Global warming

current rise in Earth's average temperature and related large-scale shifts in weather patterns

Global warming is the rising of average temperature of Earth's climate system, driving changes in rainfall patterns, extreme weather, heat waves, wildfires and more. Its effects since the mid-20th century has been unprecedented in rate and scale.

We were warned plenty that we were creating a disaster in the only atmosphere we’ve got, and we kept on doing it. Now we are facing the consequences. ~ Bob Altemeyer
There are all kinds of causes to be alarmed about. For example, there's the Greenhouse Effect, which is one of the more recent in a series of alarming worldwide homicidal trends to be discovered by those busy beavers, the scientists. They've found that the Earth is slowly being turned into a vast greenhouse, so that by the year 2010- unless something is done- the entire human race will be crushed beneath a humongous tomato. Or something along those lines. I confess that I haven't been following the Greenhouse Effect all that closely. ~ Dave Barry
The danger is that global warming may become self-sustaining, if it has not done so already.
~ Stephen Hawking
Unfettered corporate power [poses] a grave threat to the habitability of the planet ~ Naomi Klein
Yale researchers... [found that people] ...marked by an inclination toward collective action and social justice, concern about inequality, and suspicion of corporate power... overwhelmingly accept the scientific consensus on climate change ~ Naomi Klein
Today we use 100 million barrels of oil every single day...There are no rules to keep that oil in the ground... the rules have to be changed... ~ Greta Thunberg
The actions that would give us the best chance of averting catastrophe—and would benefit the vast majority—are extremely threatening to an elite minority that has a stranglehold over our economy, our political process, and most of our major media outlets. ~ Naomi Klein
There is simply not enough time to wait for us to grow up and become the ones in charge... Unite behind the science, that is our demand. ~Greta Thunberg
Whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule. ~ Pope Francis


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Quotes

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  • I'm agnostic as to the causes. All I know is there is water where there once was ice.
    • Admiral Thad Allen, US Coast Guard, quoted in Smithsonian Magazine, March 2010.
  • We need to address climate change, we need to limit the temperature rise globally to the maximum extent but we cannot do it at the expense of keeping people in poverty and stopping their economic development.
  • We don't have much time left. We are moving towards temperature increases of around two degrees Celsius, which is going to have consequences in the tropics, and we will lose things like glaciers. That's not a theory; it's happening right now. It's not a prediction; it's happening right now. But you just sightsee near those glaciers. But the glaciers are a big source of water. And on the questions of water, in California we store our water in a snowpack. When that's gone, the rain will be the same but it won't accumulate. With warming temperatures the snowpack will not work. It might be possible to substitute with dams, but that's complicated. This is conjoined with a big energy problem and I think that we really have to encourage development in this area. Just waiting for technological improvement won't work. We need to encourage it.
  • The lie is that if we address the climate crisis, we will also solve the biodiversity crisis.
  • Is humankind itself hastening its own end? Man has, for instance, been burning carbon-containing fuel — wood, coal, oil, gas — at a steadily accelerating rate. All these fuels form carbon dioxide. Some is absorbed by plants and the oceans but not as fast as it is produced. This means the carbon dioxide content of the air is going up — slightly but nevertheless up. Carbon dioxide retains heat, and even a small rise means a warming of the Earth's atmosphere. This may result in the melting of the polar ice caps with unusual speed, flooding the world before we have learned climate control. In reverse, our industrial civilization is making our atmosphere dustier so that it reflects more sunlight away and cools the Earth slightly — thus making possible a glacial advance in a few centuries, also before we have learned climate control.
    • Isaac Asimov, "20 Ways the World Could End", Popular Mechanics (March 1977)
  • When we look at the rising ocean temperatures, rising carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and so on, we know that they are climbing far more steeply than can be accounted for by the natural oscillation of the weather … What people (must) do is to change their behavior and their attitudes … for our upcoming generation we have to do something, and we have to demand for government support.
  • One very simple truth about Global Warming is this, that it will spare nobody, however rich, mighty and powerful we think we are.... Mr Tony Blair, the Prime Minister of the UK once said that without proper action now, the average global temperatures would rise by 2 degrees Celsius. Scientists estimate that the subsequent rise in the sea level would be enough to swamp a large proportion of Bangladesh in 30/40 years time. It would be a serious catastrophe for my country and for the whole region if much of the land in Bangladesh disappears under the sea. I become frightened to think that my grand children (when I touch them) will have no place to live on this planet earth. I really want to be sure that my grandchildren, and their children after them, will be able to enjoy the beauty of my country that I have enjoyed, and be able to have enough land to live, and enough land for food.
  • That is why despite its imperfections, the European Union can be, and indeed is, a powerful inspiration for many around the world. Because the challenges faced from one region to the other may differ in scale but they do not differ in nature. We all share the same planet. Poverty, organised crime, terrorism, climate change: these are problems that do not respect national borders. We share the same aspirations and universal values: these are progressively taking root in a growing number of countries all over the world. We share “l’irréductible humain, the irreducible uniqueness of the human being. Beyond our nation, beyond our continent, we are all part of one mankind. Jean Monnet, ends his Memoirs with these words: “Les nations souveraines du passé ne sont plus le cadre où peuvent se résoudre les problèmes du présent. Et la communauté elle-même n’est qu’un étape vers les formes d’organisation du monde de demain.” (“The sovereign nations of the past can no longer solve the problems of the present. And the [European] Community itself is only a stage on the way to the organised world of the future.”) This federalist and cosmopolitan vision is one of the most important contributions that the European Union can bring to a global order in the making.
  • There are all kinds of causes to be alarmed about. For example, there's the Greenhouse Effect, which is one of the more recent in a series of alarming worldwide homicidal trends to be discovered by those busy beavers, the scientists. They've found that the Earth is slowly being turned into a vast greenhouse, so that by the year 2010- unless something is done- the entire human race will be crushed beneath a humongous tomato. Or something along those lines. I confess that I haven't been following the Greenhouse Effect all that closely.
    • Dave Barry, Dave Barry Turns 40 (1990). New York: Crown Publishers, p. 121-122
  • I'm not saying that the Greenhouse Effect is not extremely important. Hey, I live in Miami, and if the polar ice caps start melting, I stand a good chance of waking up one morning and finding myself festooned with kelp. It's just that, what with working and paying bills and transporting my son to and from the pediatrician and trying to teach the dog not to throw up on the only nice rug in the entire house, I just don't seem to have enough room in my brain for the Greenhouse Effect and all the other problems I know I should be concerned about, such as drugs and AIDS and Lebanon and pollution and cholesterol and caffeine and cancer and Japanese investors buying the Lincoln Memorial and nuclear war and dirty rock lyrics and this new barbecue grill we got.
    • Dave Barry, Dave Barry Turns 40 (1990). New York: Crown Publishers, p. 122
  • Allow me to break down the facts of hunger as they stand right now. 811 million people are chronically hungry. 283 million are in hunger crises — they are marching toward starvation. And within that, 45 million in 43 countries across the globe are in hunger emergencies — in other words, famine is knocking on their door. Places like Afghanistan. Madagascar. Myanmar. Guatemala. Ethiopia. Sudan. South Sudan. Mozambique. Niger. Syria, Mali, Burkina Faso, Somalia, Haiti and on and on and on. The world has often experienced famine. But when has it ever been so widespread, in so many places, at the same time? Why? Three reasons. First, man-made conflict. Dozens of civil wars and regional conflicts are raging, and hunger has been weaponized to achieve military and political objectives. Second, climate shocks /climate change. Floods, droughts, locusts and rapidly changing weather patterns have created severe crop failures around the world. Third, COVID-19. The viral pandemic has created a secondary hunger pandemic, which is far worse than the first. Shutdowns destroyed livelihoods. Shutdowns stopped the movement of food. Shutdowns inflated prices. The net result is the poor of the world are priced out of survival. The ripple effect of COVID has been devastating on the global economy. During the pandemic, $3.7 trillion in incomes — mostly among the poor — have been wiped out, while food prices are spiking. The cost of shipping food, for example, has increased 3 – 400%. But in places of conflict and low-income countries, it is even worse. For example, in Aleppo, Syria — a war zone, where I just returned from — food is now seven times more expensive than it was 2 years ago. The combined effect of these three — conflict, climate and COVID — has created an unprecedented perfect storm.
  • There is no more consequential challenge that we must meet in the next decade than the onrushing climate crisis. Left unchecked, it is literally an existential threat to the health of our planet and to our very survival... We are an economy in crisis but with an incredible opportunity: To not just rebuild back to where we were before, but better, stronger, more resilient and more prepared to the challenges that lie ahead... These aren’t pie-in-the-sky dreams. These are actionable policies that we can get to work on right away... Nothing’s a hoax. Nothing’s a hoax about that. It’s a very serious subject. I want clean air. I want clean water. I want the cleanest air, want the cleanest water. The environment is very important to me.
  • Global warming is too serious for the world any longer to ignore its danger or split into opposing factions on it.
  • The blunt truth about the politics of climate change is that no country will want to sacrifice its economy in order to meet this challenge.
  • Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity, and it is the world’s most vulnerable populations who are most immediately at risk. The actions of the wealthiest nations—those generating the vast majority of greenhouse gases—have tangible consequences for people in the rest of the world, especially in the poorest nations.
  • Earth's oceans and land cover are doing us a favor. As people burn fossil fuels and clear forests, only half of the carbon dioxide released stays in the atmosphere, warming and altering Earth's climate. The other half is removed from the air by the planet's vegetation ecosystems and oceans.
    As carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere continue their rapid, human-made rise past levels not seen for hundreds of thousands of years, NASA scientists and others are confronted with an important question for the future of our planet: How long can this balancing act continue? And if forests, other vegetation and the ocean cannot continue to absorb as much or more of our carbon emissions, what does that mean for the pace of climate change in the coming century?
  • "Today and for the past 50 to 100 years, the oceans and land biosphere have consistently taken up about half of human emissions," said Dave Schimel of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. "If that were to change, the effect of fossil emissions on climate would also change. We don't understand that number, and we don't know how it will change in the future."
  •       It seems highly likely to me that climate change poses a major problem for the planet. I say “highly likely” rather than “certain” because I have no scientific aptitude and remember well the dire predictions of most “experts” about Y2K. It would be foolish, however, for me or anyone to demand 100% proof of huge forthcoming damage to the world if that outcome seemed at all possible and if prompt action had even a small chance of thwarting the danger.
          This issue bears a similarity to Pascal’s Wager on the Existence of God. Pascal, it may be recalled, argued that if there were only a tiny probability that God truly existed, it made sense to behave as if He did because the rewards could be infinite whereas the lack of belief risked eternal misery. Likewise, if there is only a 1% chance the planet is heading toward a truly major disaster and delay means passing a point of no return, inaction now is foolhardy. Call this Noah’s Law: If an ark may be essential for survival, begin building it today, no matter how cloudless the skies appear.
  • Global warming causing climate change may be the ultimate issue that unites us all.
    • Louise Burfitt-Dons, Humanitarian Campaigner, speech at Institute of Physics, London (June 2008).
