Power Up!

Written By: - Date published: 10:51 pm, January 19th, 2017 - 41 comments
Categories: climate change, global warming, International, political alternatives, science - Tags: , ,

Back in 2008, Andrew Simms and Dr Viki Johnston worked out that we had about 100 months before it was no longer ‘likely’ that global average surface temperature increases could be held below 2 degrees centigrade. That was 100 months ago.

Over that time, Andrew Simms has been writing a ‘Climate Change Diary’ for the Guardian, designed, as he says, to raise questions and monitor progress.

Yesterday, he wrote a piece reporting on the views of a number leading climate scientists and analysts he’d approached. Suffice to say, their feedback reflected a broad and bloody depressing monkey shit consensus on this mess we’re in. That aside, his piece, which really is worth taking the time to read, ended with a straight forward observation and a simple enough question.

With the amount of carbon burned by humans, we have now created a climate not experienced on Earth since the Pliocene era, 2m-5m years ago. We are daily rolling the climate dice with the odds stacked against us. But we are also clever, quick and innovative when we want to be. Now that we understand the game better, the question we face is whether we will choose to change it, fast and enough, so that we can all have better lives.

About that choice –  a “tangerine nazi rapeclown” (and climate change denier to boot) is about to become the most powerful politician in the world and  The Guardian, to mark the occasion “will spend the next 24 hours focusing on climate change happening right now, and what we can all do to help protect the planet.” Which seems appropriate.

Maybe it’ll be worth checking in from time to time.

And don’t get depressed. Get angry and demand change; make change happen. Or alternatively, choose to turn away and put off ’til tomorrow that which should never have been put off ’til today. Physics doesn’t care either way.

41 comments on “Power Up!”

  1. weka 1

    Nice move by the Guardian.

    A comment was made in OM today that now that Tr*mp is president the world will forget about CC. Like fuck. He doesn’t own the place, so let’s not hand the deniers any more power than we have to. And yep, get angry and make change.

    • Bill 1.1

      Just had a quick squiz at the Guardian. Looks like their doing reams of OMG! (“ominous signs for climate in Trump administration”), rather than “what we can all do”…and that wording has now been removed from the top of the page.

      I’d say they’ve well and truly dropped the fucking ball.

      • Pat 1.1.1

        perhaps the thinking is the softly softly approach aint working and its time for shock tactics?

        • Gosman

          Yeah because that has worked a treat in the past hasn’t it /sarc

          I have toi agree with Bill here. Much better to have ‘What we can do articles than the ‘Oh woe is us’ pieces.

          • Pat

            perhaps..except there are a raft of eminent climate scientists/campaigners that appear to have lent their gravitas to the campaign….have they dropped the ball as well?

            • Gosman

              I’d suggest they might be great on science but they aren’t very politically savvy. Banging on about the negatives will likely turn people off rather than lead to calls for change.

              • Pat

                does political savvy include doing the same thing expecting a different result?….believe Einstein had something to say about that

              • corokia

                “Banging on about the negatives”- care to enlighten us on the positives of fucking the climate

                • Gosman

                  How is banging on about how the environment is getting screwed helping your cause?

                  • weka

                    In the case of the Guardian, they’re not a charity, so if writing about CC is losing them readers I suspect they wouldn’t do it

                    Note to everyone else in this conversation, Gosman thinks that Climate Change is our cause not his. Beware the windup.

                • weka

                  I think it’s more case of what Bill was referring to – the Guardian doing too much focus on Tr*mp and how bad that is, rather than reporting on what is being done and can be done. I think that running page is changing a lot though, I didn’t see a lot of negative stuff on it when I looked.

                  • Bill

                    Maybe – just maybe the problem with the likes of the Guardian, is that many of those higher up within the organisation – the editors and subs – are pushing up at being within that 10% of people who need to make the most substantial change to their lifestyles if we’re going to make a serious move on 2 degrees.

                    So when they have their little meetings (as I believe The Guardian does) to decide what angle will be pursued on any given topic, their own prejudice, blindness or personal denial dictates that they will tend towards ‘the lightbulb and showerhead’ end of the spectrum with regards what can or can’t be done.

