Saturday, 24 March 2012

Austerity 2012: Osborne's Uskoreniye minus the Glasnost..

In 1986, five years before the formal collapse of the Soviet union, the twelfth and penultimate 'five year plan' for the economy was published. The essence of this document was the achievement of renewed progress (uskoreniye) through liberalisation and decentralisation accompanied by increased investment. Due to a cocktail of declining domestic oil production and plummeting export prices the USSR suffered a hard currency crisis, which eventually led Yeltsin to veto Russia's contribution to the Union budget in 1991, precipitating the ultimate breakup. The period between the publication of the 12th five year plan in the USSR and it's demise in 1991 will likely prove a historical precursor to the following five year period in the UK. The chancellor, George Osborne, this week issued his annual 'budget', which provides spending targets for the following fiscal year and forecasts for the next five. The similarities between Tory austerity in 21st century post peak oil capitalist Britain and Communist 'reform' in 20th century (post peak oil) USSR are striking. Before we consider them, it is vital to recognise that the existence of a notional 'opposition party' in the form of 'Labour' is relatively insignificant. As has been admitted by Brown era finance officials, including the former Chancellor of the Exchequer himself, Alistair Darling, if Labour were in power, we would still be enjoying the broad agenda of austerity - perhaps distributed differently - perhaps diluted over a slightly longer time period - but fundamentally the same.

As identified in a declassified CIA intelligence memorandum in 1977 entitled 'The Coming Soviet Oil Crisis' the Soviet union would, by the end of the 1980s, experience a shortage of hard currency, with serious economic ramifications, due to a peaking, and sharp decline of it's oil production. A similar thing has already occurred in the UK, but sterling has held strength thanks to the sheer inertia of the triple A credit rating that has allowed us to propped up the economy through international subsidy, and the relative weakness of our economic partners. As observed on this blog more than a year ago, the global economic recovery would peter out, and this would be widely blamed on the Eurozone crisis. Currently, things seem to be going as expected. The corruption of the corporate press empire has been revealed by the News of the World hacking scandal, and gradually details are emerging to the effect that it is revealed that this spans beyond the Murdoch realm. Whilst in the Soviet union, it was politburo issued decree that kept the likes of Pravda in line with the party ideology, censorship in the west is obscured by the illusion of 'competition' in both the political and business arena's. However, it is obvious that there is no economic incentive to admit the scale and causes of the crisis, so the corporate media continue to obfuscate and distract, as well as their allies in the Labour party, who seem to genuinely believe that by stimulating the demand side of the economy in the worshipped fashion of neo-Keynesian 'fiscal stimulus' will actually solve the problem.

However, they probably know better. Tim Jackson's seminal 'Prosperity Without Growth' was the one "economics book" if you can generalise like that, on Ed Miliband's reading list last summer. Surely he chose that for a reason? Furthermore, Miliband must be aware of the connection between peak oil (the big issue of the 'Transition Towns' movement) because he has engaged in - reluctant - public discussion on that very issue (link). Not many people know that, since it's generally a taboo topic for political coverage in the popular media. Osborne even went so far as declaring that his budget "seeks to repair the disastrous model of growth that created those (government) debts". Whilst it's probably fair to say that the Conservatives are generally still content with build up of debt in the private sector, in accordance with their convoluted faith in 'sustainable growth in the real economy', as if the public sector is somehow a 'fake' economy; it would at least appear that the are beginning to associate growth with debt.

The fact that Osborne specifically blamed the difficult economic circumstances on the high oil price is even more promising. There is even an 'all party parliamentary group on peak oil'. Do they actually know what's going on!? More than 20 of them seem to have at least some interest in the issue (click here for a membership list). Strangely when we search Hansard (the complete official record of all that is said in parliament), it appears that the issue of Peak Oil has not been materially debated in years. One of the big differences between the Soviet situation in 1986 and our situation in 2012 is the clear lack of transparency (what Gorbachev called 'Glasnost'). Now admittedly, Soviet authorities did not frequently discuss oil production issues - suffering from the same apparent fear of discussing actual production levels that their western equivalents share today - but they were prepared to discuss the 'crisis' in the context of declining export revenues - perhaps because of the financial emphasis of the word 'revenues' being not too heavily rooted in the real world. Former Labour party environment secretary and member of the all party parliamentary group on Peak Oil, Michael Meacher has gone on record stating that the cabinet is 'very well informed about such things' sic (see the documentary Oil, Smoke, and Mirrors). Perhaps they should decide to share that information with the public.

