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We reported in 2011 that the International Atomic Energy Agency knew within weeks that Fukushima had melted down … but failed and refused to tell the public.

The same year, we reported in 2011 that the U.S. knew within days of the Fukushima accident that Fukushima had melted down … but failed to tell the public.

We noted in 2012:

    The fuel pools and rods at Fukushima appear to have “boiled”, caught fire and/or exploded soon after the earthquake knocked out power systems. See this, this, this, this and this.

Now, a declassified report written by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on March 18, 2011 – one week after the tidal wave hit Fukushima – states:

    The source term provided to NARAC was: (1) 25% of the total fuel in unit 2 released to the atmosphere, (2) 50% of the total spent fuel from unit 3 was released to the atmosphere, and (3) 100% of the total spent fuel was released to the atmosphere from unit 4.

FukushimaNARAC is the the U.S. National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center, located at the University of California’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. NARAC “provides tools and services that map the probable spread of hazardous material accidentally or intentionally released into the atmosphere“.

The fuel pools at Units 3 and 4 contained enormous amounts of radiation.

For example, there was “more cesium in that [Unit 4] fuel pool than in all 800 nuclear bombs exploded above ground.”

Environment / To the end of the Earth - Six Degrees
« on: May 16, 2015, 04:45:37 PM »
Credit to Robin of Seemorerocks blog for finding this fine piece of reporting from 15 years ago.

Talking about runaway climate change - in 2000
An article, dated November, 2000 (when it was still permissible to talk about this), clipped from the journal Nature

This is from the greatest of all sceptic publications, Murdoch's  'the Times'

Much of this scenario appears to be happening at .85C and 400 ppm CO2

To the end of the Earth - Six Degrees

Sunday Times
15 March 07


This is our future — famous cities are submerged, a third of the world is desert, the rest struggling for food and fresh water. Richard Girling investigates the reality behind the science of climate change. Mark Lynas rummages through his filing cabinet like a badger raking out his bedstraw, much of the stuff so crumpled that he might have been sleeping on it for years. Eventually he finds what he is looking for — four sheets of printed paper, stapled with a page of notes.

It is an article, dated November 2000, which he has clipped from the scientific journal Nature: "Acceleration of global warming due to carbon-cycle feedbacks in a coupled climate model". Even when they are mapping a short cut to Armageddon, scientists do not go in for red-top words like"crisis". If you speak the language, however, you get the message — and the message, delivered by the UK Met Office's Hadley Centre for Climate Change, was cataclysmic.

"There should have been panic on the streets," says Lynas in his new book, Six Degrees," people shouting from the rooftops, statements to parliament and 24-hour news coverage."

In layman's language, Hadley's message was that newly discovered"positive feedbacks"would make nonsense of accepted global-warming estimates. It would not be a gradual, linear increase with nature slowly succumbing to human attrition. Nature itself was about to turn nasty. Instead of absorbing and retaining greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, the figures suggested, it would suddenly spew them out again — billions of years' worth of carbon and methane, incontinently released in blazing surges that would drown or incinerate whole cities. Ice would melt in torrents, and the Earth's essential green lung, the Amazon rainforest, could be moribund as early as 2050. A vicious spiral would have begun which would threaten not just our way of life but the very existence of our own and every other species on Earth. Lynas's notes, still fixed to the report, have the dour humour of the gallows: "The end of the world is nigh, and it's already been published in Nature."

Next day's newspapers ignored the rescheduling of Armageddon — the headlines were all about faulty counts in the US presidential election, Gordon Brown's fiddling with National Insurance and Lord Falconer's refusal to resign over"the Dome fiasco". Lynas, however, was energised like the hero of a disaster movie. Inconveniently, he had a book to write, but as soon as he'd finished it he pedalled from his Oxford home to the nearby Radcliffe Science Library. He did it every working day for a year: arriving at 10am and sitting till five in the afternoon, being served sheaves of paper by librarians who — even though professionally attuned to world-class standards of eccentricity — must have wondered at the power of the man's obsession.

Lynas wanted to see every scrap of paper the library held on global warming. Scanning at speed, he worked his way through two or three hundred every day, tens of thousands in all. Then as now, new pieces of research were emerging almost weekly as computer models were improved, new data collected and analysed. Then as now, there was no single, provable prediction of the future. Without knowing how much more fossil fuel will be burnt, the best science can offer is a range of plausible"scenarios". These vary so widely that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in its Third Assessment report in 2001, was able to suggest only that global average temperatures by the end of the 21st century will have risen between 1.4 and 5.8C above the average for 1990 — an estimate which last month it pushed up to a possible maximum of 6.4C. It doesn't look much, but it could measure the difference between survival and the near-extinction of human life.

On Lynas's laptop were six spreadsheets — one for each degree of warming from one to six. As he worked, he would slot each paper into the appropriate file. Many of them included predictions from climate models, but there was more: "Some of the most interesting came from palaeoclimate studies — investigations of how variations in temperature, calculated by analysis of soil strata and ancient ice- cores, affected the planet in prehistory."It was these that would give some of the most terrifying insights into what the future might be like. Which parts of the globe would be abandoned first? What was the precise mechanism that, eventually, would wipe us out?

The spreadsheets became the six core chapters of Lynas's book — a detailed, carefully annotated, degree-by-degree guide not just to our grandchildren's futures but to our own.


Even if greenhouse emissions stopped overnight — of which there is about as much chance as Tony Blair holidaying in Skegness — the concentrations already in the atmosphere would still mean a global rise of between 0.5 and 1C. A shift of a single degree is barely perceptible to human skin, but it's not human skin we're talking about. It's the planet; and an average increase of one degree across its entire surface means huge changes in climatic extremes.

Six thousand years ago, when the world was one degree warmer than it is now, the American agricultural heartland around Nebraska was desert. It suffered a short reprise during the dust- bowl years of the 1930s, when the topsoil blew away and hundreds of thousands of refugees trailed through the dust to an uncertain welcome further west. The effect of one-degree warming, therefore, requires no great feat of imagination.

"The western United States once again could suffer perennial droughts, far worse than the 1930s. Deserts will reappear particularly in Nebraska, but also in eastern Montana, Wyoming and Arizona, northern Texas and Oklahoma. As dust and sandstorms turn day into night across thousands of miles of former prairie, farmsteads, roads and even entire towns will be engulfed by sand."

What's bad for America will be worse for poorer countries closer to the equator. The Hadley centre calculates that a one-degree increase would eliminate fresh water from a third of the world's land surface by 2100. Again we have seen what this means. Lynas describes an incident in the summer of 2005: "One tributary fell so low that miles of exposed riverbank dried out into sand dunes, with winds whipping up thick sandstorms. As desperate villagers looked out onto baking mud instead of flowing water, the army was drafted in to ferry precious drinking water up the river — by helicopter, since most of the river was too low to be navigable by boat."The river in question was not some small, insignificant trickle in Sussex. It was the Amazon.

While tropical lands teeter on the brink, the Arctic already may have passed the point of no return. Warming near the pole is much faster than the global average, with the result that Arctic icecaps and glaciers have lost 400 cubic kilometres of ice in 40 years. Permafrost — ground that has lain frozen for thousands of years — is dissolving into mud and lakes," destabilising whole areas as the ground collapses beneath buildings, roads and pipelines". As polar bears and Inuits are being pushed off the top of the planet, previous predictions are starting to look optimistic."Earlier snowmelt," says Lynas," means more summer heat goes into the air and ground rather than into melting snow, raising temperatures in a positive feedback effect. More dark shrubs and forest on formerly bleak tundra means still more heat is absorbed by vegetation."