                    Outside of opinion pieces (say by Monbiot), I don’t think I’ve read anything in The Guardian indicating, that editorially, they’ve even come close to grasping the scale of change that’s necessary.

                    Indicatively, there have been reports enough, that just throw bio-energy carbon capture and storage into the mix as though its ‘arrival’ is nothing more than waiting for the next Apple OS upgrade.

                    Or then there’s the likes of the celebratory reporting that accompanied Paris for a day or two before reporting on it just completely disappeared – as though things had somehow been taken care of.

                    The Guardian, like much else and many others, seems locked in cultures and ways of thought; to award credence to institutional, cultural and economic norms, that preclude even contemplating the types of action that are required to be undertaken in order to avoid 2 degrees.

                    Constantly, the refrain seems to be ‘maybe this’ or ‘maybe that’ where the ‘this’ and the ‘that’ are beyond our control (climate sensitivity for example) or based entirely on wishful or magical thinking.

                    • Pat

                      “Just had a quick squiz at the Guardian. Looks like their doing reams of OMG! (“ominous signs for climate in Trump administration”), rather than “what we can all do”…and that wording has now been removed from the top of the page.

                      I’d say they’ve well and truly dropped the fucking ball.”


                      ‘The Guardian, like much else and many others, seems locked in cultures and ways of thought; to award credence to institutional, cultural and economic norms, that preclude even contemplating the types of action that are required to be undertaken in order to avoid 2 degrees.

                      Constantly, the refrain seems to be ‘maybe this’ or ‘maybe that’ where the ‘this’ and the ‘that’ are beyond our control (climate sensitivity for example) or based entirely on wishful or magical thinking.”

                      I think I can see the problem here….

      • weka 1.1.2

        Their entry page via Environment looks ok at the headline level (haven’t looked at the articles). One US article about resistance to Tr*mp’s denialism by working at the state level, 15 things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint, sea level rises of 6 – 9 metres in a new report, Scotland’s new targets, and a quiz on do you understand global warming?


        Your link doesn’t look too bad right now either, it’s focussing on Asia/Pacific, and there are a few OMG Tr*mp articles, but lots of other good stuff too, even a bit about the South Dunedin sea wall 🙂


  2. red-blooded 2

    Yes – it’s certainly going to be even harder with this appalling arsehole in the White House, but we can’t pull back from trying to address climate change. Here in NZ, that means not letting our government use their usual “not until everyone else goes first” argument. I can’t see English changing that line – so TBH, that means changing the government.

    BTW, perhaps The Guardian deserves a bit less scorn than many people on this site tend to dump on it when using “Guardian reading” as an insult..?

    • Adrian Thornton 2.1

      Sorry to comment negatively to you again red blooded, however I just can’t let this statement go unchallenged “The Guardian deserves a bit less scorn than many people on this site tend to dump on it”
      The Guardian deserves every bit of scorn heaped on it,and more.
      The Guardian has exposed itself to be the proverbial Trojan horse of the left.
      If their editorial stance in the UK and the US are to be taken at face value, one could only come to this conclusion…that they would rather have a right centre party in power, than anything resembling a progressive Left project.
      They have done more damage to the Left over the past twelve months than any right leaning media organization has done in the past decade, that they are the sworn enemy of the progressive socialist Left, is undebatable.

      • Gosman 2.1.1

        I do love it when people on the left go to war against so called splitters and backsliders.

        [you were warned not to do the snide, trolly comments. 2 month ban – weka]

  3. Gosman 3

    Richard Heinberg has been advocating an approach where middle class people bring on the collapse on purpose to enable the move to the post carbon world by combining together and reducing their consumption (which he thinks will be the catalyst for the current system to fall over). Why don’t a bunch of you lot go ahead and do that? I’d be fascinated to see the outcome.

    • Bill 3.1

      Who is this “you lot” that your sneering’s aimed at Gosman? Seeing as how I wrote the post, I guess I’m included.

