Monday, December 24, 2018

Peace on Earth



In these desperate, chaotic times of Trump's descent, I'm offering a moment of quiet respite so that we can briefly put down our burdens and regenerate in the intricate peace of Bach's music. This performance is an unusual, contemporary approach to the classic "Ave Maria".

For the moment, the less said about the regressive politics going on around us, as well as the ineffectualness of the global approaches to climate change, the better.

Hope for the future is a fragile thing, and its cultivation is the arrow pointing to a better world built by all of us.

"Although we are all born with intrinsic hope, it’s easy to forget. Because we usually focus on problems and difficulties, we can fail to appreciate the miracle of life and become blind to its potentials and possibilities. By concentrating on the negative, we don’t see the positive. By emphasizing what we lack and what we want, we ignore what we already have, and don’t consider what could be."

So this is a small opportunity to look over the view of the world ahead of us, and to ask of ourselves if we can sustain a vision of collaboration and abundant life; the emblematic female grace described by this hymn:

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and in the hour of our death.
Amen.

Update 12/24/18: Let’s pretend that She is inviting (insisting?) that we weave ourselves into the mystery of existence and give up the illusion of our separation.

Update 12/25/18: Lola Perrin's Climate Keys

Update 12/25/18:  The Key Point that has been missed however is that the 'Hemiola' also gives rise to φ (Phi) & thus the subtly breathtaking 'dominance' of the 'Feminine Principle' or σοφία (sophia or 'wisdom')

Update 12/25/18: Emerging from the 'Tao', is the 'feminine principle'

Update 12/25/18:  The derivation of Phi in the feminine principle

Update 12/26/18: Scientists shouldn’t bring emotion or family or humanity into their work... It’s unprofessional! It’s irrelevant! And, of course, it’s feminine.

Update 12/27/18: Science & Spirituality in a Changing World: David Bohm

Update 12/28/18:  Astrophysicist Janna Levin Reads Maya Angelou’s Stunning Humanist Poem That Flew to Space, Inspired by Carl Sagan

Monday, December 17, 2018

A Tenth Year - A Rainstorm



Los Angeles experienced a good storm last month, about two inches. But that was it. Nothing much in our forecast for December. Very much like the 2016 winter, in which California was still in drought, although that season eventually produced four inches above average later in the season. The Earth System Science Education Alliance has a page that shows how the precipitation and temperature changes have shifted over the last 100 years, with a warming trend as well as a much more variable precipitation profile that has a moving average of less rainfall.

Climate change has forced big changes in the way that water is used and conserved all over California. For example, at UC Santa Barbara, the use of recycled water for irrigation has drastically reduced potable water consumption. The campus utilizes treated water from Goleta Sanitary District and uses it for irrigation, rather than dumping it into the ocean. 90% of the campus landscape is irrigated with recycled water, which saves 19.5 million gallons of potable water annually. UCSB has also seen significant water use savings through efficiency improvements in the use of industrial water and restroom retrofits. UCSB is also exploring many other alternative ways to conserve the water that it gets from local rainfall, which is reliant upon the Lake Cachuma supply, rather than the State Water Project which imports water from the Bay Delta.

Compare these efforts to some of the residential areas in adjacent Montecito, which have in the past resorted to trucking in water to keep the massive lawns and plantings from dying due to the lack of rainfall in the area. However, the storm in January of this year damaged the Montecito water distribution, as well as destroyed much of the landscaping and some structures with the devastating mudflows. Much of the water supply infrastructure will need to be reconstructed, as well as establishing reliable new water supply going forward. This storm produced destructive mudflows because of the earlier Thomas Fire burn in 2017.  The recovery from the damage to the infrastructure will take most of 2018. This has led to a dialogue with neighboring Santa Barbara, and involves purchasing water from their desalination plant, which was reactivated in 2015. This plant currently provides about 30 percent of Santa Barbara's annual potable water demand since being started up again in 2017.

The complexity of climate change impacts is proving to be a major challenge all over the state, inasmuch as this major damage occurred in a wealthy area which will be able to recover from the extensive destruction that took place. It exemplifies the scale of damages that is starting to impact all of California's cities, as well as the expenses and logistics of preparing for a very dry future which is our new normal.

Update 12/17/18: Sierra Nevada snowpack on track to shrink up to 79% by the end of the century, new study finds

Update 12/18/18:  Experts say the state must take a new approach to managing water in the future.

Update 12/23/18: How do we cope with demands for water as we enter an era of scarcity?


Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Pedal to the Metal



It's now become urgent to put policies into place where they have the highest probability of reducing carbon emissions very rapidly, given that we are at the threshold of of irreversible climate change. Here's a review about a new book from veteran energy analyst Hal Harvey that simplifies decarbonization. Basically it boils down to implementing specific large impact strategies in the top 20 carbon-emitting countries.

As David Roberts says in his review:

The overall message is that climate policy doesn’t have to mean doing everything possible, everywhere possible. It’s mainly about applying a toolbox of 10 energy policies to four economic sectors in the 20 top-emitting countries, plus a bunch of carbon pricing and land-use reform. That will get us most of the way there, and it’s a tractable task.

Policymakers at every level — perhaps even some of those newly elected Democratic governors — will find the book a practical help. It tailors recommendations to different geographies and levels of economic development and gets into nitty-gritty design issues for each policy.

And it reminds them again and again: focus. There are about a dozen policies that work, but “there’s a fast fall-off after that dozen,” Harvey says. “There’s tons of things that sound good but just don’t make much of a difference.”



 It's up to the citizens of these countries to elect policymakers and government officials that will make these actions a priority, going up against the corporate positions of denial and minimization for their own profit. We are seeing movements building towards that kind of accountability, such as Plan B in the UK, which leads in the use of lawsuits to hold corporations accountable for their climate impact, and the Extinction Rebellion movement that is igniting across Europe.

Whether this wave of activism has an influence in the upcoming COP24 climate change dialogue in Katowice this December remains to be seen, but we're entering a critical period of time where the most effective actions undertaken by the largest emitters will have a measurable impact on this global threat to our existence.

Update 12/16/18: What Can We Do?

Update 1/23/19:  Fossil Fuels on Trial: Where the Major Climate Change Lawsuits Stand Today



Friday, November 23, 2018

US Climate Assessment



The U.S. Global Change Research Program is pleased to announce the release of two major reports:
 

Fourth National Climate Assessment (nca2018.globalchange.gov)

NCA4 Vol II, Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States, assesses a range of potential climate change-related impacts, with an aim to help decision makers better identify risks that could be avoided or reduced. The assessment follows Vol I, the Climate Science Special Report (CSSR), which was released in November 2017. Together, these reports meet the requirements of the Global Change Research Act, which mandates a quadrennial assessment of our understanding of global change and its impacts on the United States. NCA4 Vol II can be viewed on its interactive website at nca2018.globalchange.gov.

