The Great Disruption Book Review

The Great Disruption (Why the Climate Crisis will bring on the end of shopping and the birth of a new world.) by Paul Gilding.

We have been running the planet the same way we might run our personal finances if we had two bank accounts, one for capital and one for interest from that capital, but we are rapidly depleting the capital in order to maintain our income. At present we are using 1.4 planets in capital. Suddenly, the capital will run out and if the environment crashes, the economy will crash with it.

Our age-old instincts tell us not to worry, but we either accept the science or we don’t. Our economic model is wrong. Change will now be forced on us, but there is a time lag before we experience the effects of emissions.

We are addicted to the drug of  consumption of goods and it will take serious crises to lift us out of the gutter of growth addition. We had a chance in 2008, but chose just to prop up the growth machine. It’s a system design problem.

The reason for the book, says Gilding, is to help us get ready for the Great Disruption. Massive economic and political crises will last for decades.  The decision time to avoid collapse will suddenly be upon us, and our decision to avoid collapse is what will matter.

The planet will be fine; forget about saving it. It will renew itself in perhaps 100 million years. The Great Disruption will offer spectacular opportunities and will drive a transformation of incredible speed and scale. It’s too late to avoid this crisis.

(But consider the views of  Bill McKibben who considers there is a need to raise our voices, and, if necessary, engage in civil disobedience,)

We need to  prepare for ugly times ahead. Change will be chaotic as a major evolution in human values happens. It’s too late to fix the environment. Speak to highly educated people and they say we’re just buying time. However, avoiding collapse is politically and humanly possible, not inevitable as Lovelock says.

We know what we need to do and how to do it so we can succeed if we decide to. Churchill called on Britains  to do what was necessary, not their best.

There will be great sadness at the loss of 50% of our biodiversity and the suffering of billions of  people, but we must demand the impossible in a war for civilization.

Climate change is the symptom, not the problem. We’ll teeter on the brink of collapse, but we won’t fall off the cliff. (See also James Howard Kunstler, The Long Emergency.)

For the next 40 years, two things will work together. On the one hand, we’ll keep the same economy, but reduce carbon, increase efficiency; on the other hand, we’ll drive a transformational economy, gradually ending consumerism. We will see that there is a physical impossibility of continued material growth. Governments will have to support the new economy, forced by citizens.

The corn needed to fill a 25 gal. SUV tank with biofuel would feed one person for a year. Western countries ‘just in time’ food supply is so finely tuned it is extremely vulnerable. (New Economics Foundation, 96 Hours to Anarchy

Problem is not climate change in one sense, but the delusion that we can have infinite quantitative economic  growth.

This will be the greatest opportunity in millennia for major change in human society. There should be a spiritual component with love and hope.

When the crisis hits, we’ll demand 350 ppm and no more than 1 degree C, not 2. It will be a 1 degree war plan and will start in 2018. Under the plan, warming will continue above 1 degree C until 2050, then will fall back to 1 degree by 2100.  There will be net 0 emissions by 2038.

To achieve this goal, emission cuts of 50% will be required by 2023. The speed of change will kill coal with CCS and nuclear. The energy revolution will be driven by science, not economics as it has been. When we accept what we face, quite possible collapse, price will no longer matter.

Can we afford to save civilization, or must we keep energy prices down? In the past advocacy argued that we SHOULD  pursue goals. Now that change is unstoppable, we have no choice.

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