domingo, 14 de noviembre de 2021

Climate Change and Britain -The two-horned dilemma


Climate Change and Britain

The two-horned dilemma

Armando Gascón     Sunday, 14th November 2021


After the Conference COP26 in Glasgow and its positive agreements on limiting warming of the Earth to no more than 1.5 ºC, we are on the way to a warming of the world of more than 2.5 ºC, indeed 3 ºC are almost sure to happen in a century, perhaps before the 21st Century is finished.

It is terrible news, don’t you believe there are easy fixes.

When Greta Thurnberg denounces this path to disaster she is right, but her solution is wrong.

Cutting out the consumption of fuels is wrong.

You need to know this.

Britain is a small island inhabited by 60 million people.

England of course is a small part of the island and it is home to almost all of them, more than 55 million people in a land smaller than Uruguay, the smallest South American country, with just 3.5 million people there and a standard of living perhaps ten times less than the average British.

The shores of Britain are battered by the Ocean, and London the Capital is under the threat of being submerged by the Thames and the Sea, only the foresight of Thatcher saved London, the Thames Barrier protects the capital and if it failed many thousands would die.

Many well meaning but mistaken people, many of them British who don’t understand the issues, are asking for the Oil and Gas of the North Sea to be left in place, not to be extracted and burn because doing so increases the CO2 in the air and the Earth warms, the sea is polluted, the air bad to breathe, the rivers clogged by trash and polluted, the food also contaminated.

This is the first horn of the dilemma : If Britain stops extracting the Oil and Gas from the North Sea, all of us, sixty million of us in this country would die of hunger and cold.

There are 33 million passenger cars in the UK, almost all of them ICE (internal combustion engine). If Britain stops extracting its Oil from the North Sea, and of course other producers would be doing the same, the ruin of this country is sure, there is not enough Lithium in the world even to replace the British cars with e-cars, and the other countries would also want electric cars.

Transport of people would stop, and the buses also run on oil, if anybody thinks that there could be e-buses to carry everybody, no, impossible.

Some people can ride a bicycle, if they are young, strong and if it is not too cold and if the rain is not hard and if it doesn’t snow, you need to be a young strong hero to ride a bicycle five miles in the snow or the rain to work and back home, in winter.

Light trucks 4.2 Million

Heavy trucks 500 thousand.

(Department for Transport Statistics)

Trucks are the real lifeline of transport in the country, everything you can see in your room and out of the window was carried by a truck at some moment.

Then there are Buses and Coaches, and Motorcycles, also ships, warships, heavy agricultural machinery and others, like mining equipment, and air planes, tanks and other heavy military equipment.

All of them, or most, are ICEs.

That is in transport, because Oil or at least Methane Gas is also used in the manufacture of fertilizers, without which we are toast, sorry, we would all die.

The Haber-Bosch process makes nitrogenous fertilizer from the Nitrogen in the air, in fact my body and your body were fed by Gas and Oil, and without it we would all starve to death.

In the 19th Century the hunger for fertilizers was so great that the bodies of the fallen soldiers in Waterloo were dug up and brought to England to enrich the dying soil that could not provide wheat and potatoes for the masses any more.

Thousands of mummies from Egypt were also brought, ground up and thrown on the fields to feed the population.

This month of November, because the price of gas rose-up, two factories making fertilizers closed for the duration, but the by-product, CO2, for the beer, soft drinks and other industries stopped and that caused many problems.

Aluminium, Copper, other metals, paper, doubled in price.

This happens in a situation we could call normal, just a slight increase in price and availability of resources specially Methane Gas caused that, worldwide don’t you forget, imagine if the Oil, Gas and Coal stopped.


Your death,my death,  the death of seven billion people.

This is the second horn of the dilemma : burning the Oil, Coal and Gas increases the temperature of the Earth (among many other bad effects, destruction of the sea, pollution of the air, contamination of drinking water and food) so cities like London, Venice, the Florida, the harbours and ports of the world will drown under the rising seas, from the melting of the ice in the Arctic and Antarctic and melting of the snows in the glaciers and high mountains.

The USA, which is a continental sized country, has refused to sign a commitment not to extract its coal, it will extract all and buy from others and burn more, and all its Oil and Gas and more from others.

Also other big countries like Russia, China, India, Australia, Indonesia and of course almost everybody else will burn the fuels.

Because they won’t have any choice, it is that or they die.

The USA and the other big countries don’t care, because they are big enough they can ride out the worst consequences and many people in them don’t want to believe the science, because it goes against their interest, against their way of life, against their beliefs and out of sheer bloodymindedness.

But compare, the loss of Florida or even of New York under the waters would be bad for the USA indeed, but the loss of London under the waters would be a death sentence for Britain.

So we are not all the same, we are not all of us together in this (as some crooks are fond of saying) and ways must be found out of this dilemma of death foretold.

(1) It is impossible for Britain and for the world to stop burning the fuel resources, BUT it is the rate at which they are extracted and burn that can be managed. 

This is never explained to the public who mistakingly believe there is no choice. 

The demand of fuels must drop, savagely, rationing like in war must be imposed by force if necessary.

It is not burn all or nothing, it is the rate, dear, we must consume less fuels on a daily basis, not leave them all underground or burn them all at the present rate.

Alternatives for transport must be found, they are not difficult, electrical public transport holds the key for mobility of people and goods.

(2) The Earth must be cooled by technological means, specially the Arctic.

I am against blanketing the Earth in clouds of SO2 as some people propose, it would destroy the ozone layer, sulphuric acid would rain from the sky killing the crops and trees, precisely when we most need them, it would kill the Oceans and we would all go blind.

There are other and better ways and I know some of them, but my love has reached up this point, if you want to know how to save Britain and the world from the horns of this dilemma of death then you must pay me. 


☼ Another thing :

If Britain stops pulling the Oil and Gas from the North Sea, then the pound would be worth 10 cents of the US dollar and the whole population would fall into medieval poverty, but 60 millions of them, not the five or six millions of medieval times, because the population now is x ten times bigger and the resources are gone. 

Armando Gascon,

a Biologist and Scientist.


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