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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Our Worsening World

Posted by on Wed, Nov 28, 2012 at 8:50 AM

All the bad news from Science Daily:

Sea levels are rising 60 per cent faster than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) central projections, new research suggests.


The shells of marine snails — known as pteropods — living in the seas around Antarctica are being dissolved by ocean acidification according to a new study published this week in the journal Nature Geoscience. These tiny animals are a valuable food source for fish and birds and play an important role in the oceanic carbon cycle.


Permafrost covering almost a quarter of the northern hemisphere contains 1,700 gigatonnes of carbon, twice that currently in the atmosphere, and could significantly amplify global warming should thawing accelerate as expected, according to a new report released November 27 by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

It's not Earth that's in trouble. This planet is doing just fine and will continue to do just fine. What's seriously (and most likely irrevocably) fucked is our little world.


Comments (26) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Willful, cognitive, public mass suicide ftw
Posted by larf2k on November 28, 2012 at 9:16 AM · Report this
The shells of baby oysters are being dissolved by ocean acidification RIGHT HERE IN PUGET SOUND. Some growers are starting them over IN HAWAII and then moving them here. It's all screwed 10 ways to Sunday.…
Posted by Bethany Jean Clement on November 28, 2012 at 9:19 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 3
Large brains are the antithesis of intelligence. The really smart animals live in harmony with the planet.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on November 28, 2012 at 9:26 AM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 4
Yep. Right up until they get eaten by something with a larger brain.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty on November 28, 2012 at 9:38 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 5
@4 I think you mean larger teeth.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on November 28, 2012 at 9:43 AM · Report this
treacle 6
@3,5 - Whales have larger brains, and dolphins have more brain convolutions than us (which is indicative of high intelligence, so we're told). So I don't think it's brains that are the problem, it's opposable thumbs that are the big problem.

Just to pile on with the doom-n-gloom, here's this fun fun fun set of graphs detailing the features of our manufactured (ha!) crisis.

So I'm with larf2k @1... it's either mass suicide, or the Erf will knock our populations down to size on it's own.
Posted by treacle on November 28, 2012 at 9:53 AM · Report this
JensR 7
@5 No, brain.... I can go out and kill a great white if you want me to prove our superiority as a species. We may manage to kill of ourselves but we will make damn sure where not going down without taking some others with us!
Posted by JensR on November 28, 2012 at 9:53 AM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 8
Whales and dolphins eat their share of things with smaller brains too. Hey, it's not their fault they live underwater, and never were able to invent gunpowder.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty on November 28, 2012 at 10:12 AM · Report this
Scientists have said that IPCC sea level rise previsions were too conservative from the moment they were published in 2007 because they didn't account for ice sheet dynamics. Of course, it was hard for the public to hear among the cacophony of denial.

More immediate though for Americans is the exceptional drought that is hitting the Midwest for the last 7 months now. It is almost certain to have a major impact on GDP as water levels in the Mississippi are at an historic (?) low hampering transfer of goods in the process. It appears that one standard avenue of denial (Bjorn Lomborg's "Global warming is real but too expensive to do anything about while there are many more damaging problems to address") is increasingly being debunked for the sham it is as the tab for extreme weather events goes up. US drought monitor:

Posted by anon1256 on November 28, 2012 at 10:22 AM · Report this
When people are talking about "saving the earth" they're not referring to the orb itself, or the crust. They're referring specifically to the biosphere. People always say "well the earth isn't going away," but that's just a glib distraction from what is actually meant by "saving the earth": saving life on earth.
Posted by Jizzlobber on November 28, 2012 at 11:02 AM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 11
Went from 2mm to 3.5 mm (according to them)..and they've pretty much indicated their models are inaccurate.

Also, if true, isn't this a call to stop the coal train?

Or to build the hydrogen economy?
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe on November 28, 2012 at 11:16 AM · Report this
treacle 12
@10, ..and by "saving life on earth" we mean "saving OUR life --and lifestyle-- on earth".

The latter is almost certainly fucked, but humans have a good chance of making it.

Because without question LIFE on earth with continue without us. Sure, we're going through the biggest extinction event since the K-T (now K-Pg) 65m yrs ago, but hey, life rebounded quite happily in 65m years! It'll certainly do it again. No question there.

The only questions are: 1. will humans actually survive in some functioning remnant of modern culture, and 2. will we not fuck this up again?

