Tuesday, April 13, 2021
News for workers, rebels and the disenfranchised

‘Collapse of civilisation is the most likely outcome’: top climate scientists

The world’s most eminent climate scientists and biologists believe we’re headed for the collapse of civilisation, and it may already be too late to change course.

Australia’s top climate scientist says “we are already deep into the trajectory towards collapse” of civilisation, which may now be inevitable because 9 of the 15 known global climate tipping points that regulate the state of the planet have been activated.

Australian National University emeritus professor Will Steffen (pictured) told Voice of Action that there was already a chance we have triggered a “global tipping cascade” that would take us to a less habitable “Hothouse Earth” climate, regardless of whether we reduced emissions.

Steffen says it would take 30 years at best (more likely 40-60 years) to transition to net zero emissions, but when it comes to tipping points such as Arctic sea ice we could have already run out of time.

Evidence shows we will also lose control of the tipping points for the Amazon rainforest, the West Antarctic ice sheet, and the Greenland ice sheet in much less time than it’s going to take us to get to net zero emissions, Steffen says.

“Given the momentum in both the Earth and human systems, and the growing difference between the ‘reaction time’ needed to steer humanity towards a more sustainable future, and the ‘intervention time’ left to avert a range of catastrophes in both the physical climate system (e.g., melting of Arctic sea ice) and the biosphere (e.g., loss of the Great Barrier Reef), we are already deep into the trajectory towards collapse,” said Steffen.

“That is, the intervention time we have left has, in many cases, shrunk to levels that are shorter than the time it would take to transition to a more sustainable system.

“The fact that many of the features of the Earth System that are being damaged or lost constitute ‘tipping points’ that could well link to form a ‘tipping cascade’ raises the ultimate question: Have we already lost control of the system? Is collapse now inevitable?”

This is not a unique view – leading Stanford University biologists, who were first to reveal that we are already experiencing the sixth mass extinction on Earth, released new research this week showing species extinctions are accelerating in an unprecedented manner, which may be a tipping point for the collapse of human civilisation.

Also in the past week research emerged showing the world’s major food baskets will experience more extreme droughts than previously forecast, with southern Australia among the worst hit globally.

Steffen used the metaphor of the Titanic in one of his recent talks to describe how we may cross tipping points faster than the time it would take us to react to get our impact on the climate under control.

“If the Titanic realises that it’s in trouble and it has about 5km that it needs to slow and steer the ship, but it’s only 3km away from the iceberg, it’s already doomed,” he said.

‘This is an existential threat to civilization’

Steffen, along with some of the world’s most eminent climate scientists, laid out our predicament in the starkest possible terms in a piece for the journal Nature at the end of last year.

They found that 9 of the 15 known Earth tipping elements that regulate the state of the planet had been activated, and there was now scientific support for declaring a state of planetary emergency. These tipping points can trigger abrupt carbon release back into the atmosphere, such as the release of carbon dioxide and methane caused by the irreversible thawing of the Arctic permafrost.

9 of 15 known Earth tipping points have been activated

“If damaging tipping cascades can occur and a global tipping point cannot be ruled out, then this is an existential threat to civilization,” they wrote.

“No amount of economic cost–benefit analysis is going to help us. We need to change our approach to the climate problem.

“The evidence from tipping points alone suggests that we are in a state of planetary emergency: both the risk and urgency of the situation are acute.”

Steffen is also the lead author of the heavily cited 2018 paper, Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene, where he found that “even if the Paris Accord target of a 1.5°C to 2°C rise in temperature is met, we cannot exclude the risk that a cascade of feedbacks could push the Earth System irreversibly onto a ‘Hothouse Earth’ pathway.”

Steffen is a global authority on the subject of tipping points, which are prone to sudden shifts if they get pushed hard enough by a changing climate, and could take the trajectory of the system out of human control. Further warming would become self-sustaining due to system feedbacks and their mutual interaction.

Steffen describes it like a row of dominos and his concern is we are already at the point of no return, knocking over the first couple of dominos which could lead to a cascade knocking over the whole row.

“Some of these we think are vulnerable in the temperature range we’re entering into now,” said Steffen.

“If we get those starting to tip we could get the whole row of dominos tipping and take us to a much hotter climate even if we get our emissions down.”

Even the notoriously conservative United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has found that already with the 1.1°C of warming we have had to date, there was a moderate risk of tipping some of these – and the risk increased as the temperatures increased.

Steffen believes we are committed to at least a 1.5°C temperature rise given the momentum in the economic and climate system, but we still have a shot at staying under 2°C with urgent action.

+4°C world would support < 1 billion people

Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director emeritus and founder of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, believes if we go much above 2°C we will quickly get to 4°C anyway because of the tipping points and feedbacks, which would spell the end of human civilisation.

“There is a very big risk that we will just end our civilisation”: Professor Schellnhuber

Johan Rockström, the head of one of Europe’s leading research institutes, warned in 2019 that in a 4°C-warmer world it would be “difficult to see how we could accommodate a billion people or even half of that … There will be a rich minority of people who survive with modern lifestyles, no doubt, but it will be a turbulent, conflict-ridden world”.

Schellnhuber, one of the world’s leading authorities on climate change, said that if we continue down the present path “there is a very big risk that we will just end our civilisation. The human species will survive somehow but we will destroy almost everything we have built up over the last two thousand years.”

Schellnhuber said in a recent interview that the IPCC report stating we could stay below 1.5°C of warming was “slightly dishonest” because it relies on immense negative emissions (pulling CO2 out of the air) which was not viable at global scale. He said 1.5°C was no longer achievable but it was still possible to stay under 2°C with massive changes to society.

If we don’t bend the emissions curve down substantially before 2030 then keeping temperatures under 2°C becomes unavoidable. The “carbon law” published in the journal Science in 2017 found that, to hold warming below 2°C, emissions would need to be cut in half between 2020 and 2030.

Steffen told Voice of Action that the three main challenges to humanity – climate change, the degradation of the biosphere and the growing inequalities between and among countries – were “just different facets of the same fundamental problem”.

This problem was the “neoliberal economic system” that spread across the world through globalisation, underpinning “high production high consumption lifestyles” and a “religion built not around eternal life but around eternal growth”.

“It is becoming abundantly clear that (i) this system is incompatible with a well-functioning Earth System at the planetary level; (ii) this system is eroding human- and societal-well being, even in the wealthiest countries, and (iii) collapse is the most likely outcome of the present trajectory of the current system, as prophetically modelled in 1972 in the Limits to Growth work,” Steffen told Voice of Action.

