Climate change is not political science


Climate change is not political science; it’s physical science: biology, chemistry and physics.

It’s obvious weather patterns are changing—the warmest ten years in recordkeeping have occurred during the last two decades; glaciers are melting rapidly, and by 2060 or so CO2 levels are due to double relative to the start of the Industrial Revolution. Climate scientists warn CO2 levels could reach 1,000 parts per million by the turn of the Century if we do nothing to change course.

I suspect denial is so attractive to some because the challenge of climate change and global warming represents such a profound existential threat to a cherished mindset that outright denial is the path of least resistance. Indeed, in the eyes and minds of those so deeply wedded to maintaining the world-as-it-used-to-be, the political, social and environmental issues posed by climate change simply cannot be considered even discussible.

Why? Because to open the mind and heart to the reality that a climate-changed world poses forces one to admit that the current social/political and economic paradigm is badly broken. Likely beyond repair. No longer viable. And certainly not sustainable. It’s the problem, not the solution. Simple fixes won’t be enough. What’s needed is a radical pivot, as Naomi Klein has so clearly stated in her recent book about climate change, This Changes Everything. In it, she calls for the total refutation of global capitalism.

So here’s the hot spot. This is the core of the matter for the deniers—the inviolable center that must be protected at all costs; that which must be defended to the death. Nothing else matters. Not the future of diverse species or the long-term habitability of the planet for one’s children and grandchildren.

But is this true for all the deniers? For some, yes. For many others, no. For those folks raking in the trillions of dollars from the final fossil fuel fire sale, it’s all about massive monetary gain. The dollars easily trump the physics of atmospheric chemistry and dead, acidic oceans. For the other giant reapers of mindless profit—the pharmaceutical and agricultural industries, and the military industrial complex, business as usual is all that matters. For the conservative religious-minded, the more people on the planet, the better.

But all of this is glaringly obvious to anyone who’s open to seriously examining the issue. The Big Question though is: how should/could reasonable, caring people respond to a situation where an immovable object is about to meet an irresistible force. The problem is: Anyone reading these words is currently resident at the point of impact. The good news is: For those who believe physical science trumps political science regarding climate change, options do exist for mitigation of the worst case impacts.

I’ve proposed the 80/80/80 Plan. The Plan calls for reducing fossil fuels, meat and dairy consumption and world population by 80% each. If such a plan were to be implemented soon, along with a similar reduction in material affluence, we’d dramatically lessen the human impact on the environment. We wouldn’t dodge the bullet completely, but the wound would not likely be fatal.

How might this play out? Well, that’s the tale that’s told in Beyond Fire and Primal Source. We’ll look more closely at this in my next few blogs.