2007 - 2021

Code Red

 

As Ed Hawkins, a climate scientist at Reading University points out: “All 195 governments which form the #IPCC have approved every single word in the Summary for Policymakers as an accurate description of the underlying scientific evidence. They all understand the evidence, the consequences experienced now & the substantial risks for the future.”

This is important. There is no ambiguity. The report is completely unequivocal. This isn’t men in white coats handing down geeky carbon science. This is consensus.

In light of this – when a country or a politician approves a new oil field or a new coal plant – they’re doing so in full knowledge of precisely how much harm they will cause.

In light of the IPCC Report I don’t want to talk about timelines or fixes or technics or ‘micro-steps’ or Green Deals or Red Deals, I want to talk about mood.

Some (many) may feel a quiet despair for the first time. Some of a sunnier disposition may have selected the remnant ‘good news’ from the report. Some (not enough) may feel raw rage. All, any of these responses are entirely legitimate and reasonable. But what do you do with the people that just shrug, have no opinion, no consciousness, no idea?

What’s going on there?

Ignorance as a defence mechanism? Tactical unconsciousness is probably the mainstream response.  Mark Fisher called it “reflective impotence”. The awareness that “things are bad” and the future black, is accompanied by the equally clear awareness that “they know they can’t do anything about it.”

In this bleak world, mental health problems, learning difficulties and depression are rampant. For Fisher, the response of many is a “depressive hedonism”, that is, the continuous and desperate search for pleasure to escape this state of anguished awareness.

Hedonistic inertia.

Headphones on.

The glow of the small-screen.

But at this stage this might need to change. Not because our individual actions are the mechanism for change, and we should all get composting, we know that’s nonsense but because we will need a revolution to effect change. We need system change to avert climate catastrophe.

Take the Headphones Off

Greta Thunberg asks: “When you examine the behavior of governments and corporations, and their leaders, today you begin to wonder… Is there a moral philosophical underpinning to their behavior? What determines right and wrong? And in an age of anthropogenic climate change what is the responsibility of government and business to the larger society?”

The answer I think is that government and business are intertwined and inter-connected entities that are porous. They are incapable of disconnecting and have shared elite interests that are in opposition to the task at hand. The climate crisis is a crisis of capitalism. Capitalism is omnicide. Growth fetishism is inimical to survival.

But there is something larger going on here.

Fredric Jameson famously remarked that “it is easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism.” But that’s got worse. It’s now virtually impossible to imagine the end of capitalism and very very easy to imagine the end of the end of the world.

The problem is that the only thing that will prevent the end of the world is something unimaginable.

This, I think is what’s happening with time and the difficulty of finding ways forward or even looking forward. If we are in an era beyond post-modernism, an era of “capitalist realism” this has consequences. The idea of “progress” has disappeared and that’s a problem.

It is not just – as Fisher and others have pointed out – that we can’t imagine a different world and that we are simultaneously over-stimulated and under-conscious – but that even if we were all sharp and angry and highly and radically politicised – what would we do?

As Alex Steffen writes: “When we smashed an unsustainable economy into an immovable planetary reality, we broke our continuity with the past.”

Steffen again: “It is no longer possible to achieve that orderly transition, to combine action at the scale and speed we need with a smooth transition and a minimum of disruption. We have already failed to create the future most advocacy still seeks to bring on.”

“We are not now capable of designing a future that works in continuity with our existing systems and practices while producing emissions reductions and sustainability gains fast enough to avoid truly dire ecological harm. This is an option that no longer exists.” Indeed, “every approach that promises both bold action and the continuation of current practices and systems leads us inexorably into magical thinking.”

 

Beyond Magical Thinking

Despite all of the above I am not without hope.

So what do we do?

I suppose resting with radical uncertainty is one (non) answer. Definitely cultivating self-defence mechanisms that aren’t based on “reflective impotence” or “hedonistic inertia” would be a good idea. Developing active forms of solidarity that resist being drawn into hyper-individualism might be another.

