Human survival depends on total mobilization to fight global warming

Australian security leaders including the ex Defence Force Chief, Chris Barrie, and Air Force Deputy Chief, John Blackburn warn that global mobilization is required to deal with the existential threat (i.e., human extinction) from global warming: “Global inaction has resulted in climate change becoming an immediate existential threat to humanity and, together with nuclear war, is the greatest threat to the security of Australia and its people: “Global inaction has resulted in climate change becoming an immediate existential threat to humanity and, together with nuclear war, is the greatest threat to the security of Australia and its people.”

I have said this myself many times, e.g., On the down-hill road to extinction and in other posts on Climate Sentinel News — but here it is being said by people who should matter to our Parliaments.

A submission to a defence review says Australia’s military could be a ‘significant contributor’ in mobilising against climate change. Photograph: Jonathan Geodhart/Australian Defence Force/AFP/Getty Images (from the article.

by Daniel Hurst, 8/12/2022 in The Guardian

Australia needs ‘wartime mobilisation’ response to climate crisis, security leaders say

Australian Security Leaders Climate Group says measures needed to contain climate change will be disruptive, but better than ‘existential threat’ of the alternative

Australia must adopt a “wartime mobilisation” response to the climate emergency, former security leaders have told a review of the country’s defence policy.

The Australian Security Leaders Climate Group is calling for “a fundamental reframing of Australia’s defence and security strategy” away from geopolitical rivalry.

The group – whose members include the former Australian defence force chief Chris Barrie and former air force deputy chief John Blackburn – argues the country must push for unprecedented global cooperation on the climate crisis.

Despite the US and Australia vowing on Wednesday to “drive stronger global action to address the climate crisis”, the security leaders insist the issue is still being treated as an afterthought rather than a top-order threat.

Read the complete article….

Voters need to ensure that our elected representatives take the climate emergency as seriously as our Defence chiefs do, and enact the necessary laws and provide the necessary leadership to ensure this effort is mobilized at state, national and international levels.

Featured Image from The Strategist (The Australian Strategic Policy Unit) article, Australia needs to build total defence in the face of national crises The following quote is also from that source:

In Australia, the prevailing view of mobilisation is that it is an activity associated with going to war. In the event of an armed conflict, the nation mobilises to support the Australian Defence Force. Against recent events, including the 2019–20 bushfires and Covid-19 pandemic, the ADF has mobilised to support the nation. As the range of potential hazards now encompasses high-end warfighting, grey-zone conflict, terrorism and organised crime, as well as domestic and offshore natural disasters, no single institution can sufficiently respond on its own.

Mobilisation should be redefined as occurring in response to all such events, drawing on all required and available elements from across the breadth of Australian society. But it must not be seen as just the response to a crisis; it should also include preparing for and, where possible, preventing such events, as well as supporting subsequent recovery efforts.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

On the down-hill road to extinction

Now the Victorian Election is over, we we must keep our politicians feet to the fire. Strong, early, and competent action against global warming is the only issue in Parliament that really matters if we are concerned for the futures of our families, or indeed, for our species and the majority of life on our planet. If we don’t stop and reverse the still accelerating global warming our world will soon be so hot that humans and many other species will be experiencing major die-offs and collapses of critical ecosystems before the end of this century on our way to extinction.

The featured article here shows how close we already to this precipice of no return — even without considering the added stress of human caused global warming.

Our road to extinction began with killing off megafauna

In his ‘overkill’ hypothesis, Paul S Martin proposed in 1966 that humanity’s expansion out of Africa into Eurasia, and then into Australia and the Americas led to the extinction of most of the very large terrestrial animals (“megafauna”). The large animals were easy to kill because they had no prior experience with two legged hunters. Hunters feasted and multiplied until the easy prey in a local area was all killed off within a generation or two as humans continued to multiply and expand into new territories — until entire species were exterminated. By its very nature the fossil record is sparse and little evidence of an actual killing spree has been found, but in most of the areas humans colonized out of Africa there was a healthy variety of megafauna before there was evidence of human habitation. And once evidence of human habitation appears in the record there is no more evidence for megafauna, suggesting that large animals were hunted into extinction within a few decades of their first encounters with our distant ancestors.

Martin published his seminal paper while I was doing preparatory studies at Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville before starting my PhD in evolutionary biology at Harvard. The debate continued throughout my time at Harvard as evidence accumulated and was discussed. Martin’s North American paper was published in 1973 as I received my degree and began my teaching career. Some scientists still argue today that climate change was responsible for most of the extinctions and not humans. However, accurately dated fossils and evidence for human hunting reviewed in a 2015 research article by Surovell, show a good fit with Martin’s overkill hypothesis rather than close correspondence with the climate changes.

Once humans are present in the landscape and as our evolving technology grows ever more powerful, this presence affects all living things. Our expanding population and exponentially increasing consumption, control, and destruction of biological resources is progressively leading towards total exploitation or extermination of the natural biological resources we depend on for our own survival. Most extinctions – especially of little creatures – has resulted from human obliteration of their habitats through increasingly mechanized and fossil-fuel driven agriculture.

This post’s featured image shows what a few years of plowing did to the plains of SW Colorado during the ‘dust bowl’ droughts in the 1930’s. Simple farming managed to obliterate all life for as far as as the camera could see…. Actually, the tractor is plowing along the contour lines of the slope working to repair some of the damage so at farming could resume when the rains returned again. The Guardian article below did not include the photo I used, but describes the situation:

A replica of cave paintings in Chauvet cave, France, created around 36,000 years a go. More than 178 species of megafauna are estimated to have been driven to extinction betweeen 52,000 and 9,000 BC. Photo: Patrick Aventurier/Getty Images [from the article]

by Phoebe Weston, 25/11/2022 in the Guardian

Humans v nature: our long and destructive journey to the age of extinction

The story of the damage done to the world’s biodiversity is a tale of decline spanning thousands of years. Can the world seize its chance to change the narrative?

The story of the biodiversity crisis starts with a cold-case murder mystery that is tens of thousands of years old. When humans started spreading across the globe they discovered a world full of huge, mythical-sounding mammals called “megafauna”, but by the end of the Pleistocene, one by one, these large animals had disappeared. There is no smoking gun and evidence from ancient crime scenes is – unsurprisingly – patchy. But what investigators have learned suggests a prime suspect: humans.

Take the case of Genyornis, one of the world’s heaviest birds, which was more than 2 metres tall and weighed in excess of 200kg. It lived in Australia until, along with many other megafauna, it went extinct 50,000 years ago. In North America, giant beavers weighing the same as a fridge and an armadillo-like creature called a glyptodon, which was the size of a small car, existed until about 12,000 years ago, when they, too, went extinct. In all, more than 178 species of the world’s largest mammals are estimated to have been driven to extinction between 52,000 and 9,000BC.

For a long time, these extinctions were thought to be linked to natural changes in the environment – until 1966, when palaeontologist Paul S Martin put forward his controversial “overkill hypothesis” that humans were responsible for the extinctions of megafauna, destroying the romantic vision of early humans living in harmony with nature.

[T]oday … we are not just killing megafauna but destroying whole landscapes, often in just a few years. Farming is the primary driver of destruction and, of all [surviving] mammals on Earth, 96% are either livestock or humans. The UN estimates as many as one million plant and animal species are at risk of extinction.

Read the whole article….

We hit the accelerator on the downhill road to extinction with fossil fuel burning and habitat destruction

I came face-to-face with the catastrophe we humans are speeding towards some than six years ago as I was finishing a 10+ year book project on the coevolution of humans and our increasingly powerful technologies, “Application Holy Wars or a New Reformation“. This combines significant threads from my own life-history (paleontology, evolutionary biology, systems ecology, theory of knowledge, organizational theory, engineering & the exponential growth of computer technology), to explore and explain how our hominin ancestors (close cousins of the ancestors of chimpanzees and bonobos) have become so powerful that we are profoundly impacting our planet’s atmosphere, oceans, land surface, and biosphere.

