Arctic

“Let’s start designing the future that gives us a future” #auspol #qldpol #nswpol #WentworthVotes #StopAdani #EndCoal #ClimateChange now #ClimateBreakdown #TheDrum #QandA

“Let’s start designing the future that gives us a future”

The United Nations says we have 12 years to take action against climate change, to avoid global disaster.

It’s the greatest design challenge in history, says Nicolas Roope.


The climate is in trouble and we’ve now been given a deadline by the UN to pull our proverbial socks up and try to avert a catastrophe.

I’ve already had nights of sleeplessness and worry, with that heavy feeling of inevitable doom. But that worry won’t change anything. We have to move on and do something about it.

The clock’s ticking.

We already know we can turn our washing machines down a few degrees, change to efficient lighting (Plumen of course) and reuse shopping bags. But it is now the time to ask what more we can do to scale the solutions that so often feel out of reach by individuals, and the sole preserve of governments and legislators. And more specifically, what can designers and architects do to accelerate an at-scale response to the problem?

Finding efficiencies in each individual product and project is a good start but how can these binary digits become viral phenomena?

So that the force doesn’t come from pushing, campaigning and regulation, but from the warm rush of exuberance, cheered by global applause?

It is now the time to ask what more we can do to scale the solutions that so often feel out of reach

First we need to look at where we are and how we got here.

One way to do this is by using my favourite graph, the Kubler-Ross Change Curve, which charts the mental journey we go through when processing grief or trauma.

For the environment, the chart starts about a decade ago – there was a real awakening, with the subject really surfacing in the mainstream. But quickly the clarity was diluted and became vague through the clever antagonisms of anti-fact propaganda. Add to that the tendency of organisations to greenwash and you can understand the eventual despondence and fatigue.

It became too complicated, too tiring, too scary, and we all entered a period of denial.

I’m hypersensitive to light bulbs obviously, so over this period I noticed a huge resurgence of Edison-style lamps.

They were everywhere, as a collective “fuck you” to climate change, a swan song to a bloated inefficient technology that really had no place in the enlightened world.

Beef, the least sustainable livestock, also had a huge resurgence, with modern quality burger joints popping up in every corner.

We weren’t going to acknowledge climate change, let alone do anything about it.

No, we were going to surf our Range Rovers into oblivion in a hedonistic puff of carbonised smoke.

That period was followed by frustration and depression, as the majority finally accepted the problem was real, but the scientific community and media organisations were still rooting out the final naysayers.

Frustration and depression often happen when you feel like you’ve been tricked and conned by those in authority. Remember the financial crash? How no one saw it coming?

But look back at the graph. There’s hope. Because when the facts of a challenge or a change finally settle, there’s a change of mindset, a new mood for the challenge and a new will to overcome all the barriers that hitherto seemed unsurmountable. I want us to focus on this part.

Stop pretending that attaching a windmill to a tower block is going to fix anything

What we can do, as designers, architects, culture makers, symbol creators, desire directors, is to stop telling half-truths.

Stop designing things that ride the environmental story, with a lack of real intent or impact.

Stop pretending that attaching a windmill to a tower block is going to fix anything.

Stop talking about eco retreats at the end of a long haul flight.

To change anything we need to get beyond the confusion and the empty virtue signalling.

We need real impact.

Shell has suggested the idea of sucking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere with new technology it is funding. But on further reading you realise that it would take hundreds of thousands of these suckers to make any meaningful impact. And who’s going to pay for that?

No one of course, which is precisely why it’s not a solution.

How can a technology that costs trillions to run day and night operate when it’s only a cost on the national balance sheet?

When you buy a tank full of petrol, you’re not paying to spew out tons of carbon, you’re buying the transport miles.

You’re buying the benefit of getting somewhere.

The CO2 is a bi-product.

So to create a shadow industry – to balance every car, plane and power station burning stuff in the world – would reach an impossible scale of economies.

Perhaps it could work if the costs were offset by taxation on users but that’s a political quagmire unlikely to pass.

This situation shows the systemic nature of the problem.

So many interrelated activities make the behaviours and interdependencies hard to unlock. And yet, as creative thinkers, designers are incredibly well skilled to establish new codes and systems.

Designers are so often in the business of creating desire, of providing the fuel for dreams that drives so much production, commerce and construction.

Why can’t we coral this skill, to infect everyone with a lust for the truly progressive objects, projects and experiences?

Great design doesn’t just make things more usable and elegant, it elevates them and makes them cool

In The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell talks about how the smoking habit was perpetuated through cultural memes.

The individuals most likely to smoke at the start were the most gregarious and popular social animals, the ideal to which others aspired.

The cigarette therefore became a signal of social potency and status through this association, ensuring its uptake and spread across the masses who wanted to bathe in the reflected status.

Designers don’t just create arbitrary things outside culture’s context, they pull the levers of reference and narrative, to reflect the zeitgeist and to create directionality, to pull people in who want to associate and identify with this direction and inferred values.

This is most obvious perhaps with fashion, where the designer’s expression becomes a cultural artefact and symbol for the label’s underlying status and values.

The consumer buys into this and they themselves get to fly the flag as a wearer. It’s a logical step therefore to see how fashion designers have a key role to play in shepherding opinion, with their acute grasp of our attention and the alchemic skills they have for conjuring allure.

Louis Vuitton’s window displays this summer featured a beautiful patchwork of solar panels, a kind of aestheticising of these otherwise utilitarian objects. But the statement was helpful –  there are €5000 jumpers and there’s stopping the world from melting. And they’re both cool, says Louis Vuitton.

This is what we have done with Plumen – used design to encourage a reappraisal of the bulb as a technology and commodity, a way of calling out category indifference, but also provided something really positive, a beautiful and efficient product that gives the user real pleasure.

More than that, it gives a symbol of hope.

Bound up in Plumen’s genesis is the idea that making a lovely light bulb is one thing, but helping the world see a positive future, where sustainability and pleasure are not necessarily at odds with each other, is something that will help grease the wheels of change and move us from despondence to exuberance for building this new world.

So many people still believe living better will come at a heavy cost.

With the light bulb at least, we’ve helped to break that spell. And we’re certainly not alone.

Let’s all just get serious about how we can take responsibility for both the problem and the power in our hands to tackle it

Tesla has been the poster boy of this philosophy.

It changed the automotive business, because it made the electric powertrain cool. And when you make things cool, you give everyone permission to own one and to actively align with these new symbols.

Without Tesla I don’t think we would have seen Volvo announcing to go all electric for another decade.

We need to create a new landscape where we have permission to care and permission to act.

That’s exactly where design needs to come in.

Great design doesn’t just make things more usable and elegant, it elevates them and makes them cool.

Coolness may seem trite and superficial in the face of climate change, but it is the very cultural trigger that creates this much needed permission.

It is the difference between partial uptake and things going truly mainstream. Coolness drives the market, drives adoption of new behaviours and transforms the unusual into the normal.

There are already some examples of significant change happening that should give us encouragement and hope.

Look at the speed of change in how we eat.

Vegetarianism is going mainstream, fuelled by social-media feeds that break with clichés and traditions of vegetarian food dramatically.

This dramatic, visible change signals a new culture and therefore new space for new identities.

The door has opened for people who didn’t fit the “veggie” picture. With the shift comes an acceleration of change and the much needed growth in scale.

Livestock is a huge CO2 contributor.

Making vegetarianism attractive to billions is as much a design challenge as it is culinary. And the project is already well underway.

A Vegan Burger

We can  also find solace in other recent seismic shifts.

For better or worse, we live in a world where we can shape-shift faster than ever.

The 12-year timeframe the UN report has given us all to make a meaningful reduction in emissions is longer than it took Apple to get the smartphone concept into the hands of more than half the world’s population.

No legislators were needed to drive this meteoric rise, just the intense allure of technology, shaped by compelling design.

Perhaps we should be asking Jony Ive and Tony Fadell for some tips about how to start a revolution of this magnitude for the good of the planet?

The role of design in driving these shifts can be oblique. But scratch the surface and it’s there.

Take for instance air travel.

Technologists agree that alternative fuels for aviation are way off.

The energy density in batteries makes long distant flights an economic impossibility for this weight-sensitive mode of transportation.

So designing a new kind of plane isn’t helpful because the limit is technological. But rejuvenating domestic destinations for the staycation is something architects and designers can do, so people don’t need to head to the airports in the first place.

In the UK, we’re already seeing our neglected seaside towns become attractive destinations again.

In 2017, a national survey revealed a 23.8 per cent rise in UK holiday planning. That’s a lot of unreleased carbon. If the true cost of flying increases for consumers, you’ve got an even more compelling reason to stay at home.

