It’s easy to dismiss global warming. Florida is not under water. Record breaking snow storms howl down the US East Coast. Africans have not invaded Europe in search of agriland. Hurricanes aren’t the super disasters forecast. Parisians freeze to death. Pictures from Copenhagen show top politicians from Obama to Reinfeldt in climatic defeat. Data suggests temperatures have plateaued. IPCC reels from scandals. Himalayan glaciers will not disappear by 2035 as stated. Emails suggest scientists fake data to scare the innocent public and law makers into exorbitant spending.

The Troubles Of An Activist

It’s harder than ever to be a global warming activist, patron, believer or scientist. One has to endure sneers, shaking heads, raised eye brows from the ever present deniers. U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) boosts a premature “I told you so” into your weary ear. Thus Inhofe keeps Bush’s flame alive in the tradition of the 2003 declaration of victory in Iraq (“Mission Accomplished”). No longer is one is likely to be the life of the party, pouring out statistics on Antarctica’s ice cores. IPCC pay is nonexistent aCellist  On Top Of The Mountainnd the perks are stale. Neither Leno nor Letterman is calling you. Pushing this most boring subject won’t improve one’s sex life, driving one’s depression into uncharted waters.

This is far from the glory days of 2006 and 2007. Then global warming was almost hip. Now, though, one’s neighbors, spouses, bosses and therapists no longer believe one’s mission to save mankind is critical, sexy or hip. It is possibly slightly amusing in a patronizing way.

Comrade demonstrators pack their bags, heading for new horizons and fresher barricades. Nervous scientists switch seats. Lacking the people’s pressure, politicians do nothing to the joy of lobbyists. Perhaps you thought a Democratic President plus a predominately Democratic Congress would live up to the rhetoric splattered along the campaign track? Think again. Credibility and urgency vanishes and ignorance rules.

What happened?, the oh-so-out-of-date activist wonders.

Another Forced Fed Lecture

Are you old enough to have experienced the 1960s and early 1970s? Did you attend or embrace any of the following: Berkeley, Kent State, Chicago Democratic Convention, counterculture, social revolution, anti war, bra burning, Woodstock, LSD, Janis Joplin, Bay of Pigs, Vietnam, May 1968 French upraising, A Flowery Sixties Protestthe Prague Spring and “I have a dream”. MLK was not the only one with a dream. Wilderness Rights, Voting Rights, Civil Rights all came to or matured. The Sixties spelled energy, experiment, emotion and exorbitance. Real change actually happened.

Then, being an activist almost surely improved one’s sex life. In fact, people actually had sex lives after the constricted Fifties. The pill shook the World. The party scene didn’t care about conversation paralysis. Many were too stoned to know where their mouth was. No need to be the life of the party. No longer was it necessary to know which fork went with the soufflé or how to dab one’s lips after taking the caviar. Instead, decibels, drugs, dripping sweat and drum beats filled the communication channel of the cults.

Dreams Die Too

It did not last. The spirit burnt out. Hair was cut, suits were bought. Microsoft stock taught us how riches I Am Mad As Hellbeyond imagination were available without any effort whatsoever. Class action lawsuits blossomed to save us all from credit card fees, gas additives, video games, bad language, marijuana and prescription contraceptives. Welfare mothers bloomed. Welfare kids did not. Housing booms, one after another, financed glorious retirements in Florida, Arizona and Santa Fe. Hand me the riches without effort, sweat, payment or skill. How cool is that?

The spirit of the Sixties became just a mirage. Gains were lost. Idealism was stomped on, laughed at and out it went with the bath water. Revolutionaries grew fat, rich and now worshipped Reagan, the Bakkers and Fondue. Purpose was replaced by Surf and Turf, All-you-can-eat smorgasbords and Infinite Salad Bars. Bras were no longer burning. Damn the poor, mentally ill and homeless. Hail Ecstasy In The SixtiesWall Street, Silicon Valley, Exxon and Eight-Tracks. Polyester was the coolest thing after Afro hair, Barbie and ABBA. The Commies mellowed. America became the Number One terrorist organization.

