Since the youth Climate uprising led by the hero Greta Thunberg kicked off a few years ago, mainstream media and politicians have gotten a little bit more honest about climate change.
Now everyone who wants to keep a straight face in public life admits that we are in trouble and we have to do something about it.
Normally, this involves making ‘net zero’ pledges with deadlines decades away and on which no serious action will be taken in the here and now.
These pledges claim to have the aim of halting warming at 1.5 degrees. Should we go above this threshold, the story goes, we will deploy carbon capture technology to suck warming gases from the air and restore climate equilibrium.
We will save ourselves, so the politicians & the green capitalists tell us, with the aid of solar panels, windfarms, EVs, and so on. Because of the genius of our scientists, our venture capitalists, and our politicians, we will avoid any serious impacts or lifestyle changes in the fight against climate change. Life will go on as before and the TV screens will keep getting wider, the foreign holidays cheaper, the kitchen units bigger and bigger. And before long we’ll be in space, terraforming exoplanets to be just like our own used to be before urban-industrial civilisation un-terraformed it.
Every single bit of this techno-messianic narrative is bullshit, and any hopes you have derived from it are false hopes. It is bullshit expressed by the right and the centre parties in one way, and by the left parties (which have truly met their Waterloo in Climate change) in another way.
While our Taoiseach pledges under 1.5 C in 2100, it is in fact a median 1.9 C above average TODAY throughout the Northern Hemisphere, and up to 12 C higher over vast parts of the Arctic.
It takes 50 years for the effects of carbon dioxide emissions to be felt in the atmosphere. This 1.9 degree rise & all other current climate impacts result from carbon emissions up until circa 1970.
Unfortunately the fact is that there have been more carbon emissions in the last 50 years than in all previous history. So at least another 2 degrees or so are baked in and will be realised over the next 50 years. The graph below shows how, after a short lag, global temperatures rise in proportion to atmospheric CO2 concentrations, as do sea levels.
Even now, however, tipping points such as the melting of permafrost and of the Greenland Ice sheet which were not expected to kick in until 2100 are well and truly underway. Tipping points make everything much worse much faster. So it will get warmer faster, and sea levels will rise faster. How fast? Far too fast for our urban-industrial civilisation to keep up with, is the answer.
There are no technological solutions. Forget about those. EVs, Solar Panels, labmeat, carbon capture etc are all either themselves really bad for the environment or are impossible at the required scale. Anyone left or right touting technological solutions – curing cancer with more cancer effectively – is a bullshitter, even if they believe their own bullshit.
No matter what we do now, we are headed, if we are lucky, for at least 4 degrees warming, if we are unlucky it will be 6 or 8 degrees.
What does this mean?
It means in the future there will be no flat-screen TVs. In the future there will not be package holidays or a choice of 17 boxed breakfast cereals. In the future there will be no supermarkets & no niteclubs.
In the future every coastal settlement will be underwater, as will every inland settlement built on a plain or in a valley.
In Ireland, our day will not come. Sea rise will make us an archipelago of hundreds of isolated islands rendering a United Ireland an absurdity
In the future, if you eat, it will be food grown locally and most likely grown by yourself or the small local group you belong to.
Our entire global civilization will collapse and that collapse is already well underway.
As humans are very hard to kill as a species, small amounts of us may survive, but it will be at random and chaotic local scales, and not anything like the global order of today, or the global socialist order dreamed of by the left.
This, in my view, is the optimistic viewpoint – if we are to base our viewpoint on the actual unfolding reality of climate change. The pessimistic viewpoint is that no life whatsoever will survive.
The absurdist viewpoint is that we will keep going the way we are and nothing much will change and only small efforts will be required.
The trouble is, of course, that everyone in electoral politics, left or right, is bound to be an absurdist or lose their seat – there are no votes in telling people to up sticks and move to the mountains.
And everyone in mass media is bound to be an absurdist or lose their job or at least their prominence – advertisers and consumers both walk away from gloom.
The show is over anyway regardless of who can admit it and who can’t. People born in the west after World War Two are in a material sense the luckiest people that have ever lived. What soft lives we have all lived by comparision to before and after us!
That luck has run out and now ‘Our Grandchildren’s lives will be worse than our nightmares could dream of’.
But the luck we have had cannot be discounted. 7 million years of hominid adventure on this planet, 7 million years of struggle overcome by solidarity & imagination and genius & collective common sense – we have always made our own luck, our good luck & now our bad luck proceed from the colour of our own intentions & actions.
Only the last few hundred years have been globally out of sync with our long heritage of co-operative & sustainable living. Our abandonment under capitalism and imperialism of our filial duty to nature and of our natural fellowship each-to-the-other has doomed us. We turned against our nature, turning nature against us. We are under a curse we have cast upon ourselves.
Heh, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe global rebellion will save us in time – maybe I’m just a tired old crank and the youth all over will rise to save us.
But it better be quick, no? I’m sure we can all agree with the urgency of our plight, no?
My criticism of Extinction Rebellion is not that they are wrong to rise-up, but that they are wrong to base their rising on Roger Hallam’s algorithms, learned & sincere as he may be. Not that their actions are too desperate or militant, but that they are not desperate or militant enough.
No action on climate change that is not at this late stage, within this 2mins of injury time added to the game of life, an absolutely desperate and absolutely militant action utterly fails to understand our situation.
We are down 5-0. It is time to send on the subs and turn every player into a forward.
Anything less is just ceremony at a funeral, the workings out of an unadmitted despair, a blindness of the psyche.
Me, I think it best to go blind, if blind we must go, staring right into the sun that is rising.
Despair is in the end an individual choice in any situation. Rejecting hopium does not change the fact that you are alive, a sensual perceiving consciousness in an animal body, the rarest & most magical thing in the universe, and can do as you choose in your own context. Make the most of the freedom you have.
Make the most of the thing you are; a fish in a river whose currents and courses must be borne regardless of our attitude to them.
When that river is poisoned all its fish are poisoned too; tis as harsh and as raw and as simple as that.
This is how it has been at all times for all natural creatures; all of whom, like ourselves, have come to pass.