June 8, 2020 Read More →

Top Australian climate scientist says planet is ‘deep into the trajectory towards collapse’ of society


Australia’s top climate scientist says “we are already deep into the trajectory towards collapse” of civilisation, which may now be inevitable because 9 of the 15 known global climate tipping points that regulate the state of the planet have been activated.

Australian National University emeritus professor Will Steffen (pictured) told Voice of Action that there was already a chance we have triggered a “global tipping cascade” that would take us to a less habitable “Hothouse Earth” climate, regardless of whether we reduced emissions.

Steffen says it would take 30 years at best (more likely 40-60 years) to transition to net zero emissions, but when it comes to tipping points such as Arctic sea ice we could have already run out of time.

Evidence shows we will also lose control of the tipping points for the Amazon rainforest, the West Antarctic ice sheet, and the Greenland ice sheet in much less time than it’s going to take us to get to net zero emissions, Steffen says.

Tim Buckley, director of energy finance studies at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), told Voice of Action that our economic model “will have to change or collapse” as “we are reaching the limits to growth”. The health and social costs were increasingly evident and “we are getting to the point where it can’t be avoided”. 

“I think global capitalism is realising that the parasitical nature that has emerged (where the top 1% own the vast majority of the world’s wealth), can only be sustained for so long,” said Buckley.

“If they kill the host (the bottom 99% of the people), their position in absolute terms is worse off, even if they own all the wealth, the total pie will shrink, and they are most impacted. So in order to protect their ‘elite’ position, they will allow changes to make the model more sustainable, so they can remain the top 1%, but sharing a little more to make the model more sustainable.”

Buckley is more optimistic than most in that he believes the world’s financial elites will reorganise the global economy to become sustainable out of self preservation.

“The economics of renewables make this economically sensible. It is not about saving the poor of the world. It is about an economic reality – solar is killing coal fired power plant investments. Technology and economics win, not environmentalism.”

[Asher Moses]

More: ‘Collapse of Civilisation is the Most Likely Outcome’: Top Climate Scientists

Posted in: IEEFA In the News

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