Climate Emergency

For the umpteenth time, a group of scientists feeling a “moral obligation” have issued a warning to the world’s political establishment of “a climate emergency.”

American ecologist Bill Ripple et al let rip some fine charts and graphs showing how bad dynamics have gone up and good dynamics have gone down precipitously in just the past few decades. The report, which graphically illustrates that “clearly and unequivocally planet Earth is facing a climate emergency,” was signed by “more than 11,000 scientist signatories from around the world.”

The report rightly notes that the world’s leaders have let the conduct of “business as usual” proceed and “largely failed to address this predicament.” The report also opines on the general incompetence of climate scientists: “The climate crisis has arrived and is accelerating faster than most scientists expected.”

The proffered remedies are a fanciful wish list of environmental goodness: 1) “quickly implement massive energy efficiency and conservation practices,” 2) “promptly reduce the emissions of short-lived climate pollutants,” 3) “protect and restore Earth’s ecosystems,” 4) eat “mostly plant-based foods,” 5) “quickly curtain massive excessive extraction of materials and overexploitation of ecosystems to maintain long-term sustainability of the biosphere,” and 6) “stabilize the world population.” This fantasy is capped by one of the contributors, Australian climatologist Thomas Newsome, proclaiming “it is not too late.”

Let’s get real.

The report gets wrong that “the climate crisis is closely linked to excessive consumption of the wealthy lifestyle.” The problem has been too many people (period) living under a global economic-political system that rapes Nature as its modus operandi.

The report gets right that “to secure a sustainable future, we must change how we live.” The report gets wrong that its 6-step wish list could possibly happen without a political revolution. In remedy, the report is penny wise and pound foolish.

Bottom line: it is too late. Humanity is continuing to wipe itself out as fast as it can, and has only decades left before we are gone.

Humans are collectively too stupid to survive their self-made extinction event. By “collectively too stupid” I mean that democracy has systematically been a major contributor to humanity’s demise. Politically there is no collective wisdom; to the contrary. The present poster child for this conclusion (physically disguised as a fat old man with traffic-cone-colored hair) is US President Donald Trump, with his copious chorus of cretin sycophants and supporters.

If the obligation of warning is moral, as scientists say, then the results they warn of are from a system that is immoral.

If you would like to hope, read the last chapter of Spokes 7: The Pathos of Politics to glimpse what must be done, pronto. The only possibility for the survival of humanity is the abolition of capitalism and the installation of a socially and environmentally benign totalitarian regime worldwide. That’s not going to happen.


William J Ripple et al, “World scientists’ warning of a climate emergency,” BioScience (5 November 2019).

Damian Carrington, “Climate crisis: 11,000 scientists warn of ‘untold suffering’,” The Guardian (5 November 2019).