Geoffrey Chia

The Economic-Oil Nexus (EON) Part 1: Why have low oil prices and various economic stimuli over the past several years failed to restore global economic growth?

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on November 24, 2019

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By Geoffrey Chia, November 2019

EONpart1flowchart

I recently listened to a podcast from the "Counterpunch" website on oil and the global economy which I found disappointing. https://store.counterpunch.org/jp-sottile-episode-140/ JP Sottile certainly appeared knowledgeable about the geopolitics of oil in the Middle East but exhibited zero understanding of Peak Oil which he therefore declared to be “garbage”. He asserted that the idea of Peak Oil was a ploy to create “artificial scarcity” to prop up oil prices. He subscribed to the common delusion that current low oil prices disprove Peak Oil and indicate that oil must be abundant and will remain so for the foreseeable future, a completely wrong-headed view. http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/blog/2017/07/13/the-economics-of-unconventional-oils-externalities-be-damned/

He repeated the mainstream mantra that there is now a “chronic oil glut”, a completely erroneous way of looking at things. Gross liquid hydrocarbon output may have risen since 2006 but net production of true oil has actually been flat or fallen. http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/blog/2019/01/02/how-business-as-usual-has-been-pursued-since-2006-by-escalating-fraud-and-environmental-vandalism/#comment-10693

He also repeated the misleading factoid that the largest oil reserves in the world are in Venezuela, a useful meme to imply that Venezuela's current economic problems are entirely due to their own mismanagement. I cannot say often enough that the only economically valuable sources of oil are high EROEI or “easy oil” sources and low EROEI sources such as Venezuela's vast Orinoco heavy oil deposits are of NO economic value, no matter how much technically recoverable oil they are theoretically supposed to have (if harvested, low EROEI sources actually exhibit NEGATIVE value). This is why China has no interest in Venezuela but is deeply interested in Iran, Iraq (which is moving politically closer to Iran), Russia and the Caspian states which, after the Saudi client state of the US, are the locations with the largest remaining reserves of high EROEI oil. There is NO “break-even” price at which unconventional oils become economically worthwhile, using honest accounting. Low EROEI sources only get harvested on the basis of market fraud and government subsidies/tax breaks and NOT because they can ever generate any profit in a sane market.

Sottile also stated that the “end of oil is on the horizon” because we will transition to electric vehicles powered by renewable energy and because we will voluntarily choose to reduce our carbon emissions. His views mirrored commentary from the “Economist” magazine, flagship propaganda rag of the establishment, in their recent issue regarding the IPO of Saudi Aramco https://www.economist.com/printedition/2019-11-02.

Let us be clear: Firstly there is no prospect we will ever be able to transition en mass from oil powered to electric vehicles to enable ongoing pursuit of “business as usual” or anything resembling “usual”. Such views reflect profound ignorance of the physics and chemistry (especially energy densities) of fuels, of thermodynamics, of energy extraction, conversion, storage and distribution issues and of the life cycle embodied energies of vehicles and transport infrastructure and how they are constructed (themselves requiring liquid hydrocarbon fuels in the process). I invoke yet again the incisive and comprehensive quantitative analyses of Alice Friedemann of http://energyskeptic.com/ who has put paid to those mainstream delusions.

Secondly, although we certainly need to reduce carbon emissions to mitigate against the worst possible climate outcomes, the unfortunate reality is that the Military-Industrial-Corporate-State addiction to oil, massively overwhelms any and all good intentions. Addicts do not “choose” to do things, they are compelled to do things because of circumstances forced upon them. We will ultimately be forced to abandon oil due to the depletion of high EROEI petroleum and because of our failure to plan over the past few decades. Energy descent will not happen calmly and systematically. The window for peaceful change has long gone. Reality will relentlessly drag us yelling, kicking and screaming into a harsh future of poverty and deprivation and many will lash out violently in the process. The Hobbesian war of all against all. We are going Cold Turkey, much as Kurt Vonnegut wrote in in his famous essay back in 2004: http://inthesetimes.com/article/cold_turkey What have human beings learned since then? Absolutely nothing.

To be fair, Sottile seemed to be expressing opinions that he held honestly, no matter how wrong-headed. In that respect it may be inappropriate to lump him in the same category as those lying, malicious global warming deniers or deceitful establishment economic prostitutes, many of whom are touted as academic "experts". One big problem of such “experts” is that of tunnel vision within their microscopic field of choice, their inability to see the big picture. Another problem is that many such pseudo-experts are simply bonkers, especially the amoral Neoclassical Neoliberal Austrian/Chicago Economic School sociopaths such as Hayek and Friedman. Such overblown pseudo-experts (who may even have been awarded the Nobel prize for economics – which is not an actual Nobel prize) promote the vested financial interests of the 0.1%. They are immensely useful idiots, the high priests of Capitalism and hence must be lionised and worshipped by the mainstream media. Their reputations have been vastly inflated by the establishment, far above their woefully limited intellectual capacities, not to mention their woeful lack of moral fibre. Profits above people are the only things which matter, except when giving backhanders to your fellow crony capitalists. We should remember that Adam Smith himself wrote “the theory of moral sentiments” before he wrote “the wealth of nations”. Although he was the original “free market” classical economist, Smith was deeply concerned about ethical regulation and governance to reduce human suffering and enhance well being, unlike the Neoclassical conartists.

There are many other overblown and overrated celebrants, proponents and apologists for the Western Industrial Capitalist system pervading the internet, Jordan Peterson and Steven Pinker being among the most prominent. But hey, if you can cultivate an impressive shock of white hair, carefully coiffed to resemble that of Einstein, then people gotta believe you are real smart, don't they? Notwithstanding such pulchritudinous follicular triumph, genuinely smart people like Richard Wolff and Noam Chomsky have thoroughly and convincingly demolished the platforms of Peterson and Pinker respectively, showing them up to be the mediocre useful idiots they actually are. The fact that Peterson confessed to be an avid fan of Bjorn Lomborg, another absurd pretender, is proof positive he is a microcephalic scientific ignoramus. On the other hand, Peterson is smart enough to know he ain't that smart. After bombastically issuing a public challenge to all comers, he wisely declined to debate Richard Wolff about Marxist economics, knowing he was out of his depth and would be savaged like a sheep by Wolff.

SP in elegant, pensive pose: Sartorially, a pulchritudinous follicular triumph. Intellectually, a sloppy, cringeworthy embarrassment.

JP pontificating on throne: give due credit that he is smart enough to know he ain't that smart. Also remembers to flush after vacating said throne.

As mentioned above, it is not just one idea but many ideas that we need to juggle in our heads simultaneously to try to achieve a proper understanding of our current circumstances. Mathematically and quantitatively this is an impossible task for any single individual, however the Limits to Growth scientists did an admirable job addressing this difficulty by careful computer modelling conducted more than 45 years ago. Their standard model has held up incredibly well with modern day reality. In an effort to subjectively illustrate the dynamic interaction of multiple contemporary factors within a complex framework, I devised this simple 3 dimensional model as a visual aid to understanding: https://cassandralegacy.blogspot.com/2017/12/the-seneca-cliff-explained-as-network.html

I am saying nothing new here which I have not already stated before, but will try to summarise the essentials in a cogent manner, hopefully more clearly than I have previously, this time adding flow charts. I will highlight key concepts and omit less important considerations which might detract and distract from those key concepts. It is impossible to be more comprehensive without writing a multitude of more detailed essays employing graphs and diagrams with appended supportive references (which I have already done previously).

Insert EONflowchart.jpg here

This article, “EON Part1” attempts to answer the apparently simple question: "why have low oil prices and various economic stimuli over the past several years failed to restore global economic growth to the way things were before the crash of 2008/9?"

That question is predicated on certain historical observations noted prior to the world reaching the peak/plateau of conventional oil output in 2006: that high oil prices in the past tended to cause inflation and economic recession, and that low oil prices in the past tended to stimulate productivity and economic growth. I will tackle the answer(s) to that two part question in two parts as well.

Answer to part 1 of the question: Low Oil Prices:

The question itself is flawed in the context of our new post Peak Oil situation because it looks at things in a flawed manner. Confusion reigns supreme because we are attempting to see things through the distorted lens of price. Oil price is a flawed derived variable, subject to all sorts of manipulations and distortions, which I assert is unimportant. I will repeat that. Oil price is unimportant. What is important to consumers, to businesses, to enterprises which provide real services and produce real items of real material value in the real world, is oil affordability. It does not matter if oil is "cheap" now. If my business was destroyed by the Global Financial Crisis in 2009 and I have been unable to build things up again, if my income stream is presently a mere trickle, I cannot now afford to buy significant amounts of that "cheap" oil, certainly nowhere near the amount that used to drive my previous profligate middle class lifestyle. I cannot return to those heady pre-2009 high consumption days. Decimation of the high consumption middle classes has caused destruction of demand, a key concept.

At its most basic, price is a reflection of supply versus demand. Pre Peak Oil, low oil prices were largely a reflection of increasing oil supply and did at that time largely reflect affordability. Post Peak Oil, low oil prices are largely an enduring result of demand destruction and are therefore NOT a reflection of affordability, certainly not by the majority of the population.

It is possible to have low oil prices in the presence of declining oil supply, if the demand and supply are both declining in tandem or especially if demand is destroyed at a greater rate than supply.

The first part of the question posed should therefore NOT be "why have current low oil prices failed to restore economic growth?" but should be rephrased as "why is the questioner still trapped in a pre Peak Oil mindset?"

Also confusing the picture is the interplay between economic/financial policies and oil production, which did not unfold in a manner any sane person could have reasonably anticipated prior to the peak of conventional oil. Sane people could never have predicted the whole scale, open slather rape of the environment to harvest unconventional oils, driven by outright fraud and Ponzi madness to fund scams which hopelessly failed to break even financially, much less produce profits. Yes, this insanity did forestall the net decline in oil supply, but at horrific cost. Foolish suckers like BHP Billiton can attest to that.

We need to clarify and better define confusing terminology: low oil prices and cheap oil do not mean the same thing. “Cheap” oil cannot truly be called “cheap” if it is unaffordable by the majority. Just because the oil price is now low compared to historic highs does not mean oil is cheap. Unconventional oils are in reality very expensive to extract and transport (mostly by diesel vehicles, not by pipeline) but they have been rendered “cheap” by the flood of low interest money loaned to suckers who will ultimately lose their shirts when the unconventional oil scams collapse. Unconventional oils have been subsidised by stupidity. Furthermore these low EROEI expensive oils simply cannot be sold in the market unless price matched to higher EROEI conventional oil, which is truly “cheap” to harvest and transport.

Answer to Part 2 of the question: Low Interest Rates:

But what about the current low interest rates? Surely that should stimulate former bankrupted small business owners, previously crushed by the heavy weight of irredeemable debt, to now borrow heaps of fiat money again from those wonderful banks to resurrect their former businesses back to pre 2009 glory? And if they can do that, surely their former customers, also now in financial dire straits, can also access cheap money from the banks to buy more goods and services from those small businesses, all those activities driving up the national GDP? One response to this scenario is the phrase "once bitten, twice shy". There is nothing to prevent the banks from raising their interest rates without warning once they have snared the borrower in debt.

However the main answer here lies in who is actually being offered the cheap loans. Is it the small business battlers who lost all their assets after 2009, who may now be deemed unacceptable credit risks by the banks, or are those cheap loans mainly going to large corporations who claim to have massive assets (e.g. huge coal or oil deposits) in their glossy brochures? Professor Richard Wolff has stated that it is largely the latter being given the cheap money. And what have those corporations done with that cheap money? They have bought back their own publicly listed shares (an act previously deemed illegal but now permitted in the deregulated economy) resulting in inflation of their share prices, without any reinvestment in real infrastructure and without increasing real productivity. This has been demonstrated by the huge increases in price/earnings ratios of many large companies over the past several years. Share price rises have fuelled a monumental Ponzi stock market, while also funding insane negative value scams such as Shale Oil. Why engage in share buyback? Because CEO salary bonuses are tied to the company share prices. Furthermore those CEOs know their particular industries have no future, so reinvestment is pointless and they may as well take the money and run.

What is the consequence of the former middle class small business owners or employees now relegated to slave wages in Walmart or Costco, not having access to cheap money and not being able to bootstrap themselves back to middle class wealth again? It is the enduring phenomenon of demand destruction: those folks still cannot afford to buy much "cheap oil", which keeps the oil demand low and hence oil prices low. How many such people have been affected? Literally hundreds of millions of formerly high consuming people in the so-called first world countries. A huge proportion of the former middle class of the USA has been reduced to penury. We have seen the destruction of the entire middle classes of the European PIIGS countries, even extending to France as evidenced by the “yellow vest” protests. Retail establishments have been closing and businesses failing at rates never seen before which cannot be explained by the rise of online shopping alone but can be explained by consumption destruction and demand destruction. https://www.businessinsider.com.au/retail-apocalypse-start-of-2019-more-store-closures-all-of-2018-2019-4?op=1&r=US&IR=T

Students see poor economic prospects for themselves and increasing swathes of graduates find themselves eking a living out as baristas or waiters or cleaners while simultaneously being saddled with massive student debts they will never be able to repay. Many from southern Europe have left or are leaving their home countries for (illusory) greener pastures overseas, causing their home countries to lose even more of their future tax base and their working populations e.g. Greece and Spain.

The rising middle class within China, although substantial, has done little to offset this phenomenon. Their construction of high speed electric railways and plans to electrify all their road vehicles has helped and will help to reduce their demand for oil and hence blunt rises in the world oil price. However such measures have not and will not eliminate their absolute need for oil for their industrial economy to function.

To summarise: Current low oil prices are largely the result of destruction of oil demand which was the result of the collapse of millions of businesses, investments and retirement funds around the world, which was the result of the default of irredeemable debt imposed on unwary borrowers by predatory lenders.

Debt defaults were accelerated by the Peaking/Plateauing of net oil production. When net oil production becomes flat, real material growth grinds to a halt and ongoing debts become impossible to service.

Debt entrapment had been facilitated by "financial innovations" such as sub-prime lending, bogus derivatives (e.g. collateralised debt obligations) and bogus assurances (e.g. credit default swaps). Those giant scams were facilitated by the deregulation of the banks e.g. Clinton overturning Glass-Steagall in 1999.

A similar mechanism of predatory lending e.g. German banks offering irredeemable debt to Greece was the underlying basis for the eventual Greek economic collapse, causing penury, decimation of their public services and ongoing enforcement of impoverishment to service their ongoing debt (i.e. austerity). This is literally killing many ordinary Greeks.

We may now well see a gradual increase in demand for oil with the current ongoing low oil prices, which may transiently increase economic output, however that “growth” will undoubtedly be destroyed again by the inevitable subsequent rise in oil prices and ongoing relentless decline in high EROEI sources. Fluctuating oil prices overlying a stuttering contraction of the global economy was a solid prediction of Peak Oil theory more than a decade ago. When economic activities eventually contract to the delivery of only bare subsistence goods and services, when consumers no longer have any discretionary expenditure, there will be a final skyrocketing of oil prices causing rampant hyperinflation which will very likely trigger war(s). That will represent the end game for global industrial civilisation.

 

 

 

 

 

OPEN LETTER TO GRETA THUNBERG

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on October 6, 2019

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by Geoffrey Chia, October 2019

Dear Ms Thunberg,

It is with some hesitation I pen this letter. If you ever read this, which is unlikely, it may seem but one more of numerous missives from complete strangers who feel entitled to write to you or about you because of your recent meteoric rise to fame. If you never read this, which is more likely, then what is the point of this letter? Hence I admit I write this more as a catharsis for myself (as has been the case for most of my articles) than as a means of communication. I do however hope and believe this note may also be of some value to others who may chance upon it.

Let me begin by congratulating you on your plain spoken address to the UN climate action summit last month, expressing your contempt for the empty words and meaningless gestures of hypocritical adults who either claim to address climate change but do nothing, or blatantly deny scientific reality to line their own hip pockets. Your powerful words and emotions thoroughly shamed all adults, myself included. I could not hold back the tears from my eyes apprehending your pain and anger while also wondering: what can we do to alleviate the distress of this young person and billions of children around the world like her? How can we offer you realistic hope? My honest answer, as someone who has studied the sciences regarding (un)sustainability for two decades now, is there is little to nothing I can offer. All I can offer you is an apology. If you peruse my articles on the web over the years, you will see that all my efforts to strive for state or national policy change and to fight against the fossil fool fraudsters have amounted to nothing whatsoever. A big fat zero. So why should you bother listening to me, a miserable failure? Perhaps because, quite apart from learning about successes, it may be even more instructional for you to learn from failures. And I am a failure.

You said that Asperger's syndrome was your super power. What a good description. Before your worldwide rise to fame, before today, now that every man, woman and dog tries to sidle up to you and garner a piece of your celebrity, I suspect you experienced social isolation. Your analytical brain enabled you to perceive crucial scientific Truths with crystal clarity, which the unintelligent deluded majority could not or would not see. As a result you found it difficult or impossible to hold meaningful conversations with so-called “normal” people. As someone who experienced the same, I personally found comfort in the words of Krishnamurti:

"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society"

and Terence McKenna: "The cost of sanity in this society is a certain level of alienation".

What do those quotes mean? They mean that you, Greta, represent the new improved Humanity version 2.0, I would describe you as a "super-sane" person. More about that later.

At the tender age of fifteen you struck a lonely figure sitting in solitude outside the Swedish Parliament in all weathers, surely pondering why none of your peers comprehended the existential crises that humanity faced, wondering why they did not join you in the most important struggle of our time, at that time. No longer. You have since opened the eyes of your generation and sparked a revolution among the young. I reckon your IQ is far above the 99th percentile for age. You have a logical mind which is receptive to facts and rejects lies: it cuts through bullshit like a hot knife through butter. You schooled yourself in the science of climate change which in recent years has accelerated beyond the worst expectations.

But far more important than your intelligence is your unshakeable moral compass. Stand firm Greta! Hold your ground! Dig your heels in and remain true to your principles! There are no end to the number of odious slimeballs in Right Wingnut Land who would like to destroy you, to see you stumble, to tear you down. You are a strong person Greta, you can stare them down, you can prevail! The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice. You will be seen by future generations (if there are any future generations) to be firmly on the right side of history. You will be mentioned in the same breath as icons such as Rosa Parks.

There will be times when it all seems too much, too difficult, too overwhelming for a young girl to bear, especially when you may feel that all the world's expectations rest on your shoulders. You are still a child. It is not your personal responsibility to "save the world", it was the responsibility of older generations who not only abrogated their duty but cynically chose to accelerate the planetary destruction for a paltry few pieces of silver. Nature be damned, indigenous people be damned, minorities be damned, poor people be damned, children be damned. Who gives a shit. You know who I mean: people like Trump, Bolsonaro, Joko Widodo et al. So-called national leaders. It would be a mistake however to think that such individuals are the root cause and the only cause of our problems. They are merely the figureheads and ventriloquist dummies of shadier puppet masters who control the military-industrial-corporate complex: media magnates such as Rupert Murdoch, fossil fools such as Gina Rinehart and the Koch brothers1, Wall Street bankers, Arms manufacturers, the NRA, big Agrichemical businesses…the list goes on. Those nefarious power brokers have installed their political puppets into high office either by direct coups or by perverting the mechanisms of democracy. They have been incredibly effective in their use of propaganda to persuade the reptile brained majority to vote self serving psychopaths into positions of power. Psychopaths who work against the interests of ordinary people in favour of the filthy rich. Hence whether we like it or not, one major cause of our planetary devastation is the appalling gormlessness of the easily manipulated sheeple. To misquote PT Barnum, it turns out that you can actually fool most of the people all of the time2. Hoodwinking the lame brained majority3 is all that is required to pervert democracy. Edward Bernays, nephew of Sigmund Freud, found that out more than a hundred years ago. A tiny percentage of people however can seldom or never be fooled. Super-sane critically thinking people such as yourself.

This brings us to the question of mental health. One Pox News useful idiot of the establishment recently accused you of being mentally ill, when in reality it was he who was without doubt a stark raving mad lunatic. I say this not just as a means of venting my spleen but as a qualified medical practitioner. It is my professional diagnosis regarding that person and those of his ilk. To justify such a comment we need to get back to basic medical definitions, which you will find in my article about the nature of mental health: http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/blog/2015/03/21/thinking-about-thinking/ which proves conclusively that your detractor meets the definition of being mentally diseased (having a mindset divorced from reality which is harmful to human wellbeing). You, on the other hand, going by the criteria described in that document, can be described as a super-sane person. You are not “normal” Greta, you are better than normal. And that, as you have already discovered, is to be celebrated. This is not flattery, this is a solid medical diagnosis arrived at by objective analysis of your words and behaviour.

Some Right Wingnut Australian jackasses such as Scott Morrison, Maurice Newman, Alan Jones and Andrew the Dolt have written or spoken complete rubbish and made outrageously unforgivable statements, told utter lies, about you. I refuse to give oxygen to their toxic claptrap by repeating any of it. At best, a jackass like Morrison can be described as a scientifically illiterate, sneering, condescending prick. At worst, a jackass like Andrew the Dolt, cheerleader for the invasion of Iraq, notorious racist and global warming denier can justifiably be described as a disgusting piece of shit, which however I am reluctant to do because that would be a grave insult to disgusting pieces of shit. I would not want to offend shit by comparing it with Andrew the Dolt.

Whether you choose to respond to such execrable scumbags, and how you choose to respond, is for you to decide in consultation with those you trust. I for one cannot abide the egregious lies spouted by self serving psychopaths going unanswered nor entertain the idea of those sanctimonious hypocrites getting away with their bullshit. I have been accused of using “intemperate” language in the past (which I still do), the argument (invariably coming from quisling establishment cowards and fossil fool collaborators) being that my harsh language detracts from the science based messages4. I disagree. We need to use BOTH unassailable logic and relentless denigration of those psychopaths. The science deniers hammer us with nasty invective, all of which is provably false. I do not believe in turning the other cheek, I believe in hammering them back with nasty invective which is all provably true. Withering ridicule to expose the untenable position of those scumbags is the only real weapon we have and I choose to wield it to maximum effect. It is not slander or libel if the accusations you make are demonstrably fact based and by the strictest of dictionary definitions, correct. You, Greta, on the other hand, being in the public spotlight, may prefer to use less caustic language and maintain the laudable poise and mature demeanour you have exhibited so far. I must congratulate you on that.

You are lucky to have enlightened and supportive parents. It will frequently be necessary to retreat into the fold of your family, to shun the spotlights, to gain counsel from those you trust and love and to recharge your batteries. There may be media hounds or even well meaning people incessantly pounding on your door to either provoke you to put a foot wrong or to seek some words of wisdom. Either way, you owe them nothing. You have a right not to respond. You owe it to yourself to have some quiet time to regroup your thoughts and rest your mind. There will be those who try to get you to say or do certain things to serve their own hidden agendas5. They will try to manipulate you with empty flattery and offer all manner of privileges and enticements, even millions of dollars, which they reckon you will not be able to refuse. They think that everybody has their (monetary) price. They will try to corrupt you and shortly thereafter will pounce on you and portray you to the world as a hypocrite. They will try to damage you psychologically. They are the well cashed up hitmen (and women) of the fossil fools and other sordid interests. Do not fall into their traps. Be very careful about what you are offered, especially anything which seems too good to be true. YOU must be the one to decide where, when and what you will say and what you will do, as you have done exceedingly well so far. You must be the architect of your own destiny. Accordingly you may find the following useful: http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/blog/2019/06/29/open-letter-to-extinction-rebellion/

Alternatively you may wish to spend most of your time keeping up the pressure on older folks, many of whom are not self serving psychopaths, to fulfil their duties to this planet and to younger generations. That being the case, please keep your expectations low. Much of your psychic anguish at present is because of shattered hopes, dreams and aspirations. Buddhist philosophy informs us that suffering is mainly caused by unfulfilled desires. Anger and depression follow from your expectations of a better future being demolished. It will be impossible for most people in the world to avoid a bleak future no matter what they do. Lowering expectations will go a long way to minimise psychological trauma. If you anticipate a bad outcome, you will be mentally prepared and less traumatised if it does happen. On the other hand you will be pleasantly surprised if it does not.

Be thankful for whatever remaining Nature we have left today (soon to disappear) and take time off to enjoy it. Wildlife watching, hiking through a National Park, sailing on a scenic lake (during our increasingly narrower windows of stable weather): whatever takes your fancy.

Greta, everyone knows you never sought celebrity and anyone who accuses you of such is simply a duplicitous dirtbag. However celebrity found you. With your new found fame, many folks around the world, especially young people, hang on to your every word. If you decide right now that you have had enough and wish to retreat back into obscurity and the security of your family permanently, nobody can fault you for that. You have already earned your place in history as a major force in the fight for social and environmental justice and human survival on this planet. On the other hand, your talents for critical thinking and articulate, honest speech at this young age suggest that your potential to shape the thoughts and actions of others around the world is huge. You may just be getting started and you yourself may be wondering: where to from here? I cannot advise you regarding that, but allow me to cite the names of some people I consider far wiser, far better and far braver than the miserable failure that I am. If you are able to seek them out for counsel, either to meet in person or to engage in video conversations, that will be to your great advantage. Get them on speed dial! This brief list consists mostly of strong women who can be good role models and mentors for you:

Arundhati Roy – Booker prize winning author and fearless champion of the poor, downtrodden and disenfranchised

Dr Vandana Shiva – scientist and physicist who chose to spend most of her life as an environmental and social justice warrior

Nicole Foss – multidisciplinary expert, especially when explaining the relationships between energy, the economy and finance

Alice Friedemann – Energy expert, especially with regard to EROEI

Abby Martin – fearless journalist exposing the international war crimes of the US empire and their Zionist nuclear armed ally (note: opposing the crimes of the State of Israel is NOT the same as opposing the Israeli people and is certainly NOT the same as being anti-Semitic)

US Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard – who has an impeccable public service and military record and is now one of the strongest voices for world peace

Christopher Hedges – fearless journalist exposing the domestic crimes of the US empire (now a defacto Fascist oligarchy/kleptocracy) perpetrated against its own people.

In conclusion I would like to quote Chris Hedges who said, I do not fight Fascists because I think I can win. I fight Fascists because they are Fascists.

 

Footnotes:

  1. David Koch may be dead (and good riddance to him) but his toxic legacy lives on

  2. Using lies to justify the invasion of Iraq “worked”, so what the heck, why not use more lies to justify the bombing of Iran? Only this time, sane people realise it could easily escalate to global thermonuclear war, a far more immediate risk of extinction than global warming. That is certainly the concern of the Physicians for Social Responsibility and the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. Anyone who denies or downplays this risk is either a profound fool or a despicable mouthpiece of the US chickenshit armchair warmongering Neoconartists (or both): http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/blog/2019/07/31/second-open-letter-to-extinction-rebellion/

  3. This majority are kept lame brained by the intentional underfunding of public education, particularly in the USA. On the other hand, being "well" educated is no guarantee of wisdom. Example: earlier this year I had a "discussion" with a Cardiologist from a Northern Queensland city who I used to respect. Always well groomed and well spoken and undoubtedly a good medical practitioner, he turned out to be an abject fool in other matters. Somehow the conversation turned to climate change, to which he stated, "I am not a climate denier but… surely there is some substance to the alternative skeptical views expressed in the media?" (language warning: if someone says they are not a climate denier but…, you can be damned sure they are in fact a climate denier). I then offered to provide him scientific references, including good summaries from John Cook's skeptical science website, utterly demolishing all of the "alternative views" of the climate deniers, however he point blank refused further information. I said that giving credence to the deniers was equivalent to saying, "some people say the earth is round, some say it is flat, therefore giving credence to both sides, we must conclude the earth must be oval". Wrong. The science shows the earth is round (specifically an oblate spheroid) and any other points of view are simply wrong. He then accused me of being an extremist and the "discussion" deteriorated thereafter. That was a perfect example of an educated fool, all the more to be condemned because he had the intellectual capacity to understand the science but utterly rejected the scientific information because it threatened his fossil fueled luxuries.

  4. I am on record as having called former Federal Minister for Industry Ian MacFarlane (another climate science denier) an "impenetrably stupid coal company stooge". I retract not one word of what I wrote. MacFarlane went on to say that he intended to extract every single molecule of coal seam gas from under Australia. After his government jobs he was appointed as chief executive of the Queensland Resources Council, continuing to promote coal and CSG extraction and further inflating his bank balance. Talk about the corrupt revolving door. I was also criticised in the past by some fake environmental activists for my essay "The Brisbane Institute is a Brisbane Prostitute" and once again I retract not one word of what I wrote. http://econintersect.com/pages/opinion/opinion.php?post=201907312355

  5. https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/09/30/veritable-uprising-or-the-faux-real-thing-greta-and-climate-activism-in-a-wilderness-of-projections/

G. Chia, Oct 2019

Second open letter to Extinction Rebellion

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on August 1, 2019

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Dear Rupert Read and Extinction Rebels,

Irrespective of any differences of opinion regarding the severity of climate change we may have, I would like to point out the following facts about a more imminent threat of immediate extinction:

  • Global thermonuclear war will cause more abrupt and more immediate extinction and therefore represents the most urgent threat to us by far. The undeniable science regarding this has been incontrovertibly outlined by Dr Steven Starr in his papers and presentations.

  • The bulletin of atomic scientists pointed out that we face the greatest risk of nuclear war right now, even worse than during the cold war.

  • The worst flashpoint today that poses the gravest risk is the contrived US confrontation with Iran, aided and abetted by their lapdog poodle, "Great" Britain*.

  • The USA unilaterally reneged on the JCPOA, a treaty which according to all non-US signatories and even according to the CIA itself was effectively containing Iran's nuclear ambitions. The US are now using slander, libel and outrageous provocations such as economic warfare against Iran to try to trigger war, in acts reminiscent of the Gulf of Tonkin false flag.

  • Russia and China have both pledged unconditional support to defend Iran and have signed a security treaty courtesy of their SCO. They will respond to any bombing of Iran by sinking the US aircraft carrier fleet, which can easily escalate to outright nuclear war.

  • Boris Johnson, as UK PM, is only slightly less deranged than Trump. He will undoubtedly bring his documented (in audio recordings!) volatile unstable confrontational domestic behaviour into UK politics and like any wannabe fascist, will capitalise on ethnic and racial divisions to sow discord and promote himself as the bulwark against "the other", especially those foul Iranians, to make Britain "great" again*

It stands to reason therefore if extinction rebellion wish to rebel against the greatest imminent threat of immediate extinction, you must picket the US embassy in London NOW with placards "HANDS OFF IRAN"

If you do not address this issue then the climate becomes irrelevant.

Yours Faithfully

Geoffrey Chia

*Few people know that the name "Great" Britain comes from the French "Grande Bretagne", a term used to distinguish larger Bretagne (the British Isles) from smaller Bretagne, also known by Anglos as Brittany, which is part of France.

further reading (satirical gallows humour):  http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/blog/2019/02/07/my-alien-revelation/

GLOBAL WARMING DENIERS ARE EVIL HUMAN GARBAGE: A Blast from the Past

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on July 25, 2019

Discuss this article at the Environment Table inside the Diner

 

The reposted essay below is long, outdated and depressing.

For a much briefer presentation laced with morbid humour you may wish to view this "Ecosqueak" clip instead: https://youtu.be/3_T4QaJQRL0

(if link does not work, search youtube for "Ecosqueak" and "Geoffrey Chia")

Back in 2012 I still naively believed it might be possible to mitigate against the horrific impending planetary catastrophe we face this century if only the forces of reason and fairness could prevail over those of deceit and greed. I felt that systemic change was needed which would require vigorous opposition to those forces of deceit and greed. Simply exhorting amenable greenies to change their lightbulbs was pointless. My article "The Brisbane Institute is a Brisbane Prostitute" was a personal effort towards that goal, which I sent out far and wide. Some so-called "sustainability" advocates harshly criticised me for that essay. My response to them was this: all it takes for evil to prevail is for "good" people to do nothing.

The recent flurry of "Extinction Rebellion" and "School strike for Climate" activity reflects an unacknowledged visceral dread among the newly aware that evil has indeed prevailed.

The Brisbane Institute started life as a public sustainability think tank, with many esteemed invited speakers such as Professor Ian Lowe and Professor Kjell Aleklett (Swedish president of ASPO International). Unfortunately the BI was subsequently hijacked by the fossil fuel lobby, which I expressed my rage against in that "prostitute" article, which I sent to Rachel Nolan, Queensland State Minister for Transport and one of the original patrons of the BI, who then forwarded it on to the BI committee members. I received an idiotic response from one of them who wrote he thought the CEO Karyn Brinkley was "doing a good job". Well she certainly did a good smoke and mirrors job on behalf of the fossil fuel fraudsters. From 2012 onwards, the BI held only private meetings in corporate circles promoting their anti-sustainability propaganda and they disbanded in 2013.

