Dances with Unicorns.

ice-age 2

This is another guest article by one of our regular commenters, Graeme No3. We homo sapiens are a tropical species but for the majority of our estimated 200,000 year existence, we’ve lived on an Earth locked in ice ages, which have always had devastating effects on us. Geologically speaking, we’re still in one but fortunately as of about 10.000 years ago we’re currently enjoying what’s called an interglacial, which in technical terms means a brief interlude when there’s an uptick in global temperatures during an ice age.

Believe it or not, but there have been millions and millions of years in the geological history of the Earth when there was little or no ice around. Life thrived in those intervals. It’s only in ice ages that life around the globe contracts and shrivels.

There is a growing body of opinion that we might be moving out of our interglacial and back into a colder world, perhaps a very much colder one. That’s happened many times before and there’s absolutely nothing to prevent it happening again. Should that turn out to be the case, this article speculates on our total energy unpreparedness for that scenario and the possible geopolitical ramifications of such a global change.

Pointman

—-<0>—

It is a truth rarely acknowledged that a young person with good intentions but no experience will believe in renewable energy. When ignorance thinks it bliss, folly is let run wild. 

Among the expensively educated who have passed from school to university and remain there, faith in ‘carbon free’ electricity is paramount. Among the Chattering Classes the same wishful belief, it cannot be called thinking, is almost universal, and reflected in the output from their favorite media provider, paid for by others. Among these self congratulating circles any thought of electricity beyond the nearest switch is of a sort of nebulous big pond of electricity which is always available. It can be replenished from any source at any time, so moving to renewables is considered easy, and resistance has sinister motives. Murmuring base load is enough to get you classified as an expert.

No one appears to know about the electricity grid on which modern life is based. There is no big pond that can be filled or emptied at leisure, it is all split second timing. Introducing unpredictable and variable generation into this environment is a consequence of hysteria based on an unproven scare campaign. Yet these hysterics daydream of a supply based entirely on “renewables”.  Verily, I say unto you “Unicorns live!”

Try to imagine life without a continuous supply of electricity; it is not called power for nothing. Power to heat or cool your living space, power for the appliances that handle so many mundane living tasks, power to communicate and to entertain around the globe. No electricity means no refrigerator, no microwave, no TV, no washing machine or dryer.  There will be no computer and no telephone; don’t think that because you carry it with you that it will work, as the radios linking the cellular network will need electricity. 

Cooling needs electricity, unless you’ve hired a punkawalla. You may think that heating can be replaced by gas, liquid or solid fuels but have a close look at your system; is that an electric fan? an electric circulating pump? And what is the ignition source for your fire or furnace? Is the timing mechanism dependent on signals through the mains connection? Ask yourself, how would you fare in the depths of winter if there was no electricity for 11 days?

And while you’re in a despondent and fearful mood, those of you with children of appropriate age may as well have a talk to them about The Facts of Life. Don’t mention sex; thanks to the internet and those sites you think they don’t know about, they will have explicit, if warped, knowledge.

No, I refer to the real facts, budgets, bills and debts which they will need to know about in the future. Explain that their mobile phone or pad needs electricity to operate the computers that route the signals AND send you the bill. Explain that debts have to be paid and that unicorns do not leave big bags of money at the bottom of the garden, even for plausible politicians. That generous credit means interest has to be paid as well as the amount borrowed, and borrowing to pay the interest only hastens bankruptcy.

Then comes the hard part. Point out that renewable energy is intermittent and expensive, and replacing 20% of cheap electricity with something costing 4 times as much pushes the whole price up, and ordinary consumer has to pay for that. About this time their eyes will glaze over and they cannot take in any more. They probably won’t believe you but you have done your duty as a parent. Take a break and a well deserved stiff drink. Let them exchange pitying glances; in years to come they may realize that you did know something.

They will need this advice in the near future for the climate is changing. No, the IPCC hasn’t finally got a prediction right! Forget ‘Climate Science’, within 5 years it will have been consigned to the rubbish bin. No, this is the real science. In the last 1,000 years the sun has gone quiet 5 times, and each time the temperature has dropped, agriculture has suffered, and a large portion of the population has died from cold, starvation, plagues or wars.

Don’t look at the pious chants of the eco-loonies as they recite the dogma of Global Warming, or whatever they call it this month, look at the actions of those who know. China has a long history and has been through many changes in the climate. They have never agreed to sign up with the IPCC to destroy their economy. Lately they have started buying up resources and agricultural land and produce in Australasia, Africa and South America.

The industrious ants are filling their larder, while Europe and the USA dance like demented grasshoppers. Russia is building nuclear powered ice breakers and casting eyes on the Ukraine – “the breadbasket of Europe”. They’ve plenty of oil and gas for those who can afford it, and vast pipelines are planned to China. Europe needs those fuels too, but will they be able to afford them when the price goes up again? And what will be Putin’s price?

