by Mike Meyer
I’ve rewritten this twice and then two other times in different forms. No matter how I write it to be positive or, at least, to not make matters worse, it just doesn’t work. We are just so royally fucked that it is impossible for me to say anything that doesn’t turn into a rant or a eulogy.
So, I’m just going to lay this out right here. If you have seen the newest IPCC report you know that whatever future you thought you had is gone, gone, gone. With major changes starting right now such as an immediate planet wide program for elimination of fossil fuels we may be able to stretch 1.5 degrees of warming to 2050 or even hold to that. But that is only a hope now. Without action we will hit 1.5 in the net fifteen to twenty years and blow right past that to the really ugly future of 2.0 degrees of warming.
The first point is that, right now, we have another major hurricane coming to the Florida coast (the largest in history to hit Florida) and points north. It appears it will bring 10–12 foot storm surge. So far nearly 400,000 people have been evacuated. This is now normal and we are only at 1 degree of warming since 1850. Adding another .5 degree in the next 12–20 years will do what? Adding another degree after that is hard to imagine.
No need to wonder. We know already what the range of changes are going to be. This is not a question. Here are some simple graphics that give you an idea of the range of changes we face. And here is a more detailed overview of what this report means. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report.
This is, of course, the gold standard of climate science. This is an incredibly careful analysis and set of projections based on consensus. If this errs in anyway it is too conservative. That is understood by anyone familiar with the science we are using.
The key thing to remember in this report is that it is still possible to hold global warming to 1.5 degrees. It is still possible. It can be done.
The next thing to remember is that 1.5 degrees of warming is much, much easier to adapt to than 2.0 degrees.
And if we blow past 1.5 and hit 2.0 we can come back down with a range of possible temperature reduction techniques, climate engineering will be required, after we have completely eliminated fossil fuels and everything that puts more carbon in the atmosphere. These techniques are expensive and technically sophisticated so we don’t know quite how to do them yet but we understand what we need to do to get there.
The Real Point
The real point is related to both climate change and to the paradigmatic changes that we have been accelerating geometrically for about 20 years. If you are familiar with my writings you know that I have been dealing with various elements of this for several years. For those interested here are some relevant links:
How do we get from here to where we need to have been 25 years ago? OK, that is not possible. In many ways, before Monday and this report, the feeling was that much progress was starting to be made. We have a growing percentage of electric cars and the promise, soon, of electric trucks from Tesla. There is fairly quick plans for electric drones replacing cars or shared rides. We have Uber and Lyft that are still crippled environmentally with fossil fuel cars but will will soon, maybe three years, be electric and self driving making them much more effective. Coal is being phased out in many countries and sustainability is being taught in most universities.
On the down side we have gibbering idiots such as Trump and his cohort of neofascist criminals controlling the federal government. We have similar neofascists in Brazil, Poland, Turkey, and Russia. These people lead minorities of angry, usually ignorant, people who have been taught to deny science and all knowledge so that they can be manipulated for very short term theft and destruction. We also have major powers, soon to be the lead nation, China that is committed to leading in climate changes limitations but who have refused to hold to the 1.5 degree target from the Paris accords. Canada that talks with a forked tongue advocating the Paris limitations but supporting shale oil and transCanada pipelines. Obviously a thinly disguised attempt to have their cake and eat it too.
It costs too much, they say, and we can’t afford the kind of carbon taxes that must be put in place to hold, we now know, to 1.5 in just ten years. Why can’t we? Who will suffer? But this is no longer a case of some suffering while others slide by. The question is exactly how much we all will suffer. In the worst cases by the 2030s millions will be suffering seriously while all feel the bite of climate change to some extent.
How do we move past, around, or through these groups to quickly redesign regional administration that are by definition components in a planetary alliance. And that planetary alliance needs to define and coordinate a consist immediate transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy source. Is that possible?
The technology to hold our temperature to a 1.5 degree increase is available as stated above. The means of making people use these techniques consistently, planet wide is not.
The problem governments laugh at the UN. In any case the UN has always been toothless with low grade peace keeping forces as it’s sharpest edged weapon. This will need a planetary carbon tax on all. How do we do that?
I will only suggest things for thought here. Maybe everyone can have a summit and agree to planetary carbon tax implemented over the next ten years with as twenty year target for fossil fuel elimination. What do you think. No? What would it take to do that?
- We need to make the consensus scientific standard on climate the rule of law in every country. The limit may be annual updates and deadline of 20 years for this law to disappear and/or be replaced so it does not become an unquestioned right to power.
- National leaders or potential leaders need to formally agree to the scientific climate standard and the commitment to do what is needed to hold to 1.5 degrees of warming, or 1.75, or 2.0. But with a clear and public list of the price that will be paid for each of these and the price to be paid in lives and human suffering if it is missed.
- I don’t know how else to do this but to make speech that denies the global scientific climate standards illegal. Maybe this has a drop dead date also but it will need to hold for the first 20 years.
- I don’t think we can use existing governments to educate the population or to be able to hold elections for agreement. There needs to be a direct, electronic vote by all the planet’s population on implementation of the something like the above list with drop dead dates. These can also include the unlikely event of an immediate solution that becomes available. If the target is met then the system ends.
In summary note that I am suggesting international laws that limit both speech and independence by national groups. This is mitigated by making it a times emergency with a termination of the law at the point that the agreed goal, 1.5 degree of stability is achieved or twenty years whichever comes first.
This is the best that I can think of to provide immediate action with a mitigating termination point. With a neofascist government in Washington DC this will need to be dealt with. The Trump regime will need to be removed because those people are both unable to understand what is happening and probably happy that millions will die as they assume they will be mostly people of color. Here is an excellent but very depressing analysis of this as a goal for the neofascists.
But if we can’t do it, our children, grandchildren, my great grandchildren may well die after a miserable life because of us. We now know we have ten years to get to a stable temperature rise. That’s all. This is reality and not political bullshit. The time has come today.