We also have an outline of where we need to go. While the world may have just woken up, many people have been working on this for a very long time.

It’s true we need rapid decarbonisation now, a huge and rapid break from fossil fuels and all of the subsequent shifts in transport, housing, travel, food, cities, energy, land use and on and on and on. But beyond that this all has to be rooted in a new outlook, a new world-way. We don’t even have the words for it yet, the closest is ‘environmental justice’ or a social ecology. The idea being that these aren’t just instrumental or technical shifts they are massive deep transformational changes that have to be a value-based rupture not just a ‘programme’ or a ‘deal’. We need intrinsic change not extrinsic change. The transformation needs to be for us and by us. Top-down measures will be resented and resisted. This is a epochal inter-generational, international shift.

But other things that are assumed as baked-in will just have to go.

Almost all scenarios and models about energy-use are based on an relentless energy-use rise. This assumption has to be abandoned and replaced with a radical energy-descent plan. Private energy companies won’t like that very much. **** them.

Most of the IPCC modelling us based on an assumption of economic growth, because that’s what we do, right? Well, that’s what we did.

Here Lorenz Keyber and Manfred Lenzen discuss degrowth scenarios (1.5 °C degrowth scenarios suggest the need for new mitigation pathways):

“1.5  °C scenarios reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) rely on combinations of controversial negative emissions and unprecedented technological change, while assuming continued growth in gross domestic product (GDP). Thus far, the integrated assessment modelling community and the IPCC have neglected to consider degrowth scenarios, where economic output declines due to stringent climate mitigation. Hence, their potential to avoid reliance on negative emissions and speculative rates of technological change remains unexplored. As a first step to address this gap, this paper compares 1.5  °C degrowth scenarios with IPCC archetype scenarios, using a simplified quantitative representation of the fuel-energy-emissions nexus. Here we find that the degrowth scenarios minimize many key risks for feasibility and sustainability compared to technology-driven pathways, such as the reliance on high energy-GDP decoupling, large-scale carbon dioxide removal and large-scale and high-speed renewable energy transformation. However, substantial challenges remain regarding political feasibility. Nevertheless, degrowth pathways should be thoroughly considered.”

Some of you will be freaking out by now. ‘Degrowth’?! ‘Energy descent’?!

“The public won’t do it, no-one will follow this path.”

Well die then.

I mean, the debate is over. You had decades to prove the preposterous idea that we could green capitalism, that market forces would fix things or that focusing exclusively on lifestyle choices and individual actions would somehow make a difference.

Finally, I think, perversely the focus on carbon is wrong. Of course that’s the number one challenge and essential routemap to salvation. But also the level of healing and restoration that’s required is beyond comprehension. It’s not just about carbon it’s about reforestation, repairing peoples mental and physical health, restoring biodiversity, repairing depleted soil and sea, and to respond to the climate crisis we need to resolve the historical, geographical and racial legacy of colonialism and empire.

Instead of empire we need re-inhabitation; instead of racism we need solidarity, instead of extraction we need restoration; instead of hierarchy we need horizontalism; instead of colonialism we need bioregionalism; instead of domination we need nurture; instead of growth we need abundance.

All pathways begin now.

Comments (41)

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  1. Mark Bevis says:

    ““The public won’t do it, no-one will follow this path.”

    Well die then.”

    Yep. Mike’s doing sterling work over the last few days, rapidly joining dots and peeling back the layers of the onion. The IPCC do need to keep up.

    This isn’t a climate crisis.
    Climate chaos is merely the symptom of the problem.

    This isn’t even a crisis of capitalism. A post WW2 world could well have been a communist one, or a fascist one, a theorcratic one, or even a utopianism one. It doesn’t matter. They all rely on growth of some sort. Whether it would have been growth of Soviet tanks and collectives, Albanian bunkers, 4th Reich state control, more believers in a Khalifate, or more high-tech utopianism the end result would have been the same.