As I focused on finishing the project by forecasting future trends in this coevolution, it became clear that further effort was largely pointless — because few if any people would be available to actually read the book. We face a population crash and social collapse in the global mass extinction event we are forcing on our only planet. I concluded that what time I had left would be far better spent trying to focus people’s and our leader’s attentions on the crisis that we are rushing towards in hopes of organizing actions to delay and perhaps avoid the oblivion.

Several of my works (plus much of the material I have collected on Climate Sentinel News) map out how the evolutionary road we are on leads to a catastrophe if we are unable to put on the brakes and turn off the road to extinction to find a way back up the hill before it is too late:

… Victor Anderson, a visiting professor in sustainability at Anglia Ruskin University, also argues biodiversity loss has been seen by some as a middle-class, trivial or even rightwing issue….. He says the issue continues to be difficult, not least because every aspect of industry is entwined with nature’s destruction. “I think tracing through the causes of biodiversity loss is a bit frightening, because it does lead you to the whole way in which the world economy operates.”

The story of the biodiversity crisis is a tale of decline spanning thousands of years. From hunting huge mammals to extinction to poisoning birdlife with pesticides, humans have treated nature as an inexhaustible resource for too long. Environmentalists, Indigenous peoples and scientists have been sounding the alarm about the biodiversity crisis for more than half a century, and yet no meaningful action has been taken. Much has already been lost, but there is still lots to play for.

Featured article

Collapsing biodiversity on its own is a shocking indicator that human impacts on the natural world are exterminating a vast array of other species through direct killing and habitat destruction. We are also making the entire planet less friendly to life in general through global warming, increasing the acidity of watercourses, lakes and oceans, and poisoning the environment many other ways.

Inevitably, the circle of biological collapse is folding back on humanity itself. The biosphere provides a vast array of “ecosystem services” (oxygen in the air, drinkable water, pollination of crops, soil renewal, fisheries, etc….) that we and our domesticated plants and animals depend on for life. Beyond that, our continued burning of fossil carbon is raising Earth’s surface temperature to levels that are lethal for many plants and animals. As I write this, much northern Australia faces extreme heatwave conditions in the mid 40s, that are easily lethal to unprotected humans and many other organisms:

Maximum temperatures are expected to be in the low to mid forties over inland NT and in the mid to high thirties across northern parts of the Top End, while overnight temperatures will be in the mid to high twenties. Severe to Extreme heatwave conditions are expected to increase in area and intensity and reach a peak early next week before beginning to ease. (http://www.bom.gov.au/nt/warnings/heatwave.shtml; see also Extreme heat health alert issued across Northern Territory). Similar warnings have also been issued for northern WA and QLD.

Such conditions can easily cause local extinctions to many species unable to migrate long distances to recolonize depleted areas. Many other organisms that depended in one way or another on the now extinct species will also go extinct because they are unable to replace that dependency – leading to a cascade of extinctions leading towards the ‘sterilized earth’ situation depicted in the featured image. As more and more extinctions occur along with increasingly frequent and widespread ecosystem collapses, Homo sapiens (our own species) will almost certainly be included in the casualties lost for all time. This conclusion is where ‘business as usual’ is driving towards.

I’m not the only one issuing this warning; Antonio Guterres – UN Chief said: We’re racing down the “highway to climate hell” and pointed to the only realistic way to avoid this end to our history on Earth: “Humanity has a choice: cooperate or perish,” Guterres told the UN COP27 summit. “It is either a Climate Solidarity Pact or a Collective Suicide Pact,” he added.

Avoiding this suicide won’t be easy given the vast sums of money fossil fuel and other self-serving special interests are willing to spend whatever it takes to protect their short-term interests in maximizing their extraction of burnable fossil fuels and minimizing their costs to stay in business. No thought seems to be given to the fact that this path may well doom them and everyone else to extinction within a few more decades of business as usual as our whole biosphere collapses in global mass extinction.

At least Australians and Victorians seem to be moving our governments in the right direction to begin mobilizing effective action to protect what is left of our natural environment and to stop and reverse global warming. In the last few months, we have proved we are able to elect governments that claim to be interested in doing this (even though they also still seem to be working to protect fossil fuel special interests).

What we must do now is to hold our elected parliamentarians feet to the fire to ensure that they actually take the climate emergency seriously and begin mobilizing to fight the fires.

We need to turn away from the the Apocalypse on the road to hothouse hell, and we won’t do this by continuing with business as usual!

In the same way I saw no point in finishing my book, it seems to have taken the clear thinking of Greta Thunberg, a 16 year-old girl who concluded school was pointless as long as humans continued their blind ‘business as usual’ rush towards extinction.

greta-act-as-if-the-house-was-on-fire
Listen to Greta’s speech live at the World Economic forum in Davos 2019. Except for her reliance on the IPCC’s overoptimistic emissions budget, everything she says is spot on that even she, as a child, can understand the alternatives and what has to happen.

In other words, Wake up! Smell the smoke! See the grimly frightful reality, and fight the fire that is burning up our only planet so we can give our offspring a hopeful future. This is the only issue that matters. Even the IPCC’s hyperconservative Sixth Assessment Report that looks at climate change’s global and regional impacts on ecosystems, biodiversity, and human communities makes it clear we are headed for an existential (“i.e., UN Newspeak for “extinction is likely”) climate catastrophe if we don’t stop the warming process.

In Greta’s words, “even a small child can understand [this]”. People hope for their children’s futures. She doesn’t want your hopium. She wants you to rationally panic enough to wake up, pay attention to reality, and fight the fire…. so our offspring can have some hope for their future.

And above all…. make sure that your elected parliamentarians take this situation very seriously indeed!

Let’s hope that we can stop global warming soon enough to leave them with a future where they can survive and flourish.

Featured Image: A farm tractor plows terraces after the contour of the land is determined on the southwestern plains of Colorado, March 25, 1938. Associated Press file photo from an August 1, 2017 Denver Post article by Patrick Traylor | [email protected], PHOTOS: The Dust Bowl in Colorado and the Great Plains, showing what was left of humanity’s work a few decades after trying to occupy the land.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Climate Council warns of wet future for Oz

Climate change, driven by burning fossil fuels, contributing to the Great Deluge, is consigning Australia to escalating climate disasters

Most of Australia’s East Coast from Cape York south to the Victorian border has had over a meter of rain by the end of October — with the rains still continuing. Some of these areas have had more than 2 meters, and a few more than 3 meters! Many rainfall records have been smashed in all of the eastern states: Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania; leading to almost constant flooding through the whole area that is continuing today. The latest reports from the BOM tell us the rains will continue into summer.

This is clearly a function of global warming. Physical laws dictate that as air temperatures rise, the air can carry more water vapor before it begins to condense as rain. Higher temperatures increase the rate of evaporation of water from soils and standing water – encouraging drought. Seemingly contradictory warmer air can precipitate more water in areas where it is raining. As the water condenses out as rain it also releases its ‘heat of fusion’ — and more heat is available to drive more extreme winds able to carry rain to high elevations before the rain freezes to fall back to Earth in devastating hail storms. Over larger areas there is also more energy available to fuel increasingly powerful cyclones.

Increased water means increased plant growth, increased temperature increases the rate at which soils and vegetation dry out — ensuring ever more catastrophic wildfires.

Ever more floods, fires and tempests cause increasing damage to infrastructure and people’s livelihoods and property until the catastrophes follow one another so closely that there are simply not physical or human resources left to repair the damage from one catastrophe before the next catastrophe causes even more damage. If the warming is not stopped this progression leads inevitably leads to social collapse (as we are already seeing in parts of the world), agricultural collapse (and famines as we are already beginning to see in Africa and the Middle East), ecological collapse (as we are already seeing in marine habitats with coral reef communities, kelp beds, sea grass meadows), and finally, population collapses when the land has literally been swept bare (areas in Africa are already on the edge of the cliff).

With the collapse of society, humans will quickly lose the scientific and engineering capabilities to fight further climate change already dialed into the system, such that there will be little hope of avoiding near-term global mass extinction. Continuing ‘business as usual’ support of the fossil fuel industry more-or-less ensures this grim outcome.

