“The growth of emissions can be slowed, relative to the growth rate of the economy. However, emissions cannot conceivably be stalled or reversed while the economy continues to expand, however great the carbon-saving technologies of the coming years.

If our political processes cannot conceive of a non-growth future, and yet a fundamental rethink of growth is the only honest starting point for the fight against climate change, then those political processes are clearly not fit for purpose.”

Oliver De Schutter at the Guardian. Tuesday 24 April 2012



There are two points that I would like to make about the quote above. 


Fighting against climate change is ridiculous.  Just a slight glance at a graphic of temperature variations over a few hundred thousand years reveal that it is always changing.  There is no or practically no long period of stability.  Over the last million years, at least, we have been going from quick zips of warming squeezed into long periods of increased glaciation and decreased glaciation.  Talk about fighting climate change just understandably fuels the skeptics and “deniers.” 

I read a lot about the climbing anthropogenic CO2 and steadily rising temperature.  The level of CO2 in the air is unquestionably higher than any of the last 4 interglacial periods.  Since we as humans had no modern recording and measurement devices, we just don’t know how the CO2 will affect climate.  The best we can do is run computer models and simulations.  These help us to see into the future but just don’t impress a large segment of our population.  Ironically, to make a side step, these same people don’t seem to mind  listening to the results of simulations so long as they reveal a story that they agree with.

I’ve said before and continue to claim that we are barking up the wrong tree.  Our scientists, driven of course by what governments and multinationals want to hear, focus on why we are still experiencing increasing temperatures, when after around 12,000 years of interglacial warming, compared to the last 4 periods, we should be into a downward dip.

I suggest that we should be concerned and be trying to discover what brought the temperature (and CO2) down in the past.  We need to do this as precisely as possible and then when we understand which of the factors discovered are now missing, for instance, millions of trees and immense grasslands and savannah, and then how we can either get around the situation or if not, how we had best prepare for the unknown.  Scientists do agree that there are triggers, tipping points, that appear to spearhead the change up and down.  I suggest that we have a lot of adequate information about the causes of the upward climb of temperature and emergence into an interglacial period.  Whether CO2 climbed first or temperature climbed first is a side issue – important but a mystery that we can live with – while we deal with the known.  As I have just said, we spend little time and effort revealing and I argue, explaining to the public that we will most likely skip a whole glacial- interglacial cycle. [An Exceptionally Long Interglacial Ahead?

A. Berger and M. F. Loutre in 23 AUGUST 2002 VOL 297 SCIENCE www.sciencemag.org]  


Another issue that bothers me is that of our worldview or how we look at our planet.  As I’ve tried to suggest and support in my book, Planet as Self, we don’t understand how our planet “works” primarily because we see it as a large and intricate machine.  We use the limited views within a pragmatic, physicalist, mindset, with instruments designed to measure machines, to understand a living being.  We are IN a planet not on it.  We have studied and know that a star, our sun, has a birth and death cycle of increasing heat output on its way to becoming a red giant then a white dwarf and finally a black dwarf.  Gaia Theory explains how living beings on the outer skin, so to speak of Gaia, actually work together to counteract this heat increase and maintain Earth’s temperature to the benefit of said life-forms.  That’s why we need to work with nature and honour the wisdom inherent in the life of Gaia.  After all, we are all first  and foremost Earthlings. 


[2]  Looking again at the quote above, I am extremely pleased to read a critique of the idea of unlimited growth.  Out of control growth is known as cancer.  Surely it is common sense to agree that a planet with finite resources cannot support unlimited growth.  As the author points out, we need to adapt a political (economic) process that is fit for purpose.  That purpose being, as a famous American document proposed, the purpose of maintaining a government of the people, by the people and for the people and not just the 1%.