Home | About | Donate

Decline in Fossil Fuel Emissions Due to Coronavirus Lockdowns No Substitute for Climate Action, Advocates Say

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/04/02/decline-fossil-fuel-emissions-due-coronavirus-lockdowns-no-substitute-climate-action

I once belonged to a group called the Mars Society. I am not sure they around any longer but they were interested in preparing for the settlement of Mars. What I found so very interesting was the number of projects they reported on or supported that focused on developing eco-systems that were totally self sustainable. Nothing went to waste. They were working towards developing systems that could support life with no added ongoing inputs outside the energy from the sun. The systems all mimicked nature in that nothing was wasted .

In any case this was 30 years ago and more and since that time I have read a number of books defining how totally self contained and sustainable cities and entire societies were well within the realm of possibility.

The reason we do not see more of this is there no profit avenue for the big Corporations and Capitalists. The system called Capitalism only survives through artificial scarcity and consumption. By design items introduced under their model are designed to fail and designed to go obsolete so new stuff has to be bought on an ongoing basis. Capitalism creates artificial scarcity and also creating demand for items that are not needed. Bernays got his start here and in his book on propaganda details how industry must first create a product and then create artificial demand for that product.

The system called Capitalism does not go that far back in reality and the modern version of it goes back less then a century yet in that time has done more to destroy our ecosystems then all of the systems prior. It is a system that prospers off death and destruction much like a Vampire and a stake needs to be driven through its heart if we are to survive as a species and if the life we share this world with it to survive.


The natural tendency for population at this time is a slow, gentle decline. Population increase is an artificial state created by the terrors of endless war and financial insecurity. Capitalism cannot exist without endless growth. Even so; Those with a secure small yet adequate home that provides pride of place want their children to become educated. One result of these life aspects is smaller families educated to use less and less while enjoying the bounty given by healing Earth,

People have been squeezed off the land and into cities built around an energy glut. Now those living in Des Moines, for example, must pay extra to keep corporate agricultural pollution out of drinking water.

I know that place in the empty Los Angeles freeway. It does show something of the future. It shows one way the future will be if humanity decides not to become extinct.

1 Like

I would add that it’s 7.7+ billion lunatics living on our one and only pale blue dot that don’t help the situation. We are in the midst of irreversible, exponential, climate change and extinction of life on earth. As anyone with a few functional brain cells well knows. I’d post links, but CD has censored such things.

So I’ll just suggest looking at sottdotnet “earth changes” and chave weather to get a clue as to the world we are actually going down in.

1 Like

So how many Homo sapiens do you recommend for our dying planet? There were 2B when I came to being, 1947. We are at 7.7+ now, vastly beyond Earth’s carrying capacity. Near as I can see, with 60 years of observations, growing up on Long Island while NYC spilled over and wiped out any place I loved, and as a biology major and teacher for 25 years, the number should anywhere from zero to half a billion, as is said to be the case when the alleged Jesus roamed the earth.

1 Like

It’s long been said that the only way emissions would ever, ever, be cut to the point needed to avoid a 3 degrees C apocalypse, would be a complete collapse of the capitalist economic system.
Well, this may be the start.

1 Like

Fun while it lasted. Fun for the slave owners, but hell for the slaves.


I am not an economist but I say that’s false. Capitalism adjusts to many many constraints. It isn’t necessarily the optimal solution for a given set of constraints but to say it stops working without growth makes no sense to me. As long as there is production, consumption and opportunity to make profit, capitalism can exist. Japan’s population has almost leveled off and they still have plenty of capitalism.

Put down a ~ then paste the link right next to it. Works every time.

I usually go with Paul Ehrlich’s number of 1.5-2 billion same as when you were born. I was born in 62 among 3.2 billion and it seemed like too many back then. I wish more people studied biology like you did to the level they could see this obvious truth and then we wouldn’t be where we are.

