Saturday, September 23, 2006

Prehistoric Climate Change

Dinosaurs' climate shifted too

Brassell says that findings of a changeable climate during the Cretaceous, a time period dominated by dinosaurs and noted for the spread of flowering plants, could influence the current climate change debate. "One of the key challenges for us is trying to predict climate change," Brassell said. "If there are big, inherent fluctuations in the system, as paleoclimate studies are showing, it could make determining Earth's climatic future even harder than it is. We're learning our climate, throughout time, has been a wild beast."

Before they became the Tar Sands......dinosaurs adapted as far as they could and then they were wiped out.

“What it shows is that the Canadian version of extinction of the ichthyosaur has more diversity that anyone thought. Even in their declining years there were a lot more species that we thought.”

Which is analogous to capitalism attempting to adapt to the climate change/global warming it is creating now. Now some naysayers will say this shows Climate Change/Global Warming is natural. That's true. But what nature takes thousands of years to do we have done in the last two centuries of rapacious capitalist industrialization.

Finally, the environmental manifestation of contradiction is clear, not only through the way capitalists treat common resources, again necessitating state intervention, but even through the despoilment of privately held resources in the quest for profit. In short, capitalism must commodify nature itself as an input into the production process. In order for this to happen, nature must be appropriated as dead and available for human benefit. This is an idea supported by mechanistic cosmology. It gained prominence, at least among the emerging bourgeoisie of northern Europe, during the sixteenth century and at the expense of the now dysfunctional organic cosmology that considered nature to be alive and capable of retribution if misused. Encyclopedia of World Environmental History

In particular the development of Fordism and its resulting energy source Oil in the Twentieth century had more impact than the earlier modes of capitalist industrialization using coal as its energy source.

The victory of the Entente in the World War was in the last analysis a victory of the superior war technology of America. For the first time oil triumphed over coal for the heating of the submarines and ships, of the aircraft, motors, tanks, etc., was accomplished with oil and by a technology which had undergone especially high development in America and opposite which the German technology was backward. After the ending of the World War, the most pressing imperative for America, if it did not want to lose again the hegemony won over world economic domains, was to bring the oil production of the world into its hands in order to thus monopolise the guarantees of its ascendancy.
From the Bourgeois to the Proletarian Revolution by Otto Ruhle 1924

This American mode of production is now the model for capitalist development around the globe and is the very source of globalization which is the source of Global Warming and Climate Change. The air pollution over Asia, the yellow cloud, is the result of mass Fordist industrialization and automobile exhaust.

As the historian J.R. McNeill writes in his book (a must read): Something New Under the Sun An Environmental History of the Twentieth-Century World

Environmental change on earth is as old as the planet itself, about 4 billion years. Our genus, Homo, has altered earthly environments throughout our career, about 4 million years. But there has never been anything like the twentieth century.

The worldwide energy harvest increased about fivefold in the nineteenth century under the impact of steam and coal, but then by another sixteenfold in the twentieth century with oil, and (after 1950) natural gas, and, less importantly, nuclear power. No other century—no millennium—in human history can compare with the twentieth for its growth in energy use. We have probably deployed more energy since 1900 than in all of human history before 1900. My very rough calculation suggests that the world in the twentieth century used 10 times as much energy as in the thousand years before 1900 A.D. In the 100 centuries between the dawn of agriculture and 1900, people used only about two-thirds as much energy as in the twentieth century.

That is not to say there is no solution to our current crisis there is, It's potential is reflected in the current research
into, despite its attempts to create a sustainable capitalism, Industrial Ecology. The real solution is its application through libertarian Social Ecology.



Global Warming

Climate Change




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1 comment:

Larry Gambone said...

Good posting, Eugene. Right on the nail. I for one have always thought the present warming is part of a natural cycle, as we see for example, it was much warmer than now circa 1000 when Leif the Lucky sailed to Newfoundland. But this does not let capitalism off the hook. Capitalism has vastly speeded up and intensified the proces thru the burning of fossil fuels.