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Several recent reports collectively endorsed by thousands of expert scientists have warned the world that time is running out to save Humanity and the Biosphere from further catastrophic climate change and further massive biodiversity loss. Massive harm has already occurred due to continuing carbon pollution, population growth and economic growth and it is clear that zero growth in these areas is insufficient  – there must be negative carbon pollution (atmospheric CO2 draw-down), negative population growth (population decline) and negative economic growth (degrowth) to halt and reverse this worsening disaster.  However the key question is how much reversal is needed for a safe and sustainable planet?

Of course the whole proposition of negative growth in relation to atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHGs) and economic activity is anathema to the present  growth-based world order as neatly demonstrated  by the results from Google Searches for the following terms: “zero emissions” (2.24 million)   versus “CO2 draw-down” (2,810), and “economic growth” (76.4 million) versus “negative “economic growth” (279,000). However a quantitatively similar degree of concern over “zero population growth” (213,000) versus “negative population growth”  (132,000) is explicable because population decline is already a reality in many advanced economies to the consternation of the politically dominant,  growth-committed  neoliberals.

  1. Atmospheric CO2 population and economic growth existentially  threaten  Humanity and the Biosphere.

Before addressing the question of how much degrowth is required in relation to GHG pollution, population and economic activity, it is useful to summarize the worsening climate crisis, resource depletion crisis  and biodiversity crisis. In 2017 a letter signed by over 15,000 scientists documented the following disastrous changes in 9 key areas  in the last 24 years:   (1) –26.1% in freshwater resources per capita, (2) –6.4% in  marine catch, (3) +75.3% in marine dead  zones, (4) –2.8% in  forest area, (5) –28.9% in vertebrate species abundance, (6) +62.1% in annual CO2 emissions, (7) +167.6% in average temperature change, (8) +35.5% in human population, and (9) +20.5%  in ruminant population [1, 2]. If these changes observed over a quarter century continue at the same rate then, for example, there will be a near 100% decline in non-human vertebrate species abundance in the coming century. We must not destroy what we cannot replace but the species extinction rate is presently 100-1,000 times greater than normal [3].

Similarly the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) “Living Planet Report 2018” [4]  describes the unfolding human consumption disaster since 1750 as the Great Acceleration that is characterized by huge increases in 12 socio-economic trends (world population, real GDP, foreign direct investment, urban population, direct energy use, fertilizer consumption, large dams, global water use, paper production, transportation, telecommunications, and international tourism) and in 12 Earth system trends (carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), methane (CH4), stratospheric ozone (O3) loss, surface temperature, ocean acidification, marine fish capture, shrimp aquaculture, nitrogen to coastal zone, tropical forest loss, domesticated land, and terrestrial biosphere degradation) (Figure 2, [4]) . The WWF states: “Average abundance of 16,704 populations representing 4,005 species monitored across the globe have declined by 60% [since 1970] (Figure 7 [4]). This huge human impact on the Biosphere has led to the present age being described as the Anthropocene Era.  

In October 2018 the IPCC issued a dire report that details the numerous bad outcomes of a global +1.5 degree Centigrade (+1.5C) of warming versus the catastrophic outcomes from a +2C e.g. a further 70-90% decline of coral reefs at +1.5C versus more than 99% loss at +2C. The IPCC Report says that for less than +1.5C  coal burning must cease by 2050 but also declares that the terminal CO2 pollution budget for a 66% chance of avoiding +1.5C will be used up in 10 years [5-7]. However the climate change denialist American Trump Administration  and the effectively climate change denialist,   pro-coal and pro-gas Australian Government have effectively rejected the IPCC Report [7]. The atmospheric levels of the GHGs CO2, methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) continue to rise [8-12]. Indeed the world is acutely threatened by a methane bomb in the warming Arctic as methane is released from huge stores of methane-water clathrates in the tundra and the Arctic Ocean sea bed [13, 14]. In defiance of the science, electricity sector gas, oil and coal use has steadily increased over the period 1965-2017 [15]. Indeed the global national commitments to the Paris Agreement amounted to an horrendous  3.4C temperature rise.  

The Red Cross World Disasters Report 2018 states that in the last 10 years there have been 3,751 reported major natural hazards (84% weather-related) , and these have been associated with 2 billion people affected (95% weather-related) , and a $1,658 billion cost (76.2% weather-related) (Figure 9  [16]).  It has been estimated that 0.4 million people die annually from climate change [17] but this is a considerable under-estimate because already 15 million people die avoidably from deprivation each year in the Third World that is disproportionately  impacted by man-made climate change [18]. 7 million people perish each year due to the long-term effects of pollutants from carbon fuel burning [19]. Several leading climate scientists  have predicted that only 0.5 billion people will survive this century  unless requisite climate action is taken, this translating  to a worsening climate genocide in which 10 billion people will perish  this century [20-24 ]. 

The 3 key existential threats against Humanity are nuclear weapons (a nuclear winter from nuclear war – that could happen any time –  would wipe out most of Humanity and the Biosphere),  poverty (already 15 million people die avoidably from deprivation in the Third World each year, this being compounded by climate change, population growth, resource depletion and competition for resources), and climate change (that unaddressed could kill 10 million people this century) [18, 20, 24]. Rational world governance aside, 3 key processes to tackle these existential threats are negative carbon pollution (atmospheric CO2 draw-down), negative population growth (population decline) and negative economic growth (degrowth). The following sections address how much reversal is needed for a safe and sustainable planet.

