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Risk, Climate Change, and Black Swans


Risk, Climate Change, and Black Swans

John Atcheson

It’s getting increasingly hard to make a case for the sanity of humanity.

"One of the most dangerous scenarios I can conceive of is having the countries of the world agree to their woefully inadequate self-determined emission reduction goals, then walk away with the illusion of victory."

Incredibly, we are heading into negations on the most important issue humanity has ever faced, knowing that the terms we are collectively bringing to the table will not avoid the catastrophe we’re trying to head off.


Just to start the day out right, I’ll add nuclear energy/weapons to the mix. The scientists and engineers who brought it out the bottle knew the genie would never be put back into it. In order to work in the nuclear industry and I did for four years one must develop a religious-like trust in technology to control the cognitive dissonance associated with the possible consequences. Nature has been here longer than humanity with its technology and nature bats last, as the old saw goes.


Once again, the relative handful of corporatists and their mostly white male well-endowed (fiscally, that is) comrades gather in secret to determine humanity’s collective fate and another writer posits that decisions reflect that great, amorphous pool of “WE.”

What decisions do you suppose might evolve (in lieu of the usual deadly outcomes featuring an emphasis on war, inequality, and rabid resource decimation) if the operational WE determining policy were composed of the following: Vandana Shiva, Medea Benjamin, Amy Goodman, Chris Hedges, Pepe Escobar, Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben, Kumi Naidoo, Naomi Wolf, Robert Jensen, Father John Dear, Kathy Kelly… and others?

The deciding FEW do NOT reflect the will, wishes, intentions, concerns, needs, or values of THE MAJORITY.

It is irresponsible and disingenuous at this point in time to whitewash over the problem: Democratic consensus is NOT what’s driving policy. And too often in order to create the ILLUSION of that consensus the following coercive tactics (akin to how Republicans win elections through all sorts of chicanery) are used:

  1. Control of media & thus message
  2. Lies told often and no one held to account (like creating an entirely false pretext for the wars launched against numerous Middle Eastern nations)
  3. Ruining the reputations of whistle blowers when not using legal muscle to do away with them
  4. Presenting a stable of writers who traffic in the cozy-sounding “WE are all in this together” idiom even when studies like “Page & Gilens” make it clear that policies put into action are diametrically opposed to those that citizens (via poll numbers) support
  5. Mock any alternatives to the existing system
  6. Make treaties that will determine energy policy (continued ruination of sustainable ecosystems), what we eat (Monsanto’s sickening shit), who gets health care, who gets birth control, and who gets to work. These decisions are made by corporate moguls in SECRECY and forced onto the rest of us! (TPP makes that blatantly evident.)

This is not about WE. It’s about elites–shadow and otherwise–running the world like a hostile business takeover. With all the $ they bribed politicians into allowing them to print, they can purchase private armies (and they do!), court justices (via financing their campaigns), senators, congress persons, and heads of nations!

It’s a massive CON job not helped by pushing a frame of citizen input and engagement–WE–when THAT has disappeared.

And it also whitewashes over the fundamental achievement made by Occupy Wall ST in defining a major political and economic distinction (along with a likely moral one given that the LOVE of money constitutes the root of ALL evil) between the 1% “decider” caste, and the rest of us… arguably the larger WE pool that is hardly behind these odious decisions!

The unexamined use of the collective WE-idiom is on a par with “Columbus discovered America.” It’s another fiction used to anesthetize the public and dilute the greater Truth of our times.


Later in the article:

“What this is about, is a complete lack of political will, and because politicians are either owned by fossil fuel interests, or lack the courage to talk about hard or complex topics, we are being exposed to enormous risks to our health and the health of the planet.”


THAT is the issue, isn’t it. So why do the whole “WE” charade like a drunken dance around it?

Are you a Gemini, Mr. Atcheson? (Or a Pisces or Sagittarian). That would explain how two opposite theses could be presented as ONE item.

THIS IS FALSE and it strikes me of disinformation:

“Now consider this: We’ve chosen the second bridge.”

