The Hitchhikers Guide to Climate Change

A Warmer World
The social, environmental and economic changes

We can already see the damaging impact of climate change on the environment, and as these changes increase they are leading to social impacts as whole populations struggle to survive or become displaced.

To avoid this mess getting out of control, in 2015 the Paris Climate Accord set a target to hold the global average temperature rise to well below 2°C (or 3.6°F) above pre-industrial levels, and ideally 1.5°C (2.7°F).

Fortunately this sets out a clear path to stop global warming, but the world has to do more, much, much more, to stay on track. Before we get to how, though, here is the low-down on what it is, and how and why it is impacting the planet.

Originally known as “the greenhouse effect”, filling the atmosphere with CO2 by burning fossil fuels is a really bad idea. CO2, the molecule, does a great job of absorbing sunlight’s warmth, so the more of it there is in the atmosphere, the more warmth from the sun is absorbed by the planet instead of being beamed off into space. This chart from Prof. Michael Mann, aka the Hockey Stick Chart, shows the resulting warming in Earth’s average temperature.

Since the Industrial Revolution came full swing in 1880, the world has warmed by 1.1°C (1.9° F). This is starting to have some radical effects.

Aftermath of extreme flooding in Ahr, Germany, July 2021 caused by climate change-induced extreme rainfall. Image from Reddit https://i.redd.it/leui6ayiasb71.jpg
Aftermath of extreme weather in Ahr, Germany, July 2021, which killed over 100 people. Image from Reddit r/wtf

Extreme weather is the most visual example of climate change impacts, but more generally what we see now is increasing health crises, the reduction of food security, the reduction of water security and direct adverse impacts on people across the planet, causing humanitarian disasters of growing frequency with associated refugee crises, destruction of infrastructure and property and the worsening of mortality rates, and a similar devastating impact on biodiversity and the natural world, as documented by the UN IPCC[1]From the United Nations 6th Assessment Report: Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental … Continue reading.

That is what is happening now. As if that wasn’t enough, the longer term outcome for humanity is decidedly apocalyptic if fossil fuel use isn’t dramatically cut this decade, with sea level rise submerging coastal cities, regional temperature changes making whole countries uninhabitable and threatening humanity’s ability to grow enough food to support itself and ocean acidification and warming liable to devastate the fish stocks we rely on.

If society wanted to, it could turn this all around, and with a bit of luck, restrict the warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F), or if that turns out to be impossible, the next least apocalyptic goal of 2.0°C (3.6° F). But it has to be done now[2]From the UN IPCC report: “Any further delay in concerted anticipatory global action on adaptation and mitigation will miss a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and … Continue reading to catch a “brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future”. By continuing to use such vast amounts of fossil fuels, we are laying demolition charges under the core fabric of our society and economy.

“This is Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz of the Galactic Hyperspace Planning
Council,” the voice continued. “As you will no doubt be aware, the
plans for development of the outlying regions of the Galaxy require
the building of a hyperspatial express route through your star system,
and regrettably your planet is one of those scheduled for demolition.
The process will take slightly less that two of your Earth minutes.
Thank you.”

Douglas Adams – The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
How can we stay within the global carbon budget?
using the ‘contraction and convergence’ framework to limit carbon emissions

We must reduce our global carbon dioxide emissions to limit the global average temperature rise. Contraction and Convergence is a proposed global framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in a fair way. The strategy consists of reducing overall emissions of greenhouse gases to a safe level (contraction), which is achieved by every country bringing its emissions per capita to a level which is equal for all countries (convergence).

Recognising the different levels of carbon generated by different countries and the different impacts on their economies of reducing it, the OECD countries – who account for the greatest emissions – start reduction immediately. Other countries however are allowed to carry on expanding their CO2 emissions until an agreed cut-off date. At an agreed cut-off date, all countries are then bound to reduce their CO2 emissions to zero – this is the “Convergence”.

What a Person Can Do
Why our personal action is significant and meaningful

The R Word: Responsibility. Actually rather than meaning “blame”, it stems from the word “response”, as in “response ability”. Most people have it, they just need to know what is happening. People though have some great mind tricks for avoiding knowing.

It’s also true that governments should be stepping up and leading, but they are not. The main take-home from COP26 was this: our action on the ground is what will inspire them. Not just demonstrating with placards on the street, but demonstrating what to do as well, as best we can.

Starting at the smallest scale, we all have our own personal carbon footprint.