We all have issues to deal with beyond global warming. Finessing money from the government is perhaps the top issue. Dumping clunkers, getting subsidies for this or that, building bridges to nowhere and enabling GM to remain the last dinosaur standing is the tune of the day. Americans become millionaires at a record pace. The Japanese kill whales. The Canadians kill baby seals. Africans kill Africans. Thy neighbor steals from you just as you steal from your neighbor.

Grim, isn’t it?

Why bring up ancient history? It’s because not only do dreams but so do causes that sometimes are very significant. The war to end all George W. Bush In A Tender Momentwars – the First World War of 1914 to 1918 – led to several far reaching developments as peace was restored. Democratic governments spread, even in Germany. The League of Nations was formed. Civil rights made some inroads. But in just a few years, any gain was demolished, directly leading to World War II that killed 75 million people. To say that idealism disappeared is an understatement. The result was devastating.

In the Sixties, there was idealism. Today, idealism is not among the top characterizations of our life style. That’s why we run into Internet crazies, housing bubbles and financial disasters. It is the reason we can’t deal with global warming, health care or poverty. We let Bush and Cheney rape most human rights for eight years with close to zero protest. Most think polar bears and whales are cute but let the killing go on.

Hope Is Not For Sissies

Then, once in a while, a reminder pops up to suggest realities are, after all, more significant than ignorance. Occasionally, we catch a glimpse what could be if we simply let it. Credibility of a lost cause can be restored if the effort is spent. A spot of hope lights up, suggesting truth can prevail over laziness. These little signs surface when we least expect them. Antennas need to be perfectly tuned to pick out The Icebreaker Polar Starthe good from the trash.

I am referring to an article about ice breaker maintenance, not exactly on the front page. The story covers a press conference about USCG Polar Star’s refit to upgrade crew quarters and dump an ancient computer at a cost of $62 million over 2 1/2 years. The Todd Pacific Shipyards in Seattle, WA, will employ 250 workers on the project.

Both Seattle newspapers carried this rather mundane story. Some of you wonder why a basically ice free United States of America needs heavy duty ice breakers that cost $750 million each. That’s another debate, not due here or now. Suffice to say the US possesses only three of these babies dwarfed by, say, Russia’s seven nuclear super breakers.

It Ain’t Charity

The melting Arctic exposes enormous deposits of energy, minerals and ore as virgin land is freed from ice. Vital interests, strategic values and suddenly discovered traditional heritages must be defended The Gun Boat SMS Panthervigorously. Grab what grab you can. Santa, drop dead. Buy a Manhattan condo.

The ice breakers of today and the future do not just break ice but practice gun boat diplomacy. Gun boats intimidate opposing parties with its mere presence in some disputed area without using weapons per se.

The US famously practiced gun boat diplomacy in the Taiwan Strait at several occasions in the Fifties, protecting Taiwan from invasion by China. Of course, the overwhelming might of today’s US Navy acts as an everyday form of global gun boat diplomacy. But aircraft carrier groups are useless in the far North, hence the need for the ice breakers.

On My Command, Turn Left

Somewhere the focus of the Coast Guard press conference changed. The subject of global warming popped up, not really to the pleasure of the Coast Guard brass. Disaster In The IceBut ice breakers go where the ice is. Ice is easily found in the Arctic and the Antarctica. Given the mission, these guys carry a great deal of on-location, unique credibility about the far North and South conditions.

Ice breaker crews enjoy spending some eight months out of the year in ice. These guys generally carry a reputation of sobriety, reasonably clear minds and a relative lack of political ambition. They have seen, broken and smelt more salt water and ice than other men or women on Earth. They are not scientists eager for grant money. They don’t act in reality shows or receive Nobel Peace Prizes. They are sailors who break ice and cruise the seas. That’s it.

