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Climate Change

Ain’t Gonna’ Happen

Inspired by Sam Mitchell of Collapse Chronicles, here is my “Ain’t Gonna’ Happen” list, also known as AGH. This list arose from the almost daily onslaught of “we must”, “we should”, “we have to”, “if only we” and “if we don’t” aspirational rhetoric that floods mass media, climate journalism and social networks. This list is also inspired by Michael Dowd’s concept of The Almighty We and my previous essay titled The Tyranny of We.

Some of these were one-off comments from Tweets, YouTube videos or other social media. Others are policy or social suggestions, green industry ideas and other social movements. Others are actual technologies or systems that are being developed or already exist in part. None of these will save us. As Sam cogently put it in our last video, “we won’t.”

Please feel free to suggest additions to this list in the comments. Likewise, I will surely be adding/modifying this list as time goes by, but this is what I have so far.

Ain’t Gonna Happen

Global Government & Industry

  1. New political party untouched by special interest money.
  2. End the fossil fuel industry.
  3. Drop emissions to stay under 1.5C.
  4. Reduce anthropogenic methane 30% by 2030.
  5. 50% reduction in CO₂ by 2030.
  6. Net-zero CO₂ by 2050.
  7. Ban on private planes and mega-yachts.
  8. Global carbon fee and dividend.
  9. Ban private jets & non-essential air travel.
  10. Tax all religions.

Techno-Optimism and Apocal-Optimism

  1. Carbon capture and storage.
  2. Global use of fusion or some other novel energy source.
  3. Geoengineering: stratospheric aerosols.
  4. Geoengineering: MEER reflection project.
  5. Geoengineering: Giant parasol in outer space.
  6. Geoengineering: Re-freeze Arctic/Antarctic. (100 km underwater fence).
  7. Quantum computers & AI fixing Climate Change.
  8. Global nuclear power buildout.

Political and Social Transformation

  1. End Capitalism and eliminate (eat) the 1%.
  2. Redistribution of wealth. Socialism.
  3. All trucks, trains, ships, military & agricultural machinery go electric.
  4. Massive switch to hydrogen & other alternative e-fuels.
  5. Circular economy, planned de-growth of industrial civilization.
  6. Equitable resource distribution and social justice for all.
  7. Transitioning to sustainable communities.
  8. Fully funded ‘loss and damage’ fund & full climate reparations.
  9. Ministry of the Future.
  10. Global constitution.

Green Tech and Environment

  1. Plant at least 1 trillion trees.
  2. Save the Amazon from tipping into savannah.
  3. Vegan diet dominates.
  4. Lab-grown meat replacing factory farming meat.
  5. End plastic packaging & massively reduce plastics.
  6. Green energy transition to 100% renewables.
  7. Cleanup forever chemicals, nuclear waste & plastic pollution.
  8. Save the soils.
  9. Green, blue, gold and white hydrogen.
  10. Restoring coral reefs.
  11. Rewilding.

Population Control

  1. Contraception and family planning leading to a stable population.
  2. Controlled population decline through global policy.
  3. Tax incentives for childless family, penalty for multiple kids.
  4. Remove all tax incentives for children.
  5. Equality, education, full reproductive rights and justice for women worldwide.

Some Examples of “we”

Dr. James Edward Hansen, The Guardian, February 4, 2021
We have to replace the old ways of doing things – there are alternatives. This is possible and we have to do it, because science tells us we can’t continue business as usual.

Patricia Espinosa, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, Speech, January 26, 2022
We must see more climate action this decade if we’re to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and, ultimately, the 1.5-degree goal.

Peter Kalmus, NASA climate scientist, pinned Twitter post, December 12, 2021
Everyone, I am begging you: Every time you learn of a new climate-related disaster, please recognize that it will get worse, and worse, and worse, every year, without end **UNTIL WE END THE FOSSIL FUEL INDUSTRY**

Professor Julia K. Steinberger, Twitter, November 19, 2021
I don’t know why people are trying to make a huge fuss about whether or not 1.5 degrees is still within reach or not. It makes ZERO difference to what we need to do, which is cancel fossil fuels and animal-based agriculture ASAP.

Professor Katharine Hayhoe, Facebook, December 5, 2021
Luckily, we know what we have to do—namely drop emissions to keep the global temperature from rising above 1.5 degrees Celsius, while still prioritizing protection of biodiversity and human populations.

Professor Michael E. Mann, The Guardian, February 27, 2021
But we can’t allow the forces of inaction to convince us these actions alone are the solution and that we don’t need systemic changes.

Senator Bernie Sanders
If we don’t act boldly, then the world we are going to leave our children and our grandchildren will be increasingly unhealthy and uninhabitable. We have a moral responsibility to make sure that does not happen.

Eliot Jacobson, Ph.D.

Retired professor of mathematics and computer science, retired casino consultant, now a full time volunteer, husband and grandfather. Know-it-all doomer. Born in the year 316 ppm CO2.

35 thoughts on “Ain’t Gonna’ Happen

  • Deirdre Ryan

    That’s for putting that all in a nutshell!

  • tom david

    All we can do is only delay the time line somewhat of climate change. It’s still useful to do this because we’ll need the time to develop alternate low impact life styles that can deal with the eventual loss of arable land etc.

  • Ronald

    Good comprehensive list! Might add a couple more:

    Global government and industry:
    – Implementation of a concerted transnational “New Deal” climate change mitigation plan;

    – AI ‘guided’ to create centrally planned environmental and social sustainability initiatives; (maybe the points listed covers this…)

    Politico-social transformation:
    – A new global power structure paradigm replaces consumerism with “stewardism” – being a steward of all factors that enable life on planet Earth;

    Green tech and environment:
    – Coordinated implementation of global plastic waste reclamation / mitigation measures for oceans and waterways;

    Population control:
    – Conceding that aging populations in “first world” countries, is actually necessary to reduce the current ecological imbalance. And, looking at “third world” countries as an exploitable “human commodity” resource (AKA, “new” people to replace first world population decline / upkeep an ever growing tax base), is not the necessarily the right approach for the future.

    Overused “We” cliché:
    “Things are changing fast, but WE got this!”

  • 1

    Under the AGH category of techno-optimism:

    1. Our addiction to FFs & minerals will be overcome!! AGH at all!

    People love the comfort & convenience of hot water heaters, washer/dryers, refrigerators, toasters, coffee makers, microwave ovens, gas or electric cookstoves/ovens, TVs & computers & cellphones & videogames. Wives & their kids will easily convince the husband/father to sell his guns if it means they can keep all these appliances working for a longer period of time. Cold beer in the fridge or no guns–>easy decision, guns for sale! Happy wife, happy life!

    2. Once the grid collapses postPeak: Water will flow uphill if we wish hard enough. Nope, Nada, No Way!

    People take water pressure [the embodied energy] for granted!
    Most people have no idea about water pressure at their faucets or showerheads, or how much height or water lift is required to get normal pressurized water at 45-80 PSI. Here is a helpful formula: 1 PSI = 2.31 feet of height.

    So 10 PSI means water lifted 23.1 feet higher than the faucet. 45 PSI = 45 x 2.31 = 104 feet high and 80 PSI means 80 x 2.31 feet = water lifted 184.8 feet high! Picture a building 18 floors high and you carrying a five gallon jug in each hand up all those stairs so you can take a high pressure shower. But first, you have to go all the way back down those stairs to a basement showerhead to feel that water pressure!!!

    Just for fun: get the family members to each carry a 5 gallon water jug the length of a football field. I bet they will then turn off the water while brushing their teeth.

    3. Geology & Thermodynamics [Entropy] will be defeated by Hopium!

    Hopium will easily refill oil & natgas reservoirs underground, mineral ore deposits, and depleted water aquifers, too! The power of our minds can reverse Entropy. AGH, impossible!

