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After 30 Years Studying Climate, Scientist Declares: "I've Never Been as Worried as I Am Today"

After 30 Years Studying Climate, Scientist Declares: "I've Never Been as Worried as I Am Today"

Jake Johnson, staff writer

Declaring that after three decades of studying the climate he's "never been as worried" about the future of the planet as he is today, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber—founding director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany—warned that even as extreme weather wreaks havoc across the globe and experts issue one


It is all very discouraging. I find that in my local community even local officials who are saying they want faster action are not willing to spend some money to do it. They want to move faster, they have the power to, and they still are holding back, seemingly more concerned about balancing budgets and maintaining the town’s bond rating. I would imagine this type of problem plays out in many communities all over the world.


Rightists and many centrists prioritize the economy, finances, budgets, and jobs over a livable environment!

Leftists say that if we destroy a livable environment (as we are doing!) the economy, finances, budgets, and jobs will suffer even more – and eventually will be terminated entirely!

I would rather have a lower standard of living than see mass extinctions – including my own death!


My children will not suffer the coming chaos. Why not? Because I thought enough of them to not conceive them.


“…turn the Earth to sand and still commit no crime…” The Moody Blues


I made the same decision – for the same reasons.


P.S. I feel disappointed that two leaders whom I profoundly admire and appreciate (Chris Hedges and Naomi Klein) each decided to have an additional child – despite all they know about ecology and democracy in decline and in crisis (and the oversized, negative impact of increased population in rich nations).

I also feel disappointed that Al Gore (who did much good in warning about global warming) has a giant bill for electricity, heating, or air conditioning every month.

And all three of these leaders apparently fly around a lot, adding much carbon to the atmosphere.

So, while their public words and ideas are helpful to the environmental and democracy causes, their private behaviors are not great role models of living more lightly on the Earth.

(But probably they do other good things, like recycling. Ha!)


Several years ago I proposed, on a now-defunct site, “Trendular Atmospheric Depatternization” as a more accurate term than “global warming,” but later decided that that term was a “tad” cumbersome.


I liked your comment, but let me add a few facts:

The USA has already been waging war on the climate for 150 years (since the Industrial Revolution) – but as usual, the USA doesn’t declare war, it just wages war!

Also, I’ve read that the USA has been waging wars (or military actions) for 93% of its entire history – from the very start of the USA right through to the present day!


Global Warming now rechristened Global Heating.

Unfortunately, world leaders have agreed not to address the ACE (Accelerating Carbon Emergency) until Global Heating becomes Global Roasting.

The good news: We’re only a few years away. The bad news: We’re already totally f**cked.


The crisis is wider than “heating.” A habitable environment is also being destroyed by habitat destruction, plastic pollution, over-fishing, loss of top-soil from agri-business… We depend on the biome for our very existence. Yet we’re in the midst of the worst levels of extinction in 60 million years, at least.

The problem isn’t just fossil fuels, it’s business as usual. We need to scrap the “profit motive” as the fundamental driver of the economy and society and replace it with the “love and protection of life motive.”


Here here. I realized back in high school nobody would do anything.

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It’s useful to name the biggest tipping points, for the purposes of containing them at least partly.

First off, the Arctic is going to let a teraton of methane and carbon dioxide loose, stuff that has been accumulating for maybe 100 million years now. The way we put the cork on this is to somehow maintain the Arctic’s white snow and ice cover.

Second, the trees are both dying and drying out. Every forest fire and especially every major tundra fire dumps a pile of carbon and a pile of black soot into the atmosphere. Yes we can control forest fires.

I put humanity’s stepping on the gas pedal in third place, because natura can out-carbon us. Yes, we need to put fossil fuels pretty much out of business.

Fourth, we’re denuding the tropical forests, the lungs of the world, so that we can have more agricultural raw materials. Oddly enough, I didn’t say more food.

I’ll stop at four today, recognizing that the drivers list goes on.


I agree with you about too many people driving over-sized trucks (and SUV’s) who don’t really need a large vehicle.

But I partly disagree about “everyone” causing global warming. I think you would agree that there are huge differences in the amount that “each and every one of us” contributes to global warming and environmental destruction.

For example, I chose a small car instead of a big car. I try not to use it much. It’s 7 years old and has about 11,500 miles on it. That’s only 137 miles a month driving. For many years, I rode a bicycle. My electricity and gas bill averages about $30 to $40 per month. I’ve only flown about six times in my life, and I haven’t flown at all in 19 years. I chose not to have children. I eat very little meat. I recycle everything I can. I don’t use a dish washer and I turn the water faucet off in between rinsing my dishes. I live in a small studio apartment and don’t have a lawn or garden to water. I turn off lights when not using them directly. I even unplug electric appliances when they’re not in use. In everything I do every day, I try to be conscious of living lightly on the Earth.

My contribution to global warming and environmental destruction is much less than most people – and definitely much, much less than all of our top leaders in government! So, we’re not all equally to blame, right?


I like your sense of humor! Thanks for making me laugh at that line.

P.S. I need to go elsewhere now. Have a great day!

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If the people who want war with Russia get their way global warming won’t be a concern any more. Nuclear winter will quickly cool the planet back down.


True. But there is a difference, many people who are aware and trying to lesson their carbon footprint are less responsible. Like me, they use solar and do not eat meat, ride a bike and do what they can. My motto: live simply; so that future generations may live.


They are all our children.


Global Warming>>>GlobalHeating—wouldn’t Global FRYING be more honest?


Greta said much the same thing. And thank you.