User Tools

Site Tools


This is an old revision of the document!



Climate Crisis

Fred-Jamail_ExistentialThreat.pdf Dahr Jamail | Climate Disruption Could Pose “Existential Threat” by 2050 Detailed documentary summary of all the impending disasters as of Oct. 2017 (5 pages). WikiPaper: RG-CataWikiTHEN

FRED - Fleming_Fixing the Sky.docx - Fleming, Fixing the Sky: The Checkered History of Weather and Climate Control (book excerpts - 2 pp.) - “For several centuries now, planners, politicians, scientists, and soldiers have proposed schemes for the purposeful manipulation of weather and climate, usually for commercial or military purposes. Their stories have tragic, comedic, and heroic aspects. Control of weather and climate is a perennial issue rooted in hubris and tragedy; it is a pathological issue, illustrating what can go wrong in science; and it is a pressing public policy issue with widespread social implications.”

RG- “The smoke and fires this summer were a wake-up call about how quickly things can change in the natural environment and how large the stakes are. But is this devastating summer just the beginning of much worse things to come? And if this is the harbinger of the future, what will this mean for the health of humans and ecosystems?”

Food Crisis

Hunziker_EcologicalCollapse.docx A recent landmark study that investigated alarming loss of insects is leaving scientists dumbfounded, deeply troubled, potentially the biggest-ever existential threat, risking ecosystem collapse too soon for comfort. In contrast to global warming, this may be much more imminently dangerous across-the-board to terrestrial life. An enormous loss of insect population, almost decimation in some parts of the world, threatens the life-giving structure of the ecosystem. This is a deadly serious problem!

RG- THE FOOD CRISIS - based on Holt-Gimenez-Food Crisis to Food Sovereignty.pdf Abstract: “The current global food crisis—decades in the making—is a crushing indictment against capitalist agriculture and the corporate monopolies that dominate the world’s food systems. The role of the industrial agrifood complex in creating the crisis (through the monopolization of input industries, industrial farming, processing, and retailing) and the self-serving neoliberal solutions proposed by the world’s multilateral institutions and leading industrial countries are being met with skepticism, disillusion, and indifference by a general public more concerned with the global economic downturn than with the food crisis. Neoliberal retrenchment has met growing resistance by those most affected by the crisis—the world’s smallholder farmers.”

FRED - Moore-Food and Negative Value.docx - Jason W. Moore, Capitalism in the Web of Life, excerpts from ch. 10 - “RoundUp Ready crops are not protecting yield so well, either. “Superweeds,” especially but not only in GMO soy, have evolved to survive the onslaught of the famed herbicide. 161 These superweeds stand in for a much more radical shift—the transition from surplus value to negative-value—that we explore in the next section. What became clear, by the late 2000s, was that the agro-biotech expansion was actively limiting the space for a new agricultural revolution. The superweeds’ dramatic, if still-regional, negative impact on labor productivity points towards a broader set of forces undermining neoliberalism’s Cheap Food regime.”

Monsanto Weed Killer Divides Farmers.pdf

FRED - Seymour_Oceans of Acid.docx - Richard Seymour, “Oceans of Acid” - “Ocean acidification has been established in study after study, with serious and wide-ranging consequences. Here, for the perplexed, or anyone who would simply wants to begin their seasonal depression a little early this year, is what is happening. We release about 38.2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. A quarter of that is dissolved into the oceans, thus dampening capitalogenic climate change. But the chemical reactions that produces are lethal for marine life. This life, as it happens, produces most of the oxygen that we breathe. It was oceanic cells that oxidised the atmosphere in the first place. And it is responsible for at least half of all 'primary production' on the planet – that is, the synthesis of organic compounds using energy from the sun.”

