27 June 2022

Defence agencies ‘accelerating’ risk of ‘Hothouse Earth’, US military study warns

The actions of government military and intelligence agencies are increasing the ‘hyperthreat’ of climate and environmental change, according to new research.

by Nafeez Ahmed, first published at Byline Times

A new landmark study published by the US Marine Corps University concludes that the activities of government military and intelligence agencies over the next decade are accelerating the likelihood of triggering a worst-case ‘Hothouse Earth’ scenario that would make the planet “unliveable for most species”.

These agencies, the study argues, have become the biggest danger to planetary security, by in effect working to accelerate the “hyperthreat” of climate and environmental change.

The research study – published in two parts in the US Marine Corps University Press’ digital journal and in the Spring 2022 edition of its peer-reviewed Journal of Advanced Military Studies – applies war theory and military strategy to the dynamics of the climate and ecological crises.

21 June 2022

Philip Sutton, pioneer climate and environmental activist

by Luke Taylor, first published at The Guardian

Philip Sutton, environmental activist; born 2 March 1951, died 13 June 2022

Photo: Thom Rigney/Breakthrough
Philip Sutton, who has died suddenly aged 71, was a pioneer of the climate emergency movement and a powerful influence on environmental campaigners in Australia and internationally.

Sutton’s work challenged the prevailing paradigm of a “reform as usual”, incremental-change strategy based on unclear goals. He campaigned on an understanding that climate risks threatened the future of the planet and of humanity, and therefore required a society-wide mobilisation at an emergency scale and speed. Sutton argued that getting into emergency mode rapidly was the central challenge for the climate movement.

This understanding was expounded in the 2008 book Climate Code Red: the Case for Emergency Action, written with David Spratt, which codified the term “climate emergency”, and shocked many readers into becoming climate activists. The book played a major role in shifting the narrative on the level of climate risk and our required response. Climate Code Red’s risk and impact assessments and climate system repair fundamentals have since been validated by mainstream analysis.

10 June 2022

Model-based net-zero scenarios, including those of the IPCC, aren’t worth the paper they are written on, say leading economists

Cr: Merriam-Webster

By David Spratt, first published at Breakthrough

World-leading economists have blown a hole right through the middle of the main tool used to produce the net-zero scenarios embraced by climate policymakers.

In a new paper, Sir Nicholas Stern, Nobel Laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz and Charlotte Taylor conclude that climate-energy-economy Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs), which are the key tool in producing emission-reduction scenarios, “have very limited value in answering the two critical questions” of the speed and nature of emissions reductions and “fail to provide much in the way of useful guidance, either for the intensity of action, or for the policies that deliver the desired outcomes”.  The research paper is The economics of immense risk, urgent action and radical change: towards new approaches to the economics of climate change.

Now this is a big thing, because IAMs are at the centre of the IPCC Working Group III report on mitigation, and “have played a major role in IPCC reports on policy, which, in turn, have played a prominent role in public discussion. They continue to play a very powerful role in the research activities of economists working on climate change.” 

02 June 2022

We need to talk about climate interventions, as tipping point dominoes fall

Download the report

by David Spratt 

The need to cool the planet in order to avoid collapse scenarios needs to be taken seriously.

Breakthrough recently released Climate dominoes: Tipping points risks for critical climate systems, a report on climate system tipping points and cascading effects. 

This is based on our blog series earlier this year, now with a foreword by Sir David King, the former UK chief scientist and founder of the Centre for Climate Repair at Cambridge. King writes that: 

“... there is a blind-spot in the IPCC analysis, in that the severity of human influence on our planetary ecosystems is leading us toward a range of irreversible tipping points; uncertainties about which we have limited knowledge. The first of these, in the Arctic Circle region, appears already to have tipped, leading to the series of devastating extreme weather events around the Northern Hemisphere last summer. This blind-spot is the subject of Breakthrough’s latest Climate Dominoes report, which is a critically important analysis of the state of the world today and the immediate threat to our global economic systems from these tipping points. It is a sober call for all countries to follow a critical analysis pathway for dealing with climate change as the emergency that it is. It should be read and acted on by governments and their advisors, by the financial communities of the world, and by scientists, engineers, social scientists and philosophers. Precautionary action is needed now to avoid, to the extent possible, further tipping points being triggered.”