So THIS happened–a group of earnest committed young people went to Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office to ask her to sign on for the ‘Green New Deal‘ program being pushed by progressive Democrats like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders (technically not a Democrat, but Progressives will take you if you’re warm). Things went badly. Someone took some video, and in the viewing, Feinstein doesn’t… come across like someone who’s speaking to future voters or even the children of current voters. Reminds me of an article I wrote recently where I said the leadership all knew that we’re facing extinction in a very near term. Feinstein’s statement that IT’S NOT GOING TO GET TURNED AROUND IN TEN YEARS (she’s referring to global warming) is certainly an interesting tell…
One of the reasons I’ve signed on to the Extinction Rebellion campaign here in NY is a quest for transparency. I think we all sort of understand we’re facing calamity. And XR’s first demand (in the US and the UK) is simple transparency. All you jackass Congresscreatures and MP’s–Tell us what you really know instead of pretending we have 81 years left before the ca-ca hits the oscillating device. That seems a reasonable demand to make of one’s government. You’d think so, right?
The Government must tell the truth about the climate and wider ecological emergency, reverse inconsistent policies and work alongside the media to communicate with citizens.
Simple, right? And Feinstein told the Sunrise kids a terribly inconvenient truth about the future. Oh well, she was just being cranky. Surely we have more than ten years to…. Oh.
Which leads me to a discussion about Global Dimming aka Aerosol Effect. The issue is whether we can really turn off the fossil fuel monster and make everything go back to ‘normal’. This has become something of an issue for Extinction Rebellion, and it’s problematic insofar as motivation. If you’re fighting to save the planet, and the peer reviewed science is that leaving the oil and gas burning will doom us BUT turning them off will also doom us, that’s a …predicament.
The bad news is still the bad news, but the issue is now called the MCPHERSON PARADOX, named after the one and only Guy McPherson, a man who’s been warning of this disaster for the better part of nearly two decades. The name for the phenomenon slid into the Internets a few weeks ago courtesy of ‘Tim Bob’, someone who’s been working with the good doctor. The issue is simple.
A) if we don’t stop burning fossil fuels and cut out the CO2 going into the atmosphere, runaway greenhouse will kill us;
B) if we DO stop burning fossil fuels, particulate will stop going into the atmosphere and reflecting sunlight back into outer space. Once it goes away, temperatures will go up at 1.3 C in a matter of weeks, which will push us over the 3 C temperature limit.
And that’s where we are at the moment. Maybe we all owe Senator Feinstein a debt of gratitude for being the one who let slip the most inconvenient truth of the human epoch. I’d personally rather someone else had been the one to give us the news. But the Paradox’ namesake, Dr. Guy McPherson, is the one who conveyed the message. He has dubbed this condition (or a writer named ‘Tim Bob’ has done it, it’s not clear.)
Here is the five minute version.
And here’s a longer YouTube overview, courtesy of Tim Bob, who I do not know. This has lots of fun graphics and cut-scenes in it. They don’t make the message any smoother, but it’s more interesting to watch.
I’m not here to tell you that we should all abandon any attempt to fix the climate damage we’ve done. I don’t think anything will work at this point, but I don’t want to be sitting in a rocking chair as my oxygen (actually, the planet’s oxygen) runs out saying to myself ‘gee, maybe that Paul Beckwith idea about blowing up the Sahara with small nukes… we shoulda tried that…’ Even if the action is futile, isn’t that kinda the modus operandi of Natural selection? Try a dumb thing a few million times and it doesn’t work until it does.
So anyway, giving credit where it’s due. It’s probably more worthwhile than having Strigiphilus garylarsoni (a chewing louse that feeds on owls) named after you, as is the fate of cartoonist Gary Larson.
UPDATE: VIMEO HAS REMOVED THE BBC DOCUMENTARY. It has been moved here: