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UFO science key to halting climate change: former Canadian defense minister


OTTAWA — A for­mer Cana­di­an defense min­is­ter is demand­ing gov­ern­ments world­wide dis­close and use secret alien tech­nolo­gies obtained in alleged UFO crash­es to stem cli­mate change, a local paper said Wednes­day.

“I would like to see what (alien) tech­nol­o­gy there might be that could elim­i­nate the burn­ing of fos­sil fuels with­in a gen­er­a­tion ... that could be a way to save our plan­et,” Paul Helly­er, 83, told the Ottawa Cit­i­zen.

Alien space­crafts would have trav­eled vast dis­tances to reach Earth, and so must be equipped with advanced propul­sion sys­tems or used excep­tion­al fuels, he told the news­pa­per.

Such alien tech­nolo­gies could offer human­i­ty alter­na­tives to fos­sil fuels, he said, point­ing to the enig­mat­ic 1947 inci­dent in Roswell, New Mex­i­co — which has become a shrine for UFO believ­ers — as an exam­ple of alien con­tact.

“We need to per­suade gov­ern­ments to come clean on what they know. Some of us sus­pect they know quite a lot, and it might be enough to save our plan­et if applied quick­ly enough,” he said.

Helly­er became defense min­is­ter in for­mer prime min­is­ter Lester Pear­son­’s cab­i­net in 1963, and over­saw the con­tro­ver­sial inte­gra­tion and uni­fi­ca­tion of Canada’s army, air force and navy into the Cana­di­an Forces.

He shocked Cana­di­ans in Sep­tem­ber 2005 by announc­ing he once saw a UFO.


5 comments for “UFO science key to halting climate change: former Canadian defense minister”

  1. Well, we should prob­a­bly be thank­ful that the aliens are appar­ent­ly still will­ing to share their tech­nol­o­gy...it’s still a small world:

    Chi­na pol­lu­tion waft­ing across Pacif­ic to blan­ket U.S. : study

    BEIJING Tue Jan 21, 2014 11:27am EST

    (Reuters) — Pol­lu­tion from Chi­na trav­els in large quan­ti­ties across the Pacif­ic Ocean to the Unit­ed States, a new study has found, mak­ing envi­ron­men­tal and health prob­lems unex­pect­ed side effects of U.S. demand for cheap Chi­na-man­u­fac­tured goods.

    On some days, acid rain-induc­ing sul­phate from burn­ing of fos­sil fuels in Chi­na can account for as much as a quar­ter of sul­phate pol­lu­tion in the west­ern Unit­ed States, a team of Chi­nese and Amer­i­can researchers said in the report pub­lished by the U.S. Nation­al Acad­e­my of Sci­ences, a non-prof­it soci­ety of schol­ars.

    Cities like Los Ange­les received at least an extra day of smog a year from nitro­gen oxide and car­bon monox­ide from Chi­na’s export-depen­dent fac­to­ries, it said.

    “We’ve out­sourced our man­u­fac­tur­ing and much of our pol­lu­tion, but some of it is blow­ing back across the Pacif­ic to haunt us,” co-author Steve Davis, a sci­en­tist at Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia Irvine, said.

    Between 17 and 36 per­cent of var­i­ous air pol­lu­tants in Chi­na in 2006 were relat­ed to the pro­duc­tion of goods for export, accord­ing to the report, and a fifth of that specif­i­cal­ly tied to U.S.-China trade.

    One third of Chi­na’s green­house gas­es is now from export-based indus­tries, accord­ing to World­watch Insti­tute, a U.S.-based envi­ron­men­tal research group.

    Chi­na’s neigh­bors, such as Japan and South Korea, have reg­u­lar­ly suf­fered nox­ious clouds from Chi­na in the last cou­ple of decades as envi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tions have been sac­ri­ficed for eco­nom­ic and indus­tri­al growth.

    How­ev­er, the new report showed that many pol­lu­tants, includ­ing black car­bon, which con­tributes to cli­mate change and is linked to can­cer, emphy­se­ma and heart and lung dis­eases, trav­elled huge dis­tances on glob­al winds known as “west­er­lies”.

    Trans-bound­ary pol­lu­tion has for sev­er­al years been an issue in inter­na­tion­al cli­mate change nego­ti­a­tions, where Chi­na has argued that devel­oped nations should take respon­si­bil­i­ty for a share of Chi­na’s green­house gas emis­sions, because they orig­i­nate from pro­duc­tion of goods demand­ed by the West.

    The report said its find­ings showed that trade issues must play a role in glob­al talks to cut pol­lu­tion.


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 22, 2014, 1:55 pm
  2. Here’s a peak at what life is like for the peo­ple work­ing with the peo­ple work­ing to destroy the future:

    Mia­mi Her­ald
    Gov. Rick Scott’s ban on cli­mate change term extend­ed to oth­er state agen­cies

    By Tris­tram Kor­ten

    Flori­da Cen­ter for Inves­tiga­tive Report­ing

    03/11/2015 6:37 PM

    Updat­ed 03/12/2015 9:32 AM

    No one told Bart Bibler not to use the terms “cli­mate change” and “glob­al warm­ing” dur­ing his six months on the job at the Flori­da Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion.

    Then, on March 4, he walked into a Flori­da Coastal Man­agers Forum, a tele­con­fer­ence with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from oth­er state agen­cies.

