Posted by: Dr Churchill | May 24, 2019

Cloud Atlas: Anthropomorphic Cloud Formation & Rainfall

Cloud seeding is a certain uncertainty of our future on this earth…

Cloud seeding across the globe, is a definite shield both against Climate Change which is our future’s certain uncertainty… and also it is a boon for farming and agriculture for the most affected areas and human populations living around the latitudes and longitudes that will suffer the exacerbated effects of Climate Change as they already appear to cause people to shift away from their cultural zones and ancestral homes…

Since Cybernetics is my preferred scientific adjunct for solving many problems, and thus I have used bioengineering, and cloud seeding for good purpose in many parts of the world.

And although that has been a diligent effort of mine for a while, with many successful efforts across the world, we now see that in the big scheme of things — not only it helps to bring water to those most needful of its succor, but the process, also heals climate change by trapping plenty of CO2 in the process of regretting the earth and reconstituting the green living skin of our planet that absorbs all the extra CO2 from the atmosphere and converts it to plant mass and woodsy forests, that redirect the excessive CO2 back into the earth, thus cooling the whole thing down.

As for those Casandras that say that cloud seeding, and abundant rainfall does not solve the problems of persistent and pervasive drought due to climate change — I have one name to say to them: Loess plateau.

After many years of Environmental leadership, I’ve come to the conclusion that in order to address Climate Change, a far more direct human interference is needed, such as cloud seeding on a massive scale, economic nudges, governmental & policy means, and also a decentralized and highly localized technological mechanism of rainfalls. All are needed, because only new technological efforts will lead to successful human adaptation and mitigation to the new realities created by Climate Change, and to the reclaiming of the extra CO2 for the Earth’s ground storage.

And cloud seeding will be crucial in the face of serial catastrophic effects of climate change, and therefore what I term as Carbonomics, is the encyclopedia of all those technological, socio-economic and monetary means and methods, as it represents the surest way out of a Climate change induced civilization collapse. In addition Carbonomics is a beacon of hope, to be followed on the journey onwards, in that slow yet inexorable slog of humanity’s all but certain climate change adaptation and mitigation for a better tomorrow.

Technological tools are aplenty, and most of them already at our disposal. Take for example Geo-engineering cloud seeding, which it involves the shooting of mineralized aerosols into the skies, with hail cannons, or dropping them from high flying planes like bombs, or shooting them up with long range and high altitude missiles. Today, cloud seeding is a magical art worked by the land, the sea, the sky, the gods and spirits. But it also starts to be a tool for humans too.

Because as you see, clouds are formed when water vapour condenses on cloud seeds – tiny particles of dust. This happens when the land is heated by the sun, when air is forced to rise over hills and mountains, at weather fronts, and over rainforests and peat bogs where water evaporates from leaves and mosses seeding clouds. When the air cools and the tiny droplets of water vapour become larger and heavier drops they fall as rain, hail, or snow. Thunder and lightning are generated by the electric charges in storm clouds.

Or take snow as an example of human ingenuity, such as that falling in Colorado with uncertain regularity. Winter descended early on Colorado this past year 2018, bringing snow to the state’s tallest peaks just a few days after Labor Day. But dry conditions continue to haunt the state’s ranchers, since last winter, because the San Juan Mountains received just 50 percent of their normal snowpack. By the time summer rolled around, grazing pasture was scarce, and some ranchers were forced to sell cattle they couldn’t afford to feed. “To see them be loaded on the truck just brings tears,” La Plata County rancher Barbara Jefferies told a reporter in June…

Snow that accumulates on mountaintops across the Western United States in the winter flows into the region’s irrigation systems and reservoirs during the rest of the year, and supplies drinking water to much of the region. This resource is taking a hit from climate change: Between the 1980s and the 2000s, the amount of water in the snowpack declined by 10% to 20% annually. Research published in the journal Nature Communications last year, projects an additional loss of up to 60% before the year 2050, if the snowfall is left alone without human cloud seeding interference.

So, now some municipalities are hoping to coax more snow from the sky through a process called cloud seeding.

There are now cloud seeding programs in at least nine states across the Western United States and 50 countries worldwide, including Australia, India, and Saudi Arabia. Though controlling the weather may seem like the stuff of science fiction, the technology has been around for decades. In 1946, chemist and General Electric researcher Vincent Schaefer discovered through a lab experiment that dry ice (solid carbon dioxide) caused moisture to crystallize earlier than normal. Flying in a plane over the mountains of Massachusetts, he injected 6 pounds of dry ice pellets into the clouds and initiated the world’s first artificial snowfall. That same year, his colleague Bernard Vonnegut—brother of novelist Kurt Vonnegut, discovered that silver iodide, particles of silver so small they’re difficult to see under a microscope, caused “explosive ice growth” by jump-starting the crystal formation process. Bernard’s discovery reportedly inspired the fictional science of Ice-Nine, a form of water that could freeze entire oceans upon contact, in his brother’s novel Cat’s Cradle.

Ice usually doesn’t form until the temperature drops to at least 10 degrees Fahrenheit, but cloud seeding can cause moisture to latch onto the silver iodide and make snow particles form as early as 20 degrees. “It’s like a false start,” says Jeffrey R. French, an atmospheric science professor at the University of Wyoming and lead on the first research demonstrating the physical evidence of how precipitation forms during cloud seeding.

Following Bernard’s discovery, scientists soon began putting silver iodide particles into clouds projected to storm—either by releasing flares full of the chemical from airplanes or shooting the flares thousands of feet into the sky from the ground. By the 1970s, the United States was spending as much as $20 million annually on weather modification research.

Researchers have shown that cloud seeding can encourage at least some additional snowfall: In one well-known study, the Wyoming Water Development Commission measured seeded storms’ precipitation rates from 2008 to 2014 and found that the silver iodide increased the likelihood of added precipitation by 5 to 15 percent. The strategy can also make hail smaller, reducing crop damage to farms. Cloud seeding can even force a predicted rainstorm to fall early—which is how the Chinese governmentkept the stadium dry during the opening ceremony for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Despite the technology’s promises, most of the federal funding for cloud seeding in the United States fizzled out in the late ’80s. The tools used to measure its effectiveness just weren’t accurate enough to justify funding programs or research, French explains. And a widely distributed 2003 National Research Council report found a lack of “convincing scientific proof of the efficacy of intentional weather modification.”

That could soon change. In January, a group of scientists, funded mainly by the Idaho Power Company, an energy provider, published research that for the first time demonstrated exactly how snow is created through cloud seeding. Flying in and out of the clouds just north of Boise, Idaho, French and his team, including scientists from the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the Idaho Power Company, observed and measured the growth of ice crystals after seeding clouds. (Before this, studies had only been able to statistically analyze the amount of rainfall in a cloud-seeded region, which isn’t direct proof that the silver iodide created any precipitation.)

The report created new momentum for the technology, says David Raff, science adviser for the Bureau of Reclamation, the national department that manages water in the West. Now, the bureau is “interested in exploring pilot activities to explore snow pack generation,” he says.

But there are some pretty significant questions that need to be answered before the bureau would prioritize funding weather modification, he continues, like exploring liabilities, such as unexpected flooding, that could arise. A 2010 federal review of available research found that the concentration of silver in the water supply within range of seeding projects is minimal—0.1 micrograms per liter or less—and poses no health risks.

Since the earth’s birth as a cloud of dust and gas 4.5 billion years ago clouds have played an essential role regulating her temperature and bringing the rain that is a necessary condition for life. The existence of all beings is dependent on the climate and extreme changes have been the main cause of the mass extinctions that have come close to wiping all living things from the face of the planet.

So cloud engineering is all there is, because without water — we might as well be living on Mars or Venus, where our survival is highly uncertain. In conclusion we need to engage in plenty of geo-engineering if we are to have a Life here on planet Earth for the future.

And if all that geo-engineering activity is seen through normal people’s lens, it would provide a really disturbing image of people being at war with nature, people fighting the sky gods, or people shooting missiles at the Heavens up above. And obviously, all that runs quite contrary to the first principle of respectful relationship with Mother Earth, Gaia, or Pacha-Mama, but I see it as a necessity to fight off the most severe devastations of Climate change on the most defenseless and “innocent” peoples of this earth. Am speaking of the salt of the earth people. The vast numbers of people making a living out of the fecundity of our planet’s crusty soil, the agricultural hummus, and the earth’s green living skin…

It is the gift of fire from the Gods all over again. Cloud seeding is the necessary ingredient to let us live on this earth.

Yet for is an all out effort and it proves our success as a technological tool making species. And because of my deep involvement with geo-engineering, same as with bioengineering — this now comes as an opportunity to reassess my work, refocus and redouble my efforts, and also re-evaluate my own life’s contribution of and expand my work through open sourcing the knowledge and the technology of cloud seeding so that all peoples of this earth can use it, regardless of their access — in the face of the potential for a punishing system-wide collapse, due to climate change and due to a warming planet.

I’ll be Johnny appleseed to the world’s poor and blighted agriculturalists and that will satisfy my life’s mission statement quite enough, by spreading the rains to all and sundry. All it takes is some simple cloud seeding with the right means and also some directed evaporation and dispersement of the clouds above the blighted areas of the world. All in a day’s work.

And although human created clouds are now at our disposal each and every day — shaping-up anthropomorphic clouds is still beyond our technological expertise…

Yet I have no doubt that all of us see God-Deus-Machina, in our cloud formations…

Screen Shot 2019-05-22 at 1.23.30 PM

Let it rain baby — let it rain…

These are the positive effects of the Anthropocene era.

And as I digest the threat — the human response is what matters, since our approach so far has been one of denial, which is not a mountain in Alaska. That mountain being called Denali…

Yet, here I am in an effort to analyze also the recent studies on climate change and its implications for our ecosystems, economies and societies, as provided by academic journals, by the IPCC, and also by most other peer reviewed publications that feed directly from all the academic research institutes & universities.

That academic research synthesis, leads to hard and serious conclusions, that there will be a near-term collapse in society with serious ramifications for the lives of all people, nations and peoples of this earth.

So I choose to review here, primarily some of the reasons why collapse-denial may exist, in particular, within the professions of governance, and even sustainability research and civil society practice, therefore leading to these arguments that have been absent from these fields until now.

And I also review here and transpose the abstract of Professor Jem Bendell, who offers a new meta-framing of the implications for research, organizational practice, personal development and public policy ideas, called the Deep Adaptation Agenda.

His work is titled “Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy” and is published at the IFLAS Occasional (www.iflas.info) of July 27th 20181. Its key aspects of resilience, relinquishment and restorations are explained. His agenda does not seek to build on existing scholarship on “climate adaptation” as it is premised on the view that social collapse is now inevitable.

The author believes this is one of the first papers in the sustainability management field to conclude that climate-induced societal collapse is now inevitable in the near term and therefore to invite scholars to explore the implications.

Can professionals in sustainability management, policy and research – myself included – continue to work with the assumption or hope that we can slow down climate change, or respond to it sufficiently to sustain our civilization?

Or it is that because disturbing information on climate change passed across my screen, this was the question I could no longer ignore, and therefore decided to take a few months to analyze the latest climate science.

And as I began to conclude that we can no longer work with that assumption or hope, I asked a second question. Have professionals in the sustainability field discussed the possibility that it is too late to avert an environmental catastrophe and the implications for their work?

A quick literature review revealed that my fellow professionals have not been publishing work that explores, or starts from, that perspective. That led to a third question, on why sustainability professionals are not exploring this fundamentally important issue to our whole field as well as our personal lives.

To explore that, I drew on psychological analyses, conversations with colleagues, reviews of debates amongst environmentalists in social media and self- reflection on my own reticence. Concluding that there is a need to promote discussion about the implications of a social collapse triggered by an environmental catastrophe, I asked my fourth question on what are the ways that people are talking about collapse on social media.

I identified a variety of conceptualisations and from that asked myself what could provide a map for people to navigate this extremely difficult issue. For that, I drew on a range of reading and experiences over my 29 years in the forefront of the Environmental movement, as the leader of the global Environmental Parliament, and as an international management, corporate & climate sustainability expert, in order to outline an agenda for Human Adaptation to climate change.

The result of these five questions is an article that does not contribute to one specific set of literature or practice in the broad field of sustainability management and policy. Rather, it questions the basis for all the work in this field. It does not seek to add to the existing research, policy and practice on climate adaptation, as I found that to be framed by the view that we can manage the impacts of a changing climate on our physical, economic, social, political and psychological situations. Instead, this article may contribute to future work on sustainable management and policy as much by subtraction as by addition. By that I mean the implication is for you to take a time to step back, to consider “what if” the analysis in these pages is true, to allow yourself to grieve, and to overcome enough of the typical fears we all have, to find meaning in new ways of being and acting. That may be in the fields of academia or management – or could be in some other field that this realisation leads you to.
First, I briefly explain the paucity of research that considers or starts from social collapse due to environmental catastrophe and give acknowledgement to the existing work in this field that many readers may consider relevant.

Second, I summarize what I consider to be the most important climate science of the last few years and how it is leading more people to conclude that we face disruptive changes in the near-term.

Third, I explain how that perspective is marginalized within the professional environmental sector – and so invite you to consider the value of leaving mainstream views behind.

Fourth, I outline the ways that people on relevant social networks are framing our situation as one of facing collapse, catastrophe or extinction and how these views trigger different emotions and ideas.

Fifth, I outline a “Deep Adaptation Agenda” to help guide discussions on what we might do once we recognise climate change is an unfolding tragedy. Finally, I make some suggestions for how this agenda could influence our future research and teaching in the sustainability field.

As researchers and reflective practitioners, we have an opportunity and obligation to not just do what is expected by our employers and the norms of our profession, but also to reflect on the relevance of our work within wider society. I am aware that some people consider statements from academics that we now face inevitable near-term social collapse to be irresponsible due to the potential impact that may have on the motivation or mental health of people reading such statements. My research and engagement in dialogue on this topic, some of which I will outline in this paper, leads me to conclude the exact opposite. It is a responsible act to communicate this analysis now and invite people to support each other, myself included, in exploring the implications, including the psychological and spiritual implications.

When discussing negative outlooks on climate change and its implications for human society, the response is often to seek insight through placing this information in context. That context is often assumed to be found in balancing it with other information. As the information on our climate predicament is so negative, the balance is often found in highlighting more positive information about progress on the sustainability agenda. This process of seeking to “balance out” is a habit of the informed and reasoning mind. Yet that does not make it a logical means of deliberation if positive information being shared does not relate to the situation being described by the negative information. For instance, discussing progress in the health and safety policies of the White Star Line with the captain of the Titanic as it sank into the icy waters of the North Atlantic would not be a sensible use of time. Yet given that this balancing is often the way people respond to discussion of the scale and speed of our climate tragedy, let us first recognize the positive news from the broader sustainability agenda.

Certainly, there has been some progress on environmental issues in past decades, from reducing pollution, to habitat preservation, to waste management. Much valiant effort has been made to reduce carbon emissions over the last twenty years, one part of climate action officially termed “mitigation” (Aaron-Morrison et. al. 2017). There have been many steps forward on climate and carbon management – from awareness, to policies, to innovations (Flannery, 2015). Larger and quicker steps must be taken. That is helped by the agreement reached in December 2015 at the COP21 intergovernmental climate summit and now that there is significant Chinese engagement on the issue. To support the maintenance and scaling of these efforts is essential. In addition, increasing action is occurring on adaptation to climate change, such as flood defences, planning laws and irrigation systems (Singh et al, 2016). Whereas we can praise these efforts, their existence does not matter to an analysis of our overall predicament with climate change.

Rather than building from existing theories on sustainable business, this paper is focusing on a phenomenon. That phenomenon is not climate change per se, but the state of climate change in 2018, which I will argue from a secondary review of research now indicates near term social collapse. The gap in the literature that this paper may begin to address is the lack of discussion within management studies and practice of the end of the idea that we can either solve or cope with climate change. In the Sustainability Accounting Management and Policy Journal (SAMPJ), which this paper was originally submitted to, there has been no discussion of this topic before, apart from my own co-authored paper (Bendell, et al, 2017). Three papers mention climate adaptation in passing, with just one focusing on it by considering how to improve irrigated agriculture (de Sousa Fragoso et al, 2018). Organization and Environment is a leading journal for discussion of the implications of climate for organizations and vice versa, where since the 1980s both philosophical and theoretical positions on environment are discussed as well as organisational or management implications. However, the journal has not published any research papers exploring theories and implications of social collapse due to environmental catastrophe. Three articles mention climate adaptation. Two of those have adaptation as a context, but explore other issues as their main focus, specifically social learning (Orsato, et al 2018) and network learning (Temby et al, 2016). Only one paper in that journal looks at climate adaptation as its main focus and the implications for organisation. While a helpful summary of how difficult the implications are for management, the paper does not explore the implications of a widespread social collapse ( Clément and Rivera, 2016).

Away from management studies, the field of climate adaptation is wide (Lesnikowski, et al 2015). To illustrate, a search on Google Scholar returns over 40,000 hits for the term “climate adaptation.” In answering the questions I set for myself in this paper, I will not be reviewing that existing field and scholarship. One might ask “why not”? The answer is that the field of climate adaptation is oriented around ways to maintain our current societies as they face manageable climactic perturbations (ibid). The concept of “deep adaptation” resonates with that agenda where we accept that we will need to change, but breaks with it by taking as its starting point the prescient inevitability or perhaps avoidability of societal collapse.

A full text search of the journal database shows that the following terms have never been included in articles in this journal: environmental collapse, economic collapse, social collapse, societal collapse, environmental catastrophe, human extinction. Catastrophe is mentioned in 3 papers, with two about Bangladesh factory fires and the other being Bendell et al (2017).

A full text search of the journal database shows that the terms environmental collapse, social collapse and societal collapse have been mention in one different article each. Economic collapse has been mentioned in three articles. Human extinction is mentioned two articles. Environmental catastrophe is mentioned in twelve articles. A reading of these articles showed that they were not exploring collapse.

Our non-linear world, requires that this paper is not the venue for a detailed examination of all the latest climate science. However, I reviewed the scientific literature from the past few years and where there was still large uncertainty then sought the latest data from research institutes. In this section I summarize the findings to establish the premise that it is time we consider the implications of it being too late to avert a global environmental catastrophe in the lifetimes of people alive today.

The simple evidence of global ambient temperature rise is undisputable. Seventeen of the 18 warmest years in the 136-year record all have occurred since 2001, and global temperatures have increased by 0.9°C since 1880 (NASA/GISS, 2018). The most surprising warming is in the Arctic, where the 2016 land surface temperature was 2.0°C above the 1981-2010 average, breaking the previous records of 2007, 2011, and 2015 by 0.8°C, representing a 3.5°C increase since the record began in 1900 (Aaron- Morrison et al, 2017).

This data is fairly easy to collate and not widely challenged, so swiftly finds its way into academic publications. However, to obtain a sense of the implications of this warming on environment and society, one needs real- time data on the current situation and the trends that it may infer. Climate change and its associated impacts have, as we will see, been significant in the last few years. Therefore, to appreciate the situation we need to look directly to the research institutes, researchers and their websites, for the most recent information. That means using, but not relying solely on, academic journal articles and the slowly produced reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This international institution has done useful work but has a track record of significantly underestimating the pace of change, which has been more accurately predicted over past decades by eminent climate scientists.

Therefore, in this review, I will draw upon a range of sources, with a focus on data since 2014. That is because, unfortunately, data collected since then is often consistent with non-linear changes to our environment. Non-linear changes are of central importance to understanding climate change, as they suggest both that impacts will be far more rapid and severe than predictions based on linear projections and that the changes no longer correlate with the rate of anthropogenic carbon emissions. In other words – ‘runaway climate change.’
The warming of the Arctic reached wider public awareness as it has begun destabilizing winds in the higher atmosphere, specifically the jet stream and the northern polar vortex, leading to extreme movements of warmer air north in to the Arctic and cold air to the south. At one point in early 2018, temperature recordings from the Arctic were 20 degrees Celsius above the average for that date (Watts, 2018).

The warming Arctic has led to dramatic loss in sea ice, the average September extent of which has been decreasing

at a rate of 13.2% per decade since 1980, so that over two thirds of the ice cover has gone (NSIDC/NASA, 2018). This data is made more concerning by changes in sea ice volume, which is an indicator of resilience of the ice sheet to future warming and storms. It was at the lowest it has ever been in 2017, continuing a consistent downward trend (Kahn, 2017).

Given a reduction in the reflection of the Sun’s rays from the surface of white ice, an ice-free Arctic is predicted to increase warming globally by a substantial degree. Writing in 2014, scientists calculated this change is already equivalent to 25% of the direct forcing of temperature increase from CO2 during the past 30 years (Pistone et al, 2014). That means we could remove a quarter of the cumulative CO2 emissions of the last three decades and it would already be outweighed by the loss of the reflective power of Arctic sea ice. One of the most eminent climate scientists in the world, Peter Wadhams, believes an ice-free Arctic will occur one summer in the next few years and that it will likely increase by 50% the warming caused by the CO2 produced by human activity (Wadhams, 2016).4 In itself, that renders the calculations of the IPCC redundant, along with the targets and proposals of the UNFCCC.

Between 2002 and 2016, Greenland shed approximately 280 gigatons of ice per year, and the island’s lower-elevation and coastal areas experienced up to 13.1 feet (4 meters) of ice mass loss (expressed in equivalent-water- height) over a 14-year period (NASA, 2018). Along with other melting of land ice, and the thermal expansion of water, this has contributed to a global mean sea level rise of about 3.2 mm/year, representing a total increase of over 80 mm, since 1993 (JPL/PO.DAAC, 2018). Stating a figure per year implies a linear increase, which is what has been assumed by IPCC and others in making their predictions. However, recent data shows that the upward trend is non-linear (Malmquist, 2018). That means sea level is rising due to non-linear increases in the melting of land-based ice.

The observed phenomena, of actual temperatures and sea levels, are greater than what the climate models over the past decades were predicting for our current time. They are consistent with non-linear changes in our environment that then trigger uncontrollable impacts on human habitat and agriculture, with subsequent complex impacts on social, economic and political systems. I will return to the implications of these trends after listing some more of the impacts that are already being reported as occurring today.

Already we see impacts on storm, drought and flood frequency and strength due to increased volatility from more energy in the atmosphere (Herring et al, 2018). We are witnessing negative impacts on agriculture. Climate change has reduced growth in crop yields by 1–2 percent per decade over the past century (Wiebe et al, 2015). The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports that weather abnormalities related to climate change are costing billions of dollars a year, and growing exponentially.

For now, the impact is calculated in money, but the nutritional implications are key (FAO, 2018). We are also seeing impacts on marine ecosystems. About half of the world’s coral reefs have died in the last 30 years, due a mixture of reasons though higher water temperatures and acidification due to higher CO2 concentrations in ocean water being key (Phys.org, 2018). In ten years prior to 2016 the Atlantic Ocean soaked up 50 percent more carbon dioxide than it did the previous decade, measurably speeding up the acidification of the ocean (Woosley et al, 2016). This study is indicative of oceans worldwide, and the consequent acidification degrades the base of the marine food web, thereby reducing the ability of fish populations to reproduce themselves across the globe (Britten et al, 2015). Meanwhile, warming oceans are already reducing the population size of some fish species (Aaron-Morrison et al, 2017). Compounding these threats to human nutrition, in some regions we are witnessing an exponential rise in the spread of mosquito and tick-borne viruses as temperatures become more conducive to them (ECJCR, 2018).

Looking Ahead, we have to focus on the impacts I just summarized because they are already upon us and even without increasing their severity they will nevertheless increase their impacts on our ecosystems, soils, seas, and upon our societies over time.

It is difficult to predict future impacts. But it is more difficult not to predict them. Because the reported impacts today are at the very worst end of predictions being made in the early 1990s model based climate predictions, because the models today suggest an increase in storm number and strength (Herring et al, 2018). They predict a decline of normal agriculture, including the compromising of mass production of grains in the northern hemisphere and intermittent disruption to rice production in the tropics. That includes predicted declines in the yields of rice, wheat, and corn in China by 36.25%, 18.26%, and 45.10%, respectively, by the end of this century (Zhang et al, 2016). Naresh Kumar et al. (2014) project a 6–23 and 15–25% reduction in the wheat yield in India during the 2050s and 2080s, respectively, under the mainstream projected climate change scenarios. The loss of coral and the acidification of the seas is predicted to reduce fisheries productivity by over half (Rogers et al, 2017).

The rates of sea level rise suggest they may be soon become exponential (Malmquist, 2018), which will pose significant problems for billions of people living in coastal zones (Neumann et al, 2015). Environmental scientists are now describing our current era as the sixth mass extinction event in the history of planet Earth, with this one caused by us. About half of all plants and animal species in the world’s most biodiverse places are at risk of extinction due to climate change (WWF, 2018). The World Bank reported in 2018 that countries needed to prepare for over 100 million internally displaced people due to the effects of climate change (Rigaud et al, 2018), in addition to millions of international refugees.

Despite you, me, and most people we know in this field, already hearing data on this global situation, it is useful to recap simply to invite a sober acceptance of our current predicament. It has led some commentators to describe our time as a new geological era shaped by humans – the Anthropocene (Hamilton, et al, 2015). It has led others to conclude that we should be exploring how to live in an unstable post-Sustainability situation (Benson and Craig, 2014; Foster, 2015). This context is worth being reminded of, as it provides the basis upon which to assess the significance, or otherwise, of all the praiseworthy efforts that have been underway and reported in some detail in this and other journals over the past decade. I will now offer an attempt at a summary of that broader context insofar as it might frame our future work on sustainability.

The politically permissible scientific consensus is that we need to stay beneath 2 degrees warming of global ambient temperatures, to avoid dangerous and uncontrollable levels of climate change, with impacts such as mass starvation, disease, flooding, storm destruction, forced migration and war. That figure was agreed by governments that were dealing with many domestic and international pressures from vested interests, particularly corporations. It is therefore not a figure that many scientists would advise, given that many ecosystems will be lost and many risks created if we approach 2 degrees global ambient warming (Wadhams, 2018). The IPCC agreed in 2013 that if the world does not keep further anthropogenic emissions below a total of 800 billion tonnes of carbon we are not likely to keep average temperatures below 2 degrees of global averaged warming.

That left about 270 billion tonnes of carbon to burn (Pidcock, 2013). Total global emissions remain at around 11 billion tonnes of carbon per year (which is 37 billion tonnes of CO2). Those calculations appear worrying but give the impression we have at least a decade to change. It takes significant time to change economic systems so if we are not already on the path to dramatic reductions it is unlikely we will keep within the carbon limit. With an increase of carbon emissions of 2% in 2017, the decoupling of economic activity from emissions is not yet making a net dent in global emissions (Canadell et al, 2017).

So, we are not on the path to prevent going over 2 degrees warming through emissions reductions. In any case the IPCC estimate of a carbon budget was controversial with many scientists who estimated that existing CO2 in the atmosphere should already produce global ambient temperature rises over 5°C and so there is no carbon budget – it has already been overspent (Wasdell, 2015).
That situation is why some experts have argued for more work on removing carbon from the atmosphere with machines. Unfortunately, the current technology needs to be scaled by a factor of 2 million within 2 years, all powered by renewables, alongside massive emission cuts, to reduce the amount of heating already locked into the system (Wadhams, 2018).

Biological approaches to carbon capture appear far more promising (Hawken and Wilkinson, 2017). These include planting trees, restoring soils used in agriculture, and growing seagrass and kelp, amongst other approaches. They also offer wider beneficial environmental and social side effects. Studies on seagrass (Greiner et al, 2013) and seaweed (Flannery, 2015) indicate we could be taking millions of tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere immediately and continually if we had a massive effort to restore seagrass meadows and to farm seaweed. The net sequestration effect is still being assessed but in certain environments will be significant (Howard et al, 2017).

Research into “management-intensive rotational grazing” practices (MIRG), also known as holistic grazing, show how a healthy grassland can store carbon. A 2014 study measured annual per- hectare increases in soil carbon at 8 tons per year on farms converted to these practices (Machmuller et al, 2015). The world uses about 3.5 billion hectares of land for pasture and fodder crops. Using the 8 tons figure above, converting a tenth of that land to MIRG practices would sequester a quarter of present emissions. In addition, no-till methods of horticulture can sequester as much as two tons of carbon per hectare per year, so could also make significant contributions. It is clear, therefore, that our assessment of carbon budgets must focus as much on these agricultural systems as we do on emissions reductions.

Clearly a massive campaign and policy agenda to transform agriculture and restore ecosystems globally is needed right now. It will be a huge undertaking, undoing 60 years of developments in world agriculture. In addition, it means the conservation of our existing wetlands and forests must suddenly become successful, after decades of failure across lands outside of geographically limited nature reserves. Even if such will emerges immediately, the heating and instability already locked into the climate will cause damage to ecosystems, so it will be difficult for such approaches to curb the global atmospheric carbon level. The reality that we have progressed too far already to avert disruptions to ecosystems is highlighted by the finding that if CO2 removal from the atmosphere could work at scale, it would not prevent massive damage to marine life, which is locked in for many years due to acidification from the dissolving of CO2 in the oceans (Mathesius et al, 2015).

Despite the limitations of what humans can do to work with nature to encourage its carbon sequestration processes, the planet has been helping us out anyway. A global “greening” of the planet has significantly slowed the rise of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere since the start of the century. Plants have been growing faster and larger due to higher CO2 levels in the air and warming temperatures that reduce the CO2 emitted by plants via respiration. The effects led the proportion of annual carbon emissions remaining in the air to fall from about 50% to 40% in the last decade. However, this process only offers a limited effect, as the absolute level of CO2 in the atmosphere is continuing to rise, breaking the milestone of 400 parts per million (ppm) in 2015. Given that changes in seasons, temperatures extremes, flood and drought are beginning to negatively affect ecosystems, the risk exists that this global greening effect may be reduced in time (Keenan et al, 2016)

These potential reductions in atmospheric carbon from natural and assisted biological processes is a flickering ray of hope in our dark situation. However, the uncertainty about their impact needs to be contrasted with

the uncertain yet significant impact of increasing methane release in the atmosphere. It is a gas that enables far more trapping of heat from the sun’s rays than CO2 but was ignored in most of the climate models over the past decades. The authors of the 2016 Global Methane Budget report found that in the early years of this century, concentrations of methane rose by only about 0.5ppb each year, compared with 10ppb in 2014 and 2015. Various sources were identified, from fossil fuels – to agriculture to melting permafrost (Saunois et al, 2016).

Given the contentiousness of this topic in the scientific community, it may even be contentious for me to say that there is no scientific consensus on the sources of current methane emissions or the potential risk and timing of significant methane releases from either surface and subsea permafrost. A recent attempt at consensus on methane risk from melting surface permafrost concluded methane release would happen over centuries or millennia, not this decade (Schuur et al. 2015). Yet within three years that consensus was broken by one of the most detailed experiments which found that if the melting permafrost remains waterlogged, which is likely, then it produces significant amounts of methane within just a few years (Knoblauch et al, 2018). The debate is now likely to be about whether other microorganisms might thrive in that environment to eat up the methane – and whether or not in time to reduce the climate impact.
The debate about methane release from clathrate forms, or frozen methane hydrates, on the Arctic sea floor is even more contentious. In 2010 a group of scientists published a study that warned how the warming of the Arctic could lead to a speed and scale of methane release that would be catastrophic to life on earth through atmospheric heating of over 5 degrees within just a few years of such a release (Shakhova et al, 2010). The study triggered a fierce debate, much of which was ill considered, perhaps understandable given the shocking implications of this information (Ahmed, 2013). Since then, key questions at the heart of this scientific debate (about what would amount to the probable extinction of the human race) include the amount of time it will take for ocean warming to destabilise hydrates on the sea floor, and how much methane will be consumed by aerobic and anaerobic microbes before it reaches the surface and escapes to the atmosphere. In a global review of this contentious topic, scientists concluded that there is not the evidence to predict a sudden release of catastrophic levels of methane in the near-term (Ruppel and Kessler, 2017). However, a key reason for their conclusion was the lack of data showing actual increases in atmospheric methane at the surface of the Arctic, which is partly the result of a lack of sensors collecting such information. Most ground-level methane measuring systems are on land. Could that be why the unusual increases in atmospheric methane concentrations cannot be fully explained by existing data sets from around the world (Saunois et al, 2016)? One way of calculating how much methane is probably coming from our oceans is to compare data from ground-level measurements, which are mostly but not entirely on land, with upper atmosphere measurements, which indicate an averaging out of total sources.

Data published by scientists from the Arctic News (2018) website indicates that in March 2018 at mid altitudes, methane was around 1865 parts per billion (ppb), which represents a 1.8 percent increase of 35 ppb from the same time in 2017, while surface measurements of methane increased by about 15 ppb in that time. Both figures are consistent with a non-linear increase – potentially exponential – in atmospheric levels since 2007. That is worrying data in itself, but the more significant matter is the difference between the increase measured at ground and mid altitudes. That is consistent with this added methane coming from our oceans, which could in turn be from methane hydrates.

This closer look at the latest data on methane is worthwhile given the critical risks to which it relates. It suggests that the recent attempt at a consensus that it is highly unlikely we will see near-term massive release of methane from the Arctic Ocean is sadly inconclusive. In 2017 scientists working on the Eastern Siberian sea shelf, reported that the permafrost layer has thinned enough to risk destabilising hydrates (The Arctic, 2017). That report of subsea permafrost destabilisation in the East Siberian Arctic sea shelf, the latest unprecedented temperatures in the Arctic, and the data in non-linear rises in high-atmosphere methane levels, combine to make it feel like we are about to play Russian Roulette with the entire human race, with already two bullets loaded. Nothing is certain. But it is sobering that humanity has arrived at a situation of our own making where we now debate the strength of analyses of our near-term extinction.

The truly shocking information on the trends in climate change and its impacts on ecology and society are leading some to call for us to experiment with geoengineering the climate, from fertilizing the oceans so they photosynthesize more CO2, to releasing chemicals in the upper atmosphere so the Sun’s rays are reflected. The unpredictability of geoengineering the climate through the latter method, in particular the dangers of disturbances to seasonal rains that billions of people rely on, make it unlikely to be used (Keller et al, 2014). The potential natural geoengineering from increased sulphur releases from volcanoes due to isostatic rebound as weight on the Earth’s crust is redistributed is not likely to make a significant contribution to earth temperatures for decades or centuries.
It is a truism that we do not know what the future will be. But we can see trends. We do not know if the power of human ingenuity will help sufficiently to change the environmental trajectory we are on. Unfortunately, the recent years of innovation, investment and patenting indicate how human ingenuity has increasingly been channelled into consumerism and financial engineering. We might pray for time. But the evidence before us suggests that we are set for disruptive and uncontrollable levels of climate change, bringing starvation, destruction, migration, disease and war.

We do not know for certain how disruptive the impacts of climate change will be or where will be most affected, especially as economic and social systems will respond in complex ways. But the evidence is mounting that the impacts will be catastrophic to our livelihoods and the societies that we live within. Our norms of behaviour, that we call our “civilisation,” may also degrade. When we contemplate this possibility, it can seem abstract. The words I ended the previous paragraph with may seem, subconsciously at least, to be describing a situation to feel sorry about as we witness scenes on TV or online. But when I say starvation, destruction, migration, disease and war, I mean in your own life. With the power down, soon you wouldn’t have water coming out of your tap. You will depend on your neighbours for food and some warmth. You will become malnourished. You won’t know whether to stay or go. You will fear being violently killed before starving to death.
These descriptions may seem overly dramatic. Some readers might consider them an unacademic form of writing. Which would be an interesting comment on why we even write at all. I chose the words above as an attempt to cut through the sense that this topic is purely theoretical. As we are considering here a situation where the publishers of this journal would no longer exist, the electricity to read its outputs won’t exist, and a profession to educate won’t exist, I think it time we break some of the conventions of this format. However, some of us may take pride in upholding the norms of the current society, even amidst collapse. Even though some of us might believe in the importance of maintaining norms of behaviour, as indicators of shared values, others will consider that the probability of collapse means that effort at reforming our current system is no longer the pragmatic choice. My conclusion to this situation has been that we need to expand our work on “sustainability” to consider how communities, countries and humanity can adapt to the coming troubles. I have dubbed this the “Deep Adaptation Agenda,” to contrast it with the limited scope of current climate adaptation activities. My experience is that a lot of people are resistant to the conclusions I have just shared. So before explaining the implications, let us consider some of the emotional and psychological responses to the information I have just summarised.
Systems of Denial
It would not be unusual to feel a bit affronted, disturbed, or saddened by the information and arguments I have just shared. In the past few years, many people have said to me that “it can’t be too late to stop climate change, because if it was, how would we find the energy to keep on striving for change?” With such views, a possible reality is denied because people want to continue their striving. What does that tell us? The “striving” is based in a rationale of maintaining self-identities related to espoused values. It is understandable why that happens. If one has always thought of oneself as having self-worth through promoting the public good, then

information that initially appears to take away that self-image is difficult to assimilate.
That process of strategic denial to maintain striving and identity is easily seen in online debates about the latest climate science. One particular case is illustrative. In 2017 the New York Magazine published an article that drew together the latest data and analysis of what the implications of rapid climatic warming would be on ecosystems and humanity. Unlike the many dry academic articles on these subjects, this popular article sought to describe these processes in visceral ways (Wallace-Wells, 2017). The reaction of some environmentalists to this article did not focus on the accuracy of the descriptions or what might be done to reduce some of the worst effects that were identified in the article. Instead, they focused on whether such ideas should be communicated to the general public. Climate scientist Michael Mann warned against presenting “the problem as unsolvable, and feed[ing] a sense of doom, inevitability and hopelessness” (in Becker, 2017). Environmental journalist Alex Steffen (2017) tweeted that “Dropping the dire truth… on unsupported readers does not produce action, but fear.” In a blog post, Daniel Aldana Cohen (2017) an assistant sociology professor working on climate politics, called the piece “climate disaster porn.” Their reactions reflect what some people have said to me in professional environmental circles. The argument made is that to discuss the likelihood and nature of social collapse due to climate change is irresponsible because it might trigger hopelessness amongst the general public. I always thought it odd to restrict our own exploration of reality and censor our own sensemaking due to our ideas about how our conclusions might come across to others. Given that this attempt at censoring was so widely shared in the environmental field in 2017, it deserves some closer attention.
I see four particular insights about what is happening when people argue we should not communicate to the public the likelihood and nature of the catastrophe we face. First, it is not untypical for people to respond to data in terms of what perspectives we wish for ourselves and others to have, rather than what the data may suggest is happening. That reflects an approach to reality and society that may be tolerable in times of plenty but counterproductive when facing major risks. Second, bad news and extreme scenarios impact on human psychology. We sometimes overlook that the question of how they impact is a matter for informed discussion that can draw upon psychology and communications theories. Indeed, there are journals dedicated to environmental psychology. There is some evidence from social psychology to suggest that by focusing on impacts now, it makes climate change more proximate, which increases support for mitigation (McDonald et al, 2015). That is not conclusive, and this field is one for further exploration. That serious scholars or activists would make a claim about impacts of communication without specific theory or evidence suggests that they are not actually motivated to know the effect on the public but are attracted to a certain argument that explains their view.

A third insight from the debates about whether to publish information on the probable collapse of our societies is that sometimes people can express a paternalistic relationship between themselves as environmental experts and other people whom they categorise as “the public”. That is related to the non-populist anti-politics technocratic attitude that has pervaded contemporary environmentalism. It is a perspective that frames the challenges as one of encouraging people to try harder to be nicer and better rather than coming together in solidarity to either undermine or overthrow a system that demands we participate in environmental degradation.
A fourth insight is that “hopelessness” and its related emotions of dismay and despair are understandably feared but wrongly assumed to be entirely negative and to be avoided whatever the situation. Alex Steffen warned that “Despair is never helpful” (2017). However, the range of ancient wisdom traditions see a significant place for hopelessness and despair. Contemporary reflections on people’s emotional and even spiritual growth as a result of their hopelessness and despair align with these ancient ideas. The loss of a capability, a loved one or a way of life, or the receipt of a terminal diagnosis have all been reported, or personally experienced, as a trigger for a new way of perceiving self and world, with hopelessness and despair being a necessary step in the process (Matousek, 2008). In such contexts “hope” is not a good thing to maintain, as it depends on what one is hoping for. When the debate raged about the value of the New York Magazine article, some commentators picked up on this theme. “In abandoning hope that one way of life will continue, we open up a space for alternative hopes,” wrote Tommy Lynch (2017).
This question of valid and useful hope is something that we must explore much further. Leadership theorist Jonathan Gosling has raised the question of whether we need a more “radical hope” in the context of climate change and a growing sense of “things falling apart” (Gosling, 2016). He invites us to explore what we could learn from other cultures that have faced catastrophe. Examining the way Native American Indians coped with being moved on to reservations, Lear (2008) looked at what he calls the “blind spot” of any culture: the inability to conceive of its own destruction and possible extinction. He explored the role of forms of hope that involved neither denial or blind optimism. “What makes this hope radical, is that it is directed toward a future goodness that transcends the current ability to understand what it is” (ibid). He explains how some of the Native American chiefs had a form of “imaginative excellence” by trying to imagine what ethical values would be needed in their new lifestyle on the reservation. He suggests that besides the standard alternatives of freedom or death (in service of one’s culture) there is another way, less grand yet demanding just as much courage: the way of “creative adaptation.” This form of creatively constructed hope may be relevant to our Western civilisation as we confront disruptive climate change (Gosling and Case, 2013).

Such deliberations are few and far between in either the fields of environmental studies or management studies. It is to help break this semi- censorship of our own community of inquiry on sustainability that motivated me to write this article. Some scholarship has looked at the process of denial more closely. Drawing on sociologist Stanley Cohen, Foster (2015) identifies two subtle forms of denial – interpretative and implicative. If we accept certain facts but interpret them in a way that makes them “safer” to our personal psychology, it is a form of “interpretative denial”. If we recognise the troubling implications of these facts but respond by busying ourselves on activities that do not arise from a full assessment of the situation, then that is “implicative denial”. Foster argues that implicative denial is rife within the environmental movement, from dipping into a local Transition Towns initiative, signing online petitions, or renouncing flying, there are endless ways for people to be “doing something” without seriously confronting the reality of climate change.
There are three main factors that could be encouraging professional environmentalists in their denial that our societies will collapse in the near- term. The first is the way the natural scientific community operates. Eminent climate scientist James Hansen has always been ahead of the conservative consensus in his analyses and predictions. Using the case study of sea level rise, he threw light on processes that lead to “scientific reticence” to conclude and communicate scenarios that would be disturbing to employers, funders, governments and the public (Hansen, 2007). A more detailed study of this process across issues and institutions found that climate-change scientists routinely underestimate impacts “by erring on the side of least drama” – (Brysse et al, 2013). Combined with the norms of scientific analysis and reporting to be cautious and avoid bombast, and the time it takes to fund, research, produce and publish peer-reviewed scientific studies, this means that the information available to environmental professionals about the state of the climate is not as frightening as it could be. In this paper I have had to mix information from peer-reviewed articles with recent data from individual scientists and their research institutions to provide the evidence which suggests we are now in a non-linear situation of climactic changes and effects.
A second set of factors influencing denial may be personal. George Marshall summarised the insights from psychology on climate denial, including the interpretive and implicative denial of those of who are aware but have not prioritised it. In particular, we are social beings and our assessment of what to do about information is influenced by our culture. Therefore, people often avoid voicing certain thoughts when they go against the social norm around them and/or their social identity. Especially in situations of shared powerlessness, it can be perceived as safer to hide one’s views and do nothing if it goes against the status quo. Marshall also explains how our typical fear of death means that we do not give our full attention to information that reminds us of that. According to anthropologist Ernest Becker (1973): “A fear of death lies at the centre of all human belief.” Marshall explains: “The denial of death is a ‘vital lie’ that leads us to invest

our efforts into our cultures and social groups to obtain a sense of permanence and survival beyond our death. Thus, [Becker] argued, when we receive reminders of our death – what he calls death salience – we respond by defending those values and cultures.” This view was recently expounded as part of the “terror management theory” proposed by Jeff Greenberg, Sheldon Solomon, and Tom Pyszczynski (2015). Although Marshall does not consider it directly, these processes would apply more so to “collapse denial” than to climate denial, as the death involves not only oneself but all of what one could contribute to.
These personal processes are likely made worse for sustainability experts than the general public, given the typical allegiance of professionals to incumbent social structures. Research has revealed that people who have a higher level of formal education are more supportive of the existing social and economic systems that those that have less education (Schmidt, 2000). The argument is that people who have invested time and money in progressing to a higher status within existing social structures are more naturally inclined to imagine reform of those systems than their upending. This situation is accentuated if we assume our livelihood, identity and self- worth is dependent on the perspective that progress on sustainability is possible and that we are part of that progressive process.
The third factor influencing denial is institutional. I have worked for over 20 years within or with organisations working on the sustainability agenda, in non-profit, private and governmental sectors. In none of these sectors is there an obvious institutional self-interest in articulating the probability or inevitability of social collapse. Not to members of your charity, not to consumers of your product, not to voters for your party. There are a few niche companies that benefit from a collapse discourse leading some
people to seek to prepare by buying their products. This field may expand in future, at various scales of preparedness, which I return to below. But the internal culture of environmental groups remains strongly in favour of appearing effective, even when decades of investment and campaigning have not produced a net positive outcome on climate, ecosystems or many specific species.
Let us look at the largest environmental charity, WWF, as an example of this process of organisational drivers of implicative denial. I worked for them when we were striving towards all UK wood product imports being from sustainable forests by 1995. Then it became “well-managed” forests by 2000. Then targets were quietly forgotten while the potensiphonic language5 of solving deforestation through innovative partnerships remained. If the employees of the world’s leading environmental groups were on performance related pay, they would probably owe their members and donors money by now. The fact that some readers may find such a comment to be rude and unhelpful highlights how our interests in civility, praise and belonging within a professional community can censor those of
5
language that emphasizes power and supremacy

us who seek to communicate uncomfortable truths in memorable ways (like that journalist in the New York Magazine).
These personal and institutional factors mean that environmental professionals may be some of the slowest to process the implications of the latest climate information. In 2017, a survey of more than 8,000 people across 8 different countries – Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, India, South Africa, the UK, and the US – asked respondents to gauge their perceived level of security as compared to two years ago in regards to global risks. A total of 61% said they felt more insecure, while only 18% said they felt more secure. On climate change, 48% of respondents strongly agreed that it is a global catastrophic risk, with an additional 36% of people tending to agree with that. Only 14% of respondents disagreed to some degree with the idea that climate change presented a catastrophic risk (Hill, 2017). This perspective on climate may help explain other survey data that suggests remarkable changes in how people view technology, progress, their society, and the future prospects for their children. A 2017 global survey found that only 13% of the public think the world is getting better, which is major change from the ten years before (Ipsos MORI, 2017). In the USA, polls indicate that belief in technology as a good force has been fading (Asay, 2013). This information may reflect a wider questioning of the idea that progress is always good and possible. Such as shift in perspective is indicated by opinion polls showing that far fewer people today than the last decade believe their children will have a better future than themselves (Stokes, 2017). Another indicator of whether people believe in their future is if they believe in the basis of their society. Studies have consistently found that more people are losing faith in electoral democracy and in the economic system (Bendell and Lopatin, 2017). The questioning of mainstream life and of progress is also reflected in the shift away from secular-rational values to traditional values that has been occurring worldwide since 2010 (World Values Survey, 2016). How do children feel about their futures? I have not found a large or longitudinal study on children’s views of the future, but one journalist who asked children from 6 to 12 years old to paint what they expect the world in 50 years to be like generated mostly apocalyptic images (Banos Ruiz, 2017). This evidence suggests that the idea we “experts” need to be careful about what to tell “them” the “unsupported public” may be a narcissistic delusion in need of immediate remedy.
Emotional difficulties with realising the tragedy that is coming, and that is in many ways upon us already, are understandable. Yet these difficulties need to be overcome so we can explore what the implications may be for our work, lives and communities.
Framing After Denial
As a sense of calamity grows within the environmental movement, some argue against a focus on “carbon reductionism” for how it may limit our appreciation of why we face this tragedy and what to do about it

(Eisenstein, 2018). I agree that climate change is not just a pollution problem, but an indicator of how our human psyche and culture became divorced from our natural habitat. However, that does not mean we should deprioritise the climate situation for a broader environmental agenda.
If we allow ourselves to accept that a climate-induced form of economic and social collapse is now likely, then we can begin to explore the nature and likelihood of that collapse. That is when we discover a range of different views. Some frame the future as involving a collapse of this economic and social system, which does not necessarily mean a complete collapse of law, order, identity and values. Some regard that kind of collapse as offering a potential upside in bringing humanity to a post-consumerist way of life that would be more conscious of relationships between people and nature (Eisenstein, 2013). Some even argue that this reconnection with nature will generate hitherto unimaginable solutions to our predicament. Sometimes that view comes with a belief in the power of spiritual practices to influence the material world according to human intent. The perspective that natural or spiritual reconnection might save us from catastrophe is, however, a psychological response one could analyse as a form of denial.
Some analysts emphasise the unpredictable and catastrophic nature of this collapse, so that it will not be possible to plan a way to transition at either collective or small-scale levels to a new way of life that we might imagine as tolerable, let alone beautiful. Then others go further still and argue that the data can be interpreted as indicating climate change is now in a runaway pattern, with inevitable methane release from the seafloor leading to a rapid collapse of societies that will trigger multiple meltdowns of some of the world’s 400 nuclear power-stations, leading to the extinction of the human race (McPherson, 2016). This assessment that we face near-term human extinction can draw on the conclusions by geologists that the last mass extinction of life on earth, where 95% of species disappeared, was due to methane-induced rapid warming of the atmosphere (Lee, 2014; Brand et al, 2016).
With each of these framings – collapse, catastrophe, extinction – people describe different degrees of certainty. Different people speak of a scenario being possible, probable or inevitable. In my conversations with both professionals in sustainability or climate, and others not directly involved, I have found that people choose a scenario and a probability depending not on what the data and its analysis might suggest, but what they are choosing to live with as a story about this topic. That parallels findings in psychology that none of us are purely logic machines but relate information into stories about how things relate and why (Marshall, 2014). None of us are immune to that process. Currently, I have chosen to interpret the information as indicating inevitable collapse, probable catastrophe and possible extinction. There is a growing community of people who conclude we face inevitable human extinction and treat that view as a prerequisite for meaningful discussions about the implications for our lives right now. For instance, there are thousands of people on Facebook groups who believe

human extinction is near. In such groups I have witnessed how people who doubt extinction is either inevitable or coming soon are disparaged by some participants for being weak and deluded. This could reflect how some of us may find it easier to believe in a certain than an uncertain story, especially when the uncertain future would be so different to today that it is difficult to comprehend. Reflection on the end of times, or eschatology, is a major dimension of the human experience, and the total sense of loss of everything one could ever contribute to is an extremely powerful experience for many people. How they emerge from that experience depends on many factors, with loving kindness, creativity, transcendence, anger, depression, nihilism and apathy all being potential responses. Given the potential spiritual experience triggered by sensing the imminent extinction of the human race, we can appreciate why a belief in the inevitability of extinction could be a basis for some people to come together.
In my work with mature students, I have found that inviting them to consider collapse as inevitable, catastrophe as probable and extinction as possible, has not led to apathy or depression. Instead, in a supportive environment, where we have enjoyed community with each other, celebrating ancestors and enjoying nature before then looking at this information and possible framings for it, something positive happens. I have witnessed a shedding of concern for conforming to the status quo, and a new creativity about what to focus on going forward. Despite that, a certain discombobulation occurs and remains over time as one tries to find a way forward in a society where such perspectives are uncommon. Continued sharing about the implications as we transition our work and lives is valuable.
One further factor in the framing of our situation concerns timing. Which also concerns geography. Where and when will the collapse or catastrophe begin? When will it affect my livelihood and society? Has it already begun? Although it is difficult to forecast and impossible to predict with certainty, that does not mean we should not try. The current data on temperature rise at the poles and impacts on weather patterns around the world suggests we are already in the midst of dramatic changes that will impact massively and negatively on agriculture within the next twenty years. Impacts have already begun. That sense of near-term disruption to our ability to feed ourselves and our families, and the implications for crime and conflict, adds another level to the discombobulation I mentioned. Should you drop everything now and move somewhere more suitable for self-sufficiency? Should you be spending time reading the rest of this article? Should I even finish writing it? Some of the people who believe that we face inevitable extinction believe that no one will read this article because we will see a collapse of civilisation in the next twelve months when the harvests fail across the northern hemisphere. They see social collapse leading to immediate meltdowns of nuclear power stations and thus human extinction being a near-term phenomenon. Certainly not more than five years from now. The clarity and drama of their message is why Inevitable Near Term

Human Extinction (INTHE) has become a widely used phrase online for discussions about climate-collapse.
Writing about that perspective makes me sad. Even four years after I first let myself consider near-term extinction properly, not as something to dismiss, it still makes my jaw drop, eyes moisten, and air escape my lungs. I have seen how the idea of INTHE can lead me to focus on truth, love and joy in the now, which is wonderful, but how it can also make me lose interest in planning for the future. And yet I always come around to the same conclusion – we do not know. Ignoring the future because it is unlikely to matter might backfire. “Running for the hills” – to create our own eco- community – might backfire. But we definitely know that continuing to work in the ways we have done until now is not just backfiring – it is holding the gun to our own heads. With this in mind, we can choose to explore how to evolve what we do, without any simple answers. In my post-denial state, shared by increasing numbers of my students and colleagues, I realised that we would benefit from conceptual maps for how to address these questions. I therefore set about synthesising the main things people talked about doing differently in light of a view of inevitable collapse and probable catastrophe. That is what I offer now as the “deep adaptation agenda.”
The Deep Adaptation Agenda
For many years, discussions and initiatives on adaptation to climate change were seen by environmental activists and policymakers as unhelpful to the necessary focus on carbon emissions reductions. That view finally changed in 2010 when the IPCC gave more attention to how societies and economies could be helped to adapt to climate change, and the United Nations Global Adaptation Network was founded to promote knowledge sharing and collaboration. Five years later the Paris Accord between member states produced a “Global Goal on Adaptation” (GGA) with the aim of “enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change, with a view to contributing to sustainable development and ensuring an adequate adaptation response in the context of the global temperature goal” (cited in Singh, Harmeling and Rai, 2016). Countries committed to develop National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) and report on their creation to the UN.
Since then the funding being made available to climate adaptation has grown, with all the international development institutions active on adaptation finance. In 2018 the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), African Development Bank (AfDB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) and the World Bank each agreed major financing for governments to increase resilience of their communities. Some of their projects include the Green Climate Fund, which was created to provide lower income countries with assistance. Typical projects include improving the ability of small-scale farmers to cope with weather variability through the introduction of irrigation and the ability of urban planners to respond to rising sea levels

and extreme rainfall events through reengineering drainage systems (Climate Action Programme, 2018). These initiatives are falling short of the commitments made by governments over the past 8 years, and so more is being done to promote private bonds to finance adaptation (Bernhardt, 2018) as well as stimulate private philanthropy on this agenda (Williams, 2018).

These efforts are paralleled by an increased range of activities under the umbrella of “Disaster Risk Reduction” which has its own international agency – the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR). The aim of their work is to reduce the damage caused by natural hazards like earthquakes, floods, droughts and cyclones, through reducing sensitivity to these hazards as well as increasing the capacity to respond when disasters hit. That focus means significant engagement with urban planners and local governments. In the business sector, this disaster risk reduction agenda meets the private sector through the well-established fields of risk management and business continuity management. Companies ask themselves what the points of failure might be in their value chains and seek to reduce those vulnerabilities or the significance of something failing.

Given the climate science we discussed earlier, some people may think this action is too little too late. Yet, if such action reduces some harm temporarily, that will help people, just like you and me, and therefore such action should not be disregarded. Nevertheless, we can look more critically at how people and organisations are framing the situation and the limitations that such a framing may impose. The initiatives are typically described as promoting “resilience”, rather than sustainability. Some definitions of resilience within the environmental sector are surprisingly upbeat. For instance, the Stockholm Resilience Centre (2015) explains that “resilience is the capacity of a system, be it an individual, a forest, a city or an economy, to deal with change and continue to develop. It is about how humans and nature can use shocks and disturbances like a financial crisis or climate change to spur renewal and innovative thinking.” In offering that definition, they are drawing on concepts in biology, where ecosystems are observed to overcome disturbances and increase their complexity (Brand and Jax, 2007).

Two issues require attention at this point. First, the upbeat allegiance to “development” and “progress” in certain discourses about resilience may not be helpful as we enter a period when material “progress” may not be possible and so aiming for it might become counter-productive. Second, apart from some limited soft skills development, the initiatives under the resilience banner are nearly all focused on physical adaptation to climate change, rather than considering a wider perspective on psychological resilience. In psychology, “resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress — such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems or workplace and financial stressors. It means ‘bouncing back’ from difficult experiences” (American Psychology Association, 2018). How a person “bounces back” after difficulties or loss, may be through a creative reinterpretation of identity and priorities. The concept of resilience in psychology does not, therefore, assume that people return to how they were before. Given the climate reality we now face, this less progressivist framing of resilience is more useful for a deeper adaptation agenda.

In pursuit of a conceptual map of “deep adaptation,” we can conceive of resilience of human societies as the capacity to adapt to changing circumstances so as to survive with valued norms and behaviours. Given that analysts are concluding that a social collapse is inevitable, the question becomes: What are the valued norms and behaviours that human societies will wish to maintain as they seek to survive? That highlights how deep adaptation will involve more than “resilience.” It brings us to a second area of this agenda, which I have named “relinquishment.” It involves people and communities letting go of certain assets, behaviours and beliefs where retaining them could make matters worse. Examples include withdrawing from coastlines, shutting down vulnerable industrial facilities, or giving up expectations for certain types of consumption. The third area can be called “restoration.” It involves people and communities rediscovering attitudes and approaches to life and organisation that our hydrocarbon-fuelled civilisation eroded. Examples include re-wilding landscapes, so they provide more ecological benefits and require less management, changing diets back to match the seasons, rediscovering non-electronically powered forms of play, and increased community-level productivity and support.

It is not my intention in this paper to map out more specific implications of a deep adaptation agenda. Indeed, it is impossible to do so, and to attempt it would assume we are in a situation for calculated attempts at management, when what we face is a complex predicament beyond our control. Rather, I hope the deep adaptation agenda of resilience, relinquishment and restoration can be a useful framework for community dialogue in the face of climate change. Resilience asks us “how do we keep what we really want to keep?” Relinquishment asks us “what do we need to let go of in order to not make matters worse?” Restoration asks us “what can we bring back to help us with the coming difficulties and tragedies?” In 2017, this deep adaptation agenda was used to frame a festival of alternatives organised by Peterborough Environment City Trust. It included a whole day devoted to exploring what relinquishment could involve. As such, it allowed more open conversation and imagination than a narrower focus on resilience. Further events are planned across the UK. Whether it will be useful framing for a broader-level policy agenda is yet to be seen.
How does this “deep adaptation agenda” relate to the broad conceptual framework of sustainable development? It is related to other perspectives that despite the attention of international institutions to “sustainable development goals,” the era of “sustainable development” as unifying concept and goal is now ending. It is an explicitly post-sustainability

framing, and part of the Restoration Approach to engaging with social and environmental dilemmas, as I outlined elsewhere (Bendell, et al 2017).
Research Futures in the Face of Climate Tragedy
I was only partly joking earlier when I questioned why I was even writing this paper. If all the data and analysis turn out to be misleading, and this society continues nicely for the coming decades, then this article will not have helped my career. If the predicted collapse comes within the next decade, then I won’t have a career. It is the perfect lose-lose. I mention this to highlight how it will not be easy to identify ways forward as academic researchers and educators in the field of organizational sustainability.

For the academics reading this paper, most of you will have increasing teaching loads, in areas where you are expected to cover certain content. I know you may have little time and space for reinventing your expertise and focus. Those of you who have a mandate to research might discover that the deep adaptation agenda is not an easy topic for finding research partners and funders. This restrictive situation was not always the reality faced by academics. It is the result of changes in higher education, that are one expression of an ideology that has made the human race so poor at addressing a threat to its wellbeing and even existence. It is an ideology that many of us have been complicit in promoting, if we have been working in business schools. It is important to recognise that complicity, before considering how to evolve our research in the face of the climate tragedy.

The West’s response to environmental issues has been restricted by the dominance of neoliberal economics since the 1970s. That led to hyper- individualist, market fundamentalist, incremental and atomistic approaches. By hyper-individualist, I mean a focus on individual action as consumers, switching light bulbs or buying sustainable furniture, rather than promoting political action as engaged citizens. By market fundamentalist, I mean a focus on market mechanisms like the complex, costly and largely useless carbon cap and trade systems, rather than exploring what more government intervention could achieve.

By incremental, I mean a focus on celebrating small steps forward such as a company publishing a sustainability report, rather than strategies designed for a speed and scale of change suggested by the science. By atomistic, I mean a focus on seeing climate action as a separate issue from the governance of markets, finance and banking, rather than exploring what kind of economic system could permit or enable sustainability.

This ideology has now influenced the workloads and priorities of academics in most universities, which restricts how we can respond to the climate tragedy. In my own case, I took an unpaid sabbatical, and writing this paper is one of the outcomes of that decision. We no longer have time for the career games of aiming to publish in top-ranked journals to impress our line managers or improve our CV for if we enter the job market. Nor do we have a need for the narrow specialisms that are required to publish in such journals.

So, yes, I am suggesting that in order to let oneself evolve in response to the climate tragedy one may have to quit a job – and even a career. However, if one is prepared to do that, then one can engage with an employer and professional community from a new place of confidence.

If staying in academia, I recommend you begin to ask some questions of all that you research and teach. When reading others’ research, I recommend asking: “How might these findings inform efforts for a more massive and urgent pursuit of resilience, relinquishment and restoration in the face of social collapse?” You may find that most of what you read offers little on that question, and, therefore, you no longer wish to engage with it. On one’s own research, I recommend asking: “If I didn’t believe in incremental incorporation of climate concerns into current organisations and systems, what might I want to know more about?” In answering that question, I recommend talking to non-specialists as much as people in your own field, so that you are able to talk more freely and consider all options.

In my own work, I stopped researching corporate sustainability. I learned about leadership and communications and began to research, teach and advise on these matters, in the political arena. I began to work on systems to enable re-localisation of economies and support for community development, particular those systems using local currencies. I sought to share that knowledge more widely, and therefore launched a free online course (The Money and Society Mass Open Online Course). I began to spend more time reading and talking about the climate tragedy and what I might do, or stop doing, with that in mind. This rethinking and repositioning is ongoing, but I can no longer work on subjects that do not have some relevance to deep adaptation.

Looking ahead, I see the need and opportunity for more work at multiple levels. People will need more support to access information and networks for how to attempt a shift in their livelihoods and lifestyles. Existing approaches to living off-grid in intentional communities are useful to learn from, but this agenda needs to go further in asking questions like how small-scale production of drugs like aspirin is possible. Free online and in-person courses as well as support networks on self-sufficiency need to be scaled. Local governments will need similar support on how to develop the capabilities today that will help their local communities to collaborate, not fracture, during a collapse. For instance, they will need to roll out systems for productive cooperation between neighbours, such as product and service exchange platforms enabled by locally issued currency. At the international level, there is the need to work on how to responsibly address the wider fallout from collapsing societies (Harrington, 2016). These will be many, but obviously include the challenges of refugee support and the securing of dangerous industrial and nuclear sites at the moment of a societal collapse.

Other intellectual disciplines and traditions may be of interest going forward. Human extinction and the topic of eschatology, or the end of the world, is something that has been discussed in various academic disciplines, as you might expect. In theology it has been widely discussed, while it also appears in literary theory as an interesting element to creative writing and in psychology during the 1980s as a phenomenon related to the threat of nuclear war. The field of psychology seems to be particularly relevant going forward.

Whatever we choose to work on in future will not be a simple calculation. It will be shaped by the emotional or psychological implications of this new awareness of a societal collapse being likely in our own lifetimes.

I have explored some of these emotional issues and how they have been affecting my work choices, in a reflective essay on the spiritual implications of climate despair (Bendell, 2018).

There are winners and losers on the path of climate change and although this is not a zero sum game, we must admit that it will be the work of our lifetimes.

And although the climate extremes will be felt by all, in some cases they will be welcomed as they “open up” areas in the extremes of the latitude graph, for human development and exploitation.

Yet this process is not going to be short and sweet, but rather a bit of a struggle to adjust and adapt — yet for some it will be manifest as a technological boon, for a few others, it will be a blessing in disguise, and hell on earth for the ones left behind…

And even if Cloud Seeding is not a panacea for what ails our planet — it surely answers the prayers of all those tens of millions of climate refugees who due to drought and the resultant famines, have to leave their ancestral homes in order to find greener pastures.

For many thousands of years humans understood themselves to be part of an animate earth governed by gods and spirits some of whom brought about the seeding of the skies. They recognised their survival and the survival of the plants and animals they eat is dependent on external forces. Their spirit-workers were skilled in divining the weather. Cloud and weather inducing spirit rites exist through which communities participate in shaping the weather, calling on the gods to bring rain and to avert storms, as they still do many peoples amongst the indigenous people in North & especially in South America, in all of Africa, in most of Asia, amongst the indigenous folk of the Antipodes of Southern Pacific Australasia, in the Eastern European Slavic lands, in all of Mongolia & the Tatar lands, and amongst the aborigines of the Arctic circle, and elsewhere where humans still maintain their reverence for the Earth.

And it is a short time since some of us lost that connection with the Earth spirit, because it was not until almost two thousand years ago, when Christianity began establishing its authority, that humanity’s link with the spirits of the weather-gods was severed, and the demonization and rationalistic dismissal of animistic and polytheistic world-views laid the groundwork for the hegemony of Messianic views, followed by the strengthening of modern science, and of the new mechanistic ways of controlling the weather.

So today, the artificial seeding of clouds with salt, dry ice, or silver iodide (Agl) is used across the world to create rain and prevent hail storms in one area, or to do the same in another, or even cause the opposite effect for the purposes of war & defense, but not so much for the purposes of agriculture and human endurance. The shooting of aerosols into the skies with hail cannons or dropping them from planes like bombs provides a disturbing image of war with the sky and our all too human anthropomorphic gods, that runs contrary to the great principle of respectful relationship.

And as of now, we have laid the grounds for the further development of the technology of cloud seeding — yet we need to share it widely — as an Open Source initiative to reach all the agriculturalists across the globe, and to allow the means of invoking the rains to become a technological exercise, performed with reverence, shared with equanimity amongst the Peoples of this Earth, and assisted the magical powers of prayer and hope in the ancient tongues of anyone and of all spiritual beings, praying stoutly and devoutly in that universal language of Spirit, Grace and Gratefulness.

Thanks be to God.

“To you alone it is given to know the gods and spirits of the sky, or perhaps not at all.”
–Lucan

Yours,

Dr Churchill

PS:

Climate Change is Real and evidence of it exists when you look at the transitional long weather records and the meteorological reports of the last century and a half, since record keeping began in 1850, because seventeen of the eighteen hottest years have occurred since 2000.

And although important steps on climate mitigation and adaptation have been taken over the past decade — these steps could now be regarded as equivalent to walking uphill, on a landslide area. Now, if the landslide had not already begun, then quicker and bigger steps would have gotten us to the top of where we want to be, yet sadly, according to the latest climate data, emissions data and data on the spread of carbon-intensive lifestyles, all show that the landslide has already begun.

And since the point of “No Return” can’t be fully known until after the event horizon — all ambitious technological work on reducing carbon emissions and extracting more CO2 from the atmosphere becomes even more critical than ever before. And that activity must involve a new front of action on methane and further cloud seeding and rain contacts that drive plant life to flourish and thus absorb CO2 from the air so that trees and plants can grow up again and reconstitute once more the living green skin of our planet…

And for those who say that disruptive impacts from climate change are now inevitable — I am sorry to report that Geoengineering once seen as likely to be ineffective or counter-productive, has now been verified as the most advanced technological solution we have mastered so far. Therefore, the mainstream climate policy community now recognizes the need to work much more on technological improvements alongside the adaptation efforts in order to counteract the effects of climate change on people, planet & profits.

That technological and certainly rational view of the world, must now rapidly permeate the broader field of people engaged in sustainable development and environmental affairs, as well, as on climate change policy advocacy and delivery as politicians, practitioners, researchers and educators, because in assessing how our approaches could evolve, we need to appreciate what kind of technology & adaptation is possible and within our means.

And because recent research suggests that human societies will experience massive disruptions to their basic functioning within less than ten years due to climate stress — with such disruptions as increased levels of malnutrition, famine, drought, starvation, disease, civil conflict and war that will also visit all o affluent nations, this situation makes redundant the reformist approach to sustainable development and related fields of corporate sustainability that has underpinned the approach of many professionals (Bendell et al, 2017), and instead, a new approach which explores how to reduce harm and not make matters worse, is important to develop.

In support of that challenging, and ultimately personal process, understanding a deep adaptation agenda may be useful, because when someone finds themselves at the bottom of a deep hole — it is prudent to stop all further digging…

References

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Bendell, J. (2018) “Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy” published at the IFLAS Occasional (www.iflas.info)
Bendell, J. (2018), “After Climate Despair – One Tale Of What Can Emerge,” Jembendell.com, 14 January. Available at: https://jembendell.wordpress.com/2018/01/14/after-climate-despair-one-tale-of- what-can-emerge/ (accessed 24 March 2018)
Bendell, J. and Lopatin, M. (2016), “Democracy Demands a Richer Britain,” Huffington Post, 2 December. Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/jem- bendell/democracy-demands-a-riche_b_13348586.html (accessed 24 March 2018)
Bendell, J., Sutherland, N. and Little, R. (2017), “Beyond unsustainable leadership: critical social theory for sustainable leadership”, Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, Vol. 8 Issue: 4, pp.418-444. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1108/SAMPJ-08-2016-0048 (accessed 24 March 2018)
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Brand, U., Blarney, N., Garbelli, C., et al. (2016), “Methane Hydrate: Killer cause of Earth’s greatest mass extinction.” Palaeoworld, vol.25, issue 4, pp.496-507.
Britten, G. L., Dowd, M. and Worm, B. (2015), “Changing recruitment capacity in global fish stocks,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Published ahead of print December 14, 2015. Available at: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2015/12/09/1504709112 (accessed 24 March 2018)
Brysse, K., Reskes, N., O’Reilly, J. and Oppenheimer, M. (2013), “Climate change prediction: Erring on the side of least drama?” Global Environmental Change, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp.327-337. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959378012001215 (accessed 24 March 2018).
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Eisenstein, C. (2018 forthcoming), Climate – A New Story, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, California.

Posted by: Dr Churchill | May 16, 2019

Uncertainty Principles

We always want more…

Some folks — myself included — always seek more knowledge, as seekers of wisdom always do…

Some other people seek more material goods as needy souls always do…

Yet some others seek both, since for the hoi-polloi, the furthering of knowledge is akin to a furthering of wealth…

But for me, knowledge is a further freeing up of “Prometheus” from the chains of ignorance and hate…

A “Theft of Fire” so to speak.

And it’s a freeing experience, because knowledge is a mirror of the freedom that we always seek.

Further, it is only through wisdom that it becomes possible to attain such a measure of freedom that justifies the Free-Will that has been promised to us by the Good Lord and Saviour — our God…

And that I believe, is what most of us grog, deep inside our gut — even though we cannot coherently describe it, or even spell it out…

Yet we know that the reason we’ve got that something else going on,  is because wisdom and philosophy, empower us — yet that is a much bigger something than that.

And that is that we’ve got life and hunger for LOVE in our hearts that is greater than any hunger for life’s simplicity or complexity, and at the same time greater than the thirsting for Love’s fulfillment in this lifetime. And that is a stronger motivator to be a seeker, than any brain software, religious precept, smart principle, or belief system would have you following your search for Meaning and Purpose in this Life and beyond.

And for all that thirst — what we get in return is a repository of a vast and all too human plain old, uncertainty. Uncertainty that will make your teeth hurt. The man uncertainty variety that keeps people up at night and debilitates the greatest minds, as it causes the greatest rulers to refrain from decision making…

Because this type of human uncertainty, is akin to fear, love, or any other force to be reckoned with, or to be deeply understood, as we understand the Heisenberg principle of uncertainty in mathematical physics.

For those of you in the know — Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle clearly states that you cannot measure both position and momentum of a particle to a precise value, at the same instant of time — hence, there will always be a great deal of uncertainty in either of the complementary measurement of the particle in question movement.

In contrast to Heisenberg, my “Uncertainty Principle” is about the human interactions and the depth of the fabric of our lives, and as such it states, that all phenomena that determine the course of our lives have an uncertain outcome that thought, belief and chance action can coordinate to a different outcome based on the interconnections we have with other human beings…

Indeed I arrived at that conclusion, because my own life was headed in one direction, and despite all of my efforts to keep it on this earlier proscribed course — it is now headed in an altogether different direction, and yesterday I dutifully observed this as a third course. A new course, that I would have never guessed that I would have taken. Yet this is done based on what I did today, and I am completely satisfied, because the forces at work that reshuffle our fortunes, the time and the space we occupy, and the momentum of our lives that can shape and alter who we are, and even who we imagine ourselves to be, are far greater than any of our meticulous plans, our designs, or our destiny’s velocity and our life’s concerns.

The chaotic aspect of our lives that is given up to chance is proven by the spaghetti style map of the pathway from our birth till our death, which seems to be for all of us a singular signature piece of abstract art, or another plate of spaghetti at the corner Italian joint.

But we’ve got to add meatballs into that spaghetti bowl, because that signifies the people that we meet along the way, and they change us drastically.

Because it seems that our lives and our choices, much like quantum trajectories are understood to change with each chance encounter with other human beings that meaningfully intervene, interfere, or even play messenger, in our lives.

And since our constant iterative encounters with random people, always suggest a new potential direction, and a start of a new chapter of our life. Or in similar number of cases, these encounters signify the closing of one chapter and the opening of a door that leads to a radically different potential direction. And while all that holds true, from the momentary brush with destiny, carried in the wings of a butterfly, masquerading as a person on whose “wings” the present moment map of our destiny rests — it is still very difficult for people to accept.

So let us refresh the Quantum Physics here:

In quantum mechanics, the uncertainty principle known as Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, is any of a variety of mathematical inequalities asserting a fundamental limit to the precision with which certain pairs of physical properties of a particle, known as complementary variables or canonically conjugate variables such as position x and momentum p, can be known.

Introduced first in 1927, by the German physicist Werner Heisenberg, it states that the more precisely the position of some particle is determined, the less precisely its momentum can be known, and vice versa. The formal inequality relating the standard deviation of position σx and the standard deviation of momentum σp was derived by Earle Hesse Kennard later that year and by Hermann Weyl in 1928:

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Historically, the uncertainty principle has been confused with a related effect in physics, called the observer effect, which notes that measurements of certain systems cannot be made without affecting the systems, that is, without changing something in a system. Heisenberg utilized such an observer effect at the quantum level as a physical “explanation” of quantum uncertainty. It has since become clearer, however, that the uncertainty principle is inherent in the properties of all wave-like systems, and that it arises in quantum mechanics simply due to the matter wave nature of all quantum objects.

Thus, the uncertainty principle actually states a fundamental property of quantum systems and is not a statement about the observational success of current technology. It must be emphasized that measurement does not mean only a process in which a physicist-observer takes part, but rather any interaction between classical and quantum objects regardless of any observer.

Since the uncertainty principle is such a basic result in quantum physics, typical experiments in quantum mechanics routinely observe aspects of it. Certain experiments, however, may deliberately test a particular form of the uncertainty principle as part of their main research program. These include, for example, tests of number–phase uncertainty relations in superconducting or quantum optics systems. Applications dependent on the uncertainty principle for their operation include extremely low-noise technology such as that required in gravitational wave interferometers.

As for my human destiny’s uncertainty principle, it stands in clear contrast with the Heisenberg uncertainty principle which states that it is impossible to know simultaneously the exact position and the momentum of a particle, because, the more exactly we determine the position, the momentum becomes less determined, and vice versa, whereas for humans the position & velocity of our lives, can be determined fairly exactly, but never the swings of the human momentum, nor the human destiny’s always changing positions, pendulum.

A dynamic equilibrium indeed…

Yours,

Dr Churchill

PS:

If the maps of our lives are not entirely of our own design — then it follows that our destiny is not entirely written by us either.

Death triggers changes beyond measure in life, but love seems to transcend death and thus we are only immortal through the power of Love alone.

And if indeed, our lives are not entirely our own, regardless of free will, simply because from beginning to the end we are intertwined with others from our past and from our present, whereby through each act of kindness, act of indifference, or act of hate — we create our own future. And as all major religions and spiritual practices decree that Karma is beyond our lives, and even well beyond death, which is only a door that allows us to imagine a heaven, and hell — we best be ready for all eventualities longing to arrive in our lives.

Therefore, I prefer to imagine death as a door. A simple end of journey “Arrivals” door opening and behind it, I would find love waiting for me there … without a sign claiming that I’ve arrived in a place called Paradise or not.

Love or the absence of it — clearly reveals what kind of place that “Arrivals” terminal at the end of our journey of life might be.

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Happy Mother’s Day
(Give a Refugee Mother today, some help, as if she is your Mom)

 

A couple of thousand years ago some early physicist amongst the Greek philosopher scientists, voiced the truth, when he said that “Change is the only constant in the Universe”

Heraclitus, went on to say that “Life is Flux” (Panta Rhei in Greek, meaning everything & all things change).

Yet change is really hard…

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Even with the potential to save one’s life, or the whole world itself — making the simplest of changes can be the hardest thing for any human being.

Just look at our pitiful & childish response to Climate Change … for further proof of this.

Naturally change, is especially hard for these intelligent constructs of human beings who seek to maintain long term safety & stability, and so change is a near impossibility for intelligent assemblies such as the Pentagon, the State Department, and the long held institutional memory coalescing as the foreign policy apparatus, of the United States.

As for other smaller nation states, that have simpler institutional structures — it is even more difficult to embrace change than it is for a Superpower to understand & handle the vagaries of uncertainty, time, and chance, that all together militate for a state of constant flux & change.

It appears to be especially hard for our institutions, when these necessary changes of policy are needed, not because of the changing times and circumstances of the geopolitical & economic dynamic equilibriums, but because they are rather needed in order to bring into focus the paradoxical conflict of the Superpower’s economic interests vs the diplomacy, world safety, and international order foreign policy.

We haven’t faced for a while, such lofty dilemmas as we are facing today when these United States, align for battle across the shifting sands of Iran and it’s wildly inventive and theocratic regime that seeks to spread evil hither and tither.

And yet, even now at the eleventh hour, we are unwilling to embrace either the conflict or the change, even though we know that as Heraclitus quipped: “The underlying form of life, the ‘wisdom,’ is that the human condition is chiefly characterized by strife, by the coming together and pulling away of opposing forces.” And while people lament this strife, equating it with suffering, Heraclitus observed that this same process informed the natural world as well by writing: “All things come into being through opposition and all are in flux like a river.” There is no reason, then, to fear or try to avoid strife because conflict is the essential underlying force in life. This contending of forces, which Heraclitus characterized as fire, is easily observable in nature and yet human beings resist the natural movement of life and try to cling to what is known and what is considered safe.”

Marry that riddle, with the conflicts of interest between our national economy, and our international “Pax Americana” sovereignty, along with the global NATO partnerships, and we are in for a refresher course in solving the famed game theory “Prisoner’s Dilemma” paradox, that others have never solved successfully at this highest levels of the global diplomatic stage, in order to avoid another needless war.

So…

It would seem that we are sleep-walking to our predetermined fate, and thus going blindly towards another Middle Eastern war and the resultant Oil Crisis be damned…

And this is going to be a real nasty bit of war, because it will start by shutting down the Straits of Hormuz, and then all kinds of economic hell will break loose, and the roof tiles of Wall Street and the Banking majors, will fall upon our heads all over again.

Yet, I truly think that our leadership does not really know what shutting down the straits of Hormuz entails, and perhaps they need to take a trip down the institutional memory-lane, or just visit the local library, and read up on the subject and then try their hardest to recall the havoc that was wrought to the world, the last time this happened.

And even for those of us who remember — it seems to me that our administration does not know the angles and the implications of it, and even more importantly, the unintended consequences of that oil gateway closure…

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YES, WE ARE SLEEP WALKING TOWARD WAR, AND AN OIL CRISIS TO BOOT IS IN THE OFFING … SIMPLY BECAUSE WE ARE UNWILLING TO SEE THE SHIFTING SANDS OF TIME FOE WHAT THEY ARE.

And sadly, we are all going down that dismal path, and we don’t even know it, as we are prevaricating with our national belly button observational fixation.

Yet, I must caution the war department President, and the Senate, (forget Congress), that we are mistakenly and blindly going down the war path, because the Trump administration’s oil embargo towards Iran, and the push to reduce Iran’s oil exports to near zero, has entered a new and untested, yet all too critical phase, without so much as a tensions release valve in place, in this pressure cooker explosion contest, I will christen as the “Brinkmanship with the Ayatollahs” global economic value blow-up game.

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Because we are already in a solid phase of belligerence, with the United States refusing to extend the waivers it granted six months ago to the eight oil importing nations, including China, India, Turkey, Japan, and South Korea, that were allowed to continue purchasing Iranian oil based on the prior Iran nuclear deal agreements.

Moreover, the United States has refused to allow for a “wind-down” period where impacted nations would be able to gradually wean themselves away from Iranian sources of energy.

This means that, effective May 1st, any nation purchasing oil from Iran will be subject to punitive US sanctions.

The effort on the part of the Trump administration to shut down Iran’s ability to export oil is predicated on the false notion that the rest of the world will fall in lockstep with U.S. policy. But has President Donald Trump really thought through what would happen to the economic health of the world if Iran retaliates, shutting the Strait of Hormuz, through which much of the world’s oil flows daily?

Because as of now, some 18 million barrels of oil transit through every day.

Therefore, the economic impact of shutting this trade down, by closing and clogging there straits, would surely be catastrophic.

But catastrophic exactly for whom?

Iran has responded to the American decision not to extend oil waivers in typical fashion, with Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri, the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Command (IRGC) naval forces, warning on April 23 that “if Iran’s benefits in the Strait of Hormuz, which according to international rules is an international waterway, are denied, we will close it”.

This threat was clarified the next day, April 24, by Iran’s Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, who declared “ships can go through the Strait of Hormuz,” noting that “if the U.S. wanted to continue to observe the rules of engagement, the rules of the game, the channels of communication, the prevailing protocols, then in spite of the fact that we consider U.S. presence in the Persian Gulf as inherently destabilizing, we’re not going to take any action.”

For now…

The Strait of Hormuz is one of the most critical sea lanes in the world today, transiting some 18.5 million barrels of crude and refined products per day, representing roughly 20 percent of all oil produced globally. There is universal consensus among energy analysts that any closure of the Strait of Hormuz would result in “catastrophic” consequences for the global economy.

Less certain is whether Iran is serious about carrying out its threats. In July 2018, following the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Program of Action, or JCPOA), Iranian President Hassan Rouhani threatened to close the Straits in retaliation for renewed U.S. economic sanctions. Calmer heads prevailed, and Iran ended up taking the diplomatic route, working with the other signatories of the JCPOA to find ways to bypass U.S. sanctions.

In the intervening time, Iran’s efforts at crafting a diplomatic solution have fizzled, with Europe unable (or unwilling) to implement a meaningful alternative to the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) system, a financial network based in Belgium that provides cross-border transfers for over 11,000 financial institutions in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. Because the SWIFT board includes executives from U.S. banks, federal law allows the U.S. government to sanction banks and regulators who operate in violation of U.S. law. As such, any financial transaction involving Iran or any other entity under U.S. sanction would provide a trigger for secondary sanctions to be applied to facilitating institutions and/or persons.

Iran has a history of bypassing U.S. sanctions, and while the Trump administration’s targeting of Iran’s oil exports has caused significant economic harm to the Islamic Republic, Iran remains confident that it would be able to continue to sell oil in enough quantity to keep its economy afloat. In a recent appearance, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, declared that the American effort to block Iran’s oil sales will fail. “The Islamic Republic of Iran will be exporting any amount of oil it would require, at will,” Khamenei said.

There is a major difference between 2018 and today, however. The recent decisionby the Trump administration to declare the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Command (IRGC) a terrorist organization has complicated the issue of Iran’s oil sales, and America’s reaction in response.

The IRGC has long been subject to U.S. sanctions. In 2012, the U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), determined that National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) was an “agent or affiliate” of the IRGC and therefore is subject to sanctions under the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 (ITRSHRA). Other Iranian oil companies have likewise been linked to the IRGC, including Kermanshah Petrochemical Industries Co., Pardis Petrochemical Co., Parsian Oil & Gas Development Co., and Shiraz Petrochemical Co.

While in 2012 the United States determined that there was insufficient information to link the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) as an affiliate of the IRGC, under the current sanctions regime imposed in 2018 the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) and the NITC have been blacklisted in their entirety.

By linking the bulk of Iran’s oil exporting capacity to the IRGC, the United States has opened the door to means other than economic sanctions when it comes to enforcing its “zero” ban on Iranian oil sales. Any Iranian oil in transit would be classified as the property of a terrorist organization, as would any Iranian vessel carrying oil.

Likewise, any vessel from any nation that carried Iranian oil would be classified as providing material support to a terrorist organization, and thereby subject to interdiction, confiscation, and/or destruction. This is the distinction the world is missing when assessing Iran’s current threats to close the Strait of Hormuz. It’s one thing to sanction Iranian entities, including the IRGC—Iran has historically found enough work-arounds to defeat such efforts. It is an altogether different situation if the Unite States opts to physically impede Iran’s ability to ship oil. This would be a red line for Iran, and a trigger for it to shut down all shipping through the Strait of Hormuz.

So far the United States has not shown any inclination to physically confront Iranian shipping. Indeed, as Iran’s top military commander Major General Mohammad Baqeri recently told reporters, U.S. naval and commercial vessels transiting the Strait of Hormuz continue to respond to the queries transmitted by the IRGC naval forces responsible for securing Iran’s portion of the strategic waterway—an awkward reality given that the IRGC has been designated a terrorist organization, which means the U.S. Navy freely communicates and coordinates with terrorists.

“As oil and commodities of other countries are passing through the Strait of Hormuz, ours are also moving through it,” Bageri observed, declaring that “if our crude is not to pass through the Strait of Hormuz, others’ [crude] will not pass either.” Bageri went on to explain that “this does not mean [that we are going to] close the Strait of Hormuz. We do not intend to shut it unless the enemies’ hostile acts will leave us with no other option. We will be fully capable of closing it on that day.”

The challenge will come when the U.S. effort to bring Iran’s oil exports to zero fails—and most observers believe this will be the case. Iran’s Foreign Minister Javid Zarif has bragged that “Iran has a PhD in sanctions busting,” and historical precedence is on his side. If the Trump administration proves unable to shut down Iran’s ability to sell oil through sanctions, and therefore fails to blunt what it describes as Iran’s “malign activities” in the Middle East, there will be increased pressure to be seen as doing something—anything—to effectuate policy objectives, especially during the lead up to the 2020 presidential election, where the Trump administration would be loath to provide any fodder to its political opponents.

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And if we seek to remember the lessons learned from dealing with Iran fifty years ago — then we are in for a surprise, because the Iranian Ayatollahs of your father’s time, are not the same ones ruling the roost in Teheran today.

Things have changed and we are not even aware of the changes, subtle and big, that have transpired in that country…

For it’s all a new game today.

After all as the old man Heraclitus would have said: “You can never step into the same river twice.”

Yours,
Dr Churchill

PS:

However the economic impacts of an Oil embargo emanating from the oil consumer nations, is another reality all together.

And if anyone out there recalls the effects of the OPEC’s oil embargo back in the early 1970’s, and the economic devastation that it caused the free world — might want to shout out at Mr Pompeo and Mr Trump to have a rethink of this new and precipitous invitation to trouble.

And simply because any effort to restrict or deny oil transits through the Strait of Hormuz would be rightfully seen as a provocative act worthy of military intervention, it is highly unlikely that either the United States or Iran would take any precipitous action in that regard unilaterally…

However, Iran would most likely seek a gradual escalation of restrictions grounded in its legal interpretation of the 1982 United Nations’ Convention on the Law of the Sea, which grants Iran control over “territorial waters” extending to a maximum of 12 nautical miles beyond its coastline.

Any ships using the northern and eastern routes through the Strait of Hormuz to gain access to the Persian Gulf would have to transit through Iranian waters.

Under the convention, Iran is permitted to deny free transit passage to nations, like the United States, which have not ratified the agreement. If the United States interdicts Iranian shipping involved in the transit of oil, then it is most likely Iran will close the Strait of Hormuz to U.S. shipping, citing the 1982 convention as its justification.

The United States would either be compelled to back down (unlikely), or resort to military force, certifying it as the aggressor in the eyes of international law, and bringing along the wrath of all the Arab oil producing nations, leading to an escalating oil embargo that would most likely include also the “neutral” producers of the OPEC and perhaps all others…

The military debate over Iran’s or the US’s ability to close the Strait of Hormuz unilaterally, and the ability of the “other” power to respond to such a threat is moot, mainly because No Real Insurance company will ever cover any oil tanker seeking to transit contested waterways under the strain of missile fire and long distance naval guns.

The threat of cannon fire across the bow of a ship is enough for all sane oil tanker captains, to turn their vessels around swiftly.

Thus the economic impact of any straits of Hormuz unilateral closure — will be immediate, catastrophic and sustained.

And regardless of outcomes — the bigger economy will suffer the most damage.

Further, our national economy will be going swiftly into the toilet with energy prices rising beyond the pale, even though as of now, the US is a net energy exporter, and conceivably self sufficient.

The riddle of this dilemma stands at the first mover advantage, and it resembles the economic paradox aspects of the game theory “Prisoner’s Dilemma” because even if the United States mover first, or simply responded to an Iranian closure of the straits, and even if we prevailed in a military conflict over the Strait of Hormuz, which is not at all a certainty … it would still mean that to do so, we will be shooting ourselves and the global economy straight in the head.

Seeing as two completely rational nation-states will engage all their mighty foreign affairs and diplomatic corps detailed negotiations, might not find a MIDDLE WAY to cooperate even if it appears that it is in their best interests to do so — it is simply like waiting for the “Sarajevo moment” to unleash the Gods of War.

And since it is inevitable that we will not find a cooperative agreement with Iran, although we are both presumably rational in our pursuit of our self interests — diplomacy by military means will be the only other option.

But war as diplomacy is always flawed and the unintended consequences are massive and unseen ahead of the commencement of hostilities, always leading the belligerents at overestimating their particular strengths, while underestimating those of their opponent — leading both nations to the wrong assumptions about the length and the nature of the battles ahead and of the overall war…

And although for strategic purposes we are sure to score and declare a quick victory, we know that we will be left holding an empty cup, having drunk from the poisoned chalice of the Gods of War — and we will be stranded in the deserts of Iran for a long time to come much like those downed helicopters of the rangers during President Carter’s failed effort at freeing the hostages in the early days of this Persian theocratic tyrannical regime of the Mullahs, the Bazaaris, and the Ayatollahs.

Still hemlock is our own choice of drink when we belly up to that bar of Ares, and we forget to study our game theory primer…

Because we instinctively and unstintingly know hereafter, after the length and expenditure of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, that any military victory against Iran would be pyrrhic in nature.

And if our plan is for regime change in Iran, then we should really be concerned, because if a foreign nation deposed the existing theocratic regime in Iran by force — the ensuing civil war, regional destabilization, and refugee crisis, would make Iraq, Libya, and Syria, all look like a walk in the park…

As for the Pyrrhic victories — they have the effect of bleeding the winner dry of any power, and destabilizing their regime, regardless of the outcome of the war. And the fact that this looming battle seems to be resulting in a Pyrrhic victory before it even started is because it appears that the United States is willing to sacrifice its national economic health, and that of the rest of the world on the altar of hubris and anti free trade gunboat diplomacy.

And that posturing position clearly fails to advance the national interest in any meaningful fashion, and that’s why this provocation to war, is indeed a poisoned chalice that will sacrifice our best and brightest strategic minds along with scores of soldiers and marines.

A major sacrifice indeed.

“Corbunet Beram”

And the Persians will surely take advantage of the situation then…

من برای شما قربانی می کنم

And they will surely once again celebrate the SuperPower’s awful folly

Besalamati…

The M&A process involves multiple steps. Each deal is different, and each process has its own twists and turns, but generally, deals follow a certain order and cadence we’ll refer to here as M&A dating, M&A engagement, and M&A marriage…

Perhaps it was love at first sight and you received one terrific offer, or maybe you’ve been playing the field and received multiple offers. Either way, you’ve been through the M&A dating process (i.e. developing your acquisition strategy, identifying potential buyers, signing NDAs, negotiating valuation, and vetting indications of interest), but you’re still not ready to get married.

The term sheet is the tool used to align the parties on the basic deal terms and streamlines the dating process, so your next stop in M&A engagement is the presentation of a term sheet.

This is the stage where you and the buyer make sure you agree on the key terms of the proposed marriage. The term sheet is the tool used to align the parties on the basic deal terms and streamlines the drafting process by providing a clear roadmap for the lawyers to follow. It makes the deal process more efficient, reduces risk, and can save both parties a great deal of time, aggravation, and money.

There are differing views on how comprehensive a term sheet should be, and different deals require different degrees of details. But once a term sheet is signed, it is difficult (but not impossible) to materially alter the terms. If you haven’t yet, this is the time to consult with your legal advisors—make sure you understand exactly what you are signing up for.

Although every deal and every term sheet is different, here is a summary of the most commonly negotiated terms:

Deal Consideration: Valuation is the name of the game, but there’s much more to it than just a stated purchase price; there are additional components and adjustments to purchase price that factor into how much shareholders actually put in their pockets when all is said and done. It’s critical you understand this: just because you have a cash offer for $500 million doesn’t mean (and in fact it is unlikely that) the shareholders will receive $500 million in cash. Typical items that affect the ultimate pay out include adjustments for debt and other variables, working capital calculations, transaction expenses, escrows, and holdbacks and earn-out provisions. These adjustment variables and mechanisms should be clearly laid out in the term sheet to avoid disagreements between the parties as to the business agreement when drafting the relevant documents.

Transaction Structure. At a high level, an M&A deal can be structured as (a) a stock purchase, (b) a merger, or (c) an asset purchase. Not all deal structures are created equal, and the deal structure that is right for you will depend on several factors, including your corporate structure, your cap table configuration, the economics of the transaction and your post-transaction goals, and of course, tax considerations. Each structure has its own nuances, tax ramifications, benefits, and risks.

Treatment of Stock Options and Equity Awards: You can approach stock options and equity awards in a number of ways. Depending on the underlying equity award documents, options and equity awards can be cancelled, accelerated, cashed out, or substituted with new equity awards issued by the buyer. Your capital structure, vesting provisions, employee retention goals, and tax considerations are all factors that may determine how to treat stock options and equity awards. In addition, warrants can involve complicated mechanisms that determine what happens to the warrant in an acquisition scenario and complex calculations that determine their cash value. Your lawyer can help guide you through the relevant considerations and explain the nuances of how these instruments should be treated in the context of an acquisition.

Employee Retention: A buyer typically wants to acquire a business that will continue to run smoothly post-deal. This may mean that the buyer will want to retain some or all of your employees. The buyer may condition the deal or part of the deal consideration on retaining select key employees. The term sheet should articulate how the parties intend to treat the employees at closing.
Tax. Tax treatment often drives the structure of the transaction and affects the deal consideration. Your lawyer can help you understand the relevant tax consequences of the deal based on your corporate structure and business model. Be sure to understand the tax implications of the deal before you sign the term sheet.

Indemnity Escrow and Holdback Consideration: Most buyers will insist that a portion of the purchase price be held back from payment at closing to serve as security for things such as shareholder indemnity obligations under the M&A agreement or for a future obligation such as continued employment of the founders or key employees through a defined period. The buyer will pay out that held-back amount at a future date only if certain conditions are met. The amounts held back, whether such amounts are placed in a third party escrow account or held by the buyer, whether consideration is held back from all of the shareholders or just certain shareholders, and the timing and conditions of payment are all negotiated points and should be part of the term sheet.
Closing conditions. Closing conditions are requirements that each party must fulfill before the other is obligated to close the deal. While there are some standard closing conditions, they can be customized depending on the specific issues a buyer or seller may face. These conditions influence the timing and likelihood of closing. Your lawyer can help you identify the kind of closing conditions typical for companies like yours and manage the risk of unduly and burdensome requirements.

Exclusivity: Exclusivity gives the buyer the sole right to engage you in discussions related to the sale of your company and prohibits you from talking to other potential buyers to in the hopes of obtaining competitive offers. This provision and a confidentiality provision requiring that the term sheet and related discussion be kept confidential are typically the only binding provisions contained in the term sheet. Violating this provision would be a breach of your obligations under the term sheet and may subject you to legal claims. Therefore, you will want the duration of the exclusivity to be short. The length of the exclusivity and the specifics about who you can talk to and what you can and cannot do during the exclusivity period is something that should be carefully considered and drafted in the term sheet.

Equity Hotel: Once parties to an M&A deal have a “handshake” on valuation and basic structure, there is often pressure to minimize time spent on a term sheet and rush to the altar (i.e. the definitive M&A agreement). But skipping or rushing through the term sheet stage may result in a protracted and expensive drafting process and substantive disagreements late in the negotiation process that may even lead to a break up. In almost all circumstances, you will be better off with a detailed and well-planned term sheet to guide and focus the negotiations on definitive agreements.

Yours,
Dr Churchill

PS:

All things remaining equal the M&A possibilities today abound…

Speaking about Sustainable Arctic and Global Environmental Parliament solutions that surpass the Paris Accord, and bring real technological solutions, with the Arctic Council leaders today…

hashtagArcticEncounterSymposium hashtagArcticCouncel hashtagArcticLeadership hashtagArcticEnvironment hashtagArctic

 

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The inclusion of sociology in secondary education is akin to brainwashing students and turning them into slaves of a totalitarian ideological construct.

And although the voters threw out the brainwashing prior government and assigned all their leaders into the circular file cabinet of history, the political ideas of the previous ruling party are taught to the students of all the public schools, who they give tests to prove the learning of left-wing obsessions, through the new lessons of sociology & all other intersectionality and divisive diversity studies figuring powerfully within the existing curriculum, like Common Core and other unscientific inanities…

Yet, with sociology, the problem lies in the fact that this particular lesson, taught in secondary education, is presented as an acquaintance with a science, while in reality it is nothing more than catechism into the obsessions of the leftist deep state and the Obama/Hillary brigade that is more interested in allowing trannies to enter the little children’s bathrooms than anything else.

Seriously folks — this is their only agenda.

So, if students adopt and internalize these concepts, then their hearts and minds will be polluted and as new people — they will be totally lost to us, and thus we will face a very big problem in the future as a society, because the false prophets of Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and the falsely named “Social justice” are only seeking to overthrow all aspects of gentleness that Western Civilization carries and replace them with barbarity and incivility such as the return to the awful custom of open defecation that we witness everyday onto the streets of San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland, where the homeless and the drug addict populations, simply pull down their pants and poop on the very sidewalks they live on in the parks and downtowns of the major cities of the Western United States that have decided to be called Sanctuary Cities.

And indeed you have to make the connection from the study of Sociology to the Open Defecation on the streets of our downtowns and our parks, because the worst of all leftist obsessions are taught and adored within the sociology lesson, and it is the euphemistically called social justice.

Social justice is the left idea that inequalities between people are the product of some injustice and the government has to eliminate them. According to the lesson of sociology, economic inequalities are due to exploitation, ie injustice. The idea of ​​Marx’s goodwill, which is also taught in sociology, means that when a citizen produces wealth he succeeds in exploiting his fellow man. So enriching someone is done to the detriment of someone else. Naturally, this is not the case, because when one gets rich, he succeeds in delivering either products, or services sought by his fellow human beings and making it work for other fellow human beings. Bill Gates did not become the richest man in the world by stealing other poor people, but by providing the most competitive software in the world, and hiring the most skilled experts in this field with the highest wages on the market. In the help book of sociology for teachers, it is pointed out that poverty is not treated by the individual with his individual effort, but by the state with the redistribution of wealth. Therefore, sociology teachers teach the students of the school that their individual effort will not bring them anything, and in order to cope with their financial difficulties they should rely on the benefits of the First Left Party.

The proven erroneous Marxist idea of ​​surplus value and the toxic concept of class struggle are taught in the sociology lesson and extend beyond individual economic transactions and the global economy. As a person enriches himself by exploiting others, the rich countries have also achieved their growth through the unfair exploitation of third countries which have been poor or poorly exploited. Then, the fact that Third World countries remain very poor is responsible for colonialism from the past and Western capitalism today. It does not say anywhere that the Third World countries that have adopted capitalism since the last decade of the last century belonged to the richest in the world, such as the Asian Tigers of South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Obviously, the authors of sociology write on the left’s notions and not according to reality.

But let us examine what does the left have to do with progress, and we will better understand that they are really an impediment to progress and a strong throw back, and a harkening back, to the days when we did not have any sanitation, nor indoor toilets, and not even outdoor outhouses — but instead people just went out to the fields and defecated like the homeless population does in the Western United States capital cities…

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Sociology refers to the Second World, which consisted of the Communist states. But nowhere is it being considered, because the countries that have practiced Marxist obsessions, such as social justice and class struggle, have failed to produce wealth and have destroyed their societies. Mao’s China is the worst country in human history, where due to the application of the social justice of the Marxist dictator, within three decades they lost between 70 and 120 million people. After Mao’s death, his successor rejected the socialist economy and social justice, adopting capitalism. China, with the opening of its economy, has been transformed from a country that has mainly exported root to an exporter of hi-tech products and today’s GDP is close to that of the US.

Despite the blessed name of social justice, the central goal of the left in the twentieth century is a devastating idea, which should be considered repulsive. High school students would have to learn why social justice is a poisonous substance to society and because it is far more dangerous than racial purity promoted by fascism. Racial purity, as opposed to social justice, from the beginning sounds like a satanic idea that promotes the submission or extermination of other groups of people. The goal of social justice is to help the less successful people, but where it was implemented, it brought tragedies that had nothing to jealous of the Holocaust. Its first application was in the agricultural production of the Soviet Union and led togenocide of Ukrainians , eight years before the Holocaust.

The question that is not found in the schoolbook of sociology is how social justice will come about. Which government will be so capable and virtuous that it will eradicate all inequalities in the most fair way? Some of them with a short pathological liar in front of whom all other politicians are tortured, would be a deputy , but the writers know better that they do not ask such questions. It is good to say that they did not put as a sociological exercise on students to murder Ukrainian families, as did their idols in 1932.

By the way, the authors of school sociology are completely nailed to being leftist ideologists when they write that Russia and China had revolutions in October 1917 and 1949 respectively. The Russian revolution that overturned five centuries of Tsarist authoritarianism occurred in February 1917, while the so-called October Revolution was an Lenin armed coup which overthrew Russia’s first attempt to experiment with representative democracy. The Chinese Revolution, which brought to an end the totalitarian rule that ruled over two thousand years, broke out in 1911. In 1949, the Chinese Stalinists prevailed against the nationalists in their civil war, which broke out in 1946.

The Gulag Archipelago, which was written by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, is to this day the most important Russian book of the 20th century, since it was published in 1972 and inside these two thousand pages the author’s voluminous work has defeated all the ideas of Marxism, and it has also steam rolled over the New Left, as it has also flattened Socialism and the foolish Democratic Socialists, who along with the Neo-Marxist trying to pull the wool cloth over our eyes and bamboozle us with their con-games.

Indeed Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the survivor of the Siberian gulags and the author of this apocalyptic book, “The Gulag Archipelago” that he wrote and hid in strips of used paper from the bathrooms of the gulag — was eager to expose all variants of fascism of the tyrannical Socialist ideology, especially that of the New Left that is now the very central notion of the Democrat party and it’s left-wing obsession.

Apparently the collapse of the ideas of classical Marxism, led the desperate Marxists to the creation of the faculty of social strukturalism or constructivism, or more simply of neo-Marxism masquerading as Democratic Socialism in the West…

This particular Marxist school replaced the bankrupt idea of ​​the bourgeois exploiting the proletariat and the working classes, with the exploitation and oppression of the various racial and sexual minorities by the white patriarchy.

That is, women, homosexuals and people with different skin color, among others, are all victims to varying degrees of patriarchal tyranny. The inconsistent Marxist obsessions of the structuralists have their honor in the sociology of the school and are taught to the students who learn about male dominance in Greek society that “the model of the politician is the middle-class white man of mature age” and that the two sexes are social constructions. In Scandinavian countries, where gender equality is promoted elsewhere in the world,men and women have different professional preferences.

Indeed, it is stressed that the society, ie the white men that prevail in it, is what determines what the sexes have to do, and they report as examples the low female representation of surgeons, pilots and deputies. Of course, some of the most reputable professions are listed in the examples, where there is a low participation from women. If the authors and teachers of the lessons of sociology were sincere in their pursuit of more gender equality, then they would also discuss the even lower representation of female gender in the profession of foresters, miners, tree-cutters, military personnel, builders, carpenters, gardeners, roofers, plumbers, electricians, auto mechanics, and all those other unglamorous professions.

Let the Sociologists explain that particular conundrum away, or why it is not compulsory to include women in the military’s draft rolls after their 18th year of maturity, as men are required to do.

However, the fact that the majority of university students are women, while in prisons neither women nor minorities represent the majority of the total number of prisoners, rather cancels the allegation that white male dominance prevails in the American society today.

And then what about the nonsense that the old Imperialism is somehow akin to today’s terrorism?

The authors of sociology reproduce Lenin’s Marxist novelty about imperialism as a cause of transnational conflicts, that is to say, the economic elite of a country attempting to expand its sphere of economic influence, forces its government to violently collide with its country to exploit its wealthy sources or with another competitive state with similar objectives. In other words, the authors as genuine Greek leftists still live the conflicts of the colonial powers. Unfortunately, Marxist obsession with imperialism does not explain anything in relation to the conflicts currently taking place in Ukraine, the Middle East and Afghanistan, nor does it even touch on the causes of genocide that occurred in the twentieth century in Central and Eastern Europe, in the Western Balkans, East Africa and the Middle East,

In terms of terrorism, sociologists, having informed us that a first response to its causes may arise from consideration of the notices of terrorists themselves, add that sociology seeks “the roots of terrorism in poverty, imperialism, and exploiting the resources of the Third World.”

However, anyone who has been dealing with jihadist and fervent Islamic terrorists for a while — will tell you, that it is a complete waste of time. Because anyone involved in dealing with terrorism, knows that for many years now, al-Qaeda and all others, like ISIS, and the Caliphate, have been publishing all their notices in doublespeak. That is they produce one type of writing in English what is meant for the Western readers, where they said for example that Osama Bin Laden was fighting for the rights of the Palestinians, for the native Afghans against the Soviet Union, and also for the Paris agreement on climate change, etc. All the while the same publications written in Arabic and published by the same Islamic jihad fundamentalists in Arabic, are keen to be seen as preaching to the Sunnis, that they have the religious duty to carry out a sacred war against all the other devoted religions, until they enslave them and thus enforce their own virulent Islamic version of religion upon them.

Who would have imagined that the sociologists were the only ones to take seriously the Arabic Salafists’notices to the West, while forgetting to read the Arabic language version of the self-same. Because if we leave up to the sociologists the search for the roots of terrorism — they will zero into irrelevant things that are mainly social problems such as poverty, imperialism, and exploitation of the Third World from the West, rather than understanding that the virulent hateful philosophy of a desert cult — has morphed into a death cult across the world ever since the introduction of jihad in the 6th century by the goatherd prophet of Arabia.

God rest Mohammed’s soul, but his best apologists today are the Western Sociologists rather than the Muslim mullahs, because their graphic allegations have been abolished countless times since 2001 by those who are academically engaged in counter-terrorism.

The lesson of sociology is nothing more than the conversion of youth on the left. It teaches students all the manifestations of the obsessions of Marxism by the classical one, such as the struggle of classes and the goodwill of labor, imperialism from Leninism and reaching the patriarchal oppression of Neo-Marxism. Yet, apart from the perceptions of three different schools of Marxism, in the curriculum of sociology, the ideas of Ballet and the Khmer Reds for excellence. Students of the Greek language are taught that the titles replace the old titles of nobility and that they are “titles that justify those who already feel sovereign”, whatever that means.

The Socilogists also praise the full legalization of all alien and illegal immigrants, despite their controversial role in causing social unrest, crime, and also failing to protect the few yet real refugees, who need to be protected based on human right abuses in their place of origin. Of course, since the US is a top destination because it supports legal and also free migration within the United States, it is also a magnet for the Sociologists ire…

The inclusion of sociology in secondary education is nothing more than brainwashing in underage students, as their character is in shape and vulnerable to political indoctrination. Sociology is the Socialist’s ultimate effort to sow their ideological seeds of destruction into the heads of the next generations of Americans, now that their time at the switch, has come to an end.

Yours,

Dr Churchill

PS:

Apparently Betsy DeVoss and the rest of the Educational department of the Untied States government has to abolish sociology from the secondary education fully and absolutely. They should have done so from the very first day that they took over the government — but now is the best next chance to do this and this correct a wrong.

Students should prefer and they should ask to be taught the texts of Pliny, John Locke, Cicero, Seneca, Monsieur and Demosthenes, to know why they need to defend our Republic and our Democracy, before we end-up following the example of Russia where, since 2009, “The Gulag Archipelago” by Solzhenitsyn, is taught in all the schools, so that our future citizens are not deceived by left-wing populists and Socialist demagogues, who use easily lovable and catchy slogans in order to defeat logic and the hard realties of Life and History.

Equally important, students would be to get the young students better acquainted with the philosophical ideas of the Scottish Enlightenment, in order to discover that individual freedom has brought about the unthinkable economic, technological, and innovation progress, that humanity has enjoyed in the past three centuries — instead of being the victims of the Socialists, the New left, and of the Neo-Marxists, who are now trying to divide society in outraged minorities full of imagined casualties and perceived sacrifices, and playing the blame game of fake victims, railing against the western culture for whatever is crooked in their personal lives, for their evil addictions, for their surrendering into the many broken pleasures of the flesh, and also for whatever else might be happening in the wider world — including the changeable weather.

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Ever wondered why the development of the thorium cycle energy reactors has been so slow?

Terribly slow as a matter of fact, and a complete shame that the Thorium technology was never developed further back when nuclear energy mattered — because it might have been mature enough today.

Now the promise of “Thorium 2050” seems very far away, and creepily similar to the promise for the development of fission energy cycle.

Of course, I am not sure about the cost analysis of LFTR, comparing it to other nuclear reactors, or the price of energy in general, because it could replace fossil fuel-powered plants, so the incentive considering its zero carbon footprint, at least while running, should be large, and thus worthy of subsidies like those offered for solar and wind energy.

Indeed it appears, that humanity may face an energy crisis as the world’s population rapidly grows, and although Nuclear power plants can generate bountiful, carbon-free electricity — their solid fuel is problematic, there is no available long term nuclear spent fuel storage facility, and therefore all the aging nuclear reactors are being shut down without replacements on the pipeline…

Yet, we all know that even a Cold War era, liquid-fueled reactor design could transform thorium — an easily found and plentiful radioactive waste produced from mining — into a practically limitless energy source. And indeed, US engineers proved such a system works well, during the 1960s. However, the military canceled the project and thus Thorium nuclear energy production was nearly forgotten.

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Yet, today, companies and governments are now trying to revive and evolve the design, although development costs, engineering challenges, and nuclear-weapons concerns all pose hurdles — because the lifeblood of modern civilization is affordable, & free-flowing energy.

Energy gives us the power to cook our food, heat our homes, and make a cup of tea. It also helps us to grow and refrigerate our food, to purify water, to manufacture products, to provide healthcare, from performing surgeries and organ transplants, to manufacturing the drugs we all use daily, and also to allow the transportation to get us to the Doctor’s office or to school and to the workplace, or even to drive a car in order to simply go to recreate out in the countryside, and perhaps to go fishing, and to totally procrastinate from work…

Today’s cheap, bountiful supplies of energy, make it hard to see humanity’s looming energy crisis, but it’s possibly coming within our lifetimes, because our numbers will grow from 7.36 billion people today to 9 billion in 2040, which represents an average increase of 22%. Rapidly developing nations, however, will supercharge global energy consumption at more than twice that rate.

Fossil fuels could quench the planet’s deep thirst for energy, but they’d be a temporary fix at best. Known reserves may dry up within a century or two. And burning up that carbon-based fuel would accelerate climate change, which is already on track to disrupt and jeopardize countless lives.

Meanwhile, renewable energy sources like wind and solar, though key parts of a solution, are not silver bullets— especially if the world is to meet a 2050 deadline set by the Paris Agreement. Energy from fusion is promising, but it’s not yet proved to work, let alone on a commercial and competitive scale.

Nuclear reactors, on the other hand, could fit the bill, because they’re dense, they are reliable, they emit no carbon, and contrary to bitter popular sentiment, they are among the safest energy sources on earth, since even today, they supply about 20% of America’s energy. Though by the 2040s, this share may drop to 10% as companies shut down decades-old reactors, according to a July 2016 report released by Idaho National Laboratory (INL).

The good news is that a proven solution is at hand — if we want it badly enough.

It’s called a molten-salt reactor, the technology was conceived during the Cold War and forgoes solid nuclear fuel for a liquid one, which it can “burn” with far greater efficiency than any power technology in existence. It also generates a small fraction of the radioactive waste compared to today’s commercial reactors, which all rely on solid fuel. And, in theory, molten-salt reactors can never melt down.

According to Kirk Sorensen, the chief technology officer of nuclear-energy startup Flibe Energy: “Thorium, is reliable, it’s clean, it basically does everything fossil fuel does today, and it does a whole bunch of things it doesn’t do today, like make energy without emitting carbon, though the same could be said of any nuclear reactor. What’s more, feeding a molten-salt reactor a radioactive waste from mining, called thorium which is three to four times more abundant than uranium, can “breed” as much nuclear fuel as it burns up.

Manhattan Project scientist Alvin Weinberg calculated in 1959 that if we could somehow harvest all the thorium in the Earth’s crust and use it in this way, we could power civilization for tens of billions of years.

The technology is viable, the science has been demonstrated. Demonstrated, because government scientists built two complementary prototypes during the 1950s and ’60s. They weren’t good for making nuclear weapons, though, and this among other reasons, caused the government bureaucrats to pull the funding for the revolutionary energy technology. Indeed, the last working molten-salt energy reactor shut down in 1969.

Today, entrepreneurs such as Sorensen are working tirelessly to revive and modernize the technology. So are foreign governments, including France, India, and China, who now spends more than $350 million a year developing its variation of the Cold War-era Thorium reactor design.

The story of how we got here is neither short nor simple, but it explains why Sorensen and others are betting big on humanity’s coming “Thorium Age” — and why the US continues to stumble at its dawn.

The argument for going away from nuclear energy, are nuclear accidents like the three mile island nuclear power plant radioactive steam loss in Pennsylvania’s Middletown. With its brutalist architecture Nuclear plants may not be sexy, but nuclear energy unlocks a truly incredible source of carbon-free fuel. Ounce per ounce, uranium provides roughly 16,000 times more energy than coal and creates millions of times less pollution.

The argument to support growth in nuclear energy is so clear to James Hansen, a retired NASA earth scientist, a seasoned climatologist, and an outspoken environmentalist — that he passionately advocates for the use and development of the technology.

“To solve the climate problem, policy must be based on facts and not on prejudice. The climate system cares about greenhouse gas emissions — not about whether energy comes from renewable power or abundant nuclear power,” Hansen and three other well-known scientists — Ken Caldeira, Kerry Emanuel, and Tom Wigley — together wrote in an editorial for The Guardian in 2015.

The three climate scientists wrote: “Nuclear energy can power whole civilizations, and produce waste streams that are trivial compared to the waste produced by fossil fuel combustion. Nuclear will make the difference between the world missing crucial climate targets or achieving them.”

Climate science aside, the economics of nuclear energy are enough of a draw to make the technology worthwhile.

Today, the industry is already profitable, albeit heavily subsidized. Still, if you level the energy playing field against other power sources by taking into account government subsidies and tax breaks, capital costs, fuel costs, and other factors that affect the price-per-megawatt-hour of a power plant, nuclear energy remains a financial win in the long run.

Nuclear power’s 2016 levelized costs make it about twice as cheap as natural gas “peaking” plants (which fire up to meet sudden peaks in energy demand). Nuclear also beats the overall cost of many coal-fired power plants. And that’s before you account for the extraordinary hidden costs of fossil fuels against public health and the environment, including particulate pollution, which kills tens of thousands of people a year, and exacerbating climate change.

Nuclear also wins financially against solar rooftops, many fuel-cell energy schemes, and some geothermal and bioenergy plants.

That isn’t to say that current nuclear power plants are flawless. However, they’re irrefutably amazing power sources, currently meeting one-fifth of the US’s energy needs with just 61 power plants. They’re also incredibly reliable, always-on sources of baseload electricity, heat, and medically useful radioisotopes.

Yet great titans fall hard, and the reasons why, are key to the continued delay of the arrival of the Thorium Age.

The why nuclear energy is collapsing in America, is because new reactors that are planned or are supposed to be coming online soon, have all stalled and the industry has stagnated, with eight of the US’s 99 decades-old reactors planned for shutdown by 2025.

Why?

Flibe Energy’s Sorensen partly blames aggressive government subsidies of wind and solar energy, which leads to the problem of negative pricing.

“We’ve created rules that disturb the energy market substantially,” Sorensen said. “The first rule is that whenever wind and solar come online, we have to take the power. That’s called grid priority. The second rules is, they’re paid no matter how much power they make.”

Sorensen characterized this as the “murder” of nuclear energy, since those plants can’t be shut on and off quickly. He also said this is hurting the environment by causing companies to invest more heavily in gas plants which can be ramped up and down far more quickly.

“These two put together create negative prices, and if you’re a nuclear power-plant operator, and you’re trying to obviously make money selling power to the grid and the prices go negative for large portions of the day, that’s economically unviable. And that’s what’s causing reactors to get shut down.”

But other issues are kneecapping nuclear too, such as time and costs, because this is the trojan horse of nuclear power plant construction. The decommissioning process can take decades.

Energy sources such as hydroelectric and wind are still cheaper than nuclear, and a fracking boom has fueled investment in natural-gas-fired power plants.

As a result, nuclear is having a harder time finding a seat at the energy-pricing table.

Reactors also take many years and billions of dollars to permit, build, and license for operation: They’re exceedingly large and complex works of engineering, although you only need a high school diploma to operate them once they’re finished, as the cartoon Southpark has proven (sic).

Today in 2019, the average US reactor is about 35 years old. They can run for decades with constant maintenance. The Oyster Creek nuclear generating station outside of New York City, for example, has operated since 1969. But many nuclear reactors are being eyed for shutdown, and once they’re shut off, reactors can take more than a decade to decommission, demolish, and bury.

A dysfunctional uranium fuel cycle in the US has not helped, where just 3% to 6.5% of solid uranium fuel is burned up — and the remaining 93% to 97% is treated as radioactive waste and not reprocessed and recycled.

Fear of Nuclear melt downs and accidental releases such as the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster are what fuels the society’s pervasive anxiety toward nuclear power, that is often amped to irrational levels.

While events such as Windscales, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and the Fukushima Daiichi disaster stand out in people’s minds, the reality does not match up by a long shot.

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“Nuclear radiation ticks all the boxes for increasing the fear factor,” David Spiegelhalter, a statistician at Cambridge University, told New Scientist after the Fukushima disaster in 2011: “It is invisible, an unknowable quantity. People don’t feel in control of it, and they don’t understand it. They feel it is imposed upon them and that it is unnatural. It has the dread quality of causing cancer and birth defects.”

But as Spiegelhalter, Sorensen, and others have said, the actual safety record of nuclear power is remarkable: “Fukushima’s reactor meltdowns killed no one, according to a 2013 World Health Organization report. Even in the two most affected locations of Fukushima prefecture, people in the first year would receive only two to three CT chest scans worth of radiation exposure. Let me throw out other names you might not be familiar with: San Bruno & Banqiao Dam, referring to the two accidents that killed eight people in a 2010 California gas-line explosion, and as many as 230,000 people, in a series of 1975 Chinese dam collapses, respectively. These are catastrophic incidents with hydropower and natural gas that really did result in large losses of human life, and yet the public doesn’t have a terror of hydroelectric power or natural gas.”

What does the data say about nuclear energy’s safety?

Measuring immediate deaths against gigawatts of electrical power is a typical way to assess the safety of energy sources, and a 2010 analysis by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) used this.

But adding in incidental deaths that occur later, such as 9,000 estimated cancer fatalities from Chernobyl (which the OECD left out), does change the numbers, as does including pollution deaths and incidental Banqiao Dam deaths.

In a more apples-to-apples comparison, New Scientist crunched the numbers. That maximum death-toll estimates from that analysis show: Natural gas is 1.3 times as dangerous as nuclear. Coal is 27 times as dangerous as nuclear. Hydroelectric is 46 times as dangerous as nuclear. In absolute terms, nuclear energy prevents about 80,000 air-pollution-related deaths a year, according to a 2013 study. Groups with antinuclear positions, such as Greenpeace, have struggled to spin these numbers.

“Nuclear power has consistently been proven to be the safest and most effective form of power that we have today, and by using thorium nuclear power, we can take that admirable safety record and go even further,” Sorensen said.

But grasping the promise and potential perils of a thorium-powered future, or any other atomic-energy scheme, means you’ve got to know a thing or two about nuclear physics.

Nuclear Physics 101: Advanced test reactor cherenkov and the idaho national laboratory show the blue glow of INL’s Advanced Test Reactor core, caused by Cherenkov radiation — an emission caused when particles move faster than light through a substance (in this case, electrons through water).

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In the United States, about 100,000 people work in the nuclear industry, and yet each year only a few thousand are awarded an undergraduate degree in physics.

These numbers suggest that more than 99% of us aren’t intimately familiar with how nuclear energy works — so here’s a bit of background about the atomic magic that provides roughly one-fifth of US power.

What reactors do? A commercial nuclear reactor’s job, like any fossil-fuel-burning plant, is to generate heat. Systems around the reactor harvest that flow of energy, use it to boil water into steam, drive turbines, and ultimately create electricity. Instead of burning fossil fuels, though, nuclear reactors “burn” heavy elements, typically uranium.

But uranium isn’t just uranium. The element is found as, and can be transformed into, different isotopes, or various weights or “flavors” of the same atomic element:
uranium-238 (U-238), which makes up 99.27% of natural uranium ore
uranium-235 (U-235), which is just 0.72% of natural ore, but a key ingredient in weapons and reactor fuel
uranium-233 (U-233), which isn’t found in nature yet is essential to thorium molten-salt reactors (more on this later)
The larger the number, the more chargeless neutrons are jammed into an atomic nucleus, and the heavier it is. Take away or add a neutron, and you can radically alter an isotope’s stability (and radioactivity), the types of radiation it emits, and what happens when it’s blasted by more neutrons.

The most common isotopes of uranium aren’t very radioactive.

For half of any U-238 to decay into lighter atoms — a measure called half-life — it takes 4.6 billion years. That’s a very, very long time to spread out a set amount of radiation. U-235 isn’t much more radioactive with a half-life of 704 million years.