Finally, A Point Of Sorts

Back to the press conference and the actual point, you plead. Impatience rears its head. Suspicion blinks its pink hateful eyes. Here goes. Thad Allen, Commandant of the Coast Guard, declared himself agnostic on the subject of climate change. Not surprising since military leaders are required to be agnostic on After the Ice Meltsalmost any subject. Those turning non-agnostic soon take up golf and discover they have kids, one or more wife and assorted dogs. Suddenly the dreams of another eight months in polar resorts are gone. Take the General Supreme of all WWII Generals, Douglas MacArthur who was summarily fired by Harry Truman because the General was not sufficiently agnostic on the subject of nuking Commie China.

This particular admiral, Thad Allen, may not have spent much of his 38 year career surrounded by breaking ice in favor of a more normal sailor life. But he is, as an example, one of the few officials emerging from the Katrina disaster with an elevated reputation. That, certainly, is quite an achievement.

The admiral continued to state:

  • “Over the past 3 ½ years more ice-diminished every year in the summer. And that’s changing how the Coast Guard looks at the region. For a long time, all we did in the Arctic was science,” he said.
  • But now with more open water, there is increased viability for eco tourism and shipping. Further, “the fact that 22 percent of the world’s oil and gas reserves are in the arctic region — this has become an area of extreme focus.”
  • Asked if the Coast Guard is operating on the premise that climate change is a certainty, Allen said, “Well, you know I’m not a scientist, I’m a sailor. And the most PC way for me to say this is I’m agnostic to the science. There’s water where there didn’t use to be and I’m responsible for it.
  • “Certain things are undeniable. The Arctic ice cap is shrinking. The parameters of our oceans are changing. Temperature is changing. Salinity is changing. We have carbon dioxide that’s entering the water column right now making carbonic acid that has a significant impact on shellfish and the food chain. These are all undeniable.”

There you have it. One single key word: “Undeniable”. Spoken by, according to eye witnesses, a sober, clear minded and sincere admiral with far more real life blue water credentials than scientists in their labs, amateur skeptics in their parka lounges, brain-dead senators from Oklahoma and an ex-president finally able to let someone else deep-six this climate change thing.

Two Alaskan Republicans

It may be that some of the admiral’s comments were inspired by the opinions of U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who also has some firsthand knowledge of the North. A moderate Republican, she was a major sponsor of the Polar Star refit. She wants to build an Arctic deep water port to serve the military, the offshore oil and gas industry, general shipping and tourism. Exploitation, here we come.Sarah Palin Killing A Caribou Stand aside, please. We got holes to drill.

There is nothing moderate about Sarah Palin. This most Northern of all global warming deniers manages to stand to the right of even Dubya. “We need to drill, drill, drill,” she told the Wall Street Journal. Ecology be damned. This gal’s wildlife policy centers on the right to shoot wolves from the air. In fact, shooting anything is cool with her. Polar bears, drop dead. Caribou, get lost. Her attachment to the Arctic is spelled Arctic Cats, a brand of snow machines that she promotes no doubt out of charity. How does she spell the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge? “Drill, drill, drill”. Did I mention the slyest of ignorance?

Hails To The Chief

Walrusses On Melting IceThe Coast Guard admiral knows well that his “Undeniable” statement will not create a better world any time soon. If we are lucky, eventually someone will show up with the will, the answers and the power to tackle the quagmire swamp labeled global warming. That someone will yell “Which part of “Undeniable” don’t you get?”

After all, some manipulate the “Undeniables” to look like “Deniables” and vice versa. Either way, to cynics it is just the means to suit one’s goals. As any skeptic knows, denying the undeniable is a game that can be played as long as it pleases you. Ask Dubya and other sellers of snake oil.

Undeniable Means Undeniable. Get Used To It.

Wait, There Is More!

If the concerns about ecology are the good news, there is also bad news. Global warming is not the only threat tilting the scale. The Arctic may the next Ultimate Border to be as exploited as, once about a time, the US West. More recently, Alaska is the Far Border undergoing massive exploitation. Far North Pipelines

Consider, say, Love Canal just by the Niagara Falls with polluting roots going all the way back to 1890. It took 26 years of FEMA Super Funds to clean up some of that mess. If Exxon Valdez had done its thing in any of the Northern Passages, that oil would have circled Earth, bourn by prevailing currents that do not exist in the relatively protected Prince William’s Sound. Twenty years after the disaster, 26,000 gallons of oil remain on and inside the close-by shorelines.

Thad Allen’s first point concerned global warming. Ice is disappearing, salination is changing and species are dying or migrating. As tundra thaws and ice melts, billions of tons of methane and other gasses are released. Inuit villages sink in mud. Roads disappear. Scientists can’t decide if this is the end of the world or not. Ask the inhabitants of Banks Island in Canada’s High Arctic what they think.

Steer North, My Lad

Allen’s second point is not to be missed. He mentioned 22% of Earth’s oil and gas reserves are located in the Arctic. That is quite an understatement. Both the Northeast and Northwest Passages above RussiaOil Spill From Sinking Carrier and Canada, mostly, are becoming navigated. Historically, both passages were almost completely closed year around. Many a brave explorer saw his ship caught in an iron grip of ice that slowly crushed the vessel, leaving the men to a cold and deadly ice level existence.

Currently, both passages are open part of the year as the sea ice retreats. Neither passage is easily tackled even today. Ships need reinforced bows to avoid the fate of the explorers whose trails they follow. There is no doubt, though, that there will be commercial shipping in the far North passages.

Extreme Focus

The Nortwest And Northeast PassagesThe impact of the Northern passages opening up is almost beyond comprehension. The first major impact concerns shipping. Some of the shipping through the Panama and Suez canals would move to the passages with possibly major savings in fuel. As shipping routes change, the political issues explode. With the passages frozen over, political concerns were minor. That will not be the case in the future. Allen addressed this when he said the North not would but IS an “area of extreme focus” and it is the real reason Polar Star gets a $62 million to take up station in the North.

The military value of the Arctic Ocean all the way to the North Pole is long established. It has long been the hide and seek confrontational grounds of US and Russian/Soviet nuclear subs. In the summer of 1958, the USS Nautilus reached the North Pole under the ice, entering from the Bering Sea and surfacing just north of Greenland. Nuclear subs have trafficked the area ever since.

Greed, Anyone?

Then there is the matter of huge values being exposed as frozen ground retreat. With the passages Spitzbergen Coal Minebecoming navigated, it is feasible to reach these new resources and retrieve them. Oil and gas will be the first target. Fishery and wild life will follow. Eventually, there will be agriculture and forestry. Tourism will blossom according to breathless cruise directors.

Mining is possibly the greatest ecological threat as well as one of the most irresistible resources. There are known deposits of diamonds, gold, coal, nickel, lead, zinc and uranium. Some of these resources are already exploited, usually at a low level and with mixed results. But the vast areas suddenly exposed will change conditions dramatically. The full impact isn’t known but is likely to be huge.

Who owns the Northern riches? The Inuit? Fat chance. Denmark/Greenland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, the US and Canada are not giving any possible claim away. A traditional 200 mile limit leaves huge areas unclaimed. No one owns the North Pole although the Russians placed their flag at its bottom, 14,000 feet below the surface. Trucking On The Ice

China recently entered the race. “China is slowly but steadily recognizing the commercial and strategic opportunities that will arise from an ice-free Arctic,” said SIPRI researcher Linda Jakobson of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, “China is at a disadvantage as it is not an Arctic state but is still keen to have the right to access natural resources.” Beijing has decided to build a high-tech icebreaker for polar expeditions to be operational near 2013.