The BI had previously posted "full" transcripts of the meetings mentioned below on the web (with my questions censored out) which have since mysteriously disappeared.

The following article was originally written by Geoffrey Chia in February 2012:

THE BRISBANE INSTITUTE IS A BRISBANE PROSTITUTE:

a paid mouthpiece of mining and fossil fuel interests

(warning: this article contains harsh language and bad jokes)

Here are a couple of key quotes from health leaders at the COP-17 climate conference in Durban,

South Africa, 28 November to 11 December, 2011 :

"Climate Change poses an immediate and grave threat to human health and survival worldwide.

Many are already affected. Emissions are rising steeply. Action is needed now – not later."

Dr. Hugh Montgomery, Climate and Health Council, UK

If the world’s governments agree to delay (climate) action for the rest of this decade…history will

judge Durban as a moment of global political malpractice of criminal proportions. It would be the

equivalent of diagnosing a patient with lung cancer and then telling them it’s ok to continue

smoking for nine more years. The health of billions of people is at stake.” Joshua Karliner,

International Coordinator, Health Care Without Harm

Here is a reference to a paper which was presented at Durban which is so important that I am placing it at the front (rather than the end) of this article:

An Ethical Analysis of the Climate Change Disinformation Campaign: Is This A New Kind of

Assault on Humanity? https://ethicsandclimate.org/2011/12/02/an_ethical_analysis_of_the_climate_change_disinformation_campaign_is_this_a_new_kind_of_assault_on_h/

The anatomy of global warming denialism

The article referenced above demonstrates how deniers of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) are in fact self serving, morally bankrupt sociopaths and that their behaviour is an assault on humanity. Now more than ever it is imperative we vigorously oppose the egregious lies perpetrated by the fossil fuel fraudsters and their lackeys. We cannot let them get away with it.

Professor Naomi Oreskes clearly showed from her voluminous research that there is a well orchestrated, well funded campaign of AGW denial, distortion and disinformation going on, the epicentre of which is the George C Marshall Institute in the United States (the originators of tobacco-cancer denialism). Our own Clive Hamilton examined this web of deceit and found it extends across and is coordinated between numerous right wing "think tanks" and astroturf groups around the world, the noisiest being the US conservative Tea Party group. (What exactly are the

conservatives conserving anyway?) This is not "conspiracy theory". There is indisputable

documentation of this corrosive network of AGW denialism, hell bent on perverting national and

international policy.

The core of denialist "beliefs"1 is not truth, is not science, is not evidence, is not fact and is

not reason, even though they try to make their arguments sound plausible with pseudoscientific

jargon and by cherry picking facts taken out of context. Their position is based on an unshakable

sense of personal entitlement coupled with apoplectic hostility directed against anyone suggesting

any change to their lifestyles. How dare those greenies interfere with my God given right to

unfettered consumption! Hence they target their venom against environmentalists and against

climate scientists (including death threats and intimidating bogus lawsuits2 ). Hence the

proliferation of anonymous internet trolls and their ubiquitous cyberbullying whenever a scientist

dares speak the truth about climate change in the media.

When Julia Gillard supported a price on carbon to encourage renewable energy

development, she was villified as "Bob Brown's Bitch" at a rightwing astroturf rally attended by the

execrable Tony Abbott in March 2011. Denialists continue to engage in criminal activities such as

the email hacking of universities, which is reminiscent of the mobile phone hacking by the

Murdoch press. These connections are further highlighted by the the enthusiastic coverage the

Murdoch media gave to those illegally hacked climate emails. Robert Manne's Quarterly Essay in

September 2011 outlined the deceit and distortions perpetrated by the Australian newspaper under

the criminally irresponsible Chris Mitchell.

If the denialists truly disbelieve the best peer reviewed scientific climate research, for which

there is "only" 97% consensus, then we should say this to them: do not go to a scientifically trained

doctor or a modern hospital the next time you fall ill, because medical diagnosis and treatment is

also based on the best peer reviewed scientific research, for which there may be "only" 97% expert

consensus but never 100% certainty.

But guess what? You can be certain that if any of those denialists have a heart attack or get

cancer they will immediately seek out the best modern medical treatment. Why? Because they

know it works. Because they know the science is the best option available. Because they know it is

in their own best interest to listen to the science and to follow the scientific recommendations in

order to save their egocentric carcasses.

The argument can be further extended to all the benefits in life that the denialists derive from

the scientific method: the smart phones, computers, internet, modern transportation, electronic

appliances and engineered infrastructure, which the denialists should completely abandon if they

truly disbelieve the methods, conclusions and products of science. Yet they enthusiastically embrace

the benefits of science, even while villifying scientists.

The above facts prove that the principal abiding motive, the one consistent pattern which

permeates the mentality of climate change denialists is not scientific "scepticism" but is in fact the

overweening relentless pursuit of their own personal benefit (and to hell with everyone else). The

very definition of self serving sociopaths. If medical science benefits them, they believe it. If

climate science interferes with their "right" to rapacious overconsumption and their self indulgent

luxuries (such as their "right" to drive their SUVs up and down the beach on weekends3 ), they

attack the climate scientists.

Nature however pays no heed to the fignorant4 chatter of those fignorant4 denialists. As time

goes by, ever more overwhelming scientific evidence indisputably shows ever worsening trends of

global warming, of extreme weather events, of glacial, permafrost and ice cap melting and of

release of methane from the Arctic coast5 far worse than the IPCC projections. We are seeing the

biological consequences of global warming: species migration to higher latitudes/altitudes,

behavioural changes and mass extinctions. The coral reefs are dying now. Acidification of the

oceans will lead to catastrophic collapse of marine ecosystems. Loss of mountain glacial meltwater

will lead to failure of summer irrigation for crops that billions of people depend on. Expanding hot

zones will mean the spread of tropical diseases. Extreme weather events will directly kill people and

will lead to more crop failures (as has already occurred, but the future will be magnitudes worse).

Sea level rises will threaten more than a hundred million people on the Indian subcontinent alone,

quite apart from potentially destroying coastal cities worldwide. Unchecked global warming will

lead to a planet that humans were not evolved to adapt to, will cause the death of billions of people

around the world and threaten the very existence of civilisation (which requires a stable climate for

agriculture). This is not exaggeration, this is not alarmist. It is the well considered objective

conclusion of many top scientists around the world such as James Hansen and James Lovelock and

many national academies of science such as the venerable Royal Society. Professor Hans Joachim

Schellnhuber, founder of the Potsdam Institute, has stated that the difference between 2 degrees and

4 degrees global warming is human civilisation (and we are on track to exceed the latter). Martin

Rees, former president of the Royal Society, thought civilisation had a 50% chance of surviving this

century and judging by what is going on today, he was optimistic. Paul Nurse, current president of

the Royal Society, is actively engaged in promoting the scientific method and rebutting the

denialists.

Meanwhile the economic delusionists continue to bleat that it will be too "expensive" to

reduce carbon emissions, completely ignoring the billion fold greater costs (not to mention deaths)

of not reducing carbon emissions. They know that most of the harm will not personally affect them

in their lifetime. The harm will mainly befall Third World inhabitants and Australians of younger

generations, hence using the legerdemain of dishonest accounting, the denialists and delusionists

simply ignore it.

There are hard deniers and there are soft deniers and in many respects the soft deniers are

more duplicitous, disingenuous and devious, because even though they pretend to lend a

sympathetic ear to the science, in practice they back the fossil fuel agenda. The hard deniers like

"Lord" Monckton are clearly liars and fools. The soft deniers may not overtly dispute the fact of

anthropogenic global warming but they claim that the effects will not be as bad as the scientists

predict or that the benefits may exceed the disadvantages or that we can easily adapt to the changes.

Based on what? Based on their own wishful thinking and hunches which they consider more

reliable than any hard science? Nevermind the increasing evidence of runaway global warming far

exceeding the IPCC projections.

The soft deniers are insidious Trojan horses and handpuppets of the fossil fuel corporations.

Observations of three Brisbane Institute sessions 2011

I will now describe some observations of the latter three Brisbane Institute presentations of

2011. I was keen to learn from experts (or those portrayed by the Institute as experts) and must

confess I was temporarily sucked in (or suckered in) by the apparent reasonableness with which

matters initially appeared to be conducted, however the prominently displayed Santos billboard by

the stage should have rung alarm bells from the outset. No guesses as to who the major sponsor of

these "public" meetings was. But never mind, I thought, let's hear them out. I was even gullible

enough to pay $20/- per session for the privilege of being brainwashed.

It will be impossible to comprehensively cover all aspects of these sessions, however I will

describe the broad message the organisers and chairperson of the Brisbane Institute were attempting

to deliver.

23 August 2011: Positive Energy Futures: What's the fracking fuss all about?

As you know, fracking is the process of injecting pressurised water containing chemical

agents into coal seams (or oil shale) to fracture the rock and extract methane. The resultant toxic

saline effluent is expelled on the surface. The very title of this session was designed to promote the

idea that coal seam gas represented a positive energy future for us and for goodness sake, why were

people making such a f*ing fuss about it? Their star speaker was Professor Michael Economides,

who had been clearly handpicked by the fossil fuel propagandists. Economides was sold to us as an

American energy and coal seam gas expert. He claimed to be a Democrat and environmentalist, but

immediately launched into a diatribe decrying the mindless "hate" that "greenies" have against

fossil fuels. He gave no reason why those loopy greenies might "hate" fossil fuels apart from what

he regarded as irrational ideology. He also expressed dismay at how people were "wasting time"

talking about global warming, when there were such huge profits to be made from extracting coal

seam gas, our energy source for the future, which we simply could not ignore. He claimed that all

our concerns about harvesting coal seam gas were unfounded.

Under normal circumstances it would be impolite and inappropriate to comment on the

physical appearance of the speaker, however in this case it was utterly relevant. Economides was

morbidly obese. He was virtually spherical in shape, as wide as he was high. As a physician I can

definitely state that his body mass index was far in excess of 35. The term morbidly obese is a

proper and formal medical diagnostic term to be found in all medical textbooks and journals.

How obese was he? He was:

So obese that when he steps on a scale, it screams "one at a time, please".

So obese that when his beeper goes off, people think he is backing up.

So obese that when he goes to the beach, Greenpeace shows up and tries to tow him back into the

sea.

All right, perhaps I may have crossed the line with those cheap shots, however that does not

detract one iota from the relevance of his morbid obesity. Why was it relevant? Because morbid

obesity is a disease of overconsumption related to poor impulse control6 coupled with indadequate

exercise and disregard for any consequences. Unrestrained appetite and unremitting sloth.

At the Brisbane Institute were witnessing the farcical spectacle of a morbidly obese man

flown in from America to lecture us about the benefits of overconsumption, with reckless disregard

for any consequences. A theatre of the absurd. He was instructing us to abuse our environment in

the same way he was abusing his own body – by indulging in rapacious greed. He dismissed the

importance (but not existence) of global warming (he was a "soft" denier) in response to my

question and when asked by someone else about the possibility of fugitive emissions from coal

seam gas projects, he denied that they existed or could be important.

In fact, a Cornell University study in 2011 showed that natural gas from shale fracking

almost certainly causes more greenhouse emissions than the coal industry7 and there is every reason

to expect that coal seam gas, which uses the same technology, is just as bad.

I am no expert on coal seam gas, but having previously attended a comprehensive

multidisciplinary presentation at the University of Queensland organised by Dr. Peter Dart, with

many expert speakers in soil science, geology, energy and agriculture, it is clear there are well

founded and justifiable concerns about potential environmental damage to our food bowl based on

the science. Particularly if CSG is upscaled to the many thousands of wells the government and gas

companies are vying for in the pursuit of short term filthy lucre. It is not about "hating" fossil fuels.

It is about being prudent and cautious. It is about showing a little respect for the wellbeing of our

ecosphere (without which we cannot survive) and for the wellbeing of future generations. It is about

placing long term need over short term greed.

Professor Economides purportedly had more than 200 scientific publications to his name.

The Marshall Institute and the tobacco companies, with their deep pockets, had no difficulty hiring

mouthpieces possessing alphabet soup qualifications to publicise their agenda. No doubt Santos had

no trouble flying this chap over from America to do the same. The physicist Dr Vandana Shiva calls

such paid mouthpieces "scientific prostitutes", whose assertions (eg tobacco cancer denial) are

unrelated to their qualifications (eg nuclear physics).

Just as a highly qualified chef has no business lecturing us about the benefits of unrestrained

gluttony with no regard for the consequences (no matter how many culinary awards he has); a

highly qualified fossil fuel professor has no business lecturing us about the benefits of unrestrained

CSG extraction with no regard for the consequences (no matter how many fossil fuel papers he has

written).

18 October 2011: Positive Energy Futures: Seriously, Renewable?

It is clear from the sarcastic title of this next session that we were not meant to regard

renewable energy as a serious option. Punctuation makes a huge difference to the meaning of a

phrase and there is a world of difference between "Seriously Renewable!" and "Seriously,

Renewable?"

Who was responsible for crafting the titles of these sessions and for steering the overall tone

and message delivered? Surely the responsibility must lie with Karyn Brinkley, the CEO of the

Brisbane Institute who chaired these meetings. Are we supposed to believe she is an independent

and impartial agent, not influenced by her financial sponsors? There is truth to the saying, "he who

pays the piper calls the tune".

Nothwithstanding the advances in renewable energy technologies outlined by the speakers,

in particular Professors Paul Meredith and Hal Gurgenci, the overwhelming message delivered by

this session steered by Karyn Brinkley was that given the present state of our grid, we should cease

and desist from any more renewable energy input. Our existing grid was based on nineteenth

century coal fired technology and was simply not designed to cope with the fluctuating nature of

renewable energy inputs, which are now causing problems including power surges, which could be

damaging.

6 December 2011: Positive Energy Futures: Save your energy!

This session started with the observation that we had one billion dollars worth of assets

locked up in surplus electricity generating equipment, which was only utilised during the highest of

peak electricity demands – which amounted to the equivalent of just four out of 365 days of the

year. Everyone agreed this state of affairs was terribly wasteful and made no economic sense

whatsoever, but no solution was offered by the panel other than declaring that everyone should

reduce their consumption, particularly at peak times. We heard the usual discourse about changing

lightbulbs and using domestic energy meters.

There is an obvious and beautifully elegant solution to the problem above and I was amazed

none of the panel members mentioned it. Hence I brought it up during the Q&A session. Peak

electricity demands occur on the hottest days of the year when airconditioners are being

progressively switched on around the state. These hot periods are driven by intense sunlight.

Quantitative studies have shown that the simultaneous occurrence of peak sunshine and peak

demand offers us the golden opportunity to harness that peak solar energy to feed into the grid to

meet or exceed the peak demands. In fact we would have to be crazy and stupid not to seize this

tremendous prize just waiting to be harvested in our so-called "Sunshine State". It would free one

billion dollars away from the "stranded assets" of fossil fuel powered peak demand electricity

generators which sit idle 361 days of the year. It would not require any fossil fuel input. The "fuel"

(sunshine) would cost us nothing in perpetuity and would be emissions free. This plan would of

course require updating our grid for the twenty first century (which needs to be done anyway) to

cope with large renewable energy inputs and the provision of sufficient solar power, probably a

combination of solar thermal and solar photovoltaic (PV) sources. Of course such restructuring

requires funding which could be obtained from the price on carbon. Furthermore, institution of a

gross feed-in tariff would encourage the proliferation of solar PV throughout Queensland (proven

highly effective by the German experience). This solution was not an original suggestion of mine8

but one I had learned about from energy experts9 who had done the energy and the economic

calculations to validate it.

The panel's response to this well considered solution was mind bogglingly idiotic. I refer

specifically to Kate Farrar, a business pundit, who regurgitated a vomitload of drivel I term "the

Plantation Owner's argument". It was obviously a brainless kneejerk response she repeated ad

nauseum whenever anyone mentioned renewable energy, judging by her well rehearsed delivery.

Perhaps she had been coached by economic delusionists such as Warwick McCibbin10 who I have

heard spew out the same rubbish in the past. In a nutshell, she stated that we should not "pick

winners" and we should "let the free market decide" and she rattled off numbers indicating how the

price of solar energy was way too high compared with the price of coal fired energy1 1 and hence

not affordable. Her "solution" was that we should do nothing and maintain business as usual (which

is exactly what the fossil fuel companies would like us to do) and the market would somehow

magically solve all our problems.

If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a

different result, then she must have been a complete lunatic. This was someone who knew the price

of everything but the value of nothing. I call such people BAUAUs (pronounced "bowows" – think

of a yapping dog) which stands for Business As Usual Acolytes and Underlings .

Audience members get suckered in by their platitudinous soundbytes because, like all

convincing lies, it contains some half truths. Private enterprise and the profit motive can spur

greater productivity. Free and fair competition on a level playing field can reduce costs to

consumers while improving the quality of goods and services. Consequent economic development

can lead to better lives for people (up to a point) and lift millions out of poverty as in the case of

China.

But scratch the surface of her argument and you immediately release the foul stench of

rotting garbage. It is a simple fact that our market is anything but free and is hardly a level playing

field. Our car industries receive massive government subsidies, without which they could never be

competitive, but the economic ideologues do not bleat on about the free market then. What about

the billions in subsidies given by European governments to their agricultural sectors, shutting out

food imports from abroad? What about the Japanese government who heavily subsidise their rice

farmers and punitively tax rice imports? There is nothing intrinsically wrong about targeted

subsidies and targeted taxes to protect sectors which are vital for national security, but let us not be

hypocritical and pretend we have free and fair markets. On the other hand, inappropriate

government handouts can be extremely damaging to society and can paralyse our prospects for the

future. The most blatant is exemplified by the billions of dollars of government subsidies handed

out to the (already immensely profitable) fossil fuel corporations – taxpayers money which in fact

represents a big fat (hidden) tax on us which they never talk about. And what about America, the so

called champion of free market capitalism which bailed out failed investment banks and mortgage

firms with public money? Money which was then used to give bonuses to crooked board members?

Socialise the losses and privatise the profits – that what their "free" market actually does. Our

markets are about as free as the Democratic Republic of North Korea is democratic.

The BAUAUs only invoke the "free market" argument when it suits their own agenda (eg

supporting their fossil fuel masters) but are strangely silent when grabbing taxpayer handouts

behind the scenes. Perish the thought that any potential competitors (eg renewable energy) could

receive any government subsidies, oh no, that would spell "economic disaster".

The BAUAUs assertion that we should not "pick winners" implies that our existing system

is impartial and that somehow through the magic of the market place, the best and most efficient

operators will flourish and the uncompetitive players will perish, like some kind of natural

selection. Adam Smith's so-called "hidden hand", beloved of the Hayek/Friedman fundamentalists,

which the Nobel prizewinning economist Joseph Stiglitz says does not actually exist. Using the

examples of those government subsidies again, we know for a fact that our system already does

pick winners; favourites which are often deeply inefficient and corrupt but just happen to have

strong lobbying influence with government. The invasion of Iraq for their oil in 2003 was a classic

example of the US government favouring their handpicked "winner" Halliburton12, thus facilitating

a gigantic economic windfall for Halliburton (which was given oil service contracts without tender)

and other associated US corporations, but causing unimaginable suffering and death to ordinary

Iraqis, not to mention the deaths of several thousand US soldiers. Privatise the profits and socialise

the losses – that is how US "free market" capitalism works.

Government policies picking winners has always been the manner by which capitalist

economies have risen, whether we consider the Western models from the time of the British and

Dutch East India companies or the Asian models of the Japanese Zaibatsus, Korean Chaebols or

emerging Chinese Corporations. America continues to support numerous "too big to fail"

companies, exemplified by their obsolete "big three" car companies (GM, Ford, Chrysler).

The BAUAUs argue that market regulation (which is the mechanism by which "winners" are

picked and may interfere with the "hidden hand") is bad, to which any thinking person can only

respond, "bovine excrement!"

Firstly, citing Joseph Stiglitz again, it is clear that the dismantling of investment bank

regulations by the free market ideologues (regulations which were put in place after the Great

Depression) led directly to perversion of the US financial system and the Global Financial Crisis of

2008. 13

Secondly it is a fact that proper regulation based on honest accounting works and had indeed

been protecting America from another Great Depression till now. The strategy of choosing optimum

public policy by balancing benefits against detriment is well proven. That is why we ban asbestos,

even though it may be cheap. Only after choosing policy based on the benefit/risk principle should

we weave economic incentives and disincentives around it, rather than having the tail wagging the

dog as advocated by Kate Farrar, the tail whisperer.

I can speak with authority14 on the medical model of decision making, well proven to save

lives, which in fact requires we pick "winners". If you had cancer and asked a doctor to

recommend the best therapy and he said "we should not pick winners" and "we should let the

market decide" and "let's go with the cheapest price on the market and not worry about efficacy or

side effects", how would you respond? Any critically ill patient who wishes to survive will regard

"market price" as the least important consideration and will appreciate that the optimum therapy

must be actively chosen by weighing up the benefits versus the risks of each option and not by

worshipping at the altar of "hidden-hand" economics. To choose a cheap but nasty therapy with low

efficacy and fatal side-effects is lunatic false economy, just as the BAUAUs approach to energy

policy is lunatic false economy.

Thirdly, not picking winners and treating all options as equal (standing back and allowing all

manner of activities, even destructive ones, to flourish in the market) is in fact detrimental.

Government tolerance of unregulated deforestation in Indonesia and Brazil (in the name of short

term profits) is one of the worst ecological planetary disasters today. The winners they ought to pick

should be forest preservation with ecotourism and sustainable timber harvesting. Clear felling of

primary forest should be banned. Another bugbear of mine, the bottled water industry, is not only

utterly useless in countries with good quality tap water, but is downright harmful to our

environment, considering the wasteful fossil fuel consumption and indiscriminate disposal of

bottles. It should be banned.

The bottom line is this: the "let the market decide" and "we should not pick winners"

argument is completely fraudulent, dishonest and repugnant. Decision making must utilise evidence

and reason to establish the reality of our situation, following which we must fashion appropriate

economic incentives and disincentives around those realities, in order to encourage activities which

produce net benefit to society while discouraging activities which cause net harm. And yes, there is

a cost to protecting our environment and our futures, it does not come for free, just as there is a cost

to maintaining good health.

If this cost poses hardship to low income earners, we must use taxpayers money to

compensate them. That is what a fair society does. Our subsidies should go to the working poor, not

to the idle rich and certainly not to the fossil fuel companies. The US strategy of "compensating"

the rich and penalising the poor, which rightwing Australians are so keen on emulating, is a recipe

for social conflict, violence and revolution. Extreme social inequality was the underlying cause for

the NAME (North Africa and Middle East) "Arab spring" revolutions of 2011. Occupy Wall Street?

You ain't seen nothing yet.

Why do I call the BAUAUs argument the "plantation owners argument"? In its entirety, the

BAUAU argument goes on to state that if we change our present system (which is working "well"),

by adopting "radical" reforms (eg. more renewable energy, less fossil fuel energy) it will lead to

economic disaster. Therefore we should continue BAU. Historically, where have we heard that

argument before? The exact same argument was used by the plantation owners in the Confederate

states of America before the civil war. Certainly the system was working "well" for the slave

owners, because they had complete disregard for the suffering and death of the slaves who did all

their work. To them, the slaves simply did not count. The plantation owners externalised the harms

caused by their economic system and they used dishonest accounting, exactly what the AGW

deniers are doing right now. They argued that the abolition of slavery would lead to economic

disaster. After the civil war, the "radical" reform of abolition was adopted and America went on to

become the economic powerhouse of the world. So much for predictions of economic disaster.

Kate Farrar might have been personally successful in exploiting our existing business

system, but it is a perverse system and she is the worst sort of person to lecture us about planning

our future15. According to the BI blurb, she volunteers to help the homeless in her spare time. One

wonders what relevance that has for her inclusion as a panel member – perhaps the BI wish to imply

she is a wonderful humanitarian who is above any criticism? Just because a plantation owner is

"kind" to their slaves (throws them a few breadcrumbs from time to time and seldom beats them)

does not justify their support for slavery.

The deceptive illusion of being "fair and balanced"

Let me state for the record that many of the invited BI speakers were certainly honourable

high achieving people, amply qualified to comment on their topics. For example, Paul Meredith was

a highly qualified scientist and passionate advocate of solar energy and Gerald Tooth had a laudable

track record of being remarkably effective in convincing the public to conserve water during the

drought years, those habits enduring even till now.

The cunning strategy of the BI sessions was to juxtapose qualified speakers next to the

scientific prostitutes and BAUAUs. This served to lend credibility to the latter and project the

impression of being "fair and balanced" to all points of view (even the crazy ones)16.

This was identical to the Australian newspaper's devious strategy to lend credibility to global

warming deniers by juxtaposing articles of idiotic denialist ideas (often written by an economic

delusionist professors) next to articles by serious climate scientists, implying that both should be

given equal weight and consideration in the manufactured "controversy" surrounding global

warming. "Fair and balanced", just like Fox News, the principal cheerleader for the invasion of Iraq.

The order of speakers was also contrived to serve the overall message from the BI. For

example, Wally Wight, the recognised Brisbane expert on Peak Oil, was lined up to speak just

before those who advocated harvesting shale oil and coal seam gas. This facilitated the message:

"Running out of oil? We should grab more fossil fuels!"

Perish the thought that Wally Wight should speak just before a solar energy expert.

The chairperson's dismissive refusal to allow any rejoinder to Kate Farrar's idiotic blather

also reflected her bias. Had we run out of time for further discussion? Karyn Brinkley had no

qualms about running well overtime the first "energy" session, even though half the audience had to

leave due to closure of the cloak/bag room.

The final backstop argument of the AGW "soft" denialists and fossil fuel fraudsters, when all

their other arguments have been exposed as nonsensically bogus, is this:

Yes, AGW is real, yes it will be disastrous. But even if Australia undertakes the economic

"hardship" of restructuring to become emissions free, it will have a negligible effect on the world,

considering the much larger greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from other countries. Hence we

should not "go it alone", we should not bother. Much easier to harvest more fossil fuels. Let's party

today and die tomorrow, just as the band kept playing on the Titanic.

This is my fourfold reply:

Firstly, we will not be going it alone. In fact we have been dragging our heels too long and

we lag well behind Europe, California and British Columbia (the latter state instituted a carbon tax

several years ago) and many other states and countries. China is now the largest producer of wind

and solar PV resources and has begun to impose a tax on pollution in many of their major cities.

New Zealand intends to source at least 90% of their electricity from renewable energy by 2025.

Secondly, imagine this scenario: James Packer says that the tax he pays is only a tiny

fraction of Australia's total tax income. Hence he chooses not to pay any tax at all, because the

nation will hardly notice it. This is technically true. However our appropriate response should be

outrage that one of the richest members of society refuses to pay his fair share of tax. It would be

appropriate to regard him as a freeloading self serving scumbag who should be tarred and feathered.

Similarly, there are those who say that Australia's GHG emissions are only a small fraction of the

world total, hence we should not bother to curb them because the world will hardly notice it. It

would be appropriate to regard such people as freeloading self serving scumbags who should be

tarred and feathered. I refer in particular to Tony "global warming is crap" Abbott, who is utterly,

absolutely, totally unfit as a potential candidate for Prime Minister.

Thirdly, the only fair approach to adjusting GHG emissions is by considering per capita

emissions, historical GHG contributions and by assessing who can most easily curb their emissions

(invariably the richest people). Australians score highly on all three counts. We have the highest per

capita emissions in the world, it is the Western economies that have historically contributed 85% of

all GHGs to date (the CO2 emitted from the 1800s is still lingering out there) and as one of the

richest countries in the world we can far more easily curb our emissions than, say, Indian or African

peasants living on the edge of survival. We are so wasteful we could easily cut our emissions by

half tomorrow and still enjoy a quality of life the envy of the world. Germans have half the

emissions of Americans and arguably enjoy a better lifestyle.

Fourthly, if the richest and worst emitters refuse to curb their emissions, then it will be

morally untenable to expect anyone else to do so. With the whole world then pursuing BAU,

disaster will be absolutely guaranteed. Hence the only hope for humanity is for countries such as

Australia to take the lead in emissions reduction. Australia has to do it, unless we are completely

mad and suicidal. It is time to grow up and face our responsibilities and cease the infantile whining.

I refer again to that vile opportunist and refugee vilifier Tony Abbott.

CONCLUSIONS:

We should regard AGW as nothing less than a terminal cancer threatening global

civilisation. Faced with terminal cancer, the sane patient will not worry about the "price" of therapy

and will only focus on the best therapy (the most effective therapy with the least side effects as

determined by the scientific research). What is the point of having heaps of money in the bank if

you are dead?

If we encounter lower or even negative economic growth during our transformation to

renewable energy, so what? Once we have tackled climate change we will have an indefinite future

to re-expand our economies (with newer and better renewable energy technologies). After World

War Two, Germany and Japan transformed from devastated heaps of rubble to powerhouse

economies in less than thirty years. If we do not tackle climate change now however, there will be

no future for human civilisation. The human species will not go extinct in the way we are rendering

so many other species extinct, but billions of people will die and the survivors will have nasty,

brutish, short and poor lives. All because of the selfishness of this generation.

Gwynne Dyer, in his many books and interviews, looked at these issues and stated that

transformation to 100% renewable energy will be a doddle, a walk in the park, a piece of cake. We

have the technology, argument over. The major impediments are political inertia and corrosive

obstructionism from the fossil fuel companies who employ scientific prostitutes and economic

delusionists to advance their agenda and maintain public apathy and confusion.

Change is difficult especially for those presently living a comfortable life, however change

is now upon us whether we like it or not. This should be our message to the AGW denialists: your

names are on the record and will be duly noted by posterity. If you do not change your attitudes and

your ways, your children and grandchildren will revile and curse you for your despicable

selfishness and for your role in destroying their futures.

Is this an provocative essay? Have I caused offence by calling the Brisbane Institute a

Brisbane Prostitute? If so, I would like to offer my humble apologies to any prostitutes who resent

being compared to this reprehensible institute.

One more quote:

"Clean energy is essential to our addressing the carbon climate problem… research shows clearly

that we must prime the pump on innovation now with increased funding for research and

development, while putting incentives in place that allow the resulting new technologies to compete

successfully in the marketplace." – words from that well known hardline greenie communist radical,

Bill Gates.

Just because I advocate the primacy of rationality in shaping human affairs does not mean I

am not passionate about what I believe, as you can obviously tell. We are engaged in nothing less

than a struggle for the preservation human civilisation and unfortunately at present it is the self

serving liars, fools and scumbags who are winning. It's no use crying out in the wilderness, "for

God's sake, somebody do something!"

You, dear reader, are somebody.

Geoffrey Chia, February 2012

 

Dr Geoffrey Chia is a Brisbane Cardiologist who is convenor of the group "Doctors and Scientists for Sustainability and Social Justice" www.d3sj.org who advocate that policy should be based on evidence, reason and fairness to achieve the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people on a long term basis. All members of the public who agree with those principles are invited to attend the meetings for free .

 

Footnotes:

1. What the AGW denialists claim to believe and what they actually believe are not the same thing. They claim to

be "sceptical" of the peer reviewed climate science research, however they accept the peer reviewed scientific

research of other fields when it suits them, even if the level of uncertainty in the other fields (eg medical

therapy) may be the same or worse than that of the climate science. What is the explanation for such

discrepancy? The only explanation, backed up by mountains of evidence, is that they are self serving

scumbags, driven by greed and an overwhelming sense of entitlement.

2. Such as US Republican James Inhofe's bogus lawsuits launched against climate scientists.

3. This "right" of course far exceeds the right of Third World peasants to eat, far exceeds the right of future

generations to a stable existence and far exceeds the right of other species on this planet to survive.

4. Fignorant is to ignorant as fugly is to ugly

5. http://www.clubofrome.org/?p=3425

6. Virtually no obese patients that I or any of my specialist colleagues see in clinic are ever found to have

"hormonal" problems, even though we check detailed blood tests for all of them. Many obese patients claim

they "eat like a bird" (one presumes they are referring to a tiny hummingbird and not a seven foot tall ostrich)

but they still magically put on weight. A senior colleague of mine responds to such claims with the statement,

"there are no obese inmates of concentration camps". Studies have shown that obese people consistently

underestimate and underreport the amount of food they eat. One of the biggest problems of the obese is their

denial that they have an impulse control problem.

7. http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/April11/GasDrillingDirtier.html

8. My solution, which I did not voice that day, would be to use natural ventilation augmented by fans and not to

use airconditioners in Brisbane except in vital locations such as intensive care units. This approach would

however require the heinous and unthinkable act of designing buildings with windows which can actually

open, shaded by eaves to protect against influx of direct sunlight. We could call such a building a

Queenslander, a novel construction which has obviously never been thought of before.

9. I first heard of this elegant proposal from Bill Brazier, then President of the Queensland Branch of the ANZ

Solar Energy Society at our d3sj meeting in February 2007 and have since read other articles confirming how

economically and environmentally reasonable, sensible and logical such a plan is (and hence completely

unacceptable to the BI).

10. Not to be confused with William McKibben (better known as Bill McKibben), founder of 350.org, who

advocates that we need to reduce atmospheric CO2 to the level of 350ppm recommended by top climate

scientists such as James Hansen and that economic measures must be guided by scientifically determined

realities. Warwick McKibbin however believes that limpwristed maneuverings fabricated by economic

ideologies and platitudes will somehow save us. The fact is we cannot depend on the people who have caused

our problems (the economic delusionists) to solve them.

11. Our existing energy prices are based on dishonest accounting where fossil fuel energy gets a "free ride"

without having to pay for the harm it causes. Existing prices are based on lies and unrealities, leading to

perverse outcomes.

12. Some may argue quite legitimately that Halliburton (through Dick Cheney) was the defacto US government at

the time.

13. The underlying cause of the GFC was deregulation of the US investment banks, thus allowing the fraudsters to

engage in skullduggery. The trigger for the GFC was Peak Oil, the price of crude reaching US$147/- per barrel

in July 2008

14. My alphabets? MBBS, MRCP, FRACP, FCSANZ

15. Richard Branson is a somewhat more successful businessperson than Kate Farrar. His latest book is titled,

"Screw Business as Usual" which argues that we must overturn capitalism to take into account social and

environmental values.

16. As newly appointed CEO of the BI in 2009, Karyn Brinkley organised a forum for a partisan audience in

January 2010, which gave equal billing to the AGW denialists “Lord” Monckton and Ian Plimer against

climate realists in a “debate”, which the Courier Mail later declared the AGW denialists won (she has also

written articles for the Courier Mail).

Open Letter to EXTINCTION REBELLION

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on June 29, 2019

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Dear Extinction Rebels,

 

First of all, let me salute your fortitude to speak (what you think is) the truth, no matter how frightening.

Let me salute your resolve to do (what you think is) right, no matter how difficult.

Let me salute your courage to risk life, limb and liberty to oppose the omnicidal juggernaut of Industrial Capitalism, no matter how hopeless.

I understand your deep frustrations regarding the abject failure of our so-called leaders to do anything meaningful to address the obscene planetary devastation now spiralling out of control.

I understand you feel that your only remaining option now is mass civil disobedience.

I understand you believe that if only you can reach certain critical numbers within each population, you can drive urgent social change around the world to enact emergency measures to prevent global collapse of our life support systems.

In a world steeped in deceit, mendacity and narcissism, you strive for honesty, integrity and selflessness.

In a world steeped in vulgarity, materialism and avarice you stand for nobility, humanism and generosity

In a world steeped in viciousness, tribalism and brutality you practice kindness, inclusiveness and non-violence.

I have written open letters to various parties in the past, with little to no results.

I wrote to the Public Health department of the University of Queensland whose stated goal was to minimise morbidity and mortality in populations, pointing out they had paid scant attention to climate change and completely ignored Peak Oil. 1 George Monbiot is wrong if he thinks Peak Oil is no longer an issue, it remains an ever worsening threat but has been skilfully hidden by fraud and market distortion. 2 Nafeez Ahmed understands this well.

I wrote to Doctors for the Environment Australia whose focus on climate change was too limited in scope (they also ignored Peak Oil) and whose lobbying was too weak. 3

I wrote to The Zeitgeist Movement who claimed to promote science and sustainability but were more about science fiction and technocornucopian fantasy. 4

In contrast to the above groups however, you folks of the extinction rebellion are the ones I admire most. You are willing to risk imprisonment to try to save the lives of others too stupid and too venal to deserve being saved. That is noble and altruistic. But it is also misguided. I believe you are well meaning, morally righteous people with good intentions. But the road to hell is paved with good intentions. If you continue on this time and energy wasting path, you and your families will experience hell on earth. You deserve better. Others don't.

One of your demands is that official bodies tell the Truth and declare a climate emergency. You were told by the IPCC last year that humanity had 12 years before it would be too late to do anything. That was a LIE. The fact is that it was and is already far too late to prevent global catastrophe. There is NO carbon budget left. These realities were apparent even back in 2013 following the IPCC fifth assessment report, when the only scenarios the IPCC could imagine where disaster could be avoided required time travel into the past or technologies which did not exist and certainly could not be scaled up even if they did exist (as expressed by climate scientists Dr Kevin Anderson and Dr Hugh Hunt) 5. The science based facts behind these assertions are summarised here: 6.

Truth is determined by careful and comprehensive collection of accurate data, by hard objective scientific scrutiny using the principles of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, including mathematical analyses, which must not be polluted by political or economic vested interests. The IPCC processes had long been watered down by political interference, which seriously underestimated the magnitude and speed of global warming, in order to justify foot dragging by national so-called "leaders". 7

The reason we have not yet experienced the full horrific consequences of 415ppm CO2 (in reality, there is a much higher CO2 equivalent, around 500ppm) is because of time lag due to thermal inertia 8. Atmospheric temperature rises have been buffered by the cool oceans and the melting ice masses. Those buffers are being exceeded, they are being overwhelmed, as every second passes. If you think the unprecedented shocking weather extremes over the past 15 years were disastrous at barely 1 degree Celsius atmospheric global average temperature rise, there is far more and far worse to come. More than 4 degrees rise is irreversibly baked into the cake based on EXISTING greenhouse gas concentrations. That is as certain as the law of gravity. Hell is coming no matter what. The best thing you can do is get ready for it. But time is short and you must act NOW before the imminent global economic collapse steals away all your options.

Let us consider the absolute best imaginable outcomes for your group. What will happen if you are immediately 100% effective today in achieving all your social and policy goals?

  • Even if all carbon emissions cease today, the world is still committed to more than 4 degrees Celsius eventual global average temperature rise which will render large scale agriculture impossible. This means civilisation, the hallmark of which is the existence of cities, will no longer be possible. Small scale agriculture in a few selected climate resilient pockets may still be possible.

  • Large scale carbon sequestration is a fantasy and will never be undertaken because our bogus economic system will not allow for it and even if we can develop those technologies, we will not have the energy resources to do it. Geoengineering insanity will cause more problems than they address.

  • Immediate cessation of emissions will also mean immediate curtailment of global food production which is almost entirely dependent on fossil fuels. This will cause billions to starve. In the medical management of patients, knowingly inflicting harm is not an option. However allowing nature to take its course (in some cases – such as untreatable terminal cancer) is acceptable, indeed unavoidable. As a matter of course, billions will die this century due to oil/resource depletion, ecosystem collapse and climate catastrophe and the consequences thereof (warfare, epidemics etc). Inevitable near term economic collapse is also absolutely certain due to institutional fraud and impending energy collapse. 9 It is those events which will most effectively and drastically curtail carbon emissions, not your activism.

  • There is absolutely nothing you can do about the looming general die-off. You can however take steps to reduce the likelihood that you and your family and friends will die horribly in the next few decades. Please note that nobody's survival is guaranteed. All anyone can do is increase the probability of their survival.

There are certain toxic nihilists, the Extinction Promoters, who insist that near term climate extinction by 2030 or 2026 or some other arbitrary ridiculously short timeline is certain and that everyone should just give up and die. They are wrong. I have conclusively disproven their meme using basic Physics. NO credible climate scientist agrees with them. They are a vicious, nasty, misanthropic Death Cult. Their bogus ideology, inflicted upon psychologically vulnerable people, could contribute to premature deaths 10. Their false prophet, a former scientist, may have been a qualified ecologist (NOT a climate scientist) once upon a time, but somewhere along the way his fevered mind convulsed, contorted and congealed into lobotomised mush, catalysed by the self reinforcing feedback loops driven by his malignant echo chamber of ventriloquist dummy disciples 11 (who also ventured forth as rabid trolls to spread dismay and misery everywhere on the Net).

Dr Paul Beckwith, a true climate scientist and prolific educator who had the misfortune of associating with them in the early days has denounced them, as have I. You must ignore those toxic nihilists.

What then should you believe and what should you do?

Here is what you should NOT believe: Do NOT believe in the misleading pronouncements spouted by Politicians, Corporations, the mainstream Media (especially the Murdoch media), Economists and even the IPCC (which is more a political than scientific body). Be extremely critical of information coming from even Academia as they too may be subject to delivering corrupt, distorted messages.

What should you believe?

You must believe in reality. REALITY BEATS ANY RUBBISH IPCC DOCUMENTS ANY TIME, ALWAYS. The IPCC seriously underestimated true global warming be it Arctic ice melt, albedo loss, permafrost melt, Greenland ice loss etc. throughout its entire history. The arbiters of reality are climate science researchers who conducted real world measurements and observations and found all IPCC documents to be hopelessly out of date even before they were published. It is a standing joke among hundreds, even thousands of climate scientists (whose papers may have been shut out by the “low ball” IPCC selection procedures) that median IPCC projections have consistently grossly underestimated true observed warming in the world. Interested lay people should listen to the interviews conducted by Alex Smith (radioecoshock.org) and Stuart Scott (ScientistsWarning.TV) who have spoken directly to those multitudes of scientists over the years.

You must listen to those scientists with a track record of getting things right. The Limits to Growth Scientists got it right. Interestingly, insurance companies and military agencies such as the Pentagon and German Military have conducted a great deal of research into these matters and their documents may be worth perusing. This much is certain: Resource Depletion (especially that of vanishing high EROEI oil), Climate catastrophe and Ecological Collapse (especially the loss of living topsoil, death of the insects and of the oceans) each on their own guarantee the die-off of billions of people this century. Taken together, they ensure that massive human die-off will occur this century with certainty beyond any reasonable doubt. Die-off will be multiplied by epidemics and warfare.

What are uncertain and unknowable are the time scales with which die-off will proceed and the locations which will be affected hardest and earliest. However we can make educated guesses about those.

No part of the world will be completely spared but some places will be significantly less bad than others.

What should you do? That depends on your personal situation. Look around at the folks within your group, look to each other.

  • If you have no assets and no dependants and no intention or ability to change your lifestyle which is currently reliant on the fossil fool industrial paradigm, by all means continue your non-violent protests against the acceleration of carbon pollution, especially against unconventional oil/gas and new coal projects, which could be the nail in the coffin for our extinction. You may make a personal choice to go down with the Titanic and nobody can criticise you for that. However telling others to "abandon hopium", exhorting them not to board the lifeboats, so that they too will be dragged down and die alongside you, is completely unacceptable. Only a malicious turd, a "Kool Aid" Jim Jones type homicidal psychopath, would do such a thing.

  • If you have assets, liquidate them to purchase remote land in a climate resilient location with sufficient fresh water to grow food. Some location considerations can be found here: 12. Set up several tiny dwellings on your land, each powered by standalone off-grid solar electricity systems. You will need help establishing your permaculture homestead from young energetic Sapients who may be found among existing Extinction Rebellion and School Strike for Climate members. They can reside in the tiny dwellings and engage in an exchange economy without involving money.

  • If you are forced to continue working in a city to fund your remote homestead, ensure you have the means to bug out at short notice to travel to your “bolt hole”. Travelling by road post collapse may be difficult due to blockades, fuel constraints and rampaging zombie hordes. If your remote homestead is coastal, a sailboat may be the best way out, a literal lifeboat for you. Technocornucopians imagine cities to be the Elysian fields of the future, they picture driverless flying cars buzzing around skyscrapers covered with vertical gardens. They are wrong. Cities will be the killing fields of the future.

  • If you have no assets but are able to trade your "sweat equity", and especially if you have young dependants, make yourselves known to those setting up homesteads and develop skills so you can help grow food or provide useful services for your prospective off-grid community. You will be welcomed by landowners looking for help. After the collapse, successful homesteads will be largely egalitarian, any hierarchy will be determined by who contributes most in terms of water, food and energy provision to the community, not by anyone's (long evaporated) bank balance.

  • You will need to use fossil fuels to set up your homesteads. Do not agonise over that, just do it.

You must gather together like minded people and find the least bad place you can move to NOW.

If you are a pre-disaster migrant you can do many things. A post-disaster refugee will have no more agency than a piece of flotsam tossed around by storm blown waves.

This much is also certain: unless the survivors of the upcoming population cull are people who operate on the basis of truth and honesty and cooperation and learn how to live within the limits of Nature, human extinction will be guaranteed. It is important, nay essential, that the principal perpetrators of this global clusterfuck, the fossil fool fraudsters, the climate change deniers, the endless growth ideologues and their followers all die off. It is crucial for the survival of our species that all the clueless sheeple and their psychopathic sheeple herders perish. It is vital that Trump type Fascists and their demon spawn be wiped out and their germ line be extinguished forever, so they can no longer defraud, parasitise and threaten humanity. All those “players” will kill each other or die from disasters, famine or disease in the decades ahead, you just need to keep out of the way.

Only if the survivors of this cull are true Sapients, defined as being amenable to the ways of wisdom, will humanity and our ecosphere stand any chance.

But who are the Sapients?

YOU ARE. As members of the Extinction Rebellion you have identified yourselves to be Sapient. It is therefore your duty to save yourselves if you wish to save humanity, because folks like YOU represent the only hope that humanity will not go extinct.

Let me now propose an alternative name for you and an alternative and far more worthwhile path to take. You can transform yourselves into the "Extinction Resistance" and your task must be to get together as small communities, to set up off-grid homesteads in remote climate resilient locations, to wean yourselves off fossil fuels and to grow as much food for yourselves as you can. Not all will succeed. Trying will not guarantee success, but not trying will guarantee failure. Even if just a small minority succeed in the long term, that will be enough to form the best seed for humanity version 2.0

Do not try to save everyone. That is an impossible task and a fool's errand. But try to save as many as you can.

Bill Mollison, the co-founder of Permaculture, decried the "futility of revolutionaries who have no gardens, who depend on the very system they attack and who produce words and bullets, not food and shelter". You must be the revolutionaries who produce food and shelter, then your words will carry more weight.

 

CONCLUSIONS:

I have no reason to alter any of my recommendations written in this old post: 13 (see the lower heading "Advice for sustainability activists in 2015")

It is possible, perhaps even highly probable, that humanity may go extinct by the end of this century but it is by no means a certainty. Massive population die-off however is an absolute certainty, there is no credible scenario in which it can be avoided. Nevertheless our species has faced population collapse in the past (around 75,000 years ago), perhaps down to as few as a couple of thousand breeding pairs, and emerged past that population bottleneck. Can this happen again? Nobody knows for sure but I encourage you to resist extinction.

Ultimately, I think it is inevitable that humanity will try to emigrate to a thawing Antarctica which may be the last liveable location on the planet, should global average temperature reach 8 or 10 degrees Celsius above the Holocene. That will be the next great challenge.

G. Chia June 2019

Some Definitions:

I define an outcome as “certain beyond any reasonable doubt” if every single objective analysis shows no feasible possibility of that outcome being avoided. Of course it is possible that benevolent aliens from outer space or angels from heaven may intervene at the last minute to magically solve all our planetary problems, however such nonsensical thinking is best left to fantasy novelists – it is neither feasible nor realistic. Large scale “negative emissions” technologies belong in the same realm.

Even if an outcome is highly probable, but we are able to demonstrate just one single feasible scenario where that outcome can be avoided, then that outcome is NOT certain. This is the crux of the argument against the “ultra near term climate extinction” cocksure nihilists. In fact there are numerous scenarios, in multiple climate resilient locations, where ultra near term climate extinction can be avoided.

 

 

 

Footnotes:

 

  1. https://cassandralegacy.blogspot.com/2017/12/an-open-letter-by-geoff-chia-to-school.html

  2. http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/blog/2019/01/02/how-business-as-usual-has-been-pursued-since-2006-by-escalating-fraud-and-environmental-vandalism/#comment-10695

  3. http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/blog/2016/04/21/open-letter-to-doctors-for-the-environment-australia/

  4. http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/blog/2016/08/25/open-letter-to-the-zeitgeist-movement/

  5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8akSfOIsU2Y

  6. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfVphmxPOXo

  7. http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/blog/2017/02/14/climate-slides-for-diners/

  8. And to a lesser extent, global dimming due to sulphate and particulate emissions. There is a good BBC Horizon documentary about this https://vimeo.com/138779240

  9. The astute reader will realise that every one of those components interacts with every other one via bidirectional feedbacks which I have graphically modelled in 3 dimensions: https://cassandralegacy.blogspot.com/2017/12/the-seneca-cliff-explained-as-network.html and you can find a real world model “doom explained by confectionery abuse” on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hedXaMb42pk Probably the best commentators to tie together energy and economic matters are the brilliant polymath Nicole Foss and the venerable Richard Heinberg and Chris Martenson who have an abundance of podcasts, interviews and articles on the web. Probably the best authority on the military and geopolitical aspects of petroleum is Professor Michael Klare.

  10. Michael Ruppert, already suffering from depression, swallowed this entire “imminent climate extinction” meme uncritically because it came from a “respected scientist”. Michael repeated this flawed meme almost verbatim in his commentaries and writing before his suicide, reflecting the influence he was under.

  11. I acknowledge to have borrowed from certain commentators for the use of such colourful descriptors

  12. http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/blog/2016/01/14/location-location-location/ unfortunately the graphics are not in sequential order in this article due to formatting issues

  13. http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/blog/2015/01/20/doctors-scientists-for-sustainability-social-justice/

 


…and for those of you who missed the original broadcast…

My Alien Revelation

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on January 2, 2019

Discuss this article at the Collapse Narratives Table inside the Diner

by Geoffrey Chia, January 2019

The following narrative was telepathically transmitted to me in the form of dreams, by an alien historian named Angel Moron from his home planet three million light years away. Moron the historian took me to a cave where he showed me gold plates inscribed in alien script which he translated into English for me. Unfortunately the gold plates mysteriously vanished after that. I found Moron's appearance remarkably human for an alien. He found my appearance remarkably yuman for an alien.

PART 1: In which the most urgent threat to life on planet Dearth is identified:

A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, there was a nondescript planet called Dearth which orbited a nondescript star called Sol. The planet was called Dearth because there was a dearth of intelligent life to be found there. This was amply demonstrated by two facts: first, the apex predator species of that planet were furiously destroying their environmental life support systems in the frenzied pursuit of short term greed. Second, those idiots hubristically called themselves Homo Smartypants. Such absurd irony was lost on everyone apart from the very few true sapients among the populace. Some of the sapients, called scientists, had conclusively proven, using irrefutable evidence and reason, that their species, also called Yuman Beings, had evolved from ape like creatures three million years ago and that all of them, without exception, derived their sustenance from the natural environment, without which they would perish. These facts were conveniently ignored or forgotten by the apex predator nation on that planet, which (not ironically) called itself the Un-tied1 States of Amnesia or the "exceptional ones". Most Amnesiacs believed that Homo Smartypants were created supernaturally six thousand years ago by a bearded man on a cloud and the source of their intelligent trousers was a magical apple eaten by the first smartypants woman (who at the time lacked pants, intelligent or otherwise).

Allied to, perhaps even controlling the Un-tied States, was a small country across the ocean called Brian, where, some said, lived and died a Messiah two thousand years ago. Others however said he was not a Messiah, he was just a very naughty boy. Brian was called the original homeland of the Juice, because they grew lots of oranges there. Not all Juice-ish people were Brianists, indeed many among the diaspora of the Juice opposed the violent creation of Brian seventy years ago by the murderous expulsion (nowadays called "ethnic cleansing") of existing Arid inhabitants who had lived there many generations. They were called Arids because their land was very dry. Secular Juice who were non-Brianists (such as Choam Nomsky and Klaomi Nein) were considered fair minded, righteous and decent Yumanists by the sapients. They were considered traitors by the Brianists. Original ownership of that arid real estate was hotly disputed. Divine right of possession was claimed by religious Juice because they said they were the "chosen people" of the one true imaginary God, who had promised it to them. So it was written in their Holy Book, which was somehow conveniently derived from that very same imaginary God. It was such a convincing story, not self-serving at all mind you, that you simply had to take their word for it. Of course, the Brianists had absolutely no proof for their claim, only very intense, very insistent repetition, backed up by nuclear weapons.

Both the US of Amnesia and the Brianists were deadly keen to bomb the country of Eeran, which had lots of Spice2, an incredibly valuable transport fuel and major source of wealth, that they wanted to control. The US used relentless propaganda to deceitfully slander and demonise the Eeranians as terrorists, even though in reality it was actually the US which, by repeatedly funding and arming fanatical extremists in their proxy wars, had promoted and empowered the worst terrorists in the world.

Anyhoo, the campaign to bomb Eeran was rightly seen by the rest of the world as perfidiously insane and morally despicable. Among the most deranged chickenshit armchair warmongers was an Amnesiac named John Bolturd who sported a flamboyantly bushy Yosemite Sam moustache, as befitted an outlandish cartoon villain. He would have been laughably comical had he not been such a dangerous turd. Bolturd had been appointed to his position by the Amnesiac in chief, an orange syphilitic conman named Ronald Gump.

What would be the consequences of criminally bombing Eeran for no fucking reason whatsoever, apart from greed and stupidity? First, Eeran would respond by mining and blockading the Straits of Hummus, a strategic chokepoint, preventing the export of much needed Spice to the rest of the world and causing global economic collapse. Second, Eeran, acting in legitimate self defence, would launch retaliatory missiles against Brian. Third, this would lead to further bombing of Eeran by Brian and/or the US of A. Fourth, the empire of the Rus and the empire of Xanadu3 who sorely needed Spice, would, bound by their security treaty, come to the aid of Eeran. Things would rapidly escalate with the use of tactical, then intercontinental nuclear weapons, causing the quick extinction of Homo Smartypants, along with most other life on Dearth. All because a tiny number of unelected4, racist, bigoted, criminally insane, lying fuckwits such as John Bolturd, egged on by their counterparts in Brian, had hijacked US foreign policy.

So what actually happened to planet Dearth? That was, you remember, a long, long time ago.

 

PART 2: In which the only feasible solution to protect Yumanity from nuclear Armageddon is devised, with all ethical implications considered:

Enter a US gazillionaire named Franklin Delankin5 Rankin. FDR was one of the very few sapients among the Amnesiacs. He was determined to do good in the world, almost as a penance for a guilty conscience. FDR's mind boggling fortune was not accumulated by him personally, it was inherited entirely from three previous generations, from a family that had engaged in dodgy banking, ruinous usury and money laundering. The Rankins were joined at the hip to the military industrial complex and had funded both sides of every war for the past 100 years. FDR's family were composed entirely of black sheep, however he himself was an aberration, the only white sheep in four generations and, as it turned out, the greatest shame of the Rankin dynasty. FDR showed no inkling of any dogooder tendencies when young, being a quiet, observant, reflective lad, who watched how his elders operated and learned the tactics of predatory capitalism and murderous plunder with growing revulsion. He developed increasing contempt for the lavish indulgent lifestyles enjoyed by his peers, a privileged minority with an overweening sense of entitlement, while 95% of the world's population lived in hunger, insecurity and hardship. He spent much of his time reading philosophical tomes, especially the teachings of Siddharta. The first overt sign that things were not “right” with FDR was his marriage to a social worker named Elinor with whom he eventually had 3 children and 8 grandchildren, all of whom they schooled in the principles of yumanistic ethics. As a champion of the poor, the oppressed and people of colour, Elinor was a terrible influence on FDR. FDR bided his time when growing up, pretending to be a loyal tribe member, until his inheritance was absolutely confirmed, following which he went about dismantling the entire rancid Rankin empire to fund projects to alleviate poverty and disease afflicting the most disadvantaged people around the world. His relatives were appalled by his bleeding heart behaviour which was bleeding away their family fortune. To them he represented the most vile creature imaginable: a class traitor. They made many attempts to assassinate him, one which caused the loss of his legs in a bomb blast, leaving him wheelchair bound. Shortly after, FDR redoubled his bodyguards and intensified his security detail. FDR surrounded himself with carefully vetted, like minded leftist socialist types who exhibited absolute loyalty, not so much to him personally (he despised yes men), but to the higher common values and goals they shared: the promotion of social justice around the world and the opposition to illegitimate warfare and arbitrary murder of innocents, perpetrated by the rapacious robber baron class that FDR had been born into. Those in FDR's inner circle trusted one another implicitly, having weathered many trials and tribulations together. They were a tight knit, tight lipped group of confidantes. Every last one of them would, in a heartbeat, die for their cause and for each other, in their fight against Evil in the world and in their mission to alleviate the suffering of the downtrodden.

Having spent the past three decades of his life in philanthropy, FDR turned his mind to the greatest immediate threat to life on the planet: that of nuclear Armageddon. He was a problem solver who looked for solutions. In his experience, problems could only be solved by addressing the underlying causes. He engaged a multidisciplinary research team of sapients who used evidence and reason to analyse world issues. They demonstrated conclusively that it was just a tiny group of fuckwits known as the Neoconartists (John Bolturd being a particularly foul example) who were behind the worst mayhem, violence, murder, injustice and destruction in the world.

war orphans: a regrettable externality but necessary requirement of the Neocon business model  AKA “freedom and democracy”

Despite the Neocons attempts to demonise other parties as aggressors6, it was just the Neocons and only the Neocons alone, who were insane enough to consider a “winnable” pre-emptive nuclear strike and to trigger global thermonuclear war by way of their swaggering, blowhard, reckless brinkmanship. Hence the only option was to neutralise them. How could that be done?

FDR looked at the activities of antinuclear campaigners over the decades, people he admired immensely such as Dr Celen Haldicott, whose tireless efforts unfortunately amounted to exactly nothing. Clearly persuasion, reason and logical arguments, combined with plaintive emotional appeals, whether directed towards politicians or to the general public, did not work. Democracy no longer existed, having been hijacked by vested interests whose highly profitable (short term) business models were based on environmental destruction and perpetual warfare. The world was now poised at two minutes to Armageddon, as described by the clock of the Bulletin of Atomic Sapients. Drastic action was required urgently, failing which, yumanity was toast.

After thorough, meticulous analysis, FDR's sapient research team concluded that it was impossible to disempower or remove the Neoconartists by legal, peaceful and non-violent means. All the legal, peaceful and non-violent avenues for change, the checks and balances, had been completely dismantled by the corrupt “masters of the universe” (bankers, corporatists, arms dealers, etc) over the past few decades. Furthermore, there was no time left. The only feasible way to defuse the risk of imminent nuclear extinction was to eliminate the Neoconartists. Being a circumspect thinker however, FDR consulted a close confidante, a professor of ethics named Seter Pinger who was asked to look at the situation from all angles. Was killing always a crime? By engaging in targeted assassination, would that make FDR as bad as his foes? As a lifelong non-violent Yumanist, would the adoption of violence to achieve his goal make him a hypocrite?

Professor Pinger addressed the last question first in a roundabout way. One of the greatest existential threats to yumanity was global warming from Spice emissions, factually proven by overwhelming scientific research dating back a hundred years. However the existence of GW was vehemently denied by the Neocons because it damaged their business model. Hence they called the scientists liars, fraudsters, hoaxers and all round bad people. Many scientists responded by calling the Neocons themselves liars, fraudsters, hoaxers and all round bad people. In the “fair and balanced” Pox News, the scientists were portrayed as being just as bad as the Neocons because both sides were using ad hominem attacks, which made the so-called objective scientists hypocrites. Such criticism caused many scientists to temper their language and retreat to the dry citation of facts and figures, which had a soporific effect on the general public. This was a mistake by the scientists and a victory for the deniers because it enabled the latter to continue to slander and libel the scientists unopposed, while the scientists were cowed into fighting with both hands tied behind their backs. By definition, the scientists were not using ad hominem attacks, because objective data had proven that the Neocons were indeed telling lies and were therefore truly liars, fraudsters, hoaxers and all around bad people. The scientists were merely employing accurate description and were calling a spade a spade. The Neocons, by slandering and misrepresenting the scientists, were the only side using ad hominem attacks. The researcher Aomi Noreskes who wrote the book “The Merchants of Denial” actually castigated the scientists for not attacking and denigrating the global warming deniers strongly enough and for failing to hold the deceitful Neocons to account.

Professor Pinger then highlighted a recent atrocity in the news: the brutal assassination by dismemberment of journalist Jamal Ghashokki, ordered by the petulant despot Mahmoud Bone Sawman. What made that act a despicable crime? Firstly the victim was innocent of any wrongdoing, he was merely doing his job reporting news. Secondly, that crime was motivated entirely by the tyrannical self serving agenda of Bone Sawman who wanted to halt Ghashokki's criticism and send an intimidating message to other journalists. By the way, that murder was also an example of the worst ever botched cover-up of all time, lacking any subtlety or any plausible deniability, unlike the more covert, measured manoeuvrings of Pladimir Vutin, leader of the Rus.

If FDR was to commission the targeted assassination of Neoconartists, would that make him as evil as Bone Sawman and Vutin? Actually, no. Unlike those tyrants, FDR would be eliminating known murderers and warmongers, not killing innocent journalists. Furthermore FDR was not driven by any self serving motivations but by the protection of Yumanity and civilisation. Furthermore, no non-violent alternative options were available.

Next, Pinger described a school assignment given to all children in Brian at the age of thirteen. It was a rite of passage. They had to write an essay titled “What would I do if I could travel back in time?” Those who submitted bland narratives such as “I would have dinner with the prophet Isa and discuss the meaning of life” were invariably failed by their teachers. Only one type of answer could ever earn an “A” and it was this: “I would go back in time and kill Shitler”. Essays were graded according to how creative they were in arranging Shitler's demise. Shitler was of course the historical leader of the Nutsy party that governed the nation of Germs eighty years ago who launched a global war that killed 50 million people worldwide. In particular, he methodically exterminated six million Juice in death camps. Killing Shitler then would have been a crime according to Nutsy law at the time, however the Nutsies were a bunch of self serving thugs who had contrived a so-called legal system which was unjust, immoral and bogus. Their laws (eg. institutional racism and legal protection of racists – akin to the Crim Joe laws of the Southern US) were not legitimate because they could not pass any tests of natural justice, which were determined by the universal common standards of ethics. Those standards were summarised by two complementary principles found in all moral codes everywhere throughout all the known universe, throughout all of known history. They were the Golden Rules: do unto others as you would have others do unto you, and do not do unto others as you would not have others do unto you. Nobody in the modern world 80 years after the global war would, in retrospect, regard killing Shitler as a crime, indeed, quite the opposite. It was clear that the Juice themselves, in particular the Brianist Juice, considered the murder of a mass murderer to be a righteous and ethical act.

So killing was not always a crime. But would killing Shitler before he provoked war, before he proved himself to be a mass murderer, be a crime? As such, would killing the Neoconartists before they actually provoked global thermonuclear war, be a crime? Fortunately this was not an ethical conundrum because the Neoconartists had already proven themselves to be mass murderers. They were on the record of having perpetrated numerous invasions and wars based on lies which had caused the deaths of many millions of innocents. The fact that the US legal system had not brought the Neocons to justice simply proved that their so-called legal system was unjust, immoral and bogus, indeed, criminally negligent and complicit in war crimes.

But was not this very argument, that it is ethical to murder a murderer, one of the justifications the Neoconartists themselves used to kill Sodom Hussein of Eeraq? That the killing of Sodom, a proven murderer, was an ethical act by the Neocons to prevent him from murdering more innocent Eeraqis? Taken in isolation, perhaps. But knowing the big picture, absolutely not. Such devious, distorted, cherry picking of facts was typical of the Neoconartist liars. Firstly the Neocons were completely disingenuous. They were never remotely interested in protecting innocent Eeraqis, as evidenced by their previous imposition of sanctions which had killed more than half a million innocent Eeraqi children and their previous bombing of Eeraqi civilian infrastructure. Irrefutable facts had shown that the only reason for the US to invade Eeraq was to control that country's Spice. Secondly, if one's goals are to protect innocent lives and to minimise yuman suffering, then real world utilitarian ethics must be adopted. In messy reality, it is impossible to protect every single innocent life and there is never a perfect option. If the choice lies between preventing a million innocent civilian deaths caused by US invasion (which led to the destabilisation and collapse of Eeraq) and preventing a thousand deaths caused by Sodom (who however had kept Eeraq stable and functional, thus benefiting the vast majority of the population), then without doubt avoiding invasion is a thousand times superior. This consideration was the same as deciding about a medical intervention: if the adverse effects of an intervention are a thousand times worse than the disease itself, then obviously the intervention must be avoided and one must adopt some other form of disease management. You do not chop off a person's head to remove a mole on their forehead (unless you are a Neocon looking for an excuse to kill that person).

