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December 7, 2012

The Planetary Emergency, by MR's John Foster and Brett Clark

By Gentry L Rowsey

Capitalism today is caught in a seemingly endless crisis, with economic stagnation and upheaval circling the globe. But while the world has been fixated on the economic problem, global environmental conditions have been rapidly worsening, confronting humanity with its ultimate crisis: one of long-term survival. The common source of both of these crises resides in the process of capital accumulation. Likewise the common solution is to be sought in ...

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an inconvenient truth (2010),
(Image by Amazon.com DVD)
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an inconvenient truth (2010), by Amazon.com DVD

THE APPROACHING ECOLOGICAL PRECIPICE:

Science today tells us that we have a generation at most in which to carry out a radical transformation in our economic relations, and our relations with the earth, if we want to avoid a major tipping point or "point of no return," after which vast changes in the earth's climate will likely be beyond our ability to prevent and will be irreversible. At that point it will be impossible to stop the ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland from continuing to melt, and thus the sea level from rising by as much as "tens of meters." Nor will we be able to prevent the Arctic sea ice from vanishing completely in the summer months, or carbon dioxide and methane from being massively released by the decay of organic matter currently trapped beneath the permafrost--both of which would represent positive feedbacks dangerously accelerating climate change. Extreme weather events will become more and more frequent and destructive. An article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences demonstrated that the record-breaking heat wave that hit the Moscow area in 2010 with disastrous effect was made five times more likely, in the decade ending in that year as compared with earlier decades, due to the warming trend, implying "an approximate 80% probability" that it "would not have occurred without climate warming." Other instances of extreme weather such as the deadly European heat wave in 2003 and the serious drought in Oklahoma and Texas in 2011, have been shown to be connected to earth warming. Hurricane Sandy, which devastated much of New York and New Jersey at the end of October 2012, was impacted and amplified to a considerable extent by climate change.

Click here to read Foster and Clark's entire article at the December, 2012, Monthly Review.



Submitters Bio:

I have a law degree (Stanford, 66') but have never practiced. Instead, from 1967 through 1977, I tried to contribute to the revolution in America. As unsuccessful as everyone else over that decade, in 1978 I went to work for the U.S. Forest Service in San Francisco as a Clerk-Typist, GS-4. I was active in the USFS's union for several years, including a brief stint as editor of The Forest Service Monitor, the nationwide voice of the Forest Service in the National Federation of Federal Employees. Howsoever, I now believe my most important contribution while editor of the F.S.M. was bringing to the attention of F.S. employees the fact that the Black-Footed Ferret was not extinct; one had been found in 1980 on a national forest in the Colorado. In 2001 I retired from the USFS after attaining the age of 60 with 23 years of service. Stanford University was evidently unimpressed with my efforts to make USFS investigative reports of tort claim incidents available to tort claimants (ie, "the public"), alleging the negligence of a F.S. employee acting in the scope of his/her duties caused their damages, under the Freedom of Information Act. Oh well. What'cha gonna do?

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