Tuesday, 23 September 2014 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG

Great Misconceptions: The Shortest Path to a Lifeless Planet

Wednesday, 05 December 2012 12:41 By Donald G. Schweitzer, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

“…..And Crawling on the Planet’s Face,

….Some Insects, called the Human Race

Lost in Time, Lost in Space, and Meaning

 

-The Rocky Horror Picture Show



Two “tipping points” related to climate change occurred in 2012. The earth’s temperature increased more than the critical 2o Celsius, and climate change science deniers became a discredited minority of fossil fuel advocates. The eventual threat to life on earth by climate change is recognized, but the path to the end and the time involved is still at issue. The magnitude and projected consequences of climate change allow it to maintain possession of center stage, but there are other deadly players lurking in the wings that also threaten the life forms on the planet. There is every chance one may become the shortest path.
Here is my argument for the shortest path to the destruction of life.

The planet itself does not need saving. It will change, but it will also survive. It is reacting to a failed experiment by ridding itself of a dysfunctional two legged life form that is not only self-destructive, but destroys just about every other living thing it encounters.
The human experiment was indeterminate till the middle of the 19th century. Humans were able to survive disease, plagues, weather and attack by other life forms, but the seeds of our own destruction had not yet sprouted.

The God Misconception

The first deadly seed planted, was the greatest lie in history. Man created a god and claimed the reverse occurred. It worked so well, he followed it with, ‘god spoke to me and told me who to kill’. Since then, religious wars have been a steady and reliable source of planetary population control. At present religious wars are fueled by terrorist fanatics who raise their children to die as martyrs and claim to guarantee and provide the world with endless and unwinnable wars.
For many, the philosophy of religious wars is summarized by the scene in “Gunga Din” where Cary Grant, trapped in the temple of the worshippers of the God Kali, hears the Thuggees yell “Kill for the Love of Killing, Kill for the Love of Kali, Kill! Kill! Kill!” That pretty much tells it all. Change the religious affiliations in the war and you get the same shit with different flies.
Nevertheless, religious wars don’t disrupt the planet. It’s just one pest exterminating another with bio degradable residues.

The Doomsday Misconception

Things changed around 1850. The industrial revolution was established. It paved the path to the atom bomb, the plutonium bomb, the hydrogen bomb the thermonuclear bomb, the “clean” neutron bomb and other future delightful WMDs. At the same time the chemists discovered organic chemistry, allowing them, in the next century, to make millions of new compounds that nature never thought of and didn’t want. Most of them are carcinogens, poisons, non-biodegradable, and indestructible mistakes with about 100,000 new candidates being created every year.
During the Cold War, the world was led to believe that nuclear wars would destroy the planet (nuclear annihilation). The US and the USSR spent enormous amounts of money on “Doomsday” programs which were intended to develop retaliatory nuclear weapons that could respond to a first strike and destroy the attacker before the victim was completely destroyed, thereby discouraging the first strike.
When the Cold War ended and the USSR broke up, most of the Russian nuclear scientists lost their jobs and were offered temporary positions in the US with those of us who worked on doomsday programs. We found that none of the Russian first strike annihilation or retaliatory programs were effective and many were never viable. Planetary annihilation was a concept used to feed money into the defense industries in both the US and USSR. What any knowledgeable chemist working in a doomsday program knew, that the nuclear types missed, is that the path to killing everybody as fast as possible is through air, water, and food, individually or by combination. Any nuclear scientist worth his salt knows that nuclear disasters cannot compete with chemistry for wiping out life on the planet.

The Better Living Through Chemistry Misconception

“Better Living Through Chemistry” ---DuPont 1935-1982

By 2012, the several million organic compounds that are not found in nature exceeded 50,000,000.
Where did all the compounds go? Answer: Into our bodies through medical prescriptions, into our neighbors backyards, into the environment, and via the environment into the earth’s life forms.
DES (diethylstilbestrol) is a man-made (synthetic) form of estrogen, a female hormone. Doctors prescribed it from 1938 until 1971 to help pregnant women who had had miscarriages or premature deliveries in the past. It was given to millions of women in the United States during this time. In the 1960s, it was learned that infants whose mothers took DES during the first 5 months of pregnancy were more likely to have problems in their reproductive systems. Many people who were exposed to DES as a fetus still don't know it. About 5 to 10 million people are thought have been exposed to DES during pregnancy.
Pesticides that were banned in the US were sold to South America. Antibiotics that became ineffective due to germ resistance were fed to cattle.
Throughout the world, counterfeit pharmaceuticals with deadly side effects were relabeled and shipped to vast markets in Africa. [Africa’s Counterfeit Pharmaceutical Epidemic Roy S. Fenoff, Jeremy M. Wilson, October 2009, A-CAPP]
Solvents known to cause birth defects were dumped in rivers and backwaters all over the world.