The territorial claims are not well established since till recently they were mostly worthless. Suddenly awakened governments now compete to extend the claims. The matter is negotiated in several multinational bodies, notably the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Arctic Ocean Conference. Meanwhile, the Exxons and Statoils of the world will rape what they can without thought to the consequences or obscure national claims.

Just Don’t Drink The Water

Unfortunately, these areas, so likely to be exploited to the limits, are extremely vulnerable ecologically, being stripped of protection. An industrial attack is sure to cause catastrophe not only locally but in your Air Currents Carrying Polutio9n To The Poleneighborhood. Currents will carry the disaster from the Atlantic to the Pacific and then back to the Atlantic, picking up poisonous strength by the mile.

The Arctic Ocean controls the climate in most of the Northern Hemisphere. Upsetting that utterly complex balance is not a good thing. At the present, much of the Arctic is pristine but highly toxic pockets are spreading. The Russians, for instance, dump their nuclear waste in Arctic waters.

The Arctic haze at high altitude is the main reason Arctic temperatures are on the rise. The heat trapping haze is made up of pollutants originating in CO2 producing sources thousands of miles away. Humans and animals suffer from PCB accumulations.

One Day After Allen

The obscure Polar Star announcement by Thad Allen didn’t go as unnoticed as its modesty suggests. The next day, Canadians raised an eye brow or two. William Rompkey, a Liberal senator, said the U.S. Far North Canadian Inuit Villagegovernment’s $62 million plan to reactivate the 34-year-old, 130-metre Polar Star shows the emerging urgency in the Northwest Passage.

Canada need more ships in the region quickly, or faces “chaos” in the Northwest Passage. “If we’re saying this is our territory, we’ve got to be there,” Rompkey said. “Or we’ve got to stop saying it’s our territory.”

The Canadian government announced plans in 2008 for a new, $720-million polar-class icebreaker. But a contract for such a vessel has not been signed. At best, this polar class ice breaker will be operational by 2017. Canada does not have the equivalent of the Polar Star. Both the US and Canada have far less capabilities than Russia or even Finland.

Post Mortem

Wildlife in Pruhoe BayHere is a curious fact. Both Seattle web papers (The Times and the PI) carried at least three different versions of this not very remarkable article, published within hours. The later versions consistently downplayed the admiral’s statements on climate change. You tell me? Is this a coincident or not? In the bad old days, one would need to check for Cheney’s presence. Or is Palin lurking behind that corner over there?

Meanwhile, stay cool.

Karl

Two days ago, the Japanese whaler Shonan Maru No. 2 rammed and severely damaged Earthrace, the World Record Holder for fastest powerboat circumnavigation. Earthrace sank this morning in the Southern Ocean after salvage efforts failed. She was currently named Ady Gil after its Hollywood mogul beneficiary. She is owned by Sea Shepards and was part of the anti whaling activism.

For details about the collision event, see the blog post below “Japan Whalers Destroy Earthrace Trimaran”. The blog argues that videos show that the Japanese vessel instigated the event and failed to obey legally established maritime rules of way.

Some reports argue that Earthrace share responsibility by not maintaining proper course. Those reports fail to recognize that it is the Japanese vessel’s responsibility to avoid creating an incidence in the first place. Once they created the incidence, the Japanese did not take effective evasive action to avoid collision. They steered a course too close to Earthrace, whether or not the intention was to ram and sink Earthrace. Any last second actions by Earthrace are irrelevant. The damage and the violation was already done.

Maritime rules state that the Japanese vessel should have either stopped, slowed down or turned to pass BEHIND Earthrace in order to manage a safe passing. The Japanese violated the rules by steering a course of passing AHEAD of, and very close to Earthrace. The Japanese vessel was required to use its horn, radio or other means to communicate her intentions. Instead, the Japanese used acoustic weapons and water cannons to block communication. And, finally, the Japanese vessel should, by any moral standard in not legally, have assisted in saving the crew of Earthrace and in salvaging her. The Japanese vessels neither responded to Mayday calls, nor provided assistance of any kind.

