ApocaDocs
Today is June 22, 2024.
On this day (06/22), we posted 8 stories, over the years 2009-2016.


Converging Emergencies: From 2009 to 2016, 'Doc Jim and 'Doc Michael spent 30 to 90 minutes nearly every day, researching, reading, and joking about more than 8,000 news stories about Climate Chaos, Biology Breach, Resource Depletion, and Recovery. (We also captured stories about Species Collapse and Infectious Disease, but in this "greatest hits of the day" instantiation, we're skipping the last two.)
      We shared those stories and japes daily, at apocadocs.com (see our final homepage, upon the election of Trump).
      The site was our way to learn about what humans were doing to our ecosystem, as well our way to try to help wake up the world.
      You could call this new format the "we knew it all back then, but nobody wanted to know we knew it" version. Enjoy these stories and quips from a more hopeful time, when the two ApocaDocs imagined that humanity would come to its senses in time -- so it was just fine to make fun of the upcoming collapse.

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Biology
Breach


June 22, 2011, from BioCycle

DuPont Herbicide Label Says 'Do Not Compost' Grass Clippings

Is there an "away" that I can throw that trash?
So when Wilmington, Delaware-based DuPont began aggressively marketing a new post-emergent broadleaf herbicide to landscapers, lawn maintenance professionals and turfgrass managers -- under the name Imprelis and containing the active ingredient aminocyclopyrachlor -- some organics recyclers became concerned.... The red flag wasn't so much that the active ingredient sounded to the ear very much like other chemicals that have plagued the industry in recent years (and is in fact quite similar chemically). It had more to do with an ominous label restriction, which states: "Do not use grass clippings from treated areas for mulching or compost, or allow for collection to compost facilities. Grass clippings must either be left on the treated area, or, if allowed by local yard waste regulations, disposed of in the trash. Applicators must give verbal or written notice to property owners/property managers/residents not to use grass clippings from treated turf for mulch or compost."

Climate
Chaos


June 22, 2011, from Al Gore, in Rolling Stone

Climate of Denial: Can science and the truth withstand the merchants of poison?

That guy is so inconvenient.
Maybe it's just easier, psychologically, to swallow the lie that these scientists who devote their lives to their work are actually greedy deceivers and left-wing extremists -- and that we should instead put our faith in the pseudoscientists financed by large carbon polluters whose business plans depend on their continued use of the atmospheric commons as a place to dump their gaseous, heat-trapping waste without limit or constraint, free of charge. The truth is this: What we are doing is functionally insane. If we do not change this pattern, we will condemn our children and all future generations to struggle with ecological curses for several millennia to come. Twenty percent of the global-warming pollution we spew into the sky each day will still be there 20,000 years from now! ... Continuing on our current course would be suicidal for global civilization. But the key question is: How do we drive home that fact in a democratic society when questions of truth have been converted into questions of power? When the distinction between what is true and what is false is being attacked relentlessly, and when the referee in the contest between truth and falsehood has become an entertainer...? The best available evidence demonstrates beyond any reasonable doubt that the reckless spewing of global-warming pollution in obscene quantities into the atmospheric commons is having exactly the consequences long predicted by scientists who have analyzed the known facts according to the laws of physics.


June 22, 2009, from University of Buffalo, via EurekAlert

Ice sheets can retreat 'in a geologic instant,' study of prehistoric glacier shows

And that studied glacier didn't even have coal plant spewage to deal with!
Modern glaciers, such as those making up the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, are capable of undergoing periods of rapid shrinkage or retreat, according to new findings by paleoclimatologists at the University at Buffalo. The paper, published on June 21 in Nature Geoscience, describes fieldwork demonstrating that a prehistoric glacier in the Canadian Arctic rapidly retreated in just a few hundred years. The proof of such rapid retreat of ice sheets provides one of the few explicit confirmations that this phenomenon occurs. Should the same conditions recur today, which the UB scientists say is very possible, they would result in sharply rising global sea levels, which would threaten coastal populations. "A lot of glaciers in Antarctica and Greenland are characteristic of the one we studied in the Canadian Arctic," said Jason Briner, Ph.D., assistant professor of geology in the UB College of Arts and Sciences and lead author on the paper. "Based on our findings, they, too, could retreat in a geologic instant."