Compare that to radon-222 (Rn-222), a gas with a half-life of nearly four days. It’s tens of billion times as radioactive as U-235, ounce for ounce, simply because Rn-222 decays so much faster. (Which is why it’s a problem if it seeps out of the ground and into your basement.)

Yet we don’t use Rn-222 as a nuclear fuel. One atomic property matters much more than all the others inside a reactor core.

Going critical: One of the most important things about a nuclear fuel is the chance its nucleus will react with a flying neutron, a property called neutron cross section.

Physicists measure cross section as an area, in “barns,” which you can imagine as a baseball glove. The larger the cross section the bigger the glove, and the more likely it is to catch a neutron — the baseball in this analogy.

The speed of a neutron greatly affects what happens next, and it can get weird.

A neutron can scatter, get captured, and turn a nucleus into a new isotope, or, and this is of tremendous importance — get caught in the glove, suddenly fission it into pieces, and spit out two or three more baseballs in the process.

When those extra neutrons slam into nearby isotopes and cause them to fission, too, it’s a chain reaction.

Energy vs. bombs: Fission chain reactions are the key to nuclear reactors (and nuclear bombs), since each fission event turns a little bit of mass into pure energy.

However, only a handful of isotopes are fissile — meaning they spit out enough neutrons and have the right cross section to “go critical” in a chain reaction.

U-238’s thermal cross section is about 0.00003 barn. That is a very tiny glove. Meanwhile, U-235’s cross section is 583 barns, making its figurative “glove” millions of times as big, and a highly fissile fuel. U-233 is also fissile with a respectable cross section of 529 barns.

This is all gravely important, because a controlled chain reaction is a nuclear reactor. A runaway fission reaction is a nuclear disaster, or a weapon of mass destruction.

It took thousands of the world’s brightest scientists in the Manhattan Project many years to crack open these and deeper mysteries of nuclear physics, then design technologies like bombs and reactors, so we’ll skip most of that backstory. “The Making of the Atomic Bomb” by Richard Rhodes is one of the best books to explore that history.

But in addition to figuring out how to “breed” Pu-239 from U-238, scientists learned to transmute thorium into U-233.

Breeding atoms, is as real as alchemy gets.

Thorium: Crystals of thorium nitrate do the job, and if you press Kirk Sorensen for a simple analogy that illustrates how energy from thorium works, he may plunk you down in a wet forest: “If you’ve ever gone camping as a Boy Scout or something like that, and been caught in a rainstorm and had to start a fire, you know that you’re really looking hard for dry wood. Wood that will immediately burn. That’s kind of how some of the uranium we have today is,” Sorensen said. “It’s like the dry wood. It’s the kindling.”

Which makes thorium the wet wood, so if you can get your nuclear fire hot enough — it will burn Thorium too: “That’s an imperfect analogy, but what happens in a thorium reactor is thorium absorbs neutrons and it forms a new fuel — uranium-233 — that can then sustain the reaction, because it can produce enough neutrons to continue turning more thorium into U-233.”

This transformative process is called breeding, and it’s the key that unlocks the promise of thorium — and explains its eventual abandonment during the Cold War.

Manhattan Project scientists, who embraced a “try everything” race to the bomb, didn’t figure out thorium breeding until late in World War II.

They initially focused on enriching U-235 in natural ore from less than 1% to about 90%, which is considered weapons-grade material.

The mile-long K-25 Building in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where bomb-grade uranium was enriched for World War, is where this happened, but enrichment proved that it was painfully inefficient, requiring city-size industrial complexes with mile-long buildings, and it all was used up for war bomb production. As a matter of fact, all $1 billion worth of enriched uranium went inside the “Little Boy” bomb, which killed more than 100,000 people in Hiroshima.

Plutonium, an element not found in nature — and specifically the isotope Pu-239 — eventually changed everything, since it was a simpler, although still arduous path to the development of nuclear weapons.

The highly fissile isotope could be “bred” from common U-238 by pounding it with neutrons, then chemically removing the fresh Pu-239 with a bath of nitric acid— no mile-long buildings full of machinery required.

But in tandem, the Manhattan Project also explored making a third fissile material, U-233, from thorium.

Bellow is a photo of some crystals of Thorium nitrate…

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Thorium’s first fizzle: Operation teapot met with a nuclear burst. A nuclear blast from Operation Teapot in 1955 at the Nevada test site was a magnificent site to behold. Glenn Seaborg, who discovered plutonium in 1940, “may have seen uranium-233 as a backup plan to the plutonium effort,” Sorensen wrote in his 2014 University of Tennessee master’s thesis about early research into thorium.

The scheme involved fueling up a reactor, then using the neutrons to bombard thorium — and breeding it into U-233. But U-233 quickly became a dead end for the military. For one, U-235 and Pu-239 were precious bomb-making materials, so burning them up in reactors was risky. Breeding U-233 from thorium also created significant amounts of a worrisome contaminant called U-232, which scientists had not yet figured out how to remove.

U-232 emits a lot of alpha radiation, which can trigger spontaneous fission — not good for a nuclear weapon you don’t want to randomly explode. Its decay products also emit a lot of gamma radiation, which can wreck electronics and harm or kill people who handle bombs. In addition, gamma rays can blow a bomb’s cover, since they are detectable by airplane or satellite, and pass through all but the heaviest radiation shielding.

Plutonium 239 metal: A ring of 99.96% pure plutonium metal from the Los Alamos National Laboratory, where scientists like Seaborg weren’t even certain a U-233-powered bomb would blow up very well. Apparently, they were right: We know that a 1955 “Operation Teapot” weapons test using U-233 fizzled, although the US government has yet to declassify all the details.

So in 1945, with Pu-239 production firmly in place, confidence in that weapons material, and a looming Japanese surrender, the defenders of breeding thorium into U-233 went to zero.

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Was that the right decision?

It’s very hard to know.

Those people thought that they were making a decision to preserve the future for their children, so I hesitate to levy judgments on those decisions made in the past.

But in the years leading up to the war’s end, Manhattan Project scientists were dreaming up ways to turn their wartime research into commercial power sources, and one group arrived at a brilliant concept: a super-fuel-efficient “breeder” reactor that ran on thorium and U-233.

A powerful postwar revival for thorium, was when molten salt reactor experiment succeeded, and on a see-through scale model of the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment, the concept of the breeder reactor was achieved in a fairly straightforward manner.

It would dramatically increase the chances for fission, boost the flow of neutrons, and breed more fissile fuel from a “fertile” material than the reactor burned up. Breeding U-238 into Pu-239 created an excess of plutonium. Meanwhile, breeding thorium into U-233 broke even, burning up just as much fuel as it made.

The choice of fuel makes all the difference, because the plutonium fuel cycle is a great way to make weapons. Meanwhile, the thorium fuel cycle can produce almost limitless energy.

A fluid-fueled design was ultimately envisioned by Manhattan Project scientists to “eliminate the considerable difficulty of fabricating solid fueled elements,” Sorensen wrote in his thesis. Liquid fuel also made it easy to remove both useful fission products — for example, for medical procedures, and those that poison nuclear chain reactions. The gas xenon-135 (Xe-135) is a common uranium fission product, and its 3-million-barn cross section gobbles up neutrons and chokes reactors.

Physicist Alvin Weinberg later wrote the idea to use fluid fuels “kind of an obsession” of his, to the extent he eventually succeeded at building his first molten-salt reactors in Tennessee.

When the Air Force launched an effort to build a nuclear-powered bomber in 1947 — part of the Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion (ANP) program— Weinberg, who in 1945 invented the now industry standard light-water reactor (LWR), rose to the occasion, and created the NB-36H, a jet bomber that flew with the energy produced from a portable nuclear reactor from 1955 through 1957 when the USAF killed the project as too risky for it falling into enemy hands, and also because Weinberg, then the director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), thought LWRs were too heavy and inefficient for a jet airplane.

In fact, even modern LWRs — which all US commercial nuclear power plants operate today — fission or “burn up” just a few percent of their fuel before it needs to be replaced. That’s because neutron-absorbing waste builds up in the fuel, can’t be removed, and chokes fission.

“When you go to gas station, do you feel good about burning 10% of it? What about 5%?” Sorensen said, referencing the low burn-up rate of solid-fueled commercial reactors. “You want to burn it all. Why should we expect anything different?”

A molten-salt reactor emerged as the clear choice, since it could be built small: The fluid dramatically increases the efficiency of nuclear fission by making it easy to remove fission products, helping it burn up almost all the nuclear fuel and boosting energy output.

A first molten salt reactor aircraft reactor experiment was still valid, and a cutaway diagram of the first molten-salt reactor, called the Aircraft Reactor Experiment (ARE) is a sight to behold. By 1954, Weinberg’s team had built the proof-of-concept Aircraft Reactor Experiment (ARE), a 2.5-megawatt power plant that ran on a small amount of uranium-235 dissolved in molten salt made of fluorine, sodium, and zirconium.

It was the first working molten-salt reactor ever built.

Dissolved inside the reactor’s molten salt, U-235 fuel powered a fission chain reaction. The atomic heat warmed up an adjacent loop of coolant (filled with molten sodium) by 300 degrees, from 1,200 to 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit. Incoming air cooled the sodium, and pumps returned it to the fluid-fueled reactor core for reheating.

“The Air Force was delighted by the aircraft reactor experiment,” Weinberg wrote in his 1994 autobiography, “The First Nuclear Era,” since this was hot enough to drive jet-engine turbines.

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Weinberg’s new technology never made it inside the “The Crusader” nuclear B-36 bomber, which actually did fly carrying a working reactor, before President John F. Kennedy canceled the entire USAF project in 1961.

However, Weinberg had squeezed years’ worth of research on molten-salt reactors out of the effort by then — and wasted no time spinning his work into the Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment (MSRE).

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Thus Weinberg’s thorium dream was born: A top-down view of the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment taken in 1964 at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory where Weinberg and his colleagues designed MSRE over five years as a prototype for a commercial power plant shows us how it was done.

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It contained a loop filled with a molten salt made of fluorine, lithium, and beryllium — or FLiBe, the namesake of Sorensen’s energy-from-thorium startup— plus zirconium. The salt carried around dissolved U-235 and eventually U-233, making MSRE the world’s first reactor to run on U-233 fuel. A second loop of molten salt cooled the reactor.

The reactor went critical in 1965, ran for thousands of hours with only minor issues, and was put into standby mode after its first run ended in 1969. Weinberg thought of MSRE as a proof-of-concept, and he planned to develop it into a full molten salt breeder reactor (MSBR).

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This new version would blanket the neutron-shooting core with thorium, gradually transforming the element into U-233. Systems would filter out the new fuel as it’s created and feed it back into the core — all without having to shut down the reactor.

He also envisioned a world flush with thorium molten-salt breeder reactors as cheap, clean energy sources not only for the US but also for the developing world. According to “SuperFuel,” a 2013 book on thorium energy’s demise and promise by journalist and author Richard Martin, Weinberg envisioned nuclear oases in the desert: “Fed by the dream of inexhaustible, inexpensive energy, Weinberg’s projections became grandiose. The Oak Ridge scientists studied the ‘construction of giant agro-industrial complexes built around nuclear reactors . . . A complex built around thorium breeders could sustain 100,000 farmers and laborers, feed five million others and export fertilizers to grow food for 50 million additional people.”

But it was not to be, because some thought and followed the “It hasn’t been done before, so we shouldn’t try it at all” theory. Martin argues that a stubborn naval engineer named Milton Shaw derailed Weinberg’s Thorium Age indefinitely. Shaw led the Atomic Energy Commission’s research wing during Weinberg’s tenure at ORNL and, in 1972, issued a rambling report that terminated Weinberg’s project. Shaw had seen the early success of the liquid-metal fast-breeder reactor, another new type of nuclear power plant, and diverted MSRE’s funding to such a project on the Clinch River in Tennessee: a plutonium-fueled design that cost taxpayers $8 billion but never actually built a reactor.

In “SuperFuel,” Martin exposes Shaw’s rickety argument for killing the MSRE, a point that forms his book’s central argument: “It was the first of many versions of what would become a familiar argument: It hasn’t been done before, and doing it would be challenging. So we shouldn’t try it at all.”

Martin then argues similar thinking has stuck with the US government ever since Shaw’s letter: “Shaw’s reasoning was perfectly circular: Private industry will not invest in the MSBR as a commercial venture without the support of the government. We, the government, won’t support it. Thus private industry won’t invest in it.”

Weinberg was quickly pushed out of ORNL and into retirement. His molten-salt reactors never demonstrated the full thorium fuel cycle — breeding thorium into U-233 — but another project did.

Situated in western Pennsylvania and spearheaded by Shaw’s boss, Navy Admiral Hyman Rickover, the Shippingport Atomic Power Station pulled off the feat, yet inside a solid-fueled LWR, which is the one that helped pioneer the development of the first nuclear-powered submarine.

Martin succinctly describes Shippingport’s success in his book: “The Shippingport Atomic Power Station first went critical in December 1957 and produced energy for the Duquesne Light Company for 25 years. It occupies a unique position in the history of nuclear power. It was considered the first full-scale nuclear power reactor with no military use: all it did was produce energy. […] Shippingport proved that you could use thorium as an inexpensive and safe nuclear fuel in a light-water reactor and that you could breed additional fuel with it. This was not alchemy, but it was close.”

Sorensen and other entrepreneurs would discover this history decades later and attempt to revive Weinberg’s dream.

Rekindling the thorium dream: Kirk Sorensen, the president and chief technologist of Flibe Energy. Sorensen first learned of molten-salt reactors in 2000, when he was an engineer at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. His task at the time was to figure out how to power human bases on other worlds.

As Martin describes the moment in his 2009 feature for Wired, Sorensen saw a 1958 book called “Fluid Fuel Reactors” on the shelf of a colleague. The book laid out the lessons of Weinberg’s molten-salt reactor experiments for use in aircraft, yet also teased his vision of a thorium-powered future.
He ultimately left NASA to join a nuclear-energy company, later striking out on his own with Flibe Energy.

“For the longest time I thought that good ideas always got developed,” Sorensen said. “I’ve learned that the opposite is actually true. Most of the time, good ideas languish. And only through dedicated and committed effort are you able to see a new technology brought to fruition.”

In the next decade or so, several safer, more efficient next-generation reactor technologies may hit the market. Sorensen puts them into two groups: molten-salt reactors that don’t use thorium or solid-fueled technologies that could, but are comparatively minor and therefore easier-to-license, upgrades to the LWR design.

Sorensen is a proponent of a third group and the one he’s staking his career on, the liquid-fluoride thorium reactor, or LFTR (an acronym pronounced “lifter”), liquid fluoride thorium molten salt reactor design lftr concept 250mwe flibe energy, where Flibe Energy’s concept for a liquid-fluoride thorium reactor, or LFTR.Courtesy Flibe Energy resembles the LFTR in Sorensen’s own spin on Weinberg’s thorium breeder reactor work from the 1960s.

A 2015 independent review of the LFTR concept by the Electric Power Research Institute deemed it a “potentially transformational technology for meeting future energy needs in the face of uncertain market, policy, and regulatory constraints.”

Here’s part of the laundry list of reasons why Sorensen and others say that’s the case: Fuel burn-up is extraordinarily high. LFTRs could fission about 99% of their U-233 liquid fuel, compared to a few percent for solid fuel.
It’s easy to clean up. Solid fuels build up fission products, or new elements generated by the splitting of atoms, which poison fission reactions and often end up being treated as waste. Liquid fuels, meanwhile, can be processed “online” — and the fission products continuously removed, refined, and sold.
There’s less waste and it’s shorter-lived. For the above reasons, hundreds of times less radioactive waste is left over from LFTR operation compared to LWRs. And what remains requires burial for about 300 years, as opposed to 10,000 years for solid-fuel waste.
LFTRs operate under normal pressure. All commercial reactors compress water coolant to extreme pressures — upwards of 150 times that found at Earth’s surface. One small breach can lead to a catastrophic explosion. If a LFTR pipe breaks, however, molten salt will only spill on the ground and freeze.
Environmental contamination is far less likely. LWRs can release gases, fuel, and fission products into the air and water. Molten salt freezes and traps most contaminants.
LFTRs can be made small and modular. LWRs require giant, reinforced-concrete containment vessels that scale with their operating pressure. LFTRs require small containment structures, so they could be made small — possibly to a size that’d fit inside a semi-trailer.
They should be much cheaper and faster to build. LFTRs don’t require many of the expensive safeguards that LWRs do. Their potential to be modular could also lead to mass manufacture of parts and reduced cost.
LFTR is immune to meltdowns. Molten salt that overheats will expand, pushing fissile atoms away from one another and slowing down a chain reaction.
The design is “walk-away safe.” No nuclear power plant today can claim this. LWRs require backup power systems to cool solid fuel at all times. If power is knocked out to a LFTR, a freeze plug melts and lets the molten salt fall into underground containment units, where it freezes and stops fission.
Electricity output is better. LFTRs are so hot, operating at roughly 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit, they can use more advanced heat-to-electricity conversion technologies.
The excess heat is very useful. It could boil and desalinate ocean water into drinking water, help generate hydrogen for fuel cells, break down organic waste into biofuels, and power industrial processes.
The “kindling” to start a LFTR is flexible. Burning up old nuclear weapons material is possible, since fissile U-233, U-235, or Pu-239 can be used to start the reactor.
And the list goes on and on and on…

With these and other benefits, it’s easy to get excited about LFTRs, other molten-salt reactors, and even thorium-fueled LWRs.

But it all raises the question: If thorium reactors are so great, what’s the holdup?

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Cherenkov radiation (blue) emanates from spent fuel being removed from the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where thorium reaction questions basically boil down to this: “The science is easy. The engineering is hard.”

That’s the verdict from Gougar and his colleague at INL, nuclear engineer Dave Petti.

“This is true in many, many advanced systems, nuclear and nonnuclear for that matter, where the scientists’ proof of concept is everything to them,” Petti told Business Insider. “To the engineer, getting it to the commercial-viability stage is their goal. And those are two very different hills to climb. ”

Petti and Gougar see three barriers to powering civilization with commercial thorium LFTRs.

1. Molten salt is a health hazard. LFTR’s molten salt contains beryllium to help regulate nuclear fission, but it’s a big health hazard. If there’s ever a leak or spill of the material, Petti says it solidifies into a crumbly “snow” that workers might inhale, raising their risk of a lung cancer and a disease called berylliosis.

Molten salt also contains lithium, which a reactor can breed into a radioactive gas called tritium. It’s less of a threat than beryllium, but it can bond to water and make it slightly radioactive, possibly leading to cancer and birth defects.

Luckily, such tainted water doesn’t stick around in the body, which flushes out half of any amount within 10 days, according to a Savannah River Site fact sheet. It’s also quickly and dramatically diluted if and when it evaporates or reaches any large body of water.

Dave Swank, a retired nuclear engineer who worked with commercial reactors for more than 35 years, emailed Business Insider to point out other hazards of molten salts: “Salts can be very harmful to metal piping (think of salt used on the road and what it does to car bodies),” Swank wrote. “Another challenge is the use of [fluorine] which is highly toxic due to its strong ability to strip electrons.”

Gougar also backed up this point, noting that developers like Sorensen “will have a difficult time demonstrating that their already-melted cores can remain safely contained” — as in, “no leaks in the pipes or valves or other irritating but common challenges that confront power plant systems,” he wrote…

As previously noted, however, he added that a molten-salt reactor’s “system pressure is very low so when a leak does occur, the radioactive goo isn’t sprayed all over the place.”

But good engineering, proper safety protocols, and protective equipment for LFTR staff would minimize these and other risks.

2. Engineering new reactors takes a long time and costs billions of dollars
The second barrier is the most exhausting but, Petti says, not insurmountable — especially if you have billionaires supporting you in the early stage investment to get the Thorium StartUp up and running, because you have to demonstrate the technology works, scale it up, and make sure it’s reliable for the commercial product and it takes a lot of time and a lot of money to get the technology from a proof of concept all the way to a commercial endeavor.

3. LFTRs create weapons-grade material (but it’s complicated) as Petti said that the LFTR’s biggest bugaboo, is its nuclear proliferation risk, since U-233 fuel could be used to make a bomb.

Fortunately, built-in contamination — by highly radioactive U-232, as previously noted — is a good deterrent, since the isotope quickly decays into thorium-228, which shoots out deadly (and easy-to-detect) gamma radiation.

Still, there is a way to greatly reduce this danger and enable production of safe-to-handle, weapons-grade U-233: an intermediate step between thorium and U-233, called protactinium-233 (Pa-233). This makes it possible to filter out Pa-233 and, months later, get a relatively pure and minimally contaminated lump of U-233 with minimal U-232 (and gamma-ray) contamination.

“When we talk to the nonproliferation experts, the safeguard issues are huge,” Petti said. “Being able to prove that you can’t do something nefarious has a big impact on the design.”

Gougar added: “It’s not that NSA doesn’t trust Kirk Sorensen. It’s Iran or North Korea that cannot be trusted with Thorium cycle reactors producing weapons grade fissionable materials.

That’s not to say using a LFTR to make nuclear weapons would be simple.

First, it may take a large and easily visible industrial-scale process to cleanse enough stolen U-233 to make a bomb, which minimizes the threat of terrorism. Also, at least as envisioned by Sorensen, the LFTR concept is a closed-loop system — so getting access to the liquid fuel and siphoning off materials would be exceedingly difficult.

North Korea nuclear weapons could be the kind that fits inside a KN-08 missile on a TEL as those shown on a military parade in Pyongyang in 2012. North Korea is today’s massive threat. Then again, for a nation like North Korea, stealing material from a US reactor is not the concern. Rather, it’s a theft of the blueprints for one, then adapting that design to operate as a powerful new source of weapons-grade nuclear material. That security concern may also be a moot point, however, since both China and India are already working on developing the technology, and aggressively so.

Given that scenario, it might be better to create and license LFTRs in a highly regulated environment, like the US, so that nonproliferation safeguards are built into the design long before it’s exported, or stolen, and adopted.

LFTR advocates also point out that many nations can already create and refine fissile U-235 and Pu-239 with traditional LWRs.

There’s still a long road to the Thorium Age though, because addressing all of the niggling details, according to current government estimates, might take until 2050 to fully realize a commercial LFTR or other type of thorium molten-salt breeder reactor.

Similarly arduous timescales are true of other “generation four” nuclear reactors, which is why they, too, aren’t yet powering US homes and businesses.

“Maneuvering the licensing process is a huge challenge. The regulatory framework is not currently streamlined to support these novel innovative technologies,” Rita Baranwal, a materials engineer at INL wrote.

Long-established nuclear-energy companies aren’t interested in overturning decades of “business as usual” to gamble on a technology that’s radically different from anything in their portfolios. After all, the LFTR may work but end up being outcompeted on price for the energy it generates.

So instead, most companies are riffing on current LWR and related designs to improve efficiency, safety, and the tortuously slow speed of licensing a reactor.

“To their credit, though, the [Nuclear Regulatory Commission] recognizes this and is working with the [Department of Energy] to improve the licensing process as well, while keeping its mission at the forefront: the safety of the public,” Baranwal said. Baranwal is also trying to help companies advance more disruptive designs. After 11 years working in the nuclear-power industry, she left in August 2016 to be the founding director of INL’s new Gateway for Accelerating Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) program.

Per Peterson, a nuclear scientist at the University of California at Berkeley, likened GAIN to NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services — a program that helps commercial spaceflight startups like SpaceX get going.

“You can look at a large company like [United Launch Alliance] and compare its capability to develop rocket designs with SpaceX. The big, incumbent nuclear firms face issues around technological lock-in. And they can’t avoid it because of the scale they have to work and operate,” said Peterson, who is also on Flibe Energy’s board of advisors.

“I think there’s real potential for small-scale businesses,” he said. “It’s like with biotechnology: a small company will get a drug through phase two or three trials, then large pharmaceutical companies pick it up.”

Even if a small demonstration LFTR works, it isn’t guaranteed to scale up. Some unforeseen design issues may rear their ugly heads. And there are two other things that Baranwal, Gougar, Petti, and others can’t help with: market forces and people.

I don’t know when we will build an economically viable molten-salt power plant that is a squeaky clean, reliable, and burns nuclear fuel as well as Sorensen promises, same as with fusion — an oft-cited alternative to fission reactors — that is “still decades away from the production of a fusion power plant that generates more energy than it consumes.

LFTR could be a super-safe slam dunk for commercial power, but antinuclear (or anticompetitive) interests could threaten its future. And if the technology can’t compete with natural gas, wind, solar, hydroelectric, legacy nuclear power plants, and more, it could just be a failed business venture — Weinberg’s desert-oasis metropolises be damned.

That doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying: The stakes will only get higher as we use up fossil fuels and humanity’s numbers grow.

And as for Sorensen, the LFTR is certainly a dream worth chasing.

“This is something that’s going to benefit their future tremendously; it’s going to lead to a new age of human success,” he said, speaking to readers. “And if they want that, they need to be talking to their elected officials and demanding it, in fact, and saying ‘we want to see these things happen.’ Because only a society that decides to embrace this kind of technology is going to ultimately realize it’s benefits.”

Yours,

Dr Churchill

PS:

Plenty of food for thought here.

And as a StartUp this Thorium reactor company is something to watch.

Because it maybe a Unicorn in the making…

After the discovery that the manufactured & salaciously fake Trump dossier was the only real Russian collusion during the elections of 2016, it becomes evident that finally the Clintons are leaving the American political & public proscenium for good.

Yet they leave behind a nasty legacy of murders, lies, and lawlessness.

Bill Clinton’s shameless behavior, with his perjury, and his obstructions of justice led to his impeachment, but he escaped that fate, whereas Hillary was flat out rejected by the American public, because of Hillary’s serial deceptions, constant lying, and her grotesque mishandling of classified information.

All of these issues militated against her, and led to her thumping defeat.

Her manufacturing of the Trump dossier however, and its sheer negative impact on American public life, may be her most infamous “achievement” out of her whole life of spreading BS and negativity to this country. And we can now safely say that her campaign — and ultimately Hillary herself — bear grave responsibility along with key members of the media and the government who also share in that responsibility, and now, they need to own up to it…

Because the “salacious and unverified” Trump dossier and the attendant debate about the documents within it — has invaded the body politic like a cancerous mole.

And although the Mueller investigation has concluded, and Mueller’s declaration of complete exoneration and total innocence for President Trump has now entered the public record through the words of the Special prosecutor that “The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities” most people still have lingering fears that the witch-hunt will continue for some time by the Democrats rear guard actions.

But it’s worth reflecting on how the contrary view — the firm conviction that Trump did coordinate with Russia — became so deeply embedded in the hearts and minds of millions of Americans. And it’s worth reflecting on why another set of Americans could look at actual, troubling evidence of Russian contacts and simply not care at all.

The answer is complex, but at its heart is a set of documents compiled into a collection known as the “Steele dossier.” The dossier, characterized by James Comey under oath as “salacious and unverified,” consisted of opposition research compiled by a former British intelligence officer and commissioned by the Hillary Clinton campaign. Taken as whole, it undermined the credibility of American intelligence agencies, corrupted elements of the media, and distorted the public debate. It may well be one of the most malignant documents in modern American history.

The most immense and dangerous public scandal in American history is finally cracking open like a ripe pomegranate. The broad swath of the Trump-hating media that has participated in what has amounted to an unconstitutional attempt to overthrow the government are reduced to reporting the events and revelations of the scandal in which they have been complicit, in a po-faced ho-hum manner to impart to the misinformed public that this is as routine as stock market fluctuations or the burning of an American flag in Tehran.

For more than two years, the United States and the world have had two competing narratives: that an elected president of the United States was a Russian agent whom the Kremlin helped elect; and its rival narrative that senior officials of the Justice Department, FBI, CIA, and other national intelligence organizations had repeatedly lied under oath, misinformed federal officials, and meddled in partisan political matters illegally and unconstitutionally and had effectively tried to influence the outcome of a presidential election, and then undo its result by falsely propagating the first narrative. It is now obvious and indisputable that the second narrative is the correct one.

The instigators, the “authors”, the accomplices, and even the dupes of this attempted overthrow of constitutional government are now well along in reciting their misconduct without embarrassment or remorse because—in fired FBI Director James Comey’s formulation—a “higher duty” than the oath they swore to uphold the Constitution compelled them. Or—in fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s words—“the threat” was too great. Nevermind that the nature of “the threat” was that the people might elect someone he and Comey disapproved of as president, and that that person might actually serve his term, as elected.

The extent of the criminal misconduct of the former law enforcement and intelligence chiefs is now notorious, but to make the right point here, it has to be summarized. The fact that the officially preferred candidate lied to federal officials about her emails and acted in outright contempt of Congress and the legal process in the destruction of evidence, was simply ignored by the FBI director, who announced that she would not be prosecuted, though he had no authority to make that determination.

The dossier of salacious gossip and defamatory falsehoods amassed by a retired British spy from the lowest grade of intelligence sources in Russia, commissioned and paid for by the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee, was circulated to the media by high public officials and cited in illegal and dishonest applications to authorize surveillance of the campaign of the other presidential candidate. A special counsel was empowered on the false pretext of the necessity to get to the bottom of Trump-Russian collusion in the election, of which there was and remains no evidence, because it did not occur and was a complete partisan fabrication.

The special counsel then packed his staff with militant Clinton partisans, and acted very late and only when his hand was forced by the media to remove two officials who referred in texts to each other to the Bureau’s ability to smear and provoke the impeachment of the winning candidate as “an insurance policy” against his filling the office to which he was elected.

Large sections of the media colluded with the Democratic campaign and produced the doctrine that anything was justifiable, no matter how dishonest, to destroy the incoming president’s reputation and damage him in public opinion polls to legitimize attempts to remove him from office. Large sections of the media deliberately deluged the public with stories they knew to be false about the new president and referred to him in terms of unprecedented vituperation in what purported to be reportage and not comment.

This unorganized but widespread campaign of defamation was taken up by a great number of ordinarily newsworthy celebrities and was accompanied by false, unresearched stories denigrating President Trump’s supporters, such as the more recent false claims about Catholic school students’ treatment of an elderly native American and the false claim that actor Jussie Smollett had been beaten up and reviled by Trump supporters. The former intelligence chiefs of the nation under President Obama repeatedly have accused this president of treason, the most heinous of all crimes, and have asserted with the authority of their former positions that the Russians determined the result of the 2016 presidential election. They knew this to be entirely false.

The special counsel has failed to find any evidence of the collusion and electoral interference that was the justification for establishing his inquiry, and the Democrats are already expressing disappointment in his failure to produce such evidence when the leading Democratic members of congressional investigative committees still robotically claim to have at least prima facie evidence of such collusion.

The dishonest attempt of much of the opposition and what even left-leaning media-monitoring organizations record as 90 percent of the national media, continued for more than two years to try to condition the country to believe that the president had committed the “high crimes and misdemeanors” required by the Constitution for impeachment and removal from office.

The special counsel, apart from smearing the president, distracted public attention from or tended to justify the ever more evident misconduct of the president’s enemies. And we now know that Comey, despite his “higher duty,” lied to the president about his not being a target of an FBI investigation, illegally leaked to the New York Times the contents of a self-serving memo he purloined from the government, and lied to Congress by claiming 245 times in one sitting to be ignorant of recent matters that no one of sound mind could have forgotten.

And now we have Andrew McCabe’s proud confirmation that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein not only continued the illegal counterintelligence investigation of President Trump, but actively discussed methods of securing his removal from office by deliberate misuse of a variety of laws, including the Emoluments Clause, the 25th Amendment to deal with mental incompetence, and the Logan Act of 1799, which has never been used successfully and has not been tested in 150 years.

This entire monstrous travesty is finally coming apart without even waiting for the horrible disappointment of the special counsel’s inability to adduce a scrap of evidence to justify his replication of Torquemada as an inquisitor and of the Gestapo and KGB at rounding up and accusing unarmed individuals who were not flight risks. The collapse of this grotesque putsch, under the irresistible pressure of a functioning attorney general and Senate committees that are not hamstrung by NeverTrumpers, will cause a revulsion against the Democratic Party that will be seismic and prolonged.

The disgrace of their misconduct is profound and shocking. Richard Nixon, against whom there is no conclusive evidence that he broke any laws (although a number of people in his entourage did) never did anything like this. J. Edgar Hoover in 47 years at the head of the FBI and its predecessor organization, never tried to meddle in a presidential election. Those responsible will pay for this, including at the polls.

I’m not going to link to the dossier, but it’s worth remembering its core claim. As explained in this December analysis in Lawfare, the document not only contained claims that Russia possessed lurid, compromising information on Donald Trump, it also made the sensational allegation that there existed a “well-developed conspiracy of co-operation between [Trump and his associates] and the Russian leadership,” including an “intelligence exchange [that] had been running between them for at least 8 years.” The very existence of this allegation detonated like a bomb in the American body politic.

It had an obvious distorting effect on the intelligence community and parts of the American government. To be clear, I believe that the Trump-Russia investigation would have existed even without the dossier — I’m with Trey Gowdy on that point. As Devin Nunes wrote in his famous February 2018 memorandum alleging FISA abuse, information about George Papadopoulos triggered the opening of the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016. Moreover, the multiplicity of problematic Trump-team contacts with Russians or Russian operatives justified an investigation regardless of the dossier’s contents or the dossier’s use by the FBI.

The dossier was used to form a crucial part of the Carter Page FISA-warrant applications, however: The Nunes memo notes that “Deputy Director McCabe testified . . . that no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the FISC without the dossier information.” In addition, elements of the dossier made it to lawmakers including Harry Reid and John McCain, and the FBI ultimately even briefed then-president-elect Trump about its contents. While the summary it provided Trump is still largely redacted, it is easy to imagine how the existence of such a document could enrage the president.

I urge you to read Chuck Ross’s well-reported account of the comprehensive efforts to “seed the dossier with reporters and government officials.” The efforts were in fact so comprehensive — and the existence of its allegations such an open secret with the press — that I even heard about it in Tennessee during the later stages of the campaign. I was flat-out told that there was evidence Trump had been “compromised” by Russian intelligence.

Salacious rumor-mongering is par for the course in politics. I’ve heard the wildest stories about even the most staid politicians. And when politicians aren’t staid, well, there are no boundaries. To this day, there are folks lurking around the dark quarters of the Internet absolutely convinced that the Clintons are responsible for a string of murders in Arkansas.

But even in the face of widespread rumors, responsible journalists — or journalists who aspire to responsibility — do not print the rumor, at least not without verifying or debunking it. They should not print the rumor even if they know that law enforcement is looking into it.

Let’s try a hypothetical. Imagine if you’re a reporter and you know that local police are investigating a wild claim against a prominent local figure. You’ve started to look into the claim yourself, but so far everything you’ve learned contradicts the allegations. Do you dump it into the public domain anyway, heedless of the impact on the public or the person?

Well, if you’re BuzzFeed, that’s exactly what you do. While it may well be newsworthy that the FBI is looking into claims that Trump is “compromised,” there’s a vast difference between that factual report and just tossing a raw opposition-research file into the public square and telling people to “make up their own minds.”

That makes no sense. None. Between taking kids to soccer practice and dance lessons, parents aren’t able to determine whether Michael Cohen went to Prague. As I wrote at the time, “individual Americans aren’t free-standing intelligence agencies, ready and able to investigate alleged Russian operations in Moscow.” If a journalist hears a claim, he should investigate. Not punt to the public.

BuzzFeed’s decision had two immediate effects. First, it demonstrated the extent to which an influential media outlet would depart from best practices when it possessed negative allegations against Trump. Second, the instant the claims were published, millions of Americans became convinced they were true. Combine the recent pain of a shocking electoral loss, Russia’s intervention in the campaign to help Trump and sow chaos generally, Trump’s incredibly odd behavior toward Putin, and the emerging reports (some overblown) of unusual contacts between Trump’s team and Russians or Russian assets, and Democrats were primed to believe the worst. Moreover, the dossier’s memo formats, which looked like movie versions of intelligence reports, enhanced their public credibility. They were official-looking.

And so we were off to the races. An odd sort of consensus developed on the left and the right. In essence, it was this: The dossier is the scandal. On the left, a kind of blind faith emerged that the purpose and ultimate inevitable outcome of the Mueller investigation were to prove the core claims (if not all the specifics) of the dossier. People weren’t singing songs to Mueller with the expectation and hope that he’d simply lay out the facts. They believed that they already knew the facts, it was up to Mueller to come through with the proof.

On the right, when the dossier became the scandal, that meant that misconduct — even lies about contacts with Russians or Russian assets — that fell far short of the dossier’s grandiose claims was treated simply as no big deal. If a meeting with a Russian lawyer with the intention of getting damaging information about Hillary Clinton or alleged efforts to establish back-channel communications with WikiLeaks through Roger Stone fell far short of the dossier’s claims, then they were nothing to worry about — a distraction from the “real” scandal of the “Russia hoax.”

Moreover, a veritable industry sprang up that attempted to tie the entire Trump-Russia investigation to the dossier, to somehow prove that absent the dossier, there never would have been a comprehensive investigation of Russian contacts with the Trump campaign, much less a special counsel. Troubling conduct and contacts by Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, and others were swept aside as meaningless. The dossier was the chief weapon in the effort to delegitimize the investigation itself, and it was a potent weapon indeed.

For all of their other accomplishments, the Clintons are leaving American public life with a legacy of lies and lawlessness. Bill Clinton’s shameless behavior, perjury, and obstruction of justice led to his impeachment. Hillary’s serial deceptions and her grotesque mishandling of classified information led to her defeat. The dossier, however, in its sheer negative impact on American public life, may be her most infamous “achievement.”

Her campaign — and ultimately Hillary herself — bears responsibility for the chaos it sowed, because the dossier redefined the Presidential debate, as if it was some kind of cancer, that sickened our American culture and our Democratic and Republican politics.

And today, our nation is weaker because that fake document entered the bloodstream of the body politic, doing maximum damage that the Russians or anyone else cold never have done from the outside.

And we have Hillary Clinton and Obama to thank for it along with a compliant and cooperating mass media, television, and newspaper industry who all together along with some deluded members of Congress and Senate, seem to be really working for the Russians and the FSB…

Yours,

Dr Churchill

PS:

Without realizing the proportions of the emergency, America has survived the greatest constitutional crisis since the Civil War. All those who legitimately oppose or dislike the president, including traditional high-brow Republicans who find him distasteful, should join in the condemnation of this largely criminal assault on democracy, and then, if they wish, go out and try to beat him fair and square, the good old-fashioned way, in a free election. But they must abide by the election’s result.

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Human industry, Civilization, Automobiles, Air Travel, and Flatulating Cows — all contribute to some serious global warming, and that in turn according to the United Nations Climate Organization, has caused the 3.7mm Sea Level Rise, that we apparently experienced over the last years.

Apparently, climate change is making the seas rise faster than ever, and this appears to be what the UN wants to warn us about so that we can change our lives around and start wearing a hair shirt while flogging ourselves for our sins on the way to till the fields by ourselves without the benefit or assistance of any cows, bulls, draft horses, mules, or even donkeys, because all of these beasts fart a whole lot of methane out the back end and that causes sea level rising…

On an aside António Guterrez, Secretary-General of the United Nations allowed men to draft their wives and place them under the yoke so that they pull the plow, reasoning that large human barnyard animals are better suited for this job, since the cows flatulence is a pathogen for our climate.

This the UN chief, had said after he had just warned the world that last years’ sea level rise had hit an unprecedented 3.7 millimeters. Apparently, the sea levels across the world are rising faster than ever, according to the United Nations that has warned us, that we urgently need to increase our action to stop dangerous climate change.

In a report released on Thursday, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), a UN agency, painted a dire picture of all the key indicators of global warming.

The last four years were the warmest on record, concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are at record levels and rising, and a global average sea level rise of 3.7 millimetres in 2018 outstripped the average annual increase over the past three decades.

The findings in the group’s annual State of the Climate report will bolster efforts by António Guterres, the UN secretary-general, to make governments commit to more ambitious carbon cuts at a landmark summit in September.

“There is no longer any time for delay,” wrote Guterres in a foreword to the report.

Last year was the fourth warmest on record, bringing the global temperature 1°C warmer on average than before the industrial revolution.

The WMO Press Release is available here, the actual report is available here.

Of course the report predicts more rapid sea level rise in the future. From page 16 of the report:

Over the period January 1993 to December 2018, the average rate of rise was 3.15 ± 0.3 mm yr-1, while the estimated acceleration was 0.1 mm yr-2.

If the UN estimate is correct, starting from 3.15mm per year this would result in a sea level rise of around:

d = vt + 0.5at2
d = 3.15 x 80 + 0.5 x 0.1 x 802
d = 572mm or just under 2ft of sea level rise by the end of the century.
If this rate of sea level rise per year continues, our children’s children might have to deal with 2ft of additional sea level by the end of this century.

Unlike others, I’m not immediately afraid of what the Green New Deal would do to the economy and our government. After all, this isn’t going to pass — not today, not any time soon certainly, but after reading the Green New Deal, I’m mostly afraid of not being able to get through this with a straight face, so I write today to you, because I want to consider the Green New Deal with the seriousness it deserves.

The Cold War as we all know, was won without firing a shot, but overcoming Communism in the 20th century is the way to kill the Green New Deal while overcoming climate change in the 21st century, hopefully without firing shots at each other…

Yours,
Dr Churchill

PS:

Talking about the weather… can be rather dangerous these days amongst the fools all around and especially inside the UN…

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