John Wawrzonek

CARING FOR THE EARTH

caringfortheearth.com

All original material ©John Wawrzonek 2018.
Spring Morning After Storm

Wawrzonek, Spring Morning After Storm, Ashland, Massachusetts, as it once was.

The Earth is being destroyed before our very eyes, and we cannot see it.

Without a wholesale change in attitude billions of people will die and the Earth will be Hell on Earth.

We must find a way as rapidly as possible to reduce emissions to LESS THAN ZERO, no matter the cost.

WE ARE NOT GETTING IT

The vast increase in weather anomalies has coincided with the increase of CO2 in the air so there can be no question as to the cause of the weather extremes: Storms, heat, drought, floods, and so forth that are plaguing many parts of the world. And all the scientific evidence supports the connection.

We are squabbling over what to do, and the IPCC is not getting the cooperation it needs. Somehow, the reports and pictures of record wildfires, storms, floods, heat, etc. are not registering. Going up 1/2 degree C will make things half again as bad. Going up two degrees will make things twice as bad.

WE ARE NOT APPRECIATING HOW BAD THAT WILL BE. AND IF WE LET IT GO HIGHER (I AM ANTICIPATING 3°C) IT WILL BE HELL FOR MANY MORE PARTS OF THE WORLD AND DOUBLE HELL FOR OTHERS.

And we are saddled with a moron for a president and a population that on the whole that does not comprehend what is happening.

It does take some scientific knowledge and reasoning ability to understand that climate change is not like a bad cold that can be cured, it is like a bad cancer that keeps getting worse and the treatment, if it can be made to work at all, will be enormously expenssive, but we have no other place to go.

So like blittering idiots we shut down our science operations, and have a president do nothing but feed his ego. If you do believe the Bible, it could well be the end-times, and we have the devil himself as president to be sure all goes un-well. So the output of carbon dioxide has continued to increase despite promises, and the United States is the worst contributor, not even acknowlodging the existence of a problem.

Thus the present situation:

1. Global warming is getting worse; i.e. the average temperature of the earth is rising;

2. The rate at which the temperature is increasing is increasing;

3. All the havoc to date is the result of a 1°C rise
compared to the recent past;

4. Another 1/2 degree rise is certain, and another degree very likely.

That is expected to double the effects of warming. With record storms and 180 mph winds, record fires, record droughts, temperatures so high that you either die in your home or find a river to cool off in.

The nations of the world must recognize the problem and change their behavior immediately.

However, as politicians sit in air-conditioned offices far from on-going trageties, one can get agreement but not action. Other problems and especially political survival take priority.

The presumption is that the leaders understand the problems. They do not. Or they are being lobbied by oil companies or are fighting other nations over far less important issues. Deniers are in the same situation. They do not comprehend that there is a difference between metastasizing cancer and the flu.

Then there are communication problems. Scientists speak a different language or speak the same language in a different way. They are so concerned with being precise, that urgency and conviction are lost. We are in a downhill spiral, and barring a miraculous coalition of leaders, the earth will become less and less livable until the lights just go out. The United Nations' IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change) keeps holding meetings trying to find a way to get nations to cooperate, but without the power and suasion of the United States, I believe that is close to impossible. And the United States doesn't even admit officially that a problem exists and is encouraging the increased use of fosil fuels. A more dire situation is hard to imagine.

A combination of a failure of a full understanding of what is happening combined wtth an inability to comunicate with each other or with the public adds up to a situation that is intractable. In addition the fosil fuel companies continue to push their products despite having known for decades their effect on the earth.

In the absence of understanding there were many preconcieved notions of what was true. This applied especially to conservative politicions, conservative religions, a large portion of the congress and, of course, the president.

The president pushed the issues even further by attacks on science and the beginnings of a systimatic dismantling of the science functions of goverment, an act of extraordinary ignorance and harm.

What I have tried to do has begun to feel like an epic struggle against the forces of evil, a morality play with vilians, heros, an army of enemies and an army of supporters and every other necessary entity including, of course, the devil himself.

What began as an attempt to draw attention to global warming has turned into an examination of many parts of the human experience, of science and scientists and of global warming itself. None of them are what they seem to be. However, it has revealed to me a collosal degree of destruction with far worse yet to come. It has also revealed, despite much activism, a nation and a world not able to comprehend and confront this ultimate danger.

Global warming is a kind of perfect storm with the powers furthering the destrution and most able to do something about it, either ignorant or greedy. Finally there is time. If James Hansen's negative emissiosn are going to make or break the outcom (which I consider likely) then every minute wasted in not getting to work makes the problem more expensive and the outcome less likely to be good.

The State of Our Planet

"...We must...find our way to “negative emissions,” extracting more carbon dioxide from the air than we contribute to it. If emissions, by miracle, do rapidly decline, most of the necessary carbon absorption could be handled by replanting forests and improving agricultural practices....If not, “massive technological CO₂ extraction,”....will be required. Hansen estimates that this will incur costs of $89 trillion to $535 trillion this century, and may even be impossible..."

