We are still screwed: the coming climate disaster


I hadn’t read much about evaporation engines, so this was an interesting read. Looks to be a nice niche technology for certain areas, such as dry locations that need to prevent losing water to evaporation anyway.


Trump will save us!


Two things about this…
It seems like the utility is significantly limited by practical concerns, in that the power output would be extremely small compared to the input. Given that the input is generally going to be the sun, it seems like literally any solar panel is going to provide dramatically higher energy conversion rates.

Second, I’m not seeing why using bacterial spores for this actually makes sense. The fundamental mechanism of this is just “things swell up when exposed to moisture”. I gotta imagine that there are innumerable non-living chemical substances which exhibit the same sort of expansion process. Hell, basically anything that absorbs water kind of needs to do this by definition, doesn’t it?


Massive Government Report Says Climate Is Warming And Humans Are The Cause

Obviously this is news to no one, but what is surprising is that the report wasn’t squashed somehow. Shouldn’t a Trump appointee have killed this thing?

Oh, well, that explains it.


Story out in the NY Times today.


This is… how can this even be a thing?

Tony Cox, the new head of the clean air committee, runs a consulting firm serving oil and chemical clients. He has published research questioning whether recent reductions in pollutants like fine particulate matter and ozone yields health benefits, which runs contrary to the EPA’s position.

Robert Phalen of the University of California, Irvine is a new science board member. He has argued that current air quality in the United States is too clean for “optimum health.”


Explains how dinosaurs died out. If only they’d burned their dead for energy.


It’s been a consistent pattern for all appointments, Education, HHS, EPA, Energy…



I picture this guy walking around with a gas mask that adds a bit of diesel exhaust to his every breath. Call it the new way of rolling coal. Should be super popular.




Oh and:

President Trump has been accused of deliberately obstructing research on global warming after it emerged that a critically important technique for investigating sea-ice cover at the poles faces being blocked.

The row has erupted after a key polar satellite broke down a few days ago, leaving the US with only three ageing ones, each operating long past their shelf lives, to measure the Arctic’s dwindling ice cap. Scientists say there is no chance a new one can now be launched until 2023 or later. None of the current satellites will still be in operation then.


That’s bonkers. A contract where you make more money the more stuff you buy and ship to the site but you’re in control of what you buy and ship?! How does that even get approved?!


Ooh, fun.


That’s some solid scientific prediction right there.


Well here’s a cheery AM article for you.


I’ve been wracking my head about this for years. It’s why I think democracy in the West is doomed. To stop these things you have to tell people not ask people. Another is that fundamentally capitalism and restraint are at odds. Even more fundamentally that debt driven Western economies depend upon constant steady growth (in both population and economics), more or less forever. A shrinking population and a shrinking GDP spell disaster to modern economic theories. And this is where ostensibly you have reasonable, secure nations making rational decisions, and not marginal economies doing whatever they can to get by.

Worse though is that the levers of power have been taken away from protesters - like, what’s the point of participating in a protest. Millions of people in the West attend protests and they are often utterly ignored as if nothing happened at all. The form of protest we need to start doing is something more… directly political. Refusing to pay taxes, refusing to work, refusing to participate in the system. Get tens of thousands of people to park their cars on freeways and stop all traffic in a major metropolitan area, ect. That would get attention at least… honestly i try not to think about it too much. Driving by the burned out remnants of the Lost Pines after the heat wave in 2011, or watching glaciers in Iceland retreat measurably from even the last Eyjafjallajökull eruption a few years ago brings me a kind of existential crisis feeling. But what can i do? I can’t stop from dying one day, and there’s not a lot i can do now to stop this… I guess I could try and take over the world.

I feel like participating in modern environmental movements is, to use a horrible phrase out of context, something like white knighting, or guilt aversion. It helps you sleep at night knowing you put the effort into a campaign you’ve always known was doomed to fail, but at least you tried. I don’t mind fighting at Thermopylae… but i don’t want to fight in the Somme.


I read a reddit exchange from a while back that captured this feeling (thread is on an article about a large reforestation project;) After getting my environmental studies degree I arrived at the same conclusion (more or less.) Which doesn’t mean I don’t contribute financially, but a day doesn’t go by that I don’t read some horror story.

Post 1:
It’s a positive contribution but in the scheme of things people are going to need to get a lot more involved. To help put it into some perspective: According to wikipedia “Between May 2000 and August 2006, Brazil lost nearly 150,000 square kilometers of forest”, or 23,696.68 sq kilometres a year over the period. A soccer pitch must measure a minimum of 45 x 90 metres, and therefore would have a minimum area of 4,050 m2. 30,000 football pitches would therefore cover a minimum area of 121,500,000 m2 or 121.5 square kilometres. 121.5 sq km is approximately 1.83 days of rainforest replaced.

Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research suggested 2,000,000 acres were lost between July and August 2015/2016 or 8,094 sq km. At that rate, the 30,000 football fields would replace 5.47 days. And, around the world we are losing 80,000 acres and degrading a further 80,000 acres a day. That’s 647 sq kilometres a day destroyed or degraded. This measure will replace 4.5 hours. I’ll let someone else come along and correct my stab or make it more accurate.

Reply 1:
I was excited but after reading this I’m now hopeless.

Reply 2:
You should be. The sad truth is that there is actually no hope of arresting, let alone reversing, environmental damage. Knowing this rapidly leads to fatalism. The environmental movement are aware of this, and wisely avoid the kind of contextual information that the guy doing the back of an envelope calculation at the top of this thread provided - they know it makes people feel despair.

This is not to say we should do nothing. But we should continue to expect everything to get worse - a lot worse - for the rest of our lives. We have made not one iota of progress in reducing emissions, ending habitat destruction, deforestation or altering the course of climate change. Nothing has been achieved in thirty five years of effort. Only, perhaps at most, a marginal reduction in the rate at which this damage is accelerating.:


Oh and from 2013. I meant to do a long post about this but for now just a link:


For those hoping our technical ingenuity might save our bacon.