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Preface

1. From different perspectives and for different reasons, both Bill Joy (2000) and Ray Kurzweil (2005) arrive at the conclusion that humans are likely to lose whatever control we have over our own future. Joy takes no particular joy in this fact. Kurzweil, like many in the field of artificial intelligence, is strangely euphoric.

2. The apt phrase is the title ofJames Howard Kunstler's 2005 book. My use of it, however, is intended more broadly to include problems of climate desta-bilization, the end of the era of cheap oil, ecological degradation, and related problems. John McHale, similarly, once described the future as a "crisis of crises," implying the same convergence of problems, dilemmas, and systems breakdowns.

3. Solomon et al. (2009) estimate that changes in surface temperature, rainfall, and sea level are irreversible for more than 1,000 years after carbon dioxide emissions are completely stopped.

4. See www.climateactionproject.com and Becker (2008).

Introduction

1. See also Rees (2008), pp. 41-44, and Smil (Global Catastrophes, 2008), who after surveying things is "deliberately agnostic about civilization's fortunes" while acknowledging that "none of us knows which threats and concerns will soon be forgotten and which will become tragic realities" (p. 251).

2. "Carbon cycle feedbacks" refers to positive feedbacks that occur as temperatures rise above their normal range. The most commonly cited are those presently occurring in the Arctic in which surfaces covered with ice with high albedo that reflects sunlight back into space melt and are replaced with dark land and water surfaces that absorb solar radiation, thereby adding to further warming. There are many, many such mechanisms that are sensitive to slight changes that initiate accelerating changes. See Woodwell (1995) and Archer (2009), pp. 125-136.

3. For the sake of clarity, I assume that scenarios presented by Lester Brown (2008) as the "great mobilization," Krupp (2008), and Thomas Friedman (2008) more or less describe what will come to be true. In other words, I will be as optimistic as the science and rationality permit one to be, but no more.

4. See, for example, Holdren, "Science and Technology" (2008): "A 2007 report for the UN Commission on Sustainable Development . . . concluded that the chances of a 'tipping point' into unmanageable degrees of climatic change increase steeply once the global average surface temperature exceeds 2°C

above the pre-industrial level____Having a better-than-even chance of doing this means stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases and particles at the equivalent of no more than 450 to 400 parts per million by volume of CO2." See also Gulledge (2008).

5. The evidence that climate change could be more rapid and more severe than commonly thought is summarized in Pittock (2008); also Alley (2004).

6. For a good summary of the science about changes at given levels of climate forcing see Lynas (2007) and Romm (2007), pp. 27—95.

Chapter 1

1. See also Robert Nelson's thoughtful critique (Nelson, 2006).

2. The National Environmental Policy Act of 1970 is a notable exception, but its influence has been considerably less than its authors hoped. See Caldwell

3 . See Kalinowski (unpublished manuscript).

4. Congressional politics has compounded the problems of executive power by rendering the body less effective than it ought to have been. Mann and Ornstein (2006) provide a useful analysis of the problem and possible solutions.

6. Useful summaries of climate change effects are in Lynas (2007) and Walker and King (2008), pp. 53—86.

9. Battisti and Naylor's research (2009) indicates that present trends will similarly impact agriculture in tropical and subtropical regions worldwide. Average temperatures by the year 2i00, they say, will exceed the most extreme temperatures recorded from i900 to 2006.

10. Paul Epstein (2000); see also Center for Health and the Global Environment (2006).

11. The evidence is sizable; see for example Colin Campbell (2005), Darley

(2004), David Goodstein (2004), Heinberg (2003), Klare (2004), Leggett

(2005), Roberts (2004), and Simmons (2005). For a contrary view, see Smil (2008).

12. James Benson, Charles Chichetti, Herman Daly, Bruce Hannon, Denis Hayes, Amory Lovins, Eugene Odum, and Cecil Phillips.

13. Energy return on investment is a controversial subject, but the long-term trends for fossil fuels are less so. See Shah (2004), p. 161.

15. The Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction, Proliferation, and Terrorism concludes that it is "more likely than not that a weapon of mass destruction will be used in a terrorist attack somewhere in the world by 2013" (2008, p. xv).

16. For analysis prior to the financial implosion of 2008, see Kuttner (2007) and Phillips (2008).

17. The best analyses are those by Makhijani (2007), Lovins et al. (2005), and Inslee and Hendricks (2007).

18. Reliable numbers here are hard to come by, partly because the subject is complex and partly because they would reveal inconvenient truths about the sanity of the energy system. A full accounting of the costs of the current energy system would include, for example, the effects of climate destabiliza-tion, the ecological effects of acid rain and mercury contamination, whatever price one might put on the tens of thousands who die early because they live downwind from coal plants, the costs of maintaining a military presence in the Middle East and periodically fighting oil wars that further raise the prospects of terrorist attacks in the United States, and subsidies for oil, gas, and nuclear power insinuated throughout federal and state budgets, as well as research and development expenditures heavily weighted to the status quo . . . and so forth.

19. There are cogent arguments and considerable evidence that renewables and radically improved efficiency are inadequate without, in Ted Trainer's words, a "radical change to a very different kind of society," one not organized around consumption (Trainer, 2007).

224 s notes to pages 29-36

20. The debate about sequestering carbon is likely to continue indefinitely. The definitive study carried out by an MIT research team in 2007 is on the surface positive about the prospects, but hedges its bets in the fine print. The issue is whether carbon sequestration is feasible and can compete fairly with efficiency improvements and renewable energy.

