John Wawrzonek

The Earth And Its Climate

"Ladies and gentlemen, I am to talk to you about energy....the question of contaminating the atmosphere. .... Whenever you burn conventional fuel, you create carbon dioxide....why should one worry about it? Carrbon dioxide...transmits visible light but it absorbs the infrared radiation which is emitted from the earth. Its presence ....causes a greenhouse effect....It has been calculated that a temperature rise corresponding to a 10 per cent increase in carbon dioxide will be sufficient to melt the icecap and submerge New York. All the coastal cities would be covered...."

No matter where you live, if it hasn't started already, climate change will destroy your way of life, and you and your descendtans will never get it back.

The Nature Conservacy called it the crisis of our time.

They are wrong. It is the crises of ALL time.

WE HAVE BEEN AWARE of global warming since 1959 when psycist Edward Teller addressed the 100 anniversary celebration of the petrolium industry.

I have just finished reading Rocket Men by Robert Kurson, the story of Apollo 8, the courage and risks of squeezing in the first flight to orbit the moon. It had to be squeezed in in record time to make John Kennedy's promise of a landing in the decade. This image, the first earthrise, was made on that flight. It was a flawless flight despite the incredibly difficult schedule. It is an example of what can be done when motivated, talented people apply themselves with everything they have. That and more will be necessary to keep an earth that is worth living on.

Rex Tillerson, chairman of Exxon/Mobil, made the following statement in a speech in 2016 at a shareholder meeting. This speech was made after the Paris Accord meeting.

"According to ExxonMobil’s own long-range supply and demand forecast, what we call our Outlook for Energy, global economic output will more than double between now and the year 2040. The world’s population will grow, adding about 1.7 billion new energy consumers. And even after factoring in extraordinary increases in energy efficiency, we expect global energy demand will grow by about 25 percent over these next 25 years."

Apollo 8 was at Christmas 1960. At that time a sensible program of gradual reduction of emission of carbon dioxide, with world-wide cooperation, could have brought the world into balance providing the moral principle of reciprocity was understood and applied.

In 1959 Edward Teller had addressed the oil industry's celebration of 100 years since its foundation with an outline of the greenhouse effect and the expected warming of the planet. In 1988 James Hansen addressed the US Congress on the coming dangers from burning fossil fules.

In succeeding years the energy companies did their own research and concluded Teller was right and then supressed the information and continued to market fossel fuels with as much viger as they could muster.

As we will see, survival of a reasonably liveable planet would demand a reduction in CO2 output to near zero by 2040.

Where is Humanity Leading Us?

The Ultimate Failure

A species unable to manage its own lives.

There is a large arc beginning some 400,000 years ago when homo sapiens reached maturity and began the long march to civilization.

Eventually they reached the stage of hunter-gatherer tribes and developed the characteristics, that would determine their actions, decions, and relationships in the period starting about 5,000 BCE, roughly coincident with the invention of writing and the shift from hunter gathering to agritulture. This seemed a mixed blessing since the organization and relationships hunter-gatherers had developed and evolved no longer worked but could not just be discarded without a replcement.

It is likely that skills, aptitudes and attitudes were molded and and modified based on the strenghs of the previous life. Hunting evolved often into warriers. I believe that gathering left an inclination that haunts us to this day. Millionaires become billionaires and then multi-billionaires with no feeling of reciprocity built into the economic system. Jumping all the way to contempory barely regulated free-market economies leaves an enormous disparty in wealth. The requirements of dealing with the climate will require stunning amounts of investment if a livable earth is preserved and even more if it is turned around by negaqtive emissions technology.

A fundamental human issue intrudes itself here. Given a barely regulated and taxed free market economy. Despite earning billions, a huge effort is made to avoid taxes altogether. Amazon pays none. The Walmart family is worth 43 billion dollars as a result of paying minimum wages without benefits by employing less that 40 hours per week. We supported their workers with food stamps to the tune of approximately one million dollars per store per year. Recently in the midst of criticism Walmart made a token increase in wages and, as might be expected, the issue was forgotten.

My experience is that few people know the story of the universe which is the back story of the earth which is now in such perilous shape. A singularity is the smallest thing that can be, approximattely one billionith smaller than an atom and lasts for about a three billionith of a second. Everthing in the universe was created 13.75 billion years ago from this singularity, all the galaxies, stars, black holes, and planets.

This act of creation and the subsequent evolution of the universe (see below for illustrations) change is so epic I am at a loss for words. Wikipedia, as usual, has a wonderful article about the chronology of the universe that will give you a sense of the collosal magnificance of the event. (You can also pick up the simple scientific (and simple) way of dealing with very large and very small numbers called scientific notation.

"But why do we have to go back to the beginning? It's just the weather." Well it is not just the weather. It is part of the story of our very existance. "But I'm existing just fine. Things are pretty much going o.k. so I would just as soon leave it be."

Two reasons. For most of us we know a tiny fraction of 1% of what there is to know, and I can guarantee you don't know the best stuff.

It has always seemed to me that we are content to know a little local geography while the story of our existence transcends all other stories. It deserves reading slowly and becoming familiar with "scientific notation" used for very large and very small numbers. If the story doesn't stimulate your sense of wonder, you should practice wondering more.

I draw attention to this story because we are following a path that will make the earth either unlivable or nearly so and that will be like throwing a magic jewel into the deepest part of the ocean without a seccond thought.

Just this minute I read an advertisement (for funds, of course) from one of the very top conservation organizations nameing climate change "the most important issue of our time." No. This is the most important issue of at least the past 400,000 years when our species, homo sapiens, first appeared. (You can argue that I should go back further, but this will do).

There are two reasons I make this point. First, it is possible (not likely, but possible) that should global warming get sufficiently out of control that a combination of tempereature, food shortage and disease could extinguish our species. Second: the term "of our time" is a cliche that, because we have heard often enough, makes us do what we are inclined to do which is let our life not be disturbed and so we do not take notice. To say, emphatically, that it is the most important issue in the entire history of humanity, of the species homo sapiens (which it is) makes it a bit more likely we will take notice. It is jaring our way. And perhaps others will take it up with us.

This is the overview as I see it.

1. Homosapiens may be the reason the universe exists, although we have no way of knowing. I will discuss some reasons why I think that may be the case.

2. Human beings have largely ignored the theories and evidence that the earth was warming. Key dates are: 1829-Joseph Fourier posulates the theory of the greenhouse effect; 1959- Psyscist William Teller addresses the 100th anniversary celebration of the Oil Institute and presents a more complete explanation; 1988-James Hansen addresses the U.S. Congress with a firm warning about the increase in teemperature of the atmosphere and the concomineent increase in CO2; the temperature increawe of the atmophere apptoswsshrd 1°C; vstioue rfforter are made woith solaar powerp; wwindmilles, etc.; the aParis 'Conference followed by the zzkatoice conference in Polamd ;ayrs out plasns to hold the atmosphere to 1.5C; littlr progress is made, the US prepare to withdrqw from the aparis accords. The 12 •C rise has already caused great havoc (see the list beloww) and it is anticipated 1.5° wwill ber much worse but progress in this direction is small; many experts expect 2 to b w more reaspmab;e tqrget. bit tjos os the equivalent of giving up in my opinion. IN EADDITION worswt case probjectionms wjhioc aare appearing more anad more likely qre on the order of 5-7 °C qat the year 2100. This a calamity partly because it reflecct the ffact tht the teemperature will continue to rise.