Eternal growth is not possible

The Limits to Growth model released by the Club of Rome in 1972 looked at the interplay between food production, industry, population, non-renewable resources and pollution.

The basic findings were that you can’t grow the system indefinitely as you will cause environmental and resource issues that will ultimately cause the whole global system to collapse (ABC’s This Day Tonight program covered it here). At the time of the model’s release it accurately reproduced the historical data from 1900 to 1970.

A 2008 study by Graham Turner, then a senior CSIRO research scientist, used three decades of real-world historical data to conclude that the Limits to Growth model’s predictions were coming to pass: “30 years of historical data compare favourably with key features of a business-as-usual [BAU] scenario called the ‘standard run’ scenario, which results in collapse of the global system midway through the 21st century.”

Former CSIRO scientist Graham Turner has been warning about collapse for decades

Turner ran updated figures through the model again in 2012 for another peer-reviewed paper, and again in 2014 when he had joined the University of Melbourne’s Sustainable Society Institute.

“Data from the forty years or so since the LTG study was completed indicates that the world is closely tracking the BAU scenario,” Turner concluded in the 2014 paper.

“It is notable that there does not appear to be other economy-environment models that have demonstrated such comprehensive and long-term data agreement.”

Turner semi-retired in 2015 but runs a small organic market garden on a rural property in the NSW south coast’s Bega Valley.

He and his wife grow most of their own food and live off grid powered by a solar energy system. Turner said this saved him during last summer’s catastrophic bushfires as his power stayed online but most people in the area lost power for weeks.

Turner has continued tracking the data as best as possible since his last official report in 2014, and last year he helped a Harvard masters student update the data for their thesis.

Turner told Voice of Action that under his modelling the business as usual scenario “ends up resulting in a global collapse from about now through the next decade or so”.

It was difficult to predict a timeline but Turner said he believed “there’s an extremely strong case that we may be in the early stages of a collapse right at the moment”.

“Vested interests and corrupt politicians combined with a population happy to deny problems overwhelm those that are trying to promulgate truth and facts,” said Turner.

Fossil fuel emissions continue to rise

‘By 2030 we’ll know what path we’ve taken’

Steffen told Voice of Action that it’s “highly likely that by 2030 we’ll know what pathway we’ve taken”, “the pathway towards sustainability or the current pathway towards likely collapse”.

“I think the ‘fork in the road’ will come in this decade, probably not a single point in time but as a series of events,” said Steffen.

Steffen told Voice of Action he believes collapse “will likely not come as a dramatic global collapse, but rather as overall deterioration in many features of life, with regional collapses occurring here and there”.

“For example, it appears that the USA is entering a long period of decline in many aspect of its society, with a potential for a more rapid collapse in the coming decade,” said Steffen.

Samuel Alexander, a lecturer with the University of Melbourne and research fellow at the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, told Voice of Action that the coming collapse would not be a single black or white event.

“With respect to civilisations, what is more likely is that we have entered a stage of what JM Greer calls ‘catabolic collapse’ – where we face decades of ongoing crises, as the existing mode of civilisation deteriorates, but then recovers as governments and civil society tries to respond, and fix things, and keep things going for a bit longer,” said Alexander.

“Capitalism is quite good at dodging bullets and escaping temporary challenges to its legitimacy and viability. But its condition, I feel is terminal.”

Alexander, who studies the economic, political and cultural challenges of living on a full planet in an age of limits, believes the future will be “post-growth / post capitalist / post-industrial in some form”.

“The future will like arrive in part by design and in part by disaster. Our challenge is to try to constitute the future through planning and community action, not have the future constitute us,” said Alexander.

Alexander said that it would never be “too late” to act sensibly as whether we’re trying to avoid or manage collapse there is lots of work to be done (“a 3 degree future is better than a 4 degree future”).

Steffen believes the current US mass uprisings are not a sign of collapse but one of “growing instability”.

Alexander said it was a sign of “steam building up within a closed system”. Without bold grassroots and political action we were “likely to see explosions of civil unrest increasingly as things continue to deteriorate”.

“As economies deteriorate and as inequalities deepen, more people get disenfranchised, incentivising resistance and sadly sometimes making people look for scapegoats to blame for new or intensifying hardships (e.g. the so-called alt-right),” said Alexander.

If we don’t stabilise the climate we will fall into an irreversible Hothouse Earth scenario

Funding dried up after inconvenient truths

When Turner joined CSIRO in the early 2000s the organisation was working on the Australian Stocks and Flows Framework – a model of the economy using physical things rather than dollars.

The work was funded by the Department of Immigration but Turner says the reports – the last of which was done in 2010 – were buried because the conclusions did not support high population growth.

The research found the economic benefits in terms of wealth per person would be outweighed by social ills including the impact on quality of life and the environment from resource use and pollution. The reports warned there would be nil net flow to the Darling River, loss of habitat and animal and plant species, traffic congestion, city water deficits and reduced biodiversity due to polluted creeks.

Turner’s findings went against the neoliberal orthodoxies as they challenged the notion of infinite growth on a finite planet. He said he and others pursuing similar research in “stocks and flows” models of the economy “found it harder and harder to get work funded”.

It is no wonder then that the latest Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration report found “there is no literature that synthesises the large scale impacts that climate change could have on Australia’s economy, and no reliable snapshot of Australia’s economic vulnerability to future climate warming in a regional and global context”.

Steffen said he hadn’t received any political pressure over his work “but I probably haven’t attacked the growth/capitalism paradigm as directly as Graham [Turner] has”. He says he has not hesitated to note the incompatibility of the neoliberal economic system with a stable Earth system in his talks.

“It seems obvious that very fundamental changes are required, all the way down to core values – what do we really value in life?,” said Steffen.

Turner said the “absolutely immense changes” required to deliver a sustainable future were just “too hard for the vast majority of people to contemplate”.

“You’d have to halve the birth rate, you’d have to have net zero immigration, you’d have to go totally renewable energy and double efficiencies in every sector of the economy, and the really key thing is you’d have to reduce the working week over time so that it would become half of what it is,” said Turner.

“But that would also mean that people wouldn’t have the same level of income and it goes hand in hand with reducing household consumption by half. And unless you do all of those things, you don’t achieve a steady state, sustainable future, and if you leave some things out you’ve got to go even harder at the others.”

Turner believes it would be possible to provide for everyone’s needs in a sustainable way but we would have to live a 1950s or 1960s-style lifestyle with limits such as one car and TV per household. We wouldn’t be living in caves and we’d still have technology but the rate of change would be a lot slower.