  • Let’s cut to the chase — and I’m sorry if the next statement upsets you — but in order to stop climate change and create a sustainable world, it requires the end of capitalism. I know I’m not “allowed” to say that. Saying such a thing would be heresy on one of the corporate media dog-and-pony bullshit infotainment hours. If I spoke that unholy fact on CNN or Fox News or CBS or NPR, a tranquilizer dart would immediately hit me in the neck, and they’d cut to a commercial while my lifeless body was dragged off. But let’s take our intellectual honesty out for a spin, shall we? As Guardian columnist George Monbiot said, “Capitalism has three innate characteristics that drive us towards destruction… firstly, that it generates and relies upon perpetual growth.” Endless growth on a planet with finite resources. Such a thing is physically impossible, no more scientifically feasible than Secretary of State Mike Pompeo touching his toes. The reason we’re now in the largest economic crisis since the Great Depression is because capitalism requires nonstop growth, much like cancer.
  • Like cancer, capitalism grows until it murders the host body... The pandemic shutdown has shown us the problem. It has revealed what the world looks like without as much pollution, without the chaos and roar of mostly meaningless “work” performed by the exploited, using materials stolen from the abused, for the benefit of the pampered and oblivious. Another world is possible, and we’ve just gotten a glimpse of it... You can buy all the land, water, and air you want — even as others die from starvation or thirst. It means that no matter what environmentalists do to try to mitigate climate change, the richest corporations in the world can easily undo it by buying and polluting ever more. It also means the biggest sociopaths... have the most impact.
  • In our own lifetime we are witnessing a startling alteration of climate…Activities in the nonhuman world also reflect the warming of the Arctic-the changed habits and migrations of many fishes, birds, land mammals, and whales.
  • The Coronavirus is serious enough but it's worth recalling that there is a much greater horror approaching, we are racing to the edge of disaster, far worse than anything that's ever happened in human history. ... In fact there are two immense threats that we are facing. One is the growing threat of nuclear war, which has exacerbated it by the tearing what's left of the arms control regime and the other of course is the growing threat of global warming. Both threats can be dealt with but there isn't a lot of time... the corona virus is a horrible... can have terrifying consequences but there will be recovery, while the others won't be recovered, it's finished. If we don't deal with them we're done.
  • We hear the term “climate” every day, so it is worth thinking about what we actually mean by it. Obviously, “climate” is not the same as weather. The climate is one of Earth’s fundamental life support systems, one that determines whether or not we humans, and millions of other species, are able to live on this planet. It is generated by four components: the atmosphere (the air we breathe); the hydrosphere (the planet’s water); the cryosphere (the ice sheet and glaciers); the biosphere (the planet’s plants and animals). By now, our activities had started to modify every one of these components. Our emissions of CO2 had started to modify our atmosphere. Our increasing water use had started to modify our hydrosphere. Rising atmospheric and sea-surface temperatures had started to modify the cryosphere, most notably in the unexpected shrinking of the Arctic and Greenland ice sheets. Our increasing use of land, for agriculture, cities, roads, mining—as well as all the pollution we were creating—had started to modify our biosphere. Or, to put it another way: We had started to change our climate.
  • Right now, climate change is accelerating. We should more properly say an accelerating change in the Earth System—of which our climate is one component. This impact is most obvious at high latitudes. What this means is that if we want to see what our future looks like, the Arctic is the place to look first. And it doesn’t look good. Arctic coastlines are retreating by up to 30 meters per year in areas such as the Laptev Sea and Beaufort Sea. Greenland and Antarctica are now losing somewhere between 300 billion and 600 billion tons of ice mass per year into the sea. And to make matters worse, probably much worse, melting sea ice caused by our activities is now causing the release of significant quantities of methane from the Arctic Ocean. For the first time, over a hundred plumes of methane—many of them over half a mile in diameter—have been observed rising from previously frozen methane stores in the East Siberian Sea. Indeed a conclusion was that thousands of such plumes, many of them nearly a mile across, now exist. This could be very big trouble on a very big scale. Methane is many times more potent a greenhouse gas than CO2. If, as seems likely, melting sea ice, triggered by our activities, is now causing the release of this methane, it will go on for decades, possibly centuries, and we will be completely unable to stop it. Almost all of the data that’s emerging now from the Arctic is worse—far worse—than the most extreme predictions of even ten years ago. But of course it’s not just the Arctic. It’s everywhere.
    • Stephen Emmott, 10 Billion (2013)
  • All complex systems, such as the earth’s system, are characterized by one important feature: a very small change (“ perturbation”) can lead to an extraordinarily large and unpredictable impact that “tips” the system into an entirely different and unpredictable state. Let’s take just one of the tipping points we’re heading for: a rise in global average temperature of above 2 degrees Celsius. There is a politically agreed global target—driven by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—to limit the global average temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius. The rationale for this target is that a rise above 2 degrees carries a significant risk of catastrophic climate change that would almost certainly lead to irreversible planetary “tipping points” caused by events such as the melting of the Greenland Ice Shelf, the release of frozen methane deposits from Arctic permafrost, or dieback of the Amazon. But in fact the first two are happening now—at below the 2-degree threshold. As for the third, we’re not waiting for climate change to do this—we’re doing it right now through deforestation. And unfortunately, recent research shows that we look certain to be heading for a larger rise in global average temperature than 2 degrees—a far larger rise. It is now very likely that we are looking at a future global average temperature rise of 4 degrees—and we can’t rule out a rise of 6 degrees. A 4-to 6-degree rise in global average temperature will be absolutely catastrophic. It will lead to runaway climate change, capable of tipping the planet into an entirely different state, rapidly. Earth would become a hellhole. In the decades along the way, we will witness unprecedented extremes in weather, fires, floods, heat waves, loss of crops and forests, water stress, and catastrophic sea-level rises. But even if we’re lucky enough to fall short of anything like a 4-to 6-degree rise in global temperature, there almost certainly won’t be a country called Bangladesh by the end of this century—it will be underwater. Large parts of Africa will become permanent disaster areas. The Amazon could be turned into savannah or even desert. And the entire agricultural system will be faced with an unprecedented threat. More “fortunate” countries such as the United States, the UK, and most of Europe may well look like something approaching militarized countries, with heavily defended border controls designed to prevent millions of people who are on the move from entering, because their own country is no longer habitable, or has insufficient water or food, or is experiencing conflict over increasingly scarce natural resources. These people will be “climate migrants.” The term “climate migrants” is one we will increasingly have to get used to. Indeed, anyone who thinks that the emerging global state of affairs does not have great potential for civil and international conflict is deluding themselves.
    • Ibid.
  • Overall, the (new) paper is one more twig in the bundle of concerns that low-lying coastal cities, and especially Pacific islands, are highly vulnerable to this problem of sea-level rise, these Pacific islands have contributed almost nothing to the problem of global warming.
  • The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.
  • Central to our reporting on climate change is the reality that global warming is real, is happening now, and is killing tens of thousands of people and displacing millions more. The warming planet presents an existential crisis for humanity.
    • Amy Goodman Chapter 6, Democracy Now!: Twenty Years Covering the Movements Changing America (2016)
  • Television stations pour millions of dollars into building flashy "Weather Centers" to grab their audience's attention. As they flash the words "Severe Weather" and "Extreme Weather," why not also flash the words, "Climate Change" or "Global Warming"? The public depends on broadcasters for most of their news and information, even in this internet age. The daily deluge of sensational weather reporting must include explanations of the deeper changes occurring on our planet.
    • Amy Goodman Chapter 6, Democracy Now!: Twenty Years Covering the Movements Changing America (2016)
  • The young people at these climate summits have always amazed me with their eloquence and bravery.
    • Amy Goodman Chapter 6, Democracy Now!: Twenty Years Covering the Movements Changing America (2016)
  • …the advantages of fossil fuels come with a devastating downside. We now understand that the release of carbon dioxide (CO2) from burning fossil fuels is warming our planet faster than anything we have seen in the geological record. One of the greatest challenges facing humanity today is slowing this warming before it changes our world beyond recognition.
  • Although there is enormous uncertainty about the exact progression of climate change, the direction of travel is entirely clear. This is a problem that demands coordinated global action. [...] A responsible government would be planning for this perfectly foreseeable outcome. Ours, however, is otherwise preoccupied.
  • All life is impermanent. We are all children of the Earth, and, at some time, she will take us back to herself again. We are continually arising from Mother Earth, being nurtured by her, and then returning to her. Like us, plants are born, live for a period of time, and then return to the Earth. When they decompose, they fertilize our gardens. Living vegetables and decomposing vegetables are part of the same reality. Without one, the other cannot be. After six months, compost becomes fresh vegetables again. Plants and the Earth rely on each other. Whether the Earth is fresh, beautiful, and green, or arid and parched depends on the plants. It also depends on us.
    • Thích Nhất Hạnh The World We Have: A Buddhist Approach to Peace and Ecology (2008), Ch. 1: The Bells of Mindfulness, p. 3
  • Our way of walking on the Earth has a great influence on animals and plants. We have killed so many animals and plants and destroyed their environments. Many are now extinct. In turn, our environment is now harming us. We are like sleepwalkers, not knowing what we are doing or where we are heading. Whether we can wake up or not depends on whether we can walk mindfully on our Mother Earth. The future of all life, including our own, depends on our mindful steps.
    • Thích Nhất Hạnh The World We Have: A Buddhist Approach to Peace and Ecology (2008), Ch. 1: The Bells of Mindfulness, p. 3
  • The danger is that global warming may become self-sustaining, if it has not done so already. The melting of the Arctic and Antarctic ice caps reduces the fraction of solar energy reflected back into space, and so increases the temperature further. Climate change may kill off the Amazon and other rain forests, and so eliminate once one of the main ways in which carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere. The rise in sea temperature may trigger the release of large quantities of carbon dioxide, trapped as hydrides on the ocean floor. Both these phenomena would increase the greenhouse effect, and so global warming further. We have to reverse global warming urgently, if we still can.
  • Climate change is a wicked problem… [and] there is no way to solve it without sacrificing something that society currently holds dear, and without thereby generating more problems. For example, shrinking the economy would reduce carbon emissions, but it would throw a lot of people out of work (in effect, we did trial runs during the financial crash of 2008 and the COVID pandemic of 2020; both times, carbon emissions plunged, yet everyone was eager to “get back to normal”). Building vast amounts of low-carbon energy-producing and energy-using infrastructure would also reduce emissions, but that would require tens of trillions of dollars of investment as well as enormous quantities of depleting, non-renewable minerals—the mining of which would generate pollution and destroy wildlife habitat.
  • By every measure, the Pentagon is the largest institutional user of petroleum products and energy … Yet, the Pentagon has a blanket exemption in all international climate agreements … Any talk of climate change which does not include the military is nothing but hot air... It’s a loophole [in the Kyoto Convention on Climate Change] big enough to drive a tank through, according to the report ” A Climate of War.” In 1940, the US military consumed one percent of the country’s total energy usage; by the end of World War II, the military’s share rose to 29 percent....Militarism is the most oil-exhaustive activity on the planet, growing more so with faster, bigger, more fuel-guzzling planes, tanks and naval vessels employed in more intensive air and ground wars. At the outset of the Iraq war in March 2003, the Army estimated it would need more than 40 million gallons of gasoline for three weeks of combat, exceeding the total quantity used by all Allied forces in the four years of World War 1. Among the Army’s armamentarium were 2,000 staunch M-1 Abrams tanks fired up for the war and burning 250 gallons of fuel per hour.
  • The (US) military reports no climate change emissions to any national or international body, thanks to US arm-twisting during the 1997 negotiations of the first international accord to limit global warming emissions, the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change. To protect the military from any curbs on their activities, the United States demanded and won exemption from emission limits on “bunker” fuels (dense, heavy fuel oil for naval vessels) and all greenhouse gas emissions from military operations worldwide, including wars. Adding insult to injury, George W. Bush pulled the United States out of the Kyoto Protocol as one of the first acts of his presidency, alleging it would straitjacket the US economy with too costly greenhouse emissions controls. Next, the White House began a neo-Luddite campaign against the science of climate change. In researching “The Green Zone: The Environmental Costs of Militarism,”... getting war casualty statistics out of the Department of Defense (DoD) is easier than getting fuel usage data.
  • We should not use all the known fossil energy if we would like to prevent the most serious climate change catastrophes. It does not make any sense to look for new oil from a fragile environment in the Arctic when we have to leave the known resources on ground.
    • Original Finnish: Jos ihmiskunta meinaa välttää pahimmat ilmastonmuutoksen vaikutukset, se voi IPCC;n tuoreen arvion mukaan päästä ilmakehään enää hiilidioksidimäärän joka vastaa vain pientä osaa tunnetuista fossiilisten polttoaineiden varannosta. Ei ole juuri mieltä etsiä enää lisää öljyä luonnoltaan haavoittuvalta Pohjoiselta Jäämereltä, kun tunnetuistakin varannoista valtaosa on jätettävä maahan.
  • I do think that climate change is occurring, that it is man-caused. One of the proposals that I think is a very libertarian proposal, and I'm just open to this, is taxing carbon emission that may have the result of being self-regulating. ... The market will take care of it. I mean, when you look at it from the standpoint of better results, and actually less money to achieve those results, that's what is being professed by a carbon tax.
  • Climate change is a crisis leading toward disaster. Everything will change, whether by force of nature or by our choice. We need a Marshall Plan for the Earth, a mass movement.... The resources required to rapidly move away from fossil fuels and prepare for the coming heavy weather could pull huge swaths of humanity out of poverty, providing services now sorely lacking, from clean water to electricity.... There are plenty of signs that climate change will be no exception [to The Shock Doctrine]—that, rather than sparking solutions that have a real chance of preventing catastrophic warming and protecting us from inevitable disasters, the crisis will once again be seized upon to hand over yet more resources to the 1 percent... Opposition movements … will need a comprehensive vision for what should emerge in the place of our failing system, as well as serious political strategies for how to achieve those goals. … we have not done the things that are necessary to lower emissions because those things fundamentally conflict with deregulated capitalism, the reigning ideology … Challenge the extreme ideology... blocking so much sensible action... to show how unfettered corporate power [poses] a grave threat to the habitability of the planet.
  • We have not done the things that are necessary to lower emissions because those things fundamentally conflict with deregulated capitalism. ... We are stuck because the actions that would give us the best chance of averting catastrophe—and would benefit the vast majority—are extremely threatening to an elite minority that has a stranglehold over our economy, our political process, and most of our major media outlets. ... It is our great collective misfortune that the scientific community made its decisive diagnosis of the climate threat at the precise moment when those elites were enjoying more unfettered political, cultural, and intellectual power than at any point since the 1920s.
  • Only mass social movements can save us now. Because we know where the current system, left unchecked, is headed. We also know, I would add, how that system will deal with the reality of serial climate-related disasters: with profiteering, and escalating barbarism to segregate the losers from the winners. p. 450 … if climate justice carries the day, the economic costs to our elites will be real—not only because of the carbon left in the ground but also because of the regulations, taxes, and social programs needed to make the required transformation. Indeed, these new demands on the ultra-rich could effectively bring the era of the footloose Davos oligarch to a close. p. 457
  • … the real reason we are failing to rise to the climate moment is because the actions required directly challenge our reigning economic paradigm (deregulated capitalism combined with public austerity), the stories on which Western cultures are found (that we stand apart from nature and can outsmart its limits), as well as many of the activities that form our identities and define our communities (shopping, living virtually, shopping some more). They also spell extinction for the richest and most powerful industry the world has ever known—the oil and gas industry...… there are plenty of solid economic arguments for moving beyond fossil fuels … But we will not win the battle for a stable climate by trying to beat the bean counters at their own game—arguing, for instance, that it is more cost-effective to invest in emission reduction now than disaster response later. We will win by asserting that such calculations are morally monstrous…
  • The planet will continue to cook.
  • Global warming is no longer a theory being disputed by political interests, but an established scientific consensus. The possible effects range from events as drastic as a hydrothermal shutdown of the Gulf Stream—meaning a much colder Europe with much-reduced agriculture—to desertification of major world crop-growing areas, to the invasion of temperate regions by diseases formerly limited to the tropics, to the loss of harbor cities all over the world. Whether the cause of global warming is human activity and “greenhouse emissions,” a result of naturally occurring cycles, or a combination of the two, this does not alter the fact that it is having swift and tremendous impacts on civilization [...].
  • An overwhelming majority of scientists who have looked into the matter agree that global warming is underway and is probably caused by people burning fossil fuels. This is the meta-fact hovering over all the details. After all, in [mining and] burning so much coal, oil, and gas we've released [a fraction of] 460 million years of sequestered carbon into the atmosphere in a mere two hundred years. There are consequences for doing this. The trajectory of climate problems has gotten only more severe [...]. Greenhouse gas emissions have exceeded predictions. The IPCC report expects a sea level rise of at least three feet by 2100; James Hansen of NASA says possibly seventeen feet. If that is the case, there would be no need to argue over the finer points of how many square miles in the Netherlands would be underwater [...] along with Bangladesh, many Pacific islands, most of Florida, and the Mississippi River Delta, Houston, Jacksonville, Key West, and thousands of other places. [We need to] remember [that] most of the people on the planet live near the world’s seacoasts.
    • James Howard Kunstler, Too Much Magic (2012).
  • This is the fundamental idea underlying an ecological civilization: using nature’s own design principles to reimagine the basis of our civilization... An ecological civilization is both a new and ancient idea. While the notion of structuring human society on an ecological basis might seem radical, Indigenous peoples around the world have organized themselves from time immemorial on life-affirming principles....Every year that we head closer to catastrophe—as greater climate-related disasters rear up, as the outrages of racial and economic injustice become even more egregious, and as life for most people becomes increasingly intolerable—the old narrative loses its hold on the collective consciousness. Waves of young people are looking for a new worldview—one that makes sense of the current unraveling, one that offers them a future they can believe in. It’s a bold idea to transform the very basis of our civilization to one that’s life-affirming. But when the alternative is unthinkable, a vision of a flourishing future shines a light of hope that can become a self-fulfilling reality. Dare to imagine it. Dare to make it possible by the actions you take, both individually and collectively—and it might just happen sooner than you expect.
  • There IS one thing I think paleontologists can do better or more of, than we have, and that is talking about the rate of climate change. We all know very well the rates of climate change in various parts of the Tertiary; we can tell that from the plants, and so on. But, compared to today, things are happening in decades that would take millions of years in the late Tertiary. That’s a problem paleontologists can be more helpful with, trying to bring perspective for the public on the velocity of climate change. Scientists can be more publically engaged; we can tell the public what we see in the way climates are changing now. If we do not do that, who is going to do it? This topic is vitally important.
  • Prediction of the sufficiently distant future is impossible by any method, unless the present conditions are known exactly. In view of the inevitable inaccuracy and incompleteness of weather observations, precise, very-long-range weather forecasting would seem to be non-existent.
    • Edward Lorenz, “Deterministic Nonperiodic Flow,” Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, Vol. 20, Issue 2, March 1963, pp. 130-141.
  • At some point, political pragmatism has to reckon with the reality of climate change. You can’t negotiate with science. You can’t meet it halfway.
    • Hasan Minhaj, Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj: The Two Sides of Canada
  • Unfortunately for mankind, there are now far too many of Homo colossus in the global population. And the damage is done. NASA climatologist James Hanson [sic] has claimed that the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere should not be over 350 parts per million (ppm) in order to avoid calamitous climate shifts. But we are already at 400ppm and climbing.
  • The Government Rules by Force, Fraud and Deception. The information blockade starts with the military itself. The military purposely restricts information plus its immense size and bureaucratic complexity means that it is so hard to grasp that political leaders cannot themselves understand the institution they are supposed to command.
    You want proof? Just try reading the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) 2016 report which could not figure out just how much oil the military burns. The GAO concluded: “[C]ongress does not have full visibility over the amount of fuel volume the military services require on an annual basis for their activities…”
    This should not come as a surprise. Since its inception in 1950 or so, the modern military has resisted any accounting of costs in violation of Article I, Section 9, of the US Constitution. In 2018 the Pentagon failed its first-ever audit. It’s not just about the missing 6.5 trillions [sic] dollars, (although that really matters too) it’s that the opaque accounting system is armor — a defensive weapon used to neutralize anyone that wants to understand, let alone oppose, the US government.
  • This very big, very dirty secret — that war drives climate change — is carefully guarded. To keep things hush-hush the military is excused from oversight or obligation. This exception to the rule of law has always been the practice but G.W. Bush formalized it demanding language to that effect in the 1997 Kyoto Accords, which he later refused to sign anyway...The complete U.S. military exemption from greenhouse gas emissions calculations includes more than 1,000 U.S. bases in more than 130 countries around the world, its 6,000 facilities in the U.S., its aircraft carriers, and jet aircraft. Also excluded are its weapons testing and all multilateral operations such as the giant U.S.-commanded NATO military alliance and AFRICOM, the U.S. military alliance now blanketing Africa. The provision also exempts U.S./UN-sanctioned activities of “peacekeeping” and “humanitarian relief.”
  • It is within this context of 70 long years of secrecy, special legal exemptions, deception, fraud, lies by omission, non-binding agreements — and the global role of militarism as climate crisis multiplier — that we can best evaluate the Democratic Party’s version of the Green New Deal (GND)... The GND now has overwhelming public support and that is truly a great accomplishment. The Democrat’s version has many fine ideas linking inequality and social justice to efforts to fight climate change — and those ideas are all true... In its current form the plan also uses the language of market solutions and technical fixes that sadly repeat the weakest features of failed climate “action” already offered by elites.
    But most important, the Democrat’s GND — once again — omits the US government and military as a cause of climate disaster. The other — almost unbelievable omission — is the failure of the Democrat’s GND to explicitly call for dramatic reductions in the use of fossil fuels. In fact, the words “oil” “gas” “coal” or “fossil fuels” do not even appear in the final document that established the committee... The Democrat’s GND remains a vague non-binding wish. The 2050 deadlines are standard political dodgeball. When faced with crisis, corporate politicians always want to ‘kick the can down the road” — postponing real action until the damage is already done and someone else takes the blame. Adaptation to disaster and management of the crisis rather than prevention of climate chaos is the hidden but actual program of the Democrat’s GND.
  • Ideas of terraforming Mars must be seen in a new light given the challenge revealed by global warming. Compared to pre-industrial levels, we have a 100 part-per-million (0.01%) CO2 problem in our atmosphere that has us completely stymied. Crudely speaking, Mars has a one-million part-per-million (100%) problem with its atmosphere. As much trouble as we are having mitigating climate change with unfettered access to all the resources on Earth, what hope would we have of turning around a place like Mars with no infrastructure to rely upon?
