Earth on Fire: The Overheating Planet

Earth on Fire: The Overheating Planet


The reason some popular posts are tagged ‘no title’ is not because they have no title—they all do—but because the old Blogger embedded the title at the top of text, and the new software does not see that. You can see the titles in capitals at the start of each snippet. (It would be nice if Blogger introduced an upgrade program that could fix this little problem.)

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Tuesday 31 October 2006


Hard on the heels of Sir Nicholas Stern's epochal report on the dire consequences of global-overheating comes a UN report that shows greenhouse-gas emissions are rising, particular from the worst offenders, the rich, industrialised nations. Emission levels are up 3.3% since 1990. The USA is far and away the worst. It pumps out 25% of the world's emissions.

We never, ever learn. But we will not be able to say we were not told. We have been: plainly, unequivocally. Sternly.

How long will it take to get through the brain-damaged skulls of those responsible for the mess, the Black Stuff pushers and the inept politicians, that we now live on a different planet. The Earth that the human race has lived on for the past 10,000 years has gone, because we have destroyed it. The normality on which we have predicated our decisions for 10,000 years has gone because we have destroyed it.

We must therefore predicate our decisions on the new, damaged reality. If not, we will make it unimaginably worse. As the teenagers say, 'Get real.'

The only question to ask of any proposed action is ' Will it profit the planet or push it further into climatic debit?' Nothing else. Because the real bottom line is life. Not money. It has always been so, but now our noses have been forcibly rubbed in that fundamental truth.

Get real.

Monday 30 October 2006


Sir Nicholas Stern, a former head of the World Bank, in a 700-page report commissioned by the UK government, says global-overheating (he actually uses that damnable euphemism global-warming) will cost the world up to seven trillion dollars in the next decade unless governments take drastic action now.

That would be, and because we are hardly likely to take that action it means that will be more than World War I, World War II and the Great Depression of the 1930s rolled into one. A 20% contraction in the global economy. Without action floods from rising sea-levels could displace up to 100 million people; melting glaciers could cause water-shortagee for a sixth of the global population--over a billion people; up to 40% of wildlife could become extinct; drought may create ten or hundreds of millions of climate refugees.

At last. Someone has told us the terrible truth. Now, please, all you brain-damaged politicians and all you car, oil and coal companies take note. Stop wrecking the planet. Stop your crimes against humanity. Get on the side of life. Stop your murderous policies.

Sir Nicholas also calls for Kyoto to be dumped ASAP and replaced with something better. About time. That thing is useless. The Munich Agreement of the 21st century.

Click here for a BBC summary of the report, and here for its business analysis.

We have a political system that could hardly be better designed to generate corruption. Blithely, every few years, we trot off to vote a small number of people into power. We even use that phrase--'vote into power'--although we well know Lord Acton's dictum that all power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

So, very deliberately, we put people into positions that are likely to corrupt them. And we plume ourselves on how good our system is. We even go to war to defend it and spread it about.

But, making matters worse, such positions attract the wrong kind of people, people who are dysfunctional, people with low self-esteem and weak personalities who compensate with power and position, people who have little love for other human beings, people who instead of attending to their inner deficiences and fixing them by changing themselves try instead to change everyone round them. And we give them a whole country to play with...

So they start with internal corruption, and we put them in positions that tend to make them externally corrupted. Once, when the Divine moral compass was generally steered by, there was constant correction militating against malign internal and external forces, but all that was biffed overboard, so now we are dependent on politicians having good wiring between their ears. Few do. No wonder we end up with corrupted countries.

The only way out of that, short of a miracle, is to change the system. Ditch the system that breeds corruption, the elected dictatorship, and use the Internet to change to a national plebescite. Let the people be self-governing.

A prime example of this corruption phenomenon is the Prime Minister of New Zealand. If ever a PM was a chronically messed-up human being it is her. Small wonder that New Zealand is going down the social tubes. And small wonder that her party was caught with its fingers in the public till, having made off with $750,000 with which it bought the last election by funding a last-ditch advertising push that got the few percent it needed. Published interviews show that she was psychologically abused as a child and is now a mess inside. But her way of dealing with the resultant abnormality, instead of fixing it, was to claw her way to topmost power and shift the whole country towards her abnormality so that she could call herself normal. Weird 'logic', but that is how the dysfunctional function. The abused abuse: she is abusing a country. Yet 33% of the populace, although down from teh former 62%, still think she is the bee's knees and the best bod for the PM's job. Another case of the Stockholm syndrome, where the hijacked end up siding with the hijackers. Or, to use an older analogy, another case of PC-fearful, sycophantic supporters cheering on the naked emperor as he struts his stuff down the High Street.

