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But it is worse than that #ClimateChange

March 15, 2019

Today hundreds of thousands of students around the world followed Greta Thunberg’s lead and

walked out to make a statement about climate change.

students protesting in Montreal, Quebec

Young people are angry. As well they should be. What’s the point of an education if the planet is destroyed?

In a facebook post that went viral, Marc Doll writes that “The IPCC report and the Paris Accord are incredibly overly optimistic and that commits the world to a target that means th death of hundreds of millions if not more.

But it is worse than that.

Even the commitments made by countries in the Paris accord don’t get us to a 2 degree world.

But it is worse than that.

The 2 degree target is now unattainable (unless of course the entirety of civilization does a 180 today…) and is based on geo-engineering the climate of the earth as well as the sequestering of every molecule of carbon we have produced since 1987, as well as every molecule we are producing today,as well as every molecule we produce tomorrow…. with magical technologies that don’t exist, wont exist and, even if they did would likely cause as many if not more problems than they fix.

But it is worse than that.

The 2 degree target of the IPCC does not factor in the feedback loops such as the increase absorption of heat due to a drastic reduction in the albedo (reflectivity) effect caused by the 70% loss of arctic ice,..- the release of methane from a thawing arctic. (there is more energy stored in the arctic methane than there is in coal in the world). This is called the methane dragon. If the process of the release of the methane, currently frozen in the soil and ocean beds of the arctic, which may have already begun, but if it spins out of control we are looking a an 8 degree rise in temperature.

But it is worse than that.

The report which gives us 12 years to get our head’s out of our arses underestimated the amount of heat stored in the world’s oceans, as we descovered in mid-January by 40%… so no , we don’t have 12 more years.

But it is worse than that.

The IPCC report ignores the effects of humans messing up the Nitrogen cycle through agricultural fertilizers and more… Don’t go down this rabbit hole if you want to sleep at night.

But it is worse than that.

Sea level rise will not be gradual. Even assuming that the billions of tons of water that is currently being dumped down to the ground level of Greenland isn’t creating a lubricant which eventually will allow the ice to free-flow into the northern oceans; it is only the friction to the islands surface that is currently holding the ice back. Then consider the same process is happening in Antarctica but is also coupled with the disappearance of the ice shelves which act as buttresses holding the glaciers from free flowing into the southern ocean. then factor in thermal expansions; the simple fact that warmer water takes up more space and It becomes clear that we are not looking at maintaining the current 3.4mm/yr increase in sea level rise (which incidentally is terrifying when you multiply it out over decades and centuries.)

We will be looking at major calving events that will result in much bigger yearly increases coupled with an exponential increase in glacial melting. We know that every increase of 100ppm of C02 increases sea level by about 100 feet. We have already baked in 130 feet of sea level rise. It is just a question of how long it is going to take to get there… and then keep on rising..

But it is worse than that.

Insects are disappearing at 6 times the speed of larger animals and at a rate of about 2.5% of their biomass every year. These are our pollinators. These are links in our food chain. These represent the basic functioning of every terrestrial ecosystem.

But it is worse than that.

58% of the biomass of vertebrae life on earth has been lost since 1970. That is basically in my lifetime!

But it is worse than that.

The amount of Carbon we add to the atmosphere is equal to a yearly a human caused forest fire 20% bigger than the continent of Africa. Yes, that is every single year!

But it is worse than that.

Drought in nearly every food producing place in the world is expected to intensify by mid-century and make them basically unusable by the end of the century… Then factor in the end of Phosphorus (China and Russia have already stopped exporting it knowing this) and the depletion of aquifers and you come to the conclusion that feeding the planet becomes impossible.

But it is worse than that.

We can no longer save the society that we live in and many of us are going to be dead long before our life expectancy would suggest.

If your idea of hope is having some slightly modified Standard of living going forward and live to ripe old age… there is no hope. This civilization is over…

..but there is hope..

There is a way for some to come through this and have an enjoyable life on the other side. Every day we delay can be measured in human lives. There will come a day of inaction when that number includes someone you love, yourself or myself.

So we have 2 options.

Wake the fuck up.

If we do we will only have to experience the end of our society as we know it aka…the inevitable economic collapse which is now unavoidable, but be able to save and rebuild something new on the other side. This would require a deep adaptation. Words like sustainability would need to be seen as toxic and our focus needs be on regeneration. Regeneration of soil, forests, grasslands, oceans etc…. This is all possible.

Option 2 is the path we are on thinking that we can slowly adapt to change. This not only ensures we experience collapse but also condemns humanity to not just economic and social collapse but in a 4-6 or even an 8 degree world… extinction.

I am sick of pipeline discussions.

I am sick of any argument that is predicated on the defeatist assumption that we will continue to burn oil at an ever increasing rate simply because it is what we have always done.

Fact is if we do we are not just fucked, we are dead.

I am sick of people who don’t understand how their food is produced, and its effect on the climate.(both carnivores who eat feed-lot meat and vegans who eat industrially-produced-mono-cropped-veggies as they are equally guilty here. The consumption of either is devastating).

