11,000 Year Human Intelligence Experiment Ends—The End

Rolling Stone is the go to magazine for investigative journalism. In the article: The Reckoning, we read “Climate change has some scary new math: three simple numbers that add up to global catastrophe – and that make clear who the real enemy is.” By Bill Mckibben, August 12, 2012 issue (the rest of this post—mostly– is quoted, cut and paste style, from the article).

A 2 degrees Celsius rise in temperature puts the Earth that we have come to know and love at huge risk, so much so, that a team of London financial analysts (and environmentalists) warn that future investment in fossil-fuel companies put stock portfolios at risk.

565 gigatons: the number that humans can pour roughly 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by mid-century and still have reasonable hope of staying below two degrees. In fact, according to the article, “study after study predicts that carbon emissions will keep growing by roughly three percent a year – and at that rate, we’ll blow through our 565-gigaton allowance in 16 years, around the time today’s preschoolers will be graduating from high school.”

2,795 gigatons: This number describes “the amount of carbon already contained in the proven coal and oil and gas reserves of the fossil-fuel companies, and the countries (think Venezuela or Kuwait) that act like fossil-fuel companies. In short, it’s the fossil fuel we’re currently planning to burn. And the key point is that this new number – 2,795 – is higher than 565. Five times higher.”

Again, we have more than five times as much oil, coal and gas on the books as climate scientists think is safe to burn. We’d have to keep 80 percent of those reserves locked away underground in order to avoid a meltdown. “Before we knew those numbers, our fate had been likely. Now, barring some massive intervention, it seems certain.”

“Yes, this coal and gas and oil is still technically in the soil. But it’s already economically aboveground – it’s figured into share prices, companies are borrowing money against it, nations are basing their budgets on the presumed returns from their patrimony. It explains why the big fossil-fuel companies have fought so hard these past years to figure out how to unlock the oil in Canada’s tar sands, or how to drill miles beneath the sea, or how to frack the Appalachians.


“If you told Exxon or Lukoil (Russian oil) that, in order to avoid wrecking the climate, they couldn’t pump out their reserves, the value of their companies would plummet. John Fullerton, a former managing director at JP Morgan who now runs the Capital Institute, calculates that at today’s market value, those 2,795 gigatons of carbon emissions are worth about $27 trillion. Which is to say, if you paid attention to the scientists and kept 80 percent of it underground, you’d be writing off $20 trillion in assets.”

Bottom Line

Within the span of one lifetime we will create a science fiction worst case scenario—a dead/dying planet (but those who can, will build a lifeboat–self-contained modules—prolonging select human life—the tortured souls who must bear the guilt of what they’ve (we’ve) done to our Mother Ship—Earth!


About bwinwnbwi

About me: Marvin Gaye’s song, "What’s Going On" was playing on the jukebox when I went up to the counter and bought another cup of coffee. When I got back, the painting on the wall next to where I was sitting jumped out at me, the same way it had done many times before. On it was written a diatribe on creativity. It was the quote at the bottom, though, that brought me back to this seat time after time. The quote had to do with infinity; it went something like this: Think of yourself as being in that place where infinity comes together in a point; where the infinite past and the infinite future meet, where you are at right now. The quote was attributed to Hermann Hesse, but I didn’t remember reading it in any of the books that I had read by him, so I went out and bought Hesse’s last novel, Magister Ludi. I haven’t found the quote yet, but I haven't tired of looking for it either.
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15 Responses to 11,000 Year Human Intelligence Experiment Ends—The End

  1. boozilla says:

    As always, thank you for your clarity. It’s quite the conundrum, knowing what to do….

    • bwinwnbwi says:

      Barbara J King

      Where I live, near Williamsburg, Virginia, it reached 100 degrees today, and according to meteorologists, felt like 108. All across the country, the story is the same: record-breaking heat.

      And now we know that these extreme temperatures (and lower water levels) are killing off many thousands of fish, who don’t have enough oxygen in lakes and rivers to survive. About 10,000 bluegills died in a single Tennessee lake.

      Here is news that makes me shiver.

      Barbara King is one of five contributors that I follow on the NPR blog: http://www.npr.org/blogs/13.7/

      Thanks for your comment and support. As you might suspect (and as the content of this blog infers), I am more than a little upset over the information in this post. Truth be told, I’ve lost my desire for blogging. Take care.

  2. lara hentz says:

    Thank you – as usual, great post!

  3. parentsfriend says:

    Have missed some of your posts. Are you posting less. Glad to get this one, althought pushed my down button. I get very fatalistic and then to agree with George Carlin that the Plasitc bags will long out live we humans. Staying strong is easy.

    • bwinwnbwi says:

      Thanks for the above support. Yes, I’m posting very little these days. If you read the NPR blogs on Global Warming you will notice that certain individuals (in their comments) are there to constantly knock science. There is a campaign, the soul purpose of its existence, I believe, is to promote doubt and disbelief concerning the causal nature Global Warming (protection of future profits no doubt). Yesterday, a virus hit my computer completely eliminating access to Microsoft word. Take care.

  4. Sigh. Tish B’Av is the three week period the Jews mourn all the bad in the world. On the finally day we mourn that no matter what we do we reach a limit in our efforts to bring about good. Facing some brute facts. Then for the remaining 364 days we must continue all our efforts to make the world a better place. Thank you for this. Pinned you on my Blog Hop Board. http://pinterest.com/pin/create/bookmarklet/

  5. Thanks for sharing this, Dave. It’s practically a plank in the Republican platform that global warming is just a natural cycle, is not caused by humans, and therefore requires no restrictions on any industry. It’s a combination of refusal to look at the evidence and greed, sort of “I’m relying on the fact that I (my company) can remain rich.” Infuriating!

    • bwinwnbwi says:

      Sad but true John. After I read the article above, it felt like my heart dropped out of my body–a kind of “left my heart at Wounded Knee experience.” In times that try mens/womens souls I have always been in the for-front of the protest lines. Marching on Washington (many times), sit-ins when and where appropriate. In a protest over Reagan’s military build up (the nuclear winter scenario that was predicted if those scare tactic times) I camped out front of the courthouse for two days in protest–and to raise consciousnesses. I don’t know if I raised anybody’s consciousness (perhaps one–the prosecuting attorney who, after listening to my concerns, decided not to throw me in jail). Anyway, I have no heart left–which is the other reason I’m not blogging anymore. Thanks for all your support. You’ve been a good friend! Enjoy this life-giving planet while she lasts, but (sarcastic giggle here) vote democratic.

  6. Mèo Lười Việt says:

    Long time no see! 🙂

  7. Mèo Lười Việt says:

    Hi! 😀

    • bwinwnbwi says:

      Right back at ya–Hi! As you can see from my absence I am not posting anymore. Maybe there’s a few more posts in me, but for the most part, I’m finished. Old age is hitting me hard and my wife of 27 years is in the hospital with a severe stroke. As far as this blog is concerned–I believe knowing when to end creative work is just as important as creating it. I hope you are doing well! Old age (even though we all desire it) is chuck full of challenges. Hopefully, the life we’ve lived (memories/sustenance) prepares us for those challenges. Waiting off stage, however, is the “love” that holds up the being of every other being, keeps it standing, and makes it what it is.

      “On the field of sunyata, each thing is itself in not being itself, and is not itself in being itself.”—Nishitani

      Take care and stay strong.

      • DAVE! I’m so sorry to hear about your wife! Talk about a life “chuck full of challenges,” you BOTH are dealing with a heavy load. Even if the world isn’t coming to an abrupt end, you probably don’t have the time or mental energy to keep up a blog. Here’s thinking about you (kid).

      • Mèo Lười Việt says:

        Yeah! I’m Okie. There’s some trouble here but I’m okie. This kind of thing happens to me frequently! 😀

  8. eof737 says:

    Sorry about Agnes and sending {{{HUGS}}} your way!

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