Monday, 11 July 2011

The phantom debt crisis and the 2011 recession.

The pundits would have you believe that Italy and Spain are about to be swept into the European Debt crisis, and that this is somehow going to bring down their economies, and possibly spark enough contagion to bring down others. That's nonsense.

First, we have a commodity bubble, then we have profit warnings, then the stock market stagnates, then investors loose confidence, then the market crashes, then the economy slumps. It happened in 2008 and they blamed it on mortgages, even though mortgage debt losses and all associated debts didn't match the bursting of the commodity bubble. This time there blaming it on the European debt bubble. Bubbles always burst. The question is why.

In 2011 worldwide growth is back with a spring in its step, demand has once again outpaced supply thanks to a constrained global market for oil, and thus pretty much everything else, because it all needs transporting. The cost of running a container ship for a day at sea has doubled this year alone, from $15,000 to $30,000. That's why profits are down again this summer.

Take Italy for instance, it's government is borrowing the equivalent of only 4% of the countries GDP each year, and that doesn't take into account the balancing effect money it's creditors lend out of Italy. Interest rates on 10 year government debt have moved to just over 5%. That only applies to money being borrowed today, not to bonds that have been sold in the past. Effectively therefore, the cost of the Italian government's spending deficit comes in at 0.2% of GDP. Given that is significantly lower than the amount actually being borrowed, the deficit is financially profitable. Simple arithmetic reveals all fears of a 'debt crisis' in this case to be a bad joke at best.

More to the point, investors fear falling tax receipts, which could make the deficit balloon. This scenario is highly realistic, given the bleak outlook for stock prices whilst commodities remain high. Also, although they are high, the boom seems to be stabilizing, and hungry bulls will have to look elsewhere for food. Therefore it's only logical that yields on sovereign debt will be bid up slightly whilst commodities remain high, for both reasons.

The news pretends to mindread investors by using headlines based on this "x/y rises/falls amid fears of..." template. Just because two things are 'amid' doesn't mean they are causing each other, they are just symptoms of the wider crisis in the system. They got it wrong in 2008, and they are getting it wrong in 2011, just as I predicted, how I predicted, when I predicted. But they run the place. Oh well. Perhaps the real problem is that there is no education system for middle aged prime ministers and presidents. 'Political school'; anyone? Didn't think so...

Friday, 17 June 2011

That age old debate between communism and capitalism is an illusion of socio-linguistics.

This one isn't for the faint of heart.

The (perceived) conflict between capitalism and communism is littered with intellectual misappropriation. These are just labels for social relations structures, that when analyzed, are to all intents and purposes identical. When we perceive distinctiveness in one or another we are simply noting conformity with one of our mentally preconceived definition matrices. These matrices incorporate various characteristics, and the way in which we see subconsciously selected these characteristics is influenced by the social relations system in which we live. In other words, the notion that there is an intrinsic difference between the two is simply an artefact of our recognition of differences in the socio-political stratification of nations.

The debate essentially concerns the distribution of power and ownership. Since the distribution of power and ownership is often illusory in nature, it is immediately difficult to form any clear classification criteria for political systems, capitalism and communism being two examples. It is commonly held belief that ‘communism’ is some form of social relations structure that sees power and wealth in the hands of the state, on behalf of the people. ‘In capitalism’, the argument may be that hierarchy is determined according to private property, and that the state power of the otherwise ‘communist’ system is subjugated to the capitalist individual. The idea that there is some significant difference between individuals operating as the state and individuals operating as a corporation is an artefact of linguistic expediency. Our labelling of social relations system according to ownership hierarchies is done only with the intention of advancing whichever form of ownership we want to advance, otherwise, there would be no need for distinctions.

