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Hedges, Near-Term Extinction & Ecosocialist Responses

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In the past few days, a quote from an article by Chris Hedges set off a debate on the SCNCC listserv. We are sharing the thread here on the System Change forum so that a wider group of activists can view and participate in the discussion.

On 7/26/2017 at 12:18 PM, Shanelle LeFage wrote:


"Catastrophic climate change is inevitable. Our technology and science will not save us. The future of humanity is now in peril. At best, we can mitigate the crisis. We cannot avert it."

We Can’t Fight Climate Change if We Keep Lying to Ourselves: Chris Hedges

On 7/26/2017 at 5:37 PM, David Klein wrote:

Thanks, Shanelle, for forwarding this article. I agree with the call to action, but the article is flawed in several ways. First, the word "capitalism" does not even appear. It's really past time to go beyond such liberal inhibitions. There is the usual indictment of "neoliberalism" -- a safe weasel word if there ever was one (in this context)-- as the problem, with the implication that pre-neoliberal capitalism would somehow be just fine.

In addition, the author makes a couple of significant scientific errors. He wrote:

"The earth’s temperature has already risen by more than 1 degree Celsius since the late 19th century. And it is almost certain to rise a few more degrees—even if we stop all carbon emissions today."​

There are a number of papers in the scientific literature that indicate no surface temperature rise with a drop to zero carbon emissions (although the ocean temps would go up slightly). IPCC analysis of RCP 2.6 is consistent with that (look at the temperature graph for that well-known scenario). A sample research paper of this type is here:

ftp://public.sos.noaa.gov/models/bm10000/media/ngeo1047-aop.pdf

In addition, a multimodel study showed that the time for full temperature effects of emitted CO2 is 10.1 years (contrary to popular belief even among climate scientists prior to the publication of the paper, see the short video here.) The bottom line, at least according to a lot of research, is that if we could suddenly go to zero emissions tomorrow, the global average surface temperature would remain about constant.

The author also wrote:

"And meat, dairy and egg producers, responding to consumer demand, are responsible for the emission of more greenhouse gases than the entire global transportation sector."​

This is doubtful. While there are lots of accounting systems that give a range of percentages, I think that the IPCC's is the most reliable and consistent one; it carefully avoids overlaps. According to the 2014 IPCC report, the combined effects of Agriculture, Forestry, and Other Land Use (AFOLU) accounts for 24% of global GHG emissions (at least in 2010). Keep in mind that massive deforestation fires around the world are part of this 24%.

There is nothing sacred about the IPCC taxonomy; one could plausibly shift some emissions from one category to another. For example, transportation emissions related to agriculture could reasonably go in the transportation category or AFOLU. The IPCC was careful to avoid overlaps and maintain consistency. For this reason, there is an advantage to sticking to the IPCC figures. That way, various information pieces that SCNCC might put out will be consistent, without successively claiming percentages that sum to more than 100% (and thus eliciting skepticism from erstwhile supporters).

Among various reports many percentages for emissions attributed to agriculture are thrown around. For example, the 2006 FAO report attributes 18% of global GHG emissions to livestock. But in its 2013 report, "Tackling Climate Change Through Livestock," the FAO revised that figure downward to 14.5%. The EPA attributed 10% of U.S. emissions to agriculture, and the Union of Concerned Scientists in 2011 attributed just 6% of U.S. emissions to agriculture with 2.2% to beef production. The Guardian UK pointed to some questionable methodologies of the FAO, stating for example that, "A further problem with the FAO's figures is that they do not account for 'default' emissions - in other words, they do not tell us what greenhouse gases would be released by substitute activities that would become necessary were we to give up meat." E.g.,

"What will be the methane and nitrous oxide emissions from the wild animals that will repopulate the grasslands that cover 29% of the world's land surface? If, after the demise of the US beef industry, the 60 million bison and even larger numbers of deer that once populated the North American plains make a return, how much methane would they generate?"​

Some interesting analyses along these lines have been carried out, e.g.,

"Attempts to quantify methane emissions from wild ruminants have been made in the past. Crutzen et al. (1986), for example, estimated that wild ruminants produce about 0.37 Tg/yr (1 teragram = 10^12 grams) of methane. McAllister et al. (1996) estimated wild ruminants (bison, elk, caribou, deer, sheep) in Canada alone produce 0.15 Tg/yr,..."​
Wild Ruminants Burp Methane, too (Dairy)

The author also wrote:

"The nonprofit Project Drawdown, which compiles research from an international coalition of scientists, says that “a plant-based diet may be the most effective way an individual can stop climate change.”"

Well, a plant diet is certainly a positive thing, but I would say the single most valuable thing a US middle class person could possibly do is NOT fly in an airplane. In the apocalyptic British Film, "The Age of Stupid," one of the characters remarks, “other than setting fire to a forest, flying is the single worst thing an ordinary individual can do to cause climate change.” He's right.

David K

On Wed, Jul 26 at 7:26 PM, Steve Ongerth (intexile) wrote:

One or two more points on this: on the consumption of meat, I suspect that Hedges is basing his claim on the movie, “Cowspiracy”. The claims made in that movie have been thoroughly debunked, including by some vegans.


Hedges is not a scientist; he is an ex preacher with a flair for what I call #collapseporn (meaning he speaks about dangers that are real, but exaggerates them to an absurd degree. (He said, right after Trump’s election, that we’d be living in full scale fascism by now with armed fascist gangs quelling dissent. That has not happened, and if the resistance to Trump, flawed and limited though it may currently be, keeps building, that nightmare scenario will almost assuredly not happen).

Hedges is apparently an ex preacher, and it seems that he still prefers “fire and brimstone” approaches to the problems he seeks to tackle.

-In Solidarity,

Steve Ongerth



On Thu, Jul 27, 2017 at 9:40 AM, Brad Hornick wrote:

Hi Shanelle,

Thanks for posting this - its exactly the kind of thing that should be posted everyone once and a while for its own value, and for the critics on the list to speak up. We often go for days either with no posts, or of passively posting articles that are generally consistent with a certain ideological bent, then someone posts something more personal or provocative or 'questionable' and reams of good discussion happens. For me, its an interesting aspect of how things unfold. So please keep posting what catches your eye. Hedges is a difficult one for me personally. I used to relish everything he wrote, still knowing he comes from religious and liberal standpoints. Then I helped organize a conference in Vancouver with Chris as one of the headliners, controversies happened, and I have a negative gut reaction every time I see something of his in print.

Brad

On Thu, Jul 27, 2017 at 8:44 PM, Shanelle LeFage wrote:

John Foran!

That's a great idea! I think this is a great piece by Chris Hedges, I agree with the message that it is too late, and that people can still find ways to resist while also understanding that no matter what they do, what any of us do, it's not going to change the outcome. We're here by chance, and we don't get to decide whether we stay or go. We can do what we're passionate about, do what we love, do it well, and do it now. These are the things we have control over. We can't save the world or change society, but we can change individual lives. Telling Millennials to save the world is like telling a doctor to save a dead person. I really like this article.

Hi David,

Chris Hedges is actually correct that even if we stop all carbon emissions today, global temperatures will continue to rise (more than just a few degrees, btw). This is not a scientific error. You and I discussed months ago that air pollution is reducing the amount of solar radiation reaching Earth's surface. The global dimming reflects sunlight back into space, so it is actually masking some global warming. If we stop polluting now, we'll lose the global dimming, then global temperatures will increase immediately. This global temperature rise will be up to 3 degrees Celsius in a matter of days.