The Climate Council’s report, presented below, presents the facts and explains what they mean here in Australia, and some of the things we can to moderate and mitigate the expected damages. This is a good start, but I would be a silly liar if I said this was all we need to do in order to keep from utterly destroying our future.

Vote Climate One will continue to do whatever we can do to encourage serious government leadership and action to fight climate change. Please do what you can to pressure your representatives to counteract the self-serving special interests who consume our resources and return little or nothing from the super-profits they take overseas.

If we can help get climate savvy governments on the problems that really matter, they may be able to mobilize enough action so we can survive our accidental disruption of Earth’s Climate System so our kids and grandkids inherit a world they can live in….

Let’s hope that we can stop global warming soon enough to leave them with a future where they can survive and flourish

Featured Image: Rainfall and Flooding 2022 – Queensland to Tasmania. Current year data from 1 January to 2 November, sourced from Bureau of Meteorology, 2022. Graphic from Chapter 2, The Great Deluge: Climate Extremes in Action, in the featured article.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

We’re racing down “highway to climate hell” (UN Chief)

UN Chief, Antonio Guterres warns world leaders at COP 27 summit that nations must cooperate or face “collective suicide” from climate change.

Guterres pulled no punches in his opening address to heads of state and other national leaders attending the climate summit: “Humanity has a choice: cooperate or perish,” “It is either a Climate Solidarity Pact or a Collective Suicide Pact,” he added…. “We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot still on the accelerator,”

Chart showing a collection of indicators of human action and impact on the climate / AFP — from the article

by Laurent Thomet and Kelly Macnamara, 7/11/2022 in PhysOrg/Earth/Environment

World risks ‘collective suicide’, UN chief warns climate summit

The UN’s chief warned Monday that nations must cooperate or face “collective suicide” in the fight against climate change, at a summit where developing countries reeling from global warming demanded more action from rich polluters.

Nearly 100 heads of state and government are meeting for two days in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, facing calls to deepen emissions cuts and financially back developing countries already devastated by the effects of rising temperatures.

“Humanity has a choice: cooperate or perish,” Guterres told the UN COP27 summit.

Read the complete article….

In his own words:


These are no empty words — Guterres is reporting on what the best science available to us we must do to avoid the highway to climate hell

Supporting Guterres’s stark warnings is a vast array of physical evidence (i.e., satellite and direct measurements) on climate change and theoretical modeling. This shows beyond any reasonable doubt that humanity is indeed accelerating down the “highway to climate hell”. Some of this evidence was reviewed in David Spratt’s series of articles in Climate Code Red, beginning in January. Those articles and my contextual comments covering them discussed some of the tipping points we may be passing on our progress towards the point of no return where positive feedbacks in Earth’s climate system.

The featured image in the present post and in my seven posts on the Spratt series is from a 2018 article by Steffen et al. in the prestigious science journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), “Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene“. The image is a highway map showing the alternative roads: to “climate hell” and suicide, or to planetary stewardship and survival on a “Stablized Earth”.

The “Trajectories” paper identifies various tipping points in the climate system where intrinsic temperature-related positive feedbacks would continue driving global temperatures higher when global warming reached those points. If the warming is not stopped, a “planetary threshold” (i.e., ‘point of no return’) will soon be reached where the intrinsic feedbacks become so strong that nothing humans could plausibly do would stop global temperatures being pushed high enough to produce a “Hothouse Earth” and global mass extinction (including humans). Fig. 1 (below) and the featured image provide a map illustrating how humans might be able to divert the evolution of our climate away from the heat driven highway over the planetary threshold (point of no return) where societal collapse and extinction becomes more-or-less inevitable.

Fig. 1. A schematic illustration of possible future pathways of the climate against the background of the typical glacial–interglacial cycles (Lower Left). The interglacial state of the Earth System is at the top of the glacial–interglacial cycle, while the glacial state is at the bottom. Sea level follows temperature change relatively slowly through thermal expansion and the melting of glaciers and ice caps. The horizontal line in the middle of the figure represents the preindustrial temperature level, and the current position of the Earth System is shown by the small sphere on the red line close to the divergence between the Stabilized Earth and Hothouse Earth pathways. The proposed planetary threshold at ∼2 °C above the preindustrial level is also shown.

As Guterres said, if we act soon enough and with enough vigor to stop carbon emissions and do whatever else is necessary, we may be able to find the left turn off the highway to climate hell. By being good stewards of our limited resources we may be able to find our way along the less probable road to a “Stabilized Earth” where Earth’s climate can return to the kinds of tolerable conditions humanity evolved and flourished in. After 45 years of hiding from the problem and allowing it to become progressively worse, saving our species from the highway to hell will take global mobilization of a monumental effort.

Otherwise, If we continue with business as usual supporting our fossil fuel puppet masters, the highway to hell will inevitably take us over the cliff to our doom. We have a choice. “Cooperate or perish”.


What must we do?

In Australia our present governments are still at least partially in league with the fossil fuel industry. Science tells us that we must stop all carbon emissions as fast as we possibly can. Yet all of our governments continue various subsidies for the industry, allowing them to continue developing new projects, trying to extend the life of coal-fired generators and selling cheaply produced natural gas (even in the states where it is produced) for some of the world’s highest prices to make astronomical profits for mostly foreign owners. Most of these schemes were perpetrated under COALition governments, but today’s national and Victorian Labor governments continue to support them.

We need to work to ensure no major party/coalition can achieve government without Greens and/or climate friendly community independents in the balance of power. This was achieved by one vote in the Senate (the ACT’s David Pocock). In Victoria, Labor’s Dan Andrews enjoys a presently dictatorial lead over a Liberal/National Party coalition. If we are to achieve the kinds of sweeping climate goals we need, Community oriented climate activists are going to need to be elected in both COALition and Labor Party held seats. Vote Climate One’s Climate Lens is designed to help you select climate friendly and trustworthy candidates, and to use Victoria’s preferential voting scheme most effectively to give your selected candidates the best opportunities to win the seat.


Using our Climate Lens in Victoria

In Australia, states probably have more capacity for effective climate action than the national government. Victoria’s upcoming state election should be an election focused on the only issue that really matters, climate.

The Victorian ballot is far too complicated and is deliberately designed to keep all the power in the hands of whichever major party is in the majority.

Vote Climate One emerged to help people cope easily with complex ballots to focus on electing the kinds of candidates who we think can be trusted to legislate and lead effective climate action. We do this in two major ways: using our Climate Lens help you assess who is pro climate vs those who are not; and using Climate Sentinel News’s searchlight to highlight and explain the facts that show why climate change is so dangerous and climate action is so important.


Featured Image: Stability landscape showing the pathway of the Earth System out of the Holocene and thus, out of the glacial–interglacial limit cycle to its present position in the hotter Anthropocene. The fork in the road in Fig. 1 is shown here as the two divergent pathways of the Earth System in the future (broken arrows). Currently, the Earth System is on a Hothouse Earth pathway driven by human emissions of greenhouse gases and biosphere degradation toward a planetary threshold at ∼2 °C (horizontal broken line at 2 °C in Fig. 1), beyond which the system follows an essentially irreversible pathway driven by intrinsic biogeophysical feedbacks. The other pathway leads to Stabilized Earth, a pathway of Earth System stewardship guided by human-created feedbacks to a quasistable, human-maintained basin of attraction. “Stability” (vertical axis) is defined here as the inverse of the potential energy of the system. Systems in a highly stable state (deep valley) have low potential energy, and considerable energy is required to move them out of this stable state. Systems in an unstable state (top of a hill) have high potential energy, and they require only a little additional energy to push them off the hill and down toward a valley of lower potential energy.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Proof that humans caused rapid global warming

US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency summarizes evidence that humans are responsible for huge CO₂ emissions driving rapid global warming.

Rock solid evidence leaves no other explanations able to explain the observations. Humans caused the problem. Humans should be able to do something about it!

