“Billions of Lives on The Line: Existential Crisis Realities” — a guest essay from Roger Hallam, co-founder of Extinction Rebellion

Editor’s note: Hallam and I have been corresponding for years.  I find his intransigence bracing, his calls for a citizen uprising against ecocidal elites simple commonsense.  His cri-de-coeur is that “only mass civil resistance can stop the global 1% imposing mass death on billions of people.”  I’m reprinting a Feb. 17 piece of his below, from his website, because it’s far more insightful than mainstream reporting — that stuff we call objective and balanced and measured and so on — in its enraged description of the ecological precipice on which humanity stands perched.  The science is clear: We are at the edge of the abyss of Earth system disorder and human system collapse.   And every year of non-action — which is where we’re at, year after year — brings us closer to the long fall.

Here’s Hallam, lightly edited for clarity:

Billions of Lives on The Line – Existential Crisis Realities

On BBC’s HARDtalk 5 years ago, I was slammed across the board for saying billions of lives were at risk. The liberal climate movements tried to refute and play down the existential risks ahead. The last few months have shown ever more clearly that I was right. After all, what do we actually think the “end of civilization” will look like?Several new scientific papers from Ripple and Pearce have outlined that not only are billions of lives on the line, but that “richer humans will be responsible for [the] killing.” This month, the NASA Climate Scientist, Peter Kalmus, who declared last December’s COP28 a “sick joke,” also added his voice to that position. The time for shying away from our existential reality is over. The precautionary principle dictates that these realities form and guide the mission of our lives — that only a revolution to change who makes the big decisions is going to save us.

“If left unchecked, every year on average will be hotter than the last, and at some point,” Kalmus wrote in Newsweek, “global heating will take down civilization as we know it. Billions of lives are at risk.”

Maybe 2023 will be remembered as the year when the word “billion” entered the public sphere as the number of people who are going to be killed. When the liberal climate industry breaks down and people start to focus on just how serious the situation is.

Exponential Temperature Increase 

The situation is that temperatures have been going up exponentially since the 1970s and we will pass 2C in the next 15 to 20 years. After which feedback loops will be triggered and we will continue past 3C and 4C.

Here’s just a snapshot of what those exponential temperatures really mean:

Extreme heat and drought typical of an end-of-century climate could occur over Europe soon and repeatedly – Communications Earth & Environment
Extreme heat and drought typical of the end of the century could occur earlier and repeatedly over Europe, and are more likely when they coincide with a warm North Atlantic, according to 100 simulations with an Earth system model.

“By 2050–2074, two successive years of single or compound end-of-century extremes, unprecedented to date, exceed 1-in-10 likelihoods”

Such extreme temperatures mean that one in every ten years our ability to feed ourselves will be destroyed. Don’t look away.

Fossil Fuels Are At A Record High 

Despite years of commitments from countries to slash the emissions of greenhouse gases that are warming the planet, they are still on the rise. Carbon dioxide released from burning fossil fuels is expected to rise by 1.1 percent in 2023 compared with 2022, scientists found in an extensive peer-reviewed analysis published this week.

This is what it looks like when cognitive dissonance goes non-linear. Especially when they have even got the full picture.

Look at this new report of underreported emissions: “Climate Trace Detects Underreported Soaring Emissions,” by Robert Hunziker, writing at Counterpunch.org: “Emissions have been soaring well beyond official statistics reported by countries.”

On top of everything else, we find out they have all been lying as well.  Are we really going to let these criminals take our children into an endless hell hole?

Future floods: Global warming intensifies heavy rain – even more than expected

11/27/2023 – The intensity and frequency of extreme rainfall increases exponentially with global warming, a new study finds. The analysis by researchers from the Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research (PIK) shows that state-of-the-art climate models significantly underestimate how much extreme rainfall increases under global warming – meaning that extreme rainfall could increase quicker than climate models suggest.  Climate Impact Research (PIK) shows that state-of-the-art climate models significantly underestimate how much extreme rainfall increases under global warming   “The intensity and frequency of extreme rainfall increases exponentially with global warming,”

So much for “state of the art” – Linear analysis is fucked. How many experts are in their own bubbles of expertise and not looking at the bigger picture? Cascading tipping point will send us into a hothouse earth. Forever.

Just look at this new report on ice levels:

If there is surely one phrase that sums up 2023 it is “worse than previously thought”.

Even the new Global Tipping Points report minces its words.

“The climate change assessment process has tended to focus on the most likely outcome, rather than evaluating the highest-risk outcomes. But this is poor risk assessment and it is leaving society ill equipped for what lies ahead.”

Understatement of the century – it’s a total fucking disaster! 

How many euphemisms do we have to deal with before someone finally breaks free of the system and the corporate media to say how it really is?

This is what the Labour leadership refuses to accept — there is a point when we cannot stop the chaos, and the chaos gets exponentially worse. Reformism is simply irrelevant, according to the science. It’s self-evidently a treasonous crime for Keir Starmer to pretend otherwise.

Economic Risks

$5 trillion of nature-related economic risks will amplify climate
“Nature is not the elephant in the room, it’s the huge green scorpion running towards us”- study author.Biodiversity loss and environmental degradation generates significant and long-term risks to

“Nature is not the elephant in the room, it’s the huge green scorpion running towards us”

At some point the penny will drop that nature is stronger than us, especially at above 2C global average temperatures. Yet to add to the fuckery, that realistion is going to be seriously delayed by fossil fuels firms covering up the dirt, as this new report in Nature points out:

“16 of the world’s most polluting fossil fuel companies were associated with more than 1700 climate misinformation ads on Facebook alone, with 150 million user interactions”

It’s clear that the public sphere is completely corrupted – the solution: door knocking, leading to assemblies, leading to revolutions, leading to legally binding citizens assemblies. Got a better idea?

Water Crisis in Gaza

The water situation in Gaza is catastrophic. Even before the war, Gaza had virtually no potable water. The population relied on a polluted and rapidly depleting aquifer, as well as a limited number of desalination plants that fell far short of meeting local needs. This has led to the alarming statistic that 97% of Gaza’s water is unfit for human consumption.

One of the things no one wants to talk about is how many civilians will die once the whole of the Middle East faces social collapse as the region becomes “uninhabitable” (that nice environmentalist word for total fucking murderous hell), as the world’s rich take us over 2C.

COP Fuckery

Part of me feels bad swearing away at the fuckery of COP28. ‘Calm down Roger – don’t get carried away.’ Then we read the latest from Dr. James Hansen  – arguably the greatest climate scientist of our time.What does he say?

We are going over 2C – meaning we face the prospect of 1 billion people uprooted and forced to migrate. No social scientist or historian with any self respect can avoid the judgement that this will be total hell: 20 times the number of refugees produced by WW2.

Me swearing away on twitter should be the least and last of your worries.

I don’t know if Dr. James Hansen will appreciate me saying this, but he is one of my favourite climate scientists. Not just because of his immense expertise, but because he is one of the only top scientists in the world who is capable of calling a spade a spade.

UK Temperatures to Plummet

More importantly, temps will stay below 10C in summer. As a farmer I can tell you there’s not a chance in hell of being able to grow summer crops at scale in those temps.

What sort of total fucking stupid death cult political regime takes this risk?