    When he intro­duced him­self, Bibler con­grat­u­lat­ed every­one for the “excit­ing” work being done to address the impact of cli­mate change, and then he men­tioned his oppo­si­tion to the Key­stone XL pipeline project.

    “The reac­tion was most­ly shock,” Bibler said. Accord­ing to Bibler, the forum mod­er­a­tor, Ann Lazar, said that she hoped his advo­ca­cy on the con­fer­ence call wouldn’t result in can­cel­la­tions of future ones.

    “Obvi­ous­ly, she’s ner­vous I had vio­lat­ed this unwrit­ten pol­i­cy of talk­ing about cli­mate change,” Bibler said. “I didn’t get the memo.”

    Lazar declined to com­ment.

    DEP offi­cials put Bibler on a two-day leave. The let­ter of rep­ri­mand chas­tised him for express­ing his per­son­al views about the pipeline. It also stat­ed that a sum­ma­ry of the meet­ing Bibler sup­plied to his super­vi­sor “gave the appear­ance that this was Ann’s offi­cial meet­ing agen­da that includ­ed cli­mate change.”

    The Flori­da Cen­ter for Inves­tiga­tive Report­ing first report­ed Sun­day that Gov. Rick Scott’s admin­is­tra­tion ordered DEP employ­ees, con­trac­tors and vol­un­teers not to use the terms “cli­mate change” and “glob­al warm­ing” in offi­cial com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

    Scot­t’s office and a DEP spokesper­son told FCIR that there is no such pol­i­cy. After FCIR’s sto­ry was pub­lished in the Mia­mi Her­ald and Tam­pa Bay Times, Scott told reporters in Mia­mi: “It’s not true.”

    On Wednes­day, DEP spokesper­son Lau­ren Engel denied Bibler’s asser­tion: “It is not true that he was put on leave for bring­ing up cli­mate change, just like it is not true that we have a pol­i­cy ban­ning the use of the term cli­mate change.”

    Jer­ry Phillips, a for­mer DEP attor­ney who runs the Flori­da chap­ter of Pub­lic Employ­ees for Envi­ron­men­tal Respon­si­bil­i­ty, said he has received more than a dozen com­plaints from DEP employ­ees on this top­ic over the past five years.

    “The com­plaints have been that if cli­mate change projects can be put on the back burn­er, that’s what the admin­is­tra­tion would want to have hap­pen,” he said. “The lev­el of fear, in my opin­ion, is at an all-time high at the DEP. In gen­er­al, they feel they are being muz­zled and can­not do their jobs.”

    On Tues­day, Ralph Wil­son, with the envi­ron­men­tal group Fore­cast the Facts, filed a com­plaint with the DEP’s inspec­tor gen­er­al office.

    Now, employ­ees from oth­er state agen­cies have come for­ward to FCIR to con­firm the unof­fi­cial pol­i­cy not to use these terms.

    Bill Tay­lor was the assis­tant dis­trict right of way man­ag­er for the Flori­da Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion’s Dis­trict 4 office in Fort Laud­erdale. He retired last year after 19 years with the DOT.

    He said he was told not to use cer­tain terms dur­ing a meet­ing of dis­trict man­agers.

    “It was at a rou­tine meet­ing in prob­a­bly 2012 or 2013,” Tay­lor said. “At one point, it was men­tioned very casu­al­ly that in our future deal­ings with the pub­lic, we were not to use the terms ‘cli­mate change’ or ‘glob­al warm­ing.’ But it was OK to talk about sea-lev­el rise, because for some projects that had to be tak­en into con­sid­er­a­tion.”

    “DOT has no such pol­i­cy,” spokesman Dick Kane said. The depart­ment has worked with uni­ver­si­ties and com­mu­ni­ties to study sea-lev­el rise, he said.

    In an episode at the Flori­da Depart­ment of Health this year, first report­ed in the Wash­ing­ton Post on Tues­day, an epi­demi­ol­o­gist was told to remove all instances of “cli­mate change” from a study on ciguat­era poi­son­ing in Flori­da.

    Eliz­a­beth Rad­ke, who was writ­ing the paper as a chap­ter in her Ph.D. dis­ser­ta­tion at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Flori­da, col­lab­o­rat­ed with a DOH employ­ee for the study. As a result, it had to be reviewed by DOH offi­cials in Tal­la­has­see.

    “The last round of revi­sions were sent at the end of Jan­u­ary,” Rad­ke told FCIR. “Each ref­er­ence to cli­mate change was under­lined and the rea­son why was explained to me ver­bal­ly.” She had to delete the words.

    In Jan­u­ary, the Tam­pa Bay Times report­ed on a DOH grant pro­gram “to explore the health impacts of a warm­ing world.” A DOH spokesper­son “was care­ful to avoid using the term ‘cli­mate change’ in explain­ing its goals,” the Times report­ed. Instead, she said it’s focused on “health effects relat­ed to weath­er events.”

    “It is not true; there is no such pol­i­cy at the depart­ment of health,” said Nathan Dunn, a DOH spokesman. He referred to a Jan­u­ary press release that includ­ed the term “cli­mate change.”

    At the South Flori­da Water Man­age­ment Dis­trict, a for­mer employ­ee said that terms like “cli­mate change” and “glob­al warm­ing” were nev­er used in doc­u­ments. “It was wide­ly known that you could­n’t put those words into a report, said the for­mer employ­ee, who asked not to be iden­ti­fied because of an ongo­ing rela­tion­ship with the agency. “They just would­n’t make it through the edit­ing process.”

    The unof­fi­cial pol­i­cy not to use the terms cli­mate change and glob­al warm­ing seems to have cre­at­ed a cen­sor­ship sys­tem that is some­what porous. State doc­u­ments are still being pro­duced with those terms — but their use has decreased dra­mat­i­cal­ly.

    FCIR con­duct­ed a year-by-year key­word analy­sis of PDF files on DEP’s pub­lic web­site — which includ­ed reports, agen­das, cor­re­spon­dence and oth­er com­mu­ni­ca­tions. The analy­sis shows a steep decline in the use of the term “cli­mate change” after Scott took office.

    In 2010, Gov. Char­lie Crist’s final year in office, DEP’s web­site host­ed 20 doc­u­ments that con­tained a total of 209 ref­er­ences to “cli­mate change.” The next year, Scott’s first in office, the num­bers declined to 15 doc­u­ments and 123 total ref­er­ences.

    That decline has con­tin­ued through Scott’s tenure as gov­er­nor. Last year, there were 16 doc­u­ments with a total of 34 ref­er­ences to “cli­mate change.” All those doc­u­ments were from oth­er agen­cies, except for a DEP quick ref­er­ence phone list guide that list­ed “cli­mate change” as a sub­ject, and a num­ber to call at the Office of Busi­ness Plan­ning. There have been no doc­u­ments added so far this year that use the term cli­mate change.


    You have to love all the denials from Flori­da offi­cials about an offi­cial pol­i­cy ban­ning the use of phras­es like “cli­mate change” when the entire arti­cle is about the unof­fi­cial pol­i­cy that’s been qui­et­ly put in place (yes, the GOP thinks you’re stu­pid). Still, it was­n’t all bad news:

    Bill Tay­lor was the assis­tant dis­trict right of way man­ag­er for the Flori­da Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion’s Dis­trict 4 office in Fort Laud­erdale. He retired last year after 19 years with the DOT.

    He said he was told not to use cer­tain terms dur­ing a meet­ing of dis­trict man­agers.

    “It was at a rou­tine meet­ing in prob­a­bly 2012 or 2013,” Tay­lor said. “At one point, it was men­tioned very casu­al­ly that in our future deal­ings with the pub­lic, we were not to use the terms ‘cli­mate change’ or ‘glob­al warm­ing.’ But it was OK to talk about sea-lev­el rise, because for some projects that had to be tak­en into con­sid­er­a­tion.”

    Well at least it’s ok to talk about sea-lev­el ris­es. Just not, you know, the pos­si­ble caus­es of those ris­es. It’s sort of like allow­ing peo­ple to talk about the exis­tence of the plague while ban­ning all talk of germ the­o­ry or penicillin...hey, at least you can men­tion all the dying peo­ple! Bet­ter than noth­ing!

    Still, if some­one could ask Flori­da gov­er­nor Rick Scott to give E.T. a call (they’re acquain­tances) so they could have a chat about the alien clean ener­gy tech­nolo­gies, that would be great. They can even avoid using the words “cli­mate change” entire­ly if need be...tell the aliens Flori­da is work­ing on a death ray or some­thing (it’s believ­able). Just get the con­ver­sa­tion going, because as the fol­low­ing arti­cle points out, while the nations clos­est to the equa­tor are gen­er­al­ly the most screwed by the long-term effects of cli­mate change, melt­ed water does­n’t dis­trib­ute itself around the globe even­ly. As Antarc­ti­ca melts and los­es mass it’s also los­ing its grav­i­ty. And that loss of grav­i­ty means that new­ly melt­ed water on the South Pole is going to start slosh­ing north:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post
    The melt­ing of Antarc­ti­ca was already real­ly bad. It just got worse.

    By Chris Mooney March 16 at 12:17 PM

    A hun­dred years from now, humans may remem­ber 2014 as the year that we first learned that we may have irre­versibly desta­bi­lized the great ice sheet of West Antarc­ti­ca, and thus set in motion more than 10 feet of sea lev­el rise.

    Mean­while, 2015 could be the year of the dou­ble wham­my — when we learned the same about one gigan­tic glac­i­er of East Antarc­ti­ca, which could set in motion rough­ly the same amount all over again. North­ern Hemi­sphere res­i­dents and Amer­i­cans in par­tic­u­lar should take note — when the bot­tom of the world los­es vast amounts of ice, those of us liv­ing clos­er to its top get more sea lev­el rise than the rest of the plan­et, thanks to the law of grav­i­ty.

    The find­ings about East Antarc­ti­ca emerge from a new paper just out in Nature Geo­science by an inter­na­tion­al team of sci­en­tists rep­re­sent­ing the Unit­ed States, Britain, France and Aus­tralia. They flew a num­ber of research flights over the Tot­ten Glac­i­er of East Antarc­ti­ca — the fastest-thin­ning sec­tor of the world’s largest ice sheet — and took a vari­ety of mea­sure­ments to try to fig­ure out the rea­sons behind its retreat. And the news wasn’t good: It appears that Tot­ten, too, is los­ing ice because warm ocean water is get­ting under­neath it.

    “The idea of warm ocean water erod­ing the ice in West Antarc­ti­ca, what we’re find­ing is that may well be applic­a­ble in East Antarc­ti­ca as well,” says Mar­tin Siegert, a co-author of the study and who is based at the Grantham Insti­tute at Impe­r­i­al Col­lege Lon­don.

