- The 10th Man rule is where any focus group intentionally appoints at least one person to serve as the loyal dissenter. If all nine advisors agree on the same thing, the 10th man is obligated to disagree and to try and find fault with the reasoning of the nine. This serves to both explore other possibilities and demonstrate any correctness of the nine.
In some cases, the 10th man will find faults serious enough to justify an entirely different course of action. I am a 10th man, as are several other voices that are trying to point out the faults with the current approach to deadly climate change. All nine, as it were, are in agreement, which means they should be questioned, they should be doubted, they should reconsider the validity of their claims, and they should be actively listening for the concerns of the “10th man”.
The current approach to climate science and future predictions have found sufficient levels of agreement, so much so that it should be more than a little alarming because they have often been wrong in the past. Yet the “nine still agree” as it were, even though they have updated their assessments and expectations each year, always for the worse.
This is not the same thing as what the 10th man would perform if there were such a position being utilized (which isn’t happening). The 10th man would point out the dire possibilities that would exist if the nine were wrong on any particular point. It is the job of the 10th man to be a pessimist, to predict and to try to plan and prepare for the very worst should any of the nine be wrong.
This position actually protects the nine, or in our case, the entire planet. If the 10th man rule were being followed now, we’d already be well on our way to climate mitigation efforts and strategies years ago when it was first understood. We would not be debating, discussing or pretending that we had more time, or a ‘carbon budget’, or pretending that ‘net-zero’ is a real possibility or anything other then a simply play on words. The 10th man rule would have eliminated these strategies as being both too slow, disingenuous and far too dangerous for our survival.
The 10th man would have pointed out the obvious and not-so-obvious faults with climate predictions and climate science, and how policy makers and governments tend to always ignore the worst and only choose to focus on the best. These particular faults and practices have now become institutionalized with policy makers, exacerbating the problem of climate inaction and delayed mitigation and adaption efforts all over the world.
Climate science is not practicing the 10th man rule. Any dissenting voices that disagree with the science, predictions, and probable outcomes are being broadly ignored and even silenced. Reports and assessments have been watered down and diluted to allow for a comfortable level of ‘acceptance’ to be adopted, when the data itself literally screams the exact opposite. We are in a global climate emergency that has yet to be declared by any government in the world.
The 10th men and women of the world that do exist have sought to make this state of emergency known. Lacking platforms, attention, readership and even funding, their efforts are still being ignored. They are ridiculed within the science community and by policy makers, who categorically refuse to believe that their own predictions can be wrong. Yet wrong they are, as the recent historical record has shown.
Countless examples exist within the climate science assessments leaving out critical data, numerous feedback mechanisms and underestimate events. 100-year events are now already occurring every year. Worse, policy presentations have gone along with manufactured claims of ‘carbon-free’ emissions, ‘net-zero’ industries, ‘carbon budgets’ and ‘carbon trading’ schemes, and exceedingly dangerous time lines promising decades of times still available to “safely reduce emissions” before devastating and non-stoppable feedbacks are set in motion.
This allows government and industry to continue to ignore climate trigger events already occurring all over the planet, claiming that these measurements somehow don’t signify an immediate climate emergency. These are examples of ignoring their own eyes and their own data. When the Arctic has clearly lost nearly all of its multi-year ice, this isn’t correctly assessed as signifying a global emergency, when it is already well-known that such an event is unprecedented in human history. The rapidly warming Arctic has warmed three times faster then the rest of the planet, with a Blue Ocean Event now extremely likely, allowing the sun to rapidly heat up this formerly ice-covered water, changing the global climate in deadly ways.
The 10th men and women around the world have warned of this and other events already unfolding, yet continue to be ignored. We believe this imperils the very survival of our species and that of the fauna of the Earth. An increase in wet-bulb temperatures already predicted by science will devastate the global food supply, collapsing civilization. But there are many other known events already unfolding, with Greenland and Antarctica already showing signs of destabilization, increasing sea level rise that will inundate the world’s shipping ports ending export and imports, excessive methane releases being detected in the Arctic, Siberia and the permafrost regions (2020 was 15.85 ± 0.47 ppb, which is the largest annual increase recorded since 1983 when NOAA’s ongoing measurements began), enormous amounts of ice melting throughout the world’s glaciers, and a very detectable disruption in the global jet stream patterns, among many other unfolding events. Even the Amazon is now known to be a carbon-emitter, release 20% more carbon then it uptakes, yet this very alarming event also doesn’t qualify as a climate emergency.
Earth habitability is within a very narrow range of temperature, seasonal variations, precipitation and geographical range. Humans cannot survive in large numbers in the coldest regions both North and South without enormous energy inputs, and excessive temperatures in the equatorial regions are already driving large numbers of migrants to immigrate to other countries. These inhospitable regions, particularly in the mid-latitudes are growing, affecting millions more people and decimating crop production through excessive temperatures and droughts.
Excessive solar energy is now being absorbed by the planet due to the enormous amounts of greenhouse gasses trapped in the atmosphere, raising global temperatures throughout the world, while even more greenhouse gas is being constantly added. While this is well known and understood by science, this still doesn’t seem to qualify as an “emergency”, something which every 10th man strongly disagree with. High levels of carbon dioxide and methane are being detected globally far in excess of anything humanity has ever experienced in our two million year history and still this doesn’t seem to qualify as a planetary emergency with policy makers and even most scientists.
This bizarre denial of their own data and assessments is inexplicable, but perhaps explainable. Disruptions to the global economy are considered more undesirable then planetary habitability in the short-term, but we know that this is very short-sighted thinking and likely to be extremely dangerous for our future survival. The sheer and near-total failure to assess these events and numerous others as a planetary emergency in their scale, scope and direction, is in the end, unforgivable for every human alive today. Our leaders are miserably failing to assess the situation correctly and belatedly think that they can somehow avoid both responsibility and culpability for these extinction-level events unfolding now.
As one of the voices long ignored, I continue to believe that a global planetary emergency needs to be immediately declared and every effort possible expended to mitigate and adapt our civilization in meaningful ways to lessen our chances of extinction. Each year the situation is just that much worse (and never better), each year, the assessment, predictions and expectations from science come closer and closer to my own made over fifteen years ago. Yet a critical difference still remains, with optimism and hopeful expectations being expressed by the “nine advisors” which I do not embrace whatsoever.
I continue to believe that they have utterly failed to accept their own results and tie them together with other known events unfolding around the world, leaving governments, industry and policy makers free to interpret false optimism and techno-fix solutions as the silver bullet to solve our common predicament “in the nick of time”. This approach is unconscionable, immoral and likely, quite deadly for the biosphere, and will undoubtedly lead to rapid extinctions of most life on earth.
Humanity is being led towards willful self-destruction by the sheer failure of global leaders to enforce immediate actions on a global scale to save Earth’s habitability. Governments and industry have consistently denied, deflect and flat-out refused to cooperate. Minimal efforts to date have been expended with non-enforceable promises made that are simply, never kept. Decades of irreversible time have now been lost, elevating dangerous trigger events to non-stoppable outcomes. Blame is deflected to consumers and individual consumption, with industry spending hundreds of millions of dollars attempting to deny and delay any effective actions while continuing to excessively pollute.
Every 10th man agrees with this assessment. We are at a exceedingly dangerous juncture where the future survival of our species on planet Earth is in serious doubt. We do not have any more time to waste, nor do we need to “know more” before taking effective actions. A planetary emergency must be declare immediately if our species hopes to survive.