400 parts per million for the first time in 3 million years

28 04 2013

The world’s CO2 levels are on the cusp of 400 parts per million (ppm) in the atmosphere for the first time in some 3 million years……

The daily CO2 concentration at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, was measured at

David Keeling pointing at Keeling Curve charts

David Keeling pointing at Keeling Curve charts

399.72 ppm last Thursday.  A few hourly readings had already gone over 400 ppm. ”I wish it weren’t true, but it looks like the world is going to blow through the 400 ppm level without losing a beat,” said Ralph Keeling, son of Charles David Keeling.  Keeling was the first to confirm the rise of atmospheric carbon dioxide by very precise measurements producing a data set now known widely as the “Keeling Curve.”  Ralph is a geochemist at the US Scripps Institution of Oceanography, which operates the Hawaiian observatory. ”At this pace we’ll hit 450 ppm within a few decades” he said…

The 450 ppm level is considered the point where the world has a 50% chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change.  Any higher, and the odds of avoiding searing temperature rises of four or five degrees by 2100 become prohibitively risky.

The last time CO2 reached the symbolic milestone of 400 ppm in the atmosphere – in the Pliocene era – temperatures were three to four degrees higher than today, and sea levels were between five and 40 metres higher. Carbon dioxide levels have been rising since the measurements began at the observatory in 1958, and recorded 317 ppm.

It comes as Australia’s Climate Commission will release a report today (April 29 2013) on global action to reduce emissions. The US and, particularly, China are moving into leadership positions on greenhouse gas cuts, according to this report, “The Critical Decade: Global Action Building on Climate Change”.

Growth (ie, not consumption!) in coal use in China had declined and renewable energy had expanded on a massive scale.  Chinese wind power generation had increased almost 50-fold between 2005 and 2012, and solar power capacity rose by 75 % in 2012.

Australia doubled its renewable energy capacity between 2001 and 2012 (from a base of virtually zero), but is at risk of being left behind by other nations, according to the head of the Climate Commission, Tim Flannery. ”We are the 15th largest emitter in the world, larger than 180 other countries,” Professor Flannery said. ”We are more influential than most of us think.”

The People’s NWO: Every Man His Own Central Banker

27 04 2013

Found this through the blogosphere network……. well worth the read (don’t let the Barnaby Joyce thing put you off….!), and I’d love to hear what DTM readers think of this…

Barnaby Is Right

** 7 October 2014:  The concept described in the following essay has since been developed further — visit beta website deror.org for more information.

“To radically shift regime behavior we must think clearly and boldly for if we have learned anything, it is that regimes do not want to be changed. We must think beyond those who have gone before us and discover technological changes that embolden us with ways to act in which our forebears could not.”

– Julian Assange, Conspiracy As Governance (2006)

There is nothing more dangerous than personal initiative: if it has genius behind it, such initiative can do more than can be done by millions of people among whom we have sown discord.

– Protocol V

Are you seeking profit, or protection from the storm?  This is not for you.  Are you here because misery loves company, or to impress with wit?  This is…

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Santa’s relocation or death spiral….

23 04 2013

Another guest post by Mark Cochrane.

Below is the latest update of the so-called Arctic sea ice death spiral. It shows the monthly change in sea ice volume for the arctic region over the last 35 years. For those that don’t know, the amount of sea ice grows and shrinks each year, with increased freezing growing the area covered during the colder months and increased melting shrinking the area covered each summer. If things were climatically stable those would be concentric circles, not a spiral. While the area covered is what is often reported, what has been under-appreciated is the loss of ice thickness that has accompanied the process of melting. Previously, much of the arctic sea ice cover was ‘multiyear’ ice that was thicker due to the amount of time it had been accumulating and the rafting and ridge-forming processes it had been subjected to. Now, most of the remaining ice is being formed each winter and lost each summer. The minimum area covered (Septembers) since 1979 has dropped by 13%/decade. The volume has dropped even faster because warm ocean waters are melting the ice cover from below during the warmer seasons while sunlight melts it from above.

In terms of energetics for climate change, there is another important dynamic at work. The ice cover generally reflects 80% of the incident sunlight while the sea water generally absorbs 80% of the same sunlight. What this means is that for every area of ice cover that is lost, there will be a 4-fold increase in energy uptake during the summer seasons. In terms of temperature the change is more extreme because ice takes 80x the energy to be raised one degree as liquid water of the same mass due to the phase change from solid to liquid as ice melts. Ice acts as a great energy sink, saving up cold from the winter, to moderate any temperature swings in the summer. However, as the ice melts, the energy influx per unit area may increase by only 4 fold but once the ice is gone the heating rate will jump 320 times for the affected areas. More sunlight gets taken up by the ocean waters and it all goes into heating the waters since there is no longer any ice melting (phase change) to be done.

If Waldhams is correct, the Arctic may be ice free during summers within 2-3 years. This happens faster and faster because of the huge swing in the amount of energy pouring into the ocean waters and the thinning of the remaining sea ice. Thinner sea ice is prone to being broken up by winds and waves during storms. Much like crushed ice in your glass, fractured sea ice melts more rapidly.

This is one tipping point that we are already past. Unless we get another dinosaur-killing asteroid or massive equitorial volcanic eruptions, summer sea ice will likely pass into history in the near future. Once it is gone, the ice free period will grow in length year after year as the oceans warm further. This won’t be either subtle or temporary.

Regional weather patterns will change substantially and there is reason to believe that some of the whacked springs of Europe and the US are knock on effects of the melting sea ice. This massive change has alterred the polar jet stream and could (still being argued in the literature) be resulting in more cold air spilling down out of the arctic as the jet stream weakens.

In any case, we need a new home for Santa Claus as the North Pole is no longer a viable summer home. He’ll either need to shift over to Greenland or do a complete Pole shift to the Southern hemisphere.

If anyone doubts that we are fundamentally changing the planet, then book a trip for the North Pole. Study a little history on the furore to find the fabled Northwest Passage then consider that, starting this year, China intends to use the Arctic as a shipping route to the US and Europe –

China to ship up to 15% of trade through the Arctic

Mon Abri – For Sale!

19 04 2013


By all means read on……..  but if you were thinking of buying, I’m afraid you’re too late.

When I built this place, never in a million years did I ever think we would sell it.  Just yesterday, a permaculture friend (who lives in Black Mountain – see below)  asked me why were we selling after doing all that work?  I only had one reply to that, my ageing body no longer tolerates the heat…… I start struggling when the mercury hits 27 degrees.  She thought it was odd, she told me she was sad to see Summer ending….  whilst I’m glad to see the back of it!  So if you like Queensland’s hot weather, come buy a piece of Paradise.  I want to live in Tasmania. POSITION They say there are only three criteria for picking somewhere to live: position, position, position! Noosa COORAN is in the Noosa Hinterland area.  It’s Noosa Shire’s best kept secret.  Just 30 minutes from Noosa, famous for its National Park, beaches, fishing, sailing, surf and surfing, restaurants, and laid back living, it’s truly affordable real estate.  There isn’t one single traffic light here – but you’ll have to learn to use roundabouts, which I personally think are great!

Cooran's main street

Cooran’s main street

Cooran has its own small shop/Post Office (owned by our neighbours), a hairdresser, a restaurant/takeaway, a brand new business selling organic seedlings, and a large hall – where monthly quality music concerts are held – and it’s serviced by buses and trains.  It also has its own primary school, all within walking/cycling distance. Just five minutes down the road by car is Pomona where you’ll find doctors, an IGA supermarket, shops, restaurants, a [great] hardware store, landscaping supplies, a cinema, two petrol stations, an excellent car mechanic, and I could go on.  Less than ten minutes further down the road is Cooroy, like Pomona only bigger.  There are two High Schools, one in Pomona and one in Cooroy.  There’s a school bus service to take students there from Cooran. There is also a bus service to the Noosa Pengari Steiner School operating from Pomona just 6 or 7 minutes away. Central Queensland University has a hub at Noosaville where my wife was studying. Alternatively, you can shop in Gympie where some things are cheaper. They have great local Sunday markets where I buy all my vegetable seedlings which are top quality. It’s the same distance away as Noosa… (more Farmers markets)  but there are traffic lights! Cooran to Brisbane is a two hour drive, or two and a half hours by train.  There are two daily trains between Brisbane and Cooran.  More if you’re prepared to drive to Cooroy or Nambour. OUR BLOCK Our land covers approximately 1.5 acres. It is part of an estate, for want of a better word, that consists of 1 to 5 acre blocks subdivided from the original dairy farm which existed here until about 1990. The road past our place is a dead end, with perhaps another 25 houses further up the road.  It’s generally very quiet, we never lock the place, and nothing’s ever disappeared!  As a community, we look out for each other, and help looking after friends’ animals when they need to go away for a few days. It all started as a totally blank lawn, and I suggest you visit this page where you can get another idea of what the property lookscooranaerial like.. bearing in mind in never ceases to change…. High and dry and out of all flooding, 95m above sea level.  The original [German] farmer who subdivided his 130 acres has personally told me he never sprayed, and hoed all weeds by hand!  So while it’s not registered organic…. it is.  The land slopes gently to the West and South.  The soil is pretty good, and wherever I’m growing food, it has been substantially improved with loads of goat and chicken poo and compost.  Whatever you plant here just leaps out of the ground!  Rainfall is normally 1200mm a year. noweedsThe whole block has been designed to Permaculture principles, with greywater recycling (which we use to water and produce our own mulch), animals for manures, milk, meat and eggs.  There’s a 200m² vegetable garden which in the past has produced (and still does in season!) Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Onions, Garlic, Leeks, Corn, Peas, Beans, Beetroots, Carrots, Artichokes, Capsicums, Chillies, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Pumpkins, Sorrel, Lettuce, Tahitian Spinach, English Spinach, and I’m sure I’ve left something out……. oh yes, ginger and turmeric, and of course herbs galore.  And of course loads of Comfrey, Arrowroot, and Cassava, the Permaculture stalwarts….