  • There is broad agreement within the scientific community that amplification of the Earth's natural greenhouse effect by the buildup of various gases introduced by human activity has the potential to produce dramatic changes in climate. Only by taking action now can we ensure that future generations will not be put at risk.
    • 1990 statement by 49 Nobel Prize winners and 700 members of the National Academy of Sciences, as cited in Toxic Loopholes: Failures and Future Prospects for Environmental Law (Cambridge University Press: 2010), p. 174
  • Since global warming Eskimos now have twenty different words for water.
  • Third, a just peace includes not only civil and political rights – it must encompass economic security and opportunity. For true peace is not just freedom from fear, but freedom from want. It is undoubtedly true that development rarely takes root without security; it is also true that security does not exist where human beings do not have access to enough food, or clean water, or the medicine and shelter they need to survive. It does not exist where children can’t aspire to a decent education or a job that supports a family. The absence of hope can rot a society from within. And that’s why helping farmers feed their own people – or nations educate their children and care for the sick – is not mere charity. It’s also why the world must come together to confront climate change. There is little scientific dispute that if we do nothing, we will face more drought, more famine, more mass displacement – all of which will fuel more conflict for decades. For this reason, it is not merely scientists and environmental activists who call for swift and forceful action – it’s military leaders in my own country and others who understand our common security hangs in the balance. Agreements among nations. Strong institutions. Support for human rights. Investments in development. All these are vital ingredients in bringing about the evolution that President Kennedy spoke about. And yet, I do not believe that we will have the will, the determination, the staying power, to complete this work without something more – and that’s the continued expansion of our moral imagination; an insistence that there's something irreducible that we all share.
  • The world must come together to confront climate change. There is little scientific dispute that if we do nothing, we will face more drought, famine and mass displacement that will fuel more conflict for decades.
    • U.S. President Barack Obama, Awake! magazine November 2011, page 12.
  • 2014 was the planet’s warmest year on record. Now, one year doesn’t make a trend, but this does: 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have all fallen in the first 15 years of this century. I’ve heard some folks try to dodge the evidence by saying they’re not scientists; that we don’t have enough information to act. Well, I’m not a scientist, either. But you know what, I know a lot of really good scientists at NASA, and at NOAA, and at our major universities. And the best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we don’t act forcefully, we’ll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration and conflict and hunger around the globe. The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security. We should act like it.
And that’s why, over the past six years, we’ve done more than ever to combat climate change, from the way we produce energy to the way we use it. That’s why we’ve set aside more public lands and waters than any administration in history. And that’s why I will not let this Congress endanger the health of our children by turning back the clock on our efforts. I am determined to make sure that American leadership drives international action.
  • Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change.
    • Rajendra K. Pachauri (2014), as cited in Ganpat, Wayne G. (2014), Impacts of Climate Change on Food Security in Small Island Developing States. p. xxi
  • Nature is fragile, environmentalists often tell us. But the lesson of this book is that it is not so. The truth is far more worrying. Nature is strong and packs a serious counterpunch. Its revenge for man-made global warming will very probably unleash unstoppable planetary forces. And they will not be gradual. The history of our planet's climate shows that it does not do gradual change. Under pressure, whether from sunspots or orbital wobbles or the depredations of humans, it lurches—virtually overnight. We, humans, have spent 400 generations building our current civilization in an era of climatic stability—a long, generally balmy spring that has endured since the last ice age. But this tranquility looks like the exception rather than the rule in nature. And if its end is inevitable one day, we seem to be triggering its imminent and violent collapse. Our world may be blown away in the process.
  • Brent Cross under a slate-grey sky on a Monday afternoon is enough to challenge the most optimistic and rational liberal. It focuses the mind on the waste, greed, and short-sightedness of our species: you wonder how we are going to survive the enormous changes that the 21st century undoubtedly has in store, the largest of which any sane mind knows is global warming.
  • Despite contributing only a minute amount of global greenhouse gas emissions, the African continent suffers the deleterious effects of climate change to a disproportionate degree... African agriculture is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change because it is heavily dependent on rainfall, and climate change has seriously affected rainfall throughout the continent.
  • I have not been one who believed in the global warming. But I tell you, they are making a convert out of me as these blistering summers. They have broken heat records in a number of cities already this year and broken all-time records, and it is getting hotter and the ice caps are melting and there is a build-up of carbon dioxide in the air. We really need to address the burning of fossil fuels.
  • The Paris accord assumes that each government consults with its own country’s engineers to devise a national energy strategy, with each of the 193 UN member states essentially producing a separate plan... Global engineering systems require global coordination. ...Both the scale and reliability of... globally connected high-tech systems are astounding, and depend on solutions implemented internationally, not country by country.
  • To my mind, global climate change is the single greatest threat facing the planet. It poses an actual existential threat to our country and our world.
  • While fossil fuels (FFs)—coal and later oil and natural gas—have been humanity’s major source of energy over the past two centuries, 50% of all FFs ever burned have been consumed in just the past 30 years (as much as 90% since the early 1940s) as super-exponential growth has taken hold. It should be no surprise, therefore, that carbon dioxide emissions—the major material by-product of FF combustion and principal anthropogenic driver of climate change—have long exceeded photosynthetic uptake by green plants. By 1997 (when annual consumption was 40% less than in 2021), humanity was already burning FFs containing about 422 times the net amount of carbon fixed by photosynthesis globally each year. Between 1800 and 2021, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations increased by 48%, from 280 ppm to approximately 415 ppm.
