Responding To Climate Chaos, Or Tips For A Possible Apocalypse


Faster Arctic Ocean melting is just one of global warming's positive feedback loops

The idea that global warming is speeding up climate chaos is starting to circulate in portions of the blogosphere as evidence about positive feedback loops (or in other words, accelerating negative consequences) and these loops' interactions emerges.

In a report presented to a UK government climate group some months ago and now getting a blog play, climate watcher David Wasdell explains his view of the exceedingly bad climate news like this:

"Extra heating because of the climate cycle creates a situation where the ice cycle is accelerated. Less albedo reflection increases the warming, which increases all the other things that are temperature dependent. So it is an interactive set of mutually reinforcing systems....[thus] we have what we call a second order feedback system. Feedback on feedback that accelerates climate change...and the possibility of what has been called "The Tipping Point" in the whole earth system."

Because at Treehugger we're natural optimists, this kind of doomsday talk is only useful if it precipitates the types of changes that are great for the planet whether we're speeding toward "hot earth" or some other change scenario no one's even thought of yet. So what should we non-doomists try to do?Well, as planner and blogger John Grant says, "The implications for action are the same only more so." Keep on keeping on, in other words, with lifestyle and systemic changes that might not seem to make a significant difference but can be the beginning of positive paradigm shifts. Human societies, Grant have an extraordinary ability to respond to catastrophic emergency. It may also be a comfort to realize that nobody - neither climate change alarmists nor climate skeptics - can know it all nor 100 percent accurately predict how anthropogenic and other changes to Earth might exactly play out. And while we can't just count on technology - or the Kyoto Protocol - to take us out of possible climate chaos and its resulting problems, we also need, according to futurist Jamais Cascio to: (1) look for economies of scope - that is, opportunities where a single solution helps solve unrelated problems, such as smarter agricultural solutions boosting food production, sequestering carbon and improving soil; (2) get ready to take immediate advantage of superior technological developments; and (3) together focus our collective "sensors" and intelligence on the planet rather than on each other, the better to quickly spread good solutions as they happen. Via and