The technology is there to make remote meetings as good as those in person, but so many still feel compelled to fly across oceans to commune in the flesh. Surely this too is a design challenge. Create new kinds of meeting spaces to enhance the virtual experience and shape the rituals for a new way to conduct the face to face in virtual space. Another move to pull some more planes out of the sky.

Off-shore wind already is trading at £52 per megawatt against Hinkley Point’s £92. But on-shore is a great deal cheaper to construct and service. However communities resist them because they don’t like a blot on the landscape – a design challenge if ever I heard one, and one I’m working on as it happens.

Freaking out isn’t going to help anyone.

Let’s all just get serious about how we can take responsibility for both the problem and the power in our hands to tackle it.

Not just as designers but as global citizens, as parents to every subsequent generation, let’s engage the complexity.

Let’s learn where the biggest impacts can be made so we’re not wasting time and resources, and let’s not leave space for empty gestures.

It is an incredible moment in human history, whether it’s something we come to look back at fondly or with regret

World politics is clearly unfit for purpose for a problem of this scale.

It’s never had a problem like this to tackle, where the entire world community faces such a common enemy.

Our divisions have been a source of power because a common enemy is galvanising. This time we really do need to come together.

While the rise of populism is dark and daunting, we need to remember one thing very clearly.

We as designers can make things popular. And if we shape new modes, behaviours, products, buildings, ideas, words, looks to create popular movements, we’ll hear a change of tune from our leaders. When they know we all care and we all think progressiveness is cool, they’ll turn. Soft power, turning hard and with it another step towards material change at the required scale.

Design is already global.

Everyone, everywhere engages with it in some form, and uses its many tools and techniques. It reaches beyond borders and language. We just need to stop ignoring it, or pretending the little we do is enough.

This is perhaps the biggest challenge humankind has ever faced, and also perhaps its most exciting.

We can join together like never before, to write the rules of a new world.

It is an incredible moment in human history, whether it’s something we come to look back at fondly or with regret.

So let’s start designing the future that gives us a future. Now.

Press link for more: Dezeen

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Swiss glaciers lost a fifth of their ice within a decade #auspol #qldpol #nswpol #ClimateChange #StopAdani #EndCoal #ClimateBreakdown #WentworthVotes

Mount Piz Segnas, left, and the Tschingel Horn mountains, right, with Martin’s Hole near Elm in the canton of Glarus, are pictured in Switzerland. File picture: Gaetan Bally/Keystone via AP

Geneva – A fifth of Switzerland’s glacier volume has melted away over the past 10 years, the Swiss Academy of Sciences said Tuesday after the past record summer delivered a further blow to the country’s iconic Alpine ice.

The melt water over the past decade could cover all of Switzerland’s 41,285 square kilometres with 25 centimetres of water, according to the Academy-funded Swiss Glacier Monitoring Network.

Summers with unusually high temperatures have become more frequent in the country, and the past April-September season was the hottest since records began in the 1860s.

The permanent ice cover on the Alpine peaks lost 2.5 per cent of its volume over the past 12 months.

Receding glaciers increase the risk of large landslides and floods caused by overflowing glacier lakes.

Although Switzerland saw unusually large amounts of snow last winter, most of it melted away during the dry spring and hot summer.

“Many glaciers completely lost their snow cover in the past months,” said Andreas Bauder, one of the network’s scientists.

This is problematic because the white winter snow reflects the sun and protects the darker glacier ice underneath, he told dpa.

In addition, fresh snow is necessary to sustain glaciers over longer periods, because it can turn into ice over the years, Bauder added.

Press link for more: IOL

Billionaires Are the Leading Cause of #ClimateBreakdown #auspol #qldpol #nswpol #WentworthVotes #StopAdani #EndCoal

By Luke Darby

@lukelarby

As the world faces environmental disaster on a biblical scale, it’s important to remember exactly who brought us here.

This week, the United Nations released a damning report.

The short version: We have about 12 years to actually do something to prevent the worst aspects of climate change.

That is, not to prevent climate change—we’re well past that point—but to prevent the worst, most catastrophic elements of it from wreaking havoc on the world’s population.

To do that, the governments of Earth need to look seriously at the forces driving it. And an honest assessment of how we got here lays the blame squarely at the feet of the 1 percent.

Contrary to a lot of guilt-tripping pleas for us all to take the bus more often to save the world, your individual choices are probably doing very little to the world’s climate.

The real impact comes on the industrial level, as more than 70 percent of global emissions come from just 100 companies.

So you, a random American consumer, exert very little pressure here.

The people who are actively cranking up the global thermostat and threatening to drown 20 percent of the global population are the billionaires in the boardrooms of these companies.

There are probably no individuals who have had a more toxic impact on public and political attitudes about climate change than the Koch brothers, and it would take an absurd amount of space to document all the money and organizations they’ve scraped together for that purpose. (Investigative reporter Jane Mayer’s groundbreaking Dark Money does basically that.) And they have every reason to: In her book, Mayer notes that “Koch Industries alone routinely released some 24 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere a year.”

But the scope goes far beyond merely sowing dissent and skepticism.

While billionaires and the companies they run have spent years insisting that climate change either doesn’t exist or is overblown, they’ve known the reality of the situation for a long time.

PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel, for example, used to donate to the Seasteading Institute, which aimed to build floating cities in order to counteract rising sea levels. And Exxon Mobil allegedly knew about climate change in 1977, back when it was still just Exxon and about 11 years before climate change became widely talked about.

Instead of acting on it, they started a decades-long misinformation campaign. According to Scientific American, Exxon helped create the Global Climate Coalition, which questioned the scientific basis for concern over climate change from the late ’80s until 2002, and successfully worked to keep the U.S. from signing the Kyoto Protocol, a move that helped cause India and China, two other massive sources of greenhouse gas, to avoid signing.

Even when Republican lawmakers show flashes of willingness to get something done, they’re swiftly swatted down. There are myriad examples, but one example comes via Dark Money, where Mayer describes an incident in April 2010 when Lindsey Graham briefly tried to support a cap-and-trade bill: A political group called American Solutions promptly launched a negative PR campaign against him, and Graham folded after just a few days. American Solutions, it turns out, was backed by billionaires in fossil fuel and other industries, including Trump-loving casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

In recent years, fossil-fuel companies have tried to cast themselves as being on the same side of the general public.

Just this month, Exxon pledged $1 million to fight for a carbon tax, a stopgap measure that charges a fee of $40 per ton of carbon produced and increases as production goes up. At a glance, that may seem magnanimous, but the truth is that Exxon can afford the tax. Not only is the oil and gas industry experiencing a serious boom right now, companies know that the only real solutions to climate change will hurt them even more than a measly tax.

That’s largely because there is no “free market” incentive to prevent disaster. An economic environment where a company is only considered viable if it’s constantly expanding and increasing its production can’t be expected to pump its own brakes over something as trivial as pending global catastrophe. Instead, market logic dictates that rather than take the financial hit that comes with cutting profits, it’s more reasonable to find a way to make money off the boiling ocean. Nothing illustrates this phenomenon better than the burgeoning climate-change investment industry.
According to Bloomberg, investors are looking to make money off of everything from revamped food production to hotels for people fleeing increasingly hurricane-ravaged areas. A top JP Morgan Asset investment strategist advised clients that sea-level rise was so inevitable that there was likely a lot of opportunity for investing in sea-wall construction.

Even today, after literally decades of radical libertarian billionaires fostering disbelief in climate change and skepticism about the government, three out of fiveAmericans believe climate change affects their local community.

That number climbs to two-thirds on the coasts. Even the Trump administration now admitsthat climate change is real, but their response to it is dead-eyed acceptance.

If popular support actually influenced public policy, there would have been more decisive action from the U.S. government years ago. But the fossil-fuel industry’s interests are too well-insulated by the mountains of cash that have been converted into lobbyists, industry-shilling Republicans and Democrats, and misinformation. To them, the rest of the world is just kindling.

Press link for more: gq.com

How Capitalism Torched the Planet and Left it a Smoking Fascist Greenhouse #auspol #qldpol #nswpol #ClimateChange #WentworthVotes #Genocide #Ecocide

How Capitalism Torched the Planet and Left it a Smoking Fascist Greenhouse

By Umair Haque

It strikes me that the planet’s fate is now probably sealed. We have just a decade in which to control climate change— or goodbye, an unknown level of catastrophic, inescapable, runaway warming is inevitable.

The reality is: we’re probably not going to make it.

It’s highly dubious at this juncture that humanity is going to win the fight against climate change.

Yet that is for a very unexpected — yet perfectly predictable — reason: the sudden explosion in global fascism — which in turn is a consequence of capitalism having failed as a model of global order.