Will We Always be Seven Years Old?

A Failure to Clean Up After Oneself

Humans that cannot see a jewel, but can spot a banknote from 10,000 feet.

Where is Donald Trump Leading Us?

Shooting God in the Heart

Shooting God in the Heart

Global warming has reached the most dangerous time since we first observed its effects in the 1950s. Whenever I think of global warming, I think of the beauty I have seen in my travels as a photographer. Then I think of what humanity has done to the earth and I have to catch myself from boiling over because I am trained as an engineer and scientist and I need to study and understand what humanity's neglect has done. And every day I think of Donald Trump's "I don't believe it." And I know that the reason he doesn't believe it is that he could not carry on an intelligent discussion about it. This is why he calls people names instead of critizing a decision.

Then I think of how could the universe have given birth to a home perfectly suited for humanity, how beautiful it is and how it has nourished and cared for us. Then I think of how solar systems and stars and how the universe was born. And I realize again what a phenominal event this was, well beyond any words in the dictionary.

The earth was born, along with everything else in the universe including you and me, 13.75 billion years ago in the Grand Singularity (customarily called th big bang). The Singularity was the smallest thing there could be and the shortest in time and it created the universe, the largest thing there is.

It created the energy which would turn into mass to provide the raw materials for everything. The actual building of the earth began about 5 billion years ago. There were perhaps a thousand things that had to go right to make a planet that could support higher forms of life. Size, mass, distance from the sun, water, a moon of just the right size and distance to stabilize the earth's orbit, and so on. We know there are many more planets. We don't know how many could support lives like ours and all the evolution necessasry to create us.

We became homosapiens about 200,000 years ago in Africa and about 50,000 years ago migrated north and east and populated the entire planet. We lived as hunter-gatherers for most of these years and then invented agriculture and the beginnings of our civilization.

We didn't do too much harm until the steam engine came along. Then it was do anthing you wish with no regard for the beauty we destroyed nor the trash we left behind.

We have now polluted the atmosphere such that global warming could start accelerating on its own. This happens when the heat from one prossess (such as the greenhouse effect from carbon dioxide) causes some other process to happen that aids the heating. In this case it could br thr mrr2k1rkk21k11111Possibly billions of us could die because of heat, lack of food and water, lack of livable land, disease.

Some work has been done to slow this down but not nearly enough and beyond that there are billions of tons of trash and an ocean full of plastic and places where heat is incredible. It is warm enough in some places and at certain times to cook people. This past winter parts of Alaska had temperatures that averaged 30°F above normal.

Now, we are 99% down the road to loosing our entire home but Rex Tillerson wants to keep burning fossil fuels and to do "risk management." We have been beyond risk managment for at least a few hundred years and now need to do "hope to save it management." We invented shareholder value as our guiding light without concern that the light illuminated the darkness. So we are in a most precarious position and our presesident, the person who could do the most to help save the planet when first asked about global warming said "I don't believe it." What I believe is that he does not have the mental capacity to begin to understand the problem.

The world needs to shut off the CO2 hydrant almost immediately yet there is no regulting and enforcing body to make this happen. The Green New Deal is in the ball park but that needs powerful leadership.

As far as I can see the 2020 election is the tipping point. We need a president who can understand and lead us, a supportive congress, and the will to do it. Otherwise our grand children and their descendents will curse all of us. Arguments of about "it won't be a worst case" are stupid. We cannot recover from climate change that runs away with itself. And so engineers like me do not debate nicities. We recognize all that is at stake and start moving mountains.

—John Wawrzonek, June 2019

The blue curve below was obtained by "curvefitting." The starting point was NASA temperture data from 1880 to 2017. The process consists of making an educated guess as to which form of curve would firt best and then manipulating the parameters while calculating the RMS error and making eyeball adjustments to give more weight to more recent data. Simultaneously trend lines were calculated using the Excel trend line function. In this case only the polynominal curve worked. The 2nd order and 3rd order curves were identical except one was higher and one lower, indication a limitation in the parameterss available.

The significance of this curve is that it shows the increase in rate of rise going forward. This is what makes this a particularly dangerous time. It also shows the uncertainty of basing a long range projection on a relatively small amoount of data. However, it is well known that positive feedback mechanisms such as methane from the tundra would result in such a curve.

The blue curve is toward the worst case end of possibilities and would reflect a "business as usual" while Trump is advocating a "more emission than usual" strategy.

Where is Donald Trump Leading Us?.

I. The Second Law: Being King by Increasing Chaos

The Risks and Rewards of a Bumper Car Mind

But there is something else. Something that is a great advantage to Trump's march. His "base" remembers only the first part of the adventure and holds on to that image because it is the one it wants. It fails totally at holding his feet to the fire. The collapse is likely without immediate harm because the leaders of North Korea knew all along Trump was a fraud. Dictators will know instinctly when someone is bluffing to be one of them, and then the phony's goose is cooked whenever the dictator chooses is the best time for cooking.

For DT's base what lingers is the initial bravura and the rest is forgiven and forgotten.

Then comes a hyper-real and hyper-important issue like climate change. "I don't believe it" terminates the discussion, and so what D.T. knows or doesn't know is never revealed. My own sense is that his first statement "I don't believe it" was a simple reflection that his knowedge of it was close to zero.

I have a strange feeling listening or reading about what Donald Trump says. It reminds me of times when I was young and trying to assemble a rationale that I knew was fake for something off the beaten path and my knowledge and reasoning were not up to the job. Little did I know that I was playing with advanced physics and particulatly entropy.

Entropy is more than just disorder. It is the second law of thermodynamics. I am using this concept to draw attention to what Trump is trying to pull of and how, although I suspect that often he doesn't quite know what he is doing.

And that is where the big trouble starts because of how he chooses "advisors". He wants the advice to come off stage (right) and to move him in the direction he wishes to go and to clarify that direction when he isn't sure.

He got the help he needed to get elected from Russia and facebook. He did defacto collusion by simply smiling, I suspect. When he heard what Russia was up to he realized it wa just what he needed. Ultimately he got control of the election process and he will get it in 2020. There are no democrats with allies like Russia and Arabian princes and a Supreme Court that will gerrymander for him. Presto, step 2 toward a monarchy.

In the science of what molecules in cakes and brains do, entropy is always increasing on a microscopic scale. Donald brings it to a macroscopic scale in a space larger than anyone before him and he does it in ways that are extremely dumb, because he doesn't know anything about the subject, or are the work of a genius because he knows acting dumb can be an asset. I will take the first.

To a physicst entropy is a very important property of the universe. It's nature is that it is always increasing. Making soup. Chopping veggies into smaller pieces and many different kinds of veggies and then, into the pot and stir. The entropy of the soup is much higher than the entropy of the veggies because its a lot of pieces and they can't be put back together again. Disorder has increased.

D.T. is a classic entropizer. He scatters disorder wherever he goes. But there is a reason for calling it by its more technical name because Donald wants to do this on the largest scale he can: the politics of the earth. He wants to destroy the science of climate change and then, I suspect, he will take down other sciences as they fit his needs. The word "fake" suits his technique beautifully.

Destroying science means that truth is what Donald says it is, and then he can manipulate the details of politics at his whim. It is a new concept: king, dictator, ruthless boss combined. No one has ever done it because no one has ever had anything as collosal as the earth's climate to play with and a tool like the internet. This is potentially the cataclysm of all of history. If you are only scared, you should consider being terrified.

Donald likes to play with dictators only he doesn't realize they are playing with him. When DT comes up with an idea with the reasoning of a 15 year old, or is suckered into a ploy by a favorite dictator the little boy's weaknesses are revealed and the reality of the situation asserts itself. Sometimes the whole thing never gets off the ground and ends in a wimper. Other times it blows up in his face. Or rather, as in the case of North Korea, what is left may be much worse for D.T. than what he started with. New York realestate strategies, even if he knew how to use them, don't apply and there is no financial document he can doctor in secret. All that is left is the unpredictable and dangerous mind of Donald Trump.

Those who oppose his views don't get a discussion, instead they are suddenly called every name in the book. The book is very thin so there are lots of reruns and commonly a hero of a day ago-or even seconds ago-goes from glittering gold to coal black in seconds.

Name calling has for Donald an outsize advantage: there is no need to explain, discuss, consider or reconsider and therefore there is no reason to study and to understand anything. And then the fear in the room grabs everyone by the toes but he hold all the cards, always free to shake and make up or throw a tantrum or bring up some more names or adjectives. Fake is the most useful word in the dictionary. And you can keep changing your mind without being challenged because you hold the keys to all sorts of big, beautiful (but hot and noisy) things. We all hope someone grabs them before it is too late.

In W D.C. the battle begins with being suckered into believing what he wants you to believe and because his Bull has destroyed the D.C. China shop. You have to grub among the ruins to find pieces of the right size and shape to work with, which is usually hopeless. If you are well practiced with faking it you may get by. Or you may be exiled. There is always begging but getting a deal that way is a long shot.

The deep swamp has been replaced by the sound of glass crunchng underfoot. The difference is that the deep swamp may have been a bit slimy but still occasionally valuable while the China shop has not just broken pieces but pure powder that god could not reassemble. By plan or accident you have been so conned that you believe the tiny pieces fit. If this is consciously intential, it is brilliant. But because there is no substance to it, just an ego pickup we can never know for sure about anything except the bumper mind is showing its stuff.

And not to forget that bumper car minds also do not do well with empathy, or possibly don't understand what the word means. Putting teams together becomes nearly impossible.

Then the process becomes the big push (now that there is time) and progresses to dozens of new China shops, so that even a united state like Europe starts to loose track of who is who or what it is.

Crunch and conquer.


A Conservative, Merchantile, Culture

The Head Doesn't Know What The Brain Is Capable of

And We've Only Just Begun

II. Hot, Hotter, Hottest: Burnt Toast Doesn't Auction Well

A Wish to Control the Presidental Thermostat

Pretending to look knowingly.

It is ironic that a supposedly financial mind doesn't comprehend that compond interest and a warming tundra are related in that they are both the same uprising, power curve witb the slope increasing with time. Surpriseingly the speeds may be about the same and the results may be comparable in the rate of temperature rise and the financial rate of return. But the outcome is a bit differnt. In one case you have funds to build. In the other you found that you have built on a hot plate and you can't find the control.

Of course there are millions of hot plates and other calamities. The anvils of the Nebulang in the Underworld are pretty uncomfortable in the background as is the Faustian fiddle when you listen carefully. Donald's soul has been sold so often that no one in the underworld knows where it is. And the futures market in Trump Tantrums has collapsed.

Many centuries down the road a historian is struggling to discover who this guy Trump was. There are lots of books and videos, some even with sensible science.

But there is not much that hangs together. Wild-brained stunts of all kinds, wise-assed oratory not comparable to anything anyone has heard before (and hopes not to hear again). But the biggest problem everyone is all too famiiar with.

Anything below the Arctic Circle (they still do call it that) attracts only handsful of people who don't mind heat but like space.

The rest have been haunted for hundreds of years as tornadoes are everywhere and can spring up anytime of year, water is in short supply, food hard to grow with corn cobs without kernals and a township of one thousand (the equivalent of an old metropolis) was about as large as one could find. The climate without anyone meddling with CO2 had miraculously settled down, but not within the range of warm and cold of the old days or of rainforest and desert. It was often more of the same, but more tornadoes are not what one wants more of. But what you never had you don't miss even if what you had was no tornadoes.

The saddest part that some writers captured perfectly was the complexity and creativity lost for dealing with normal life was now vastly harder, simply because life itself was, ironically, simpler. But when the dying are in the millions over a few thousand years, no one understands how bad it was. Worse, no one understands any longer that for a few decades, if Donald had been replaced with a minus-Donald, someone precisely his opposite, there was enough elbow room left and a joyous wonder might have lived in place of too much charcoal.

Instead we have a planet-wide need for psycho-D, deep swamp therapists, who are now the billionaires. In a number of ways everything has changed except the rich psychos have formed cozy unions of a sort to keep their rates over the top no matter the economy. Some things never change.

All time record killing heat.

All time record wildfires.

All time record droughts.

All time record storms and floods.

I am always pulled by the mystery of self-destruction. Rex Tillerson is a good model. The flames are closing in and he wants to manage the risk. Trump of course is going to force the risk to infinity by killing the science, not just here but in as much of the world as he can.

To this engineer, a reasonable trace of too much CO2 and you turn the planet's thinking inside out and keeping the home fires cold becomes priority one. But they don't teach that kind of watchfullness even at MIT and surely not in K-12 where it would be necessary. So we end up squeezed between two hot walls, not knowing what and when the doom will come and 1/10 the time we need to combat it. Did it come from evolution or how else were we cursed. I have debated this so much with myself (I think the artist side made all the failures worse) that I leap ahead in my thinking to despair and try more dangerous soothings of my mood.

I cannot think about the earth without thinking where it came from. The known part of the answer, most from very good science, is staggering.

I have read about astronomy and cosmology since my teen years but in this century the prodigious power of emergent technological phenemoma has brought together technologies with ingenuity that go beyond my ability to describe. An utterly grand view is a NOVA production: Hubble: The Invisible Universe. It gives a wonderful feeling for so many parts of the creation, but it does not cover the creation itself. That requires another NOVA program. From the Smallest to Everything.