    No, this isn’t even a crisis of economy, although that plays a large part.
    It isn’t even a crisis of overpopulation and overconsumption, although those two play a massive part.

    it is indeed a crisis of civilisation itself.
    How humans organise themselves, feed and equip themselves and thrive whilst living within the ecological boundaries of the one planet we call home, and whilst sharing it equally with all the other fellow earthlings.

    Looking at the initial media response, it’s already code pink with a hue of greenwashed techno-utopianism. The next few days will be interesting, but don’t stop gardening.

    1. Yes Mark I dont think very many people can take on board the consequences of this (myself included)

    2. John McLeod says:

      There needs to be a lot more gardening. The kind of re-connection with the natural world that is needed, is not about walking through a forest or up a mountain and feeling at one with nature. Its about learning that life starts from, and comes from, soil, water and growing things, and being directly involved in this cycle. If you walk about any Scottish town or city and look at it from a gardener’s or permaculturalist perspective, what you see is many many places where food could be grown. There are many more places on the edge of towns and cities, easily accessed by bus or bike or on foot. The government could legislate to make it easier for community groups and social enterprises to create urban farms on these sites.

      1. Iain MacLean says:

        Reconnect with nature and grow food? Important yes, but that requires foresight, effort and monumental change, more so in those who have huge wealth and those that currently have no concern for the environment, of which there are many!

        We need not look to Alok Sharma & Allegra Stratton to save us, we’d be fools if we did! They have no passion or understanding of what they are dealing with or advocating. They have no gravitas and lack the capacity to influence, the very reasons they are in their roles.

        The saviours of climate change will be scientists and technology, there will be a break through, possibly in wind, wave or solar, but may be something else!

        But I fear we will have to get to the absolute brink before those technology break-throughs happen. The political will won’t come from westminster, westminster is preoccupied with trying to gain economic advantage over our EU neighbours regardless of the negative impacts on the environment as westminster’s endorsement of the Cambo Oil Filed will highlight!

        Scotland is well placed to migrate from fossil fuels to renewables, sadly in addition to climate change Scotland has one other big obstacle and that is we do not control our own country or destiny!

        A major step to Scotland playing a significant role in combatting climate change is to leave the uk, rejoin the EU, then we can plot our own future!

        1. Colin Robinson says:

          Yes, this is the conclusion the prophets of doom here ultimately want us to draw from this discourse: that our salvation lies in independence for Scotland. Even the likes of Nicola are claiming that Scotland already leads the world in the battle against climate change. Just imagine what our genius could do unfettered!

          Political opportunism is one possible response to the anxieties and fear generated by the apocalypse narrative. And they’re all at it – right and left, progressives and conservatives – in their competition for power. This bandwagoning adds another dimension that further compounds the issue.

  2. Antoine d'Ysart Bisset says:

    This whole scenario is based on the premise that everything is our fault. This is not verifiable. Those who would prefer us to die of cold rather than burn coal appear not to understand reality. Coal is compressed ancient jungle. We can dig coal from underneath Central Scotland. There are, at present, no signs of a jungle in Central Scotland. But there was one some few million years ago when the climate in Central Scotland was much warmer. What was missing in those past times was us.
    The planet was much warmer then than it is now, without us having anything whatsoever to do with it. We did not cause it then. The possibility that we have little or no influence on climate is not considered, as it is the worst form of modern heresy. We will destroy everything that we have in order to attempt to influence something that is a cosmic force. We will do it because the loonies have taken over the asylum, and will make lots of money for the financiers and string-pullers.

    1. Wul says:

      “We’ve dug up coal from several million years ago and burnt it, releasing all the energy stored up over the millions of years when the earth was hotter. It is now getting hotter again, but it’s not because of the millions of giga joules of stored energy we’ve just released. It is because of something else, but no one knows what it is”.

      I really hope you don’t have a responsible job or any children dependent on your skills of perception.

      1. Daniel Raphael says:

        Indeed.

        1. Daniel Raphael says:

          Michael, that one-word comment is now “awaiting moderation.” Is this happening for everyone?

      2. Antoine d'Ysart Bisset says:

        It is the Sun, and nature. That is not to say that we cannot do things very much better. Few of the suggestions made so far are much use. No one wants to freeze to death because the heating has been turned off by fears of global warming.