  1. Negative carbon pollution – draw down of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) to circa 300 ppm CO2.

The excellent climate activist organization 350.org argues that the atmospheric CO2 should be drawn down from the present dangerous and damaging  circa 410 ppm CO2 to no more than 350 ppm CO2. However numerous climate scientists, Arctic ice scientists, paleoclimatologists, biologists and coral scientists argue that the target should be 300 ppm CO2, or roughly the pre-Industrial Revolution atmospheric CO2 level [24, 25]. A pertinent sample of numerous such opinions is given  below.

Thus Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber (director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research., Germany): “It is a compromise between ambition and feasibility. A rise of 2oC could avoid some of the big environmental disasters, but it is still only a compromise…It is a very sweeping argument, but nobody can say for sure that 330ppm is safe. Perhaps it will not matter whether we have 270ppm or 320ppm, but operating well outside the [historic] realm of carbon dioxide concentrations is risky as long as we have not fully understood the relevant feedback mechanisms” [26].

Professor James Hansen (NASA and Columbia University): “CO2  ~300-325 ppm, may be needed to restore sea ice to its area of 25 years ago” [27, 28].

Dr Andrew Glikson (an Earth and paleo-climate research scientist at Australian National University, Canberra, Australia): “The amount of carbon stored in Arctic sediments and permafrost is estimated as 500–2500 Gigaton Carbon (GtC), as compared with the world’s total fossil fuel reserves estimated as 5000 GtC. Compare with the 700 GtC of the atmosphere, which regulate CO2 levels in the range of 180–300 parts per million and land temperatures in a range of about – 50 to + 50 degrees C, which allowed the evolution of warm blooded mammals. The continuing use of the atmosphere as an open sewer for industrial pollution has already added some 305 GtC to the atmosphere together with land clearing and animal-emitted methane. This raised CO2 levels to 387 ppm CO2 to date [410 ppm CO2 in 2018], leading toward conditions which existed on Earth about 3 million years (Ma) ago (mid-Pliocene), when CO2 levels rose to about 400 ppm, temperatures to about 2–3 degrees C and sea levels by about 25 +/- 12 metres” [28].

David Bielo (a contributing editor at Scientific American): “The last time CO2 levels at Mauna Loa were this high [400 ppm CO2], Homo sapiens did not live there. In fact, the last time CO2 levels are thought to have been this high was more than 2.5 million years ago, an era known as the Pliocene, when the Canadian Arctic boasted forests instead of icy wastes. The land bridge connecting North America and South America had recently formed. The globe’s temperature averaged about 3 degrees C warmer, and sea level lapped coasts 5 meters or more higher” [29].

Dr J.E.N. Veron and leading coral scientist colleagues: “The coral reef crisis: the critical importance of <350 ppm CO2… Temperature-induced mass coral bleaching causing mortality on a wide geographic scale started when atmospheric CO2 levels exceeded 320 ppm. When CO2 levels reached 340 ppm, sporadic but highly destructive mass bleaching occurred in most reefs world-wide, often associated with El Niño events. Recovery was dependent on the vulnerability of individual reef areas and on the reef’s previous history and resilience. At today’s level of 387 ppm [410 ppm CO2 in 2018], allowing a lag-time of 10 years for sea temperatures to respond, most reefs world-wide are committed to an irreversible decline. Mass bleaching will in future become annual, departing from the 4 to 7 years return-time of El Niño events. Bleaching will be exacerbated by the effects of degraded water-quality and increased severe weather events. In addition, the progressive onset of ocean acidification will cause reduction of coral growth and retardation of the growth of high magnesium calcite-secreting coralline algae” [30].

There are many ways by which atmospheric CO2 can be drawn down [31-34]. The various Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) technologies suggested include Bio-energy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS,  involving CO2 sequestration into cellulosic biomass by photosynthesis and safe storage of the biomass), Biochar (from high temperature  anaerobic pyrolysis  of biomass cellulose to generate carbon for safe storage) , re-afforestation,  Accelerating  Weathering  of Limestone (AWL, generating alkaline bicarbonate ions for dissolution in the ocean), Direct Air Capture (DAC, via removal of CO2 from  power plant exhaust through dissolution in alkaline sodium hydroxide solution),  ocean fertilization (to promote CO2 sequestration as algal cellulosic biomass) and Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS, that is  very expensive and yet to be applied on a big scale).  Because CO2 removal is so expensive the simplest solution is immediate cessation of  carbon fuel burning [31-34], noting that future generations will have to pay for this CO2 draw-down [35-39]. Of course it is not just the atmospheric  levels of the GHG CO2 that must be reduced. Methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) are variously generated from agriculture and land use  and are  much more potent as GHGs than CO2.  The climate crisis demands cessation of meat eating and methanogenic animal husbandry  [10, 40-43].

