Michael Dowd presents a very coherent view of our civilization predicaments. Four awkward truths determine our overall fates. This links to a 55 minute presentation to the Canadian Club of Rome, drawn from years of educational effort in ecological theology.
Yet another federal government budget floods media attention in Australia. Discussions in the media tend to be about small matters of Surplus or Deficit, Taxes and Welfare. Meanwhile our petty domestic politics are overshadowed by a global polycrisis of risks, which keep looming ever larger and nearer, as listed in this World Economic Forum report.
A standard political response to preparing any of these, is the equivalent of filling a bucket with sand, and sticking one's head it. Or to start talking about incremental policy changes, or smearing the opposition party. All elements of this polycrisis are made worse by pushing for continued growth, in population, wealth and consumption. In facing these risks, Australia plans to give up nothing. This is loss aversion and fear of economic collapse. We cannot keep it all.
Notice how "Geoeconomic confrontation" risk drops from near the top, to near the bottom, over the ten years. Keep this in mind when considering that Australia's most expensive future spending plans over the next decades, are for investments in high tech weapons in support of the military industrial complex of the USA, which is rapid social and economic decline.
Notice that "rapid collapse of the USA global military empire" is not included in the risks list. This is because western media deny its existence while at the same time drumming hysterical support for its latest war and weapons business venture.
Alan Urban's "collapsesurvivalsite.com" is made of reinforced conviction. You should best believe its real.
This linked article by Alan Urban provides a comprehensive summary of reasons why our global food systems are rapidly failing, due to climate vulnerability, and harmful unsustainable agriculture technology.
All of which is the end-stage result of our overshoot of our biospheres systems capacity for regeneration. Insect species are rapidly declining in numbers, and so are all their species dependents, such birds and small mammals. The insect pests that feed on our crops are exceptions.
Why are the big nations now arming for war in haste? Why can't they wait for civilization to collapse? Why is Australian government now
wanting to buy expensive, complex USA made, deadly weapons? The "Collapse of Everything" must be accelerating, and political denial has now built up into total panic, hidden by a wall of silence.
A play list of well conceived presentations by Sid Smith, which places our present predicaments in the context of the many cycles of life.
It has been reported that our planet's average energy imbalance - EEI - has increased over the last two decades. Climate models suggest that we are likely to experience this in coming years as a faster rise in average surface temperature anomaly, and increased rate of accumulation of heat in our oceans.
In late 2022, an Office of National Intelligence (ONI) initial climate risk assessment — an election promise of the Albanese government — was distributed to members of the federal cabinet. It addressed external but not domestic climate threats. Since then there has been no government response to, or public communication of, the assessment’s findings. - Renew Economy article by Ian Dunlop and Chris Barrie
There are plenty of commonly available publications about likely future climate impacts, and consequences to Australia. Just because our government refuses to acknowledge them with report releases and appropriate changes of policy, doesn't mean they do not already exist. Also non-release does allow a full and free speculation as to the reports real contents. Future generations are already over-shadowed by the presence of the hyperobject of our global climate bomb.
Infographics about our systems Hyperthreat of climate as a HyperObject. Something beyond our mental, social and political comprehension. Something implied by the term #ClimateBomb
... the hyperthreat of climate change has warlike destructive capabilities that are so diffuse that it is hard to comprehend the enormity of the destruction, nor those responsible for these hostile actions. - Climate Change as a Hyperthreat - Elizabeth G. Boulton
Some have calculated that the global carbon budget for 2 °C is already blown. Future emissions, cannot be reduced fast enough by any mechanism known to human civilization. Not even the decline rate of production of major global about 6% a year, meets the sort of global greenhouse gas reduction rates, that is required to avoid looming tipping points that accelerate and worsen the blowbacks of global heating. Let us be absolutely honest and clear. There is no real "Safety Mechanism", just like there is no real Santa Claus, except for the delusions fostered on us by global capitalism, in particular the "dirty dozen" that profit from Australian Credulity.
All the Scope 1 emissions in Australia will be just the same no matter what carbon credit discounting scheme. The order of magnitude times more emissions exported will be the same, uncounted in Australia, known as "Scope 3" emissions, without dubious "offsets". Atmosphere CO2 will continue to grow, and biosphere will continue to die.
Nevertheless, the Climate Council of Australia is gamely trying to intervene in the current political game of lets pretend it isn't happening, and ask that the Australian government do something to exert real responsible control, and not just be remote controlled by the global mining, finance and economic growth lobby. So you can sign the petition on their dirty dozen web page, like I did, so that it can probably die unheeded later on just like all the other climate petitions already dead and buried at the hands of this "Australian" parliament.
Alan Urban's article linked here, contributes a clear summary of the dire overshoot predicament we are in. Global carrying capacity for our impacts of population multiplied by our consumption wants has been degrading our biosphere for a century, given an approximate upper limits of 0.25 to 2.5 billion people. The lower value of 250 million, is for everyone living closer to the extremes of consumption that developed nations enjoy today. The very important point is that even apparent sustainable population size, can continue to use up its reserves of stocks and sinks of biosphere systems resources that take very long time scales to renew or reach equilibrium. Important examples are soils, forests, aquifers, and chemical buffer capacity of oceans and atmosphere.
Biological carrying capacity starts to degrade long before total reserves are used up and population starvation happens only when resource flows have dropped. Sinks capacity usage is even more insidious, in cases of slow buildup of globalized long-lived pollution. Human civilization has used up the total reserves and is currently experiencing decline in resource flows, and many locally toxic back-flows of the concentrated wastes sunk into our biosphere. We may give it terms like "economic depression" , "inflation", "illegal war" , "inequality", or "pollution spill", but these are political and corporation cover-up terms, to water down our general systems understanding and guilt of our causation and factual agency. Nationalist and corporate propaganda works extremely hard to ignore the true ecological costs of overshoot prior to population collapse and crash. Rulers and rich alike can ignore it all as a reward for getting more than a fair share, as our egoistic brains are designed to optimize our relative personal survival. Only the growing numbers of poor, starving, desperate and ignored human beings can say what is really happening.
This article references an estimate of earths carry-capacity, for humans, considering the welfare of all beings. This ranges from 0.25 to 2.5 billion people. This figure moves to the small end as we increase the level of equitable consumption per capita. This assumes no dependence on our finite supply of non-renewable resources, which cannot be used sustainably.
Want a better future for coming generations? Still believe the MSM promises of growth fixes? Then read this article by Carter Dillard for the "Fair Start Movement", which describes how our growth policies are taking us to our ruin. All competition between nations, to "grow" national and global economic systems, while the shrinking fossil fuel energy pie lasts, has produced the fastest acceleration ever of destruction of life systems on this planet, degrading biosphere health shares for every living thing, and stolen political power from all citizens of all nations. If we want human beings to behave responsibly, and be empowered, we should better raise them up to be that way.
The latest climate news is really "Big Heat hits Antartica", with some of 26 positive feedback tipping points getting so close now, but that sort of news has never had any effect on systemic political and corporate denial, to produce net-zero zilch in effective mitigation policies for global heating, in order that the global filthy rich can stay fossil fuel powered, and keep their control till the very end. Global emissions continue to rise. Humanity seems entirely doomed to suffocate itself.
Recent "Code Red" alarm report. Rapid global extinction alarm!. Record carbon emissions in 2022. The earth will pass 1.5° C of average warming by 2030. Rapid abolition of more than 50% of global GHG emissions are required before 2030. Meanwhile Australian governments plan to allow many new expansions of fossil fuel mining, to serve "economic growth" ideologies and profits of their best mates in the global gas and coal exports business.
The Anthropocene comprises our multiple existential global predicaments caused by our astounding exponential growth of population, affluence and technology.
This linked medium article gives an overview of our new survival problems.
We don’t solve predicaments; instead, we navigate through them. ... Even the United Nations’ US$24 million Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) concluded that our current systems are not up to the task: we need “significant changes in policies, institutions and practices that are not currently under way.”
I might disagree with the possibility of "navigation", as that requires elements of applied foresight and free will, which our developed societies don't have as most people are trapped in complex hierarchies of social classes and economic roles, that are technology and energy dependent.
Global heating continues to advance faster than ever. In response to this climate emergency, the Australia government plans to assist foreign gas and coal mining operations to ship out their product to the world faster than ever. The "SafeGuard Mechanism" has been bluntly pointed out by the likes of Juice Media, to be a "Carbon Offsets" scam, that allows hugely profitable mining operations to pay for a tiny fraction of their total emissions by using dubious offset schemes, like a drop pf water in the bucket to put out the fires of climate hell. It is slimy PR, worthy of all the best bullshitters from the previous coalition government.
The scheme itself was first proposed by Tony Abbot as a mechanism to safeguard the coal and gas mining industry. The rigged inquiry into the scammy nature of such offset purchases, was run by not-so-independent notables the carbon offsets industry. Nturally they decided against all evidence presented by the enquiry that everything will run cool, fine and normal. Which is the normal state of being for our government riddled with a slick PR mining industry. Given that Tony Abbot couldn't design very much by himself, this entire policy is the brainchild of the Minerals Council of Australia. These people are anti-biosphere, anti-life.
And the level of offsets is required to keep Australian domestic emissions down, without actually keeping them down, so Labor can claim it tried to achieve its 43% reductions by 2030, and the mining industry can keep accelerating our global heating emergency with profits growth.
Of course if the complete "no new mines" policy occurred, it might reduce Australian import capacity and purchasing power a little bit. As the industrial world collapses into global resource shortages, and wars, that will be inescapable. Escape from a portion of catastrophic future global heating still depends on our actions to endure a global fossil fuel cut-down.
Here I compare the internal energy and evolution systems of life, with those external energy systems of our massive global fossil fuel powered civilization, which only a long lived, evolved planetary life systems like ours could have enabled. Our dependency on all biosphere life systems will ultimately kill our species.
Greenhouse gas (GHG) forcing is now 4.1 W/m2 larger in 2021 than in 1750. This paper from James Hansen et. al. estimates that we are in for at least ~4 °C of global warming, for a doubled atmosphere CO2. ( 3.5 - 5 °C ) That is given the fast feedbacks operating. Eventual global warming due to today's GHG forcing alone -- after slow feedbacks operate -- is about 10°C . Civilization development was masking the rising rates of warming from GHG until about 1970, with aerosol cooling. Aerosol cooling has declined since 2010, because of reductions in China and from shipping. Three urgently required actions are: 1) a global increasing price on GHG emissions, 2) purposeful intervention to rapidly phase down our present massive geoengineering of Earth’s climate, and 3) renewed East-West cooperation in a way that accommodates developing world needs.
Earths Oceans continue to absorb the brunt of rapid global heating in 2022. Around 93% of our incoming radiation excess is steadily raising the temperature of our oceans. Ocean temperatures are measured by a distributed fleet of measurement buoys. Another 11 zettajoules of energy was added in 2022. We haven't yet felt the full warming impact on land, due to a prolonged La Nina phase. But another El Nino excess heat climb will return again soon, this year or next.
Over the last decade, our oceans have absorbed something like 100 zettajoules. All of that comes from the current net average of three quarters of a watt per square meter of surface area retained by our atmosphere. Global heating from our greenhouse gases continues to add up.
The uncomfortable truths lie somewhere far outside our Denialist and Technophile mindsets.