I am sick of the tons of shiny new clothes people are wearing without realizing 1 Kg of cotton takes over 10 thousand Liters of water and incredible amounts of energy to produce.

I am sickened by the amount of that same clothing hits the landfill in near new condition.

I am sick of the argument that our oil is less poisonous than someone else’s. Firstly, no it isn’t and secondly, It doesn’t fucking matter.

I am sick of people that can’t even handle the ridiculously-small, only-the-tip-of- the-iceberg-of-changes we need to accept; a carbon tax.

I am sick of the fact that the political will seems only capable of focusing on the individual consumer through small measures like a carbon tax but no elected Party seems to have the fortitude to enact policies that take it to the small handful of companies that are responsible for 70% of our current C02 production.

I am sick of my own hypocrisy that allows me to still use fossil fuels for transportation. I am sick of those who use hypocrisy as an argument against action.

I am sick of the Leadership of my country that argues we can have economic growth and survivable environment… we can’t.

I am sickened by the normalizing of the leadership of our Southern neighbour who as the most polluting nation in the world officially ignores even the tragedy that is the Paris accord.

I am sick of the politicians I worked to get elected being impotent on this subject. Naheed and Greg I’m looking at you. (BTW…Druh, you are an exception)

I am sick that the next image I put up of my kids, cheese, pets or bread is going to gain immeasurably more attention than a post such as this which actually has meaning…

I am sick about the fact that all the information I referenced here is easily discoverable in scientific journals through a simple google search but will be characterized by many as hyperbolic.

I am confused as to who I am more upset with. Those who have fallen for the denier propaganda, those who choose to be willfully ignorant, those who understand this issue and throw their hands up in a fit of lazy despair or those who are as cognitive as I am to the urgency of this issue yet continue living day-to-day feeling self-satisfied with their recycling, electric car, voting record or some other equally inane lifestyle modification while waiting for society to hit the tipping point so they don’t have to actually put their values into practice. All that said…

There is a path forward. But every day we delay the path forward includes fewer of us.

  • Build community,
  • build resilience,
  • work for food security,
  • think regeneration,
  • plant food producing trees,
  • think perennial food production,
  • turn your waste products into resources,
  • eat food that does not mine the soil and is locally produced,
  • eat meat that is grass fed in a holistic or intensively rotated (ideally holistically grazed in a silvopasture ) that is used to provide nutrients to vegetation,
  • get to know a farmer or become one yourself,
  • park your car,
  • do not vote for anyone who either ignores climate change or says we can have our cake and eat it too,
  • quit your job if it is fossil fuel related (it is better than losing it… which you will),
  • stop buying shit,
  • stop buying expensive cars and overly large houses and then complain that local planet saving food costs more than Costco.
  • Stop buying things that are designed to break and be disposed-of,
  • let go of this society slowly and by your own volition (its better than being forced to do it quickly),
  • Rip up your lawn and plant a garden with perennial veggies, fruit bushes, fruit trees and nut trees.
  • Learn to compost your own poop (it is easy and doesn’t stink).
  • Buy an apple with a blemish,
  • Get a smaller house on a bigger lot and regenerate that land,
  • Plant a guerrilla garden on a city road allowance.
  • Return to the multi-generational house,
  • Realize that growth has only been a thing in human civilization for 250 years and it is about to end and make preparations for this change.
  • Teach this to your children.
  • Buy only the necessities, don’t buy new clothes-go to the thrift store.
  • Don’t use single use plastic or if you do re-purpose it,
  • Unplug your garberator and compost everything,
  • Relearn old forgotten skills.
  • Don’t let yourself get away with the argument that the plane is going there anyway when you book a holiday.
  • Understand that there is no such thing as the new normal because next year will be worse,
  • Understand before you make the argument that we need to reduce human population … meaning the population elsewhere… that it is not overpopulation in China or India that is causing the current problem… It is us and our “western” lifestyle,
  • Understand that those that are currently arguing against refugees and climate change are both increasing the effects of climate change and causing millions of climate refugees… which will be arriving on Canada’s doorstep because Canada, due to our size and Northern Latitude, will on the whole have some of the best climate refuges.
  • Understand that the densification of cities is condemning those in that density to a food-less future.
  • Stop tolerating the middle ground on climate change. there is no middle ground on gravity, the earth is round, and we are on the verge of collapse.

———————————————————————————–

Marc Doll says: Thanks to Dr. Eric Rignot, Rupert Read , Dr. Jim Anderson, everyone at Berkely Earth those that put keep C02.earth upto date and so many other climate scientists who’s work have inspired this piece. Thanks as well to the 16 yr old Gretta Thunburg who gave me the courage to take what was in my head and put it to paper,. I encourage you to dig deep. Listen to talks where scientist are talking to scientists. They are less likely then to use the conservative filters they impose on themselves and you will get to the cutting edge.

Stay tuned. This is not over.

For words from students and photos, check out this NY Times article.

 

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