1. It is illusive and nearly impossible to communiate what it has done elsewhere and what it is going to do.

2. Much of what it does is to amplify what would have happened anyway but resulting in record fires, winds, rainfall, droughts, flooding and more.

3. The cause, too much carbon dioxide and methane, is invisible and has no odor

4. How it works is difficult to explain, usually with a diagram full of arrows and much text

5. The scientists who have done impeccable research are conditioned to speak carefully lest they have missed something, so the force of their arguments is lost except to other scientists.

6. So the war-like mobilization that is necessary is not happening despite the efforts of scientific bodies.

However, as has been evident before, is simply that what humans can do has outrun their ability to understand themselves.

Perhaps the worst of all are two "phenomena." One is the total commitment of the fossil fuel companies to sell as much fuel as possible while knowing it was killing the planet. The second is the willingness of such a large number of people in the United States to not realize they are voting for a president who is, expect for bullying and lying, functionally illiterate and who is using them as fodder to further his own personal aims.

I. The Earth is dying. Why do we stand by and watch.

In my 78th year, an enormous sadness has come over me. I believe we have killed the ability of the earth in the long run to be a home for humanity.

I have spent my life learning (MIT '63, '65, '67) and photographing for over thirty years (above and wawrzonek.com). When I was a child my hope was that before the time I reached this age the problems of my childhood would have succumbed to human intelligence and reasoning.

However, it is the continued burning of fossil fuels with the encouragement of the president (to the extent of at least talking about subsidies to the coal industry) that has put the entire world at grave risk.

Despite the warnings by Dr. James Hansen and the colossal eruptions of weather anomalies, fossil fuel emissions have continued to grow. Now the IPCC reports have become increasingly pessimistic. The report in the Guardian suggests we have only 12 years to make major reductions in our carbon emissions.

Perhaps an even more compelling summary in the Washington Post illuminates how drastic the IPCC considers the present situation. And this appeared prior to the news that the oceans are 60% warmer than previously thought.

The graph below is my attempt to project past results simply by extrapolation. The violet curve is a visual "curve fitting" based on modification of a single term exponential. The green line is an Excel 4th order polynomial expansion. It suggests approximately a 20 year limit for holding the rise to 2°C.

It is important to realize that these small numbers imply big changes. Empirically it has been found that a 50% increase in temperature implies approximately a 50% increase in the impact of warming. Accordingly a 100% increase (2°C) would imply a doubling of impact.

It is exceedingly important at this point not to mince words. If one adds up the heat waves, hurricanes, typhoons, sea level rise, wildfires, floods and drought and doubles them it will be as if a giant earthquake struck the entire planet. To stop this, we and every other nation, must turn ourselves inside out over the next 5 years so we can implement the necessary changes over the next 10 to 15 years. If the United States had a great leader, it would be possible. With Donald Trump in control, the earth is history.

II. Climate Change: An Invisible Deadly Threat

Climate change is an insidious process: slow compared to weather events, not experienced by everyone but violent and extreme ly destructive when it hits, and its effects cannot be reversed. It creates deadly heat, rising oceans, enormous wildfires, more intense hurricanes and typhoons, drought, disease and food shortages among other effects. Its intensity is measured by a somewhat odd scale, purported to be temperature, but that is not believed simply because up until the time I write this, the number is 1.0°C while, perhaps in India, the temperature is so high people are dying in their homes, and flocking to rivers to immerse themselves in order to cool off.

In other places there are violent storms or fires, etc. And yet the number publicized is still 1°C, and the task ahead is not to exceed 1.5°C. This does not compute. Non-scientists cannot make the connection and so with some level of apprehension go about their business once the weather event has passed.

On the other hand, my own early fears have turned to terror, not only because of what I know, but because I know how hard it is for most people to comprehend the process and therefore kick in full steam to change the world. It is very difficult to explain, based on a discussion on a calm day even after a hurricane, that the process is ongoing, will result in continually more extreme weather events and requires what is best described as a "panic" reaction. Yet the surrounding calm of a good day allows the daily political problems to take over and, in the absence of sufficiently strong global leadership, results in a seriously inadequate response. Where power supplies need to be replaced entirely by renewable systems, moderate utterly insufficient conservation measures may be impemented.

Perhaps even worse, our new president who would be expected to lead a fight against warming, is still oblivious of the problem. He is even considering subsidizing coal companies, the worst of the polluting power producers. This is beyond comprehension and simply illustrates that he knows or understands nothing.

To see what climate change is like with a 1°C temperature rise, click HERE TO SEE A SLIDE SHOW a of a few examples around the globel keeping in mind that the consequences are likely to double at 2°C. The will be category 6 hurricanes and major cities underwater. It is a the challenge of all time for humanity to find a way to pull itself together to avoid this.

There is one other critical issue: communication that everyone understands.

III. Definition & Consequences

I am quite sure climtatologists will find the following lacking, but I am making an attempt in order to further my own understand.

1. Climaate is determined by the distribution of thermal energy in the atmosphere of the planet.

2. The amount of energy in a given location is determined by input from the sun and movment of energy from place to place as determined by wind and air pressure (cold and warm fronts).

