far this year, families and communities have been slammed with 10 weather disasters costing $1 billion or more. Damages from floods, fires, tornadoes and drought totaled $35 billion as summer ended, not counting Hurricane Irene and whatever other destructive tantrums Mother Nature throws between now and Dec. 31.

These huge costs have big implications for local and national budgets, many of them disasters in their own right. That should concern fiscal conservatives and taxpayers, as well as disaster victims who may find someday soon that the government does not have the capacity to help.

Can We Handle Nature's New Norm? Part 1

And the GOP rant that we're broke, as if we haven't been borrowing to pay the bills since Bush took office. We need smart voters that call these guys on their relentless, politically motivated dogma... by not voting for them.