If, when, Brazil elects a neo-fascist who plans to raze and sell off the Amazon — the world’s lungs — then how do you suppose the fight against warming will be won?

It will be set back by decades — decades…we don’t have. America’s newest Supreme Court justice is already striking down environmental laws — in his first few days in office — but he will be on the bench for life…beside a President who hasn’t just decimated the EPA, but stacked it with the kind of delusional simpletons who think global warming is a hoax.

Again, the world is set by back by decades…it doesn’t have.

Do you see my point yet?

Let me make it razor sharp.

My friends, catastrophic climate change is not a problem for fascists — it is a solution.

History’s most perfect, lethal, and efficient one means of genocide, ever, period.

Who needs to build a camp or a gas chamber when the flood and hurricane will do the dirty work for free?

Please don’t mistake this for conspiracism: climate change accords perfectly with the foundational fascist belief that only the strong should survive, and the weak — the dirty, the impure, the foul — should perish.

That is why neo-fascists do not lift a finger to stop climate change — but do everything they can to in fact accelerate it, and prevent every effort to reverse or mitigate it.

But I want to tell you the sad, strange, terrible story of how we got here.

Call it a lament for a planet, if you like.

You see, not so long ago, we — the world — were optimistic that climate change could be managed, in at least some way.

The worst impacts probably avoided, forestalled, escaped — if we worked together as a world. But now we are not so sure at all.

Why is that?

What happened?

Fascism happened — at precisely the wrong moment. That shredded all our plans. But fascism happened because capitalism failed — failed for the world, but succeeded wildly for capitalists.

Now, this will be a subtle story, because I want to tell it to you the way it should be told.

Let me begin with an example, and zoom out from there.

The world is in the midst of a great mass extinction— one of just a handful in history. Now, if we had been serious, at any point, really, about preventing climate catastrophe, we would have made an effort to “price in” this extinction — with a new set of global measures for GDP and profit and costs and tariffs and taxes and so on. But we didn’t, so all these dead beings, these animals and plants and microbes and so on — strange and wonderful things we will never know — are “unpriced” in the foolish, self-destructive economy we have made.

Life is literally free to capitalism, and so capitalism therefore quite naturally abuses it and destroys it, in order to maximize its profits, and that is how you get a spectacular, eerie, grim mass extinction in half a century, of which there have only been five in all of previous history.

But biological life was not the only unpaid cost — “negative externality” — of capitalism.

It was just one.

And these unpaid costs weren’t to be additive: they were to multiply, exponentiate, snarl upon themselves — in ways that we would come to find impossible to then untangle. (And all this was what economists and thinkers, especially American ones, seemed to whistle at and walk away, anytime someone suggested it.)

You see, capitalism promised people — the middle classes which had come to make up the modern world — better lives. But it had no intention of delivering — its only goal was to maximize profits for the owners of capital, not to make anyone else one iota richer. 

So first it ate through people’s towns and cities and communities, then through social systems, then through their savings, and finally, through their democracies. 

Even if people’s incomes “rose”, cleverly, the prices they paid for the very same things which capitalism sold back to them with the other hand, the very things they were busy producing, rose even more — and so middle classes began to stagnate, while inequality exploded.

Let’s specify the unpaid costs in question: trust, connection, cohesion, belonging, meaning, purpose, truth itself.

These were social costs — not environmental ones, like the mass extinction above. And I will make the link between the two clear in just a moment. First I want you to understand their effect.

A sense of frustration, of resignation, of pessimism came to sweep the world. People lost trust in their great systems and institutions.

They turned away from democracy, and towards authoritarianism, in a great, thunderous wave, which tilted the globe on its very axis.

The wave rippled outward from history’s greatest epicenter of human stupidity, America, like a supersonic tsunami, crossing Europe, reaching Asia’s shores, crashing south into Brazil, cresting far away in Australia.

Nations fell like dominoes to a new wave of fascists, who proclaimed the same things as the old ones — reichs and camps and reigns of the pure.

People began to turn on those below them — the powerless one, the different one, the Mexican, the Jew, the Muslim— in the quest for just the sense of superiority and power, the fortune and glory, capitalism had promised them, but never delivered.

The capitalists had gotten rich — unimaginably rich.

They were richer than kings of old. But capitalism had imploded into fascism.

History laughed at the foolishness of people who once again believed, like little children hearing a fairy tale, that capitalism — which told people to exploit and abuse one another, not hold each other close, mortal and frail things that they are — was somehow ever going to benefit them.

Now. Let me connect the dots of capitalism’s unpaid social and environmental costs, and how they are linked, not additively, 2+2=5, but with the mathematics of catastrophe.

When we tell the story of how capitalism imploded into fascism, it will go something like this: the social costs of capitalism meant that democracy collapsed into neo-fascism — and neo-fascism made it unlikely, if not outright impossible, that the world could do anything at all about climate change, in the short window it had left, at the precise juncture it needed to act most.

Do you see the link?

The terrible and tragic irony?

How funny and sad it is?

The social costs of capitalism weren’t just additive to the environmental costs — they were more like multiplicative, snarled upon themselves, like a great flood meeting a great hurricane.

The social costs exponentiated the environmental, making them now impossible to reduce, pay, address, manage. 2+2 didn’t equal 4 — it equalled infinity, in this case. Both together made a system that spiralled out of control.

Wham!

The planet’s fate was being sealed, by capitalism imploding into fascism — which meant that a disintegrating world could hardly work together anymore to solve its greatest problem of all.

Let me sharpen all that a little. By 2005, after a great tussle, much of the world had agreed on a plan to reduce carbon emissions —the Kyoto Protocol. It was just barely enough — barely — to imagine that one day climate change might be lessened and reduced enough to be manageable. Still, there was one notable holdout — as usual, America.

Now, at this point, the world, which was in a very different place politically than it is today, imagined that with enough of the usual diplomatic bickering and horse-trading, maybe, just maybe, it would get the job done. And yet by 2010 or so, the point of all this, which was to create a global carbon pricing system had still not been accomplished — in large part thanks to America, whose unshakeable devotion to capitalism meant that such a thing was simply politically impossible.

So by this point the world was behind — and yet, one could still imagine a kind of success.

Maybe an American President would come along who would see sense.

Maybe progress was going in the right direction, generally.

After all, slowly, the world was making headway, towards less carbon emissions, towards a little more cooperation, here and there.

And then — Bang! America was the first nation to fall to the neo fascist wave.

Instead of a President who might have taken the country into a decarbonized future, Americans elected the king of the idiots (no, please don’t give me an apologia for the electoral college.)

This king of the idiots did what kings of idiots do: he lionized, of all things…coal.

He questioned whether climate change was…real.

He packed the government with lobbyists and cronies who were quite happy to see the world burn, if it meant a penthouse overlooking a drowned Central Park. He broke up with allies, friends, and partners.

Do you see the point?

The idea of a decarbonizing future was suddenly turned on its head.

It had been a possibility yesterday — but now, it was becoming an impossibility.

Before the neofascist wave, the world might have indeed “solved” climate change.

Maybe not in the hard sense that life would go on tomorrow as it does today — but in the soft sense that the worst and most vicious scenarios were mostly outlandish science fiction.

That is because before the neofascist wave, we could imagine nations cooperating, if slowly, reluctantly, in piecemeal ways, towards things like protecting life, reducing carbon, pricing in the environment, and so on. These things can only be done through global cooperation, after all.

But after the neofascist wave, global cooperation — especially of a genuinely beneficial kind, not a predatory kind — began to become less and less possible by the day.

The world was unravelling.

When countries were trashing the United Nations and humiliating their allies and proclaiming how little they needed the world (all to score minor-league wins for oligarchs, who cashed in their chips, laughing )— how could such a globe cooperate more then?

It couldn’t — and it can’t.

So the neofascist wave which we are now in also means drastically less global cooperation — but less global cooperation means incalculably worse climate change.

So now let’s connect all the dots.

Capitalism didn’t just rape the planet laughing, and cause climate change that way.

It did something which history will think of as even more astonishing.

By quite predictably imploding into fascism at precisely the moment when the world needed cooperation, it made it impossible, more or less, for the fight against climate change to gather strength, pace, and force.

It wasn’t just the environmental costs of capitalism which melted down the planet — it was the social costs, too, which, by wrecking global democracy, international law, cooperation, the idea that nations should work together, made a fractured, broken world which no longer had the capability to act jointly to prevent the rising floodwaters and the burning summers.

(Now, it’s at this point that Americans will ask me, a little angrily, for “solutions”. Ah, my friends.

When will you learn?

Don’t you remember my point?

There are no solutions, because these were never “problems” to begin with.

