How to respond to climate chaos

Just when I think the climate-change situation can become no worse, additional information appears on my screen. Six self-reinforcing feedback loops have been documented since last month’s essay on the topic. The four-minute video embedded below describes the dire nature of climate chaos and indicates how individuals might respond to the information.

Guy-3Min from Pauline Schneider on Vimeo.

Homepage slideshow image by wayne’s eye view/Flickr.

— Guy McPherson, Transition Voice

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  1. James R. Martin says

    Here are some excerpts from “Latest IPCC Climate Report Puts Geoengineering in the Spotlight” in Scientific American, By Daniel Cressey and Nature magazine:

    “A statement by the U.N.-convened group suggests that tinkering with the atmosphere could be necessary to meet climate goals


    Attempts to counter global warming by modifying Earth’s atmosphere have been thrust into the spotlight following last week’s report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

    Mention of ‘geoengineering’ in the report summary was brief, but it suggests that the controversial area is now firmly on the scientific agenda. Some climate models suggest that geoengineering may even be necessary to keep global temperature rises to below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels.

    Most geoengineering technologies generally either reflect sunlight — through artificial ‘clouds’ of stratospheric aerosols, for example — or reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The latter approach, described as ‘negative emissions’, involves capturing carbon dioxide with strategies that range from building towers to collect it from the atmosphere to grinding up rocks to react with CO2 and take it out of circulation.

    Critics say that the technologies are unproven, will have unforeseen impacts and could distract from attempts to limit emissions of greenhouse gases. But advocates point to language in the summary for policy-makers produced by the IPCC working group that assessed the scientific evidence for climate change as evidence that reducing emissions will not be enough.

    The document notes that a “large fraction” of anthropogenic climate change is irreversible except with a “large net removal of CO2 from the atmosphere over a sustained period”. Under some climate models, keeping temperature rise below 2 °C will require negative emissions.


    How ironic that this same IPCC report included a “carbon budget” which suggested that it might be somewhat safe to go ahead and contribue another half trillion tons of carbon to the atmosphere before exceeding the safe limit!

    And yet… no significant discussion or debate seems to be happening about this “carbon budget”!

    Are we to believe that the absense of such a discussion or debate is the result of a widespread belief among the public, journalists or the science community that we’ve already triggered an unstoppable runaway climate catastrophe which can only lead to “Near Term Extinction”?

    What explains the absense of public debate on these matters?!?

  2. says

    Emergence through emergency, as Buckminster Fuller predicted, is the way we must go. We cannot give up hope. Why not massive domes over cities, as Bucky proposed? Or floating cities made of recycled plastic? Or great machines tat do the work of a thousand trees? Surely it’s not too late or a big geodesic idea or two!

    • patrick o'leary says

      Dear Pat,
      Your link to BuckyWorld doesn’t work. However Google did provide me the info that you live and work (real estate of course, no surprise there) in beautiful Marin county, a place certainly in the top 5 elite enclaves in the US, home of many techno-oligarchs.
      Pat, I think you need to quit sucking on the hopium pipe, the techno dreams you describe are illusions; the only thing technology has been successful at is allowing Homo sapiens to run amuck on the planet, completely destroying the biosphere in the process.
      But then again, maybe your techno buddies out there in la-la land really can build a dome over Marin. Or perhaps San Francisco? I’m sure the elites can figure out how to scale it up, being so technologically savvy and all. Just make sure they include good sound proofing, those giant machines doing the work of a thousand trees might get kinda loud.
      Hey I know, you could call it “Elysium”, as I am pretty damn sure the “well off” are never going to make it up to some well designed condo in the sky. No, I think the dome idea is worth pursuing, that way all those who think like you do can go in and hopefully never come out. Then again, I’m pretty sure the San Andreas fault might have something to say about it, eventually.

      • James R. Martin says

        Such a Dome (or Domes) really do capture the heart of the matter, the very essence of how we got into this mess to begin with. It’s the ultimate Gated Community concept with the winners on the inside and the losers on the outside. But the ultimate (and airtight) Gated Community doesn’t much allow the Insiders to consider the outside world, which is so expendable that its expendability is never raised as a question. It’s burried, hidden, swept under the rug–forgotten. It’s where the wastes are ejected, expected to just go away. It’s empire! It’s class! The whole enchilada.

        Anyone, it should be pretty obvious that the economics of such a Class Empire would not serve any but the 1% or 2%. I suppose robots would flip the burgers and clean the toilets, ’cause such a lifestyle would be too expensive for the lower classes who could not commute into the Dome from without. Presumably.

        Nothing personal here, Pat. I don’t think you meant to advocate for such a radical class war. It’s just that you probably never studied any economics or economic history. For were such a Dome technologically viable (which is very doubtful) its financial cost would be in the stratosphere, thus making it accessible only to the top of the economic elite. It’s a simple matter of cost per square meter.

        And when you think about it, you’ve not included the forests or oceans (or any extraurban nature) in your Dome world. I suppose those forstes and jungles won’t be needed in the Domes? So the outsiders can … well… eat cake?

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