by Rand Clifford
January 22, 2009
Originally published 12.13.08
The price of gasoline is falling toward $1 per gallon, while merely one of the enormous hidden costs of fossil fuels has the arctic seas “burping” methane. Researchers are finding areas above the Russian continental shelf literally bubbling and foaming with methane. Concentrations in areas covering thousands of square miles are being measured at levels 100 times above normal. Geologic records show that a series of this kind of methane burping around the end of the Permian period killed nearly everything on Earth.
That was 251 million years ago. 70% of land species and 95% of marine species vanished. Another methane burping episode about 55 million years ago again caused extensive species loss while disrupting the climate for well over 100 centuries. Is it beginning again?
Those ancient methane catastrophes were apparently triggered by warming caused by atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) elevations from surges in volcanic activity. And now, humans seem to be causing CO2 emissions of comparable magnitude primarily with massive burning of fossil fuels. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that we are loading the atmosphere with CO2 at a rate 150 times that of current volcanism. It would take roughly 17,000 additional volcanoes similar to Kilauea in Hawaii to emit as much CO2 as we do with fossil fuels.
Methane’s “greenhouse” properties are 20 times as potent as those of CO2. Vast quantities of methane that formed before the last ice age have been capped by a sub-sea layer of permafrost, but warming from increasing atmospheric CO2 is melting that ice lid. Escaping methane is apparently one reason why the arctic is warming faster than anywhere else on the globe. The amount of sub-sea arctic methane is many times more than enough to send the planet into a feedback warming spiral capable of devastating the biosphere. Slashing CO2 emissions by slashing the burning of fossil fuels seems a crucial step, one that also points to an ultimate, most consequential question facing humanity: Are immediate profits of energy corporations more important than life on Earth?
The answer to that hideous question is being partly answered in Iraq and Afghanistan. More of the answer promises similar inhumanity as long as truth and evidence remain so obscured by babble. History says we can’t expect anything humane to come from the Corporate Energy Empire because profit is their only concern. The bottom line is written in money.
“Global warming is hogwash,” they babbled… until evidence became overwhelming—until wealth they threw at proving that what was happening was not really happening crossed the event horizon, into black hole.
“Global warming will have benefits,” they babbled on. And, “We’ll have to learn to live with it because the whole world runs on oil and there are no alternatives.”
Profit spurs the destruction of millions of lives for control of oil and pipeline routes alone; the Empire profits from all angles of the inhumanity because their ownership covers government, major banking cartels, the industrial military complex, corporate media… Their web of control covers virtually every aspect of modern existence. For sheer long-term impact, at or near the top of their list of infamies is the catching in their web and sucking the life out of competition.
A simplified example: Mr. Bright has designed a “free energy” generator that utilizes permanent magnets. Prototypes have proven the technology an absolute success—an epochal advance in clean energy! Mr. Bright begins the patent process… entangling him Empire’s web. Mr. Bright has landed in terrible danger for threatening the Empire’s profits. History proves that chances of him being murdered, or imprisoned on trumped-up charges, are good. Either way his work will be suppressed. Others knowing details about it will be silenced, one way or another.
If this seems far-fetched, please consider that they are the energy corporations, their power is enormous and their web covers all. For solid background regarding the Empire’s war on competition, see “History Of ‘New Energy” Invention Suppression Cases” by Gary Vesperman.
What kinds of vital energy technologies have been suppressed to keep us all serving the Empire? How many inventions with the potential to remedy our oil addiction and allay its gargantuan hidden costs have been snuffed? That’s almost impossible—if not dangerous to know. The U.S. Patent Office reportedly has over 4000 “new energy” patents locked safely in their vaults because the Empire has declared them “secret”—often citing “national security” concerns… .
Standard rhetoric about the world running on oil is, unfortunately, as true as: “Oil runs the world”. But when the rhetoric degrades into such babble as: “We have no choice, there are no viable alternatives to fossil fuels”… it’s time to focus on how many viable alternatives might be buried with those 4000 “classified” patents, and ponder how many alternatives have simply disappeared. Perhaps above all… we can find a way to increase public awareness to the point that innovators of new energy technologies will be automatically acclaimed as popular heroes… instead of ending up obscure casualties in the Empire’s war on competition.
Invention and promotion of free energy technology has become a most important endeavor of our time… and a most dangerous. Remember that wonderful ideal called Free Enterprise? It’s still alive even in the promising and amazing field of Zero Point Energy. Inventors are apparently tapping the unlimited energy of the Quantum Vacuum. But horribly, the closer they get to major success—the closer they get to impacting the Empire’s bottom line, the greater the danger. Fossil fuels, particularly easily recoverable oil, face growing scarcity. However, current gasoline prices prove there is still plenty left for many more years of astronomical profits; still more than enough left for utter biospheric catastrophe (if the process for that hasn’t already been irrevocably initiated).
If we can’t make invention and mass production of “free energy” technology safe—instead of it being one of the most dangerous endeavors around—the babble will continue to befuddle us. “Massive reductions of CO2 emissions would be too expensive,” they’ll keep babbling, implying the question, “Is life on Earth just too expensive?”
Only the worst parasites kill their host.
Rand Clifford is a writer living in Spokane, Washington, with his wife Mary Ann, and their Chesapeake Bay retriever, Mink. Rand’s novels CASTLING, TIMING, VOICES OF VIRES, and PRIEST LAKE CATHEDRAL are published by StarChief Press: http://www.starchiefpress.com email Rand at firstname.lastname@example.org