“I think if we all manage to live a simpler and arguably more fulfilling life then it would be possible still with some technological advances to have a sustainable future, but it would seem that it’s more likely … that we are headed towards or perhaps on the cusp of a sort of global collapse,” Turner told Voice of Action.

Turner said he fears that the public at large won’t take the problem seriously enough and demand change until they’re “actually losing their jobs or losing their life or seeing their children directly suffer”.

‘Potentially infinite costs of climate change’

The political discourse is about getting back to growth, supported by taxpayer-subsidised fossil fuels, but evidence shows that even if the government was committed to renewable energy, “green growth” is just not possible at a global scale.

A 2019 IMF Working Paper notes a growing agreement between economists and scientists “that risk of catastrophic and irreversible disaster is rising, implying potentially infinite costs of unmitigated climate change, including, in the extreme, human extinction”.

Slide from Steffen’s recent presentation showed the temperature anomaly over 2000 years

The Australian-based Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration has spent years publishing reports warning that the science shows we are headed for civilisational collapse. They stress there is no further carbon budget today for a realistic chance of staying below 2°C, so there can be no further fossil fuel expansion.

The Breakthrough reports have been critical of the scientific community – including the IPCC – for underplaying the full risks of climate change particularly the tipping points and existential risk. Its latest report, Fatal Calculations, takes aim at economists for failing to adequately account for costs of inaction in their models, which in turn has been used by politicians to delay action.

“Despite the escalating climate disasters globally, not least our bushfires, this preoccupation with the cost of action — and a blind eye turned to overwhelming future damage — remains the dominant thinking within politics, business and finance,” the Breakthrough report found.

“Because climate change is now an existential threat to human society, risk management and the calculation of potential future damages must pay disproportionate attention to the high-end, extreme possibilities, rather than focus on middle-of-the-spectrum probabilities.”

In a discussion paper released in May, titled COVID-19 climate lessons, Breakthrough draws parallels between climate change and the lack of preparedness for the pandemic.

“The world is sleepwalking towards disaster. The UN climate science and policymaking institutions are not fit-for-purpose and have never examined or reported on the existential risks,” the paper reads.

“There are no national or global processes to ensure that such risk assessments are undertaken and are efficacious. The World Economic Forum reports on high-end global risks, including climate disruption, once a year and then everybody goes back to ignoring the real risks.”

Tipping points are poorly accounted for in climate change models

Human activity is causing temperature rises beyond the envelope of natural variability that the biosphere is built to support. Steffen said there’s only been two times in the last 100 million years that we have seen a spike in temperature like this, the first was when the dinosaurs were wiped out 65 million years ago and the second was another mass extinction event 56 million years ago.

The last time atmospheric carbon dioxide emissions were at the current level was during the early-to-mid Pliocene 3–4 million years ago, when temperatures were around 3°C warmer than the late 19th century, and sea levels were around 25 metres higher.

Government failing to meet the challenge

Despite recent bushfires which burnt 35 million hectares, caused 445 excess deaths from smoke and incinerated 1 billion animals – doubling Australia’s annual CO2 emissions in the process – the government is refusing to commit to even modest emissions reduction targets and is pushing a “gas-fired recovery”.

It has emerged this week that the government was warned about the likelihood of severe bushfires but failed to do enough to prepare. Fire chiefs were also gagged from talking about climate change.

The Great Barrier Reef this year was hit with its third mass bleaching event in 5 years.

The Australian government, beholden to the fossil fuel industry and with no corruption watchdog to keep it in check, continues to resist pressure to increase its climate change commitment. Australia will not even be able to meet its Paris targets without an accounting loophole – targets which themselves are inadequate to prevent collapse.

It’s not just climate change that is leading us to collapse but also the fact that nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history.

Around 1 million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction, many within decades. As Steffen notes, the web of life on Earth is getting smaller and increasingly frayed.

Humans thoroughly dominate the land biosphere making up 32% of all terrestrial biomass followed by around 65% in domesticated animals, leaving less than 3% of vertebrate wildlife.

There has also been what’s called “The Great Acceleration”, whereby human population and economic growth is accelerating leading to accelerating use of resources like water and energy. This has also led to exponential growth in: greenhouse gas emissions, ocean acidification, ozone depletion, surface temperatures, marine fish capture, terrestrial biosphere degradation, tropical forest lost and domesticated land.

Many countries, including parts of Australia, are running out of water and having to truck in bottled water. It is predicted that 1.8 billion people will be living in water-scarce regions by 2025.

Steffen says net zero emissions by 2050 would be “too late” and the only thing that will save us are radical solutions committing to:

  • No new fossil fuel developments of any kind from now
  • A 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and 100% renewable energy
  • Reaching net zero emissions by 2040

Steffen says it’s much, much cheaper not to use fossil fuels in the first place than to try to capture the CO2 after the fact, as you’re “fighting the second law of thermodynamics when you’re trying to recapture CO2”.

Turner believes the Corporations Act should be rewritten “so that corporations don’t have more legal rights than people, and are not compelled to make a profit for shareholders”.

‘We’re possibly gone already’

Associate Professor Anitra Nelson, honorary principal fellow at the University of Melbourne’s Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, advocates for “de-growth” policies which would reduce global consumption and production to sustainable levels. She says we’re currently consuming resources as if there were four Earths and if we don’t change fast we will face conditions that we can’t survive under.

‘Time for degrowth’: Anitra Nelson

“On the current trajectory we’re possibly gone already, and if we’re not, unless we act very quickly and in very serious ways we just can’t get back into a kind of balance with nature,” Nelson told Voice of Action.

“I do actually think we’re already into the collapse and it’s just likely to get worse and more quickly worse as we go.”

Nelson said we have to wholesale change how we live on this planet and that includes discussions about population control (such as restrictions on the number of kids people have) and even maximum income limits.

Nelson said we also need to get rid of capitalism as fundamentally that economic system could not survive without growth.

Instead of firms competing in a global market we need to be “localising economies” so that “basically people are producing locally for local needs and only basic needs”. This would involve having “autonomous communities” with “substantive and direct democracy” and consensus decision making.

Tim Buckley, director of energy finance studies at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), told Voice of Action that our economic model “will have to change or collapse” as “we are reaching the limits to growth”. The health and social costs were increasingly evident and “we are getting to the point where it can’t be avoided”.

“I think global capitalism is realising that the parasitical nature that has emerged (where the top 1% own the vast majority of the world’s wealth), can only be sustained for so long,” said Buckley.

“If they kill the host (the bottom 99% of the people), their position in absolute terms is worse off, even if they own all the wealth, the total pie will shrink, and they are most impacted. So in order to protect their ‘elite’ position, they will allow changes to make the model more sustainable, so they can remain the top 1%, but sharing a little more to make the model more sustainable.”

