The World’s Governments Continue To Fuck Around

Mario Savio:

There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part! You can’t even passively take part! And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels … upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop! And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!

It’s really sickening to read about how every fucking “tipping point” in climate change has tipped. Meanwhile, the governments that run the world are continuing to promote business as usual, with – maybe – a plan to cut back eventually once they’re no longer in office. The other day I read that the arctic has now become a greenhouse gas emitter instead of an absorber. Just like the boffins predicted, once enough ice starts melting, the methane trapped in the ice is going to go into the atmosphere. At one point, that was considered a harbinger of doom, but now it’s “last week.”

Robert Hunziker over at Counterpunch tracks the climate crisis, and reports that IPCC has finally stopped shilly-shallying around about “maybe this is going to be a problem” and started making more concrete predictions of disaster. [cp] As I’ve been saying for years, the +1.5C limit was never going to actually happen and humanity is charging forward toward about +4C which is basically a re-enactment of the Permian extinctions. I suppose if there is any good news in this, some life will survive on the planet, and evolution will result in (eventually) wonderful and amazing things once the bottle-neck re-opens some time in the far future.

In short, climate change is much worse than the IPCC has previously been willing to admit.

Oh, goody. The problem seems to be that every time IPCC said “this is going to get bad in 30 years” politicians deliberately mis-interpreted that to mean “you’ve got 30 years left to drill and burn, then you can figure out what to do!” Except that’s bullshit – politicians are corrupt and sneaky but, with the exception of republicans from the western states, they’re really not that stupid.

Moreover, previous IPCC reports inadvertently gave the impression that society has plenty of time until 2050 to make the necessary changes, which has unintentionally served to bolster the interests of the fossil fuel industry and extend forecasts for future production by the International Energy Agency

In strong opposition, this new report forcefully and effectively states that unless there are immediate rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that limit warming to close to 1.5° C or even 2° C, the problem will extend “beyond reach” and beyond any chance for some level of control. The three key words are: 1) immediate (2) rapid (3) large-scale.

Even that’s too much shilly-shallying. “unless there are immediate…” doesn’t cut it. What’s going on is “it’s too late to avoid some effects like +1.5C, but if we stop it all right now we may avoid +3C or even +4C which is what you’ve got us on track for.”

“We’ve lost the Amazon Rainforest. It’s a very hard thing to say… The Amazon has tipped. It is no longer a carbon sink buffering and soaking up some of our CO2 emissions. It has now started to emit CO2 emissions, and that is very, very clear from the satellite images… The Amazon is pouring out CO2.”

Also known as “you remember that thing we said was doom for humanity, if it happened? That was last week.”

Meanwhile, business as usual in Washington, where politicians who aren’t just “beholden to fossil fuel interests” but “own coal companies” are able to stop even Biden’s feeble attempts to reduce fossil fuel exploitation. Not as if Biden really cares – he’s too busy flailing around trying to be the anti-Trump and unable to push forward any kind of dramatic change such as is necessary. Not that he’d push forward any dramatic change other than subsidizing green technology. Sure, we need that, but we also need to start outright banning carbon emitting technology. No more shilly-shallying.

Also, in case you missed it, the recent oil spill in California is a big deal because it hit Newport Beach which is where a lot of rich people’s vacation homes and yachts are. The shocking part of that news is that apparently they’re still not really sure where the oil came from – it’s some kind of leak but it may be from a pipe, it may be from a poorly capped well, oh, I dunno, good thing the otter population is north of here, huh?

And here’s a shocker: the company behind the spill has a long history (hint: they all do) of problems. [beast] and as I’ve predicted elsewhere, it’s a shell company owned by another shell company and it’s going to be a hell of a time figuring out who is going to pay for the cleanup. They’re probably all, already, filing for bankruptcy.

The Beta field, where the two platforms suspected to be the origin of Saturday’s spill are located, was a subsidiary of Memorial Production Partners until early 2017, when the parent company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Several months later, Memorial emerged as Amplify Energy Corp., which was using earnings generated from its fields to pay down $235 million in debt, according to Reuters.

Ah, the old “spin-off with debt” shell game. What you do is create a company around some assets, then have the new company agree to pay over time for the assets. So it starts off with a lot of debt, then after a few years it starts making money (i.e.: paying down the debt) so the company can float a public stock offering, effectively leaving the public holding the bag while the cash from the IPO is used to cancel the debt. When the debt is paid off, the stock starts to go up, and everyone is really happy until it comes crashing back down, predictably.

As divers for Houston-based Amplify Energy Corp. on Sunday searched for the location and cause of the massive leak, public records revealed a pattern of changing ownership and compliance warnings for the company. Amplify had also been working to upgrade its aging infrastructure and had plans to initiate new drilling near the site of the leak in the final three months of this year, according to company records. It remains unclear whether the drilling had commenced or whether the work was connected to the leak.

Government officials say the spill originated from a broken pipeline off the coast of Huntington Beach that runs from the Port of Long Beach to a production and processing platform called Elly, located in the Beta Field, an accumulation of oil nine miles from the California coast. Drilling in the Beta Field, discovered by a consortium led by Shell Oil Co. in 1976, began in 1980 and oil production started in January 1981.

See what I mean? Shell oil has already won the shell-game and made a massive profit off the well, then it’s been changing hands like a collectible baseball card since then, to the point where it’s some chump company that won’t be able to pay for the damages. The whole fucking game ought to be shut down, of course. This is exactly the problem: the government is pointing at the “we are issuing 30% fewer drilling permits” as a way of showing that they’re trying to reduce environmental pollution, but meanwhile the worst of the problem has all been grandfathered in since the 70s.

The Guardian [guard] reports the sobering reality that carbon emissions will drop just 40% by 2050 if all the countries that have pledged to reduce emissions keep their word. Snowballs chances in hell, or the warming Arctic, I suppose is the metaphor for that.

Current plans to cut global carbon emissions will fall 60% short of their 2050 net zero target, the International Energy Agency has said, as it urged leaders to use the upcoming Cop26 climate conference to send an “unmistakable signal” with concrete policy plans.

A dollar figure is associated with net zero emissions: $4tn. Which, would be entirely practical if the US simply cancelled its defense budget and stopped developing new nuclear weapons. Surely Joe Manchin and other “deficit hawks” in congress would have no problem with balancing the budget through the obvious solution of strapping the pentagon to Procrustes’ bed? The CIA has consultants who specialize in that kind of thing; they can help.

But that’s not how it’s going to go. The way it’s going to go is that the democrats are going to allow their desperation to get Biden’s agenda (and theirs) passed, even if that means tossing money at Manchin’s pet fossil fuels projects. Prepare to vomit into your mouth: they are considering allocating some huge amount of money for “clean gas” production and coal burning abatement (I can’t say “clean coal” with a straight face, and even “clean gas” is ridiculous): [politico]

Lawmakers and the White House may soften a major clean energy component of Democrats’ climate change and social spending legislation in a bid to overcome objections from Sen. Joe Manchin, two people familiar with the discussions said on Wednesday.

The changes under consideration could make it easier for coal and natural gas power plants to receive billions of dollars in financial incentives for clean energy, a potential boon for fossil fuel producers in Manchin’s home state.

Why can’t Americans see this for the corruption it is? Oh, perhaps because even Politico can’t bear to say out loud that Manchin owns a fucking coal company and he’s lining his own pockets. This is the kind of bullshit that got us into a desperate global situation, and the Washington set are just looking at it as a great big pie to scrabble for a slice of.

We are so fucked.


  1. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    If by “green tech”, you mean solar and wind, no we don’t really need that. We need lots of nuclear, and we need to dump the Green energy advocates into the ocean so that we can start making progress on this issue.

  2. says

    If by “green tech”, you mean solar and wind, no we don’t really need that.

    We should throw everything we’ve got at the problem – including nuclear. Its stupid not to put solar panels on roofs and windmills on ridgelines and hydro dams where we can. And it’s stupid not to power cities with nukes.

    Since fusion “will be here in 30 years” it’ll be just in time, right? :/ In the meantime our leaders are fools pursuing hypersonic missiles when they should be funding development of practical mini nuke plants. We gotta do it all. Gambling on one approach could be a losing strategy.

  3. says

    Not to be selfish, but we on the far side of 50 are lucky that we won’t be around when the worst hits.

    When I look at my friends with kids under 20 or planning to have any, how can I tell them? And would they listen if I told them?

  4. Jean says

    I also consider myself lucky to be over 50. And the people whining about all the efforts needed to combat the pandemic are in for a rude awakening for what is going to be needed for climate change. The problem is that it will be too late to ever go back to ‘normal’ or even possibly avoid extinction.

  5. avalus says

    Thanks, Gerrard, for wanting to “dump” people like me in the ocean.
    Let’s just murder all the people we disagree with, look at all the CO2 we save with people not breathing!
    Why did you not advocate to kill the fossil people, I do wonder? Why is it the people who research and avocate for change that get the hate/death-threats?

    What a great and constructive comment, who ever needs diversification of energysources that are taylored to specific areas. Just plop a nuke everywhere, as we know they are perfect, energy companies are infalliable and there are no cut corners, ever.

    I will maybe write something on the topic of Marcus post, but I am way to angry about that right now. I think your comment is really not ok.

  6. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    We should throw everything we’ve got at the problem – including nuclear. Its stupid not to put solar panels on roofs and windmills on ridgelines and hydro dams where we can. And it’s stupid not to power cities with nukes.

    With regards to rooftop solar and windmills, yes, it is “stupid”. It’s is practically always stupid. It is wasteful of money, labor, and material. It is also pretty toxic, polutes the environment, and does real harm to people. The economy – no matter how you structure it (e.g. capitalism, socialism, command-economies, etc.), is a zero-sum game in this regard. If you build solar, that is money, material, labor, energy inputs that could have went to building something else, like nuclear.

    Using reasonable estimates of the cost of the German energy transition up to 2025, had Germany spent its money on nuclear instead, even at Hinkley C or Vogtle prices, it would have 100% clean electricity, and IIRC enough electricity left over to power a full electric car fleet too.

    Let’s just murder all the people we disagree with, look at all the CO2 we save with people not breathing!

    Metaphors. However, the Green energy movement is currently the biggest obstacle to fixing climate change because whenever they come to power, they shut down nuclear power plants and build coal and natural gas plants, and there is no solution without lots of nuclear power.

    who ever needs diversification of energysources that are taylored to specific areas.

    The amount of areas where it makes sense to build solar and wind is less than 0.1% of all area. Isolated off-grid use cases, and small islands where a small modular reactor would be overkill for the power needs. That’s it.

    Just plop a nuke everywhere, as we know they are perfect, energy companies are infalliable and there are no cut corners, ever.

    Even when corners are cut, only a handful of people are actually hurt. The upper bound of people killed by Chernobyl is a few thousand. It’s plausible that the death count is only a few hundred or less. And that represents practically every death from radiation from nuclear power in the entire history of nuclear power. Nuclear power is the safest and cleanest form of electricity geneneration by far. It’s safer than and cleaner than solar, wind, and especially hydro. Look up the Banqiao dam collapse for an example of the relative dangers of hydro. I’m not saying that hydro is especially dangerous. I am saying that nuclear is incredibly safe and clean.

    In other words, the death count from Chernobyl was similar to the death count from the Bhopal disaster. The Bhopal disaster didn’t cause us to stop building pesticide plants, and the Chernobyl disaster shouldn’t stop us from building nuclear power plants. Industrial accidents happen.

    I know what you’re about to say. You’re wrong. The problem is that you think radiation and nuclear waste is this infinitely dangerous thing. Basically, you’ve been lied to. The entire Green energy movement for its entire 60 year something history has been lying about the dangers of nuclear power, and been lying about the utility of solar and wind. Please see this news article from the Guardian which links to many primary sources.

    Did you know that hundreds of people returned to their homes in the Chernobyl exclusion zone shortly after the accident, and lived there the entire time without apparent negative health effect?

    Did you know that workers returned to the Chernobyl nuclear reactor site every day after the accident for the next decade to operate the other three reactors at the site?

    Did you know that the wildlife around Chernobyl has among the highest biodiversity of all of Europe, meaning it would be a beautiful wildlife refuge if not for all of the visually-unappealing human junk left behind?

    Did you know that the reputable science says that you are at a higher risk of premature death from air pollution from living in a major city compared to the higher risk of death for those who were in the most heavily irriadiated cleanup workers at Chernobyl? Yes. It’s true. The most heavily irradiated cleanup workers at Chernobyl are predicted to have a smaller risk of premature death from radiation induced cancer compared to the risk of premature death from anyone who lives in most major cities simply because of air pollution.

    Again, you have been lied to about the dangers of radiation.

    The strategy of the Green movement is to use all of this inuendo and lies to pretend that nuclear waste and radiation is the worst thing ever and that any leak or release would result in untold damage, but when you actually ask the question “what would happen?” and look at the current science, the answer in most cases is “nothing”.

    Finally, re nuclear waste. Look up the natural nuclear reactor in Oklo, Gabon. Billions of years ago, when natural U-235 concentrations were higher, water seeped into rock at Oklo, Gabon, and caused a sustained nuclear fission reaction underground. This gives us the unique ability to see what happens to nuclear waste after billions of years in an environment with water seepage. And the answer is: the nuclear waste moves a few feet. That’s it.

    Also, read this document.

  7. says

    It is wasteful of money, labor, and material

    Humanity has plenty of all of the above, so I don’t accept your argument.

    Also, you go droning on about Chernobyl, and I don’t believe anyone made any comment about dangers in nuclear energy. More to the point, my posting was about the dangers in fossil fuels – not nuclear. You’re barking up the wrong tree.

    Also, I’ve been to Chernobyl. Obviously, I’m not a super-scientist who was able to make a risk assessment of any personal dangers it represents (which is irrelevant to this thread) but I wasn’t particularly concerned about personal risk, obviously.

    I understand your obssession with this topic, but could you maybe rein it in a bit? Unfortunately, there are certain topics which guarantee you’ll show up and start textwalling us and you’re bordering on trollish behavior. You’ve made your point(s) repeatedly and none of us here are so dumb that we need to be constantly hit over the head by your rhetoric. We got your point some time ago.

  8. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    You’re the owner here. If you tell me to shut up about when you’re posting absolute nonsense like “we need lots of solar and wind” or “building lots of solar and wind is a good idea”, then fine. I’ll respect your decision. Your place, your rules. It just pains me to see such grossly irresponsible, dangerous, and harmful misinformation being spread by someone who should know better.

  9. says

    It just pains me to see such grossly irresponsible, dangerous, and harmful misinformation being spread by someone who should know better.

    That’s just your opinion. Hyperbole much?

    I asked you nicely, but if you prefer to be told to fuck off you’re welcome to.

  10. avalus says

    My thoughts are somewhat fragmented, but here we go.
    Ah Shell is doing shell games with shell companies. I feel like there is a joke in there. I really can not fathom how people can sleep and feel rightious about desroying our planet for their capital gains. I really can’t. It is the ultimate “Live fast, die before any consequences come around” lifestyle.

    Reflecting on Marcus post title, I wonder what government I will get in the coming weeks, as the german parties dance and shuffle around each other. Christ democrats, CDU/the conservatives, are completly in the pockets of firms, as are the free liberals (which are for free-er economy with a whiff of ancap crap). Compared to the US, car and coal lobbies are more powerful in germany than oil, it seems. In the run-up to the election there was massive corruption uncovered, like, “What is an error by a factor of 10 in a recompensation for shutting down coal extraction? 400 mn, 4 bn, who cares?” Studies held away from the public and the governing bodies (!) until after an important desicion (by those bodies!), because the studies completely crushed the conservatives claims. And a favorite of mine: Removing protestors from a forrest that was due to be destroyed by surface coal extraction for … wait for it … fire hazard reasons, as it is an important landmark forrest!. Also a person died in this “peaceful removal”.

    Worst of all are, of course, the we-are-not-nazis-but…-party AfD (Alternative for Germany, fashists) and their allies (also fashists) that, and here is why I got massivly angry, pretty much just say what Gerrard so wrongly claimed to be a “just a Metaphor”: Deaththeats to envrionmentalists. Or “Rape the little swede”. Or as voting placards for “the third way” read: “Hang some greens”.
    It is not methaphoric, violence and multitudes of threats against eco minded people are sadly real, way to common and normalising that shit is just not ok.

    It is wasteful of money, labor, and material

    Yeah, that is all humanity does, what ever we do, we impact our environment. Usually for pathetic reasons. Or to blow other brown people/MSF Hospitals/törrorästs/weddings to bits.
    And no solution to this problem is perfect, they have all different drawbacks. But on the long run, there is no way around renewables, everything else is just kicking the problem down the timeline for the next gens zu come up with solutions when [fuelsource of choice] runs dry. And that is not a responsible way to act, in my opoínion, if one cares for successors. At the moment, everything is better than fossils if we want to stabilize the climate but not all solutions are viable longterm and on a global scale. At least I think so.

    /A snarky aside: I wonder just how much the military in general will keep us in with fossile fuel use. The hydrocarbons are just so handy, lots of energy in a relativly dense package, easy to store and use. How can you have manly tanks, manly bombers and even more manly jetplanes on electric power?

  11. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    Ok Marcus. Just looking for it to be directly said.

    Sorry. Not allowed to talk about that any more. I’m happy to talk about it in other venues if you want.

  12. says

    And just to reinforce the point of this post. From The Guardian a short bit ago <;..

    "The White House will ‘likely’ cut from its spending bill a program to replace coal- and gas-fired power plants in the US with wind, solar and nuclear energy, the Times reported, citing congressional staffers and lobbyists familiar with the matter.