Out at sea the pace is even faster."Whilst snow-covered ice reflects more than 80% of the sun's heat, the darker ocean absorbs up to 95% of solar radiation. Once sea ice begins to melt, in other words, the process becomes self-reinforcing. More ocean surface is revealed, absorbing solar heat, raising temperatures and making it unlikelier that ice will re-form next winter. The disappearance of 720,000 square kilometres of supposedly permanent ice in a single year testifies to the rapidity of planetary change. If you have ever wondered what it will feel like when the Earth crosses a tipping point, savour the moment."

Mountains, too, are starting to come apart. In the Alps, most ground above 3,000 metres is stabilised by permafrost. In the summer of 2003, however, the melt zone climbed right up to 4,600 metres, higher than the summit of the Matterhorn and nearly as high as Mont Blanc. With the glue of millennia melting away, rocks showered down and 50 climbers died. As temperatures go on edging upwards, it won't just be mountaineers who flee."Whole towns and villages will be at risk," says Lynas."Some towns, like Pontresina in eastern Switzerland, have already begun building bulwarks against landslides."

At the opposite end of the scale, low-lying atoll countries such as the Maldives will be preparing for extinction as sea levels rise, and mainland coasts — in particular the eastern US and Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean and Pacific islands and the Bay of Bengal — will be hit by stronger and stronger hurricanes as the water warms. Hurricane Katrina, which in 2005 hit New Orleans with the combined impacts of earthquake and flood, was a nightmare precursor of what the future holds.

"Most striking of all," says Lynas," was seeing how people behaved once the veneer of civilisation had been torn away. Most victims were poor and black, left to fend for themselves as the police either joined in the looting or deserted the area. Four days into the crisis, survivors were packed into the city's Superdome, living next to overflowing toilets and rotting bodies as gangs of young men with guns seized the only food and water available. Perhaps the most memorable scene was a single military helicopter landing for just a few minutes, its crew flinging food parcels and water bottles out onto the ground before hurriedly taking off again as if from a war zone. In scenes more like a Third World refugee camp than an American urban centre, young men fought for the water as pregnant women and the elderly looked on with nothing. Don't blame them for behaving like this, I thought. It's what happens when people are desperate."

Chance of avoiding one degree of global warming: zero.


At this level, expected within 40 years, the hot European summer of 2003 will be the annual norm. Anything that could be called a heatwave thereafter will be of Saharan intensity. Even in average years, people will die of heat stress.

"The first symptoms," says Lynas," may be minor. A person will feel slightly nauseous, dizzy and irritable. It needn't be an emergency: an hour or so lying down in a cooler area, sipping water, will cure it. But in Paris, August 2003, there were no cooler areas, especially for elderly people.

"Once body temperature reaches 41C (104F) its thermoregulatory system begins to break down. Sweating ceases and breathing becomes shallow and rapid. The pulse quickens, and the victim may lapse into a coma. Unless drastic measures are taken to reduce the body's core temperature, the brain is starved of oxygen and vital organs begin to fail. Death will be only minutes away unless the emergency services can quickly get the victim into intensive care.

"These emergency services failed to save more than 10,000 French in the summer of 2003. Mortuaries ran out of space as hundreds of dead bodies were brought in each night."Across Europe as a whole, the heatwave is believed to have cost between 22,000 and 35,000 lives. Agriculture, too, was devastated. Farmers lost $12 billion worth of crops, and Portugal alone suffered $12 billion of forest-fire damage. The flows of the River Po in Italy, Rhine in Germany and Loire in France all shrank to historic lows. Barges ran aground, and there was not enough water for irrigation and hydroelectricity. Melt rates in the Alps, where some glaciers lost 10% of their mass, were not just a record — they doubled the previous record of 1998. According to the Hadley centre, more than half the European summers by 2040 will be hotter than this. Extreme summers will take a much heavier toll of human life, with body counts likely to reach hundreds of thousands. Crops will bake in the fields, and forests will die off and burn. Even so, the short-term effects may not be the worst:

"From the beech forests of northern Europe to the evergreen oaks of the Mediterranean, plant growth across the whole landmass in 2003 slowed and then stopped. Instead of absorbing carbon dioxide, the stressed plants began to emit it. Around half a billion tonnes of carbon was added to the atmosphere from European plants, equivalent to a twelfth of global emissions from fossil fuels. This is a positive feedback of critical importance, because it suggests that, as temperatures rise, carbon emissions from forests and soils will also rise. If these land-based emissions are sustained over long periods, global warming could spiral out of control."

In the two-degree world, nobody will think of taking Mediterranean holidays."The movement of people from northern Europe to the Mediterranean is likely to reverse, switching eventually into a mass scramble as Saharan heatwaves sweep across the Med."People everywhere will think twice about moving to the coast. When temperatures were last between 1 and 2C higher than they are now, 125,000 years ago, sea levels were five or six metres higher too. All this"lost"water is in the polar ice that is now melting. Forecasters predict that the"tipping point"for Greenland won't arrive until average temperatures have risen by 2.7C. The snag is that Greenland is warming much faster than the rest of the world — 2.2 times the global average."Divide one figure by the other," says Lynas," and the result should ring alarm bells across the world. Greenland will tip into irreversible melt once global temperatures rise past a mere 1.2C."The ensuing sea-level rise will be far more than the half-metre that the IPCC has predicted for the end of the century. Scientists point out that sea levels at the end of the last ice age shot up by a metre every 20 years for four centuries, and that Greenland's ice, in the words of one glaciologist, is now"thinning like mad and flowing much faster than [it] ought to". Its biggest outflow glacier, Jakobshavn Isbrae, has thinned by 15 metres every year since 1997, and its speed of flow has doubled."At this rate," says Lynas," the whole Greenland ice sheet would vanish within 140 years. Miami would disappear, as would most of Manhattan. Central London would be flooded. Bangkok, Bombay and Shanghai would lose most of their area. In all, half of humanity would have to move to higher ground."

Not only coastal communities will suffer. As mountains lose their glaciers, so people will lose their water supplies. The entire Indian subcontinent will be fighting for survival."As the glaciers disappear from all but the highest peaks, their runoff will cease to power the massive rivers that deliver vital freshwater to hundreds of millions. Water shortages and famine will be the result, destabilising the entire region. And this time the epicentre of the disaster won't be India, Nepal or Bangladesh, but nuclear-armed Pakistan."

Everywhere, ecosystems will unravel as species either migrate or fall out of synch with each other. By the time global temperatures reach two degrees of warming in 2050, more than a third of all living species will face extinction.

Chance of avoiding two degrees of global warming: 93%, but only if emissions of greenhouse gases are reduced by 60% over the next 10 years.


Up to this point, assuming that governments have planned carefully and farmers have converted to more appropriate crops, not too many people outside subtropical Africa need have starved. Beyond two degrees, however, preventing mass starvation will be as easy as halting the cycles of the moon."First millions, then billions, of people will face an increasingly tough battle to survive," says Lynas.

To find anything comparable we have to go back to the Pliocene — last epoch of the Tertiary period, 3m years ago. There were no continental glaciers in the northern hemisphere (trees grew in the Arctic), and sea levels were 25 metres higher than today's. In this kind of heat, the death of the Amazon is as inevitable as the melting of Greenland. The paper spelling it out is the very one whose apocalyptic message so shocked Lynas in 2000. Scientists at the Hadley centre feared that earlier climate models, which showed global warming as a straightforward linear progression, were too simplistic in their assumption that land and the oceans would remain inert as their temperatures rose. Correctly as it would turn out, they predicted positive feedback.

