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You're Stuck in a Carbon Cage, Proclaims the *Medical Journal* Scientific American
Climate Crisis Run Amok, with a Dash of Everything Else in the Woke Cult
Scientific American is labeled by YouTube as a medical journal -as in The Lancet
It used to be a reputable popular science magazine but now it’s gone immensely off the deep end.and can comment more on that than we can here.
Reason Magazine just this week commented about the backlash climate change heritic Steve Koonin has received over the release of his book, Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn't, and Why It Matters.
Naturally Scientific American wasn’t terrible impressed. Per Reason:
The book attracted extremely negative reviews filled with ad hominem attacks, such as a short statement appearing in Scientific American and signed by 12 academics that, instead of substantively rebutting Koonin's arguments, calls him "a crank who's only taken seriously by far-right disinformation peddlers hungry for anything they can use to score political points" and "just another denier trying to sell a book."
(Spoiler alert - one of the academics who signed that statement is the Merchant of Woke Climate Doomsday Narcissism herself, Naomi Oreskes)
We’re here for their batshit insane carbon cage video.
Presented with little context for maximum reader experience. Below are both the video itself and the transcript.
All we ask is that you view this chart created byand beforehand.
Imagine pulling up to a Shell gas station pump. You can't afford an electric car, but you're told the company will offset the carbon emissions from the fuel you're about to purchase.
With carbon credits from a new program they've recently started.
All you need to do is use an app. Pay a fee. Press a button. And you can rest easy. Deep down, you know something's wrong. Devastating wildfires, heat waves, floods, storms, droughts.
This is the climate crisis.
And we need to do something about it now. And this pump-side promise, isn't going to change things for the better. Just like many of the promises made by governments and corporations won't.
The real question is: why? And don't worry, we'll return to the gas pump shortly.
It's a really important part of the story,
You see, whether you realize it or not, you, me, and people all over the world are in an invisible cage made out of carbon.
So what is a carbon cage and how did we end up in it?
Let's start at the very beginning.
We're all born into a system that demands we engage in activities that emit carbon just to survive. This constant need for resources creates invisible bars all around us, and they are built and reinforced with carbon dioxide.
These bars prevent us from addressing carbon's role in climate change on a real and systemic level.
See, the interconnected bars of the carbon cage are actually part of a commodified existence that keeps us trapped in a cycle of resource dependance.
By commodified existence. I'm talking about the need to make money to survive, to get jobs to live, and the role of consumption and keeping the whole thing going.
So how did we get here and why is carbon specifically so important to talk about?
To understand that, let's rewind to the 1800s and the dawn of the industrial era.
Importantly, in 1850, steam power was invented in Great Britain as a way to use coal energy more efficiently. Soon, steam engines were used to power trains, ships and industrial machinery.
The discovery of electricity and oil was supported by the development of the internal combustion engine, furthering our economic dependance on carbon.
By the end of the 20th century, we became so dependent on depleting finite fossil fuels the coal, oil and natural gas derived from the remains of prehistoric plants and animals that we burned through millions of years of accumulated fossil fuels in just a few generations.
Since the burning of fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide, the result has been a major increase of CO2 in the atmosphere.
Let's just take a look at carbon dioxide.
In 1750, we were here. Right now, we're all the way up here.
The last time Earth experienced similar levels of atmospheric CO2 was over 4 million years ago during the Pliocene, when a giant terror bird named Titanis roamed North America.
The fact is, the entire history of our economic development has been dependent on fossil fuels, and it shows no real signs of stopping.
That's in part because it's an economic system that requires limitless growth on a limited planet. And carbon dioxide is a stubbornly persistent heat trapping gas.
Given that CO2 can stay in the atmosphere for up to a thousand years, some of the emissions from the industrial era are still with us today, and everything else we're burning right now will be in the atmosphere for even longer.
Now let's take a look at how the initial bars of our commodified existence are reinforced with new bars keeping us trapped.
Let's zoom out and take a look at those bars made up of trucks, ships and every Amazon package currently sitting on your doorstep.
I'm talking about our global supply chain and specifically our system of production and consumption.
Companies want to produce things cheaply.
This ramped up in the 1980s with more and more production occurring in the Global South and products shipped to the Global North.
This type of globalization comes with a substantial carbon footprint.
But what's the actual carbon cost of all of this?
In fact, one study suggests that just eight global supply chains are responsible for 50% of global emissions.
And yes, I'm talking about that new iPhone in your pocket.
All of this comes in at even greater cost.
And I'm not just talking about the obvious inequality built into the system.
To accommodate the resource use pollution and carbon emissions of overdeveloped countries like the US and Canada. We literally need over five planet earths.