The planet, like society, is a garden, which needs tending, watering, care.

The linkages between these things — inequality destabilizing societies making global cooperation less possible — are not things we can fix overnight, by turning a nut or a bolt, or throwing money at them.

They never were.

They are things we needed to see long ago, to really reject together, and invest in, nurture, protect, defend, for decades — so that capitalism did not melt down into fascism, and take away all our power to fight for our worlds, precisely when we would need it most.

But we did not do that.

We were busy “solving problems”.

Problems like…hey, how can I get my laundry done?

Can I get my package delivered in one hour instead of one day?

Wow — you mean I don’t have to walk down the street to get my pizza anymore? Amazing!!

In this way, we solved all the wrong problems, if you like, but I would say that we solved mechanical problems instead of growing up as people. Things like climate change and inequality and fascism are not really “problems” — they are emergent processes, which join up, in great tendrils of ruin, each piling on the next, which result from decades of neglect, inaction, folly, blindness. We did not plant the seeds, or tend to our societies, economies, democracies, or planet carefully enough — and now we are harvesting bitter ruin instead. Maybe you see my point. Or maybe you don’t see my point at all. I wouldn’t blame you. It’s a tough one to catch sight of.)

The tables have turned. The problem isn’t climate change anymore, and the solution isn’t global cooperation — at least given today’s implosive politics.

The problem is you — if you are not one of the chosen, predatory few. And the solution to the problem of you is climate change.

To the fascists, that is.

They are quite overjoyed to have found the most spectacular and efficient and lethal engine of genocide and devastation known to humankind, which is endless, free natural catastrophe.

Nothing sorts the strong from the weak more ruthlessly like a flooded planet, a thundering sky, a forest in flames, a parched ocean.

A man with a gun is hardly a match for a planet on fire.

I think this much becomes clearer by the year: we have failed, my friends, to save our home.

How funny that we are focused, instead, on our homelands.

It would be funny, disgraceful, and pathetic of me to say: is there still time to save ourselves?

That is the kind of nervous, anxious selfishness that Americans are known for — and it is only if we reject it, really, that we learn the lesson of now.

Let us simply imagine, instead, that despite all the folly and stupidity and ruin of this age, the strongmen and the weak-minded, in those dark and frightening nights when the rain pours and the thunder roars, we might still light a candle for democracy, for freedom, and for truth.

The truth is that we do not deserve to be saved if we do not save them first.

Umair
October 2018

Press link for more: EAND.CO

Cognitive Dissonance #ClimateBreakdown #auspol #qldpol #nswpol #ClimateChange #StopAdani #EndCoal #RUOK #Insiders #QandA

We Don’t Have Time’s goal is to create a social media platform for the future, focused on the biggest challenge of our times — climate change.

Why do we have such trouble coming to grips with climate change?

Why do we falter?

Originally published in the Swedish web publication Poros, Jonatan Olofsgård explores the subject in his essay Dissonance.

Please make sure you have 10 minutes of privacy to read it.

It’s that big a deal.

It may help save us from ourselves by realising we all experience cognitive dissonance as a result of living in the climate emergency.

Image ‘And the Dead Robed in Red’ by Harry Clarke (1920). Downloaded.

I have become afflicted by a kind of muteness. It reveals itself in the following manner: the more I know, the less I am able to talk about it. It came over me last spring. As the days became longer, I became ever more silent. I know there was a time when I talked, and that some time later I lacked the ability. I know it happened in the spring, because I was in hospital for a while then, and when I came out I could no longer talk.

There’s a parallel between my hospital stay and my muteness.

I came down with a high fever, and a doctor told me I had the flu. But the fever wouldn’t go away, and I was just getting more and more tired. I saw a new doctor. “I’m going to run every test there is until I know what’s wrong”, she said. I got the feeling that my inexplicable fever was an offence to her. When the test results came back, she told me I had glandular fever and explained that it might take some time to clear up. All I had to do was rest and allow my body to recover. And finally, she said that if I felt sudden pain in my stomach, I should seek medical help immediately. “But it’s very uncommon. I’ve never seen that in my entire professional career.” She was in her early 50s and spoke with the complete authority of the expert. I didn’t feel particularly worried.

The next morning I woke up early with dull pains in my stomach. Not in any way intolerable — but quite apparent. And yet I hesitated, despite the instructions I’d been given. I didn’t want to sit in the waiting room of a casualty department, feeling the hours slipping away. I made breakfast for my children and thought that instead I’d just go to the medical centre when it opened. Perhaps the pain increased, or perhaps there was a moment of stillness where I could think more clearly. I no longer remember exactly what it was that made me pick up the phone.

I felt obliged to apologise for disturbing them. The nurse on the phone told me not to be silly. I arrived at casualty in an ambulance. I remember being embarrassed at taking up space in the hospital, as if I’d bluffed my way in. To me it was obvious that after waiting for a few hours I’d be examined and then sent home again. I was in pain, but it wasn’t dominating my experience of the world.

Being the focus of emergency healthcare means seeing an extremely effective machine from the inside. I know there are a lot of people with completely different experiences of Swedish healthcare, and I’ve also previously encountered the slow, long-winded nature of our medical system: the pointless waiting and empty diagnoses. But what happened that morning was completely different.

They didn’t put me in a waiting room, but instead on a stretcher. The nurses rolled me past people who I thought looked like they needed urgent care, people who looked like they were going to die at any moment. They took blood tests, did an ultrasound, and sent me for a CT scan. There was a calm, efficient flow of activity.

Now, afterwards, I reflect on that I should have felt more worried at the time. I should have understood that something was wrong. I should have been impressed by everything going on around me. But how are you supposed to feel when the medical system reacts more strongly than your own experience tells you to? My interpretation of the situation was based on the concrete experience of how it felt to be me. My bodily experience trumped the information being transmitted to me from the surrounding world. I observed what was going on with disbelief, and perhaps a certain amount of curiosity.

A few hours later, a surgeon explained that I didn’t need to worry, there was no danger. But I would have to stay in hospital. How long for? Until I could go home again. And when would that be? When they decided I could go home again.

Receiving two contrary messages at the same time leads to a very particular type of cognitive challenge. There’s no need to worry, everything’s okay — but you can’t leave the hospital.

My experience of doctors is that they love life, love healthy people and are focused on healing. But they talk rather less often about risks and how fragile life is. For the same reason, some doctors are reluctant to reveal why they’re doing particular tests, making certain decisions or prescribing specific medications. Finding out why I couldn’t go home required a fair amount of effort.

There was a shadow and the shadow could be a rupture and the rupture could in turn lead to internal bleeding. And if it started to bleed, it wouldn’t bleed just a bit — quite the opposite. If I went home and started to bleed, it was by no means certain that I’d get back to the hospital in time. The surgeon explained all this with some irritation in her voice, as if informing me of all this was a disruption to the whole medical system. She emphasised her main message once again. There was nothing to worry about. All I needed to do was lie still in a hospital bed and if I felt the slightest change, the slightest increase in discomfort in my stomach, I should press the alarm button.

And what would happen then? The same irritation. They would operate on me. The blood was ordered. The needles and tubes in my arms were there so the healthcare personnel could anaesthetise me quickly if they needed to. Essentially, I was just a piece of meat to be placed on an operating table. And by the way, I couldn’t eat or drink anything from now on, just in case I needed to be operated on immediately. If I got really thirsty I could moisten my lips with a damp cotton bud.

They moved me to a casualty department, put me in a bed and connected me up to a drip. Demonstrated how the alarm button worked. Connected me to a monitor to keep track of my pulse and blood oxygen level. I stared at the curves on the screen. “Rest”, said the nurses. “Don’t worry.”

So I lay still — actually I couldn’t do anything else since i was practically chained to the bed. They X-rayed me again. The battery in my phone ran out and there was no charger in the ward that fitted it. The world shrank. Every morning a surgeon came in and told me I was to stay another day.

Finally I was allowed to sit up and then to move around the room, still connected to my drip. After another couple of days they finally took the drip away and let me eat and drink again, and eventually I was allowed to go home — without anything actually having happened.

And then the muteness arrived. It stemmed from the fact that the medical system had given me the task of dealing with two completely irreconcilable descriptions of reality: You might die if you go home. There’s no reason for you to feel worried.

The scientific term for the condition that arises when somebody is forced to handle two irreconcilable insights is cognitive dissonance. It’s a state of mind characterised by surprise, fear, guilt and sometimes embarrassment. It’s not a nice position to find yourself in. The way out of it often consists of rationalising away one of the insights — the more uncomfortable one — or of suppressing it, or projecting it onto someone else.

In his book “Anthropocene”, environmental historian Sverker Sörlin describes our time in the following way: “It is both a success story and a period of breakdown”. If you could choose to be born at any time, but not choose where in the world or in the social pyramid, 2018 would be a good choice. Today, many people have a better time of it than ever before (in purely material terms). At the same time we are in a global ecological crisis without equivalent; a process that it’s expected will soon make large parts of the planet uninhabitable for humans.

This sounds so vast, so ridiculous, so incredible when you say it straight out. Incredible as in not credible. I instinctively want to soften and nuance what I’ve written. It hurts me to leave it unchanged. When I lay there in my hospital bed listening to the surgeon explaining the situation to me, I felt a sense of recognition. I recognised it from every conversation I’d had about global warming, about biological diversity, about the global nitrogen cycle.

The fact that development is moving forwards, that things are getting better, is a narrative that has its roots in the time of the Enlightenment; the time of the revolutions. Scientific, political and industrial; these three areas reinforce each other. This is where the thought is born that it’s possible to know and act better — that knowledge is cumulative. That there’s a line running from the past into the future, and that it’s possible to extrapolate. That progress gives birth to itself. This is a narrative that corresponds to our experience, which makes history understandable, which provides a framework for how we should act, which makes it possible to relate to the future.

Against this idea of progress there is a newly born insight that we are hollowing out the ground we stand on, that as a species we are destroying the foundation of our own existence. It’s common for anyone pointing this out to talk about progress as a construct; a narrative or a myth. This is very unfortunate. Concepts such as ‘myth’ or ‘narrative’ aren’t merely intellectual tools, they are also rhetoric, and rhetoric says that progress and development are an incorrect description of the world we live in. Progress or catastrophe. We instinctively want to reject one of these descriptions. The complication is exactly as Sörlin describes it: that our time is characterised by both success and breakdown, not that one of the descriptions is true and the other false.

It’s a terrifying balancing act. Anyone who takes the threat seriously is just as sensitive to dissonance as anyone who clings to progress. Neither wants to find themselves in the discomfort that dissonance leads to.

If there is an essentially different narrative, a framework that’s not about progress, it isn’t a doomsday narrative so much as a statement of our almost total dependence on our surroundings. We are part of an incredibly sensitive ecosystem and there’s no way to take ourselves out of this complex relationship of dependency. Since Descartes’ day, the idea of progress has been closely linked with the control of body and nature, of matter and energy. These are two narratives that don’t seem to be compatible. Reason says that one of these narratives must be false, that one of them must be discarded. The challenge lies in the fact that both of them can be true, but that our consciousness is not equipped to handle this. Evolution hasn’t prepared us for it.

So when the medical staff inserted needles into my arms, when they pushed me along on a stretcher to get a CT scan, I didn’t feel worried, despite my reason registering and assessing what was going on around me. Despite the fact that I understood what was going on. The experience of my body, the experience of my world, my experience of being me, came before all reasoned arguments. I didn’t feel I was in danger. I didn’t feel a level of pain that could justify the doctors’ actions. I didn’t experience any threat, despite my reason being able to draw the conclusion that there was a threat — I didn’t feel any worry. This was my internal dissonance, and I recognise it from so many conversations I’ve had about climate change. At lunch, on the commuter train… everywhere. When what I say can’t be reconciled with what the other person experiences.

The people I talk to aren’t idiots. On the contrary, they can keep two thoughts in their heads, they’re able to see that two courses of events can be parallel, that what creates prosperity also erodes what it’s based on. That situations can be ambiguous — alternately symbiotic and parasitic. And yet I can’t talk about this. The discomfort is too great.

There are people who choose the doomsday narrative because they feel it’s a more correct description of reality. The price they pay is to some extent no longer being able to take part in society. It’s impossible to be happy about your colleagues’ foreign holidays or consumption. You can no longer view increased growth as something desirable and natural. The things that form the foundation of your interaction with other people no longer function. For these people, playing along means a betrayal of themselves. But speaking up makes them so difficult that those around them can’t stand to have them near. There are also many people who wholeheartedly live the progress narrative, who reject every threatening signal or feel confident that every threat can be conquered, just like everything else that once stood in the way of progress. But the majority of us live with our heads down, trying to find a way to avoid the discomfort.

I was discharged with a list of instructions. Don’t do anything too strenuous. Avoid activities with a risk of falling or hitting your body. Don’t lift heavy weights. As if I would have tried. I could just about cope with dragging myself up the stairs to my bedroom.

At home I lay on the living room sofa and thought that it should be possible to use this insight, this bodily, contradictory experience. I was already familiar with the term cognitive dissonance, but the term had no concrete anchor for me. At the hospital, I was given exactly that: an anchor point.

I’m writing this a year later. I still have the notes and comments I wrote for this text; fossils from the period immediately after my hospital stay. I work with them. They act as a mirror in which my bodily experience meets my experience of the society I live in. Is it working? I don’t know. When I began to write this essay it was winter. An unusually late, cold and snowy winter, following a period with an unusually high amount of rain. Now, as I finish the text, an extreme heatwave has just finished. Around me people are talking worriedly about the heat, only to go back in the next instant to discussing their holiday plans and renovation projects. We move in and out of these two major narratives, but never stop in the place where they meet. We don’t stop in the dissonance.

Several years ago in his book “Collapse”, David Jonstad wrote that many of the people living through the fall of the Roman Empire never realised that the empire was collapsing. The process was too drawn out, and it consisted of such a vast number of movements forwards and backwards, like waves moving up and down a beach. But on a more basic level the experience of collapse was also in conflict with the foundation of the Roman view of the world — in Rome it simply wasn’t possible to imagine a world that wasn’t dominated by Rome. And that’s not so surprising, really. Rome was a victory machine, a wonder of infrastructure and military domination that lasted more than 700 years. Our cultural framework — our inheritance from the Enlightenment — is only half as old, but still dominates our thinking. Therese Uddenfeldt touches on the same subject in her book “The Free Lunch”, which has the wonderful subtitle “Or why it’s so difficult to understand that everything comes to an end”. Why is it so difficult to even imagine something can be different to what we’re used to?

The fact that we flee from dissonance means our experience of the world is truncated. Something significant is removed — stolen from us. We lose the ability to clearly see how the world is changing around us. Anyone who can’t take in both movements is unable to fully experience the current moment, and is instead relegated to a before and after. Instead of seeing how the perspectives are woven together we are thrown between them, back and forth. And then suddenly one of the perspectives cracks and it feels as if we’ve always lived in a single narrative. I can see that in myself, in what I perceive to be a before and after. I can feel it in my surroundings, how we unconsciously move around such a point; a point that we have perhaps already passed but not yet succeeded in capturing in the spotlight.

I lay in my hospital bed and was monitored by a system that had grown out of the idea of progress. Medical skills that would have once been considered magic were available to me, just ready to spring into action. And yet simultaneously the same system was undermining my living conditions, eroding them like acid rain or like a rising sea wears away the beach.

It’s taken a year to give birth to this text. A year in which I essentially haven’t talked to anyone about the environment, sustainability or ecology. A year in which the discomfort I experienced was so strong that I became paralysed and silent. This is an attempt to break that silence.

The experience of dissonance gives rise to feelings of helplessness and paralysis, but shying away from what we encounter in the dissonance between success and catastrophe also makes us helpless and paralysed. We lose our ability to see and think clearly. As a society, as individuals, in our most private spheres where we are naked and alone. In the moment, the difference is subtle, easy to miss — but in actual fact it’s enormous. It isn’t the news that you have a disease that kills you. It isn’t the news that you’re out of danger that saves you.

Written by: Jonatan Olofsgård

Translated by: Jane Davis

This is a translation of the original article for the web publication ‘Poros’. Poros is a Swedish online essay journal, launched in 2015.

https://www.porostidskrift.se/

Web site: https://www.porostidskrift.se #4 2018. Original post here.

Facts about the author

Jonatan Olofsgård (born 1983) lives in Skurup, near Malmö in southern Sweden. His writing is an exploration of the links between culture, nature and technology.

Press link for more: Medium.com

‘Vast Blind Spot’: IPCC Accused of Ignoring ‘Decades Long’ Fossil Fuel Misinformation Campaign on Climate #auspol #qldpol #nswpol #ClimateBreakdown #StopAdani #EndCoal #Insiders #QandA #Media

The United Nations (UN) climate science panel is being accused of ignoring research into fossil fuel-funded misinformation campaigns that have been key to holding back action on global warming.

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — an assessment of more than 6,000 research papers — found global warming caused largely by fossil fuel burning would have severe impacts even if limited to 1.5°C (2.7°F).

Described by the IPCC as “one of the most important climate change reports ever published,” the report is designed to inform policy makers and the public around the world.

But several researchers are angry the report did not take account of academic research into the “decades-long misinformation campaign” funded and promoted by fossil fuel interests and so-called “free market” conservative think tanks that has been a major brake on progress.

Several researchers say the lack of consideration of academic research into misinformation campaigns was a vital but missed opportunity to educate the public and policy makers. The groups that have colluded with the fossil fuel industry have been credited with pushing President Donald Trump to pledge to pull the U.S. from the UN‘s Paris Agreement.

A Vast Blind Spot

This is an important barrier to climate action, but it is never addressed,” said Professor Robert Brulle of Drexel University, who has published research on the funding and influence of climate science denial efforts.

A large existing literature on this was ignored by the IPCC,” he added.

The IPCC special report showed that keeping global warming to 1.5°C would require a rapid phase-out of fossil fuel use between now and the middle of the century.

As well as assessing the impacts of global warming at 1.5°C compared to 2°C (3.4°F) on people and the environment, the report’s chapter four detailed factors that influence policy makers and the public’s response to climate change.

Dr. Timmons Roberts of Brown University in Rhode Island was one of more than 50 contributors to the chapter.

He said the “highly organized misinformation campaign funded by the fossil fuel industry” was a “main factor driving inaction,” yet he said this was described as a “vast blind spot” in the report.

“It leaves readers and policy makers without tools to address the problem in the real world,” added Roberts.

Professor Justin Farrell of Yale University has published a detailed analysis of the work of a network of more than 150 organizations that form a “climate counter movement.” Farrell found those groups had been key to polarizing the public on climate change.

He said: “We cannot afford to stick our heads in the sand about the real reasons why climate change science is ignored and solutions are continually subverted.”

He said social science research had revealed “how and why climate science continues to be purposefully undermined at large scales by powerful industry and political actors.”

Farrell added: “The public — and the planet — deserve to hear this evidence and know the truth, and any report on climate change can and should integrate these well-researched facts.”

Funders of groups that have pushed misinformation on climate science and the impacts of policies to cut greenhouse gas emissions include petrochemical billionaires Charles and David Koch, energy companies including ExxonMobil and hedge fund billionaire and Donald Trump backer Robert Mercer. Many millions more have flowed through so-called “dark money” routes, including Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund.

Ignore at our Peril

Dr. John Cook of George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication said it was “impossible to understand and change public attitudes” on climate change without considering misinformation campaigns.

He said: “Social science research tells us that efforts to communicate the reality of human-caused global warming can be undone by misinformation — so we ignore climate science denial at our own peril.”

Professor Stephan Lewandowsky of the University of Bristol said it was crucial the public was aware about such campaigns “so they can dismiss the noise generated by contrarians for the propaganda that it is.”

Some research on the tendency for conservative white males to deny human-caused climate change, work led by Professor Riley Dunlap of Oklahoma State University, was cited in the IPCC report.

But Dunlap said there was a “large body of social science research” that had documented the misinformation campaign and its tactics and impacts.

He said: “The IPCC should take this accumulated body of knowledge into account and publicize it, thereby helping to pull back the curtain on the ‘denial machine’ so that the public can see through the misinformation it spreads.”

Difficult Circumstances

The report does reference some research into ways that action to cut emissions could be stymied. The report says “industry group lobbying, further contributed to reducing space for maneuver of some major emitting nations.”  People with a “free market ideology” also tended to have “weaker climate change beliefs,” the report says. People who perceived themselves to be “protected by god” were less prone to take measures to adapt to climate change.

People with “particular political views and those who emphasize individual autonomy” were prone to rejecting climate science or believing there was “widespread scientific disagreement about climate change.”

Professor Matthew Hornsey of the University of Queensland in Australia has also researched climate science denial and said he did not want to be critical of IPCC authors who were “doing a great job in difficult circumstances.”

But he said the report was “relatively silent on the role of political elites in supporting organized campaigns of misinformation about climate change.”

He said: “This is something that most neutral observers would agree is a big factor in stopping progress on climate change, particularly in Australia and the U.S.”

But I can also understand why the authors might want to steer clear of making any explosive statements around this. One of the great triumphs of the skeptic movement is that they’ve made it feel ‘political’ or ‘biased’ to talk frankly about political interference in Australia and the U.S.”

DeSmog contacted the two coordinating lead authors of chapter four of the IPCC report, but had not received a response at time of publishing.

Press link for more: Desmogblog.com

Is preventing #climatebreakdown compatible with #capitalism? #auspol #qldpol #nswpol #climatechange #StopAdani #EndCoal #Insiders #QandA @QandA @SydneyAzari @KateRaworth @scheerlinckeva

By

Julia Steinberger

Immigrant, Swiss-American ecological ecologist at the University of Leeds. Research focus on living well within planetary limits.

This is a key question, apparently, because, in some polite circles, preventing planetary-scale, irreversible harm to ecosystems and humans can only be justified if we promise not to change the economic system that this harm arose from in the first place.

Sydney Azari, an eco-socialist based in New York, as usual has the best pithy comment here:

Capitalism is a big word, and covers many different definitions.

Kate Raworth wisely refuses to be drawn into debates on that word, because of the toxic combination of strong feelings and vague meaning, of which she distinguishes three:

The third definition is the one that applies here, and we can sharpen it: our current capitalism is fossil-based, and fossil-fueled capitalism has made the companies that provide this fuel the most profitable in the history of humankind.

The fossil giants and their adjacent industries, such as automotive & aviation, represent our current capitalist system. Our infrastructure and cities are built for them, our markets function for them, our governments are in thrall to them.

Pushing fossil capitalism off the (emissions) cliff

Monday’s IPCC SR15 report, finally, clearly, shows that our emissions must go from 40-odd billion tonnes per year to zero within the next 20 years. Effectively, our emissions must fall off a cliff, and then keep falling.

That cliff is utterly incompatible with the continued existence of fossil industries and their adjacent friends.

Never mind the usual greenwash PR, of Shell calling for more trees the day after the IPCC report was released: what we really need, of course, are fewer Shells. None at all, zero, nada, zip, to be precise.

And the simple fact that preventing climate breakdown is incompatible with the very existence of fossil companies means that taking climate change seriously means bringing down fossil capitalism, with its inbuilt drivers of accumulation, domination, exploitation and destruction. This monster cannot be tamed or reformed: it must be destroyed, so that the rest of us and the ecosystems we depend upon can live.

Does this mean the end of all private enterprise and profit? Of course not. In fact, as multiple business sectors and organizations have realized, their futures align far better with sustainable pathways (i.e. non-Mad Max wasteland prospects). Predictably, their voices and positions have been drowned out by the vast sums of money and influence pushed by the oil, coal and gas barons. So ending fossil capitalism does not mean ending markets, private ownership or profit: however it does mean actively, consciously working to stop fossil companies cold.

New voices for clarity

Encouragingly, what used to be unspeakable (except by the fringe of usual Cassandras, those who see and speak only with principle, not worrying about their reputations in “polite” circles — I’m thinking of Kevin Anderson, Alice Larkin, Naomi Klein) is now finally said overtly: we need to do whatever it takes to stop fossil and adjacent industries, and thus bring emissions to zero.

Deep down, everyone who knew the reality of climate change also knew this, but they found it convenient to politely hide that reality: I call it “hiding behind the market.” It would work like this: we’d have a model of the energy system and monetary costs of carbon and various technologies (renewable, electric…).

Then to achieve a livable future, the model would have to crank up the carbon cost to a high level at a certain rate.

This would then make the fossil industries’ products unprofitable, and they would go gently into that good night where the most-profitable-ever-mega-giant corporations go when their balance sheets turn red. Ok, I wasn’t able to help myself from editorializing there, but you get my point: this idea of carefully balanced markets, where you can just gently dial up the price of carbon past the point where you’ve put Exxon-Mobil, BP, Shell, Gazprom, Saudi-Aramco & Co. completely out of business, without them noticing or intervening in any way, is laughable.

Markets only work like that in a nice model: in reality, the big bad (fossil) dogs do everything they can to keep the gentle fluffy (renewable and lower energy consumption) puppies out.

There is a name for that in political economy: vested interests.

There has been a sea change of late, and though it is late, it is welcome. Scientists and economic commentators are no longer quietly “hiding behind the market”, and just advocating for high carbon prices or taxes or trading schemes: they are connecting the dots to where those prices, taxes and trading schemes need to go to be effective, and talking openly about the power of vested interests. Just a few recent quotes show how the new awareness of our urgent reality has made this clarity possible:

“One such [effective] policy would be a carbon price starting around €30 per tonne of CO2, which would very likely render investments in coal-fired plants unprofitable. Zero-carbon mobility, such as electric cars, could then become an attractive option as consumers would expect an increasing carbon price, and the internal combustion engine would gradually be phased out.” — Ottmar Edenhofer & Johan Rockstrom in The Guardian.

