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The Paris Climate Talks and the 1.5C Target: Wartime-Scale Mobilization is Our Only Option Left


#1

The Paris Climate Talks and the 1.5C Target: Wartime-Scale Mobilization is Our Only Option Left

Margaret Klein Salamon, Ezra Silk

The Paris climate talks are over, and the postmortems on the final agreement are flooding in. Here’s our take:

  • After 21 years of negotiations, we finally have an agreement that the majority of nations are expected to ratify. This is a critical breakthrough in terms of shared global understanding of the crisis. We are grateful that world leaders have agreed to make an effort to collectively tackle the climate crisis.


#2

" we need to bring the entire environmental movement and the American people on board" They are on board, all right. Unfortunately, most are more concerned with Trump, Star Wars, the NFL and feathering their own nest etc., and fail to see the ice berg dead ahead. Alas.


#3

Oh Gosh. This is brilliant. I'm getting on this ride, and I encourage everyone else to do the same.
I think at the worst, it's a very GOOD IDEA.


#4

Always first up is a shill prepared to blame the public for the lack of leadership and why that is so: the preponderance of corporate powers, primarily the weapons-producers, big banks, and fossil fuel energy cartels that hold would be lawmakers and policy-setters hostage.

And your NFL/Trump characterization mostly fits angry white guys. An accurate analysis of polls reveal: Trump has about 10% support of the full citizenry.


#5

"Only a wartime-style mobilization, in which government regulation mandates the early retirement or conversion to zero emissions of all greenhouse-gas emitting plant and equipment, could possibly facilitate such drastic changes on such a tight time-frame without crashing the economy."

And do this by 2025? Such a move would be guaranteed to crash this country's fossil fuel-based economy in such a short timeframe, not to mention that it would first require a complete overhaul of our corrupt political system, involving the removal of most officials now holding office, mothballing of the entire military and so on. It would be political suicide for any of the major party candidates to endorse such a fantasy. NOT going to happen.


#6

From the article (my emphasis):

Only a wartime-style mobilization... could possibly facilitate such drastic changes on such a tight time-frame without crashing the economy.

Once again we hear expressed the tacit agreement, from all corners, that the economy must be preserved at all costs. The absurd implication is that if this thing called "the economy" must be destroyed in order to preserve Life on Earth, then ecological preservation would just be too expensive.

People who argue this way generally mean well, but they embrace and sustain a depraved value system in which nothing is more important than prosperity.

Were they to address the conflict between economic and ecological health more honestly, and say we are now faced with the stark choice of one or the other, their message would largely fall on deaf ears. That is why I don't think there's much hope for us humans or the countless species we're taking down with us. But you never know what might happen when you give truth a chance.


#7

And always second up is Siouxrose with her Martians. All those entities: banks, arms dealers etc, are, in fact, people. not Martians. Martians don't work as bank tellers, or truck drivers, or arms manufactures. Martians don't operate drones, spray poisons on our food or genetically modify them. People, Sioux, not all people, of course. But not one Martian.


#8

What is your point with comment? Saying that you don't think there is much hope is mindless drivel and if you are right (although there is no way to know that now) then there is no point in telling other people that there is no hope because that discourages people from even trying. The surest way to lose a race is not to to run in it!

There is great sadness ahead especially for diversity amid the Sixth Extinction but humanity will survive. Maybe we will sincerely regret and miss the diversity being lost but nevertheless people should survive... imo.

People do matter more than do polar bears. It is blunt but true. To lose Polar Bears when it wasn't necessary to do so is a crime and a sin (like now). But in the end, people who are innocent of causing the extinction of some species are important.

We may all end up living in a terrarium Earth - Earth as a farm not a wilderness - oceans as an aquarium not as a viable water wilderness. That is all true and sad but even in a completely domesticated anthropocene Earth post Sixth Extinction... humanity should and will survive.

People matter.


#9

Some people think we can terraform Mars (as if destroying only one planet would not satisfy our boundless hubris). Your fantasy of a "terrarium Earth" isn't much more delusional. Have you ever heard of the Biosphere II fiasco?

Your post reveals a psychic disconnect from Life on Earth which breaks my heart, truly. The 6th Extinction will be "a great sadness" but humans will survive? I fear you cannot be reached, you cannot hear.

What is my point? My point is to free myself from anthropocentric delusions, to the best of my ability, and to tell the truth. I have no idea whether healing can result from honesty in this instance, but dishonesty doesn't seem like a winning strategy either.

What do you do, what do you say, where there is little or no hope? That's the focus of the Dark Mountain Project.


#10

While clearly this call for mobilization to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is unrealistic in a world where India has just announced it plans to double coal burning by 2020 (the equivalent of all US coal-burning plants) it does give a good standard to measure how short we are falling in efforts to combat climate change. For sure we should focus on adapting to a different climate and one that makes living on this planet more difficult as the amplification of global warming in the Arctic and the resulting passing of tipping points for positive feedbacks is likely to eventually result in global warming of at least 3-4C and most likely higher. There is no political will for a wartime-scale mobilization and hardly any political will it seems to reduce emissions at all in many places. At some point we have to accept our fate and stop dreaming up schemes that have no relation to what is happening in about 200 countries around the world.


#11

However you're an absolutist and I am not. Apparently you are already convinced that all is lost and there is no hope. I am not. There is no point in eloquence or even elegance when describing an all is lost scenario.

The extinction en toto that you envision is irrational. Yes we are astoundingly dense and fairly stupid and of course greedy but we are also amazingly inventive and when push comes to shove ... we can shove pretty hard!

Look at how the Japanese went from the middle ages to modernity in fifty years? Astounding and absolutely impossible right? But they did it.

Look at the manufacturing totals of America soon after Pearl Harbor. Also astounding. We went from near zero (not quite of course ) to tens of thousands of planes a year, tens of thousands of tanks even etc. it is phenomenal to read about.

Will we is another story. Better it should be described as when will we!!! When will we begin the large scale survival mode? Not if we will but when!

Wild nature is a likely loss in that we agree. Lions, Tigers and Bears Oh my??? Um...nope no room no more!!! No Polar Bears except maybe a few. No elephants except in zoos. All the Earth gone anthropocene. Yeah that is probable and given our stupidity maybe inevitable. Oceans devoid of fish? Yeah possible.

An Earth without humans ...I don't think so! We are survivors of even the worst... we are survivors of even us! A domesticated Earth? Like a big farm devoted to feeding 12 to 15 billion people... sounds like something we would do to paradise... it really does.

We may have made paradise into hell but we will still be looking for an affordable apartment there just like we do now.


#12

Yet another article that ignores the fact that the meat industry produces half of all greenhouse gases and which therefore fails to call for everyone to reduce or eliminate meat consumption. http:/www.cowspiracy.com/facts. And just because the meat industry pays on-the-take "scientists" to argue a lower percentage, the unbiased science supports the cowspiracy facts.

http://www.worldwatch.org/node/6294


#13

India is vulnerable to a world wide boycott and from internal protests about those coal plants. As yet they figure as we reduce emissions that they can increase them like that is okay for them to do. Their "its our turn to pollute" attitude reflects why they have such dire poverty in their country. They are inured to people suffering. Not good! Not good!

However India wants to use coal because it is cheap. Solar furnace energy plants may be cheaper and India might be persuaded to concentrate on building them instead. We will see. They see how our republicans are still in denial and their politicians do the same. Dumb but not too surprising


#14

India has plans for so many large solar facilities that the plans have been called unrealistic. Nevertheless, they say to bring about the economic progress the want that much more coal burning is essential. I think it hard for Americans to relate to a country with 1.2 billion people including several hundred million without access to electricity.


#15

I know Lrx. You stated it very well but I believe that free energy is more attractive than cheap energy. India does not lack sunlight. They may find as the pace of innovation for solar and wind continues to speed up that those coal plants may not be that necessary. Things are not written in stone and perhaps some international pressure either positive through investment in Indian solar or through a boycott on India's coal use may change the picture.

Free solar may prove more attractive to India in the long run.


#16

Solar energy isn't free. You know that. It involves paying for solar panels and the installation. Also, if you are talking about large scale solar installations there is also probably the cost of building transmission lines. That involve quite a bit of money. And to make solar more useful expensive batteries are needed. India isn't a rich country. The overall standard of living in India is quite low. They already have many coal-burning plants so the cheapest thing for them is to keep supplying these plants with coal. People have been complaining for decades in India about the lack of electricity so I think to speed up delivery of electricity they plan to rely on coal. Solar is usually added to an existing grid. I think creating a grid based on solar for India would be difficult and if might not be reliable. They would need vast sums of money from Western countries to avoid using more coal. It looks to me that such vast sums will not be available.


#17

New coal plants cost money to be built and will need the same transmission lines ...plus the cost of mining and transporting the coal. Plus the health aspects from mercury to carbon and smog.

They don't use batteries they use molten salt which is in underground insulated tanks (not under pressure so it is cheap to make and maintain) to store heat for use to make steam at night. No difference between adding a solar plant or a coal plant to the grid. You are thinking solar roof (personal solar) I am talking solar plant the equivalent of a coal fired plant but cheaper to build, run and maintain.

They wouldn't need all that much money which is why they want to build so many solar plants. Perhaps they want coal as a bargaining chip to get aid (extensibly to avoid building coal plants?)


#18

"We believe humanity can still prevent civilization-destroying global warming": O.K. this is where you loose me--this "civilization" has been the driving force of destruction and one would rather hope that climate chaos be seen as LIFE-destroying. History is paved with the remains of "civilizations".


#19

India doesn't see it as solar or coal. They see it as solar and coal. In their view solar is more expensive than coal. I am sure if they thought solar was cheaper they wouldn't be planning to build hundreds of new coal plants. It wouldn't make sense to spend more and also cause more air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions if solar were cheaper for them.


#20

It is curious isn't it. They have their own corrupt politicians and fossil fuel industry (as I mentioned).

There is also the possibility that is a bargaining chip. Too early to tell as yet.