Countries will need flexibility, financial reserves, political strength and credibility to adapt, yet this is what Europe lacks. For the past 25 years it has embarked on a stupid and destructive policy based on a nebulous threat. In the name of reducing emissions they have wasted hundreds of billions sending their industries abroad while spending even more on social welfare for those unemployed and without a future. And the World’s emissions have soared.

A captive breeding program for unicorns would have achieved as much, been as logical and a good deal cheaper.

California has been following the same road as Europe. Overspending by borrowing, then borrowing to pay the interest on the borrowing. Under stress expect it to declare bankruptcy, but it won’t. It will just be unable to re-pay its debts with anything other that weasel words. The result will be the same; a world-wide financial crisis that will end the US dollar’s time as the reserve currency. That will be bad news for the USA, but otherwise they will suffer less than most, although agriculture will have to move south.

There will be no more orange groves in Florida, but a lot more people fleeing the cold north. The rising population of Texas along with the antagonism against anything or anyone tarred with the “Washington” tag, by the declining populations of the western states may lead the country being split by a Union of the Western States, leaving California and the Eastern states divided. It is unlikely that Mexico will seek to reclaim Los Angeles, because that would mean inheriting the mess.

In North Africa and the Middle East not one country is self-sufficient in food, especially wheat. When the World was warmer in Roman times, Egypt and Libya were the granary of Rome. When times turned cooler and the rain bands shift south, the desert expanded. The Canadian wheat crop will be much reduced, even non-existent, during these cold years, and reduced in many other places, so the price will rise beyond the point that the populace will remain docile. They won’t be able to supply more than a fraction of their population, and their inflexible social order guarantees violent troubles. Only Turkey and Israel have the modernity and flexibility to survive the crisis.  

Europe, too, is doomed. Europe will collapse in on itself. The money, the flexibility to ride out the crisis has been thrown away on a false assumption. The chattering classes may indeed not notice any problems for a while, then pass them off as passing irritations and call for “business as usual.”  But “this time it’s different” we will be told. “World wide trade will ensure a flow of food” will be the assurance, so the supply won’t be inadequate. “Wars are a thing of the past”, will be the claim of fools. “Things aren’t that bad” and “It will all be over by Christmas” will be as true as they were the last time they were used.

The EU will go, and a vast crowd of bureaucrats will gain first hand knowledge of the difficulties of getting employed in a shrinking economy. Their supporters, the Green parties, will be in disarray by their widespread rejection and lacking influence, indeed outlawed in some countries. Nor will they be helped by the fissioning of the various states. Expect Italy to split into north and south; with South Italy overwhelmed with refugees from North Africa (and who can blame them) but law and order broken down. Lombardy will have some of the toughest borders in Europe to deter any thinking of moving north.

The takeover by Nazi-like Golden Dawn in Greece, where they invented xenophobia, will make climate refugees even more desperate to get into what was Spain. The civil wars in there would make it uninviting, with the Basque, Catalans, Galicians and the southern Union (Andalusia and Murcia) all off anybody’s holiday list. France is their only hope, and may their God help them with the mood that the National Front will be in then. A few survivors may be allowed to remain to do the menial, the dirty and the dangerous jobs.

There will be a rising tide of nationalism in Germany, which will frighten its neighbours. The Flemings (Belgium having split under the pressure) will joined with Holland and Denmark (and possibly Norway) in a self-protection league. In the east, Poland and the Baltic states will be casting nervous glances at Russia also, and talking with Finns and the Czechs about history repeating itself.

Turkey will looks very dicey once Israel supplies it with nuclear weapons, as the renewed alliance looks east towards an unstable and threatening Iran. They will hope that the internal troubles there will cause Iran to  disintegrate before the clergy starts a war.

Russia will have a second time of troubles, but there their foresight and the advantages of modern technology will operate in their favour. With plentiful oil and gas supplies they will be able to buy extra food. Life may be tough, but there will be hope and they will draw in on themselves to survive. They certainly won’t want to have anything to do with the Balkans and the troubles there. Panslavia is one thing, Pansuicide is another.

China will struggle along, having foreseen the coming crisis. Enough food can be imported because of their huge financial reserves. Indeed dribbling aid and the reduced american presence will lure more asian countries into the chinese block. That said, the tropical far east will be less affected. The Chinese will patiently gain their revenge as they let Japan slowly die.

India will not threaten China. The continued failure of the monsoon will destroy the population and any resemblance of unity. Pakistan will disappear into murderous chaos, which won’t be confined to its original borders. In times of troubles politicians are too prone to think that slaughtering some of their neighbours will act as a pressure relief.

Australia will find it drier north, a help in deterring boat people. A few hundred miles of desert are an effective barrier to those trying walk to a better life uninvited, particularly if well stocked with crocodiles in the waterholes and with venomous snakes lurking in ambush. A thriving agriculture and a much bigger population will be in the well watered south. With a record crop of wheat and record prices, the economy is able to support the many lucky or prescient recent immigrants. 

NZ will be little changed and continue to beat the Aussies at rugby, and occasionally at cricket.

And what of the United Kingdom? Either united or re-united as Scotland won’t long survive on its own in the cold hard world. The upper classes still wonder what has changed. They now take their holidays in the West Indies, where it is still warm, if expensive now that the pound is worth so little. Still, the islands are exciting, if overcrowded, thanks to all those lucky enough to have had grandparents from the West Indies so they could emigrate back there.

The middle classes will be complaining about the cost of everything going up, since the pound lost so much value. The last winter, they moan, was the worst ever. They will envy the luck of their former neighbours who got into Australia before it closed its borders.

The poor will be sullen and despairing. Their life will be grim indeed after the slashing of welfare payments by the Grand Coalition (Cons. & Labour) following the last currency crisis. Tens of thousands will die of cold each winter. The poor never get the best houses. They rarely bother to vote, and increasingly against the coalition government. Surprisingly there may be an upturn in religion, with evangelical churches gaining huge attendances. Some might claim it is all the funerals the masses have attended recently that has brought them back to Christianity, others, more pragmatic, will point to the evangelicals habit of heating their meeting places and the free hot refreshments afterwards.

But the sun will not remain quiescent for long, and warming will start again after several decades. From their lairs in the Himalayas the few remaining believers of AGW will stir. The time is ripe, they will say, and soon the glaciers will dry up as predicted in the sacred books of the IPCC, and the mountain shall split and in great radiance, accompanied by seraphim and cherubim, will the prophet William Connolley appear, riding on a Unicorn. Then, and only then, will we hear the truth.

Yet again they will be wrong.

©Graeme No.3

Related articles:

Click for a list of all articles by Graeme No.3

The steady-state environment delusion.

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Comments
24 Responses to “Dances with Unicorns.”
  1. kim2ooo says:

    Reblogged this on Climate Ponderings and commented:
    GOOD READ!

  2. Richard North says:

    Did you leave out the impact of a resurgent Islam because you don’t like upsetting people?

    • Pointman says:

      I don’t care who you are, whether a climate skeptic or not. The rules on comments here are really blindingly simple. As long as it’s lucid, polite and honest, it gets through. Everything else gets binned, because I just can’t be arsed playing class prefect on my own blog.

      If you have an alternative analysis to Graeme’s, then state your case, but don’t you just accuse him straight out of intellectual cowardice. You know absolutely nothing about the man and are therefore in no position to make any such accusation.

      Think before you post, or post elsewhere. Please.

      Pointman.

    • Graeme No.3 says:

      Richard North:
      I didn’t think it relevant. Resurgent or not, they still have to eat and if food is in short supply there will inevitably be civil unrest. If the Islamists have gained power, then they will be the ones blamed. Claiming that their paramountcy is “the will of Allah”, and that people should starve is “the will of Allah” won’t be acceptable. Preaching Crusades against Europe is not an answer. Don’t forget that Islam is divided into a huge number of sects, Sunnis and Shia are just the major ones. Alevi, Alawites, Druze, Ismailis, Salafi/Wahabbis, Yazidis, and many others.

      Islam was the glory of the Dark Ages with science, medIcine and engineering knowledge far in advance of the West. (Even in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries scholars headed to southern Spain and doctors to Salerno to acquire arab knowledge.) Somehow it stagnated, possibly by internal divisions, possibly by the Mongol assault, and never recovered. The exception seem to be Turkey where one of the greatest men of the twentieth century united the country after the collapse of empire and invasion, and banned Sharia law as incompatible with modern life.

      The sooner the straightjacket of Sharia is removed the sooner will the life of moslems improve. Unfortunately it will take a catastrophe for that to happen.

      • Richard North says:

        Graeme – thankyou for your very well considered response. I assume your reference to one of the greatest men in the 20th century is to Kemal Ataturk and I fully agree with you there. If the mayhem you predict (and I think it is a very credible set of scenarios you present) then if that brings an Islamic Enlightenment there will at least have been one good consequence for mankind.

      • Pointman says:

        There are some interesting things about Kemal Atatürk. He was the obscure commander of an area called Gallipoli and as a patriot, defended his home soil well. Despite what you might have heard, it was a damn close run thing. He went on to define Turkey and its separation of church and state; its own age of enlightenment.