"Warmer seas," explains Lynas," absorb less carbon dioxide, leaving more to accumulate in the atmosphere and intensify global warming. On land, matters would be even worse. Huge amounts of carbon are stored in the soil, the half-rotted remains of dead vegetation. The generally accepted estimate is that the soil carbon reservoir contains some 1600 gigatonnes, more than double the entire carbon content of the atmosphere. As soil warms, bacteria accelerate the breakdown of this stored carbon, releasing it into the atmosphere."

The Hadley team factored this new feedback into their climate model, with results that fully explain Lynas's black-comic note to himself: The end of the world is nigh. A three-degree increase in global temperature — possible as early as 2050 — would throw the carbon cycle into reverse."Instead of absorbing carbon dioxide," says Lynas," vegetation and soils start to release it. So much carbon pours into the atmosphere that it pumps up atmospheric concentrations by 250 parts per million by 2100, boosting global warming by another 1.5C. In other words, the Hadley team had discovered that carbon- cycle feedbacks could tip the planet into runaway global warming by the middle of this century — much earlier than anyone had expected."

Confirmation came from the land itself. Climate models are routinely tested against historical data. In this case, scientists checked 25 years' worth of soil samples from 6,000 sites across the UK. The result was another black joke."As temperatures gradually rose," says Lynas," the scientists found that huge amounts of carbon had been released naturally from the soils. They totted it all up and discovered — irony of ironies — that the 13m tonnes of carbon British soils were emitting annually was enough to wipe out all the country's efforts to comply with the Kyoto Protocol."All soils will be affected by the rising heat, but none as badly as the Amazon's."Catastrophe"is almost too small a word for the loss of the rainforest. Its 7m square kilometres produce 10% of the world's entire photosynthetic output from plants. Drought and heat will cripple it; fire will finish it off. In human terms, the effect on the planet will be like cutting off oxygen during an asthma attack.

In the US and Australia, people will curse the climate-denying governments of Bush and Howard. No matter what later administrations may do, it will not be enough to keep the mercury down. With new"super-hurricanes"growing from the warming sea, Houston could be destroyed by 2045, and Australia will be a death trap."Farming and food production will tip into irreversible decline. Salt water will creep up the stricken rivers, poisoning ground water. Higher temperatures mean greater evaporation, further drying out vegetation and soils, and causing huge losses from reservoirs."In state capitals, heat every year is likely to kill between 8,000 and 15,000 mainly elderly people.

It is all too easy to visualise what will happen in Africa. In Central America, too, tens of millions will have little to put on their tables. Even a moderate drought there in 2001 meant hundreds of thousands had to rely on food aid. This won't be an option when world supplies are stretched to breaking point (grain yields decline by 10% for every degree of heat above 30C, and at 40C they are zero). Nobody need look to the US, which will have problems of its own. As the mountains lose their snow, so cities and farms in the west will lose their water and dried-out forests and grasslands will perish at the first spark.

The Indian subcontinent meanwhile will be choking on dust."All of human history," says Lynas," shows that, given the choice between starving in situ and moving, people move. In the latter part of the century tens of millions of Pakistani citizens may be facing this choice. Pakistan may find itself joining the growing list of failed states, as civil administration collapses and armed gangs seize what little food is left."

As the land burns, so the sea will go on rising. Even by the most optimistic calculation, 80% of Arctic sea ice by now will be gone, and the rest will soon follow. New York will flood; the catastrophe that struck eastern England in 1953 will become an unremarkable regular event; and the map of the Netherlands will be torn up by the North Sea. Everywhere, starving people will be on the move — from Central America into Mexico and the US, and from Africa into Europe, where resurgent fascist parties will win votes by promising to keep them out.

Chance of avoiding three degrees of global warming: poor if the rise reaches two degrees and triggers carbon-cycle feedbacks from soils and plants.


The stream of refugees will now include those fleeing from coasts to safer interiors — millions at a time when storms hit. Where they persist, coastal cities will become fortified islands. The world economy, too, will be threadbare."As direct losses, social instability and insurance payouts cascade through the system, the funds to support displaced people will be increasingly scarce."Sea levels will be rampaging upwards — in this temperature range, both poles are certain to melt, causing an eventual rise of 50 metres."I am not suggesting it would be instantaneous," says Lynas."In fact it would take centuries, and probably millennia, to melt all of the Antarctic's ice. But it could yield sea-level rises of a metre or so every 20 years — far beyond our capacity to adapt."Oxford would sit on one of many coastlines in a UK reduced to an archipelago of tiny islands.

More immediately, China is on"a collision course with the planet". By 2030, if its people are consuming at the same rate as Americans, they will eat two-thirds of the entire global harvest and burn 100m barrels of oil a day, or 125% of current world output. That prospect alone contains all the ingredients of catastrophe. But it's worse than that: "By the latter third of the 21st century, if global temperatures are more than three degrees higher than now, China's agricultural production will crash. It will face the task of feeding 1.5bn much richer people — 200m more than now — on two thirds of current supplies."For people throughout much of the world, starvation will be a regular threat; but it will not be the only one.

"The summer will get longer still, as soaring temperatures reduce forests to tinderwood and cities to boiling morgues. Temperatures in the Home Counties could reach 45C — the sort of climate experienced today in Marrakech. Droughts will put the south-east of England on the global list of water-stressed areas, with farmers competing against cities for dwindling supplies from rivers and reservoirs.

"Air-conditioning will be mandatory for anyone wanting to stay cool. This in turn will put ever more stress on energy systems, which could pour more greenhouse gases into the air if coal and gas-fired power stations ramp up their output, hydroelectric sources dwindle and renewables fail to take up the slack."The abandonment of the Mediterranean will send even more people north to"overcrowded refuges in the Baltic, Scandinavia and the British Isles".

Britain will have problems of its own."As flood plains are more regularly inundated, a general retreat out of high risk areas is likely. Millions of people will lose their lifetime investments in houses that become uninsurable and therefore unsaleable. The Lancashire/Humber corridor is expected to be among the worst affected regions, as are the Thames Valley, eastern Devon and towns around the already flood-prone Severn estuary like Monmouth and Bristol. The entire English coast from the Isle of Wight to Middlesbrough is classified as at 'very high' or 'extreme' risk, as is the whole of Cardigan Bay in Wales."

One of the most dangerous of all feedbacks will now be kicking in — the runaway thaw of permafrost. Scientists believe at least 500 billion tonnes of carbon are waiting to be released from the Arctic ice, though none yet has put a figure on what it will add to global warming. One degree? Two? Three? The pointers are ominous.

"As with Amazon collapse and the carbon-cycle feedback in the three- degree world," says Lynas," stabilising global temperatures at four degrees above current levels may not be possible. If we reach three degrees, therefore, that leads inexorably to four degrees, which leads inexorably to five."

Chance of avoiding four degrees of global warming: poor if the rise reaches three degrees and triggers a runaway thaw of permafrost.


We are looking now at an entirely different planet. Ice sheets have vanished from both poles; rainforests have burnt up and turned to desert; the dry and lifeless Alps resemble the High Atlas; rising seas are scouring deep into continental interiors. One temptation may be to shift populations from dry areas to the newly thawed regions of the far north, in Canada and Siberia. Even here, though, summers may be too hot for crops to be grown away from the coasts; and there is no guarantee that northern governments will admit southern refugees. Lynas recalls James Lovelock's suspicion that Siberia and Canada would be invaded by China and the US, each hammering another nail into humanity's coffin."Any armed conflict, particularly involving nuclear weapons, would of course further increase the planetary surface area uninhabitable for humans."

When temperatures were at a similar level 55m years ago, following a very sudden burst of global warming in the early Eocene, alligators and other subtropical species were living high in the Arctic. What had caused the climate to flip? Suspicion rests on methane hydrate — "an ice-like combination of methane and water that forms under the intense cold and pressure of the deep sea", and which escapes with explosive force when tapped. Evidence of a submarine landslide off Florida, and of huge volcanic eruptions under the North Atlantic, raises the possibility of trapped methane — a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide — being released in a giant belch that, as Lynas puts it," pushed global temperatures through the roof".

"Summer heatwaves scorched the vegetation out of continental Spain, leaving a desert terrain which was heavily eroded by winter rainstorms. Palm mangroves grew as far north as England and Belgium, and the Arctic Ocean was so warm that Mediterranean algae thrived. In short, it was a world much like the one we are heading into this century."Although the total amount of carbon in the atmosphere during the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum, or PETM, as scientists call it, was more than today's, the rate of increase in the 21st century may be 30 times faster. It may well be the fastest increase the world has ever seen — faster even than the episodes that caused catastrophic mass extinctions.

Globalism in the five-degree world will break down into something more like parochialism. Customers will have nothing to buy because producers will have nothing to sell. With no possibility of international aid, migrants will have to force their way into the few remaining habitable enclaves and fight for survival.

"Where no refuge is available," says Lynas," civil war and a collapse into racial or communal conflict seems the likely outcome."Isolated survivalism, however, may be as impracticable as dialling for room service."How many of us could really trap or kill enough game to feed a family? Even if large numbers of people did successfully manage to fan out into the countryside, wildlife populations would quickly dwindle under the pressure. Supporting a hunter-gatherer lifestyle takes 10 to 100 times the land per person that a settled agricultural community needs. A large-scale resort to survivalism would turn into a further disaster for biodiversity as hungry humans killed and ate anything that moved."Including, perhaps, each other."Invaders," says Lynas," do not take kindly to residents denying them food. History suggests that if a stockpile is discovered, the householder and his family may be tortured and killed. Look for comparison to the experience of present-day Somalia, Sudan or Burundi, where conflicts over scarce land and food are at the root of lingering tribal wars and state collapse."

Chance of avoiding five degrees of global warming: negligible if the rise reaches four degrees and releases trapped methane from the sea bed.


Although warming on this scale lies within the IPCC's officially endorsed range of 21st-century possibilities, climate models have little to say about what Lynas, echoing Dante, describes as"the Sixth Circle of Hell". To see the most recent climatic lookalike, we have to turn the geological clock back between 144m and 65m years, to the Cretaceous, which ended with the extinction of the dinosaurs. There was an even closer fit at the end of the Permian, 251m years ago, when global temperatures rose by — yes — six degrees, and 95% of species were wiped out.

"That episode," says Lynas," was the worst ever endured by life on Earth, the closest the planet has come to ending up a dead and desolate rock in space."On land, the only winners were fungi that flourished on dying trees and shrubs. At sea there were only losers."Warm water is a killer. Less oxygen can dissolve, so conditions become stagnant and anoxic. Oxygen-breathing water- dwellers — all the higher forms of life from plankton to sharks — face suffocation. Warm water also expands, and sea levels rose by 20 metres."The resulting"super-hurricanes"hitting the coasts would have"triggered flash floods that no living thing could have survived".

There are aspects of the so-called"end-Permian extinction"that are unlikely to recur — most importantly, the vast volcanic eruption in Siberia that spread magma hundreds of metres thick over an area bigger than western Europe and shot billions of tonnes of CO' into the atmosphere. That is small comfort, however, for beneath the oceans, another monster stirred — the same that would bring a devastating end to the Palaeocene nearly 200m years later, and that still lies in wait today. Methane hydrate.

Lynas describes what happens when warming water releases pent-up gas from the sea bed."First, a small disturbance drives a gas-saturated parcel of water upwards. As it rises, bubbles begin to appear, as dissolved gas fizzles out with reducing pressure — just as a bottle of lemonade overflows if the top is taken off too quickly. These bubbles make the parcel of water still more buoyant, accelerating its rise through the water. As it surges upwards, reaching explosive force, it drags surrounding water up with it. At the surface, water is shot hundreds of metres into the air as the released gas blasts into the atmosphere. Shockwaves propagate outwards in all directions, triggering more eruptions nearby."

The eruption is more than just another positive feedback in the quickening process of global warming. Unlike CO', methane is flammable."Even in air-methane concentrations as low as 5%," says Lynas," the mixture could ignite from lightning or some other spark and send fireballs tearing across the sky."The effect would be much like that of the fuel-air explosives used by the US and Russian armies — so-called"vacuum bombs"that ignite fuel droplets above a target. According to the CIA," Those near the ignition point are obliterated. Those at the fringes are likely to suffer many internal injuries, including burst eardrums, severe concussion, ruptured lungs and internal organs, and possibly blindness."Such tactical weapons, however, are squibs when set against methane-air clouds from oceanic eruptions. Scientists calculate that they could"destroy terrestrial life almost entirely" (251m years ago, only one large land animal, the pig-like lystrosaurus, survived). It has been estimated that a large eruption in future could release energy equivalent to 108 megatonnes of TNT — 100,000 times more than the world's entire stockpile of nuclear weapons. Not even Lynas, for all his scientific propriety, can avoid the Hollywood ending."It is not too difficult to imagine the ultimate nightmare, with oceanic methane eruptions near large population centres wiping out billions of people — perhaps in days. Imagine a 'fuel-air explosive' fireball racing towards a city — London, say, or Tokyo — the blast wave spreading out from the explosive centre with the speed and force of an atomic bomb. Buildings are flattened, people are incinerated where they stand, or left blind and deaf by the force of the explosion. Mix Hiroshima with post-Katrina New Orleans to get some idea of what such a catastrophe might look like: burnt survivors battling over food, wandering far and wide from empty cities."

Then would come hydrogen sulphide from the stagnant oceans."It would be a silent killer: imagine the scene at Bhopal following the Union Carbide gas release in 1984, replayed first at coastal settlements, then continental interiors across the world. At the same time, as the ozone layer came under assault, we would feel the sun's rays burning into our skin, and the first cell mutations would be triggering outbreaks of cancer among anyone who survived. Dante's hell was a place of judgment, where humanity was for ever punished for its sins. With all the remaining forests burning, and the corpses of people, livestock and wildlife piling up in every continent, the six-degree world would be a harsh penalty indeed for the mundane crime of burning fossil energy."