    The Tot­ten Glac­i­er cov­ers an area of 40 miles by 18 miles. It it is los­ing an amount of ice “equiv­a­lent to 100 times the vol­ume of Syd­ney Har­bour every year,” notes the Aus­tralian Antarc­tic Divi­sion.

    That’s alarm­ing, because the glac­i­er holds back a much more vast catch­ment of ice that, were its vul­ner­a­ble parts to flow into the ocean, could pro­duce a sea lev­el rise of more than 11 feet — which is com­pa­ra­ble to the impact from a loss of the West Antarc­ti­ca ice sheet. And that’s “a con­ser­v­a­tive low­er lim­it,” says lead study author Jamin Green­baum, a PhD can­di­date at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Texas at Austin.

    In its align­ment with the land and the sea, the Tot­ten Glac­i­er is sim­i­lar to the West Antarc­tic glac­i­ers, which also fea­ture ice shelves that slope out from the vast sheet of ice on land and extend into the water. These ice shelves are a key source of insta­bil­i­ty, because if ocean waters beneath them warm, they can lose ice rapid­ly, allow­ing the ice sheet behind them to flow more quick­ly into the sea.


    For res­i­dents of the Unit­ed States — and indeed, the entire North­ern Hemi­sphere — the impact of major ice loss from Antarc­ti­ca could be more dire. If Antarc­ti­ca los­es vol­umes of ice that would trans­late into major con­tri­bu­tions to sea lev­el rise, that rise would not be dis­trib­uted even­ly around the globe. The rea­son is the force of grav­i­ty. Antarc­ti­ca is so mas­sive that it pulls the ocean toward it, but if it los­es ice, that grav­i­ta­tion­al pull will relax, and the ocean will slosh back toward the North­ern Hemi­sphere — which will expe­ri­ence addi­tion­al sea lev­el rise.

    For the Unit­ed States, the amount of sea lev­el rise could be 25 per­cent or more than the glob­al aver­age.

    Much as with the ocean-abut­ting glac­i­ers of West Antarc­ti­ca, just because a retreat has been observed — and because the entire­ty of the region implies a sea lev­el rise of 11 or more feet were all ice to end up in the ocean — does not mean that we’ll see any­thing near that much sea lev­el rise in our life­times. These process­es gen­er­al­ly are expect­ed to play out over hun­dreds of years or more. They would reshape the face of the Earth – but we may nev­er see it.

    The prob­lem, then, is more the world we’re leav­ing to our chil­dren and grand­chil­dren — because once such a gigan­tic geo­phys­i­cal process begins, it’s hard to see how it comes to a halt. “With warm­ing oceans, it’s dif­fi­cult to see how a process that starts now would be reversed, or reversible, in a warm­ing world,” Siegert says.

    “For the Unit­ed States, the amount of sea lev­el rise could be 25 per­cent or more than the glob­al aver­age.”
    Uh oh, Flori­da. Did you hear that?

    But don’t wor­ry too much. After all:

    These process­es gen­er­al­ly are expect­ed to play out over hun­dreds of years or more. They would reshape the face of the Earth – but we may nev­er see it.

    Yep, you’re off the hook Flori­da! At least you’re off the hook for the full impact of all the changes. Your great great grand­chil­dren might not be but who cares about them, right? They’re prob­a­bly just going to be a bunch of ungrate­ful brats that don’t appre­ci­ate all the sac­ri­fices you made for them any­ways. Just imag­ine how bad they’re going to be, lay­ing around with their hov­er chairs while robots cater to their every whims. Might as well pre­emp­tive­ly flood them so they don’t get too lazy. That’ll teach ’em.

    In oth­er news...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 17, 2015, 10:33 am
  3. Back in 1987 dur­ing a speech to the UN, Ronald Rea­gan famous­ly opined:

    “Per­haps we need some out­side uni­ver­sal threat to make us rec­og­nize this com­mon bond. I occa­sion­al­ly think how quick­ly our dif­fer­ences world­wide would van­ish if we were fac­ing an alien threat from out­side this world.”

    Well get ready folks! World peace is almost here...assum­ing the dis­cov­ery of alien microbes can trig­ger world peace:

    The Los Ange­les Times
    NASA: We’ll find alien life in 10 to 20 years

    By Deb­o­rah Net­burn
    April 7, 2015, 1:22 PM

    Are we alone in the uni­verse? Top NASA sci­en­tists say the answer is almost cer­tain­ly “no.”

    “I believe we are going to have strong indi­ca­tions of life beyond Earth in the next decade and defin­i­tive evi­dence in the next 10 to 20 years,” Ellen Sto­fan, chief sci­en­tist for NASA, said at a pub­lic pan­el Tues­day in Wash­ing­ton.

    “We know where to look, we know how to look, and in most cas­es we have the tech­nol­o­gy,” she said.

    Jef­fery New­mark, inter­im direc­tor of helio­physics at the agency put it this way: “It’s def­i­nite­ly not an if, it’s a when.”

    How­ev­er, if visions of alien inva­sions are danc­ing in your head, you can let those go.

    “We are not talk­ing about lit­tle green men,” Sto­fan said. “We are talk­ing about lit­tle microbes.”

