FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Great Acceleration Death Trap

The Great Acceleration, post WWII humanity forcing the earth system, is charging ahead at exponential speed, including record temps year-after-year-after year-after year and on and on it goes, relentlessly.

Fatally, many parts of the world become uninhabitable with a 2°-4°C increase in temps, too hot for human physiology. Under the circumstances, the human body cannot get rid of bodily heat fast enough. People die. Will worldwide average temps increase by 2°-4° and if so, how fast? Nobody knows for sure, but the outlook is lousy.

“We need to understand that we are in a nonlinear exponential phase… we have overwhelming scientific evidence that humanity now faces a new juncture of grand global risk. We have in just five decades transitioned from being a small world on a big planet where we could allow ourselves to have unsustainable economic growth without Earth sending any invoices back to humanity up to now with overwhelming scientific evidence of a new big world on a small planet. We’ve reached the saturation point. We’re hitting the ceiling of the biophysical capacity where we can no longer exclude destabilizing the entire earth system.” (Source: Beyond the Anthropocene | Johan Rockström, Stockholm Resilience Centre- Sweden, World Economic Forum, Zurich, Feb. 14, 2017)

Ergo, the overriding risk is a complete breakdown of the earth system, ecosystem collapse. In that regard, traversing from a linear to an exponentially charged earth system is risky and could be fatal. Here’s how Johan Rockström describes the impact of the new exponential biosphere, speaking from the World Economic Forum in Zurich: “If I take 35 linear steps, I’ll barely reach the coffee stand outside of this room. What happens if I take 35 exponential steps? I’d reach Copenhagen after 21 steps. Three more steps, I’m in New York. Another two steps and I encircle the entire planet. And, if I add another nine steps to my 35, I reach planet Mars.”

In other words, it takes 35 linear steps to go to the water cooler when in fact 35 exponential steps circumnavigate the planet. That’s the impact of exponential climate change, and we’re dead center in the midst of it.

In fact, what if the earth system is experiencing negative exponential rise? Answer: It is! For example, “Incremental linear business as usual is no longer an option. We’ve had five decades of negative exponential rise.” (Rockström)

Furthermore, science is starting to get nervous because its starting to see destabilization of critical components that regulate the earth system, for example, (1) recently the entire surface of the Greenland ice sheet was liquid for a period of time; (2) ocean heat is upwelling in the Arctic after absorbing planetary heat at the rate of 95%. These are surprising exponential early warning signals. (Rockström)

In other-other words, now that “exponential” is on the lips of climate scientists around the world, the timing couldn’t be worse for weak presidential leadership, like Trump. He’s clueless about the status of the planet, doesn’t read, doesn’t listen, and watches a lot of TV! Are those desirable leadership qualities when faced with an exponentially charged climate system?

“We are the generation right at the tipping point… We now have ample evidence that Earth is not responding linearly… as we weaken the system, then a small incremental change can lead to abrupt irreversible and potential disastrous shift… Even if we stay within the limits of Paris, we cannot avoid (1) losing the coral reefs on planet earth (2) Arctic sea ice- we lose the system (3) Greenland and Antarctic are in the risk zone within the limits of Paris.” (Rockström)

The Paris agreement of 2015-16 included nearly 200 nations that pledged to hold temps below 2° C, preferably 1.5° C in relation to pre-industrial temps of the late 18th century.

However, major significant early warning signs of tipping points are here now, already plainly evident out in the open for all to see, like the loss of major bios, i.e., major pieces of the biosphere. One of several prime examples is the Amazon Rainforest, which experienced three (3) unprecedented back-to-back-to-back severe droughts (2005 and 2010 and 2016, unheard of in geologic history), wiping out the equivalent of 10 years of carbon uptake for the planet. Even the massive Amazon Rainforest is clocking exponentially. (Source: Will Steffen, The Trajectory of the Anthropocene: The Great Acceleration, Australian National University, 2015)

According to Kevin Anderson, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change/UK, at 4°C, life can no longer adapt because the ecosystem will be destroyed. Problematically, he claims the Paris agreement that aims to hold temps to under 2°C is horribly flawed, not realistic, dependent upon negative emission technology, which does not work at scale and/or has unintended negative consequences. In the end, Paris is a politically constructed carbon budget to satisfy the masses that, rather than constraining warming as advertised, has the planet headed for 4°C, not 2°C.