Again, while Atcheson gives lip service to the REALITY that energy policy is tied up by Capital Interests and their hold over heads of nations, he nonetheless reverts BACK to the disingenuous WE frame as causative factor.

If the individuals specified in my first post WERE in positions to make decisions on this matter, the “WE” outcome would drastically depart from the current mass suicide pact signed by the Jim Jones that run today’s corporate ecological horror show.


Thank heavens the real discussion of these issues is being driven, with rapidly increasing success and force, by these folks, to name a few, who care most for our present and future prospects: “Vandana Shiva, Medea Benjamin, Amy Goodman, Chris Hedges, Pepe Escobar, Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben, Kumi Naidoo, Naomi Wolf, Robert Jensen, Father John Dear, Kathy Kelly… and others”

What Bernie Sanders is doing is taking the conversation public, very much along the lines of what Jill Stein and others have been doing all along since Thoreau first wrote Walden. Dr. Stein is systematically ignored because she is a truth-teller, and as Obama so brilliantly embodies, truth tellers become labelled traitors and dismissed, either fatally dismissed or, if that is inconvenient, politically dismissed.

What Sanders did was spend a career from his college days to the present learning how to effectively speak out on issues that matter, and how to assess the impacts of that speaking. His campaign is setting an example.

If we can take off our blinders and see that Donald Trump is doing the same thing, albeit with a very different approach, and read the resulting polls, we can see something very promising indeed: we are rapidly approaching the moment, more than a year before next year’s elections, where two thirds of those polled are effectively supporting radical opposition to both dominant political parties.

These two thirds of us have been here all along. It fell to Sanders and Trump to begin calling us out into the fray of electoral politics.

We can deny the opportunity, or we can begin exploring ways of exploiting it.

Remember, our grandchildren as well as theirs will want to know what we did during these very opportune days.


Yeah… when it comes to nuclear energy, cognitive dissonance is the thing to watch for… as friggin if!


You should have given attribution to the sentence you took from my post. Nonetheless, your comment is a good one.


Your right about the safe level for CO2 being below 350 ppm. Consider this we know for a fact that the average range for CO2 over the course of the last 1 mil. yrs. or more was 190 ppm ( in the depths of an Ice age to 280 ppm during an inter-glacial ( like were in today.) We’ve already reached over 400 ppm! We need to get back within the natural range or else. Even at that were going to have to deal with a rapidly rising sea level and an acidic Ocean going forward. Given the enormous financial and political power of the Fossil Energy nations and Barons / Corps. I doubt anything meaningful is going to be done any time soon to reverse course. So, regretfully I’ve concluded along with many others were essentially screwed.


Interesting observation. I’d take what you express as “religious-like” and go straight to the imposition of an insidiously unfounded widespread acceptance of a religious trust in technology. The externalization of ‘that-of-god’, the privilege without accountability and responsibility of those implanting the technology takes and twists the very concept of god experienced as omniscience . Nuclear ‘trust’ is just that. It means total annihilation and also argued to be essential for ‘life as we know it’. I don’t think you’re alone in the cognitive dissonance.
The etymological root of ‘privilege’ is ‘first before the law’. We are experiencing delusional attitudes for both human constructs about ‘law’ and the attitudes it fosters relative to the cosmic laws of existence, which for centuries have been treated as though they are sufficiently understood. At the same time, we’ve entered the era where all the consequences of vast over-stepping of the precautionary principle are coming home to roost. The ledger (de main) treatment of profitability and investment has become the pathetic excuse for a lexicon claimed to address reality when it approaches something like .1% of the rest of the 99.9% of reality. By my book, that’s a pretty poor excuse for meaning, math and linguistics being pumped by the powers that be.


I generally refrain from pointing out grammatical errors because doing so is inherently off topic and this forum is not a writing class but I will make an exception here since you have authored eleven books and are interested in improving your writing skills as evidenced by your prolific output in this forum. Mark Twain, whose writing often makes me LOL, quoted Mary Baker Eddy’s “The unanimous consent of all of the members of the Board of Directors is required” and remarked: “Here the word “all” is comically superfluous.” In your expression “revert back” the “back” is comically superfluous (and professional writers never use CAPS for emphasis; good writing provides its own emphasis). I have also noticed that you are one of the few writers here who know that “it’s” always means “it is” and is not the possessive form of “it.” I hope you don’t mind constructive criticism and please keep your comments flowing. But be forewarned: If I ever catch you using a “comically superfluous” word again, my practice of pointing out such errors will continue on. (Whoops! Here “on” is comically superfluous).


No, I don’t mind. One thing about writers is that we deploy poetic license. Sometimes to stress a point or drive home a metaphor, I may use a “double qualifier.”

It’s interesting that you’d seek a minor flaw in my writing, but when a poster makes use of one of my unique metaphors or seizes upon an entire sentence without the faintest attribution, that is “fair game” here.

How many posters use “your” for “you’re” or “their” for “there”? One poster–I am convinced he’s an I.T. “kid” and enjoys at least 7 screen names–uses the possessive apostrophe on all of his plural nouns. For instance, “the Clinton’s” and such.

I will continue to use caps when I so desire. Since a number of persons here pick up my allegories, allusions, examples, and metaphors on a very regular basis… as I’ve noted, my comments are being at minimum observed, and possibly studied. Your comment substantiates that thesis.

P.S. Your time would be better spent decoding Old Goat’s ridiculously complex to the point of incomprehensible sentences.

… Right from this thread:


“Your right about the safe level for CO2 being below 350 ppm…”


“It’s getting increasingly hard to make a case for the sanity of humanity.”

That is so true. People who architected China rise (based on Chinese intent) were ignored for the last 32 years . So, those people believe exactly the same way…Too bad, half of them are in China, others are dead, and some here in the USA but not for long… Thanks…


On the 29/7/ 2015 Michael E Mann conceded that we have now entered a time of exponential change. This is the ultimate Black Swan. Guy McPherson ( guymcpherson.com ) and the Arctic Methane Emergency group have been warning of the Methane Black Swan for years. Now it is out of the bag and about to crap on the entire planet.
Near term human extinction beckons. Mike Mann talking exponential in the BradBlog link in the comments section of my Facebook note on my Facebook wall which is public


Makes me wonder just how much carbon would be pumped into the atmosphere in the event of A third World War-Even A non-nuclear WW-3 would be so carbon intensive what with all Nations of the World burning massive amounts of carbon to obliterate one another-
Mankind, or better yet, the ubber wealthy .01% of mankind needs A total shift of consciousness if we are to survive- This new Pope and A few Northern European and South American leaders are about the only Leaders in power that seems to realize this- The belligerence of Washington and the Western Banking Cabal is shamefully ignorant, mindlessly arrogant and World threatening…They are doing their very best to drag us into the grave along side themselves-


And just how many new, mind boggling, recently occurring “feedback loops” has McPherson discovered recently? What this man has identified scares the sh-t out of this old peacenik-


I suppose the once upon A time and most welcome, agreed upon consensus mutually assured destruction (MAD), a doctrine of military strategy and national security policy in which full-scale use of high-yield weapons of mass destruction by two or more opposing sides would cause the complete annihilation of both the attacker and the defender “MAD” seems, as late, to have been swept aside to the dustbin of history, filed right next to the short lived, un-kept promise of the “Peace Dividend”-
What massive amounts of money have been pilfered from the Human race by the intentional and deliberate proliferation of Fear…
Strange that I NEVER thought there would be one good word to speak for Henry Kissinger until I heard the White House tape of Nixon goading him into the use of Nuclear Weapons in South East Asia.
Henry said: I think that would be A bit Extreme, and
Nixon Replied: "Come on Henry, I want you to think BIG-
My God, the Leaders that have been chosen for us…


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I’m a grammar nazi too. :smile:

I’m sure that you’re aware that “all caps” are considered to be shouting and should be avoided. There’s no need for them on this site because the webmaster has provided the capacity to use italics or bold text. Or both.