3. The gases that constitute the atmosphere respond in various ways to the input of thermaal energy or the exit of thermal energy.

4. Prior to the introduction of man-made fire, the atmosphere of the earth had achieved a state of dynamic equalibrium, that is, averaged over long periods of time the conditions in any given location were stable in that average temperature in a given season stayed within a given range and the average of averages from year to year was very stable, sufficiently so that over perhaps a thousand year period, although parts of the climate would vary or move from place to place, the net effect of all the variations was essentially zero. In other words the climate was in an equalibrium state and variations only happend if the energy input from the sun varied. This variation could happen do to changes in the earths tilt, volcano eruptions, variations in the suns output and these phenomina would leave eviendence that we can use to describe the climate over millions of years.

5. Short term variations were rare but did happen. The use of fire by man began as a minor input of carbon dixoide until the beginning of the industrial age. The issue then because how much total greenhouse gas would be added and whether they would destroy the equalibrium. To destroy the equalibrium would mean to change the composition of the atmosphere such that it would in turn change the earth so that it responded in an unpredictable way, perhaps by its average temperature increasing each year and having the rate of increase increase each year (i.e. the first derivative and second derivatives were positive); otherwise known as out of control.

6. This is potentiallly a catastrophic situation in that it can mean that the temperature exceeds those that man could acclimate to. If that became the case, then extinction of man was posssible. At some point, deaths could become so great that input of forcing gases gets low enough that the system comes to equalibrium again, but with a far smaller part of the planet inhabited.

IV. Understanding and Communicating

The media (especially the New York Times) just as most of the population, does not understand science and so it cannot write about it in a way that connects and moves one to do something. Scientists, on the other hand, may understand science, but do not talk in a language the world can understand. These two limitations (plus Donald Trump) are enough to do-in the world.

To make this completely clear, the name "Union of Concerned scientists requires revision. I am glad they are concerned by the coming death of the Earth, but we need something closer to war than concern.

My job after MIT was the fifth employee of Bose Corporation. Dr. Bose had been my mentor at MIT and when I opted out of another two or more years to do a doctoral dissertation he offered me a job. (I think in less than 10 seconds which makes me suspecious that he knew this was going to happen all along.)

My first position included quality control which meant assessing risks, somethng useful in looking at global warming.

After seven years I moved into marketing where the central task was to explain technical issues to a non-technical public. This was a far easier task than explaining global warming, but the idea was the same: you had to see the problem from the other person's perspective ("in anothers shoes") and make a translation. Then you had to decide what you wanted the other person to do (go to a store; make a phone call, etc.). However, with a loudspeaker, the only risk was not making a sale.

I have a picture in my mind of global warming. It is something like a wide stream, flowing along a bed of light colored sand with sun-dappled wavelettes and a large number of trout scattered through the stream. Some are alone, some in small groups, and others in great "schools."

For a long time this scene is placid and calm with many happy fish. Then a boater comes along with a rather large bucket of some clear fluid that he dumps overboard someplace down stream. This fluid slowly disperses itself but becomes more and more concentrated as as the fish move downstream. The effect of the fluid is to warm the water by reducing its ability to reflect sunlight. As the fish swim the water becomes warmer and warmer and they cannot tolerate it. They attempt to swim back, but the current is too strong, and they begin to die.

As time goes by the additional boats come and add more clear fluid until the only fish further upstream survive and then the question becomes of when the fluid reaches the spauning grounds. At present there is no reason to believe the fluid will not reach the spauning ground.

Oddly the men in the boats have forgotten that the fish are their foodstock and without them they will have nothing to eat. Of course the man in the boat is everyone who is burning fossil fluels.

T he appropriate action is to drive away the man in the boat and to do it quickly. However it is impossible for the media to comprehend the extraordinary importance of doing this because a sense of the science that predicts it can only be acquired by being a scienctist or emmersing onself in a major science project.

The extraordinary recent successful effort to detect gravity waves gives a sense of the degree to which scientists will go to veryity truth. However, in our present political environment the willingness of the president to say anything and the inability of a subtantial part of the public to even question is position, will have a profound effect on what happens on the earth. Important work can only be built upon truth. The combination of politician's actions and the medicore ability of the media to communicte will, barring some extraordinary developents, result in an earth less and less able to support a life worth living.

Scientists, however, err in the opposirte direction. Their commitment to absolute certainty in what they do, makes everything they say sound qualified and without the emotional urgency necessary to create action as if it were a war. Which it is.
Thoreau’s Pastime

V. Leaders and Followers

Leaders need followers, and it is at first a mystery why certain people are drawn to certain leaders.

For those who follow the news and observe carefully what is happening, Donald Trump has the potential to be more destructive to humanity than than any other leader in history. Partly it is his interference in the fight on global warming, but more so it is his willingness to lie, scheme and bully to get his way. In combination with an unwillingness to listen to advice he is a calamatous leader, a fetid stew of cruelity, irrationality, selfishnes and stupidity.

