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Can a Seneca Collapse Save us from Climate Change?
« on: April 22, 2015, 02:11:25 AM »

Off the keyboard of Ugo Bardi


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Published on Resource Crisis on April 20, 2015






The “Seneca Cliff” (or “Seneca Collapse“). The ancient Roman philosopher said “The path of increase is slow, but the road to ruin is rapid.” A “Seneca Collapse” of the world’s economy would surely reduce the chances of a climate disaster, but it would be a major disaster in itself and it might not even be enough.  


Discuss this article at the Environment Table inside the Diner

Nothing we do (or try to do) seems to be able to stop carbon dioxide from accumulating in the atmosphere. And, as a consequence, nothing seems to be able to stop climate change. With the situation getting worse and worse (see here for an example), we are hoping that some kind of international agreement can be reached to limit emissions. But, after many attempts and many failures, can we really expect that next time – miraculously – we could succeed?


Another line of thought, instead, has that depletion will save us. After all, if we run out of oil (and of fossil fuels in general) then we’ll have to stop emitting greenhouse gases. Won’t that solve the problem? In principle, yes, but is it going to happen?


The gist of the debate on fossil fuel depletion is that, despite the theoretically abundant resources, the production rate is strongly affected by economic factors. These factors force the production curve to follow a “bell shaped”, or “Hubbert,” curve that peaks and starts declining much before the resource runs out physically. In practice, most studies that take into account the “peaking” phenomenon arrive to the conclusion that the IPCC scenarios are often overestimating the amount of fossil carbon that can be burned (see a recent review by Hook et al.). From this, some have arrived to the optimistic conclusion that peak oil will save us from climate change (see this post of mine). But that’s way too simplistic.


The problem with climate change is not that temperatures will keep smoothly growing from now until the end of the century. The problem is that we will run into big troubles much earlier if we let temperatures rise over a certain limit. Sea level rise, oceanic acidification, and land desertification are just some of the problems, but a worse one could be the “climate tipping point.” That is, over a certain point, the rise in temperatures would start to be driven by a series of feedback effects within the ecosystem and climate change would become unstoppable.


We don’t know where the climate tipping point could be situated, but there exists a general agreement that we should keep temperatures from rising above 2 deg. C to avoid a catastrophe. From the 2009 paper by Meinshausen et al. we can estimate that, from now on, we should not release more than about 1×10+12 t of CO2 in the atmosphere. Considering that we have released so far some 1.3×10+12 t of CO2 (source: global carbon project), the total should not be more than about 2.3×10+12 t of CO2.


So, what can we expect in terms of total emissions considering a “peaking” scenario? Let me show you some data from Jean Laherrere, who has been among the first to propose the concept of “peak oil.”




In this figure, made in 2012, Laherrere lists the quantities of fuels burned, with a “U” (“ultimate”) measured in Tboe (Terabarrels of oil equivalent, see below for the conversion factors used). As a first approximation, if all the emissions were from crude oil, we would emit some 4.5×10+12 t of CO2. Things change little if we separate the contributions of the three fossil fuels. Crude oil, alone, would produce 1.3×10+12 t of CO2.  Coal would produce 2.810+12 t, and natural gas 0.95×10+12 t. The final result is nearly exactly 5×10+12 t of CO2.


In short, even if we follow a “peaking” trajectory in the production of fossil fuels, we are going to emit around twice as much carbon dioxide as what is considered at present to be the”safe” limit.


Of course, there are plenty of uncertainties in these calculations and the tipping point may be farther away than estimated. But it could also be closer. And we should take into account the problem of the increasing CO2 emissions per unit of energy as we progressively move toward dirtier and less efficient fuels. So, we are really toying with disaster, with a good chance to run straight into a climate catastrophe.


Nevertheless, it may also be that Laherrere was optimistic in his estimate. Indeed, the nearly symmetric “bell shaped” or (“Hubbert”) curve is the result of the assumption that extraction is performed in a fully  functioning economy. But, once the economic system starts unraveling, a series of destructive feedbacks accelerates the decline. This is the “Seneca collapse” that generates an asymmetric production curve (the “Seneca cliff”).


Could the Seneca cliff save us? At least, it would considerably reduce the amount of fossil carbon burned. Tentatively, if the collapse were to start within the next 10 years and it were to cut off more than half of the potential coal production, then, we could remain within the safe limit. Whereas Hubbert can’t save the ecosystem, Seneca could (maybe).


But, even if that came to pass, a Seneca collapse is a major disaster in itself for humankind, so there is little to rejoice at the thought that it could save us from runaway climate change. In practice, the only hope to avoid disaster lies in taking a more active role in substituting fossils with renewables. In this way, we can force the production of fossil fuels to go down faster, but without losing the energy supply we need. It is possible – it is a big effort, but we can do it if we are willing to try (see this paper by Sgouridis, Bardi and Csala for a quantitative estimate of the effort needed)

____________________________________


Unit conversion


One Boe of crude oil = 0.43 t CO2 (http://www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-resources/refs.html)


One Boe of coal = 0.53 t CO2 (calculation from https://www.unitjuggler.com/convert-energy-from-Btu-to-boe.html?val=1000000 and from http://www.epa.gov/cpd/pdf/brochure.pdf


One Boe of natural gas: 0.31 t CO2 (calculation from https://www.unitjuggler.com/convert-energy-from-Btu-to-boe.html?val=1000000 and from http://www.epa.gov/cpd/pdf/brochure.pdf






Offline Eddie

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Re: Can a Seneca Collapse Save us from Climate Change?
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2015, 05:29:54 AM »
When it comes to asking the interesting questions, and then trying to make a data driven model to answer them, nobody beats Ugo Bardi.

Not sure this model takes methane and other positive feedback loops into consideration. It seems to me that we are likely to have both a Seneca Cliff and then still reap the whirlwind on CO2 anyway. Cheers.

What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline MKing

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Re: Can a Seneca Collapse Save us from Climate Change?
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2015, 05:32:26 AM »
When it comes to asking the interesting questions, and then trying to make a data driven model to answer them, nobody beats Ugo Bardi.

Your experience with first principle models must be very, VERY limited.
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Offline Jaded Prole

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Re: Can a Seneca Collapse Save us from Climate Change?
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2015, 05:43:19 AM »
Agreed, those new positive feedbacks -- especially methane release are an impending death sentence unless we can find a way to slow and revers warming -- especially of the oceans. With that in mind, here is a poem aI wrote several years ago that seems appropriate to "Earth Day" in a petro-corporate world bent on destruction for short-term wealth and the illusion of power. --

We are the walking dead
tomorrow's forgotten
Fossils not yet calcified
the earth warming
beneath our feet
as we hunt for bargains
and argue politics

Denial and recalcitrance purchased
at the ultimate price
extinction nearing daily
incessant as the rise
of dying acidic seas
our legacy written
in refuse --

Arrogance  Avarice Myopia

Offline Eddie

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Re: Can a Seneca Collapse Save us from Climate Change?
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2015, 05:58:12 AM »
Your experience with first principle models must be very, VERY limited.

But it's getting less limited all the time. I know you dispute Ugo's conclusions at every turn, yet I never see you even asking the right questions. First you have to ask the right questions, and then you have to make the model. Models, by definition, are only models. But you have to start somewhere. Imho Ugo makes an excellent start.

It's very easy for me to see, from the model in this piece, that there's probably a hundred years of leeway here. Which in the long term, isn't much, but might be plenty for both of us to go to our graves without knowing whether Ugo is correct. So we're in a position of speculation, at best, aren't we?

Play nice or I'll put you on ignore, MK.
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline Eddie

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Re: Can a Seneca Collapse Save us from Climate Change?
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2015, 06:04:17 AM »
Good to see you here Jaded Prole. I like the poem, depressing though it is.

Begs the question...

If we succeed in destroying the planet, and nobody shows up to read the words of those who saw it coming and wrote the truth, will the Universe get anything from the lesson we're learning?
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline Jaded Prole

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Re: Can a Seneca Collapse Save us from Climate Change?
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2015, 06:20:24 AM »
I don't know if it matters. Our story is probably an old one repeated elsewhere by similar attempts at myopic technological overreach in this enormous universe. I get some comfort in thinking that what we have left on the moon and on Mars will be a monument to our existence as a species and a telling example of why we are no longer around. 

As for writing, I sometimes feel like it's a message in a bottle to those who survive us --  a record of how it was and that there were those who knew and struggled for a better vision.

Then again, we may somehow pull through in small numbers and yet see another cycle of civilization that actually learns from the past. The Mayans are an example of that. They abandoned their cities and returned to a more sustainable agrarian life.

Offline MKing

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Re: Can a Seneca Collapse Save us from Climate Change?
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2015, 06:44:18 AM »
Your experience with first principle models must be very, VERY limited.

But it's getting less limited all the time. I know you dispute Ugo's conclusions at every turn, yet I never see you even asking the right questions.

"Right" questions" Do I really have to point them out? 

Quote from: Eddie
First you have to ask the right questions, and then you have to make the model. Models, by definition, are only models. But you have to start somewhere. Imho Ugo makes an excellent start.

I recommend reading Cavallo. His work was only done a decade ago, and is obviously known by the peak oil types. Of note is only that Ugo doesn't reference it when referring to Lahherres' work.

http://www.peakoil.net/publications/hubberts-petroleum-production-model-an-evaluation-and-implications-for-world-oil-produc

After reading that piece of work, the RIGHT question becomes instantly obvious, if URR has no relationship to rates, then of what value is this type of model?

Ugo could ask that question as well, notice the location of this reference, and notice how long it has been in print, and that it was first published in an actual scientific journal, and THEN ask the right question….why don't those posting in the blogosphere know this, and take it into account, or tell YOU about it, that you might judge the quality of these types of models?

Quote from: Eddie
It's very easy for me to see, from the model in this piece, that there's probably a hundred years of leeway here. Which in the long term, isn't much, but might be plenty for both of us to go to our graves without knowing whether Ugo is correct. So we're in a position of speculation, at best, aren't we?

Play nice or I'll put you on ignore, MK.

I just happen to know that Cavallo, in 2004, in a peer reviewed science rag, has already discredited the relationship between URR and rate that Ugo utilizes to make his point. You "see" his model results, but that type of model has already been tested, and found to be statistically invalid. If KNOWING something, anything, is grounds for punishment of any type…well then sign me up. If the procedures I have followed during my career in the world of science, where you must prove your points, present your data, establish a basis, put together conclusions that are then tested against reality, if that is valueless because you like Ugo's results and need nothing else than having found something to back up a previously held conviction then fine….  burn me at the stake, call me names, ignore me, do whatever.

Certainly I will no more sacrifice the quality of the science or thought I have done, am doing, or will do because of threats by those who, upon only seeing the conclusion they like, set aside their faculties and just BELIEVE.
Sometimes one creates a dynamic impression by saying something, and sometimes one creates as significant an impression by remaining silent.
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Offline Eddie

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Re: Can a Seneca Collapse Save us from Climate Change?
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2015, 08:30:56 AM »
I just happen to know that Cavallo, in 2004, in a peer reviewed science rag, has already discredited the relationship between URR and rate that Ugo utilizes to make his point. You "see" his model results, but that type of model has already been tested, and found to be statistically invalid.

I'm not an oil guy, but the abstracts of Cavallo's work I found don't fundamentally challenge the conclusions that Hubbert made for the US. The murky area is what the real numbers are for the URR, and how economic and political factors affect the curve in MENA. It seems to be an issue of when we hit the peaks, rather than if. Cavallo himself has written articles in the lay press, subsequent to the 2004 piece, that seem to indicate that he is himself very concerned about the effects of resource depletion.
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline MKing

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Re: Can a Seneca Collapse Save us from Climate Change?
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2015, 09:21:24 AM »
I just happen to know that Cavallo, in 2004, in a peer reviewed science rag, has already discredited the relationship between URR and rate that Ugo utilizes to make his point. You "see" his model results, but that type of model has already been tested, and found to be statistically invalid.

I'm not an oil guy, but the abstracts of Cavallo's work I found don't fundamentally challenge the conclusions that Hubbert made for the US.

Then perhaps you need to delve deeper into the work, because it is quite indisputable. His statistical testing of non-dependency doesn't just challenge Hubbert's method, it invalidates it.

While it is completely understandable that your opinion is undoubtedly of high importance to you, it does not in any way change the scientific measure and conclusions of Cavallo's R squared calculations. It doesn't budge them by an inch, by a millimeter, by an Angstrom. Cavallo did not write a blog, he did not offer an opinion, he did not speculate on his favorite opinion. He proved.

Within that proof, a new understanding was generated within the peer reviewed scientific literature. Ugo, and you, are allowed to completely ignore that proof. Such are the dangers of the internet.  Within the scientific world, it is completely reasonable to calculate ones own R squared values, to attack the premise and conclusions. It is done by showing how Cavallo did it wrong, first verifying his method perhaps, calculated one way, and then showing that it really does matter, calculated another.

In the past decade, no one has been able to do that.

Quote from: Eddie
The murky area is what the real numbers are for the URR, and how economic and political factors affect the curve in MENA. It seems to be an issue of when we hit the peaks, rather than if. Cavallo himself has written articles in the lay press, subsequent to the 2004 piece, that seem to indicate that he is himself very concerned about the effects of resource depletion.

I am very concerned about resource depletion as well. My disgust with peak oilers revolves around them building systems and models to validate a conclusion, rather than building models and systems that create the conclusion. Explaining that difference to a professional crowd wastes minutes of valuable presentation time, and is therefore quite irritating to me.

I reference Cavallo not for having the same concern I do, but for demonstrating that time series models following Hubbert's profile are useless. Therefore, better ways must be constructed. And by some of us, are.
Sometimes one creates a dynamic impression by saying something, and sometimes one creates as significant an impression by remaining silent.
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Offline Eddie

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Re: Can a Seneca Collapse Save us from Climate Change?
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2015, 10:43:24 AM »
Then perhaps you need to delve deeper into the work, because it is quite indisputable. His statistical testing of non-dependency doesn't just challenge Hubbert's method, it invalidates it.


I delved as deep as I could get without going pay-per-view. Here are snippets of what I found:

Here's an abstract of Alfred Cavallo's Dec 2004 paper. (Boldface added by me.)



Following Hubbert’s successful prediction of the timing of US peak oil production, Hubbert’s model has been used extensively to predict peak oil production elsewhere. However, forecasts of world and regional peak oil and natural gas production using Hubbert’s methodology usually have failed, leading to the implicit belief that such predictions always will fail and that we need not worry about finite resources. A careful examination of Hubbert’s approach indicates that the most important reasons for his success in the US were stable markets, the high growth rate of demand, ready availability of low cost imports, and a reasonable estimate of easily extractable reserves. This analysis also shows that his model cannot predict ultimate oil reserves and that it should be considered an econometric model. Building on Hubbert’s vital insight, that cheap fossil fuel reserves are knowable and finite, one can state that for world peak oil production, political constraints should be much more important than resource constraints.


I also found this piece by Cavallo, which I found interesting. (Boldface also added by me.)



Oil: Caveat empty
by Alfred J. Cavallo, originally published by Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists  | May 24, 2005

Without any press conferences, grand announcements, or hyperbolic advertising campaigns, the Exxon Mobil Corporation, one of the world's largest publicly owned petroleum companies, has quietly joined the ranks of those who are predicting an impending plateau in non-OPEC oil production. Their report, The Outlook for Energy: A 2030 View, forecasts a peak in just five years.

