If The World’s On Fire, That’s Really Nothing New

If The World’s On Fire, That’s Really Nothing New

Afternoon gains on US equity benchmarks belied a distressing hodgepodge of headlines strewn across the financial pages on Tuesday. "Empty grocery shelves return," said one. "Omicron is life threatening for people with underlying conditions," another read. "Flights at US airports halted during North Korea missile test," still another announced. The world, it would appear, is in dire straits. And according to Johns Hopkins data, the US logged a breathtaking 1.5 million new COVID cases in a singl
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10 thoughts on “If The World’s On Fire, That’s Really Nothing New

    1. Further, we know it is the rate of change that brings havoc to complex systems. Climate change is accelerating and humans are the proverbial frog in a pot; slow to react to incremental changes and very responsive to sudden changes. Temperature records have been broken steadily for at least a decade. 2021 might have been the first year that a general sense of ‘oops’ is showing in a lot of minds. I think 2022 might be the year ‘oops’ sounds more like ‘oh sh!t’.

      1. Burning fossil fuels has immediate positive consequences for me. I can heat my home, drive my car, food is grown, and delivered by truck to a store near me. In contrast, not burning fossil fuels to save the planet for other people deprives me of all sorts of comforts. Furthermore, if I am afraid of wildfires and heat waves, I can personally stop burning fossil fuels–and have zero effect on my own personal exposure to these effects of climate change. Addressing a global issue as vexing as human-caused climate change would require very strong institutions that are responsive to global citizenry. We don’t have those institutions, and the ones that we do have, inadequate as they are, are under attack, and are in no position to chart a bold path of global cooperation.

  1. Here we all are analyzing, scheming and dreaming about the made up world while the real world collapses.
    Is trying to time ecological collapse more or less of a fool’s errand than trying to time the market? The former is obsessing me a bit these days.

    Has Kolanovic ever made any pronouncements related to climate catastrophe?

    1. The problem I see is that climate ‘catastrophes’ so far, are seen as local issues. Fires, tornadoes, mud slides, and even sea level rise, are seen as other people’s problems. One exception to this is the depletion of the ozone layer. The response to that was global and everyone had skin in the game. And it was remedied, one of the rare successes for global action.

      A full-throated response to climate change needs to be understood not as regional failures but as an existential challenge.

      Recently, I asked a friend what would constitute such an event. We came up with one event which is sudden and substantial enough to galvanize the world; the collapse of the Thwaites Glacier’s ice shelf (in Antactica). I’m interested to hear about other attention-getting candidates.

  2. I’ll use one of my favorite quotes here “humans tend to act a lot like electrons, they usually take the past of least resistance”. I created that while in electronic technician A school in the Navy. If any system of government, environmental group, or corporation wants people to stop burning fossil fuels it has to make it easier to do something else first. Right now it’s a hell of lot easier to pick up a used v-8 and burn oil and gas all day long than it is to pick up a plug in EV. You can show all the data you want, you can see events happening, people aren’t going to do anything until they absolutely have to or something else is easier for them to do. So my advice, we all need to start migrating north.

    1. geoengineering is coming – unless fusion or carbon sucking happens first.

      One thing we will not do is let the planet kill us without fighting back. Moving North is probably not the best bet (though it cannot hurt).

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