Sunday, August 30, 2020

The Great Pause Week 24: Can we have a hammer and dance for the climate emergency?


"If your carbon audit is 5% above where it needs to be, the dance stops and the hammer falls."

Back in Week One (Sunday, March 29, 2020), I embarked upon this Covid journal by reviewing an essay called “The Hammer and the Dance” posted March 19 by Tomas Pueyo. His post had received more than 9 million views and been translated into 29 languages by the time I mentioned it ten days later.

The thesis of the Hammer and the Dance is straightforward, if still only slowly seeping into USAnian consciousness. New Zealand, with proactive epidemic suppression, gave the world a model for flattening the curve. The USA, with very tardy and only grudging mitigation, provided an inverse model — the spike. The “hammer,” in Pueyo’s terminology, was New Zealand’s way: lockdown, quarantining anyone entering the country for two weeks, widespread random testing, contact tracing new cases, and severe rules — with penalties if ignored — for venturing out into the commons. The “dance” was the reward New Zealand and other countries could expect if the hammer worked. Once the lockdown could be lifted, testing and contact tracing would intensify even more, but people could return to work and school if masked and observing distancing rules. Should the positive test ratio climb — above, say, 5% — the hammer would have to come down again until the new outbreak was fully traced and suppressed.

By following a hammer and dance regimen, geographic regions or even entire countries could return to an economic life approaching normal, in fits and spurts, or localities, until a vaccine arrived. Loss of life would be minimized, and actually, the economies of these adherents would suffer far less damage or loss of freedoms than where the regimen was ignored, or even ridiculed.

The hammer and dance model is as valid today as it was in March, Sending children back to school or people into to non-essential jobs, bars, or sports with inadequate virus testing and contact tracing, in some cases even without masks, is proving how very silly it is to try to dance without first learning the steps. The hammer will eventually come down, and the longer the reckless wait, the higher it rises and the harder the shock when it lands. Until a vaccine comes along, the hammer and the dance method is the only possible way to avert dire consequences, many of them life-long or life-ending, and not have to suffer seemingly endless social separation. 

This got me wondering whether the climate emergency could be redressed in much the same way. What if we used the hammer and dance to get out of the 21st century alive? If your carbon audit is 5% above where it needs to be, the dance stops and the hammer falls.

Imagine the dance being pretty much what has been happening. Civilization whirls on in its merry way and the tragedy of the commons deepens every year. Each year the droughts, superstorms and wildfires get worse. Each year more species go extinct. Coastlines recede. Glaciers and ice shelves melt. Viral and vector-borne pandemics become more deadly and more frequent. And all the while, governments dither at now-Zoomified climate summits, making self-congratulatory pledges to do too little too late. That is not a good dance to be having. We need new and better steps.

If we consider what a hammer should be, it would have to enforce the goals scientists say we need to reach annually and keep going decade after decade. The Paris Agreement calls for avoiding 2 degrees C warming (1.5 C already being the rear-view mirror and having precipitated the chaos we see around us). To hold at 2 degrees, climatologists say in unequivocal terms with unprecedented consensus, we will need to enter upon a greenhouse gas emissions diet, decarbonizing the atmosphere and ocean at the rate of approximately 9% per year, getting to carbon neutrality globally by 2050 at the latest. Many nations have already pledged to reach that goal by 2040–45, a few (Bhutan, Uruguay, Norway) by 2030 or sooner.

We are off to a good start in 2020, which, fortuitously, is when the Paris Agreement was scheduled to start making progress. We will likely drop emissions by 8-percent this year. However, before we pat ourselves on the back, we might want to look at how we accomplished that amazing feat. We contracted GDP as much as 25% in many places. We closed factories, steel mills and aluminum smelters. We stopped a lot of mining. We curtailed fishing, flying, cruise ships, automobile sales, freeway driving, rail travel, and oil drilling. Tens of millions were thrown out of work and tens of trillions were lost by economies. Yet, even that was not enough. Because we will still be short one needed percentage point, we’ll have to drop emissions 10% in 2021 and then resume at the required 9% weight-loss diet in 2022 and each year thereafter. Where will next year’s 10% drop come from?

One possibility is a second viral pandemic, on top of Covid, and still no vaccine for most people. Another possibility is for the nations of the world to hammer away at that low-hanging fruit: mechanized chemical agriculture; concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO); deforestation from periurban sprawl and palm oil; whale hunting; fugitive methane from fracking and pipelines. We could also ramp up our NETs — Negative Emissions Technologies — like biochar, remineralization, holistic grazing, marine permaculture, and tree-planting. As Kathleen Draper and I describe in Burn, those NETs in aggregate have the potential to produce a 110% annual reduction.

To line ourselves up on the 9-percent glide path required to hit the Paris runway and land where we’ll need to be by mid-century, we have the available tools, be they wind farms or biofertilizers, but we need to reforge our plowshares into effective political hammers. The way we’ll do that is through the INDCs — the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions.

Recapping the UNFCCC process for newbies, back at COP-19 Copenhagen in 2009, the UN’s plan for mandatory targets backed by both economic incentives and an international sanctions regime was thrown out of the window in favor of a voluntary pledge system. My book, The Paris Agreement (December 2015) describes how that happened in exasperating detail. The pledge system has since matured into INDCs. This year COP26 Glasgow was to have been when those pledges were audited. Unfortunately, the COP has been delayed to November 2021 because of Covid.

In November 2019, the Fundación Ecológica Universal (FEU), a global environmental NGO based in Buenos Aires, published an assessment of national climate pledges. Of the 184 INDCs filed, FEU judged 20% to be “sufficient”; 6% “partially sufficient”; 4% “partially insufficient”; and 70% “insufficient.”

An adequate hammer would be making all pledges sufficient and fulfillment mandatory on penalty of trade sanctions or other deterrents. A good dance could be the dangled rewards of favored trade status, Green Climate Fund development grants, or other goodies that flow to those meeting and exceeding their 9-percent INDC goals.

So, for instance, the small Central American country of Belize (pop. 380,000) has set an ambitious goal of achieving the 1.5 degree limit on global warming, which as I said earlier, is impossible because we are beyond that now and in many regions are already well past 2 degrees of warming. Belize developed its INDC in 2016 with a 2033 neutrality target based upon drawdown forestry projects and emission reduction calculations performed by Climate Analytics under guidance from the Global Climate Change Alliance Caribbean support project. Horizon 2030 is Belize’s national development framework for 2010–2030. To reduce its already relatively low carbon footprint, Belize plans to speed conversion to renewable energy and double its energy efficiency. It will also develop a transport master plan to address its largest source of greenhouse pollution. To get into drawdown territory, Belize has made Natural Climate Solutions a national priority — halting deforestation, restoring degraded forests and substantially increasing afforestation. It will also implement an Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan (ICZMP) to reverse the loss of wetlands and mangrove forests and rebuild coral reefs.

Because it has a large, sparsely populated land area, Belize can devote itself to its plan of soil, river, reef, and forest regeneration for a long time — easily half a century. Hurricanes will set its work back at times, leveling entire forested regions in a single storm, but these events are also opportunities. The windfall can be converted to biochar and bio-oils. Debris can be transformed into long-lasting biofertilizers, biocomposites, biocretes and bio-bitumens. Coastal flooding may bring opportunities for mangrove restoration. Belize’s hammer — outpacing its emissions by reductions and sequestrations — will let it get to the dance.

On the other side of the equation, a climate-scofflaw like the United States might have a bouncer blocking its entrance to the dance. If it cannot achieve and sustain a 9 percent decline slope, it might find its commercial air carriers and cargo ships subject to international boycott, its financial services sector under embargo, or its foreign tourism curtailed until it closes the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, restores the great chestnut and elm forests of its mid-continent, and keylines the deserts of its Southwest.

So, what do you think? Can we have a hammer and dance for the climate emergency? Punish those who would destroy the Earth; reward those willing to join with others to help save it?

Help me get my blog posted every week. All Patreon donations and Blogger subscriptions are needed and welcomed. You are how we make this happen. Your contributions are being made to Global Village Institute, a tax-deductible 501(c)(3) charity. PowerUp! donors on Patreon get an autographed book off each first press run. My winter book, Dark Side of the Ocean, is shipping out now. My next book, Plagued, should be out in a few months. Please help if you can.




Sunday, August 23, 2020

The Great Pause Week 23: Toppling Towers

"The pandemic is just the sound of one shoe dropping."

At 8 am on the morning of August 10, a storm passed out of the Dakotas and crossed the Missouri River near Sioux City. By the time it exited Iowa 6 hours later, almost every structure it had passed over, including homes, schools, and businesses, had been damaged. Passing on into the Southern Great Lakes Region in darkness, it wreaked havoc for another 8 hours. 

Over a hundred cars parked near a factory had their windows blown out. In Iowa and northern Illinois, winds touched hurricane strength at 130 mph (209 km/h; 58.1 m/s). Sustained winds in excess of 60 mph (97 km/h; 27 m/s) were endured for half an hour in many places, and 17 tornadoes spun off along the route. Hospital emergency rooms were overwhelmed, cell service was spotty, and thousands of electrical poles and miles of electrical wiring were knocked down, blacking out millions of homes and making many roads impassible. Flooding closed the East-West Interstate. Half or more of the tree canopy between Cedar Rapids and Marion simply fell to the ground or was blown away.


A derecho is a widespread, long-lived, straight-line wind associated with a mesoscale convective system. A strong vertical wind shear, driven by surface heat convection pushes the winds into a distinctive bow echo (backward “C”) form of squall line. Its outflow boundary can be sustained for hours, even days, and extend from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico as it moves, like a Vogon Constructor Fleet, clearing an intergalactic bypass across the North American continent. 

The hotter the land surface, the more fuel, the greater extent and ferocity. As climate hyperwarms midcontinental regions in summer (and hypercools them in winter), we can expect more derechos. In recent years, they’ve also struck Bangladesh, Germany, Estonia, China, India, Russia, South Africa, Argentina, and the Amazon Basin of Brazil. 

Within this August derecho’s swath lay 66% of the corn and soybeans planted in 2020. Early estimates are that 3.57 million acres (14,400 km2) of corn and 2.5 million acres (10,100 km2) of soybeans were moderately-to-severely damaged, just weeks before harvest. Iowa’s production estimate for 2020 has been cut in half.

In some areas, people are still without power. So much unrefrigeratable milk has been dumped into rivers the government has begun fining shops and dairies for pollution discharges. Homes and businesses are experiencing typical late summer heat with no electric fans or air conditioners. In other words, they are getting a taste of the future — the soon-to-be normal. Iowa now averages fewer than 5 dangerous heat days a year. By 2050, the state is projected to get 40. In 2014, Climate Central reported:

By the end of the century, assuming the current emissions trends, Boston’s average summer high temperatures will be more than 10°F hotter than they are now, making it feel as balmy as North Miami Beach is today. Summers in Helena, Mont., will warm by nearly 12°F, making it feel like Riverside, Calif.
In fact, by the end of this century, summers in most of the 1,001 cities we analyzed will feel like summers now in Texas and Florida (in temperatures only, not humidity). And in Texas, most cities are going to feel like the hottest cities now in the Lone Star State, or will feel more like Phoenix and Gilbert in Arizona, among the hottest summer cities in the U.S. today.
In some cases, summers will warm so dramatically that their best comparison is to cities in the Middle East. Take Las Vegas, for example. Summer highs there are projected to average a scorching 111°F, which is what summer temperatures are like today in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. And at 114°F°, living in Phoenix will feel like summering in sweltering Kuwait City.

As I write this, thermometers in Kuwait City are showing 107°F (42°C) at 5 pm, down from 112°F at midday. On June 8 this year, Gulf News reported that Kuwait recorded the highest temperature on Earth at 145.4°F (63°C) under sunlight and 126°F (52°C) in the shade.

Thirty years ago Al Gore [elected President in 2000 by both popular vote and electoral college total, but denied office by GOP subversion of the process — factual historical note] whistle-stopped with his slide show comparing global warming to a frog in a pot of water slowly being brought to a boil. The story was based upon popular mythology but scientifically groundless. No frog would sit quietly in a pot of water and be boiled, unless it were already dead, or anesthetized. But wait, maybe that’s the unintended simile. USAnians are the frogs that have been anesthetized, by Twitter, Facebook, Fox News, MSNBC, the tabloid press, and public school systems starved of fundamental resources and staffing for decades.

The tale of the national response to our gathering climate apocalypse is a sordid one, filled with evil-doers and thwarted rescues. If elected president, Joe Biden will inherit a United States even more ruined and divided than when Barack Obama acceded to a financial crisis and eight foundering wars. Biden and his team will take the reins of a country in the throes of a crippling pandemic, in foreign policy retreat, and having lost its fatuous claim to moral authority. He will, to borrow the words of former Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes, have to revive the United States’ sense of its purpose in the world. 

Climate change is just the kind of existential threat that could supply that national sense of mission. But alas, there is no hope for our slow-boiling frogs on the horizon. The Biden climate plan is decades late and many dollars short. It could have been written in 1979, when Jimmy Carter told Congress:

“Advances that can be made in understanding climate change, in predicting it — and perhaps in influencing it beneficially — will be of enormous help to us and the rest of the world.”

Carter proposed reducing energy consumption by more than 2 percent and gasoline consumption by 10 percent by 2000. Carter of course, was a democrat. He believed in the Rooseveltian values of conservation of natural and human resources, a fair shake for all, and engaged multilateralism. Those values fell by the way when Ronald Reagan became the new sheriff in town, in cowboy hat, mounted on a palomino. Like the present POTUS, Reagan coveted only the appearance, or IMDB screen credit, without assuming any real duties. 

At the 1990 World Climate Conference and the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992, his Veep and successor, Bush 41, ostentatiously refused to sign any mandatory carbon dioxide emissions reduction agreement, making the United States the only industrialized country to formally go rogue.

The Clinton/Gore climate plan, would have been a good start, involving a carbon tax and dividend scheme, but it faltered as Republicans, some Democrats, and a mainstream media controlled by the fossil fuel industry combined to thwart it. They opposed the Kyoto protocol negotiated by Gore and mounted attacks on the Clean Air Act and a host of other environmental laws. In 1997, the Senate voted 95–0 in favor of the Byrd-Hagel Resolution that opposed support for voluntary climate pledges.

In his 2008 State of the Union message, Bush 43 told USAnians they should develop new “technologies that [could] generate coal power while capturing carbon emissions” and “emissions-free nuclear power.” That sounds so lame now, but it is the same “all of the above” climate strategy practiced for 8 years by the Obama/Biden Administration. 

At COP 24 in Katowice in 2018, governments adopted the rules for the Paris Agreement, the toolbox for its full implementation. Action happening around the world demonstrates that these tools are useful: 186 Parties have submitted their first nationally determined contributions under the Paris Agreement, more than 90 countries are preparing national adaptation plans, the clean development mechanism has facilitated more than 8,000 emission reduction projects, the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action is catalyzing a new era of ambition among non-Party stakeholders, and more than 17,000 actors have shared their projects on the NAZCA global climate action portal.

— Patricia Espinoza, UNFCCC Executive Secretary

Joe Biden’s climate policy 2020 is little changed from Obama/Biden 2008. Either might have made sense in 1970, but now? 

“We can export our clean-energy technology across the globe and create high-quality, middle-class jobs here at home. Getting to a 100% clean energy economy is not only an obligation, it’s an opportunity. “
 — The Biden Plan

If elected, Biden/Harris promise to complete their target setting process by 2025, a year after the 2024 election. One of those targets, they hint, will be to invest in more climate research.

To pay for clean energy goals — C-neutral by mid-century — Biden/Harris will seek a budget line item of $1.7 trillion over the next ten years. For comparison, that amount is 10 percent of the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) passed in April or about 20 percent of the financial crisis bailout bill Obama passed in 2009. But remember, the CARES emergency spending, on top of record Trump deficit budgets, on top of tax cuts, will augur intense austerity and tax increases by the next POTUS, whomever she is. The US treasury is running on fumes now, if not smoke and mirrors.

The Covid-19 pandemic is just the sound of one shoe dropping. As I pointed out last week, the pandemic is forecast to drop global carbon emissions to around 47 billion tons (gigatons or Gt) of carbon dioxide (CO2) in 2020, instead of the 51 billion GtCO2 released in 2019, even overlooking for this analysis our inability to factor fugitive fracking emissions and melting permafrost. But, sustaining that laudable rate of decline, the world could achieve precisely what scientists have called for and the Paris Agreement demands: 24 GtCO2 by 2030, 12 GtCO2 by 2040 and 6 GtCO2 by 2050, or approximately the Green New Deal target of 0 GtCO2 by 2050.

But, scientists and the Paris Agreement tell us, we cannot rest there. Because of our 50-year delay in getting anything done, we‘ll require negative emissions for the rest of the century. We’ll need to hit minus 6 GtCO2 by 2060, minus 12 GtCO2 by 2070, minus 24 GtCO2 by 2080, minus 48 GtCO2 by 2090, and minus 96 GtCO2 by 2100, even as methane clathrates, growing desertification, and any number of climate black swans combine. We have to get some 800 GtCO2 of legacy greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere and ocean* to recover climate geostability.

* As CO2 is reduced in the atmosphere, CO2 dissolved in the ocean begins to outgas until a new kinetic balance with the atmosphere is restored. Because of this effect, the amount of carbon removed must equal total anthropogenic CO2 emissions that have been released before the time of removal, or roughly twice as much as the excess of atmospheric CO2 attempted to be removed.

 In these posts, and in 20-some books and publications now, I have described precisely how this sort of ecosystem recovery could succeed. The strategy is community-led, grass-roots upward, by all manner of experimental urban and rural ecovillages and transition towns. It involves microenterprise hubs feeding a circular economy based upon donut economics. It uses nature-based drawdown tools like biochar, remineralization, marine permaculture, and animal-integrated agroforestry in place of coal scrubbers, CCS, DACCS, BECCS, and nightmarish nuclear fantasies. Most importantly, its math pencils out. It delivers carbon withdrawal at necessary scale while retaining, and even growing, climate resilient food production, soil restoration, freshwater preservation, biodiversity, and by gainfully employing resettled refugees by the millions. It does not poison the genetic pool with radionuclides and GMOs. It cannot be turned into atomic bombs. It is inherently antifragile. It pays for itself. It does not depend on fairy dust or inventions still and forever half a century in the future. The plan is all open source, vetted in prototype, and has been steadily iterating in a virtuous cycle of design since I published Climate in Crisis (foreword by Al Gore) in 1990.