2nd State of the Carbon Cycle Report (carbon2018.globalchange.gov)

 

SOCCR2 represents an important technical contribution to USGCRP’s sustained assessment process. The report provides an overview of how human and natural processes are affecting the global and North American carbon cycle, emphasizing advances in the understanding of carbon cycle science and associated human dimensions. Read the report at carbon2018.globalchange.gov.


 U.S. Global Change Research Program
1800 G Street NW, Suite 9100
Washington, DC 20006

Update 11/23/18: Climate report says damages are 'intensifying across the country'

Update 11/24/18: U.S. Climate Report Warns of Damaged Environment and Shrinking Economy

Update 11/25/18: A Grave Climate Warning, Buried on Black Friday

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

A Reckoning



Bill McKibben has just published an article in the New Yorker: How Extreme Weather is Shrinking the Planet. With wildfires, heat waves and rising sea levels, large tracts of the earth are at risk of becoming uninhabitable. But the fossil-fuel industry continues its assault on the facts. However, the impacts of our changing climate have now hit home with a vengeance, and it's our collective responsibility to deal with its causes and the consequences of our civilization's activities on our planet.

With the Camp Fire in northern California two-thirds contained, the Woolsey Fire in southern California all but extinguished and a sky-cleansing rain, with possible flash floods forecast for Northern California today or tomorrow, Californians are now facing a grim reality: these staggering catastrophes are becoming routine. They've been dubbed the "new abnormal". By the century’s end, simultaneous disasters—three or more at once—could in fact be California’s norm, unless aggressive measures are taken, according to a major paper published this November in the journal Nature Climate Change.

California climate policies are currently shifting rapidly to address the impacts of climate change, as well as establishing carbon-neutral strategies as a result of these catastrophic events. These extremes are now occurring regularly, as well as the impact of a drier climate that reduces the availability of water in the state, which is also happening across the entire US southwest.

But the real work lies ahead in an immediate, aggressive reduction in the carbon dioxide emissions across the planet, in order to keep the temperature changes below the 1.5C threshold as negotiated via the UN Climate Change secretariat through the annual COP meetings. At the Global Climate Action Summit, which concluded in San Francisco this last September, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa said: “This Summit and its Call to Action make an important contribution towards achieving our collective goal: to keep global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius in line with the Paris Agreement. It will encourage governments worldwide to step up their actions, demonstrating the vital role that states and regions, cities, companies, investors, and civil society are playing to tackle climate change.”

This summit was a preparation for the upcoming COP24 that will be held in Katowice, Poland this year on December 2 - 14. At this time, more commitments from all countries and worldwide corporations will need to be made so that global actions can be undertaken which moves our civilization into a radically different mode of energy use, transportation and building construction. Our forests on all continents must be restored and allowed to expand into healthy ecosystems as part of the climate mitigation that will have to happen. The preparatory dialogue for this collective action is being supported by some of the major corporations, as well. They are prepared to participate in Katowice and implement the necessary actions according to the framework and goals outlined at COP24. A good example is Iberdrola, a leading renewable energy company that exemplifies the benefits of moving rapidly to a non-carbon based economy.

It will take an enormous, unprecedented effort by all countries and corporate entities to engage in immediate and very radical transformations of our economy and our way of living in concert with the natural environment. It's the biggest challenge that humanity has ever faced, and will reflect our collective ability to undertake actions that regenerate our planet and reconfigure our cities to reduce humanity's footprint in favor of natural processes.

Update 12/13/18: Many mega-projects simply aren’t worth the risk to investors, host nations, or the environment.

Update 12/16/18: Major companies like McKinsey are pursuing business in countries with little regard for human rights.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

A Systems Approach To It


The article,"Systems Thinking and How It Can Help Build a Sustainable World", makes an important point about looking at the bigger global climate picture and identifying all the parts of a problem in order to solve it:

"Rather than asking why one should think in systems, perhaps the more piercing question is: why has holistic thinking been stamped out of us again and again over time, most vigorously so during the modern industrial age? The simple answer is that power and control are not compatible with a well-educated citizenry that sees the big picture. Modern industrial civilization is built upon the mechanization and commodification of society and nature, with those at the top benefiting from the enormous outputs generated by the “cogs in the wheel” toiling at the bottom. If we become aware of this vast, complex machine and start to understand how it works, we might want to break or change it! We might want to create a different system in which all parts of society and nature can flourish, not just those in power."

This kind of a conversation must involve everyone who is affected by it. A dialogue about the Sustainable Development Goals has to be undertaken at a global level. "The important and widespread understanding that was reached at COP22 in Marrakech is that climate change needs to be addressed systemically and not with carbon-myopia...We are facing a planetary emergency at the species level and we do need all nations — and what’s more all people — of this Earth to unite in a shared vision to redesign the human impact on Earth from destruction to regeneration."

This problem of tackling climate change requires a multivalent, systems approach to its solution, not a linear one. The primary concern is how to tackle the carbon-to-zero issue in our energy systems and our land use approaches. A framework focused on worldwide decarbonization is a first, major step that relies on economic system changes and global agreement. Then there's the rest of it, which involves fundamental changes in our society, its economics, and our culture.

I would outline the systems approach as a multiple-front strategy that focuses on key parts of the big problem: human population, intelligent organization, technology, human expansion and the methodology of this expansion. One thing I've always advocated since completing my graduate architecture thesis in 1979 on an Orbiting Space Base is that extractive industries should be exiled to on-orbit and lunar industry operations because humans will never stop exploring and reaching out for resources. Same process the animal kingdom employs, but there are natural ecological balance mechanisms for that, and unfortunately we've managed to escape those with technology. Animal populations crash in natural environments repeatedly, that's part of how the systems work when a population gets out of whack, with its checks and balances on resources driven by planetary cycles. This also applies to human civilizations across history, as well.

Humans must commit to a simultaneous ecological footprint and population reduction, with the economics grounded in making environmental restoration the most profitable industry. In other words, impose our own "smart crash" that does the least amount of harm. And it's not like we don't know how to do that. (birth control, limits to growth, restore the environment) It's a fairly socialist approach, think Sweden, but that's just fine. I've been to Scandinavia and they're happier than we are. Here's my specific points:

Human Population

But how do you achieve this preservation of the common global resources with a population that has already exceeded earth's carrying capacity since 1980? An interview with Bill Ryerson, founder of the Population Media Center, outlines how groups of people can be taught through stories to change their behavior. These stories are entertainment, soap opera, and educational documentaries. What this could do is help populations of people become self-limiting by choice, and thus diminish the demands on ecosystems that use up all available resources and diminish the critical diversity of species that is necessary for functioning ecosystems.