  1. Negative population growth in the impoverished South must follow the present example of the rich North.

Even if per capita GHG pollution remained the same, increasing population would see GHG pollution increase.  Further, while low birth-rate  the rich North could live more modestly, the impoverished and high birth-rate South needs an increase in per capita income to enable circumstances in which birth rate can be reduced (high female literacy, infant survival and economic security [18]). UN Population Division projections show that this century  the population of rich Europe will fall  from 742 million (2018) to 653 million (2100) whereas the population of impoverished Africa will explode from 1,274 million (2018) to 4,468 million (2100) [44]. However in terms of relative carbon footprint the per capita  GDP (nominal) is $25,596 for Europe versus $1,753 for Africa (2016), this translating to a total GDP of $19.3 trillion for Europe and $2.2 trillion for Africa [45]. For carbon footprint equality the European population would need to decrease 10-fold or the African per capita income would have to increase 10-fold. However Professor Dabo Guan  (School of International Development, University of East Anglia, UK) (2016) has commented thus on inescapable limits to growth:  “For everyone in the world to have an American lifestyle, we would need seven planets, and three to live as Europeans” [46]. Clearly the European population is not declining fast enough and the African population is expanding impossibly.

Drastic decrease in population is required for cessation of the present appalling level of ecosystem destruction (ecocide) that is associated with catastrophic species loss (speciescide) and leading to omnicide and terracide.  If we take  world coral  as a “canary in the coal mine” then the 320 ppm CO2 at which coral reefs started to decline [30] was reached in 1965 [8], at which time the world’s population was 3.340 billion as compared to the present 7.5 billion [44]. One can therefore plausibly suggest that given the present carbon economy the world’s population needs to roughly halve for a safe and sustainable environment for all peoples and all species.

  1. Negative economic growth in the North and initial limited economic growth in the South.

As outlined above the impact of man on the Biosphere needs to be reduced by about 50% but most of the negative economic growth must happen in the North with  initial limited economic growth in the South to enable a decent life and the possibility of negative population growth that has prerequisites of modest economic security, female literacy, good primary health care and low infant mortality. The world’s GDP (nominal) is estimated at $88 trillion (2018)  [47] and with an eventual   halving of world population there would be a corresponding halving of world GDP (nominal) to a steady state of about $44 trillion.

Professor Anderson (Deputy Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Manchester), together with Dr Alice Bows wrote an extremely important paper in 2008 describing 6-8% annual GHG emissions reductions needed for a 450 ppm CO2-equivalent (CO2-e) target (2008): “According to the analysis conducted in this paper, stabilizing at 450 ppmv [carbon dioxide equivalent = CO2-e, atmospheric concentration measured in parts per million by volume] requires, at least, global energy related emissions to peak by 2015, rapidly decline at 6-8% per year between 2020 and 2040, and for full decarbonization sometime soon after 2050 …Unless economic growth can be reconciled with unprecedented rates of decarbonization (in excess of 6% per year), it is difficult to envisage anything other than a planned economic recession being compatible with stabilization at or below 650 ppmv CO2-e … Ultimately, the latest scientific understanding of climate change allied with current emissions trends and a commitment to “limiting average global temperature increases to below 4oC above pre-industrial levels”, demands a radical reframing of both the climate change agenda, and the economic characterization of contemporary society” [48].

Unfortunately 10 years on in 2018 the atmospheric CO2 is increasing [8] as is energy sector oil use, gas use and (arguably)  coal use [15]. Further,  the “stabilizing” 450 ppm CO2-e proposed by Anderson and Bows in 2008 [48] has already been exceeded. Thus the 2014 IPCC Report  stated that “About 450 ppm CO2-e [is] likely to limit warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels” [49] but according to Professor  Ron Prinn ( Professor of Atmospheric Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology) an atmospheric 478 ppm CO2-e (i.e.  also taking GHGs other than CO2 into account) was already attained by 2013 [50]. Atmospheric CO2 continues to rise, having already reached 410 ppm CO2  [8], and atmospheric methane (CH4, from methanogenic livestock, land use, systemic natural gas leakage and Arctic tundra  melting ) and nitrous oxide (N2O, from oxidation of nitrogen fertilizers) are also increasing [14, 51]. Atmospheric CO2, CH4 and N2O levels are presently about 1.4, 2.5 and 1.2 times, respectively, of those in 1800 [51], noting that the relative Global Warming Potential per unit mass  for these GHGs on a 20-year time scale are 1, 86 and 268, respectively [52] and the present levels in 2018 are 410 ppm CO2, 1.85 ppm CH4 and 0.33 ppm N2O [51].

In view of the continuing GHG pollution one concludes that exceedance of +2C is now effectively unavoidable but we are obliged to do everything we can to make the future “less bad” for future generations.  As outlined below,  a substantial  effective degrowth in the North can be achieved by a North to South wealth transfer through application of a .substantial  annual wealth tax.

  1. Effective North degrowth through an annual wealth tax to assist the South.

Avoidable mortality (avoidable death, excess mortality, excess death, deaths that do not have to happen) can be defined as the difference between actual deaths in a country and deaths expected for a peaceful, decently-run country with the same demographics (i.e. similar birth rate and age distribution) [18]. For relatively high birth rate Developing World countries the baseline death rate is about 0.4% or  4 persons per 1,000 of population each year [18]. However for the Developing World (minus China) (2017-2018 population 4,886 million) the death rate is 7.1 deaths per 1,000 of population per year (2017-2018) [44] , this yielding an avoidable death rate of 7.1 – 4.0 = 3.1 avoidable deaths per 1,000 of population per year,  and 3.1 avoidable deaths per 1,000 of population per year x 4,885,541  thousand persons = 15.1 million avoidable deaths annually.