Pre-civilization living was hierarchical, but was not capitalist. Individuals contributed as component parts of whichever nomadic tribe they belonged to, and the lack of economic competition is the defining difference between pre-civilization social relations and civilization social relations. The development of hierarchical civilizations generated political conflicts, and in turn these political conflicts came to be defined by differences in opinion about how the hierarchies should be styled. In reality, all ‘politicians’ advocated hierarchy by definition, since they themselves sought to gain power, which axiomatically implies hierarchy at least in the sense of a power relativism. The descriptions of the politicians proposed tweaks to hierarchy were motivated in much the same way as modern day product marketing is. Descriptions such as ‘capitalism’ and ‘communism’ can be seen to be, by their very nature, non academic, since they did not arise of curiousness, rather out of greed and politics, money and power.

So the difference between these two systems essentially rests on the idea that power changes form according to who holds it. The ‘state’ and the ‘corporation’ are anthropogenic social constructions, and as such communism and capitalism are anthropogenic social constructs, since they derive their respective definitions from these institutions; except, the state and the corporation are not institutions in their own right, they are merely examples of many possible extensions of the economic (distributive) ‘institution’. An institution must have a responsibility unique to itself, and that is why the state and the corporation cannot be regard as whole institutions in the classic sense, because they share the purpose of distribution, albeit seeking to do so in differing ways. A corporation could well be viewed as a microcosm of a state, the only relevant difference being the cosmetic one between geographical national boundaries and social business agreements. Thus, capitalism is a form of ‘social-ism’ whereas communism is a form of ‘geographical-ism’. When we see that ‘social-ism’ is a distributive system on a geographical scale that is defined similarly to what is regarded as ‘communism’ the definitions are blurred to the point of insignificance.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Here we go again...

The sheer irony of the current economic outlook is simply breathtaking. In 2008, the mighty Lehman brothers, leveraged to the hilt, were knocked out of businesses by a small spike in oil prices that contributed to the bursting the hose price inflation bubble. You might not be surprised to learn that banks such as Lehman helped arrange complicated balance transactions designed to conceal the level of Greece's debt.

When you think about it, the correlation between the high point of this oil price cycle and Greece's current troubles makes perfect sense. As the cost of running public services is driven up slightly by the price of oil, the budget (arranged when the price per barrell was substantially lower) just won't make ends meet. As you may have noticed, the oil price bubble seems to have stagnated, falling from $125 p/b to $115 p/b over the last month. Those investors who were riding the gravy train upwards now need a new source of income to compensate for the declining value of their oil asset. What better than to pick on the weakest kid and sell greek debt to drive up yields (and then arrange to re purchase them at higher interest with convenient conditions attatched)...

The country is now on the brink of bankruptcy- with yields (effectively interst rates) on 2 year debt up to 28% p/a. There is simply no way the Greek government can afford to borrow any more money. The ponzi scheme is over. Greece is now living off pay day loans, and the loan shark is bringing out the baseball bat. On a back of the paper calculation, Greece would have to start growing 15% a year to possibly sustain its current debt burden without immediate assistance. They're currently in a 6% a year recession.

In the UK, figures just released show retail sales slumped 1.4% in May. Did I predict that one of the symptoms of the coming crash would be a decline in retail sale volumes? Essentially yes; I argued that one of the factors in the 2008 crash was a decline in retail shares- obviously linked to sales- in turn linked to the "credit crunch"- and most importantly, oil. None of these signs bode well for anyone. The market is more vulnerable now than it was in 2008, like a rabbit in a tiger cage, all it can hope for is that the tiger start fighting each other over it, and it can escape in the meantime. The analogy here is that the different economic jitters we face right now could to some extent offset each other. If growth stumbles, inflation will too, and so might interstest rates on European debt. However, it's almost inconveicably unlikely that the right "balance" between the different crisis will come about by chance. Investors are acting with a predator mentality with no regard for sustainability in their decision making. "Every man for himself" pretty much sums up the current situation.

