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The Triumph of Catastrophism. How Greta Thunberg Carried the Day

The Triumph of Catastrophism. How Greta Thunberg Carried the Day

Disclaimer: I am NOT saying here that the Covid-19 does not exist nor that people didn’t die because of it. If you react with the term “denialism” you are only showing that you have no rational arguments to produce.


Do you remember that weird girl from Sweden? Yes, the one with the braided hair. What was her name? Greta something…. It is strange that so many people seemed to pay attention to what she was saying about things like climate change. Why should anyone be worried by that? Nobody cares about climate change anymore when there are much more important matters at hand with the great pandemic sweeping the world? And yet, strangely, nowadays people are doing exactly what Greta had told them to do

Not long ago, I published on Cassandra’s Legacy a post titled “The Great Failure of Catastrophism.” In it, I argued that some 50 years of warnings from scientists had been completely ignored by the powers that be. I also argued that a relatively minor perturbation, as the one caused by the Covid-19 epidemic, had been enough to consign all worries about climate to the dustbin of the silly ideas that nobody should care about. 

 

But things keep changing and I am now amazed to see that humans are acting exactly as if they had listened to Greta Thunberg. Do you remember? She said we shouldn’t use the plane, that we should travel less, use less energy, consume less. Exactly what’s being done.

People are not flying anymore so much, they stopped most of their long distance traveling, the mass migration called “international tourism” seems to have disappeared for good.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Greta Thunberg Urges Norway and Canada to Honor Climate Commitments

Greta Thunberg Urges Norway and Canada to Honor Climate Commitments

When you want a seat on the UN Security Council, the last thing you need is a teenage activist, practiced at the art of shaming government officials, working against you. However, that’s just what Norway and Canada have.

Canada, Norway and Ireland are vying for the two available seats on the UN Security Council. Enter Greta Thunberg, bearing some free and stern advice.

The 17-year-old Swedish climate activist is the headline signatory on a letter to UN ambassadors of small developing nations. The letter argues that Canada and Norway both say they are concerned about the climate crisis, but will not shed their ardent commitment to expand fossil fuel production, build pipelines through native land, and subsidize oil companies, as the CBC reported.

“For the young generation who will inherit the consequences of these decisions, it is critical that those who claim to be leading on climate action are held to account for decisions they are making back at home,” the letter reads, according to the CBC.

The letter also featured the signature of three other youth activists and 22 climate scientists.

The writers argue that if Canada wants to honor its commitment to the Paris agreement, it should make permanent its temporary ban on extracting oil and gas in the Arctic, cancel both the Trans Mountain and Keystone XL pipeline projects, and end all subsidies to the oil and gas industry, according to Radio Canada International.

Canada, despite its pristine air and forests, is actually among the worst in the G20 in meeting its Paris agreement greenhouse gas emissions targets, according to data compiled in 2019 by Climate Transparency, as Radio Canada International reported.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Of Warnings and their Ripple Effects

Greta Thunberg appearing before the House Ways and Means Committee on September 18, 2019, based upon a photo by Alden Meyer, Union of Concerned Scientists

Of Warnings and their Ripple Effects

In her testimony to the US Congress, Greta Thunberg did not prepare a statement for submission to the record. Instead, she submitted the most recent scientific report, issued by the IPCC three weeks earlier. She said simply, “I am submitting this report as my testimony because I don’t want you to listen to me, I want you to listen to the scientists, and I want you to unite behind the science. And then I want you to take real action. Thank you.”

Alden Meyer, an elder statesman of environmental advocacy that I have been running into at every climate meeting since Rio in 1992, called it the shortest and most powerful testimony he has heard anyone give in Congress during his decades in Washington.

This week another headline blazed across newspapers and social media sites: World Scientists Warn of Climate Emergency.

Reading this newest installment in ecologist William Ripple’s series was a mixed experience for me. On the one hand, I was delighted that he and Chris Wolf at Oregon State, Tom Newsome at the University of Sydney, Phoebe Barnard at Conservation Biology Institute and the University of Capetown, and Bill Moomaw at Tufts were able to enlist 11,258 co-signatories from 153 countries for their paper published in BioScience on November 5th.

The first such warning, organized by Alden Meyer and the Union of Concerned Scientists in 1992, had 1,575 prominent scientists, including the majority of living Nobel laureates, co-sign. The second, by Ripple, Wolf, et al in BioScience in 2017, had 15,364 signatories from 184 countries, which begs the question: Why fewer this year?

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

A Mining Explosion: The Dirty Little Secret Of The Green Revolution

A Mining Explosion: The Dirty Little Secret Of The Green Revolution

Mining Explosion

Leftwing darling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s proposed Green New Deal, despite its flimsy 14 pages total, is nothing if not all-encompassing and vaulting in its ambition. The bill was also crucial to Ocasio-Cortez’s rapid ascent to acronym status and anointing as the queen of green.