A recent article in MIT News offers one explanation. The question is the ability to tell when someone is lying. The author described tests by psychologists that rated people on two scales: ability to detect a lie and reasoning ability. The conclusion was clear: if you could reason well, you had a much better change of telling if someone was lying. This is a most fundamental problem and has many dimensions.

First, an ability to reason well implies a degree of self awareness, an appreciation of what you believe or tend to believe and why. This leaves you open to questioning any situation you confront. In its absence, whatever strikes a chord in you; whatever tapes into what makes you comfortable is what you will believe.

One would hope that in today's society reasoning ability can be assumed. But it cannot be for a number of reasons. 1. It is usually not taught in schools; 2. Parents often don't have it and so do not teach it; 3. The meadia can be the opposite of rationality. Even illustratious gazettes such as the New York Times has failed completely, in my opinion to feature and explain global warming. From watching an interview with the editor he struck me like most intellectuals who have no science background, an inability to appreciate the nature of the issue. The result is a population who makes their decissions on what their tribe believes rather than on what reason tells them.

One of Trump's worst characteristics is to lie as necessary to get what he wants. His strategy is to either suggest or directly state what a particular group of people is certain to or at least inclined to want to hear. It does not matter that the next group is inclined toward the opposite, he will simply tell them the opposite.

Sociologists know well that lies, even in the presence of their opposities, when repeated often enough will be believed or at least accepted as plausable.

We are learning to hate each other not knowing we all are the same. We are all Africans descended from the same tribes. We are all made of energy created in the big bang. We all started as brown and how white we became was determined by how far north our ancestors settled. Our bodies, searching for more vitamin D in a place with less sunlight, lightened the color of our skin.

We have incredible minds of which we use only a small part, rarely thinking deeply for ourselves. In America you can predict a belief in global warming by knowing which party or which church a person belongs to. A perfect example of tribalism in place of thinking.

Most of us do not know ourselves or the universe that gave birth to us. We have not learned science or humanism, nor are we taught them. We have become people of two kinds: those that learn and those that burn. We must evolve very rapidly or we will not be at all.

Donald Trumps lemmings are following him as "believers" followed demigods through history. Evangelicals believe God will forgive Donald Trump so they and others of his base and all his followers can let themselves be fooled by a man who never tells the truth and wouldn't know if he did.

I believe that the greatest loss of our rigid beliefs is joy. As I read of the "kicks" so many recieve from owning and firing guns (which I have done) and turn to look at the photographs I have made in the course of a lifetime or sit at a magnificant piano and play a Chopin Scherzo that I have played seven or eight thousand times, I am pleased with the work I have done. In my limited way, I can converse with Chopin or with nature and continue learning. But I can learn to fire a gun in 20 seconds. The creator of our brains must experience a deep sadness for how little of it we use.

When I think of our president and his family and staff I feel anger, for he, above all others will be responsible for the death of this earth. He is the one person who could lead us and command the resources we need, but the most obvious of scientific events is to him a hoax.

But most of all I feel sadness for I cannot comprehend how any human can derive joy from scheming, lying, building walls, and turning away desperate people. I know something of the joys and satisfactions that come from knowing other's needs and working to satisfy them in my own way. It is why this website has as one of its addresses inanothersshoes.com.

I remember one meeting early in Donald Trump's presidency, that he had with members of his cabinet and staff in which he figuratively got on his knees and begged for praise.

The real horror of this emptyness is the suffering it inflicts on others, for in the absence of praise comes the need for having the lives of others in the palm of his hand. And perhaps even more sad is the need to have his name stamped wherever possible including the earth and sky not knowing they mean no more than the last piece of paper stamped with the word "out."

However, I believe the greatest danger is being taken in by our raging bull of a president destroying whatever he chooses.

In "democratic" America there is infinite scheming over individuals by bastions of power and money. We have sold our government to the highest bidders. Citizens United was a "for-sale" sign for our government. Money is what buys anything including the right to destroy the earth. The vendors of fossil fuels have known for decades they were adding to the CO2 cancer covering the earth, yet they still know and still promote earth-destroying fuels and they have Donald Trump doing every to help.

What makes us what we are? We inherited much from our hunter-gatherer forbears and for many overcame the worst of those inclinations. But the urge for control, money and power not only rules the world but brings us to the ultimate conondrum: why are we, by greed or failure to use the deeper part of our intelligence, willing to scrifice all later, for a little now. It is tearing me apart.

Is Donald Trump the man who will do anything for nothing or the man who will do nothing for anything.Following are expansions on some of the topics I mention above.

VI. This moment.
November 2018.

VOTERS IN THREE STATES REJECT CLIMATE INITIATIVES

Just because it has not bothered you, we must all share the load of carbon reduction. Arizona air conditioners certainly put a load on the system.

My first copy of the Journal of Concerned Scientists just arrived and I skimmed it over dinner. The lead story is of a survey they just completed in conjunction with a group at the University of Iowa that specalizes in analyzing data from such surveys.

The topic was the influence the Trump admistration was having on scientists in government. There were 63,000 of them. Those that retire or leave are not being replaced. Budgets are being cut and scientists are being told what it is ok to write and what is not. Global warming is not to be mentioned.