      But I’m not middle class Gosman. Are you?

      Do you maybe fall into the 40% of people who spew 40% of our emissions?
      Or maybe you’re in the 10% who spew 50% of our emissions?

      As for ‘combining together’ and ‘reducing consumption’ – been there, seen that, done it. It works.

      What about you Gosman? Ever done anything besides letting that floppy cock in your head flap against the insides of your otherwise empty skull?

      • Gosman 3.1.1

        One thing that Richard Heinberg does is at least propose practical steps to take to his vision of a low carbon future. Instead of spending precious time and (carbon based) resources discussing it on here I thought it would be in your interest to actually start following some of his proposal. His idea around bringing on the collapse is for a mere 10% of the middle class to reduce consumption and direct their assets towards the new powered down future. Surely you can convince 10% of the middle class to do that.

        • Bill

          If the 10% were the top 10% of emitters, then we’d see a huge and almost instant drop in emissions…a reduction of about 30% if their life styles were brought in line with the average European.

          So Heinberg seems to have the numbers right, though his focus might be a bit soft. But seeing as how the studies that produced the numbers I’m referring to were only undertaken a couple of years back, Heinberg can be forgiven on that front.

          One last thing. Any more sneering or bullshit from you Gosman and I’m going to throw dice to determine the length of your ban.

          • Gosman

            That wasn’t his point. I’m surprised you aren’t aware of his suggestion since it was you who referenced him here.

            I’m actually quite interested in seeing alternatives in action. No sneering on my part.

            [Goodbye Gosman. You’re lying. You referenced … damn that was a close one! Had I not had to open a new window to double-check on the spelling of Heinberg’s name…So you’re not banned, but I’d suggest you tread very lightly from here on in, because I’ve got 5/8ths of sfa tolerance for b/s today] – Bill

            • Gosman

              My apologies, It was Weka who initially referenced Richard Heinberg in the last post. I think you should check some of his stuff out though as it makes interesting reading.

              [in the Powerdown post comments I linked to David Holmgren’s work on the strategy of the middle classes collapsing the global economy as a way of mitigating the worst of CC (he’s talking about them removing their investments rather than reducing consumption). I don’t know if Heinberg supports that or if he’s talking about something else. Gosman in the same comment thread said he thinks there is no crisis and that humans will muddle through, so it’s hard to know what to make of his comments here.

              Given the confusion he’s just caused and the amount of trolling he does, I suggest that we have a rule for Gosman, that *any time he refers to something like this he either puts up a direct link or he gets a ban. So Gosman, you now need to provide an exact link (or links) *and quotes, to what you are referring to and those links and quotes need to help other people understand what you are saying – weka]

              • Paul

                [Paul please stop dropping videos into conversations without providing some context or explanation of what you are wanting to say. You can leave general vids at the bottom of a thread, but it’s still better if you give a synopsis – weka]

              • Gosman

                My fault again. It was David Holmgren’s idea that Richard Heinberg was referencing. I got lost chasing links from Heinbergs website. Still the idea is a fascinating one regardless of whose it is (I think Heinberg supports the concept in priciple).


                • weka

                  You need to quote as well Gosman, because as far as I can see you have misrepresented Holmgren’s proposal.

                  • Gosman

                    How have I misrepresented his proposal? As for quoting, it is slightly difficult as it was specified in a PDF I downloaded to my phone

                    Edit: I have gone to the PDF from the link I posed and here is the relevant quote

                    “…I believe radical change in the behaviour of a relatively small proportion of the global middle class could precipitate such a crash. For example a 50% reduction of consumption and 50% conversion of assets into building household and local community resilience by say 10% of the population in affluent countries would show up as 5% reduction in demand in a system built on perpetual growth…”

                    • weka

                      Thanks Gosman, that’s all you have to do to clear things up. My understanding from his original proposal was that the middle classes pulling their investments out of the global economy was a critical part of it, not just reducing consumption which is how you were presenting it. So what ensued was a wild Gosman chase, which could instead have been an actual conversation about the actual thing.

