Chapter 4:

This is a summary of the minimum measures needed if we are to have a chance of survival. Details of how to bring them about are in the book. 

A Wartime Footing for the Coming Century

We need to win this last one

During World War II, the US went from Depression to full-on war production, under the direction of FDR’s War Production Board. The WPB directed the conversion of industry for war production, allocated resources, established production priorities, and rationed goods. The automobile industry was totally transformed to making aircraft, ships, tanks, vehicles, and armaments. Standard of living, notwithstanding the rationing, remained about the same. 

   We need a similar focus in our economy and industry to survive OMG. The big difference is that our effort will have to be sustained much longer, because halting the advance of the three horsemen of OMG is a near-impossible feat (Many measures of Earth’s health are at worst levels on record, NOAA finds) that will take a generation at best, possibly as much as a century. And the outcome is even more uncertain than victory over the Axis powers. We can only hope our success will be better than our subsequent wars, all of which we lost.

   There is no alternative. Our industrial might must be revived to meet this challenge, under central authority, and our consumption of resources must be radically curtailed, especially among the wealthy, who are the biggest consumers. This will entail not only an Ecological Recovery Management Board, but a number of other agencies, like an Ecological Recovery Corps.

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First, stop burning carbon, end methane emissions

Demolish coal plants, cap oil and gas wells

While we have to fight OMG on many fronts, there is no question that stopping greenhouse warming is the top priority ('Net-zero is not enough': Why climate experts are calling for 'net negative' emissions strategies). It’s imperative that we stop introduction of CO2 and methane into the atmosphere. That means ending the use of fossil fuels and the emission of greenhouse gases, particularly methane ('Pivotal Moment': IEA Says Cutting Methane From Fossil Fuels 75% by 2030 'Essential'), from the hundreds of thousands of drilling and mining sites around the world. Fossil fuel production must begin falling immediately for 50% chance of keeping global warming below 1.5 C;  World weather groups forecast a year of global warming of 1.5C before 2025; Coastal Northeastern US is a global warming hotspot; 2 degrees Celsius of summer warming has already occurred.


Slash Consumption

Institute rationing, restrict travel and transport, support local businesses, abolish advertising for consumerism. Ramp up voluntary family planning through free counseling, reproductive healthcare, tax incentives, social pressure. Voluntary assisted suicide for terminal patients.


Mass Extinction

Giving Earth back to Earthlings

It is necessary to clear at least half the land on the planet of humans, starting with all national lands. Access will have to be limited to wildlife management professionals, which could include indigenous peoples in collaboration with wildlife scientists (After decades of waiting, Indigenous peoples are finally getting a say in global conservation policy). Migration corridors will be needed for seasonal migration and climate migration. 

Deforestation will have to be stopped, by shutting down loggers, farmers, and miners who violate these spaces, and providing alternative employment like agroforestry for workers (Deforestation-free supply chains in Vietnam rely on working with small scale farmers). This will probably require armed intervention, because many of these operations are run by criminal cartels and international corporations. It’s them or all the rest of us.

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Global Warming

This is our most urgent challenge in the short term. As the world hurtles toward a temperature increase of 2.7 C, greenhouse gas emissions are on a course to increase by 16% rather than decrease to zero.

With a full-on Environmental Recovery Management Board in charge, we can eliminate fossil fuel combustion in a year or two. It will mean severe rationing until we’ve implemented a renewable energy grid and sustainable transportation.

  In order to maximize CO2 removal from the atmosphere, we have to end deforestation, which is much more valuable than planting new trees (although we need to do that too). We can also use regenerative agriculture to sequester more CO2 in soil, and foster the growth of ocean photosynthesizers like sea grass. Algae farms may have potential (and may provide food). We can also absorb significant amounts of CO2 by grinding up certain kinds of rocks and exposing the product to air to form insoluble carbonates.

  We can greatly increase reflection of sunlight (albedo) by painting all manmade surfaces white. This will significantly help make up for loss of albedo due to ice and snow melting. Scientists are developing materials that radiate heat into space through "windows" in the absorption spectrum of greenhouse gases. 

  By applying all these methods immediately, we may have a chance. The big worry is that methane bomb, that has already started to explode.