"To succeed is to destroy ourselves. To fail is to destroy ourselves. That is the bind we have created. Ignore if you must climate change, biodiversity collapse, the depletion of water, soil, minerals, oil; even if all these issues miraculously vanished, the mathematics of compound growth make continuity impossible." George Monbiot


Our attitude towards wealth ...
Donald Trump & Arctic Permafrost
Has globalization 'stalled'
Ocean Warming
We can’t rely on science alone ...


Our attitude towards wealth played a crucial role in Brexit.
We need a rethink

... we are in perilous times. Our planet and the human race face multiple challenges. These challenges are global and serious – climate change, food production, overpopulation, the decimation of other species, epidemic disease, acidification of the oceans.

Such pressing issues will require us to collaborate, all of us, with a shared vision and cooperative endeavour to ensure that humanity can survive. We will need to adapt, rethink, refocus and change some of our fundamental assumptions about what we mean by wealth, by possessions, by mine and yours.

Just like children, we will have to learn to share ...
Gdn  29 July 2016

The present neoliberal-global anarchy is predicated on two false-hoods:

"Greed is good, greed works"
and
"There's no such thing as society"

It is specifically a denial of altruism, which is to be regarded as a sign of weakness, as Ayn Rand confirmed.

It's social Darwinist: the weak must be allowed to go to the wall since the welfare bill is now deemed 'completely unsustainable'.

Let no one be in any doubt as to that reality: the new global order - born when the USA launched the Pinochet revolution in Santiago on 9.11.73 - is the mirror image of National Socialism: both are founded on the logic of Darwinism, as propagated not by Charles Darwin but by Herbert Spencer, who originated the term 'survival of the fittest', the nostrum underlying both Nazism and Neoliberalism.

In pre-responding to Stephen Hawking's 'global' challenges, ex-Bullingdon Club member and former Chancellor, George Osborne, dubbed anyone concerned about climate change as members of the 'green taliban' a reference to the Moslem fundamentalists struggling to take over Afghanistan.

In challenging the dystopic individualism which underpins the current global economy - which finds terms like 'collaboration' and 'sharing' anathema - Stephen Hawking may be assuming widespread support.

This is an assumption which may not stand up to examination since, (i) the corporate media - dominated by the likes of Rupert Murdoch - provides a 21st century version of the Roman emperors' bread and circuses; and (ii) the global economy is based on growth and, to that end, could not function without both aviation and shipping, neither of which were targetted in the final agreement ending Cop21.

Furthermore, the corporate obsession with the so-called 'carbon capture and storage' method of combatting the CO2 build-up, is little more than a get-out-of-jail-free card for the coal industry.

The current evidence suggests that no one with power - political or economic - is 'on message' with the need to control carbon emissions, and that the only person who has spotted the Spencerist line-of travel is Richard Heinberg.

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Trump Slump Coming?

The December issue of Scientific American - not yet available on line - discusses the work of the Permafrost Carbon Network in Alaska, and concludes ...

Given the vast stores of organic carbon in permafrost, it seems thawing could release massive quantities of greenhouse gases ...
In the expert judgment of its members, between 5 and 15 per cent of the permafrost carbon pool is likely to be released this century, most it carbon dioxide ...
Reducuing permafrost thaw with some kind of local fixes ... is not a realistic option.
The only realistic solution is to limit emissions from fossil fuels and from deforestation ...
[Scientific American, December 2016, pp 50ff]

The obvious point to made here is that, as things stand, Trump is very likely to pull the plug on the dollars needed to keep this kind of research ongoing.

Let’s be clear: Installing Donald Trump in the White House is an epic mistake.
In the long run, its consequences may well be apocalyptic, if only because we have probably lost our last, best chance to rein in runaway climate change ...
NYT  14 Nov 2016
Mr. Trump has already vowed to “cancel” last year’s Paris climate agreement, which commits more than 190 countries to reduce their emissions of planet-warming carbon dioxide pollution, and to dismantle the Clean Power Plan, Mr. Obama’s domestic climate change regulations ... NYT

"Trump Looking at Fast Ways to Quit Global Climate Deal"
  www.scientificamerican.com

"Large loss of Alaska permafrost projected by 2100"
  sciencedaily.com

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Compare and Contrast:

Has globalization 'stalled' with Ocean warming


The FT's Martin Wolf is concerned that globalization has 'stalled'.

Looked at in the context of the wider threats to humanity, globalization is an addiction of the sort that prompts letters to the media demanding an increase in one of global warming's biggest drivers: aviation.

However, if you survey the current range of threats, and in particular the recent IUCN report, it's likely that both the degree of specialization that emerges from global trade, and the failure to focus fully on the causes of the migration crisis in Africa and the Middle East, is pushing humanity into the wrong choices, and doing so for the benefit of the wealthy.

Despite the tsunami of platitudes following Cop21, the people who meet up at the WEF every January are focussed on promoting the basic cause of the coming crisis: 'greed is good, greed works'.

The stock of cross-border financial assets peaked at 57 per cent of global output in 2007, falling to 36 per cent by 2015 ...
FT  06 Sept 2016

"Britain needs a new runway"   Gdn

"Toxic air pollution particles found in human brains"   Gdn

"Flooding of Coast ... Has Already Begun"   NYT

"Expand Heathrow and show Britain is open for business"   FT

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Latest ocean warming review ...

That the effects of rising global temperatures, may make the current migration crisis look mild, can be inferred from the International Union for Conservation of Nature's report on ocean warming: ...

Ocean warming is already affecting ecosystems from polar to tropical regions, driving entire groups of species such as plankton, jellyfish, turtles and seabirds up to 10 degrees of latitude towards the poles, causing the loss of breeding grounds for turtles and seabirds, and affecting the breeding success of marine mammals ...

... ocean warming is causing increased disease in plant and animal populations, and impacting human health as pathogens spread more easily in warmer waters, including cholera-bearing bacteria and harmful algal blooms that cause neurological diseases like ciguatera.

Warming oceans are also affecting the weather, with a range of knock-on effects on humans. The number of severe hurricanes has increased at a rate of around 25-30% per degree of global warming ...

Ocean warming has led to increased rainfall in mid-latitudes and monsoon areas, and less rain in various sub-tropical regions. These changes will have impacts on crop yields in important food-producing regions such as North America and India ...

"Ocean warming is already spreading diseases ... "   www.newscientist.com/

"Soaring ocean temperature is 'greatest hidden challenge of our generation'"
  Gdn

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We can’t rely on science alone to make us better people

The anthropologist Robin Dunbar says we can maintain no more than about 150 meaningful relationships at once. But today, all 7 billion of us are connected – if not in meaningful relationships, not in meaningless ones, either.

“Society” is now too expansive a concept for our brains to parse ... we should perhaps stick to education. We are not simply prisoners of our emotions: we can reason our way to workable compromises. Science alone will not get us there: if there is a 21st century moral duty, it is to learn how to think through the ethics, law, sociology and even spiritual aspects of a problem ... [NS]

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