                      I suggest you take more care in future (in any post), including providing links and explanations as you go. Moderator time is short, and patience is getting thin too.

                    • Gosman

                      It is a two pronged approach from what I gather as you suggest. However the practicalities of what he proposes is not entirely clear. The middle class can divest from all investments but unless they burn or hide cash they will have to spend it.

                    • weka

                      It’s been a long time since I read it, but from what I remember he was suggesting putting cash into land and resiliency tools and assets. I gave an example in the Powerdown conversation about well off people paying someone to garden for them and produce all their own food. A food forest, or well developed piece of land in sustainability and resiliency terms is both an asset in a CC world and security for when older. It’s about shifting away from ‘asset’ and ‘investment’ being money, and looking at what we really want (security mostly).

                    • Gosman

                      Ultimately it is suggesting people move away from living in an urban environment and go back to rural lifestyles. Funnily enough I would love to do that too just not in the way envisioned here. Unfortunately the capital to do this is beyond the reach of most people. It would become even worse if the capital value of urban property crashed so I’m still not sure how this move will work in practice. I go back to my original question though. Why don’t people here who agree with the concept of a ‘Powerdown’ actually do something about it?

                    • weka

                      I personally am doing something, and I see others on TS doing things too. I think you haven’t been paying attention.

                      Holmgren isn’t advocating back to the land, so you are mistaken if you think that is the natural extension of his idea. In fact he did a whole project on how to retro-fit the suburbs in Australia and NZ.

                      People can buy land together if they want rural.

                    • Gosman

                      That’s great. What is it exactly that you are doing then?

        • Red Hand

          Do it by example and improve your physical and mental well being. Some people will notice and be tempted to try it too. Join the trend Gos, you don’t have to be too open about if you’re shy or a bit scared. You can make a difference.

  4. Siobhan 4

    For those, like me, interested in the picture.

    “Follow the leaders,” Berlin, Germany, April 2011. Credit: Isaac Cordal

    “Politicians discussing global warming” — that’s what social media users have dubbed this tiny puddle sculpture by Spanish street artist Isaac Cordal.

    As it turns out, Cordal’s sculpture is actually called “electoral campaign” and it’s part of a larger street art installation called “Follow the leaders.” The tiny cement figures, arranged in bleak scenes of urban disintegration, represent the faceless businessmen who run our capitalist global order.

    “These pieces reflect our own decline,” says Cordal. “We live immersed in the collapse of a system that needs change.”


    • Bill 5.2

      I noticed the Guardian clock before but couldn’t figure why the supposed budget sits at 2 900 Gt (it seemed far too high…the IPCC synthesis report gave budgets for 2 degrees that were around the 1000 Gt + range ). I noticed that your second link runs on a budget of 940Gt (which seems about right) given that we pump about 30 Gt into the atmosphere every year and 2014 was 2 years ago..

      Regardless, both countdowns are about the same time wise (about 20 years), but assume no increase in the global rate of emissions…

      So definitely less than 20 years (and I’m still confused over that Guardian budget)

      • Pat 5.2.1

        the budget remaining in the Guardian clock is around 800 Gt….this statement from the article would appear incorrect….the word “remaining” should not be there

        “The total carbon budget remaining figure used is 2900 GtCO2-e (within a range of 2550 to 3150 depending on various factors). This is one estimate of the amount emissions need to stay under to limit total human-induced warming to less than 2C relative to the period 1861–1880 with a probability of >66%.”

        The 2900 Gt figure is total budget since 1870 as noted in the quoted IPCC report…
        Multi-model results show that limiting total human-induced warming to less than 2°C relative to the period 1861–1880 with a probability of >66%7 would require cumulative CO2 emissions from all anthropogenic sources since 1870 to remain below about 2900 GtCO2 (with a range of 2550 to 3150 GtCO2 depending on non-CO2 drivers). About 1900 GtCO28 had already been emitted by 2011. For additional context see Table 2.2. {2.2.5}”


        page 10

        probably used bot editing

        the lower estimate for 1.5C in the second clock is sobering

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