  • Lorenz

    What about the Amish people? They could willfully resist to the temptation of industrial modernity ? So there is occasion to be less determinist. Humans are not animals after all. People CAN change behaviour, can live a frugal livestile, if only there is some purpose in it, some meaning.

      • Lorenz

        Humans can engage in asceticism, can make sacrifices.

      • Tennessee Jed

        Oh, we ARE animals alright!

    • 0

      If anything the Amish ppl serve as the exception that proves the rule. No one is joining them and the community loses about 1 in 5 members post 16 yrs of age.

      Would be nice if we could embrace their way of life but AGH

  • Lorenz

    As someone who is very much interested in the history of ecology and environmentalism, I am happy to find this blog.
    May I ask readers if they ever heard about Cesare Marchettis 1979 paper: “10^12: A check on the earth-carrying capacity for man” (Energy, 4, 1979, 1107-1117), where he came to the conclusion that earth can be inhabitated by one trillion people, “without exhausting any primary resource and without overloading the environment”.
    What do you think about it?

  • 0

    You shouldn’t use “all” or “100%” because nothing will ever be all or 100%. But “most” or “Almost all” are acceptable. Most cars sol

    Not only is “3. Geoengineering: stratospheric aerosols.” possible, it’s guaranteed to happen. It’s relatively easy and cheap, we know it works (from volcanos), and it is the only action politicians can take that will have immediate effect (vs. decades for emissions reduction and carbon removal). So when the s#!t hits the fan, Sunlight Reflection Methods (SRM) will be the go-to action.

    • Lorenz

      Guaranteed to happen? The well-known (academic) lobby for Stratospheric Aerosol Injection (SAI) has made almost no progress since so many decades. Until now, they even could not get the necessary research granted. Whenever they try to get money, they are met with strong resistance (mostly from fellow academians). — To its misfortune, SAI finds itself between the frontlines. Right-wing politicians won’t fund them, denying climate change altogether. Progressives won’t fund them, sticking to their hopium agenda (Paris 2015, IRA, etc.) bills.

  • Greeley G. ("Gregg") Miklashek, MD

    Concerted individual/governmental drive to reduce individual carbon footprints in order to reduce global heat energy release into the environment, and all of its existential consequences.

    International campaign to reduce the percentage of unwanted/unintended pregnancies, now 37% in the US (CDC), by potential parents ill equipped to support and educate a child throughout a life cycle.

    Study and worldwide presentation of total latent heat energy storage in all forms/states of water.

    Nobel Prize for Eliot Jacobson.

  • Lorenz

    What about the transition from “traditional agriculture” (including both livestock farming and crop plantation), to indoor industrial production of all necessary food stuff (proteins, carbonhydrates, vitamins) in laboratories?

  • Uli Schonhard

    Reduce Earth Overshoot.

    Actually close the ozone hole.

    Bring back species we killed, e.g. mammoth, via genetic engineering.

  • Pintada

    “We” need to stop acting like humans. — Ain’t never gonna happen.

  • Lorenz

    General conversion of activists to the gospel of doomerism — ain’t gonna happen.

  • Uli Schonhard

    “Green” energy transition? Ain’t gonna happen, see
    mark mills: energy transition delusion

  • 0

    1. New political party untouched by special interest money…
    This has happened but it did not make any difference: Under the impression of the Club of Rome report we founded the Green Party in Switzerland in the early Eighties. We were an association of independent and thinking individuals, many with scientific background and – I dare say – independent of any special interest money. One central demand was to substantially increase taxation of gasoline, fossil fuels and energy and use the money 1. for energy-saving investments (e.g. thermic isolation of buildings) and 2. to reduce taxation on labour.
    However we were systematically ridiculed by the media and by the political competition to the right AND left. We remained marginal, then with time the party was infiltrated by disillusioned Marxists and by sectarians measuring their standpoint by the goodness of their intentions. The party now has become as substantial minority, but it still preaches the illusion of the 1.5 degrees and it is unable to admit or take notice of the fact that population size and expansion is at the root of the problem.