I’m a little surprised to read someone tell it like it is as far as how good modern day Americans have it. We don’t hear much of that tune being played.
We even had a lot of fun in the army, even in Nam…I think if we are lucky enough we get enough of the fun as well as the grief.
But this trump anomaly is a tough one to swallow.


“Helplessly hoping” If you substitute our country for (she or her).
That’s the case with many songs. We can transpose love of one another with politics or country.
Makes music universal.

You are just a bit arrogant, Dara. Population is indeed declining gradually,And Japan is a prime example of what an advanced and developed country experiences with population.

We cannot speculate about our favorite numeric value for world population. All we can do is adjust our way of life and let population gently decline as it uses less and less.

I am educated in economics and I can tell you with no hesitation that capitalism is a ponzie scheme requiring faster and faster growth to infinity, Compound interest forever is impossible on a finite planet. Qualitative growth is an entirely different story. Quality of life can increase for ever unless your version of quality is having the most polluting plastic fantastics and a McMansion with a Mercedes Benz parked out front.

Earth is not dying, Cooper. Humanity is altering climate and may become extinct for doing that. Earth will find a new balance point in a million years or so, after humans are gone.

Only a bit? - let me try harder.

I am educated in economics and I can tell you with no hesitation that capitalism is a ponzie scheme requiring faster and faster growth to infinity,

The very definition of a Ponzi scheme includes the fact that there is a non-existent enterprise - nothing is made, sold, etc. If you are equating any possible organization of a capitalist economy with a Ponzi scheme, I have to question where you got your education. I’m not sure what you mean by capitalism but when I search for stories on “does capitalism require growth” there are a whole lot of credible sounding people who disagree with you and based on my background (only an into course and a follow-up in macroeconomics as an undergrad and then masters level in engineering), I don’t find your simplistic statement credible. And yes, I know what compound interest is and understand exponential functions.

My view that I write here often is that I’m not at all wedded to capitalism as an organizing principle. But we have it, and I don’t think it will be completely thrown overboard anytime soon. So I’ll take quite a lot of reforms as I can get them. And I’ll take completely non capitalist alternatives in selected areas when those are achievable such as public banking, public utilities for energy generation and I’m open to many more - and I’ll help try to make them happen if I can. But I’m not going to join a revolution to get rid of capitalism altogether and then think all our problems are solved.

You are just as arrogant as I am (not that I care, feel free to be even more arrogant if you like).

We cannot speculate about our favorite numeric value for world population.

All of us here can speculate on any thing we want, and I will continue to feel free to do so. The terms of service at this site are pretty weak as far as I can tell - we can use profanity, we can be pretty aggressive, and we can (though I never well) make thinly veiled statements advocating violence against politicians we don’t like.

As far as Japan goes, I do see my statement about leveling off was a bit late - that happened in 2010 (they hit 0% growth rate at that point) and in the remaining 10 years their population dropped from 128.5 million to 126.5 and is on a -0.3% per year trajectory now with a fertility rate of around 1.4. Sounds fantastic - great for them. We in the US are at +0.6% and a TFR of 1.8. So we should dropping at some point unless immigration makes up for it. The world is at +1.05% with a TFR of around 2.5 - a level it is been at for the last decade. I am not optimistic that we will peak before we get to 11 billion (which I won’t live to see - the longest I’d make it to could be around 2050 when we hit 10 billion). But I still hope future generations are smarter and I’m certainly going to inculcate in my one kid the idea that one is enough and zero is OK too.

This crisis shows that humans have a memory span of amoeba , they (GOP) act only when it is too late.

Wait for a flood of huge natural disasters for GOP to move a finger. As ridiculous as it sounds we are not there yet.

“The very definition of a Ponzi scheme includes the fact that there is a non-existent enterprise - nothing is made, sold, etc.”

Notice that the production of modern economies is leading to extinction of warm blooded life. That is far less than nothing being produced. Also notice that happiness with increasing personal wealth has a plateau that is quite low when compared to multi millionaires and billionaires.