Thanks to her How Dare You tour, 16-year old Greta Thunberg is now the undisputed leader of the growing ranks of school-bunking climate crisis warriors all over the world. 

The Greta show arrived in MINING.COM’s hometown of Vancouver last week to take Make-Love-Not-CO2 youths (and second-life hippies) on yet another march and bridge-blockade. The footslogging Greta groupies are beginning to resemble the disastrous 1212 children’s crusade – with higher ground now doing service for holy land.

Much of the response to AOC and Thunberg (who seem to get on like a house on fire if the Guardian is to be believed) on the right has been mocking and dismissive, accusing the pair of swapping hamburgers for pie in the sky.

This is a mistake. 

Red turns green

Some estimates put the green economy in the US at $1.3 trillion in annual revenue already – that’s 7 percent of GDP – with a workforce of 9.5m Americans.  

Within the Green New Deal is a goal of “meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources”.  AOC has no deadline of course, but no doubt Greta would want that for the whole world before she hits drinking age.

A seminal paper by Bernstein’s European mining and metals team led by Paul Gait outlines just how fundamental a restructure of the global industrial economy is necessary to bring this – or even a fraction of this – about. 

And all of it to the great benefit of mining.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Politicians Offered a Choice between Climate Fantasies as Our Future Grows Bleaker

Politicians Offered a Choice between Climate Fantasies as Our Future Grows Bleaker

Greta Thunberg is right — across Canada we are acting like ‘spoiled irresponsible children.’

GretaThunbergHoldingSign.jpg
Greta Thunberg took her climate campaign to Edmonton this week, and is in Vancouver today. Our politicians should listen. CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley.

Now that we can open the windows again and clear the air of political flatulence, perhaps we can acknowledge the realities that remain like ghosts in our troubled house.

Once again we have been reminded that Canada’s political parties behave like organizations “publicly and officially designed for the purpose of killing in all souls the sense of truth and of justice,” as Simone Weil characterized parties seven decades ago. 

What they have left us are political divisions that have now painted the face of Canada red or blue.

And just as in the excited United States, the conservative blue largely spreads across oil-producing regions suffering from low prices, while the red occupies oil-importing provinces.  

We are now living the storm before the storm and don’t even know it.

The energy divisions in both countries tell a story of appalling leadership, the strength of propaganda and political inertia.

One-third of the blue nation not only doesn’t believe that climate change is an emergency, but remains in denial about the increasing volatility of oil and gas prices.

Low prices and overproduction of high cost bitumen and fracked oil and gas have eroded the economics of the fossil fuel industry, throwing some people in Alberta and Saskatchewan into cauldrons of resentment, stoked by the propaganda manufactured by “wildcat Christians” and the oil industry. 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Public Interest in Climate Change Reaches and All-Time High. It is the Effect of Greta Thunberg

The Public Interest in Climate Change Reaches and All-Time High. It is the Effect of Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg is having a phenomenal success as a climate messenger. Good targeting, flawless performance, the right person at the right moment. 

A little more than one year ago, I wrote a post titled “Why, in a Few Years, Nobody Will be Talking About Climate Change Anymore.” It turned out that I was completely wrong: Greta Thunberg changed everything. My mistake was the typical one we all make when we try to predict the future. As I tend to say, “the surest way to make wrong predictions is to extrapolate past trends.” And I fell into the trap myself!

Look at what happened: The interest of the public in climate change had been fading for years and then, suddenly, it started rising. Now it is the highest level ever reached in the Google Trend record.

Isn’t that fantastic? The Greta Thunberg meme, alone, changed the worldwide trend. There is no other explanation for the restarting interest in climate.

So, what’s happening? Let’s see if we can learn something from my wrong prediction. First of all, I based my prediction on the data from Google Trends that showed a constant and robust decline of the public’s interest in climate change. It had been ongoing for more than a decade. I noted also how the Trump government was practicing the propaganda technique known as “deception by omission.” It seemed to be successful in generating a self-reinforcing feedback that led the public to forget about climate change, distracted by other issues.

Then, bang! Complex systems always take you by surprise and Greta Thunberg surely surprised everybody. What made her so successful in a task where the best scientists in the world had failed?

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Oil Industry Set Agenda During Climate Summit Meeting with Big Greens

Oil Industry Set Agenda During Climate Summit Meeting with Big Greens

Pratima Rangarajan, CEO of OGCI Climate Investments

Last week, as climate activist Greta Thunberg addressed the United Nations Climate Action Summit, invited leaders from major environmental groups spent their day listening to the leaders of fossil fuel companies discuss how they want to respond to the climate crisis.

Depending on which room you were in, you would have heard two very different messages.

Thunberg’s widely watched speech evoked the urgency of acting on climate change.