Buckley is more optimistic than most in that he believes the world’s financial elites will reorganise the global economy to become sustainable out of self preservation.

“The economics of renewables make this economically sensible. It is not about saving the poor of the world. It is about an economic reality – solar is killing coal fired power plant investments. Technology and economics win, not environmentalism.”


    • Robert, im a sucker for a good conspiracy, but I’d like you to tell me what we have to lose by becoming energy neutral, and seeking solutions to reduce our consumption of resources in general?

      I understand in those posts (where there is a lot of information vomit, where there’s too much to talk about or refute any information at all) some may view certain viewpoints in there as any talk of upcoming civil collapse as “propaganda” or “just something people said years ago”
      But even if predictions are wrong, are the concerns not valid?

    • Not to mention that we should do all those things simply out of love for Earth and honoring its resources and other human beings and animals that are already suffering because of climate change, regardless of how accurate future predictions are. That said: this model has been confirmed so far by data from the past… i really think it’s time to stop avoiding the challenge of change and do what we can for the better.

      • sadly many of the super rich and other decision makers on this planet are psychopaths. They don’t feel love for anything and aren’t motivated by the well-being of human beings or anything else.

        • Right on Piper! Match Dr Robert Hare’s list of 20 characteristics of the psychopath with the leaders of the world today. Donald Trump specifically. Also, I don’t think that civilization will end per se, but humanity will become extinct.

          • Consume less. Buy less. Grow food. Drive no more than you have to. Stop having children. Write your legislators. Voice concerns to the people you know. Mail this article to everybody you know. Stop breeding pets. Look at how you use energy and resources in every area and prioritize, with the idea of using a lot less. All the obvious stuff. Do your part.

      • I seriously think dictator china can be one chance to save it, it can sacrifice its people without rebellion, and CPC do has its moral goals of protecting environment.

      • In Australia it’s very bad the whole country is pro development our biodiversity is suffering the consequences of poor planning and no decisions based on the precautionary principle and inter generational equity iam an environmental lawyer

    • I was born in 1943.
      In grade school about 1952 the teacher told us to keep an eye on C O 2 in the atmosphere.

    • so you think that far right websites are telling you the truth ???
      Did any of those do any research themselves? It’s only cherry picking from other studies.

  • The main cause of these major adverse impacts on the environment is economic growth driven by fossil fuel exploitation, population growth and inequality. If we do not move to a sustainable level of resource use and a philosophy that does not put human interests ahead of all other life on Earth then the situation described in the article above is very likely. The need for policies of degrowth and adoption of steady state economies has never been more urgent.

    • I just wish to re-emphasise: 1. Sustainable level of resource use, 2.This planet is not just for humans, 3.Policies of De-growth

    • 10 points … go to the head of the class. Unfortunately the news headlines reflect … hmmm zero of those very important points. They will but only once things become very very dire.

      • Yes, absolutely. Our country specializes in reacting to crises. Not pro-active and not patient for investments to pay off. Just look at our medical system- we have great healthcare for responding in emergency situations but not proactive in terms of properly diagnosing health issues so as to prevent the heart attack or stroke or cancer or diabetes- much of which could be dealt with by spending time with the patient, running diagnostic tests, eating healthy organic food, breathing clean air, drinking clean water, exercising and a lifestyle change. More recently, Racism and police brutality and misconduct reached a crisis state….. and ONLY now will it get the attention it deserves.

      • What could happen if everybody writing posts here mailed a copy of this article, along with the URL, to everybody they know? What if we made it a point to bring it up in conversation a whole hell of lot more? What if we truly made an excellent effort to get this information publicized? What if we stopped acting like there’s nothing we can do, like it’s too late, and started doing what we can do right now?

        We might become a lot less popular with our friends. And, maybe one or two of them would pass it on and, the spread of the information and the interest in it- and ACTION on it, could grow geometrically.

  • Asher Moses, I want to congratulate you on a very professional piece of journalism which contains some excellent insights from some of Australia’s leading environmental thinkers. The topic — the collapse of civilisation — is of course of great importance. Many of the experts you talked to are ignored in the mainstream media, because they do not offer Pollyanna-ish ‘good news’ snippets. Thank you for making the effort to talk to Steffen, Turner, Alexander, Nelson et al, and sharing with us some extended quotes from your interviews. Why is it that it is so hard to imagine this sort of feature writing appearing in a MSM outlet? (but it most definitely ought to!)

    It is noteworthy that many of your sources mention population growth as one of the drivers of this crisis, and that they embrace the idea of limits to growth. This is in contrast with others who are loosely part of the ‘progressive left’ who are actively condemning any mention of population and are even now questioning the notion of natural limits (a la ecomodernism).

    I look forward to more in-depth analysis from this site, and perhaps re-published in other outlets as well?

    • Agreed. Yes. Thank you Asher Moses and also all the academics who contributed. It’s about time a National Group was put together to discuss Degrowth. I will share the article and hope it will be republished elsewhere. 💚

    • How does population growth fuel global warming exactly? There has been a significant decrease in population growth in the most polluting parts in the world (EU, Canada and the US) , while the emission of GHG keeps increasing, I don’t really see the correlation you are making.

      The only correlation I am seeing is the concentration of capital for those who are responsible for 50% of the GHG by consumption alone.

      • https://populationmatters.org/mythbusting
        In 2017, thousands of scientists from more than 180 countries signed a call for action detailing the gravity and urgency of the environmental threats of our time. Speaking of “widespread misery and catastrophic biodiversity loss” unless humanity urgently changes its ways, their Warning to Humanity says:

        “We are jeopardizing our future by not reining in our intense but geographically and demographically uneven material consumption and by not perceiving continued rapid population growth as a primary driver behind many ecological and even societal threats.”

        Now signed by more than 20,000 scientists, the Warning to Humanity calls for goverments to take action to reduce fertility rates and for nations and governments to support the goal of a sustainable human population.

  • To say we know what path we are on by 2030 is optimistic – I think we already know what path we are on. Just many remain blissfully ignorant to the fact due to their beliefs and values not aligning with what action is needed.
    However I do remain hopeful we can educate our global population. Ultimately lifting women’s education levels and thus reducing population size naturally. And though education in the western world, we can change our food practices and distribution methods.
    But this would all be terribly optimistic and costly – so it probably will not happen – even if it meant saving our civilisation and knowledge through compromise.

    • I hope so but also “education in the western world” is literally what go us into this crisis. It’s not as though many of the people profiting off of environmental crisis are uneducated.