    Over the course of an hour­long pre­sen­ta­tion, NASA lead­ers described a flur­ry of recent dis­cov­er­ies that sug­gest we are clos­er than ever to fig­ur­ing out where we might find life in the solar sys­tem and beyond.

    For exam­ple, Jim Green, direc­tor of plan­e­tary sci­ence at NASA, cit­ed a study that ana­lyzed the atmos­phere above Mars’ polar ice caps and sug­gests that 50% of the plan­et’s north­ern hemi­sphere once had oceans up to a mile deep, and that it had that water for a long peri­od of time — up to 1.2 bil­lion years.

    “We think that long peri­od of time is nec­es­sary for life to get more com­plex,” Sto­fan said.

    She added that get­ting human field geol­o­gists and astro­bi­ol­o­gists on Mars would great­ly improve the chances of find­ing fos­sils of past life on our near­est plan­e­tary neigh­bor.

    Green also described anoth­er recent study that used mea­sure­ments of auro­ra on Jupiter’s moon Ganymede to prove it has a large liq­uid ocean beneath its icy crust.

    The find­ings sug­gest that pre­vi­ous ideas about where to find “hab­it­able zones” may have been too lim­it­ed. (A body con­sid­ered to be in a hab­it­able zone is not too hot or too cold for liq­uid water to exist on its sur­face.)

    “We now rec­og­nize that hab­it­able zones are not just around stars, they can be around giant plan­ets too,” Green said. “We are find­ing out the solar sys­tem is real­ly a sog­gy place.”

    He also talked about NASA’s plans for a mis­sion to Europa, anoth­er moon of Jupiter with an icy ocean.

    “I don’t know what we are going to find there,” he said.

    New­mark described how NASA is learn­ing more about the role of Earth­’s mag­net­ic field in pro­tect­ing our plan­et’s water and atmos­phere from being blown away by the solar wind, there­by play­ing a role in the abil­i­ty for life to devel­op.

    “Mars does not have a sig­nif­i­cant mag­net­ic field, so it lets the wind strip away the water and atmos­phere,” he said.

    Paul Hertz, direc­tor of astro­physics at NASA, talked about how future tele­scopes already in the works will help sci­en­tists scan the atmos­pheres of large rocky plan­ets around dis­tant stars for chem­i­cal mark­ers of life.

    “We are not just study­ing water and hab­it­abil­i­ty in our solar sys­tem, but also look­ing for it in plan­ets around oth­er stars,” he said.


    “I believe we are going to have strong indi­ca­tions of life beyond Earth in the next decade and defin­i­tive evi­dence in the next 10 to 20 years”

    So in anoth­er decade or two a very fun and rather pro­found announce­ment might be made, although since it’s like­ly just extrater­res­tri­al microbes that will be found it does­n’t seem like human­i­ty’s dif­fer­ences will evap­o­rate overnight unless there’s a mass alien microbe inva­sion.

    And even if there is a mass alien microbe inva­sion it’s not real­ly clear that human­i­ty will do much of any­thing about it oth­er than dis­miss the antimi­cro­bial efforts as a unaf­ford­able lux­u­ry that real­ly isn’t a prob­lem at all. Case in point:

    Think Progress
    Why This New Study On Arc­tic Per­mafrost Is So Scary

    by Emi­ly Atkin Post­ed on April 8, 2015 at 12:48 pm
    Updat­ed: April 8, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    Sci­en­tists might have to change their pro­ject­ed time­lines for when Greenland’s per­mafrost will com­plete­ly melt due to man-made cli­mate change, now that new research from Den­mark has shown it could be thaw­ing faster than expect­ed.

    Pub­lished Mon­day in the jour­nal Nature Cli­mate Change, the research shows that tiny microbes trapped in Greenland’s per­mafrost are becom­ing active as the cli­mate warms and the per­mafrost begins to thaw. As those microbes become active, they are feed­ing on pre­vi­ous­ly-frozen organ­ic mat­ter, pro­duc­ing heat, and threat­en­ing to thaw the per­mafrost even fur­ther.

    In oth­er words, accord­ing to the research, per­mafrost thaw could be accel­er­at­ing per­mafrost thaw to a “poten­tial­ly crit­i­cal” lev­el.

    “The accom­pa­ny­ing heat pro­duc­tion from micro­bial metab­o­lism of organ­ic mate­r­i­al has been rec­og­nized as a poten­tial pos­i­tive-feed­back mech­a­nism that would enhance per­mafrost thaw­ing and the release of car­bon,” the study, con­duct­ed by researchers at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Copenhagen’s Cen­ter for Per­mafrost, said. “This inter­nal heat pro­duc­tion is poor­ly under­stood, how­ev­er, and the strength of this effect remains unclear.”

    The big wor­ry cli­mate sci­en­tists have about thaw­ing per­mafrost is that the frozen soil is chock-full of car­bon. That car­bon is sup­posed to be strong­ly trapped inside the soil, pre­cise­ly because it’s sup­posed to be per­ma­nent­ly frozen — hence, “per­mafrost.”

    How­ev­er, as tem­per­a­tures in the Arc­tic have risen due to human-caused cli­mate change, per­mafrost is thaw­ing, and there­fore releas­ing some of that trapped car­bon into the atmos­phere. It’s yet anoth­er feed­back loop man­i­fest­ing itself in Arc­tic per­mafrost regions — as cli­mate change caus­es it to thaw, the thaw­ing caus­es more cli­mate change, which caus­es more thaw­ing, et cetera, et cetera.

