FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Methane Deathtrap Threatens Democracy

Photo by NASA’s Earth Observatory | CC BY 2.0

A methane deathtrap – continuing Arctic Ocean eruption of ever-increasing levels of methane brings forth speculation of a “Black Swan Event,” meaning society is caught flat-footed oblivious to impending danger until it’s way too late.

Along those lines, The Economist newspaper only recently highlighted the methane issue for its mainstream readership. “The Methane Mystery: Scientists Struggle to Explain a Worrying Rise in Atmospheric Methane,” The Economist, April 28th 2018: “Keeping methane in check is therefore critical if a rise in temperature this century is to remain ‘well below’ 2°C relative to pre-industrial times, a goal set out in the Paris climate agreement of 2015… The explanations put forward by scientists range from the troubling to the truly hair-raising.” (Ed.-“Hair-raising” 100% correct.)

Climate scientists have long sighted methane (CH4) bubbles rising to the surface in the Arctic for well over one decade now, especially along the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS). Problem: Methane eruptions are gradually turning into virtual monsters, getting bigger and wider (up to a half-mile across of rippling bubbles, according to Russian scientists), and potentially more dangerous and destructive, expanding more and more, in anticipation of a gigantic CH4 burp (maybe 50 gigatons suddenly vs. only 5 gigatons now in the atmosphere) followed by a massive global self-reinforcing planetary heat stroke.

At that point in time, The Economist’s “methane mystery” reference will be solved via The Full Monty as CH4 takes a “selfie” in the form of a 50-gigaton burst. Not pretty!

Unquestionably, methane could be a significant disruption to commonly accepted democratic, and autocratic, but especially democratic lifestyles, as well as one of the least understood threats in all of history, a dreaded “Black Swan Event,” or, in essence, a virtual deathtrap.

Meantime, mainstream science is behind the “eight ball” re Arctic methane. According to an article in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (“AAAS”), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) claims Arctic methane will be “insignificant” throughout the century, as stated: “The IPCC considers the potential contribution of the ESAS into the emissions of CH4 as insignificant.” (Source: Russian Scientists Deny Climate Model of IPCC, Tomsk Poytechnic University, AAAS, 15 Aug 2017)

What if the IPCC is dead wrong, thus misleading the public head first into a “Black Swan Event,” blindsided by one of the biggest potential human disasters in all history, maybe sooner rather than later.

All of which begs a multi-part question: How can scientists in a worldwide forum, like the IPCC, be so far off base, or is today’s scientific methodology inherently weak, or is the entire climate change scenario simply too vast for effective scientific coverage, or is the ESAS methane threat not that imposing? Nobody knows for sure.

Yet, Russian data on seabed methane concludes that the East Siberian Arctic Shelf shows “… the roof of the subsea permafrost had already reached the depth of hydrates’ stability the destruction of which may cause massive releases of bubble methane,” Ibid.

So, in plain English, methane hydrates are so close to disruptive instability that not much additional global warming is required to totally destabilize the methane clathrates, thus potentially releasing enormous quantities of methane, as happy smiling Americans unknowingly sleep in their beds, assuming NASA, NSA, TSA and the Pentagon will secure their lives. Au contraire… No chance!

Here’s the critical issue: World leaders, other than in America, depend upon IPCC data to adhere to Paris ’15, calling for voluntary country-wide limitations on carbon emissions to hold global warming below the dreaded 2°C figure (Voluntary? Really? Yes! Oh, well!)

In that regard, is it possible that ESAS methane could crank up temps beyond 2°C dangerously fast in spite of far-reaching “voluntary” limitations? Answer: Yes, very likely and probable, according to some climate scientists, resulting in the biggest Black Swan Event (BSE) of all-time and likely, by default, the biggest democracy-smashing BSE ever.

Far and away, the problem is much larger than realized because, according to Arctic News, “Methane Erupting From Arctic Ocean Seafloor,” March 13, 2017: The amount of methane eruptions are often missed (yes, missed, not recorded) by measurement stations as the stations are land-based and measurements are taken at low altitude. By the time CH4 erupting in the Arctic Ocean reaches the land stations, it has risen to higher altitudes. Thus, nobody has a good handle on the problem, but what is known for sure is not comforting.

The world’s leading authority on Arctic methane is Natalia Shakhova, head of the International Arctic Research Center/University of Alaska/Fairbanks. Her marine expeditions into the East Siberian Artic Sea region convinced her of a major risk of a large-scale methane “burp any time now, ” which could result in extraordinarily rapid global warming, potentially burning off agricultural areas, especially the mid-latitudes.

In turn, the massive numbers of eco-migrants fleeing throughout the equatorial latitudes would increase fairly dramatically, thus fueling more and more extremist nationalism, bloody-raw patriotism, and ethnicity-bashing by white supremacists/nationalists, as warring factions fight over food and water, bringing on the final thrust of a dagger into the heart of democracy, as fascism wins, proudly standing side-by-side with abrupt climate change.

As for a reality check, climate change is already forcing eco migration in parts of Asia and throughout the eastern/southern Mediterranean region. It’s already started fueling fascism.

More articles by:

Robert Hunziker lives in Los Angeles and can be reached at rlhunziker@gmail.com.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
August 21, 2019
Craig Collins
Endangered Species Act: A Failure Worth Fighting For?
Colin Todhunter
Offering Choice But Delivering Tyranny: the Corporate Capture of Agriculture
Michael Welton
That Couldn’t Be True: Restorying and Reconciliation
John Feffer
‘Slowbalization’: Is the Slowing Global Economy a Boon or Bane?
Johnny Hazard
In Protest Against Police Raping Spree, Women Burn Their Station in Mexico City.
Tom Engelhardt
2084: Orwell Revisited in the Age of Trump
Binoy Kampmark
Condescension and Climate Change: Australia and the Failure of the Pacific Islands Forum
Kenn Orphan – Phil Rockstroh
The Dead Letter Office of Capitalist Imperium: a Poverty of Mundus Imaginalis 
George Wuerthner
The Forest Service Puts Ranchers Ahead of Grizzlies (and the Public Interest)
Stephen Martin
Geopolitics of Arse and Elbow, with Apologies to Schopenhauer.
Gary Lindorff
The Smiling Turtle
August 20, 2019
James Bovard
America’s Forgotten Bullshit Bombing of Serbia
Peter Bolton
Biden’s Complicity in Obama’s Toxic Legacy
James Phillips
Calm and Conflict: a Dispatch From Nicaragua
Karl Grossman
Einstein’s Atomic Regrets
Colter Louwerse
Kushner’s Threat to Palestine: An Interview with Norman Finkelstein
Nyla Ali Khan
Jammu and Kashmir: the Legitimacy of Article 370
Dean Baker
The Mythology of the Stock Market
Daniel Warner
Is Hong Kong Important? For Whom?
Frederick B. Mills
Monroeism is the Other Side of Jim Crow, the Side Facing South
Binoy Kampmark
God, Guns and Video Games
John Kendall Hawkins
Toni Morrison: Beloved or Belovéd?
Martin Billheimer
A Clerk’s Guide to the Unspectacular, 1914
Elliot Sperber
On the 10-Year Treasury Bonds 
August 19, 2019
John Davis
The Isle of White: a Tale of the Have-Lots Versus the Have-Nots
John O'Kane
Supreme Nihilism: the El Paso Shooter’s Manifesto
Robert Fisk
If Chinese Tanks Take Hong Kong, Who’ll be Surprised?
Ipek S. Burnett
White Terror: Toni Morrison on the Construct of Racism
Arshad Khan
India’s Mangled Economy
Howard Lisnoff
The Proud Boys Take Over the Streets of Portland, Oregon
Steven Krichbaum
Put an End to the Endless War Inflicted Upon Our National Forests
Cal Winslow
A Brief History of Harlan County, USA
Jim Goodman
Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue is Just Part of a Loathsome Administration
Brian Horejsi
Bears’ Lives Undervalued
Thomas Knapp
Lung Disease Outbreak: First Casualties of the War on Vaping?
Susie Day
Dear Guys Who Got Arrested for Throwing Water on NYPD Cops
Weekend Edition
August 16, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Uncle Sam was Born Lethal
Jennifer Matsui
La Danse Mossad: Robert Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein
Rob Urie
Neoliberalism and Environmental Calamity
Stuart A. Newman
The Biotech-Industrial Complex Gets Ready to Define What is Human
Nick Alexandrov
Prevention Through Deterrence: The Strategy Shared by the El Paso Shooter and the U.S. Border Patrol
Jeffrey St. Clair
The First Dambuster: a Coyote Tale
Eric Draitser
“Bernie is Trump” (and other Corporate Media Bullsh*t)
Nick Pemberton
Is White Supremacism a Mental Illness?
Jim Kavanagh
Dead Man’s Hand: The Impeachment Gambit
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail