Climate: Time to Saw Through Our Ankle

Jeffrey St. Clair writes:

“How is the new IPCC report substantially different from any of the other IPCC reports? The planet is warming. Human activity caused it. There is only a limited amount of time to take action in order to forestall the most extreme outcome. The report is a prelude to yet another global climate conference, where more non-biding, incremental measures will be agreed upon by the very leaders who profit from inaction, amid much self-congratulatory backslapping about how fraught the process was. Meanwhile, the forests burn, the permafrost melts, the methane percolates, the droughts deepen, the seas rise, the rivers flood, and the hurricanes line up in the Atlantic basin like jetliners over O’Hare.”

That prompted me to this:

At the end of the Mad Max movie (the very first one), Max cuffs, by the ankle, one of the psychopaths that killed his family, to an overturned car whose ruptured gas tank is leaking, dripping. He props a lit cigarette lighter near the drip, and tosses the prisoner a hacksaw. Max says: “Those cuffs are made of high tensile steel, it takes about 10 minutes to saw through them, the gas should explode by then. It only takes about 5 minutes to saw through your ankle.” He then drives away slowly. In the distance through his rearview mirror he sees a big explosion, the prisoner never emerged.

That’s the situation of our Status Quo: it doesn’t want to saw through its ankle, cuffed to the gas.

My friend Sergio Romero reacted to the above as follows:

“Nowhere have I read or heard in relation to this IPCC report any criticism of capitalism, or even reforms of it that might slow or alter its extractive processes for profit.”

And so I went on as follows:

Because the IPCC is in reality a grouping of government agencies (the individuals are appointed by their governments), all grouped under one umbrella as a UN project/committees, its charter is very strictly limited as to what areas it can study, report on and comment/recommend about. They can talk about the “science,” and to a lesser extent about “remediation” strategies. But they can’t out-and-out criticize the world economic and political order explicitly.

Back during Bush II the head of the IPCC was removed and replaced by Bush-led political pressure because he was seen as too critical in those forbidden areas. The best the IPCC can do is to frame its reports so that the obvious, though unstated, conclusion is that capitalism kills and must be ended, or the Planet will end for us. The IPCC alone cannot save us.

Greta Thunberg has it right: taking it to the streets by massive popular protests to ultimately compel governments to shift their allegiances to the people instead of capital and corporations, because otherwise those governments themselves will perish, be overturned: revolution; this is what is needed.

In one way or another, we’ll have to saw our ankle, and it will hurt all the way through and feel like it’s taking forever “to escape.” For energy gluttons, a post-carbon world will seem like sore one-legged limping compared to the easy-for-the-wealthier high-emissions ante-carbon good-life. Otherwise, it will be more and more of what we are seeing now — drought, fire, hurricane, flood — as time progresses.

The Science-Guy part of me knows that if we all embraced the change, we could have an amazingly exhilarating and fulfilling time (of decades) creating a truly wonderful world for all. The Dark-Poet part of me has little faith that people in general are up to the task. The Craggy and Sentimental parts of me combine to keep pushing for the vision of the Science-Guy, because I don’t want to give up and make it easier (by one) for the dickhead fuckers to have it all their way in ruining the Planet (and vampiring on human society); and because I am a self-realized Don Quixote who can at least keep making his puny farcical efforts to maintain a tattered self-respect.

“Anyone who ever had a heart” would think of the kids and their world to come.

Manuel Garcia Jr, once a physicist, is now a lazy househusband who writes out his analyses of physical or societal problems or interactions. He can be reached at