The annual avoidable deaths as a percentage of population is about is about 0.0% for Overseas European countries (the US, Canada, Australia,  New Zealand, and Apartheid Israel), 0.01% (East Asia), 0.03% (Latin America and the Caribbean), 0.05%  (Western Europe), 0.25% (Arab North Africa and Middle East), 0.26% (South East Asia), 0.26% (Turkey, Iran and Central Asia),  0.31% (Eastern Europe), 0.38% (South Asia), 0.39% (the Pacific),   and 0.97% (non-Arab Africa) (2003 data,  [18]).

Notably, annual avoidable deaths as a percentage of population rate is 0.0% for the US, Cuba and China  [18] but these countries presently have annual per capita incomes  (annual GDP per capita) of $57,808, $7,815 and $8,126, respectively (UN data, 2016, [45]),  and under-5 infant mortality  (under-5 infant deaths per 1,000 live births) of 6, 6 and 12, respectively (2017-2018, [44]).

It is glaringly obvious that zero avoidable mortality (as defined above) and extremely low infant mortality  is possible in countries such as Cuba and China with annual per capita incomes about 7 times lower than that of the US provided the countries  have good governance, high female literacy,  good primary health care and peace [18]. Accordingly, it is useful to calculate how much it would cost in wealth transfer from the rich to the poor in order to bring all countries  up to a Cuba level of annual per capita income and hence with rational governance abolish the Global Avoidable Mortality Holocaust that kills 15 million people each year through deadly deprivation [18].

I published such a calculation  in 2014 using data made available on  Wikipedia, specifically “List of countries by GDP (nominal) per capita” (US dollars, UN data, 2012) [45] and   “List of countries by population” (2013-2014) [53]. For each country I simply subtracted the country’s per capita from the Cuban per capita ($6,301) and multiplied this difference by the country’s population. The result was a wealth tax in 2014  of  $16, 016.5 billion or about $16 trillion [54] and about 4% of the  total global wealth of  $367 trillion as estimated by  Thomas Piketty (page 438 [55]).

Since the Cuban GDP had increased from $6,301 (2012) to $7,815 (2016) we could estimate that the cost of lifting all the world to a Cuban per capita GDP would have proportionally increased to about $16,016 x $7,815 /  $6,301 = $19,864 billion or about $20 trillion in 2016 and $25 trillion in 2020. Thus a $25 trillion annual donation from the North to the South to abolish Third World avoidable mortality would in effect be an annual  North economic degrowth in terms of wealth transfer. Money means power and it is not going to happen under the present world order but the present calculation at least establishes a boundary condition for future action.

  1. Universal Basic Income and economic de-growth in rich countries through abolition of damaging and deadly economic pursuits.

Annual avoidable mortality from deprivation is effectively zero in  rich countries such as those of the Anglosphere. However such rich countries suffer a major burden of  preventable deaths through “life-style choices” (e.g. smoking, drinking, obesity, air pollution, cars) and inadequate government action (e.g. adverse hospital events, inadequate mental health services,  inadequate  preventive medicine and lack of medical insurance). Thus in the US  each year about 1.7 million Americans die preventably each year from “life-style” or “governance” causes, the breakdown (with some overlaps) including (1)  443,000 from smoking-related causes, (2)  440,000 from adverse events in hospitals, (3) 300,000 from obesity-related causes, (4) 200,000 from air pollution (e.g. from coal burning, vehicle exhaust, carbon burning in general), (5) 75,000 from alcohol-related causes, (6) 45,000 from lack of medical insurance, (7) 38,000 US drug-related deaths annually, this including  21,000 US opiate drug-related deaths annually from US restoration and protection of the Taliban-destroyed Afghan opium industry), (8) 33,000 from motor vehicle accidents, (9) 31,000 gun-related deaths,  (10) 30,000 suicides with 7,000 being US veterans, (11) 21,000 preventable under-5 year old infant deaths, and (12) 15,000 violent homicides with an average of only 4 due to jihadi psychopaths [56, 57]. Now the risk avoidance-based Value of a Statistical Life is about $7 million for Americans [58]  and hence the cost of these 1.7 million preventable American deaths is $11.9 trillion or 58% of  the US GDP (nominal, 2018) of  $20.4 trillion [47].

Annual preventable  deaths from “life-style” or  “governance” causes  in Australia, Canada, the UK and  the US  total , 85,000, 101,000, 150,000 and 1.7 million, respectively  [56-66]. Such preventable deaths in  Australia, Canada, UK  and the US have thus totalled 1.4 million, 1.7 million, 2.6 million, and 29 million, respectively, since the US Government’s false flag 9/11 atrocity in 2001 that killed about 3,000 people [67]. Pollutants from carbon fuel burning kill 7 million people annually (WHO) and have killed 119 million people thus since 9-11 [19]. There have been 3.4 million US air pollution deaths versus about 70 American deaths in the US from  jihadi terrorism deaths since 9-11 [19, 68]. Clearly these preventable deaths in these rich countries could have been avoided by prohibition (e.g. of alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, guns, air pollution) and better social organization in relation to medical care access, mental health services, preventive medicine, and public education. Accordingly there is considerable scope for economic degrowth by abolishing damaging and deadly industries  ranging  from polluting enterprises (fossil fuels, cars, methanogenic livestock production, deforestation), to guns , licit drugs and illicit drugs.