Sea Shepard and the Japanese trade insults about who is a fault. The news media and Internet crowds voice opinions and interpretations about the incidence, the videos and statements. These rhetoric in all but a few cases ignore the fundamentals. Nautical life consists of rules, conventions, morals and responsibilities that go with the seafaring job at all times.

The fundamental nautical principle is to maintain safety at all times. Whaling pros and cons are not part of those principles. Belittling maritime principles and laws by stating some other issue is more important is simply not acceptable. Nor is the insistence to maintain some obscure cultural right to kill fellow mammals a valid excuse to sink vessels. Those arguments boil down to risking lives to no end except flexing macho muscles.

The bottom line is that maritime law does not permit cat and mouse games as played by both the Japanese and Sea Shepard. Both sides violate not only laws but play games with human as well as mammal lives in extremely dangerous waters. However, the current tragedy was caused by the Japanese overplaying the cat part of the game. May international law prevail. May some sense of responsibility spread to the Southern Ocean and its two deranged opponents.

Earthrace, Pete and Sharyn together with the Earthrace “vortex” will be remembered for past glory. We cheered her during the race against the clock and enormous odds towards final success. Few or any of us identified with the Ady Gil, its Hollywood namesake or with Sea Shepard and its lunatic “Captain”. That part and those people will sink into obscurity.

A Japanese whaler caused severe damage to the NZ powerboat Earthrace in what appears to be a flagrant violation of age old nautical rules of way. The event was captured on video, showing the Japanese vessel ramming the much smaller Earthrace. The two vessels were on a collision course with Earthrace moving slowly on a steady course. The Japanese vessel accelerated, steering straight at, or even turning towards,  Earthrace and ramming her. Earthrace (currently named Ady Gil) was severely damaged and was possibly in danger of sinking. There were no severe injuries reported so far with the exception of broken rib.

Damage

The Japanese whaling vessel (Shonan Maru No. 2) hit Earthrace’s port hull and sliced several feet off Earthrace’s bow. The damage it first appeared catastrophic but may be manageable according to the latest news. At best, Earthrace may be towed to safety and major repairs. The Southern Ocean is a bad place to be injured.

The Japanese whalers used a high pressure water cannon aimed at the Earthrace crew during the whole episode. They also used ear shattering noise equipment designed to confuse anti whaling activist crews. There are two videos: the video taken from Shonan Maru No. 2 and the video taken from the Sea Shepard vessel Bob Barker. They are easily available on the net and not included here. The videos are only part of the real story. The net is crawling with opinions about what people think they see. These comments are generally totally irrelevant.

Rules of WayVideos such as these are not perfect witnesses of what actually happened. Lines of perspective, wave action, distance, water spray and much else distorts actual events. Most armchair observers overestimate their marine investigative skills.

The videos show that the Japanese vessel failed to “keep her starboard (right)side clear”. This rule is illustrated in the graph. Imagine that the Japanese vessel is the one of the bottom of the graph, Earthrace being  the one towards the top right.

This nautical rule states that a vessel must stay clear of vessels on her starboard side by, for instance, passing to the rear of such vessels. Any port side vessel (Earthrace) must maintain a steady course while the first takes the evasive action.

Rules

Sailors are acutely aware of this rule since it is crucial in avoiding accidents. Violating the rule is likely to cause immediate danger and a risk of massive destruction. The nautical rules are similar to those of traffic on land and in the sky. These rules are known by most people worldwide. A difference is that a supertanker weighs up to 650,000 tons compared to about 2 tons for your car. An Airbus 380 is designed to carry as many as 850 people. Thus, sailors and airmen may be more aware than the average motorist.

A famous event illustrating the danger occurred in 1956. The Swedish ocean liner Stockholm collided with its Italian counterpart Andrea Doria in dense fog and darkness off Nantucket. Each vessel misunderstood the intentions of the other regarding how to pass safely. They ended up running into each other while taking evasive action designed to do the opposite. Andrea Doria, the 29,083 ton pride of the Italian shipping industry, sank. 46 were left dead. Some 1,700 people were rescued. No legal blame was assigned, but law suits prevailed for years.

Another fundamental nautical rule states that in case of danger of collision, both vessels must take evasive action, with or without intention. From the video, the Japanese vessel appeared to take no evasive action, possibly doing the opposite. Earthrace may have gunned its engines in a last second evasive act, although too late.

Guilt

Some argue Earthrace may have contributed to the outcome by gunning her engines forward to hit the Japanese.  Even if true, it wouldn’t make any difference in marine practice – Shonan Maru would still be guilty of violating the rules of right ways. Moreover, the turbulence at Earthrace’s stern started only seconds before the collision. The Sea Shepard video shows Earthrace backing away from the impact after it occurred.

What is clear to anyone with seagoing experience is that both sides engage in acts of extremely poor seamanship, ignoring whatever purpose either side claims. Both sides play a game of chicken in the most dangerous seas on Earth. It’s worse than Road Rage. Whatever your views are on whale killing, or on eco-terrorism, no real sailor can endorse the events down under. Peace time sailors of different camps help each other by long tradition. Most seamen go to great effort to rescue of any sailor in trouble. They do not go about ramming each other. Nor do they throw rancid butter at each other. No real sailors use lasers to blind each other or water cannons to spool others overboard. Using acoustic toys to deafen others is a bizarre way of greeting each other on the high sea. Rarely do true sailors try to snarl each others’ propellers and rudders in the frigid waters of Antarctica.

Whales

Finally, of course, the issue of whaling is again highlighted. Killing whales is about as acceptable to the vast majority of us as is clubbing baby seals to death. Thousands of animals are killed, not to feed starving humans, but to save national face. The Japanese whale killing program is notorious and condemned by most countries.

The sad fact is that a great many countries and cultures carry out similar atrocities. Humans cause the extinction of thousands of living creatures through farming, pollution, greed, stupidity and cruelty. My mother enjoyed her fur coat until PC happened. Russians today ignore such PC, favoring fur coats, hats and probably underwear made from exotic, endangered furry species. Countless fishing banks are depleted, lifeless and destroyed by overfishing and pollution. Game hunters and poachers kill not just a few animals but whole species. African gorillas and other wildlife are practically gone. So are many kinds of tigers. Global warming causes not just the demise of polar bears but the accelerate the death of the globe. In some countries, people species/ethnic groups are made extinct by genocide by their fellow neighbors.

Earthrace

The Earthrace crew, including skipper Pete Bethune, was saved without major harm. Apparently, the Japanese vessel offered no assistance, nor did they suffer any obvious damage. After all, the Shonan Maru No. 2 weighs about 750+ tons compared to Earthrace’s 18 tons. Sea Shepard’s Paul Watson seemed to suggest the loss of its Ady Gil, permanent or temporary, meant little.

Those engaged in or following the three or four years of Earthrace campaigns racing around the World might differ. Earthrace meant a lot, showing many of us what a few can accomplish against great odds. At the time, Earthrace was an inspiration as she set a World Record. She was running on something called the Earthrace vortex, essentially meaning Earthrace was a people’s project. Ady Gil is not a people’s project. The campaign for ecological geofuel is no more, it seems. Ady Gil, in its absurd black stealth paint job, is just a deranged victim in a distant, deranged war. That war is fought by deranged people committing deranged acts. No whale ever engaged in acts as insane as those performed by their “researchers” and their “saviors”.

This is the battle David lost to the brute force of Goliath. Yet, it is another war the Japanese will lose, just as surely as Captain Ahab did. It’s too bad the work and idealism of Pete and Sharyn Bethune became victims in a senseless war. Earthrace is no more. Long live Earthrace. Good riddance, Pete.