If global warming continues at the current rate, we could be facing extinction. So what exactly is going to happen as the Earth heats up? Here is a degree-by-degree guide

1c Increase

Ice-free sea absorbs more heat and accelerates global warming; fresh water lost from a third of the world's surface; low-lying coastlines flooded

2c Increase

Europeans dying of heatstroke; forests ravaged by fire; stressed plants beginning to emit carbon rather than absorbing it; a third of all species face extinction

3c Increase

Carbon release from vegetation and soils speeds global warming; death of the Amazon rainforest; super-hurricanes hit coastal cities; starvation in Africa

4c Increase

Runaway thaw of permafrost makes global warming unstoppable; much of Britain made uninhabitable by severe flooding; Mediterranean region abandoned

5c Increase

Methane from ocean floor accelerates global warming; ice gone from both poles; humans migrate in search of food and try vainly to live like animals off the land

6c Increase

Life on Earth ends with apocalyptic storms, flash floods, hydrogen sulphide gas and methane fireballs racing across the globe with the power of atomic bombs; only fungi survive

Chance of avoiding six degrees of global warming: zero if the rise passes five degrees, by which time all feedbacks will be running out of control

To the end of the Earth - Six Degrees

Geopolitics / Official WWIII EU-Russia Theater Thread
« on: July 25, 2014, 03:17:45 PM »

Please watch the video, I think it is worth discussing.

This assessment was done in 2006.  I remember reading something similar when I was doing ground transportation analysis when I was at DHS.  This is a sound assessment that is worth reading.  This is one of the reasons I don't buy the doom lite argument or the hyper-inflation argument.  Once things come unglued and the trucks stop running, the system will fly apart in about a week, maybe two.  I highly doubt that the federal, state or local governments will be able to contain the public once the food disappears from the store shelves.  There are 310 million Americans, about 300 million legal guns in this country and a military of about 4 million with part of that deployed overseas.  I know what will happen in Washington D.C. when the fun starts, the federal work force will abandon their posts and stay home to protect their families.  Assuming that things won't be so bad is a good why to get oneself and loved ones killed.  Remember Murphy's law of land warfare.  No plans survives contact with the enemy intact.  The federal government is stockpiling ammo and armored vehicles.  They are getting ready for the worst, I suggest we all do the same.
Randy C in Southwest VA.

Prepared by the American Trucking Associations

When Trucks Stop, America Stops
Commercial truck traffic is vital to our nation’s economic prosperity and plays a significant
role in mitigating adverse economic effects during a national or regional emergency. Our
economy depends on trucks to deliver ten billion tons of virtually every commodity
consumed—or nearly 70 percent of all freight transported annually in the U.S. In the U.S.
alone, this accounts for $671 billion worth of goods transported by truck. Add $295 billion in truck trade with Canada and $195.6 billion in truck trade with Mexico and it becomes
apparent that any disruption in truck traffic will lead to rapid economic instability.
The unimpeded flow of trucks is critical to the safety and well-being of all Americans.
However, it is entirely possible that well-intended public officials may instinctively halt or
severely restrict truck traffic in response to an incident of national or regional significance.
Recent history has shown us the consequences that result from a major disruption in truck travel. Immediately following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, significant truck delays at the Canadian border crossings shut down several auto manufacturing plants in Michigan because just-in-time parts were not delivered. The economic cost to these companies was enormous.  Following Hurricane Katrina, trucks loaded with emergency goods were rerouted, creating lengthy delays in delivering urgently needed supplies to the stricken areas.  Although in the face of an elevated threat level, a terrorist attack, or a pandemic, halting truck traffic may appear to be the best defense, it actually puts citizens at risk. Officials at every level of government must recognize that a decision to halt or severely curb truck traffic following a national or regional emergency will produce unintended health and economic consequences not only for the community they
seek to protect, but for the entire nation.  The American Trucking Associations researched
seven key consumer industries to quantify the potential consequences of restricting or halting truck traffic in response to a national or regional emergency. This report details the findings. 

The Food Industry
Every day, Americans purchase billions of dollars of groceries. Most of these goods are
brought to market via daily truck deliveries.
•  Significant shortages will occur in as little as three days, especially for perishable
items following a national emergency and a ban on truck traffic.
Minor shortages will occur within one to two days.  At convenience stores and other small
retailers with less inventory, shortages will occur much sooner.
•  Consumer fear and panic will exacerbate shortages.
The forecast of a winter storm quickly exhausts basic commodities at grocery stores and
supermarkets. It takes retailers up to three days to recover from these runs on supplies. News of a truck stoppage—whether on the local level, state or regional level, or nationwide—will spur hoarding and drastic increases in consumer purchases of essential goods.  Shortages will materialize quickly and could lead to civil unrest.
•  Supplies of clean drinking water will run dry in two to four weeks.  According to
the American Water Works Association, Americans drink more than one billion
glasses of tap water per day. For safety and security reasons, most water supply
plants maintain a larger inventory of supplies than the typical business. However, the
amount of chemical storage varies significantly and is site specific.  According to the
Chlorine Institute, most water treatment facilities receive chlorine in cylinders (150
pounds and one ton cylinders) that are delivered by motor carriers. On average, trucks
deliver purification chemicals to water supply plants every seven to 14 days. Without
these chemicals, water cannot be purified and made safe for drinking. Without truck
deliveries of purification chemicals, water supply plants will run out of drinkable
water in 14 to 28 days. Once the water supply is drained, water will be deemed safe
for drinking only when boiled. Lack of clean drinking water will lead to increased
gastrointestinal and other illnesses, further taxing an already weakened healthcare

Both healthcare providers and consumers rely on regular delivery of medications and
healthcare supplies to hospitals, pharmacies, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities.  Trucks deliver nearly all of these supplies.  Al Cook, former president of the Materials Management Association and current member of the Medical Materials Coordinating Group, which is advising the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources on emergency preparedness, describes over-the-road commercial transportation as “life and death to being able to care for sick people.”

•  Without truck transportation, patient care within the truck stoppage zone will be
immediately jeopardized.  According to Cook, many hospitals have moved to a just-
in-time inventory system. In fact, some work from a low-unit-of-measure system.
This means that essential basic supplies, such as syringes and catheters, are not
ordered until the supplies are depleted. These systems depend on trucks to deliver
needed supplies within hours of order placement. Internal redistribution of supplies in
hospitals could forestall a crisis for a short time; however, in a matter of hours,
hospitals would be unable to supply critical patient care.

•  If an incident of national significance produces mass injuries, truck transportation is the key to delivering urgently needed medical supplies necessary to save lives.
According to Cook, there are not enough medical supplies in any local area to support a large scale medical emergency. The Medical Materials coordinating Group has worked with U.S. Health and Human Services to develop contingency plans that will coordinate national redistribution of essential medical supplies during a national emergency.
These contingency plans ensure that affected areas receive adequate medical supplies
to support the crisis while also maintaining adequate supplies for the basic medical
needs of the larger community. Cook states that the medical redistribution program
relies on trucks as the primary mode of transport to carry out the expedient
redistribution of supplies, and ties the success of the program to the ability of trucks to
access medical facilities and warehouses during an emergency situation.

•  Hospitals and nursing homes will exhaust food supplies in as little as 24 hours.
Hospitals and nursing homes receive daily truck deliveries of food for patients. The
International Food Distributors Association notes that because these facilities lack
significant warehousing capabilities, a truck stoppage will result in food shortages
within 24 to 48 hours, particularly among perishable items.

•  Pharmacy stocks of prescription drugs will be depleted quickly.  Although pharmacies typically carry several weeks inventory of many drugs, seasonal pharmaceuticals, such as antibiotics and flu-shots during winter months, have faster turnover rates. According to
the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, most of the nation’s 55,000 drug stores receive daily merchandise deliveries by truck.

•  Hospitals and other diagnostic and treatment facilities will exhaust supplies of radiopharmaceuticals and oxygen.  Radiopharmaceutical supplies for cancer treatment and diagnostic services, which have an effective life of only a few hours, will become unusable. Hospital size and storage capacity determine the amount of oxygen a facility can maintain; however, in general, hospitals will exhaust oxygen supplies within seven to ten days.


The impact of a truck stoppage would not be limited to highway transportation but would
affect all modes of transportation. Trucks are the fundamental unit within the transportation sector. Trucks transport just about all cargo to and from air and rail terminals and maritime ports. Trucks also deliver fuel to the majority of rail yards. The
Air Transport Association estimates that trucks account for approximately 80 percent of the fuel deliveries to the nation’s airports. Truck transport is the mechanism for fuel delivery to service stations and truck stops.

•  Service station fuel supplies will start to run out in just one to two days.
According to the Service Station Dealers of America, the nation’s busiest fuel stations
sell between 200,000 and 300,000 gallons per month. These stations require multiple
deliveries every day to meet this demand.  An average service  station requires a
delivery every 2.4 days. Based on these statistics, the busiest service stations could
run out of fuel within hours of a truck stoppage, with the remaining stations following
within one to two days. Researchers predict that automobile travel will cease within
one week if fuel deliveries are halted.  Air, rail and maritime transportation will be disrupted.  Airlines and air cargo operations will be grounded due to the lack
of supplies for operations. Railroads will cease all truck trailer-on-flat
-car or piggy-back and container operations. Rail freight will pile up at rail terminals since intermodal trucks provide the first and last mile in intermodal moves. Smaller railroads (Classes 2 and 3) will stop operation due to lack of truck-supplied fuel and will create significant congestion on feeder lines to the large (Class 1) railroads.  If the truck stoppage occurred in a coastal region, inbound and outbound container ships, which rely
on intermodal truck transportation, will sit idle at the maritime ports.

•  A fuel shortage will create secondary effects.  Without access to automobile travel,
people will be unable to get to work causing labor shortages and increased economic
damage. Without cars, many people cannot access grocery stores, banks, doctors, and
other daily needs. Public bus systems will cease to operate as well, preventing many
disabled and elderly people from accessing these necessities. Without fuel, police,
fire, rescue and other public service vehicles will be paralyzed, further jeopardizing
public safety. U.S. Mail and other package delivery operations will cease. Within
two days, garbage will start to pile up in urban and suburban areas due to a lack of
regular pick ups, creating a health hazard.

Waste Removal
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that Americans generate more than 236
million tons of municipal or household waste annually. This does not take into account
manufacturing, medical, or other types of commercial waste.

•  Within days of a truck stoppage, Americans will be literally buried in garbage with serious health and environmental consequences.  Further, without fuel deliveries, many waste processing facilities will be unable to operate equipment such as backhoes and incinerators.

•  Uncollected and deteriorating waste products create rich breeding ground for microorganisms, insects, and other vermin. Hazardous materials and medical waste will introduce toxins as well as infectious diseases into living environments.
Urban areas will, of course, be significantly impacted within just a couple of days. But rural and agricultural areas as well as food processing plants will be impacted as well. Without waste removal and treatment, food wastes, such as slaughtered animal byproducts and overripe fruits and vegetables will create extremely toxic conditions.

•  Beyond the health risks, a lack of waste removal creates pollution hazards.
Biological pathogens, hazardous chemicals and even radioactive materials will be
released into the soil, water, and atmosphere. And, the sheer volume of uncollected waste could block water run off and drainage leading to pooling and flooding.

The Retail Sector
A disruption of truck deliveries to retail outlets will have serious effects on both consumers and retailers.

•  Replenishment of goods will be disrupted.  Many of the nation’s leading retailers rely on just-in-time delivery to keep inventory levels as low as possible. Similar to the low-unit-of-measure hospital inventory system, these stores rely on frequent deliveries to replenish basic goods. Often, delivery of a shipment is not triggered until the current inventory is nearly depleted. Without truck deliveries, retailers will be unable to restock goods, including consumer basics such as bottled water, canned goods, and paper products.

•  Consumer behavior during emergencies triples the rate of inventory turn-over.
Since many large retail outlets typically keep inventories as lean as possible, problems
often arise quickly during truck transportation slowdowns that occur from crises such
as hurricanes.  In a hurricane situation, supplies that would normally last a few days, such as water, powdered milk, and canned meat, typically disappear within one day. Given these inventory rates, this means that perishable goods could be depleted in a matter of days and non-perishables in just a few days.  Runs on food and non-food staples during hurricanes, and even before big winter storms, provide a good example of how fast some retail inventories can be depleted during panic buying. The same quick
depletion of inventories could occur if trucks stopped making deliveries for any reason.


In recent years, manufacturers in the United States have shifted increasingly to just-in-time manufacturing. Aimed at improving efficiency, just-in-time manufacturing reduces the need for extensive warehousing of manufacturing components because parts and components are delivered to the production line just hours before assembly. As a result, manufacturers are extremely sensitive to disruptions in the supply chain.

•  Just-in-time manufacturers will shut down assembly lines within hours. Major American manufacturers, ranging from computer manufacturers such as Dell and Compaq to major automakers such as GM and Ford, rely on just-in-time manufacturing. Without truck deliveries, component shortages and manufacturing delays will develop within hours. If assembly lines are forced to shut down, manufacturers will incur significant disruption costs and thousands of employees will be put out of work. Just-in-time manufacturers also rely on trucks to transport goods to the market within hours of assembly.
A truck stoppage will cripple deliveries to retailers.

Banking & Finance

Even with today’s high-tech electronic exchange of currency and information, trucks play a critical role in transporting hard copies of financial documents and currency. Disruption of truck deliveries to banks and ATMs will paralyze the banking industry, affecting both
consumers and businesses. The bottom-line:cash is still heavily used as legal tender.

•  ATM and branch bank cash resources will be exhausted quickly.
In today’s fast-paced, high-technology economy, consumers access cash 24/7 from 370,000 ATMs nationwide. JP Morgan Chase, the nation’s second largest consumer bank,
replenishes its 6,600 ATMs via armored truck delivery every two to three days.  Given the increase in ATM activity that occurs before and after any type of crisis, ATMs would run out of cash much sooner.

•  Small and medium-size businesses will lose access to cash.  Banks provide daily cash and coin deliveries to thousands of small and medium-size businesses via armored trucks. According to JP Morgan Chase, without these daily deliveries and collections, the ability of businesses to carry out normal commercial transactions will be disrupted and eventually cease.

•  Regular bank functions will cease.  Bank branches transfer paper documents for
every transaction, via daily truck service, to a central location for processing. Unable
to conduct transactions at a central location, banks will be unable to process deposits,
checks, and other standard bank transactions, bringing the American banking system
to a halt.

Other Effects
In addition to the effects on the key industries outlined in this paper, a ripple effect could
significantly disrupt a variety of services and activities beyond the affected area, extending into communities nationwide.For example, the Department of Defense (DoD) supply chain includes 1,100 shipping points inside the United States, connects to airports
and seaports, and is the supply lifeline to warfighters deployed globally. Nearly all Do
D freight involves truck movement and all trucks with DoD freight are subject to orders by local law enforcement. Stopping trucks with DoD freight would ultimately cripple the Department of Defense in ways no adversary has been able to achieve.  A truck stoppage in the Great Lakes region will close down auto manufacturing, steel mills, and other major industries, not only putting thousands of workers out of work, but also disrupting the flow of automobiles and steel products to the rest of the nation. A stoppage at harvest time in or around any of the nation’s agricultural regions will cut off the transport of fresh foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and grains. Not only would Americans be deprived of fresh foods, the economic impact to the farming industry would be devastating.