“People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing,” Thunberg told the UN summit. “We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth.”

Just blocks away, the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI), whose members include oil giants like ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, Saudi Aramco, and BP, was meeting with representatives from large environmental organizations, talking about ways to moderately reduce greenhouse gas pollution while continuing business as usual.

The OGCI had planned a busy schedule for organizations like the Environmental Defense Fund and the National Wildlife Federation, according to a draft planning document from the event obtained by DeSmog.

The draft, dated August 21, shows that a “breakfast and portfolio review” would start the day, hosted by the CEO of oil giant BP, Bob Dudley, and Pratima Rangarajan, CEO of the OGCI Climate Investments.

The full day of sessions, preceded by an invitation-only forum the night before, would include CEOs of global oil majors speaking alongside Mark Brownstein, senior vice president of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF); Jason Bordoff, director of Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy; and Collin O’Mara, head of the National Wildlife “Foundation,” the draft agenda said (O’Mara heads the National Wildlife Federation).

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

5 Stories the Media Ignored While Dividing the Country With Greta Thunberg

5 Stories the Media Ignored While Dividing the Country With Greta Thunberg

The term pedophrasty is a relatively new word — not currently accepted by an official dictionary — but that has a powerful meaning in today’s political and media environment. Pedophrasty is an “argument involving children to prop up a rationalization and make the opponent look like an asshole, as people are defenseless and suspend all skepticism in front of suffering children: nobody has the heart to question the authenticity or source of the reporting. Often done with the aid of pictures.” We have seen this tactic employed by both the left and the right sides of the political spectrum and it is, unfortunately, highly effective.

If you’ve turned on your television this week, you’ve likely seen 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg. No one here at the Free Thought Project are climate scientists, so we will abstain from commenting on her agenda. However, neither is she. But I digress. The political and mainstream media machine’s exploitation of Thunberg is a perfect example of pedophrasty.

If Thunberg’s activism actually wakes people up to pollution and incites a peaceful and a voluntarily implemented environmental benefit — without ushering in a tyrannical climate change police state — we fully support her endeavors. Wanting to save the world is a noble cause and if children want to try to do that, by all means, have at it—just don’t take away anyone’s life or liberty in the process.

The subsequent sh*t storm that was sparked online by Thunberg’s coverage — entailing both support and hatred — however, is a different story. It served as a perfect distraction to things that actually matter in our lives. As videos of Thunberg meeting with Barack Obama went viral (I’ll get to that irony in just a second), extremely important events unfolded around us, which were entirely ignored by the mainstream media.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

More talk and little action

More talk and little action 

The grim reality is that Greta Thunberg’s passionate speech lambasting global leaders at the UN climate summit in New York on September 23 is unlikely to make much of a difference in the way the largest global polluters do business. The top emitters aren’t bothered: the US didn’t show up; China yawned; Brazil was shown the door, and India agreed that more should be done but made no promises. Disgraced UK prime minister Boris Johnson promised more money.  How many times have we heard that one before?  Seventy developing countries committed to stronger action—but there is little they can do to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases on a global scale. The Pacific small island states are close to panic: they know that their days are numbered. 

A UN  report, appropriately called The heat is on, released just before the climate summit, projected that with the current set of emission reduction plans (the Nationally Determined Contributions or NDCs negotiated under the 2015 Paris Agreement), emissions of carbon will in fact rise by over 10 percent between now and 2030. Confirming the upward trend, the International Energy Agency reported that energy-related carbon dioxide emissions grew 1.7 % from 2017 to 2018, the highest rate of growth since 2013. This is insane. It’s no longer business-as-usual.  It’s more business than ever before.

Greta Thunberg didn’t mince words : In a stinging speech, the Swedish teenager told governments that “You are still not mature enough to tell it like it is. You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal.” 

Greta Thunberg’s words spread

At the end of the Summit, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres tried to put a brave face on things saying, “I was deeply moved by many examples of inspiring leadership by countries that have done the least to contribute to the climate crisis.”  

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Adult Lifestyles Sentence Kids to 1,000 Years of “Deadly” Heat Waves

Adult Lifestyles Sentence Kids to 1,000 Years of “Deadly” Heat Waves

Photograph Source: Intothewoods7 – CC BY-SA 4.0

Sixteen year old Greta Thunberg’s School Strike for Climate generation seems likely to witness the beginnings of a grueling, traumatizing, brutal, heat-driven reversal of the human population boom. Why? Because we’ve continued to pack the atmosphere with a little more CO2 with almost every move we make in utterly normal daily routines, thus forcing heat higher and higher day after day after day.

And we’ve collectively waited too long before taking the situation seriously. Now it’s irreversible. A study led by Susan Solomon found that the CO2 we add to the atmosphere every day remains there for centuries, “so that atmospheric temperatures do not drop significantly for at least 1,000 years.” 