V Ramanathan found that "ABCs intercept sunlight by absorbing as well as reflecting it, both of which lead to a large surface dimming. The dimming effect is enhanced further because aerosols nucleate more cloud drops which makes the clouds reflect more solar radiation. The surface cooling from this dimming effect has masked the warming due to GHGs... This presents a dilemma since efforts to curb air pollution may unmask the ABC cooling effect and enhance the surface warming."

A 2005 article in Nature reads: "Atmospheric aerosols counteract the warming effects of anthropogenic greenhouse gases by an uncertain, but potentially large, amount."

And here's a link to an article from 2011 - If greenhouse gas emissions stopped now, Earth would still likely get warmer, new research shows: If greenhouse gas emissions stopped now, Earth would still likely get warmer, new research shows

And a study by James Hansen reads:

Which alternative is closer to the truth defines the terms of a "Faustian bargain" that humanity has set for itself. Global warming so far has been limited, as aerosol cooling has partially offset greenhouse gas warming. But aerosols remain airborne only several days, so they must be pumped into the air faster and faster to keep pace with increasing long-lived greenhouse gases (much of the CO2 from fossil fuel emissions will remain in the air for several millennia). However, concern about health effects of particulate air pollution is likely to lead to eventual reduction of human-made aerosols. Thereupon humanity's Faustian payment will come due.

Even the degenerate Michael Mann wrote in 2015:

"While greenhouse warming would abate, the cessation of coal burning (if we were truly to go cold-turkey on all fossil fuel burning) would mean a disappearance of the reflective sulphate pollutants (“aerosols“) produced from the dirty burning of coal. These pollutants have a regional cooling effect that has offset a substantial fraction of greenhouse warming, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere. That cooling would soon disappear, adding about 0.5C to the net warming. When we take this factor into account (orange dotted curve), the warming for 450 ppm stabilization is now seen to approach 2.5C, well about the “dangerous” limit. Indeed, CO2 concentrations now have to be kept below 405 ppm (where we’ll be in under three years at current rates of emissions) to avoid 2C warming (blue dotted curve)."

And here's the study in the 2013 Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, which I sent to you months ago:

We find that the dramatic emission reductions (35%–80%) in anthropogenic aerosols and their precursors projected by Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 4.5 result in ~1 °C of additional warming and ~0.1 mm day−1 of additional precipitation, both globally averaged, by the end of the 21st century. The impact of these reductions in aerosol emissions on simulated global mean surface temperature and precipitation becomes apparent by mid-21st century.

If there's anything that I'm not understanding, if there are any errors, or if there is anything that you disagree with here, please let me know.

I agree with you about the veganism part. I don't see how going vegan would change anything, but this is something I have not researched much.

Hi Intexile@iww,

This is the end of the world. Don't shoot the messenger.

Hi Brad,
Thank you for your thoughts on this. I think I get what you mean about Chris Hedges. I'm an atheist and I don't always agree with what he says about religion. I do really like his work but I think in some ways he's being far too optimistic.

To everyone:

I am so glad that New York Magazine article came out! I think it's time to have an honest discussion about near-term human extinction. I'll send you some of Guy McPherson's work, if you are willing to read it.

"Denial requires a willful misreading of the science, a romantic view of the ability of political institutions to respond, or faith in divine intervention."


On Thu, Jul 27 at 10:27 PM, Brad Hornick wrote:

Hi Shanelle,

"We can't save the world or change society, but we can change individual lives."

Wow, that's a new twist, hoping that isn't a classic millenial opinion, (certainly not in many I see protesting in the streets)... or we won't have that group joining us in the revolution.

For sure Hedges doesn't go that far in that direction, and I don't believe even MacPherson does. Yes I've read most of MacPherson's stuff, and try to follow him, because whatever "outlier" opinions he has, he is courageous, and he isn't afraid to portray the problem in a weighty way where others fear to tread. I even helped organized a seminar with him in Vancouver, and thus shared thoughts with him personally.

But I'm still an ecosocialist, which means staying awake, figuring out how the system works and challenging power, and believing we can have impact not only in our individual lives but in that of others and community.

His ending statement is always "do what you love," and I don't think even he would tell us definitively not to attempt, even out of a sense of compassion, to lessen the present or future suffering of others and the planet (by attempting to "change society" in a way we can), or at the very extreme, attempt to at least "mitigate" the terminal end to the biological world by doing what we can to stick-it-to-the-powers-that-be now.

All the way through this article, Hedges does NOT say what you say. Yes, he's extreme in his typical opportunist and evangelist puffery, by barking about how bad it really is. But he hedges all the way through it by saying things like "any act of resistance, even if it appears futile, is a moral victory" and "in a way perhaps only the oppressed can grasp, that our character and dignity will be measured by our ability to name and resist the malignant forces..." and similar statements. And he is clearly not talking about "resisting" solely through individualist retreat.

We need to reality check constantly in the rapidly changing world. (Global dimming, yes. And many other ridiculously scary things.) Your intervention, and John's plain talk below, does this once again for us. Carrying on the historical revolutionary socialist banner at times seems absurd, and as utopian as liberalism, or any other form of faith in consequential action. But I hope that should sharpen our strategies and resolve...for now. Denial on some levels, perhaps, but denial works the other way around too... "giving up" on collective solutions, or partial solutions that make most sense, even with everything we know is as delusory if you start following the chains of reasoning.

I think I get some of what you're saying - that this is an opportunity, when there's "everything to lose" to really live like we should have all along. This is a sentiment that I am increasingly trying to centrally grasp. And whatever my views are, or the views of other ecosocialists are, you have a right especially in these apocalyptic times, to think differently and not subscribe to ecosocialist visions. As MacPherson says, do what you love. And, of course, we should be listening to millenials for various good reasons, and if at least for the fact that some of us older folks have left you this situation.

Cheers to you, and to your position. I am reminded we are not dead yet, as as goes the Mexican proverb: "solamente para los muertos, no hay remedios."

Brad

On Fri, Jul 28, 2017 at 4:26 PM, Shanelle LeFage wrote:

Hi Brad,

I'm not saying that people should just give up. I did write that "I agree with the message that it is too late, and that people can still find ways to resist while also understanding that no matter what they do, what any of us do, it's not going to change the outcome."

This, as far as I can tell, is exactly what Chris Hedges is saying. He's pointing out that things are going to get much worse, and he's encouraging people to resist, even though it's going to be ineffective. We are headed for mass extinction, no matter what. So he wants us to understand that each of us is responsible for how we contribute to or diminish the common good, and he's also telling us that we're not going to save the world, that it's not even possible anymore, but we should resist anyway. This is a message I support.

So, we can resist, but we can't save the world. Older generations must stop telling my generation, the Millennials, to save the world. It's not going to happen. They left us a world that is broken beyond repair and they need to acknowledge this. The pile of shit is too high and young people are not a cleaning service. Parents should have thought about this before they completely trashed the planet.

I will emphasize that people should start doing what they're passionate about, right now, because time is running out.

One more note: We can't just blame the power elite. Civilization itself is a heat engine. Everyone is making the problem worse when they drive cars, waste, go to work, buy clothes made in other countries, and even when they buy food in grocery stores. These are things people don't even think about. It has become normal to us now.
 
