Napalm Creek

 The Big Picture

Fracking is a symptom of a deeper systemic problem:

We have constructed a civilization that the planet we live on cannot sustain. 

 CONNECTING  THE  DOTS

The Crisis of Civilization

Film maker Dean Puckett and British security analyst, Dr. Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, have created a thought provoking documentary that is both entertaining and disturbing. Using clips and images from the 50's and 60's the film becomes a darkly humorous critique of America's Golden Age and our present condition.  The clips are the cultural embodiment of our civilization and depict the values and assumptions that are the foundation of our society and chronicle its self-destructive need for unlimited growth and exploitation on a planet with finite resources. Dr. Ahmed connects the dots between the  consequences that we are beginning to experience.

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THE  ENVIRONMENT

Dr. James Hansen on Climate Change

Dr. James Hansen, perhaps best known for bringing global warming to the world’s attention in the 1980s when he first testified before Congress, is an adjunct professor at the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University and at Columbia’s Earth Institute, and director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. He has appeared on 60 Minutes, ABC News Tonight, Anderson Cooper, Charlie Rose; has been interviewed in the New York Times and profiled in the New Yorker; and has written for the Boston Globe, the Nation, the New York Review of Books, and Scientific American.

To find out more watch the video below and visit his website: at http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1

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Game Over for the Climate

By James Hansen
Published: May 9, 2012
NYTimes OpEd

GLOBAL warming isn’t a prediction. It is happening. That is why I was so troubled to read a recent interview with President Obama in Rolling Stone in which he said that Canada would exploit the oil in its vast tar sands reserves “regardless of what we do.” If Canada proceeds, and we do nothing, it will be game over for the climate.

Canada’s tar sands, deposits of sand saturated with bitumen, contain twice the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by global oil use in our entire history. If we were to fully exploit this new oil source, and continue to burn our conventional oil, gas and coal supplies, concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere eventually would reach levels higher than in the Pliocene era, more than 2.5 million years ago, when sea level was at least 50 feet higher than it is now. That level of heat-trapping gases would assure that the disintegration of the ice sheets would accelerate out of control. Sea levels would rise and destroy coastal cities. Global temperatures would become intolerable. Twenty to 50 percent of the planet’s species would be driven to extinction. Civilization would be at risk.

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Global Warming's Terrifying New Math
Three simple numbers that add up to global catastrophe - and that make clear who the real enemy is

by Bill McKibben

If the pictures of those towering wildfires in Colorado haven't convinced you, or the size of your AC bill this summer, here are some hard numbers about climate change: June broke or tied 3,215 high-temperature records across the United States. That followed the warmest May on record for the Northern Hemisphere – the 327th consecutive month in which the temperature of the entire globe exceeded the 20th-century average, the odds of which occurring by simple chance were 3.7 x 10-99, a number considerably larger than the number of stars in the universe.
Meteorologists reported that this spring was the warmest ever recorded for our nation – in fact, it crushed the old record by so much that it represented the "largest temperature departure from average of any season on record." The same week, Saudi authorities reported that it had rained in Mecca despite a temperature of 109 degrees, the hottest downpour in the planet's history.

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Global CO2 Emissions Hit New Record in 2011,
Keeping World on Track for 'Devastating' 11°F Warming

By Joe Romm, Climate Progress
Posted on May 29, 2012, Printed on May 30, 2012

http://www.alternet.org/story/155641/global_co2_emissions_hit_new_record_in_2011%2C_keeping_world_on_track_for_%27devastating%27_11%C2%B0f_warming

First the bad news from the International Energy Agency (IEA). Thanks to a huge jump in Chinese emissions, “global carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil-fuel combustion reached a record high of 31.6 gigatonnes (Gt) in 2011.”

The worse news is that, “The new data provide further evidence that the door to a 2°C trajectory is about to close,” according to IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol. Why does that matter? As Reuters reported:

Scientists say ensuring global average temperatures this century do not rise more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels is needed to limit devastating climate effects like crop failure and melting glaciers.

Darn you truth-telling scientists, always ruining the party (see “James Hansen Is Correct About Catastrophic Projections For U.S. Drought If We Don’t Act Now“).

And the worst news, as Birol told Reuters, is that:

“When I look at this data, the trend is perfectly in line with a temperature increase of 6 degrees Celsius [11°F], which would have devastating consequences for the planet.”

As Birol said of 11°F warming late last year, “Even school children know this will have catastrophic implications for all of us.” If only school children ran the country.