By Rebecca Lindsey, October 12, 2022 on Climate Q&A

How do we know the build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is caused by humans?

The most basic reason is that fossil fuels—the equivalent of millions of years of plant growth—are the only source of carbon dioxide large enough to raise atmospheric carbon dioxide amounts as high and as quickly as they have risen. The increase between the year 1800 and today is 70% larger than the increase that occurred when Earth climbed out of the last ice age between 17,500 and 11,500 years ago, and it occurred 100-200 times faster.

In addition, fossil fuels are the only source of carbon consistent with the isotopic fingerprint of the carbon present in today’s atmosphere. That analysis indicates it must be coming from terrestrial plant matter, and it must be very, very old. These and other lines of evidence leave no doubt that fossil fuels are the primary source of the carbon dioxide building up in Earth’s atmosphere.

Read the complete article….

Carbon dioxide over 800,000 years

The featured image is from the article above. It shows the variation in atmospheric CO2 concentrations over the last 800,000 years of time. The caption explains:

Global atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) in parts per million (ppm) for the past 800,000 years based on ice-core data (purple line) compared to 2021 concentration (dark purple dot). The peaks and valleys in the line track ice ages (low CO2) and warmer interglacials (higher CO2). Throughout that time, CO2 was never higher than 300 ppm (light purple dot, between 300,000 and 400,000 years ago). The increase over the last 60 years is 100 times faster than previous natural increases. [my emphasis] In fact, on the geologic time scale, the increase from the end of the last ice age to the present looks virtually instantaneous. Graph by NOAA Climate.gov based on data from Lüthi, et al., 2008, via NOAA NCEI Paleoclimatology Program.

Also from Climate Q&A, see two related articles: What evidence exists that Earth is warming and that humans are the main cause?; and Which emits more carbon dioxide: volcanoes or human activities?


Why is this important?

Many articles on Climate Sentinel News provide evidence that global temperatures are already reaching very dangerous thresholds. If we do not stop human generated/activated carbon emissions, positive feedbacks driven by the increasing temperatures will increase natural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions fast enough to keep temperatures rising even if we completely stop human GHG emissions (e.g., the warming process will run away – see Climate Crisis! The only issue that matters, Tripping down the road to Earth’s Hothouse Hell and Global Mass Extinction, and Apocalypse will come if global warming is not stopped.

If we do not stop global warming, there is probably enough carbon readily available for emissions in soil, permafrost, and biomass to drive temperatures high enough to exterminate most complex life on Earth (the 6th global mass extinction).

What can we do about it?

Because the climate crisis is a global threat for the whole of humanity, there is very little a single human can do in isolation to stop and turn around the warming process. Effective action has to be guided and managed at international, national and state levels before individual actions become effective. Consequently, the single most effective things individual people can do is to elect representatives to government who will respond actively and seriously to ensure that our governments are taking appropriate and effective actions.

Where governments are concerned, state governments probably have the most power to directly manage and control responses to climate change through their controls of environmental regulations, planning and permitting. In Australia, Victorians will have an opportunity around a month from now (on on 26 November 2022) to elect members for the next Parliament of Victoria. All 88 seats in the Legislative Assembly (lower house) and all 40 seats in the Legislative Council (upper house) will be up for election. The most important thing you can do to respond to the climate crisis is to elect upper and lower house representatives committed to effective action on the climate crisis.

Voting in Australia’s preferential voting system requires careful consideration if you care about the result.

Applying your decision to preferential voting on the ballot

If you believe that our present Victorian Labor government will govern in your interests rather than their corporate and union patrons in the fossil fuel and related industries, then go with the flow and don’t concern yourself with the likely consequences of going down their fossil fueled road towards runaway global warming. On the other hand, if you think it is better to work for a sustainable future where your children and their children can hope for long and happy lives, Vote Climate One can help you elect a government that will actively lead and support this work.

In general, we think a minority government led by Labor, where the balance of power is held by Greens and pro-climate community independents will give us the parliamentary representation that will give us the best outcome.

The trouble with party led majority governments is that the large parties are all disciplined to follow a party line. All too often super wealthy special interest patrons including non-citizen overseas entities strongly influence parties via large ‘donations’ and campaign support. Far better to give the last word on parliamentary decisions to MPs owing allegiance to the citizens who elected them than to people constrained to follow party disciplines..

Vote Climate One was formed for the specific purpose of studying and ranking all political parties and independent candidates on their policies and promises relating to climate and related environmental issues. What are they committed to do, and can you trust them to keep to their commitments. This is expressed in our Climate Lens Traffic Light Assessment process. (The results and their presentation are still being processed for the Victorian Election as this is being written).

Questionnaire used along with other kinds of evidence in our evaluation of candidates.

Our Climate Sentinel News provides access to factual evidence about the growing climate crisis to support your thinking; and our Traffic Light Voting System gives you easy to use factual evidence developed through our assessment process about where each candidate in your electorate ranks in relation to their commitment to prioritize action on the climate emergency. This should make it easier to decide your voting preferences before confronting a long ballot paper in the voting booth. We do the work so you can easily cope with Victoria’s complex party-based preferencing to plan your voting before you enter the booth.

We need to turn away from the the Apocalypse on the road to hothouse hell, and we won’t do this by continuing with business as usual!

It seems to have taken the clear thinking of Greta Thunberg, a 16 year-old girl who concluded school was pointless as long as humans continued their blind ‘business as usual’ rush towards extinction.

greta-act-as-if-the-house-was-on-fire
Listen to Greta’s speech live at the World Economic forum in Davos 2019. Except for her reliance on the IPCC’s overoptimistic emissions budget, everything she says is spot on that even she, as a child, can understand the alternatives and what has to happen.

In other words: Wake up! Smell the smoke! See the grimly frightful reality, and fight the fire that is burning up our only planet so we can give our offspring a hopeful future. This is the only issue that matters. Even the IPCC’s hyperconservative Sixth Assessment Report that looks at climate change’s global and regional impacts on ecosystems, biodiversity, and human communities makes it clear we are headed for an existential climate catastrophe if we don’t stop the warming process.

In Greta’s words, “even a small child can understand [this]”. People hope for their children’s futures. She doesn’t want your hopium. She wants you to rationally panic enough to wake up, pay attention to reality, and fight the fire…. so our offspring can have some hope for their future. As individuals, our most effective fire axe is to elect the right people to government who can lead and coordinate the fire fight.

Let’s hope that we can stop global warming soon enough to leave them with a future where they can survive and flourish
Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Hurricane damage: Not Florida… Canada!

Global warming gives extreme weather more energy to play with. Unless global warming is stopped and reversed, economies will begin collapsing.

More areas will suffer more extreme damage more frequently, effecting more people…. Until economies can no longer repair the damage from the last catastrophe before the next catastrophe strikes, and begin to collapse into anarchy and chaos…. The same extremes will also begin collapsing whole natural and agricultural ecosystems, eventually leading to mass extinction as the process accelerates.

For example:

Structures and debris float near the shore in the aftermath of ex Hurricane Fiona in Rose Blanche, Newfoundland, on September 25. (John Morris / Reuters / via the Atlantic)

By Alan Taylor, 26/09/2022 in The Atlantic

Photos: The Aftermath of Hurricane Fiona in Eastern Canada

After causing heavy damage across parts of the Caribbean and Bermuda last week, Hurricane Fiona moved north toward Eastern Canada, making landfall this weekend as a post-tropical cyclone. The downgraded storm still packed heavy rain and winds, gusting up to 110 mph, driving storm surges and knocking down trees and power lines. Hundreds of thousands remain without power as emergency crews and utility workers work to clear debris and rebuild lines. Below is a collection of recent images from Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland.

For all the pictures, see the complete article….

After striking Puerto Rico and wiping out the entire electrical distribution network for the population of 3 million people on the island, Fiona sideswiped Bermuda, then its storm clouds smashed through the Canadian Maritime Provinces, and ended up as a pool of hot air and rain that melted a record lot of ice in southern Greenland:

With continued global warming these catastrophes can only get worse — as demonstrated last week by Category 3 Hurricane Ian that smashed through Cuba, Florida, and North Carolina, killing at least 125 people as confirmed by body count. I’ve seen no statement of how many are still missing (many victims may have been washed away by the storm surges). This case will be discussed in more detail in another article under preparation.

