Non-Binary Climate Concerns

Fake debate of whether we are causing climate change or not reduced public discussion to partisan divisiveness. The binary approach — climate is or is not being changed by industrial activities — is a dangerous distraction. Admitting that climate change is real is not the goal; it is barely a first step. Scaling back everything, toward a gentler impact on the planet, is a minimal step for mitigation. The categories presented here oversimplify but are a step toward seeing complexities. This map is not the territory.
— Mark Robinowitz, September 2019
two page pdf version in color

two types of climate change denial

1. climate and peak denial: blaming environmentalists for fossil energy decline

The five stages of Peak Acceptance:

Peak Denial and Plausible Deniability

Peak Blame: Pique and Scapegoating

Peak Bargaining: techno-fixes and the promised land after oil

Peak Trauma Social Disaster (PTSD)

Peak Acceptance: Nature is abundant and finite

The Republican Party is the epicenter of denial that human caused climate change is happening. A potential antidote could be energy literacy — awareness that fossil fuels are finite and depleting.

Climate denial is partly rooted in the fact that most people like the benefits of fossil fuels, including unprecedented transport of ourselves, moving stuff all over the world (including foods out of season), indoor heating in cold climates, high tech communication, advanced medicine, and other concentrated energy dependent activities. These are easier done with fossil fuels than with "renewables" that can be local (dams), intermittent (solar and wind), or hard to scale up (biomass). The difficulty of replacing fossil fuels doesn't mean they aren't changing the climate.

Climate deniers sometimes feed off the phenomenon of climate activists who warn that we face catastrophe but recommend changing light bulbs, buying new cars, carbon credit schemes will fix the problems.  The contrast between the severity of the threats and the meek responses causes cognitive dissonance.

We are approaching the cliff of energy descent, temporarily postponed by fracking, tar sands, offshore drilling and other extreme extraction. As conventional oil and gas continue their decline and the fracking bubble subsides we will enter the era of permanent shortages, which could trigger energy rationing. These consequences may be intensely unpopular. Mitigating the likely backlash will probably require practical responses more than protest of energy companies. Societies unable to meet basic needs devolve into authoritarianism — Germany after the Great Depression is a sobering example.

2. governments quietly consider climate & peak a permanent state of emergency

in public
they disbelieve or downplay climate concerns

in private
they plan for collapse

Homeland Insecurity:
covert preparation for climate chaos
resource depletion societal collapse

Climate movements are calling for governments to declare "climate emergency." These demands fail to recognize that elites have been preparing for disaster, but not in compassionate ways.

In private, governments, corporate leaders, militaries consider climate chaos, peak everything and other aspects of ecological overshoot to be a permanent state of emergency. The US military and CIA have studied the implications for decades: resource wars and refugee migrations.

One example: the civil war in Syria had many causes, including extreme drought that disrupted food production and Syria's domestic peak oil which reduced governmental budgets that paid for social programs. These stresses worsened existing problems.

Climate, peak, overconsumption and overpopulation threaten every aspect of industrialized societies, including growth based fiat money and food supplies. The billionaire class and governments encourage distractions and division while building leaky lifeboats for themselves. We could have converted militarism to global cooperation decades ago but ignored the warnings. Brace for impact and help your neighbors.

recommended reads:

Peak Fascism: Peak Energy, Climate Chaos, Civil Liberties

Pentagon bracing for public dissent over climate and energy shocks: NSA Prism is motivated in part by fears that environmentally-linked disasters could spur anti-government activism
by Nafeez Ahmed
, Friday 14 June 2013

climate change is real: three views

1. techno-fixes: electric cars, carbon credits, nuclear powered green growth

The Democratic Party admits climate change is real and wants a techno-fix approach to power more "green growth." Voluntarily scaling back the American Way of Life (AWOL) is not considered.

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez says the "Green New Deal" should consider new nuclear power reactors. Gov. Inslee, briefly the "climate" candidate for President, also wants more nukes. Data For Progress (working with and Sunrise Movement) says nuclear is "clean" even though there is no way to detoxify nuclear waste. Radioactive decay can take much longer than CO2 to subside.

Democrats promote electric cars while pushing plans for a trillion dollars worth of expanded highways. Making electric cars and building roads requires fossil fuels and mineral ores. Redirecting road efforts to public transit and trains gets only token mention. Relocalizing production and living locally would prevent pollution.

Just because someone says they are concerned about climate does not mean they are telling the truth.

Most official "climate plans" include carbon offsets and credits to supposedly achieve carbon neutrality. Here are three resources that refute this greenwashing:

"Cheat Neutral" (hilarious parody)

"The Story of Cap and Trade"

"FutureScenarios: "How Communities Can Adapt to Peak Oil & Climate Change" by David Holmgren, permaculture co-originator:

"proposals to cap carbon emissions annually, and allowing them to be traded, rely on the rights to pollute being scarce relative to the availability of the fuel. Actual scarcity of fuel may make such schemes irrelevant."

2. "100% solar & wind instead of fossil fuels" great goal, ignores limits to growth

Grassroots Democrats and most environmental groups want "100% solar and wind" instead of fossil fuels. They claim this is a political choice that could be achieved with protests, elections, lawsuits, investments. The reason we use fossil fuels is not corporate greed. Fossil fuels are more concentrated than living on our solar budget, with a much greater Energy Return on Energy Invested (EROEI) than the alternatives.

The goal of "decarbonization by 2050" is a sly way to hint that fossil fuels will be mostly depleted by then. We will use much less whether we want to or not.

The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently warned we have 12 years to fix the climate, which ignored the 1990 UN Environmental Program warning that the 1990s were the decade of decision and Al Gore's 2006 warning we had a decade.

Climate movement leaders urge a "World War II" mobilization to address the countless challenges. I appreciate the intention but also like Albert Einstein's caution that a problem cannot be solved by the mindset that created it.

World War II gave birth to the USA Military Industrial Intelligence Congressional Financial Media University Entertainment Complex, including "three letter agencies" that are extrajudicial additions to government. The Manhattan Project during World War II invented atomic bombs. Its legacy includes nuclear waste and our nuked democracy — not a good role model for living without toxic, depleting fossil fuels.

Mitigating climate chaos would require unprecedented cooperation and radical honesty.

3. climate chaos and peaked everything are part of interconnected crises
beyond limits to growth: fossil fuels, minerals, fresh water, forests, fish, food

Climate and peak are interconnected crises that cannot be addressed isolated from the others. Each makes the other harder to solve.

Focus on climate while ignoring peak enabled official greenwashing and the backlash of climate denial.

Focus on peak while ignoring climate led to unconventional extraction (fracking, tar sands), nuclear power, GMO corn ethanol and other toxic practices.

If we combined climate concerns with the math of fossil fuel depletion and density, we might better understand the crises. Seeking to sustain the unsustainable makes it less likely we will avert the worst case scenarios. A solar powered society could be ecological and fairer, powering a smaller, steady state economy — not endless growth on an abundant, round, finite planet.

I have used solar panels since 1990 — they are great but can't replace our "current" consumption.

Our challenge is not whether to phase out fossil fuels, but how we can adapt to inevitable energy depletion with minimal social chaos.

Peaked Energy & Climate Chaos
Peak Money: a permanent change