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climate threatens economy cartoon
And if it does affect the economy, we’ll find a way to extract a profit from it….

Driven mostly by rising global temperatures from the continued burning of fossil fuels, extreme weather events such as typhoons, hurricanes, floods, heatwaves and drought are becoming more frequent, increasing 83% worldwide in the past 20 years (as of 2020), and the costs have increased by 800% over that same period. In 2023, the world has witnessed the highest ocean surface temperaturelowest Antarctic sea ice extent ever recorded, and hottest summer.

Physicist Tim Garrett likens these extreme weather events to a roving beast that makes no place safe and will eventually bring down civilization:

I feel like we expected climate change to be this gradual thing we’d be challenged to adjust to. Instead, it’s more like a roving beast. We never know when it will strike, where, or even how, just that eventually it will come for us too…At some point this roving beast will pounce often enough that civilization will lose its capacity to repair climate damages even as they accelerate. By being squeezed at both ends, a point will arrive at which civilization tips towards collapse. ~ Prof Tim Garrett

And so it is that modern civilization appears on the surface to be very robust at sustaining itself, but not when the shocks are coming at us more frequently and with growing intensity. To quote Luke Kemp, aka ‘Dr. Doom’, a research affiliate at the Center for the Study of Existential Risk at the University of Cambridge and a visiting faculty fellow at the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Studies:

…that is potentially my biggest fear going forward: I think our homogenized, interconnected world is very good at buffering against small shocks. But it’s much more likely to amplify a sufficiently large shock into a system-wide crisis.

Experts call it ‘flickering’ when a complex system starts to briefly sample a new regime before tipping into it. Multiple extremes of varying kinds happening at the same time are clear warnings of climate tipping points. Tim Lenton, University of Exeter climate researcher, believes the extraordinary events we are seeing today could be an early warning of tipping towards a new and more inhospitable climate system.



What happens in the oceans does not stay in the oceans. 

This year, the oceans have hit their hottest ever recorded temperature. Warming oceans are having many harmful effects such as decimating fisheries, altering marine life migration patterns, robbing phytoplankton and zooplankton as well as the rest of the oceanic ecosystem of a key food supply by preventing nutrient-rich deep ocean water upwelling from occurring, and increasing the frequency and intensity of harmful algal blooms. Warming oceans also play a crucial role in shaping land weather patterns. Increased sea surface temperatures can lead to more frequent and intense heatwaves by altering atmospheric circulation patterns in ways that enhance drought conditions. Warming oceans provide more moisture to evaporate into the atmosphere and fuel more powerful atmospheric rivers. Libya just experienced the deadliest flood of the 21st Century, with 7,000 confirmed dead and up to 20,000 more feared dead in the eastern city of Derna. 25% of the city is estimated to be destroyed after two dams collapsed due to extreme rainfall.



What happens in the Antarctic does not stay in the Antarctic. 

record low minimum extent of Antarctic sea ice this summer has left an area of open ocean bigger than Greenland. If this “missing” sea ice were a country, it would be the tenth largest in the world. The recent discovery that emperor penguin colonies experienced unprecedented breeding failure in Antarctica due to total sea ice loss in 2022 supports predictions that over 90% of emperor penguin colonies will be quasi-extinct by the end of the century. Emperor penguins have largely been sheltered from the ravages of man, except for human-induced climate change. This does not bode well for Homo sapiens since the cryosphere plays a vital role in the climate system. The polar regions are known as Earth’s refrigerator and they regulate climate, weather patterns, and maritime food supplies.


Air Temp 10 2023


The planet’s cooling system is broken. 

The June–August 2023 global surface temperature was 2.07°F (1.15°C) above the 20th-century average of 60.1°F (15.6°C). This ranks as the warmest June–August period since records began 174 years ago. The hot, dry and windy conditions that fuelled the historic wildfires in Quebec Canada were made at least twice as likely due to human-induced climate change. As of this week, the Canadian wildfires have spewed 410 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, roughly the equivalent of Mexico’s 2021 emissions. The IPCC models assumed that those forests would continue to be a carbon sink.


Canada fires annual burned graph

Annual Area Burned in Canada | Graph coutesy of Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre

For the first time ever, scientists have quantified all nine planetary boundaries which make Earth habitable and six of them have already been transgressed while two of the remaining three are close to being breeched. Most worrisome for the scientists is that all four boundaries that cover the biological world are at or near critical levels. Without them, we are much less resilient. Lest we forget, humanity’s conundrum is an overshoot of nearly every safe environmental boundary that allowed humans to survive and thrive in the last 10,000 years:

Prof Johan Rockström, the then director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre who led the team that developed the boundaries framework, said: “Science and the world at large are really concerned over all the extreme climate events hitting societies across the planet. But what worries us, even more, is the rising signs of dwindling planetary resilience.”

Planetary Boundaries 2023

The 2023 update to the Planetary boundaries. Licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.
Credit: "Azote for Stockholm Resilience Centre, based on analysis in Richardson et al 2023".


study from about year ago (and shortly after my last blog post) states that we may have already activated 5 catastrophic climate tipping points at our current 1.1°C of warming since the Industrial Revolution and that we are likely on the brink of setting off many more once reaching 1.5°C. A cascade of tipping points awaits us:

“This sets Earth on course to cross multiple dangerous tipping points that will be disastrous for people across the world. To maintain liveable conditions on Earth and enable stable societies, we must do everything possible to prevent crossing tipping points”…Prof Johan Rockström, the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, who was part of the study team, said: “The world is heading towards 2-3°C of global warming.”

The absurdity of our response, or lack thereof, is becoming ever more apparent as conditions continue to deteriorate around us. When a whole industry springs forth to do the clean-up work for disasters while simultaneously investing in Fossil Fuel extraction, the profit-driven pyramid scheme that is modern civilization cannot be more clearly demonstrated. As these extreme weather events ramp up, access to quality water fit for use by humans and ecosystems is expected to decline. The world’s crumbling water infrastructure will only exacerbate these effects. The insurance industry, perhaps the only business venture whose profit depends on a clear-eyed view of the science behind human-induced climate change, is now dropping coverage for the coastlines, floodplains, and wildfire areas as the US breaks the record this year for billion dollar disasters. There are still nearly four months left to go as supercharged hurricanes continue to form in our overheated oceans. With this year’s marked uptick of such extreme weather events, the realization that we are fucked is becoming more obvious to the common layman. A recent blog post from another self-professed ‘doomer’ summarizes the societal angst currently building in our collective consciousness, whispering to us that all is far from right in the world:

This world always had to end. It was never going to last more than a generation. It couldn’t. All the facts made that very clear from the start. The rich and the corrupt simply chose to ignore that. They lied.

That’s not the worst part.

It’s not the collapse.

It’s not the death of our hopes and dreams. It’s the fact that we’re not allowed to grieve it and move on. Imagine trying to grieve the loss of a friend or a parent when half of everyone you know won’t even admit they’re dead. Imagine you’re stuck in a real-life version of Weekend at Bernie’s.

That’s what we’re doing.

It’s the norms that force us to engage in acts of cultural necrophilia. It’s having to pretend for our bosses, our coworkers, our friends, and our relatives. It’s watching everyone we know screw a corpse.

However, as someone in the comment section makes clear, her blog post, while well written, is still very Homo sapien-centric. For most of the nonhuman natural world, their existence ended some time ago:

Great essay but as usual these days it is highly homo sapien centric.

We have already lost more than half, two thirds even, of all life on the planet. World wildlife populations have declined by over 70% since 1970. Wildlife populations in Latin America and the Caribbean plummeting at a staggering rate of 94%.

Freshwater species populations have suffered an 83% fall.

80% of fresh water species decline.

80% of total insect population mass has gone in just the last 30 years.

Soil and the human gut have a direct relationship, as soil microbiome diversity decreases so does the diversity in the human gut microbiome, and with it comes drastic events, such as depletion of sustainable production of food and rise of disease in humans. – Link

All of which is happening now and increasing exponentially.

Indeed, if modern civilization has no regard for the natural world around them and creates a throwaway society in which we are now awash in our own carcinogenic waste, i.e. microplastics, industrial chemicals, pesticides, etc, and gives no consideration to the lives of future generations, one cannot be blamed for having little hope that humanity can steer this wayward ship away from its omnicidal course. Noam Chomsky is no more optimistic when he states: “Now, we are at the point when the major institutions of organized society are intent on destroying organized human life on Earth and the millions of other species.” Surely no one in charge can truly believe with a straight face that humans can maintain their overpopulated numbers even to mid century, let alone sustain any sort of organized society by century’s end. At least one scientist is on the right track in voicing the inevitability of a major human population correction. We’ll leave behind a rather toxic but interesting fossil layer in the geologic strata for the Anthropocene epoch of Fire and Flood.

Evolution mural


Xraymike79 is a social critic, political/cultural commentator and artist. The modern industrial world is on the cusp of monumental changes due to our current unsustainable way of life. Most are oblivious to the paradigm shift that will occur, but some are starting to awaken to the fact that the future will not resemble the halcyon days of the last half century in America. His objective is to highlight important news stories and essays to find the truth that is hidden behind what Joe Bageant called the American Hologramsource


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