…And then there is the continuing deluge in eastern Australia, where every river in NSW west of the Dividing Range is in flood as I write this.

THESE OBSERVATIONS ARE IMPORTANT!

Stopping and reversing global warming is the only issue that really matters

There is a vast array of scientific and observational evidence showing that not only is the world growing ever warmer (thanks to the profligate burning of fossil carbon beginning with the Industrial Revolution), but that we have now warmed our planet enough that we are beginning to cross ‘tipping points’ for a number of positive feedback processes in the Earth System that will continue driving temperatures still higher even without further human intervention. Once positive feedback takes control of the thermostat, Earth’s temperatures will continue rising at an accelerating rate in a runaway global warming process until semi-stable ‘Hothouse Earth’ temperatures are reached. These temperatures will like be too hot and be reached too fast for large slowly reproducing organisms like humans to survive. The result will be our planet’s 6th global mass extinction event. At least two or three of the previous mass extinction events in our fossil record also seem to have been the result of runaway global warming.

Note: Straightforward laws of physics will produce this result unless humans can stop and reverse the process – and we are approaching a point of no return where no conceivable human intervention will be able to stop the feedback process before the fuel is exhausted or the system self-destructs.

Given that we are major users and producers of greenhouse gas emitting fossil fuels, we have to take the responsibility to do something about this….

We need to turn away from the the Apocalypse on the road to hothouse hell, and we won’t do this by continuing with business as usual!

It seems to have taken the clear thinking of Greta Thunberg, a 16 year-old girl who concluded school was pointless as long as humans continued their blind ‘business as usual’ rush towards extinction.

greta-act-as-if-the-house-was-on-fire
Listen to Greta’s speech live at the World Economic forum in Davos 2019. Except for her reliance on the IPCC’s overoptimistic emissions budget, everything she says is spot on that even she, as a child, can understand the alternatives and what has to happen.

In other words, wake up! smell the smoke! see the grimly frightful reality, and fight the fire that is burning up our only planet so we can give our offspring a hopeful future. This is the only issue that matters. Even the IPCC’s hyperconservative Sixth Assessment Report that looks at climate change’s global and regional impacts on ecosystems, biodiversity, and human communities makes it clear we are headed for an existential climate catastrophe if we don’t stop the warming process.

In Greta’s words, “even a small child can understand [this]”. People hope for their children’s futures. She doesn’t want your hopium. She wants you to rationally panic enough to wake up, pay attention to reality, and fight the fire…. so our offspring can have some hope for their future.

In our present situation where most of our governments are still supporting and even funding fossil fuel production and use, the most effective actions we can take as individuals is to change our governments to prioritize action on climate change above all other things. Nothing else matters if we have no future….

States are probably even more important than the Federal Government where climate action is concerned

States enable and regulate mining and production of fossil fuels, and many of the important sources of emissions. Planning, industrial, rural, public safety and others are all primarily state concerns where political and administrative decisions may have considerable impact on regulating carbon emissions. Thus, if you are concerned to influence how your state acts in relation to the climate emergency, you need to elect representatives who will do this rather than bow down to wealthy patrons and vested interests who want to protect their short-term profits rather than humanity’s longer-term future.

Applying your decision to preferential voting on the ballot

If you believe that our present COALition government will govern in your interests rather than their patrons in the fossil fuel and related industries, then go with the flow and don’t concern yourself with the likely consequences of going down their fossil fueled road towards runaway global warming. On the other hand, if you think it is better to work for a sustainable future where your children and their children can hope for a happy future, Vote Climate One can help you elect a government that will actively lead and support this effort.

Our Climate Sentinel News provides access to factual evidence about the growing climate crisis to support your thinking, In the May Federal Election, our Traffic Light Voting System made it easy to use factual evidence about where each candidate in your electorate ranks in relation to their commitment to prioritize action on the climate emergency. We have modified this for the Victorian State Election in November.

Let’s hope that we can stop global warming soon enough to leave them with a future where they can survive and flourish

Featured image: Debris surrounds storm-damaged houses in Port aux Basques on September 26. # (John Morris / Reuters — from the featured article)

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Is the Queen’s funeral a requiem for humanity?

Queen Elizabeth II waits in the drawing room at Balmoral [two days before her death] to receive Liz Truss, the incoming prime minister. Photograph: Reuters (via the Guardian)

The event

Queen Elizabeth’s funeral marks the end of an era.

What era?… And, exactly what have we been celebrating?…

Australia, and indeed, seemingly most the rest of the world has spent the last two weeks mourning the passing of a 97 year old lady on the other side of the globe with a panoply of highly organized pomp and circumstances that I don’t think has been equaled anywhere/anytime on the planet in my lifetime of 83 years. It has clearly been a celebration of the end of an era….

As an evolutionary biologist I tend to take a broader and longer term view of world events than most people. I have spent my life considering the diversity of life and the roles humans play in it (having taught university courses in biogeography and evolutionary biology). Where time is concerned, I have studied the history of life from its origin on Earth more than 4.5 billion years ago, to humanity’s likely path into the future and its impact on the planetary biosphere.

I will argue here that recent funeral is for very much more than just the end of the life of a respected old lady. For most of us we are celebrating the life of Britain’s longest reigning monarch (and the second longest reigning monarch anywhere in the world). As far as monarchs go, Elizabeth was undoubtedly exemplary. For 75 years she provided the ceremonial focus for an endless list of Commonwealth, British, regional and even local events and milestones — and truly ‘died with her boots on’ in the service of the state, appointing and welcoming her 15the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom only two days before her death.

Beyond this, QE2 reigned over the waning days of the of the island nation that had given birth to the Industrial Revolution and for a century or so had dominated the entire planet. Thanks to the debilitation caused by World Wars and the recent disconnection from the broader world leading to Brexit, there is even increasing pressure in the minor kingdoms of the UK (e.g., Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales) to disunite from England. And then there is the Commonwealth, where a number of its nations are progressively distancing themselves from the monarchy.

The extent of the Funeral, is at least partially a funeral for the lost grandeur of an Empire that is diminishing like a leaking and shrinking balloon.

Unprecedented logistics and costs

However, personally, I could not but ponder the monumental cost of planning, organizing, and organizing the logistics for the two week long event. Around 500 of the heads of state, royal families and other international notables, together with thousands of British notables, will be catered for (and guarded) at the main events. And then there are the hundreds of thousands over several days willing to queue for up to 24 hours just to pass by the Coffin to pay their respects. Beyond this there are the uncountable numbers of people filling public spaces just to watch the funeral procession pass by.

The hearse carrying the coffin of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth is escorted along the Long Walk towards Windsor castle in the funeral procession, on the day of the state funeral and burial, in Windsor, Britain, Sept. 19, 2022. Paul Childs/Reuters via ABC News
Changing of the Guard at Windsor Castle, in Sussex.HippoPx / CC (Via British Heritage Travel)

And then there is the phenomenal cost of all the perishable ceremonial gear. For example, several hundred to more than a thousand bearskin hats were worn by the ceremonial guards. The skin of a single Canadian black bear, costing around £750, is required for each hat, with no hint being provided re the cost of turning the skin into a hat, and then the cost of clothing and training the troops for their essentially absurd ceremonial duties.

Consider the Crown Jewels (most are crystallized carbon) being displayed for the Funeral…

Of course, the value of these trappings and the ceremony is still trivial compared to that of the fraction of the Crown Jewels used in the Coronation Regalia: the Imperial State Crown, the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross, and the Sovereign’s Orb. These were placed on Elizabeth’s coffin for the Funeral to represent the ‘Crown’s’ once immense wealth and worldly power. For more details see Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.