    What makes this new research so impor­tant is that it adds to the urgency of stem­ming per­mafrost thaw. Because even with­out this new dis­cov­ery of heat-pro­duc­ing microbes, esti­mates for car­bon releas­es from thaw­ing per­mafrost have been alarm­ing­ly large. Accord­ing to the Nation­al Snow & Ice Data Cen­ter, there are about 1,700 giga­tons of car­bon cur­rent­ly frozen in per­mafrost — more than the total amount in the atmos­phere now (Earth’s atmos­phere con­tains about 850 giga­tons of car­bon, accord­ing to the Cen­ter).

    With­out con­sid­er­ing microbes, the aver­age esti­mate is that 120 giga­tons of car­bon will be released from thaw­ing per­mafrost by 2100, which would raise the aver­age glob­al tem­per­a­ture 0.29 degrees. After 2100, if cli­mate change wors­ens, total per­mafrost emis­sions rough­ly dou­ble. That’s con­firmed by Nation­al Snow and Ice Data Cen­ter research sci­en­tist Kevin Schaefer’s research, which took the aver­age of 15 peer-reviewed esti­mates of future car­bon releas­es from thaw­ing per­mafrost.

    Schae­fer, who was also one of the review­ers of the microbe study, told ThinkProgress that this is par­tic­u­lar­ly alarm­ing because emis­sions from per­mafrost are “com­plete­ly irre­versible.”

    “These are per­ma­nent emis­sions,” he said. “Once you thaw out that mate­r­i­al, there’s no way to put that organ­ic mat­ter back into the per­mafrost … you can’t re-freeze the per­mafrost.”

    It’s also unclear whether the car­bon that gets released once per­mafrost thaws will man­i­fest itself as car­bon diox­ide or methane, which has a much greater impact on cli­mate change — specif­i­cal­ly, for each pound emit­ted com­pared with car­bon diox­ide, methane has a 20 times greater impact on atmos­pher­ic warm­ing over a 100-year peri­od, accord­ing to the Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency. The New Sci­en­tist reports that if the Arc­tic gets warmer and dri­er, the microbes trapped with­in the per­mafrost can be expect­ed to pro­duce car­bon diox­ide. But if the envi­ron­ment gets warmer and wet­ter, the microbes that thrive will tend to pro­duce methane.


    So, that’s a lot of bad news when it comes to glob­al cli­mate change. But the good news, Schae­fer said, is that accel­er­at­ed thaw­ing of Arc­tic per­mafrost can be pre­vent­ed if warm­ing is lim­it­ed to a glob­al aver­age of 2 degrees Cel­sius. That 2 degree lim­it is, inci­den­tal­ly, the objec­tive of inter­na­tion­al cli­mate nego­ti­a­tions sched­uled to take place at the end of this year.

    “If we lim­it the warm­ing to 2 degrees, it will also lim­it the emis­sions from thaw­ing per­mafrost,” Schae­fer said. “But the more we dump into the atmos­phere, the greater the emis­sions from per­mafrost will be.”

    Well that was rather Dooms­day-ish, was­n’t it? But note that human­i­ty isn’t total­ly screwed:

    So, that’s a lot of bad news when it comes to glob­al cli­mate change. But the good news, Schae­fer said, is that accel­er­at­ed thaw­ing of Arc­tic per­mafrost can be pre­vent­ed if warm­ing is lim­it­ed to a glob­al aver­age of 2 degrees Cel­sius. That 2 degree lim­it is, inci­den­tal­ly, the objec­tive of inter­na­tion­al cli­mate nego­ti­a­tions sched­uled to take place at the end of this year.

    So there is some­thing human­i­ty can do to thwart the ter­res­tri­al microbe apoc­a­lypse: Human­i­ty needs to put aside its dif­fer­ences and agree to a mas­sive col­lec­tive effort to reduce car­bon emis­sions. Now. Or else the microbes sit­ting under that per­mafrost will fart us into obliv­ion.

    Will we actu­al­ly do all that before it’s too late? Well, it’s nice thought, but let’s just say that a world-destroy­ing force seem­ing­ly intent on wip­ing out human­i­ty does­n’t nec­es­sar­i­ly have to con­sist of aliens.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 8, 2015, 6:08 pm
  4. Just FYI, recent research sug­gests that the road we’re tak­ing on the cur­rent mass extinc­tion is look­ing eeri­ly sim­i­lar to the road that lead to one of the pre­vi­ous mass extinc­tions. Specif­i­cal­ly, the largest one:

    The Last Time Oceans Got This Acidic This Fast, 96% of Marine Life Went Extinct
    April 9, 2015 // 01:00 PM EST

    Writ­ten by Bri­an Mer­chant
    Senior Edi­tor

    The biggest extinc­tion event in plan­e­tary his­to­ry was dri­ven by the rapid acid­i­fi­ca­tion of our oceans, a new study con­cludes. So much car­bon was released into the atmos­phere, and the oceans absorbed so much of it so quick­ly, that marine life sim­ply died off, from the bot­tom of the food chain up.

    That doesn’t bode well for the present, giv­en the dis­turbing­ly sim­i­lar rate that our seas are acid­i­fy­ing right now. Parts of the Pacif­ic, for instance, are already so acidic that sea snails’ shells begin dis­solv­ing as soon as they’re born.

    The biggest die-off in his­to­ry, the Per­mi­an Extinc­tion event, aka the Great Dying, extin­guished over 90 per­cent of the plan­et’s species—and 96 per­cent of marine species. A lot of the­o­ries have been put for­ward about why and how, exact­ly, the vast major­i­ty of Earth life went bel­ly up 252 mil­lion years ago, but the new study, pub­lished in Sci­ence, offers some com­pelling evi­dence acid­i­fi­ca­tion was a key dri­ver.

    A team led by Uni­ver­si­ty of Edin­burgh researchers col­lect­ed rocks in the Unit­ed Arab Emi­rates that were on the seafloor hun­dreds of mil­lions of years ago, and used the boron iso­topes found with­in to mod­el the chang­ing lev­els of acid­i­fi­ca­tion in our pre­his­toric oceans. Through this “com­bined geo­chem­i­cal, geo­log­i­cal, and mod­el­ing approach,” the sci­en­tists say, they were able to accu­rate­ly mod­el the series of “per­tur­ba­tions” that unfold­ed in the era.

    They now believe that a series of gigan­tic vol­canic erup­tions in the Siber­ian Trap spewed a great foun­tain of car­bon into the atmos­phere over a peri­od of tens of thou­sands of years. This was the first phase of the extinc­tion event, in which ter­res­tri­al life began to die out.

    The study explains that the sec­ond phase of the event hap­pened much more quick­ly. “Dur­ing the sec­ond extinc­tion pulse, how­ev­er, a rapid and large injec­tion of car­bon caused an abrupt acid­i­fi­ca­tion event that drove the pref­er­en­tial loss of heav­i­ly cal­ci­fied marine bio­ta,” the authors write.

    So does this study mean we should be espe­cial­ly wor­ried about the phe­nom­e­non tak­ing hold today?

    “Yes,” said Dr. Rachel Wood, a pro­fes­sor of car­bon­ate geo­science at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Edin­burgh and one of the paper’s authors.

    “We are con­cerned about mod­ern ocean acid­i­fi­ca­tion,” she told me in an email. “Although the amount of car­bon added to the atmos­phere that trig­gered the mass extinc­tion was prob­a­bly greater than today’s fos­sil fuel reserves, the rate at which the car­bon was released was at a rate sim­i­lar to mod­ern emis­sions.”

    In oth­er words, the Siber­ian Traps prob­a­bly spewed out more car­bon in total, but we’re spew­ing out just as fast. And that’s over­whelm­ing the plan­e­tary equi­lib­ri­um.

    “This fast rate of release was a crit­i­cal fac­tor dri­ving ocean acid­i­fi­ca­tion,” Wood said.


    The rate of release is crit­i­cal because the oceans absorb a lot of the car­bon diox­ide (CO2) from the atmos­phere, around 30 per­cent of the car­bon diox­ide released by humans,” Wood said. “To achieve chem­i­cal equi­lib­ri­um, some of this CO2 reacts with the water to form car­bon­ic acid. Some of these mol­e­cules react with a water mol­e­cule to give a bicar­bon­ate ion and a hydro­ni­um ion, thus increas­ing ocean ‘acid­i­ty’ (H+ ion con­cen­tra­tion).”

    Marine ani­mals whose skele­tons are com­prised of cal­ci­um carbonate—and that’s a lot of them (think snails, coral), which form a cru­cial part of the food chain—dissolved or couldn’t form in the first place. And that is what’s hap­pen­ing today.

    “Between 1751 and 1994, sur­face ocean pH is esti­mat­ed to have decreased from approx­i­mate­ly 8.25 to 8.14, rep­re­sent­ing an increase of almost 30 per­cent in H+ ion con­cen­tra­tion in the world’s oceans,” Wood said.

    That’s a major uptick in ocean acid­i­ty in a rel­a­tive­ly short amount of time, and it’s hap­pen­ing because humans have burned fos­sil fuels like coal, oil, and gas with reck­less aban­don since the Indus­tri­al Rev­o­lu­tion. That’s fuel­ing cli­mate change, of course, as well as its less-dis­cussed, but poten­tial­ly equal­ly cat­a­clysmic sib­ling, ocean acid­i­fi­ca­tion.


    In 2013, marine sci­en­tists released a “State of the Oceans” report that found that the rate of cur­rent acid­i­fi­ca­tion was “unprece­dent­ed.” They not­ed that the seas were acid­i­fy­ing faster than any point in the last 300 mil­lion years. That study didn’t take into account the new data, of course, but that’s the time­line we’re deal­ing with: The last time the oceans were so acidic was in the midst of the great­est extinc­tion in the his­to­ry of the world.

    CO2: It’s life! On oth­er plan­ets.

    Kid­ding! The extremophiles here on earth will be just fine.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 10, 2015, 2:30 pm
  5. With the insur­ance indus­try is get­ting increas­ing­ly antsy about the cli­mate changed-induced dis­as­ters, an indus­try group, Smarter­Safer, just issued a report call­ing for what will no doubt be a rather con­tro­ver­sial solu­tion for state-lev­el inac­tion on cli­mate change: the calls for increas­ing the lev­els of dis­as­ter pre­pared­ness, which should­n’t be too con­tro­ver­sial for the sane. But it’s also call­ing for chang­ing the rules for Fed­er­al dis­as­ter assis­tance so that the states that do the least to proac­tive­ly pre­vent a dis­as­ter receive the least in assis­tance fol­low­ing one:

    Think Progress
    Big Insur­ance Com­pa­nies Are Warn­ing The U.S. To Pre­pare For Cli­mate Change

    by Emi­ly Atkin

    Post­ed on April 21, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    A coali­tion of big insur­ance com­pa­nies, con­sumer groups, and envi­ron­men­tal advo­cates are urg­ing the Unit­ed States to over­haul its dis­as­ter poli­cies in the face of increas­ing­ly extreme weath­er due to human-caused cli­mate change.