Kids thus face an array of heat-driven risks for the next 1,000 years, and the risks are certain to escalate with every next new day of using the atmosphere as a carbon dump. 

But the risks can be reduced. Will that be too much to ask?

As of 2016, even before we collectively forced the heat 1C higher than pre-industrial times, EPA had already reported that, “Children are particularly vulnerable to heat-related illness and death, as their bodies are less able to adapt to heat than adults, and they must rely on others to help keep them safe.”

Writing for The Age, one of Australia’s leading newspapers, journalist Caitlin Fitzsimmons tells her readers, “Let’s not pretend that children and teenagers can’t understand what’s going on.”  She reports that 86 per cent of Australia’s surveyed teens view climate change as a threat to their safety, “with 73 per cent saying it affects the world ‘a lot’ now and 84 per cent saying it will affect the world ‘a lot’ in the future.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Winning the War of Climate Communication. Is Greta Thunberg the Memetic Weapon we Needed?

Winning the War of Climate Communication. Is Greta Thunberg the Memetic Weapon we Needed?

Who speaks on behalf of young people about climate? Greta Thunberg does. She is the embodiment of the concept that what matters in communication is not the message but the messenger. Only a believable messenger can pass a believable message. And she is believable: she has a direct stake on the issue, it is HER future she is defending, just as the future of the people of her age. She is defending her future from old people who think only of their immediate satisfaction. They are the virus destroying the planet, she is the cure. 

Years ago, I think it was in the mid-1980s, I was berated at length and in colorful (to say the least) terms by a young lady in Berkeley for not having buckled her 4 years old daughter, a classmate of my son, while I was transporting her in my car. As partial justification for my unexcusable wickedness in that occasion, I can say that, as far as I can remember, at that time there was no mandatory seat belt law in California (and also that the car I drove at that time, a Dodge Dart, was so old that I think it didn’t have seat belts in the back seats!). But never mind that:  I was wrong and she was right.

The story of that day in Berkeley has come to my mind more than once in the debate on climate change. You see, today we tend to think as obvious that seat belts are saintly things that save lives. But it was not so obvious in the 1980s and in the 1970s: we have forgotten about that, but there was a strong debate on the matter with some people maintaining that there was no proof that seat belts actually saved lives.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Making of Greta Thunberg: Memetic Weapons for the Meme War

The Making of Greta Thunberg: Memetic Weapons for the Meme War

If I say that this young lady, Greta Thunberg, is a meme I mean no disrespect for her — we all are memes! Actually, I think she is a great girl. But the story of how this particular meme was pushed up into becoming an important feature of the planetary memesphere is teaching us so much of how our world works. And how fundamental is memetics as a science. Truly, read on. You’ll learn of things you wouldn’t have suspected existed!! 

Ladies and Gentlemen, first of all, let me introduce to you the study on memetics performed by myself and these two wonderful coworkers of mine, Sara Falsini and Ilaria Perissi. Everyone loves their own brainchild and I do love mine (ours): so, allow me to say that this work may be the first (at least one of the first, I believe) that uses system dynamics as a tool to study memetics. Maybe it will open up a whole new field of studies, but let me tell you this story.

So, what is a meme? A meme is a meme is a meme (as Gertrud Stein never said): a wonderful concept! Think of the blind crocodiles in sewers of New York, that was a pre-internet meme. Or, for a more recent one, “Obama was not born in the US.” A meme is not just an idea, but an idea that reproduces itself — analogous to the gene in biology. It was invented by Richard Dawkins in 1976 and he probably didn’t suspect what can of memes he was opening.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Climate Scientist: World’s Richest Must Radically Change Lifestyles to Prevent Global Catastrophe

Climate Scientist: World’s Richest Must Radically Change Lifestyles to Prevent Global Catastrophe

The 24th United Nations climate summit comes amid growing warnings about the catastrophic danger climate change poses to the world. In October, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that humanity has only a dozen years to mitigate climate change or face global catastrophe—with severe droughts, floods, sea level rise and extreme heat set to cause mass displacement and poverty. But on Saturday, the United States, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait blocked language “welcoming” the landmark IPCCclimate report. New studies show global carbon emissions may have risen as much 3.7 percent in 2018, marking the second annual increase in a row. A recent report likened the rising emissions to a “speeding freight train.” We speak with Kevin Anderson, professor in climate change leadership at Uppsala University’s Centre for Environment and Development Studies, and 15-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg about the drastic action needed to fight climate change and the impact of President Trump on climate change activism.

Transcript
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Yes, this is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman. We’re broadcasting from the U.N. climate summit right here in Katowice, Poland. And we’re continuing our conversation with Greta, who has been on a school strike calling for climate action. She sits outside the Swedish parliament every Friday. In September, before the election, she sat for three weeks straight on weekdays. A number of kids also then started to join her.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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