The current situation. March 18
A few months ago I had written,
Nothing major can happen with climate. Too many potential losers will stop any initiative. But public awareness, now quite high, is shifting to public speaking out. This is new and public reaction will happen faster than the actual material events. (though of course some, such as warming, ice melting, fishery problems are well underway.) Keep your thoughts on the distribution of good and bad signs about the future. Don’t stick with just half the puzzle. Things are bad enough without adding bad thinking.
But coronavirus changes this. How will the economy and the psyche cope? I predict people will break out of quarantine which will collapse.
Thee is the possibility that the management of the coronavirus (COVID-19) such as closing stores, getting people to use the outdoors as recreation, new ways of distributing food – and much else – is a good dress-rehearsal for climate change and related issues. The coronavirus might create the world we actually will need for climate.
The danger is that we will miss the opportunity and that we will stop thinking about climate and as the virus issues fade try to return to the world left behind and not keeping what has developed that could be a major part of climate actions.
Hence the virus is both a threat and a danger. It is important to remember that climate requires cutting fossil fuel use severely which threatens many of the same businesses threatened by the virus, and that even with the total stopping of fossil fuel use, we face the problem of sequestration of the CO2 already in the atmosphere, accumulated over more than a hundred years of continuous fossil fuel burning by a buildup to a billion cars and many industrial processes.
There are two political groupings; the party of home (lots of Republicans)and the party of professionalized globalization (lots of Democrats). To show how difficult this is, the professional group wants to bring in migrants who are better educated than the general American population age by age to enhance and populate the progressive globalization side eof the economy. This does force US citizens to the side. There is no easy way through this. Basically the democrats moved from being the party of the lower two thirds of he economy to being the party of the professional class, the part of the ten percent. This meant the lower income had no representation and in frustration will vote trump or Sanders out of frustration. Whuch of the two will get that vote is very unclear. Events between now and election, including the Democratic convention, will have big effects.
The heat is going to make climate, for the first time, central to future politics, but with no plan, only fear and frustration.. Trump wantis to invade Venezuela That would unite all of latin America against the US. Invading Iran might unite Europe against the US.
Apocalypse we have to say, is not coming – we are already in it. Climate, finance, impact of robots, health, population.failure of he democratic model and weakness of government, and more. The worst is food and the impact on vulnerable pop[that are made up of humans more like us (especially the global teenagers) than we are aware.
Trump wants to play the only game he knows: win, and crush the others, treating the government like a rogue business. – his. . Dangerous, and forces us all to be on guard. Not a good use of time.
Moving toward 2020. Trump might try to prevent the election, or, possible but unlkely, the election will become irrelevant because nobody cares. People are too caught up in coping with institutional breakdowns as coronavirus is here and climate Chang looms but solutions don’t. . I keep hearing that this will be a much worse summer – fires, urban heat, drought, migrations and war. And politics.
Meanwhile we have a majority angry at
- Losing out
- Fear of losing what they have
- and being looked down on by a professional elite does not help.
The political process is going to keep the Democrats from making climate and economy based proposals that are adequate. That is because adequate moves on fossil fuels bring the economy to a halt. To meet the 2 degrees, or better 1.5 degree rise in temperatures we need to do the impossible, cut fossil fuel use to zero- but that means no heating your house with gas, no use of gasoline powered cars, no flying, no fertilizer, .. what about pumping water, what about trucks delivering fuel?..?
The problem is, we cannot have a civil discussion because the real problem is wealth concentration which controls the actions taken on climate so that the net result is increase in wealth concentration and the stuff that goes with it: class and race disdain. An open discussion about capitalism, representative democracy, the media – all in the context of weak government, population increase, and near unavoidable climate change – seems to be beyond us, but we must try.
The impact of all our problems , all at the same time, overwhelm governance which is already cracking under Internet pressure and income inequality. A look at Crooked Timber or Alien Ecologies shows how much we have to learn. And there are many more..
Late empire power has shifted to the global business community and their control through money of the politicians. Democracy and capitalism ar two institutional schemas for making social decisions, but the power i shifting to the corporation.
In this context government leadership is weak and serious people know it is dangerous to reputation. The result is we have a series of clowns, all well meaning but more clowns than serious, or tragic as in the case perhaps of Clinton, all drawn to play a role in a power that Is vastly depleted. Honest bureaucrats are below the radar and unrewarded.
One proposal is to deploy automation rapidly and safely in the direction of green and much less energy use, and face the unemployment with distributed incomes. I still think the common good needs a vision, and GardenWorld is that vision.
current breaking points (just some of the many)
Climate, fires, food, migrations
U.S. credit-card balances are on track to hit $1 trillion this year, as banks aggressively push their plastic and consumers grow more comfortable carrying debt.
Look especially at homes, student loans, maybe cars.
earthquake, Washington, California
south china sea
Electric grid fragility
Prisons and justice
race and fear vs. inclusion and appreciation.
- Voter supression.
- War, civil and international