    Manchin is cutting all our throats.

  13. John Morales says

    Oz is definitely a major culprit. I mean, we’re small in actual usage (around 1% of world use), but quite big in exporting fossil fuels. Lots of investment in that sector. And subsidies.


    Outside that summary, I am aware that the government wants to pay coal plants just to exist (in case they’re needed), that it wants to build a new coal plant though neither the public nor business wants that (more expensive than renewables), and that in contrast there are absolutely no subsidies for electric cars.

    Again I note: our current prime minister (the top dog) was waving a lump of coal in parliament not that long ago, exhorting its usefulness. Helped him get the top job.
    And around half the members of his coalition deny AGW.

    And we export a shitload of gas and coal — and uranium, too, but that we don’t actually use ourselves. So, not just our per capita usage, but our exports are huge problems.

    So, my government is not just fucking around, it’s actively contributing to the problem big-time.

    I mean, given all the money sunk into those fossil fuel subsidies, all the natural resources we have, we could already be a zero net emissions country, and profiting for it.

    Ah well.

  14. John Morales says

    OTOH, ’tis true that if we didn’t make all that dosh selling fossil fuels, someone else would and we’d miss out. It’s the (short-term) economic argument, and it has held sway.

  15. says

    As I see it, the problem isn’t whether we should fix things by this method or that. The problem is that we can’t even agree that there’s a problem to fix in the first place. Nuclear or wind power doesn’t matter, because we won’t actually do either.

  16. Who Cares says

    Meanwhile in Europe attempts at kicking the can into the next decade have resulted in lawsuits (that I know of) in France, Germany and the Netherlands where the respective governments got told you need to do better, and I believe in the case of the Netherlands the court even imposed a much steeper target that had to be reached.

  17. says

    The problem is that we can’t even agree that there’s a problem to fix in the first place. Nuclear or wind power doesn’t matter, because we won’t actually do either.


  18. komarov says

    “””Oh, goody. The problem seems to be that every time IPCC said “this is going to get bad in 30 years” politicians deliberately mis-interpreted that to mean “you’ve got 30 years left to drill and burn, then you can figure out what to do!””””

    To be fair, had the IPCC been saying, “it’s been awful for at least 50 years and is getting ever worse”, the politicians would have mis-interpreted that and said that the IPCC has no idea what they’re talking about, things are great and the winters are getting milder, too! Motivated reasoning can take you from any point A to any point B. And since the motivation isn’t, “do right by the people you represent,” but money, we’re in trouble.

    To clarify: This isn’t meant to excuse the IPCC. It’s systemic failure. Well done, all of us.

    Regarding the alternatives debate, let me just point out that one reason nuclear reactors aren’t being built is that they are prohibitively expensive and take forever to build. So at best that’s a long term solution depending on “market forces” which are aligned against it.* It is a very round-about way of saying that this, like everything else surrounding climate change, won’t happen until it is far too late. Sure, we can say all this should have started 20 years ago (especially the science) but then nuclear has the same problem as all the other “new” alternatives: Heel-dragging can’t be undone. Everything has problems and everything needs to be rolled out regardless, not least because that’s how we force ourselves fix the problems. For example, solar panels were turned into a cheap(ish) mass product by trying to put solar panels everywhere.

    With that in mind, argument that we shouldn’t invest resources into renewables is pretty mind-boggling. Not that it would be much better on its own. One problem we do not have is a shortage of resources or capital. We’re just wasting a lot on useless crap, as has been poionted out.
    The other problem is that you’re apparently arguing to put all eggs in one atomic basket. Having national or even continental power grids resting on a single failure point, i.e. the successful operation of a single type of power plant is just bad design. Just imagine the UK right now, if all they had was gas power. Luckily, neither the UK nor their grid partners depend on a single resource and a single system. You need a lot of power sources working in concert to create a robust power grid.

    *Yes, I saw that Germany example. I have no idea if the numbers check out, but Germany may not be the best example for money matters. I’m tempted to say, “decades of conservative government” and leave it at that. Their money is not being used very well. They killed the solar power industry by ending subsidies while coal must be lavishly supported to the bitter end. If you took back all the money and avoided the usual corruption and “inefficiencies”, you could probably pay for anything and still have plenty left for a comfortable retirement.

  19. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    Well, I doubt anyone wants to listen to me argue that you’re all wrong, but if anyone does, I can be reached at various places, including Discord GerrardOfTitanServer#4587. Reach out if you want to.

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