This story will go on for some time. Whether that time is measured in decades or minnenia no one can say. The trend is strongly in the direction of a warmer earth and the government in power cannot comprehend this or its implications. It is removing every regulation possible that restricts business profit.

As of this morning, November 9, 2018 a new wildfire in California has broken out so fast it has trapped numbers of people in a small town. If all emissions were stopped today, the earth would continue to warm only more slowly. As it warms it will eventually reach a place where it cannot supply water and food to the population, and the population will begin to decline and the earth will continue to warm.

Should we reach this place there is the question of whether there is another higher temperature equalibrium state at which the temperature will no longer rise and a much smaller segment of humananity survives. The alternative is that sometime soon, emissions are reduced dramaticallly and substantial negative emissions are implemented that start reducing the CO2 level with a target of around 350 ppm. The fortunate part is that the Democratic party is based on a growing population and the Republician party on a shrinking one one

The entire situation has turned into a kind of ultimate morality play, with a villian and his henchmen on one side who either don't care if the earth survives or simply are so uncomprehending, they don't realize they are killing the earth and with it their own means of sustenance.

On the side of the "good guys" are multitudes working towards the right goals, multitudes aware that a war is taking place but don't know what to do, and multitudes not aware of anything.

It reminds me of a dream I once had that I was in a play in New York and was leaving a brightly lit but empty theater and stage. I had an ominous feeling, being alone and the lights, although bright seemed to have a smokie dark tinge to them, something you could only experience in a dream. As I exited the side door into the streets of the city, I had this uncomfortable feeling that I was leaving the only lights that were on and as I looked into the distance everything seemed to vanish into a an increasingly frightening dark void. I felt as if I were the only person left in the world but I was not sure if there still was a world.

VI. Where did we come from?

We are learning to hate each other not knowing we all in a fundamental way the same. We are all Africans descended from the same tribes that emmegrated from central-east Africa north to the Fertal Creasant and eventually to Asia, Australia, the Pacific Islands and North and South America. Extraordinarily difficult to believe, but it is in our genomes.

We are all made of energy created in the big bang. We all started as brown and how white we became was determined by how far north our ancestors settled. Our bodies, searching for more vitamin D in a place with less sunlight, lightened the color of our skin.

We have incredible minds of which we use only a small part, rarely thinking deeply for ourselves. In America you can predict a belief in global warming by knowing which party or which church a person belongs to. A perfect example of tribalism in place of thinking.

Most of us do not know ourselves or the universe that gave birth to us. We have not learned science or humanism, nor are we taught them. We have become people of two kinds: those that learn and those that burn. We must evolve very rapidly or we will not be at all.

Donald Trumps lemmings are following him as "believers" followed demigods through history. Evangelicals believe God will forgive Donald Trump so they and others of his base and all his followers can let themselves be fooled by a man who never tells the truth and wouldn't know if he did. The decline in moderate Christiany in the United States may have been inevitable but was a tragedy in removing incentives and barriers to our behavoir.

I believe that the greatest loss of our rigid beliefs is joy. As I read of the "kicks" so many recieve from owning and firing guns (which I have done) and turn to look at the photographs I have made in the course of a lifetime or sit at a magnificant piano and play a Chopin Scherzo that I have played seven or eight thousand times, I am pleased with the work I have done. In my limited way, I can converse with Chopin or with nature and continue learning. But I can learn to fire a gun in 20 seconds. The creator of our brains must experience a deep sadness for how little of it we use.

When I think of our president and his family and staff I feel anger, for he, above all others will be responsible for the death of this earth. He is the one person who could lead us and command the resources we need, but the most obvious of scientific events is to him a hoax.

But most of all I feel sadness for I cannot comprehend how any human can derive joy from scheming, lying, building walls, and turning away desperate people. I know something of the joys and satisfactions that come from knowing other's needs and working to satisfy them in my own way. It is why this website has as one of its addresses inanothersshoes.com.

I remember one meeting early in Donald Trump's presidency, that he had with members of his cabinet and staff in which he figuratively got on his knees and begged for praise.

The real horror of this emptyness is the suffering it inflicts on others, for in the absence of praise comes the need for having the lives of others in the palm of his hand. And perhaps even more sad is the need to have his name stamped wherever possible including the earth and sky not knowing they mean no more than the last piece of paper stamped with the word "out."

However, I believe the greatest danger is being taken in by our raging bull of a president destroying whatever he chooses.

In "democratic" America there is infinite scheming over individuals by bastions of power and money. We have sold our government to the highest bidders. Citizens United was a "for-sale" sign for our government. Money is what buys anything including the right to destroy the earth. The vendors of fossil fuels have known for decades they were adding to the CO2 cancer covering the earth, yet they still know and still promote earth-destroying fuels and they have Donald Trump doing every to help.

What makes us what we are? We inherited much from our hunter-gatherer forbears and for many overcame the worst of those inclinations. But the urge for control, money and power not only rules the world but brings us to the ultimate conondrum: why are we, by greed or failure to use the deeper part of our intelligence, willing to scrifice all later, for a little now. It is tearing me apart.

Is Donald Trump the man who will do anything for nothing or the man who will do nothing for anything.Following are expansions on some of the topics I mention above.I think we all need perspective. I think we need to know, as much as science can tell us (which is a great deal) about were we and our stars and our planets came from. It will change us.

The univerise began from the smallest thing there can be (far smaller than an atom) 13.8 billion years ago in something we call the "big bang". The Earth and all the stars and planets were created from the energy of the big bang, the earth specifically about 5 billion years ago.

For many of us it will seem absolutely impossible to believe and it would be far easier to ascribe it all to acts of god. But if I think carefully, saying it was an act of god is just to give a name to a cause. For a scientist, specifying a cause carries us to deeper understanding and almost invariably raises more questions than it answers, which is part of why it is so exciting. If you do choose to believe in god, you will find far more than is in any scripture.

If science catches you, and you follow what is happing in those areas that interest you, there can hardly be anything more exciting. The latest discovery, gravity waves, is truly earth shaking. If you know science it is nearly beyond belief the discoveriers that were made.
This diagram shows the history of the universe from the big bang (also known as a singularity) to the creation of the earth. It is a bit much to take in, but the spirit of showing it goes along with many of the other things I show and talk about: I believe we behave as we do because we don't know how extraordinary we are in the biggest pictures. So this is the biggest pictures.

The stories that explaom how all 13.8 billion light yeats of this were figured out are something, if you find the right book, are like reading a science fiction fairy tale in which you are participating. And I think one of the reasons we foul up so much is we don't realize whast the whole picture is. Or why it is (we don't know).

However, the real reason is to put a spin on our likely distruction of the earth (and the horrendous way we have treated it). We have been handed the Hope Diamond and we are about to smash it. This is, of course just a diagraam, asapted from NASA. The pictures that follow are the real thing.

The universe has about 1011 (that's 1 followed by 11 zeros) galaxies and more or less, each galaxie has the same number of stars. A small part of that is the extraordinary picture of what is known as the Orion Nebula below. And below that is a spiral galaqxy something like our own. We live in owe of the outer arms.
Westerlund 2 — Hubble’s 25th anniversary image

NASA: Hubble Space Telescope, 2004, 20005

This image offers a peek inside a cavern of roiling dust and gas where thousands of stars are forming.... (and) represents the sharpest view ever taken of this region, called the Orion Nebula. More than 3,000 stars of various sizes appear in this image. The Orion Nebula is a picture book of star formation, from the massive, young stars that are shaping the nebula to the pillars of dense gas that may be the homes of budding stars. The bright central region is the home of the four heftiest stars.

I think we all need perspective. I think we need to know, as much as science can tell us (which is a great deal) about were we and our stars and our planets came from. It will change us.metimes daily news has led me to conclude that we are closer and closer to a catastrophic warming of the Earth.

Yesterday I learned that because of lack of proper instrumentation, the retention of heat by the oceans is 60% greater than thought. I believe that this reduces the possibly of a livable Earth to less than 1%.

We need literally a world-wide uprising to force the reduction of emissions to virtually zero in 5 years or less, and the implementation of negative emissions (removing carbon dioxide from the air) in 10 years or less. It is near to impossible.

However I am reminded of the legendary American construction battalions in World War II, the Seabees and their motto:
The difficult we do right away. The Impossible takes a little longer.
We WILL do the impossible right away.

VII. What We Don't Question

The wildfires of California have repeated themselves in dozens of countries around the world.

I think we all need perspective. I think we need to know, as much as science can tell us (which is a great deal) about were we and our stars and our planets came from. It will change us.
If all the scientists agree, why does not everyone else?

I think there is more here than meets the eye.

The purpose of this website is to present the crises of global warming that retains its authenticity yet illuminates by replacing cliches and scientific jargon with words of greater clarity. I am driven to attempt this by the clear need for a far deeper and clearer understanding of what is happening to the climate.

Far and away the majority of scientists agree that it is the burning of fossil fuels combined with the greenhouse effect that is causing the planet to get warmer, and that enormous amounts of damage and suffering have already been caused by burning these fuels.

Also, we have pushed the burning so long that we are at a point where the temperature goes curve goes upward more rapidly. This acceleration is happening due to the positive feedback from the release of methane from the millions of square miles of tundra. Methane is a greenhouse gas more than 30 times as potent as carbon dioxide.

A warmer Earth means a warmer ocean which creates far more powerful storms that drop many times as much rain as before. All the carnage to date has been from a 1°C rise in temperature. My own forecast is for a 3° rise unless we accomplish the impossible. 3°C could result in storms and flooding 6 times what we have had so far.

VIII. The scientists fear of other scientists.
"Greenhouse effect" has become a cliche that few people think through for all its implications. In the period before humans it functioned to retain enough heat (a blanket of sorts) to make the temperature of the Earth suitable for higher forms of life. An equalibrium was established where enough of the sun's heat was trapped to do the job and this equilibrium was maintained for millions of years.