“Even in the absence of a new body, they [international institutions] would be working together to face down the inevitable opposition to change from the fossil fuel lobby.” —Larry Elliot, Economics Editor for the Guardian

“I think we need to start a debate about who is going to pay for [the costs of climate change and carbon removal from the atmosphere], and whether it’s right for the fossil-fuel industry and its customers to be enjoying the benefits today and expecting the next generation to pay for cleaning it up.” —Myles Allen, Oxford University, in Nature.

This clarity makes it our mission and its challenges ever clearer and easier to grasp: our fight, our struggle, has to be to rapidly free our societies from the vested interests of fossil-fueled industries. But how can we do this?

Removing the dragon of fossil capital from our societies

There are many ways to act to remove fossil industries and their harmful influence from our midst. Moreover, actions to ban fossil fuels have pervasive and wide-ranging effects: they ripple out through societies, making the next steps of change ever more likely and swift. Working on divesting, i.e. removing investment revenues from fossil companies, is one of the best avenues for action.

The European Parliament, under the leadership of Molly Scott Cato (who was also on the BBC panel), has made great strides in this direction: a broad coalition now realizes that investing in fossil industries is both risky and harmful. Many pension funds and organizations (such as universities) have already successfully divested from fossil fuels, and their numbers keep on growing. As a further step, we need to compel our leaders and governments to end all funding and subsidies to fossil industries.

Another strong action to ban fossil fuels is to intervene physically, by stopping extractive industries at the locations of extraction or transport.

This is the mission of thee anti-fracking movement in the UK, anti-pipeline movements in Canada and the US and so on.

These are all direct actions we can take to stop the power of fossil industries, and through these actions we can rapidly render them toxic and nonviable.

But it will be a bitter and unfair fight, where the full force of capitalist power will on overt display, as in the extreme jail sentence harshly handed down to non-violent anti-fracking protestors in the UK just 2 weeks ago. And that’s why I believe it is helpful to use the C-word in describing what we are up against, because without seeing the fossil capital dragon for what it is, an immense, profitable, accumulating monster, with tentacles in every corner of our governments and planet, we will not be ready for the fight ahead, and might too easily become discouraged.

If we have a realistic view of the fight for our future, we will learn from past efforts, anticipate the vicious actions of the fossil lobby, and keep each others spirits up, because the stakes here are far too high for failure to be an option.

Press link for more: Medium.com

IPCC forecasts babies born today will be 22 when warming hits 1.5C. What will life be like? #auspol #qldpol #nswpol #WentworthVotes #ClimateChange #StopAdani #EndCoal #Insiders

Science News – ABC News

Meet Casey X. She was born in Alice Springs Hospital on October 13, 2018.

She came into the world screaming, before projectile-vomiting over the hospital floor and falling asleep.

Today — October 13, 2040 — she’s 22, and still lives in Alice Springs. But she’s been thinking more and more about leaving.

Extreme hot days in Alice Springs hit 48 degrees Celsius — nearly 3C hotter than on her first birthday. And heatwaves last much longer.

In the year she was born, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted that by today, the world would be 1.5C* warmer than it was before the industrial revolution.

Which didn’t sound like much, except that was a global average. 

It didn’t capture the extremes in places like Alice Springs.

To save on power, she only cranks her aircon when it gets over 35C. But she’s still got it running more than 110 days a year — about 20 more than she would have in the decade she was born.

In Australia’s five largest cities, 475 people die from heat-related deaths each year — more than double the year she was born.

When she flicks over to the weather from reruns of Spicks and Specks, there are fewer regional towns on the map than she remembers.

Australia has a new hottest temperature record: 53C at Marble Bar.

Alice Springs is in the middle of a heatwave.

Keeping things alive in the garden at these temperatures is next to impossible. Plants are pushed beyond their thresholds and die from heat shock. The animals that eat them go soon after.

She was 14 the last time the Todd River flowed. But when it did it was a raging torrent.

Apparently that’s a thing. Hot air can hold more moisture. So it takes longer for it to get saturated enough to rain. But when it does …

Mostly though, it’s just dry. Alice was already hot and dry, so it doesn’t really have anywhere to go but hotter and drier.

Cotton crops along the Murray-Darling in southern Queensland and New South Wales aren’t planted when there’s long drought. And the wheat belt suffers.

Russia’s wheat industry is going gangbusters though. Good for them.

Harder growing conditions and lower productivity in Australia means Casey is paying a premium for a beer and a loaf of bread in bad years.

Her one true love, coffee, is also getting expensive.

And most of the smaller cropping fruits and vegetables she buys from the supermarket, like tomatoes and lettuce, are grown in temperature-controlled greenhouses.

Planning an escape

Casey loves the NT, but it’s getting harder to live here.

She could move to Tasmania with everyone else — but it’s cold. It still snows in Hobart, and in Victoria and New South Wales.

When there’s a cold snap or a big dump of snow, commentators point to it as proof that climate change has been exaggerated.

The ski fields still have good and bad years.

Perth is tempting. It has about 36 days above 35C each year. Adelaide has about 26.

Sydney only has about 5 days above 35C, but its heatwaves are bad. The record in Penrith is just under 50C.

Moving to Darwin is out of the question. So is north Queensland. It’s too hot and there are no jobs in hospitality. Tourism is suffering along with the reef.

Most of the reef is dead or dying in the north. Some of the hardier coral species have survived, but the diversity and colour are gone and no-one wants to snorkel in algae.

There are still some OK patches of reef further south, but if warming goes up to 2C, scientists say it’s all going to go.

To escape the heat, moving to south-east Queensland seems like her best option.

It’s a choice between the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, but deadly Irukandji jellyfish are showing up more often in the summer on the Sunshine Coast.

Experts are still arguing over whether that’s the new norm or just a bad run.

The Gold Coast it is.

Life’s not a beach

Being close to the ocean is cooler, and there’s really cheap real estate right on the water.

But not everything’s peachy on the Gold Coast either.

Like many towns all around Australia’s coastline, low-lying Gold Coast houses are already being swamped during high-tide storm surges.

If warming gets to 2C, sea levels will be up to 87cm higher than they were when she was born.

So she’ll stick to renting. Yeah, the real estate’s cheap — but house insurance isn’t.

Noosa copped the brunt of a category three cyclone a few years ago.

A big storm surge on the Gold Coast, with sea levels already getting higher, would swamp thousands of houses.

The house she checks out on the beach in Burleigh Heads is next door to a fish and chips shop.

On the menu there’s a bunch of farmed fish like barramundi but no reef fish.

There’s not really any commercial reef fishing anymore. Most of the fish have gone with the coral.

But on the news they’re saying that more tropical fish are showing up as far south as Victoria.

What’s another half a degree?

Most of the changes that have happened in Casey’s lifetime haven’t affected her too much. Definitely not as much as some other people. 

People on islands in the South Pacific have had it pretty bad.

But she fears what will happen if the predictions about 2C play out.

The Arctic nearly had its first ice-free summer recently. If the world hits 2C of warming, that’s supposed to happen around once every 10 years.

And people are starting to worry about refugees. At 2C they say there’ll be 10 million more people affected by sea level rise.

On Casey’s television, a scientist and a politician are arguing. Just about everything gets worse at 2C, according to the scientist.

It’ll be about 2C hotter on the hot days than it already is, he says, and each year twice as many people will die from heat stress in Australia’s capital cities

She’s glad she left Alice Springs.

The scientist says they’ve starting getting malaria cases in Cairns, and someone had dengue in Townsville.

And under 2C, even the reefs in the south will go, he says.

But the politician says he’s an alarmist.

“It’s only half a degree. How bad can it get?”

_____________

This story is a hypothetical scenario, based on data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report: Global Warming of 1.5°C, an IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty, released on October 8, 2018, Incheon, Korea.

*The IPCC forecasts that warming is likely to reach 1.5C above pre-industrial levels between 2030 and 2052 if it continues at the current trajectory.

Extreme hot days in mid-latitudes are projected to warm by up to 3C at global warming of 1.5C and about 4C at 2C.

Sea levels are projected to rise by between 26-77cm by 2100 for 1.5C warming, and an extra 10cm for 2C warming. Sea level is projected to continue to rise beyond 2100, even if warming is stabilised at 1.5C.

**51cm is the mean of the high and low forecasts for sea level rise in 2100 under 1.5C warming.

Heat wave data comes from the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF).

Additional information is taken from interviews with Professor David Ellsworth (UWS), Professor David Tissue (UWS), Dr Jatin Kala (Murdoch), Richard Kidd (AMA) and an IPCC briefing with Professor Ove Hoegh Guldberg (UQ), Professor Peter Newman (Curtin), Professor Mark Howden (ANU), Associate Professor Bronwyn Hayward (Canterbury), and information from the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) website.

Flood mapping from Coastal Risk 2100 is based on the year 2100 and a high tide sea level increase of 0.74m.

Want more science from across the ABC? 

Press link for more: ABC News

There are more ways to fight #climatechange than giving up meat #auspol #qldpol #nswpol #StopAdani #EndCoal #WentworthVotes

There are more ways to fight climate change than giving up meat

By Eve Andrewson Oct 10, 2018

The Cairns Post 12 October

On Monday morning in Seoul, South Korea, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a veritable bombshell report that essentially translated to: “If we don’t drastically reduce carbon emissions (like, net-zero carbon emissions by 2040) the world as we know it is doomed. And we are quite sure of that!”

Perhaps you read the report. Much more likely, you read an article about it and then felt very down for the rest of the day.

To call the latest IPCC missive a “wake up call” is pure understatement. It’s roughly equivalent to your alarm clock going off a week late, with you having been asleep the whole time, so you’re about to lose your job. Also, your feet have fallen off. Stressful!

To say the least, you are likely feeling extremely unprepared for the challenge that’s just been presented to you. Perhaps you’re depressed because you haven’t been paying enough attention to this “environmental issue” of climate change.

If you have been paying attention to “human issues,” however, congrats! In effect, you have been working to mitigate the effects of global warming.

The danger of climate change is really that it will make human life much more challenging. We, as humans, have built up lots of really fiddly systems to make our complex modern lives work. Problem is: They’re rather precarious and can fall apart in the face of a few extra feet of water and a few extra degrees Fahrenheit. If your life, for example, already doesn’t work so well in these structures — say, if you’re a migrant worker, or live in an impoverished part of the Gulf Coast — it will probably function less well as those constructs crumble.

There’s an entire section of the 700-page IPCC report that deals with persistent societal issues, and I will forgive you if you don’t read it. But here’s a representative excerpt: “The [Fifth Assessment Report] concluded, with very high confidence, that climate change and climate variability worsen existing poverty and exacerbate inequalities, especially for those disadvantaged by gender, age, race, class, caste, indigeneity, and (dis)ability,” the report reads. “Identifying and addressing poverty and inequality is at the core of staying within a safe and just space for humanity.”

Allow me to translate (once again): Climate change will be worse for people who are poor, or not white, or not men, or very young, or very old — or any combination of the above. So if you, in your daily life, are doing anything to make life easier for any of those groups, you are helping to fight the devastating impacts of climate change.

Say you’re an escort at an abortion clinic. You’re an after-school tutor for public school students. You’re organizing to raise the local minimum wage. You’re spending your weekends campaigning for a politician who’s concerned with improving access to health care in your town, state, or country. You’re working on a ballot initiative to better fund homeless services in your city. You’re writing checks to a law firm that’s defending the wrongfully deported. You’re telling your mom why it’s kind of a dog whistle, actually, to keep bringing up “black on black crime.”

Making climate change easier on everyone is not just about not eating meat and taking the bus (although it does, unfortunately, include those things.) It’s taking all the billions of steps necessary to make our fiddly, complex, precarious, incredibly mundane systems — our health care, our schools, our taxes, our housing — fairer for everyone.

Oh, you’re doing that? OK. Do it a little bit more. And also stop driving. And vote. 🙂

Press link for more: Grist

The Liberal National Party in Australia are out of touch with their electorates. #auspol #qldpol #nswpol #WentworthVotes #StopAdani #EndCoal #TheDrum #QandA @abcnews @TheCairnsPost #ClimateChange

The Liberal National Party are really out of touch with the Australian people.

Warren Entsch Member for Leichhardt

A speech The LNP Member for Leichhardt gave on the 18th of June 2018.

MR ENTSCH: (Leichhardt) (11:32): There’s no doubt about it; the Great Barrier Reef is the greatest living natural wonder on our planet, and I’m fortunate enough to represent a very large portion of that natural wonder, a very significant amount of which the previous speaker was talking about in relation to the impacts of bleaching.

Rather than just having read some of the stuff that you see being released by the nay-sayers, 

I actually have a lot of experience on the ground. 

A lot of my businesses are heavily reliant on the health of the Barrier Reef. 

It doesn’t do anybody any favours, neither us as managers nor businesses that rely on it, when you get this nonsense that’s being continually perpetuated by groups that are out there pushing their own agendas. 

They’re creating very, very colourful videos about the fact that the reef is dying, when nothing could be further from the truth. 

FACT CHECK

Warren Entsch: But they’re doing it, playing to their own audiences. 

I tell you now, they would never, ever play those videos up in my electorate, because we know the facts.

FACT CHECK

Films like “Chasing Coral” are shown regularly in Cairns and are always well attended

I invite Warren Entsch to attend the next screening on the 24th of October.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1859969070762539/?ti=ia

You’ve got the likes of the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Wilderness Society, the WWF and others pushing these things. 

The whole thing looks more like a fundraising campaign, because they’re playing to very gullible audiences in metropolitan areas, most of whom have never, ever seen and do not understand the facts relating to the reef. 

But they do it as a very effective fundraiser, as they race out there with their underpants on the outside and capes on, saying, ‘We’re going to save the reef.’ 

The reef does not require saving. 

FACT CHECK

It requires very good management. 

We are seen already as the best reef managers in the world, and it’s important that we continue to be the best reef managers in the world. 

I say that because I have a real strong interest in the reef, as does my electorate. 

More than 64,000 jobs and about $6.4 billion of our economy—a very significant part of our economy—are reliant on a healthy reef. 

It’s the biggest economic driver in my electorate; it’s one of the biggest employers in my electorate.

I have to say I get very, very angry when I see these groups out there constantly talking the reef down. 

They can be talking about the challenges that we have, certainly.

We talk about coral bleaching—it’s not something we do here in Australia that causes the coral bleaching.

It comes from hot currents that come across the waters from South America.

FACT CHECK

Coal is projected to emerge as Australia’s largest export earner, generating $58.1 billion for the 2018-19 financial year.

It has been forecast to overtake iron ore, which has been estimated to register $57.7 billion in 2018-19.

Coal is expected to hit its highest annual level ever in 2017-18, where it is forecast to take home an earning of $60.2 billion, made up of $37.5 billion (or 182 million tonnes) worth of metallurgical coal, and $22.7 billion (or 200.5Mt) worth of thermal coal..

Australia exports coal to the world.

Coal burning anywhere causes global warming everywhere.

It’s what happens in China, in India, in the US, in the Northern Hemisphere, that impacts on that. 

We should be making noises about it, but we’re doing a hell of a lot of good work here in Australia mitigating those challenges. 

We’re not able to stop it, until they start dealing with climate change issues in the Northern Hemisphere, where our large polluters are, but we certainly can help to manage it and show others. 

We’re doing that by getting heat-resistant corals. 

This is some of the work that’s been done from the $444 billion—close to half a billion—that’s been recently announced.

I also noticed that there was some criticism regarding the Great Barrier Reef Foundation. 

The foundation is a very credible organisation. 

It’s highly respected and has had an outstanding history in relation to the handling of government funds. 

It’s not going to be spending the $444 million; that money will be disbursed out to those wonderful people that are doing the crown-of-thorns starfish work and a whole range of other credible organisations. 

The foundation is basically just holding that money and dispensing it out to others, and it’s certainly more capable to do that than most. 

It’s very unfair and unreasonable that it should be criticised—it’s a highly reputable not-for-profit organisation.

I think it makes a lot of sense that it’s able to do that.

I just want to say again that we have to be very, very careful when criticising. 

Every time we start criticising, we’re talking it down, and we are then allowing others to make assumptions that what is being published is true; it is not. 

We are great reef managers. 

People come looking to us for advice from around the world. 

A lot of the campaigns out there against the reef are actually campaigns against fossil fuel, and they see the reef as collateral damage.

I applaud the work that we’ve done, and let’s continue to make sure that we do so.

Press link for more: Warren Entsch

Local tourism operators see the reef every day they see the coral bleaching every day.

This is an article that was in today’s Cairns Post.

Laura Pritchard is 2017 Cairns Business Club Small Business woman of the year.

150 Tourism Operators in Cairns have signed the Australian Maritime Conservation Society’s Reef Climate Declaration calling on the Federal Government to rapidly phase out mining and burning coal and other fossil fuels.

The Liberal National Party claim they represent small business.

In fact they represent big business