    2. Stefan says:

      There is coal because at the time we were part of Pangea and probably in the tropics.

  3. Mouse says:

    Getting people to do without their cars, and get rid of their gas boilers in order to keep things the same as they already are, all based on chemical absorption, is certainly a hard sell, especially in the internet phone-zombie social media era.

    1. Axel P Kulit says:

      99% of the population cannot afford to get rid of their gas boilers. Not at £10,000 to replace them with a heat pump, or maybe slightly less to get solar panels.

      Public transport will not replace cars for a long time.

      Trapping people in their local areas will suit the power holders who do’s want the plebs to see that things are being done better elsewhere, or give them the chance to vote with their feet.

  4. Fiona Graham says:

    The last three paragraphs are to my mind the most important and insightful I have read in all your articles.
    Thank you for saying that the ecological crisis is not only about carbon. It is also about attitudes to others and the planet.

  5. Brian C says:

    As usual, you’re spot on, Mike.
    Global warming’s not a new idea, it’s been around for about two centuries.
    It got started with a French fellow by the name of J-B Joseph Fourier who studied the absorption of heat by gases (among many other things). He first mentioned the notion of the planet being as warm as it is because of the effect of atmospheric gases away back in 1824! Svante Arrhenius started putting the numbers on the idea in 1896, thought it was likely of little consequence, and was even poo-pooed then.
    The numbers have continued to stack up. For example, check out James Lovelock’s work on the effect of increased heat retention on the intensity of atmospheric events beginning half a century ago. One of his predictions had the seasons’ changes happening more frequently, noticed any unseasonable weather intensity lately?
    The IPCC really are the “johnnies-come-lately”, remains to be seen how much they’ll succeed in causing change.
    Of course, the biggest problem isn’t the science, it’s the F.U.D.-merchants and rentiers who wish to continue to profit from the Ponzi scheme we call “The Economy”. (Should we really call it “The Profligacy”? Yes, Adam Smith, your followers REALLY are to blame!)
    And now we find our politicians are managers rather than leaders with a vision that’s not tied to their benfactor’s hip pockets. “We’ll all be rooned!” said Muldoon (apologies to Henry Lawson).
    Makes it rather hard to see how the masses (washed or unwashed) can be persuaded that our species is under threat from its own pollution. (Pointed example: Why is small beer only about 4% alcohol? The alcohol poisons the yeast as it becomes more concentrated.)

  6. John McLeod says:

    It is time for the Scottish Government to declare the climate crisis (and all the other linked crises such as biodeiversity loss, and plastic and other forms of pollution) as their top priority for the foreseeable future. If Nicola Sturgeon and other senior figures can broadcast to the nation every day on the covid-19 situation, then they can do the same with the climate situation. If they can re-organise the work of government departments (education, transport etc) to prioritise covid, they can do the same with the environment.

    Its the same kind of message. Two strands: (a) all the small things all of us need to do all the time, and (b) the big things the government is doing, that cost lots of money, entaill sacrifices, and limit our previous freedoms, and why they are necessary.

    This is not about government spending (i.e., things that we can’t do because we do not have the financial controls available to an independent country). Its about the government setting the country on a course, and doing everything possible to encourage and empower people to follow that course.

    1. Iain MacLean says:

      “Instead of empire we need re-inhabitation; instead of racism we need solidarity, instead of extraction we need restoration; instead of hierarchy we need horizontalism; instead of colonialism we need bioregionalism; instead of domination we need nurture; instead of growth we need abundance.”

      Very eloquent, instead of all those stated requirements, we got, pauses and coughs, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson!

  7. John McLeod says:

    Professor Jim Skea was the Chair of the Scottish Government Just Transition Commission, which reported in March this year. He is also a senior member of the IPCC. Although he was not one of the authors of the IPCC report that came out yesterday, he was widely cited in it, and contributed to several of its working groups. It would be useful to know whether Professor Skea has any updated advice to the Sottish Government, in the light of the new IPCC report.