Biden/Harris need to up their game. They are still in the Bush League.

Help me get my blog posted every week. All Patreon donations and Blogger subscriptions are needed and welcomed. You are how we make this happen. Your contributions are being made to Global Village Institute, a tax-deductible 501(c)(3) charity. PowerUp! donors on Patreon get an autographed book off each first press run. My winter book, Dark Side of the Ocean, is shipping out now. My next book, Plagued, should be out in a few months. Please help if you can.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

The Great Pause Week 22: Coronation Part III

"In the face of the prospect of imminent and indiscriminate death, communities have an irrepressible tendency to bond together in fear and shared repentance."

This is the third and final installment in a series. I began by looking at the latest findings about the CoV-2 virus and its effects on the human anatomy. Last week, I looked at the mental damage and how that is compounding an already negative trend in the global culture of the 21st century and how it adds synergies to Covid-19, making it even more devastating. 

When I began this series within a series I said we would first look at the scientific and factual evidence about the virus and its pandemic consequences and then try to tease out some implications for what may lie ahead.

The questions most often raised are how long before we get back to something resembling the old normal and what will have changed.

What’s the best thing that can happen with the coronavirus from a public health standpoint? Since we don’t yet know for how long blood antigens confer immunity, a drug that works to block viral uptake or a therapy that quickly neutralizes Covid would be great. Nobel Prize territory. If that can happen quickly, by the end of 2020, so much the better. 

What’s the worst that could happen with this pandemic? The coronavirus may be far more virulent and insidious than we are yet supposing. It can reignite everywhere from a small outbreak anywhere. It can damage many separate organs in different and lasting ways. The virus may take up residence in its victims and chronically produce Covid over and over again for a lifetime. Judging by the charts of exponential growth and the fact that most major hotspots are in gateway cities, I think this pandemic has only just begun and as the curve of infection turns up it will compound at ever-faster rates. Here in México both cases and deaths are rising consistently at more than 8% week over week, a doubling every 9 weeks. If that rate continues, half a million cases become a million in two months, two million in four months, and so on.

Daniel Griffin MD: 14:20 hair loss, telogen effluvium and anagen effluvium 16:15 covid rashes and pseudo chilblains 16:53 neurological impacts. Guillain-Barre, C-reactive protein (CRP). Drop foot (peroneal nerve) 18:28 cardiovascular issues 21:31 gastrointestinal manifestations 21:58 kidney 22:48 conjunctivitis and eye discharges

The newly observed symptom of long-term hair loss may create societies where everyone looks like Buddhist monks. But the brain-damaged younger patients whose numbers are now multiplying may require lifelong assistance, as do those with renal failure. What does a world with 100 million of those victims look like?

There are consequences to nearly all governments’ neglect of adequate preparation and then the disparate response ranging from malignant tardiness to crass indifference until, like in México, crematoria were overcome with a backlog of bodies to burn. The few bright spots — New Zealand, Vietnam, Iceland — are overshadowed by their neighbors’ unprotected kill zones and exposed millions. What might have been contained and even extinguished in the early months is now too endemic in the world population for anywhere with an open border to ever be Covid-free.

Recent stories in the science press have suggested that SARS-Cov-2 will eventually run its course the way SARS-CoV-1 has, although there are important differences in virulence between the two that suggest that course could be very long in running and the final tally most gruesome. There are rumors both favorable to and disparaging of vaccines. It is likely we will find ourselves in August a year from now in a very similar condition to where we are now: the hammer and the dance; reductions in death-to-case ratios owing to improved therapies; perhaps some relatively small number of people showing immunity via vaccination; but universal public masks, bans on large gatherings, travel restrictions, and mandatory distancing, ventilation and disinfectants in sparsely frequented public spaces like offices, schools and airports.

In other words, it won’t be over.

In my new book, Plagued: Surviving A Modern Pandemic now going to press August 24th, I offer a number of lessons we, collectively as a species, could be learning from this experience, but I have more recently been sobered and chastened by reading Virus in the Age of Madness by Bernard Henri Lévy, only just translated a few weeks ago by Yale Press.

In my book, and in these blog posts, I took the position that viral pandemics have stricken human civilizations for more than 7000 years and inevitably expose cultural fault lines. They are a painful but necessary corrective. It is easy to see how much larger is the swath Covid has cut through populations of lower caste — racial and ethnic minorities; indigenous peoples; migrant refugees, prisoners, and our neglected elderly and handicapped. But to impute catharsis, Lévy scolds, is to overreach; that falls into the realm of hope and belief, not evidence or logic. 

In prior segments I looked at at least some of the worst the virus might have in store for us. But let’s ask the other side of that question. From a planetary health standpoint, what’s the best that can happen?

The best outcome is that it reduces human population and its pollution footprint back to where it last found relative harmony with the rhythms of the natural world. That is a very large demand, and not likely to be met by Covid. Ugo Bardi points out

At the end of the current cycle, the number of victims will probably be around 2 million, maybe more, but that’s hardly a way to exterminate humankind if you consider that every year in the world some 60 million people die and about 140 million are born.

Covid not only won’t exterminate enough humans to bring back a balance of natural regulatory systems, it won’t even slow human population growth very much. Climate change, on the other hand — the latent impact of our overshoot — could usher in human extinction within this century. The worst outcome of Covid, therefore, might be for it to conclude before our all-devouring industrial juggernaut wipes nature from the map once and for all.

But Lévy chastises me for imagining that. He writes:

