Lies, damned lies and end-of-the-world economics.

King of Nineveh

Truth can be ugly – there’s no money in it. Everything is connected. The Third World War has begun. Us against nature and we’re losing because we won’t recognise we’re all one.

I can go biblical on you.

Jonah 2:3 Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah, the second time, saying, ‘Arise, go to Trumptown and proclaim to it the message I tell you.’

Jonah went to Trumptown and proclaimed the message, ‘Yet forty years, and Trumptown and all the earth will be overthrown.’

I can go historical on you. Robert A. Caro, The Years of Lyndon Johnson, vol. 1.

The Hill country had been ‘a beautiful trap, baited with water’.

It was still beautiful –even more beautiful perhaps because woods covered so much of it now…the reality was rock. It was a land of stone…

The low line on the hills was an “isohyet” (from the Greek: isos, equal; hystos, rain) – a line drawn on the map so that all points have equal rainfall. That particular isohyet showed the westernmost limits to the United States along which the average rainfall averages thirty inches, when combined with two other factors—rate of evaporation (very high in Hill Country since most of it comes in spring or autumn thunderstorms)—is the bare minimum needed to grow crops successfully…And when, in the twentieth century, meteorologists began charting isohyets, they would draw the crucial thirty-inch isohyet along the 98th meridian—almost exactly the border of the Hill Country.

I can go scientific on you (while not really understanding the science, but in the same way, believing twentieth century meteorologists were proven right, again and again, this is called the null hypothesis in science, trying to prove they were wrong).

Robin McKie, Science Editor gives us the latest figure on the scorecard. Imagine those war rooms were they pushed forward models of planes and tanks in a simulated battlefield being put on show before the latest international climate meeting in Madrid (which is a waste of time and energy).

UN Environmental Programme report for the end of October 2019 showed total carbon emissions showed the equivalent of 55 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide. Putting the earth on course for the equivalent of 3.2C by the end of the century.

We know how this works, figures like that are underestimates, in the same way that contractors bidding to build a road underestimate knowing they can charge more later, because you’ll  need to pay.

We’re living in the Hill County. It’s called Planet Earth.

I can go economics on you. The costs of war are more than the cost of continued peace.

Global temperature kept below 2C.

Damage such as rising seas, land erosion, spread of deserts and hundreds of million refugees on the move and destruction of fragile ecosystems that depend on none of these things happening.

Estimated bill, $200 billion a year by 2030.

$40 trillion a year if temperatures were allowed to reach 3C or more.  

Runaway-global warming (equivalent of Moore’s law in computing) comes into effect. We can save the world. We don’t need to put on sackcloth and ashes as the King of Nineveh did, but we need to share. We need equality in all things big and small. We need to become more human and stop believing convenient lies. I don’t see that happening any time soon. We really do need a miracle. If you have children, and they ask you what did you do during the war?   

What’s your answer.    

Book of the year. Peter Wadhams (2016) A Farewell to Ice. A Report From the Arctic.

blue planet.jpg

A writer has one imperative, or simple rule – read. Often I have little understanding of what I’m reading. Usually there is a but here. I do not understand Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, but…kinda like a meme from T. S. Eliot’s Little Gidding: ‘We shall not cease from exploration/And the end of all our exploring/Will be to arrive where we started.’ Or Rumi’s parable of the elephant and six blind men. One holding onto a leg, or trunk, an ear, and explaining to the other what in the world stands true. Wadhams’ A Farewell to Ice is a familiar tale and it is distilled into a line of poetry he quotes from mystic Francis Thompson: ‘Thou canst not stir a flower/Without troubling of a star’.

Like Jonah preaching to the Ninevites and warning them they have forty days, Wadhams is telling us much the same thing about the accelerating effects of Arctic Feedbacks on our once blue planet. He is not giving us forty days, but perhaps forty years and we’re pretty much gubbed, sackcloth and ashes.

The trigger is fossil fuels, measured in parts per million, and what he is saying is mankind has already fired the bullet. I employ a simple rule of thumb, when a pessimist is also a realist, usually he’s right. Think of Thomas Piketty Capital documenting how after the end of the 1970s money flowed at increasing rates from the poor to the rich in the developed world. Like Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, I don’t need to know all the details. I can believe it is true, or not, which is an act of faith. But Piketty as an economist showed us how he got to where he is and said, very simply, prove me wrong. Wadham does the same. Here is my data and here is my message: ‘We must not only go to zero emissions, we must actually remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere’ (italics around text are Wadhams’). He suggests a real danger with hundreds of millions starving, and also  the possibility of nuclear war.

What Wadhams didn’t factor in was the Donald Trump factor and the appointment of former General ‘Mad Dog’ Maddis as United States Defense Secretary, or the President Elect’s provocation with China over the sovereignty of South Korea even before he takes office. We live in interesting times.

But Wadhams is on more familiar ground with his outing of ‘The Black Tide of Denial’ and how fossil fuel interests have taken a hatchet to budgets and attempted to discredit those that support the claims of global warming in the same way that Communists were thought to be under every bed in the McCarthy era. Wadham gives several examples of attacks on himself and other scientists, but perhaps the best example comes from Jamie Doward, The Observer, ‘How the trolling of a tech pioneer reveals a new assault on climate science’:

Wadham could not have predicted prior to publication this year that the trolls that produced such propaganda would not only try to influence decisions about climate change, but would be appointed as judges of what was right and wrong. All that ‘green crap’ referred to by David Cameron is dead in the water. An analogy would be fifty years ago appointing directors of the big five tobacco companies as independent advisors of whether there was a link between smoking and cancer. The difference now, of course, is we’ve not got fifty years. The enemy is at the door now. And our blue planet does not care what you believe, or whether you believe it is right or wrong. The earth will keep turning. One million years is not the equivalent of a minute in the day. Pseudo-science and greed has given voice and grown arms and legs. Perhaps reason will meet sense, but I doubt it. We are too far down the path. As above, so below and all parts are interconnected.

Listen to a quote in Wadhams from a voice of reason, scientist and Professor Robert P. Abele.

As we inflict violence on the planet to the point of mortality, we inflict violence on ourselves, to the point of our mortality. A dead planet will result in dead people, and a people and/or its leaders who are psychologically and/or ethically desensitized to the consequences of this Terran violence have no chance of long-term survival.

Read this book. Share this post. Ask a simple question: what can we do?