There was no doubt that FDR's aim was to protect and preserve innocent lives, as evidenced by his past three decades of philanthropy. What was at stake here? What did Yumanity stand to lose if the Neocons were allowed to continue their outrageously belligerent behaviour and provoke global thermonuclear war? All of civilisation, every single Yuman life on the planet, all future Yuman generations, all Yuman achievements in art, literature, culture, music, science, indeed all knowledge, would be wiped out forever if the Neocons were allowed to pursue their insanity to its inevitable conclusion. Compared with any theoretical ethical objection about killing a handful of proven murderers, the choice was an absolute no-brainer. Ultimately however, the biggest motivation driving FDR was his determination to ensure the future survival of his children and grandchildren on a planet which was not a seething radioactive wasteland.

 

PART 3: In which Yumanity miraculously escapes near term nuclear extinction

What transpired next was a mixture of rumour, innuendo and conjecture.

This much however we do know: in the year that followed, the worst Neoconartists mysteriously perished in a wide variety of ways. Some died in their sleep, some apparently committed suicide by jumping off buildings or bridges or by overdosing on prescription pills or illicit drugs. Some died in road traffic or aircraft accidents. One character shot himself in the head. Twice.

The prize for the most memorable mode of departure belonged to John Bolturd. He had a number of private fetishes little known to the public, one of them being pica (the ingestion of dirt), a recognised medical condition. He had a penchant for scoffing up all manner of fecal detritus. On the occasion of his death he was found in a toilet having apparently choked on a clump of bovine excrement. Every year since then, on the anniversary of his death, a person or persons unknown regularly delivered this engraved plaque by drone to his cemetery plot:

Here lies John Bolturd who was true to his name:

He died while bolting down a turd.

He lived by spewing out bullshit and died by choking on bullshit.

May he rest in piss.

The son of Moron the historian wrote an essay about Bolturd's death for his school assignment and received an A+.

The following is Angel Moron's unsubstantiated opinion about what actually happened, which however he was unable to prove, lacking any objective documentation:

In FDR's efforts to increase his personal security team, he recruited more than just bodyguards. In the interviews conducted by his staff, they encountered many ex-military personnel who were bitter at the system for having betrayed them. Many had been deployed overseas when they were young, trusting and naïve, believing they were going to spread democracy and freedom around the world and were going to help those in need. Instead they were forced, under duress from their superiors7, to commit acts of brutality and oppression against the local populations, even to torture and murder innocent people including women and children. Such atrocities shattered their images of themselves as good people and fomented self loathing. After their return to the US of A, many committed suicide from guilt or embarked on mass shootings followed by suicide. The remaining survivors slowly worked through their psychological trauma to eventually understand that they had been hoodwinked by the crooks in charge of the system to commit war crimes to benefit those very crooks. They realised that the system was rotten because it had been distorted and perverted by those at the very top, who were rotten to their core. Many disillusioned, skint ex-service personnel were not just looking for employment. Above all, they were looking for redemption, for some way to hit back at their manipulators, to do serious damage to those psychopaths who had lied to them, exploited them and forced them to commit horrific atrocities. To seek vengeance and closure for their foreign victims and their families. Among those returned personnel were many skilled in electronic surveillance, intelligence gathering, covert operations and even with special knowledge of poisons, explosives and alternative methods of killing.

Speculation: were they recruited by FDR, not particularly for his own protection but for a wider purpose?

Whereas foul play could never be proven in any of the deaths of the Neoconartists, the manner of their deaths looked like classic examples taken from the assassination handbook of the Central Intelligence Administration. The Neocon deaths were spookily reminiscent of those which befell foreign leaders who had stubbornly refused to do the bidding of the US of A and then conveniently perished in “accidents”, to be quickly replaced with compliant Amnesiac puppets. They were the very same assassination tactics the CIA taught would-be foreign tyrants in the “School of the Amnesiacs” at Fort Lemming, Borgia. Many historians deemed it poetic justice that the Neocons appeared to have been killed by the very same methods the Neocons themselves had used to kill others. Some considered it Divine Retribution.

Of course, that was all just rumour, innuendo and conjecture.

With the Neocons out of the picture, more moderate voices were able to take over US foreign policy and the risk of global nuclear war subsided. Furthermore, the US administration finally admitted that global warming was real and was a major problem and they might, someday, possibly consider the theoretical idea of discussing non-binding emissions caps with other nations. At some future date.

Regional conflicts did break out around the world in the decades to follow, but no party was ever insane or reckless enough to be the first to push the nuclear button.

 

PART 4: In which ecological overshoot results in the massive die-off of Yuman beings, but complete extinction is avoided by advanced planning

FDR was well aware of the Limits to Growth, of the multiple threats to yuman survival posed by nuclear warfare, overpopulation, rampant overconsumption, resource depletion, global warming, pollution and ecosystem destruction. Having greatly reduced the risk of the first factor8, FDR set about devising strategies by which near term yuman extinction could be avoided, taking the advice of his scientific team. He realised it was impossible to save everyone and billions would inevitably die in the coming decades, but if just a few thousand were able to survive through the population bottleneck, Yumanity could eventually re-establish themselves on the planet in the long term. One key measure was to robustly preserve multiple independent (non-electronic) archives of all yuman scientific and cultural achievements that could outlast the entire duration of the upcoming dark ages, which would probably be several thousand years. Script engraved by laser on gold plates with marine grade stainless steel backing was one method.

FDR knew that the long term projections for global warming were catastrophic, perhaps a 10 degree Centigrade global average temperature rise over the next century, which would render almost the entire planet uninhabitable. By sheer dumb luck however, planet Dearth just happened to have a massive continent in the South polar region, currently ice bound, which would eventually thaw and allow for livable ambient temperatures. The biggest challenges would be coping with six months of darkness per year and with superstorms fed by heat energy. Despite those issues, he knew that 70 million years ago, when the global average temperature was indeed around 10 degrees higher, plants and large animals thrived on that south polar continent (which had not moved significantly over time, unlike the continental drift of other land masses). Hence yuman survival there was technically possible. The tricky question at present was how to go about mitigating against the massive ecological and climatic upheavals which were now proceeding thousands of times faster than had ever occurred in geologic history.

There was one other major consideration, perhaps the greatest of all. If yumanity did manage to live through the critical period of the next several thousand years (which was how long it would take for carbon dioxide to draw down and for ecosystems to recover) it would be necessary to ensure that future yumans never again endanger the life support systems of the planet. This would require restraints on yuman population and consumption, closed loop utilisation of resources and most important of all, elimination of psychopaths from the population should they arise once again to threaten yuman survival.

The details of how yumanity coped are a long story best left for another time.

  • transcribed by G. Chia via telepathy from an alien historian, January 2019

FOOTNOTES:

  1. Some preferred to use the term un-hinged rather than un-tied

  2. There were five different types of Spice, each with different energy levels: Scary, Sporty, Ginger, Posh and Baby. They had their heyday many years ago, hence by the time in question, Baby Spice had long passed peak production, was facing a decline in EROEI and was now renamed Old Spice.

  3. In Xanadu did Kubla Khan, a stately pleasure dome decree,

Where Alph the sacred river ran,

Through caverns measureless to man,

Down to a sunless sea

      • S.T. Coleridge

  1. Not elected by any democratic, fair, transparent process anyway. Elections were rigged by the GOP (Gas and Oil Party) using corrupt tactics to install corporate compliant candidates and create an illusion of democracy which was believed only by stupid people.

  2. You may quite reasonably ask, “what the hell kind of a name is Delankin?” to which I respond “what the hell kind of a name is Delano?”

  3. Facilitated by their media whore Rabid Murdoch and his pestilent team of talking heads on Pox News

  4. Soldiers who defied orders would face the following consequences: court martial, dishonourable discharge, blacklisting against future employment, hence inability to earn any future income, hence inability to repay their college student loans, hence default of their debts, hence seizure of their family homes by the banks, hence ending up homeless and destitute. The senior officers made those consequences of disobedience abundantly clear to each new cohort on the first day of their foreign deployment and cited several examples of former defiant recruits whose lives (and the lives of their families) were ruined “with extreme prejudice”. Entrapment of young people into debt slavery was a highly effective strategy to ensure their obedience to authority.

  5. His approach was almost clinical, akin to saving the life of a critically ill patient in an intensive care unit. Numerous threats faced the patient, but priority had to be given to the most immediate and urgent issue, in this case nuclear extinction. Certainly other matters such as global warming were potentially fatal threats, but GW would take longer to unfold to its full extent. It was inappropriate to focus exclusively on the “slower burning” threat, if the more urgent threat was going to kill the patient immediately.

 

 

How business as usual has been pursued since 2006 by escalating fraud and environmental vandalism

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on January 2, 2019

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by Geoffrey Chia, December 2018

As the year draws to a close, it is usual to engage in some reflection. There are multitudes of bizarre, disgraceful and extreme events which took place in 2018 which warrant examination, probably the worst atrocity being the mass killing and starvation of the Yemeni people by Saudi Arabia courtesy of MBS (Mohammed "Bone Saw"), materially supported by the Fascist States of America and their psychopath in chief. Not to mention the cold blooded murders of desperate Palestinian civilians in Gaza by Israeli "Defense" Force snipers, wilfully ignored by the Fascist States of America and their psychopath in chief. However this article is a summary of oil shenanigans over the past 12 years.

Very few people have any awareness of, or interest in the relentless depletion of "easy oil" (high EROEI oil) which inexorably worsens as each day passes and threatens to trigger the irreversible collapse of global industrial society. The means by which the GIMME (government, industrial, military, media and economic) establishment have disguised this crucial reality have been quite remarkable and truly fascinating.

The key index deceiving the public has been oil price. To the public, a low oil price means that oil must be abundant. Nuff said, nothing to see here, no need to think further.

The other bogus parameter the establishment has used is the global gross "oil" output, a figure which has been twisted and fudged to hide reality in a manner akin to how "low" unemployment figures in the FSA have been distorted to hide true unemployment, underemployment and underpayment of the majority of the struggling population. So global oil output has now reached/exceeded 100 million barrels per day! Yipee! No worries here! Peak Oil is dead!

 

Real, actual, useful net oil production today versus the lies told by industry:

A prior understanding of the difference between conventional and unconventional oils, EROEI (energy returned divided by energy invested), net energy (energy returned minus energy invested) and basic economic concepts are necessary and can be achieved by doing a search on the doomstead diner site using my name and key terms. I have provided references to my assertions in previous essays and presentations, along with all the necessary graphs, diagrams and pictures.

I use approximate numbers here, which may not be perfectly precise. However numbers, even if presumed, must be used to aid conceptual understanding. The true numbers may never be known, except in retrospect, due to certain vested interests wanting to hide the current unpleasant realities of today. If more accurate figures are forthcoming in future, they can be plugged into these considerations without affecting the conceptual framework.

Brief summary:

  1. The world reached the peak of conventional oil output of around 86 million barrels per day in 2006. After that, net conventional oil output plateaued, then declined.

  2. Before, at and just after the peak, in mathematical and practical terms, EROEI and net oil output considerations were relatively unimportant, however well after peak production (ie. now) they have become vitally important.

  3. Net oil output is what enables us to do useful things. Gross oil output, particularly from low EROEI sources (unconventional fields and conventional fields well past peak) is meaningless.

  4. The flat net crude output since 2006 resulted in global economic stagnation, which is poison to the neoliberal, neoclassical capitalist economy, which requires endless growth to survive. It is now gasping on life support.

  5. Flat oil output led to the mad scramble for unconventional oils to try to forestall the decline in net oil availability. In an honest economy, those would always be regarded as money losing projects (they can NEVER self fund), hence they could only be perpetrated by fraud and hidden subsidies.

If we try to unpack the proclaimed "record breaking" current global oil production of 100 million barrels per day, the following should be borne in mind:

  1. The so-called authorities are referring to gross output of all liquid hydrocarbon fuels (much of which is NOT actually crude oil). This is very different from the net output of conventional oil back in 2006 (essentially all of which was crude oil)

  2. When true peak oil hit 12 years ago, various oil "authorities" such as the EIA then decided to add natural gas condensates to the "crude oil" total, which had not been included in previous reckonings. If, say, this amounts to 5 million barrels per day, then current proper oil output should be reduced to 100-5= 95 million barrels per day. We need to compare apples with apples.

  3. The so-called authorities also then decided to add gross output of all unconventional oils (shale oil, tar sands, heavy oil, super deep water oil, biofuels etc) to the "crude oil" total, ignoring the fact that many such oils, eg shale LTO are nothing like crude. The UC component has certainly increased substantially over the past 12 years as a result of frenzied "Red Queen" activity (running ever faster just to stay in the same place). If, say, gross UC oil production now amounts to 15 million barrels per day and if the average EROEI of unconventional oils is 3:1 (it is actually less than unity in the case of most biofuels) then the net useful amount from UC oils is actually 10 million barrels per day (because 5 million barrels is used to produce 5×3=15 million barrels and 15 minus 5 is 10). So to get the true amount of gross conventional crude oil we must subtract 10 from 95 and we get 85 million barrels per day. Is this then the actual amount of useful conventional crude we have available today? Er, no.

  4. Well past peak, the EROEI of conventional oil declines, then eventually plummets. We do not know precisely the global EROEI of conventional oil now but if we use the oft quoted figure of 10:1, this means we use 8.5 million barrels to generate 85 million barrels and our true net output of conventional oil now is (to round out) 85 minus 9 = 76 million barrels per day.

  5. Useful net oil output today is thus 76 (conventional) + 10 (unconventional) = 86 million barrels per day today which is much the same as when we hit conventional peak 12 years ago. Shades of the Red Queen!!

  6. Net oil output is poised to plummet catastrophically in the next few years.

 

How UC oil scams (shale oil in particular) have been funded:

The unconventional oil industry can never be and will never be self propagating, it requires cheaper oil input from high EROEI sources to produce this low EROEI expensive oil. Ignorant pundits claim that if only the price of oil rises again to, say, 100 dollars per barrel instead of, say, a current price of 51 dollars per barrel (WTI price as of 16 December), then UC oils would become economically viable and would start to make a profit. Hence investors must simply bide their time. The lie to this claim is exemplified by the fact that shale oil has NEVER made any net profit, even when oil price was over $100 per barrel. The money earned from UC oil has ALWAYS been less than the investment inputs required. Those ignorant pundits ignored the fact that as the overall market price of oil rises, the input costs to produce that UC oil will correspondingly also rise, making the final cost of the UC oil always higher than the overall extant market price. Always.

The real cost of production of unconventional oils has been hidden by ingenious (more accurately, disingenuous) financial sleight of hand. I had long puzzled over how and why such patently stupid activity could be pursued and posed that question to our Brisbane ASPO representative, Wallace Wight, who said to me (I paraphrase) that stupidity never stopped human beings from pursuing foolish goals. He was of course correct but the more detailed explanation is as follows:

  1. Economic stagnation over the past decade caused reserve banks to reduce interest rates on savings to virtually zero to discourage saving and to stimulate people to seek higher interest bearing investments (and hence "stimulate the economy", thus lifting us from this economic quagmire). Such higher returns were promised by the glossy brochures of UC oil prospectors, attracting numerous cashed up investors including royal suckers such as the largest mining company in the world, BHP Billiton, who knew heaps about mining ores but nothing about mining oil.

  2. Quantitative easing AKA printing money out of thin air, was the means by which governments magically conjured up bonds which they issued to reserve banks, increasing their liquidity and enabling banks to offer massive low interest loans to "high value" clients. This cheap money again was an attempt to get the private sector to invest in potential (theoretically) money making projects to stimulate the economy. This, combined with ZIRP, has been a major contributor to the current massive share market bubble.

  3. Cheap money flooding into UC oil projects funded the frenzy of UC oil extraction, causing widespread environmental devastation and markedly increasing carbon emissions.

  4. Many UC oil companies collapsed, being unable to produce significant oil flow as they failed to find the "sweet spots". Some however did show rising production figures and these continued to attract investors, even though they never showed any net profit from the oil they produced, compared with the money invested.

  5. Investments flooding into certain UC oil companies caused their share prices to rise, attracting ever more investors, even though there was no net value in their product and they have earned nothing. This is the very definition of a Ponzi scheme where the value of a share is utterly dependent on attracting ever more investors and the commodity in question eg tulips, has little or no value in itself. Bloated share prices have been further inflated by the share buybacks conducted by many companies. When the price/earnings ratios of stocks go through the roof, you know the bubble is due to burst.

  6. Sharemarket investors include many banks themselves and many retirement funds around the world (which had been on the lookout for companies with rising prices in the stockmarket, irrespective of fundamentals).

  7. When UC oil output crashes (quite soon for US shale oil), all those investments will be wiped out. People will lose their retirement nest eggs.

  8. Low oil prices at present are partly due to the mechanisms above (throwing good money after bad, or throwing good oil after bad: it is essentially massive subsidisation of expensive oil, quite apart from government subsidies) but mainly because of demand destruction occurring in a stagnant global economy, as previously explained in other essays (in brief: a "beggar thy neighbour" policy: the imposition of austerity and poverty by the strong on the weak eg German bank policy on the PIIGS countries, US Wall Street bankster policies on middle America)

 

As I have said before, the only truly valuable sources of oil we ever had and we will ever have are the conventional oilfields before, at and just after peak production, when EROEI is high. The industrial wealth of a society is heavily dependent on access to such high net energy sources. Low EROEI sources are worth little to nothing and cannot generate significant industrial wealth and are not self propagating. Furthermore they cause obscene environmental devastation.

Of the 47,500 conventional oil fields around the world, around 502 giant fields ie. little more than 1% have historically provided us with around 60% of all our oil. Hence it is the giant oil fields which are crucially important. Where are the remaining giant oil fields that still have substantial EROEI? Certainly no longer in the USA, which is now essentially tapped out. Russia, Iran and Iraq are past peak production, although not as far past as other countries. The latest, possibly the last ever giant conventional oilfield to come on line is Kashagan in the Caspian region. Iran and Iraq have had their output forcibly curtailed historically due to US sanctions and thus still have substantial remaining reserves (comparatively speaking). Since the US brought "democracy" to Iraq, the majority Shi'ites seized political power from the minority Sunni, hence Iraq has become aligned more with Shi'ite Iran, an unintended consequence of the US invasion. Russia, after more than a decade of economic slowdown after the collapse of the USSR (and hence curtailment of their oil output) have restored oil production and is now the largest oil exporter in the world, eclipsing Saudi Arabia whose exports are due to plummet due to their rising domestic consumption and rampant reproduction by a young, entitled population (around 70% being under the age of 30 as of 2016) – and women in their culture being regarded as property and breeding machines https://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/17/world/middleeast/young-saudis-see-cushy-jobs-vanish-along-with-nations-oil-wealth.html ).

The FSA have no control over oil produced by Russia, Iran and the Caspian region and are losing control over Iraq, which is aligning more with Iran. The FSA historically pursued their oily global agenda by installing the megalomaniac Shah in Iran and the buffoon Yeltsin in Russia and by invading Iraq, however those ultimately all failed miserably. Such failures have not stopped the FSA more recently from attempting further regime change by depressing the price of oil (by encouraging their Saudi proxies to maximise production) and by imposing illegal sanctions on target nations (eg unilaterally reneging on JCPOA then reimposing sanctions on Iran), to try to collapse the Russian and Iranian economies and thus create fertile ground to plant puppet leaders. It will not work this time round, the world has wised up to their dirty tricks.

If and when the BRICS and oil exporting countries move away from the US petrodollar, the US fiat currency will collapse in value, the US will no longer be able to obtain cheap oil and the US economy will collapse, even as China continues to enjoy good access to the remaining high net energy oil from Russia, Iran, Iraq and the Caspian area. The loss by the FSA of their unearned, undeserved and unfairly acquired privileges, is unthinkable to the Neoconartists who, rather than retiring gracefully as the British did at the end of their empire, are more likely to provoke global thermonuclear war because of petulant sour grapes resentment and denial of their "manifest destiny". The permanent legacy of Exceptionalistan will be near term human extinction. Mass murder/suicide because of a childish tantrum. Even in the unlikely event the FSA finds the maturity to withdraw gracefully, the rest of the world will ultimately collapse anyway well before the end of this century, due to further energy depletion, climate chaos and other factors. However small pockets of humanity may still survive, particularly those deep in the Southern Hemisphere eg South Island of NZ and Southern Chile, a good stepping stone on the way to a thawing Antarctica.

So put that in your Xmas pudding and ruminate on it.

Here's wishing everyone a happy pagan summer solstice (winter in the North). Enjoy life while you can and do what you can to mitigate against impending hardships. For those in denial, may you find comfort from your imaginary being of preference.

Appendix:

Even though we have now reached the end of 2018, the best discourse on petroleum I found this year was from January. As it is quite dense and difficult to dissect for newbies, here are some accompanying notes:

 

Arthur Berman is a 40 year veteran US petroleum geologist whose analyses and predictions have historically been proven to be far more accurate than industry estimates (since 2007 in particular). http://peakoil.com/production/heinberg-chapter-3-a-treadmill-to-hell

In my opinion, this interview of Art Berman by Chris Martenson in January 2018 remains one of the most important podcasts.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWC5SJjBdqc&feature=youtu.be

However that podcast is very information dense and may be difficult to understand by Peak Oil newbies. Accordingly I have summarised it in bullet point below and have added my own comments in green, which hopefully will enhance better understanding. The situation looks dire even before taking into consideration EROEI.

Main points:

  1. New conventional oil discoveries the past 4 years (2014 to 2017) were the worst since reliable records began.

  2. Reserve replacement ratio (the amount of discovered resources during the year relative to the amount of production of hydrocarbons in the same year globally) was just 11% in 2017 for oil and natural gas combined https://www.rystadenergy.com/newsevents/news/press-releases/all-time-low-discovered-resources-2017, compared with ~50% in 2012, the last "good" year. However "sustainability" by definition means 100% replacement occurs every year, hence even 2012 was far from a good year. Oil is an unsustainable, non-renewable resource. We are burning legacy discoveries which are not being replaced and have been doing so since the 1980s. The peak of conventional oil discoveries occurred in 1964.

  3. Such findings are entirely consistent with a post Peak Oil situation, ie the fact we are now well past Peak Oil production, on the downslope of the Hubbert curve.

  4. This is equivalent to drawing down on a savings account till there is nothing left, then we suddenly find ourselves destitute.

  5. For conventional oil fields, discovery to production lag time averages 10 years.

  6. Shale oil plays can be mobilised quicker but contain trifling amounts of oil which make little difference to global petroleum depletion eg 300K barrels of recoverable oil for a shale play in a “sweet spot” versus, say 13 billion barrels for a conventional giant oil field such as Kashagan.

  7. Shale "plays" reach peak quickly eg after 5 years (unlike conventional fields which take decades eg 35 years to peak) and diminish catastrophically after peaking (eg down by 85% three years post peak, unlike conventional fields which decline by 6% per year post peak)

  8. The above facts are prompting China to lock in contracts with conventional oil exporters, but the USA seems to believe its own propaganda about "energy independence".

  9. Complete and rapid transition to electric vehicles powered by renewable energy is delusional*

  10. Oil prices are rising again now and likely to rise much more in the near future.

  11. This will strangle any illusory and nascent "economic recovery" some pundits claim we are experiencing now.

  12. Oils ain't oils. Shale oil is NOT crude oil, it is volatile, light (LTO= light tight oil), less energy dense, has few refineries capable of processing it and has limited uses (it cannot be used to produce diesel, the main workhorse of industrial civilisation)

  13. Because of limited uses, the USA is exporting the LTO it cannot use, creating the illusion of an "oil exporter" but the USA remains a net importer of crude (since 1971) and is far from energy independent.

  14. Industry claims of massive shale oil reserves are bogus, based on cherry picked data and false assumptions. There is a huge difference between technically recoverable oil and economically recoverable oil. Berman's overall analysis from the raw data show only half that claimed by industrial propaganda.

  15. Martenson expressed confusion about the role of "nodding donkey" pumps, corrected by Berman.

  16. Nodding donkey pumps apply to conventional fields when they are depleting (not necessary at the beginning). Shale plays require very high pressure injection of fracking fluid from the very beginning.

  17. Shale LTO output is facilitated by the expansion of natural gas and when the pressure falls the game is over, no matter how much theoretical oil reserve remains in that play.

  18. All shale enterprises have been LOSING money in all their lifetimes, even when crude oil was more than $100 per barrel (reason: even if LTO sells at a higher price, the LTO extraction costs are higher when crude is dearer, hence breakeven is NEVER attainable and profit is NEVER attainable) http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/blog/2017/07/13/the-economics-of-unconventional-oils-externalities-be-damned/

  19. The Permian Basin shale estimated oil reserves (EOR) in particular have been grossly exaggerated by industry pundits. Berman calculated ~3.75 billion barrels in TOTAL, using the SAME raw data from industrial sources who, using creative accounting, have quoted more than ten times that amount from the Wolfcamp shale alone. (NB: USA consumes 5 billion barrels of oil per year)

  20. This is consistent with the lies told about the Monterey and Polish shale plays by industrial propaganda, which had to be written down by >95% after scrutiny by the USGS.

 

*Why transition to centralised renewable energy infrastructure is impossible for almost all countries:

  • Even if possible, it would take decades to transition and we face a net energy cliff in the next few years.

  • Transition requires massive amounts of fossil fuels to build brand new renewable energy infrastructure and entirely new electric vehicle fleets: we do not have enough FF in today's post peak oil situation to pursue BAU and maintain our existing infrastructure as it is, much less build new infrastructure. Even if we did have enough FF, we cannot afford to do so environmentally, because of runaway climate change

  • There is no profit incentive in our so-called "free market" economic system to transition, indeed the fossil fool corporations that control Western governments and economies have been viciously opposing such a transition. Only a command economy like China can do this. China was responsible for the massive price reduction in solar panels worldwide, not the angloamerican bogus “free” market. In theory, China, with its new nuclear power stations, huge wind and solar farms and long distance high speed electric rail, could build more renewable energy systems using their renewable energy infrastructure. In practice this will not happen because most of China will be abandoned before the end of this century due to runaway climate change and environmental devastation. Massive migration to Siberia is inevitable, the Chinese will either move or die. If Russia resists this inevitability, there will be war and mutually assured destruction. Russia's historic “acquisition” of Siberia was illegitimate invasion and colonisation anyway.

  • Renewable energy technologies have not yet solved issues of intermittency and energy storage

  • The energy density of lithium batteries is poor (less than 1/50th that of oil) hence electric vehicle range, power and endurance are pathetic compared with diesel engines.

    Untethered electric vehicles cannot be used for long distance transport or agricultural or mining purposes. Elon Musk is a conman, his fan club are scientifically illiterate fools. Also the problem of long charging times for batteries can only be “solved” by “hot swaps”, which requires manufacturing several times more spare battery capacity as there are vehicles on the road. There is insufficient lithium worldwide to do this.

  • Decentralised renewable energy systems (microgrids, individual offgrid dwellings) based on REDUCED CONSUMPTION can and do work to provide comfortable lifestyles, the key strategies being careful management of energy harvested and localisation of resource acquisition.

CONCLUSION: Unless you set up your own off-grid, self sufficient (as much as possible) community homestead in a climate resilient location right now, you will find yourself destitute in the near future.

The Geopolitics of Petroleum

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on October 12, 2018

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This was a presentation to the members of ReNew/ATA (renewable energy advocates) at the Peace Centre in Brisbane in late September. Even though it is almost 90 minutes long, it is just a basic introduction. It is a much abridged version of topics already covered in articles previously written (see weblinks in text description beneath video)

Link to full talk:

https://youtu.be/K9wCbNHlMsU

 

 

 

A minimalist solar powered chest freezer + passive icebox setup

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on April 11, 2017

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by Geoffrey Chia, March 2018

Unless you run heavy duty power tools or electric motors or pumps, the home appliances which consume the most electricity are the fridge/freezer and washing machine*. Whereas in the past, 1.5kW (1500W) of solar panels on the roof of a house was considered standard, nowadays 3000 to 7000W are becoming the norm, due to falling prices. A neighbour in a rural area told me he had 25 photovoltaic (PV) panels on his roof (=6000W if each panel is 240W) and after meeting all his domestic electrical needs, he was earning a healthy income exporting electricity to the grid. During the fortnight this January that my friend and I were staying in a caravan on a rural plot, that visiting neighbour was surprised to see how we were meeting all our fridge and freezer needs with a single portable 240W PV system, 400Ah of 12V AGM batteries (=2.4kWh energy storage, assuming 50% DOD) and a 60 litre 12V DC chest freezer.

Here is a very brief videoclip of that setup on youtube and the components are as follows:

  1. Monocrystalline 240W, 12V portable photovoltaic set (two 120W panels which fold together)

  2. Voltage regulator embedded at rear of panel (a relatively inefficient pulse wave modulation box)

  3. Wires going to

  4. Two 200Ah deep cycle lead-acid AGM 12V batteries in parallel (protected against direct sunshine in a very makeshift manner)

  5. Wires going to

  6. Sixty litre chest fridge/freezer – in this case used exclusively as a freezer

  7. Standalone passive cooler box containing ice blocks to chill the perishables

 

Notes regarding use:

  • The location was around 40 degrees latitude South. Being high summer there were long hours of good sunshine each day and there were only a few half days when it was relatively overcast.

  • During that period, daytime temperatures went above 30 degrees C on several occasions, but was down into the low teens at night

  • With the freezer set at minus 12 degrees C (not the minimum setting), in the day the voltage display was usually around 13+V without load and 12+V with load. At night however the voltage went as low as 11V with load (low voltage cutoff was set at 10.7V)

 

Notes on efficiency (or lack thereof) with numbers corresponding to the components mentioned above:

  1. Monocrystalline panels are the most efficient (around 18% energy conversion). Polycrystalline and amorphous PVs are less efficient but are also cheaper and may therefore be more cost effective per Watt in situations where the panels are permanently fixed and do not need to be small and portable. Amorphous panels are more shade tolerant.

  2. An MPPT regulator is around 25% more energy efficient than a PWM regulator but is also more expensive and bulkier. Worthwhile investment for the long term.

  3. Shorter length of larger calibre wire will reduce energy loss

  4. Lithium batteries are much lighter, with greater depth of discharge and longer cycle life than lead acid, but remain significantly more expensive. A battery management system to ensure proper balancing of cells is essential. Perhaps even more expensive and much harder to obtain are Nickel Iron (NiFe or Edison) batteries, which despite a number of drawbacks (eg high rate of self discharge) beat all other batteries in terms of longevity (possibly indefinite if care is taken with the electrolyte) and are highly resistant to abuse (excessive charge or discharge). What type you choose depends on your list of priorities. A proper battery box or cupboard is of course required in a more permanent situation.

  5. see (3)

  6. see Notes on the chest freezer below

  7. When starting off, before buying perishables, bottles of water were placed in the freezer. When frozen solid they were then transferred to the cooler box to keep the veggies, fruit and milk cold. Even when mostly melted, so long as some ice remained in a bottle, the temperature in that bottle would still remain around zero degrees C. In practice we replaced each bottle with a fully frozen one when about half of the ice had melted. This would occur sooner rather than later if we drank the cold water and refilled it with ambient temperature water

 

Notes on the DC chest freezer:

  1. When the icecream was initially stored on the high shelf of the freezer it was mushy, but when placed at the very bottom, it froze well. This indicated to me that the temperature display related to the coldest, lowest part of the freezer

  2. The best way to retain cold in the freezer is to pack it with as many ice blocks / ice packs as possible (in this case we filled plastic bottles with water, which we froze). This will ensure that if inadvertent interruption of electricity occurs (eg low voltage cutout at night), food will remain frozen till electricity resumes (the sun rises or the wind runs your turbine). This strategy of “cold capacitance” will also reduce frequent cycling by the compressor (and hence should increase compressor longevity). Some marine systems incorporate tanks containing brine or glycol within the freezer compartment, the fluid being described as a "eutectic mixture" (a universally adopted misnomer) which performs this function even better.

  3. In climates where it tends to be cooler outdoors than indoors (temperate zones and colder), the most efficient location for a fridge/freezer is outdoors in the shade. The efficiency gain is particularly notable at night when the ambient temperature can fall markedly, hence the compressor will have an easier time working against a smaller temperature gradient.

  4. The chest configuration minimises loss of cold air when opening the lid (little cold air escapes, being denser than hot air).