FRED - NYTimes-OliveOil.docx - How Climate Change Is Playing Havoc With Olive Oil (and Farmers) - “Gone are the days when you could count on the mild “mezze stagioni,” or half-seasons, that olives rely on before and after the heat. Gone, too, is the cycle you could count on: one year good, next year not good. Harvests have been bad three of the last five years, subject to what Vito Martielli, an analyst with Rabobank, based in Utrecht, the Netherlands, called weather-related “shocks.” And with growing demand, wholesale prices have gone up. No one will go hungry if there’s not enough olive oil on the market. But the impact of climate change on such a hardy and high-end product is a measure of how global warming is beginning to challenge how we grow food.“

Nuclear Threats

BULLETIN OF ATOMIC SCIENTISTS - The lowest point for the Doomsday Clock was 1953, when the clock was set to 2 minutes until midnight after the U.S. and the Soviet Union began testing hydrogen bombs. In the years after, the clock’s time has fluctuated from 17 minutes in 1991 to 3 minutes in 2016.[14] Rise of nationalism, United States President Donald Trump's comments over nuclear weapons, the threat of a renewed arms race between the U.S. and Russia, and the expressed disbelief in the scientific consensus over climate change by the Trump Administration.[5][22][23][24][25] This is the first use of a fraction in the time, and the Clock's closest approach to midnight since 1953.

Wikipedia - Health in Belarus and Ukraine has shown disturbing trends following the Chernobyl disaster. In Belarus, incidence of congenital defects had risen by 40% within six years of the accident, to the point that it became the principal cause of infant mortality.[159]:52[unreliable medical source?] There was a substantial increase in digestive, circulatory, nervous, respiratory and endocrine diseases and cancers, correlated with areas of high radioactive contamination, and in one especially contaminated district of Belarus, 95% of children were in 2005 reported to have at least one chronic illness.[157]:129, 199[better source needed] The Ukrainian Ministry of Health estimated in 1993 that roughly 70% of its population were unwell, with large increases in respiratory, blood and nervous system diseases.[115]:27[unreliable medical source?] By the year 2000, the number of Ukrainians claiming to be radiation 'sufferers' (poterpili) and receiving state benefits had jumped to 3.5 million, or 5% of the population. Many of these are populations resettled from contaminated zones, or former or current Chernobyl plant workers…Poor or inaccessible statistics has meant that causal connections are very difficult to make in both Belarus and Ukraine. It has been observed that Belarus in particular actively suppresses or ignores health-related research…Under Soviet rule, the extent of radiation injury was systematically covered up.[citation needed] Most cases of acute radiation sickness (ARS) were disguised as ‘Vegetovascular dystonia’ (VvD), a Soviet classification for a type of panic disorder with possible symptoms including heart palpitations, sweating, tremors, nausea, hypotension or hypertension, neurosis, spasms and seizures: symptoms which resemble the neurological effects of ARS.

(weapons and powerplants) wikipedia - “On 5 July 2012, the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission (NAIIC) found that the causes of the accident had been foreseeable, and that the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), had failed to meet basic safety requirements such as risk assessment, preparing for containing collateral damage, and developing evacuation plans. On 12 October 2012, TEPCO admitted for the first time that it had failed to take necessary measures for fear of inviting lawsuits or protests against its nuclear plants….In 2014 Japan enacted the State Secrecy Law. The Fukushima incident falls under this law and, as a “state secret”, independent investigations and reports are forbidden by law.




RG- A century ago, in October 2017, journalist Dahr Jamail sadly observed: “The Earth is unraveling due to human-forced warming. We've changed the composition of the atmosphere, and are acidifying the oceans. The cryosphere is melting before our very eyes, and the seas are rising. Global wildlife populations have decreased nearly 60 percent since just the 1970s, and the current extinction rate of species is 1,000 times the normal background rate. Functional coral reefs could be completely gone by 2050, and oceans could be completely free of fish by 2048 due to anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD), overfishing, pollution and habitat loss. And there is nothing to indicate that governments around the globe are doing anything remotely serious enough to mitigate ACD impacts, in order to prevent the worst-case scenarios from unfolding.That there will be a massive die-off of humans seems inevitable, and the extinction of our species is very much a possibility. This is terrifying, heartbreaking, enraging information to take in.”