Masters level engineering is the mark of an inquiring mind. Slow down just a bit here at compound interest and contemplate the idea of entropy as corporatist capitalism grows to infinity. We know of course that formal education is good yet millions without it study on their own and are even sometimes more well rounded than say, an economist who studies the idea of the Chicago school free market and its belief that the market directs people to do the most efficient thing. Today the efficient market is plotting the most efficient route to extinction of identical consumer units who have complete knowledge of the economic and environmental impact of their actions via the free market.

Evolution is accelerating at an accelerating rate, revolution is an old fashioned idea rooted in times when the army had weapons not greatly superior to an outraged mob of farmers and tradespeople wielding their daily tools as weapons. Nowadays armies kill many more civilians than opposing soldiers, perhaps nine to one. Bravery in the US military is backed up by the ability to remotely murder millions of sleeping moms, dads and their children with the push of a button. Terrorist nuclear empires have no courage or honor.

The reason I claim we cannot speculate a proper population with any success other than picking a favorite number is the exercise is based on the degree of Earth harm any given number does to earn its daily bread. The Japanese population is dropping, for example. Even so, their glittering Los Vegas style city lights required nuclear power and they have polluted and are polluting Earth’s entire ocean and the air with the disaster at Fukushima.

The US would be an advanced culture with a declining population but the capitalists in charge operate open borders for emigration and we are growing as fast as the fastest of top ten impoverished countries, eg Pakistan and Bangladesh.

There is old Iranian saying about population that helped them control their population growth, before the US attacked using its ally Saddam of Iraq; Zero is fine. One is good. Two is okay. And three or four is not a crime.

If any system comes after state or private capitalism and occasional voting for representatives, that will mean our children have survived and come up with a solution. I suggest starting with a new story; like ≈https://www.constituentassembly.org

I’m no fan of Chicago school that’s for sure. I’m sure we agree on most things including for me what may be the single most important reform - we need a political system which makes it extremely difficult for a few with money (which would include rich people and businesses directly) from having influence in the political sphere. Business can supply information for which the rest of us will always be skeptical on how they see operations being affected by various legislation but it should be up to a much more Democratic system with much better informed citizenry to make decisions. Basically we need money out of politics.

We are going to disagree about a large number of things too including just how significant Fukushima was. I don’t put it in the same category as deepwater horizon and overall per energy produced the hydrocarbon economy has caused more problems than the nuclear economy in my opinion. So though I’m against any more reactors of this type or any other type of Gen III being built, I don’t oppose looking carefully at Gen IV options.

On Iran (where my dad was born but I never lived there and don’t speak Farsi), they did have an extremely successful change in TFR dropping from a TFR of 6.5 to 1.9 in 20 years. The government did try to institute punitive measures after 3 kids at one point for government employees at least but that didn’t last long and during Ahmedinijad’s term he advocated for large families again. Their TFR is now 2.15. That country right now definitely has too many people relative to very basic resources like rice (I don’t know when Iran moved from a rice net exporter to an importer but they now import 1/3 of their consumption). I don’t have a strong opinion on punitive measures on family size. I don’t believe in a reproductive right to have 3 or 4 kids but I’m pragmatic about the best way to get to low TFRs world wide and what worked in China isn’t going to work everywhere.

Funny, I never did the simple math on this but to get to my speculated number from an optimistic peak of 10 billion (so an 80% drop to 2 billion) takes 160 years at a -1% rate per year growth rate which is pretty fast. So unless there is mass death, which I don’t wish for, the soonest the Earth could see those numbers is 2200.

I glanced at that link you sent but it’s not really my style and I didn’t gather much from it.

The idea of that link is to suggest a form of government to accomplish what you said, “we need a political system which makes it extremely difficult for a few with money (which would include rich people and businesses directly) from having influence in the political sphere.”

It’s an Hugo Chavez design with one the first facet added.