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Listserve discussion continued ------->

On Friday, July 28, 2017, David Klein wrote:

Hi Shanelle,

You're right that aerosols have a net cooling effect and so eliminating them wouldi warm the planet. I should have included that in my previous post, but got focused purely on GHGs.

Some aerosols, like black carbon, block sunlight but still warm the planet because they absorb radiation (so it would be good to get rid of them). Other lighter colored aerosols (the majority) reflect sunlight back to space. The net effect of aersols is to cool the planet, so suddently eliminating all of them would have a warming effect, as you say. But how much and for how long?

Only one of your references directly addressed this question for a zero emissions scenario, and none of them support Hedges' claim that,

"The earth’s temperature has already risen by more than 1 degree Celsius since the late 19th century. And it is almost certain to rise a few more degrees—even if we stop all carbon emissions today."​

I still maintain that this statement is an error. The IPCC summarized findings on this matter in AR5 WG1 FAQ 12.3. For convenience, I'll paste an excerpt of it in here:

FAQ 12.3 | What Would Happen to Future Climate if We Stopped Emissions Today?

Even if anthropogenic greenhouses gas emissions were halted now, the radiative forcing due to these long- lived greenhouse gases concentrations would only slowly decrease in the future, at a rate determined by the lifetime of the gas (see above). Moreover, the climate response of the Earth System to that radiative forcing would be even slower. Global temperature would not respond quickly to the greenhouse gas concentration changes. Eliminating CO2 emissions only would lead to near constant temperature for many centuries. Eliminating short-lived negative forcings from sulphate aerosols at the same time (e.g., by air pollution reduction measures) would cause a temporary warming of a few tenths of a degree, as shown in blue in FAQ 12.3, Figure 1. Setting all emissions to zero would therefore, after a short warming, lead to a near stabilization of the climate for multiple centuries. This is called the commitment from past emissions (or zero future emission commitment). The concentration of GHG would decrease and hence the radiative forcing as well, but the inertia of the climate system would delay the temperature response.​

So yes, there would be temporary warming, probably less than 0.5C (according to accompanying graphs in the above reference) lasting perhaps 2 or 3 decades. That is significant, but not fatal as Hedges and others maintain.

Of course a zero emissions scenario is unrealistic, but still instructive. It lets us know whether survivability is even possible. It is. At least for a while if humanity acts decisively. Also, in a zero emissions scenario, some climate engineering would make sense, including spraying aersols into the stratasphere to substitute for the missing aerosols from coal burning to keep the warming down to zero (relative to the initial time of zero emissions).

No one knows for sure what is going to happen. So it makes sense to do the best we can to save as much of the biosphere as we can (even if one doesn't much like people, the animals deserve better than this). Virtually all top climate scientists, like Hansen and Andersen, still think we have a chance. Finding scattered quotes here and there about unavoidable doomsday scenarios (and without any serious calculations, by the way) is far from good science and certainly not proof of anything.

I believe that you and I still have a bet. If there is not 10C global average temp increase by 2021 (as you claimed), you owe me a beer if we're still alive. See you then (and hopefully much sooner)!

DK

On Sat, Jul 29, 2017 at 5:21 PM, Shanelle LeFage wrote:

"If you scratch a cynic, you'll find a disappointed idealist." - George Carlin

Hi All,

This article by Chris Hedges clearly hit a nerve with people in this discussion. That is a sign of great journalism. I know you guys don't want to hear that it's too late and I knew before I started this discussion that all of you would disagree with me about near-term human extinction. Thank gosh I don't care about what other people think about me. On our climate predicament, it is my view that it is pure hubris to believe that we have any control over the situation. Each day, more and more evidence emerges that civilization is well into its final act. But this is something that should be discussed.

"Broken beyond repair? A pile of shit too high? What world do you live in Shanelle? Life s a heat engine." - Bill Henderson. I don't know what this even means. (Tim Garrett of the University of Utah found that civilization is a heat engine.)

Hi David,


The IPCC (the most conservative scientific body in the universe) is almost certainly wrong. The warming from the loss of global dimming will be more than 0.5°C. James Hansen found that lack of global dimming will increase global temperatures more than 1°C. (Btw, there's a film called Dimming the Sun that everybody should watch.)

I don't see how these studies on global dimming are, as you put it, "scattered quotes here and there about unavoidable doomsday scenarios (and without any serious calculations, by the way)." Like this, for example: "We find that the dramatic emission reductions (35%–80%) in anthropogenic aerosols and their precursors projected by Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 4.5 result in ~1 °C of additional warming." Here's the link if you would like to read more: The roles of aerosol direct and indirect effects in past and future climate change


I'll share this line in an e-mail I received yesterday about our discussion: "Here is a more recent article documenting that the world is headed to multi-degree temperature rises even if greenhouse gas emissions were to fall to zero (I leave aside that such a scenario is a preposterous exercise in wishful thinking in the midst of a capitalist order facing few signs, as yet, of a fundamental challenge to its dominance)."

And, since you are going by the ridiculously conservative IPCC, it is worth noting that even the IPCC concluded back in 2013 that global warming is irreversible without massive geoengineering of the atmosphere's chemistry. Also, see this article, Intergovernmental Climate Report Leaves Hope Hanging on Fantasy Technology: Intergovernmental Climate Report Leaves Hopes Hanging on Fantasy Technology And studies have shown that geoengineering could actually make everything worse. See here: Geoengineering plan could have 'unintended' side effect - BBC News


And let's not forget about Arctic ice melt. We must take this into account when we talk about global temperature rise. The world is losing its "air conditioner." What about albedo changes, water vapor feedbacks, and methane?

The US Postnaval Graduate School predicted an ice-free Arctic in 2016 ± 3 years and each month sea ice is at record lows. We are on track for an ice-free Arctic this September (this is also what the leading expert on sea ice, Peter Wadhams, predicts). Our first Blue Ocean Event will certainly cause a significant temperature rise. I wrote to you months ago that Wadhams warned us that with the ice gone in summer, the planet would have an additional heating effect just as large as the heating effect of all human CO2 and other greenhouse gases to date. A summer ice-free Arctic could double the rate of warming of the planet as a whole. I also pointed out the December 2016 study in Palaeoworld which read: Global warming triggered by the massive release of carbon dioxide may be catastrophic, but the release of methane from hydrate may be apocalyptic. I will send out an article about this.

Once the ice is gone, we'll probably get the 50-gigaton burst of methane that Natalia Shakhova said is "highly possible for abrupt release at any time" (and even a fraction of this is catastrophic). I don't see how we avoid it. This gives us a 1.3°C temperature rise. Civilization cannot withstand a 50-gigaton release of methane and, as Chris Hedges points out, technology will not save us. Yes we do still have a bet and I do believe that Earth is going to experience a 10°C temperature rise by 2021, 4 years from now. And if we do get an ice-free Arctic and an abrupt release of methane this year, then it is possible - possible - that Earth could become completely uninhabitable as early as next year.


You wrote: "Virtually all top climate scientists, like Hansen and Andersen, still think we have a chance." This is doubtful. Here's an article I read about a month ago, It's the end of the world and we know it: Scientists in many disciplines see apocalypse, soon. It’s the end of the world and we know it: Scientists in many disciplines see apocalypse, soon

You may disagree with Chris Hedges, but he is not wrong.