Indeed, ACD was progressing dramatically and abruptly. In 2017 Hurricane Harvey led to the single largest rain event in US history, which was then followed in short order by Hurricane Irma, the most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricane ever recorded by satellites. In Canada, rapidly thawing permafrost was already releasing massive amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere which fuels a positive feedback loop of ACD: The warming atmospherecauses the permafrost to thaw and release CO2, which warms the atmosphere further, and the cycle feeds on itself. (There is twice as much carbon locked up in the permafrost as there is in the atmosphere.

A paper from the Scripps Institute of Oceanography published in mid-September 2017, warned of a small but distinct possibility that abrupt ACD could pose an “existential threat” to the survival of humans by 2050. Scripps went on to propose two new classifications for ACD: catastrophic (meaning that the majority of humanity would struggle to adapt to the change) and existential (meaning that humanity would not be able to adapt to the change.)


It appeared that deforestation was having twice the negative impact on ACD as previously believed. Deforestation had two main negative impacts. First, the trees were burned and they immediately released their stored carbon into the atmosphere. Then, farms were created in their place, which went on torelease other greenhouse gasses like methane and nitrous oxide. Furthermore, without trees to act as a carbon sink, less carbon dioxide is being removed from the atmosphere. Meanwhile, tree-killing beetles were spreading much more quickly into northern US Forests. Southern pine beetles – one of the most aggressive tree-killing insects, which cause ecosystem harm and increase risk of forest fires – were moving northward as their ranges are expanding dramatically due to hotter temperatures.

Data from Nevada's Geodetic Lab showed that flooding from Hurricane Harvey in Houston pushed down the Earth's crust two centimeters. This was because the amount of water released from the storm weighed 275 trillion pounds.


In the watery realms, there were also significant developments. For the first time in history, in late August 2017, a tanker crossed the northern sea route without an icebreaker. A 300-meter long Russian commercial liquefied natural gas ship carried the gas from Norway to South Korea in just six and a half days, setting the record. The ongoing and increasing loss of the Arctic summer sea ice was impacting the Atlantic Ocean water circulation system, altering the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), a current that plays a major role in both regional and global climate systems. AMOC affects the climate of all of the countries on the Atlantic rim, especially those in Europe, but also has climate impacts far, far beyond those, including weather patterns around the entire globe.

Since a warmed atmosphere can hold more moisture, so rainstorms became deluges and epic flooding events was the planet’s response to human-forced warming. In August 2017, flooding in India, Bangladesh and Nepal killed at least 1,200 people and displaced millions. Monsoon rains in India were so intense, a building inMumbai collapsed from them, killing at least 21 people and trapping more than a dozen. Thirty-two million people were impacted by the flooding in India, while another 8.6 million in Bangladesh and 1.7 million in Nepal also suffered. Since 145 million people were living less than three feet above sea level, flooding and rapidly rising sea-levels soon created multiple generations of climate refugees.


The flip side of this was drought. This had social consequences, given that the extended bloody conflict in Syria has its roots in a multi-year drought that hit that country. (More examples needed) During the summer of 2017, massive wildfires, fueled by prolonged drought, extreme heat and high winds, spread across Spain and the US West and continued to burn well through the fall, moving so fast that it was impossible to run away from them. By early September, a wildfire in Oregon scorched the picturesque Columbia River Gorge and rained ash and burning embers across communities several miles away. At least 10,000 acres burned, sending hundreds of residents in the area to flee their homes. Heat and fire records were broken throughout the summer across the US and Canadian Wests.


To be sure, climate scientists had long been aware of the capitalist-generated, man-made causes of this growing climate chaos, but their findings got little respect. The U.S. government was in the hands of climate-change deniers, and the media consistantly refused to use the phrases “global warming” and “climate change” on the specious ground that they had become “politicised” (by the very people who denied their existence!). In the wake of the two major hurricanes that struck the US this season, while Harvey was still besiegingHouston with record rains, climate scientist Michael Mann told ThinkProgress: “The kind of stalled weather pattern that is drenching Houston is precisely the sort of pattern we expect because of climate change.” Mann had, earlier in 2017, co-authored a study that showed how ACD is changing atmospheric circulation, including the jet stream, in a way that causes an “increase in persistent weather extremes” during summers.

The two major hurricanes caused scientists to express concern publicly that this may become the new normal for the planet.”But historically unusual weather is no longer freakish,“ wrote Jonathan Watts in The Guardian”The floods that hit Houston last week were described as a once-in-500-years eventbecause records suggested there was only a 0.2% chance of such heavy rainfall. However, precedent isan increasingly unreliable guide in a changing climate. In the past three years, Texas has been hit by three 100- to 500-year events, according to local media.“ According to NASA data global temperatures were rising muchfaster over land than over oceans,. In other words, overall warming was speeding up everywhere, but particularly over land, where we humans happen to live. Temperatures over land were warming approximately twice as fast as those over water, and the disparity in the warming over land compared to the oceans was increasing rapidly.

Denial and Reality

Meanwhile, the Trump administration continued to work feverishly and consistently to scrub any mention of ACD from government departments and websites. NOTE add RG material from “Fake News” article.


Cities were the defining social and ecological phenomena of the twenty-first century: they housed the majority of humanity, they contributed the lion’s share of carbon to the atmosphere, and they were peculiarly vulnerable to climate chaos. By 2017 more than 50 percent of the world’s population were living within 120 miles of the sea; and it was estimated that this figure would soon reach 75 percent. In addition, urbanites all over the world were particularly vulnerable to deadly heat waves, whose intensity and frequency were increasing as a result of global warming, because of the “heat island” effect that makes urban areas hotter than their rural surroundings. For decades people had been migrating out of drought-prone areas in the developing world and into coastal cities that were prone to floods and cyclones. Anthropogenic climate disruption was dramatically altering the world’s cities, and that is where the effects of climate change were of most consequence.

As the Occupy Wall Street activists of 2011 tirelessly pointed out, the city had become a place of extreme economic and social inequality. It was also a site in which a variety of high-profile initiatives were undertaken to turn the city into a green metropolis. Yet inequality in the city continued to spiral. New York was the consummate example of the prototypical social form of the early 21st century: the “extreme city.”

In the words of Ashley Dawson, who coined the phrase back in 2017, “Extreme city refers to an urban space of stark economic inequality, the defining urban characteristic of our time, and one of the greatest threats to the sustainability of urban existence. How a city copes with stratifications of race, class, and gender (or how such inequalities are left to fester) has everything to do with how well it will weather the storms.”

As “once in a century” storms, floods and wildfires became commonplace, the predominant outlook on urbanization among the political and financial leaders remained surprisingly sunny, even utopian. Their “smart,” technologically-enhanced forms of urbanism was supposed to usher capitalism into a new era of “green” urban growth and produce a “city fix” for climate change. But these blithe predictions elided the glaring contradiction of capitalism’s destruction of nature, its material base.

Technology and planning were certainly needed to help adapt to the increasingclimate chaos, but under the social conditions of the period, these tools were mostly employed by elites to create architectures of apartheid and exclusionary zones of refuge.

Thus the movement for climate justice, which was built on anti-imperialist, antiracist, and feminist movements of the past, had necessarily to grow through solidarities forged in urban terrain. This phenomenon challenged the then-accepted notion that the city is the antithesis of “nature.” Not only were cities dependent upon nature, but they also structured increasingly chaotic natural world. Climate change unleashed the greatest havoc in cities, but cities also produced the most ferocious struggles against the inequalities of our urban age.

This was because under the class societies of the past, there was no such thing as a natural disaster: “In every phase and aspect of a disaster—causes, vulnerability, preparedness, results and response, and reconstruction—the contours of disaster and the difference between who lives and who dies is to a greater or lesser extent a social calculus.” [who said this???]

There was no better place to bear witness to these contradictions and shifts than New York City… How New York City attempted to mitigate and adapt to climate change—and also to respond to climate justice more broadly – set key precedents nationally and internationally.



catastrophes.1521206838.txt.gz · Last modified: 2018/03/16 09:27 by Richard Greeman