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It’s Up To Us To Decide The Future

2014/04/08

Global weirding has begun. We still have time to act, but not an indefinite amount of time:

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Produced by the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme and Globaia and funded by the UN Foundation. The data visualization summarises and visualizes several of the most significant statements in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) recent Fifth Assessment Report, (Working Group I summary for policymakers, the Physical Science Basis). In 2014, IPCC will publish summaries concerning societal impacts, mitigation and adaptation.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. 2014/04/08 12:31 pm

    Beautiful video but a bit of distractive rubbish. When are we going to recognize that our emissions problem is merely a component of our dysfunctional organization – social, political and economic – that has left us burdened with the equally existential threats from over-population, over-consumption and our slavish addiction to endless, exponential growth (GDP). We’re already using 1.5 times our planet’s replenishment rate of renewables. Our overconsumption is evident in collapsing global fisheries, deforestation, desertification, the draining of our aquifers, loss of biodiversity and resource depletion. Even as our global population grows so too does our individual ecological footprint spurred on by the even more rapidly expanding “consumer class” thanks to the emerging economies of China, India, Brazil and others. More people are chasing already declining resources. Still, despite the clear flame burning brightly from both ends of the candle, we persist in pursuing exponential, economic growth – 3% p.a. in the developed West, upwards of 7-10% p.a. in the emerging economies. Greenhouse gas emissions are but one way to render our planet all but uninhabitable and we’re pursuing them all without regard or restraint.

    What I despise about soothing videos like this is that they speak in terms of what we must do by 2100. What of 2200, 2300 or 2400? What does 2C by 2100 mean to those who will have to survive in 2300? We would rather give that a pass.

    I’m with Lovelock on this one. He has predicted that, by 2100, mankind’s numbers will have declined to no more than one billion. Between Group A that chooses to ignore the problems and Group B, the sort that put out videos like this, there’s a very good chance that Lovelock will turn out to be right.

    There are solutions to all of these threats and we need these comprehensive solutions but we won’t choose to accept them. The affluent, and in this context that means even the poorest among us of the richest nations, will not abide the slashing of our consumption rates and the inevitable transfer of wealth and resources that would be required. Our power structure is too wedded to our industrial, free-market (constant, exponential growth) capitalism to throw it all over in favour of steady state economics. The overpopulated nations are hardly prepared to cull their own herds.

    • 2014/04/09 5:55 am

      I agree with you MoS that climate change is a symptom of our economic, social, and political dysfunction. I would suggest that is why it is SO difficult for our governments to address this issue even though the science is clear and very very alarming. Once there are moves to address climate change, and ratchet down our emissions, there will be a resulting increase in democracy (because fossil fuel companies and Big Ag won’t be able to buy our governments as easily) which will result in a cascade of other (potentially positive) changes.
      But there is no doubt that we are entering into uncharted territory as humans on this planet, and the longer we continue to pollute our air and water and destabilize our climate the more precarious our/our children’s future is.

  2. MoS permalink
    2014/04/08 5:21 pm

    • 2014/04/09 5:49 am

      Thanks for sharing. James Cameron and friends did a great job on the first episode, and I really appreciate that it’s been made available on YouTube (as is the second one going to be, I understand). Disturbing but important content – we gathered together with a group of other climate-concerned Canadians in our community and watched it together on Monday night.

  3. uknowispeaksense permalink
    2014/04/08 5:48 pm

    Reblogged this on uknowispeaksense.

  4. nancy permalink
    2014/04/08 5:54 pm

    Is that where we are? Is it capitalism vs survival? Who was the person who famously said that humans have an easier time accepting the end of civilization than the end of capitalism?

    • 2014/04/09 11:28 am

      Nancy, free market capitalism as envisioned by Adam Smith in “The Wealth of Nations” isn’t what we have today. Smith foresaw it as lasting just 200-years after which nations would transition to what we would today call “steady state” economics. Smith, of course, writing in the 1700s, had no idea what would happen with the advent of cheap and plentiful fossil energy, modern industrialism, resource exploitation, population growth and modern geo-politics. Yes, sadly, it is capitalism versus survival and capitalism is winning, hands down. Go to YouTube and search “David Suzuki exponential growth” and your doubts will be erased. Our global civilization is utterly DEPENDENT on access to resources, natural capital, that already exceeds by a factor of 1.5 our planet’s replenishment rate. This is tangible, measureable, even visible to the naked eye from space. It manifests in such scourges as deforestation, desertification, waterways that no longer flow to the sea, the collapse of global fisheries, on and on. At the moment we’re getting by only through consuming resource reserves. Draining our fossil aquifers for irrigation is one example.

      It’s a candle burning fiercely at both ends and capitalism’s solution is growth. It’s no wonder that many now consider neo-classical economics a mental disorder.

  5. 2014/04/09 5:50 am

    Some humans, particularly Americans. But the U.S. is the dominant political and economic force in the world right now, so yeah, it’s going to be a hard fall.

    • nancy permalink
      2014/04/09 9:16 am

      It’s not your grandmother’s Canada any longer. Koch-topus has invaded there as well, right? How the hell did Harper get elected? Have Canadians gone as mad as Americans? It certainly seems so, sad to say.

  6. nancy permalink
    2014/04/09 9:29 am

    Actions of Koch, Exxon, BP, and all the fossil fuel OILigarchs, represent the largest national security threat free nations have ever faced, yet we encourage them. Perhaps we should spend those gazillions of Pentagon dollars paying them to develop clean energy instead of the Pentagon being one of the biggest consumers of their products. We also need a million climate-crisis-believing Christians – like Katherine Hayhoe – talking scientific truth to the religious. When she talks, they ‘get it.’

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