        The chap whose disastrous idea Gallipoli turned out to be, resigned from his post as first lord of the admiralty because it was a matter of honour, rejoined his regiment and served six months in the trenches of the Western front. He borrowed a dead Frenchman’s helmet in the midst of a bombardment and wore it thereafter. All his men knew exactly who he was as he stomped around the trenches before the over the top charges.

        His name was Winston Churchill and he’d survive to give great service to his country.

        Pointman

      • Truthseeker says:

        In WWII, Winston Chirchill continually advocated attacking the “soft underbelly of Europe” instead of going for the jugular through France via Normandy. Seems like he could not let go of his original idea …

      • Pointman says:

        Adolph wasn’t the only one who had this idea of themselves as a great strategist.

        P

  3. cornwallwindwatch says:

    Reblogged this on Cornwall Wind Watch.

  4. karabar says:

    Reblogged this on Tamar Conversations and commented:
    A realistic glance into the future, one might say “The Revelation of Graeme number three”.

  5. karabar says:

    An excellent realistic glance into the future. It could well be called “The Book of Reveleation of Graeme Number Three”. Reblogged on “Tamar Conversations”.

  6. stan stendera says:

    All I can say is I am so delighted I discovered Pointman. I praise you, Pointman, frequently, but here is a little criticism. You are being too hard on Richard North. Period.

  7. Blackswan says:

    Thanks Graeme – great article and some interesting observations.

  8. NZPete says:

    Graeme, thank you for this insightful post. It’s a good analysis which seems to me to be entirely plausible. Whether it plays out this way will be very, very interesting to see in the years ahead.
    Pointman, I fully support your moderation policy. I know it can be a fine line, but I thought Richard North’s question was relevant and I agree with Stan. Graeme’s reply to the question was excellent.
    I’ll be distributing this post to my circle of contacts.

  9. durango12 says:

    The most positive thing I can say is that this is as good as any climate model prediction.

    • Graeme No.3 says:

      durango12:
      Well it is a sort of climate prediction, but one based on (real) science. 5 times in the last 1,000 years we’ve had lower solar activity and lower temperatures at that time (based on 016 /018 ratio and Be10 levels). The last 2 we’ve had observations of lower sunspot activity and low temperatures. The sun is showing signs of the latter, so a period of 30 cool years (possibly 70) seems likely.
      The contraction of the Hadley cells will bring the ‘dry band’ of the horse latitudes south but not to the benefit of north Africa. Think current climate of Greece moving 2-300km. south.

  10. Very interesting read, especially when one combines it with Archibald’s Boycot China site which emphasizes the energy dimension of such possible futures.

  11. Kent Dorfman says:

    Dear Mr. Pointman,

    I love your blog. Spent most of last week reading the articles. I found you through Anthony’s site. The science there is a little over my head at times. But it’s been clear to me from the beginning that the AGW Alarmist faction was at least, populated by dubious characters. I was in college when “The Population Bomb” and global cooling were the rage. I paid attention to who they were that jumped on that bandwagon; and lo and behold, it was the same furry bunch pushing today’s end of the world pornography (I should admit here that I was one of the furry bunch in the 70’s). I think they all imagine themselves as the last man/woman standing. Of course none will confess to such bourgeois thoughts. Likewise, the idea of possibly being useful idiots never crosses their (collective) mind. And considering that they know where the money comes from, that must require some serious denial. I very much like that you avoid the politics of the perpetrators, but allow for the possibility of evil in some men’s hearts and minds. I like that your motivation to work so tirelessly to help me understand what is really important here is the impact on the poor who have no voice. I just like you.

    Graeme: Great post. Getting to know you and some of the others here has been a pleasure. Do you see some kind of Manhattan Project or Moonshot response happening in the USA as the awareness of a problem becomes apparent? Our government has become monstrously more bureaucratic since both of those periods.

    • Graeme No.3 says:

      Kent Dorfman:
      Thank you. As for the USA government launching some kind of project to “change the climate” I think it highly likely while they retain control of the currency. Lately it seems that no problem is possible without it being deluged with money, regardless of any benefit.

      More money spent, more bureaucrats employed, or as C. Northcote Parkinson would have put it ” the Bureaucracy expands to use the money available”.

      The problem is that the Manhattan and Moonshot programs had definite aims and fairly well defined approaches. With a substantial percentage of the bureaucracy buying into (with our money) the CO2 causes warming, the only response will be to try and increase CO2. This will be useless as a ‘cure’ although it may help plant growth a bit.

    • Pointman says:

      Hi Kent, I’m glad you’re enjoying the site. Feel free to contribute to the discussions; that’s always the other half of any article.

      P

  12. Richard111 says:

    Thank you for this Pointman. I ask AGW believers what would happen if all energy was only available from ‘renewables’ and we get a few days of heavy snow? How far will their electric cars travel without recharge? They seem to believe there will always be available power. Weird.

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