What is a carbon footprint? Your carbon footprint is the total of all the CO2 emissions you cause directly and indirectly, if you add up everything from what you do or get, for every goods or service you use, including your fair share of the manufacturing, processing, packaging, delivery and servicing of that goods or service. It is easy to calculate our average carbon footprint, because it equals our fair share of the CO2 emissions that society pumps into the atmosphere. However it is very difficult to work out what our actual individual carbon footprint is, but if we want to reduce it, that is what we have to do, just like Weight Watchers count their calories.

Ford sprang up.
“Keep looking at the book!” he hissed urgently.
“What?”
“Don’t Panic.”
“I’m not panicking!”
“Yes you are.”
“Alright so I’m panicking, what else is there to do?”
“You just come along with me and have a good time. The Galaxy’s a
fun place. You’ll need to have this fish in your ear.”

Douglas Adams – The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

The fabulously beautiful planet Bethselamin is now so worried about
the cumulative erosion by ten billion visiting tourists a year that any
net imbalance between the amount you eat and the amount you excrete
whilst on the planet is surgically removed from your bodyweight when you
leave: so every time you go to the lavatory it is vitally important to get
a receipt.

Douglas Adams – The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

And then, one Thursday, nearly two thousand years after one man
had been nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice
to people for a change, one girl sitting on her own in a small cafe in
Rickmansworth suddenly realized what it was that had been going
wrong all this time, and she finally knew how the world could be
made a good and happy place. This time it was right, it would work,
and no one would have to get nailed to anything.
Sadly, however, before she could get to a phone to tell anyone
about it, a terribly stupid catastrophe occurred, and the idea was lost
forever.

Douglas Adams – The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

Blocking it out, denial and discourses of delay

Ford would never have discovered it if he hadn’t been busy
engineering a mental block himself. He came across a whole slew of
smooth and plausible denial procedures and diversionary subroutines
exactly where he had been planning to install his own. The computer
denied all knowledge of them, of course, then blankly refused to
accept that there was anything even to deny knowledge of, and was
generally so convincing that even Ford almost found himself thinking
he must have made a mistake.
He was impressed.
He was so impressed, in fact, that he didn’t bother to install his
own mental block procedures, he just set up calls to the ones that
were already there, which then called themselves when questioned,
and so on.

Douglas Adams – So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

Corrupt Algorithms: Climate Denial on Facebook

Social media’s most powerful algorithm, the one driving climate denial on Facebook, creates streams of posts for Facebook users designed solely and without a single ethical consideration to maximise how long users stay and…

Top Proven Climate Denials for Everyday Use

Nobody asked for climate change and global warming, melting ice caps and rising sea levels. Which climate denial can you relate to? Here are my top denials, ranked by order of daftness on a…

Jeremy Clarkson finds climate bashing too tempting

Back in November 2019 last year Jeremy Clarkson, lifelong petrol-head and scourge of the environmental movement, had a ‘green’ epiphany. He spoke of his experiences on the Mekong, confronted by one of the world’s…

Discourses of Delay, artwork by Leolinne

Bistromathics itself is simply a revolutionary new way of
understanding the behaviour of numbers. Just as Einstein observed
that time was not an absolute but depended on the observer’s
movement in space, and that space was not an absolute, but
depended on the observer’s movement in time, so it is now realized
that numbers are not absolute, but depend on the observer’s
movement in restaurants.

Douglas Adams – Life, the Universe and Everything.

The economics of climate change, including how we got here, how we can get somewhere better, and the Great Energy Transition as society weans itself off fossil fuels.

“The Limits to Growth” from 1972, explained in this Youtube video, is the single most successful econometric forecasting ever done. It described a crossroads for the global economy. Hindsight says fairly emphatically, the world went the wrong way.


Prof Steve Keen

An accessible introduction to the economics behind the climate crisis, and the UCC solution.

Keen is a heterodox economist, creator of the Minsky dynamic monetary modelling platform, monetary reformer and co-author of the Universal Carbon Credits proposal. This is his latest book: https://www.patreon.com/posts/introduction-to-43848097

Prof Ian Gough

https://www.iangough.com/media

Kate Raworth

The Doughnut of Humanity – the circular economy theory by Kate Raworth

Tim Jackson

Generally Speaking

One Way To Leave The World A Better Place

I always told myself I should leave the world a better place than I found it. So do a lot of people, including most likely the white-collar workers filling those office spaces in financial districts around the world, and then there’s the business corollary “do no harm” that corporations have adopted. I have much in…