 
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On Sun, Jul 30, 2017 at 11:14 AM, David Klein wrote:


Hi Shanelle,

I'm going to respond to your references below. If you feel that I did not address or acknowledge an important point in one or more of them, please let me know and I'll look again. To avoid muddying the waters, I reiterate that my disagreement is with Hedges' claim that,

"The earth’s temperature has already risen by more than 1 degree Celsius since the late 19th century. And it is almost certain to rise a few more degrees—even if we stop all carbon emissions today."

In addition, I disagree with Guy McPherson's claim that humanity will be extinct by 2026, and that the temperature will increase 10C by that year.

References

You gave this reference:

"We find that the dramatic emission reductions (35%–80%) in anthropogenic aerosols and their precursors projected by Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 4.5 result in ~1 °C of additional warming." Here's the link if you would like to read more: The roles of aerosol direct and indirect effects in past and future climate change

My response:

This paper does not address a zero emissions scenario, so it does not address the Hedges quote. This is because Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 4.5 is a scenario of long-term, global emissions of greenhouse gases, short-lived species, and land-use-land- cover which stabilizes radiative forcing at 4.5 Watts per meter squared (approximately 650 ppm CO2-equivalent) in the year 2100. So, certainly one would expect more warming under a GHG emissions scenario compared to a zero emissions scenario. In addition, the authors write near the end of their paper:

"Although reasonably confident of the strength of our first indirect aerosol effect in CM3, we know that our representation of the second indirect effect (“cloud lifetime effect”) is incomplete and suspect that it and our total aerosol effect are too strong."​

Other studies suggest a much lower aerosol effect, including Hansen's latest (see below).

You gave this reference:

"Once the ice is gone, we'll probably get the 50-gigaton burst of methane that Natalia Shakhova said is "highly possible for abrupt release at any time" (and even a fraction of this is catastrophic). I don't see how we avoid it."

My response:

Evidently Natalia Shakhova is less convinced now. In a 2017 video here Guy McPherson said that she denies ever saying this and McPherson accuses her of lying about it. He also says that she no longer answers his emails. A majority of arctic scientists disputed that claim as soon as it came out. This is not to say that methane emissions are not extremely dangerous, they are. But McPherson, who is an ecologist and not a climate scientist, does not help matters by making doomsday speculations and describing them as certain.

You gave this reference:

The warming from the loss of global dimming will be more than 0.5°C. James Hansen found that lack of global dimming will increase global temperatures more than 1°C.

My response:

You did not provide a link for this, so I don't know how to track it down. It doesn't quite make sense because the radiative forcing from loss of aerosols would increase the global temperature only as a function of time, and no time period is given in your statement. When did Hansen say this? At any rate, Hansen has been writing very different statements in recent years. One of his latest papers is this one:

Young people’s burden: requirement of negative CO2 emissions (2017) Hansen et al

https://www.earth-syst-dynam.net/8/577/2017/esd-8-577-2017.pdf

Regarding aerosols, the paper says:

"Human-made aerosols today are believed to cause a large, albeit poorly measured, negative climate forcing (Fig. 4) of the order of −1 W m−2 with uncertainty of at least 0.5 W m−2 (Fig. 7.19, Boucher et al., 2013). Fossil fuel burning is only one of several human-caused aerosol sources (Boucher et al., 2013). Given that human population continues to grow, and that human-caused climate effects such as increased desertification can lead to increased aerosols, we do not anticipate a large reduction in the aerosol cooling effect, even if fossil fuel use declines."​

Regarding whether there is still time to save the planet, Hansen admirably continues to urge action and with the co-authors charts out a path to survival in this paper. They write:

"There is no time to delay. CO2 extraction required to achieve 350 ppm CO2 in 2100 was ∼ 100 PgC if 6 % yr−1 emission reductions began in 2013 (Hansen et al., 2013a). Required extraction is at least ∼ 150 PgC in our updated scenarios, which incorporate growth of emissions in the past 4 years and assume that emissions will continue at approximately current levels until a global program of emission reductions begins in 4 years (in 2021 relative to 2020; see Figs. 9 and 10 for reduction rates). The difficulty of stabilizing climate was thus markedly increased by a delay in emission reductions of 8 years, from 2013 to 2021. Nevertheless, if rapid emission reductions are initiated soon, it is still possible that at least a large fraction of required CO2 extraction can be achieved via relatively natural agricultural and forestry practices with other benefits."​

You gave this reference:

"Here is a more recent article documenting that the world is headed to multi-degree temperature rises even if greenhouse gas emissions were to fall to zero (I leave aside that such a scenario is a preposterous exercise in wishful thinking in the midst of a capitalist order facing few signs, as yet, of a fundamental challenge to its dominance)."

My response:

It's true that the author of this popular magazine article talks about thermal inertia and says, "from the carbon pollution we’ve already put into the atmosphere, we’re committed to 1.5–3°C warming over the coming decades and centuries." He cites no scientific paper for this. Then the author contradicts himself in the graphs he presents in the same article. If you take a look at the temperature graph he gives for RCP 2.6, there is no such temperature increase. So which is it, a large temperature increase? No temperature increase? And how does he justify his claims? I don't think this is a good reference.

End of references and a little philosophy

Shanelle, again if you feel I missed something important in your references, please let me know. I ordinarily wouldn't go this far with wonkish back and forth rebuttals, but I think it is very important to clarify that the best available science does NOT assert with any certainty that we are doomed because of the climate crisis. On the contrary, the best science, including arguably the top climate scientist in the world, James Hansen, argue that with decisive actions we can save our world. Because of your impressive talents and capacity for leadership, I really hope that you will reconsider.

In an earlier message you wrote:

"So, we can resist, but we can't save the world. Older generations must stop telling my generation, the Millennials, to save the world. It's not going to happen. They left us a world that is broken beyond repair and they need to acknowledge this. The pile of shit is too high and young people are not a cleaning service. Parents should have thought about this before they completely trashed the planet."​

What you say is fair. But I ask you to consider the following. Suppose that James Hansen and mainstream climate scientists are right and Guy McPherson is wrong. Suppose that humanity, including you, will make it at least to the end of the century.

The Millennial generation is already having children and under this assumption they will reach your age on a still living planet. As an old person in that future, what would you say to one of those grown children who says to you: "They left us a world that is broken beyond repair and they need to acknowledge this. Parents should have thought about this before they completely trashed the planet"? Do you want to say to them that you gave up because McPherson said there was no hope?

David

On Sun, July 30, 2017 at 6:07 PM, Kamran Nayeri wrote:

Thank you, David, for your clear headed discussion of the science behind this debate. Thank you, Shanelle, for sharing your concerns and making this discussion possible. I am certain many others, including many young people today, are thinking about the same issues, with hope, and with despair.

Allow me to interject a correction to the statement that Shanelle had offered and David quoted in his response:

"So, we can resist, but we can't save the world. Older generations must stop telling my generation, the Millennials, to save the world. It's not going to happen. They left us a world that is broken beyond repair and they need to acknowledge this. The pile of shit is too high and young people are not a cleaning service. Parents should have thought about this before they completely trashed the planet."​

But this is a false-consciousness. We know what has brought us the climate crisis, and the larger planetary crisis. It is not the "older generation." It is the anthropocentric industrial capitalist mode of production. It is the world capitalist elite, concentrated in the Global North, o.7% of world population that in 2016 controlled $116 trillion, or 45.6% of the world’s wealth. The older generation as we as the Millennials are simply serving this ruling class. It is true that some of us working people have a few more crumbles of their table compared to the mass of the humanity that lives in dire conditions. But it is both incorrect and unfair to blame the "old generation" as if the social and planetary crisis of the world is "the old generation's" fault.

I had assumed that being on this ecological socialist discussion list would mean we all understand and agree that this is a systemic crisis--Are we not called System Change Not Climate Change?

When I became a socialist in 1971, nobody worried that we may run out of time fighting for radical social change. Today, we know we are running out of time to save the world if we allow illusions in the system and despair bar us to unite in great numbers to take our history into our own hands. That is the responsibility we all face, the older generation like myself and the younger ones like the Millennials. It is a world-historic responsibility placed on our shoulder not by anyone but by the course of the development of class society. Of course, as it has always been the case, if we are to survive as a species, the new generation would lead this fight. Not because anyone is telling them what to do but because they become women and men who want to take on this system roots-and-branch and bring us a new society at peace with itself and in harmony with the rest of nature.

Thank you again.

Kamran
 
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Listserve discussion continued ------->

On Sun 7/30/2017 at 12:19 PM, Glenn Turner wrote:


Thank you all for this brilliant discussion, Shanelle and David etc.

As an old white woman (with a man's name) I am actively working to Mitigate that terrible future by working with our local community of System Change and allies. The network we are building will hopefully be of some use as we head down to a less energy intensive future. I do this partly to look my grandson (5yrs) in the eye in ten years and say I did what I could.

In Solidarity, Glenn Turner, SCNCC Bay area

On Sun 7/30/2017 3:41 PM, Bill Henderson wrote:

Wow David!! very impressive, reasonable citing of relevant climate science. I'm just trying to write up 'climate as possibly fatal' and was citing Hansen too and I might just steal some of your wisdom. Much appreciated

On Sun 7/30/2017 6:07 PM, Kamran Nayeri wrote:

Thank you, David, for your clear headed discussion of the science behind this debate. Thank you, Shanelle, for sharing your concerns and making this discussion possible. I am certain many others, including many young people today, are thinking about the same issues, with hope, and with despair.

Allow me to interject a correction to the statement that Shanelle had offered and David quoted in his response:

"So, we can resist, but we can't save the world. Older generations must stop telling my generation, the Millennials, to save the world. It's not going to happen. They left us a world that is broken beyond repair and they need to acknowledge this. The pile of shit is too high and young people are not a cleaning service. Parents should have thought about this before they completely trashed the planet."​


But this is a false-consciousness. We know what has brought us the climate crisis, and the larger planetary crisis. It is not the "older generation." It is the anthropocentric industrial capitalist mode of production. It is the world capitalist elite, concentrated in the Global North, o.7% of world population that in 2016 controlled $116 trillion, or 45.6% of the world’s wealth. The older generation as we as the Millennials are simply serving this ruling class. It is true that some of us working people have a few more crumbles of their table compared to the mass of the humanity that lives in dire conditions. But it is both incorrect and unfair to blame the "old generation" as if the social and planetary crisis of the world is "the old generation's" fault.

I had assumed that being on this ecological socialist discussion list would mean we all understand and agree that this is a systemic crisis--Are we not called System Change Not Climate Change?

When I became a socialist in 1971, nobody worried that we may run out of time fighting for radical social change. Today, we know we are running out of time to save the world if we allow illusions in the system and despair bar us to unite in great numbers to take our history into our own hands. That is the responsibility we all face, the older generation like myself and the younger ones like the Millennials. It is a world-historic responsibility placed on our shoulder not by anyone but by the course of the development of class society. Of course, as it has always been the case, if we are to survive as a species, the new generation would lead this fight. Not because anyone is telling them what to do but because they become women and men who want to take on this system roots-and-branch and bring us a new society at peace with itself and in harmony with the rest of nature.

Thank you again.

Kamran

On Mon 7/31/2017 at 6:10 PM, John Foran wrote:

Dear Kamran and others,

I find "false consciousness" such a patronizing concept, and I think we might all do well to check the tone of our language when addressing each other, not least when addressing a new, and younger member (though Shanelle stands up for herself just fine, of course). Sometimes, in our haste to correct others, we can miss the main points they are making.

I wrote this in all comradely spirit, I assure you.

John

On Mon 7/31/2017 at 7:23 PM, Kamran Nayeri wrote:

Dear John:

I respectfully disagree. False-consciousness is a Marxian category. Not an insult. How would you characterize the position that the climate crisis is the previous generation's fault? If indeed we are facing the prospects of human extinction is it not the time to speak respectfully but frankly?

I am writing in the same spirit as yours.

Warm regards,

Kamran

On Mon 7/31/2017 at 8:14 PM, Shanelle LeFage wrote:

Hi David,

I like you, I like you a lot, and I appreciate you taking the time to have this discussion with me. I do wish we could discuss some of these things in person.

I know you disagree with Guy McPherson. I also disagree with Guy McPherson. I don’t think we’ll be extinct in nine years. I think we’ll be extinct in five years.

Even if emissions stop, carbon dioxide could warm Earth for centuries: Even if emissions stop, carbon dioxide could warm Earth for centuries

Now I'll get back to global dimming. Here is a clip from Dimming the Sun in which James Hansen explains that if we lose the global dimming, the warming as a result could be more than 1°C:

Here is the study that Sam Carana uses to estimate a 2.5°C temperature rise if we remove aerosols:

"The effective radiative forcing (ERF), as newly defined in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Fifth Assessment Report (IPCC AR5), of three anthropogenic aerosols [sulphate (SF), black carbon (BC), and organic carbon (OC)] and their comprehensive climatic effects were simulated and discussed, using the updated aerosol-climate online model of BCC_AGCM2.0.1_CUACE/Aero. From 1850 to 2010, the total ERF of these anthropogenic aerosols was −2.49 W m−2, of which the aerosol–radiation interactive ERF (ERFari) and aerosol–cloud interactive ERF (ERFaci) were ∼ −0.30 and −2.19 W m−2, respectively. SF was the largest contributor to the total ERF, with an ERF of −2.37 W m−2. The ERF of BC and OC were 0.12 and −0.31 W m−2, respectively. From 1850 to 2010, anthropogenic aerosols brought about a decrease of ∼2.53 K and ∼0.20 mm day−1 in global annual mean surface temperature and precipitation, respectively. Surface cooling was most obvious over mid- and high latitudes in the northern hemisphere (NH). Precipitation change was most pronounced near the equator, with decreased and increased rainfall to the north and south of the equator, respectively; this might be largely related to the enhanced Hadley Cell in the NH. Relative humidity near surface was increased, especially over land, due to surface cooling induced by anthropogenic aerosols. Cloud cover and water path were increased, especially in or near the source regions of anthropogenic aerosols. Experiments based on the Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 4.5 given in IPCC AR5 shows the dramatic decrease in three anthropogenic aerosols in 2100 will lead to an increase of ∼2.06 K and 0.16 mm day−1 in global annual mean surface temperature and precipitation, respectively, compared with those in 2010."​

Here is the link to this study if you would like to read more: The updated effective radiative forcing of major anthropogenic aerosols and their effects on global climate at present and in the future

It is true that nobody knows exactly how much warming we'll get if we lose the global dimming, but we do know that global temperatures will go up and it could be catastrophic.

The scientists going under the name Sam Carana did examine the possibility of a 10°C temperature rise by 2026 (and they include links to different studies - which you should look at). Here is the link to their prediction: Arctic News: A Global Temperature Rise Of More than Ten Degrees Celsius By 2026?

You hold on to what mainstream scientists say, as if their analysis has thus far been accurate. They are all wrong. Climate scientist Paul Beckwith correctly explains:

"We all hear over and over, from Main-Stream-Scientists, that climate change is occurring “faster than expected“. Think about what this means. It means that what is expected is completely wrong. What will, and is happening is way worse than what MSS are saying, and what MSM is reporting. The public needs the truth, and not some sugarcoated MSM/MSS bullshit."

Think about what Beckwith is saying. He's saying that we are in the midst of abrupt climate change; not the nice, slow, "manageable" version of climate change. Let us look at the following:

Oceans' oxygen levels are falling at a rate 2-3 times faster than predicted: Carbon pollution is suffocating ocean life and speeding up the next mass extinction

Oceans are warming at least 13% faster than expected: Ocean warming has surged since 1992, study says

Greenland ice sheet is melting 600% faster than expected: Greenland Ice Sheet Melting 600 Percent Faster Than Predicted by Current Models

And I know you think James Hansen still thinks we have a chance, but he did say over 10 years ago:

--> "I think we have less than a decade to avoid passing what I call 'point of no return.'"

-->"I think we have to keep global warming less than one degree Celsius, or we're going to get very bad effects."

And we know that the United Nations Advisory Group on Greenhouse Gases warned that "beyond 1 degree C may elicit rapid, unpredictable and non-linear responses that could lead to extensive ecosystem damage.”

And we know that we are beyond 1°C.

We also know that Hansen told us that we should not go beyond 300 ppm carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, or at the most, 350 ppm. And we know that we are over 410 ppm. See here: We Just Breached the 410 PPM Threshold for CO2

And, honestly, how long do you believe we can survive with little to no Arctic ice? You and I both know that a Blue Ocean Event is an existential threat. I am 24 years old and I know that there is no way I will reach middle age. So I will be getting on with my life and doing what I am most passionate about (which is mostly writing and researching) while I'm still alive on this soon-to-be uninhabitable planet.

In order to save the human species at this point, we would need to do the following:
  • Refreeze the Arctic in one month
  • Pull carbon out of the atmosphere
  • Spray aerosols into the atmosphere
  • Remove millions of tons of plastic trash and other waste from the earth's oceans and around the globe
  • Grow our own food
  • Significantly reduce the world's human population
  • Restore forests all over the planet
  • Abolish capitalism today
If this is a project that you, the SCNCC crew, and [derogatory language deleted by moderator] Bill Henderson are willing to take on, then I wish you all the best of luck.

I will be joining the conversation on near-term human extinction with my fellow doomists and our superhero Guy McPherson on October 9 in Los Angeles. You are welcome to come with me and perhaps even talk to him yourself.
 
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On Mon 7/31/2017 at 8:17 PM, Howard Ehrman wrote:

Dear Friends,

Thank you Shanelle for your posts


Please keep them coming

Many of us in the previous generation did know about climate change (I first learned about it in 1966) and have been organizing around it ever since

What has happened since 1958 when "Charles David Keeling, of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, was the first person to make frequent regular measurements of the atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration, taking readings at the South Pole and in Hawaii from 1958 onwards.[2]

https://scripps.ucsd.edu/programs/keelingcurve/2013/04/03/the-history-of-the-keeling-curve/

Keeling Curve - Wikipedia

Has been the accelerated globalization of advanced capitalism and imperialism


Far out-pacing up to now what we have been trying to do to combat it

What is left of nation states is quickly disappearing

And fossil fuel extraction, transport, burning, and disposal during that period has greatly accelerated, except for coal

http://www.roperld.com/science/minerals/EROEIFossilFuels.htm

What is positive in the last few years is the upsurge in interest in Socialism including Ecosocialism led by your generation

In the last few weeks polls are out that over 70% of people believe Capitalism is at a dead end and can no longer serve their interest and almost 60% want to know more about socialism

There is also an upsurge in younger people joining various socialist organizations


Within these positives is the challenge of building a true United Front (not a Popular Front) around a positive program that clearly lays out a set of revolutionary/transitional demands that gets us from where we are to where we need to go to avoid a climate catastrophe

https://pmarcuse.wordpress.com/2012/03/25/11-blog-11-reforms-radical-reformstransformative-claims/

Within this growing resistance there is the existence of “false consciousness” among people of all generations as Kamran defined it as a term used by Marxists


False consciousness includes many topics that have been raised on this listserv including but not limited to-

  • Thinking that we only have to switch to renewables to solve the problem
  • Believing that over-population is a root cause of climate change
  • That techno-fixes past present and future will help us overcome climate change, e.g., Personal Electric Vehicles (PEVs) are a real solution-when they are the most symbolic western life style False Solution
  • And that previous generations are to blame (Yes-previous generations of capitalists and imperialists)
Dialogue like the ones we are having on SCNCC will include legitimate struggles to identify the root causes of climate change and that the system of capitalism as it has evolved over the last 525 years, particularly since WWII is the culprit

And that only by riding ourselves, not modifying or reforming, of the capitalist state and worldwide capitalism/imperialism will all species on earth have a chance to survive

Our 4th granddaughter was just born, so I look forward to continuing to work with all of you and more in moving in that direction every day

Frederick Douglass, “If There Is No Struggle, There Is No Progress”


False Consciousness [from Glossary of Terms: Fa]:

“False Consciousness” refers to ideology dominating the consciousness of exploited groups and classes which at the same time justifies and perpetuates their exploitation.

The phrase was never used by Marx, and was used only once by Engels in a private letter to Franz Mehring in 1893. The context in which Engels used the term was to explain how Marx and Engels had not given sufficient emphasis in their writing to the role played by thought in determining social action, having spent their main effort in explaining how social life determines how people think. “False Consciousness” is meant in contrast to an understanding which a subject is in a position to have, but through lack of reflection or sufficient information, has not attained.

So long as one does not make too much of this term, it does no great harm. However, the term is problematic and it is for good reason that Marx and Engels did not make “false consciousness” a category of their analysis of capitalism. It could be taken as implicit that if you describe someone as having “false consciousness,” then they do not know what is in their own best interest,– but you do. This standpoint presumes that social interest can be determined “objectively,” from outside the whole system of social life of which social interests are a part. Further, it seems to presume that it is rational only to pursue one’s “own” interests; so any form of self-sacrifice or action determined by ethical considerations would seem to be deemed “false consciousness;” and who other than the subject itself can determine the aim of its activity? Thus, the idea of “false consciousness,” so understood, combines the standpoint of political economy, in which economic agents all pursue self-interest, and the view described in Theses on Feuerbach as “dividing society into two parts, one of which is superior to society,” – a bureaucratic or sectarian view of socialism and the working class.

In 1920, Lukács introduced the notion of “false consciousness” as a necessary concept in order to understand how it is that all working class people are not ipso facto, socialist revolutionaries. He defined “false consciousness” in contrast to an “imputed consciousness,” a juridical term meaning what people themselves would think if they were to have sufficient information and time to reflect, what they “ought to know,” so to speak. In his famous essay on Class Consciousness, Georg Lukács commented as follows:

“It might look as though ... we were denying consciousness any decisive role in the process of history. It is true that the conscious reflexes of the different stages of economic growth remain historical facts of great importance; it is true that while dialectical materialism is itself the product of this process, it does not deny that men perform their historical deeds themselves and that they do so consciously. But as Engels emphasises in a letter to Mehring, this consciousness is false. However, the dialectical method does not permit us simply to proclaim the ‘falseness’ of this consciousness and to persist in an inflexible confrontation of true and false. On the contrary, it requires us to investigate this ‘false consciousness’ concretely as an aspect of the historical totality and as a stage in the historical process.”

and Lukács continued always to use the inverted commas whenever he used the term ‘false consciousness’.

It was Herbert Marcuse who revived the use of the term ‘false consciousness’ in the early 1960s, as part of his analysis of the stability of capitalism after the post-WW2 settlement.

“To the degree to which they correspond to the given reality, thought and behavior express a false consciousness, responding to and contributing to the preservation of a false order of facts. And this false consciousness has become embodied in the prevailing technical apparatus which in turn reproduces it.” [One-Dimensional Man, Chapter 6].

Writers such as C. Wright Mills and Ernest Mandel still frequently used inverted commas around the phrase.

Howard Ehrman


On Tue 8/1/2017 10:15 AM David Klein wrote:

Hi Shanelle,

My compliments for your important points, references to scientific studies, and your unflinching look at the grim reality we face. That takes a lot of courage. I look forward to your visit to L.A. and I hope we can get together when you're here. If CSU Northridge (my university) had students as gifted and passionate as you are, it could be a center of activism. Just my bad luck that you live in SB (but their good luck).

On to your references. The first link you gave summarizes the 2014 Nature Climate Change paper, "Continued global warming after CO2 emissions stoppage," your best reference so far, in my opinion. But notice what your link (and the paper itself) says:

"After a century of cooling, the planet warmed by 0.37 degrees Celsius (0.66 Fahrenheit) during the next 400 years as the ocean absorbed less and less heat."​

In other words, according to the paper an immediate cessation of emissions would result in a century of cooling followed by several centures of slight warming. You're right that some climate models predict this, but notice that this does not support Hedges' claim that,

"The earth’s temperature has already risen by more than 1 degree Celsius since the late 19th century. And it is almost certain to rise a few more degrees—even if we stop all carbon emissions today."​

Nor does this paper support dire predictions of 10C warming in ten years or less.

About Hansen. Thanks for the link to his statement in 2006 when he said, "If the particle forcing is what we estimate, about minus-1.5 watts, that would imply that removing that forcing would cause a global warming of more than one degree Celsius." Since then he has revised this estimate downward as in his co-authored 2017 paper, which is largely consistent with other IPCC research.

It is not unusual for scientists to revise findings, overestimate, underestimate, or make outright mistakes. Even Einstein was not immune from major errors, for example, having published an incorrect gravitational field equation a year or two prior to getting it right and revolutionizing 20th century physics (yet again).

If I'm not mistaken, James Hansen played a key role in understanding aersol forcings in climate change in the first place. He is cited by one of the references on aerosols you sent. I think he was also one of the first researchers to challenge previous IPCC estimates of sea level rise, arguing in a paper that we might see up to 10 feet before the end of the century. As a citizen-scientist, he has not only made leading scientific breakthroughs and challeged IPCC orthodoxies, he has also put himself on the line and found himself in jails more than once because of his many climate actions. It would be a mistake to ignore what he has to say about the climate.

About Sam Carana and Arctic News. Anyone can put up a website, cherry pick numbers from other peoples' papers, and say scary things like the world is going to end in some number (blogger's choice) of years. I don't know if Sam Carana is a real person, but I haven't found any peer-reviewed papers from him.

One of the things that strikes me about the Arctic News link is that the listing of temperature increases (and their various causes) seems to ignore the nonlinear nature of the climate. You don't just get to add individual contributions to global warming. That would be linear behavior. Nonlinear interactions can be both positive and negative and that's why the climate models are complicated but necessary. Yet, simple adding is what the website is doing on top of making dubious assumptions about methane bombs, aerosols, etc.

The aerosol paper you quoted suggests a temperature impact for aerosols, but again it refers to RCP 4.5, with continuing emissions. The 2017 analysis of Hansen et al is better, and is made in the context of the zero emissions future that we must aim for. That paper is very well written and much of it is accessible to the general public.

About Paul Beckwith. I don't know him. He is probably sincere and a nice guy. But to call him a climate scientist may be a stretch. According to his resume, posted on his blog site, he has a masters degree in physics (in an area unrelated to climate) and he is currently a grad student in a geography department working on a ph.d. probably related to climate. I didn't see any refereed publications from him on climate, so I'm not sure if your reference to "Climate scientist Paul Beckwith" is appropriate.

As I mentioned, anyone can put up a blog and say things about the climate. But if an accurate assessment of climate change is the goal, I think it makes much more sense to look at the research findings of the top people in climate science, including Hansen, rather than beginners and scientists like McPherson in other fields. If you're willing to accept that, then I suggest that your certainty of extinction in five years is premature.

Setting all of that aside, I do agree with a lot of what you say, including criticisms of the IPCC. I made those same criticisms in my ebook.

Hope to see you in L.A.

David
 
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On Thu 8/3/2017 at 12:36 PM, Shanelle LeFage wrote:

"We are in a fool's climate, accidentally kept cool by smoke."
- James Lovelock


I understand that you guys don't want to discuss this any further. I understand that we are so fucked is not a very inspiring message. I also understand that what is going to happen to us all is just too horrifying to even contemplate. I assumed, because you guys discuss things like climate change, that those discussions would include abrupt climate change and human extinction. Now I understand that you guys are solution-focused. Therefore, I have nothing to contribute to these discussions since I don't actually believe that there is a solution to our climate predicament. While you guys pretend that this isn't actually happening, I am working on embracing the end times.

Should we talk about abrupt climate change? Should we not talk about abrupt climate change? Should people be aware of what's happening? I can't answer these questions for you guys, but it's something to think about.

My perspective is wildly different than yours. Chris Hedges and Guy McPherson have helped so many of us because they are not afraid to face the truth, no matter how awful the truth really is. Some of their work has been life-changing for me. These are two highly intelligent people who encourage others to do the best they can, even if the whole world is going down. That's all we can realistically expect at this point.

"Any movement that did not pay fealty to the nonhistorical values of truth, justice, and love inevitably collapsed... Our strength comes from our steadfastness to justice and truth, a steadfastness that accepts that the corporate forces arrayed against us may crush us, but that the more we make compromises with those whose ends are privilege and power the more we diminish our capacity to effect change." - Chris Hedges​

Even if we go down to zero emissions today, we are still headed for an ice-free Arctic at some point before 2020, probably this September, which will cause an abrupt temperature rise. So yes, Chris Hedges is correct, global temperatures will increase even if we go down to zero emissions. It almost worries me that you deny this. If you still disagree with him, then I just don't know what to tell you. Good luck going down to zero emissions under President Donald J. Trump.

I'm actually splitting time between LA and SB. I miss you and Edie and Mike and Markar and all those folks, and yeah, I'd love to visit you guys soon.


And I know you don't like Guy McPherson, but he has sacrificed more than all of us to try to set things right. I admire him. He is an anarchist who gave up his high-paying job at the University of Arizona to become a homesteader and write about abrupt climate change. He's completely broke now. He is a true rebel... I love it! Guy is obsessed with abrupt climate change, and so am I. His work is outstanding, and I am giving him the credit he rightfully deserves. I am so grateful he has gathered this information on abrupt climate change and that he has allowed people like me to come together to talk about near-term human extinction...

It's much easier to have this conversation with people who are willing to face this reality with me, than with people who fantasize about saving the world. It would be a mistake to not let young people know that this could really be it for them, and to encourage them to live with urgency, do what they love, and do it now. This is Guy McPherson's message - which I fully support.

Glenn Turner, thank you for your kind message.

This will be my final message to you all, so I will send out some pieces below, which you can choose to look at or not:

Professor Paul Beckwith: If civilization came to an abrupt halt, how much would the global temperature change? Would it spike 0.5 or even 4 degrees Celsius as some claim, or could it even drop? This is a a very tough question. Aerosols in the atmosphere are of many flavours:

Global Dimming and Global Brightening

Arctic Death Rattle: Arctic Death Rattle | Dissident Voice

Release of Arctic Methane "May Be Apocalyptic" Study Warns: Release of Arctic Methane ''May Be Apocalyptic,'' Study Warns

Arctic News, Abrupt Warming - How Much And How Fast: Arctic News: Abrupt Warming - How Much And How Fast?

Arctic News, Controversy: Arctic News: Controversy

Arctic News, Which Trend Is Best: Arctic News: Which Trend Is Best?

A few Guy McPherson essays:

Picking Cherries: Picking Cherries – Nature Bats Last

Picking Cherries Again: Picking Cherries, Again – Nature Bats Last

The Politics and Science of Our Demise:
The Politics and Science of Our Demise – Nature Bats Last

Faster Than Expected: Faster than Expected – Nature Bats Last

Climate-Change Summary and Update: Climate-Change Summary and Update – Nature Bats Last

Peace!

On Thu 8/3/2017 at 1:19 PM, John Reynolds wrote:

To Shanelle LeFage,

In that you are so passionate about the "End Times" I thought I would, as a kind of farewell present, share a little poem with you, and with all of us

END TIMES

Ever since humanity emerged on Earth
We have been facing the end times.
Ever since class society emerged some ten, or some
Tens of thousands of years ago,
We have faced a chumpish choice:
Slavery, or else the decline and fall, and
Then the end times.

Knowing that we were fucked anyway,
We entered the bourgie-capitalist age,
And therewith we face the end times
Anew: Socialism or barbarism, we chant,
Knowing that it's extinction for sure, and
This is how we cope. And, in our gallows
Humor way, nurture the tiny spark
Of hope.

On Fri 8/4/2017 at 8:53 AM, David Klein wrote:

Hi Shanelle,

There may be a misperception of motivations. As far as I am aware, ecosocialists (including myself) are quite willing to discuss abrupt climate change and acknowledge the possibility of human extinction (and many other species extinctions).

As best I understand it, the difference between what most ecosocialists think and what you (and those you cite) think is that you believe that extinction is absolutely certain, regardless of any human actions, and that there is zero probability of survival of any human being five years from now (10 years according to McPherson).

By contrast, we ecosocialists (if I may be permitted this generalization) think that extinction is one possibility, e.g. climate models give a 10% probability of 6 C warming (probably resulting in extinction) by 2100 under business as usual scenarios. But there is also a chance of survival of our species, albeit most likely at lower population levels due to decreasing habitat, limited food production, etc.

Michael Mann is right about one thing at least, climate models have so far done a good job of prediction (I can elaborate if needed). However, climate scientists are the first to admit limitations of climate models. Models might be overlooking unknown tipping points and unknown feedbacks. Even so, some models (surprisingly the simplest) exhibit "bifurcations" and "hysteresis." What that means, roughly speaking, is that mulitple equilibrium planetary climate states may be possible, so that the climate could suddenly jump from one climate state to a different one (e.g cool to hot) (bifurcation), and going backward would be difficult and take vast amounts of time (hysteresis).

In short I acknowledge (and I think everyone on this list acknowleges) a grim future with the possibility of extinction, but we also rely on science which is always uncertain (notwithstanding McPherson et al to the contrary) by its very nature. So more than one future is possible at this point in time.

Climate change is going to hit humanity in the head, so to speak, but being hit in the head by a bowling ball is a lot worse than being hit in the head by a tennis ball. Climate activism pushes toward the tennis ball away from the bowling ball. Metaphorically, this is what the struggle is about.

I looked at all of your links, although I succumbed to exhaustian on McPherson's climate update page. I ask you to notice something about his arguments. To bolster his criticism of mainstream scientists for being too conservative, he cites mainstream scientists who make those accusations, including Anderson and Hansen among others. But then he discounts their climate calculations and scientific papers because they acknowledge the possibility of survival of our species. That's called eating your pie and having it too.

Worse, there is a fundamental scientific flaw in his entire approach, in my view. This is because he comes up numbers, but with no apparent calculations to back them. He says we'll have 10 C of warming in 10 years (which is way out of line with climate models). Here's the problem: if you're going to come up with specific numbers, there has to be a calculation that results in those numbers (otherwise one is just pulling them out of thin air). Because of the highly nonlinear nature of climate, any legitimate calculation with such a result must use a climate model of some sort, a major calculation along with justification of choice of parameters, etc.

In short, despite the multitude of citations to the scientific literature, what McPherson and the others are doing making declarations of precise predictions based on intuition and faith rather than real science. There's no arguing with faith, but those who pursue the ideology of certain extinction would do well at least to be aware of it, and not confuse it with science.

However, my biggest objection to the direction of McPherson et al is political. If extinction of all humans is certain within 10 years (or five), there is no reason to try to make things better. There is no reason not to run one's air conditioner 24/7, shop ones brains out, and emit greenhouse gases with abandon. Why not, if complete extinction is assured regardless of what we do.

So McPherson is not only not using his considerable talents to pull an oar with the rest of us for a less bad world, he is giving legitimacy for others not to row, and even giving them rationale to row backward. Why lift a finger to fight capitalist expansion and environmental destruction if there is no hope anyway? Just enjoy life, fly airplanes, burn fossil fuels, vote repulbican or democrat, and buy a lot of plastic junk. What's not to like about McPherson from the point of view of the Koch brothers and the capitalist class? He may be an anarchist, but what he preaches must be music to the ears of the fossil fuel industry.

I know you don't feel this way. I know that. You have a lot to offer and I know that you yearn to contribute to something good and meaningful. I've seen you join in positive efforts and collaborate with people who want to limit the damage and strive for a better world. So what attracts you to this weird weltanschauung? The science is wrong and the politics is wrong. What am I missing? Well, perhaps you can help me understand when you're in L.A.

In the meantime, please reconsider leaving the list and stay. I think you are an important voice. Disagreement does not bother me in the least.

See you in L.A.,

David

On Thu 8/3/2017 at 1:09 PM, Glenn Turner wrote:

Shanelle - I regret you leaving this discussion.

I, for one, don't discount your premise that these are the "end days", but.... I personally believe in mitigation.

How can we make the downward trajectory easier on those we love, on those who society ignores, on our communities? Can we work with others in our System Change and Climate Justice communities to ease the suffering ahead, no matter whether it is abrupt or stair steps down, or war or ???

I guess my call is to actions to help make the future as safe as possible. I expect that local actions will be the way to go. But what we need is a diversity of approaches. Each area will have its own priorities. Each person will have their own choices of where to put time and energy.

In Solidarity, Glenn
 
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