There is a growing sense of panic now being expressed within the climate change community. This panic is the result of rather alarming levels of warming occurring during Winter and the corresponding increase in extreme weather events, ice melt (yes, even in winter) and what some call, “the lateness of the hour” for a human response to global warming. To put it very simply, non-linear acceleration of climate related events is happening decades sooner then expected.
I’ve already pointed out that the “best among us” remain almost stubbornly blind to the true nature of our global predicament. In a sense, it is as if there is a pissing contest on who will be heard and who will not. What will be published and what won’t. Who has the credentials and who doesn’t. It’s been like this for years and years and is very unlikely to change. However, as the climate situation spirals ever more wildly from the norm, these specious refusals to examine the true nature of the evidence make less and less sense.
Anybody can “read the science” and put 2 + 2 together. It’s been out “there” for anyone to read for years and years which is why I myself picked upon this over twelve years ago. Compiling this information has always come out to the same answer and what this all means for humanity, but one which has been wrangled over for many years now. But to quote a great turn of phrase, “The entire thrust of our present approach is a sophisticated form of climate denial” (2) – even among the best and brightest minds who get published.
This “climate denial” is couched in the implied promises, outcomes and hopes engendered in the climate science publications, articles and commentary being made by climate scientists (and their readership). Their words are being re-interpreted by global leaders, analysts and a growing number of citizen-journalists. This has led nearly the whole world to romp around in a fairy tale of their own design that has nothing to do with actual reality. Decades of time (all told) have been already wasted as the world continues to ‘debates’ the topic and what, if anything “can be done”. Even worse, we’re “demoralizing our supporters” with the endless wrangling over the smallest details.
Debate at this stage, in any form, is just another way of staying in denial. But it’s much more then climate change denial now, it’s also a denial from the climate change scientists and community itself. They do not believe their own evidence as they should.
This is changing, albeit quite slowly. I pointed this out repeatedly on this blog, on Real Climate and on other sites and in many articles that may have once permitted my commentary. In each case, I wound up being the bad guy for even daring to question the scientific community. Their rarefied airs were such that the unbaptized weren’t welcome. But once again, I find myself disagreeing with their reluctance, reticence and moral failings to sound the alarm adequately for the human community on planet Earth.
This is starting to change – finally. Nobody, and I mean nobody has a greater “interest” in this topic of extreme importance than anybody else. We are all in this together, our lifeboat as it were, holds us all and should it be sinking, each of us has a moral obligation to sound the alarm.
The “climate is in free fall and desperate measures are required to stave off collapse“ (2) meme is staring to gain public awareness (but not acceptance, not yet). Yet, “the truth rarely sees the light of day.“ (1)
The world continues to grapple with a perception problem that has absolutely nothing to do with the true reality of what is actually unfolding upon humanity. There are some efforts underway to penetrate this veil of misinformation taking place, but they’re not making much progress.
Dr. James Hansen’s recent paper, “Regional Climate Change and National Responsibilities” dryly conveys just how hellish things are becoming for large parts of the world.
We conclude that continued business-as-usual fossil fuel emissions will begin to make low latitudes inhospitable. If accompanied by multi-meter sea level rise, resulting forced migration and economic disruption could be devastating.
It is a global emergency in the words of Hansen, who thinks that a carbon tax will somehow solve the problem (now). This article in turn was picked up by Robert Scribbler. February 2016 was alarmingly hot – so hot that virtually all human-records have been broken. He admits to the growing threat of wet-bulb temperatures and how this will make human survival increasingly ‘difficult’. Scribbler thinks that divesting from fossil fuels will help solve the problem. Unfortunately, both men are incorrect (3) (4).
No doubt, the truth will eventually win out long after we are all dead and gone, swept away in a fiery tornado of heat and rain. In this case (unlike politics), Nature does not care about what we think, say or do, or how long we’re going to go on discussing it. However Nature will respond to all that we have done in her own time, and as the evidence now shows, it’s happening far, far faster then anyone (else) thought. The survival of the human community lays in the balance.
The proposals, suggestions, ‘solutions’ and commentary that you will be permitted to read about will generally (99% of the time) entail saving civilization in one form or another, usually with a minimum of actual real effort. This seems to be the only line of thought in most circles.
In Scientific & Technological Hopium, I’ve pointed out that what you’re being told and what is actually true are two very different things. The implied promises and hope being provided by the scientific community, world leaders, speakers and ‘evangelists’ of climate change is false. In hundreds and hundreds of articles posted here, I’ve been desperately trying to convey the real sense of urgency (planetary emergency) that exists, and our failings to delve deeply enough into our root causes.
I’ve read where “we don’t have a population problem” for example, which is completely untrue. I’ve also read where we have decades and decades of time left to solve whatever will come up, which is totally false. And I’ve read where science and technology will solve all of our issues, when it’s already quite clear they can’t. It is this ongoing denial of reality that is just as dangerous as every other form of denial.
I expect it to be years and years before the scientific community truly realizes the hopelessness of the situation. Humanity does not have the capabilities to reverse climate change like we’re being told. Nor do we have a survival strategy that will accommodate our way of life, certainly not this present existence. We have virtually no means at all to stop sea level rise or preserve coastal cities and infrastructure. We have no sufficient carbon capture and sequestering technologies to remove CO₂ from the atmosphere or oceans. No way to stop the permafrost melt, or the methane hydrates from dissolving. We can’t remove the increased atmospheric moisture (still rising) and restore the Jet Stream. We can’t even move our agriculture north to cooler regions (poor soils) to grow food for the world’s populations.
We’ve done a very poor job in preserving a sufficiently large enough parts of the biosphere to prevent species extinction (still at 10,000 times the natural rate). Our civilization continues to expand, taking up more and more of the livable habitat. Conflicts and refugee crisis continue to accelerate. But somehow, we’re still be told that it’s all going to be okay, eventually our global leaders will respond adequately, using technology and sheer force of will to ‘adapt’ civilization and avert the worst.
This is all a terrible lie and completely untrue. The worst is already happening in many parts of the world and it will go on accelerating to the rest of the world until each and every single one of us feel the effects of climate chaos, hunger, deprivation and wide-spread suffering and death. There is simply no logical, practical or realistic explanation to prevent this.
In the meanwhile, our ‘planetary emergency’ will continue to alarm hearts and minds and take up a lot of printed space, but not much else is being done. Precious irreplaceable time is being wasted on the wrong ideas, wrong ‘solutions’, wrong approaches as humans desperately try to save civilization. I doubt very much that it’s going to work at all, and even if it does (and for how long?), it will only protect a privileged chosen few. The rest of us are toast, to be baked alive in the oven of a hellish Earth, or drowned in a deluge of rising seas, floods, hurricanes and extreme weather events. Starvation will come far, far sooner then most of the ‘weather’ and scant little is being done to prevent or prepare for any of that (the crops and food supply will be the first to go).
Readers should educate themselves on the likelihood of human survival at 2°C or higher global temperatures. It’s not what you are being told. Both plant and animals can temporarily survive increases in temperature, but perhaps not like you think. There has to be ‘cooling’ periods for plant propagation (seasons), bee pollination and survival, or even the dreaded wet-bulb temperature events already happening. At 4°C and higher, it’s even worse with widespread death, crop failures and starvation. What is truly bizarre is how the entire human community has been deceived by policy makers and (some) scientists regarding our ‘chances of survival’ at these higher temperatures.
It bears re-mentioning again and again – you cannot replace the missing ice, which is so absolutely critical to regulating the world’s climate. The temperature differentials between the Poles and the Equator regulate the Jet Stream and temperature differences resulting in global weather patterns, along with the world’s ocean which have now absorbed 95% of the excessive heat. We have no means, abilities or plans to remove that heat from the oceans, which is now starting to vomit this heat back up into the atmosphere in an unstoppable chain-reaction of climate feedback. The lower albedo at the Poles is also causing the ocean to heat up faster and faster, accelerating ice loss.
It’s already out of control. It’s already non-linear. It’s already unstoppable, a “runaway greenhouse effect” that will wipe out civilization entirely. But this is a truth you won’t get to hear about for some time yet, it won’t be allowed to see the light of day. I’ve covered this in dozens of articles, especially in This Means Extinction. A blog search of “planetary emergency” shows articles dating back before 2007 that convey the same things (over 9 years ago). Since that time, it’s just continued to all prove to be 100% true.
From “Living in An Apocalyptic World” written in 2007, I said (near the bottom, it’s a large article):
The answers are staring us all in the face right in these reports. The concept that we can –
a) prevent climate change;
b) mitigate its effects;
c) avoid catastrophic collapse;
d) avoid the tipping points;
e) adapt to climate change;
f) legislate our way out of this;
g) deal efficiently or effectively with the issues;
h) respond in timely fashion.
are ALL absurd “assumptions” beyond belief. We cannot, as a species, globally achieve a single point above, whereas ALL are required.
The bickering over specific wording to protect economic and corporate interests is an example of how entrenched the vested powers-that-be will drag their feet and water down the urgency of the message even in the face of cataclysmic global disaster and a complete collapse of civilization. But of course, we’ve seen this malfeasance before – especially right here in America.
Humans react far too slowly to respond to what has already occurred. We’re now witnessing the decades old effects of human destruction and pollution, we’re not even yet aware of what our current levels of pollution and destruction are causing on an global environmental scale. By the time we figure that out, it will be far, far too late.
During the 1900’s, the average global temperature rise was at least 1 degree. This is during the era of the industrial revolution, when the population was MUCH smaller. By the later half of 1900’s, we were dealing with swollen populations around the world, with a much higher level of industrialization, resource extraction and pollution. It is these effects that are now being witnessed.
A 97% catastrophic reef collapse is now assured. Reef fish provide a huge amount of protein for the world’s human population and are a key component to the world’s ocean ecosystems. Collapsed reefs mean a collapsed ocean – i.e., no fish. This means widespread starvation in many countries of the world.
The “doing nothing is not an option” doesn’t begin to embrace the reality of “doing something” or the magnitude of the scale, cooperation and costs it would require to actually do something this is meaningful, efficient, timely and effective.
It will take a global, worldwide coordinated effort primarily in the First World developed nations because we are the ones doing the most damage of all. And yes, these are the same nations that are trying very hard to deny climate change because they are the worst polluters and will be the most hurt by its economic effects. They have taken the route that denial is a safer course of action then accepting their responsibility for being the primary causers of climate change.
And if outright denial no longer works or is no longer “politically expedient”, then they will actively water down the “demands” required of them, obfuscate the facts or even pay the opposition to come up with new “scientific evidence” that climate change is not human-caused. This is already happening as we all know.
The temperature variations that will cause a catastrophic collapse in food production are already well underway. This is utterly unpreventable and means that global starvation in this century is extremely likely. Combined with the catastrophic collapse of bee colony “disorder” (now widely believed to be caused by GM crops) and starvation looks like a very serious probability.
Drought is happening now and will only be exacerbated as global temperatures continue to climb. Food production will be severely affected as the global water tables continue to drop. Current human populations are dispersed across vast regions that do not have adequate rainfall, and rely upon deep-well pumping, aqueducts and drained river systems from far away mountains, sometimes traversing thousands of miles. Increased temperatures will affect all of these regions and watersheds will be severely impacted. The net result means that entire segments of the human population will be at severe risk of massive crop failures, due to drought.
Disappearing glaciers mean disappearing water tables. The regions where this is happening will be in severe peril. It’s not hard to figure out what the long-term and even short-term impacts will be on human populations.
There is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that the so-called “tipping points” have already been reached. The idea that they are yet still future-based is ridiculous. Nobody seems willing to step up to the plate and announced the fact that out goose is cooked. The climate has changed, the temperature has risen, the oceans are acidic, the reefs are collapsing, drought is occurring, the weather is severely affected. All these things are already happening, the tipping points have already been reached. The warnings signs we should have paid attention to in the 70’s were widely ignored, and now it’s too late.
The implication is that we can somehow stop or reverse these tipping points isn’t based in reality. To do that (a gigantic maybe), would require a massive, global, worldwide shutdown of everything. No fossil fuel consumption, absolutely NONE. Not just “no cars”, but no industrialized activity whatsoever. The entire global economy would have to shut down and give Nature a complete “rest” from man’s endeavors to wrestle resources from the earth. We’d all have to go live in caves and tepee’s and grow all of our own food and live totally “local”, recycling everything we’ve already created, manufactured or mined, using human and animal power alone to exist.
But that is not going to happen. But that is indeed the only possible solution, along with a global worldwide moratorium on population growth for years to come until the population falls to sustainable levels.
These tipping points are already here, already widespread and will only worsen, but the idea that we can prevent them (any of them) is absurd. The population is in such severe overshoot that nothing less then a global shutdown would stand a chance of working. As the good scientists have said, “Earth is spinning toward many points of no return from the damage of global warming, after which disease, desolation and famine are inevitable, “.
And it’s downright laughable if we weren’t so busy crying how “wealthy nations” could endure a rise in global temperatures, but not the poorer ones. Wealthy nations exists because of the exploitation of poor nations, stealing labor, resources and raw materials, and that trend is how the future wealthy nations will continue to “manage” their fates into the future while they continue to pollute the planet.