The Recyclable Misconception

In an article by the Ecology Center “Seven Misconceptions about Plastic and Plastic Recycling” the authors claim:
“Plastic recycling costs much and does little to achieve recycling goals. Our cost/benefit analysis for implementing curbside plastics collection in Berkeley shows that curbside collection of discarded plastics: involves expensive processing; has limited benefits in reducing environmental impacts; and has limited benefits in diverting resources from waste. Processing used plastics often costs more than virgin plastic. As plastic producers increase production and reduce prices on virgin plastics, the markets for used plastic are diminishing. …The "recyclable" plastic to be collected in Berkeley at most would only amount to 0.3% of the waste stream.”

A Competitor to “Global Warming”

200 billion pounds of indestructible carcinogenic plastic are produced every year on this planet. 85% of objects found on beaches contain traces of polymers. Most of the rubbish is packaging materials. Some environmentalists believe this may be the shortest path to the end.
Plastic pollution is a much bigger threat than global warming.”

Another Global Threat: The Immunity of Humans Goes Down While the Resistance of Germs Goes Up

Recently the World Health Organization announced that antibiotic resistant bacteria, are becoming a global threat that might soon reach epidemic proportions. WHO director General Margaret Chan warned that “Things as common as strep throat or a child’s scratched knee could once again kill.”

Frack Climate Change - Frack Renewables

A New Technological Revolution: The Fastest Fracking Path to the End

On November 12th the International Energy Agency (IEA) released this year's edition of its World Energy Outlook claiming that advances in drilling technology were producing an upsurge in North American energy output, World Energy Outlook predicted that the United States would overtake Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the planet's leading oil producer by 2020. "North America is at the forefront of a sweeping transformation in oil and gas production that will affect all regions of the world," declared IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven in a widely quoted statement.
The editors of the Wall Street Journal lauded U.S. energy companies for bringing about a technological revolution, largely based on the utilization of hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") to extract oil and gas from shale rock. That, they claimed, was what made a new mega-energy boom possible. "This is a real energy revolution," the Journal noted, "even if it's far from the renewable energy dreamland of so many government subsidies and mandates."

“Of all the findings in the 2012 edition of the World Energy Outlook, the one that merits the greatest international attention is the one that received the least. Even if governments take vigorous steps to curb greenhouse gas emissions, the report concluded, the continuing increase in fossil fuel consumption will result in "a long-term average global temperature increase of 3.6 degrees C."
Modern fracking techniques that make the extraction of shale gas economical were first used in 1998. The energy from the injection of a highly pressurized fracking fluid creates new channels in the rock, which can increase the extraction rates and ultimate recovery of hydrocarbons.
In less than 15 years, the US has used 8 trillion gallons of pressurized water containing 200 billion pounds of toxic chemicals in one million wells. 649 chemicals are used in natural-gas production. More than 75 percent of them affect sensory organs and the respiratory and 
gastrointestinal systems; 40 to 50 percent have potential impacts on the kidneys and on the nervous, immune and 
cardiovascular systems; 37 percent act on the hormone system; and 25 percent are linked with cancer or mutations.
Statistically, 25% of the pipe fittings holding the pressurized poisons leak, allowing penetration of the ground from near surface to the borehole destination. About 70 percent of the liquid that goes down a borehole eventually comes up carrying additional deep-earth compounds such as sodium, bromide, arsenic, barium, uranium, radium and radon. Animals drinking the liquids or eating contaminated grass die within hours.
Ambient air testing within 3 miles of fracking wells shows elevated levels of benzene, methane, chloroform, butane, propane, toluene and xylene—compounds associated with drilling and fracking, and also with cancers, birth defects and organ damage.
A peer-reviewed report shows a link between fracking and illness in food animals. The authors compiled case studies of twenty-four farmers in six shale-gas states whose livestock experienced neurological, reproductive and acute gastrointestinal problems. Exposed either accidentally or incidentally to fracking chemicals in the water or air, scores of animals have died.
The study points out another research obstacle. Animal owners who have reached a financial settlement with an energy company often have to sign a non-disclosure statement, which prevents them from discussing the case:
"The gas and oil industries are currently the only industries exempted from key elements of the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act," says U.S. Representative Maurice Hinchey, (D-NY). The so-called "Halliburton Loophole" was pushed through by then Vice President Dick Cheney, the former CEO of Halliburton, in 2005. There is also a dramatic shortage nationwide of well inspectors. In Wyoming, for example, there are 55,000 gas wells and only 12 inspectors. Other states frequently have fewer than that.