In fact, the scientific literature now makes clear that even 4°C (7°F) warming would destroy the livable climate 7 billion people have come to depend upon (see “An Illustrated Guide to the Science of Global Warming Impacts: How We Know Inaction Is the Gravest Threat Humanity Faces“).

So what is the ‘good’ news? We have has been reducing our emissions:

CO2 emissions in the United States in 2011 fell by 92 Mt, or 1.7%, primarily due to ongoing switching from coal to natural gas in power generation and an exceptionally mild winter, which reduced the demand for space heating. US emissions have now fallen by 430 Mt (7.7%) since 2006, the largest reduction of all countries or regions. This development has arisen from lower oil use in the transport sector (linked to efficiency improvements, higher oil prices and the economic downturn which has cut vehicle miles travelled) and a substantial shift from coal to gas in the power sector.

Actually, the change in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) predated the downturn. VMT “began to plateau as far back as 2004 and dropped in 2007 for the first time since 1980,” as Brookings has reported. Indeed, per capita driving saw “flat-lining growth after 2000 and falling rates since 2005.”

The point is that given Obama’s strong new fuel economy standards and the reality of peak oil (that high oil prices are here to stay absent a global depression), the U.S. could meet its Copenhagen target of a 17% reduction in CO2 from 2005 levels with a pretty modest carbon tax (see “Bipartisan Support Grows for Carbon Price as Part of Debt Deal“). And that is the prerequisite for a global deal that would take us off the 6C path and give us a fighting chance at 2C. 

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Union for Radical Political Economics

Capitalism, Climate Change and Social Conflicts

An audio presentation of a lecture on climate change by Brian Tokar  from The Institute for Social Ecology underscoring the consequences of inaction on global Warming
2TokarCapClim.mp3 2TokarCapClim.mp3
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Arctic ice melting at
record levels in 2012

Developments in

Global Warming - 2009

Climate Change is Real

Thawing of the Artic Tundra begins releasing trapped methane
Extreme Ice
An acclaimed photographer teams up with scientists to document the runaway melting of arctic glaciers.
NOVA - Aired December 28, 2011 on PBS


Watch Extreme Ice on PBS. See more from NOVA.

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 Billionaires secretly fund attacks on climate science
Steve Connor
The Independent
Jan. 24, 2013

A secretive funding organization in the United States that guarantees anonymity for its billionaire donors has emerged as a major operator in the climate "counter movement" to undermine the science of global warming, The Independent has learned.  The Donors Trust, along with its sister group Donors Capital Fund, based in Alexandria, Virginia, is funneling millions of dollars into the effort to cast doubt on climate change without revealing the identities of its wealthy backers or that they have links to the fossil fuel industry.

However, an audit trail reveals that Donors is being indirectly supported by the American billionaire Charles Koch who, with his brother David, jointly owns a majority stake in Koch Industries, a large oil, gas and chemicals conglomerate based in Kansas. Millions of dollars has been paid to Donors through a third-party organization, called the Knowledge and Progress Fund, with is operated by the Koch family but does not advertise its Koch connections.  Some commentators believe that such convoluted arrangements are becoming increasingly common to shield the identity and backgrounds of the wealthy supporters of climate scepticism – some of whom have vested interests in the fossil-fuel industry.

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THE  ECONOMY

 Professor Richard Wolff -  Capitalism Hits the Fan

Facing Realities Behind the Global Economic Meltdown

Professor Wolff  has  for decades challenged the notion that in the U.S. our economic system is beyond criticism.  We have been told for the past 30 years that the best way to organize the delivery of goods and services to each other is to allow wealth and power to be concentrated and wielded by a few financial aristocrats without regulation or constraints in the pursuit of unlimited growth in a world of finite resources.. The Savings and Loan debacle of the '80's, followed by the Enron Scandal, and culminating in a handful of well-protected financial speculators using their Housing Bubble to gut the world's economies  has  sparked interest in the democratic and socially responsible system he envisions. 

To find out more visit his website - http://www.rdwolff.com/

Click screen below to watch video.

Bill Moyers interviews Chris Hedges: Capitalism's "Sacrifice Zones"

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
John Perkins (b. January 28, 1945) is an American author best known for his book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man (2004). Perkins describes how he played a leading role in the economic colonization of Third World countries and the creation of the first global empire on behalf of a cabal of corporations, banks, and the United States government.