Without these stories there is no way to begin to comprehend the Tragedy of Donald the Trump. That is a struggle I am likely to loose. The nearest I can come is the devil himself but he has been worn down and is no longer as creative and assertive as he once was. But the question "why?" just keeps repeating itself.

I wrote off some of the "why" of the big bang as impossible to deal with and fruitless. I can say that the energy that made the mass that is my body was in the big bang (as was everyone's and everything's) and so there is a tiny connection. But once I cross t = 0 backwards in time into the the 11 dimensions and multiverses of string theory to explain the time before the big bang I think the psysicists are blowing smoke. But from the instant of the singularity to the present day is an orderly and stunning progression. One episode of creation simply leads to the next all as expected until there is enough helium, hydrogen and gravity to create the first of the big candles. Then they start coming in swarms. Look at the Hubble documentary and especially the photographs of the Orion Nebula* (see below).

The Hubble is such an extraorinary instrument that it puts you on the trail of 1011 (that's 10 followed by 11 zeros) galaxies with each galaxy having about 1011 stars. This gives us a neat advantage of this "scientific notation" for large and small numbers since to multiply the two numbers we just add the "exponents" or number of zeros and get 1022 stars. Whoopee. We are now talking about the WHOLE universe. And without more detail it turns out the whole thing is 11.75 billion years old.

The point of all this is the unbelievable magnificance of the creation. And we still haven't gotten to us, which is just as much a miracle.

I've read of some astronomers poo-poo-ing this little lonesome earth in an ordinary solar system in an ordenary galaxy and so tiny compared to a black hole with the mass of a billion suns. But so far black holes cannot think nor do they have sentience, the stunning phenomina that gives us experiences such as seeing and hearing. And so far no one has a clue how that happens.

We will again skip over some minor details to get to the evolution of us. To begin, we are all Africans (see map below) with very much the same genetics and skin color determined mainly by how far north our ancesters settled (north = less sunlight = less vitamin D = gradual reduction in the pigments that darken our skins).

This time for humanity was primarily hunter-gatherer, which, I have read could be quite nice. Great nutrition from all kinds of fruits and meats. Well evolved social ways to keep the peace within the tribe, remarkable technology for hunting and gathering with knowedge of what on the menu is healthest garnered over a long-long period of time.

This held together until 5,000 to 10,000 BCE when some (please forgive my mood) on line courses in farming taught the tribulites that if the planted deliberately just one or two grains, everything because extraordinarily more efficient so, ironically, tribes had lots of unemployed hunters and gatherers and bored farmers.

Then it follows you need an economy, currency, governments and so forth. But I suspect more than anything else, you need employment for hunters and weapons makers. And humans need to feel needed and valuable so there is a second kind of economy necessary which is an army and then a third to organize the whole thing which is a government. The great tragedy of modern life has arrived. Almost.

There are aspects of life that are wonderful, and there are others that are terrifying. Thunder, lightening, drought, fire all create fear, but death needs special attention. I suspect, being not knowledgable in these fields, that the evolved hunters and leaders especially had to begin to deal more and more with the personalities of their gods and the myths of life and death.

Then there is something I have observed in my own church-going (especially the evangelical part) that one always needs assurance that the god chosen is the real one and an enormous tragedy of life opened, that no matter the scripture, death to the heathen became the modus operendi. I am not sure why but I have felt it when a high ranking visitor from the secular world came and preached or lectured, that a certain sigh of relief was felt that the nobelity were part of the congregation.

But even after thousands of years, and even in our own time, the written verse is the same mystic one as written BCE. However, in the absence of other comfort about life and death, this is still a temptation, often for the better but often, ironicaly, another way of being led astray. A friend recently seemed to glow with pride that climate change was a sign of the end-times.

"Race" is confusing. Nature and nuture are almost competely misunderstood and environment over the long term rarely comes up. The instinct to reject peoples of different appearance or different tribes is likely an evolutionary development, and has been overcome in some societies but presents an enormous problem in others. Cultural differences loom also and, in my experience, color disappears when cultural affinity appears.

However, the failure to realize we are all descended, some 50,000 years ago from Africans is a beginning to feeling separateness. Then environmnet brought changes in appearance depending on the trail followed and the connection to a common humanity was lost. Then a wholesale change in civilization came with the adaption of agriculture about 5,000 BCE leaving a small population growing food, and a large population, many with the agressive land and food hoarding of hunter-gatherers leading to waring tribes, and early nation-states and that warring has never ended which becomes an enormous stumbling block to rapid concerted action. And here we sit, some of us holding our breaths, terrified of Donald Trumps declaring war on knowledge and hoping for an election miracle.

Race would not appear to be an inherent problem except it interferes in most human relationships. And experience doesn't always help. Australia has suffered some of the worst effects of climate change yet failed to elect a prime minister that supported addressing the issue.

Comprehending the challenges of climate change seems insurmountable for a number of reasons.

1. The is no other phenomena like it.2. Climate and weather are so easily confused. 3. At this stage weather seems normal for most people most of the time, and even in the case of bad storms or tornadoes "well we've had those before."

There are also more fundamental reasons such as an inability to comprehend something that happens over such a comparatively long time frame. And an almost total lack of real science study and even among scientists there is a caution, a disabling fear of being wrong, that makes an engineer's hop-to-it attitude inconcievable.

So what will happen now. To me it is a terrifying situation. When so much is at stake and climate change so unpredictable, the wise move is to put everything not necessary to build radical new technologies and preparations of everykind on the front burner as if it were Pearl Harbor, doesn't happen. But the inconcievable does: the "leader of the world" wants to make the problem go away by changing the laws of nature.

My god. What have we done to deserve this?

"We are, at best, now thinking decades into the future, while pressing our foot hard on a CO2 accelerator that virtually guarantees climate chaos for millennia to come.".....

"Because of our collective failure to rapidly decarbonize the global economy and slash CO2 emissions, we are poised to leave future generations a grim legacy of climate upheaval."

"The science is clear: climate change is the most serious threat to our natural world. To prevent irreversible damage to the lands and waters we all rely on, we must take immediate action now.

"We are already seeing the effects of a changing climate. The last three years have been the hottest on record and the problem is only going to intensify. As a rapidly growing global population puts increased demand on food, water and energy around the world, our planet is being pushed toward a breaking point.

"What will happen if we don’t act right now? Global temperature is projected to rise by 3.2°C, increased air pollution will affect 4.9 billion more people, and 2.75 billion people will be subjected to water scarcity."

What is really going on?

VII. Relationships

Why go to all this trouble?

Into the Distance

VIII. Knowing Little and Knowing Less

The Illusion of Moving Forward

I want to do something to him that is against my morals. How can a sentient being put money ahead of doing everything concievable to save the earth, to drive the risk as close to zero as possible. It should have been done in 1959 when the oil industry was lectured by Edward Teller. The entire earth was at stake. Tillerson would warn you not to put your parchute on until the last 100' because you might wear it out. It is not just the destruction but the ignorance of ignoring the entire creation.

