Home | About | Donate

'This Scares Me,' Says Bill McKibben as Arctic Hits 100.4°F—Hottest Temperature on Record

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/06/22/scares-me-says-bill-mckibben-arctic-hits-1004degf-hottest-temperature-record


When I was in Alaska in 2005 I was amazed at how elongated the ecotones were where the glaciers were retreating, indicating that they were really receding in haste. With foreknowledge our species, at least key elements of it, has continued to shit in our only pond. Many had this perverse faith that there would always arise a new technology to correct any problem that might come to be. Turns out that technology is likely to be mass extinction. Oops.


The realist in me sees positive feedback loops activating in earnest, loops that will cause an even more rapid accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere and even more temperature extremes.
The pessimist tells me this is the beginning of the end. There’s no turning back now, and most certainly no longer a chance to mitigate the worst of global warming.
The optimist in me knows that the earth is very old, and has faced down catastrophic climactic shifts before. In a few million years, the earth will be in balance again. We humans however will not be a part of the renewed earth. Maybe thats for the best.


Bet the Buck Turgidsons in the Pentagon are drooling at the prospect of turning the Arctic Ocean into a war zone with the Russians since there’s soon gonna be no ice in the way…


“Gentlemen! You can’t fight in here, this is the war room!”


Indeed, the one of many beginnings of the end. Actually, I would call it the mid-point. Nature has been severely degraded by human activity once the Industrial Age and the Enlightenment arrived. The first focused on one thing-profits above all. The second broke the connection between humans and Gaia, allowing us to think we would find the solutions for all problems.
Where we go from here. A reconnection with Gaia. We won’t eliminate the damage of increased CO2 levels, but we can mitigate it. ONLY if we work together as a species. And ONLY if we give up all the “goodies” that Western culture has invented. Things like private cars. Things like urban sprawl. Things like mass consumption as a way of both therapy and social status. And, most of all, get rid of the concept of “rich”. No more billionaires, millionaires, whatever. We will concentrate on the quality of life, not work. The arts. The Commons in regard to places to live and to grow food.
Now, I’m wondering how those folks in Siberia must feel. Their bodies and ecosystems aren’t adapted to such heat.


My partner and I are both believers in exponential climate change and stories like this seem to back that up. One story we read about this 100.4 record in the Arctic says it is about 80 years early according to some climate models. If this bears out, whoever is “Captain of the USA Titanic” will not matter much. We are trying to live every day as if it is our last, which one should do regardless. Try to be kind to each other as it all comes crashing down. That said, I have little compassion for Trump and his cult members who will continue to deny this is happening at all. And I know when they finally cannot wish it away, they will be the ones to scream the loudest about how nobody warned them. And a part of me will be laughing at them as I watch in horror as I am still working on being kind to everyone.


We need to leave trade deals because if the country is bankrupted as those in charge seem to be aiming for, that could result in the exporting of our water, and already, its possible that in periods of extreme heat large parts of our country may dry up so much that they may become uninhabitable in the summers, also there may not be enough water for people.

Please consider the fact that of all the essential resources water and air are the most important for us. 1000 years ago we now know there was a huge drought that lasted more than a century.

The people who remained in the area were so resource constrained they resorted to cannibalism.

It wasnt the first (drought) , there were others before that one. (as shown by forests still standing now hundreds of feet below the surface of deep lakes in the hIgh Sierra).

Water should enjoy a special status as essential to human life and not be “mined” for export.

This would require a change in trade agreements recognizing human rights for things we need. I realize that is very controversial but there needs to be human rights to water, as well as healthcare, food and lifesaving drugs. Countries should not be made subservient to new corporate rights.


Unfortunately there will be no humans left to fight this glorious war.


A couple decades too late for this optimism, there is nothing left for humanity to do,…except to finish dying.


“Only when the last tree has been cut down, the last fish been caught, and the last stream poisoned, will we realize we cannot eat money.”
― Cree Indian Prophecy


And it means we do not have a second to waste. All sentient beings need to harness our collected anger and use it as fuel for change.


We are all in Hospice now.


Sure there will be humans, they will likely have built huge underground cities, with enough supplies to last a very long time, lots of countries have the resources. the temperatures underground are stable and cool, they will only rise a few degrees at the most even if the world were to become much hotter. Humans would move underground and farm by means of light pipes to channel some of the blazing sunlight underground. Then when people go to the surface they will have to wear cooling suits. Some plants in the equatorial zones would likely grow to huge sizes because of all the carbon dioxide even if the heat was too hot for humans, its possible we or some small animals might even be able be able to survive if we became nocturnal.

The oceans might become anerobic (Strangelovian ocean) so oxygen might be scarce but who knows, plants on land might produce enough for survival or perhaps the atmospshere might end up being enriched by more oxygen causing a swing towards a "snowball Earth " scenario?
Global cooling, as in very very cold.

the Earth has been almost covered by huge glaciers in the past.

Nomatter what happens, some humans would likely survive, even if most of us died, as long as we had a source of energy (the sun would do) we could manufacture enough oxygen for ourselves by means of electrolysis. With what we know now we could most certainly survive. Remember it would not be as if we were on the Moon or Mars, there still would be the essentials of life, just a lot less of them (or maybe more as I said) just in different places and harder to get, perhaps.

It would be horrible, but we would survive. Even in a nuclear war scenario, its likely some people would survive, somewhere, maybe for a long time. They might eventually die out but maybe not. Just like as envisisioned in the great Kubrick film Dr. Strangelove, which is based on real things and people, the government has all sorts of plans for continuity of government even if most of humanity is dead.

Forget it, Jake, it’s Anthropecenetown.


The only problem with that scenario is that those living underground will be the rich oligarch class who will not be able to survive on their own. They are dependent on worker slaves to keep them alive. They have no survival skills. And also they will end up fighting each other as that is all they know how to do. It’s born and bred into them. And then there is the aspect of inbreeding to contend with. No humans are going to survive the coming climate apocalypse.


Very well said! Many people still think the Enlightenment was a good thing. It sounds wonderful doesn’t it? Who doesn’t want to be “enlightened”?

What a misleading name. It should be called the Great Darkening.

I won’t even get started on the Industrial Age.

Have you ever read articles by Umair Haque?
Here is his latest----if you read it, let me know what you think.
I agree with most of what he writes in his latest piece but I don’t think we have 3 decades.

What needs to go hand in hand with this article about arctic high temperatures is a summary of the consequences of permafrost melt and methane release.

We need to be prepared for this, whatever that entails. I’m not sure yet —hospice comes to mind.

I follow the twitter feed of Christopher Cartwright (even though I’m not a twitter member). He summarizes the daily data related to climate science, co2, methane and more.

When I feel/see/smell/hear all that is going on around me, ecosystems dying, freak storms/climate chaos it helps me to connect that with the rest of the planet.

What is happening in the arctic is related to, for example the violent storm we experienced yesterday in the upper midwest. It is all interconnected. And sadly most people do not get that . . or care to know the truth.



We are clutching at straws now:


1 Like

We are now literally trying to cover up the mistakes “we” have made.

1 Like

In the film “AI” we were survived by our robots, who in a distant heavily glaciated future - as sentient beings like us, were deeply engaged in studying their own beginings and why we, their parents, had died out.

That film always evokes heavy emotion in me. Every time.

1 Like