  5. Probably the most important factor is heavy insulation and in this case I also double bagged the freezer with two external covers.

  6. Camping, caravan and boat fridge/freezers mostly use super efficient Danfoss type compressors, a design which has been refined over decades to cope with being transported and knocked about.

  7. Even though the compressors of domestic AC fridge/freezers have improved in efficiency over the years, running a standard AC appliance off PV will require an inverter which will incur about a 10% energy loss

  8. An acquaintance who bought a domestic AC dedicated chest freezer (hence heavily insulated) and used a thermostat to run it as a fridge only (at perhaps +3 degrees C), promoted it as a low energy method of refrigeration, which it was, even though it required an inverter when running off DC solar panels. However he subsequently argued that his setup was superior to a front opening, less well insulated, double compartment DC fridge/freezer (operating in simultaneous fridge + freezer mode) running off solar PV. His setup may have used less energy (mainly because it was not being used as a freezer) however his argument was spurious because he was comparing apples with oranges. Physics dictates that all other things being equal [if the motors of the AC and DC appliances are of equal efficiency and the appliances have the same configuration (chest only or double compartment only) and have exactly the same insulation and are operated down to the same temperatures in the same mode], then the setup which requires an inverter will inevitably be less efficient due to energy loss by the inverter. You cannot cheat physics.

 

What will the solar panel and battery requirements be in winter? Probably less than double for each, despite the shorter duration, weaker sunshine in winter, because the ambient temperatures will be much lower (assuming the system is kept outdoors in the shade) and hence the energy requirements by the freezer will be correspondingly less. Optimum angling of panels is particularly important in winter http://www.solarpaneltilt.com/

In subzero locations where sunlight is reflected off a snowy landscape, energy consumption will be a pittance.

 

Notes on the caravan electrics:

This was a separate circuit with another 240W PV system (probably overkill) charging a 100Ah house battery which was more than enough for the LED lights, water pump, stereo system and to charge laptop computers, mobile phones and low power handtools (rechargeable drill, circular saw etc). I only checked the voltage of that setup at the beginning and end of the stay (13+V each time).

 

Final comments:

This article describes short term experience of a minimalist freezer and PV setup located outdoors. However for long term use, despite the inefficiencies, most of us prefer an indoor, front opening, double compartment fridge/freezer setup (ie the standard setup, which we all take for granted) due to convenience. Nevertheless this was a useful proof of concept demonstration of how to minimise energy consumption using minimal equipment, while still meeting modern lifestyle desires. It can be a good backup option if your primary system (the one dependent on 25 PV panels on your roof) fails.

Longer term use of this minimalist system will require better anchoring of the PV panels, better protection of (shorter, larger calibre) wires, a rainproof well ventilated battery box, electrical grounding (by convention, usually to the positive terminal of the battery) and proper fuse protection. If the two 12V batteries are not absolutely identical in all respects, “string” (diode) protection between them is recommended. This setup is not meant for prolonged (several months) storage of frozen food, where the freezer temperature should be minus 18 degrees C or below.

G. Chia, March 2018

 

*Footnote:

During this limited period, I used the “grape stomping” method of washing my clothes in the shower at the end of each day, which also saved water and detergent. A washing machine is not essential for a comfortable lifestyle, although it is great time saving device if you have the electricity available. The activity which requires most physical effort (and prunes the fingers) is wringing the clothes, which can be easily done with an old fashioned manual clothes mangler. This item may be difficult to source these days but is worth the investment. As for an electric tumble dryer, that energy sucking appliance is a pox on our civilisation. Unless you are a traveller in a hurry, you should air dry your clothes with a simple clothesline or rack!

A three dimensional collapse overview model

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on February 28, 2017

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The Limits to Growth was published in 1972 by a group of world class scientists using the best mathematical computer modelling available at the time. It projected the future collapse of global industrial civilisation in the 21st century if humanity did not curb its population, consumption and pollution. It was pilloried by many “infinite growth on a finite planet” economists over the decades. 

However, updated data inputs and modern computer modelling in recent years (particularly by Dr Graham Turner of the CSIRO in 2008 and 2014) showed that we are in reality closely tracking the standard model of the LtG, with industrial collapse and mass die-off due sooner rather than later. The future is now.

The LtG looked only at 5 parameters, with global warming being a mere subset of pollution. Dramatic acceleration of ice melt and unprecedented, increasingly frequent, extreme weather events over the past two decades clearly demonstrate that global warming is progressing far faster and far worse than anyone could possibly have imagined back in the 70s. Global warming certainly deserves a separate category for consideration on its own, quite apart from the other manifestations of pollution.

The LtG did not include a specific category looking at the human dynamics of finance, economics and political manoeuvrings, which was fair enough, because it is impossible to mathematically model such capricious irrationality. Economists may beg to differ, however no economic mathematical model has ever been shown to accurately reflect the real world, nor ever consistently predict anything useful (unlike the LtG and other proven science based models), not least because of their hopelessly incomplete and deeply flawed ideological economic assumptions. Garbage in, garbage out. In 2013, the “Nobel-type” prize for economics (properly termed the Bank of Sweden prize) was jointly awarded to different economists who had mathematically modelled diametrically opposing ideas. That was akin to awarding the physics prize to different scientists who “showed” that the universe is both expanding and contracting at the same time.

Despite that, I do advocate that we should include finance, economics and politics in our subjective conceptual framework of collapse mechanics, because financial and economic troubles are triggers for political upheavals which can lead to conflict and the collapse of nation states. Syria is a prime example. This unquantifiable category, despite being subjective and unpredictable, will nevertheless significantly contribute to population die-off, just as any quantifiable category such as global warming or resource depletion or ecosystem destruction can and will cause human die-off. Economic collapse can lead to loss of healthcare, homelessness and starvation. Political madness can trigger global thermonuclear war at any time, causing our extinction.

All the categories contributing to collapse are deeply inter-related and intertwined. This is the basis of systems thinking, which is essential for making realistic judgements about our future and mitigating against the troubles ahead. How can we confer such complex ideas to the general public in a manner which is clear and understandable, yet does not significantly compromise accuracy or detail?

I first alluded to the idea of a 3D collapse overview model during my Griffith University Ecocentre presentation in March 2017

It is a refinement of my older, less complete, 2D model "the three horsemen and one big fat elephant of the apocalypse", originally conceived as a joke, a play on a hackneyed biblical phrase, albeit with serious intent.
When various pundits try to analyse matters relating to sustainability, their biggest deficiency is often blinkered or tunnel vision. They focus on only one issue while ignoring other issues. Most global warming "solutions" advocated by climate activists fit this description. They assume limitless energy availability to deliver huge renewable energy infrastructures and massive carbon sequestration fantasies to enable an approximation of business as usual to support 10 billion people by mid century. 

 

 

 

 

In reality we are poised to fall off the cliff of net energy availability very soon 1,2 and not even the most optimistic carbon sequestration fantasies (all of which will require colossal energy inputs and none of which are proven) will be able return us to a stable climate unless the total human footprint is also reduced drastically and immediately 3 (which will not happen short of global nuclear war – which in itself will exponentially release greenhouse gases, devastate remaining ecosystems and destroy industrial civilisation and thus our ability to technologically sequester GHGs).

Blinkered views produce flawed pseudo-solutions, which if attempted often exacerbate other problems, or at the very least are a complete waste of time and energy.

Here is a 10 second video-clip, my first attempt to make this 3D model in real life, "doom explained by confectionery abuse"

In my 3D model I have maintained the central position of the total human footprint as the "big fat elephant", to emphasise that if this is not addressed, then nothing is being addressed. Few commentators advocate voluntary energy descent, reduction of consumption or simplification of lifestyles, however those are essential strategies to reduce our footprint. Even fewer talk about population reduction. This 3D model is a far superior way to visualise the predicaments we face, compared with disparate and disconnected one dimensional views or compared with simple mnemonic headings. For example, the three "Es" of energy, economy and environment represent a simplistic and incomplete text list, with no graphical demonstration of the links between each "E".

Trying to further subdivide, refine or complicate this model is likely to be counter-productive. As it is, this 3D model, a six sided double pyramid with a proliferating tumour at its core, probably represents the limit of complexity which can easily be stored in the average mind as a visual snapshot. It is an easily remembered image which can be conjured up at the dinner table by scribbling on a napkin or by building the actual 3D model with meatballs and skewers, to both entertain and horrify your guests.

Compartmentalising the various intertwined global issues is obviously an artificial approach, but is necessary to help us understand the highly complex dynamics involved. It is necessary in the same way that compartmentalising the study of Medicine into specialties such as Cardiology, Gastroenterology, Neurology, Nephrology etc is an artificial but proven approach to understanding the highly complex mechanisms within the human body. Just as different bodily systems (heart, gut, brain, kidneys etc) directly interact with and influence each and every other system, each component of my 3D model also directly interacts with and influences each and every other component.

Examples:

R affecting F: every major oil disruption eg 1973, 1979, has always resulted in economic recession. Another R affecting F example: diminishing per capita resources leads to economic hardships, shattered expectations and anger in the population, which leads to the rise of megalomaniacal fascist demagogues, multiplying the risk of global conflict.

R affecting F affecting R, affecting E and P: decline of conventional oil production since it peaked in 2005 has led to desperate harvesting of unconventional oils pushed through by means of political deceit, fraudulent market misrepresentations and financial/economic distortions. This Ponzi scheme will lead to an inevitable market crash dwarfing the sub-prime mortgage scam. It has also led to severe exacerbations of E and P.
 
R causing C: this is obvious

C affecting R affecting C: as heatwaves worsen, airconditioning use and hence fossil fuel consumption escalate, liberating more GHGs and worsening global warming

Unfortunately with today's advanced state of planetary malaise, most of the feedbacks between components are "positive" or bad self-reinforcing feedbacks. Few are "negative" or good semi-correcting feedbacks. The reader will no doubt be able to think of many other examples of bidirectional feedbacks between components, both positive and negative.

I advocate that each article discussing sustainability (or lack thereof) should be slotted into the part or parts of this 3D model where it belongs, in order to appreciate how comprehensive or incomplete that article may be, and to enable other related discourses to be slotted into adjacent positions, so as to build up a more holistic picture.

As visual animals I believe this is a useful tool to educate ourselves. It can even be used in primary schools as part of their science curriculum (but will no doubt be banned amongst global warming denialist groups or neoclassical/neoliberal economic madrases). Children can make these simple 3D models with toy construction kits or plasticine and sticks. They should probably be discouraged from playing with their food, unlike us adults, who are terrible hypocrites anyway.

Geoffrey Chia, November 2017

Lessons Learned from Death & Near Death Experiences 4

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on June 29, 2017

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LESSONS LEARNED FROM DEATH AND NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCES

Part 4: PEA or EMD and a tale with a twist

By Geoffrey Chia, MBBS, MRCP, FRACP, July 2017

Sudden death may be due to causes other than malignant arrhythmias or ventricular asystole. Catastrophic events may lead to a clinical state known as “pulseless electrical activity” a term which replaced the old but entirely adequate term “electromechanical dissociation”. Simply put, PEA or EMD is a state where there seems to be adequate electrical activity of the heart (eg sinus or junctional rhythm at, say, 50 beats per minute) as displayed on the ECG monitor, but there is little or no mechanical output of blood from the heart. There is no pulse (or a barely palpable pulse, prior to complete loss of the pulse). Obviously the patient will be unconscious at the time and if the situation cannot be redeemed within a few minutes, the patient will die.

If a patient presents out of the blue with PEA and we know nothing of preceding events, we teach medical students to always think first of three classical diagnoses, another unholy trinity of scary conditions: cardiac tamponade, tension pneumothorax and massive pulmonary embolism.

(Fig 1: Circulation)

Cardiac tamponade is a situation where there is massive accumulation of fluid in the pericardial sac surrounding the heart. This sac cannot expand rapidly outwards like a balloon and thus the fluid compresses and collapses the (thin walled, low pressure) right ventricle, thus preventing blood from entering the right ventricle. (see diagram in Part 3) Hence there is no output from the RV, no flow into the pulmonary vessels, no input into the LV, no output from the LV and no pulse. If the tamponade occurs relatively gradually as in the case of “malignant effusion” due to underlying cancer, the patient will present with progressive breathlessness and there is usually sufficient time to make a diagnosis with an echocardiogram and time to drain the fluid and hence provide acute relief. In some situations however, fluid enters the pericardial sac extremely rapidly, specifically in the case of a pericardial bleed, causing sudden collapse. This may occur in a type A aortic dissection (discussed in part 3) or a ventricular rupture (a rare catastrophe in the context of a “full thickness” myocardial infarct), in which case the patient can present ab initio with PEA. Pericardial haemorrhage from either cause is almost always fatal

Tension pneumothorax is a situation where a “ball valve” mechanism forces air, with every breath the patient takes, into the pleural cavity (the space surrounding a lung). This can occur if there has been a penetrating chest wound, in which case the diagnosis is obvious (Fig 2: Open Pneumothorax). However it can also occur in the absence of an open chest wound (Fig 3: Closed Pneumothorax). In tension pneumothorax, high air pressure builds up in one pleural cavity, collapsing the lung on that side and pushing the heart and lungs toward the other side. The squashing of the pulmonary vessels obstructs output o f blood from the right ventricle. Furthermore, external pressure on the right ventricle impairs its filling as well. Both lead to reduction of cardiac output. Diagnosis is usually not a problem here: there may be a history of trauma, the patient presents with sudden severe breathlessness, on auscultation there is no air entry on one side of the chest and immediate relief is conferred by inserting a chest tube on the side of the pneumothorax.

Pulmonary embolism is a condition where a clot detaches, usually from a deep vein in a leg, and passes through the right side of the heart and gets lodged in a pulmonary artery. If the embolus is small and lodges in a peripheral pulmonary arterial branch, it can cause an infarct (circumscribed cell death) of that particular lung segment. That damaged, inflamed peripheral segment can irritate the external lining of the lung or pleura, causing “pleuritic” chest pain. Rupture of the blood vessels in that damaged segment can cause bleeding into a bronchial tube and the patient may cough up some blood (Fig 4: DVT and PE). At the other extreme of PE, if a massive clot detaches from a leg and suddenly blocks the main pulmonary artery or lodges at the branching of main pulmonary artery to RPA/LPA, a so-called “saddle embolus”, output of blood from the right ventricle will be obstructed and the patient may collapse, present with PEA and die suddenly (Fig 5: Saddle Embolus). Sometimes the chest compression of CPR may fragment the clot, allowing successful resuscitation. We have all heard horror stories where a person after a long distance flight, perhaps a young female on the pill (who may also have an undiagnosed “thick blood” disorder), got off the plane, walked a few steps then dropped dead. Such cases have been confirmed by post mortem to be due to massive PE. Thankfully they are exceedingly rare but are highly memorable because they are so unexpected and tragic.

Certainly the unholy trinity above must be considered when confronted with undiagnosed PEA. However the commonest situation in which we encounter PEA is one where the diagnosis is known and we are familiar with the preceding events, specifically in the context of failed cardiac resuscitation following myocardial infarction. The usual scenario is one where the patient was admitted for an MI and while in hospital goes into VF unremittingly. The patient is repeatedly electrically defibrillated back to normal rhythm in between chest compressions but VF keeps recurring. The resuscitation attempt is prolonged and the patient eventually appears to re-establish an adequate heart rate and rhythm on ECG monitor, but the heart is not actually contracting mechanically. The patient remains pulseless and unconscious. The patient may make gasping movements, so-called “agonal” respiration, however there is no actual air entry into the lungs. This is a pre-terminal dying reflex. What has happened is that during the prolonged resuscitation attempt, there has been inadequate supply of oxygen to the heart muscle (and brain) which is now irreversibly damaged. Hence even though electrical activity of the heart may appear to have recovered, mechanical activity has not and there is PEA. What follows after that is a flat line, ventricular asystole. The “agonal” respiration ceases and time of death is called.

The medical information above is a necessary prelude to describing my most memorable early experience of resuscitating a patient. This was back in the dark ages when I was a wet-behind-the-ears young medical graduate. I had completed one year as a hospital intern (AKA general dogsbody and menial donkey worker) and another year as an army medical officer, which mainly involved deskwork at army HQ medical services. Fortunately, for my upcoming final year as an army MO, I was to be posted to a rural army base in a third world country where, apart from my official army MO duties, I would have the opportunity to provide a basic clinic service to the local villagers. In preparation for that solo stint in the wilderness, the army released me back for intensive hospital training for a few months, rapidly rotating me through several disciplines, in an attempt to pick up basic speciality skills, not only in general surgery and general medicine but also in sub-disciplines such as ophthalmology and ENT (ear, nose and throat) basic procedures. I had just completed my ENT stint and was now on my final one month rotation in general medicine before being deployed overseas. I was attending a tutorial in a hospital ward (TPH) with some of my contemporaries who were also relatively new medical graduates. We were being taught by a medical registrar. I myself aspired to become a registrar in internal medicine, which required a great deal more study and experience on my part and was keen to absorb whatever wisdom I could from this senior colleague. Becoming a medical registrar was an essential step on the path to specialisation. We were interrupted in the middle of our tutorial (held in an annex to the ward), by a nurse who called an emergency because a patient in the ward had suddenly collapsed. This was a general medical ward, consisting mostly of non-cardiac patients with a few convalescing cardiac patients, none of whom were on heart monitors. We all rushed to the bedside and saw a gasping semi conscious elderly lady who was blue around the lips. The registrar called for a defibrillator to be brought to the bedside, which would double as an ECG monitor and determine if she was in a malignant arrhythmia which may require cardioversion. Her pulse was weak, so, as she lapsed into unconsciousness, the registrar commenced CPR and directed others to “bag and mask” the patient with oxygen. When the defibrillator arrived, we placed the electrodes on her and found she was in a normal heart rhythm, not VT or VF, hence shocking her heart was inappropriate. CPR did not improve her situation and she remained unconscious. After what seemed an interminable time, ongoing efforts seemed hopeless. She continued to have apparently satisfactory ECG complexes on the monitor, however her heart rate was now very slow, which is a common pre-terminal event. She exhibited gasping chest movements with no audible air entry to the lungs, which the registrar felt was agonal breathing. We had no idea what caused the collapse. Did she have sudden cardiac tamponade? Did she have massive pulmonary embolism? The registrar decided to cease CPR and call it. While we were moving away from the bedside, one of my contemporaries (another junior doctor), Dr KML, noticed an apple core on the patient's bedside table. She wondered aloud to everybody if that had anything to do with the patient's collapse. Even without performing the Heimlich manoeuvre, also known as "abdominal thrusts" (not recommended by the Australian Resuscitation Council these days*), a solid food bolus lodged in the larynx should in theory have been expelled by the chest compressions of CPR anyway, hence the registrar felt the apple core was not particularly relevant. Being the smart arse that I was however, and having just completed an ENT stint, I asked permission to try something. There was nothing to lose anyway, so the registrar had no objection. I grabbed a direct laryngoscope and a pair of right angled forceps from the resuscitation trolley. Using the direct laryngoscope I was able to visualise the patient's larynx and sure enough there was a piece of apple lodged on it, which I was able to extract using the right angled forceps. The patient immediately restarted normal breathing, followed shortly by return of normal colour to her lips and full consciousness. She recovered fully.

This good outcome was due to the coincidental convergence of various factors. The registrar followed normal, standard resuscitation procedures which any competent doctor would have done. Only one person in our group, Dr KML, had the acute observational skill to point out the apple core at the bedside. More importantly, she refused to accept the situation as hopeless. As for the rest of us, to paraphrase Dr A Conan Doyle, “we saw but we did not observe”. I was lucky I had recently picked up certain relevant ENT skills before joining this medical rotation, skills which I otherwise would not have had, were it not for dumb luck.

One big question arises from this story. What if such an event occurred outside hospital, say in a restaurant (with no laryngoscope or right angled forceps available) and if CPR/chest thrusts failed to dislodge the food bolus, as happened in this case? Could the patient still be saved from choking to death? The answer is yes, the patient's life could easily be saved by a simple but somewhat barbaric procedure called a cricothyrotomy, which is easily accomplished with a sharp steak knife (or pen knife) and an empty pen casing** (which is used as a breathing tube). It can be done by a layperson without medical training. Step by step instructions regarding this procedure can be found from reputable medical sites on the internet, however it should not be attempted without making a correct diagnosis first. It should not be performed on a person who has merely fainted or has had a seizure, or indeed on anyone who has collapsed from any cause other than laryngeal obstruction. It could do them serious damage. Knowledge and situational awareness are key and presumably the reader will have achieved some measure of these after repeated reading of this series of articles. Fig 6: Palpation of cricothyroid membrane

Even within the hospital context, if the cause of the laryngeal obstruction is not a lodged food bolus but is due to laryngeal fracture or laryngeal swelling or spasm (as in a severe allergic reaction), availability of a laryngoscope or a right angled forceps will not help and endotracheal intubation may be impossible. This type of laryngeal obstruction, if severe, can only be alleviated by a cricothyrotomy (or emergency tracheostomy, if the equipment and expertise are available). The diagnosis of laryngeal oedema caused by an allergy is usually obvious because the patient will often have puffy eyelids and itchy hives on their skin. In the case of allergy, adrenaline, antihistamines and steroids should also be administered ASAP.

 

LESSON LEARNED:

  1. What appears to be PEA may not always be PEA.

  2. I cannot emphasize enough that making the correct diagnosis is crucial to taking correct and effective action and is crucial to whether a patient lives or dies.

  3. The so-called "leaders" of our societies are spouting flawed diagnoses based on fake news as to what truly ails humanity (or simply paying lip service to the problems while effectively ignoring them) and this monstrous ignorance, stupidity and negligence will vastly exacerbate the looming great die-off.

G. Chia, July 2017

Footnotes:

* https://resus.org.au/faq/choking/ "The ARC does not recommend the use of abdominal thrusts as there is considerable evidence of harm caused by this procedure."

see also: https://www.accreditedfirstaid.com.au/2014/08/22/the-heimlich-manouevre-why-dont-we-use-it/

** an empty pen casing, kept in a first aid kit, can also be used as a chest tube for a patient with tension pneumothorax. No underwater seal is needed, just a finger stall cut from a rubber glove, which is attached with a rubber band to the end of the tube. This finger stall becomes a one way air valve. Fig 7: Treatment of Pneumothorax

The Economics of Unconventional Oils (externalities be damned)

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on July 13, 2017

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The Economics of Unconventional Oils (externalities be damned)

There are a multitude of reasons why the pursuit of unconventional oils represents obscene
environmental vandalism. It is homicide, suicide and ecocide. Water table contamination, surface
water contamination, destruction of arboreal and agricultural land and the triggering of earthquakes
are well known consequences. The carbon emissions are markedly greater than conventional oil
production and will vastly increase the probability of near term human extinction from climate
catastrophe.1
Irrespective of the trivial matter of human extinction, the purpose of this article is to focus on short
term profits, the only matter of interest to those vocal local yokels in politics and the media. This
article aims only to assess the economic viability of unconventional oils in a capitalist market, while
blithely disregarding any externalities they impose. Let us look at the pursuit of unconventional oils
solely as a cold blooded business proposition from the point of view of a self serving psychopath
interested only in short term greed. To hell with the suffering and death of most species on this
planet or the well-being (or even existence of) future human generations.
In this article I acknowledge key energy thought leaders such as Hall, Murphy and Lambert and
especially Louis Arnoux whose "five fingers of net energy allocation" metaphor I previously
borrowed and modified. I also acknowledge bloggers that have helped clarify concepts about
EROEI and net energy who I may have inadvertently borrowed from. Nicole Foss likened
harvesting unconventional oils to sucking dirty drops of stale beer out of a floor mat, a useful,
graphic and memorable image. However analytical readers may want a more quantitative argument
before they can be convinced about the economic worth or otherwise of unconventional oils.
Let us start from first principles: (for further explanations and graphs regarding energy and
climate concepts, please see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfVphmxPOXo )
1. Material wealth can be defined as having easy access to a wide variety of high quality goods
and services
2. Material wealth in our industrial economies is derived almost entirely from our energy
utilisation of fossil fuels, whether directly e.g. jet fuel for planes, coal for electricity
generation; or indirectly e.g. fossil fuels used to construct nuclear power plants or so-called
renewable energy projects. Human and animal muscle power pale into insignificance when
compared with the vast energy capacity of fossil fuels to manufacture and deliver our
modern day goods and services. Mass agriculture is also utterly dependent on fossil fuels.
3. Petroleum is the king of all fossil fuels in terms of its utility, flexibility and energy density. It
constitutes many essential, irreplaceable links in our industrial manufacturing and supply
chains. Without those links, the chains are shattered and industrial civilisation grinds to a
halt. We have no large scale replacement for conventional petroleum. None.
4. The richest, the most valuable sources of oil have been the conventional oilfields prior to, at
and shortly after peak production (rich being defined as bearing oil which is easy to extract
and refine and is quantified as having high EROEI, which is energy returned divided by
energy invested). Conventional oilfields start out being rich (high value fields) and
inevitably become poor (low value fields), with plummeting EROEI on the down slope of
the Hubbert curve as they deplete. EROEI defines the value of an oilfield2
5. Net energy is energy returned minus energy invested and is analogous to net income. Gross
income is meaningless. It is only after we have deducted business expenses, loan
repayments, taxes etc. from our gross income that we can calculate our net income and
know our true wealth (or poverty) and our true purchasing power. A high net income allows
generous allocation for many different expenditures including luxuries and fripperies. That
is what it means to be rich. A low net income forces us to contract our previously complex
lifestyles, to simplify our lives and to focus on basic needs. That is what it means to be poor.
High and low net energy availability are exactly analogous to high and low net incomes. Just
as gross income is meaningless, gross energy production is meaningless. Therefore all
those fancy looking graphs published by IEA, EIA, CERA, USGS etc which only report
gross liquid hydrocarbon production nowadays are meaningless. On the upslope of the
global Hubbert curve in the old days of high EROEI, i.e. before 2005/6, it was reasonable to
treat world gross oil production as being roughly equivalent to net oil availability. Now that
we are well down the global Hubbert curve in 2017, any figures and graphs that only report
gross oil production and do not at least attempt to estimate net oil availability must be
regarded as fraudulent. Even if world gross oil output appears to be the same in 2017 as it
was in 2005, if our net oil availability has halved, then the FACT is that we have lost half
our wealth. Net energy availability defines the material wealth and complexity of a
society. As net energy availability declines, industrial society becomes materially poorer and
is forced to simplify and to focus on basic needs3. Complex technological systems are
inevitably lost because it is no longer possible to allocate energy to support them. Pension
plans, promises of future retirement payments based on old, false assumptions of endless
future economic growth, will never be delivered.
6. Industrial societies are becoming materially poorer and are being forced to simplify as
net energy availability declines. This is happening right now. This is an utterly
inescapable fact, a law of physics as absolute and as certain as the law of gravity, no
matter what any mainstream economist or politician (= deluded idiot who talks about "return
to growth") will have you believe. The pie is shrinking, however one particular glutton is
hell-bent on keeping “their” slice of the pie the same size as back in the “good-old-days”
before Peak Oil. In a zero sum game, this can only achieved by escalating their background
activities of fraud, theft and murder – otherwise known as propping up the US petrodollar
and intensifying US "regime change" foreign policy. This arrogant sense of entitlement is
now hugely increasing the risk of global nuclear conflict4. The only possible way we can
maintain global peace is to educate everyone about the inevitability of our energy descent
and implement voluntary and fair reduction of fossil fuel use by everyone, everywhere. Such
reduction is inevitable, the only question is whether we pursue systematic, planned
reduction or whether we go cold turkey and collapse into violent chaos. Maintaining peace
will require a miraculous mass epiphany and widespread magical transformation eg America
turning into a socialist, rural, agrarian, non-violent society – everybody essentially becoming
Amish. Judging by the quality of our current so-called “leaders”, including the ignorant
and/or stupid and/or corrupt “knowledge leaders” in the universities, and the clueless,
deluded, sedated and distracted general public who blame “the other” for all their problems,
chaotic collapse is a dead certainty (dead being the operative word, die-off being the
operative phrase).
7. Net energy availability falls of a cliff when EROEI falls below 5:1, however industrial
collapse will occur some time before that (according to calculations by many energy
experts). Indeed economic stagnation and contraction occur when EROEI falls to around
10:1 (which is happening now) and that alone can trigger sudden financial/economic
collapse (and/or warfare) before further EROEI decline is able to occur. In other words if
EROEI declines to, say, 9:1 and society collapses, oil output will then suddenly drop to
virtually zero, rather than following a theoretical smooth downward curve with
progressively declining EROEI ratios.
8. Many pundits have stated that money is a proxy for energy. At face value this sounds
reasonable, given that money is a proxy for goods and services and the production/delivery
of all goods and services are mediated by energy. However such a premise also assumes a
fair "level playing field" market with all parties being treated equally (no government
subsidies or sweetheart bank loans to favoured sons) all parties facing perfect competition,
with everyone behaving rationally, applying sane valuations to all goods and services, with
perfect information available to them at all times and with honest interaction between them
(assumptions made by neoclassical, neoliberal capitalist economists who live in a theoretical
world and have zero understanding of the real world).5
With those considerations in mind, let us assess the economic viability of conventional versus
unconventional oils using simple arithmetic:
If one US dollar is the proxy for one litre of oil6 and I invest one dollar in a pristine conventional
oil field with an EROEI of 100:1, I will get a gross return of $100 and a net return of 100 minus 1
or $99. This is my profit or net income, a huge windfall.
As the oil field ages, even though the total production of oil rises exponentially on the upslope of
the Hubbert curve (and absolute profits skyrocket), the EROEI and net profit per dollar invested
inevitably decline, albeit imperceptibly at first. At peak oil production the EROEI may be perhaps
18 or 20:1. Beyond peak, on the depletion side of the curve, even with an EROEI of 10:1 the profit
is still reasonably good. A $1 investment now provides a gross return of $10 and a net return of $9.
Conventional oil fields typically produce prolifically for several decades and after peak may decline
by about 6% per year.
Let us consider an unconventional oil source now. Calculations of EROEI vary, with wild
overestimates by oil industry pundits, but full life cycle analyses of unconventional oils show them
to be universally dismal whether they be shale oil, tar sands or Fischer-Tropsch (gas to liquid or
coal to liquid) oil. Tar sands probably have EROEI of 3:1 or less. Shale oil EROEI is at best around
3:1 in a pristine shale oil "play" in the middle of a “sweet spot”. Often hundreds of exploration
drillings are required before suitable “sweet spots” are located. All that unproductive drilling
activity takes energy (which has not been taken into account in many studies, hence shale oil
probably has a true EROEI well under 3:1). Hydraulic fracturing is very energy intensive. There is a
reason why shale oil is also called “tight” oil. The impermeable kerogen rock holds tightly on to its
oil, only giving it up when subjected to violent fracturing by high pressure injection of chemicals
and sand. Shale plays reach peak output quickly e.g. within 5 years of starting production. Just 3
years after peak production they have typically depleted by 80-90%.
If we think of money as a proxy for energy, that means if I invest $1 in the best brand new shale oil
play, I get $3 gross return and $2 net return. However any “profit” is entirely fleeting due to rapid
depletion. Furthermore the fact that all such scams are deeply mired in irredeemable debt from day
one, means that over their lifetime, their books can never balance. Compare that return with a $9 net
return for a depleting but debt free post peak conventional oil field with EROEI 10:1. This means
that only an idiot would ever invest in a shale oil company compared with a conventional oil
company, even if the reserves of the latter were depleting7.
The ONLY way unconventional oil economics can ever be on par with conventional oil economics
is when conventional oil EROEI falls to 3:1, however complex industrial civilisation simply cannot
function at such a low EROEI, it will collapse well before then. This means that the technological
capacity to harvest unconventional oil (a difficult and complex process) will be unavailable then.
Hence unconventional oil will NEVER be economically competitive with conventional oil.
NEVER.
Looking at things another way: For high EROEI oilfields, production costs are low and their oil can
be sold cheaply while still enabling them to repay previous modest capital expenditures, allowing
them to become debt free and to make a good profit over their lifetimes. For low EROEI oilfields,
production costs are high from day one and their oil must be sold dearly in order to repay their high
capex before they can ever become profitable. So long as conventional oil has a higher EROEI than
unconventional oil, it will ALWAYS be cheaper to produce conventional oil, which will ALWAYS
be priced lower than unconventional oil in a properly competitive market8. Unconventional oil will
ALWAYS be priced out of a truly free market and can NEVER be economically competitive.
Note that such considerations depend only on EROEI and are utterly independent of the
contemporary, extant price of oil. Those pundits who state that if only oil prices rise again to,
say $100 or even $150 per barrel, that unconventional oils will then become economically
viable, are dead wrong. If the price of oil rises, the exploration and production costs of
unconventional oil will also proportionately rise and any financial returns will never be able to
repay capex, ensuring that unconventional oil will always be uneconomic.
In a bogus “free” market, unconventional oils will always have to be sold below production cost
i.e. sold at a loss, if they are ever to be sold at all. The losses are borne by sucker investors and a
taxpaying public who were unwittingly duped into subsidising those scams. Capex loans for
unconventional oil projects can never and will never be repayed. This brings to mind the old joke:
Q: What is the easiest way to make a small fortune? A: Start with a large one
Why then have so many unconventional oil projects been established in North America? Because
their so-called "free” market is NOT a fair "level playing field" transparent market populated by
rational players who value commodities sanely, have perfect information available to them at all
times and who deal with each other in honest ways. Unconventional oil projects have been
surreptitiously subsidised by the unwitting tax paying public (in the form of tax breaks given to
those oily scammers by the government, so their country can achieve "energy independence"). The
North American market is populated by irrational players: greedy banks eager to hand out loans
under ZIRP and QE 9 and stupid investors who base their decisions on bogus information with no
understanding of any big picture issues. All driven by the monstrous fraud and dishonesty pervading
the industry.
Will unconventional oil harvesting die a natural death once sucker investors who have lost their
shirts learn their bitter lesson and no further clueless investors are forthcoming? You can fool some
of the people all of the time, hence snake oil scams will still pop up now and then in the years to
come. As long as this bogus economic system continues to limp along, there will always be one
sector of the population who have more dollars than sense. More than that, however, some
unconventional oil projects will still persist irrespective of any economic “rationalities”, mainly for
military and “energy security” reasons, mandated and pushed through by Deep States which are not
governed by true capitalist principles. That includes the Fascist States of America, which follows
Bernie Madoff type capitalism, not Adam Smith type capitalism.
Let us consider another hypothetical scenario conjured up by the "thousand year shale oil supply"
food fraudster named Geoffrey Annison. Let us imagine that the oil industry spreads its tentacles
worldwide to frack the living daylights out of every shale play they can possibly find, and every
drop of net oil is used to feed "business as usual" industrial scale agriculture. No oil is used for any
other purposes except for agriculture and for the extraction of more oil, not even for military
purposes, in this fantasy scenario. Surely this means that even though the EROEI is very poor at
3:1, but because we allocate oil for no other purposes, we can therefore continue industrial scale
agriculture for another thousand years? Absolutely not. Oil fracking is a high technology activity
requiring complex machinery, complex chemicals (eg special fracking fluids) and complex
processes (eg horizontal drilling) and also requires delivery of all the equipment to remote areas
(with associated housing and logistical support of their personnel) and transport of the oil out. Not
to mention the high tech purification and refinement processes. That all requires a complex
industrial infrastructure (and the manufacture and maintenance of all necessary equipment and
parts, from engines to microprocessors). The existence of such complex industrial infrastructure
requires high net energy sources with EROEI of at least 8 or 9:1. This means that the low EROEI
shale oil industry can NEVER be self perpetuating, it will always require input from higher EROEI
energy sources to operate. It is a monstrous scam. The only "benefit" of unconventional oil
extraction has been to slow the terminal decline of total liquid hydrocarbon output to date, which is
nevertheless poised to fall off a cliff in a few short years to come.
CONCLUSIONS:
– EROEI defines the value of an oilfield. A high EROEI oilfield is a rich, high value field
that can produce oil easily (=cheaply, if we regard money as the proxy for energy) and is
thus also able to sell its oil cheaply ie at a low break even price (a low price which still
allows for good profit as well as repayment of capex, which ensures overall financial
solvency of the oilfield)
– A poor, low value oilfield has low EROEI, extracts oil with great difficulty (=dearly) and
must sell its oil dearly ie at a high break even price if its debts are ever to be repaid.
– On a “level playing field” free market, unconventional oil can NEVER compete price wise
with conventional oil. If unconventional oil is to be sold at all, it must be sold below
production cost which means that the capex of unconventional oilfields can never be repaid
and they can NEVER be financially solvent and will ALWAYS be lifetime money losers.
– Net energy availability (or more specifically net energy availability per capita per year or
NEA/C/Y 3) is the primary index of true material wealth of a society (secondary indices
being fairness of energy allocation and appropriateness of energy allocation). I assert that
NEA/C/Y is a much better index of material wealth than GDP. Global average NEA/C/Y
is scheduled to plummet catastrophically in the next few years and this will affect different
parts of the world patchily. Russia and Iran, harnessing China's capacity to turn that last
remaining high EROEI energy to wealth (=goods and services), will be less affected in the
short term – unless America fabricates some bogus false flag excuse to launch a “sour
grapes” first strike nuclear attack against them4, which will bring about mutually assured
destruction. Even if by some fluke we are able to escape nuclear Armageddon, ultimately
nobody will be spared from the eventual collapse of fossil fool industrial civilisation.
G. Chia July 2017
Footnotes:
1. http://www.salon.com/2017/05/08/pollution-from-canadas-oil-sands-may-beunderreported_
partner/ I consider near term human extinction by 2100 due to climate
change related loss of habitat as a real possibility, even a high probability. This probability
increases with every new unconventional oil or gas project pursued. However the meme of
NTHE within nine years by 2026 due to climate change alone is utter rubbish and I have
completely falsified that nonsensical idea in previous essays. Nuclear war can certainly
destroy us any time soon, but that will not represent NTHE caused by climate change alone.
Climate chaos will be just one of several triggers for nuclear war. Reckless brinkmanship
fossil fuel politics (whether oil or pipeline related) i.e. resource depletion related conflict, is
a much more likely nuclear trigger in the short term.
2. EROEI analysis continues to evolve and definitions continue to be clarified. For example if
a depleting conventional oilfield needs X Joules of energy in the form of diesel fuel to run
the saline pumps to extract 2X Joules worth of crude oil, traditionally it would have been
described as having an EROEI of 2:1. The fallacy here is that the crude oil needs to be
transported to a refinery, fractionated into different components and the diesel component
must be trucked back to the oilfield to run the pumps. All those energy costs were
traditionally not taken into account. Such an arrangement may not in fact provide sufficient
net energy return to do any more than pursue a pointless extract-transport-refine-transportextract
loop. Hence an oilfield traditionally designated as having EROEI of 2:1 may in
reality, using honest accounting, have only an EROEI of 1:1 and may therefore be
completely useless apart from accelerating entropy and carbon emissions. Nevertheless
EROEI concepts are fundamentally important for us to work out the thermodynamic worth
of energy ventures and approximate values can be very useful for us to make informed
judgements.
3. http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/blog/2016/11/12/post-peak-oil-slides-for-diners/ More
precisely the major parameter which defines the wealth of a society is net energy
availability per capita per year or NEA/C/Y (other parameters for wealth definition are the
fairness of energy distribution and the appropriateness of energy allocation). Examples: We
do not regard India as a rich country even though its total net energy availability per year
may be, say, ten times that of a European country. That is because per head of population per
year, the net energy availability may only be one tenth that of the European country – the
average Indian lives in abject poverty. Even if NEA/C/Y of two particular countries are the
same, but if , say, 99% of the wealth of one particular country is corruptly and unfairly
concentrated in the hands of a 1% parasite class, we do not regard that country as rich,
because of the vast majority of the population will be living in poverty. Similarly if energy
(=wealth) allocations are highly inappropriate, then a country cannot be regarded as well off.
If a country allocates the bulk of its wealth to adequate food, water, sanitation, housing,
health, education and environmental governance sectors to benefit everybody, the people
will actually be quite well off eg Bhutan. If however a country allocates the bulk of its
wealth to military expenditure, corporate managerial parasitic activity (eg in the health
insurance industry, the banking sector etc) and bombastic political campaigns, neglecting the
more vital needs of ordinary people, the populace cannot be regarded as being well off.
Short of a popular revolution and complete reform of all their institutions, this is the
inescapable, inevitable fate of the Fascist States of America. Poverty.
4. The USA no longer has high EROEI conventional oil fields and their attempts at achieving
"energy independence" by harvesting domestic unconventional oils have proven to be
spectacular economic failures. Some schemes have been astoundingly idiotic, such as
ethanol from Nebraskan corn. You simply cannot cheat physics and the laws of
thermodynamics, no matter how loud your PR spin. America's greatest fear is the fact that
Russia, Iran and some central Asian states, whose oil output have historically been curtailed
for economic/political reasons, will possess the last remaining high EROEI conventional
fields in the world (relatively high EROEI compared with the rest of the world, however
Russia and Iran are also past peak oil production now). This is because the historically
unrestrained high volume oil producers of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE are poised for
economic collapse in the near future, just as Egypt and Syria collapsed when their declining
oil production intersected with their increasing domestic consumption. Iraq is a wild card,
likely to remain in turmoil but just as likely to enter the fold of Iran, because Iraq is mostly
Shi'ite and has suffered terribly from the brutality of ISIS and Al Qaeda offshoot Sunni
Salafists, which were the monstrous creations of the USA and Saudi Arabia. The impending
relative petropower rise of Russia and Iran, with the accompanying decline of the USA, is
why the USA has been so hell-bent on regime change and on installing US puppets in those
countries, employing all manner of fabricated fake news to bring it about. That will not
happen because the world is now wise to the dirty tricks of the CIA. If Russia and Iran liaise
with China (with its massive industrial capacity), if those three trade in their own currencies
and sideline the US petrodollar, that triumvirate will economically dominate the world.
Europe and East Asia will inevitably gravitate towards them. This is in fact happening right
now, especially with the “belt and road” initiatives. The USA, who call themselves the
"indispensable nation" (indispensable to themselves), will be marginalised and will descend
into abject poverty even as the nations they despise and demonise achieve reasonable
"moderate prosperity". This will grate on American sensibilities no end. America will never
be great again but it will certainly grate again, just as it grated under Bush Jr, only worse.
The entrenchment of fanatical chickenshit armchair warmongering right wing psychopaths
in the US administration, irrespective of whichever political party occupies the White
House, bodes ill for the world, particularly as their meme of a "winnable nuclear war" (using
first strikes and theoretical anti ballistic missile shields) continues to bounce around the
hollow echoing corridors of that mental asylum10. The only role the USA now plays in the
world is that of spoiler, mass murderer and probable harbinger of human extinction by
nuclear war. The USA is not simply a schoolyard bully who steals the ball and runs off,
spoiling the game for everybody. The USA is a schoolyard bully who wears suicide bomb
underpants and is planning to detonate it on the playground, believing that their kevlar
jacket will prevent their own head from being blown off.
5. In a hypothetical ideal free and fair market economy, money should be a proxy for energy.
In the real world, that is only partly true. Unfortunately in many cases, money (and most
money exists as digital currency in the stockmarket) represents pure vapour with no value
whatsoever or even negative value as in the case of the collateral debt obligations of the
subprime mortgage scam, which in reality were liabilities, so-called “toxic assets”.
Unconventional oil scams are even more toxic, both literally and figuratively and are only
promoted by fools or liars. “EIA’s projections have been off by wide margins. In 2014 the
agency cut its estimates about the amount of recoverable oil in California’s Monterey shale
by 96 percent. And in 2012, research from the U.S. Geological Survey forced the EIA to cut
its estimates of how much shale was accessible in Poland by 99 percent"
http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/11/10/sapping-thesweetspotshowlongwillusenergyboomreallylast.
html. It is true that some people made
money from those scams, specifically people who cashed out before those pyramid schemes
reached their peak share price (or from short selling just before price collapse). However the
only people who promote those scams as profitable enterprises are people who should be in
jail.
6. This overview is simplified for the sake of explaining certain concepts. Proper detailed
analysis would specify exactly what that one litre of invested “oil” consists of (petrol?
diesel? or a mix?) and that the energy returned should also be in the form of similar refined
fractions, to compare like with like. It should also incorporate the energy costs of crude oil
transportation/refinement and distribution of the refined products.
7. Given the monstrous level of deceit in the oil industry, even investment in conventional oil
nowadays is a money losing prospect due to fraudulently overstated reserves. Consider
Saudi Aramco who tried to sell 5% of their assets in 2016. Despite glossy brochures they
refused to disclose their true remaining oil reserves or allow any inspection. Independent
valuers Wood Mackenzie reckon that Aramco have overvalued their assets by 500%
http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Cooking-The-Books-Saudi-Aramco-Could-Be-
Overvalued-By-500.html. Few took that bait, hence the 2016 offer fizzled. They will try a
formal IPO in 2018 but only suckers will buy into it. The only sane investment nowadays is
not oil or gold or silver or diamonds but climate resilient land on which you can establish
your off grid permaculture homestead (and the purchase of associated necessary items eg
tiny house, solar panels etc). The only truly valuable currency in the world is the currency of
trust you must build with “aware” people. Unfortunately not all “aware” people are
necessarily trustworthy.
8. It is a different matter if the conventional oil producers unite politically to raise their oil
prices well above production costs to maximise their profits, however they have not done so
in recent years. Indeed they have been using artificially low oil prices as a weapon.
9. Zero interest rate policy only applies to interest on the savings of bank depositors, those
working stiffs who struggle, scrimp and save to put a little something aside for a rainy day in
these difficult times. ZIRP maximises bank profits while screwing the little guy. The banks
of course continue to charge interest on any loans they provide to any borrowers eg
investors in shale oil scams. Those loans are created out of thin air by the fractional reserve
banking system, hocus pocus made ever easier by government quantitative easing policy.
The funny money of QE is also created out of thin air by the government. It does not cause
general inflation because it is money which is unavailable to the general public, only to big
ticket borrowers. It does however cause inflation of share prices in the stockmarket which
feeds ever more irrational exuberance among the Ponzi investors AKA suckers. Whatever
the situation, the banksters will still get their year end bonuses for any loans they hand out,
whether those loans are ever repaid or not. This is the definition of Bernie Madoff
capitalism.
10. In comparing Trump's White House with a mental asylum, I must apologise if I have caused
any offence to any mental asylums.

Whither the Future of Food?

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on June 29, 2017

Discuss this article at the Pantry inside the Diner

SHOULD OUR FUTURE FOOD PRODUCTION BE LEFT IN THE HANDS OF FRAUDSTERS AND THEIR CHEAP SLUTS?

by Geoffrey Chia, June 2017

Dear Doomstead Diners.

I am postponing the final instalment of my medical series "Lessons learned from death and near death experiences part 4" in favour of the juicy email exchange below. Minimising the catastrophic devastation of our biosphere and saving as many lives as we can requires more than just changing our light bulbs, it requires changing our lifestyles. It requires more than just promoting good, it requires fighting evil. The following relates to the latter and refers to a meeting held at the “Global Change Institute” of the University of Queensland on 5 June 2017. https://www.gci.uq.edu.au/events/are-we-getting-outcomes-we-want-our-food-system.

Those who look the other way in the face of atrocities are guilty of enabling those atrocities. Those who remain silent in the face of fraud are guilty of perpetrating that fraud. My goal is not to convert "the powers that be" to do the right thing using evidence and reason. That will simply not happen. I speak from experience, having attempted to sit down and discuss these issues with government and academic "authorities" in the past and having gotten absolutely nowhere. TPTB are not ignorant of the facts, they are actually negligent and/or corrupt. It is essential we expose the negligence, corruption and fraud of TPTB to the public, to enable ordinary people to see that "the emperor has no clothes". The public must realise that the only real strategies to mitigate the massive impending troubles ahead will arise from grass roots community actions, not from corporations, the government or universities, who do not give a toss about you. You need to seize control of your own fate.

The first email is last, the latest email first:

—– Original Message —–

From:

Geoffrey Chia

 

To:

"Bill Bellotti" <w.bellotti@uq.edu.au>

Cc:

"Ove Hoegh-Guldberg" <oveh@uq.edu.au>, "Karen Hussey" <k.hussey@uq.edu.au>, "David Harris" <d.harris@uq.edu.au>, "Grace Muriuki" <g.muriuki@uq.edu.au>, e.abal@uq.edu.au

Sent:

Fri, 16 Jun 2017 10:50:08 +1000

Subject:

Re: Commercial propaganda and lies perpetrated in GCI venue

Dear Professor Bill Belloti,

I have been attending GCI meetings for several years now, hoping to improve my knowledge about our planetary predicaments. Some meetings were good, some average, but never have I encountered the egregious level of bullshit that you facilitated. You, sir, have set a shamefully low bar in stupidity and deceit. Your meeting was less than useless in that it actually subtracted from the store of human knowledge, it was fake news perpetrated under the auspices of the university.

Let me warn you that any interaction with me is not confidential and may be posted on the web for the public to scrutinise and judge. If you have the courage to stand by everything you have said and done, you will have no problem with that. If however the disinfecting effect of sunlight scares you, you may choose to remain silent after reading this, which is probably your safest and wisest move.

If you are, contrary to my impression, truly a person of good faith and actually want to do something useful with your life, you may choose to properly learn about and understand the serious realities of climate change and peak oil and help raise the level of teaching of those subjects in the university and to promote practical measures to mitigate against these monumental existential crises which face humanity, thus helping to save lives. If so, I urge you to carefully study this presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfVphmxPOXo

Alternatively you may choose to continue down your current path of useless time wasting and downright deceitful activities and dig a deeper hole to bury yourself in, while making a mockery of the university. Your choice. Regarding your email to me (in black italics), my responses are in green.

Dear Geoffrey,

I am responding to your feedback as our Director (Ove Hoegh-Guldberg) is currently on sabbatical and I am the most senior GCI staff responsible for the event that has raised your ire.

Firstly, I am keen to engage with you more deeply on the matters you raise. This is because I am very committed to Food Systems research (FSR) and climate change, or more accurately, global change, is a key focus of and rationale for doing FSR. So it concerns me that your take away message from the forum in question was that climate change was ignored. So if you would like I am prepared to meet and share some literature on the topic and explain what the GCI Food Systems Program is attempting.

Secondly, I’d like to correct a few misconceptions in your email.

  1. The GCI does not receive any financial support from the Australian Food and Grocery Council. The AFGC did not sponsor the forum. Perhaps your disgust and despair with the forum was coloured by this misinformation, but it is entirely incorrect. Please check your facts before firing off on a misinformed tangent.

    Before you engage in further self congratulatory crowing while shouting "gotcha" at me, let me make a few points:

    1. Prior to writing any formal articles or posting anything on the web I always carefully check my facts. Even after posting, if I later discover any inadvertent errors, I correct them in a postscript.

    2. There are facts and there are assertions. An audience member said to me after the meeting that it was sponsored by commercial interests. I agree that her assertion was unsubstantiated hearsay, I do not know whether it was a fact or not, however it was entirely consistent with the take home message of promoting business as usual that you people were perpetrating. Another audience member said your meeting was merely rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic. I spoke with five people after the meeting and none had anything positive to say about it.

    3. My initial email to GCI was a means of fact checking and allowed GCI the opportunity to verify or deny the sponsorship assertion, which you did. However you are also obliged to inform the public whether you personally (not just GCI) have at any time received any funding or money or gifts in kind from commercial/business interests for any of your activities eg travel to conferences, accommodation etc.

    4. I acknowledge your assertion of not receiving commercial funding, but I do not know whether that is a fact or not. That is for a forensic accountant to determine. Is your assertion more trustworthy than unsubstantiated hearsay from an audience member? Given your esteemed professorial position, some may think your word more credible. Given Nixon's esteemed presidential position, some thought him credible when he said "I am not a crook". Given the fact you used the GCI as a platform for barefaced lies and brainless commentary, your credibility remains highly questionable.

    5. GCI speakers / chairpersons / organisers should take this opportunity from now on, at the beginning of every meeting and written in every publication, to make commercial disclaimers or to disclose any forms of sponsorship, whether they be financial or grants for accommodation or travel or gifts in kind. That way if such disclosures are later found to be untrue, accountability can be enforced. This is international standard practice for all specialist doctors who give formal medical presentations.

    6. Your denial of sponsorship does nothing to reduce my disgust at your proceedings.

    7. Corporate funding per se is not necessarily bad or wrong. If you receive corporate funding but you maintain completely unbiased scientific objectivity in your work, publications, presentations and meetings, the results of which may even harm the commercial interests of your sponsors, then all power to you. You deserve admiration. If you receive corporate funding and falsely skew your messages in favour of your sponsor, then you are a prostitute. If you receive no corporate funding yet still falsely skew your messages in favour of corporate interests, then you are a cheap slut hoping for future favours. The evidence so far places you firmly in the third category.

  2. The future of our food systems is a contested topic. Many stakeholders have different perspectives on how best to address future challenges, including but nor restricted to climate change. Inclusion of a peak industry organisation like the AFGC is an effective way to allow others to hear their views and for them to hear from others. One principle for engaging with diverse stakeholders is respect for their views with the intention of building mutual understanding. Note I am not expecting consensus on these complex issues.

    You must be an admirer of "fair and balanced" Fox News, who interview legitimate climate scientists juxtaposed against scientifically illiterate economists (so-called “important stakeholders”) who vehemently deny global warming, thereby casting doubt on the science. They have certainly been very effective in spreading lies and perverting public opinion and your approach is identical to their DESPICABLE tactics. Do you think that the climate change is a contested topic? If you agree that global warming is NOT in doubt, is ALREADY having severe impacts on agriculture (hint: the FACTS prove this) and will become MUCH MUCH worse, then you MUST include climate change in ALL your considerations, discussions and publications about the future of food production, it is absolutely UNCONTESTED. Those who contest it or ignore it do not deserve respect, they deserve ridicule and contempt. Specialist medical meetings invite only speakers who present peer reviewed scientific studies from reputable journals. We do not invite homoeopaths, crystal healers or anti vaccination campaigners as "diverse stakeholders in healthcare" to air their nonsensical viewpoints. Their views do not deserve respect, they are harmful fraudsters who prey on the gullible public. It is the OBLIGATION AND DUTY of all proper universities to promote evidence-based truths to their students and to the public and to CONTRADICT and DEBUNK any and all BOGUS CRAP propagated by commercial or political vested interests or other duplicitous sources, rather than give oxygen to it. Geoffrey Annison said that we will and we must continue the existing system of fossil fuel based industrial agriculture for another 300 years or so and that shale oil will provide us with another 1000 years of energy to continue business as usual, which are UTTER BULLSHIT*. He is a peak oil denier and he completely ignored climate change, as did the rest of you. Hard scientific analysis, hard physics, proves his claims to be absolutely impossible. Annison told barefaced lies. He is a shill for big business industrial agriculture interests. He does not deserve a public or university platform to spew such bullshit. As the facilitator of such drivel YOU ARE A PROMOTER OF BULLSHIT.

  3. In the Food System framework we consider Drivers, Activities and Outcomes. Climate change is one of the key Drivers, but our panel discussion was about Outcomes, so it was natural for the presentations and discussion to focus on Outcomes rather than Drivers.

    If a doctor said to me he was organising a meeting purely looking at disease outcomes without considering the prevention/treatment of disease nor the mechanisms of disease, I would regard him as a time wasting fool. We must aim for favourable outcomes, which depend on effective prevention and treatment, which depend on understanding the mechanisms (or "drivers") of disease and it is IMPOSSIBLE to divorce those considerations from each other. If the invited speakers talk only about cornucopian PRESUMED outcomes which IGNORE major drivers of disease, I would regard the meeting organiser as a DEVIOUS FRAUDSTER who is wilfully ignoring vital truths, by artificially compartmentalising his meetings. If we want to shape favourable outcomes it is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL to properly consider the drivers of outcomes, the most important for future food production being climate change and peak oil, which NONE of your speakers addressed in ANY meaningful manner. Your contrived post hoc declaration that your meeting was ONLY meant to look at outcomes is a BULLSHIT attempt by you at retrospective self justification.

  4. Climate Change was mentioned several times in the forum. I mentioned it as an example of a Driver in my introduction. Our ethicist, Andrew Crowden, mentioned it in his list of global influences. Mike Gidley referred to it in response to your question.

    Are you kidding me? CURSORY MENTION of climate change is NOT the same as addressing it or giving it due consideration and you did NEITHER. You do NOT get off the hook merely because you took two seconds to casually mouth words like “climate change is important” or because it was embedded somewhere in somebody's bullet point list. Paying only superficial lip service to the most dangerous threat to humanity is the behaviour of a blowhard pretender, not an honest investigator. The fact is that you people essentially IGNORED it, so do not try to rewrite history. If that meeting was recorded, then the ENTIRE UNEDITED recording or transcript, including Q&A, must be made available to impartial third parties who can judge for themselves. If you people had given realistic consideration to climate change, then you would NOT have made the assumption, which one of your speakers did, that expansion of our current arrangements will “somehow” feed more than eight or nine billion people worldwide, which is PURE FANTASY. There is only one direction that business as usual is driving us and that is STRAIGHT INTO HELL. We are already committed to more than 4 degrees global average temperature rise based on EXISTING greenhouse gases in the atmosphere right now. That will wipe out virtually all the major agricultural areas of the world. Sea level rise will drown all the low lying fertile river valleys. It is highly doubtful the Siberian or Canadian tundra will be able to support mass agriculture after the permafrost melts. Without high albedo ice to moderate northern continental temperatures, even far northern areas will experience crop destroying summer heat waves (Russia lost almost one third of their wheat crop in the summer heat waves of 2010, at only 0.8 degrees global average temperature rise). Far northern areas have inadequate sunlight to grow anything in winter even if it is ice free then. Their fresh water availability will be unpredictable: probably severe droughts alternating with massive floods and storms, all of which will destroy crops. Furthermore their soils may be completely unsuitable. NONE of the severe consequences of climate change were mentioned at your meeting. My assertion stands absolutely rock solid firm, that you people did NOT address the one hundred tonne mammoth in the room, climate change, in that meeting. That is why, when I raised that issue (along with the fact that you people did NOT address the ten tonne elephant of peak oil) at Q&A, the rest of the audience applauded me louder than any of your speakers.

  5. I don’t want to interpret what Geoffrey Annison may or may not have said, but I believe the thrust of his message was that the current food system can meet future challenges through incremental change rather than transformational change. Energy is a good example. I believe we are in the transition to renewable energy away from fossil fuels. There are many challenges for food and agriculture as we make this transition as you are no doubt aware.

    You say you don't want to interpret what Annison may or may not have said, then you go on to interpret it. You in fact defend Annison by making assumptions about what you think Annison implied (but did not say), while you simultaneously pretend you are not defending Annison. Well done! You are a master of Newspeak and Doublethink. Goebbels would be so proud. Some people might call you devious and duplicitous, but I think you have a great future in the Ministry of Twisted Propaganda.

    Regarding energy, I must repeat my debunking of Annison's claim that our current industrial agricultural system is highly “efficient”, another RUBBISH STATEMENT of his to add to his rotting mountain of rubbish declarations. Studies have shown that our industrial agricultural system uses about ten calories of fossil fuel energy (mostly petroleum) to produce one calorie of food, which is horribly energy INefficient. INDISPUTABLE EVIDENCE based on hard physics shows we will be facing an inevitable and catastrophic curtailment of net petroleum availability soon (with other fossil fuels to follow), which means that brainlessly pursuing business as usual while hoping for tiny incremental changes will result in GLOBAL FAMINE. It is a STUPID and DANGEROUS approach being promoted by lying psychopaths (and their cheap sluts) who are only interested in short term profits and protecting vested interests. Unconventional oils such as shale oil will do NOTHING to avoid such an outcome (because they have terrible EROEI and produce a pittance in net energy), but their extraction will destroy vast areas of land, contaminate vital fresh water supplies and their massive carbon emissions will completely devastate our atmosphere, thus hugely increasing the likelihood of NEAR TERM HUMAN EXTINCTION. Annison promoting shale oil as our “thousand year” energy “solution” (which reminds me of the “thousand year Reich” and their “final solution”), is the same as a doctor promoting decapitation as the solution for a lump on a patient's forehead. That doctor would be a murderer and Annison is a would be mass murderer. Annison is either a DANGEROUS IDIOT or a LYING PSYCHOPATH and either way he does not warrant a place at the discussion table. If you fail to grasp these issues, you need to GET THE HELL OUT OF THE UNIVERSITY, so someone with at least half a clue can be appointed to address them.

    What was Mike Gidley's response to my fossil fuel curtailment question? He mumbled that solar and wind energy advances will “somehow” provide solutions, no details given, and the audience was supposed to simply accept that. I'm sorry but my growing nausea prevented me from swallowing that guff. I was forced to projectile vomit from the back of the room, “is there a Haber Bosch process to produce fertiliser from solar and wind?” Furthermore, you people need to explain exactly how solar and wind will be able to power the tractors, combine harvesters, crop dusting planes (turboprops use kerosene type fuel) and other diesel powered equipment and vehicles we currently utterly depend on. In theory electric rail run by renewable energy could transport grain long distances (if construction of such infrastructure had been started ten years ago), but there is no prospect of this now, with the entire world over-leveraged in irredeemable debt and with rapidly diminishing conventional oil reserves. We remain utterly dependent on diesel trains and diesel trucks for food distribution and will therefore STARVE if there is catastrophic curtailment of petroleum availability, which is GUARANTEED in the near future. Are you aware that it is IMPOSSIBLE to fractionate shale oil into diesel or kerosene or jet fuel? Shale oil is completely different from crude petroleum, it is volatile light oil with much lower energy density, akin to paint thinner.

    Gidley's answer was ill considered and brainless. Hoping for as-yet unknown renewable energy breakthroughs to “somehow” produce our future food is like hoping for multiple massive lottery wins to save our house from mortgage foreclosure: UTTERLY STUPID. Serious researchers such as those from the Post Carbon Institute have considered these matters long and hard and concluded that the ONLY certain (or the least uncertain) way to address this problem is by the LOCALISATION OF FOOD PRODUCTION, by moving away from the centrally controlled, big business industrial agricultural model. WHERE WAS THE DISCUSSION ABOUT THAT? Oh, wait, we couldn't possibly talk about that because it would undermine the commercial interests of big business and their control over our food supply.

I look forward to discussing these matters in more detail with you.

Bill, in case I have been too subtle with my words, let me clarify: based on your bullshit meeting and the bullshit email you sent me full of your bullshit self justifications, I think you are a blowhard pretender who is a cheap slut of big business interests and are entirely UNFIT to address the absolutely vital concerns surrounding our future food production. I do not know you from a bar of soap and we never met before, so there is nothing personal in this, merely the questions of your competence and integrity. Is my impression of you unfair? I assert it is 100% accurate and fair, albeit confined to a limited window of time, but we must also ask the views of other people. GCI should send this email out to everyone in the audience who attended that meeting and ask them if they agree with me, or conversely if they think you are the bees knees (and if so, why? What information of practical use did you or your speakers convey to them?) To judge you better and more fairly I think the university needs to perform a detailed audit of all your previous teaching, research, publications, activities and past meetings you have organised/chaired. If you show the same disgraceful history of giving prominence to the “business as usual” fraudsters, of being gormless about the severity and dangers of the climate change and oil depletion threats to our future food supply, of merely paying lip service to them and not seriously investigating how to address those crucial issues and of failing to understand and promote the vital importance of future localisation of food production, then you must be DISMISSED FROM YOUR UNIVERSITY POSITION IMMEDIATELY. You are making a mockery of the name “Global Change Instituteand are turning it into the “Parochial Business as Usual Institute.

I do not believe your offer to talk with me is genuine and I will not fall into that trap. I am not interested in being bombarded with more of your bullshit attempts to justify the unjustifiable and defend the indefensible. You should hang your head in shame at your ludicrous attempts to put lipstick on a pig. Neither do I see it as my role to educate you in matters you should already be familiar with. I do however understand your need to appear to be making an open minded offer to meet me, to be seen in the eyes of your colleagues to be "open" to further discussion with me. You forwarded the email you sent me to your colleagues. I get it. Appearances are important for political climbers. Such is the way of all pretenders. Hey, guess what? I am also forwarding this email to your colleagues for their infotainment. If you stand by everything you have said and done, you will not mind if this email goes viral throughout the halls of academia, into the inboxes of all UQ students and further afield. If this email is merely a baseless rant from a random crazyperson, readers will laugh at me, you have nothing to fear and you will remain smugly ensconced in your ivory tower. If my concerns are legitimate however, I suggest you start packing your bags now.

We face serious and severe problems ahead and the vital issue of future global food production MUST be addressed by serious, honest, knowledgeable, dedicated and honourable people, NOT by big business lying psychopathic fraudsters and their cheap sluts.

I prefer to sit down and talk with Ove and Karen who I think are more likely to have honest intentions. First item on the agenda will be the removal of dead wood from the university: pretenders and bullshitters who are parasites on the limited university funding available. But don't worry, you can always ask Geoffrey Annison to find you a lucrative position in the private sector, given your loyalty to him.

Best wishes,

Bill Bellotti

Professor and Director Food Systems Program

Even better wishes,

Geoffrey Chia, concerned citizen

The Earth is not dying, it is being killed. And those who are killing it have names and addresses.” – Utah Phillips

* I explained in my Griffith Ecocentre presentation, using robust principles of hard physics (obtained from reputable peer reviewed scientific sources) why unconventional oils in general and shale oil in particular are fraudulent Ponzi schemes, promoted only by fools and liars (and yes, that includes Obama). Annison obviously sourced his “thousand year shale oil supply” meme from commercial propaganda. One such bogus report was that regarding the “Permian shale reserves”, the authors of which ignored the VAST difference between technically recoverable oil and economically recoverable oil. The most productive shale oil play, the Bakken, has over its financial lifetime been massively in the RED, a money losing investment vehicle for suckers akin to subprime mortgages (see graph). There is an astoundingly huge “reserve” of technically recoverable gold in the oceans of the world, far, far more gold than exists in all the bank vaults in all the world, however NONE of the former is economically recoverable.

Shale oil is a stupid and evil fraud and those who promote it are stupid and/or evil fraudsters.

 

—– Original Message —–

From:

"Bill Bellotti" <w.bellotti@uq.edu.au>

To:

"Geoffrey Chia" <Geoffrey Chia>

Cc:

"Ove Hoegh-Guldberg" <oveh@uq.edu.au>, "Karen Hussey" <k.hussey@uq.edu.au>, "David Harris" <d.harris@uq.edu.au>, "Grace Muriuki" <g.muriuki@uq.edu.au>

Sent:

Wed, 7 Jun 2017 00:01:50 +0000

Subject:

Responding to your feedback
Dear Geoffrey,

I am responding to your feedback as our Director (Ove Hoegh-Guldberg) is currently on sabbatical and I am the most senior GCI staff responsible for the event that has raised your ire.

Firstly, I am keen to engage with you more deeply on the matters you raise.  This is because I am very committed to Food Systems research (FSR) and climate change, or more accurately, global change, is a key focus of and rationale for doing FSR.  So it concerns me that your take away message from the forum in question was that climate change was ignored.  So if you would like I am prepared to meet and share some literature on the topic and explain what the GCI Food Systems Program is attempting.

 

Secondly, I’d like to correct a few misconceptions in your email.

  1. The GCI does not receive any financial support from the Australian Food and Grocery Council.  The AFGC did not sponsor the forum.  Perhaps your disgust and despair with the forum was coloured by this misinformation, but it is entirely incorrect.  Please check your facts before firing off on a misinformed tangent.

  2. The future of our food systems is a contested topic.  Many stakeholders have different perspectives on how best to address future challenges, including but nor restricted to climate change.  Inclusion of a peak industry organisation like the AFGC is an effective way to allow others to hear their views and for them to hear from others.  One principle for engaging with diverse stakeholders is respect for their views with the intention of building mutual understanding.  Note I am not expecting consensus on these complex issues.

  3. In the Food System framework we consider Drivers, Activities and Outcomes.  Climate change is one of the key Drivers, but our panel discussion was about Outcomes, so it was natural for the presentations and discussion to focus on Outcomes rather than Drivers.

  4. Climate Change was mentioned several times in the forum.  I mentioned it as an example of a Driver in my introduction.  Our ethicist, Andrew Crowden, mentioned it in his list of global influences.  Mike Gidley referred to it in response to your question.

  5. I don’t want to interpret what Geoffrey Annison may or may not have said, but I believe the thrust of his message was that the current food system can meet future challenges through incremental change rather than transformational change.  Energy is a good example.  I believe we are in the transition to renewable energy away from fossil fuels.  There are many challenges for food and agriculture as we make this transition as you are no doubt aware.

I look forward to discussing these matters in more detail with you.

 

Best wishes,

Bill

Bill Bellotti

Professor and Director Food Systems Program

 

Global Change Institute 

The University of Queensland

Global Change Institute Building (20)

Level 3, Staff House Road

University of Queensland St Lucia QLD 4072 Australia

Ph: (+61 7) 3443 3166   Fax: (+61 7) 3443 3101

email:  w.bellotti@uq.edu.au     Web: www.gci.edu.au


—– Original Message —–

From:

Geoffrey Chia

 

To:

<executiveassistantgci@uq.edu.au>

Cc:

<k.hussey@uq.edu.au>, <d.harris@uq.edu.au>, <e.abal@uq.edu.au>

Sent:

Tue, 06 Jun 2017 11:58:30 +1000

Subject:

Commercial propaganda and lies perpetrated in GCI venue

Dear Prof Hoegh-Guldberg et al,

I attended this meeting yesterday https://www.gci.uq.edu.au/events/are-we-getting-outcomes-we-want-our-food-system and was disgusted and appalled to be assaulted by nonsense, lies and ignorance, especially from food industry shill geoffrey annison who said we have 1000 years of energy available from shale oil to continue business as usual and that we must continue the current Australian system of industrial agriculture for another 300 years because it is working swimmingly well. He and the other speakers completely ignored climate change as being relevant to future food production. Not surprisingly, I later discovered the meeting was sponsored by annison's commercial group, the Australian food and grocery council.

I am a physician who is painfully aware that unless one makes a correct diagnosis to shape a proper management plan, the patient will die. The true diagnosis here is that current fossil fuel based industrial agriculture is unsustainable and will inevitably collapse, as I have clearly explained in this ecocentre presentation:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfVphmxPOXo

What we need from the GCI is to live up to its name and offer realistic plans towards global change and not to insult us with corporate lies.

Surely, being a scientist, you will not allow the GCI to be perverted to the agenda of commercial propaganda, hell-bent on grabbing short term profits at the expense of humanity and a liveable ecosphere? If you continue down this avenue of commercial deceit you will make a mockery of yourself and the university.

best regards

Geoffrey Chia, MBBS, MRCP, FRACP

 

Lessons Learned from Death & Near Death Experiences 3

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LESSONS LEARNED FROM DEATH AND NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCES

Part 3: Type A aortic dissection

By Geoffrey Chia, MBBS, MRCP, FRACP, June 2017

Chest pain is a very common symptom and most of the time is not dangerous – the most common causes are pain from the chest wall (ribs, muscles) or pain from the stomach and gullet due to acid reflux, so-called “heartburn”. Sometimes the exact cause of chest pain cannot be determined, but if we can rule out potentially dangerous causes, then we can strongly reassure the patient. On the other hand, the most lethal causes of chest pain are the unholy trinity of myocardial infarction, pulmonary embolism and a very rare but fatal condition called type A aortic dissection1

 

The trickiest of all to diagnose is aortic dissection, which caused by a tear in the internal lining of the aorta (the main artery emerging from the heart), causing blood to enter and split (but not rupture through) the aortic wall. Blood entering the wall creates a cavity called a “false lumen” which can propagate with each heartbeat and can cause all sorts of mischief. Dissection may not even be thought of or looked for when the patient first presents to hospital, because it is so rare. Theoretically the best diagnostic investigation is a CT scan of the chest with contrast, however even that may not be definitive if images are technically poor, there considerable movement artefact and the vacillating reporting Radiologist is plagued by equivocal uncertainty. Real life is less clear cut and a lot messier than the general public realise. If dissection presents classically with a “tearing interscapular back pain which radiates to the centre of the chest” then most doctors will be alert enough to order the appropriate test(s). However dissection is also a great mimic.

Type A dissection can cause a myocardial infarction by pinching the origin of, say, the right coronary artery. The MI may be correctly diagnosed by ECG, but if the commonly used therapy of thrombolysis is applied, that will kill the patient. If an attempt is made to stent the right coronary artery and the cardiac catheter inadvertently goes into the false lumen, spreading the dissection, that can kill the patient. Even if stenting is successful, post stent care requires the use of blood thinning medications, which can kill the patient. Thus even though the MI may be correctly diagnosed, the failure to diagnose the underlying cause of this particular MI and the adoption of “standard” MI therapy will be catastrophic. 2

Dissection can present as blood leaking into the pericardial sac, causing breathlessness and a drop in blood pressure, "cardiac tamponade". Even though draining the blood which compresses the heart can provide temporary relief, unless the underlying reason for the tamponade is corrected, the patient will die. 2

 

Dissection can also present with a leaky aortic valve, which if severe can cause heart failure. However the murmur of aortic regurgitation is one of the hardest to detect with a stethoscope.

As a junior doctor I had seen one patient who presented with Type A dissection who, while being assessed, abruptly collapsed in hospital from cardiac tamponade and died. In the final year of my cardiology training, I encountered another patient with type A aortic dissection who we thankfully were able to save. He was admitted with severe chest pain (no back pain) and the ECG was normal. Auscultation revealed an early diastolic murmur typical of aortic valve regurgitation. These findings prompted me to check the blood pressures in both his arms (we usually just check the BP in one arm only in most patients). The arm BPs were substantially different. The only condition which can cause chest pain, aortic regurgitation and unequal arm BPs is type A aortic dissection. The next test was a bedside transthoracic echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart using a probe on the chest wall), which showed a dilated proximal aorta with a double line suggestive of a split in the wall of that artery and of course, aortic valve regurgitation. Thankfully the arterial split had not extended downward to spill blood into the pericardial sac. Transthoracic echoes may not provide the clearest images. The TTE is not considered a gold standard test for the diagnosis of dissection and it was still necessary for us, the medical team, to perform a definitive test before this patient would be accepted by the surgical team for operation3. Time was short, death could occur at any time and arranging a CT scan often took more than an hour. Those were the days before bureaucratic interference demanded that every transoesophageal echo should be done in an operating or endoscopic theatre and sedation could only be given by an anaesthetist4, in my view absurd constraints leading to endless delays. So I grabbed the transoesophageal probe, administered i/v midazolam to the patient and performed the transoesophageal echo at bedside in CCU and obtained crystal clear images showing the presence of dissection with characteristic false lumen and intimal flap in the ascending aorta. Prior to open heart operations we usually perform a coronary angiogram to look for any incidental coronary artery narrowings which may require bypass grafting at the time of surgery. However in aortic dissection, as mentioned earlier, a cardiac catheter may inadvertently enter the false lumen, spread the dissection and kill the patient, hence cardiac catheterisation for coronary angiography must be avoided here. This patient presented in the days before non-invasive CT coronary angiography, which requires super high speed image acquisition technology.

The patient was accepted for surgery on the basis of the TOE result. His operation was successful with replacement of the aortic root and re-suspension of the aortic valve without need for valve replacement. He recovered well.

So far, this case report offers no unique learning points. The various features of this patient's presentation can be found in any medical textbook. However I did learn one fascinating aspect about aortic dissection from this particular patient. When I checked his arm BPs, I found that his right arm BP was consistently higher than his left arm BP which completely went against my preconceived notion as to how a type A dissection should present. Surely anatomy dictated that any dissection commencing from the proximal aorta (especially if it starts just above the aortic valve) would “pinch off” the origin of the right brachiocephalic trunk before it involved the left subclavian artery? Surely this would result in the right arm BP always being lower than the left, if unequal BPs were to manifest at all? How on earth could such a proximally originating dissection cause the right arm BP to be higher than the left? I delved deeper into the literature about aortic dissection and found the explanation. I found a paper which described post mortem findings of aortic dissection patients. It seems that dissections do not progress in a simple longitudinal line along the aorta but tend to spiral around the arterial wall in a random fashion. Hence it is equally likely that the dissection may miss the origin of the right brachiocephalic trunk and pinch off the left subclavian origin, as it is to do the opposite. This personal discovery was like a light bulb going off in my head, an “AHA!' moment which I now share with the two of you who have had the persistence to read this far.

Lesson learned: Reality ALWAYS makes sense. If your findings do not conform with your understanding of your diagnosis, either your findings are wrong, your understanding is wrong or your diagnosis is wrong. In this case, my understanding was wrong. My preconceived notion about the manner in which aortic dissection propagates had been wrong. This experience corrected that misconception. Reality ALWAYS makes sense.

My conclusion yet again: information derived from repeatedly validated scientific research, scrutinised and published in peer reviewed scientific journals, informs us about objective reality. We ignore, dismiss or remain ignorant of such scientific knowledge at our peril.

Every day it pains me to know that even though we have abundant, consistent, repeatedly validated scientific information about the devastation of our ecosphere and why it is happening, unfortunately our nations are run by anti-knowledge, anti-science psychopaths hell bent on accelerating Armageddon for the sake of their short term greed and their lust for power. Shame on them, shame on the power brokers who manoeuvred them into position and shame on the stupid sheeple who voted them into office.

G. Chia, June 2017

FOOTNOTES:

  1. Type A dissection involves the upstream or proximal part of the aorta and may or may not extend past the origin of the left subclavian artery. Type B dissection affects the aorta downstream of the left subclavian origin only and can potentially cause a whole multitude of major problems which may even be fatal in the longer term, but is nowhere near as acutely dangerous as Type A dissection.

  2. I cannot repeat enough that you must determine the underlying cause of a problem in order to manage it properly and failure to do so can be catastrophic

  3. This brings to mind the case of an old mentor physician teacher of mine, Dr T, who himself experienced back pain radiating to his chest and presented at a hospital in another country. The senior cardiologist in that hospital diagnosed aortic dissection after doing certain tests and sent him to theatre but when the surgeon opened him up, no dissection was found. It was a misdiagnosis. As you can imagine, when Dr T woke up from the anaesthesia and learned of this error, he was absolutely outraged. The classical presentation of type A dissection is with back pain radiating to the chest. However most patients with such symptoms do NOT have dissection. Typically, pain from stomach acid refluxing into the oesophagus tends to be felt in the chest, hence the term "heartburn". However the oesophagus is a posterior thoracic structure and acid reflux when the patient is lying down may also be felt as back pain. When they sit up, the pain may shift to the chest. Another condition which may be felt as back and chest pain is degenerative disease of the thoracic spine. Such "arthritis" of the spine will of course be mainly experienced as back pain, however if there are bony spurs which are pinching certain thoracic intercostal nerve roots (which receive sensory fibres from the chest wall) then the patient can also experience "referred pain" in the chest. On the other hand, not all patients with type A dissection present with pain. I know of one patient who had no pain but presented with a fainting spell because of sudden tamponade. Sometimes tests do not provide clearcut answers because there may be technical difficulties for all sorts of reasons and images may be fuzzy. In such a case judicious interpretation of ALL the information at hand, combined with further information gathering, is absolutely vital, rather than stubbornly sticking with a flawed diagnostic preconception. I liken missing a true diagnosis and making a false diagnosis as similar to type 1 and type 2 statistical errors. Type 1 error rejects (or fails to accept) a true paradigm and type 2 error accepts (or fails to reject) a false paradigm. http://www.statisticshowto.com/type-i-and-type-ii-errors-definition-examples/ Both errors are bad and we must try as hard as possible to detect true paradigms and reject false paradigms in order to deal effectivly with reality. In a wider context, an example of rejecting a true paradigm is global warming denialism. An example of accepting a false paradigm is the idea that our global troubles are purely economic and if we just tweak our economic policies, all will be well. The correct and true paradigm is that our troubles are related to reaching the Limits to Growth, that we are past the point of fixing everything and only a small fraction of the population will survive the impending population cull, depending largely on how they plan in advance, but also depending on future dumb luck.

  4. The only time I ever had difficulties performing a transoesophageal echo was when I was administratively forced to include an Anaesthetist in the proceedings. This was supposedly a routine outpatient TOE which I performed in an endoscopy suite. The anaesthetist gave the patient i/v propofol at a dose he deemed sufficient for sedation but when he advised me to go ahead and insert the probe, the patient struggled terribly. Despite more propofol, the whole procedure was a shambles with poor, jerky images and a constantly wriggling patient who choked so badly that after it was completed and he was observed in the recovery room, his oxygen saturation dropped and he spiked a fever. I ordered a chest Xray which showed he had aspirated fluid down his right bronchus causing a patch in the middle lobe of his right lung which was certain to cause severe pneumonia if we did nothing. Accordingly I had to admit him to hospital for 24 hours of intravenous antibiotics and observation, followed by a full course of oral antibiotics on discharge. Prior to this mess I had been performing TOEs with the help of a capable nursing team without an anaesthetist. I administered tiny doses of midazolam and sometimes fentanyl. There was no risk of the excessive sedation causing respiratory problems because of a stringent protocol: the patient was established on continuous oxygen by intranasal prongs, there was continuous monitoring of the patient's oxygen saturation level, we kept on standby a “bag and mask” for immediate active ventilation if oxygen saturation was to drop and I always ensured the specific intravenous antidotes for both midazolam and fentanyl were at hand for immediate administration should the need arise, which would reverse any respiratory depression should it occur and fully wake the patient within seconds. As it turned out, I never needed to give those antidotes because of my parsimonious use of those sedatives which did not completely knock out the patients and merely induced "twilight" sedation, relaxation and amnesia for the procedure.

 

Lessons Learned from Death and Near Death Experiences 2

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LESSONS LEARNED FROM DEATH AND NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCES

Part 2: Complete Heart Block and Ventricular Asystole, true and false “brown pants cases”

By Geoffrey Chia, MBBS, MRCP, FRACP, June 2017

Cardiac arrest refers to the sudden cessation of effective pumping action of the heart due to either an extremely rapid heart rate or, less commonly, due to complete ventricular standstill.

Malignant, extremely rapid ventricular arrhythmias, most commonly VF, are the main cause of sudden cardiac death. Rarely, supraventricular arrhythmias can mimic ventricular arrhythmias and cause sudden death (eg atrial flutter or atrial fibrillation conducting rapidly down an accessory pathway resulting in a ventricular rate of 300/min or more. The ECG of this particular supraventricular arrhythmia resembles a ventricular arrhythmia because of “aberrant conduction”).

At the opposite end of the spectrum, primary ventricular asystole or ventricular standstill is another cause of sudden cardiac death, although rather uncommon. The electrical, and hence mechanical, activities of the ventricles, the main pumping chambers, literally just stop. The patient flatlines. Contrary to Hollywood dramas, ventricular asystole does NOT respond to DC shock, you cannot “jump start” a heart in asystole. We sometimes try DCC anyway if we suspect the patient is in “fine VF” – when the amplitude of the VF is so small it might mimic a flat line. But true asystole does not respond to DCC.

Cardiac arrest in the context of a myocardial infarction is usually due to VF. Flatlining is only seen at the very end of a failed resuscitation when the heart muscle has experienced prolonged starvation of oxygen and energy, and is essentially dead. This is secondary ventricular asystole, secondary to the heart muscle being dead.

Patients who develop complete heart block or CHB (when electrical impulses between atria and ventricles are blocked) have slow heart rates, perhaps between 25 to 40 beats per minute depending on the level of the new intrinsic pacing focus, the “escape” focus, which has taken over from the normal intrinsic pacing focus, the sinus node. CHB may first be discovered by the doctor when it is already chronic (ie persistent and well established). The patient may present with fatigue and breathlessness with a very slow heart rate and those symptoms are fully reversed after they have pacemaker implantation.

Before CHB becomes chronic however, it tends to be intermittent. If the heart rate abruptly drops from a normal rate of, say 100/min during activity, to just 30/min, the patient may feel very dizzy or even blackout. Often there is a pause, there is ventricular standstill, in the transition between the normal rate and new slow rate, before the new escape pacing focus kicks in. This pause is primary ventricular asystole. If the pause is brief eg 4 or 5 seconds duration, the patient may just feel dizzy, but if it is about 7 seconds or longer the patient will lose consciousness. If upright, they will have a sudden “drop” attack.

Patients with untreated CHB have high rates of sudden death. This high mortality rate can be completely reversed by permanent pacemaker implantation. The mechanism of sudden death in untreated CHB is probably primary ventricular asystole, but that is difficult to prove because their deaths tend to be unmonitored deaths occurring in the community. Nowadays whenever we see any hint of CHB picked up by ECG monitoring and there is no reversible underlying cause (eg medications, hypothyroidism, acute phase of inferior MI), the patient very quickly gets a PPM before they come to any harm. A simple and low risk procedure which is incredibly cost effective, hence worth doing even for a 90+ year old patient.

All the background information above is necessary to understand my attitudes and approach towards certain tricky cardiac situations. It is always stressful if a patient has a cardiac arrest in front of you. Hopefully when that happens, you switch to cold, clinical, analytical mode and act according to the dictates of your emergency algorithms. After the event, even if the outcome has been 100% successful, exhaustion kicks in and you feel drained, a lot has been taken out of you, you need to sit down and take a few deep breaths.

I have a term for such cases. I call them “brown pants cases”. That does not refer to the patients themselves but more to an imagined consequence of their potential effect on me. Whereas I tended to designate most “brown pants cases” in retrospect, because their malignant arrhythmia or ventricular standstill occurred unexpectedly out of the blue, some potential BPCs may be anticipated in advance.

In my third year as an advanced cardiology trainee, my bosses made me responsible, as sole operator, for the permanent pacemaker implantation list. Implantation of a brand new pacemaker system involved transvenous placement of the the atrial and ventricular electrodes in the right side of the heart, which after testing for correct positioning, were then connected to the implantable pulse generator (the IPG contains the battery and microprocessor) which itself was placed in a subcutaneous pocket under the clavicle (usually left clavicle, for right handed patients). It was a routine procedure which I did not find stressful. Paradoxically, the much simpler and faster procedure of IPG replacement only (where the original pacing electrodes are retained) was potentially much more stressful for me.

In a patient with an old pacemaker system, the battery will need replacement after, say, 8 years (sooner if the IPG paces constantly, but later if the IPG only paces intermittently). Some patients are mostly in their own normal intrinsic rate and rhythm and only exhibit CHB intermittently, at which time the PPM senses the slow rate and paces the heart at a “demand” pacing rate, which may be set to perhaps 50/min. In other patients however, the PPM paces the heart 100% of the time. When you test the PPM with a programming device and reduce the “demand” pacing rate to 30/min, if the PPM still continues to pace with no evidence of the patient's own intrinsic rhythm kicking in, we designate such patients as “pacemaker dependent”. Why is this important? Because if you disconnect the old IPG (with the depleting battery) from the electrodes in a non pacemaker dependent patient, their intrinsic heart rate and rhythm will take over and all will remain stable while you take your time to connect the brand new IPG to the electrodes. In a pacemaker dependent patient however, when you disconnect the old IPG, the patient is likely to flatline. You therefore only have a few seconds to connect the new IPG to the old electrodes and restart the pacing, or TS will HTF. I used to have nightmares about fumbling around, dropping both old and new IPGs on the floor and the patient flatlining all that time, with chaos reigning supreme. It never happened of course, and I never took me more than 2 or 3 seconds to disconnect the old IPG and connect the new IPG to the electrodes, but I had nightmares about it. It is best to avoid trouble by anticipating problems in advance. Hence before performing routine IPG replacements, I used to go through the printout of the patient's last PPM check to see if that patient was pacemaker dependent. If they were, I would write on the top right hand corner of the front page of the patient's notes: BPC. That was a reminder to me when I next saw their notes again in OT just before the procedure, to be extra careful and extra quick.

LESSON LEARNED: It is best to anticipate problems in advance in order to prevent them from occurring, or to be prepared to act quickly and effectively if the anticipated problem does, in fact, occur. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

 

I would now like to describe one memorable false alarm, a false BPC if you will. As it was not a true emergency it was not a stressful event, merely an interesting learning experience. This was an example of fake ventricular asystole a long time ago in a patient in whom I had just implanted a permanent pacemaker at the Royal Brisbane Hospital*. It is normal practice after PPM implantation for the patient to be monitored overnight in CCU just in case early lead displacement inadvertently occurs. Shortly after implanting the PPM in that patient I was doing an evening round in CCU and the nurse in charge calmly mentioned to me that the patient's bedside monitor was persistently sounding the alarm of ventricular asystole and the ECG tracing on the monitor was a flatline. The commonest cause of flatlining is inadvertent detachment of one or more skin electrodes, perhaps when the patient turns over in bed, however this is easily detected as such by the machine and is displayed as "leads off" on the monitor. In this patient, all electrode wires were securely attached. The patient himself was however fully conscious, felt perfectly fine and his pulse and BP were perfectly normal. What was going on? Before answering the question, some background information is necessary.

If you are not a health worker, you may wish to skip the following explanation in green, because it is rather technical. The surface electrocardiogram or ECG is a record of electrical activity of the heart, sampled via "sticky dot" electrodes placed on the skin of the limbs and trunk. Each spike of electrical activity (either a "depolarisation" or "repolarisation") is a vector having magnitude, measured in millivolts, and direction (by convention described only in two planes, the coronal and transverse planes). The direction of the main vector, the QRS complex, which represents summary depolarisation of both ventricles, is termed the "cardiac axis". Various "leads" or "channels" look at cardiac electrical discharges from different directions, for example in the standard twelve lead ECG, leads II, II and aVF look at the heart from below, the so-called inferior leads. The "V" chest leads look at the heart from the front and left side, the so-called anterolateral precordial leads.

Old fashioned "dumb" ECG machines merely capture the basic magnitude and direction of each electrical vector, which is displayed on paper or on a monitor. There is no processing of the raw vectors. "Smart" ECG monitors with microprocessors, particularly the newer CCU monitors which were proliferating at that time, not only captured the basic data but also performed software modification before displaying the ECG.

Electrical activity of the pacemaker also has magnitude and direction, but pacemaker "spikes" tend to be much smaller than electrical discharges from the heart muscle. The pacemaker spikes may be too small to be detected by a "dumb" ECG machine. This cannot be resolved by simply increasing the sensitivity of the ECG machine because that could result in indiscriminately amplifying all sorts of electrical "noise" from skeletal muscle activity, making the ECG impossible to read. The way around that is to "tell" the smart ECG monitor that the patient has a pacemaker. The machine then looks, with extremely high sensitivity, at the time window just before each QRS complex and is thus able to detect the pacemaker spike, which by software processing it then magnifies for display. This selective magnification of a tiny electrical spike during an extremely short time window avoids the indiscriminate magnification of other tiny electrical impulses during the rest of the cardiac cycle. In that particular older "smart" monitor, I suspect the detection of the augmented pacemaker spike, being a post data acquisition event, may have been inadvertently inserted on the ECG tracing late and coincided with the cardiac QRS depolarisation (rather than being just before it).

My theory as to what caused the apparent flatline for that post PPM patient is this: In the particular directional channel we were using to monitor him at the time, it just so happened that the direction and magnitude of the (computer processed) pacemaker spike was exactly opposite and equal to that of the QRS complex, hence both cancelled each other out and the tracing in that particular channel appeared as a flatline and was interpreted as ventricular asystole by the monitor, which then triggered the alarm continuously. Hence the solution was simple, merely switch the channel of interrogation to one which looked at the heart from a different direction, in which the pacing spike and QRS vectors were not aligned. We did that with the flick of a switch and hey presto, the QRS complexes suddenly appeared, the patient was no longer in "ventricular asystole", we had resurrected him from the "dead" and the monitor no longer alarmed.

LESSON LEARNED: So-called "smart" machines can actually be incredibly dumb, can do wrong things and can make unwarranted assumptions (sort of like the predictive text on your smartphone). Irrespective of what the ECG monitor shows, always look at the patient and use your common sense before you pounce on their chest to perform CPR. You must work out problems in a logical way. Reality ALWAYS makes sense.

G. Chia June 2017

FOOTNOTE:

* This was just after I had completed my cardiology training (having previously implanted almost a hundred PPMs as sole operator) and was working as a temporary locum cardiologist in RBH, now known as RBWH. There was no full time electrophysiologist working at RBH back then, however the RBH lacked a PPM service mainly for political reasons which I will not get into here. General cardiologists with sufficient training are fully competent to implant PPMs, indeed the top pacemaker expert in Australia, Dr Harry Mond, was a general cardiologist, not an electrophysiologist. The top pacemaker expert in the world at that time, Dr Seymour Furman, was a general cardiologist, not an electrophysiologist. In the absence of an onsite PPM service, patients with heart block admitted to RBH needed to be transported onwards by ambulance, accompanied by a CCU nurse, to another hospital "just up the road" to have their PPM implantation. This would deprive the CCU team in RBH of a highly trained cardiac nurse for more than an hour. To me this was a crazy waste of resources, because we had the facilities and staff to implant PPMs in RBH. My boss at the time, Professor MF, reallocated funding to establish a pioneer PPM service in RBH and we went ahead. All proceeded well from the clinical point of view but after implanting fourteen patients with PPMs, administration got wind of our activities and I was bawled out by the medical director of RBH at the time, Dr BC, for not working according to the dictates of his administration. This was water off a duck's back to me (MF told me to ignore BC). After I left that temporary stint for a full time job in another public hospital, RBH no longer had a PPM service until they employed a full time electrophysiologist some years later.

Lessons Learned From Death & Near Death Experiences

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Part 1: Malignant Ventricular Arrhythmias

by Geoffrey Chia, MBBS, MRCP, FRACP, June 2017

Advances in Cardiology over the past several decades have been nothing short of astonishing. The first major advance arose from the realisation that most deaths in the acute phase of myocardial infarction or MI (heart attack) were due to ventricular fibrillation or VF (a lethal cardiac rhythm) which could be reverted with prompt DC Cardioversion (electrical defibrillation). DCC applied within seconds of onset of VF is virtually always successful, leaving no detriment to the brain or other vital organs. With each minute of delay however, the likelihood that DCC will fail and hence the patient will die increases exponentially. Even if belated DCC is successful, with each minute of delay the likelihood of subsequent brain damage due to oxygen deprivation increases exponentially. 1

 

The risk of VF declines markedly after the first 48 hours following an MI, as the electrical instability of the heart muscle settles. The understanding of this particular mechanism of cardiac death led to the creation of coronary care units or CCUs in the 1970s, staffed by specially trained cardiac nurses who continuously monitor the cardiac rhythms of "early MI" patients and administer immediate DCC if a patient goes into VF. This was the first major mortality advance for in-hospital cardiac care.

Resources are finite and it is highly inappropriate to utilise CCU beds for patients with non-cardiac chest pain, which could deprive genuine cardiac patients of life saving monitoring. Appropriate patient selection requires high diagnostic accuracy which still remains an art more than a science. "Unstable" or "crescendo" angina, which can precede myocardial infarction, may not manifest any blood or ECG abnormalities when the patient initially turns up at the emergency department. Back in the Dark Ages when I was a cardiology trainee, I remember receiving a phone call from the A&E registrar about a middle aged man who presented with fluctuating indigestion type pain and the ECG done when he happened to be free of pain was normal. The entire story however did not sit comfortably with me and instead of agreeing to send him home, I told them to admit him to a CCU bed. Later that night, I received a phone call from a CCU nurse telling me she had just shocked the patient out of a VF arrest, thus saving his life. We then set into motion full fledged MI therapy for him, rather than the basic medication and monitoring originally initiated. I shuddered to think what would have happened had I allowed the patient to go home. He would certainly have died.2

The ONLY treatment for VF is DCC, electrical defibrillation. True VF NEVER spontaneously reverts back to normal rhythm, it is always relentless and unremitting and the ONLY action which can revert it back to normal is DCC. CPR is only a bridge to keeping the patient (barely) alive till they can be shocked. If DCC can be applied within seconds of onset of VF, CPR should be avoided.

Some patients have such severe MIs that their heart muscle becomes so electrically unstable that the situation is irredeemable. They exhibit multiple recurrent bursts of VF, each requiring DCC and in between shocks we try to stabilise them with medications such as amiodarone. Only once did I go through the entire gamut of drastic drugs, eventually reaching to the agent of last resort, bretylium, which also failed to stabilise the patient, who went into refractory VF which did not respond to further DC shocks, ending up with a flat line. Thankfully in this day and age, advances in preventive cardiology have rendered such scenarios very uncommon.3

Ventricular tachycardia or VT is a beast somewhat different from VF, yet it can also be quite similar. VT can lead to VF. VT can be categorised into monomorphic and polymorphic VT, which in turn have their own subcategories. If the onset of rapid VT is witnessed on the heart monitor and if the patient is still conscious, then urgently telling the patient to cough forcefully may revert the VT back to normal rhythm. If not, and the patient lapses into unconsciousness, then a precordial thump (slamming your fist onto the patient's sternum), can sometimes revert it. If that does not work, the patient must have immediate DCC.

In the bad old days when we used ionic contrast media for coronary angiography, it was not uncommon to provoke a burst of VT especially when injecting the right coronary artery. The staff would then shout in unison at the patient to "COUGH". The cardiologist might even poise their gloved fist over the patient's chest, ready to thump it if coughing did not work, an appalling image. Thankfully such bursts of VT during angiography were usually self limiting and very brief. On rare occasions when the VT deteriorated to VF, DCC would be promptly applied, leaving no bad sequelae for the patient (a defibrillator is always charged up and ready to go in every cardiac catheterisation lab).

