Capitalism, Catastrophism: The Apocalyptic Politics of Collapse and Rebirth, Climate Change, Collapse of Industrial Civilization, Ecological Overshoot, Economic Collapse, Empire, Environmental Collapse, Extinction of Man, Financial Elite, Guy McPherson at Bluegrass Bioneers 2012, Mass Die Off, The Elite 1%
Gail from Wit’s End referred me to Guy McPherson’s presentation above. I just finished watching it a few minutes ago. Here are my thoughts on the talk.
This is the big wild card which may well bring everything down since the IPCC assessments and climate models either don’t factor in these feedback effects or, if they do, don’t do it with much accuracy. For example, the Arctic is melting three times faster than predicted and that will have implications for the entire planet. The Arctic melt, as well as Greenland melt, makes all global climate change predictions unreliable. Another example just came across the news today:
Doha, Nov 27 (Prensa Latina) The rapid increase in temperature in the Arctic has caused a loss of ice in the subsoil of the region, a fact that should be considered in climate models, experts said today. If the “permafrost” melts, it will free all the carbon accumulated for centuries, said Kevin Schaefer, of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) at the 18th Conference on Climate Change held in Doha, Qatar.
“Once it starts happening, the process is irreversible. There is no way to recapture the carbon released. And the process wil continue for centuries, due to the organic matter being very cold and descomposing slowly”, said the scientist.
This excess of carbon released into the atmosphere was never included in the projections of global warming, which is why the UNEP recommends that the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on the Evolution of the Climate specifically take into account the growing impact of permafrost thawing on global warming…
All of these uncertainties should give everyone pause because it means that the most dire predictions could very well be correct, as Guy points out in his talk.
Towards the end of the video, the camera spanned the auditorium and I could see all the empty seats. There were perhaps a few dozen people in attendance of Guy’s talk. That’s a sad commentary on society, but it also points to something else – catastrophe fatigue or the normalization of catastrophe. The slow and steady stream of doomsday news along with the popularizing of such themes in mainstream entertainment and pop culture has served to desensitize people to catastrophe and violence:
Guy doesn’t really talk explicitly about the link between capitalism and the environmental crisis. He should. Capitalism feeds off of crisis. As they say, capitalism is crisis. It is the primary root cause of the civilization-ending eco-collapse we are facing:
Those are my observations and quick notes.