Consider a truck stoppage in the states around Washington, D.C. The federal government
will be slowed down within a week and could grind to a halt within two or three weeks.
Moreover, a truck stoppage in a major metropolitan area will result in rapid depletion of food, bottled water, and critical medical supplies, potentially leading to civil unrest as citizens compete for basic necessities.


As demonstrated by the analysis of just a few key industries, restricting or shutting down all truck operations in response to a natural disaster, elevated threat level, terrorist attack, or pandemic will have a swift and devastating impact on the food, healthcare, transportation, waste removal, retail, manufacturing, and financial sectors.  Members of the trucking industry must educate government officials at the local, state, and federal levels about the dire consequences of a truck stoppage. At first glance, halting all truck travel appears to be a powerful tool to neutralize a terrorist threat or protect citizens
from a pandemic. However, this is a solution that could be worse than the problem.
Instead, we must urge governments at all levels to develop contingency and action plans that use sophisticated techniques to isolate and respond to a threat. Working together, ATA believes that a solution can be found that avoids the ruinous effects that will be brought about by a freeze on truck travel.

Case Study: The Effect of Border Delays on Auto Manufacturers Following September 11th
The auto industry is one of the manufacturing industries that has extensively integrated
just-in-time inventory techniques. According to Supply Chain Management Review, the
auto industry has saved $1 billion over the past decade through just-in-time techniques.
Every day, auto manufacturing plants located along the Canadian border in Michigan receive numerous truck deliveries from auto parts plants in Canada. These parts will be
assembled into autos and shipped within hours of delivery.  While the just-in-time manufacturing process is efficient, the experience of auto manufacturers during the days following September 11th showed the sensitivity of assembly lines to disruptions in the components and parts supply chain. Immediately following September 11th, stringent security measures (and some closings) at border crossings created delays ranging from 12 to 36 hours at certain checkpoints, including the crossing between Detroit, Michigan, and Windsor, Ontario. Approximately 7,400 trucks carrying commerce worth half-a-billion dollars flows across this checkpoint every day.  The border crossing delays caused shutdowns in operations at assembly plants operated by Ford, General Motors, Daimler Chrysler AG, Toyota Motor Sales, and American Honda Motor Company. Mark Nantais, head of the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturer’s Association, estimates that these shutdowns cost auto manufacturers $1.5 million per hour.  In the first week following September 11th, Ford’s production fell by 16,000 vehicles due to component shortages and GM’s production fell by 10,000 vehicles. In the following months, according to a study
by the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Michigan, continued delays slowed manufacturing speed, causing losses of approximately $60,000 per hour for assembly plants.  Despite the disruptions caused by the border crossing delays, the just-in-time method is so important to corporate competitiveness that the model remains in place today. As a result, manufacturers continue to be sensitive to supply disruptions. A disruption as large and significant as a truck stoppage—whether local, regional or nationwide—will have a similar impact on auto and numerous manufacturing industries, with enormous costs stemming from reduced sales, lost production, and lost employment.

When Trucks Stop, America Stops
A Timeline Showing the Deterioration of Major Industries Following a Truck Stoppage

The first 24 hours

•  Delivery of medical supplies to
the affected area will cease.
•  Hospitals will run out of basic supplies such as syringes and catheters within hours. Radiopharmaceuticals will deteriorate and become unusable.
•  Service stations will begin to run out of fuel.
•  Manufacturers using just-in-time manufacturing will develop component shortages.
•  U.S. mail and other package delivery will cease.

Within one day
•  Food shortages will begin to develop.
•  Automobile fuel availability and delivery will dwindle, leading to sky-rocketing prices and long lines at the gas pumps.
•  Without manufacturing components and trucks for product delivery, assembly lines will shut down, putting thousands out of work. 

Within two to three days
•  Food shortages will escalate, especially in the face of hoarding and consumer panic.
•  Supplies of essentials—such as bottled water, powdered milk, and canned meat—at major retailers will disappear.
•  ATMs will run out of cash and banks will be unable to process transactions.
•  Service stations will completely run out of fuel for autos and trucks.
•  Garbage will start piling up in urban and suburban areas.
•  Container ships will sit idle in ports and rail transport will be disrupted, eventually coming to a standstill.

Within a week

•  Automobile travel will cease due to the lack of fuel. Without autos and busses, many people will not be able to get to work, shop for groceries, or access medical care.
•  Hospitals will begin to exhaust oxygen supplies.

Within two weeks

•  The nation’s clean water supply will begin to run dry.

Within four weeks

•  The nation will exhaust its clean water supply and water will be safe for drinking only after boiling. As a result gastrointestinal illnesses will increase, further taxing an already weakened health care system.  This timeline presents only the primary effects of a freeze on truck travel. Secondary effects must be considered as well, such as inability to maintain telecommunications service, reduced law enforcement, increased crime, increased illness and injury, higher death rates, and likely, civil unrest.

Contact: Richard D. Holcomb (July 14, 2006)

From Zerohedge.  Interesting piece, worthy of discussion.
Randy C

It has been a while since both Ukraine, and the ongoing Russian response to western sanctions (which set off the great Eurasian axis in motion, pushing China and Russia close together, and accelerating the "Holy Grail" gas deal between the two countries) have made headlines. It is still not clear just why the western media dropped Ukraine coverage like a hot potato, especially since the civil war in Ukraine's Donbas continues to rage and claim dozens of casualties on both sides. Perhaps the audience has simply gotten tired of hearing about mixed chess/checkers game between Putin vs Obama, and instead has reverted to reading the propaganda surrounding just as deadly events in the third war of Iraq in as many decades.

However, "out of sight" may be just what Russia's political elite wants. In fact, as VoR's  Valentin Mândr??escu reports, while the great US spin and distraction machine is focused elsewhere, Russia is already preparing for the next steps. Which brings us to Putin advisor Sergey Glazyev, the same person who in early March was the first to suggest Russia dump US bonds and abandon the dollar in retaliation to US sanctions, a strategy which worked because even as the Kremlin has retained control over Crimea, western sanctions have magically halted (and not only that, but as the Russian central bank just reported, the country's 2014 current account surplus may be as high as $35 billion, up from $33 billion in 2013, and a far cry from some fabricated "$200+ billion" in Russian capital outflows which Mario Draghi was warning about recently). Glazyev was also the person instrumental in pushing the Kremlin to approach China and force the nat gas deal with Beijing which took place not necessarily at the most beneficial terms for Russia.

It is this same Glazyev who published an article in Russian Argumenty Nedeli, in which he outlined a plan for "undermining the economic strength of the US" in order to force Washington to stop the civil war in Ukraine. Glazyev believes that the only way of making the US give up its plans on starting a new cold war is to crash the dollar system.

As summarized by VoR, in his article, published by Argumenty Nedeli, Putin's economic aide and the mastermind behind the Eurasian Economic Union, argues that Washington is trying to provoke a Russian military intervention in Ukraine, using the junta in Kiev as bait. If fulfilled, the plan will give Washington a number of important benefits. Firstly, it will allow the US to introduce new sanctions against Russia, writing off Moscow's portfolio of US Treasury bills. More important is that a new wave of sanctions will create a situation in which Russian companies won't be able to service their debts to European banks.

According to Glazyev, the so-called "third phase" of sanctions against Russia will be a tremendous cost for the European Union. The total estimated losses will be higher than 1 trillion euros. Such losses will severely hurt the European economy, making the US the sole "safe haven" in the world. Harsh sanctions against Russia will also displace Gazprom from the European energy market, leaving it wide open for the much more expensive LNG from the US.