Considering that we've burnt most of the oil and coal, and will probably come close to polishing it off before we're reduced to subsistence farming in small enclaves, we probably won't be able to do the global warming thing again. So, that's a plus. I guess.
Posted by treacle on November 28, 2012 at 11:50 AM · Report this
Uh oh, sea levels are rising 60 per cent faster than the projections of the unapologetic, caught-red-handed, lying data manipulators over at the I.P.C.C! Quick, get Goldman Sach's on the phone, tell 'em to hurry up with the carbon taxes they plan on getting us to pay 'em to make us all safe.
Posted by Spindles on November 28, 2012 at 12:30 PM · Report this
@3 thru 8 - It is interesting, though, that it all comes down to those damn thumbs. The ability to manipulate our environment. The lack thereof keeps dolphins and elephants in check. All our most wonderful and horrible creations. The source of our rise and demise. Thumbs. And a little luck, of course.
Posted by thumbnail on November 28, 2012 at 1:03 PM · Report this
venomlash 15
@11: "hydrogen economy"
Posted by venomlash on November 28, 2012 at 1:07 PM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 16
I am 41 now so as long as Earth can support life for another 40 or so years that's all I care about at this point. I used to care but really, what is the point?

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on November 28, 2012 at 1:15 PM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 17
Hydrogen is, of course, the only fuel supply. What the hell do you think coal and petroleum are? But yeah, in its elemental state, probably not in our lifetime. If ever.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty on November 28, 2012 at 1:15 PM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 18
@15 Anoxia, much?

Somebody put the helmet back on his suit, quick!
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on November 28, 2012 at 1:47 PM · Report this
Christampa 19
Coal and Petroleum are certain not hydrogen, but I get your point, as does venomlash, I'm sure. Still, anything at all that might get Bailo to SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT HYDROGEN ALREADY is good in my book.

Bailo, you worthless piece of trash, if you're not going to go away and die in despair now that your boy lost, can you at least read a book so once in a while you stand a chance of saying something that isn't complete bullshit?
Posted by Christampa on November 28, 2012 at 1:49 PM · Report this
@16 - The point is the consequences of a 2degC rise are very different than that of 6degC rise. For example, it could be the difference between having or not a collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet and attending meters of sea level rise. But, I am sure you knew that and were being flippant.
Posted by anon1256 on November 28, 2012 at 2:17 PM · Report this
south downtown 21
Good thing Seattle will be CARBON NEUTRAL BY 2050!

Go Seattle! Lead the way out of the darkness!
Posted by south downtown on November 28, 2012 at 2:40 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 22
@16 The sun is hydrogen,of course- mostly. And even racoons have opposable thumbs. Still, whales my have large brains but they live in harmony with the planet.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on November 28, 2012 at 3:25 PM · Report this
Cascadian Bacon 23
At least when the world goes it will take Mudede with it.
Posted by Cascadian Bacon on November 28, 2012 at 5:40 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 24
Hey, I know, let's build an underwater Deeply Borrowed Tunnel instead of a Viaduct or Surface Highway, and QUADRUPLE the global warming emissions - due to digging, pumping, lights, ventilation (the last 3 24/7/365) - instead.

It's like listening to the UK complain about global warming when their own projections show their "green GDP" would INCREASE global warming emissions from the UK by 26 percent by 2020.

Cognitive Dissonance? Or not putting your money where your values are?
Posted by Will in Seattle on November 28, 2012 at 9:22 PM · Report this
It depends if you take the planet to be just a giant piece of rock floating in space. The yes, it will be just fine, at least for the new 4 billion years till the sun explodes.

But if you, like me, take it to be the one piece of rock floating in space that we know for sure harbours life, that has enable the amazing evolution of millions of unique species, with individuals with dreams of their own, love and hope - then no, it's not going to be fine. And all of this is thrown down the crapper because fossil fuel lobbyists are blocking the renewable energy revolution that is actually already entirely possible with the technologies we have.
Posted by juli81 on November 29, 2012 at 4:20 AM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 26
@25 Nothing we do will eliminate life. Single-celled life appeared incredibly early in the geologic record, and bacteria can be found in every horrible place on Earth that you can imagine that is not actually hotter than about 110° C. Multi-cellularity took a while, but once established, it quickly exploded into a wild variety of forms, only some of which survive today.

OUR SOCIETIES are fragile, and may not survive long. Many SPECIES of animals will probably become extinct due to our actions within the geologic eye-blink of the next millennium. If I had to bet, I would predict that virtually every ORDER (look it up) of animals will survive, and many or most FAMILIES. If humans all die off (unlikely) or collapse back to far smaller numbers of agrarians (somewhat likely) in the next millennium due to a self-inflicted disaster and do not rise again to higher technology, in a million years there will be roughly the same number of SPECIES of animal as today, most of which would look kinda familiar to us. They just won't be the SAME species. Terrestrial species tend to persist for only a million or two years anyway, so this is not THAT different from natural processes.

Cry for your great-great-grandchildren, not for the ducks of the distant future. Some ducks are probably gonna make it OK.
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on November 29, 2012 at 8:36 AM · Report this

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