  • Good article but I am so tired of the “if we don’t act soon it will be too late” viewpoint – this article is transitioning to the “we are all doomed” view and but still cannot resist the “if”s and “possibly”s. The reality is stark : we have not acted in time to prevent major tipping points from being inevitable and once activated these will make any desperate efforts to mitigate climate change redundant. A sorry state of affairs but time to live life like you believe it.

    • Well, sceintists hardly can do anything more than calling for change. But the change should be made concrete by the people who brought us in trouble as well. It’s mainly a top down thing, and we’re pretty much sentenced to protesting, and wait for salvation from politics and industry.

  • Very grim reading and it is clear that action needs to be taken quickly. Here in Wales we passed into law The Future Generations Act which obliges action government, local and national, to assess the sustainable impact of each action. That was nearly 10 years ago and we are still trying to define terms like “well being”, change in law does not translate easily or quickly into effective action.. Politicians act to get re-elected which means essential long term planning is rare. Surely the best way forward is citizens assemblies, so important decisions affecting lifestyle and equality are not made by politicians or businesses.

    • Hi Andrew.
      There is a lot of the Article to take on for someone like me, however I really love your notation of Citizens Assemblies. So much so, I wrote down your last paragraph..to shape my way of moving forward. I even wrote the date and time of your post, as it marks a mind shift for me. Thank you Andrew

      • Hi Jon,
        If you like the idea of citizens assemblies, read about participatory democracy and anarchism (what it really means, not what you think it means).

        • Hi boo, what would you recommend people read about participatory democracy and anarchism in order to get “what it really means, not what you think it means.”? Thanks

        • I know what anarchism really means, and I hope it stays out of whatever self-organized bodies will develop to counter our crises. Anarchism is best left in theory books. There’s a reason it never really worked on scale in practice, and for instance Catalonia 1937 reportedly involved a lot of coercion and force to make people ‘free’. The imperative to constantly check others for power abuse makes sure factions develop quickly, often over trivialities. Exactly the opposite of what we need.

  • The world will continue, as will people, although stricken by disaster. On every scenario and throughout the unfolding disintegration we must, as individuals and collectively, act to mitigate the damage, and not just throw up our hands and give up.

  • Dr Graham Turner’s article that updated Meadows’ et al Limits to Growth showed that the standard run collapse was not 2050, but 2015, using data current in 2010. 2015 was so close to the 2008 GFC, that Graham basically showed the GFC was global collapse and its booms and busts from there.

  • Excellent article, thank you. We have been warned for many years. David Attenborough has tried and young Greta has very bravely stood her ground on asking for change.
    It seems that greed and stubbornness win over science.
    The result : dried up rivers or even burning rivers
    massive fires
    wildlife extinction
    loss of coral reef
    so where to from here ?

  • Would love folks like Will Steffen and others mentioned above to engage with Jason Moore’s (and others) idea of the Capitalocene. Climate scientists need to understand political economy and vice versa. Good piece.

  • Exxon funded much research into Climate Change in the 1960’s that concluded some of these same things and they buried the report internally because it wasn’t beneficial to them to make that information public. 50 years ago Exxon knew what was going to happen and said nothing about it. That’s the problem right there, governments took money from oil and other industries and stopped doing there job of regulating. Governments decided to allow these industries to regulate themselves, cause we know leaving the kids at the table with a bowl full of Candies and letting them self regulate will work real well.

    More and more scientist started working for private companies instead of working for the governments regulating the industries. In many places now privater industry scientists far outnumber government scientists. Shouldn’t all scientist be paid by government and be responsible to the government and people of that country. It’s the only way to make sure decisions are made with the people’s best interest. No matter how you try you can’t remove the profit influence from the private economy. If said company is not guaranteeing their Corporate laws dictate that profits should be the priority of every single business decision made. If it can be proven that business leaders made a decision to help the ecology of the planet over even marginal company profits Shareholder have the legal right and obligation to sue for not ensuring maximum profitability to shareholders. That’s the fucking problem! Capitalism and the illusion of endless growth destroyed us. We’re like a junkies….more is better, bigger, more more….give me more more

    Capitalism is a societal disease that’s infected most of human civilization at this point. It’s changes people’s behaviors and make people act more like psychopaths, looking to achieve higher number, the next level….more…more without any ability to understand how it pains others be it our fellow humans, animals or our ecosystem. Our Ego’s got way too big and we tried to control our world, our ecosystem instead of learning about it and learning to live symbiotically within our environment.

    We need to learn to live within our environment not try to control and manage it. That takes humility….something that seems to be more and more rare as we keep approaching environmental disaster.

  • Yes, the rich may live a bit longer in their bunkers, but if civilization collapses what 1000 missing engineers per nuclear power plant will keep all 400 of them from melting down or burning. Money can’t protect anyone from radiation.

  • I agree that we are approaching a disaster but switching to renewable sources only will not help. There is not enough non-intermittent and low emission renewable energy so in practice renewables mean burning gas or trees still. The only choices of clean non-intermittent energy are water which resources are scarce and nuclear energy.

    • That ignores the deployment of battery installations to provide for the intermittent nature of renewables. Horndale battery pack is a good example of this. Also as solar roofs and electric cars become more prevalent the electric grid will decentralize.

      • If we’d like to mitigate intermittency of large share of such sources in the system the amount of accumulators needed for a medium size country is measured in years of total world production (~0.7 TWh/y), not counting regular replacing of those accumulators. And what about supplying more than 1-2 countries?
        Currently half of that accumulators production is used for starter batteries in cars. Just to switch to electric cars we would have to produce some 25 times more accumulators. Worldwide we have only few percent of electric energy from intermittent sources. To mitigate intermittency even of this small set we would need to increase production hundreds of times.

        • I basically agree with your points on energy storage limitations. What I would like to put under consideration is a possibility to connect solar sources into a planetary scale system – the sun always shines somewhere. Would it be the way?

    • There is an emerging revolution in energy storage, and not just batteries, but also other ways to store energy. Energy storage will be a game changer for solar and wind. The idea that we will always need fossil fuels to back them up is largely propaganda.

      • There are various ways of storing energy. Fossil fuels is one of them but I would not rely on this method because of high CO₂ emission. Another method is to store uranium, or, for future generation IV reactors, also thorium. The energy density of such storage is larger several orders of magnitude even from fossils density and even more from accumulators and other methods. Uranium is not practical in small and medium scale transport but we can use it to drive Power-to-Gas solutions, e.g. to produce hydrogen.