Thursday 26 October 2006


The USA is once again castigated for its greedy, selfish, profligate way of living, this time in a WWF report, which not surprisingly shows it to be the worst on earth--BBC News article.

So why bother telling it to get out of Iraq? We would all be better off if it got off the planet.

More nasty details are here, also at BBC News.

If nothing changes, the WWF says global ecosystems could collapse by 2050.

Tuesday 24 October 2006


As this BBC News report blaringly headlines it: Ozone hole is 'biggest on record'--'bigger than North America.' NASA's Aura satellite says so, backed up by ground-based readings using high-altitude balloons.

Ain the layer between 13 and 21 kilometres above the earth, there was virtually no ozone; almost all had been destroyed. And at the 20km mark there were extremely high levels of ozone-destroying chlorine chemicals. Scientists say that levels of the nasty chemicals peaked in 2001. This latest peak, between September the 21st and 30th, must not have read their report. They also expect the ozone-layer to make a slow recovery and be back to normal in about 2065...

Keep the sunblock handy. In New Zealand the UV level is at 9, out a of a possible 10.

Monday 23 October 2006


NASA's latest measurements show that Greenland is now melting at a fast clip, much quicker than had been predicted and that the pace has accelerated in recent years, even though global-overheating has yet to get a full head of steam. The detail of the bad news, in
this Reuter-based article shows that between 2003 and 2005 it gained 54 gigatons per year in the high interior but lost 155 gigatons round the coast. That is a far cry from the 1990s, when gains and losses were about equal.

Click here for the original NASA site.

The guys who think the place will take thousands of years to melt down will have to have another decko at their myopic optimism.

Thursday 19 October 2006


This article in Science Daily gives yet another reason why wiping out marine animals, small and large, is not a very good idea. They provide about a third of the power that stirs the oceans, and are thus a giant, very necessary part of the climate-making mix.

We are busy knocking back these vital stirrers with over-fishing and manmade climate-change. Clever, huh?

Sounds like a title for a book: So long, fish. Thanks for all the good weather...

A giant footnote to that is the news, in the NZ Herald that scientists have found that the smoking gun of climate-change was responsible for the breaking off of the huge Larsen B iceshelf from Antartica in 2002.

We cannot tell a lie, we chopped it off with our little greenhouse-gas axe...

Friday 13 October 2006


So we have to think outside it, otherwise our thinking will be on the wrong planet. The normality on which we have predicated our decisions, both public and private, for 10,000 years has gone, so we have to be thinking where we are, not where we used to be.

We have to do whatever it takes, we have to try many things that we would not in the old normality have considered, so as to try to fix at least some of the mess we have made through our insane, murderous addiction to the Black Stuff. Global overheating has clearly passed the point of no return (and even if it hadn't that damned addiction would not be given up soon enough to stop it before it did).

During World War II the British were willing to try any idea, to use all sorts of opeople, such as movie directors and sci-fi writers and horoscope pushers, and to do whatever it took to beat the Nazi foe. For example, they set up a full-blown mock army in southern English fields made of wood and canvas and rubber, and even had a general assigned to it, to help fool the Germans into thinking that the D-Day landings were going to be somewhere other than Normandy. They also sent a uniformed corpse to war in a rubber dinghy, with some private letters in his pocket that appeared to hint at a false landing place. Whatever helped, they did. Everything was on a war footing to win the war.

We have to do the same. Guys with money, and government treasuries, have to be ready and willing to tip it into all sorts of schemes. Except looney ones. This is no time for little green men stuff. But if an idea has a chance of helping to make a hole in the problem, and it needs, say, a hundred thousand dollards, or a million, then that should be provided so that it can be tried. This is no time for standing on that traditional work of fiction, the business plan, and saying that if there isn't one there's no deal. Everything has to be predicated on the new reality, the planet as it is, not as it was; and everything that might help it should be done ASAP (which also means doing nothing that would hinder it--such as anything that would generate more carbon-dioxide).

So get outside the box. If you aren't you aren't on planet earth.

Monday 9 October 2006


A New Zealand scientist has plainly told his country how things are and how they will be in a story in the
New Zealand Herald. It is good to see someone saying out loud that the changes we have made in the planet's atmosphere have built a momentum that cannot be switched off. But in New Zealand 89% of those who can have driver's licences (15 and over) also own cars, so they are obviously not listening to the winds of planetary change. They are sowing disaster, and will reap the global-overheating whirlwind.

They also show us the way to a true democracy.

The September/October 2006 issue of Update, the magazine for members of the New York Academy of Sciences, has a piece headed Microbial Chatter, How Bacteria Talk to Each Other, which outlines the researches of Bonnie Hassler, a molecular biologist at Princeton University and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

'She has found that bacteria like to live in complex multi-species communities and their ability to communicate and co-operate is essential to their survival,' says the magazine. Amongst other abilities, they are 'multilingual' (via signalling molecules called auto-inducers), and they have a communications system called 'quorum sensing' in which the majority rules. A single bacteria expressing what might be called an auto-inducer opinion cannot persuade group action; that happens only when a large number express it in unison. There are three main types of auto-inducers. One of them enables cross-species communications: 'An example of this ability for mixed-species consortia to talk among themselves is evident on our teeth: 600 species are there every morning in precisely the same organisation as the night before. The only way they can build their complicated biofilms is to know precisely what other cells are out there and to use the information to function effectively as a working conglomerate.'

Meanwhile, in the brains a few centimetres above those teeth there is touching faith in the notion that our system of government is a democracy, that it truly is 'government of the people, by the people, for the people', when it is nothing but an elected dictatorship--it is government of the people, by a few people, for some people. The bacteria have true a democracy. Every bug has an auto-inducer voice, every voice counts, and the action of the group is decided by the majority in unison. A molecular opinion expressed by only a few bugs is ignored.

Poor people. How sad! They have less organisational sense than the bugs on their teeth.

Wednesday 4 October 2006


As this blog has said many times the worst is yet to be officially told--namely that billions will die and large tracts of the planet will become uninhabitable because of the murderous insanity of burning the Black Stuff (coal & oil), which is overheating the planet. Now, at last, the dire truth is beginning to emerge: see this article in the
NZ Herald from the Independent

Monday 2 October 2006


What was the lead story on Radio New Zealand news the other day, the day the ozone-layer over the country was the thinnest ever measured? Was it that terrible fact--something that affects everyone vitally? No, it was the latest instalment of a media beat-up about some bunch who tried to hire a private investigator to get the dirt on our repellent Prime Mince and her inept cabinet cronies--the gang who haven't done a single useful thing about global-overheating, and who have overseen a steady downgrading of the country's social fabric.

So nice to know that the media has the country's real interests at heart. They dissect an irrelevant microbe oicked from the armpit of politics and ignore the destruction of the planet. There should be an award in that, shouldn't there? Yay!

Putting political shennigans ahead of the planet was one of the bad habits that got us into this environmental mess in the first place. So why not keep up the good work, eh chaps? Let the brain-damaged media rule! Yay 2!!

Actually, that day was the saddest in New Zealand's history, because it marked the end of the beginning, the door slamming on life as this country has always known it, the first overt sign it has had that the planet will never be the same, that the climatic normality of the past 10,000 years has gone for ever. The ozone layer above New Zealand had been anorexic anyway, but that day, and for the next day or two, a gusty stratospheric wind tore the bottom off it. Which shows how little is needed, now that we have pushed the planet to the brink, for things to tip over and seriously threaten human health, even life.

And not just human health and life. We can stay indoors or use sun-block and protective gear to protect ourselves but what about the wild animals and the livestock? They, like us, can get cataracts, and suffer DNA damage. Plants, too, can be irrevocably damaged.

The gusts of change are upon us. But we, as always, are doing nothing.

Click to get to this BBC News page, where a British politician proves that he, at least, is saying some of the right things--'people should be scared...'