China Collapse Continues, Debris Falls on US

The Great Wall of China proves ineffective against pollution. Maybe if they made it bigger. (Photo by ToGa Wanderings/Flickr)

The Great Wall of China proves ineffective against pollution. Maybe if they made it bigger. (Photo by ToGa Wanderings/Flickr)

As signs of China’s impending collapse from industrial poisoning continue to proliferate (about which, more in a minute), some of them are proliferating in California. Air pollution, largely from China’s unrestrained use of coal, has become legendary in the country — virtually shutting down Shanghai in December and Beijing last week, and touching off armed uprisings by desperate people in various locations across the country. Now, a new study says that China’s industrial air pollution accounts for a significant portion of California’s smog. Continue reading

NY Times: Rising Seas “An Enormous Risk for the United States”

With distressing and increasing frequency, the streets of Norfolk, VA resemble the canals of Venice. The water is rising all along the US East Coast. (Photo by telmnstr/Flickr)

With distressing and increasing frequency, the streets of Norfolk, VA resemble the canals of Venice. The water is rising all along the US East Coast. (Photo by telmnstr/Flickr)

The New York Times seems to be suffering from multiple personality disorder. Last year, the number of stories it published that mentioned climate change or global warming dropped 40 per cent from 2012, this in the year the the paper closed its environment desk (nothing to see here), shut down its Green blog (nothing left to say here), reassigned its top environment reporters (nothing to do here), and gave a disproportionate amount of ink to climate-change deniers. Yet it remains capable of publishing, as it did this week, a hair-raising summary of the dangers this country is ignoring as climate change bears down upon it. “The Flood Next Time,” by Justin Gillis, is a clarion call to panic for anyone living near the Atlantic Ocean on America’s East Coast. Continue reading

Congress Realizes It Fixed Flood Insurance: Repeal Imminent

Sandy damage

“Yeah, but it’s got a great ocean view. so we’re gonna rebuild. When do I get the check?” Hurricane Sandy took a bite out of this New Jersey house, just like subsidized flood insurance takes a bite out of the federal budget. (Photo by RetroRed/Flickr)

Representative Maxine Waters, Democrat of California, was in a state of high dudgeon, last November, as she pilloried the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at a committee hearing in Washington. He had been dragged before the committee to explain why his Federal Flood Insurance Program was racking up rates for policies on water-soluble buildings in flood-prone coastal and riverine areas. “The harm that has been caused to thousands of people across the country,” she raged, “is just unconscionable.” Director Craig Fugate might be forgiven for being nonplussed. He had raised the rates at the explicit direction of Congress, which just 16 months previously had decided to end the existing flood-insurance madness with the Biggert-Waters Act. Which bears not only a wonderfully punny name for a bill dealing with floods, but the name of its co-sponsor, one Maxine Waters.   Continue reading

Methane Feedback: “Instant Planetary Emergency”

The outline shows the normal extent of Arctic sea ice. This is where it was in the summer of 2012. But wait there's more. (NASA Goddard photo)

The outline shows the normal extent of Arctic sea ice. This is where it was in the summer of 2012. But wait there’s more. (NASA Goddard photo)

A cascade of recent studies concludes that warming Arctic permafrost and ocean floors are on the verge of emitting massive methane eruptions that will quickly load the atmosphere with many times more greenhouse gas than has been produced during the entire Industrial Age. The ensuing warming will so destabilize the climate that a mass extinction may follow that could be the worst in 300 million years — since the so-called “Great Dying” of the Permian Period wiped out 90 per cent of sea life and 70 per cent of land animals. (Please insert the latest “how-could-there-be-global-warming-when-it’s- so-cold?” joke here.) Continue reading

Brazil: From Happy Days to Apocalypse Pretty Soon

A Petrobras deep water drilling rig off Brazil. After you get five miles down, you still might not hit oil.

A Petrobras deep water drilling rig off Brazil. After you get five miles down, you still might not hit oil.

Here’s what they were saying about Brazil six years ago: it was entering a new oil bonanza, it was going to be bigger than Saudi Arabia, it was going to enjoy energy independence, all the graphs of oil production were going straight up, through the roof, to the moon, Alice. It’s oil reserves were 50 billion…no, 100 billion…wait, 240 billion barrels. (How do you sing “Happy Days are Here Again” in Portuguese?)

Sound familiar? Sound like what the same folks are saying about the United States today? Funny how they’re not singing about feliz dias in Brazil any more. How did things work out for them down there? Continue reading

China Disintegrating: Stunning New Evidence

In Chongqing, China, in 2011, they were saying “If we don’t do something about this real soon, it’s going to get real bad. They didn’t. It did. And on it goes. (Photo by Leo Fung/Flickr)

It’s not just the air in China that is becoming toxic to human life, now it’s the earth itself. (Photo by Leo Fung/Flickr)

Just as China became the envy of the industrial world by achieving growth (of its gross national product) of ten percent and more per year for two decades, so its consequent collapse is about to demonstrate clearly to the rest of the world what happens when you turn your country over to unfettered greed. Stunning new evidence of the imminence of that collapse became public last week. Unfortunately, it is not just their end of the Titanic that is sinking, and it is too late to avoid catastrophe. But understanding what is happening there might help some of us survive catastrophe. Continue reading

Top UK Scientists: Peak Oil is Here

Oil times are changing, and not in a good way.

Oil times are changing, and not in a good way. (Photo by AZRainman/Flickr)

Britain’s leading oil scientists — including the man who for years prepared BP’s in-house estimate of future world oil supplies — have concluded that peak oil is here. In a special issue of the journal of the Royal Society, they argue that the era of cheap oil is over, and that an era of rising prices, recessions, famines and resource conflicts is beginning. In this global context, they dismiss the so-called shale oil “revolution” in the United States as insignificant and short-lived. The story, whose implications for our immediate future cannot be overstated, was reported by London’s Guardian newspaper and virtually nowhere else in the general media. Continue reading

Oil, Coal and the Law: Are You Kidding Me?

Ask not what your government can protect you from; ask rather who can protect you from your government.

Ask not what your government can protect you from; ask rather who can protect you from your government.

This is an update of the December 1 Daily Impact story “Oil and Coal: Above the Law, and Below It.” Read  the story of Mike Roselle’s arrest in West Virginia for having the temerity to petition his government for the redress of a grievance, and of Allenco Energy Company’s immunity from consequences for poisoning the air of a Los Angeles neighborhood. Try to imagine how both of those situations could get worse. Then read this. Continue reading

Apocalypse When, Again?

Never mind the iceberg. Should we steer mostly to the left, or to the right?

Latest from RMS Titanic:  Nothing bad has happened yet.

Do prophets of doom grow tired of warning against a doom that never seems to happen? Of course we do. But what really saps our spirit is not the jeering from the Business-as-Usual advocates, but the inadequacy of their thinking. It’s not the heat, you see, it’s the stupidity. To reason that because a thing has not happened yet, therefore the prospects of its happening are diminished, is not supported by any accepted rules of logic, and is a staggeringly dumb idea to cling to along the San Andreas Fault. (Of course, delay does not make a thing more likely to happen either, except in earthquake country.)

Other evidence must be consulted, and a review of the things that have not happened in 2013 may help us to decide whether they are more or less likely to happen in 2014. Continue reading

Oil and Coal: Above the Law, and Below It

This view of a former mountaintop in Pike County, Kentucky, which is now lying in nearby valleys, shows what's left when the coal is gone. (Photo by iLoveMountains.org/Flickr)

This view of a former mountaintop in Pike County, Kentucky, which is now residing, in the form of dust, in the people who live nearby. Who is breaking the law, the people who did this or the people who protest it? (Photo by iLoveMountains.org/Flickr)

Here is what we have come to in America, nicely encapsulated in two events, one in California, the other in West Virginia. In California, another brazen demonstration that Big Oil is above the law, not merely when its toxic emissions sicken hundreds of people, but when it poisons the law enforcement officers sent to control them. In West Virginia, a clear reminder that should you think to petition your government for the redress of grievances, you may well find yourself below the law, left to ponder the true meaning of the First Amendment to the Constitution (freedom of speech, freedom to assemble, right to petition your government and so forth) in your jail cell. Continue reading