Humans coming onto the scene did not contribute enough carbon dioxide to seriously disturb the equilibrium until the industrial revolution in the mid-1800s. It is here that the concept of the greenhouse effect took on a whole new meaning. Despite knowledge of the effects of the CO2 on the temperature of the Earth (Joseph Fourier first described the effect in 1824), the use of fossil fuels grew and, despite the knowledge of harm being done, was promoted by the vendors of the fuel.

Beginning in the mid-1800s it is appropriate to think of the added C02 as a cancer-like growth, gradually increasing the thickness of the blanket and so causing the temperature of the Earth, atmosphere, and oceans to increase. Thermal energy has therefore been added energy to everything that has happened on Earth. (Oddly enough, the cancer was caused by "smoking.")" Storms became more vicious, heat became unbearable, lakes dried up, wildfires scorched the Earth and ice at the poles melted and caused the seas to rise. (Note: As of reports on October 31, 2018 scientists have discovered with new instruments that the ocean have absorbed 60% more heat than thought. The implications of this I discuss below.)

The cancer has found a way to grow by melting millions of square miles of tundra releasing methane, a greenhouse gas far more powerful than carbon dioxide. Then part 2 arrived.

The temperature of the Earth was near an inflection point of an exponential curve and so was beginning to increase more rapidly. Despite 30 years of warning from Dr. James Hansen, the effort to supress emissions was far from adequate.

Given the politics of the Earth the natural person to lead an effort we might call the "World Climate Authority," somewhat as Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill were the heart and soul of the allied cause in World War II, American elected the absolute antithesis of these great men.

Donald Trump is the devil incarnate, a president of a thousand faces, a man of no knowledge of science, a man preoccupied with money and glory for himself. He is leading a corrupt regime, his talents are bullying and scheming. Donald Trump is, at the time when supreme leadership is necessary, the assassin of civilization. His multiple faces convinced many of despite their different needs that he would fufill them, and instead is stealing from the poor, lowering taxes on the most wealthy and playing golf, utterly oblivious to the disaster overtaking the Earth. It is now a slow form of loosing a nuclear war.

The Supreme Court, by its Citizens United decision gave first amendment protection to wealthly organizations as well as wealthly individuals. This has aided the Republican Party to keep a lie floating, at least since Ronald Regan, that a large goverment is bad and taxes are too high with plenty of implication that a small government and low taxes would benefit everyone. Remember "trickle down economics," or as I put it, scraps from the master's table.

2. Now comes a deadly combination: a totally irrational president, a generally irrational and anti-science party (the head of the Republican House Science Committee doesn't believe in science) and climate change. Climate change (or global warming) is a deceptively complex process. At first glance the cause, the greenhouse effect ,appears simple but one look at the drawings on the web and the explanations convinces that, without a strong science background, it is difficult to understand. If it were clear and obvious the, we would not have the extreme split in viewpoints of the two parties nor would we have the wolrd-wide hesitation to go at hyperspeed to reduce emissions, begin buiding new failsafe nucclear reactors and begin deploymnet of negative emisssions technology. These are the only possible saviorss of our civilization.. It is not the science that determines what you believe, but rather the party of which you are a member.

3. Fossil fuel companies, completely aware of what they are doing maintain intensive marketing of their products and fight for low retail sales taxes.

4. President Trump not only makes fun of global warming, but he removes the single most powerful tool we would have to fight warming: a centralized, well-funded World Climate Authority (for want of a better name) to plan, coordinate, fund and persuade. President Trump not only does not aid the anti-climate change efforts, he fights them, makes fun of them, takes them to court, dismembers parts of the government when he can that would aid the effort.

The Earth's temperature has increased about 1°C which does not seem much but represents an enormous amount of energy to warm land sea and air. The effect for the most part is not to create weather events but to supply additional energy primarily from a warmer ocean. The carnage has been dreadful. The goal of the Paris Accords was originally 1.5°C which would have increased damage on the order of 50%. The likelihood of accomplishing this target is close to zero, and even staying under the next mark of 2°C is unlikely. My own guess is 3°C. With weather anomalies setting records of all kinds on a regular bases, it is hard to imagine what 3°C would be like.

A landslide Democratic victory in the coming election would certainly have a positive effect, but with Trump in control it is difficult to see how a large enough and fast enough change could be made to happen. That leaves 2020. Let us hope its vision is good.

Incomprehensible: The suicide of a civilization.

Finally, it seems to me that when one's home is burning down, or at least has smoke pouring from upstairs windows, it would be time to panic. Perhaps more so, it seems inconceivable that when in 1988 James Hansen warned congress in clear terms what was coming that in the end nothing happened that attacked the core problem. This is the mystery where power and money seem to dominate survival. My best explanation is that the risk of the greenhouse effect is incomprehensible, that diagrams full of arrows and notes do not do the job. I am attempting a different way.

In  a generation, it will be common for the world to be on fire, flooded or have no potable water.

My primary intent is to make it clear what global warming is, why it is difficult to understand and so controversial, and why we have to make drastic change quickly, and the consequences if we don't. The ICPP and the National Acadamies have both issued frighteneding reports recently.

