Neither Bangs nor Whimpers
You may recall the pre-Apocalypse warning as 2012 being a ‘reset’ year in the old Mayan calendar. While some may expect a bang, two recent Op-Ed articles in the New York Times may just be the whimper of recognizing that ecocide (and genocide) by fossil fuel as a fait accompli is growing in acceptance. More agonizing yet is the fact that both pieces were placed in last Monday's International Herald Tribune, the redux version of the New York Times.
Two recent New York Times Op-Ed articles were “Focusing Science on the Damage” by Chandran K. P. Nair of the Global Institute of Tomorrow, published July 15, 2012, and “A World Without Coral Reefs” by Roger Bradbury of the Australian National University, published July 13, 2012. Both pointed out specific symptoms of the global destruction that humanity is wreaking on the planetary life support systems.
Bradbury correctly states that oceans are well on their way to a slimy doom of fish-less, plankton-free oceans filled with microbes and jellyfish , but completely fails to name the overwhelming and simple reason as to why this is occurring: fossil fuel combustion. Not only did this piece barely mention CO2 in the atmosphere as the agent in ocean acidification, but it also was mysteriously silent in pointing out where these emissions come from. Bradbury also ignored the fact that these toxic fuels can be replaced, and that both pollution can be reduced and industrial scale overfishing avoided. The maddening aspect is the real slimy slide that the acceptance of global fossil fuel doom seems to be spreading among ‘scientists.’ That is simply not the case.
Both articles fail to point out the reasons for the 'slimification' and complete breakdown of coral reefs and oceans, among many other critical issues we face on the planet. The reasons are entirely man-made due to the daily combustion of an inordinate amount of fossil fuels: about 90 million barrels of oil a day going up in smoke and flames, of which the US burns about 25% or about 20 million barrels of oil a day, day after day, year after year, in addition to gas and coal, adding upwards of 5 tons of CO2/year for every man, woman and child on the planet, and about 20 tons a year for every man, woman or child in the United States. That accounts to upwards of 35 billion tons of CO2 going up in the atmosphere, year in, year out.
The reasons for why this genocidal carbon orgy goes on without triggering a massive and coordinated, worldwide de-fossilization campaign must also be looked for in the corruption of education in the US and elsewhere in the world, as recently exemplified by the Penn State incidents. While Penn State may be a single extreme isolated case, we really just don't know how far other 'universities' have covered up similar cases as Penn State did. Many 'universities' have become footballized, selling football candy, not education. Such universities increasingly stand accused of serving plutocrats, CO2 barons, corporocrats and banksters, co-opted by a system that sees only profit as its main force. In order to focus on the damage as the article mentions , a complete overhaul of the 'education' system must be undertaken and it has to be part of the solution. Solving the current problems that are stacking up must be squarely at the core of its mission. Re-directing current 'science' to fix the damage is not only highly improbable in the current educational context, it is not really necessary as both mechanisms and responses for the current planetary degradation have long been known. What needs to be urgently fixed are the root causes.
Indeed, both articles fail completely to point out that solutions abound, and that those can be implemented fairly easily and quickly: solar, wind, careful biomass use, with the simultaneous phase out of coal/oil/gas/nuclear and the absurdly damaging and unsustainable monoculture farming practices reliant on fossil fuel chemicals and fertilizers [3, 4]. Imagine what could be done with the $44 billion from Brazil that is going to be spent on oil exploration in the pre salt Tupi fields , and another $600 billion in subsidies for fossil fuels worldwide . At current $2US/watt costs for installed solar and/or wind, the first amount would finance the installation of about 20,000 MWatts of solar or wind power, while the second would fund an additional 300,000 MWatts. That put together equals 320 huge coal fired or nuclear power plants, and 6 to 7 times the peak demand amount that the world’s 7th biggest economy, California, requires at maximum load. To put the above in perspective, Germany already generates 22,000 MW/day peak power from solar energy alone, which equals to closing down 22 large and lethal nuclear power plants or polluting coal fire plants. And to give rise to global optimism: all of this capacity was put together in only about a decade.
Are the masses also doomed to co-opted disinformation - or will our media and the New York Times wake up to their responsibility?
 Nair, Chandran. Focusing Science on the Damage. New York Times Op-Ed. Published: July 15, 2012. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/14/opinion/a-world-without-coral-reefs.html
 Bradbury, Roger. A World Without Coral Reefs. New York Times Op-Ed. Published: July 13, 2012. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/16/opinion/focusing-science-on-the-damage-of-fossil-fuel.html
 Pereira, T. Sustainability: an integral engineering design approach. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 13 (2009) 1133–1137.
 Pereira, T. The transition to a sustainable society: a new social contract. Environ Dev Sustain (2012) 14:273–281.