A greek default could be significant enough to wipe out enough of bank balance sheets to close the gap between assets and liabilities that allow them to keep lending. That's why the debt crisis has potentially major ramifications for the entire European economy. We should be worrried; very worried.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Shock horror, cutting carbon could worsen global warming!

It is the exhortation of the politically correct media and left wing politicians that reducing carbon emissions will reduce the rate of average global warming. However, after much investigating I have found that this little polemic falls foul of a classic academic assumption that I detest. This is the "ceteris paribus" assumption, a Latin phrase that literally means "everything else being equal". The big black hole in the carbon myth is that everything else is not equal.

Before we delve further into the wonders of this inconvenient truth, I must declare that I am NOT a climate skeptic. The science behind the IPCC forecasts is solid, but what is not so solid is the economics behind it. The IPCC's emissions scenarios, which project future fossil fuel consumption are only made possible by the data of the International Energy Agency on reserves of these fuels. I hasten to add that countless environmentalists have poured scorn over the IEA's information, and with good reason- the IEA simply trusts declared reserves given to them by the various countries which they survey. These reserve figures are known to be a political artifact, fraudulently inflated to boost asset values (read: "investor confidence").

Now it might seem that this is irrelevant. If the IEA has exaggerated reserves, then we won't be able to emit the disastrous quantities of carbon that the IPCC's projected emissions scenarios rely on. On the other hand, if the IEA's reserves are correct, then climate change is still game on. However, things are not quite as simple as this.

The burning of fossil fuels contributes to concentrations of aerosol chemicals in the atmosphere, which have a short term cooling effect. Because they don't last long, the atmospheric concentration is highly responsive to changes in emissions. Carbon dioxide, on the other hand, has a long term heating effect, but unlike aerosol's, if you were to cease emissions, the atmospheric concentration would not rapidly plummet. The total radiative heating effect of all greenhouse gases is (2005) 2.45 W/M^2 (watts per meters squared) with a range of 2.18 to 2.7. However, this needs to be adjusted for the cooling effect of atmospheric aerosol, which gives us a figure of 1.41 W/M^2 with a range of 0.41 to 2.2. For the sake of transparency, I have calculated these from the parts per million concentrations of greenhouse gas equivalents and atmospheric aerosol's at (pro global warming site) and the IPCC's (pro global warming) formula of 5.35*log(new concentration/288)= radiative heating effect.

It is immediately apparent that drastic emission cuts would also lead to a collapse in the cooling effect of atmospheric aerosol's - to disastrous consequences- something that environmentalist James Lovelock lucidly explains in his book "The Vanishing Face of Gaia". Using the mid range figures, there would be a warming effect of 1.04 extra W/M^2, compared to today. The warming effect of the loss of atmospheric cooling aerosol's would ironically be greater than all the warming effect of greenhouse gas pollution in the last 35 years, except it would be much more sudden. It is proposed that carbon emissions are reduce by 80% on 1990 levels by 2050, although, for the sake of argument, let's say we were to eliminate them all within 10 years. The saving in terms of the prevented rise in carbon dioxide equivalents excluding aerosol would be in the order of 30 parts per million, yet the overall increase in total atmospheric forcing would be greater than the saving made by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

According to data table 6.1 of the IPCC's most recent global warming study (2005 data), the total forcing of aerosols is -1.2, whereas the positive forcing of long lived greenhouse gases (Carbon Dioxide, Methane, Nitrous Oxide, and tropospheric Ozone) is 2.65. Halocarbons add an additional 0.34 W/M^2 but these have short term lifespans and are in any case being successfully and rapidly phases out so in the long term they are essentially an irrelevance. It is however misleading to give real figures, since what is really relevant is the change. For instance, the sun has an enormous forcing (over 1300) but the long term changes are very small. Around 1/2 of the forcing effect of the long lived greenhouse gases (LLGHGS) is of anthropogenic (man made) origin- there were lots of them there before we polluted the atmosphere with some extra. Overall, the positive forcing anthropogenic LLGHGS is balanced out by anthropogenic aerosols. The warming of the 21st century is attributable to the net difference between the two that only occurs due to short term minor greenhouse gases that are being phased out. We should, in other words, expect to see a reversal of the warming trend as the positive forcings decrease to match the level of negative forcings over the next few decades as the short term gases are phased out and disappear from the atmosphere. However, there is incessant political will to reduce LLGHG emissions, and thus stop the industrial processes associated with them that keep up the aerosol levels. The 21st century warming, of 0.8 deg C, attributable to the net forcing of 0.3-1 W/M^2 could be dwarfed if aerosol levels fell, leaving humanity, in Lovelock's words, to feel "the full force" (sic) of the anthropogenic greenhouse effect.

