Muddling Our Way to Earth 2.0

Putting ourselves onto a global 11-percent decline slope, we could be back at 1960 climate change levels by 2035. We needn’t be so harsh. Let’s give ourselves to 2045.

Albert Bates
9 min readSep 17


Apparently, President Obama missed the climate briefings given to Presidents Johnson, Nixon, and Carter. While he was in office he pursued a “drill baby drill” policy to boost US fossil exports. Earlier this year, his daughter Malia, now 25, came to him asking where he stood on the issue.

This is his reply. You be the judge.

My take on this is, first, for a guy who has followed this issue closely since the Copenhagen COP, he is living in a weird reality where a three-degree warming world will flood Bangladesh and cause 100 million migrants, but a 1.45°C warmer world (today’s) won’t. He really needs to look at TV more, or at least surf YouTube for this week’s climate porn. All those scenarios he predicted way out into the future for 3 degrees are already happening. Weekly.

We shouldn’t be too hard on him. Most of us likely cannot conceive of how a society as complex and populous as modern techno-consumer culture could transition within the space of a few years, or perhaps decades, to something capable of surviving Earth 2.0.

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Inertia is our greatest enemy.

In a recent vlogcast with Kevin Anderson, Johan Rockström laid out the latest numbers game. You don’t have to watch the full hour, I can single out some of the high points.


What’s the highest mitigation pace we can think of in the world economy? Well, anything above two percent per year of reductions is what we would normally call



Albert Bates

Emergency Planetary Technician and Climate Science Wonk — using naturopathic remedies to recover the Holocene without geoengineering or ponzinomics.