Resource
Depletion


June 22, 2013, from Guardian

Shale gas won't stop peak oil, but could create an economic crisis

But those Enron guys seemed so trustworthy.
One internal EIA document said oil companies had exaggerated "the appearance of shale gas well profitability" by highlighting performance only from the best wells, and using overly optimistic models for productivity projections over decades. The NYT reported that the EIA often "relies on research from outside consultants with ties to the industry."... Independent studies published over the last few months cast even more serious doubt over the viability of the shale gas boom.... "Shale gas can continue to grow but only at higher prices and that growth will require an ever escalating drilling treadmill with associated collateral financial and environmental costs - and its long term sustainability is highly questionable."


June 22, 2011, from IRIN

All wheat varieties will have to be replaced

Give us this day our super-bread, and forgive us our genetic trespasses....
Winds carried ash clouds from a volcano in Chile thousands of kilometres across the Atlantic Ocean to affect flights in South Africa on 19 June, so it is possible that the spores of the variants of a deadly mutant fungus, Ug99, a wheat stem rust that surfaced in South Africa in 2009, could travel to Australia - one of the world's four main wheat exporters - in the same way.... The fungus, which causes rust-coloured patches on the infected parts of the plant, is spread by spores that can survive harsh winters. They germinate in warmer conditions and are usually transported by the wind - but sometimes even on clothing - over long distances and across continents.... Up to 90 percent of wheat varieties in the world are susceptible to Ug99 and its variants, and all of them will eventually have to be replaced by new "super" varieties that are resistant to the deadly pathogen.... "Our super wheat varieties are also resistant to yellow rust, so it makes a sound economic case to replace all varieties," said Singh. "You get more for the price of one."

Recovery


June 22, 2011, from ClimateProgress

Another U.S. Coal Plant to Shutter. Will Renewables and Efficiency Fill the Gap?

Seven years? No problem. We can wait.
A municipal utility in Texas said this week that it plans to shut down an 871-MW coal plant within the next 7 years to avoid spending $3 billion for pollution controls. The Deely plant, operated by CPS Energy, has been running for more than 30 years - making it a candidate for environmental upgrades to comply with pending federal standards for mercury and air toxics. Rather than invest in a new coal plant, however, the company plans on making up for the production loss by investing in 780 MW of energy efficiency capacity and 1,500 MW of renewable energy, including 44 MW of contracts from solar PV plants. Sierra Club issued a statement this week celebrating the planned closure, saying that solar "will replace that dirty electricity and bring clean energy jobs to Texas."... What will fill in the gap? The contracts from CPS Energy are likely a good indicator of how that gap will be filled: Some efficiency, a mix of renewables, a good amount of natural gas, and, potentially, some cleaner coal electricity from new plants (if they get built.) According to data from the solar industry, the dropping costs of solar PV make the resource competitive with new coal plants that will be built over the next 8 years. These are solar PV plants in areas with high solar resources, not everywhere in the country. If that's the case, solar and other renewables will likely make up a larger portion of new contracts.


June 22, 2009, from EarthTronics

Introducing the Honeywell Wind Turbine

A chicken in every pot! A turbine on every roof!
The Honeywell Wind Turbine eliminates traditional wind turbine gear box, shaft and generators. The Honeywell Wind Turbine is a gearless, “free wheeling’’ turbine that generates power from the blade tips (where the speed lies) rather than through a complex slow center shaft. By practically eliminating mechanical resistance and drag, the Honeywell Wind Turbine creates significant power (2000 kWh/yr) operating in a greater range of wind speeds (2-45 mph) than traditional wind turbines. The highest output, lowest cost per kWh installed turbine ever made.