Coronation portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, 2 June 1953. The Queen wears the Imperial State Crown, 1937 and holds the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross, 1661 and Sovereign’s Orb, 1661. Photo by Cecil Beaton, © Victoria & Albert Museum, London. (historicroyalpalaces.picturepark.com) via Tower of London.



Imperial State Crown of the United Kingdom. Source
G. Younghusband; C. Davenport (1919). The Crown Jewels of England. London: Cassell & Co. p. 6.) Photograph: Cyril Davenport (1848 – 1941). Retouched by Firebrace to incorporate 1937 modifications for George VI’s coronation.

The Imperial State Crown has never been formally appraised, but on its own it is estimated to have a value of £1-5 BILLION ! The jewels consist of:

  • 2,868 diamonds, including the the 317.4 carat Cullinan II diamond (third largest cut white diamond in the world)
  • 269 pearls, including four large hanging pearls that belonged to Queen Elizabeth I
  • 17 sapphires
  • 11 emeralds
  • four rubies


The Soverign’s Sceptre with Cross 1661, set with Cullinan I diamond. At 530.2 carets it is the largest colorless cut diamond in the world. Image: Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2022
The sceptre represents the sovereign’s temporal power and is associated with good governance. During the coronation service the new sovereign is first anointed with holy oil, then robed in coronation robes, and then invested with a number of ornaments symbolising the chivalric nature of kingship. These include the spurs, swords and armills, followed by the orb, a ring and then the sceptres. The sovereign is presented with two sceptres – this one surmounted by a cross and another surmounted by a dove (which represents the Holy Ghost). After the investiture, the sovereign is then crowned. © The Royal Trust.
https://luxurycolumnist.com/most-expensive-diamonds-in-the-world/

The Orb is a representation of the sovereign’s power, symbolising the Christian world, with its cross mounted on a globe, and the bands of jewels dividing it up into three section representing the three continents known in medieval times. During the coronation service the new sovereign is first anointed with holy oil, then robed in coronation robes, and then invested with a number of ornaments symbolising the chivalric nature of kingship. These include the spurs, swords and armills and then the Sovereign’s Orb, which is placed in the right hand of the monarch, before being placed on the altar.
The Sovereign’s Orb is formed from a hollow gold sphere, mounted with a zone and arc with clusters of emeralds, rubies and sapphires, surrounded by rose-cut diamonds, each in a champleve enamel mount, between single rows of pearls….
© The Royal Trust.

To me, the display of the Coronation Regalia on the coffin and the surrounding pomp and antique tradition as the Queen’s remains progressed from Westminster Abby to their place of internment in Windsor Castle look back to the past majesty of the British Imperial power that no longer exists — a power that enabled the Industrial Revolution ad consequently dominated and exploited more of Earth’s human and natural resources than any other nation has ever done.

Thus, we have spent the last two weeks commemorating a now passed world when humans (especially Anglophones) were taught and believed that they had a divine right to planetary dominion — and acted on that premise. We are now living with the consequences of that dominating world view.

Requiem for a once green and vibrant planet and a species that believed it had dominion over it

For nearly two weeks the only thing in our daily news (to the exclusion of almost anything else (except football finals) related to the Queen’s death, her funeral. her life and times, and her heirs. Clearly this was the only thing people needed to know and think about.

This is despite the well documented fact that our green Earth is progressing at an accelerating rate down the slippery slope of runaway global warming into a ‘hothouse’ state and the mass extinction of most complex life.

Personally, the fact that the inevitable death of a very old lady totally stops the news (and most action) on our biosphere’s progression towards mass death (including the likely end of our own species — probably within a century (which was, incidentally, the Queen’s lifespan) gives me little confidence that humans will act sufficiently stop our own progress towards oblivion. Thus, I could not help but see the funeral as a celebration of the accelerating decline and impending end of our past 3+ billion years of evolving life.

Very few large, long lived, and complex species of organisms will be able to adapt fast enough to cope with 10+ °C increases in average temperatures. They will either be killed directly as their genetically determined temperature maxima are exceeded, or will die-out as the ecosystems supporting them collapses through the death and extinction of keystone or foundation species providing ecological services other species require at some point in their individual life-cycles (corals and kelp are keystone species showing what happens when they die out).

I wonder how much progress towards stopping the progress of global warming would have been made if the same organizational and logistic effort spent on organizing and putting on the Funeral had been spent focusing on climate action to say nothing of what might be achieved by devoting Royalty’s immense wealth represented by their holdings in carbon crystals to developing practical methods for removing excess carbon from the atmosphere.

In a sense, the time and resources spent on the Funeral is delaying and possibly reducing the magnitude of responses that might effectively stop global warming in the short time remaining (assuming that it is still possible to stop).

Look Up! Don’t be distracted by pomp and circumstances

greta-act-as-if-the-house-was-on-fire
Listen to Greta’s speech live at the World Economic forum in Davos 2019. Except for her reliance on the IPCC’s overoptimistic emissions budget, everything she says is spot on that even she, as a child, can understand the alternatives and what has to happen.

In other words, Wake up! Smell the smoke! Look around and see the grimly frightful reality. Fight the fire that is burning up our only planet so we can give our offspring a hopeful future. This is the only issue that matters. Even the IPCC’s hyperconservative Sixth Assessment Report that looks at climate change’s global and regional impacts on ecosystems, biodiversity, and human communities makes it clear we are headed for an existential climate catastrophe if we don’t stop the warming process.

In Greta’s words, “even a small child can understand [this]”. People hope for their children’s futures. She doesn’t want your hopium. She wants you to rationally panic enough to wake up, pay attention to reality, and fight the fire…. so our offspring can have some hope for their future.

Because the climate emergency is such a major problem, there is no hope of surviving it without having government resources, leadership and intergovernmental cooperation. The fossil fuel magnates are still working very effectively to stop action that might be immediately harmful to their special interests (long term survival is beyond the range of their radars). They still buy the allegiances of the major parties to look out for their interests. For this reason your votes in national, state and local elections are still your most powerful tools for generating effective climate action.

Victorian voters: See VoteClimateOne’s Voting Guides for your electorates. The Victorian Guides will be posted on-line as soon as the Victorian Electoral Commission posts the final candidate lists. Our Victorian Guides will work much like our Federal Election Guides that provided how-to-vote information and more for each of the 151 federal electorates and the Senate. Assuming we can get some help from NSW groups, we’ll also produce information for the NSW State Election next year.


Featured Image: King Charles III follows behind the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II as it is carried out of Westminster Abbey. The hours-long ceremony reminded viewers of the power of silence. (WPA Pool / Getty Images) / via the LA Times (read the article)

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Victorian Election Reminder – Vote Climate One

The UN’s World Meteorological Organization warns us that we have done nothing to slow the global warming caused by our carbon emissions.

Message from the UN’s Secretary-General in the article

Geneva, 13 September 2022 (WMO) – Climate science is clear: we are heading in the wrong direction, according to a new multi-agency report coordinated by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which highlights the huge gap between aspirations and reality. Without much more ambitious action, the physical and socioeconomic impacts of climate change will be increasingly devastating, it warns.

The report, United in Science, shows that greenhouse gas concentrations continue to rise to record highs. Fossil fuel emission rates are now above pre-pandemic levels after a temporary drop due to lockdowns. The ambition of emissions reduction pledges for 2030 needs to be seven times higher to be in line with the 1.5 °C goal of the Paris Agreement….

Read the complete article….

If you are concerned about this visibly escalating climate emergency, but think there is nothing you can do about it, think again!

Major political parties primarily represent the vested interests who fund their candidates and election campaigns and work hard to protect their patrons. Many of these include rich fossil fuel and related industries (many based overseas) who would be harmed by climate action. As single individuals, we have been powerless to change the world against the political might of the ‘patrons’ and their government puppets…. But where your local communities and governments can coordinate together with a common goal to elect governments responsive to their citizens, we CAN change the world.

This has been demonstrated by the amazing exponential growth in the number of ‘community independent’ MPs working in our Federal Parliament since 2013: 1 house seat in 2013, 2 seats in 2016, 3 in 2019, and 10 + David Pocock in the Senate, following on from this year’s federal election that decimated the Liberal Party, giving a House majority to the Labor Party (a “Teal Tsunami).