Perhaps [the pandemic] was the victory of collapsologists who, always alert to the end of the world, see it heading towards us once again and giving us one last chance to repent and reset.
There are two schools of thought that have been particularly egregious; two, whose sanctimonious warnings to the effect that the coronavirus is speaking to humanity, have done the most damage.
On one end of the spectrum there are those who believe the human actions made the virus, arguing that when we disrupt natural habitats and meddle with ecosystems, viruses emerge, or that human overpopulation provokes viral exchanges from animals to humans, as David Quammen argued in The New York Times. 
And, there are those who would have us believe that Covid-19 is the direct result of human hubris, interconnectedness, and globalization, or that nature is sending us a message, in the words, alas, of Inger Andersson, the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, or as filmmaker Michael Moore postulated, that the virus is a gentle warning from the planet before it takes revenge on humanity over climate change.
These ecologists, sovereignists, and anti-globalists wanted us to know that they knew all along, and saw it coming. Crying, “I told you so,” they have been all too happy to remind us that we had to pull back from globalization, manufacture at home, consume fruits only in season, and beware of international markets.
The most eminent of the servile contingent was French philosopher Bruno Latour, who had the gall to write that the virus was a tremendous opportunity, that it is an invisible hand, that with a great screech of the brakes will help ecologists advance their landing program, whatever that means. [See Latour, 2017: Where to land — How to orient yourself in politics ] “We are faced with an emergency challenge,” he said, “to combat the coronavirus spread by becoming like the virus, globalization cut-off switches, whose small, insignificant actions, laid end to end, will do like the virus does through small exhalations from mouth to mouth, namely, bring about the revolutionary suspension of the world economy.”
This is the old Marxist refrain of the final crisis of capitalism in her morning-after guise of collapsology, or one of the children’s diseases of socialism, updated as disasterism. I know this all too well, having been born and raised in it. It is disastrous indeed, and obscene.

In his most recent monthly Museletter, Richard Heinberg waded into the feud between Extinction Rebellion and Deep Adaptation. Both take as a given (as do I) that a near-term collapse of global financial arrangements is inevitable. The pandemic lockdown is likely to hasten that day of reckoning, as Nate Hagens predicted in March in his prescient Overview of the Systemic Implications of the Coronavirus. The latest numbers from the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and others well situated to measure the damage forecast an economic downturn of unprecedented scale, but those same institutions nonetheless predict gradual recovery over some years to decades, eventually to pre-crisis GDP and renewed growth. That irrepressible optimism is what buoys stock exchanges. The World Trade Organization estimates that global trade is poised to fall by between 13 and 32 percent in 2020, the worst crisis since the early 1930s, but evoking the 1930s seems also to promise a New Deal just over the horizon.

And yet, in the real world, entire industries are now confronting the same realities as sports franchises. Many shuttered retail storefronts and eateries will never reopen. Business-school models that augured success pre-2020 no longer apply in a semi-constant-pandemic world. And yet, disruption alone does not assure collapse. It may, however, incentivize repentance and reform.

Lévy writes: 

There was another thing that I found increasingly difficult to bear as we settled into the crisis and that was the rapt remarks I heard both in conversations among friends and in print on the theme, “I saw a deer crossing the Champs–Elysées, a hummingbird was at my window, the sky has never been so blue, nor nature so pure, nor New York so beautiful as during the time of the coronavirus.”
I am as sensitive as the next guy to the sweetness of decarbonized air. I too notice myself experiencing moments of grace at the sight of my city slumbering under the sun, crystalline, abstract. And it goes without saying, but is just as well said, that I view the fight against climate change as one of the great emergencies of our time and consider climate change deniers, led by Donald Trump and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, to be dangerously disingenuous at best, and close to criminal. But, as always, there are good ways and bad ways of putting things. And there was, in this particular way of admiring nature, an embarrassing combination of pious sentiment, bad instincts, and for anyone with a modicum of historical sensibility, echos that were regrettable, to say the least. 
The litany begins with people’s suffering, the canters perching on the shoulders of the dead and the revived alike. Oozing goodness and contrition, they sing, reminding us that even before the pandemic they warned against the folly of a world that could not continue as it was, a world headed straight into a wall. They fob off on us, disguised as good medicine, old finger-pointing claptrap that they hope this time will stick. With restrained but cruel gloating, they hail the revenge of the real, or the natural, over the arrogance of man and his sins. The deviousness of these flagellants — trying their damnedest from their perch on the backs of the victims to scold the survivors and overwhelm them with remonstrances. The calls for a change no less than the streams of reproof and the invitations to rebirth echo the sermons France heard in 1940 asserting that the country had had too much fun; that it had reaped more than it had sown; that it had marched, said Andre Gide, blindfolded to defeat; and that it was time to turn everything around. But they also echo the words of the proponents of America First in the late 1930s. They too viewed the calamities befalling old Europe as the price to be paid for sins that had gone unpunished for too long.
In 2020 in any case both the French and the Americans found themselves in … a giant penitentiary … with Father Paneloux [in Camus’ La Peste] castigating his flock for their criminal indifference and intoning, “Calamity has come to you my brethren, and my brethren you deserved it.”
Nostra culpa. And finally, there was a foolish conceit: the idea that the virus is speaking to us; that it has a message to deliver; and that because nothing in this world happens without cause or intention, this particular virus, this coronavirus, this virus with spikes and a crown, this king of a virus, must be secretly invested, like a cunning ruse of Hegelian history, with a part of the spirit of the world, and thus with a mission to re-orchestrate the fanfare of all against the government, to function as an unsparing critic of failed globalization….
As if a virus could think, know, or intend anything, As if a virus was living.
From this dark providentialism, this punitive magical thinking, this viral catechism that turned our lockdown dwellings into so many purgatories and lazarettos, no one was exempt. And perhaps it is a general principle of pandemics, in the face of plague, of the implacable, in the face of the prospect of imminent and indiscriminate death, communities have an irrepressible tendency to bond together in fear and shared repentance and to offer up a promise to the virus god never to return to the old ways but rather to invent themselves anew.

I would say if there is a lesson we can take from this pandemic, even as it grinds on, it is that a trillion dollars, three trillion, ten trillion, are not that big a get when the chips are down and you are confronted with far greater losses if you don’t spend for prevention. Even knowing that modern currency systems are fictions, as easily erased as written into existence, climate change has always been nickel and dimed by national legislatures since before the Kyoto Protocol. The mere billions pledged to the Green Climate Fund have amounted, so far, to only a jar full of paper IOUs. Some, like Bush’s and Obama’s, rather than be called in for payment, have been retrieved from the jar and burned.

This essay has already run overlong but bear with me a short while more. In his most recent GatesNote, Bill Gates runs some useful numbers: 

You may have seen projections that, because economic activity has slowed down so much, the world will emit fewer greenhouse gases this year than last year. Although these projections are certainly true, their importance for the fight against climate change has been overstated. 
Analysts disagree about how much emissions will go down this year, but the International Energy Agency puts the reduction around 8 percent. In real terms, that means we will release the equivalent of around 47 billion tons of carbon, instead of 51 billion.
That’s a meaningful reduction, and we would be in great shape if we could continue that rate of decrease every year. Unfortunately, we can’t.
Consider what it’s taking to achieve this 8 percent reduction. More than 600,000 people have died, and tens of millions are out of work. This April, car traffic was half what it was in April 2019. For months, air traffic virtually came to a halt.
To put it mildly, this is not a situation that anyone would want to continue. And yet we are still on track to emit 92 percent as much carbon as we did last year. What’s remarkable is not how much emissions will go down because of the pandemic, but how little.
In addition, these reductions are being achieved at, literally, the greatest possible cost. To see why, let’s look at what it costs to avert a single ton of greenhouse gases. This figure — the cost per ton of carbon averted — is a tool that economists use to compare the expense of different carbon-reduction strategies. For example, if you have a technology that costs $1 million, and using it lets you avert the release of 10,000 tons of gas, you’re paying $100 per ton of carbon averted. In reality, $100 per ton would still be pretty expensive. But many economists think this price reflects the true cost of greenhouse gases to society, and it also happens to be a memorable round number that makes a good benchmark for discussions. 
Now let’s treat the shutdown caused by COVID-19 as if it were a carbon-reduction strategy. Has closing off major parts of the economy avoided emissions at anything close to $100 per ton?
No. In the United States, according to data from the Rhodium Group, it comes to between $3,200 and $5,400 per ton. In the European Union, it’s roughly the same amount. In other words, the shutdown is reducing emissions at a cost between 32 and 54 times the $100 per ton that economists consider a reasonable price.
If you want to understand the kind of damage that climate change will inflict, look at COVID-19 and spread the pain out over a much longer period of time. The loss of life and economic misery caused by this pandemic are on par with what will happen regularly if we do not eliminate the world’s carbon emissions.

Gates then goes on to show how, within a few decades, climate change will be costing 5 times the number of lives each year as Covid is expected to take in 2020. It is likely costing some of those lives this week in summer heatwaves where there is no electricity to run air conditioners because it was knocked out by the most recent of the record-breaking Atlantic hurricanes, El Derecho, or monsoonal rains. His three pieces of advice:

  • Let science and innovation lead the way. 
  • Make sure solutions work for poor countries too. 
  • Start now. 

Pandemics have always been a part of living on Earth. They have been with us since we began. They can never be eliminated, but they can be tamed. There will be times when you have to stay home and miss sports, concerts, eating out, and other gatherings, but it’s not all bad. These can be special moments if you choose to benefit from them.

The climate crisis is infinitely worse than any pandemic, and yet most people continue to ignore it and assume there is nothing they could do that would make a difference. We ignore the warnings. But human extinction is a much larger threat than losing some percent of the population from a virus. What a pandemic shows is that small changes by individuals — wearing masks, keeping physical distances, avoiding closed-in spaces full of strangers — add up to a large collective effort that can arrest the disease. Likewise, small steps, such as using solar power, making biochar for your garden, and not burning things if there is another way to “dispose” of them, can make a big difference to the climate.

Lévy asks if Covid is a

…triumph of the masters of the world, who see in this great confinement the English translation of le grand renfermement [the “great confinement”] Michel Foucault spoke of in his early speculations on the power systems of the future in madness and civilization, a rehearsal of sorts for a new way to arrest, oppress and detain a mass of people.
Was it a reign of terror akin to the one born after 1789 with its explosion of fake news, conspiracies, frantic flights, and, soon enough, dark uprisings borne of hopelessness?
Or perhaps it was the opposite: a reassuring sign that the world had changed; that at last life has been made sacred; that from now on, when we come to a choice between life and economics, life will win out.

I think in that last line Lévy sets up a false dichotomy. Economics is the system for öikos — managing one’s home. We need a systemic approach that is life-affirming and provides our needs. We need a new system that works equally well in a time of plague and climate emergency. We used to speak of universal basic income as a theory, but Covid made it real. Debt jubilee is a theory, but it may soon be widely applied. All the parts are there, laid out before us, we only need the quiet determination to take our time and assemble them now, with care and thoughtfulness, and craft a better world.

Ryōkan said, 

Too lazy to be ambitious, I let the world take care of itself. Ten days’ worth of rice in my bag; a bundle of twigs by the fireplace. Why chatter about delusion and enlightenment? Listening to the night rain on my roof, I sit comfortably, with both legs stretched out.

This is the last of multiple parts.


Help me get my blog posted every week. All Patreon donations and Blogger subscriptions are needed and welcomed. You are how we make this happen. Your contributions are being made to Global Village Institute, a tax-deductible 501(c)(3) charity. PowerUp! donors on Patreon get an autographed book off each first press run. My winter book, Dark Side of the Ocean, is shipping out now. My next book, Plagued, should be out in a few weeks. Please help if you can.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

The Great Pause Week 21: Coronation Part II

"How do you undo in a short time what has been inculcated into a culture over half a century?"


 “It will go away like things go away.”

— Donald Trump

“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.”

 — Bhikkhuni Pema Chödrön

Last week we looked a the physical side of Covid. This week we’ll explore the mental side. According to a study published in Lancet Psychiatry, 39 of 125 hospitalized Covid patients in the UK had altered mental status, although only 16 showed brain inflammation or swelling. Of those with no physical signs of brain damage, 92% were new psychiatric diagnoses: 43% had new-onset psychosis, 26% had a neurocognitive, dementia-like syndrome, and 17% had an affective disorder. While most of those who experienced a stroke were over the age of 60 (82%), about half with an altered mental state were under 60 (49%). About 26% of patients with new-onset neuropsychiatric disorders were in their 20s, 30s, and 40s.

In another study in Spain neurologic manifestations were seen in 57.4% of 841 patients hospitalized in March and 4.1% of their deaths listed neurologic complications as the primary cause. Disorders of consciousness (hallucinations, loss of senses, or cognitive deterioration) were nearly twice as high (38.9%) among patients with severe Covid-19. 14.9% had delirium and 9.4% went into coma. While coma and stroke emerged in later stages of the progression, decaying neurologic symptoms emerged throughout all phases of infection.

The Economist reported: 

The mere fact of being in an ICU can also lead to cognitive impairment. The effect of more than a week in intensive care is comparable to that of a major head injury. The problems are linked to the delirium people often fall into when severely ill and heavily sedated in an unfamiliar environment. Delirium is a particular problem with Covid-19, says Dale Needham of Johns Hopkins University. Patients spend a long time in the ICU during which they see no one they know — and the strangers caring for them in heavy-duty protective wear “look like aliens.”

The mental impairment brought on by Covid compounds the problems of coping with the pandemic, and also with the many other crises that pre-existed Covid. It is similar to the compounding problem of lead poisoning in Ancient Rome that reduced mental capacity at a moment when the Empire was increasingly under siege. High-born Romans sipped beverages cooked in lead vessels and channeled spring water into their homes through lead pipes that likely increased lead body burdens by hundreds of times. This disproportionately struck the wealthy, Senators, courtiers, and others of elevated social rank. By making their leadership stupid, the Romans essentially decapitated themselves. From about the first century BC, the culture lost its progressive edge and fell into wine, orgies, and watching cooking show reruns on TV.

In the United States in 2020, Covid struck a population in which fewer than half of the 47 million adults with a mental illness—22 percent of all women and 15 percent of all men over the age of 18—were receiving treatment. The severity of a mental illness often depends on social circumstances, which can limit access to treatment, counseling, and medication. Social support failures and institutional shortcomings can aggravate individual and collective psychiatric conditions, producing effects of greater severity, including comorbidity to infectious disease and widespread social disorder.

Various cultural critics have associated the start of the USA’s social collapse with Ronald Reagan’s dismantling of the fairness doctrine at the FCC, allowing Fox Corp, MSNBC, and other agenda-driven “news” outlets to ramp up fake news into ubiquity. How often have you had to endure a propaganda stream worthy of North Korea while sitting in the waiting room of your dentist or a public health clinic?

Other historians have flagged Newt Gingrich’s Contract With America that brought scorched earth policies to the Grand Old Party and replaced collegial compromise with Mitch McConnell. Costly government shutdowns for no apparent reason apart from a test of wills became de rigueur rituals of manliness. Governance by uncompromising partisanship was, to governance, “as miniature golf is to golf,” a senior congressional reporter said at the time. 

For my part, I’d place the USA’s descent into the present internecine bloodbath squarely along the timeline of any post-classic civilization at that precise point where a gentle glide path from complexity to simplicity becomes Lord of the Flies.

Enter the plague. How an organized, well-educated, science-based culture deals with a relentless zoonotic outbreak is very different from how a pack of gibbering Spring Breakers or Xanax-swigging couch potatoes do.

The seeds of American dysfunctionalism were planted when English settlers arrived in Jamestown and Plymouth and later took the remaining parts from the Dutch, French, Spanish and Russians, oh, and not to mention the indigenous peoples. Their perverted strain of brutal exceptionalism has been described with an equal measure of admiration and horror by historians from Alexis de Tocqueville to Sarah Vowell. 

But the cancerous product of digital media we see today is not confined to the US. It’s spreading seen and unseen everywhere, even to Wuhan. Social media, going back to the Zuckerberg/Winklevoss origin story from Harvard in the 00s, is based on remorseless, non-human algorithms that exploit confirmation and normalcy biases, tribalism, discount factors, and hunger for approval, to generate ad-revenue-generating page-views. 

Positive feedback mechanisms are always dangerous because they can and will spiral out of control. Pandemics, defense budgets, and climate change share this attribute with Twitter, Face, WeChat, WhatsApp, Instagram, and all the rest. They are gremlins that should never be fed after midnight. But clandestine social engineering, intended or unintended, corrupts the foundations of the growth that sustains it. It gnaws away at human potential and faith in empiricism the way acid rain erases hieroglyphs in Egypt.

Covid is swarming with positive feedbacks. A dearth of tests allowed unconfirmed cases to create still more cases, defeating contact tracing and flooding hospitals, which ran out of beds, masks, and protective gowns. Social media amplified Trump/Johnson/Lopez-Obrador/Bolsonaro misleading messages, which elevated fear and anxiety, which caused people to spend more time scouring for information on social media, much of it false or misleading.

In some warped sense, digital mass communication might be viewed as a balance nature has supplied that will eventually restore the proper order of things: an over-arching negative feedback. Whether it ends the world by zoonosis or by a nuclear exchange based upon divergent readings of the footnotes in the Mueller Report is not yet knowable.

Ed Yong, in “How The Pandemic Defeated America” in The Atlantic, wrote:

Clear distribution of accurate information is among the most important defenses against an epidemic’s spread. And yet the largely unregulated, social-media-based communications infrastructure of the 21st century almost ensures that misinformation will proliferate fast. “In every outbreak throughout the existence of social media, from Zika to Ebola, conspiratorial communities immediately spread their content about how it’s all caused by some government or pharmaceutical company or Bill Gates,” says Renée DiResta of the Stanford Internet Observatory, who studies the flow of online information. When COVID‑19 arrived, “there was no doubt in my mind that it was coming.”
Sure enough, existing conspiracy theories — George Soros! 5G! Bioweapons! — were repurposed for the pandemic. An infodemic of falsehoods spread alongside the actual virus. Rumors coursed through online platforms that are designed to keep users engaged, even if that means feeding them content that is polarizing or untrue. In a national crisis, when people need to act in concert, this is calamitous.

Now add to that mix unemployment, eviction, medical bills, anguishing loss of loved ones, anger at growing inequity, a latent belief in aliens and angels, and those alien strangers standing over your bed in surreal plastic wear, and you have assembled the ingredients for collective hysteria.

Hysteria and pandemics go together like witch trials and moldy bread. In 1900, health officials in San Francisco strung a rope around Chinatown to contain the bubonic plague. Only non-Chinese people (and rats and fleas) were allowed to enter or leave. During the cholera epidemics from the 1830s to 1860s, people attacked Irish immigrants. In the 1918 influenza, they blamed Spaniards. Syphilis was termed the “French disease” by Neapolitans, but the French called it the “Italian disease,” the Dutch called it Spanish, the Russians pointed the finger at Poland, and the Turks decided it was a “Christian disease.” When polio arrived in the 1950s, African Americans and the poor were targeted. In the 1980s, HIV/AIDS was blamed on gays, junkies, and prostitutes. 

Thanks to the communications revolution, false stories about CoV-2 coming from a Chinese bioweapon lab or masks causing coronaviruses to spread could race around the world before the truth had its foot in the stirrup. 