Zone 1, seen from the roof

Zone 1, seen from the roof

A NOTE ON PERMACULTURE We have had people here inspecting the place and obviously had no idea of what Permaculture is all about.  Permaculture is NOT gardening.  If you are unsure about what Permaculture is all about, I suggest you read this….

Permaculture Food Forest

Organic Gardening

If you’re after manicured gardens and beautiful lawns, this is not the place for you, and that’s because neither are sustainable.  The first rule of Permaculture is Thou shalt not mow.  Soon enough, there will not be enough fuel to mow.  How will you cope with six foot high grass everywhere unless you get rid of it and transition to edible zero waste landscapes?  We emulate nature, we don’t fight it…  it’s a losing battle anyway.

Sunrise over Mt Cooroora

Sunrise over Mt Cooroora

We have views of three volcanic plugs, Mt Pinbarren to the East, Mt Cooroora to the South, and Mt Cooran to the South West. The aerial photo above shows we have added a small shed parallel to the boundary to the right of the house, and more solar panels have been added to the W roof .  All the fruit trees are considerably larger now. You can see two water tanks, one at each end of the house.  I’m planning to add a third tank at the North end of the shed to drought proof the garden… THE HOUSE (click all photos to enlarge) monabri2909 glossyMon Abri is a unique house.  You won’t find anything remotely like it, anywhere.


Because of its resource saving features, we won a Glossy Award for the design way back in 2007.  I like to think it’s also Australia’s most energy efficient house.  Prove me wrong, I’ll cop it on the chin…….  we are very very proud of our effort here…..  and if you need convincing it’s not hard to get it all wrong, even with the best of intents, watch this.


Sunset at beer o'clock on the deck

Sunset at beer o’clock on the deck

Mon Abri Floorplan

Mon Abri Floorplan

It’s a split level design with just seven steps between downstairs, the living space, and upstairs, where all the bedrooms are, and the bathroom and toilet.  It’s 145m²  in area, plus a veranda and large 25m² deck at the rear overlooking the view, and another veranda at the front; it has four bedrooms, or if you prefer three plus an office.  The bathroom has a double corner bath, a shower, a bidet and a hand basin.  The toilet (composting) has its own separate handbasin… and is unique in that it opens to the outside as well as the inside, a most handy feature when gardening…..


Tiling in living area


North Point at the front door

The living area is tiled with Terracotta, in a French Provincial style.  Pretty well everyone who walks in is blown away by the character of the place…. no one has ever said they didn’t like it!  The entire house is tiled (except the kitchen which has a cork floor for comfort), and tiled with creative flair at that……

Glenda being a Ceramic Artist, has put a lot of effort in making sure no floor was boring!  There’s even a mosaic of a Black Cockatoo (the emblem of the Glossy Awards) outside the bathroom, which itself is finished in turquoise Balinese river stones…. has to be seen it to be believed..

The kitchen is entirely “hand made”, with not a sign of chip board or MDF board to offgas nasties for you to breathe.  In fact there are none in the whole house…….  And the food garden is right outside for quick access. IMG_0216IMG_0215 Unless you really really object to our hyper efficient fridge, it comes with the house.  We cook on a five burner gas

Walk in pantry

Walk in pantry

cooktop, and the AGA……. which holds a certain place of pride here…  the kitchen is the stereotypical “country style”, and it has a walk-in pantry to store the home brew and preserves with a light that comes on automatically when you walk in…..  It’s the kitchen I’ve always wanted, and I will build another one just like it in Tasmania. SHD2014 finishedcobovenThe kitchen now also has an addition…  our treasured cob oven which we intend to use in Summer so that we can still bake bread and pizzas, and cook roasts without heating up the house.

All the ceilings are raked pine, and mini orb corrugated iron has been tastefully used as features in the kitchen and bathroom to give it that “Queensland feel”…. and it’s so easy to keep clean too.  The windows are either louvres or recycled casement windows from old Queenslanders to maximise ventilation, a must in this climate.  An explanation of the house’s solar passive design can be found here.


Entrance to bathroom




Master Bedroom

Mon Abri has three bedrooms.  The Master Bedroom is 3.6m wide by 4.8m long and easily accommodates a king sized bed.  It has excellent ventilation with windows on the North and South sides, and its own door to the outside, which are fitted with curtains and pelmets to keep the heat out in Summer, and in during Winter….  It is also just steps away from the toilet and bathroom. The other two bedrooms have queen size beds, and are also both fitted with curtains and pelmets, as well as ceiling fans.  They both have built in wardrobes, and one has its own door to the outside. All the bedrooms are wonderfully warm in Winter and cool in Summer as they all have substantial thermal mass with Gympie Block walls and turquoise tiles to match the decor….

Bedroom 2

Bedroom 2


Bedroom 3

Night time view from the Master Bedroom.... I never tire of this aspect last thing before going to sleep!

Night time view from the Master Bedroom…. I never tire of this aspect last thing before going to sleep!

The house tank has never run out, and is in fact half full as I write this.  With 45,000 L of garden water, I estimate it would be possible to keep zone 1 watered even if it didn’t rain for six months at all. The house is plumbed to what must be the most ecologically sustainable drainage system, described in detail at this page on this blog.

Formal Lounge

Formal Lounge

The asking price has now been reduced to $425,000.  This is a bit more than what other houses around here might cost (though our neighbour just put their unsustainable house on the market for $550,000!), but we are selling an established self sufficient lifestyle, and besides none of them offer potentially cost free living.  Apart from the $1000 a year rates, with simple commonsense management, anyone living here would have zero electricity bills (in fact an income), zero water bills, and zero sewerage bills…… IMG_0037 The house also comes with a year’s supply of firewood. Bear in mind we also plan to move as little of our stuff as possible to Tasmania… it is a long way!  So we are prepared to throw in all the furniture as part of the cost. This page is work in progress.  As I make more finishing touches, I will update it with fresh photos, so if you are interested or know someone who might be, return soon to see what else is new. To contact me re buying Mon Abri, email me at damnthematrix at riseup dot net.  My mobile is 0447 500 566.  Seriously interested buyers only please, no tyre kickers.

Why is society so ignorant?

14 04 2013

Thatcher’s death has definitely brought the worst and best out of people…….  people with very long memories to boot!  I wasn’t that interested in politics way back in the early 70’s.  Like most young people, I had better things to do.  So it is particularly interesting to read the detail beyond the fog I vaguely remember as the aftermath of drinking too much beer…..

So here are a few little nuggets with how and more specifically why a lot of industries were destroyed by her, and what’s more, destroyed with the mandate of the British people.

The trade unions waited for winter, and then came out on strike, holding the country to ransom for annual pay rises of up to 36% above inflation. Can you believe that?  These were the demands from Scargill and co.  And they bled Britain dry, bankrupting the country, because as you should know by now, the coal was unviable…..  Their jobs were already subsidised, there was no meat left.  And then the Winter of Discontent happened.  And they all came out.  Miners, power workers, transport workers; even funeral directors, everything tied into the TGWU came out.  The entire country was in ruin. Rubbish not collected for months, rats everywhere (I actually remember seeing that on Australian TV..). Winter-of-discontentAnd the unions laughed, and brought down Callaghan’s Labour Government.  And Thatcher stood up at the general election and made one simple promise: “Elect me, and this will never happen again. Elect me and I shall destroy them.” She won in a landslide. On that promise.  Not many pollies keep their promises…

I guess you could argue that one extreme way of thinking, simply resulted in another.  The famous pendulum swing.  The Brits got the government they deserved…….  She did exactly what she said.  She utterly destroyed the unions.  Obliterated them.  The cost was all those industries.  But did the Brits know that would be the price?  Were they prepared to pay such a price to not allow them to hold the country to ransom?  What she did, she did with the people’s blessing.  The socialists and people who backed those strikes have only themselves to blame for what happened.  They were dumb….  Baroness Thatcher destroyed those industries and communities , the people supported her, and nobody understood what was going on…. She held the purse strings tight and re-built the economy and the country only after all that oil was discovered in the North Sea and Britain again stood tall and thrived.  And to this day, she gets the credit….  You can read all the patriotic diatribe all over the internet…   I doubt she could even have fought the Falklands War without that oil….  Did you know more veterans have died from suicide since the war than died in the war….?