In the past, many who expressed such concerns were dismissed as eager catastrophists, peddling the latest Malthusian prophecy of the impending collapse of fossil-fueled civilization. Their reliance on private oil-reserve data that is unverifiable by other analysts, and their use of models that ignore political and economic factors, have led to frequent erroneous pronouncements. They were countered by the extreme optimists, who believed that we would never need to think about such problems and that the markets would take care of everything. Up to now, those who worried about limited petroleum supplies have been at best ignored, and at worst openly ridiculed.

Meanwhile, average consumers have taken their cue from the market, where rising prices have always been followed by falling prices, leading to the assumption that this pattern will continue forever. In truth, the market price of crude oil is completely decoupled from and independent of production costs, which average about $6 per barrel for non-OPEC producers and $1.50 per barrel for OPEC producers. This situation has nothing to do with a free market, and everything to do with what OPEC believes will be accepted or tolerated by the United States. The completely affordable market price--what consumers pay at the gasoline pump--provides magisterial profits to the owners of the resource and gives no warning of impending shortages.

All the more reason that the public should heed the silent alarm sounded by the ExxonMobil report, which is more credible than other predictions for several reasons. First and foremost is that the source is ExxonMobil. No oil company, much less one with so much managerial, scientific, and engineering talent, has ever discussed peak oil production before. Given the profound implications of this forecast, it must have been published only after a thorough review.

Second, the majority of non-OPEC producers such as the United States, Britain, Norway, and Mexico, who satisfy 60 percent of world oil demand, are already in a production plateau or decline. (All of ExxonMobil's crude oil production comes from non-OPEC fields.) Third, the production peak cited by the report is quite close at hand. If it were twenty-five years instead of five years in the future, one might be more skeptical, since new technologies or new discoveries could change the outlook during that longer period. But five years is too short a time frame for any new developments to have an impact on this result.

Also noteworthy is the manner in which the Outlook addresses so-called frontier resources, such as extra-heavy oil, "oil sands," and "oil shale." The report cites the existence of more than 4 trillion barrels of extra heavy oil and "oil sands"--producing potentially 800 billion barrels of oil, assuming a 20-25 percent extraction efficiency. The Outlook also cites an estimate of 3 trillion barrels of "oil shale." These numbers have figured prominently in advertisements that ExxonMobil and other petroleum companies have placed in newspapers and magazines, clearly in an attempt to reassure consumers (and perhaps stockholders) that there is no need to worry about resource constraints for many decades.

However, as with all advertisements, it's best to read the fine print. ExxonMobil's world oil production forecast shows no contribution from "oil shale" even by 2030. Only about 4 million barrels of oil per day from Canadian "oil sands" are projected by 2030, accounting for a mere 3.3 percent of the predicted total world demand of 120 million barrels per day. What explains this striking disconnection between the magnitude of the frontier resources and the minimal amount of projected oil production from them? Canadian "oil sands" are actually deposits of bitumen (tar), which are the result of conventional oil degradation by water and air. Tar sands are of a completely different character than conventional oil deposits; making tar sands usable is a capital-intensive venture that requires special procedures such as heating to separate the tar from the sand, mixing the tar with a diluting agent for pipeline transport, and constructing specially equipped refineries for processing.
 most serious constraint, though, is natural gas supplies. Production of oil from tar sands requires between 400 and 1,000 cubic feet of natural gas per barrel of oil produced, depending on the extraction method used. Natural gas production, despite a near doubling of drilling activity, is flat or decreasing both in Canada and in the United States--which has prompted prices to triple over the past few years. Given these high gas prices, it almost makes more sense just to sell the natural gas directly rather than use it to produce oil from tar sands.

Extracting oil from the 3 trillion barrels of oil shale cited in the Outlook presents its own challenges. The term "oil shale" is also quite misleading, since there is no oil in this mineral, but rather an organic material called kerogen, which is a precursor of petroleum. To extract oil, the shale (typically between 5 and 25 percent kerogen) must first be mined, then transported to a plant where it is crushed, then heated to 500 degrees Celsius, which pyrolyzes, or decomposes, the kerogen to form oil. After processing, most of the shale remains on the surface in the form of coarse sand, so large-scale mining operations will produce immense amounts of waste material. An estimated 1-4 barrels of water are required for each barrel of oil produced, both for cooling the products and stabilizing the sand waste. To satisfy these water requirements, petroleum companies once contemplated diverting the Columbia River--a feat that can be excluded today on political and environmental grounds.

With non-OPEC oil production reaching a plateau and frontier resources not viable, ExxonMobil proposes that increased demand be met in two ways. The first is greater fuel efficiency. (That alone should convey the seriousness of this report: When have you ever heard a petroleum company make a plea for vehicles that use less gas?) New cars in the United States are expected to go 38 miles on a gallon of gas in 2030, instead of the current value of 21 miles per gallon. This goal is actually quite modest, as new cars sold in Europe since 2003 already achieve 35 miles per gallon.

The other way ExxonMobil believes demand will be satisfied is from vastly and rapidly increased OPEC production: "After 2010, the call on OPEC increases quickly, requiring OPEC to add more than 1 MBD [million barrels per day] of capacity every year," notes the Outlook. "OPEC's resources are large enough to achieve this rate of expansion, and we expect that investments will be made in a timely manner."

This assessment is somewhat ominous. OPEC has not expanded production capacity much at all recently. Moreover, such production increases are only possible from Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates. For these countries, and indeed for most OPEC members, petroleum and petroleum products are their only significant export. As such, they have a vested interest in obtaining the best possible price for their non-renewable resources. OPEC nations would be quite unlikely to increase production as rapidly as needed unless compelled to do so. To put this shortfall in perspective, in 2003 Algeria produced 1.1 million barrels per day; a new Algeria would need to be brought on line in the Persian Gulf each and every year beyond 2010 just to keep up with the projected increase in demand. Consequently, once non-OPEC production reaches a peak, conventional world oil production could peak shortly thereafter, and prices (never explicitly mentioned in the Outlook) would rise in accordance with the laws of supply and demand.

What all this means is that the petroleum industry is approaching a turning point. Conventional petroleum production will soon--perhaps in five years, ten at best--no longer be able to satisfy demand. For their part, American consumers would do well to take a cue from their Western European counterparts, who enjoy a comfortable lifestyle despite a per capita use of petroleum that is half of that in the United States. The sooner the United States begins this transition away from oil, the easier it will be. That's a far more attractive option than trying to squeeze oil from stone.

Alfred J. Cavallo is an energy consultant based in Princeton, New Jersey. His article "Oil: Illusion of Plenty," appeared in the January/February 2004 Bulletin.

May/June 2005 pp. 16-18 (vol. 61, no. 03) © 2005 Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists


I won't go to bat for the validity of Hubbert's statistical analysis, but even Cavallos isn't arguing with Hubbert's call on US conventional oil peak, from what I see.

I also understand that what Cavallos wrote in 2005 about gas has turned out to be wrong, as least over the past few years. However, it remains to be seen if the gas will keep flowing, given the developments of the past several months.

As another (just like you) fairly educated man, it looks to me like you're reading more into Cavallo's critique of Hubbert than is really there, MK.

Reading Cavallo does get me to a greater understanding of the USMIC's willingness to actively pursue these proxy wars in MENA, since TPTB are obviously staking America's future primarily on continuing access to foreign oil in the part of the world where Sharia Law is considered BAU. They are also obviously betting that the URR is substantially higher than the kind of worst-case estimates we read on some of the internet sites you hold in such contempt.



   
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline Surly1

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Re: Can a Seneca Collapse Save us from Climate Change?
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2015, 11:34:00 AM »
Agreed, those new positive feedbacks -- especially methane release are an impending death sentence unless we can find a way to slow and revers warming -- especially of the oceans. With that in mind, here is a poem aI wrote several years ago that seems appropriate to "Earth Day" in a petro-corporate world bent on destruction for short-term wealth and the illusion of power. --

We are the walking dead
tomorrow's forgotten
Fossils not yet calcified
the earth warming
beneath our feet
as we hunt for bargains
and argue politics

Denial and recalcitrance purchased
at the ultimate price
extinction nearing daily
incessant as the rise
of dying acidic seas
our legacy written
in refuse --

Arrogance  Avarice Myopia

Always good to see you here in the hustings, JP.

As luck would have it, I came across this work by C.P. Cafavy republished in a Lapham's Quarterly I was reading. The issue was devoted to, "The Future," and for me it had some resonance along similar lines. Who the "barbarians" are will depend upon your POV, of course...

Waiting for the Barbarians
BY C. P. CAVAFY
TRANSLATED BY EDMUND KEELEY AND PHILIP SHERRARD


What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum?

      The barbarians are due here today.


Why isn’t anything going on in the senate?
Why are the senators sitting there without legislating?

      Because the barbarians are coming today.
      What’s the point of senators making laws now?
      Once the barbarians are here, they’ll do the legislating.


Why did our emperor get up so early,
and why is he sitting enthroned at the city’s main gate,
in state, wearing the crown?

      Because the barbarians are coming today
      and the emperor’s waiting to receive their leader.
      He’s even got a scroll to give him,
      loaded with titles, with imposing names.


Why have our two consuls and praetors come out today
wearing their embroidered, their scarlet togas?
Why have they put on bracelets with so many amethysts,
rings sparkling with magnificent emeralds?
Why are they carrying elegant canes
beautifully worked in silver and gold?

      Because the barbarians are coming today
      and things like that dazzle the barbarians.


Why don’t our distinguished orators turn up as usual
to make their speeches, say what they have to say?

      Because the barbarians are coming today
      and they’re bored by rhetoric and public speaking.


Why this sudden bewilderment, this confusion?
(How serious people’s faces have become.)
Why are the streets and squares emptying so rapidly,
everyone going home lost in thought?

      Because night has fallen and the barbarians haven't come.
      And some of our men just in from the border say
      there are no barbarians any longer.


Now what’s going to happen to us without barbarians?
Those people were a kind of solution.

C. P. Cavafy, "Waiting for the Barbarians" from C.P. Cavafy: Collected Poems. Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard. Translation Copyright © 1975, 1992 by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard. Reproduced with permission of Princeton University Press.
"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly now, love mercy now, walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it."

Offline Petty Tyrant

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Re: Can a Seneca Collapse Save us from Climate Change?
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2015, 12:25:49 PM »
 Seems like Cavallo (italian for horse) has more in common with Mr Ed and the professor at the University of Florence (get out an atlas) who presents findings to the Illuminati at the CFR no less, than nationality. The other day I went home and realised I still had the tags hanging off the sleeve of a new sweater I thought looked quite smart. I suggest checking the credentials of those you criticise as amatuer bloggers and the conclusions of those you reference in support of yourself, as well as checking for store tags hanging off yourself before leaving home.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2015, 12:36:07 PM by Uncle Bob »
ELEVATE YOUR GAME

Offline MKing

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Re: Can a Seneca Collapse Save us from Climate Change?
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2015, 12:45:11 PM »
As another (just like you) fairly educated man, it looks to me like you're reading more into Cavallo's critique of Hubbert than is really there, MK.

As soon as I round up my paper copy, I will provide the relevant quote.
Sometimes one creates a dynamic impression by saying something, and sometimes one creates as significant an impression by remaining silent.
-Dalai Lama

Offline MKing

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Re: Can a Seneca Collapse Save us from Climate Change?
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2015, 12:47:54 PM »
I suggest checking the credentials of those you criticise as amatuer bloggers and the conclusions of those you reference in support of yourself, as well as checking for store tags hanging off yourself before leaving home.

I already have UB. Took this one down to its shorts within a paragraph, remember?

http://cassandralegacy.blogspot.com/2013/08/peak-oil-fertile-concept.html
Sometimes one creates a dynamic impression by saying something, and sometimes one creates as significant an impression by remaining silent.
-Dalai Lama

 

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