Co-opting European countries in a new arms race and military operations against Russia will increase American political influence in Europe and will help the US force the European Union to accept the American version of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a trade agreement that will basically transform the EU into a big economic colony of the US. Glazyev believes that igniting a new war in Europe will only bring benefits for America and only problems for the European Union. Washington has repeatedly used global and regional wars for the benefit of  the American economy and now the White House is trying to use the civil war in Ukraine as a pretext to repeat the old trick.

Glazyev's set of countermeasures specifically targets the core strength of the US war machine, i.e. the Fed's printing press. Putin's advisor proposes the creation of a "broad anti-dollar alliance" of countries willing and able to drop the dollar from their international trade. Members of the alliance would also refrain from keeping the currency reserves in dollar-denominated instruments. Glazyev advocates treating positions in dollar-denominated instruments like holdings of junk securities and believes that regulators should require full collateralization of such holdings. An anti-dollar coalition would be the first step for the creation of an anti-war coalition that can help stop the US' aggression.

Unsurprisingly, Sergey Glazyev believes that the main role in the creation of such a political coalition is to be played by the European business community because America's attempts to ignite a war in Europe and a cold war against Russia are threatening the interests of big European business. Judging by the recent efforts to stop the sanctions against Russia, made by the German, French, Italian and Austrian business leaders, Putin's aide is right in his assessment. Somewhat surprisingly for Washington, the war for Ukraine may soon become the war for Europe's independence from the US and a war against the dollar.

Source: George Washington Blog via Zero Hedge.

The Government Hack Trying to Squash Discussion of Government Corruption – Cass Sunstein – Doesn’t Understand BASIC Math Or Law

Risk analyst Nassim Nicholas Taleb predicted the 2008 financial crisis, by pointing out that commonly-used risk models were wrong.  Distinguished professor of risk engineering at New York University, author of best-sellers The Black Swan and Fooled by Randomness, Taleb became financially independent after the crash of 1987, and wealthy during the 2008 financial crisis.

Now, Taleb is using his statistical risk acumen to take on genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Taleb’s conclusion:  GMOs could cause “an irreversible termination of life at some scale, which could be the planet.”

Sound crazy?

Sure it does … but only because we don’t understand statistics, and so we have no handle on what’s risky and what’s not.

Taleb and his 2 co-authors write in a new draft paper:

    For nature, the “ruin” is ecocide: an irreversible termination of life at some scale, which could be the planet.

    Genetically Modified Organisms, GMOs fall squarely under [the precautionary principle, i.e. the rule that we should err on the side of caution if something is really dangerous] not because of the harm to the consumer because of their systemic risk on the system.

    Top-down modifications to the system (through GMOs) are categorically and statistically different from bottom up ones (regular farming, progressive tinkering with crops, etc.) There is no comparison between the tinkering of selective breeding and the top-down engineering of arbitrarily taking a gene from an organism and putting it into another. Saying that such a product is natural misses the statistical process by which things become ”natural”. [i.e. evolving over thousands of years in a natural ecosystem, or at least breeding over several generations.]

    What people miss is that the modification of crops impacts everyone and exports the error from the local to the global. I do not wish to pay—or have my descendants pay—for errors by executives of Monsanto. We should exert the precautionary principle there—our non-naive version—simply because we would only discover errors after considerable and irreversible environmental damage.

Taleb shreds GMO-boosters – including biologists – who don’t understand basic statistics:

    Calling the GMO approach “scientific” betrays a very poor—indeed warped—understanding of probabilistic payoffs and risk management.


    It became popular to claim irrationality for GMO and other skepticism on the part of the general public —not realizing that there is in fact an ”expert problem” and such skepticism is healthy and even necessary for survival. For instance, in The Rational Animal, the author pathologize people for not accepting GMOs although ”the World Health Organization has never found evidence of ill effects” a standard confusion of evidence of absence and absence of evidence. Such a pathologizing is similar to behavioral researchers labeling hyperbolic discounting as ”irrational” when in fact it is largely the researcher who has a very narrow model and richer models make the ”irrationality” go away).

In other words, lack of knowledge of basic statistical principles leads GMO supporters astray. For example, they don’t understand the concept that “interdependence” creates  “thick tails” … leading to a “black swan” catastrophic risk event:

    Fat tails result (among other things) from the interdependence of components, leading to aggregate variations becoming much more severe than individual ones. Interdependence disrupts the functioning of the central limit theorem, by which the aggregate is more stable than the sum of the parts. Whether components are independent or interdependent matters a lot to systemic disasters such as pandemics or generalized crises. The interdependence increases the probability of ruin, to the point of certainty.
(This concept is important in the financial world, as well.)

As Forbes’ Brian Stoffel notes:

    Let’s say each GM seed that’s produced holds a 0.1% chance of — somehow, in the intricately interdependent web of nature — leading to a catastrophic breakdown of the ecosystem that we rely on for life. All by itself, it doesn’t seem too harmful, but with each new seed that’s developed, the risk gets greater and greater.

    The chart below demonstrates how, over time, even a 0.1% chance of ecocide can be dangerous.

    I cannot stress enough that the probabilities I am using are for illustrative purposes only. Neither I, nor Taleb, claim to know what the chances are of any one type of seed causing such destruction.

    The focus, instead, should be on the fact that the “total ecocide barrier” is bound to be hit, over a long enough time, with even incredibly small odds. Taleb includes a similar graph in his work, but no breakdown of the actual variables at play.

Taleb debunks other pro-GMO claims as well, such as:

1. The Risk of Famine If We Don’t Use GMOs. Taleb says:

    Invoking the risk of “famine” as an alternative to GMOs is a deceitful strategy, no different from urging people to play Russian roulette in order to get out of poverty.

    And calling the GMO approach “scientific” betrays a very poor—indeed warped—understanding of probabilistic payoffs and risk management.

In addition, the United Nations actually says that small organic farms are the only way to feed the world. And growing your own food helps prevent tyranny.

2.  Nothing Is Totally Safe, So Should We Discard All Technology?  Taleb says this is an anti-scientific argument. Some risks are small, or are only risks to one individual or a small group of people.  When you’re talking about risks which could wipe out all life on Earth, it’s a totally different analysis.

3. Assuming that Nature Is Always Good Is Anti-Scientific.  Taleb says that statistical risk analysis don’t use assumptions such as nature is “good” or “bad”. Rather, it looks at the statistical evidence that things persist in nature for thousands of years if they are robust and anti-fragile.  Ecosystems break down if they become unstable.

GMO engineers may be smart in their field, but they are ignorant when it comes to long-run ecological reality:

    We are not saying nature is the smartest pos­sible, we are saying that time is smarter than GMO engineers. Plain statistical significance.

4.  People Brought Potatoes from the Americas Back to Europe, Without Problem.  Taleb says that potatoes evolved and competed over thousands of years in the Americas, and so proved that they did not disrupt ecosystems. On the other hand, GMOs are brand spanking new … created in the blink of the eye in a lab.
GMOs Also INCREASE Pesticide Use, DECREASE Crop Yield, And May Be
VERY Dangerous to Your Health

As if the risk of “ecocide”isn’t enough, there are many other reasons to oppose GMO foods – at least without rigorous testing – including:

    Decreased crop yield

    Increased pesticide requirements

    Potentially severe health effects

On the plus side?  A few companies will make a lot of money.

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