Thursday, September 24, 2009

GEOENGINEERING: Bye Bye Blue Skies

Excuse me. Do you mind if I turn your blue skies white? Why spend all that money on wind farms and insulation? Keep on driving, brothers and sisters, because Big Science is going to fix global warming.

While they talk up a new Manhattan project to block out the Sun, it's another year of multi-billion dollar profits for the coal and oil companies. Stall, stall, stall, while the money rolls in!

Welcome to Radio Ecoshock. I'm Alex Smith. In this program, we'll dig into geoengineering - the industrialization of the climate. You'll hear top climate scientist Alan Robock. He's got a laundry list of reasons why trying to control the climate may not be such a good idea. Diana Bronson of the ETCgroup joins us, to counter the Academies and think tanks pushing geoengineering.

GEOENGINEERING LINK FEST (for this program)

Alan Robock's reply to Bjorn Lomborg, Eric Brickell and Lee Lane's "science" of geoengineering (at realclimate.org).


Royal Society press release and report "Stop emitting CO2 or geoengineering could be our only hope." 28 Aug 2009


Bjorn Lomborg's geoengineering article in the UK Telegraph


Bjorn Lomborg's errors site: A comprehensive list of errors and flaws in Bjorn Lomborg´s book: The Skeptical Environmentalist, compiled by biologist Kaare Fog


Bjorn Lomborg's own site


From Joe Romm's Climate Progress blog: British coal flack doubts global warming, but says let's use geoengineering so we don't have to stop burning carbon...


Scientist Ken Caldeira's response to the Lomborg Report (via climateprogress.org)


ETCgroup's main site


ETCgroup press release "The Royal Society’s Report on Geoengineering the Climate: Geoengineering or Geopiracy?"


Risks of geoengineering to precipitation changes - Susan Solomon via climateprogress.org

Music: "Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth" by Neko Case and "See You in The Sun" by Shane Philip (Canadian content).

In this week's program won't hear Bjorn Lomborg - the self-styled "skeptical environmentalist" now pushing projects to reduce the Sun's rays reaching Earth. I invited Mr. Lomborg to do an interview, but he was too busy. I believe he is busy. Lomborg has op-eds and interviews going in all the major media. Newsweek and Time magazine love him. Newspapers print his words uncritically.

In early September, Lomborg was at the White House to meet Joe Aldy, special assistant to the president for energy and the environment.

Bjorn Lomborg knows the major governments of the world, the IPCC, and all those other carbon cutters - are on the wrong track. Lomborg doesn't dispute that rapid global warming is upon us. But cutting greenhouse gas emissions is much too expensive he says. Citing a report written for his organization, called the "Copenhagen Consensus" - Bjorn Lomborg has a half dozen good reasons why we should just keep on burning gas, oil, and coal.

Say what?

READ MORE

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Gas Pump Blues - for 100,000 Years

They're on practically every corner. Some people feel nervous at the gas pump. Others are outraged. Everybody knows prices are going nowhere but up.

Did you know a gallon of gas weighs about 6 pounds - or 2.7 kilos? Almost all of it - 5 pounds, 2.2 kilos - goes straight into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, out the exhaust pipe. And that substantial weight, for every additional gallon or liter we burn, remains as CO2 for 100,000 years.

Don't believe it? Stay tuned. We'll talk with David Archer, a top climate scientist. He's the author of "The Long Thaw". That's what we're living in, the time all humans will live in, for ten times the length of all history. In our second half hour.

First, I want to know: when does the oil society seize up? What happens to the American way of life, if gasoline goes to $7 a gallon? That's what financial expert Jeff Rubin predicts. Think that's tough? What about $20 a gallon?

We're going to dive right into an interview with Chris Steiner. Christopher Steiner is senior staff reporter at Forbes magazine. His new book is Twenty Dollars per Gallon: How the inevitable rise in the price of gasoline will change our lives - for the better.

READ MORE
with more links.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

ECOCIDE OR ACTIVISM?

Obviously it's pointless. We are doomed.

Or it that just a frightened voice inside, knowing what we know?

Social failure rears it's ugly head, as half million more Americans, and countless millions more around the world, head home, if they have one. You are no longer valued. Kiss consumerism, and your future plans, good-bye.

That's all good for nature, who needs a break, but still heartless to see it in motion, with real people - people who will work hard, who want a role.

All this breakup of the fraudulent financial system takes place against a backdrop of climate pessimism. The bad news keeps piling up, and you'll hear in a series of interviews coming up on Radio Ecoshock this Fall.

What to do?

After I have my mandatory weekly nervous breakdown - we get a report from Europe, as I chat with UK radio host Phil England. We hear about climate camps in Britain, and around the world. In the U.S., they may be called "convergence camps", and Greenpeace Canada has their own series of actvist training going. These instant meetings, with hundreds of workshops, are popping up all over.

Then, despite my admitted apathy, we wonder whether political negotiators at the Copenhagen climate conference this December - will they really have the guts to do the right thing? Will they set a carbon limit that could preserve the Arctic, for example - or will they hand all the hard work off to the next generation (when it's too late)??

There is one way you and I can push these old-school energy hustlers, so they know we are awake and watching. Bill McKibben is the center of a world-wide day of action, coming up October 24th. You can find out what is going on in your area by going to 350.org. Use that as a tool to wake up all your friends. You can join an existing parade, or dream up some creative attention-getting action of your own.

I've peppered this week's show with quotes from a speech McKibben gave April 30th, 2009 in Dunedin, New Zealand. The version I used came from this great program (12 MB 53 min Lo-Fi) edited by the legendary Pacifica host C.S. Soong. I admire his "Against the Grain" program, and his contributions to other shows, like Terra Verde.

If you live through all that - the reward is one of my favorite interviews ever. I chew over our dim prospects with one of America's really witty authors and social commentators: Joe Bageant.

Joe's best seller was "Deer Hunting With Jesus" - a kind of personalized, slightly gonzo investigation into the poor underclass of America. I read every essay Joe posts on his blog. We delve into ecocide, and the ticklish problem of whether a heavily brainwashed American public has the tools to understand the damage around us.

Joe Bageant makes people laugh, makes them angry, makes them think. That kind of writer/thinker is very valuable. Enjoy the interview. I did.

Music this week: in honor of Phil England - "London Calling" by the Clash. "London calling" used to be the call signal for the BBC World Service, back in the day. But I couldn't find a clip of those words, in the old empire voice for the show! Not on youtube, not on the BBC archive site, not on archive.org. Surely those classic words have not disappeared! If you know where to get an audio clip of the "London calling" opening to the old BBC, like 1950's or before, please drop me a line at:
radio [at] ecoshock.org.

Also: a small clip from "Get Off Your Ass" by Gene Burnett, found on youtube. A theme of this show, I suppose. It's time to get going, or die off.

I'll be asking you - what are you going to do October 24th? We need to make "350" an international sensation, right quick. While there's still time to draft a climate treaty - a treaty with nature, peace with the atmosphere.

Alex Smith
Radio Ecoshock

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

WHEN THE GREAT CORRECTION COMES

This is Alex Smith.

In this new start to the Fall 2009 season, we thrash out the triple crisis with Jan Lundberg, a former oil and gas industry expert. I say former, because he left "the Lundberg Oil and Gas Letter" in the late '80's, to become a voice for change. Jan's been an early warner on Peak Oil and our energy dependency. He also knows that climate change is going to change the human game, more or less forever.

Despite the California fires, the new tent cities, and car company bankruptcies, Lundberg is an incurable optimist. He's long left his car behind to work on better alternatives. Today we'll talk about the unstoppable changes coming our way. The transition towns, super-low energy consumers, people with vision.

A lot of them gather around Jan Lundberg's blog, simply called culturechange.org.

After our full-length interview, I toss in my challenge to listeners: in what year will the human race become extinct? In a speech at New York's Green Fest 2009, John Doscher predicted 2033. That seems so soon! I'll barely have my student loan repaid by then!

Doscher's ideas about over-fishing leading to ocean dead zones, followed by blasts of methane and hydrogen sulfide from de-composing algae - seem so crazy. Not that I can't find genuine scientists who say the same. On Canada's East Coast, Dr. Boris Worms predicted sea food, the stuff we eat, will become extinct by 2048. In an earlier Radio Ecoshock interview, Dr. Peter Ward said hydrogen sulfide, from a de-oxygenated ocean, may have killed off 90% of life on the planet, in one of the past great die-offs.

In August, the Chief Science adviser to the UK government, Sir John Beddington, says 2030 will be a crisis point for humans. That's because we'll have 8 billion people, needing twice the food we now supply. With half the water we now have.

Beddington warns of hideous starvation, forced mass migrations, and climate ravaged lands. But...being a government man, he still thinks humanity will come out of it alive.

That's all in my radio review of Doscher's speech - which was broadcast on another 20 stations in Lynn Gary's fabulous underground program "Unwelcome Guests".

I'm gathering predictions. If you've found someone setting the Big Date for the end of human life as we know it, please send a link to your source to radio [at] ecoshock.org. It could be a future program. Meanwhile, in the radio program, I have a little fun with the end of the world.

BUT THE MAIN ATTRACTION IS:

In part one of our wide-ranging discussion, Jan Lundberg explains how a burp in our oil supply line could multiply into a widespread economic and social breakdown, in weeks or even days - no matter how much oil is still in the ground somewhere.

Then we go for more answers. Are we building lifeboats for a fortunate few, or are these seeds of a whole new society?

Our theme music today is "The Great Correction" by Eliza Gilkyson. I've put in a request to interview Gilkyson, who more than paid her dues getting the real raw into her music. Check out her myspace page for classics like "Runaway Train" and "The Party's Over".


UPCOMING SHOWS

Speaking of fossil fuel funerals, we've got some great guests coming up for you. Richard Heinberg, the original "The Party's Over" guy, will tell us about his new book "Blackout". Everybody figures when the oil runs out, we'll keep the lights on with dirty old coal. Think again. Heinberg says those coal reserves aren't there, and we couldn't burn them if they were.

Or what if gas goes to $10 a gallon? $20? Author Christopher Steiner will tell us about his new book. From the UK, Jeremy Leggett talks dead oil and living the solar life. Scientist Alan Robock is set to join us. We'll talk about the end of blue skies. Ready for another white-out day?

We'll also talk poor white trash and ecocide with gonzo writer Joe Bageant, author of "Deer Hunting With Jesus" - coming up next week.

Join us next week for Joe Bageant, one the most unusual, and fun interviews I've ever done.

And grab a whole bunch of past Radio Ecoshock shows, as free mp3 downloads, from our web site, ecoshock.org.

Thanks for listening.

Alex