The fiscal reality check that we're currently experiencing on a worldwide basis has its parallel in natural system collapse, which is something that can be averted by the development of a steady-state system that produces a livable environment without consuming the world's common resources. That's the tragedy of the commons. Everyone's self-interests ends up devouring more than the planet can bear.

Intelligent Organization

The idea that human habitation can be used as a tool to regenerate ecology is finally coming into its own after experimentation with projects all over the world. It's not a zero-sum game, it's a way of bringing together all the environmental and engineering factors together in a place such that it renews natural processes instead of destroying them. It takes a great deal of skill, knowledge and experience to work out the systems that result in the creation of place that interconnects all these factors. Many major corporate engineering, design and development firms are investing in think tanks to take this to the next level, such as Arup, a global design, planning and engineering firm.

Technology

The building demonstrates how closed loop systems developed by space-based technologies can be applied to structures on this planet to bring their energy and carbon impact down to zero. Ideas such as the structural exoskeleton, use of natural light and processes, as well as a "bare-bones" approach to materials use can reduce human habitation demands on ecosystems as well as assist in the restoration of the natural world.

The planets we imagined exploring turns out to be the one we're living on.

Human Expansion

What about using a salvage yard in low earth orbit? It could provide a low-earth orbit platform for recycling and materials supply for providing industry outside of the atmospheric envelope, as well as conserving the metals used in the satellite construction which are already very highly processed. This is the essence of sustainability. We don't burn our trash in the back yard any more, why keep doing it out in the outer biosphere? Here's the online presentation of my low earth orbit base concept which could be used to develop industry and establish a foothold outside of earth's deep gravity well for interplanetary robotic launches and lunar mining processes.

Systems Design for Expansion

Key to this concept is understanding that to achieve this vision, there must be some major on-orbit infrastructure to support construction, development and launch of these exploration initiatives. My 1979 thesis outlines this strategy in a Relevance Tree and shows how a Low Earth Orbit platform, working in concert with lunar mining and large vehicle production outside of earth's gravity well allows for effective use of labor and materials, as well as providing "many futures" rather than just one projection line (dotted).

Update 11/12/18: A good climate policy rises above politics.

Update 11/16/18: Industrial agriculture and extractive industries must cease and be transformed.

Update 1/17/19: This systemic crisis is complex and requires new approaches


Friday, November 9, 2018

Denial



The blaze that erupted in London's Grenfeld Tower in June of 2017, resulting in the utter destruction of the structure inasmuch as its steel framework remained standing, is under examination by the government as well as media sources. The search for blame for the inferno resulting from cheap exterior cladding has unearthed a disingenuous claim by the Daily Mail that environmental requirements were the cause of the faulty design, as cited by the Carbon Brief analysis published in The Guardian.

"On page eight is a full-page commentary from Ross Clark, sitting under the headline question: “So did an obsession with green targets lead to inferno?” Clark, who has published various climate sceptic articles and written a book attacking regulations he believes to be “strangling” the UK."

The 2012 planning documents cited by the Daily Mail – and studied by Carbon Brief – show that its reporting of their content to be highly selective and misleading, per the article. This amounts to another systematic attempt to deconstruct environmental regulations with the critique that they are onerous and lead to dangerous building structures. This kind of position could only be taken if one dismisses the facts of the matter, which are that the retrofit did not include fire sprinklers, and that a non-flammable exterior was available for an additional few thousand pounds. It's actually a result of willful disregard for life safety because of cost issues, not environmental issues.

In fact, the position of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) in their report on Grenfell is an emphasis on maintaining professional competency in the engineering profession with even more oversight of design and construction approaches in the building industry.

A documentary film by Jamie Roberts points directly at the impact of pro-business policies which have permitted these kinds of fires to continue to happen over the last half century:

"The Fires that Foretold Grenfell, a well-researched, powerful documentary, is essential viewing for anyone seeking to understand the causes of and background to the June 2017 Grenfell fire tragedy. It includes harrowing interviews with survivors of five fires across the UK over a span of 45 years, their families and firefighters.

It demonstrates that the inferno which claimed 72 lives was not an accident, but a social crime. It was the result of the pro-big business policies of successive governments which ignored the lessons of five tragic fires, resulting in many avoidable deaths."

This form of denial obviously needs to be thoroughly debunked before it becomes accepted as some kind of talking point, as it's clearly fueled by disinformation put out by the fossil fuel industry which supports people who say things like this. It is at the root of the obstruction of the necessary decarbonization of our built environment and energy production. Not only that, this kind of denial serves to confuse the issues and bury the facts in deliberate misinformation about physics and building construction.

For example, this fire is typical of what happens to steel structures that are fully engulfed in major fires; the building materials are consumed, but the steel frames remain intact. And yet another denial tries to construct an alternate reality about these kinds of structures in The 9/11 Commission Report and other reports by the NIST, which have been deconstructed by the 9/11 Consensus Panel, based upon further evidence obtained in many sources as well as accurate engineering analyses. This has been published in the book, 9/11 Unmasked, which points out that no other high rises have ever been structurally destroyed by fire. The Twin Towers came down at the speed of gravity on their footprints, which points straight at a demolition scenario in order to create a "Pearl Harbor" event.

As has been established extensively in the press, this event was used as a pretext for the Bush administration to instigate wars in the middle east on behalf of their Arab allies in order to procure further fossil fuel resources. Thus denial comes full circle as a tool in its deliberate destruction of human lives and our environment on an almost unimaginable scale of annihilation. That it may lead to the extinction of life on our planet by the end of this century is a responsibility that is shirked by the oil industry in its rapacious efforts to protect its profits.

Update 11/9/18: Bill McKibben - Up Against Big Oil in the Midterms

Update 11/14/18:  There is a huge fight by the fossil fuel industry against cheap renewables.

Update 11/24/18: Hunter Lovins - Capitalism v. Ecological Economics in a Hotter World

Update 12/9/18: Large coal holdings investments are held by some of the world’s largest pension funds

Update 3/2/19: Amazon, Google, and Microsoft are quietly helping Big Oil destroy the climate.

Update 10/8/19:  The money behind the climate denial movement

Update 4/3/20:  University of Alaska Fairbanks WTC 7 Final Report


Sunday, October 21, 2018

How Dry I Am



As of the year 2010, Lake Mead's water levels on the Colorado River had dropped to levels below that of the 1930's, threatening water supplies throughout the southwest. The New York Times covered this in an article that laid out the issues with the water supply for the entire region as a La Niña condition develops in the Pacific Ocean, meaning a long, dry spell.

Lake Mead, behind Hoover Dam, is downstream from Lake Powell, which is a reservoir built to back up Mead, and Diamond Valley Lake was also completed recently for emergency water storage. All of these are being drawn down, with Mead being the foremost indicator of the systemic loss of capacity.

Approaches to this situation include developing more water sources as well as implementing conservation measures. Dr. Jay Famiglietti, head of the UC Center for Hydrologic Modeling, and member of the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board, has made a presentation on water resource management during this deepening drought. He is also a former Senior Water Scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

As Dr. Famiglietti put it,“There are different ways to approach the problem.  There is the supply side and there is the demand side.  One of the reasons why I default to the demand side is that it’s cheap and it’s easier to get people on board.  On the supply side, our capacity to do sewage recycling is basically limited by our population, and while I think the San Diego plant is great, there are issues.  The issues are the ones that are well-known; it’s expensive, it’s energy intensive, and I don’t think we have a long-term solution for how to handle brines.  Think about the California Coast; if we add a desal plant every 20 kilometers, that’s an awful lot of discharge.  I haven’t seen any discussions about the impact of that, so until we have the answers to those questions, I think that we are quite safe and conservatively thinking about conserving before developing new supplies.”

In the 1-hour video above from May 5, 2016, Dr. Famiglietti presents our knowledge of California’s snowpack, soil moisture, stream flow, reservoir and groundwater levels, all of which are at near record lows. He discussed the efficacy of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014, as well as the future of water and food security in California and the United States.

Focusing on California, Famiglietti pointed out the glaring fact that we do not have enough water to do what we are doing. The drought is bad and it is not over, he reminded us. El Nino did not dig us out of our The major problem, the professor pointed out, is that California is draining its aquifers to feed the entire country and some of the world as well.

Of the 10 to 12 million total acre feet of water a year used by all Californians for all uses, state agriculture soaks up 80 percent. But California now loses 16 million acre feet of water a year. Thousands of wells are going dry. Our lakes and rivers shrivel. Simple math shows we are farther and farther behind. A graph on one slide had a line jiggling somewhat reassuringly up during wet winter seasons and down during summer seasons until about 2012. At that point, the line lost its upward thrusts and plunged down to 2016. Since ground water is not as apparent as rain, snow, rivers, and lakes, Famiglietti feels we have ignored its significance at our peril. Our aquifers are not refillable. At this point Famiglietti showed slides of the entire globe and its thirty-seven major aquifers, half of which are shrinking as well, especially through highly populated southeast Asian regions.

What can be done? Famiglietti’s answers posed drastic solutions. California must stop draining its aquifers to feed the rest of the nation. Agriculture will have to go elsewhere. Or, perhaps Californians will have to go elsewhere. The present water crisis will dictate massive change. One fortunate fact: half the world gains water while the other half loses it. Famiglietti believes that we may see huge water pipelines transporting the precious liquid. He believes that it is only fair: California sends you food, you send us water.

NASA has been mapping underground water reservoirs with its Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite, which has been operational since 2002. This gives us a picture of the state of the underground aquifers that have been tapped by agriculture. It's used to determine the extent of water resources and how much has been drawn down by pumping and extraction. Quite a lot, it turns out, and the aquifers in the western United States are becoming badly overdrafted. Dr. Famiglietti has been using these maps to point out the need for management of this groundwater depletion as part of an array of strategies to ensure adequate water supplies in the western United States.

A strategy will need to be developed very soon for managing the water deficit in our state, before the serious shortages start to kick in and create a virtual war between agriculture and the urban areas. This will play out in the Bay Delta Conservation Plan water projects. It will be the biggest impact of climate change in California alongside the ever-expanding forest fire season we're experiencing now.


Update 10/22/18: Saudi Arabia and China are among the countries that have turned to the United States and elsewhere for more water supplies.

Update 10/23/18: Israel’s Sea of Galilee and Dead Sea are dying.

Update 10/24/18:  Here’s Where the Post-Apocalyptic Water Wars Will Be Fought

Update 12/14/18: Why the world's water supply is shrinking.

Update 1/14/19: NASA is mapping changes in world’s water from climate change


Monday, October 8, 2018

Keep It Simple



The IPCC Special Report is here from the UN. It documents the immediate impacts on the environment that 1.5C will likely have. It warns that strong efforts would be required to prevent disastrous consequences from dangerous levels of climate change. This means that World War II was a cakewalk compared to this, all hands on deck. An analysis of the report: "The best time to start reducing emissions was 25 years ago. The second best time is today."

Johan Rockström, chief scientist at Conservation International speaks about it.“Climate change is occurring earlier and more rapidly than expected. Even at the current level of 1C warming, it is painful,” he told the Guardian. “This report is really important. It has a scientific robustness that shows 1.5C is not just a political concession. There is a growing recognition that 2C is dangerous.” In order to blunt the coming climate change at that level, it's necessary to abandon coal and other fossil fuels in the next decade or two.

Having said all that, there's immediate, large-magnitude things that can happen right away to drastically reduce emissions. Such as protecting, preserving and restoring our great forests. Such as elimination of fossil fuel subsidies by governments across the globe. Such as rapid technology advancement in wind and solar, along with the upgrading of the electrical grids and establishing many stand-alone power sources at its periphery. Transportation in all areas, such as auto, truck, rail, airlines, and especially port traffic from overseas, will need to become electrified and supplied with renewable fuels. These strategies are not difficult, and can be widely employed in all countries, which need to develop the revenue for this. Decarbonization also has possibilities in the future with the nascent carbon capture industry that's progressing now.

There are many other things that can be done by private industry and by municipalities that can contribute to the lowering of carbon emissions in the very near future. But we don't have much time, and we need to mobilize. All of us.

Update 10/8/18: Nobel Prizes are awarded and given to economists referencing ways to adapt growth to climate change.

Update 10/9/18: 2C is nowhere near safe from a climate impacts perspective; now it's 1.5C

Update 11/2/18: Absurd for society to kneel before the dictates of the marketplace and that its primacy should determine how you structure government.

Update 11/12/18: The IPCC report tells us that climate breakdown is inevitable if we continue with growth-based neo-liberal economics.

Update 12/17/18: A new IPCC report says we’re looking at climate catastrophe as early as 2040.