This takes us to another set of bars. It's something that companies are doing to take our attention away from the effects that the economies grow or die ethos is having on the planet and our lives.
I'm talking about greenwashing.
Let's go back to that gas pump and specifically the carbon offsets touted by companies like Shell.
Carbon offsetting is based on the idea that companies and countries can invest in climate related projects around the world to cancel out their own carbon emissions.
Think of it this way it's like telling yourself it's okay to cheat on a big test you have coming up.
As long as you pay someone else not to cheat, as though that somehow cancels out your actions.
And with offsets, there's a lot more at stake.
By May 2021, over 4.3 billion carbon offsets had been issued globally.
But there's a problem.
Study after study confirms that there are major issues with carbon offsetting.
One, their potential climate benefits are often overestimated.
Two, they would have happened anyways, so they're not new.
And three, they don't actually lower emissions.
They just take us back to where we started.
And suddenly, two conflicts over land and human rights abuses.
And there are major issues with how offsetting is regulated.
Ultimately, it's greenwashing at its finest.
For the net zero commitments of all companies and countries globally, land roughly equal to all of the farmland on earth would be needed.
Such plans simply aren't credible.
What's more, forests burn. Trees die, and they are no substitute for a plan that actually takes us to zero and leaves the fossil fuels in the ground where the carbon is permanently stored.
Also, net zero is not actually zero.
As you can see, this isn't helping. It's simply distracting us from the bigger picture.
Let's move on.
I'm pretty sure you have one of these. From the mining of minerals to the manufacture of parts to industrial assembly, to shipping to e-waste.
The life cycle of your smartphone is incredibly carbon intensive.
So why do so many of us upgrade our phones every two years?
Well before the end of their life?
Well, it's connected to another set of bars made up of planned obsolescence, slick advertising, our own desires to have the newest things, and more.
Companies need to keep us buying whether it makes sense or not.
Once again, we can trace this back to carbon.
There's a major cost to the short lives of our consumer electronics.
Emissions from smartphones are going up rapidly.
They were at 580 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2020.
That's 730% higher than 2011
And that's a trend that's only going up.
So smart phones on their own are contributing to a heating planet.
And so we're back
at the gas pump and a final set of bars.
Emissions and their effect on the global climate and us.
Burning fossil fuels is the prime culprit in causing climate breakdown.
So we simply have to stop burning them.
Exxon Mobil, Shell, Chevron and BP have alone accounted for over 10% of global emissions since 1965.
A recent study found that these same four companies also contributed to greenwashing the most.
Now, let's look at the effects of all of this and what's happening to our planet.
Research shows that over the last 60 years, global agricultural productivity has declined 21%, a trend that will continue to intensify. Widespread hunger and food insecurity, maybe the future.
There were a record number of hurricanes, wildfires and floods globally in 2020, costing $210 billion in losses.
Infrastructure, homes and livelihoods, have been devastated. Global sea levels have risen 8 to 9 inches since 1880.
If we continue on this path, cities will be inundated and small island states will disappear.
And that's not taking into account the projected 1.2 billion climate refugees by 2050.
The impact on indigenous communities, the loss of ecosystems and the impacts of extreme heat on our health.
And all of this is incredibly difficult to deal with, given that we're often pitted against each other in our need for jobs and survival.
So what do we do now?
Overall, the cage can seem pretty overwhelming, but if we start to think about how we can weaken certain parts to get us where we need to go, we can build some of the momentum we need.
Take the work being done on a just transition.
It's an idea that comes out of the labor and environmental justice movements.
Those working in carbon intensive and polluting industries and those harmed by them.
It's no secret that those least responsible for climate breakdownare paying the greatest cost.
By centering justice and equity, it's a movement working to ensure that we've got a plan for dignified, fair and sustainable jobs that respond to the climate crisis and include everyone.
What we need to do now is imagine jobs that are good for us and good for the planet. Imagine redirecting just a fraction of the estimated $5.9 trillion in global fossil fuel subsidies to jobs in local and community owned renewables, promoting energy, democracy and lowering energy costs.
With that, we might destabilize. bars connected to livelihoods and the cost of living.
And we can free ourselves in other ways, too.
What if we took back control, demanding things were built to last?
Repairing things ourselves. Public transit that everyone can use.
What about local farming, community gardens and green space for everyone?
What if we prioritize more humane, greener jobs, greater control over the cost of living and supporting community connections and equity over living to consume?
The possibilities are endless.
For far too long, we've accepted the myth that we're consumers that have to take what companies give us.
You see, while the carbon cage may be strong, it doesn't have to last forever.