Conclusion

Fracking poisons the air, water, and food chains with an enormous overkill of chemicals. Documentation of cases show serious health effects on humans, companion animals, livestock, horses, and wildlife. Rapid death occurs after ingestion of fracking surface water deposits.
It is just the beginning. The technology is young and unregulated. It already shows a potential level of environmental destruction beyond the planet’s ability to cope.
Fracking is being touted, to the detriment of climate change and development of renewables, as the miracle that will make the US, the new “Saudi Arabia”.
Unless we can come up with a counteracting miracle to take back control of the planet from the scumbag billionaires controlling all forms of energy and most forms of politicians and lawmakers, fracking is going to be the shortest path to a world without life.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Donald G. Schweitzer

Donald G. Schweitzer has a PhD in Physical Chemistry, is a retired tenured Senior Scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratory and Chief Advisor to AEC, NRC, DOE, State Dept., the IAEA, and the US Air Force, on all forms of carbon and graphite chemistry, on nuclear and chemical safety, licensing, accident analyses, chemical and nuclear waste isolation and development of advanced fuels and advanced nuclear reactors.


Hide Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus
GET DAILY TRUTHOUT UPDATES

FOLLOW togtorsstottofb


Great Misconceptions: The Shortest Path to a Lifeless Planet

Wednesday, 05 December 2012 12:41 By Donald G. Schweitzer, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

“…..And Crawling on the Planet’s Face,

….Some Insects, called the Human Race

Lost in Time, Lost in Space, and Meaning

 

-The Rocky Horror Picture Show



Two “tipping points” related to climate change occurred in 2012. The earth’s temperature increased more than the critical 2o Celsius, and climate change science deniers became a discredited minority of fossil fuel advocates. The eventual threat to life on earth by climate change is recognized, but the path to the end and the time involved is still at issue. The magnitude and projected consequences of climate change allow it to maintain possession of center stage, but there are other deadly players lurking in the wings that also threaten the life forms on the planet. There is every chance one may become the shortest path.
Here is my argument for the shortest path to the destruction of life.

The planet itself does not need saving. It will change, but it will also survive. It is reacting to a failed experiment by ridding itself of a dysfunctional two legged life form that is not only self-destructive, but destroys just about every other living thing it encounters.
The human experiment was indeterminate till the middle of the 19th century. Humans were able to survive disease, plagues, weather and attack by other life forms, but the seeds of our own destruction had not yet sprouted.

The God Misconception

The first deadly seed planted, was the greatest lie in history. Man created a god and claimed the reverse occurred. It worked so well, he followed it with, ‘god spoke to me and told me who to kill’. Since then, religious wars have been a steady and reliable source of planetary population control. At present religious wars are fueled by terrorist fanatics who raise their children to die as martyrs and claim to guarantee and provide the world with endless and unwinnable wars.
For many, the philosophy of religious wars is summarized by the scene in “Gunga Din” where Cary Grant, trapped in the temple of the worshippers of the God Kali, hears the Thuggees yell “Kill for the Love of Killing, Kill for the Love of Kali, Kill! Kill! Kill!” That pretty much tells it all. Change the religious affiliations in the war and you get the same shit with different flies.
Nevertheless, religious wars don’t disrupt the planet. It’s just one pest exterminating another with bio degradable residues.

The Doomsday Misconception

Things changed around 1850. The industrial revolution was established. It paved the path to the atom bomb, the plutonium bomb, the hydrogen bomb the thermonuclear bomb, the “clean” neutron bomb and other future delightful WMDs. At the same time the chemists discovered organic chemistry, allowing them, in the next century, to make millions of new compounds that nature never thought of and didn’t want. Most of them are carcinogens, poisons, non-biodegradable, and indestructible mistakes with about 100,000 new candidates being created every year.
During the Cold War, the world was led to believe that nuclear wars would destroy the planet (nuclear annihilation). The US and the USSR spent enormous amounts of money on “Doomsday” programs which were intended to develop retaliatory nuclear weapons that could respond to a first strike and destroy the attacker before the victim was completely destroyed, thereby discouraging the first strike.
When the Cold War ended and the USSR broke up, most of the Russian nuclear scientists lost their jobs and were offered temporary positions in the US with those of us who worked on doomsday programs. We found that none of the Russian first strike annihilation or retaliatory programs were effective and many were never viable. Planetary annihilation was a concept used to feed money into the defense industries in both the US and USSR. What any knowledgeable chemist working in a doomsday program knew, that the nuclear types missed, is that the path to killing everybody as fast as possible is through air, water, and food, individually or by combination. Any nuclear scientist worth his salt knows that nuclear disasters cannot compete with chemistry for wiping out life on the planet.

The Better Living Through Chemistry Misconception

“Better Living Through Chemistry” ---DuPont 1935-1982

By 2012, the several million organic compounds that are not found in nature exceeded 50,000,000.
Where did all the compounds go? Answer: Into our bodies through medical prescriptions, into our neighbors backyards, into the environment, and via the environment into the earth’s life forms.
DES (diethylstilbestrol) is a man-made (synthetic) form of estrogen, a female hormone. Doctors prescribed it from 1938 until 1971 to help pregnant women who had had miscarriages or premature deliveries in the past. It was given to millions of women in the United States during this time. In the 1960s, it was learned that infants whose mothers took DES during the first 5 months of pregnancy were more likely to have problems in their reproductive systems. Many people who were exposed to DES as a fetus still don't know it. About 5 to 10 million people are thought have been exposed to DES during pregnancy.
Pesticides that were banned in the US were sold to South America. Antibiotics that became ineffective due to germ resistance were fed to cattle.
Throughout the world, counterfeit pharmaceuticals with deadly side effects were relabeled and shipped to vast markets in Africa. [Africa’s Counterfeit Pharmaceutical Epidemic Roy S. Fenoff, Jeremy M. Wilson, October 2009, A-CAPP]
Solvents known to cause birth defects were dumped in rivers and backwaters all over the world.

The Recyclable Misconception

In an article by the Ecology Center “Seven Misconceptions about Plastic and Plastic Recycling” the authors claim:
“Plastic recycling costs much and does little to achieve recycling goals. Our cost/benefit analysis for implementing curbside plastics collection in Berkeley shows that curbside collection of discarded plastics: involves expensive processing; has limited benefits in reducing environmental impacts; and has limited benefits in diverting resources from waste. Processing used plastics often costs more than virgin plastic. As plastic producers increase production and reduce prices on virgin plastics, the markets for used plastic are diminishing. …The "recyclable" plastic to be collected in Berkeley at most would only amount to 0.3% of the waste stream.”

A Competitor to “Global Warming”

200 billion pounds of indestructible carcinogenic plastic are produced every year on this planet. 85% of objects found on beaches contain traces of polymers. Most of the rubbish is packaging materials. Some environmentalists believe this may be the shortest path to the end.
Plastic pollution is a much bigger threat than global warming.”

Another Global Threat: The Immunity of Humans Goes Down While the Resistance of Germs Goes Up

Recently the World Health Organization announced that antibiotic resistant bacteria, are becoming a global threat that might soon reach epidemic proportions. WHO director General Margaret Chan warned that “Things as common as strep throat or a child’s scratched knee could once again kill.”

