Addiction to Fossil Fuels, ApocaDocs, Bunker Mentality, Capitalism, Climate Change, Collapse of Industrial Civilization, Corporate State, Eco-Apocalypse, Ecological Overshoot, Economic Collapse, Environmental Collapse, Extinction of Man, Fossil-Fuel Based Economy, Imagine Dragons, Inverted Totalitarianism, Jonas De Ro, Mass Die Off, Michael Klare, Ocean Acidification, Optimism Bias, Peak Oil, Post-Apocalyptic Art, Resource Wars, Social Unrest, The Elite 1%, Tokyo Genso, Vladimir Manyuhin
Post-Apocalyptic Illustration by Jonas De Ro
Post-Apocalyptic Illustration by Vladimir Manyuhin
Post-Apocalyptic Illustration by Tokyo Genso
Madison, WI Post Apocalypse
I thought I’d post a few pictures of what the world will look like before the end of this century. Artists have the intuitive imagination to conjure up such visions the general public can only imagine through Hollywood zombie flicks which seem to be all the rage these days. Why do I feel this vision is inevitable? Just look at the daily news to see what I mean:
It used to be that the mentally insane, flailing their arms and talking to invisible people in the streets, were the ones ranting and raving about the end of the world, but now it’s scientists who, in an attempt not to offend the beliefs of the scientific illiterati and free-market faithful, downplay their findings as much as possible. Optimism bias infects even the scientific community.
…we are the most tragic species. We not only destroy all of the world around us, we are aware of doing it but unable to stop ourselves. We have faith and hope that things will get better, that we can turn around at the last second what we’ve screwed up over years and decades. Which of course is nothing but an excuse to keep on screwing up. All courtesy of our optimism bias.
What better exemplifies the delusional optimism of man than the belief that he could hide out in a bunker to survive the ravages of a nuclear war? I’ll tell you what tops that fantasy – the belief that man can continue to do what he has done and expect the planet to unfailingly absorb all the environmental assaults we can throw at it via the endless growth of capitalist production and consumption. The planet is not some massive ShamWow towelette for man’s nonstop flow of excrement.
No Hope for Averting Catastrophic Climate Change
Of all the findings in the 2012 edition of the World Energy Outlook, the one that merits the greatest international attention is the one that received the least. Even if governments take vigorous steps to curb greenhouse gas emissions, the report concluded, the continuing increase in fossil fuel consumption will result in “a long-term average global temperature increase of 3.6 degrees C.”
This should stop everyone in their tracks. Most scientists believe that an increase of 2 degrees Celsius is about all the planet can accommodate without unimaginably catastrophic consequences: sea-level increases that will wipe out many coastal cities, persistent droughts that will destroy farmland on which hundreds of millions of people depend for their survival, the collapse of vital ecosystems, and far more. An increase of 3.6 degrees C essentially suggests the end of human civilization as we know it.
To put this in context, human activity has already warmed the planet by about 0.8 degrees C — enough to produce severe droughts around the world, trigger or intensify intense storms like Hurricane Sandy, and drastically reduce the Arctic ice cap. “Given those impacts,” writes noted environmental author and activist Bill McKibben, “many scientists have come to think that two degrees is far too lenient a target.” Among those cited by McKibben is Kerry Emanuel of MIT, a leading authority on hurricanes. “Any number much above one degree involves a gamble,” Emanuel writes, “and the odds become less and less favorable as the temperature goes up.” Thomas Lovejoy, once the World Bank’s chief biodiversity adviser, puts it this way: “If we’re seeing what we’re seeing today at 0.8 degrees Celsius, two degrees is simply too much.”
At this point, it’s hard even to imagine what a planet that’s 3.6 degrees C hotter would be like, though some climate-change scholars and prophets — like former Vice President Al Gore in An Inconvenient Truth — have tried. In all likelihood, the Greenland and Antarctica ice sheets would melt entirely, raising sea levels by several dozen feet and completely inundating coastal cities like New York and Shanghai. Large parts of Africa, Central Asia, the Middle East, and the American Southwest would be rendered uninhabitable thanks to lack of water and desertification, while wildfires of a sort that we can’t imagine today would consume the parched forests of the temperate latitudes.
In a report that leads with the “good news” of impending U.S. oil supremacy, to calmly suggest that the world is headed for that 3.6 degree C mark is like placing a thermonuclear bomb in a gaudily-wrapped Christmas present. In fact, the “good news” is really the bad news: the energy industry’s ability to boost production of oil, coal, and natural gas in North America is feeding a global surge in demand for these commodities, ensuring ever higher levels of carbon emissions. As long as these trends persist — and the IEA report provides no evidence that they will be reversed in the coming years — we are all in a race to see who gets to the Apocalypse first.
Enjoy industrial civilization’s fossil fuel blow-out sale while it lasts. This is a one-time-only, circus-like ‘liquidation event’. Everything must be commodified regardless of ecological loss or intrinsic value to the web of life. The Human species won’t want to miss these deals! There will be no returns or exchanges available as we are going out of business for good due to bankruptcy proceedings with Mother Earth. All life forms and resources on the planet must go!!!