  • Plunging biodiversity and climate change, along with air/land/ocean pollution, deforestation, desertification, incipient resources scarcity, etc., are the inevitable consequences—indeed, parallel symptoms—of the same root phenomenon: the spectacular and continuing growth of the human enterprise on a finite planet. H. sapiens is in overshoot, exploiting ecosystems beyond their regenerative and assimilative capacities… The human enterprise now uses the bio-productive and assimilative capacities of 1.75 Earth equivalents. In simple terms, the industrial world’s ecological predicament is the result of too many people consuming too much and over-polluting the ecosphere. Clearly, the climate crisis cannot be solved in isolation from the macro-problem of overshoot—certainly not by using technologies that are reliant on the same FFs and ecologically destructive processes that created the problem in the first place.
  • The transition to renewable energy can be greatly accelerated if the world’s governments finally bring the engineers to the fore... I was recently on a panel with three economists and a senior business-sector engineer. After the economists spoke... the engineer spoke succinctly and wisely. “I don’t really understand what you economists were just speaking about, but I do have a suggestion... Tell us engineers the desired ‘specs’ and the timeline, and we’ll get the job done.” This is not bravado.... The next big act belongs to the engineers. Energy transformation for climate safety is our twenty-first-century moonshot.
  • We've arranged a global civilization in which the most crucial elements — transportation, communications, and all other industries; agriculture, medicine, education, entertainment, protecting the environment; and even the key democratic institution of voting, profoundly depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.
    • Carl Sagan, in The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark (1995), Ch. 2 : Science and Hope, p. 26
  • We simply must do everything we can in our power to slow down global warming before it is too late... The science is clear. The global warming debate is over.
  • “Don’t worry about the weather!” Kalu replied. “We can’t control it, and these days we can’t even predict it. For the past few years, the wet season has been very strange; nobody knows when the rains will come. The climate is changing here.”
    I had heard versions of this story in an unsettling number of places this year, and many of the birders who accompanied me had complained about unpredictable seasons. It was difficult to tease out other effects, like deforestation and overharvesting, but my view of global climate change had shifted lately after hearing enough local people talk about it. It wasn’t just something for academics and politicians to argue about; these changes were already affecting those who depended on the land and environment.
  • Many scientists in the physical world are also subject to such foolishness, misreading statistics. One flagrant example is in the global-warming debate. Many scientists failed to notice it in its early stages as they removed from their sample the spikes in temperature, under the belief that these were not likely to recur. It may be a good idea to take out the extremes when computing the average temperatures for vacation scheduling. But it does not work when we study the physical properties of the weather — particularly when one cares about a cumulative effect. These scientists initially ignored the fact that these spikes, although rare, had the effect of adding disproportionately to the cumulative melting of the ice cap. Just as in finance, an event, although rare, that brings large consequences cannot just be ignored.
    • Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets (2001) Six: Skewness and Symmetry | Bull and Bear Zoology | Symmetry and Science
  • Ladies and gentlemen, I am to talk to you about energy in the future. I will start by telling you why I believe that the energy resources of the past must be supplemented. First of all, these energy resources will run short as we use more and more of the fossil fuels. But I would [...] like to mention another reason why we probably have to look for additional fuel supplies. And this, strangely, is the question of contaminating the atmosphere. [....] Whenever you burn conventional fuel, you create carbon dioxide. [....] The carbon dioxide is invisible, it is transparent, you can’t smell it, it is not dangerous to health, so why should one worry about it? Carbon dioxide has a strange property. It transmits visible light but it absorbs the infrared radiation which is emitted from the earth. Its presence in the atmosphere causes a greenhouse effect [....] It has been calculated that a temperature rise corresponding to a 10 per cent increase in carbon dioxide will be sufficient to melt the icecap and submerge New York. All the coastal cities would be covered, and since a considerable percentage of the human race lives in coastal regions, I think that this chemical contamination is more serious than most people tend to believe.
  • At present the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen by 2 per cent over normal. By 1970, it will be perhaps 4 per cent, by 1980, 8 per cent, by 1990, 16 per cent [about 360 parts per million, by Teller’s accounting], if we keep on with our exponential rise in the use of purely conventional fuels. By that time, there will be a serious additional impediment for the radiation leaving the earth. Our planet will get a little warmer. It is hard to say whether it will be 2 degrees Fahrenheit or only one or 5. But when the temperature does rise by a few degrees over the whole globe, there is a possibility that the icecaps will start melting and the level of the oceans will begin to rise. Well, I don’t know whether they will cover the Empire State Building or not, but anyone can calculate it by looking at the map and noting that the icecaps over Greenland and over Antarctica are perhaps five thousand feet thick.
  • At its core, global climate change is not about economic theory or political platforms, nor about partisan advantage or interest group pressures. It is about the future of God's creation and the one human family. It is about protecting both `the human environment' and the natural environment.
  • Because the numbers are so small, we tend to trivialize the differences between one degree and two, two degrees and four. Human experience and memory offers no good analogy for how we should think about those thresholds, but with degrees of warming, as with world wars or recurrences of cancer, you don’t want to see even one.
  • It is worse, much worse, than you think. The slowness of climate change is a fairy tale, perhaps as pernicious as the one that says it isn’t happening at all, and comes to us bundled with several others in an anthology of comforting delusions: that global warming is an Arctic saga, unfolding remotely; that it is strictly a matter of sea level and coastlines, not an enveloping crisis sparing no place and leaving no life undeformed; that it is a crisis of the “natural” world, not the human one; that those two are distinct, and that we live today somehow outside or beyond or at the very least defended against nature, not inescapably within and literally overwhelmed by it; that wealth can be a shield against the ravages of warming; that the burning of fossil fuels is the price of continued economic growth; that growth, and the technology it produces, will allow us to engineer our way out of environmental disaster; that there is any analogue to the scale or scope of this threat, in the long span of human history, that might give us confidence in staring it down.
  • Man has reached the point where his impact on the climate can be as significant as [the rest of] nature's.
    • Joby Warrick, “Consensus Emerges Earth Is Warming – Now What?” Washington Post 12 Nov. 1997: A01.

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