  • According to the situation we are in (see links), now a total emergency brake is required!!
    This means from one day to the next we have to shut down all industries in this world, that do not produce for the absolutely most existential.. such as all car industries (including truck & motorcycle factories), aircraft & shipbuilding industries, all military industries, therewith many steel & aluminium factories, etc. so that already a large part of the nuclear and coal+gas power plants can be shut down in a very short time.. also have to be stopped or reduced to the most limited: construction industries & cement factories, electrical industries, tourism industries, animal breeding & fishing industries, wood industries, etc. etc. .. but which doesn’t go together with labour markets, social systems, and especially financial systems, international power structures, competitiveness, etc…

    Therefore, set up the global networks in a way that we get out of all the constraints of the monetary world system as soon as possible and to redefine & realign, reorganize & restructure the world purely with the (interconnected) power of voluntariness in order to restore the natural systems of the world as soon as possible and to bind as much as possible greenhouse gases in the shortest possible time! Doesn’t anybody fucking get this?!?

    • I absolutely do. Your image of an emergency brake is spot on and if everyone took notice of that then we could make a big difference. This means turning all countries, all systems of government and all people into an emergency response. I can’t see an easy way to do this.

  • Some think there is no plan that can stall induced global warming but in fact there is and it has been proposed to the leaders here in Kansas but they all refuse to discuss or consider it. It seems to me they will only move in ways that protect the big oil interests headquartered in Wichita. I think we can see that wind and solar alone will not be able to bring us to anything near sustainability. The book BURN describes this pathway in about 275 pages. The plan I allude to is being proposed by Advanced Alternative Energy of Lawrence Kansas.

  • Great article! I agree with most of it. For human civilization and existence to have a shot at surviving, we’d need to mitigate a hundred times more aggressively than we are now.
    The biggest flaw in the article is the focus on renewables rather than nuclear. Even just the term “clean energy” would have been better. We need dense, reliable energy rather than low-density, unreliable energy. How can you consider limits without thinking of the resource implications of intermittent, low-density energy sources?

  • I rarely ever hear nuclear power being discussed as a tool in reducing CO2 emissions. It seems that more localized economies may be a viable approach to our current situation and energy production, using smaller modular fast neutron reactors-if that technology is feasible- would be a major part of that model. About 18 years ago I read an article in Scientific American magazine about fast neutron nuclear reactor technology, which doesn’t depend on U-235 as a fuel source, but can use current nuclear waste as a fuel source. I think that this should be considered as one of the many parts of the solutions of our situation.

    • Nuclear power is the end-game solution, on the hundreds-to-thousands of year timeframe. People like Thorium, small reactors, breeder reactors, etc. However it is not a short-term solution because (a) it takes too long to get nuclear plants approved, sited, and built (decades, usually) and we do not HAVE decades. In the decades it would take to get them all built and operating, we would have already put more CO2 in the atmosphere at current rates than we are allowed to before hitting the tipping point (even if we flatten the CO2 curve which we are not doing) .. and (b) there are not even enough construction facilities in the world today to build all the plants we need (over 1000 of them), even if we had those decades. The only solutions are (1) immediate conversion to renewables (wind and solar, and electricity-based hydrogen fuels) on a 20-year timeframe, and (2) immediate initiation of so-called “drawdown” technologies – technological and agricultural – to actually remove CO2 from the air. These things can be done. It is within our technology and manufacturing capability. It will involve people in blue states and red states. Everyone will have a role to play. Millions of good jobs. But, it will be politically hard, and, it will be expensive. Who will pay? Those with the money of course. Why shouldn’t the fine corporations and families who got so rich over the last 100 years of a free-ride on carbon fuels come up with some payback, for starters? And of course, printing money. The cost of doing nothing is far, far higher. Incidentally, if I am allowed to mention it, the Morrison-led faction in Australia and all of the US GOP are the two largest obstacles the world is facing. Their members must be defeated in every election until there are none left in the halls of polcymaking, for any of this progress to be made on the necessary timescale. Time is not on our side.

  • As we already know from Genesis, we’re supposed to believe—uncritically and passively–that “Man” was given dominion over the other animals; that God planned the world explicitly for “Man’s” benefit; that nothing in the physical world has any purpose except to serve “Man,” God’s “highest” creation. [“What’s the difference between God granting [man] dominion over every living thing and the U.S. military seeking full-spectrum dominance?”—Derrick Jensen]

    • Hi Carol, You may be interested to know that many theologians don’t subscribe to the idea that the world was created for humans’ benefit and theirs alone. A more complete and accurate reading shows that humans have a responsibility under God to care for creation, not destroy it. It’s unfortunate too that ‘dominion’ (rightfully translated as “lordship”, i.e. ruling justly, as a loving and merciful God would rule) has been misinterpreted as ‘domination’ for several centuries (deliberately or otherwise). Nobody should read anything uncritically and passively, in my view, including the Bible. This debate (about caring for creation) is over, in UK churches – I can’t speak for elsewhere – and ecotheology is becoming widely respected and adopted.

  • We need to advance faster than lithning to educate our community in order to make people understand our global predicament.

  • “If we don’t bend the emissions curve down substantially before 2030 then keeping temperatures under 2°C becomes unavoidable.”

    That should read “keeping warming under 2°C becomes impossible” rather than “keeping temperatures under 2°C becomes unavoidable”.

  • It is my understanding that based on our actions or inaction, a range of possibilities exist. That range may be narrowing. So there might be collapse fast, collapse slow, and collapse total (all life extinguished by runaway heat). A collapse fast would be humanity unable to adapt and heat killing off everyone in giant heatwaves or a great famine. A collapse slow would be best case in that civilization (human population) would die but go back to some pre industrial level as it had been for hundreds of thousands of years, hundreds or thousands of humans left in narrow habitable zones. In many thousands of years, we would come back as a low technological society, maybe pre-literate or losing language ability (no one able to teach) altogether. Famine and starvation would lower pre natal IQ levels through generations. But in general, anyone 0-50 yrs of age (and not the.01%) should expect themselves to die an early death with no burial or funeral. I fully expect I will die of starvation or heat stroke like everyone else but hope a little sliver of humanity survives (we can slow the collapse down). Even that may probably be too optimistic and we will become like Venus. I have long since accepted humanity had to have an ending (go extinct) from something as most species have and that it would happen in my lifetime. We might just take the entire planet with us. Too bad. It wouldn’t have taken much to save our species if we hadn’t procrastinated.

  • It’s still worth it to keep trying our best in case we get ultra lucky somehow and avoid the collapse scenarios. Strange situations can happen when people are motivated. Like a raft floating in ocean. Maybe an island will appear.

  • The author says 35 million hectares burned in Australia but it was only around 10 million. I think you he should put the right amount (with reference) in so that the rest of the credibility of the piece is not undermined.

  • It is a pitty that there is definition of what renewable energy means. Renewability is possible if the installation can be renewed with its own energy, while in the same time this installation can produce enough and at the right time enough energy for the society. Renewability is the amount of energy produced out of invested ( eroei) and amount of materials ( metals) per kWh. Last thing, it is also the capacity to supply power on demand. It is a myth or egotistical to leave in autarcy while knowing that other in the cities will die. The only decarbonized renewable energy that has the potential to divide by 10 the co2 emissions is next generation nuclear energy. Environmentalists are criminals: they know that 80% of the global population will die from co2 and still refuse to accept nuclear who has killed 5000 people in 60 years! Moreover next gen can be waste free and safe by design. This is a tragedy. It will fully not solve the biodiversity tragedy but could stop our emissions. We can substitute all fossil fuels by fossil fuels in 20 years provided we want it. It is stated here, think global, change your mind of what is green, or you will die.

    • 5000 in 60 years? Well, nuclear waste will remain lethally dangerous for about 250,000 years. If we assume (very generously) that the nuclear mortality rate remains constant, that would be about 20.8 million deaths. Of course, we would be amazingly lucky if that were the outcome. Keep in mind that our best option for nuclear waste storage is meant to last for only 10,000 years. And, that’s twice as long as the pyramids of Egypt have lasted. To bequeath this horrible problem to our descendants is the ultimate expression of hubris.

      • 20.8 million deaths over 250,000 years? That’s 83 deaths a year… your numbers are misleading. That’s also assuming our safety factor remains the same from first and second generation nuclear reactors over, again, 250,000 years.

  • Thank you so much for this timely article that brings a sense of urgency to the picture, and confirms the research I have been doing for my book that will be released this fall, EIGHT BILLION REASONS POPULATION MATTERS. However, I don’t believe that “green energy” has a chance of solving our problems – as they are not as green as people may think, and mega solar and wind projects kill millions of birds, bats, and insects every year – animals already endangered. The solutions that would have a far greater impact than green energy are:

    1. reaching a sustainable population through the non-coercive One Planet-One Child approach of education and providing family planning. Since over 50% of pregnancies worldwide are unintentional, this could prove to be the fastest way to reduce emissions. As the Having Kids website states, having one fewer child has a 20 times greater reduction in CO2 than green energy, hybrid cars, and recycling combined.

    2. moving towards a plant based diet, since animal agriculture = 14.5% of emissions. This also would have a greater impact than most alternative energies.

    3. greatly reduce consumption and international trade, impose a luxury tax, and convert to the Genuine Progress Indicator economic system instead of the GDP. Bring back the three Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle with reduce being the most important.

    4. promote wide scale farming of industrial hemp to provide high level protein, wood products, car fuel, textiles, paper, biodegradable plastics, and numerous other products. This could be done on land recovered from animal agriculture.

    5. support the Half Earth initiative to return half of the earth to wildlife and forests, which would increase our well-being and chance of survival as well. As the human population decreases to a sustainable level of about 2 billion, other animals could be saved from extinction, and greatly increasing our forests could reduce CO2 more than “green energy”.

    Like Jane Goodall and Greta Thunberg, I still have hope that people will do the right thing at the 11th hour. We seem to thrive at being the heroes to save the day at the last moment, likely learned fro the movie industry. Speaking of movies, I strongly support Michael Moore’s new movie, Planet of the Humans now free on YouTube until the end of June. How refreshing to hear a little truth for a change!

  • On population, the real issue is the wealthy who consume vastly more per person. The average person in the global north is among the planet’s relatively wealthy.

    The most important point though is that a sustainable, materially comfortably, socially improved life can be attained -but as is clear from this an many other articles and extensive research, we have zero time to waste. There is already great damage and that will get worse. Capitalism, not just its neoliberal variant, must end. For one example of what a healthy post-capitalist alternative can be in terms of material possibilities, see New Alliance Earth https://www.newalliance.earth/ esp “A Proposal.”

  • According to the ‘business as usual’ scenario of Limits to Growth, by now we are at the stage of fast declining per capita food and industrial production, having used up well over half of the world’s total resources. Except for the Covid-19 impact, none of these hold.

    The CSIRO material flows study was quickly shelved when it was pointed out that it made far-reaching economic predictions without having economic analytical skills even at the first year university level.

    The historic track record of doomsayers is not stellar, but there seems to be a tendency to predict collapse in 30+ years’ time, by which most such forecasts are forgotten.

  • I’m growing a little weary of being warned by bedwetting scientists and their doom-mongering predictions….none of which have eventuated. We’ve been hearing about “tipping points” since the early 1970’s.

  • Over the years I’ve chatted with some of individuals involved with both the Club Of Rome and the Limits To Growth team. Like Donella Meadows, of the LTG team, it seems to me that it would be useful to provide a mode of global and regional society capable of degrowth, as needed. A sketch is painted at https://blueplanetclub.ca/Index.htm .

  • If you think the climate scientists are OTT, you would be wrong. We’ve reached the point where serious resources are now being devoted to adaptation, because the world has reached the point of no return

  • Really interesting yet frightening article, however it forgets to talk about the elephant in the room and the most simple solution to reducing green house gas emissions. ANIMAL AGRICULTURE! I find it disappointing to read so many articles that talk about the need to reduce fossil fuels (yes, this is definitely important), however, if society reduced and/or eliminated their animal agriculture industry than we would be cutting out the biggest contributor to green house gas emissions. I can’t see why this topic is always left off of scientific papers, when it is such a no brainer for people to shift towards a more ethical and sustainable plant based diet.

  • I am an adjunct professor teaching international graduate students Risk Management. I will present this data as impartial and ask each of my students to write a discussion paper on Risk Management in the future. As they are the future and their actions matter most in the decades to come. Thank you for sharing such incredible stories, facts and opinions.

  • I am an Adjunct Professor teach International Graduate students Risk Management, I will use this article to propose a discussion paper from each of them for Risk Management In The Future, as they are the future.

    • Ok so what can we do. Anyone who has any idea, put it forward. Or put me in contact with someone who has an idea, or simply is willing to try. This is ridiculous. Some people have networks, intellectual capacity, emotional capacity to push through denial, anyone who wants to help. Can help, inspire or despite of individual lifestyle changes. Please consume less, if you aren’t, or just can’t decide if it’s worth it because one person won’t help, I think we all get it. You can still help with your ideas, which we can build into a more cohesive initiative. Can we organise a think tank quickly? Humans are greedy and greed is still good. No one not delusional wants money that cannot buy anything, or to rule people who don’t exist. I have some ideas and proposals. The only people who I can see not really inclined to give it a shot .. the completely insane (unluckily they can be everywhere, I saw one on tv today with orange hair), ppl in denial, Ppl who will likely be dead in the next 30 years and have no kids, grandkids or any connection left to this world by that time and the Ridiculously selfish or short sighted. Ignoring the former, the rest can be worked on. Reorganise quickly.

  • The crazy thing is that 90% of the people who read this, even the ones who believe it, will still not live their lives as if they believe it. They’ll still own a car (or two), they’ll still fly every year, they’ll still live in a 1000 square foot home (or bigger), they’ll still maintain a huge footprint with their diet, they’ll still keep replacing perfectly good things and buying more things than they need, and many of them will have jobs that either encourage or rely on continued overconsumption.

    Consumption is a disease. And “awareness” doesn’t seem to be a strong enough cure.

  • Dolores says: As an 87.5 yr old, I don’t expect to see much more of what happens. However I expect that even in the rest of my lifetime we will see a great change in consumption and awareness of the fragility of life of this planet. The Covid-19 has brought us to this state. Perhaps we are not yet feeling the loss/difference of millions of people gone from the eco-system. I believe we Will feel it. The economy will not spring back…there will be fewer gas-consumption vehicles the and atmospheric pollution that accompanies it. I believe that those who survive will have an awareness of the gift of life on the planet, Earth and will be bound to care for it with more attention to the fragility of it.

  • I’m an octagenarian and I’m trying to live another five or ten years to watch this completely unravel. I’m sure that (G D willing) I’ll be around to watch the scramble when a critical mass “gets it”. I fear it will be what we vets call a clusterf__k. I’ve always been an adrenalin junky and if it gets too tough i’ll try to check out.

  • I know many who comment on here are not Christians, or are folk who refute Christianity, but I read in the Bible that [this is my interpretation] that the Earth groans under the weight of the abuse and misuse by which it is suffering. I tend to agree with this idea. We cannot go on ripping up the ground, drilling in the sea, polluting the air, killing off our native animals, birds, fish, vegetation because of our greed. God put us here to care for the Earth, and when we don’t, it’s at our own peril. This is how I feel.

  • What we need is a utilisation of livestock. Move them to areas where desertification has occured and regrow the 2/3 of deserted land mass so that it can capture water and thus carbon more effectively through regrowth of green mass then simply reducing the emissions and transitioning to electric.

  • With 23 billion chickens on earth, if one chicken sneezes we all get the flu, covids are here to stay

    no trees = no air : https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2015/07/14/1508353112

    2020 : 4% of mammals are wild https://www.ecowatch.com/biomass-humans-animals-2571413930.html

    2020 : 2% of global energy is solar and wind — after 20 yrs trying https://www.iea.org/data-and-statistics

    2020 : CO2 up 60% in 30 yrs : up 30% in 15 yrs https://lokisrevengeblog.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/c02-human.png

    2030 : 50% of world will be short of water https://lokisrevengeblog.files.wordpress.com/2020/08/water-wri.png

    2040 : 15% of global energy will be renewable https://lokisrevengeblog.files.wordpress.com/2019/12/2040-energy.png

    2050 : 28% of global energy will be renewable https://lokisrevengeblog.files.wordpress.com/2020/08/2050.png

    2050 : 600 ppm CO2 BAU https://lokisrevengeblog.files.wordpress.com/2020/08/rcp8.5.png?w=1024

    *Weather* = flash floods + flash fires + flash rains + flash droughts + flash mobs

    *Climate* = 30 years of weather + you don’t got time to worry about climate

    Dams and bio-energy are ecological disasters

    50% of Nordic Europe’s renewable electricity comes from burning imported trees

    We burn corn, soy and palm oil in cars and will do so until 2030 so far

    We burn recycled plastic and paper for electricity

    In the last 20 years, petrochemical demand grew 7X human population

    You can’t burn imported trees for electricity to save us from the climate

    We can’t build wildfire suppression big enough to handle future wildfires

    Forest fires will burn faster than we can plant trees

    We don’t have enough land for bio-energy because we are losing forests, soil and water too fast

    To get 30% of energy from algae would take a country the size of Argentina

    To get 20% of global energy from solar in 30 years, we need them 3X faster than now

    By 2050 up to 78 million metric tons of solar panels will have reached the end of their life, generating about 6 million metric tons of new solar e-waste annually — standard electronics recycling methods don’t cut it for solar panels

    50 Reasons why wind power can not replace fossil fuels

    By 2040 not even half of all cars will be electric

    By 2040 we will be lucky not to go hungry


  • One aspect of fossil fuel is about global warming. People with myopia, loss aversion and confirmation bias simply don’t get the looming threat of climate change so, let me explain: Greenhouse gasses, from burning fossil fuel, are like a blanket. The more we add the thicker the blanket and the hotter the earth becomes. At the beginning of the industrial revolution Co2 was 278 parts per million. By July 2020, it has reached a new record high of 415ppm with the entire world 1°C warmer and rising.

    ​Heat equates to energy and the more energy the more extreme our weather events. The geologic record tells us that sea level fluctuation is more than 130 metres depending on the volume of the global ice reservoir and that relates to air and sea temperature. From ice core samples, the last time Co2 levels were this high was in the late Pliocene era when sea levels were 20 meters higher than today and, global temperature was 3°C hotter. That’s our future if we don’t stop burning fossil fuel and even a child understands the science.

    ​The other aspect of fossil fuel is about $$$ money. All those wars in the Middle East, all the death, all the destruction, all the refugees, are about control of oil and natural gas. Part of the U.S./China conflict is about control of the largest oil reserve on the planet: 297 billion barrels of oil in Venezuela. The military build-up in eastern China and their incursion into the South China Sea is about control of massive gas fields. (Google it) It’s not about freedom of navigation as postured by the U.S. & Australia and, drives our trade dispute with China.

    ​We can kill two birds with one stone: (1) We can stop the climate crisis and rising oceans and (2) We can stop the oil wars, the conflict, and the social division by cutting through the propaganda and removing the demand for fossil fuel. We can do this together by insisting our politicians promote a rapid transition to renewable clean energy. This is more than just political ideology and vested interests, this is about saving humanity, the natural world, our beautiful beaches and the future of your own family and, it doesn’t get any bigger than that.

  • The Politicians, Economists Fossil Fuel Emmiter’s just don’t want to acknowledge the reality because it imposes on their desires and ambitions. Driven by profit and unsustainable growth.

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