    Accord­ing to a report released Tues­day by the Smarter­Safer coali­tion, the U.S. needs to increase how much it spends on pre-dis­as­ter mit­i­ga­tion efforts and infra­struc­ture pro­tec­tion. That way, it asserts, the U.S. can stop wast­ing so much mon­ey on clean­ing up after a dis­as­ter hap­pens.

    “Our cur­rent nat­ur­al dis­as­ter pol­i­cy frame­work focus­es heav­i­ly on respond­ing to dis­as­ters, rather than putting pro­tec­tive mea­sures in place to reduce our vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty and lim­it a disaster’s impact,” the report reads. “This need­less­ly expos­es Amer­i­cans to greater risks to life and prop­er­ty and results in much high­er costs to the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment.”

    The Smarter­Safer coali­tion is made up of more than 30 dif­fer­ent groups, includ­ing some of the biggest insur­ance com­pa­nies in the world: Allianz, Lib­er­ty Mutu­al, Swis­sRe, and USAA, to name a few. Ade­quate­ly deal­ing with the risks of cli­mate change is inher­ent­ly impor­tant to the insur­ance indus­try, as fail­ure to pre­pare can lead to increased costs for insur­ance com­pa­nies when storms wipe out base­ments and take out walls.

    Mak­ing sure the gov­ern­ment is pre­pared is impor­tant for pri­vate insur­ers too. Because if gov­ern­ments don’t for­ti­fy their infra­struc­ture, the dam­age can fall onto the com­pa­nies. A good exam­ple is Farm­ers Insur­ance Co., which sued local gov­ern­ments in the Chica­go area last year for fail­ing to pre­pare for cli­mate change (the law­suits have since been dropped). That lack of pre­pared­ness, the law­suits said, caused sew­ers to burst into people’s homes and prop­er­ty val­ues to decline — dam­age that Farm­ers had to pay for.

    Accord­ing to SmarterSafer’s report, states that are hit by dis­as­ters like extreme floods and fires rely too eas­i­ly on mon­e­tary assis­tance from the Fed­er­al Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency (FEMA) after said dis­as­ter occurs. Under FEMA’s Stafford Act, states can eas­i­ly apply for dis­as­ter assis­tance. When that assis­tance is grant­ed, the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment is account­able for at least 75 per­cent of the costs.

    Because states know fed­er­al relief is avail­able and easy to get, the report argues, states are unmo­ti­vat­ed to sig­nif­i­cant­ly pre­pare for extreme weath­er events.

    “With the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment tak­ing on such an enor­mous share of the finan­cial bur­den and near­ly all recov­ery respon­si­bil­i­ty, there is lit­tle incen­tive for dis­as­ter-prone states to take action to reduce risk,” the report says. “For exam­ple, dis­as­ter-prone states like Texas and Louisiana are among those spend­ing the least of their state bud­get on emer­gency response and mit­i­ga­tion pro­grams that can reduce dis­as­ter costs.”

    The report sug­gest­ed chang­ing FEMA’s pay­ment sys­tem so that states that have tak­en the most mit­i­ga­tion and prepa­ra­tion efforts are reward­ed with more fed­er­al aid when dis­as­ters strike. “[R]ather than sim­ply writ­ing a blank check after every dis­as­ter,” it says, “dis­as­ter assis­tance must be pro­vid­ed on a slid­ing scale so that com­mu­ni­ties can get a full share of fund­ing only if they have tak­en sig­nif­i­cant steps to pro­tect its res­i­dents from harm.”

    There’s lit­tle ques­tion that dis­as­ter costs have increased in the last sev­er­al decades. Since the Stafford Act was passed in 1988, the report notes that dis­as­ter dec­la­ra­tion have steadi­ly esca­lat­ed — from 16 dec­la­ra­tions in 1988 to 242 dec­la­ra­tions in 2011.


    While there’s cer­tain­ly a ‘karmic jus­tice’ appeal to that kind of approach to pol­i­cy-reform, keep in mind that this sounds an awful lot like the eur­zone-style path of “reform” that pun­ish­es states with a fis­cal prob­lem with a mas­sive aus­ter­i­ty pro­gram that’s sup­posed to some­how cleanse soci­ety of its way­ward ways, that approach may not get the actu­al results the insur­ance indus­try or any­one else wants to see since GOP admin­is­tra­tions have been pun­ish­ing their vot­ers for decades with hor­ri­ble poli­cies and it does­n’t seem to mat­ter, espe­cial­ly in the states most like­ly to be neg­a­tive­ly impact­ed by ris­ing sea lev­els. It’s a bit of a mys­tery as to why that’s so, but it is what it is.

    So we’ll prob­a­bly need to devel­op a more grace­ful method of per­sua­sion oth­er than the “go ahead and destroy your­selves, idiots!” approach. That’s just not going to be very per­sua­sive. Heav­en help us.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 21, 2015, 1:50 pm

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