Update 1/14/19: Silent Spring - Why it’s time to think about human extinction  Dr David Suzuki on economic growth

Update 7/1/19:  Scientists are calling for an end to capitalism as we know it.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

A Letter from Gaia


 Oil Change International - California Hypocrisy

Last week, as leaders from across the world gathered for the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) in San Francisco, hundreds of people, with Indigenous and frontline leaders out front, took to the streets outside the convention center, marching right up to the entrance to demand real climate leadership, not half-measures.

It was fitting that the summit took place in California, a state that has done a lot to incentivize renewable energy, yet continues to also be a substantial oil and gas producer. While California’s Governor Brown talks a good game on climate change, he’s resisted any effort to take on the state’s oil and gas producers.

The rationale for tackling California’s oil and gas production couldn’t be more clear, and now with a new video that Climate Truth Org created with our partners at Oil Change International, the logic is plain to see for anyone with a minute to spare.

Inside the summit, elected officials, celebrities, and business leaders patted themselves on the back for their work on renewable energy programs and other efforts to reduce fossil fuel demand. But a critical half of the conversation was missing: Standing up to the fossil fuel industry to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

While the eyes of the world were on GCAS, we teamed up with our partners in the Brown’s Last Chance coalition to reframe the definition of what real climate leadership looks like. And we were successful! We made it clear: If decision makers like California’s Governor Jerry Brown aren’t working to keep fossil fuels in the ground, then they cannot consider themselves climate leaders.

If Governor Brown really wants to be the climate leader he claims to be, he must put California on a path of managed decline of fossil fuel production in the state. With just about 100 days left in office, this is Brown’s Last Chance! We know what’s necessary from our elected leaders like Gov. Brown: political courage, not more talk. We know that climate action that ignores people and gives Big Oil a pass is unacceptable.

Together, we’re going to keep making noise, keep making headlines, and keep changing the debate. With your continued support we’ll continue to make a real impact. 

Thanks,

David Turnbull
Sept. 22, 2018

Many environmentalists have been tracking the efforts by the Brown administration in California with respect to its climate change policies as well as the international cap-and-trade agreements put into place a decade ago, and have spotted the actions that failed to follow the talk. The fact that he's been relying on oil revenue to balance the state budget was no secret, and Brown replied to the criticism at the summit by saying "politics runs on money".

This kind of fossil fuel activism can reach to the federal level with highly focused actions and programs:

"The Paris Agreement was watered down at the behest of the Obama administration compared to a more rigorous treaty, with common base year and targets, recommended by the European Commission (Spash, 2016a). Obama made clear his commitment to protect American jobs over the environment and specifically over any need to address human induced climate change. In this logic, environmental policy is justified if it creates jobs and growth, which always come first despite the inevitable contradictions. Obama’s administration massively expanded domestic oil and gas exploration to make the USA the worlds largest oil exporter (Spash, 2016a: 70). Non-conventional oil has been part of this strategy, despite the world already having over 6 times the reserves it could possibly burn and still have a ‘likely chance’ of the 2°C target (Spash, 2016b). Obama boasted that under his administration enough oil and gas pipelines had been built to ‘encircle the Earth and then some’ (see full quotation in Spash, 2016a). He ignored the associated ecological and social harm, not least that to indigenous communities. In 2016, Native American protestors at Standing Rock opposing construction work on the Dakota Pipeline that, now operational, transports fracked oil, were brutally suppressed by the combined efforts of the construction corporation’s security forces, riot police and the national guard. All that was before the election of a climate denialist with personal investments in fossil fuels."

As an example of how this environmental policy action develops, here is the Climate Silence Case Study from ClimateTruth.org Action, which is a program of Oil Change USA, a nonprofit organization. It shows how it forced President Obama to address Federal responsibility for climate action policies.


Update 12/15/18: Big polluters get help from the state, renewing doubts about California’s climate goals.


Tuesday, September 18, 2018

California Climate Policies

This video from CalMatters looks at what happens when a state responsible for about 1 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases goes all-in to fight climate change. Leadership involves some missteps, too.


Can a nation, or indeed the world, bring its greenhouse gas emissions down to zero? An analysis of this goal will be issued on October 8, when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) publishes its Special Report on the 1.5ºC target.

Governments commissioned this report at the Paris Summit in 2015. The rationale was that until that point, scientific and technical analysis based on the 1.5ºC target was sparse; the agreed political target had always been 2ºC, and so this was where academics had focussed their attention. Since then, scientists, economists and the technical experts who map possible emissions reduction pathways for various industries have been getting to work – and the IPCC report will be the distillation of their work.

California isn't waiting to take action on this. In response to the state's Fourth Climate Change Assessment, Governor Brown was the principal organizer and reluctant star of the Global Climate Action Summit in September 13-15, a high-octane gathering of lawmakers, executives and scientists working to beat back global warming. But even as he sought to rally other politicians to the cause, Governor Brown’s conference underscored the limits of what politicians can do to avert the most catastrophic effects of climate change — even the politician who leads California, the wealthiest state in the country and the world’s fifth-largest economy.

Can California realistically do it? Nearly all of the remaining 44 percent of the state's electricity is currently generated by burning natural gas, and virtually none comes from coal. Going completely zero-carbon would require phasing out the state's natural gas power plants. The new law actually sets multiple targets rather than just one. It commits California to draw half its electricity from renewable sources by 2026, a share that would rise to 60 percent by 2030.

To take the next step, rather than mandating that all power be renewably sourced, state lawmakers established a 100 percent "zero-carbon" goal. They did not define this term, but it is understood as including wind and solar power, big hydropower plants, and other sources of electricity that do not generate carbon dioxide.

The timeline for these significant actions in California originate with the August release of its Fourth Climate Change Assessment document, which outlined the very extreme impacts that arise from carbon emissions even below the most-desired outcome of the agreed-to 1.5ºC temperature increase in the Paris Agreement of December 2015.

Sept. 14, 2018: With the Global Climate Action Summit underway in San Francisco, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) today announced its commitment to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 60 percent or more below 1990 levels.

Sept. 12, 2018: Governor Brown signed a package of climate-related bills. Among them were three bills supporting building decarbonization. AB 3232 directs the California Energy Commission to assess the potential for California to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from residential and commercial buildings by 40 percent by 2030; SB 1477 will establish an incentive program for low-carbon space and water heating equipment; and AB 2195 directs the California Air Resources Board to track GHG emissions from natural gas leakage and venting during the production, processing and transporting of natural gas imported into California.

Sept. 12, 2018:  LA Times op-ed from Jerry Brown and Michael Bloomberg. They are two of the six co-chairs of the Global Climate Action Summit. They are also part of the America's Pledge coalition.