Why should anyone care about the wackiness of a few deniers of Global Warming? What’s the big deal about a few morons dragging a big issue into a morass of non-truths, voodoo and plain boredom? These fools succeeded in turning the potential life-and-death issue of Global Warming into pettiness about Al Gore and, more importantly, about scientists in general. They hail the lunacy of Senator James Inhofe and bless the ignorance of George W. Bush. They echo the saintliness of an oil industry deriving massive, record profits from raping Earth. They applaud the smokestack plants burning cheap coal, as long as such plants are not in their backyard. They are the deniers.

Vague, irresponsible and stereotype statements by the skeptics challenge the existence of Global Warming. Never mind their statements lack any objective support. They still make possible the foot dragging of the US Senate and Congress. Most deniers camp out in the Republican Right wing. They should be out in the cold, but aren’t. The Democratic dominance in the Senate and Congress produced nothing substantial. Even the Supreme Court rulings are ignored. Nothing, nada, nichts, ingenting, rien.

The Siberian tundra is no longer frozen but spews untold, catastrophic tons of green house gasses into the air. The Northwest Passage is suddenly navigateable. Antarctica will calve ice sufficient to raise ocean levels by a meter or so. Florida may not like that. Alp ski resorts stand without snow. Glaciers disappear. Coral reefs die. Intuit villages sink in mud as perm freeze melts. Greenland becomes an agricultural Mecca rather than an ice chest. Untold masses of species disappear, under the water and above. Hoax? Not so.

The Bush administration deep-sixed Global Warming by lying to the World about the findings of its own scientists. China, India, Brazil, Indonesia and scores of others joined the US in putting the perceived threats to limitless economic growth before the safety of the world. Let nothing stand in the way of more SUVs for the lucky. Support your local gas station. Surely we must thirst for mineral water from far-away Italy or France.

The Copenhagen Climate Talks are fast approaching. Expectations have moved up a few degrees from absolute zero as Obama promises to show up in person, as will, maybe, the Chinese Premier. Obama carries a lunch box of toothless promises to reduce to US green gas emissions. China generously may promise to release some data on its world leading pollution. Observers announce such data is likely to contain more lies on top of current lies. The EU dispatches a Global Warming denier as its representative.

No one expects progress any time soon towards progressive action. An agreement to replace the flawed Kyoto agreement is not in the stars. After all, Kyoto is wildly profitable to some of the worst polluters. Obama’s hoax proposals aim at reducing criticism of US foot dragging. They mean nothing as the Senate and Congress remains locked up in its deepfreeze of Global Warming.

A fair share of the pessimism expressed above comes from the might of the deniers. They managed to put sufficient scare into the American people and government. Every argument put forward by these crackpot rednecks has been disproved over and over but keep popping up like a California brush fire. Lunatic misfits keep throwing lighted matches at the brushes. California burns at the will of a few token arsonists. The World might burn at the will of token deniers. Never mind logic, science or sanity. Let it all burn.

On this day of November 30th, 2009, Scientific American published “Seven Answers to Climate Contrarian Nonsense“. You owe it to yourself and your kids to read this article. Do it now. Then read the comments associated with the article. Almost all comments appear to be written by core deniers. Let it burn, no matter why, where, when, who or how. For example (SA is Scientific American):

  • “Global warming has been demonstrated to be a hoax with fabricated and fraudulent data. SA knows this, but instead of dealing with the MAJOR issue of widespread scientific fraud and corruption, instead decides continue to pretend the hoax is real. It is obvious that SA is nothing more than a political propaganda publication.”

Like the above, unsubstantiated non-truths and self serving distortions have swept the world many times before. Africans are born to be slaves. Women are unfit to vote. There is but one God. The rich are better than the poor. I am better than you. I am not an ape or fish. Kill thy neighbor. Inferior groups – be it Jews, gays, gypsies, bloggers or scientists – should be whacked once and for all. Burn the books. Let it all burn. Help us all.

Karl

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