Anne Applebaum, in Twilight of Democracy, argues that autocrats with radically simple beliefs are inherently appealing. All the more so when the populace has been dumbed down and craves only simple choices. Applebaum describes how political parties use conspiracy theory, polarization, cognitive triggers, and nostalgia to school their base like dogs being trained to fetch a newspaper, heel, or beg.

Yong continues:

Science famously self-corrects. But during the pandemic, the same urgent pace that has produced valuable knowledge at record speed has also sent sloppy claims around the world before anyone could even raise a skeptical eyebrow. The ensuing confusion, and the many genuine unknowns about the virus, has created a vortex of fear and uncertainty, which grifters have sought to exploit. Snake-oil merchants have peddled ineffectual silver bullets (including actual silver). Armchair experts with scant or absent qualifications have found regular slots on the nightly news. And at the center of that confusion is Donald Trump.
During a pandemic, leaders must rally the public, tell the truth, and speak clearly and consistently. Instead, Trump repeatedly contradicted public-health experts, his scientific advisers, and himself. He said that “nobody ever thought a thing like [the pandemic] could happen” and also that he “felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.” Both statements cannot be true at the same time, and in fact neither is true.
A month before his inauguration, I wrote that “the question isn’t whether [Trump will] face a deadly outbreak during his presidency, but when.” Based on his actions as a media personality during the 2014 Ebola outbreak and as a candidate in the 2016 election, I suggested that he would fail at diplomacy, close borders, tweet rashly, spread conspiracy theories, ignore experts, and exhibit reckless self-confidence. And so he did.
No one should be shocked that a liar who has made almost 20,000 false or misleading claims during his presidency would lie about whether the U.S. had the pandemic under control; that a racist who gave birth to birtherism would do little to stop a virus that was disproportionately killing Black people; that a xenophobe who presided over the creation of new immigrant-detention centers would order meatpacking plants with a substantial immigrant workforce to remain open; that a cruel man devoid of empathy would fail to calm fearful citizens; that a narcissist who cannot stand to be upstaged would refuse to tap the deep well of experts at his disposal; that a scion of nepotism would hand control of a shadow coronavirus task force to his unqualified son-in-law; that an armchair polymath would claim to have a “natural ability” at medicine and display it by wondering out loud about the curative potential of injecting disinfectant; that an egotist incapable of admitting failure would try to distract from his greatest one by blaming China, defunding the WHO, and promoting miracle drugs; or that a president who has been shielded by his party from any shred of accountability would say, when asked about the lack of testing, “I don’t take any responsibility at all.”
Trump is a comorbidity of the COVID‑19 pandemic.

But Trump is just a single virion. Infectious messenger RNA is carried by Bolsonaro, Modi, Putin, Johnson, Lopez-Obrador and others. Political populism is borne of the same kinds of confirmation bias and tribalism as the resistance to vaccination and masks. The formula cited by Applebaum or Yong now spreading a pandemic beyond control — dishonesty, xenophobia, racism, and narcissism — is the same elixir that drove Hitler, Mussolini, Napoleon, Alexander, and Caesar. 

When I said the US social capital decline likely began with the Vietnam War, I was placing it at that point when the Cold War could have turned and ended but instead pressed the nitro button and went ballistic. In his Cross of Iron speech on the death of Stalin, President Dwight D. Eisenhower urged:

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

That speech echoed his homecoming address to Abilene Kansas in 1945, when he said:

The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals.

It is difficult to recall when the US military budget could still be measured in millions, not millions of millions. The cost of a new Long Range Strike-Bomber (LRS-B) is today 3,660 modern brick schools or 1,000 state-of-the-art hospitals.

When Kennedy won election on a faked missile gap, when Johnson and Nixon expanded the (secret) War in Indochina, using anti-civilian napalm, cluster bombs, bouncing Bettys, and Agent Orange, and when every Congress after them basically doubled down, you get an exponential function. The exponent on the ascent is guns, warships and rockets. The exponent on the descent is schools and hospitals. And so, the US set up its health care system to be irrationally surge-vulnerable. It set up its school system to produce a population where just under half of USAnians believe aliens from outer space are living among them and a quarter say they would not be vaccinated for Covid under any circumstances. 

Stanford researchers examining middle school, high school and college students in 12 states were “shocked” by how many students failed to effectively evaluate the credibility of information. The students displayed a “stunning and dismaying consistency” in their responses, the researchers wrote, getting duped again and again. They weren’t looking for high-level analysis of data but just a “reasonable bar” of, for instance, telling fake accounts from real ones, activist groups from neutral sources, and ads from articles.

What do you do when an entire county is too big to confine for its own protection? How do you undo in a short time what has been inculcated into a culture over half a century, if not longer?

The cure for discontent is contentedness. The cures for dishonesty, xenophobia, racism, and narcissism are truthfulness, openness, empathy, and selflessness. We have that capacity. We have to believe we have not abandoned it altogether.

Only after learning our lesson will all this pass. 

This is the 2d of multiple parts.


Help me get my blog posted every week. All Patreon donations and Blogger subscriptions are needed and welcomed. You are how we make this happen. Your contributions are being made to Global Village Institute, a tax-deductible 501(c)(3) charity. PowerUp! donors on Patreon get an autographed book off each first press run. My winter book, Dark Side of the Ocean, is shipping now. My next book, Plagued, should be out in a few months. Please help if you can.






The Great Change is published whenever the spirit moves me. Writings on this site are purely the opinion of Albert Bates and are subject to a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike 3.0 "unported" copyright. People are free to share (i.e, to copy, distribute and transmit this work) and to build upon and adapt this work – under the following conditions of attribution, n on-commercial use, and share alike: Attribution (BY): You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work). Non-Commercial (NC): You may not use this work for commercial purposes. Share Alike (SA): If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one. Nothing in this license is intended to reduce, limit, or restrict any rights arising from fair use or other limitations on the exclusive rights of the copyright owner under copyright law or other applicable laws. Therefore, the content of
this publication may be quoted or cited as per fair use rights. Any of the conditions of this license can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder (i.e., the Author). Where the work or any of its elements is in the public domain under applicable law, that status is in no way affected by the license. For the complete Creative Commons legal code affecting this publication, see here. Writings on this site do not constitute legal or financial advice, and do not reflect the views of any other firm, employer, or organization. Information on this site is not classified and is not otherwise subject to confidentiality or non-disclosure.