Frack Climate Change - Frack Renewables

A New Technological Revolution: The Fastest Fracking Path to the End

On November 12th the International Energy Agency (IEA) released this year's edition of its World Energy Outlook claiming that advances in drilling technology were producing an upsurge in North American energy output, World Energy Outlook predicted that the United States would overtake Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the planet's leading oil producer by 2020. "North America is at the forefront of a sweeping transformation in oil and gas production that will affect all regions of the world," declared IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven in a widely quoted statement.
The editors of the Wall Street Journal lauded U.S. energy companies for bringing about a technological revolution, largely based on the utilization of hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") to extract oil and gas from shale rock. That, they claimed, was what made a new mega-energy boom possible. "This is a real energy revolution," the Journal noted, "even if it's far from the renewable energy dreamland of so many government subsidies and mandates."

“Of all the findings in the 2012 edition of the World Energy Outlook, the one that merits the greatest international attention is the one that received the least. Even if governments take vigorous steps to curb greenhouse gas emissions, the report concluded, the continuing increase in fossil fuel consumption will result in "a long-term average global temperature increase of 3.6 degrees C."
Modern fracking techniques that make the extraction of shale gas economical were first used in 1998. The energy from the injection of a highly pressurized fracking fluid creates new channels in the rock, which can increase the extraction rates and ultimate recovery of hydrocarbons.
In less than 15 years, the US has used 8 trillion gallons of pressurized water containing 200 billion pounds of toxic chemicals in one million wells. 649 chemicals are used in natural-gas production. More than 75 percent of them affect sensory organs and the respiratory and 
gastrointestinal systems; 40 to 50 percent have potential impacts on the kidneys and on the nervous, immune and 
cardiovascular systems; 37 percent act on the hormone system; and 25 percent are linked with cancer or mutations.
Statistically, 25% of the pipe fittings holding the pressurized poisons leak, allowing penetration of the ground from near surface to the borehole destination. About 70 percent of the liquid that goes down a borehole eventually comes up carrying additional deep-earth compounds such as sodium, bromide, arsenic, barium, uranium, radium and radon. Animals drinking the liquids or eating contaminated grass die within hours.
Ambient air testing within 3 miles of fracking wells shows elevated levels of benzene, methane, chloroform, butane, propane, toluene and xylene—compounds associated with drilling and fracking, and also with cancers, birth defects and organ damage.
A peer-reviewed report shows a link between fracking and illness in food animals. The authors compiled case studies of twenty-four farmers in six shale-gas states whose livestock experienced neurological, reproductive and acute gastrointestinal problems. Exposed either accidentally or incidentally to fracking chemicals in the water or air, scores of animals have died.
The study points out another research obstacle. Animal owners who have reached a financial settlement with an energy company often have to sign a non-disclosure statement, which prevents them from discussing the case:
"The gas and oil industries are currently the only industries exempted from key elements of the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act," says U.S. Representative Maurice Hinchey, (D-NY). The so-called "Halliburton Loophole" was pushed through by then Vice President Dick Cheney, the former CEO of Halliburton, in 2005. There is also a dramatic shortage nationwide of well inspectors. In Wyoming, for example, there are 55,000 gas wells and only 12 inspectors. Other states frequently have fewer than that.

Conclusion

Fracking poisons the air, water, and food chains with an enormous overkill of chemicals. Documentation of cases show serious health effects on humans, companion animals, livestock, horses, and wildlife. Rapid death occurs after ingestion of fracking surface water deposits.
It is just the beginning. The technology is young and unregulated. It already shows a potential level of environmental destruction beyond the planet’s ability to cope.
Fracking is being touted, to the detriment of climate change and development of renewables, as the miracle that will make the US, the new “Saudi Arabia”.
Unless we can come up with a counteracting miracle to take back control of the planet from the scumbag billionaires controlling all forms of energy and most forms of politicians and lawmakers, fracking is going to be the shortest path to a world without life.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Donald G. Schweitzer

Donald G. Schweitzer has a PhD in Physical Chemistry, is a retired tenured Senior Scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratory and Chief Advisor to AEC, NRC, DOE, State Dept., the IAEA, and the US Air Force, on all forms of carbon and graphite chemistry, on nuclear and chemical safety, licensing, accident analyses, chemical and nuclear waste isolation and development of advanced fuels and advanced nuclear reactors.


Hide Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus