90. Antarctic Glaciers, Synthetic Carbon Fuel, Soil Carbon and Price Signals


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Sleeping Ice Giants Stir — East Antarctica’s Totten Glacier Accelerates Toward Southern Ocean — robertscribbler


A Flood of Warm Water the Size of 30 Amazon Rivers is Melting One of East Antarctica’s Largest Glaciers


Earth enters fifth year of devastating heat: World Meteorological Organisation — Kemal Atlay


New study: Individual actions against climate change DO matter! — elena suglia


“Building #solar and #wind farms has started to become a cheaper proposition than running aging #coal and #nuclear generators” — Bloomberg — Coyote Gulch


Record low electricity demand in South Australia, due to rooftop solar — Antinuclear


Carbon Recycling Technology — Clean Energy Diary


Soil: The Hidden Weapon Against Climate Change — Agrication



This is the World Organic News for the week ending 13th of November 2017.

Jon Moore reporting!

I’ll begin this week with a big thank you to Calamari87 writing for Aussie Gardeners who left an uplifting review of this podcast on the Australian iTunes store back on 30 October. Thank you so much. Given there are over 180 odd national iTunes stores around the world I don’t always get to check each of them every week. If you’ve left a review and I haven’t yet given you a shout out, I will get to you, in the meantime, thank you!

So this week we are focusing upon two main themes which coalesce into one.

To begin we have a post from robertscribbler: Sleeping Ice Giants Stir — East Antarctica’s Totten Glacier Accelerates Toward Southern Ocean.


East Antarctica. Home to most of the world’s remaining land ice. Scientists previously thought that this last bastion of somewhat stable ice in the world would only slowly succumb to the slings and arrows of human-caused climate change. That its ice giants would still sleep for some time — giving the world more time to stave off or avoid worsening rates of sea level rise. Unfortunately, new evidence reveals that this is not the case. That the best time to act on sea level rise was 20+ years ago, and that the second best time to act, in cutting fossil fuel based CO2 emissions, is now.

End Quote.

A bit like the chinese proverb relating to the best time to plant a tree, twenty years ago and the second best time is now, this post highlights the dangers to cities across the globe. Whilst reams of words have been spilt on the melting of the arctic ocean’s ice cover, it have little if any effect on sea levels. Why? Because much of that ice is over water. As we all know, when a glass of liquid water with ice cubes is left alone, the melting of the ice cubes does not raise the level of liquid in the glass. This is arctic situation. In the southern hemisphere, the south pole is on a continent, an ice covered continent. Similar to the glacial situation during the last ice age, or more correctly, glacial period, sea levels were up to 100 metres lower. So land bridges existed across the Bering Strait, between the Australian mainland and Tasmania and the UK was connected to the European mainland. As those glaciers melted the current landforms we know and love were formed.

As the Antarctic glaciers, the sleeping ice giants of the quote, get mobile, we are in deep schtum.

Another quote:

Researchers found that combined warm winds and encroaching warmer ocean currents had caused the glacier to speed up by 5 percent during the period of 2000 to 2006. This acceleration means that the vast glacier — home to enough ice to raise seas by 11-13 feet — is melting faster. It also means that the glacier is starting to succumb to the tremendous global heat forcing provided by human fossil fuel burning around the world. We should caution that this report covers a period from more than a decade ago. And since that time, human-forced global warming has considerably advanced.

End Quote

So while many people have been arguing about the survival of polar bears and the probability of oil drill in the arctic seas, the antarctic glaciers and been waking and we should be too.

To keep the cheery news flowing Kemal Atlay posts that the Earth enters fifth year of devastating heat: World Meteorological Organisation.

Following the links we arrive at the News Daily site and the following worrying quote:


The last five years are set to be the hottest on record, according to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).

In an official statement released on Monday at the opening of the United Nations COP23 climate change conference in Bonn, Germany, the WMO said 2013 to 2017 would break records, which is significant given 2017 did not experience the El Niño boost.

End Quote

Before we all run to happy places and pretend none of this is real, we can take steps.

A post from elena suglia entitled: New study: Individual actions against climate change DO matter! I’d like to point out that elena is an ecologist and science communicator, a link to her blog is in the show notes.

From this post:


researchers found that behavioral shifts could be faster than waiting for national climate policies and widespread energy transformations. As far as I know, this is the very first comprehensive analysis on the effectiveness of specific individual climate actions.

End Quote

There is a handy infographic illustrating what we can do. I’ll post it in the show notes on the blog site.

There is indeed hope. From the blog Agrication comes the post: Soil: The Hidden Weapon Against Climate Change.

Now, not surprisingly to long term listeners, the soil is the hope of the world, if and only if, we stop treating it as a widget in an industrial system. The damage done has been horrific.

Since the introduction of industrialized farming methods, the percentage of fertile soil has dramatically decreased. While the amount of cultivated land globally has increased, it’s lost nearly 70% of it’s[sic] original carbon stock and only 3% of American Tall Prairie Grass remain.

End Quote

There’s a number to contemplate, 70% of its original carbon stock.

The post goes on to point out that continuing along the industrial path is nothing more than the route to Malthusian famine and no one wants a famine, ever. The point with famines in the twenty first century and for the past two or three centuries is that they are entirely man made and I use the word man consciously.

We can change to soil nurturing ways, we can feed everyone on the planet at the moment and into the future. Wars, political choices, economic gouging and plain old fashioned disregard for others are the main causes of famine and have been since about 1700.

I’ve covered the various ways we can add more carbon to the soils of the world in previous episodes but I found a post this week on the blog  Clean Energy Diary entitled: Carbon Recycling Technology.


CRT synthesizes a synthetic fuel CH4, a Hydrocarbon known as SNG (synthetic natural gas) using Carbon from CO2 emissions of gas based power plants and renewable Hydrogen generated using renewable energy sources such as Hydro/solar/wind /biomass/geothermal etc.

End Quote.

So basically, by using renewables to generate electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen and combining with power station emissions it is possible to create a carbon neutral fuel.

I’ve also read research elsewhere on using algae to produce biodiesel and so on.

Yet these technological approaches may not be necessary.

Last year and for the past few years, one Australian State, South Australia has had electricity supply issues. Placed as it is South Australia receives winds directly of the hot centre of the continent creating summer days way above 40 degrees C. This, with the lower of installing aircon has put huge loads on the grid.

The blog,  Antinuclear reports: Record low electricity demand in South Australia, due to rooftop solar. There is, of course, a link in the show notes.

And this is likely to continue globally as a post from the blog Coyote Gulch citing Bloomberg  states: “Building #solar and #wind farms has started to become a cheaper proposition than running ageing #coal and #nuclear generators”

Price signals will out trump power politics most of the time. And yes I intended the plethora of puns in that statement.

And on that self satisfying moment I’ll finish up for this week.

A transcript of this episode is available at http://www.worldorganicnews.com/61764/90/

Thank you for listening and I’ll be back at the same time next week.