Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Other Dangers of Climate Change

First, let me state clearly my position about Global Warming, Climate Change, or whatever you want to call it. Not my complete take, but enough to give you a clue of where I stand.

It does not matter to me at this point whether Man has created the changes we are seeing in our climate. The fact is, the planet is going through some changes. A brief hiccup or a longer readjustment is beside the point also. To deny the facts of this different climate is to be dangerously stupid. And based on what I can tell, it is a case of willful stupidity when being used as a political counterpoint. Natural or not, we need to take notice and do what we can to meet and deal with the changes that are on everyone's horizons.

This post however is not me going all Al Gore and ranting about the evil human destroying his planet. Instead I want to talk of opportunities and the potential dangers of pursuing those opportunities that have resulted from Climate Change.

As far as I know, all the experts are in agreement that the Ice Sheets found at each end of our mutual rock are shrinking. The effect on our planet from an environmental point of view is likely to be profound. It is the Arctic shrinkage though that will most likely result in profound geo-political changes also. The shrinkage up North is now uncovering that "Northwest Passage" so many explorers were sure existed, but could not find because well, it was under ice.

The possibility of open shipping lanes across the top of the World changes the dynamics of transporting anything from one continent to the other. The shrinkage is also uncovering more areas to exploit for the black gold the World loves to pump into their infernal combustion engines. The Arctic seems to be our next point of global confrontation. That next flash point not many people saw coming thirty years ago.

This reality of open sea in the Arctic has every country bordering the Arctic Circle scrambling now to claim as much of the area as they can and calling it their own. We are about to divide up the North Pole. It's historical neutrality is on the auction block. And this is no game. Countries are damn serious about this.

Whoever controls energy production over the next 50 years is likely to ensure themselves a seat at the big dog table for the foreseeable future. And the untapped reserves up North has everyone up there salivating hard. Russia, Canada, and of course the US are the prime players in this next International soap opera. Each one has claimed so much that their claims overlap. Surprise, surprise. The other players like our laid back Scandinavian friends are quite vocal and have laid their claims also.

This initial posturing is to be expected I guess. It is the way the game is played. Claim more than your share and by the the time the dust settles, you might end up with what you really should have. Or something like that.

With this new opportunity staring us in the eye, the big three are now casting suspicious eyes on each other. All have begun to posture with talk of doing what is necessary to "protect" their interests and rights. Russia has just publicly announced that they are going to develop an Arctic Military Force.
Heated debate has begun in Canada about what they need to do to protect their rights up there. And I would imagine the US has many defense scenarios already plotted. Our boys in the Pentagon just love conjuring up worst case scenarios.

This new twist of an unforeseen consequence of Climate Change is now thrown into the unstable mix that makes up international relations today. One more unneeded problem to make an already deteriorating situation harder to deal with. One more new glitch that tells me the next 50 years will most likely be the most interesting times Mankind has ever experienced.

See Ya..............

(672 / 11,870)


Chef Cthulhu said...

True 'dat!

Thanks for not going "Al Snore" on me. I really can't stand that douche bag. "Well, does it matter that he made a movie based on shaky science that's been diluted? I mean, he got everyone thinking about it..." Yes, it matters. Fuck him, his uptight prudish wife and the 5,000,000,000 kWh/day house they live in. Sorry, why did I comment?

To deny that creating a viable alternative and renewable energy infrastructure is going to take a lot of energy over the next couple of decades is as stupid as denying that the Earth's climate is changing. And even when that has happened, there will still be a need for petroleum. And I'd rather we use our own, and let the Saudis drink theirs.

Foreign policy has always been about one thing: naked self interest. Denying this or stating it needs to be different is, to me, 180-out from human nature. Ensure own survival. Ensure own advantage. It's not artificial - it's at the core of every higher organism's programming. Come along, and we'll help you, too. Just the way it is.

In reality, the Pentagon initiates planning because they were told to by the Administration. And they do so by telling the various commanders (CENTCOM, etc) to do the planning and get back to them. Been to the 'gon many times. The biggest mystique there is "How the fuck do I get back to the door I came in?" The rest is PowerPoint commandos trying to justify budgets. Been on the planning side of things, too. Believe me, they don't start doing this stuff unless they're told to. Trying to work across 4 services each with their own rice bowls and boss while being overseen by another boss with people from all 4 services on his staff who has his own rice bowls is just too much of an annoyance and time sink to do "just because I'd like to be EEEEEeeevilll...". They'd rather try put their eyes out with a cheese stick.

If you ever get the chance, read The War Within by Bob Woodward. Find out how much of the "Surge" idea belonged to the military. Or you can guess...

Sorry...back to the Arctic.

The interesting thing is that nobody has the navy to really push anything. Russia is still poor as shit, Canada has like, 10 or so ships, and the U.S. has all it can handle in the Gulf, Arabian Sea, Horn of Africa, West Africa, and Pacific. Oh yeah, did I mention China? No, they have absolutely no a few years they are going to blow by the west (the ENTIRE WEST) like we were standing still in terms of energy consumption. They won't need to grab all they can get now will they?

Interesting indeed...a compound in Western Australia with surplus claymores lining a 2 km driveway and a sign at the entrance that says "If you can see this, I can see you!" is becoming very appealing...

MRMacrum said...

Chef Cthulhu - I think we are on the same page here about almost everything. Especially the self interest aspect driving it. I understand it and am actually rooting for our side in this. I am just concerned about this new glitch. This is not something that will come to a head in the near future, but with a World finally realizing that we will run out of Oil, I can see this becoming a serious flash point in the future.

The climate change thing in my opinion is real. Like I said though, it may only be a short one. But short for the planet can mean serious shit for the humans who live here. I will say the only reason I want us to stop the pollution is it just makes sense to try and cleanup our own act. Pollution sucks. The planet doesn't care. It will do what it's going to do. But while we are here, it just makes sense to not mess in our own nest.

Chef Cthulhu said...

My Gore comment was a bit of a rant, but he is a douche bag. I think that he and the "new religion" known as the IPCC are very much to blame for the steamroller media scare-tactics that WE ARE CAUSING IT ALL.

I believe climate change is real. The "shaky science" I refer to is that which states it's all our fault. I believe our role in it may be overestimated...perhaps greatly so. I don't think we'll know for some time. If I'm wrong it won't be the first or last time.

My reasons for clean and renewable energy and reducing pollution are the same as yours. Don't shit where you eat. Also, resources are finite.

The thought that "We are killing the planet" is as fundamentally and humano-centrically arrogant as "God created us in His image".

MRMacrum said...

Like I said Chef - you and I are on the same page. The planet will survive us. No matter if we are at fault or not.

The one thing I do like that Al did you pointed to in your first comment. He created awareness. Yes, I think our role may be overstated, but at least he created some dialog.

Randal Graves said...

Regardless of whether it's 100% our fault or 0% our fault, less pollution is a worthy goal. I look at it this way: whose worst case scenario is more deadly? Whatever gets us off throwing toxic shit into the fucking air, earth and water.

In a perfect world, I'd like zero countries to be bringing up more crap from underneath the not-all-that-arctic seas, but since it's not a perfect world and we won't go off fossil fuels until well beyond the last possible moment, I'm just sad I'll be long dead and miss all the warmongering over dwindling resources. Make for entertainingly jingoistic teevee.

Kulkuri said...

Anyone who lives in the Northern part of the country knows we are experiencing global warming. Spring comes sooner (last hard frost) and Fall comes later (first hard frost). Like you said denying that it is happening is just plain stupid. Also getting on Al Gore's case because he lives in a big house that has offices for a bunch of people to work in and so uses a lot of energy is nothing but a fucking distraction!!

We will never be self sufficient as far as oil goes until we reverse the proportions of energy we use. We need to use a small amount of oil and a large amount of alternative energy. I doubt we will ever get to the point where we will not need any oil, but the less we use the better off we will be. Also, Vietnam War was about oil (they thought there was oil off 'Nam and they didn't want the filthy Commies getting it) and so were the major conflicts since!!

Keep it by-tween the balsams.

sue said...

Mr M thanks for stopping by! Bud is my little brother and was doing this job for me. Yes I forced him to grout when he really didn't have the time, and he did offer to clean the tile but I said I would do it. When, who knows, but probably tomorrow! TTYL!! Sue

Demeur said...

Sadly we need guys like Al Gore because being the hard heads we are we'll wait until it's too late to fix the problem. We have from what the scientists have been saying about a 10 year window to change course then there's no turning back. When the oceans heat up and life there starts dying we will follow. It's happened before.

MRMacrum said...

Randal - Yeah it does not matter does it? As stupid a thing to argue over as I can think of. Like two people standing in the burning house bickering over how the fire started. In the meantime, the house turns to ashes around them.

Kulkiri - I have spent time In Maine since the 1950s when I would get parked up here with my Aunt for weeks during the summer. My parents moved here in the mid 1960s. I became a full time resident in 1980. You are right. I have watched and experienced some serious shifting in the over all weather patterns over the years. Toss in the damage I have watched first hand from the acid rain that came from the Mid west stacks and I would say I know we are not helping the planet.

Sue - Ah, the brother helping out thing. He deserves a break from his sister. If he had been a contractor, I would have held his feet to the fire. Next time you know. Follow him with a sponge.

Demeur - He did raise awareness. Ultimately that is what is important. I just fear that any cycle in action now will not be altered by what we do in the future. The planet is going through a readjustment of sorts. Hopefully not a huge one.