The “desperate contests” for energy and oil are already underway from wealthy nations preying upon poorer nations. This will expand to include water, arable land and other essential resources in a diminishing world in severe “overshoot”.
The “harsh reality” is how humans have absolutely destroyed the planet and will now turn on each other as we scramble for essential resources. Yet the answer to resolve all of these issues eludes us – we must abandon “civilization”. Nothing less then this will work, and at this point, there is even some doubt that this will be enough, in time.
Going back to the “drawing board” to retool our manufacturing and consumption cannot possibly solve the problems with human resource depletion, it will only redefine how we go about doing what we’ve always done – eat our way through every natural resource on the planet. Civilization, and it’s offspring, technology is what created this problem in the first place, enabling mankind to live far, far beyond their means of the local resources. This created a huge population surplus, along with a food surplus, until finally, the finite limits of the natural resources were either reached, destroyed or polluted.
There is absolutely no doubt about how or why this has happened. All former civilizations have done the same thing, just not on a global scale like we have. What we’re about to experience is exactly what these other civilizations experienced and there isn’t a thing we can do about it. Technology cannot fix this. Engineering or even social manipulation cannot fix this. A lot of ideas are being proposed, but planetary destruction and overshoot simply do not mix and never will.
As flippant as this may sound – nothing is going to work. Too many humans competing for too few resources is a dead-end (literally), no matter what you try to call it.
I strongly agree with Lonewolf’s final commentary in the article above – we cannot possibly resolve our resource demands by suddenly becoming unselfish. There is no such thing as “economic sustainability”. Economics are anathema to the planetary ecosystems, including all of the ones humans inhabit.
There is however, ecological sustainability, a niche which humans have long since abandoned when they embraced civilization. This is the only, true path the lies before mankind, but the courage and conviction to abandon this present civilization simply isn’t there. This is why collapse will happen, and this is also why collapse must happen. Collapse isn’t avoidable at all, no matter what you’ve been told. The only way to ecological sustainability is for the collapse to occur.
I stand by this 2007 declaration in its entirety. In the 9 years since this was written, I’ve seen nothing whatsoever to indicate that humans can or will change, or find a way to preserve themselves or their civilization. We have a gigantic, unstoppable planetary emergency that has been underway for well over a decade, but you will still not read about it on or offline.
I’m not alone. Also published in 2007 (in the same article) was Lonewolf’s commentary, accurate today as ever:
Kunstler is an ‘admirable’ town-crier who sees some of the near term dangers in our collective insanity.
My main ‘problem’ with Kunstler is that he is wildly optimistic about the capacity of human beings to see past their immediate, selfish, parochial concerns and wrt our species historical refusal to even remotely consider the potentials inherent in the law of unintended consequences resultant from exponential growth on a finite planet. That is, he asserts that if we could ‘merely’ put our collective minds to a task (problem resolution), that environmental sustainability, social harmony and interpersonal equity could ultimately prevail. Bullshit. Has never happened and never will; not in ‘the best of times’, and certainly not in ‘the worst of times’. NEVER. He correctly identifies (but myopically minimizes) the manifold interconnected impacts while dangling illusory carrots of mass distraction/deception and the effervescent delusion of hope. I ‘say’, the sooner that the species crashes and the harder the crash of ‘civilization’ is, the better off the relative few survivors will be (in an evolutionary sense).
Humans are very poorly suited to respond to crisis on this scale. We cannot even properly grasp the significance of the emergency, but we’re quite adept as deceiving ourselves and giving credibility to those who do not deserve it. Nobody appreciates the town crier who warns of cataclysm ahead. But perhaps we should. Some of us have been here for a very long time trying pretty hard to wake people up to what is occurring. What is unpreventable. What needs to be recognized for what it really is. The point being, how much longer must we endure the deceptions that are being promoted as solutions? These are not answers, they are distractions and wasted opportunities.
Most of you do not want to prepare for much of anything, because you yet do not yet believe you will be affected. Each of you will come to terribly regret the time and opportunity wasted. You, like most of the world, are missing the opportunity you’ve been given. It’s not yet a planetary emergency until it affects you personally. This is not the correct approach.
From a 2010 article here (Newsletter 46) –
“I’ve been encouraged many times to restart the blog. One reason why I don’t is I’ve grown weary of publishing truth that is so widely ignored. We live in a world where disregarding truth is becoming exceedingly dangerous. Our complicity to evil and wrong-doing goes hand in hand with our disinterest. At our worst, we are the willing and even eager participants in ecocide, genocide and omnicide.”
And so we are, at every level imaginable.