But he is not alone by a long shot. Millions are with him just as millions are with Trump today.

There are so many "whys" to try to understand and I get almost as angry or more so, when someone gives the credit to god. God is not the cause but may be the name of the cause, and believing in god does not repair strip mining.

Then comes the crusher. Trump wants to dismantle the science of global warming and get the other nations in the world to join him.

At our current state of knowledge of physics, there are two very well defined and verified theories that goven most of everything that goes on. These are quantum mechanics and the theory of special relativity.

These theories describe the processes that brought us into existence. Following that there is, in my view, something missing.

First is that neither these or any other theories of which I am aware deal with the experience humans have of the universe. That is precisely the experience you are having now reading this. How does electricity and chemistry in the brain translate to a video screen in our heads? But the problems do not stop there. Note only do we experience the world through sight and sound but we are conscious of the experience and have an emotional reaction to it.


Because neither we nor the universe would exist without us. It would not matter what matter there was if there were no consciousness to verity its existance. So have all the big bangs you wish someone has to feel and see and hear the results, otherwise it is meaningless.

Then if there were only one of us, our existence would be meaningless since our experiences are meaningless if they cannot be part of a relationship. One to tango doesn't work. Even if the experience starts alone, we can share it later through our memories. That is the point at which Life (note the capital L) begins.

However the universe was made to create many of us but not programmmed to program us to be consciousness caretakers. And that's where Donald Trump comes in, or rather we let him in because we have not thought this far, or perhaps much further so we do not recognize his ignorance. And we do not recognize the joy we had before he showed up.

It would be a good time to review evolution, but that is in another classroom down the hall. At this point we will trace out the path evolution took to get us here, a path that was extraordinarily painful. But it did get us here and now we have it ready to jump into the fire, and joy will again disappear. Thus: humanity must be sufficiently conscious of itself, its priorities, its experiennces of the joys of life for it to continue.

It might not feel so bad if the destruction were a natural occurancce. But Donald claims he is the most intelligent of men. Yet he never studies, never listens and locks up his grades.

Whenever he has commented with someting I am familiar with (aircraft carriers, aircraft launchers, etc.) it is...well he wants to replace nuclear with steam. There is a feeling I had more often when I was younger that I didn't want something complex explained to me because I was afraid I might not get it. Unless it is a new way to cheat that's my boy Donde. Attention span: 10 minutes.

Learning takes determination and at least a little bit of courage. The reports are that his staff breaks things down to the first grade level and he still won't do it or can't do it so he is in an extraordinaryily vulunurable spot because powerful, evil, intelligent people will make him comfortable. If they are creative, all the worse. It is simply that he wants what they want: power, control, ego gratification, but they know how to get it and he doesn't. And they know that. America has the great luck of a an utterly in competant president who wants what dictators want and so he is a sucker for their attention and cooperation. Plus he has lots of other things they want: a dozen or two or three F16s with all accessories. A now questions asked guarantee of cooperation by POTUS and a willingness to ignore the truth (such as climate change) and the needs of people (like a home).

There is a tragedy of destruction that I rarely (if my memory is correct, the answer is never) find discussed is what happens to the soul of the destroyers. It seems pretty certain that Trump does not hear chamber music concerts and definitely certain that he did not learn to play an instrument, or, for that matter be creative in anything except cheating, hiding assets and going bankrupt.

This, of course, is the category of what you never had (or even known people who had) you don't miss.

It turns out however, when we look far down the road and see a landscape either green or brown, because we have destroyed so many species there is nothing to add color and the yearly cycle that takes you from drab winter to the color of spring, summer and fall, has left an unconscious depression in its place. There is no reason to paint because there is nothing to inspire a painting. For Donald I suspect he lived in a minus-Mozart household. We know that music actually changes the organization of the brain (as does intense pursuit of any activity for a long time). With no way to find joy except either to have your ego stroked, begging to have your ego stroked or coming up with the winning deal.

A good question is whether this makes a difference, I am inclined to say it makes a huge difference because the enjoyment of Mozart and Company took years to evolve. Now, as I play music I learned in high school, connections with composers from the past have become my future. Much of my mind takes time to be formed so that a bit of meaningful Chopin finally makes a connection. However, I am fortunate in that at almost any level, Chopin that is almost impossible for me to execute, I keep trying. A piece I learned as a junior in high school (and I am flabergasted I actually played from memory in recital) I liked so much I decided to return to working on it about 15 years ago. Playing it roughly once per day means between 4,000 and 5,000 tries. Some run-thoughs and some real practices.

So I am left with the question of how much joy is there in Trumps practices in comparison to mine. My father played the violin. Trump's father taught him to play people, and I suspect often for suckers. It seems to me a profound question not just for Donald types, but for anyone who does not learn enough to make their brain go in all the directions it can and to the maximum depth it can. During the second Iraq war, the US guardian decided to disarm the police and army and found they did not know how to do anything else so they stole weapons and were now free to reorganize in any form and so sunis and shites forgot they were friends and went back to war. The ways of avoiding war are rarely practiced by our civilization as in US schools that are underfunded and concussions stay while percussion or strings and winds are put away.

For about one and one have years I have worked on this web site attempting to build a case for global warming or climate change, that it was real, serious, scientific and required immediate and drastic action. For about the first six months I was more pessismistic than the general wisdowm but after one of the IPCC meetings I began falling back. There was no fundamental issue in the science, just that it was happening a bit faster than I thought it would, although I was becoming skeptical, during the Obama administration that the IPCC meetings were being strick enough and that there was a mechanism in place to establish goals and protocoals and above all to find a way to enforce them.

But in 2016 for reasons that should never happened the universe turned upside down. And the words that I would have staked my life on were wrong were spoken: "I don't believe it." Of course he does not have a PhD or an ScD yet but it is only a matter of time before an honorary one is bestowed upon him.

There were two issues on the table: was science a valid discipline carried out with strict attention to detail, validity and truth. The second issue was whether Donald Trump ever read or could read some kind of carefully simplified but accurate science. After the two years in office I would bet my life that he cannot comprehend anything beyond lying, deception, and game playing. Competence in any discipline, but especially science is beyond him. And that explains all the name calling. It is the perfect manipulative substitute for having an honest, straight-forward, competant, true conversation. I do not know of any other person with a college degree off lower intellectual ability. And honesty that approaches zero.

Then comes Rex Tillerson with his statement about "risk management." If life were different and my wife did not provide a little levening function around here I would have rocketed head first through two floors and a roof and landed likely in Cape Cod Bay.

I have tried to communicate the preciousness of an inhabited earth with, in some cases humanoids with high levels of intelligence. I will not rehash, except that for the last 31 years (James Hansen's address to Congress), or the last 50 years (Edward Teller's speaking to the oil companies), the only possibility for a good engineer or scientist would be: you mean the %of CO2 and the temperature are going up? Then it is incombent upon the population of the earth to stop it as rapidly as we responded to the Japanese attaqck on Pearl Harbour. Anything else is myopic, selvish, incompetetant stupidity.

As a species we are not smart enough to realize where we are and face the music. The rich will get richer, the poor will have an increasing death rate do to lack of health care, the various religions of the world will fight, kill, decieve themselves and then behead heathen as if anything we might call god would stand for such a thing.

What should one do? There are two possibilities: physical and emotional. Dedicate yourself to improving the living conditions of individuals and species (including humans); become involved in the arts: listen, compose, make instruments, teach. And learn. Throw out your TV and lock down your cell phone for absolutely essential matters. Start meeting in groups (leave the phone at the door) and figure out for yourselves (don't take my word for it) what life is, or should be, about. Wish I had an appropriate badge. I would arrest both of them.

Seeing, Hearing and Not

Nature did not teach enough of us to adapt

Most unfortunately: Lemmings who did not study

The Science of Global Warming

Figure 1: The atmosphere surrounds the Earth. The light from the sun either reflects from a surface or is absorbed by the surface. It all depends on the color. Lighter colors reflect the light and it never becomes heat. Darker colors reflect less light. The energy of the light must go somewhere. Surfaces of darker color absorb the light and become warmer but the warm surface radiates some of the heat back into the atmosphere. Some passes through the atmosphere, but carbon dioxide reflects this heat back and so, like a blanket keeping your body heat from excaping, it makes the air warmer and that's the problem. It's called the "greenhouse effect" because that's how greenhouses work. It is also why your car gets hot when it's parked in the sun.

Fig.3: This is a projection of future warming. The time around 2020 is very critical, it is an "inflection point" where the curve begins to turn sharply upward. It depends almost entirely on how much carbon dioxide is emitted by human activity. But the worst contributor to warming may become methane from melting tundra. When that happens there will be noting we can do to stop the warming. 3.6°F will be a huge problem. 5.4°F means we are out of control.

That gives us 20 years to accomplish a miracle, to turn the worlds energy generation inside out. A commitment of all resources, more than World War II. Multiple "Manhatten Projects" like the one that created the atomic bomb. We will have to learn to scrub carbon dioxide from the air and sequester it in the ground. It will require all the wealth we have, trillions of dollers.

The alternative is a disaster for which our grandchildren will suffer, curse us and many will die.

How the earth's temperature will increase
unless we begin a world war on carbon, now.

The pink curve shows the temperature of the earth from 1860 to 2017. The data is supplied by NASA. The blue curve is my own projection of future temperature. This projection is typical of those from many climate scientists. It assumes that carbon dioxide will continue increasing as in the past. The blue curve is extremely important because it shows what will happen if we continue business as usual. The Paris Accords were intended to keep the earth's temperature increase to less that 1.5°C, an increase generally accepted as "safe." However, "safe" is relative. Horrendous damage has been caused already by an increase of less than 1°C. Additionally the anticipated difficultly of achieving 1.5°C has many scientists accepting 2.0°C as a more realistic target, however a target that would more radically change the environment. However, it is easily possible that without drastic reductions in emissions the earth's temperature could reach 5°C to 7°C in 2100, a true disaster.

How the earth's temperature will increase
unless we begin a world war on carbon, now.

The pink curve shows the temperature of the earth from 1860 to 2017. The data is supplied by NASA. The blue curve is my own projection of future temperature. This projection is typical of those from many climate scientists. It assumes that carbon dioxide will continue increasing as in the past. The blue curve is extremely important because it shows what will happen if we continue business as usual. The Paris Accords were intended to keep the earth's temperature increase to less that 1.5°C, an increase generally accepted as "safe." However, "safe" is relative. Horrendous damage has been caused already by an increase of less than 1°C. Additionally the anticipated difficultly of achieving 1.5°C has many scientists accepting 2.0°C as a more realistic target, however a target that would more radically change the environment. However, it is easily possible that without drastic reductions in emissions the earth's temperature could reach 5°C to 7°C in 2100, a true disaster.

FOR THE TRUTH WAS HIDDEN. It was power generation and transportation that had to reduce their carbon output, and primarily in the largest nations. And they did not understand, did not listen and did not take the actions necessary. The habits of maintaining the momenta of economies and of keeping political power were entrenched. And so "out of control" began to happen. The temperature rose high enough to begin release of the methane in the tundra, and was the beginning of the end.

To stay in control, emissions had to be reduced drastically and quickly for too much time had gone by, and just as critically, it became necessary to augument the process by removing carbon dioxide from the air, something called "negative emissions," a process that was so expensive and challenging that it would not be attempted because it was felt it would hurt the present economy. The customary short-term thinking locked in the status quo. And so a failure to spend a trillion dollors now portended the spending of a hundred trillion dollors in an attempted rescue 50 to 100 years in the future.

As the blanket grew, more heat was trapped, the temperature rose and every minute counted. But the major countries of the world: China, India, Russia and the United States were unable to rise to the occasion.

I have struggled for years to find a way to picture the future, to create a kind of metaphor for what was happening. In the minds of almost all of humanity they were living in their secure homes and for the most part the weather was comfortable. But in fact they were being carried along in a current of inattention and blindness. There eyes were clear but their minds were captive to the past. I call the current The Infinite River.


Physicist Klaus Lackner has long advocated deploying devices that extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to combat climate change. Now, as emissions keep soaring, Lackner says in a Yale Environment 360 interview that such “air capture” approaches may be our last best hope.

"For two decades, Klaus Lackner has pioneered efforts to combat climate change by pulling carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Now, after years of watching the global community fail to bring greenhouse gas emissions under control, Lackner — director of the Center for Negative Carbon Emissions at Arizona State University — is delivering a blunt message:

The best hope to avoid major disruptions from global warming is to launch a massive program of CO2 “air capture” that will begin to reverse the buildup of billions of tons of carbon in our atmosphere."

FROM GRIST, 12 12 2018
"Our current rate of warming will quickly lead us back to a climate that predates the evolution of modern humans, according to a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. That kind of rapid change has no direct comparison in all of Earth’s multi-billion year history."

A CLIMATE OUT OF CONTROL was beyond comprehension. Scientists warned, meetings were held by the United Nations, articles were written in the most prominent journals and newspapers. And yet something was not getting through. "Out of control?" could not happen. A warning that the ocean could rise as much as 170 feet collided with a human memory of a constant and reliable earth. Looking out of the window of an airplane or sailing the seas seemed no different than before, and so what was needed was not done. It had come to a place where the behavior of every country on the earth had to virtually reverse itself, turn upide down, and the focus had to change from all other issues to climate. But that was beyond comprehension to the leaders where it mattered the most.

Scientists unfortunately spoke in clear, quiet and reserved tones, as they had been trained. The public and the politicians could not translate "it is highly likely" to it is "dead certain." Simultaneously many projects for renewable energy, electric cars, solar cells and wind mills were begun and were successful, but gave a false sense of accomplishment and security for there contribution was not sufficient to make the critical difference.



As of yesterday (December 15, 2018) the mood from Katowice was upbeat. Agreements were better than expected and there was optimism that the 1.5°C target was doable. However, there was and is a giant fly in the ointment.

If you look at the graph below, you see a sharp break in the 1.5°C and 2°C emission curves. which means something pretty drastic has to happen soon in order to turn things around fast enough. If such a drastic action were contemplated it would be big news and there was no big news.

The Paris Agreement, around which the Katowice meeting was based, is deeply flawed. A good summary is an MIT review of the agreement. The first and last paragraphs of this review are reproduced below. There are numerous other organizations that have made similar comments (including the US EPA), but this is among the clearest. The link is "Last Words from Me" above.

However, despite my favorable comments about the review, it focuses on 2°C which is unacceptable.

1. Climate has always changed, but humans are now the main drive for change.

a. Rising atmospheric CO2 levels, primarily a result of fossil fuel emissions, have become the predominant cause of continuing climate change.

b. Climate change is driven by cumulative CO2 emissions. The United States has contributed a disproportionately large share of cumulative global emissions.

2. Current levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHGs), mainly CO2, cause Earth to be out of energy balance. This imbalance is driving climate change.

a. Earth’s energy imbalance is now measured and large. As long as Earth remains out of energy balance, the planet will continue to get hotter.

b. If GHG amounts continue to rise unabated, the energy imbalance will drive global warming to levels with climate impacts beyond the pale (see Opinion 3).

3. If high fossil fuel emissions continue unabated, consequences will be predominantly negative for humanity, especially for young people. a. Sea level: Continued high fossil fuel emissions will eventually make coastal cities dysfunctional, with incalculable consequences.

b. Species exterminations: Shifting of climate zones, with other stresses, may commit many species to extinction, leaving a more desolate planet.

c. Regional climate: subtropics and tropics will become dangerously hot, if global warming continues. Emigration chaos may threaten global governance.

4. Required actions to avoid dangerous climate change are guided by Earth’s climate history and by the need to restore Earth’s energy balance.

a. Science can specify initial targets, sufficient to define policy needs.

b. Substantial emission reductions must begin promptly, or climate will be pushed beyond a point at which changes proceed out of human control.

5. The United States government, via both actions and inactions, is behaving with flagrant disregard of rights and wellbeing of the public, especially young people

a. Action: authorizing, permitting, subsidizing massive fossil fuel extraction.

b. Inaction: absence of any coherent, effective program to reduce emissions.


A nightmare and an overview of getting the nations of the world to comprehend how serious the situation really is.

The Infinite River. It has been to explain something that cannot be explained unless you have had something you thought you understood blow up in your face.

There are two problems:

The climate of the earth is the most complex system anyone has ever tried to understand AND we are continuing to abuse it by feeding it more and more greenhouse gases. Our predictions are already catastrophic, and they are probably optimistic like all our others have been.

We need to be turning ourselves inside out. Every nation. But we are going to smooze like we have in the past.

You don't keep flying an airliner to its destination with smoke coming out of the engines.

The most likely realistic outcome, taking all factors into account, is a very warm planet able to support about one billion people, about 1/10 of its projected population.

Every trillion dollars we spend now will pay itself back and then some. Every trillion dollars we don't spend now will require at least a dozen trillion down the road and a far more hostile planet.

But if you haven't been in the risk business, you won't get it. And hardly anyone does.

Talk to leaders who are gathered in Poland. They acknowledge that we aren’t close to getting the job done in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that warm the planet. People are dying today because of climate change, and many more will die and trillions of dollars of damage to property will occur unless America gets back in the fight."

In my opinion, we do not have a prayer of saving the earth with Donald Trump as president. He is doing absolutely everything he can to make the situation worse by INCREASING emissions, but also by taking America out of its essential leadship and motivating role to the rest of the world.

The United States is necessary as part of the process not only because of its enormous output of carbon dioxide but because only it has the resources and technical prowess to take on the high risk but essential negative emissions challenge.

We are currently trapped between two nightmares: not knowing how the warming process will evolve and a presidential lockdown and lockup of America's contribution.

The years keep getting hotter!

This coming week will set records througthout Europe.

Tens of thousands of people will die.


We MUST find a way to do it. It is our last chance.


Earthrise, Apollo 8, December 1968

Here is What is Coming

1. Every year will be worse than the year before.

2. Heat will kill more people.

3. Hurricanes will be larger and more intense. Winds will be like tornadoes.

4. In some places more rain will mean terrible floods.

5. In other places there will be severe droughts.

6. Wildfires will be larger, more intense and last longer.

7. Sea level will rise and flood coastal cities.

The heat will increase MORE every year.
It will feed on itself.


June 27, 2019

A weather map showing temperature departures from normal. The key is the band of color at the bottom. This is the forcast for June 26, 2019. The scale runs from -44°F to +50°F. The maximum departures from normal are +34.3° and -7.8°. These are historical highs and are creating anxiety and concern in the weather and climate centers in Europe. It is expected that there will be many thousands of deaths from this heat wave.


An extrapolation (blue line) of historical NASA temperature data (red line). The further into the future the less accurate the extrapolation. Neverthe less the extrapolation is within the general range done by other methods (although at the high end). Nevertheless, the curve is in the range where the slope (first derivative is increasing) so the temperature rise is quite rapid. Starting from 0°C in 1920 the temperature has risen 2.2ªC in 2019 and will reach 2.0°C in just 24 years. Based on the increases so far reaching 2.0°C will create problems far in excess of those so far and so cause very serious problems throughout the world.

I. Making Connections

I had never worried about climate because from what I knew about cosmology and the expected lifetime of the sun there should be two to three billion more years of viability for the planet, at least if I disregarded the views outside my automobile window, or more graphically outside my train window on the way to New York. I could only wonder what the trash was really doing. But I did not want another worry so I assumed it was just local stuff, until about 15 years ago when I began learning about global warming. Maybe it was time to come in from the cold.

As I look at the graph now, it appears that the earth's temperature began to rise in about 1940. Jose[oiiidfjjc

The earth is part of the cosmos and despite DDT it seemed pretty solid, until I did more reading and some calculating with NASA temperature data. I hadn't forgotten all my physics and math and did some simple extrapolation of the NASA data. What followed was two years of depression. It felt a little like I had been pitching in the majors and could toss back any ball with the slightest blemish until reality hit and the ball came back wrapped in battered friction tape.

I think the worst stories of the time were what was happening to t76666he rain forests. I love trees and am well awaare of their importance to the environmrnt. I have spent the last 40 years photographing them from Oregon to Florida to Maine to Alaska and I know the most magnificent of them take a very long time to grow.

Which brings me to one of my main points. As my Dad used to say "if there's a buck to be made..."

The picture was clear, then confusing and frightening and, I am afraid, it may be clear again, except that it may be a clarity we will not welcome. It is certainly one of the most difficult scientific and tragic topics.

The plural climates refers to what human "climates" bring to the party: the differnt cultures, philosophies of government, views of humanity, honesty, etc. It struck me that if the UN Security Council were composed of people of the quaity of Baraque Obama and Elisabeth Warren that a new form of government for the earth would emerge, intelligent and humane. It is hope.


