Posts Tagged ‘Marcellus Shale’
Is it me or are we all totally mad? Only if we don’t take action!
I’ve quoted this expression before so forgive me for using it again. That’s the old Devon expression, “All the world’s a little queer, ‘cept thee and me, and I ha’ me doubts about thee!” It really does seem as if most of us are ‘a little queer!’
Yesterday, I expressed the tip of much frustration, nay incredulity, in a rant about why society showed such complacency towards the impending crisis of our civilisation. As I wrote,
Why isn’t there such a huge outpouring of anger at the complacency of the world’s leaders? How far does the collapse of the conditions, both social and physical, as in biosphere, have to go before we get real, urgent change?
Well today’s Post is taking a selection of recent items that have been published to show why I feel as I do. I make no apologies for this being a longish Post but that doesn’t make it anything other than incredibly important; personal opinion, of course!
Let’s start with our love affair with carbon-based fuels, in this case natural gas (that’s methane you know). Over on Lack of Environment Martin Lack recently published a piece on Fracking. Here’s an extract,
Burning fossil fuels just because they are there is insane
For a long time, I have told anyone that would listen that we should leave unconventional hydrocarbons in the ground because of the extremely high probability that James Hansen is right; if we burn them all the runaway greenhouse effect is a “dead certainty” (i.e. on page 236 of Storms of My Grandchildren). However, thanks to the persistence of my many friends in the blogosphere, I have now also woken up to the reality that unconventional fossil fuel extraction – and hydraulic fracturing (known as fracking) in particular – is having significant immediate adverse environmental impacts. Pendantry has described this as humanity “fouling its own nest”; but I think my own description of it as “defecating in our own pig pen” conveys a more appropriate image.
In the USA, fracking has recently been prohibited in the State of Vermont and it must be hoped that other States will now do the same. The Vermont legislature took this action as a result of reports confirming the link between fracking and minor earthquakes; and because of high profile campaigns mounted by those communities already being adversely impacted by fracking. However, the latter should not be confused with NIMBYism. This is because opposition to fracking is a response to real environmental problems afflicting real people as a result of real stupidity on an industrial scale.
Martin also included a 17-minute feature from Link TV on the use, and dangers, of extracting natural gas from the Marcellus Shale in the US North-East. It’s a sobering reminder of how we are playing with fire with the planet, both literally and metaphorically. This is the video:
Approaching a state shift in Earth’s biosphere
Localized ecological systems are known to shift abruptly and irreversibly from one state to another when they are forced across critical thresholds. Here we review evidence that the global ecosystem as a whole can react in the same way and is approaching a planetary-scale critical transition as a result of human influence. The plausibility of a planetary-scale ‘tipping point’ highlights the need to improve biological forecasting by detecting early warning signs of critical transitions on global as well as local scales, and by detecting feedbacks that promote such transitions. It is also necessary to address root causes of how humans are forcing biological changes.
The overall theme of this issue of Nature is shown in their leading story, again taking the liberty of republishing an extract. First how the article opens,
Return to Rio: Second chance for the planet
Twenty years ago, when the world’s leaders pledged to protect Earth’s climate and biodiversity at the Rio Earth Summit, they knew it would not be easy. But few could have guessed how much worse the situation would get. In 1992, the atmosphere held fewer than 360 parts per million (p.p.m.) of carbon dioxide; the concentration is now nearing 400 p.p.m. and surging upwards. At the same time, species are disappearing at an accelerating rate.
On the eve of the second Rio Earth Summit, Nature explores the causes and consequence of those changes, as well as the efforts that are being made to avert the worst outcomes. Our assessment shows how little progress nations have made towards honouring the commitments they made in 1992.
Then how that article closes,
Anthony Barnosky and his colleagues argue that the global ecosystem could eventually pass a tipping point and shift into a new state, the likes of which are hard for science to predict. But there are ways to avoid that fate, say Paul Ehrlich and his colleagues (page 68), who suggest techniques to make societies more sustainable and to head off many of the world’s chronic environmental problems.
Earth and its inhabitants have a second chance in Rio. They may not get many more.
There’s more and more of this but, yes, I know, one can only take so much. So let me head for the close with a message of what you and I, and all of us, can do.
The United Nations Environment Programme recently released a video showing how inadequate have been our leaders. Watch it first and then I’ll offer a solution.
The fifth edition of the Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-5), launched on the eve of the Rio+20 Summit, assessed 90 of the most-important environmental goals and objectives and found that significant progress had only been made in four.
More on the report findings here.
So join with me as I focus my rant from yesterday into something more valuable – asking you to take action – in whatever way you can!
Go here and sign the petition from 350.org.
Add your name to this:
To the G20 and World Leaders:
As concerned global citizens, we urge you to honour your previous commitments to end taxpayer handouts to the fossil fuel industry. To save our planet we need a game-changer now — we call on you to first lead by example, and then make ending all polluter payments the top global priority for the Rio Earth Summit.
So do it now - Go here and sign the petition from 350.org.
Then when you have signed that plea to world leaders to stop the subsidies to fossil fuels, pass this link to everyone you can - www.350.org/rio
And get close to 350.org and stay in touch.
Let’s do this; it’s so much better than ranting!