These ignored and hidden costs of economic activity well illustrate Polya’s 3 Laws of Economics that  mirror the 3 Laws of Thermodynamics and are (1) Price minus COP (Cost of Production) equals profit (p); (2) Deception about COP strives to a maximum; and (3) No work, price or profit on a dead planet. These fundamental laws help  expose the failure of neoliberal capitalism in relation to wealth inequality, massive tax evasion by multinational corporations, and  horrendous avoidable deaths from poverty and pollution culminating in general ecocide, speciescide, climate genocide, omnicide and terracide [69].  Ignoring  the huge human premature mortality  associated with much economic activity means grossly under-estimating the actual Cost of Production (COP) and the ultimate profit (p) contributing to GDP.

In the Anglosphere countries the neoliberal politicians woo the voters with the mantra of “jobs and growth” that ignores  the deadly downsides of some jobs and the environmental  impact of “growth”. Eliminating deadly and damaging “jobs” provides considerable scope for a circa 50% economic degrowth to minimize preventable deaths as well as supporting environmental  sustainability. Conversely there are many extremely valuable jobs that are presently poorly paid or unpaid and not considered part of the “economy” as cogently analysed by Marilyn Waring [70, 71]. Further, negative economic growth is required to save what is left of wild nature that has a substantial economic value  estimated at about $35 trillion annually (2002) or about half of the world’s annual GDP [72]. Andrew Balmford and colleagues (2002): “Loss and degradation of remaining natural habitats has continued largely unabated. However, evidence has been accumulating that such systems generate marked economic benefits, which the available data suggest exceed those obtained from continued habitat conversion. We estimate that the overall benefit:cost ratio of an effective global program for the conservation of remaining wild nature is at least 100:1” [72].

Abolition of a huge number of damaging or unnecessary jobs  (perhaps about 50% of the present economy in the North) would make a massive contribution to requisite North degrowth.  This adumbrated contraction leads to consideration of Artificial Intelligence (AI), the future of work, work participation, government job guarantee, and Universal Basic Income.  Fundamental to such considerations is how society is viewed. Neoliberalism demands maximal freedom  for smart and advantaged individuals to exploit natural and human resources for private profit (and hence power), with an asserted “trickle down” benefit to the rest of society.  In contrast, social humanism (socialism, democratic socialism, eco-socialism, the welfare state)  seeks to sustainably maximize human happiness, dignity and opportunity for everyone through evolving intra-national and international social contracts. The worsening climate crisis and the existential threat to Humanity and the Biosphere means that neoliberalism has failed and must be replaced by sustainable social humanist models that provide a basic decent life for everyone in cooperative societies while also allowing for ambition and excellence [73, 74].

Rich, negative population growth, neoliberal Western societies are associated with an increasingly aged population,  an ultimately  declining participation rate (presently 65.7% in Australia) [75], and increasing part-time work for the young who are disempowered relative to the politically dominant One Percenters (who globally possess 50% of the wealth).  Cooperative and humane societies  with the social security of basic housing, universal health care, free education, government job guarantee and a Universal Basic Income  [76-78] are conceivable in the context of  substantial (circa 50%) economic degrowth. Happiness, dignity and opportunity would flow from constructive social involvement in activities from caring, community, sport, arts  and altruism to scholarly, professional and technical excellence for the betterment of society. Substantial economic degrowth in cooperative societies  based on  “need not greed” can and must happen for environmental  sustainability and avoidance of terracide [79].

Final comments

In summary, variously  as a result of overpopulation,  excessive resource exploitation and huge greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution the world is already experiencing massive biodiversity loss and worsening calamities impacting Humanity (drought, forest fires, sea level rise, warming-exacerbated storms and storm surges). Unfortunately a catastrophic plus 2C temperature rise is now effectively unavoidable but we are obliged to do everything we can to make the future “less bad” for future generations. Crucial to this salvaging enterprise will be negative carbon pollution (atmospheric CO2 draw-down to about 300 ppm CO2), negative population growth by about 50% (population decline that is already beginning in the rich North but crucial for the impoverished but high birth-rate South), and negative economic growth (circa 50% degrowth) based on  “need not greed” eco-socialism to halt and reverse the presently  worsening climate and Biosphere disaster. Young people in particular can save their future by (a) informing everyone they can, and (b) re-democratizing and saving their world through demanding and achieving ecological sustainability with application of substantial  wealth taxes on the presently politically dominant neoliberal One Percenters.

References.

[1]. William J. Ripple et al., 15,364 signatories from 184 countries, “World scientists’ warning to Humanity: a second notice”, Bioscience, 13 November 2017: https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/advance-article/doi/10.1093/biosci/bix125/4605229 .

[2]. Gideon Polya, “Over 15,000 scientists issue dire warning to Humanity on catastrophic climate change and biodiversity loss”, Countercurrents, 20 November 2017: https://countercurrents.org/2017/11/20/over-15000-scientists-issue-dire-warning-to-humanity-on-catastrophic-climate-change-and-biodiversity-loss/ .

[3]. Phillip Levin, Donald Levin, “The real biodiversity crisis”, American Scientist, January-February 2002: http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/pub/the-real-biodiversity-crisis .

[4].  World Wildlife Fund (WWF) “Living Planet Report 2018 aiming higher – summary”: https://s3.amazonaws.com/wwfassets/downloads/lpr2018_summary_report_spreads.pdf .

[5]. IPCC, “Global warming of 1.5 °C. Summary for Policymakers”, 8 October 2018: http://report.ipcc.ch/sr15/pdf/sr15_spm_final.pdf .

[6]. Gideon Polya, “IPCC +1.5C avoidance report – effectively too late but stop coal burning for  “less bad” catastrophes”, Countercurrents,  12 October 2018: https://countercurrents.org/2018/10/12/ipcc-1-5c-avoidance-report-effectively-too-late-but-stop-coal-burning-for-less-bad-catastrophes/ .

[7]. Gideon Polya, “Pro-coal Australia and Trump America reject dire IPCC report & declare War on Terra”, Countercurrents, 17 October 2018: https://countercurrents.org/2018/10/17/pro-coal-australia-trump-america-reject-dire-ipcc-report-declare-war-on-terra/

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[13]. Gail Whiteman, Chris Hope and Peter Wadhams, “Vast costs of Arctic change”, Nature, 499, 25 July 2013: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v499/n7459/pdf/499401a.pdf .

[14]. “Methane Bomb Threat”: https://sites.google.com/site/methanebombthreat/ .

[15]. David Spratt, “Our energy challenge in 6 eye-popping charts”, Climate Code Red, 17 June 2018: http://www.climatecodered.org/2018/06/our-energy-challenge-in-6-eye-popping.html .

[16]. Red Cross, “World Disasters Report 2018”: https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2018/10/B-WDR-2018-EXECSUM-EN.pdf .

[17]. DARA, “Climate Vulnerability Monitor. A guide to the cold calculus of a hot planet”, 2012, Executive Summary pp2-3: http://daraint.org/climate-vulnerability-monitor/climate-vulnerability-monitor-2012/ .

[18]. Gideon Polya, “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950”, that includes a succinct history of every country and is now available for free perusal on the web: http://globalbodycount.blogspot.com/  .

[19]. “Stop air pollution deaths”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/stop-air-pollution-deaths .

[20]. “Climate Genocide”: https://sites.google.com/site/climategenocide/ .

[21]. “Are we doomed?”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/are-we-doomed .

[22]. “Too late to avoid global warming catastrophe”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/too-late-to-avoid-global-warming .

[24]. “Nuclear weapons  ban, end poverty & reverse climate change”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/nuclear-weapons-ban .

[24]. 300.org: . https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/300-org .

[25]. “300.org – return atmosphere CO2 to 300 ppm CO2”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/300-org—return-atmosphere-co2-to-300-ppm .

[26]. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber quoted by David Adam, “Roll back time t safeguard climate, expert warns”, Guardian, 15 September 2008 : http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/sep/15/climatechange.carbonemissions .

[27]. James Hansen, M. Sato, P. Kharecha, D. Beerling, R. Berner, V. Masson-Delmotte, M. Pagani, M. Raymo, D.L. Royer, and J.C. Zachos, “Target atmospheric CO2: Where should humanity aim?”,  Open Atmos. Sci. J., 2, 217-231 (abstract):  http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/abstracts/2008/Hansen_etal.html .

[28]. James Hansen et al., “Target atmospheric CO2: Where should humanity aim?”,  Open Atmos. Sci. J., 2, 217-231:  http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2008/2008_Hansen_etal.pdf .

[29]. Andrew Glikson, “The Methane Time Bomb and the Triple Melt-down”, Countercurrents, 2009  : http://www.countercurrents.org/glikson101008.htm .

[30].  J.E.N. Veron, O. Hoegh-Guldberg, T.M. Lenton, J.M. Lough, D.O. Obura, P. Pearce-Kelly, C.R.C. Sheppard, M. Spalding, M.G. Stafford-Smith and A.D. Rogers, “The coral reef crisis: the critical importance of <350 ppm CO2”, Marine Pollution Bulletin, vol. 58, (10), October 2009, 1428-1436: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19782832 .

[31]. Gideon Polya, “Intergenerational Theft – For Every $1 For Coal Today Future Generations Will Pay $1-$14 To Sequester CO2”, Countercurrents, 8 April, 2015: https://countercurrents.org/polya080415.htm .

[32]. “Carbon dioxide removal”, Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide_removal#Economic_issues .

[33]. Clive Hamilton, “Earth Masters. Playing God with the climate”, Allen & Unwin, 2013.

[34]. Gideon Polya, “Forest biomass-derived Biochar can profitably reduce global warming and bushfire risk”: https://sites.google.com/site/yarravalleyclimateactiongroup/forest-biomass-derived-biochar-can-profitably-reduce-global-warming-and-bushfire-risk .

[35]. “Climate Revolution Now”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/climate-revolution .

 

[36]. “Climate Justice & Intergenerational Equity”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/climate-justice .

[37]. “Stop climate crime”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/stop-climate-crime .

[38]. “Punish climate criminals”: https://sites.google.com/site/punishclimatecriminals/ .

[39]. “Carbon Debt Carbon Credit”: https://sites.google.com/site/carbondebtcarboncredit/ .

[40]. Gideon Polya, “Biofuel famine, biofuel genocide, meat & global food price crisis”, Global avoidable mortality: http://globalavoidablemortality.blogspot.com.au/2008/05/biofuel-famine-biofuel-genocide-meat.html .

[41]. P.W. Gerbens-Leenes, M.M. Mekonnen and A.Y. Hoekstra, “The water footprint of poultry, pork and beef: a comparative study in different countries and production systems”, Water Resources and Industry, Volumes 1–2, March–June 2013, Pages 25-36: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212371713000024 .

[42]. Bibi van der Zee, “What is the true cost of eating meat?”, The Guardian, 7 May 2018: https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/may/07/true-cost-of-eating-meat-environment-health-animal-welfare .

[43]. Gideon Polya, “Worsening Climate Emergency And Record CO2 Emissions Demand Vegetarian Diet For All To Help Save Planet”, Countercurrents, 20 June, 2016: https://www.countercurrents.org/polya200616.htm .

[44]. UN Population Division, “World Population Prospects 2017” : https://population.un.org/wpp/ .

[45]. “List of countries by GDP (nominal) per capita”, Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nominal)_per_capita .

[46]. Irene Banos Ruiz , “China’s new love affair with dogs – as pets, not food – presents environmental  problems”, DW, 21 June 2016:  https://www.dw.com/en/chinas-new-love-affair-with-dogs-as-pets-not-food-presents-environmental-problems/a-19197523 .

[47]. “List of countries  by projected GDP”, Statistics Times, 6 May 2018: http://statisticstimes.com/economy/countries-by-projected-gdp.php .

[48].  Kevin Anderson & Alice Bows, “Reframing the climate change challenge in light of post-2000 emission trends”, Proc. Trans. Roy. Soc, A, 2008: http://www.tyndall.ac.uk/publications/journal_papers/fulltext.pdf ;

[49]. The IPCC, “Climate Change 2014 Synthesis Report, Approved Summary for Policy Makers”, 1 November 2014: http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/syr/SYR_AR5_SPM.pdf .

[50]. Ron Prinn, “400 ppm CO2? Add other GHGs and its equivalent to 478 ppm”, Oceans at MIT, 6 June 2013: http://oceans.mit.edu/featured-stories/5-questions-mits-ron-prinn-400-ppm-threshold .

[51]. “Trends in atmospheric concentrations of CO2, CH4 and N2O”,  European Environment Agency, 31 January 2018: https://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/daviz/atmospheric-concentration-of-carbon-dioxide-3#tab-chart_5_filters=%7B%22rowFilters%22%3A%7B%7D%3B%22columnFilters%22%3A%7B%22pre_config_polutant%22%3A%5B%22CO2%20(ppm)%20%22%5D%7D%7D .

[52]. “Global Warming Potential”, Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming_potential .

[53]. “List of countries by population (United Nations)”, Wikipedia:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_population_(United_Nations) .

[54]. Gideon Polya, “ 4 % Annual Global Wealth Tax To Stop The 17 Million Deaths Annually”,  Countercurrents, 27 June, 2014: https://www.countercurrents.org/polya270614.htm

[55]. Thomas Piketty, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century”,  Harvard University Press, 2014.

[56]. Gideon Polya , “West Ignores 11 Million Muslim War Deaths & 23 Million Preventable American Deaths Since US Government’s False-flag 9-11 Atrocity”, Countercurrents, 9 September, 2015: https://countercurrents.org/polya090915.htm .

[57]. “Stop state terrorism” : https://sites.google.com/site/stopstateterrorism/ .

[58]. Ryan Bosworth et al., “The Value of a Statistical Life: economics and politics”, Strata, March 2017: https://strata.org/pdf/2017/vsl-full-report.pdf

[59]. Gideon Polya, “Australian State Terrorism –  Zero Australian Terrorism Deaths, 1 Million Preventable Australian Deaths & 10 Million Muslims Killed By US Alliance Since 9-11”,  Countercurrents, 23 September, 2014: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya230914.htm .

[60]. Gideon Polya, “Pro-Zionist, Pro-war, Pro-Opium, War Criminal  Canadian Government Defames Iran & Cuts Diplomatic Links”,  Countercurrents, 10 September, 2012: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya100912.htm .

[61]. Gideon Polya, “UK Terror Hysteria exposed – Empirical Annual Probability of UK Terrorism Death 1 in 16 million”,  Countercurrents, 16 September, 2014: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya160914.htm .

[62]. Gideon Polya, “West Ignores 11 Million Muslim War Deaths & 23 Million Preventable American Deaths Since US Government’s False-flag 9-11 Atrocity”, Countercurrents, 9 September, 2015: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya090915.htm

[63]. Gideon Polya, “Corporate terrorism is state sanctioned, kills  over 30 million people annually and dooms humanity by lying”, State crime and non-state terrorism: https://sites.google.com/site/statecrimeandnonstateterrorism/corporate-terrorism .