  • Ronan Pellen

    Aliens/Jesus coming out from the sky to save our @$$…

  • 0

    Hi Eliot
    What a great list. While this is represented in other “ain’t gonna happen” points; I think it’s good to spell it out to people.

    Make modern medical care “eco-friendly”.

    Over 30years of working in the industry I have seen so much waste. The focus is very much on sickness care instead of facilitating people live in more healthy ways.

  • 0

    pretty long list and I’m inclined to agree with you on them all (a situation that’s been more or less true for last 20 yrs). There are some thoughts on the coming catastrophe in the web sitelink.. (old post (2016) on my site which is only currently viewable though the web archive)

    So what do you think is possible?
    what mitigation efforts do you think we could achieve?

    And What are your thoughts on AI or AGI? can it save us from ourselves?

    regards, Malcolm

  • Jeffrey Willis

    I propose an addition to your “Ain’t Gonna Happen” List, Techno-Optimism and Apocal-Optimism sublist:

    Reprogramming of the human brain to align humanity with rational objectives (i.e. preventing planetary ecocide)

    This could conceivably be achieved with viruses(undoubtedly with severe unintended consequences). Here is an example mechanism which might reduce tribalism bias: Harming kin to save strangers: further evidence for abnormally utilitarian moral judgments after ventromedial prefrontal damage. ( )

    Credit to Dr. Peter Watts for this idea: Peter Watts: “Attack of the Hope Police: Delusional Optimism at the End of the World?” ( )

  • 0

    “Compassionate misanthropy” — would that fit?

  • 0

    Instead of condescending philanthropy

  • 0

    If Mark Twain lived today, what would he think about doomerism?

  • Greeley G. ("Gregg") Miklashek, MD

    Ain’t gonna take until 2,100 for global air temps to reach 3 degC. Recent posting on Copernicus for “Daily global surface air temperature anomalies” is a graph of the extreme existential rise of global air temps from July, 2023 through Feb., 2024, continuing over 1.54 degC, but on an incline to reach a 12 month ave. of 2.0 degC this year, which may be extrapolated through 2025 when it reaches 2.5 degC., and finally (??) through 2026 when that same trajectory reaches an ave. air temp of 3.0 degC–approaching unsustainable for life on the planet. “Tipping point” enough fer ya? Remember, this air temp. rise is in spite of all of the 13.3 HpS air heat energy conversions to latent forms: 1.2 trillion tons of melting global ice/yr (3.3 billion tons/day), 321 million cubic miles of oceans heating to 70 degF in midlatitudes, and 1 trillion tons of evaporating water vapor/day. Our global AC just can’t keep up, so India is building millions of AC units, burning more and more fossil fuel to make the electricity to run the ACs and speeding us into oblivion. Ain’t gonna happen?

  • Uli Schonhard

    Immediately thought about this posting when I listened
    to Sir David King with Nate Hagens when they talked about
    (no joke) artificial whale poop, that is ocean fertilisation.
    Maybe you could do some research on this?
    The idea sounds insane to me.

    Greetings from Germany

  • 0

    Here’s a study that found that humanity would’ve had to cut GHG emissions to zero sometime in the 1960s or earlier to prevent a long-term, self-sustained rise in the global temperature:

    Randers, J., Goluke, U. An earth system model shows self-sustained thawing of permafrost even if all man-made GHG emissions stop in 2020. Sci Rep 10, 18456 (2020).

    The supplementary information shows that the rise in the global temperature might be reversed if, in addition to cutting GHG emissions to zero ASAP, 36.7 GtCO2e/yr were removed from the atmosphere practically forever. (The data stops at the year 2500.) The supplementary information also shows that doing all that would drop atmospheric CO2 levels to about 200 ppm by 2150, and about 120 ppm by 2500. Not discussed in the paper is whether the lower end of that atmospheric CO2 range would cause C3 photosynthesis to fail, thereby rendering the exercise spectacularly counterproductive, unless other extraordinary measures, such as genetically re-engineering most photosynthetic organisms, were part of the effort.


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