í However, to make this happen is proving exceedingly difficult. There are difference in opinion between countries and especially differences in opinion between political parties in the United states. sier to move forward I would like to suggest a metaphor. Global warming is the result of the "greenhouse" effect. This effect is like putting a blanket around the globe that becomes thicker each year.

Now imagine you are 18 years old, and sleep every night very comfortably under a moderately light blanket. Then each week the atmosphere adds a very thin layer to your blanket so that for 10 years you don't notice any difference. But after 20 years you begin to complain with how warm it is. After 30 years you insist on an airconditioner. After 40 years you are finding it intolerable and no longer get a good night's sleep. But the blanket keeps getting thicker although it looks the same. After 50 years you are hospitalized due to heat stroke. After 60 years you die in your sleep for the temperature in your room is 130°F and there is no power for air conditioning.

World temperature 50 years ago.

India: Often cannot survive the heat. Indoors is impossible witth out air conditioning. Rivers are full of people trying to survive the heat.

World temperature today.

Some scientific phenomina we can grasp. A rain storm, a jet engine on an airplane, eletric power transmission over the high wire lines. But global warming is more subtle. You cannot see it, smell it, or touch it. Scientists tell us it all done by the rarest gas in the satmosphere at concentration of roughly 300 parts per million which means out of a million molecules, carbon dioxide is around 350 or thereabouts, depending on when it was measured. So what's the story? First, how many people with look at this diagram, how many people will study it, how many people will understand it.

If that's the case how can we survive?
1. So why have we been sitting on our hands from day one, and are still sitting on them?

2. Why have we elected a president who doesn't believe in it, who has called it a hoax?

3. Why are nations pulling out of the inadequate from the start Paris Accords?

4. Why is there no centralized World Climate Authority with enforcement power?

5. Why is there no centralized research, development and deployment organization for negative emissions?

6. Why are we not developing vastly safer nuclear power?

7. Why are US emissions rising?

8. Why is the world nowhere near the already inadequate emisssion reduction requirements of the Paris Accords?

9. Why are we not publicizing what life will be like 10, 25, 75, 100 years from now?

10. Why do members of congress figure out for themselves rather than just grabbing onto what the party believes?

11. Why cannot scientists speak English?

12. Why do we have an organization of "concerned" scientists rather than pissed off scientists?

13. Why did it take until late 2018 for the National Acadimies of Science to issue a report?

14. Why has the press, and especially the New York Times given nearly zero coverage of climate change until the two useless special magazine issues?

15. Why was Al Gore's first presentation on global warming an embarassment to any good teacher?

16. Why is there no web site that teaches the "greenhouse effect" in a way the average person could understand?

17. Why did we let the fossil fuel companies lie their way to profits?

18. Why, WHEN OUR ONE AND ONLY PLANET IS AT RISK IS THETRE NOT POWERFUL, REGULAR INTERNET AND TELEVISION COVERAGE?

19. Why is there still debate when the principle was first presented in 1824 by Joseph Fourier.

20. Why is civilization so damned stupid?
Spotting a supernova in NGC 5806

The stupendous size, complexity and beauty of the universe that gave birth to the earth is one of the great phenomena of nature.

A scientist's business is learning how the world works. Some of it is simple and some very complex, but the most important thing for a scientist is not to be wrong. There are two reasons for this. One is that all learning is based on the learning that came before. and so if the world of science accepts something that is not true, many people could waste their lives doing useless research. Second, being wrong in work that is published can ruin a career.

(I am going to include here an unrelated side note because it has fascinated me so much and illustrates the care sientists take. You can look it up in Wikipaedia and it is about the detection of gravational waves. The short version of the story is the first signal that was detected after 50 years of work was so incredibly clear. It was picked up by detectors in Louisiana and the state of Washington and the signals were identical. Then the scientists spent 6 months working to prove the signals were real and the same in the finest details. What they had detected was the movment of a mirror a distance 1/1000 the size of a proton caused by gravity waves resulting from two black holes, each many times the size of our sun, spinning around each other and then merging. Albert Einstein predicted the phenomena, but said it was too faint to measure. Nobel prizes came the following year.)

This is the quality of research on global warming. If scientists are not certain they have a full vocabularity to describe their level of confidence. If they are absolutely certain they will say (and this drives me buggy) "it is highly likely...."

which means something like you saw a tree fall down in a wind storm that was blowing 150 mph you said "it is highly likely the wind blew down the tree." I am emphasizing this because there are still many people that don't believe what is really happening to the Earth and that can be disasterous. Further, there is no way for you or I to figure out that global warming is caused by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. We can't see or smell them, we certainly don't know where they come from or what they do. So you either read scientific papers or listen to scientists speaking or to non-scientists who have no clue how the atmosphere is working and make up stories that may be based on a few facts of temperature or whatever, but are totally unrelated to what is happening. So, unless you know enough science to critique their work, you can't tell if what there saying is right.

Next is hot cars and soda bubbles.
Powered by SmugMug Log In