Sept. 10 2018: Governor Jerry Brown has signed legislation that requires California to generate 100 percent of its electricity from clean sources by 2045.

Contrary to the conservative mythology that clean energy slows economic growth, the state is already reduced its greenhouse emissions by 13 percent, even as the economy has grown by 26 percent. Clean energy also creates more jobs than fossil fuels and more people already work solar than coal, gas, and oil extraction combined.

Published in the Los Angeles Times on Aug.28, 2018. 
Right-click the image and "save as" to your computer to read at 100 percent size

California is moving into the forefront of environmental action and climate change issues. The legislature just passed a truly transformative bill, SB100. By setting the marker at 100% clean energy by 2045, California stands to cultivate and capture a huge slice of the domestic renewable energy market and again lead in innovation.

Governor Brown also signed an executive order (B-55-18) to make California carbon neutral by 2045. Full carbon neutrality is now on the table for the world’s fifth largest economy.

Sept. 4, 2018: Los Angeles County

 The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, on Tuesday Sept. 4, 2018, joined other counties, states and cities in support of the goals of the Paris Climate Accord.

Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Hilda Solis recommended registering the county with the We Are Still In coalition, saying impacts of human-driven climate change will include less frequent but more intense rainstorms, more frequent and longer droughts, increased wildland fires and urban forest die- offs, more vector-borne disease, rising seas, lower air quality and longer and hotter heat waves.

August 2018: The California Natural Resources Agency just released its fourth Climate Change Assessment, a call to action on rising global temperatures — the state’s first in six years. Takeaways from California’s New Climate Assessment: water is a critical issue.

Update 9/21/18: Southern California just saw its longest streak of bad air in decades

Update 11/20/18: The public should not have to pay to protect or rebuild mansions on sites that will inevitably burn every 20 or 25 years.


Sunday, September 2, 2018

Down and Dirty



NASA has been mapping underground water reservoirs with its Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite, which has been operational since 2002. This gives us a picture of the state of the underground aquifers that have been tapped by agriculture. It's used to determine the extent of water resources and how much has been drawn down by pumping and extraction. Quite a lot, it turns out, and the aquifers in the western United States are becoming badly overdrafted.

Jay Famiglietti, head of the UC Center for Hydrologic Modeling, and member of the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board, has been using these maps to point out the need for management of this groundwater depletion. In 2014, he made the point that "In the future we're going to see big inequities. As the water table drops, it becomes more expensive to pump. You may have to dig a deeper well, which is very expensive. As you get to lower levels of groundwater, the quality degrades so there's that treatment cost. Smaller farmers may go out of business. That's the future."

Well, now it's 2018 and the future has arrived. A major investigation of the impact of dwindling aquifers in Arizona by the New York Times has made it abundantly clear that the overdraft of these aquifers is unsustainable and possibly unrecoverable. It's a long story that's critically important, and it's unfolding all over the planet.

This overdraft is the direct result of industrial farming that has grown in Arizona, which is causing local wells to go dry for residents and small farmers. The big industrial farms can afford to build deep wells with large pumps to supply their crops - generally very water-intensive crops. This is known as "groundwater mining", which is going on in all of the western states that are extracting groundwater to the point that the ground has sunk by many feet in Arizona, but especially in California's San Joaquin valley which is the vast agricultural central valley that grows thirteen percent of the nation's produce.

"Dr. Jay Famiglietti and his team noticed that many of the most significant sites of water loss were actually below ground. Of the planet’s 37 major aquifer systems, they discovered, 21 were on the verge of collapse. In the Great Plains, farmers had exhausted a third of Ogallala’s potable water in just 30 years. In California, the Central Valley aquifer was showing signs that it could drop beyond human reach by the middle of this century. But the worst declines were in Asia and the Middle East, where some of the planet’s oldest aquifers were already running out of water. “While we are so busy worrying about the water that we can see,” Famiglietti told me, “the water that we can’t see, the groundwater, is quietly disappearing.”

This has resulted in the loss of many small family farms, to the extent that some of them are now facing the prospect of being turned into residential developments, which use far less water, but demand tremendous amounts of energy and fuel use. And land that is paved over no longer absorbs the water necessary to replenish the aquifer. So the problem isn't getting solved, but merely kicked down the road. Multiply this scenario all across the planet, and we can now see that water is becoming more and more scarce as these aquifers dry up, along with the shrinking lakes, rivers and glaciers due to climate change.

As the water disappears, the ecosystem disintegrates and fades into dirt. And that's when our human existence faces its inevitable trajectory, which no amount of energy can reverse.

Update 9/3/18: Most ecosystems risk ‘major transformation’ due to climate change

Update 9/4/18: California water wars face Federal intransigence

Update 9/7/18: The sinking of California - subsidence in the central valley

Update 9/21/18: Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) will need to avoid six specified “undesirable results

Update 9/25/18: Oil industry threatening the state's limited groundwater.

Update 11/23/18: The Central Valley is sinking: drought forces farmers to ponder the abyss

Update 11/29/18: U.S. groundwater supply is smaller than originally thought

Update 12/1/18: Scientists reveal substantial water loss in global landlocked regions.

Update 12/10/18:  Dry wells and sinking ground as California struggles with groundwater crisis

Update 12/21/18: The Central Valley Tulare Lake Basin has dried out and sunk 30 feet due to over pumping (pg. 7)

Update 12/24/18:  The Colorado River is drying up, and 40 million Americans depend upon it.

Update 2/11/19:  California’s Groundwater Library Resources

Update 4/24/19: Can Sensor Data Save California's Aquifers?

Update 5/20/19:  Sinking land, poisoned water: the dark side of California's mega farms

Update 6/9/19: California's Central Valley has one of the worst subsidence crises in the country.

Update 6/12/19:  Can California Better Use Winter Storms to Refill its Aquifers?

Update 6/14/19: With floods and droughts increasing, communities take a new look at storing water underground

Update 6/17/19: THE DREAMT LAND Chasing Water and Dust Across California  By Mark Arax

Update 7/25/19: Sustainable groundwater management is inherently connected to the long-term survival of the Bay Delta

Update 8/25/19: We ate ourselves alive until the system collapsed, thus California's Sustainable Groundwater Management Act goes into effect in 2020.

Update 9/20/19: Subsidence worries the California Department of Water Resources. Think of shutting down water for 30 million Californians.

Update 9/23/19: California's chronic water overuse leads to sinking towns, arsenic pollution

Update 10/5/19: Almost 20 percent of the catchments areas where groundwater is pumped suffer from a flow that is too low to sustain freshwater ecosystems.

Update 1/9/20: Extreme ag pumping threatens California’s main water artery

Update 2/19/20:  Subsidence of the California Aqueduct in the San Joaquin Valley - MWD findings

Update 3/9/20: California’s 'Salad Bowl' Recharges Depleted Aquifer

Update 4/1/20: As temperatures rise, Arizona sinks

Update 4/2/20: WESTERN GROUNDWATER CONGRESS: Quantifying surface water depletion from groundwater pumping. Western supply is decreasing and demand is increasing.

Update 4/16/20: California has launched a landmark effort to save its groundwater.

Update 5/14/20: Groundwater: The charge to recharge needs to be data driven

Update 8/21/20:  State Must Analyze Practice of Dumping Billions of Gallons of Wastewater Into Sea

Update 9/3/20: California has started to implement its Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) with a goal of reaching groundwater sustainability in over-pumped basins by 2040 or 2042.

Update 9/4/20: Groundwater over-pumping is breaking and sinking the land on which thousands of people and families farm, work, and play.

 Update 9/14/20: What Does Groundwater Have to Do with the Delta? A Lot.

Update 9/15/20:  GROUNDWATER 101: The basics



Friday, August 24, 2018

We Are Not Alone



"I don't think we're going to make it," John Doerr proclaims, in an emotional talk about climate change and investment in 2007. Spurred on by his daughter, who demanded he fix the mess the world is heading for, he has made a commitment to solving the environmental and climate change issues via technology and green investing. He is chair of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, an American venture capital firm headquartered in Silicon Valley that has backed early investors in many significant companies, including Amazon, AOL, Compaq, Electronic Arts, Google, Intuit, Macromedia, Netscape, Segway, and Sun Microsystems, with his focus on greentech.

In 2011, he was part of a group that met with President Obama, including Stanford University president John Hennessy, former Genentech CEO Art Levinson, and Steve Westly, founder of the Westly Group. This group backed the environmental policies of the Obama administration and advocated climate change action.

So there is a serious concern by some of the corporate leadership about directly dealing with the climate change issues. In addition, the US military and the Department of Defense have defined climate change as a national security issue and are moving forward with implementing strategies. In 2016, members of the U.S. national security community - The Center for Climate and Security Advisory Board - signed an agreement concluding that the effects of climate change present a strategically-significant risk to U.S. national security and international security, and that the U.S. must advance a comprehensive policy for addressing this risk:

"Climate Security Consensus Project: Our determinations above are based on the impacts of the most likely case.  There is a small chance that the impacts will be less than expected.  There is a greater chance that the impacts will be even worse. It is therefore of critical importance that the United States addresses climate change in a way that is commensurate with this risk profile. In this context, the United States will need to “manage the unavoidable and avoid the unmanageable.” This requires a robust agenda to both prevent and prepare for climate change risks, and avoid potentially unmanageable climate-driven scenarios. Failing to do so will magnify and amplify risks to existing and future U.S. national security objectives."

They cite a quote from Joe Kaeser,  CEO of Siemens:

“A NUMBER of major companies — from PepsiCo to Walmart to U.P.S. — have recognized that corporations have a responsibility to address the causes of climate change before it is too late. We do not have to wait for an international treaty or new regulations to act..”

This group issued a letter to former Secretary of Defense James Mattis on May 8, 2017. The Department of Defense (DoD) and the intelligence community have been aware of this “threatmultiplier,”and taking actions to address it, since the early years of the George W. Bush Administration. By many measures, DoD has been leading in this area, driven naturally by its mission to protect the United States from harm. More recently they issued a press release: A Responsibility to Prepare – Military and National Security Leaders Release New Reports on Climate Change.

The United States Navy operates on the front lines of climate change. It manages tens of billions of dollars of assets on every continent and on every ocean. Those assets—ships, submarines, aircraft, naval bases, and the technology that links everything together—take many years to design and build and then have decades of useful life. This means that the navy needs to understand now what sorts of missions it may be required to perform in 10, 20, or 30 years and what assets and infrastructure it will need to carry out those missions. Put another way, it needs to plan for the world that will exist at that time.

Scientists and researchers have become far more vocal and insistent upon politically forcing governments to make actual progress in drastically reducing carbon emissions. Nathan Lewis - a chemistry professor from Caltech, Pasadena, CA - describes how he's working with Bill Gates to provide solar fuel technology to power transportation systems. In a similar vein, research organizations such as Climate CoLab and the Rocky Mountain Institute are pushing ahead on developing low-carbon energy sources and distribution systems.

They are taking the initiative to act on providing a low-carbon future, and clearly some of the corporate leadership is providing the funding to make this happen even if they're not making a lot of public statements about it right now, particularly in the face of a US administration that is trying to revive the coal industry. To the people deeply concerned and frightened about the climate change that's happening right now, it would appear that all is lost and the situation is hopeless as our planet continues to disintegrate under rapidly increasing global temperatures. But there's an underlying structure of progress that's evident, and it has the embedded potential for rapidly addressing the carbon emissions issues.

We must unleash these energies around climate change immediately, and undertake the enormous effort that will be required to move off of fossil fuels. It's there and we can all do something about this, but we've got to find the will to deal with these at such point that it makes a difference in the time that's left!

Update 10/22/18: Leaders move past Trump to protect world from climate change.

Update 11/1/18: Hansjörg Wyss is a philanthropist and conservationist who is donating $1B for biodiversity

Update 11/9/18: Paul Allen's quest to save the planet

Update 11/ 11/18:  A coalition of investors has written corporations asking for transparency.

Update 11/29/18:  50 CEOs urge world leaders for ambitious climate policy

Update 11/30/18:  Wyoming billionaire pledges to protect 30% of the planet by 2030.

Update 12/10/18:  Tackle climate or face financial crash, say world's biggest investors


Friday, August 10, 2018

What's the problem?






 

Climate change is rapidly accelerating around the globe, with unprecedented warming that is creating the conditions for enormous arctic methane releases that will intensify the problem beyond our ability to mitigate the impact or make up for the lack of food and water that this will create for the nearly eight billion people on this planet. Settled science shows that this rapid change is an amplification of natural variability due to the carbon emissions since the industrial revolution - when the energy technologies became the basis of human expansion, resulting in an exponential increase of the global exchange basis in petrodollars as a gauge of wealth. In summary, three graphs show the problem clearly (click to enlarge).

In the first one, a temperature vs. atmospheric concentration of GHG's chart: At the end of the last Ice Age, the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere soared. As the CO2 level rose, so did the temperature. Many graphs are available on the internet, here's a video animation.

The next chart is from James Hansen: the principal follow-ups to the 1992 Rio were the 2008 Kyoto Protocol and the 2015 Paris Agreement — wishful thinking, hoping that countries will make plans to reduce emissions and carry them out. In reality, most countries follow their self-interest, and global carbon emissions continue to climb.

Aubrey Meyer shows in his graph the fundamental correlation of human activity and GHG emissions: "If the problem is the exponential growth of anything, which one of these (if any) is exponential . . . Population Pollution 'Pecunification' (GDP) and therefore is the 'problem". It's pretty clear that the driving factor in emissions is the technology that ramps up carbon emissions and is driven by the GDP expansion as humans chase wealth. This is also why corporate opposition to solving this problem is so acute, despite the rapidly increasing global climate damages that result from it. So population increase is not the driving factor for carbon emissions, but rather represents the increasing impact of environmental degradation from expanding human habitation and energy demand. Our carbon absorption sinks are diminishing very quickly.

Just recently, Naomi Klein talked about underlying systemic distortions like GDP in her article about a major New York Times publication that has outlined the problem we're facing: Capitalism Killed Our Climate Momentum, Not “Human Nature”.

"When I surveyed the climate news from this period, it really did seem like a profound shift was within grasp — and then, tragically, it all slipped away, with the U.S. walking out of international negotiations and the rest of the world settling for nonbinding agreements that relied on dodgy “market mechanisms” like carbon trading and offsets. So it really is worth asking, as Rich does: What the hell happened? What interrupted the urgency and determination that was emanating from all these elite establishments simultaneously by the end of the ’80s?

"I wrote a 500-page book about this collision between capitalism and the planet, and I won’t rehash the details here. This extract, however, goes into the subject in some depth, and I’ll quote a short passage here:

    We have not done the things that are necessary to lower emissions because those things fundamentally conflict with deregulated capitalism, the reigning ideology for the entire period we have been struggling to find a way out of this crisis. We are stuck because the actions that would give us the best chance of averting catastrophe — and would benefit the vast majority — are extremely threatening to an elite minority that has a stranglehold over our economy, our political process, and most of our major media outlets."

And she concludes with:
"We aren’t losing earth — but the earth is getting so hot so fast that it is on a trajectory to lose a great many of us. In the nick of time, a new political path to safety is presenting itself. This is no moment to bemoan our lost decades. It’s the moment to get the hell on that path."

So what's happening as a means to deal with this? Global collaboration on climate change issues are arising through groups such as LEAP, cofounded by Naomi Klein, City By City created by The Climate Mobilization and larger international groups created by 40Cities, ICLEI, the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, and many others. This struggle is built from the bottom up, mobilizing all the people, involving everybody in actions that fight for mitigation, adaptation and sustainable development, with goals to end poverty and hunger; reduce inequalities; ensure health,education; sustainable energy; water and work for all; and foster sustainable cities. Bill McKibben summarizes some of these efforts in his recent article, pointing to grassroots climate action.

So, goodbye to corporate capitalism and sold-out governments. It's our turn now.




Update 1/17/19: Can there be Sustainability in an Economy Rooted in Growth?


Saturday, June 30, 2018

Follow the Money


Grantham Institute: Policies to finance energy efficiency in Europe



The Grantham Institute, part of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), has taken leadership on climate investments since 2008, in a bid to change the economic system that is responsible for the degradation of the planet's ecology and living systems that give life to everything that exists on this earth. LSE's centre for policy-relevant research & training in climate change & the environment is chaired by Lord Nicholas Stern.

Since 2013, the man who made billions by predicting every recent financial crisis has spoken out on climate change. Jeremy Grantham, the environmental philanthropist who is part of the leadership of this group, emphasizes "We're trying to buy time for the world to wake up".  "Capitalism is killing the planet and needs to change. Capitalism and mainstream economics simply cannot deal with these problems. Mainstream economics largely ignore [them]," Grantham says."We deforest the land, we degrade our soils, we pollute and overuse our water and we treat air like an open sewer, and we do it all off the balance sheet," he adds.

They are developing investment tools to assist investors in directing their funds towards ecologically sustainable sectors. Their Transition Pathway Initiative provides an interactive tool that enables the assessment of companies’ carbon management quality and carbon performance, within a selected sector. They also have a research database on Climate legislation for countries, regions and territories. Their most recent public lecture of April 2018, notes that very few investors realise how rapidly the environment is being wounded, not just by climate change but also by overuse and by chemical waste:

"We may have created a world that is simply hostile to most living creatures including us. Contrastingly, very few realise how favourably and dramatically fast the relevant science is progressing and the cost of necessary technologies declining.  These opposite forces will determine whether we can even retain a world with as stable a global society as we have today, a modest definition of success.  The results will certainly transform the entire world of energy, resources and food in a few decades with unprecedented financial consequences." says Grantham.

Other investment managers have also developed policies around climate change and global emissions, primarily in Europe and based in London. They are seeing the path forward in carbon reduction and energy efficiency as the only constructive way for financial investment to be viable. Not only that, some of these companies are targeting the lack of corporate response to these critical issues. Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM), for example, names corporate climate leaders and laggards, and specifically targets climate change laggards with shaming and disinvestment. Of course, that may be like trying to shame Trump.

Louise Dudley, Portfolio Manager for Hermes Global Equities speaks out on a climate for change: matching awareness with action:

"In 2015, Bank of England Governor and Chairman of the Financial Stability Board (FSB) Mark Carney labelled climate change “the tragedy of horizon”. That is, the catastrophic impacts of climate change will be felt beyond the traditional horizons of most actors, imposing a cost on future generations that the current one has no direct incentive to fix. In his capacity as FSB Chairman, he also established the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) to give investors information to identify companies most at risk and best prepared for climate change.

It is therefore important for investors to understand climate-related financial risk. It can broadly be divided into two major categories – carbon risk, which is related to the transition to a low-carbon economy, and climate impact risk, which is related to the physical impacts of climate change."

In another example, the aim of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC)'s Climate Solutions program is to help investors identify, and to the extent possible, quantify the strategic implications of policy measures and physical risks to long-term investments with a view to inform communication with other stakeholders.

It's time to leave behind the old postwar metrics of economic measure and adjust to the realities of those destructive things left off the balance sheet of global investments. The GDP chimera is a measure that has led to massive global destruction and economic inequality in every country. There is no time left now for failure to act.

Update 7/3/18: Climate financing by the world’s six largest Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) rose 28 per cent on the previous year.

Update 10/22/18: Materialism - a system that eats us from the inside out.