The harsh truth is: Less than 20% of global population (OECD countries) account for 75% of the world’s consumption/impact on the earth system. The other 6,000,000,000 people are on the outside looking in, meaning, if society wants a shot at staying under the dreaded 2°C temp increase, wealthy nations must go to zero emissions by 2035. (Anderson)

The USA doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell with Trump hanging out at the WH.

More articles by:

Robert Hunziker lives in Los Angeles and can be reached at rlhunziker@gmail.com.

Weekend Edition
April 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Ruling Class Operatives Say the Darndest Things: On Devils Known and Not
Conn Hallinan
The Great Game Comes to Syria
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mother of War
Andrew Levine
“How Come?” Questions
Doug Noble
A Tale of Two Atrocities: Douma and Gaza
Kenneth Surin
The Blight of Ukania
Howard Lisnoff
How James Comey Became the Strange New Hero of the Liberals
William Blum
Anti-Empire Report: Unseen Persons
Lawrence Davidson
Missiles Over Damascus
Patrick Cockburn
The Plight of the Yazidi of Afrin
Pete Dolack
Fooled again? Trump Trade Policy Elevates Corporate Power
Stan Cox
For Climate Mobilization, Look to 1960s Vietnam Before Turning to 1940s America
William Hawes
Global Weirding
Dan Glazebrook
World War is Still in the Cards
Nick Pemberton
In Defense of Cardi B: Beyond Bourgeois PC Culture
Peter Certo
There Was Nothing Humanitarian About Our Strikes on Syria
Dean Baker
China’s “Currency Devaluation Game”
Ann Garrison
Why Don’t We All Vote to Commit International Crimes?
LEJ Rachell
The Baddest Black Power Artist You Never Heard Of
Lawrence Ware
All Hell Broke Out in Oklahoma
Donny Swanson
Janus v. AFSCME: What’s It All About?
Will Podmore
Brexit and the Windrush Britons
Brian Saady
Boehner’s Marijuana Lobbying is Symptomatic of Special-Interest Problem
Julian Vigo
Google’s Delisting and Censorship of Information
Patrick Walker
Political Dynamite: Poor People’s Campaign and the Movement for a People’s Party
Rob Seimetz
We Must Stand In Solidarity With Eric Reid
Missy Comley Beattie
Remembering Barbara Bush
Wim Laven
Teaching Peace in a Time of Hate
Thomas Knapp
Freedom is Winning in the Encryption Arms Race
Mir Alikhan
There Won’t be Peace in Afghanistan Until There’s Peace in Kashmir
Robert Koehler
Playing War in Syria
Tamara Pearson
US Shootings: Gun Industry Killing More People Overseas
John Feffer
Trump’s Trade War is About Trump Not China
Morris Pearl
Why the Census Shouldn’t Ask About Citizenship
Ralph Nader
Bill Curry on the Move against Public Corruption
Josh Hoxie
Five Tax Myths Debunked
Leslie Mullin
Democratic Space in Adverse Times: Milestone at Haiti’s University of the Aristide Foundation
Louis Proyect
Syria and Neo-McCarthyism
April 19, 2018
Ramzy Baroud
Media Cover-up: Shielding Israel is a Matter of Policy
Vijay Prashad
Undermining Brazilian Democracy: the Curious Saga of Lula
Steve Fraser
Class Dismissed: Class Conflict in Red State America
John W. Whitehead
Crimes of a Monster: Your Tax Dollars at Work
Kenn Orphan
Whistling Past the Graveyard
Karl Grossman - TJ Coles
Opening Pandora’s Box: Karl Grossman on Trump and the Weaponization of Space
Colin Todhunter
Behind Theresa May’s ‘Humanitarian Hysterics’: The Ideology of Empire and Conquest
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail