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Global Warming Burps, Bubbles, Simmers and Sours On

The Northern Hemisphere saw a record high temperature increase, to +1.38°C above the global average temperature during 1881-1920, during this COVID-19 pandemic summer of 2020. [1]

The Arctic sea ice has been melting at an increasing rate, not just from above because of the now Global Warming-enhanced elevated air temperature during the Arctic summer, but also from below because of increasing flows of warmed ocean waters swept in from the south. The perennial existence of the Arctic Ocean’s seasonally expanding and contracting ice cover may now be unrecoverable by the partial re-freezings of subsequent winters. [2]

The Russian gas industry is taking advantage of the expansion of year-round navigability of the Arctic Ocean, and of the increasing relative ease of drilling gas wells under the shallow seas off the northern coast of Siberia, to establish new natural gas extraction and liquifying facilities. Russia is the world’s largest exporter of natural gas, a very lucrative business for Russian capitalism. [3]

And there is plenty of natural gas locked-up in organic matter (peat, oil, coal) trapped under the thawing upper layers of permafrost in the Arctic. Global Warming has set that gas to slowly bubble out of its cold geological confinement, and to explosively erupt out into the atmosphere from an increasing number of big “methane craters.” Large blocks of soil and ice have been thrown hundreds a meters from the epicenters of such craters, by these methane eruptions, (look at the pictures). [4]

The most recent report on these methane craters by The Siberian Times states:

There are 17 identified funnels of exploded so-called ‘heave mounds’ recorded on the Yamal and Gydan peninsulas since the first ’crater’ known as C1 started the history of observations in summer 2014. They are believed to be caused by the build up of methane gas in pockets of thawing permafrost under the surface; these swollen pingo-like formations then erupt with gas blowing off thick caps of soil, shooting out chunks of ice and soil as large as 150 cubic metres as happened in 2017 when the Seyakha pingo erupted. The newest – number 17 on Russian scientists’ list – ‘crater’ appeared earlier this summer in an undisclosed location on the Yamal peninsula. It is currently 31 metres (102 ft) deep, although scientists believe that it was about 40 metres (131 ft) deep at the moment of eruption, with the bottom of the crater quickly covered by collapsing soil. [5]

Global Warming continues to bubble, burp, simmer and sour. The increasing load of carbon dioxide in the oceans is making their waters more acidic, and depleting them of oxygen. Also, the runoff of chemical pollution from industrialized agriculture that is carried into coastal seas by rivers has created and is expanding oxygen-depleted marine “dead zones.” Some of the former life in those dead zones was harvested as food for people living in subsistence economies, as well as seafood delights for people living at greater ease. As the oceans increasingly sour, marine life increasingly dies away. [6]

A rational mind might ask: how can the tangle of human societies that knot-up into our civilization continue on this Global Warming path of self-destruction at such a furious pace?

We are all addicted, and I suspect locked onto the compulsion to exit life by overdosing. There is ALWAYS an immediate crisis (or entertainment) demanding our attention to distract us from seriously questioning and altering our “inertia as usual” in our plunge into a self-made Hades. Who knows?, maybe Nature through our DNA is just doing what is best for the planet as a whole, in letting us take ourselves out this way. But I don’t find that misanthropic attitude satisfying.

Rats offered unlimited cocaine-or-heroin-laced water (and also unlimited food and regular water) invariably overdose and soon die, if they are kept in isolation. When allowed to congregate freely in rat societies, under the same bountiful conditions of drug and food availability, they live out natural-length fat happy lives. Connection is the opposite of addiction. [7]

In our capitalist paradigm, we are forced into isolation (social atomization) by heartless economic competition (for the 99%). So, solace is sought by “shooting up” – without limit – on uppers, downers and fossil fuels. Big Pharma and the Oil Industry keep us plentifully supplied at Costco (or Walmart) prices. Such a deal.

So, my thinking on all this keeps circling back to the same “solution” to our heavily-denied existential problem of Global Warming: vast and deep social and societal connection is the only way to live through and, in the more distant future, to reverse Global Warming. This can be done. There are no actual physical barriers to the human and societal behaviors necessary to make this happen.

“Solving” Global Warming is literally a matter of collective will in the turning away from the antipathies to other peoples, and other places and other expressions of self; antipathies which we have allowed to be imposed on our personalities to program our behaviors for brutal competition in struggles for economic survival. That imposition is for the benefit of the apex classes of the economic and political hierarchies that exploit most of us as disposable laborers, or worse.

The opposite of Global Warming is socialism. The need for that socialism is immediate.

NOTES

[1] Northern Hemisphere Summer 2020 Record High Temperature Increase by Peter Carter (and NASA/GISS/GISTEMP v4) 17 September 2020,

[2] Arctic sea ice is being increasingly melted from below by warming Atlantic water by Tom Rippeth, 18 September 2020.

[3] Investors ready to put $9.5bn into Russia’s Arctic LNG 2 project – Daily Times, 18 September 2020.

[4] Giant new 50-metre deep ‘crater’ opens up in Arctic tundra by Anna Liesowska, 29 August 2020.

[5] More than 400 sealed ‘craters’ are ticking time bombs from a total 7000+ Arctic permafrost mounds by Anna Liesowska, 07 September 2020.

[6] Triple Crisis in the Anthropocene Ocean, Part Two: Running Low on Oxygen by Ian Angus (pointed out to me by Louis Proyect), 20 September 2020

[7] Johann Hari: “The opposite of addiction is connection”, 9 July 2015.

 

Manuel Garcia Jr, once a physicist, is now a lazy househusband who writes out his analyses of physical or societal problems or interactions. He can be reached at mangogarcia@att.net

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