ANDREW GLIKSON. An Orwellian climate endangers planet

“Two plus two is five – if the party says so (George Orwell).

Should anyone record the history of the 20th and 21st centuries, they may report that, while temperatures and sea levels were rising, the human sense of reality has been clouded by electronic systems, including television, the internet and smartphones, by science fiction, virtual realities, public circuses, fake news, gratuitous hype and superlatives which overtook  common sense and the quest for protection of the earth and the survival of the species.

As glaciers melt, sea levels rise at an accelerated rate and intense hurricanes and wildfires increase, by a factor of ~3 since early in the 20th century, unthinkable consequences of runaway global warming and nuclear wars loom. A new Orwellian age of fake news, half-truths, cover-ups and false flags is becoming the order of the day. When $trillions are spent on weapons of mass destruction instead of protecting nature and humanity from global heating, the hapless inhabitants of planet Earth are left with a non-choice between a nuclear winter and a greenhouse summer. When politicians lay flowers on the graves of soldiers and at the same time re-arming for future wars, or decline to endorse anti-nuclear treaties, or pledge token action on climate change while promoting new coal mines, can anyone believe it when they talk about a “future”? 

Hoodwinked by the half-truths of a conscience-free mainstream media, the inhabitants of suburbia international have become more interested in cricket ball tampering, Eurovision-type circuses and royal weddings, allowing the “powers that be” to proceed with policies leading toward ecocide and genocide.

It may or may not be understood, but is hardly reported by the mainstream media that, under a global temperature rise of +1.5C, which has already been reached over the continents (http://berkeleyearth.org/summary-of-findings/), sea level is committed to rise by more than 10 meters, flooding coastal plains, delta and low river valleys where the bulk of the world’s population lives and grows food, and where major industrial centers and cities are located. This would include large parts of Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Viet Nam, China, Philippines, Egypt, Italy, Netherlands, Germany, UK, southeast USA, and many other parts of the world, triggering large waves of migration. Although the precise timetable is unclear, several meters sea level rise during the 21st century is possible.

Depending on the extent to which fossil fuel combustion and amplifying feedbacks take place, on current trajectories warming would rise toward and beyond +2 degree Celsius, amplified by the release of methane from the polar oceans and from melting permafrost. A rise of global temperatures to and above Pliocene (5.2-2.6 million-years-ago) level (+2C to +3C) would result in 25+/-12 meters sea level rise and higher, changing the map of the world (http://www.floodmap.net/).

It does it look as if the Empire is inclined to do much to arrest climate change. In so far as the rest of the world may decide to attempt to limit global warming, this would depend on: 

  1. Whether the rise in global temperature has already reached a point of no return?
  2. Whether current emission levels will be halted and negative emissions, namely carbon capture and storage, can be sequestered on a scale that can arrest and reverse global heating?
  3. Whether governments may undertake such measures despite pressure by the fossil fuel industry and their powerful lobbies?
  4. Would governments be able to divert the $trillion-scale funds from the military-industrial complex toward climate mitigation and adaptation?

On January 17, 1961, retiring President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist”. 

If leaders are unwilling or unable to convey the facts of climate change to the populations, what chance is there they would be prepared to elaborate on the enormous danger of a global nuclear conflict? Although in principle the advent of nuclear weapons is supposed to have rendered wars obsolete, at present no negotiations are being held between the big powers on limiting nuclear weapons or removing them from on-alert state. Given the absence of real ideological differences between west and east, both dominated by oligarchs, a rising rivalry based on oil and weapons is pushing the world toward a nuclear suicide pact by accident or design. 

The first casualty of war being the truth (Hiram Johnson), in the lack of leadership this role should fall on the Fourth Estate. Dominated by the rating and infotainment, much of the mainstream media has undertaken the role of prosecutor, judge and jury on behalf of dominant political lobbies. Rather than advocating peace, much of the press vilifies perceived enemies using derogatory language. No one wants to believe in conspiracy theories, such are propagated where it serves a political purpose, but history is full of examples of false flag attacks, some of which have led to war:

The realities of the world belong to the starved masses bombarded in distant regions, not to those who watch them on television. Should there be anyone to record the history of the 20th and 21st centuries, they may observe that, while temperatures and sea levels were rising, the human sense of veracity has been clouded by electronic systems, including television, internet, smartphones, Facebook, Twitter, public circuses, science fictions, fake news, virtual realities, hype and superlatives, overtaking the human common sense and the quest for survival. 

Andrew Glikson: Earth and paleoclimate scientist.

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