However, even with Greens support, Labor is still one short of a majority in the Senate. This gives Pocock, a community independent, the deciding vote. As an immigrant rugby player from New Zealand, arguably he has become the most important senator in the Australian Parliament where climate action and integrity are concerned — selected, supported and endorsed by the Climate Change the local ACT community independently from the discipline of any political party.

Let David tell you in his own words:

ABC Australian Story, 13 Sept 2022
In the Australian Senate – 2 Aug 2022

As demonstrated, Labor’s climate climate change bill passed last week (8 Sept) with David Pocock’s ‘teal’ vote.


If you and your local community are unhappy with the way your sitting state or federal parliamentarians are representing your interests, the teal community independents can show you how to empower your communities to change that.

Work with your friends and neighbors to decide what you want from your representative(s) in government, select someone from your community to stand for election, support their campaign, and then vote them into office. My research as Editor of Climate Sentinel News, documents in detail how this works, and introduces the fabulous support network that the the successful teal community independents have developed to help empower other communities to become independent of the special interests supporting major party candidates:

Transforming Australia’s Parliament to act on climate (12 Sept 2022)

A rising tsunami of teal independents is transforming our democracy representing special interests to a participatory democracy of community representatives.

As noted in my many posts to Climate Sentinel News, it is becoming increasingly evident that humanity on our only planet faces near term extinction if we don’t manage to stop and reverse the global warming process we have started through our profligate burning of fossil fuels. Their emissions are preventing the Earth from radiating away excess solar energy. This imbalance between incoming and outgoing heat energy causes the world to grow warmer. Unfortunately the problem is global and can only be solved on a global scale through the cooperation of governments – which makes it unavoidably political.

The difficulty of solution is only compounded by the fact that the unimaginably rich global fossil fuel industry has been fighting for decades to disrupt and stop effective actions against global warming/climate change to protect their sources of income from the burning of fossil fuels causing the emissions. Even the supposedly most ‘democratic’ governments have been corrupted so they represent the patrons and special interests (mostly fossil fuel industry related) who support and fund major political parties. This influence is so strong that I have been deeply pessimistic that our governments would ever be able to work effectively to combat climate change and stop our progress along the runaway warming road to extinction.

However, the results of Australia’s May 21 Federal Election provide evidence that Australia has begun to transform its government into one truly representing the substantial majority of voters who want action on climate change to be prioritized above any other issue. Finally there is scope for some genuine optimism that our government(s) will actually work seriously to resolve the climate issues….

Read the complete article and see the embedded presentation…. or download the presentation directly: “The Teal Tsunami started in Indi

Our changes to Earth’s atmosphere are driving us down the slippery road to mass extinction in ‘Hothouse Earth

The featured image heading this post and the video below show the most recent and best documented evidence that nothing humans have done to date has significantly slowed the accelerating rise in global temperatures driving by rising greenhouse gas concentrations from or directly triggered by human activities. If nothing is actively done on a global scale to stop and reverse these increases, it is inevitable that within a few more decades that our planet will have become uninhabitable to humans and the other living resources we need for our survival.

The graphs above and the video here are pretty clear. Objective measures of our planetary atmosphere show that we have done nothing yet in the world that is changing this prediction.

The video from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Global Monitoring Laboratory shows the historical fluctuations in CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere we breathe over the last 800,000 years. It begins in 1979 when detailed daily tracking of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations began in a serious way across the globe using both physical sampling and measurements combined with satellite remote sensing. The inset map shows sampling locations, the fluctuating line plots CO2 concentrations by distance of the location south or north of the Equator and the graph shows annual fluctuations and the year-by-year rise in the average concentration for the year up through 2021.

When the present is reached, the x-axis of the graph is extended backwards in time from 1979 using a variety of measurement tools, mostly the CO2 concentration in bubbles of atmospheric gas trapped in bubbles of gas frozen into glacial ice from Antarctica. (The modern and ice-core measurements overlapped for long enough to demonstrate that the different sampling technologies were giving the same results.)

Until now I have been quite pessimistic that adequate action would ever be taken to reverse the trends shown on these graphs as our governments will continue greasing the downhill slide into the death and chaos of global mass extinction.

Community independents and Greens know how to change that, and have shown that they actually have the knowledge and ability to cancel remove the power of major political parties to block effective action.


Action is required! Simply voting for a Party may not ensure our survival (or may even speed our demise). Learn how to Vote Climate One!

I am now decidedly optimistic that humans have the knowledge and power to stop the ultimately lethal processes we have accidentally triggered in our profligate burning of Earth’s carbon resources. All it takes is a willingness for communities to be come fully involved in their own interests in avoiding the extinction of their families and heritage.

If you don’t think a major party you have voted for in the past truly represents your interests (rather than those of their immensely wealthy patrons — who may not even be Australian), Vote Climate One will show you how to maximize the chances that your vote will help to elect someone who will actually represent your community interests. See our Vote Climate One page on Voting Guides. At the moment this reflects the past Federal Election, but it will give the idea of the kind of analysis and information we will provide for the Victorian state election in November. The Victorian State Election guide will not be finalized before Sunday Nov.13th when the Victorian Electoral Commission releases the final list of candidates for each electorate. Prepolling starts on Monday Nov. 14th. We should have draft versions of the Victorian guides on-line around the beginning of November.

If you want to maximize the chances that your vote will actually count towards electing a government that will prioritize acting on climate first, we’ll do the work to make it easy for you to vote effectively.


greta-act-as-if-the-house-was-on-fire
Listen to Greta’s speech live at the World Economic forum in Davos 2019. Except for her reliance on the IPCC’s overoptimistic emissions budget, everything she says is spot on that even she, as a child, can understand the alternatives and what has to happen.

In other words, before you cast your ballot: Wake up! Smell the smoke! See the grimly frightful reality; and fight the fire that is burning up our only planet so we can give our offspring a hopeful future. This is the only issue that matters. Even the IPCC’s hyperconservative Sixth Assessment Report that looks at climate change’s global and regional impacts on ecosystems, biodiversity, and human communities makes it clear we are headed for an existential climate catastrophe if we don’t stop the warming process. To do this our governments must accept the reality, and work effectively to plan and coordinate the necessary mobilization and action. YOUR VOTE IN THE VICTORIAN ELECTION CAN HELP ENSURE THAT THIS HAPPENS: Vote Climate One in November!


Featured Image: Temperature data – Berkeley Earth; CO2 data – NOAA Global Monitoring Lab Trends in CO2; Trends in CH4; Trends in N2O

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Why is the Queen’s death more newsworthy than the rapidly approaching death of our own species?

An editorial in today’s Guardian Opinion, asks this question — without finding a sensible answer. I ask, “Is this another case of Don’t Look Up?”

By Euan Ritchie, 16/09/2022 in the Guardian

Why did the Queen’s death receive saturation media coverage while the future of the Earth goes largely ignored?

Just one day after the Queen’s death, another deeply sobering study related to the dangers of exceeding 1.5C of global warming was published.

The death of Queen Elizabeth II continues to reverberate globally. The ensuing media frenzy, rabid and ravenous at times, has been quite something to behold. I cannot think of another event or issue that’s received even remotely a similar amount of attention in recent times.

I am not here to argue about the merit and contributions of the Queen and the royal family though, nor a long overdue transition to an Australian republic, or the far too often overlooked, disregarded and darker history and confronting issues, including maintenance of power structures and the ongoing damage and ravages of state-sanctioned colonialism. That is not my place nor area of expertise, and I genuinely want to extend my sincere condolences to all who are saddened and suffering, whatever their reason, and whatever cultural background, political and personal persuasion they may have.

Read the complete article…..

The questions facing us are:

  1. Are we going to wallow in the wall-to-wall 24 hour media coverage surrounding the death of a monarch on the other side of our planet?