No matter how fast emissions cuts are carried out, the collapse of atmospheric aerosol concentrations is a long term inevitability. Interestingly, the IPCC does not give a forecast for these, even though it gives a forecast for all other radiative heating/cooling gases. Despite this being extremely mysterious, it only highlights the fact that a big jump in total CO2 equivalents from the figure including aerosol cooling to the figure excluding it. That would already put us on course for the 2 degree warming everyone is trying to avoid. Somebody has messed up big time with the plan to save the planet by reducing GHG emissions. It seems we really are stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Shale gas puts trick in magic trick.

1000 years of supply, 10000 years of supply, who knows. Some of the claims that are being banded about about the big shale gas plays would make the return of Christ seem unexciting by comparison. It is not often mentioned that the energy return on investment for shale gas is so negligibly positive at best, that you'd have to reinvest equivalent to say 95% of the resource just in getting it all out of the ground; and that's if there is any "ground" left after you have blown it to smithereens and polluted it to hell with the extraction process.

Hydraulic fracturing, the literally explosive process by which gas can be extracted from tight shale bed rock has been available since the 60s, as have all of the companies that you would regard as "big oil"- household names like BP, Exxon, Shell, Total, and so on. Proponents of shale gas claim that "new technology" has opened up shale bed gas as a new resource, which is nonsense. The big oil companies new how to do it all along, the just didn't want to do it, it doesn't make money.

The "frack job" of almost sexually inappropriate proportions by drilling company "Caudrilla" in Blackpool, England, has been revealed as the cause of two EARTHQUAKES last week, and has been put on hold (no surprise). Shale gas is already the culprit of (severe) groundwater toxic pollution- which occurs when the chemicals in the fracking solution permeate through porous rock into underground groundwater aquifiers - and is thought to cause as much as 2.5 times as much greenhouse gas pollution than coal, but now it causes earthquakes as well, whatever next! No wonder big oil has avoided it like the plague.

Shale gas "discoveries" allowed the IEA (International Energy Agency) to double it's numbers for global gas reserves, not that the shale gas had magically appeared, it had just been declared recoverable due to the entry of shale gas drilling firms into the market. To outside observers, it might have seemed as if the IEA had some sort of magic wand when it came to gas reserves, how could a finite resource always increase in size?

The oil as gas companies are responsible for the reserve growth miracle. It's not that they discover the oil/gas, it was nearly all discovered decades ago, they just keep enough of it in their back pocket to declare in the future, that way they can always (appear to) offset production with new discoveries. The word discoveries should be substituted for "revelations"; more appropriate for the conjuring trick style business they get up to with the numbers. You don't have to look far to find the oil companies boasting about the miracle of reserve growth, each year their annual reports are plastered with factoids explain that they have more than last year, despite production, without explaining how the magic trick works.

It's common sense that if shale gas was profitable, big oil would have got in the game years ago, their geologists knew about the reserves and they had the technology. The fact that the shale gas boom has minions such as Caudrilla in the UK and Chesapeak Energy in the US at the helm is testament to the equally magical nature of the modern business system. I muse that these companies only need the "prospect" that shale gas delivers to convince the gullible banksters to lend them some money. Before long, governments will hopefully make the sensible decision to ban shale gas drilling and avoid runaway climate change (if that is still possible). In doing so, they'll crash the boom and destroy a hefty chunk of those loans that Caudrilla and Chesapeak won't be able to repay, unless they really can do magic.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Welcome to the climate casino! Good luck.

Everyone knows that smoking causes cancer, sure, not in all cases, and sure, it's not quite proven, but since the 1950s we've known that there is a damn good correlation between those death sticks and, well, dying. As it happens, climate change is not strictly speaking "proven", but since the world has been warming up in correlation with greenhouse gas emissions from pre-indsutrial times, you'd be pretty stupid to deny the link. The correlation could be a coincidence, sure. As could the correlation between lung cancer deaths and smokers. Big coincidence don't you think? Oh boy, looks like that link between greenhouse gases and temperature stretches back millions of years. Must be an even bigger coincidence!

This graph could define the climate change debate in the coming years, at least until the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) publishes its next assessment report, due in 2014.

It is commonly believed by those who think they know, that the concentration of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere is around 390 parts per million (PPM) giving us a good chance of avoiding dangerous climate change that will occur above 2-3 degrees. It is perfectly true that the concetration of CO2 in the atmosphere is about 390 PPM, but assuming that we still have time to stabilize this concetration at safe levels is based on a misinterpretation of the graph. Yesterday, the Guardian reported that even the 2 degree target that world leaders are prepared to risk is almost out of reach, with the International Energy Association's chief economist, Fatih Birol, commenting that it was a "nice utopia". In reality, the "exclusive" nature of the Guardian's report was slightly out of date.

If you look carefully at the graph, it does not actually measure CO2 at all, it measures something called "CO2 eq", which basically means all greenhouse gases, including for instance methane and CFCs. The potency of these emissions are also measured and adjusted as if they were CO2 to give a ballpark figure for the total amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The blue line on the graph shows the lowest conceivable eventual average global temperature increase for a given CO2 eq stabilization level (and were not even stable yet), the red line shows the highest, and the black line is what is expected. Given that the concentration of CO2 eq is not 390 PPM, but a frightening 470 PPM or thereabouts (the latest figures I had were two years old so I had to conservatively continue the trend to get this number but It makes little difference) you can see we have almost no chance of meeting the 2 degree target. It could even be worse than that. I collected as much information I could on previous CO2 eq calculations, and was only able to find them from 2001, 2004, 2007, and 2008. The picture is clear, the concentration is increasing exponentially. Between 01 and 04 it rose 4.33 parts per million per year, from 412 to 415, from 04 to 07 it rose 6.66 parts per million per year, from 425 to 445, from 2007 to 2008 it rose another 19 parts per million, and I have no figures after that but it could be over 500 now. Fatih Birol's "nice utopia" comment satisfies polite standards of newsprint but it would be clearer to say that we haven't got a f**k's chance in hell.

Have they, the politicians, given up? Or is the just some sort of nightmarish mistake? Furthermore, the concentration of CO2 eq is rising more than twice, possibly three times as quick as the concetration of CO2 alone. The rise cannot just be accounted for by anthropogenic (human) emissions, which indicates that natural "positive feedbacks" such as the melting of artic permafrost (which contains methane) have already begun. This is truly terrifying. As Nafeez Ahmed explains in this recent (and excellent) book - "A user's guide to the crisis of civilization" - CO2 eq concentrations rose from 425 PPM to 445 PPM from 2004 to 2007. (4.7% a year). CO2 concentrations alone rose 0.7% a year. However, human emissions of CO2 are much more significant than human emissions of the other greenhouse gases that account for the difference between CO2 alone and the CO2 eq figure, so the increased rate of change is probably driven by natural emissions of methane. Anthropogenic emissions of other greenhouse gases beyond CO2 and Methane are mostly falling, so it seems as if we have entered the era of runnaway climate change. Is that why they are not bothering to do anything about it?

Suppose we completely eliminated Carbon Dioxide emissions immediately. Of course, this is impossible, but let's be optimistic. Very optimistic. We would elimiate just 0.7% of the 4.7% a year rise in CO2 eq atmospheric concetrations, the stuff that really matters.

If I haven't made any big mistakes, then there is clearly little point in bothering about a low carbon economy any more. Even geoengineering, most viable forms of which remove only CO2, not the others, from the air, isn't going to address the problem of seemingly runaway natural methane emissions. Some clever clogs better think up a way of solving this problem or the shit is going to hit the fan big time. Be preapared. They probably won't. Firstly, hardly anybody understands the real problem, they are focusing on the out of date problem of carbon emisisons. Secondly, nobody who does understand has the money to do anything worthwhile.

So it is clear, either the people who run the world made a horrible mistake by focusing on CO2 when it wasn't the whole problem, or they knew, but couldn't be bothered to do anything about it for political reasons, in which case you can hardly blame the people who voted for them. Sure, many were gullible, but it's hardly as if they were well informed by the media. The best selling newspapers frequently run articles denying climate change. Most (in fact nearly all) of the worlds poor had never even heard of the damn thing, and it's hardly as if they were to blame anyway. Sooner or later, people are going to start getting very angry. The blame game could be nasty, but if it is direct at the right people, it serves them right.

When I was much younger, I remember my Dad once told me that we might only have 10 years to fix the climate. You can imagine why I was puzzled that as I grew up, the news continued to say that we had 10 years, for at least 10 years. Had time stopped, no, I suspect they just didn't want to admit that it was runnig out. Either that or they were just stupid. That was at least 10 years ago. I hope they were stupid; ignorance is far preferable than maliciousness, but something tells me that they thought they were trying to be kind by not telling people quite how bad it was. For years, I went along, pretending to myself that we still had time. Yet gradually I began to realise that we didn't. It seemed as if whatever anybody did or said, nobody would listen. Ok, a few did, but not enough, not nearly enough. I was astonished that the Green movement thought that just because one book had failed to bring about change, another would. Sure, climate change gained "prominence", but this didn't translate into any meaningfull action on a global scale. I guess people were niave to think that they could change the world. Despite what the globalists say, it really is much bigger than it was in the past. It's more difficult to get 7 billion people to act than 2 billion. The little people weren't to blame anyway. It was hardly as if they knew. How could they be expected to discern between the truth of the green movement and the bombardment of corporate sponsored media misinformation on climate change. Most of them weren't even literate.

In terms of who is to blame, it is the people who run the world, as well as the rich few who elect and finance them. I suppose you can't blame their "live for the moment" attitude, but you can certainly blame their ridiculous refusal to convert their lifestyle into a low carbon one, which would have been just as pleasant. Still, most of the rich few who caused the trouble didn't know. The worker zombies of the west were so overburdened with the hasseles of modern life, they were physchologically imprisoned by an elaborate daily routine predicated upon individualist economic competition. How were they supposed to learn about climate change if they didn't even have time after work to make a proper dinner, and had to have take-aways or ready meals?

The coming climate crisis brings with it many risks. We mustn't let anybody who doesn't deserve the blame recieve it, since this could lead to war, as it did in the late 1930s when the Jewish people of Germany were made scapegoats for the global economic crisis.

Far more terrifying than any political ramifications is the guarantee that exceeding the 2-3 degree tipping point means at least 4-8 degrees of warming above pre-industrial temperatures by the end of the century. Pre-industrial global temperatures averaged 13.5 degrees celcius, so average global temperature by the end of the century could exceed 20 degrees. That would burn the rainforests, melt the last remaining ice from the ice caps, and fry the planet. Forest loss could add a further 600 parts per million to the atmopshere, taking the total concentration far beyond 1000 parts per million, when all the other positive feedbacks are factored in, the planet would truly roast, and humans would die like a lobster in a bioling saucepan. Average global temperatures of 20 degrees celcius or more may not seem to bad, but when you consider that is an average, meaning that a distribution curve of days/frequency against temperature would show almost no cold days and lots of roasting hot days, there would never be enough time for water to be absorbed by the land before it evaporated, maing it near impossible to grow crops, let alone rer animals (which eat them) in almost every part of the world apart from the poles. Climate justice? You betcha!