  8. James Forth says:

    An outstanding piece of writing that describes our peril in the stark and unequivocal language it demands.

    Nonetheless, as the enormity of the challenge becomes more apparent, I find myself indulging more and more in “reflective impotence”. In Edinburgh, we can’t even secure cycle lanes and Low Traffic Neighbourhoods without encountering frenzied opposition.

    There is a point in the addiction cycle when you know you have destroyed so much around you that you might as well keep going – after all, the addiction is the only thing you have left. I fear this described out society’s relationship with consumer capitalism – we know this is killing us but we almost give ourselves up to our fate out of morbid curiosity.

    1. Antoine d'Ysart Bisset says:

      “…we can’t even secure cycle lanes…”
      This epitomises the difficulties we have getting sensible change to deal with plastic, pollution, misuse of resources and so on. Cycle lanes are not the answer. Sharing streets and roads between cyclists and motor vehicles is uncomfortable for both. We need a network of “cycle only” streets and roads, and motor vehicle only “streets and roads”. In the Borders we see the insanity of cyclists riding two abreast on the A7.
      Even the word “recycling” is mostly a misnomer. We get milk delivered and the milkman collects the empties which are washed (hopefully), refilled and delivered again and again. That is recycling.
      The glass drinks bottles we separate by colour and put into a bottle bank are tipped into one skip, to be taken away and either put into landfill or melted. Mostly landfill. That is not recycling

  9. Craig Bryce says:

    Thanks for this. It helps to have the swirling mess of thoughts in my head nailed down so eloquently.
    As Greta said..” The politics to fix this don’t exist…..” When you combine that with a general public who broadly seem unable or unwilling to dismantle the gdp suicide cult, it is hard to find coherence or optimism

    1. Colin Robinson says:

      That’s about the size of it, Craig. As Edward Hodnett commented as far back as 1959 in The Art of Working With People: ‘Beware of solutionism — the flabby optimism that there is a simple answer and that it will yield to the magic of a personality, brainstorming, sitting down and talking things over, or other tribal nostrums.’

  10. Tom Ultuous says:

    “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” – Arthur Schopenhauer,

    Incredibly some are still stuck at stage 1. One of them was even elected leader of the “free” world.

  11. John Monro says:

    Thank you Mike, you are producing some excellent articles / opinions which are pointed, accurate and pretty well unarguable — you are really coming into your own. A keen understanding allied to a justified moral outrage. There is a picture published in yesterday’s Guardian ( https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/aug/09/wildfires-rage-greece-italy-eu-mounts-firefighting-operation-evacuations-destruction-southern-europe )of an old and distressed Greek lady, presumably she’s lost her home, her community, all turned to ashes, and the ease and comfort and old person deserves. I cropped the photo into a portrait proportion to highlight the disturbed humanity. The resemblance to Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” is chilling. We all know that picture, art’s most striking illustration of existential angst. However, we should recall that Munch more fully title his painting “The Scream of Nature”, so perhaps the distorted facial features of the scarcely delineated human figure are not the most important part of Munch’s vision, but the bloody sky and the bruised and inflamed colours of the landscape backdrop. Munch said of his painting: “I was walking along the road with two friends – then the sun went down – the sky suddenly turned to blood and I felt a great scream in nature” Nature is in agony, but until we ourselves are forced to scream, it seems we don’t want to hear her. I wrote to a local radio presenter and the Greenpeace pointing all this out, but I added I wouldn’t send a copy to my own family – I owe them a duty of care, not despair……..

    1. Thanks John. It’s a chilling/moving image of the poor woman.

  12. babs nicgriogair says:

    So eloquently and yet so stark. Thank you for this brave article.
    I think our addiction to consumer capitalism is the main driver of climate catastrophe without a doubt.
    Alastair McIntosh tackles the spiritual void that over consumption attempts and fails to address in both his climate books Hell and High Water – Climate Change, Hope and the Human Condition (2008) and his most recent Riders on the Storm – The Climate Crisis and the Survival of Being (2020). Well worth a read.

    1. Thanks Babs – I have Riders on the Storm but not got to it yet

  13. Daniel Raphael says:

    Yes. Tagged as many as I could, and sent it along. Yours is one of the few, most cogent and spot-on voices I consistently look to, Michael. Please continue. We are out of time–now.

  14. Bill McDermott says:

    There are pessimists and there are optimists about this whole scenario. I am afraid I am one of the pessimists. It is part of our make-up to look for solutions and to adapt to new realities, but we have come to a stage when we can only deal with this at the margins. While we worry about overheating, that prospect is put into the shade by what is happening in the world’s oceans. CO2 is acidifying the oceans big time and paradoxically the only mitigating factor will be ice melt in at the poles. Goodness knows where it will all end, but it won’t be pretty.

  15. Susan says:

    Excellent article but I can’t agree that our individual actions are ‘not the mechanism for change’
    Individual consumer decisions got us to this place and we have a responsibility to take the small steps that will aggregate to big change.
    Campaign to stop decorative lighting of public buildings. Don’t use sleep, snooze or standby, switch off. Have one less child. Eat veggie one day a week. Shop in small local businesses. Grow a lettuce in a pot. Refuse the plastic. Reclaim your garden. Renounce Amazon. It ALL matters. Every single thing every one of us does is significant. We do have power. That we are is helpless is actually the false message, the siren lullaby of the capitalist system that has kept us in thrall for decades. And maybe we don’t want the guilt that comes with admitting responsibility. We need to waken up and get on with our task.

    1. Thanks Susan.

      I disagree because the narrative is so flawed. When Allegra Stratton says “freeze your leftover bread” – but her govt approves a new oilfield, this is you being gaslighted.

      Of course our own personal actions are right in and of themselves, but the entire story has been for decades that this is what will make the change. It hasn’t. It won’t.

      1. Susan says:

        Who uses the oil?
        People are capable of making big changes, just takes a lot to get them moving. This report could be the catalyst at last…..however,
        our corrupt and uninspiring (being polite here) leadership in Westminster are the biggest obstacle to change. Their inability to see that their money and power will evaporate in the catastrophe to come is a masterclass in ostrichism.
        It’s small comfort that Boris, Priti and Jacob will fry too.

  16. Daniel Raphael says:

    Note the concern that people won’t and can’t economically afford to change. There is no finessing this: if we keep existing economic systems intact and all the laws and routine ways of doing business along with them, WE WILL ALL DIE. I don’t mean maybe, and I don’t mean after a nice, long, enjoyable life. Looked at the news lately? Maybe sniffed the air, or even been inconvenienced by flooding in your city? Well, this is all a love pat compared to what’s coming…and sooner, rather than later, with no hope of reversal. *We will do what’s needed regardless of financial cost*, because those values are purely abstract, and have *nothing* to do with what we really need. It’s time to sober up and realize the choice really is between human-ecology-centered values, or extinction. This isn’t just the wildmen (and women) waving their hands and emoting. Nature does not negotiate. Ever.

    1. Mark Bevis says:

      “Nature does not negotiate. Ever.”
      Yes, indeed. People tend to forget that the current climate chaos we are seeing is for emissions up to ten years ago. In that time we have increased energy use 60%, doubled the amount of heat energy in the ocean, increased CO2 emissions from 390ppm to 420ppm, CH4 emissions from 1780ppb to 1880ppb and added a billion people to the planet. Even coal production has gone up 8% in that decade. What could possibly go wrong?

      We ain’t seen nowt yet 🙁

      I have a screenshot from CAMs for last Wednesday showing a CH4 level of 10,000ppb over the UK, shame I can’t post graphics/pictures here. Thats 10ppm, equivalent to an additional 860ppm CO2 for warming purposes, each CH4 molecule being the equivalent of 86 CO2 molecules over a 20 year period. Obviously a one-off, but I have seen similar levels randomly over the northern hemisphere since February 2021.
      The UK regularly reaches 2300ppb CH4. Averages are not telling the whole story, because the changes in the planetary systems are not linear, but exponential.

      “The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.” Albert Bartlett.
      https://www.resilience.org/stories/2013-09-15/albert-bartlett-on-message-about-exponential-growth-to-the-end/

    2. Colin Robinson says:

      ‘…people won’t and can’t … change. There is no finessing this…’

      Spot on! That’s precisely the problem, Daniel. Everyman and his dog *knows* that system change is needed if we’re to survive, but there’s no collective *will* or *appetite* for such change and little prospect that it will emerging from within the total system. It’s the old chicken-and-egg paradox; the system won’t change without the emergence of the collective will to change it, but the collective will to change it won’t and can’t emerge without the system that shapes the collective will first changing.

      We like to think we can control our own destiny as a species, but that’s just an Enlightenment myth.

  17. Colin Robinson says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: there’s an awful lot of ‘should’ and ‘must’ in this discourse around our futures and not enough ‘will’. Moral exhortation doesn’t cut the mustard; it’s all just p*ss*ng in the wind.

    As Mark and the evolutionists say, the chemistry of life is indifferent to humanity and will (as always) ‘sort itself out’ in response to whatever aggregate of material conditions (‘environment’) shapes its specialisation.

    1. Colin Robinson says:

      As Wittgenstein once said of logic, so we can say of organic chemistry – that it takes care of itself.

  18. Mouse says:

    Instead of Verticalism we need Horizizontalism!

    Fuck off

    1. Colin Robinson says:

      Once I’ve had a few, my vertical drinking usually veers more to the horiz…iz…ontal.

  19. Graham Ennis says:

    Well, this is well said. It is also not written by one of the scientists actually working on these issues.
    I was one of those. I was part of the AMEG (Artic methane emergency group). Almost ten years ago, we were able to forecast where we are now, and all we got for our hard work was abuse and accusations of being anti-capitalist and wearing hair shirts.
    About four years ago, as the rate of change curve of climate change went ballastic, it became clear that the curve was steepening into a runaway scenario. In plain language, we are now to late to get things under control. We are fornicated. At about a three degree rise, from where we are now, beckons civilisational collapse.
    The temperature is now rising, depending on who you believe, at 1/10th of a degree a year. But in the Polar regions, it is rising ten times faster, and it is accellerating. Also, massive oceanic disruption to things like the Gulf Stream, is totally changing the local climate in Europe. It really is that bad.
    Is anything being done? well, actually, yes. It is reliably reported that the New Zealand goverment is overwhelmed by Oligarchs who are transfewrring cash and technology there. (in exchange for the granting of passports and citizenshiop, plus work visas.
    Also, as saw very recently, the Americans are right at the heart of huge weather disruption. This pattern is being reported from a number of places now. All of them will be survibable for the next 40 years or so, but even longer perhaps. In these circumstances, the six lane glasgow high way is irrelevent.
    I see absolutely no sign that anybody in the Scottish Goverment really understands this, or has any plans at all to do anything about it.
    I would put an absolute limit of 10 years on ScotGov getting its act together on this. The chances are that it will not happen.
    I said on here recently, that independence for Scotland is no longer a political issue, because it is now an issue of survival.
    Thats why three years ago, I gave up, went to Art School and got myself a Diploma in Fine art. It at least takes my mind off of things.
    Scotland needs to be put on a wartime footing, within 5 years, or its pointless.
    Hi Ho, back to the artwork.

    1. Mark Bevis says:

      Yes, indeed.
      One of my recent thoughts is – it won’t be the scientists, and certainly not the politicians, that save the human experiment from itself.

      If it is going to happen, we have as much if not more chance of making it through the bottleneck as a species if we listen to the artists, thinkers, philosophers, gardeners and anarchists out there into the wilderness. That’s not to say ignore the science, in some Trumpist anti-science way, but merely to lift the burden of sorting the problem out from their shoulders – it’s not a problem, but a predicament (well a whole series of them) that we’re having to deal with, much beyond the expert siloed training of any one scientist.

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