    This death of an old lady will likely have no more direct impact on us in Australia and our families and children than that the coins in our pockets will eventually have the head of a king facing left instead of the head of a queen facing right, and that we will replace “queen” with “king” in a few mantras, slogans and patriotic songs.

    Or,
  2. Are we going pay attention to the reality surrounding us; accept that we, our families, and our species are facing existential dangers from the ever worsening climate emergency accidentally started by the Industrial Revolution’s profligate burning of fossil fuels; and do something about it?

    If we fail to act strongly enough and soon enough to stop and reverse the process, we condemn all of our species and its heritage to potential future generations to almost certain death in Earth’s Hothouse Hell that it is currently warming towards.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Transforming Australia’s Parliament to act on climate

A rising tsunami of teal independents is transforming our democracy representing special interests to a participatory democracy of community representatives

As noted in my many posts to Climate Sentinel News, it is becoming increasingly evident that humanity on our only planet faces near term extinction if we don’t manage to stop and reverse the global warming process we have started through our profligate burning of fossil fuels. Their emissions are preventing the Earth from radiating away excess solar energy. This imbalance between incoming and outgoing heat energy causes the world to grow warmer. Unfortunately the problem is global and can only be solved on a global scale through the cooperation of governments – which makes it unavoidably political.

The difficulty of solution is only compounded by the fact that the unimaginably rich global fossil fuel industry has been fighting for decades to disrupt and stop effective actions against global warming/climate change to protect their sources of income from the burning of fossil fuels causing the emissions. Even the supposedly most ‘democratic’ governments have been corrupted so they represent the patrons and special interests (mostly fossil fuel industry related) who support and fund major political parties. This influence is so strong that I have been deeply pessimistic that our governments would ever be able to work effectively to combat climate change and stop our progress along the runaway warming road to extinction.

However, the results of Australia’s May 21 Federal Election provide evidence that Australia has begun to transform its government into one truly representing the substantial majority of voters who want action on climate change to be prioritized above any other issue. Finally there is scope for some genuine optimism that our government(s) will actually work seriously to resolve the climate issues.

I explain my reasons for optimism in the presentation I’m launching here, “The Teal Tsunami started in Indi“, as a place holder for Part 2 of my intended 4 part series, “Emergence and proliferation of pro-climate community voices“; and what I hope is an approachable summary of the whole ‘Teal Tsunami’ project the explores the transformation..

As suggested by this post’s featured image above, the presentation explores why the “Voice for Indi” community action group emerged in the Victorian federal electorate of Indi, and how it proceeded in the 2013 election to amaze everyone by replacing the hard line Liberal Party incumbent, Sophie Mirabella, with a climate friendly ‘community independent’, Cathy McGowan.

McGowan’s 2013 win was even more amazing considering that Mirabella had held the ‘safe’ Liberal seat since 2001 (4 terms).

In the presentation I observe that Cathy’s win in Indi represents the epicenter that triggered the spreading and growing ripples of political change I am calling the Teal Tsunami that are in the process of fundamentally transforming the nature of Australian democracy.

In addition to summarizing the facts of what happened in Indi, I also try to present an approachable summary of the four part Teal Tsunami project:

  • Part 1 – The rising tide of the teal tsunami
    Documents the rise of community independent seats in this century.
  • Part 2 – It started in Indi (published here)
    Details the roles of different kinds of knowledge in the emergence of the Voice for Indi community action group and its role in the election of their selected and endorsed candidate, Cathy McGowan
  • Part 3 – The transforming crescendo of Teal Voices spreads
    Follows the spread and evolution of the knowledge base assembled by Voice for Indi through subsequent elections
  • Part 4 – Theoretical foundations for the analysis
    Analyzes the Teal Tsunami against the theory of complex adaptive organizational systems developed by William Hall and Susu Nousala to test the theory and make some predictions about the future evolution of the tsunami

About the Presentation

How to get the most out of it

The presentation is published as an hypertext in PDF format. It was drafted using MS PowerPoint and converted to Adobe’s PDF format that preserved all of the internal and external linking capabilities used in the original draft. Scrolling up or down to read the document.

For readers unfamiliar with the hypertext concept, some instructions about how to use the links in the documenet may be useful:

  1. The document has a basically linear structure of numbered pages containing text and/or graphics.
  2. Links in the text are underlined.
    • Sometimes graphical objects also serve as links (these will generally be identified in the text)
  3. Moving the arrow cursor to either kind of these links will turn the cursor into a pointing finger and display the name of the link.
  4. Clicking the link will take you to another document – generally on the open web – that relates to the text whose link you clicked. How you return to the main document depends on the destination of the link.
    • For a page on the web, close that page
    • For a PDF document on the web, close the document, then close by blank web page that opened the document
  5. The numbered objects in the image on page 23 (Knowledge flows in the founding and early success of Voice 4 Indi) in the hypertext are linked to other pages that provide more detail on the object. To return to page 23, hold the [ALT] key on your keyboard and click [<]

Some background

I’m a population and evolutionary biologist by training, and worked for the last 17½ years of my professional career as an engineering knowledge management systems analyst and designer for Tenix Defence that was for part of the time Australia’s larges defence engineering contractor, as I solved its real-world problems in knowledge management, together with a trio of remarkable PhD students and other collaborators, I began studying how it worked as a complex living system and assembling this knowledge into a theoretical understanding of knowledge-based organizational systems (publications of this work are accessible via my personal web site Evolutionary Biology of Species and Organizations – see List of Publications and Essays and Sketches.

On ‘retiring’ in 2007 I began working full-time on a study of the coevolution of humans and our technologies I summarized in a series of presentations in 2015 under the title “Human Origins, Cognitive Technologies, and Futures“. The book itself was never finished because its chilling conclusion was that no-one would be left to read the book because the damages to Earth’s climate caused by our new technologies would soon doom us to near-term mass extinction.

From around 2015 it was clear that effective political action would be needed if we were to have any hope of solving the climate emergency, and I explored several approaches. In the 1980’s when my Australian wife and I returned to Australia, she worked several years for the Liberal Party’s Victorian Secretariat including being a member of one of the Party’s policy committees and we took part in a variety of Party activities as the Fraser and Hamer governments gave way to their ‘drier’ right-wing extremists. Both of us worked for Tenix from 1990 and were far too busy for politics.

However, in 2015 when the Liberal Party was clearly the problem I joined the Greens and my wife joined the Labor Party as active members hoping to change things. Where our local branches were concerned we were both welcomed to participate in both branches, where it became clear for their various reasons that neither was going to be able to act effectively against climate change. Together with several progressive friends we then tried to establish a local Extinction Rebellion group to push for climate action until it became clear that the organization lacked the know-how for making the required political changes. Several of us (along with others) then formed Vote Climate One to see if we could facilitate electing the right people to change the existing parties from within towards effective climate action.

In following and reading the ‘news’ for our Climate Sentinel News it has become apparent that Voice for Indi has assembled and is actively propagating the necessary know-how to revolutionize our political system so that members of our local communities concerned to fight climate change are able to transform our Parliament from a ‘democracy’ of the special interests to one in which community members can actually participate in the democracy so it represents their needs and wants rather than the special interests, many of whom are not even people or citizens of the country.

Voices for Indi is already broadcasting its know-how via the Community Independents Project, but this needs to be advertised even more widely to all of Australia and the world, as I am hoping to do via this publication.

Any help my readers can offer to further circulate the work will be greatly appreciated. I am also open to any comments or suggestions readers may wish to make via this post, or other avenues.

The featured image is of Slide 23 from my presentation “The Teal Tsunami started in Indi”, introduced by this post. The diagram is a map of the flows of knowledge surrounding the emergence of Voice for Indi. This small community action group comprising 12 people determined what the citizens of the electoral district of Indi wanted from its MP in Federal Parliament. When the Voice determined that their sitting member wasn’t concerned to achieve these results, they selected, campaigned for, and elected their own candidate — replacing the 4 term incumbent candidate from the dominant Liberal Party in one of the ‘safest’ Liberal seats in the country. The map is used to explain how this was done.

No comments to show.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.