The John James Newsletter  259 17 November 2018

Our firefighters have been experiencing some extreme, tough fire conditions that they said they’ve never seen in their life. We just ended the hottest summer on record. We have fuels that are in critical drought state. This is the sixth year of seven years of drought.
Daryl Osby, chief LA County Fire Dpt

The way the fire came through, as fast as it did, was unreal. It was apocalyptic, like something you’d see in a movie. My place went up in flames with no insurance. Now I’m probably permanently homeless. I don’t know how we’ll recover from here.
Robert from Paradise

We just had 10% of our county’s housing stock erased in one day; it’s hard to convey the significance of that
Ed Mayer

We know with high confidence that the progressive disintegration of ice sheets and the transgression of other tipping elements are difficult to reverse after critical levels of warming are reached; Earth’s recent geological past suggest that a Hothouse Earth is likely at CO2 concentration either already realised or projected
Will Stephen

Trump has much greater affinity for autocrats, claiming warm, even affectionate, relations with Putin, Kim Jong-un, Xi Jinping, Mohammed bin Salman, Rodrigo Duterte and now Brazil’s , Jair Bolsonaro
The Guardian

Children born today may be the last generation to see coral reefs in all their glory. Today’s reefs have a history going back 25 million to 50 million years and have survived tectonic collisions, such as that of Africa into Europe, and India into Asia. Yet in five decades we have undermined the global climate so fundamentally that in the next generation we will lose the globally connected reef system that has survived tens of millions of years.
David Obura

If the trend of the past 600 years continues to hold, there is a larger than zero probability that we’ll see a new conflagration that could surpass that of the the second world war in destruction and victims
Cassandra’s Legacy

A power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world’s three most advanced and economically productive regions … control over Eurasia would almost automatically entail Africa’s subordination, rendering the Western Hemisphere and Oceania (Australia) geopolitically peripheral to the world’s central continent. About 75 per cent of the world’s people live in Eurasia, and most of the world’s physical wealth is there as well, both in its enterprises and underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for about three-fourths of the world’s known energy resources.
Zbigniew Brzezinski

The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us
Climate breakdown could be rapid and unpredictable. We can no longer tinker around the edges and hope minor changes will avert collapse. Public figures talk and act as if environmental change will be linear and gradual. But the Earth’s systems are highly complex, and complex systems do not respond to pressure in linear ways. When these systems interact, their reactions to change become highly unpredictable. Small perturbations can ramify wildly. Tipping points are likely to remain invisible until we have passed them. We could see changes of state so abrupt and profound that no continuity can be safely assumed.    Read moreicon.pngHuman activity is dissolving the ocean floor
Normally the deep sea bottom is a chalky white. It’s composed, to a large extent, of the mineral calcite (CaCO3) formed from the skeletons and shells of many planktonic organisms and corals. The seafloor plays a crucial role in controlling the degree of ocean acidification. The dissolution of calcite neutralises the acidity of the CO2, and in the process prevents seawater from becoming too acidic. But these days, at least in certain hotspots such as the northern Atlantic and the southern oceans, the ocean’s chalky bed is becoming more of a murky brown. Because of human activity, the level of CO2 in the water so high—and the water is so acidic—that the calcite is simply dissolving. “Because it takes decades or even centuries for CO2 to drop down to the bottom of the ocean, almost all the CO2 created through human activity is still at the surface, but in the future, it will invade the deep-ocean, spread above the ocean floor, and cause even more calcite particles at the seafloor to dissolve,”    Read moreElephants come up with a foolproof way to survive ivory poachers
Never ever underestimate the intelligence of Mother Nature. A strange thing has been observed among the young female elephants of Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park: About a third of them never developed tusks. While tusklessness is not unheard of in female African elephants, normally it would only happen in about two to four percent of them. The tuskless crew in question here are amongst the first generation born after the end of Mozambique’s 15-year-long civil war, a war in which much was financed through the slaughter of elephants for ivory. Ninety percent of the area’s elephants were killed, yet those without tusks survived. And now they’ve passed the trait on to their daughters.     Read moreIf you think the conflicts are bad now, just wait until a critical amount of resources run out in large portions of the world (including food and water) due to a combination of climate change factors, overpopulation and other matters intersected.
Half Million Killed by America’s Global War on Terror ‘Just Scratches the Surface’

“This new body count signals that, far from diminishing, the war is only intensifying.” The new report estimates that since 2001, between 480,000 and 507,000 people have been killed because of war violence in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan—a tally that does not include the more than 500,000 deaths from the war in Syria, raging since 2011, which the U.S. joined in August 2014, and “indirect deaths,” or those killed by war’s impact on public health, such as limiting access to food, water, hospitals, and electricity.     Read moreOur future is here, now … day by day.
On the 10th – California wildfires kill nine, drive 150,000 from their homes

Early Thursday morning, a small fire started along the Feather River in Northern California. Due to high winds and dry conditions, the fire spread rapidly to the west, and by Friday evening had burned 90,000 acres and erased the town of Paradise (population 26,000) from the map. The road to Paradise is now littered with the burned-out remains of abandoned cars.
On the 12th – 300,000 people were forced to flee their homes as the worst wildfires in Californian history rage through the US state.
The ‘Woolsey Fire’ swept through hills around Malibu, killing at least 25 people and decimating thousands of homes including those of some well-known celebrities.
On the 13th – Demands for ‘Real Climate Action’ as Death Toll From California Wildfires Hits Record
“This is not the new normal. This is the new abnormal,” said Gov. Jerry Brown. The statewide death toll hit 31 and destroyed more than 6,000 structures. It tops the record for the most destructive fire ever. Some areas now burning had fires in 2005 and 2008, so they aren’t fuel-choked closed-canopy forests.
On the 14th – The confirmed death toll from the Camp Fire in Northern California soared to 48
as officials continued a systematic examination of the destroyed city of Paradise, a city of 26,000 people, destroyed in minutes. Hundreds of people remain missing.
On the 16th – Searches intensify with more than 600 reported missing in California’s Camp Fire
The Camp Fire — the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in state history — has left 63 people dead, destroyed about 9,700 homes and scorched 142,000 acres.The Fossil Fuel Industry Spent $100 Million to Kill Green Ballot Measures in Three States — and Won
“We had a pretty good shot, but they definitely had way more resources than we did. I guess the oil and gas industry is just another example of money buying elections.We have had a warning,” Nelson said, referencing that report, “that we either end our dependence on fossil fuels or things are going to get extremely rough for mankind. For me, it shows that it’s just about greed and money for this industry.”      Read moreWorld has no capacity to absorb new fossil fuel plants
The IEA calculated that existing infrastructure would “lock in” 550 gigatonnes of C02 over the next 22 years. That leaves only 40 gigatonnes, or around a year’s worth of emissions, of wriggle room if temperatures are not to overshoot the 2C threshold. The group’s annual World Energy Outlook, published on Tuesday, revised future CO2 emissions upwards on last year’s report.     Read report

G20 nations still led by fossil fuel industry
Stimulated by an increase of about 50% in subsidies over the past 10 years to compete with increasingly cheap wind, solar and other renewable energy sources. The G20 nations spent $147bn (£114bn) on subsidies in 2016, although they pledged to phase them out more than 10 years ago.Coal, oil and gas subsidies risking rise in global temperatures to 3.2C, well beyond agreed Paris goal.     lRead more

10°C  in a decade  – rapid climate change is possible
The Younger Dryas is one of the most well known examples of abrupt change. About 14,500 years ago, Earth’s climate began to shift from a cold glacial world to a warmer interglacial state. Partway through this transition, temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere suddenly returned to near-glacial conditions. This near-glacial period is called the Younger Dryas, named after a flower (Dryas octopetala) that grows in cold conditions and that became common in Europe during this time. The end of the Younger Dryas, about 11,500 years ago, was particularly abrupt. In Greenland, temperatures rose 10°C in a decade. Other proxy records, including varved lake sediments in Europe, also display these abrupt shifts.  Read moreISIS Again Claims Cyber Attacks Which Were Falsely Blamed On Russia
ISIS delivered flawless propaganda material with well edited videos and created its own glossy magazines. Producing these required computer expertise. It was thus not astonishing to learn that some hackers had joined ISIS and worked with its media team. From an ISIS perspective the listed targets all made sense. There was no reason to doubt the ISIS claims.  Look at the list:      Read morePlanet at risk of heading towards “Hothouse Earth”
Keeping global warming to within 1.5-2°C may be more difficult than previously assessed. Even if the carbon emission reductions called for in the Paris Agreement are met, there is a risk of Earth entering “Hothouse Earth” conditions at a global average of 4-5°C higher and sea level 10-60 m higher than today. Human-induced global warming of 2°C may trigger other Earth system processes, often called “feedbacks”, that can drive further warming – even if we stop emitting greenhouse gases. Avoiding this scenario requires a redirection of human actions from exploitation to stewardship of the Earth system.      Read moreThe Ecological Crisis is a Political Crisis
The problem is political. Oligarchy has been a more fundamental cause of the collapse of civilisations than social complexity or energy demand. Control by oligarchs, he argues, thwarts rational decision-making, because the short-term interests of the elite are radically different to the long-term interests of society. This explains why past civilisations have collapsed “despite possessing the cultural and technological know-how needed to resolve their crises”. Economic elites, which benefit from social dysfunction, block the necessary solutions. The oligarchic control of wealth, politics, media and public discourse explains the comprehensive institutional failure now pushing us towards disaster. Think of Donald Trump and his cabinet of multi-millionaires; the influence of the Koch brothers in funding rightwing organisations; the Murdoch empire and its massive contribution to climate science denial; or the oil and motor companies whose lobbying prevents a faster shift to new technologies.    Read moreNeglected pastures thrive under solar panels
Solar panels could increase productivity on pastures that are not irrigated and even water-stressed, a new study finds. Grasses and plants flourish in the shade underneath solar panels because of a significant change in moisture. The results bolster the argument for agrovoltaics, the concept of using the same area of land for solar arrays and farming. The idea is to grow food and produce clean energy at the same time. Shaded areas were 328 percent more water efficient, and maintained higher soil moisture throughout the heat of summer. That led to twice as much grass under the arrays as in the unshaded areas. The plants also had more nutritional value. with a 90% increase in late-season plant mass in areas under PV panels.     Read moreicon.pngicon.pngCoal dumped as IEA turns to wind and solar to solve climate challenge
One of the world’s most conservative energy institutions, the International Energy Agency, has effectively abandoned the thermal coal industry, saying coal generation would have to be drastically scaled down if the world has any hope of getting anywhere near the targets needed to address climate change. Instead, the IEA – in its annual World Energy Outlook – turns to wind and solar, which it says will need to produce more than seven times the amount of coal power by 2040 if the “well below 2°C” limit to average global warming agreed to in Paris is to be met.     Read moreicon.pngIf you can’t build well, then build nothing at all
Scientists must call out infrastructure building that will ruin environments, lives and economies,. By 2050, Earth could accumulate another 25 million kilometres of paved roads, according to the International Energy Agency — enough to encircle the planet more than 600 times. When a new road penetrates intact forest, it can facilitate illegal deforestation, poaching, fires and land investors bent on encouraging a building boom — factors that are rarely considered in cost–benefit analyses of planned infrastructure projects. Around nine-tenths of new infrastructure is slated for developing nations, which contain nearly all of the world’s tropical and subtropical forests — biologically, the richest real estate on the planet. we need to develop global guidelines to assess whether an infrastructure project should even go forward.     Read moreicon.pngicon.pngTo unsubscribe from any future messages, please click the unsubscribe link below.

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