Why is society so dumb?  Why do Unions make often unrealistic demands?  Why do we fight wars over worthless piles of rock like the Falklands and Afghanistan..??  And you know what?  It’s all about to happen again.  Limits to Growth is already affecting the cost of living, and people are starting to demand pay rises that nobody can afford, because the resources to pay for them are not there.  And I reckon there’s an extremely good chance that if/when Abbott wins the next election here, he will become the next Thatcher.  And Australians will have elected the government they deserve, and they will have no one to blame but themselves.  For being stupid and ill informed.  Oh and a Labor Party that doesn’t stand for anything that different to the conservatives…

Once we will have got through our own Winter of discontent, there will be no oil to rebuild the greed/debt economy with.  And everyone will stand around with dumb looks on their faces wondering what on Earth happened.

Peak Oil as seen through the eyes of Arab oil producers

13 04 2013

Fabius Maximus website

Summary: One of the world’s great energy experts reports on the view from a energy conference in Qatar. Oil is the fountain of their prosperity, and they well understand how brief the Age of Oil will be.


Reflections by Robert Hirsch on the Conference “Peak Oil: Challenges and Opportunities for the GCC Countries”.

Held at Doha, Qatar on 2-4 April 2013.
Posted with his generous permission.


I was fortunate to be among the few westerners invited to attend and speak at this first-of-its kind “peak oil” (PO) conference in a Middle East. The fact that a major Middle East oil exporter would hold such a conference on what has long been a verboten subject was quite remarkable and a dramatic change from decades of PO denial. The two and a half day meeting was well attended by people from the GCC as well as other regional countries.


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The end of community?

10 04 2013

It’s 3AM, and I can’t sleep……  and it appears the internet can’t stop talking about Margaret Thatcher.  I mean, who would have thought I would write two posts about her?  But I just had an epiphany of sorts, since reading this:

Perhaps, though, Thatcher “the monster” didn’t die yesterday from a stroke, perhaps that Thatcher died as she sobbed self-pitying tears as she was driven, defeated, from Downing Street, ousted by her own party. By then, 1990, I was 15, adolescent and instinctively anti-establishment enough to regard her disdainfully. I’d unthinkingly imbibed enough doctrine to know that, troubled as I was, there was little point looking elsewhere for support. I was on my own. We are all on our own. Norman Tebbit, one of Thatcher’s acolytes and fellow “Munsters evacuee”, said when the National Union of Mineworkers eventually succumbed to the military onslaught and starvation over which she presided: “We didn’t just break the strike, we broke the spell.” The spell he was referring to is the unseen bond that connects us all and prevents us from being subjugated by tyranny. The spell of community.

I was on my own” writes Russell Brand…….  which got me thinking of course, because I’ve said many times on this blog that “we are on our own” as the powers that be do nothing to fix the looming dilemmas.  And when you think about it, it’s a counter-intuitive thing to say for a leftie like me…..

It was Thatcher who famously articulated the words “there is no society”.  No society?  Is that not tragic?  In many ways, she and Reagan did rid us of “society”, swapping it for “economy”.  And now I wonder if it wasn’t that revolution which has gotten us into this ungodly mess.  It was Thatcher’s revolution that got rid of society, even of socialism when you think about it……  “the left” died a long time ago, just ask Philip Adams.

Turning “society” into a bunch of selfish self serving greedy populace whose only thought is what else will they buy next is exactly why we’ve ended up with depleted resources and a debt crisis.  Everyone today feels “entitled”.  And it took Thatcher’s death to make me realise it was mostly her doing (Reagan also has a lot to answer for).

The concept of community, or rather the spell of it as Brand writes, of course also probably keeled over once cities took over from villages, and even villages turned into towns.  I have no doubt that many aspects of “progress” are no good at all for us.  And we will pay the price, one day soon, for allowing this to occur.  Especially if Brand is right and we end up “subjugated by tyranny” as even Dennis Meadows thinks.

There could be a counter revolution of course.  The pendulum swings a lot over the eons.  Though it may run out of energy on this last most important swing of all, the one swing the very survival of humanity depends on.  In some ways it’s a great pity Thatcher won’t see everything she ever believed in destroyed by her own ism.

We live in interesting times” has never applied more than today……