By Michael Haughey, June 10, 2009
Things are not well in the U.S. or in the rest of the world today. Yet two media events signal a reason for a glimmer of hope. No doubt there are many, many other reasons for hope. These two events, however, seem to signal the possible shift that so many have worked so hard to effect. But don’t get your hopes up too fast or without keeping your eyes, ears, and other senses wide open.
One media event was the broadcast, on live corporate media, ABC, of the media presentation Earth2100. I’m not sure if it is intended by the makers to be a documentary, a film, a marketing event, a way to gradually lull the populace into acceptance of the nearly inevitable, or perhaps some other motive. I’ll just refer to it as a media event. If you have not seen it, here is the link: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/Earth2100/Â . I recommend viewing it for yourself, and I’m assuming that can be done on the Internet (someone please respond with the easiest way to do that).
The event, in brief, shows a scenario through the year 2100 of climate change and the impact on a fictitious character Lucy, and others. It is in part, or largely, animation. The picture it paints is not pretty. It depicts a turning point in the year 2015 when a world assembly is unable to agree on a path for dealing with climate change. The choice to deal with climate change, as I recall, is something like a 30% reduction in carbon energy use by something like the year 2030. This is a bit of a straw man that is put up and might give the impression that a goal to save 30% (through some unspecified measures and compared to some unspecified baseline consumption) by 2030 might avert the worst consequences to humans of climate change. My sense from following this issue is that we have already passed a turning point in terms of CO2 (carbon dioxide) concentration (when it was 350 PPM (parts per million) per James Hansen). Physical processes tend to have a hysteresis, so I would expect that to undo that turning point, the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere would have to drop far below that turning point value. Maybe it needs to drop below 250 PPM or some other level. Pre-industrial levels were about 280 PPM and now it is 387 PPM and rising fast.
CO2 is unfortunately not the only climate change driver now. Another turning point may be in the works in the form of methane release. Huge amounts of methane are sequestered in frozen tundra (permafrost) and under the Arctic Ocean bottom in a sub-sea layer of permafrost. That methane is now releasing at an accelerating rate from thawing tundra and bubbling up from the ocean and other places as well. Methane has a global warming potential that is said to be from 21 to 30 times greater than that of CO2. The amount of methane in the atmosphere is relatively small, but enough to have an effect even at present levels. We will be hearing more of the term CO2 equivalent, which means a concentration of CO2 that is equivalent in terms of global warming impact to the actual mix of gasses in the atmosphere. CO2 and methane are the biggies, but there are others. I read in 2006 that methane and other gasses accounted for a CO2 equivalent of about 50 PPM in addition to the CO2. You can find some information about that in the Stern Report. “The amount of methane stored beneath the Arctic is calculated to be greater than the total amount of carbon locked up in global coal reserves” (from Independent.co.uk ,Exclusive: The methane time bomb, By Steve Connor, Science Editor, Tuesday, 23 September 2008). So it could be serious. Very serious.
The Earth 2100 media event mentions methane, however does not really put it in full perspective. The media event is predicated on the assumption that sea level rise will be about 6 feet by 2100 in this particular scenario. No one really knows, but it is worth mentioning that it could be a lot higher. There are basically three major sources of water for sea level rise. The one we have heard most about, and the only one accounted for in the IPCC 2007 report, is not really new water to the oceans, but water that is less dense due to warming. That is at most likely to account for just a few meters of sea level rise. Next is melting of glaciers on mountains, currently in progress, and worth a total potential of about 10 feet. The next source that has seen a lot of press recently, but is not included in the sea level rise predictions for the year 2100 is the melting of the land-based ice on Greenland, a potential of another 20 feet. Similarly, West Antarctica could account for another 20 feet. Finally, East Antarctica has enough land-based ice to account for another 170 feet of sea level rise. Many scientists don’t expect that to melt anytime soon, however we have to ask the question “what if” because all the previous predictions are now being exceeded. None of those predictions accounted for even the melting on Greenland let alone the potential release of methane or the melting of the land-based ice on East Antarctica. We, and I say we lightly as I probably won’t be around then, but “we” might wish the sea level rise would only be 6 feet.
The Earth2100 media event does “break the ice” in terms of corporate media exposure. Yet we must remain vigilant and make sure the corporate media does not put out a false scenario of what needs to be done that is likely in fact to be far, far less than what really needs to be done. What is really needed in my opinion is to reduce carbon output to less than 1990 levels about 5 years ago, to make all buildings net energy producers via aggressive energy conservation and use of renewable energy technologies, and to make all other energy uses very efficient and using only renewable energy. A tall order, yes. But also necessary in my opinion.
Press For Truth on KBDI Channel 12 in Broomfield, Colorado:
The other media event that gives rise to a glimmer of hope was the presentation of the documentary film “Press For Truth” on KBDI Channel 12 in Broomfield, Colorado. It was presented on television during their fund-raiser. Here is the link: http://www.kbdi.org/tv_schedule/program_details.cfm?series_id=27672920. While not corporate media, the presentation on KBDI was a first for a major TV broadcast. The documentary raises questions about the World Trade Center Tower demolitions on September 11, 2001. Questions that need to be answered and that so far have been seriously covered up.
The importance of this event lies in the implications of the forces that remain and that unless exposed are likely to continue to wreak havoc. This is not necessarily to say that individuals must be prosecuted, although certainly in some cases that will be appropriate and just. Lets just say the hippies of the 60’s got it right. It is the system. In spite of changes to the U.S. presidency and administration, the forces of that system remain fully in place. The unchecked “profit motive” and the fiduciary requirement of corporations to make a profit for shareholders above all other considerations remains in place. The granting of personhood and associated “free speech” rights to corporations that the U.S. Supreme Court has extended to allow lying as protected free speech has put the incredible power of corporate money ahead of the public good. That remains in place. The influence and power of both the wealthy and their paid lobbyists also remains. All this and more, taken together, has throughout history, and again on September 11, 2001, resulted in an event of unbelievable magnitude and implication. The World Trade Center Towers 1, 2, and 7 were brought down by controlled demolition. By whom and for what specific reasons? That is why we need an investigation that is complete, thorough, transparent, and independent. To find out. To learn. To make changes. The list of possible suspects is long indeed. The investigation may need to be international due to the probable conflicts of interest that will be difficult to know in advance of knowing the results.
The documentary “Press For Truth” lays out a small part of the case for a true investigation. There are many other films as well that make different parts of the case. It is a cause for optimism that KBDI Channel 12 Colorado has found the courage to air this film. We can hope many more TV networks will also find that same courage.
Remember that “9/11” has been the rallying cry for just about anything that those in power wanted to do to others that had no reasonable justification ever since. Two undeclared wars plus a “war on terror”, a war against a strategy, have been so justified. The loss of freedoms in the U.S. through the “Patriot Act” has been so justified. The U.S. lost its reputation in the court of world opinion because of the actions of the U.S. administration justified by “9/11”. Denouncement of dissent is another, although false patriotism has always been used toward that end. The list is long. Time is short.
The cause for optimism? The truth is leaking out, and more and more people are demanding answers.
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