Climate Conversations

Different categories of knowledge have different sets of concepts.

I became aware of this when hiring marketing people at Bose. I could teach marketing concepts to almost anyone, but technical concepts only to people with technical training. Marketing relates to everyday life. Technical concepts need to be learned in school or as intense hobbies. Climate is even more difficult because it is a group of scientific concepts that interact with each other while seeming not to be scientific at all. Climate is the long-term average of weather. Not as simple as it sounds because a surprise in weather ("its never been this cold here before") requires some depth of understanding to not throw off ideas about climate.

An example I read of a denier who insisted he was having a cool summer because it had been the latest date ever that the temperature reached 95°F, whereas the reality is that the weather can set records of all kinds while having no effect on the climate. Or: the pie crust can be perfect with burnt apples in a bunch of places beneath it. So how do we form our opinions about climate?

When we do not have a deep understanding, we believe what we want to believe, either from fear or from friends. A strong voice in a group will ridicule anyone who disagrees, and soon you dare not speak against the current, and you end up with a rock-solid set of beliefs. If you follow the news and there are enough spectacular weather anomolies and media that sheds light on the situation, you may begin to see the light. But media is unreliable. The news may be burried (as I have often seen in The New York Times) or too cataclismic to ever be explined and so is forgotten.

Then we add the greenhouse effect which is the source of our interest in climite and its problems.

Climate involves the sun, the oceans, land, atmosphere, all bodies of water, deserts, wetlands and so forth all interacting with each other to create the weather. The climate is the average of the weather. We can claim that the climate is stable while the weather is setting new records for temperature, precipation, storms, etc. and so it is difficult to sound credible to a non-scientist. We can claim the earth's temperature has risen by two degrees and have a record cold winter and so the climate issue gets blown off. Yet we are on our way to a potential calamity that could destroy the earth. We are at a place where just a bit more heat and we completely loose control. There are many signs already. Islands in the Pacific are being abandoned due to the rise in sea level. Sea ice off the coast of Alaska has melted and no long protects seacoast villages from giant waves and they have to be moved in land. In India Moonsoons are no longer reliable but heat is now deadly. The sea has risen a foot or so, but can rise another 120 feet. Government planners intend to put up sea walls to protect cities, yet these will likely be obsolete before they are finished.

Perhaps above all if a solid plan were proposed the cost of perhaps a trillion dollars would be laughed at.

The Paris Accords put a strong priority on holding the earth's temperature increase to 1.5°C but net emissions are not going down (see the graph below). Many scientists insist we can overcome these problems with nuclear power generation yet the public has become more and more freightened due to television series such as the one on HBO. Yet nuclear my be necessary.

The IPCC and various other science groups involved in global warming as well as most scientists seem desperate to hold the temperature rise of the globe to 1.5°C. But the oil industry is barging ahead, crude prices are up and the diagram to the left shows progress made toward zero emissions is about zero.

There are many attempts to move away from fossel fuels but no progress since the Paris Accord and the follow up Katovice meeting in Poland. And we are moving into a narrow channel of opportunity where much longer (20 years or thereabouts) and the earth's temperature will just keep risiing and we will be talking about 3°C or more. That is disaster.

Reverence, Mystery and Sorrow

Writing about the earth's climate compels me to think about how the earth came into existence which takes me back to the beginning of time. What happened is so spectacuar there are no adequate words. Scientificly the very beginning is beyond its laws. Together it all seems a miracle.

It all rubs off in my thinking about or viewing the earth. To give a hint I have reproduced a cosmological "time line" (below) that links the beginning of space and time as we know them to the steps that brought us from the smallest thing there can be (I choose to call it the Grand Singularity instead of the big bang) to our universe which is the largest thing we know.

My point is simply that I begin my thoughts about the earth's climate from an attitude of reverence and astonishment and wherever you are, the climate is a sizeable part of what the place is. Its temperature, humidity, winds (or not), the tendency to a certain kind of weather, what is in the air besides the air is part of its idendity. And photogrphic views I have of wilderness and cities (especially at night) all contribute.

As to the cosmology of the earth, if this is something you are not familiar with, click HERE

Within the universe, following the laws of physics, eventually stars, many with planets, were created. To give a sense of the magnitude, there are about 1022 galaxies each with about 1022 stars all the result from the cosmic singularity far, far smaller than a proton. It astonishes me that this is virtually never a topic of conversation. Why the singularity appeared is unknown to science but an instant (and I do mean an instant) after it appeared, the laws of physics as we know them took over.

None of these impinges directly on climate change except it places me and everyone else in what to me is a place of honor for that singularity was the origin of everything. The earliest member of the genus homo is homo habilis which evolved around 2.8 million years ago. Homo habilis is the first species for which we have positive evidence of the use of stone tools.

Archiology dates humans, homo sapiens, from about 200,000 to 100,000 years ago. Their effect on the climate was small for a very long time. In fact there really was none until the development of the steam engine in the mid-1800s. Then the imact grew as the fossel fuels provided power generation and heat. The impact was small at first but grew rapidly. Even in 1968 when "earthrise" (above) was made it was a different planet from the earth today. Technology found thousands of ways to use energy in the form of fire, burning oil, natural gas or wood. Oil in particular is transformed into plastics, rubber and liquid fuel. Beyond energy there are few materials, devices, machines that do not require burning or modfying fossel fuels. Every "plastic," every container, every metal requires fossel fuesls either as raw material and/or energy for processing, transportation or supplementary materials (fertilizer for eample).

The impact on the climate is illustrated in the graph showing the beginning in the rise of temperature of the earth starting about 1860, a result of the greenhouse effect.

Temperature: Actual 1850-2017, projected >2017 extrapolation by curve fitting.
A reasonable choice for the inflection point is 2020.

The "actual temperature" comes from NASA. I made the blue curve by the simple method of guessing a basic curve shape (in this case a power function) and then "curve-fitting" by adjusting constants in the equation until I got the best fit. This is partly by eye but mostly by calculating the RMS error. (Note that having Excel do the fitting gives a polynomoninal expansion of the same shape, but-depending on the number of terms-it is either higher or lower than my curve. All would be reasonable guesses for the track the temperature would follow depending on a host of other variables.

Since 1°C has caused considerable havoc there is serious concern what the Paris Accord of 1.5°C might do, and considerable concern that it can be achieved at all. Most countries, especially the larger ones, are making little progress in reducing emissions. Consequently 2°C is now being conidered a more achievable target. This would seriously increase problems with more intense storms and precipetation, winds, droughts, etc.

In either case there are many jokers in the deck. A climate that is out of equilibrum is particularly dangerous and there is no way of predicting what might happen. A respite is very unlikely simply because more carbon is constantly being added to the atmosphere.

Reverence and joy have turned to regrets for not haveing been aware of what was happening. Dissapointment in humanity is should br deep and full of sorrow.

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