Ventricular tachycardia occurring in the early, irritable phase of an MI may manifest as multiple, brief, self limiting bursts which may be suppressed by medications such as lignocaine or amiodarone. It is also essential to correct electrolyte disturbances. If VT deteriorates into VF then the only treatment is DCC. Specific arrhythmias require specific treatment.4 This is why all CCU staff need to know how to read ECGs.

There is one particular type of monomorphic VT, due to a re-entrant pathway (electrical short circuit) in an otherwise normal heart, which is benign in the sense it may be relatively slow, say 160/min, is well tolerated, does not deteriorate into VF and usually responds well to oral medication. It can also be completely cured by an ablation procedure. On the other hand, very rapid, sustained monomorphic VT, especially in the context of an acute MI, can cause collapse and should be treated with immediate DCC, just like VF. However VT caused by drug toxicity such as flecainide or digoxin overdose can be notoriously unresponsive to DCC – which might even precipitate fatal, refractory cardiac arrest. Identifying the underlying cause of the monomorphic VT is of vital importance in managing the patient.5

Polymorphic VTs are of various types as well. Polymorphic VT may appear so chaotic on ECG that it may be confused with VF, however like monomorphic VT, polymorphic VT may occur in self limiting bursts and may respond to a vigorous cough or a precordial thump. If a prolonged run of polymorphic VT causes collapse, it should be treated with DCC anyway.6

There is a specific type of polymorphic VT called "torsade de pointes" VT, which also has subcategories. The French name means "twisting about the points" and I personally liken the summary ECG appearance to a "double sine wave" pattern. The commonest type of TDP is "acquired" in the sense that it tends to manifest in middle age or later, usually in females and is related to having a background slow heart rate. Various "QT prolonging" medications (and there are many of them) can predispose patients to this arrhythmia.

TDP had previously been described as "self limiting VF" by some early investigators because short bursts could appear similar to VF, but that was a misnomer. TDP can present as self limiting bursts of abnormal rhythm causing dizzy spells or even blackouts, but there is a substantial risk that any one single burst can become continuous, leading to cardiac arrest and death. In that situation, the TDP requires prompt DCC. VF on the other hand is never self limiting. Once VF occurs, it always persists and it never self reverts. The only treatment for VF is DCC.

All this information may be confusing to a lay person. However such background knowledge is essential in order to understand why and how certain experiences have profoundly influenced my thinking, my beliefs and my actions. Cardiology is not a dry esoteric academic field. It deals with life and death situations. But it does require specific knowledge, applied with common sense.

One of my most memorable patients was a lady in her 60s I encountered long ago when I was a cardiology trainee. She presented with dizzy spells and her ECG monitor in hospital showed bursts of TDP. Her background ECG when in sinus (normal) rhythm showed a slow rate around 40+/min with a "prolonged QTc", the latter being a classical marker for the predisposition to TDP. Immediate treatment was intravenous magnesium, then a search for and elimination of any background medications which could prolong her QTc, the commonest being sotalol. Despite that, she continued to exhibit bursts of TDP, hence I placed a temporary pacing wire in her heart and set the demand pacing rate at 70/min. This completely suppressed further TDP. It was now obvious that the only way to protect her in the long term was with a permanent pacemaker (this was in the days before implantable defibrillators became routine). PPM implantation was one of my routine responsibilities as a cardiology registrar so I scheduled her on the list. Our protocol required intravenous antibiotics immediately before the operation, usually a broad spectrum cephalosporin (which is related to penicillin). She however gave a history of a previous severe allergy to penicillin, hence I established her on an alternative agent in our protocol, intravenous erythromycin. Within minutes of starting that drip however, just as we were about to wheel her from the prep room into the OT, her previously rock solid stable paced rhythm at 70/min became unstable, with bursts of TDP yet again. I was completely taken aback by this, not really knowing what was going on, but decided to cease the erythromycin, then increased the pacing rate of her temporary pacemaker to 100/min and gave her another shot of i/v magnesium. This stabilised things. I swapped the erythromycin for another antibiotic, implanted her PPM, removed her temporary wire and sent her back to CCU. When I later explored the literature about TDP, I found, in the fine print, among the long list of medications which could potentially predispose a patient to TDP, erythromycin. The intravenous erythromycin had, in mere minutes, further prolonged her QT interval, thus raising her heart rate threshold for the development of TDP, such that even being paced at 70/min did not sufficiently protect her. This event more than any other highlighted to me how even small details buried deep within a mountain of other medical information can make the difference between life and death.7

Medical information derived from peer reviewed scientific research which has been reproducibly validated and summarised in textbooks, informs us about objective reality. We ignore, dismiss or remain ignorant of such scientific knowledge at our peril. It is impossible for any one single person to know everything, which is why specialisation is necessary. But hyper specialisation can result in tunnel vision, which is why specialists must talk with each other and why "specialist generalists" (specialists in general internal medicine) are also needed to help join the dots and offer us a big picture. Not only that, doctors must talk with scientists and policy makers must be informed by scientists to make rational, enlightened policy decisions.

Contrast this enlightened reality based belief and policy system with the unschooled opinions of ignorant self styled experts, principally the homoeopathic anti-vaccination delusionists who are simply malicious and despicable egotistical idiots. And yes, I include in that category Pauline Hanson, one of the most loudmouthed and stupid examples of incompetent ideological buffoonery (earlier this year she argued against the vaccination of children) and her offsiders such as the execrable and malevolent Malcolm Roberts, a monstrous denier of climate change reality. Such political opportunists are the enemies of reason, the enemies of decency and the enemies of humanity who work in the service of rightwing racist rednecks and/or the fossil fuel fraudsters and are given prominence by the prostitute mainstream media. Ditto for their American counterparts. They are a blight on humanity. They are a cancer. They are evil. I won't even talk about Mr. Orange HWAFL (which rhymes with “awful” and stands for “Hairpiece Without A Frontal Lobe”), the mere thought of whom induces projectile vomiting amongst the sapient.

CONCLUSION: LESSONS I HAVE LEARNED (numbers are referenced from above)

  1. In an emergency situation, immediate, appropriate action can make the difference between a perfect outcome and severe disability or death.

  2. The Precautionary Principle saved that man's life.

  3. Prevention is always better than cure.

  4. Making a correct diagnosis is of vital importance to enable appropriate, effective action.

  5. Identifying the underlying cause of a problem is of vital importance to enable appropriate, effective action.

  6. There are various levels of diagnosis. There is the broad diagnosis, which may be sufficient for emergency management (eg diagnosing rapid VT which requires DCC, but not necessarily identifying the subtype of VT at that time). There is the specific diagnosis, which requires identification of the underlying cause of the problem and is necessary for long term individual management (eg VT in the acute phase of an MI tends to settle after 48 hours, especially if the extent of muscle damage has been limited by PCI or thrombolysis, and does not require long term antiarrhythmic therapy. However VT unrelated to an MI and due to an unfixable abnormality eg "RV dysplasia" requires an implantable defibrillator).

  7. Science based knowledge is completely different from and is infinitely superior to other types of so-called "knowledge", such as being able to quote passages from the particular version of the Bible which suits your prejudices. Indeed the latter is not knowledge, it is anti-knowledge. It is pretentious bullshit dressed up as ancient “received wisdom”, designed to preserve the power and wealth of a patriarchal authoritarian organisation. Science based knowledge is based on objective reality, can be used for the immense benefit of ordinary people and makes the difference between life and death. Furthermore, the devil is in the detail.

Of course, the above aphorisms are already familiar to everyone, even to the extent that some may regard them as trite platitudes, "I've heard it all before, sooo booooring, let's move on". I think such sneeringly complacent people should have those aphorisms tattooed on their foreheads, laterally inverted, so they can read it every morning when they look in the mirror. Especially these days when we face existential threats to our survival which have been clearly identified by Objective Science. Especially since the source of those threats to our survival are the anti-knowledge, anti-reality fossil fuel fraudsters, armchair warmongering chickenshit politicians, mendacious economists, rapacious bankers and their media whores.

Even though I have left the days of stressful in-hospital night duty long behind me and am content to pursue non-procedural clinical work nowadays (I am not an adrenaline junkie like the emergency or ICU or surgical consultants), the hard lessons learned from my early training have been burned into my brain and continue to inform every aspect of my patient care, every single day. And they inform my wider philosophy.

What you should not say in Public: The Presentation

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on March 14, 2017

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Notes from RE and the Diners

Last week, Dr Geoff Chia put up an article/announcement of a lecture he was giving at the Ecocenter in Queensland Oz on March 10th, which he fortunately got recorded so it can be more widely dispersed. You will find the lecture and the slides he used in the video above.  Also included here is an Audio only track you can download to your mp3 player or smartphone to play while you are gardening or biking to work, or sitting in traffic in your SUV on Diner Soundcloud.

The lecture has inspired some lively comentary Inside the Diner, here is a sample of that:

From Lucid Dreams:

Dr. Chia is a good speaker.

From RE

I agree, although after listening to the whole thing, I felt he was a little heavy handed.  Imagine if I pitched that spin at the convocation!  The movers & shakers would have looked at me like I was from Mars!  I wrote Geoff back I think he needs to take it down a notch for the Newbies.

From K-Dog

Why pander to the newbies?  The sooner one can accept the truth and reinvent themselves to carry on in spite of the doom before us the better!  Perhaps convincing people that massive change is coming but playing down without denial the misery and death part of the fate before us could wake up more people.  I will agree with that.

From Lucid Dreams

Speaking from experience with speaking to crowds about these topics, doesn't matter how much you down play it.  Most people are not going to recognize the information as valid because it amounts to pulling the rug out from under their sense of security.  People start marinating on the ramifications of Peak Oil and then they start to hyperventilate (only in their unconscious mind).  The unconscious mind then promptly kicks out the possibility of even entertaining the doomy notions presented.  Vaporware, scientists, renewable energy, and technotriumphalism coupled with the psychology of previous investment all finish the job of denial.

Simply put, it matter not how you present the information.  Whether you do it with a spoon full of sugar or with a fuckin' sledge hammer, the results are always the same…denial…

Unless the person is ready to accept the information…in which case they will likely have found that information by a simple google search.

From RE

I think there is a balance to be struck to begin opening the window without having them freak out and go into full denial mode.  Remember, a Spoonful of Sugar Makes the Medicine Go Down! :icon_sunny:

 

For more commentary or to post your own opinion, join us Inside the Diner for a Collapse Meal!

 

What you should not say in public…

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on March 1, 2017

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CALLING ALL OZ DINERS! BRAZOS!*

Dr. Geoffrey Chia Presents at the Griffith Ecocenter in Queensland, Australia on March 9, 2017

Be there or be square!

(*Brazos was the code word for the Texas Rangers when they had to call for assistance)

…(but which I will nevertheless say)

Dialogue from “A Few Good Men”: Lt. Kaffee: “I want the truth!” Col. Jessep: “You can't handle the truth!

I am due to speak at the Griffith Ecocentre on 9 March and will run through the usual gamut of why things are fiendishly rotten in the state of Denmark and what to expect in the near future. "Denmark" is of course the metaphor for our besieged planetary ecosphere. It is a commentary familiar to Diners: why global warming will have consequences far worse than the mainstream population have been led to believe (but will NOT cause NTHE by 2026) and why the depletion of "easy" oil guarantees that the collapse of industrial civilisation will be complete within 20 years (a conservative estimate, based on falling EROEI and the ELM). However the fraud pervading our banks and sharemarkets will cause financial and economic collapse and the demise of our global industrial system much sooner. Not to mention all the other fun stuff ahead like mass human die-off, mass extinctions of other species, the rise of fascist extremists around the world, increasing conflicts between nations, increasing risk of global nuclear war, the possibility of pandemics etc. This is all old hat to Diners, but not to the general public. My purpose will not be misery mongering and nihilism however, but to encourage members of the audience to set up their own remote, climate resilient, off-grid homesteads to weather the coming storms. They must not look for salvation from without, but from within. Not everyone will succeed but some will.

https://www.griffith.edu.au/__data/assets/image/0006/626379/banner-ecocentre-external-695x293.jpg

Griffith Ecocentre, Queensland, Australia

Dr. Geoffrey Chia Presents on March 9, 2017

The Diner requests an Oz Diner with a camera that does MP4 recording to Video the Presentation and forward it to the Diner for Broadcast on Diner YouTube and Publication on the Doomstead Diner Blog.  Contact RE via the contact page on the Diner if you record this video. If you know how to Livestream it off your smartphone, we will publish the link to your stream for live viewing.

I expect the majority will find my commentary repugnant and reject it. I expect the Q&A session will throw up the usual predictable questions such as "how can we fix these problems?" or "surely technofix A can solve problem B?" The standard answer, which Diners are familiar with, is that the issues we face are not problems for which there are solutions, but are predicaments (or conundrums) for which there are no solutions. The correct question at this late stage is not "how can we fix these problems?", but "what can we do in anticipation of these events?". Given the more than century long build up to these events, the sapients realise that global industrial collapse is unavoidable, as has been amply demonstrated by even the most optimistic scenarios modelled by the updated Limits to Growth analyses. We have fallen off the cliff and even though we may feel “fine” now, we will not feel so good when we inevitably and excruciatingly smash into the ground. Gravity is a bitch and there is no prospect we can invent an anti-gravity device before impact, or indeed ever.

Not satisfied with such an answer, there is usually the odd tenacious audience member who attempts to pose the same question in a different manner, such as “if you were King of the world and had unlimited policy power, what would you do to tackle these predicaments?” The unstated expectation behind such a question is that a benevolent “philosopher king / ecosystems guru” can find ways to keep 7.5 billion people alive, solve climate change, find a replacement for petroleum etc, etc. Well I ain't no King and I ain't no Guru, but for the sake of argument, let us play along with such fantasy based wishful thinking and imagine we can enforce the following:

  1. Abolish all nation states. Demobilise all military forces everywhere and re-employ all ex-military personnel for the refurbishment and maintenance of essential domestic infrastructure, for civil defence and for disaster relief. All nuclear weapons to be dismantled, all weapons manufacturers to be eliminated.

  2. Equitable redistribution of resources, which will require that people in the rich parts of the world give up their luxuries to allow poorer people to survive. This will also require that refugees from climate ravaged and war torn parts of the world be allowed to emigrate to more climate favoured areas.

  3. Impose a moratorium on all human reproduction for the next 30 years, following which we allow only one child per couple until the global population falls to perhaps 100 million and thereafter allow only for replacement reproduction rates. Draconian? Yes, but far preferable to chaotic die-off which could trigger nuclear war.

  4. Transform the existing predatory rapacious capitalist system to a steady state ecology based economic system which penalises polluters and “closes the loop” – to treat and use all waste as a resource.

  5. Stop all unnecessary “economic” activity which will include the cessation of all fossil fuel based tourism and the entire process of globalisation. Limit activities to essential ones such as the production and distribution of food and clean fresh water and the construction and maintenance of dwellings. Localise all economic activities, although international trade in non perishable goods can still occur by use of sailing vessels.

  6. Educate everyone that the main “solution” to our looming energy shortfall must be energy efficiency and conservation, not new whizbang technowizardry such as fusion energy. Cease all fossil fuel electricity generation and change electricity provision to decentralised renewable energy systems such as solar PV for individual dwellings or microgrids. Let the central grid rot or better still, cannibalise it for materials. Pursue research to determine whether we can manufacture and maintain renewable energy generators and batteries using only renewable energy sources.

  7. Phase out all industrial scale monocrop agriculture (which is doomed anyway as fossil fuel based fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides and the petroleum to run mass agriculture will eventually become unavailable). Reduce meat and seafood consumption by more than 90%. Food security to be achieved by the establishment of hundreds of millions of local permaculture smallholdings providing a plant based diet with abundant protein from peas, beans and nuts and supplementary protein from eggs, dairy products, aquaponics and even farmed insects.

What is the likelihood of achieving even one of the above? We are, on the whole, moving in directions away from each and every one of the measures indicated above. So get real. Even if they could all be done, the following issues will remain:

  1. Additional global warming from existing GHGs in the atmosphere is already locked in place but is yet to fully manifest and will render most of the planet uninhabitable. All existing coastal cities will eventually (perhaps in 200 years) be submerged under at least 23 metres of seawater.

  2. We have no liquid transport fuel to replace "easy" oil at scale, which means that industrial civilisation as we know it is still doomed.

  3. Enforcement of the policies outlined above can only be carried out through edict and coercion. External imposition of policies on an ignorant and resistant populace will fail to address the primary underlying reason for all our planetary travails: the possession of advanced, destructive technology in the hands of a “trumped up” (pun intended) species of ape governed by their reptile brain. Cleverness without wisdom. This means that even if all the predicaments above could magically be made to vanish and we could magically reset human society and our planetary ecosphere back to, say 1950 before overshoot began in earnest, we will merely repeat the same patterns over and over again, in the absence of restraint and wisdom. Groundhog day with no hope of redemption, no matter how many times the scenario is replayed.

Semi-sapient people must abandon childish fantasy notions of what we would like happen, grow up and accept the reality of what is going to happen.

The bottom line is this, and I have said it before: the only hope for the continuation of our benighted species is that the survivors who emerge at the other end of this genetic bottleneck are truly sapient and adopt the principles of restraint (in resource consumption and reproduction) and vigorously protect any viable ecohabitats remaining (and cultivate new ones as icebound areas of the planet melt). It is possible, although by no means certain, that the impending cull of the global population may result in just such an outcome, especially if the sapient 0.01% of the population can be encouraged to save themselves NOW. The sapients should be advised not to grieve as future events unfold and they observe, from a safe distance, the morbid spectacle of billions of clueless sheeple killing each other, egged on by the 0.1% psychopathic sheeple herders who had promised to make them great again. Such is the nature of a cull.

G. Chia, March 2017

Climate Slides for Diners

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on February 14, 2017

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PDF: Why IPCC is Watered Down Guff

 

 

Dear Diners,

Above is a link to a set of slides in pdf format  which you can present to your family and friends, on why the IPCC projections are watered down guff, why climate catastrophe is inevitable and why you should stop worrying about it. The slides are largely self explanatory however two slides require elaboration which I have provided below. Before presenting this information to others I recommend you listen to David Wasdell's "facing the harsh realities of now" talk http://www.apollo-gaia.org/harsh-realities-of-now.html at least 2 to 3 times. His summary is probably the best compiled by anyone to date (although he ends with a delusional message that solar energy can save us, which is unfortunate).

Why the IPCC's information selection process is deeply flawed:

In October 2013 at the Griffith University Southbank campus in Brisbane, I attended a talk by Professor Nathan Bindoff, a climate scientist from the University of Tasmania who is highly regarded by the international scientific community and who was chairman of many previous IPCC proceedings. He presented the IPCC fifth assessment report.

The knowledgable audience were less than convinced about the IPCC projections, which were out of date even before AR5 was published and we asked him specific questions about the IPCC process and assumptions.

He described their process of information selection: scientific studies for inclusion into or exclusion from the IPCC report are selected by a large number of government employed scientists from around the world. However it is not a democratic process where, say, if more than half of the group decide a particular paper is important, it is included. The IPCC uses a "lowest common denominator" process whereby if just one member of the audience objects to any part of any paper, it is completely thrown out.

Dr Bindoff described the process where perhaps a couple of hundred scientists sit in a room and painstakingly go through every line of every paper submitted. He mentioned that typically by the third day, 80% of the originally submitted peer reviewed scientific studies have been thrown out, to be completely excluded from IPCC consideration.

Clearly this is not honest science, it is a political process designed to select only the most watered down, low ball estimates, so as to fabricate the most optimistic future climate scenarios. This explains why report after report, real world events have exceeded the worst case IPCC projections eg ice loss, sea level rise, severe weather events etc.

Why the IPCC's climate sensitivity calculations are grossly inadequate:

When specifically questioned, Dr Bindoff also admitted that the IPCC had completely ignored the most important climate event ever since the Earth was hit by a dinosaur killing asteroid 66 million years ago: the release of methane from the Arctic coast which has gone ballistic since around 2008. To me this confirms that the IPCC is a bogus pseudoscience body perverted by governments addicted to fossil fuels and that they only tell the public half the truth.

Arctic methane release is just one source of methane they have ignored and methane release is just one of the so-called "slow" feedback loops they have ignored, which are in fact occuring much faster than anticipated.

The IPCC calculate future temperature rises based only on the direct greenhouse effect of CO2 and a few fast feedback loops which themselves have been grossly underestimated. For example the IPCC grossly underestimated the loss of Arctic sea ice and therefore grossly underestimated the loss of albedo over the Arctic and therefore grossly underestimated the magnitude of this feedback loop.

There are other new, previously unanticipated, self reinforcing feedback loops which are now coming to light and therefore also completely off the radar of the IPCC eg the ingress of warm air into the Arctic due to marked weakening and waviness of the North circumpolar jet stream. The IPCC can hardly be blamed for not considering that, however it shows how the rapid onset of real world events quickly render their assessment reports obsolete.

Why Guy McPherson's prediction of NTHE by 2026 due to global warming is complete nonsense:

  • Just as the IPCC have misrepresented things by selecting only the most unreasonably optimistic scientific papers to promote their views, similarly GM has misrepresented things by selecting only the most unreasonably pessimistic scientific papers to promote his views.

  • We do not know what the most probable future scenario is, nobody does, but let us make an assessment of circumstances in the year 2100 based on a worse than worst case scenario. Let us assume all people in the Northern Hemisphere will be dead by 2100.

  • The IPCC AR5 worst case sea level rise by 2100 of 1 metre has now been rejected by most climate scientists since publication of a paper in 2016 by James Hansen and colleagues. That other doyen of climate science, Dr Michael Mann, had some reservations about the Hansen paper, but many scientists now regard a 2 metre sea level rise by 2100 as possible.

  • Hansen had however in an older paper projected as much as a 10 metre sea level rise by 2100, so let us instead adopt this worse than worst case scenario.

  • We know that complete melt of both the Greenland and West Antarctic ice shields will raise sea levels by more than 14 metres https://water.usgs.gov/edu/sealevel.html

  • By implication, the worse than worst case sea level rise of 10 metres by 2100 means that some of the Greenland and/or West Antarctic ice shield will still be intact in 2100, and indeed most of the ice on the Antarcticic continent will also be intact then.

  • Ice moderates nearby air and water temperatures. Cold melt water flowing into the sea keeps that sea temperature cool, which in turn keeps coastal areas bathed in that sea cool.

  • Therefore high latitude coastal areas in the Southern Ocean (the southern tips of NZ, Chile and Argentina and some islands eg the Falklands) will remain relatively cool even if GATR rises by 8 or 10degC by 2100. Those areas in the deep south will still have habitats with moderate temperatures conducive for growing food and rearing livestock in the year 2100 (and for substantial time after), even using this worse than worst case scenario. By definition, survival of even a small number of people means that human extinction will not occur by 2100 even based on this worse than worst case scenario. For someone to declare that NTHE will definitely occur by 2026 is thus completely nonsensical, is not scientific and is based on nihilistic ideology, not logic or reason.

  • As the Antarctic ice melts it is almost inevitable that humans will migrate to Antarctica if all other parts of the world become too hot.

 

 

Footnotes for Why you need to set up a Rural Doomstead

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on January 31, 2017

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Why you need to set up an off-grid Rural Homestead part 3

by Geoffrey Chia, January 2017

Long winded FOOTNOTES:

I have, in previous articles, already provided the scientific references for the major assertions made in this three part essay. The following are additional comments (related to issues flagged in parts 1 and 2) which have also been factually validated:

1: Desperate fantasies about "fertilising" the oceans with iron filings to create CO2 absorbing phytoplankton blooms (which has been tried and does not work) or chemical carbon sequestration or biochar carbon sequestration have been suggested. Even if feasible and upscalable, they will do nothing to substantially draw down atmospheric CO2, unless there is also simultaneous sudden massive reduction of the global human footprint.

2: The only other group who possess the smallpox virus are the Russians, who although not exactly angels, are nowhere near as dangerous as the US psychopaths who crave world hegemony. The US hegemonists are the descendants of those invaders who gave trusting Native Americans smallpox-ridden blankets. They are the descendants of those invaders who slaughtered 50 million bison to deprive the First Nations people of their food source and induce mass starvation. They are the architects of the invasion of Iraq, a despicable war crime. They are the people now taking control of the White House, Mike Pence being a great admirer of Dick Cheney and Donald Drumpf* being a politically clueless but ultimately self serving narcissistic megalomaniac. To imagine such people are not capable of planetary genocide is naive in the extreme. They consider themselves the "exceptionals among the exceptionals" and have corresponding contempt and disregard for the rest of humanity.

3: Ever since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, America has made more hamfisted attempts at regime change in other MENA countries to try to install puppet leaders under the US thumb, so as to control the MENA fossil fuel resources. Every single attempt has failed miserably and backfired, however the US nevertheless continues to pursue the same failed tactics, thus proving that the US "leaders" meet the definition of insanity.

Intent: Invade Iraq, replace Saddam Hussein with a US puppet so that Iraq will change their oil trade from Euros back to Petrodollars and the USA will control the flow of Iraqi oil and gas.

Result: the violent devastation of Iraq with brutal extremists filling the power vacuums, the massive outflow of refugees and the democratic election of a Shi'ite government which then aligns closer to Iran, the sworn enemy of the USA (Iran is also a victim of despicable US skulduggery dating back to 1953)

Intent: Bomb Libya to get rid of Gaddafi and "somehow" replace him with a US puppet who will then allow Western corporations to control Libya's oil.

Result: the violent devastation of Libya with brutal extremists filling the power vacuums, the massive outflow of refugees, the capture of Libya's huge armamentarium by Al Qaeda who morph into ISIS then start rampaging across MENA causing more havoc and refugee outflows.

Intent: Use American proxies Qatar and Saudi Arabia to astroturf "rebel" groups within Syria** to manufacture a "civil" war, topple Assad and "somehow" replace him with a US puppet who will then deny the Iranian gas pipeline through Syria and eject the Russians from their bases in Tartus and Latakia. Enlist US/NATO "ally" Turkey to help in this skulduggery, but if Erdogan fails to cooperate sufficiently, implement regime change via a coup to replace him with a Gulenist US puppet.

Result: the violent devastation of Syria with brutal extremists filling the power vacuums, the massive outflow of refugees, the entry of Russia into this proxy war and the eventual recapture of Syria by Assad. Meanwhile a pissed off Erdogan accuses the USA of engineering the failed Turkish coup and mends fences with Putin. In December 2016 Turkey and Russia, together with Assad, broker a ceasefire in Syria, to the complete exclusion and humiliation of the USA. Another epic fail by America AKA Exceptionalistan.

I have said this before and will say it again: the psychopaths (Neoconartists, Military Industrialists, Wall Street Bankers etc) who run the USA are greatest threat to peace in our world and to life on Earth. The evil nutcases who run the UK, Canada, Australia and NZ are only slightly less dangerous. Not all US politicians are chickenshit armchair warmongering lying psychopaths however. Democratic Congressional Representative for Hawaii, Tulsi Gabbard, as a former active member of the US military, was deployed twice to combat zones in the Middle East. She now holds the rank of Major in the Military Police of the National Guard and is a qualified martial arts instructor. Despite, or perhaps because of her background, she is staunchly non-violent. She has a deep understanding of issues in the Middle East and spoke against the funding of Islamist extremists by the US and its proxies Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. She reiterated the fact that there are no "moderate" Sunni rebels in Syria, all the rebels being violent radical extremists. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76GhC5d52d8 Imagine how much better the world would be if someone like her became President of the USA. She is a true patriotic American who has put her life on the line for her country, unlike “fake hairpiece” Drumpf who is a parasitic fraud who knows how to work the system to his personal advantage.

4: Advice for young folks confronted with an unaffordable property market: do not fall into that trap, do not become a lifetime debt slave. There is a high chance you may end up like the victims of the predatory subprime mortgages in the USA. If possible, build or buy a tiny house on wheels where you can live debt free, however you will also need to find land to place it on. If local council regulations prohibit the tiny house option for you, rent part of a cheap share-house and while you continue to work within the system, use your savings to buy a good quality RV or caravan which will be your bug out vehicle and future off-grid dwelling. Cultivate skills which will be useful to homesteaders. Store enough fuel in jerry cans to ensure you can easily reach your bug out destination (diesel is much safer to store than petrol and a diesel vehicle will also have greater range, litre for litre. Diesel engines are also more reliable and durable). However if your current location and future bugout location are both coastal, a comfortable sailboat may be a better alternative than an RV or caravan. When TSHTF and the highways are blocked or there are bandits on the roads or you have insufficient fuel to get to your destination, a boat sailing freely across the water, propelled by the wind, will be infinitely superior to a stranded RV or tiny house. However it is impossible to live afloat indefinitely, independent of the land. Your boat must ultimately be tied to a land base where you can obtain fresh water and grow food. This is the limitation of Dmitry Orlov's ideas: he focuses heavily on boats but says little or nothing about the importance of having a land resource base, perhaps because of his view that providing a water transport or trading service to land based homesteaders will, in the exchange economy, enable sufficient acquisition of fresh water and food for his life afloat. Here is the problem: if my land based homestead provides adequately for my needs (in conjunction with an exchange economy with my neighbours), I will have no need for any water transport services or trade, hence I may decline to provide a yachtie with fresh water or food, which I myself may have in short supply. Other drawbacks: a life afloat is less convenient than life ashore, is not suitable for everyone and maintaining a boat is much harder than maintaining a land dwelling.

5: To expand on this "piano hanging by a frayed cable" metaphor:

The majority of people can be represented by a man standing under the precarious piano who is obsessively playing with his smartphone and refuses to look up even when warned. He is killed by the falling piano because he is an idiot.

Sapient people can be represented by a woman standing under the precarious piano who looks up, sees the frayed rope and carefully walks away to safety.

The Near Term Extinction cultists can be represented by a man standing under the precarious piano who looks up, sees the frayed rope and refuses to walk away for fear of oncoming traffic, even though there is no traffic in sight. He channels Buddha and contemplates Death with every breath in and out. He is killed by the falling piano because he is nuts.

* Footnote for footnote 2: I have been using Donald Drumpf's original surname before it was changed by his grandfather, a German immigrant to the US who made his fortune from saloons and brothels in the Pacific NorthWest and was refused re-entry back to Germany because of his moral turpitude. We face an appalling next few years with this infantile thin skinned egomaniac in possession of the nuclear launch codes. For want of a better title, may I suggest we call Drumpf “Mr HWAFL”, which stands for “Hairpiece Without A Frontal Lobe” and rhymes with “awful”.

** Footnote for footnote 3: Obama's famous “red line” speech in 2013 blaming Assad for a nerve gas attack against his own people on 21 August 2013 was proven to be complete bullshit. Evidence showed the culprits were almost certainly mercenaries paid by Qatar and Saudi Arabia who gassed their fellow Sunni Muslims in Damascus to provide an excuse for the US to bomb Assad. https://www.voltairenet.org/IMG/pdf/possible-implications-of-bad-intelligence.pdf Hence we must question whether the US intelligence community are completely clueless or intentionally deceitful. Here is valuable information I offer the US intelligence*** community for FREE: The US government-military-industrial complex, according to General Lloyd Austin in September 2015, had established a half billion dollar program in the hope they could train a few thousand so-called "moderate" Sunni rebels in Syria to fight against Bashar Al Assad. However they ended up with only 4 or 5 fighters. The rest of the recruits somehow mysteriously vanished. White House spokesperson Elizabeth Trudeau, at a Q&A session in October 2016, admitted that the so-called "moderate" Sunni rebels in Syria were indistinguishable from Nusra, who were basically Al Qaeda in Syria i.e. extremist terrorists. The US "experts" were utterly perplexed, puzzled, confused, bamboozled, dumbfounded, flummoxed and discombobulated. Where were the moderate Sunnis in Syria? Here is the answer: the true moderate Sunnis in Syria were fighting FOR Assad, AGAINST the so called "rebels". All the "rebels" were extremists, NONE were moderates. Many of the tens of thousands of pro-Assad Syrian government soldiers who gave up their lives to reclaim their country were in fact Sunni. This FACT is never mentioned in the prostitute Anglo mainstream media, the main source of fake news in the world. http://nationalinterest.org/feature/why-assads-army-has-not-defected-15190

*** Footnote for footnote for footnote 3: Obviously the word "intelligence" here is used in the most ironic sense. This is my theory: the "leaders" of the USA are actually Keystone Kops Komedians (or some other triple K abbreviation).

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