 CLICK  HERE to watch Part 2


CLICK  HERE to watch Part 3

Naomi Klein - The Shock Doctrine:
The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

In her book,THE SHOCK DOCTRINE, Naomi Klein explodes the myth that the global free market triumphed democratically. Exposing the thinking, the money trail and the puppet strings behind the world-changing crises and wars of the last four decades, The Shock Doctrine is the gripping story of how America’s “free market” policies have come to dominate the world-- through the exploitation of disaster-shocked people and countries.

"Inside Job" Director Charles Ferguson: Wall Street Has Turned the U.S. into a "Predatory Nation"

Democracy Now interview with Amy Goodman

May 29, 2012


Two years after directing the Academy Award-winning documentary, “Inside Job,” filmmaker Charles Ferguson returns with a new book, “Predator Nation: Corporate Criminals, Political Corruption, and the Hijacking of America.” Ferguson explores why no top financial executives have been jailed for their role in the nation’s worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. We also discuss Larry Summers and the revolving door between academia and Wall Street, as well as the key role Democrats have played in deregulating the financial industry. According to Ferguson, a "predatory elite" has "taken over significant portions of economic policy and the political system and also, unfortunately, major portions of the economics discipline." 

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CLICK HERE to watch Part 2

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A 6th Grader explains the banking system and how to fix it.

12-year old Victoria Grant explains why her homeland, Canada, and most of the world, is in debt. April 27, 2012 at the Public Banking in America Conference, Philadelphia, PA.



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Capitalism and Oligarchy:
A graphic example of how corporate structure invests power in the hands of a wealthy few.

Joseph Stiglitz Sees a Terrifying Future

for America If We Don't Reverse Inequality

Exclusive Interview by Lynn Parramore, AlterNet
Posted on June 24, 2012, Printed on June 25, 2012

Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, one of America's most prescient voices, wrote an article for Vanity Fair several months before Occupy Wall Street was born. "Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%" called attention to the widening gap between rich and poor and its deadly impact on our society and its democratic institutions. In his newly released book, The Price of Inequality, Stiglitz returns to this theme of a divided society, delving into the origins and consequences of economic unfairness. I caught up with Professor Stiglitz and talked to him about how the persistent myths and beliefs associated with our capitalist system help to drive this trend, turning America from a land of opportunity to a land of broken dreams.

Lynn Parramore: An argument has been made, particularly since the end of the Cold War, that capitalism is great at producing things that can improve our lives, and so we ought to therefore tolerate some unfairness. What's wrong with that narrative?

Joseph Stiglitz: Well, capitalism does have a lot of strengths, including producing things that are very innovative. But what drives capitalism is the profit motive. You can profit not only by making good things, but also by exploiting people, by exploiting the environment, by doing things that are not so good. The narrative that you describe ignores the extent to which a lot of the inequalities in the United States are not the result of creative activity but of exploitive activity. And if you look at the people at the top, what is so striking is that the people who've made the most important creative contributions are not there.

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            Why Should Taxpayers Give Big Banks $83 Billion a Year?

By Bloomberg Editors
February 24, 2013 "Information Clearing House"- (Bloomberg) 

On television, in interviews and in meetings with investors, executives of the biggest U.S. banks -- notably JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Jamie Dimon -- make the case that size is a competitive advantage. It helps them lower costs and vie for customers on an international scale. Limiting it, they warn, would impair profitability and weaken the country’s position in global finance.

So what if we told you that, by our calculations, the largest U.S. banks aren’t really profitable at all? What if the billions of dollars they allegedly earn for their shareholders were almost entirely a gift from U.S. taxpayers?


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 ENERGY and RESOURCES

 Peak Oil - Richard Heinberg

In 1956 Geologist M.K. Hubbert analyzed the the way oil wells depleted and went out of production. He created a graph that illustrated when oil production in the U.S. would peak and our reserves would begin to decline rather than grow until all the oil was exhausted. The graph he drew became known as the Hubbert Curve and accurately predicted that the U.S. would reach  maximum oil production around 1970 and that world oil would peak about 2000. Richard Heinburg wrote a book entitled "The Party's Over" discussing the implications of living in a petroleum powered civilization with the world running out of oil. The videos below feature his commentaries.


A Short History of Fossil Fuels

Narrated by Richard Heinberg

 Peak Oil and the Globe's Limits

Richard Heinberg

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Exhausting the Planet

We are running out of crucial elements and depleting natural resources.  To read the graph start at the year 2012 and follow the path for each resource clockwise around the circle.  The number in the dot at the end of each arc tells you how many years before the resource is gone based on known reserves and fixed yearly rates of usage increase.

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