The Deep Politics of Ecological Inaction

In a recent post I proposed the following three-part response to the ecological crisis:

  1. Immediate solar radiation management in the Arctic to prevent methane releases that would sharply accelerate global warming;
  2. Rapid drawdown and aggressive mitigation of greenhouse gases to reach safe atmospheric concentrations; and,
  3. Decreased per-capita consumption, lower populations, and higher efficiencies to significantly reduce the global economy’s environmental impact.

Although these steps are necessary to solve the crisis, there is no indication they will be implemented in the time that is ecologically available. Continue reading

A critique of two marches

For the environmentally concerned, two important marches were held this month.  On April 22 (Earth Day) the March for Science defended the integrity of science while protesting the anti-science policies of the Trump administration.  On April 29 the People’s Climate March chanted for environmental justice and jeered Trump’s anti-climate policies.  Although these events were superficially encouraging, they both featured major errors that must be identified and critiqued. Continue reading

Geoengineering taboo is waning, but urgency still missing

A few days ago the Guardian newspaper printed an article by Martin Lukacs that criticized an upcoming experiment on solar geoengineering (i.e., solar radiation management or SRM).  In today’s Guardian the main target of that criticism, David Keith, offered an effective rebuttal.  The only problem with Keith’s position is that it continues to downplay the extreme urgency of our climate predicament. Continue reading

A Rational Response to the Ecological Crisis

Rodan's Thinker

As previously stated, the ecological crisis is the result of humankind’s uncontrolled economic expansion since the Industrial Revolution.  This led to overshoot in the 1950s as numerous environmental limits were violated.  The most serious of these violations were the skyrocketing greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations that produced today’s climate and ocean emergencies.  My proposed response to the crisis thus begins with measures that address these disasters.  I then proceed to measures for tackling overshoot itself. Continue reading

Geoengineering: the Arguments

In my last post I addressed the key facts about geoengineering.  Here I examine the arguments for and against this contentious approach.  Because emissions mitigation is often cited as an alternative to geoengineering, I begin by explaining their respective impacts on the environment.  For simplicity, I consider only the global warming effects of greenhouse gases (GHGs).  Ocean acidification and other non-warming effects are thus ignored.  See the diagram below. Continue reading

The Point Of No Return

Graphic of globe poised at edge of a cliff

When a team is behind in a basketball game, time becomes a serious factor several minutes before the final buzzer. What typically happens is that the team’s normal style of play gives way to an accelerated pace and intense pressure to regain the ball and score points. The ecological crisis is roughly analogous. We’re losing a game called “human survival,” and time is now a critical factor. Any strategy for resolving the crisis must therefore incorporate a sense of extreme urgency and a fixed deadline for decisive action. I use the “point of no return” concept to address these imperatives. Continue reading

Mainstream Mitigation, or How to do NOTHING

Mainstream Mitigation - To-do-list-nothing

Unless the emissions fallacy is quickly rejected, it will be calamitous for humankind and the biosphere. The fixation on increases in greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations while ignoring their existing levels means that global warming and ocean acidification will proceed virtually unchecked. Unfortunately the situation is even worse than this because the mainstream approach to emissions mitigation is itself severely restricted. The result is that humankind’s response to the GHG-based emergencies is essentially zero – nothing at all. My aim in this post is to substantiate this claim. Continue reading

The Emissions Fallacy

I recently said that mainstream sources such as the IPCC implicitly use a falsified model of greenhouse gas (GHG) effects when offering policy prescriptions and making public statements. The central feature of this falsification is the emissions fallacy. This is the idea that the climate and ocean emergencies should be addressed exclusively through emissions mitigation, thereby ignoring reductions in existing GHG concentrations. In this post I address the fallacy in more detail. Continue reading