[64]. Gideon Polya, “Save Humanity And The Biosphere Through Zero Tolerance  For Deadly Neoliberalism And Remorseless Neoliberals”, Countercurrents, 13 May, 2016: https://www.countercurrents.org/polya130516.htm .

[65]. Gideon Polya, “Pro-Apartheid Australia’s New White Australia Policy & compulsory Australian values statement”, Countercurrents, 12 May 2017: https://countercurrents.org/2017/05/12/pro-apartheid-australias-new-white-australia-policy-compulsory-australian-values-statement/

[66]. Gideon Polya, “Jingoistic, US Lackey Australia’s Deadly Betrayal Of Its Traumatized Veterans”, Countercurrents, 18 May, 2018: https://countercurrents.org/2018/05/18/26768/ ).

[67]. “Experts; US did 9-11”: https://sites.google.com/site/expertsusdid911/  .

[68]. “Carbon terrorism: 3 million US air pollution deaths versus 53 US political terrorism deaths since 9-11 (2001-2015)”, State crime and non-state terrorism: https://sites.google.com/site/statecrimeandnonstateterrorism/carbon-terrorism .

[69]. Gideon Polya, “Polya’s 3 Laws Of Economics Expose Deadly, Dishonest  And Terminal Neoliberal Capitalism”, Countercurrents, 17 October, 2015: https://countercurrents.org/polya171015.htm .

[70]. Marilyn Waring, “If Women Counted”  (introduction by Gloria Steinem), 1988.

[71]. “Marilyn Waring”, Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marilyn_Waring .

[72]. Andrew Balmford, A. Bruner, P. Cooper, R. Costanza, S. Farber, R. E. Green, M. Jenkins, P. Jefferiss, V. Jessamy, J. Madden, K. Munro, N. Myers, S. Naeem, J. Paavola, M. Rayment, S. Trumper and R. K. Turner, “Economic reasons for conserving wild nature”, Science 297, 2002, 950-953: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/297/5583/950 .

[73]. Brian Ellis, ”Social Humanism. A New Metaphysics”,  Routledge , UK , 2012).

[74]. Gideon Polya, “Book Review: “Social Humanism. A New Metaphysics” By Brian Ellis –  Last Chance To Save Planet?”, Countercurrents,  19 August, 2012: https://countercurrents.org/polya190812.htm .

[75]. Australian Bureau of Statistics, “Labour force participation rate at all-time high”, 19 April 2018: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/lookup/6202.0Media%20Release1Mar%202018 .

[76]. William Gerhardie,  “God’s Fifth Column. A biography of the Age 1890-1940” (Hodder & Stoughton, 1981; The Hogarth Press, 1990,  with editing and an Introduction by Michael Holroyd and Robert Skidelsky).

[77]. Gideon Polya, “Book Review: “God’s Fifth Column” By William Gerhardie”,  Countercurrents, 6 May, 2014: https://countercurrents.org/polya060514.htm .

[78]. “Basic income”, Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_income .

[79]. “Economic degrowth – negative economic growth to save Humanity & Biosphere”, Carbon Debt Carbon Credit: https://sites.google.com/site/carbondebtcarboncredit/economic-degrowth .

Dr Gideon Polya taught science students at a major Australian university for 4 decades. He published some 130 works in a 5 decade scientific career, most recently a huge pharmacological reference text “Biochemical Targets of Plant Bioactive Compounds” (CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, New York & London , 2003). He has published “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950” (G.M. Polya, Melbourne, 2007: http://globalbodycount.blogspot.com/ ); see also his contributions “Australian complicity in Iraq mass mortality” in “Lies, Deep Fries & Statistics” (edited by Robyn Williams, ABC Books, Sydney, 2007: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/ockhamsrazor/australian-complicity-in-iraq-mass-mortality/3369002#transcript

) and “Ongoing Palestinian Genocide” in “The Plight of the Palestinians (edited by William Cook, Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2010: http://mwcnews.net/focus/analysis/4047-the-plight-of-the-palestinians.html ). He has published a revised and updated 2008 version of his 1998 book “Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History” (see: http://janeaustenand.blogspot.com/  ) as biofuel-, globalization- and climate-driven global food price increases threaten a greater famine catastrophe than the man-made famine in British-ruled India that killed 6-7 million Indians in the “forgotten” World War 2 Bengal Famine (see recent BBC broadcast involving Dr Polya, Economics Nobel Laureate Professor Amartya Sen and others: http://www.open.edu/openlearn/history-the-arts/history/social-economic-history/listen-the-bengal-famine  ;  Gideon Polya: https://sites.google.com/site/drgideonpolya/home  ; Gideon Polya Writing: https://sites.google.com/site/gideonpolyawriting/ ; Gideon Polya, Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gideon_Polya ) . When words fail one can say it in pictures – for images of Gideon Polya’s huge paintings for the Planet, Peace, Mother and Child see: http://sites.google.com/site/artforpeaceplanetmotherchild/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/gideonpolya/  .

 

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