The Doomsday Numbers and Climate Change

Why are we in a climate emergency? One reason is because the numbers don’t add up. These are the Doomsday numbers: the economic impact of both damage and abatement with a 4°C increase in global temperature would produce only 3.6% less growth by 2100. These numbers are taken from the Nobel Lecture in Economics from…

Corrupt Algorithms: Climate Denial on Facebook

Social media’s most powerful algorithm, the one driving climate denial on Facebook, creates streams of posts for Facebook users designed solely and without a single ethical consideration to maximise how long users stay and how many adverts they see[ref]”Stewardship of global collective behavior” – US National Academy of Science article on the crisis in the…

COVID-19-driven Green New Deal

There are two big “Green New Deals” on the table: the US Democrats want one and are planning to bring it in next year, assuming they can win the November election and there’s the European Green New Deal, championed by Ursula von der Leyen, the new president of the European Commission. The BBC ran an…

Australian Bushfires Crisis of 2020 demands a new Political Strategy

Photo by Jack Bassingthwaighte on Unsplash The unprecedented Australian bushfires in 2020 followed the lost 2019 ‘Unloseable Climate Election’ As we enter the new decade, Australia finds itself flooding the international headlines for all the wrong reasons. The record-breaking bushfires that began in December raged for weeks and were only fully extinguished thanks to unprecedented…

Green New Deal

A positive vision of the future from 2019 and 2020 by US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and author Naomi Klein, based on the Green New Deal as the starting point.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals from a Universal Carbon Credits Perspective

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a framework to guide humanity from now through to sustainability. This is how Universal Carbon Credits / Carbon Account Mechanism (Compte carbone) fit into the SDG framework. The 17 SDGs and their 169 sub-goals are a call for action by all countries – poor, rich and middle-income –…

The Doomsday Numbers and Climate Change

Why are we in a climate emergency? One reason is because the numbers don’t add up. These are the Doomsday numbers: the economic impact of both damage and abatement with a 4°C increase in global temperature would produce only 3.6% less growth by 2100. These numbers are taken from the Nobel Lecture in Economics from…

Can the World Reduce CO2 Emissions Fairly? Contraction and Convergence

Our personal CO2 emissions might be produced anywhere in the world, with the modern world’s globalised supply chains. Contraction and Convergence (of CO2 emissions) was until 2010 the basis of climate negotiations to make a fair deal between all nations for CO2 emissions reduction. It may well be again soon while the “best effort” approach…

“Zaphod Beeblebrox…?” he said weakly.
“Sorry, did I say something wrong?” said Marvin, dragging himself
on regardless. “Pardon me for breathing, which I never do anyway so I
don’t know why I bother to say it, oh God I’m so depressed. Here’s
another of those self-­‐satisfied doors. Life! Don’t talk to me about life.”

Douglas Adams – The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

Someone clever once said, we have space age technology, a medieval society, and Palaeolithic brains. What could possibly go wrong?

The Pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Dalai Lama, Shiva the Destroyer – they all have advice on climate change.

Photography from Climate Visuals
Including works from Nigerian climate artist Wilfred Ukpong

These tunes might pick you up when you’re feeling down about climate change.

Vogon poetry is of course the third worst in the Universe.


The second worst is that of the Azagoths of Kria. During a recitation by their Poet Master Grunthos the Flatulent of his poem “Ode To A Small Lump of Green Putty I Found In My Armpit One Midsummer Morning” four of his audience died of internal haemorrhaging, and the President of the Mid-­Galactic Arts Nobbling Council only survived by gnawing one of his own legs off. Grunthos is reported to have been “disappointed” by the poem’s reception, and was about to embark on a reading of his twelve­‐book epic entitled My Favourite Bathtime Gurgles when his own major intestine, in a desperate attempt to save life and civilization, leapt straight up through his neck and throttled his brain.


The very worst poetry of all perished along with its creator Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings of Greenbridge, Essex, England in the destruction of the planet Earth.

For those in need of some decent poetry however, there are these poems collected from around the internet:

https://www.kathyjetnilkijiner.com/

Breathe by Lynne Ungar

Breathe, said the wind

How can I breathe at a time like this,
when the air is full of the smoke
of burning tires, burning lives?

Just breathe, the wind insisted.

Easy for you to say, if the weight of
injustice is not wrapped around your throat,
cutting off all air.

I need you to breathe.

I need you to breathe.

Don’t tell me to be calm
when there are so many reasons
to be angry, so much cause for despair!

I didn’t say to be calm, said the wind,
I said to breathe.

We’re going to need a lot of air
to make this hurricane together.

http://www.lynnungar.com/poems/breathe/

In the Hopi language, the word Koyaanisqatsi means ‘crazy life, life in turmoil, life out of balance, life disintegrating, a state of life that calls for another way of living’, and the film implies that modern humanity is living in such a way.
Only one planet. Only one ocean. Only one way to do this: Together.
Witness what may be lost as oil companies encroach into the Amazon, human rights violations run rampant, and a forest Eden is destroyed – all for the oil that lies beneath Yasuni.
Blazing Century multi-media project by Nigerian-born interdisciplinary artist, filmmaker, and practice-led researcher Wilfred Ukpong covering the contemporary social issues facing the Niger Delta. The region was a major palm oil producer for British colonizers and has become an important crude oil exporter to the United States and European countries over the past five decades. The petroleum-rich territory is considered the mainstay of the Nigerian economy for its large oil reserves and its rich biodiversity due to rivers, mangroves, freshwater forests, and marine estuaries that connect with the Atlantic Ocean. Yet the region is impoverished and historically distressed with decades of political corruption, inadequate infrastructures, community disputes, youth restiveness, unemployment, and more than fifty years of environmental degradation and pollution caused by major spills and flares by international oil and gas companies.
There’s a human in my forest.
Useful accompanying website: https://dontlookup.count-us-in.com/step-detail/talk-to-friends
From 1992

Michael Mann – The New Climate War: Book Review

Even if you thought you knew how evil corporate power was, you need to read the New Climate War Prof. Michael E. Mann is not just an eminent and distinguished American climatologist, he is a gifted communicator, appearing in the media in print and on camera around the world on a regular basis. He is…

Established in 2025, the purpose of the new organization was simple: To advocate for the world’s future generations and to protect all living creatures, present and future.
The Overstory (Powers novel).png
The book is about nine Americans whose unique life experiences with trees bring them together to address the destruction of forests. Powers was inspired to write the work while teaching at Stanford University, after he encountered giant redwood trees for the first time.
The Overstory was a contender for multiple awards. It was shortlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize and won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction as well as the William Dean Howells Medal in 2020. Reviews of the novel have been mostly positive, with praise of the structure, writing, and compelling reading experience.
Dellarobia Turnbow is a 28-year-old discontented housewife living with her poor family on a farm in Appalachia, who finds millions of monarch butterflies in the valley behind her home, a thousand miles from their established winter habitat in Mexico.
Project Drawdown: what has to stop and what must be increased
Global Optimism – book – and podcast

There is always a funny side to everything – although this might be quite black.

From Semi-Rad – gone from the internet

When asked if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future, my answer is always the same: if you look at the science about what is happening on Earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand the data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this Earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse.

Paul Hawken, author of Drawdown

If we merge mercy with might, and might with right, then love becomes our legacy and change our children’s birthright.

So let us leave behind a country better than the one we were left.

Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest, we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one.

Amanda Gorman, US National Youth Poet Laureate 2017, The Hill We Climb

We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!

Greta Thunberg, Student Climate Striker, UN Summit, NY 2019 https://www.npr.org/2019/09/23/763452863/transcript-greta-thunbergs-speech-at-the-u-n-climate-action-summit

I would like to overcome capitalism, but it’s not in the relevant time scale. Global warming basically has to be taken care of within the framework of existing institutions, modifying them as necessary. That’s the problem we face.

Prof Noam Chomsky, 2020. Noam Chomsky and Robert Pollin Interviewed by David Roberts about their new book, “Climate Crisis and the Green New Deal”

You are not powerless. In fact, your every action is suffused with meaning. Know that you are incredibly lucky to be alive at a time when you can make a transformative difference to the future of all life on earth

Christiana Figueres, former Head of United Nations Framework on Climate Change and one of architects of the Paris 2015 Climate Accord

Every fraction of a degree matters. Every voice can make a difference. And every second counts. Delay means death, now is the time to turn rage into action.

Antonio Guterres, United Nations Secretary General, 2022

The Hitchhikers Guide To Climate Change Miscellaneous

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy was published by Megadodo Publications of Ursa Minor Beta on a very sound financial footing. Unfortunately Ecocore still has some way to go to reach that level. All the work here is only possible thanks to donations via Patreon red Patreon logo

Find out more about our dark money funding and other infinite improbabilities here: About Ecocore

References

References
1 From the United Nations 6th Assessment Report: Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
2 From the UN IPCC report: “Any further delay in concerted anticipatory global action on adaptation and mitigation will miss a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all.”

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