21. The civil liberty implications of nuclear power have been mostly ignored in the current debate, but the analysis by Ayres (1975) is still cogent, amplified by the threat of terrorism. See also Lovins (forthcoming, 2009), a full analytical equivalent of a wooden stake through the heart of the ghoul. Cooke (2009, p. 407) describes the nuclear industry as a "huge, secretive, self-rationalizing system . . . backed by history, money, power, and a default conviction in its own inevitability." That outcome would have been no surprise to Dwight Eisenhower.

22. The case for a steady-state economy has been made thoroughly by Herman Daly, among others, and has been mostly dismissed by mainstream economists. This is both an interesting chapter in the history of ideas and a fairly ominous chapter in abnormal psychology. See Daly and Farley (2004) and Daly (1996).

24. Victor (2008, p. 183) wisely cautions that "a 'no-growth' policy can be disastrous if implemented carelessly." Most likely, he thinks, no-growth will be driven from the grass roots (p. 222).

25. The CGIAR report is available at news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/ nature/6200114.

26. One of the most astute observers of American politics, Godfrey Hodgson, puts it this way: "The crucial change was the discrediting of government. This was possible because a substantial proportion of the American population, perturbed by the prospect of racial upheaval, rejected the ideals or the methods of the Great Society program. The methods may have been faulty, but the ideals were not, and in rejecting the methods, American society risked forgetting the ideals" (2004, p. 301).

27. Opinions about capitalism and its relation to the human prospect range widely. At one end of the spectrum, Klein (2007) paints a dismal picture of Milton Friedman and market fundamentalists and the mischief they've loosed on the world. Saul (2005) is slightly more encouraging, but not much. Esty and Winston (2006) and Hawken, Lovins, and Lovins (1998) are much more upbeat about possibilities for a green capitalism but dismissive of politics.

28. See Speth (2008), pp. 165-195. The recent writing on corporations and the environment has ranged from the breathy optimism about "triple bottom lines" to the "can't get there from here" variety. Noteworthy reading includes Bakkan (2004), Kelly (2001), Nace (2003), and Porritt (2006).

31. But they had no such concern about the near stranglehold of corporations on our politics, the increasingly sinister intrusions of the military and paramilitary organizations, or the surveillance apparatus in our daily lives.

32. See John Ehrenfeld's useful discussion of "adaptive governance" (Ehrenfeld, 2008, pp. 182-196).

34. The best description of resilience is still that of Lovins (1982), chapter 13; see also Murphy (2008).

Chapter 2

2. Ewen (1976), pp. 160-161; Ewen (1988), pp. 267-268; and Leach (1993), pp. 319-322.

3. For a good updating of Bernays, see Benjamin Barber's description of the infantilization of consumers in Barber (2007), pp. 81-115; Hamilton (2004) proposes beginning "by imposing restrictions on the quantity and nature of marketing messages, by first banning advertising and sponsorship from all public spaces and restricting advertising time on television and radio . . . tax laws could be changed so that costs of advertising are no longer a deductible business expense" (2004, p. 219).

4. Diamond (2005), Homer-Dixon (2006),Tainter (1989).

5. Hawken, Lovins, and Lovins (1999) and Esty and Winston (2006).

6. Again, Klein (2007) is instructive, as is Kitman (2000).

7. For a recent account see Beatty (2007), pp. 109-191.

8. Helen Thomas says "nothing is more troubling to me than the obsequious press during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. They lapped up everything the Pentagon and the White House could dish out—no questions asked" (2006, p. 135).

9. Psychiatrist and neuroscientist Peter Whybrow (2005, p. 253) explains the emergence of decline of constraints on envy and greed as a "vicious cycle" that arises thus: "during times of great abundance, unless the prudence of frontal lobe reasoning imposes collective constraint through cultural agreement, human social behavior will run away to greed as the brain's ancient centers of instinctual self-preservation engage in a frenzy of self-reward."

10. See Weston (2008), Weston and Bach (2008), and other papers from the Climate Legacy Project at the Vermont Law School.

11. See the master's thesis of the same title by Jessica Boehland (2008).

226 s notes to pages 97-148 Chapter 3

1. www.climateactionproject.com, and the published version, Becker (2009).

2. The study of leadership as practiced in America has been predominantly focused on business. Among the useful studies of leadership of a wider sort are those of historian James MacGregor Burns (1978) and Garry Wills (1994).

Chapter 4

1. Joy (2000); Sinsheimer (1978) made the same point.

2. See physicist Fritjof Capra's remarkable books The Web of Life (1996) and The Hidden Connections (2002); also Goerner, Dyck, and Lagerroos (2008).

Chapter 5

1. Simon et al. (2005), pp. 1689—1692; also my response in the same issue, pp. 1697-1698.

2. I make a distinction between evangelicals and extreme fundamentalists. My target here is exclusively the latter.

3. See George Marsden's description (Marsden, 2006, pp. 247-252).

4. Hoffer (1951) remains the classic description.

5. "First they came for the communists and I did not speak out because I was not a communist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me."

6. An early version is the 10th-century Islamic tale The Case of the Animals Versus Man before the King of the Jinn. The story has humans land on an island with a large number of animals. The humans begin to exploit the animals, who bring their grievances to the king of the jinn who also live on the island. The king rules that humans may control the animals but affirms that God is the protector of the animals. See Said and Funk (2003).

7. After writing this I came across Robert Emmon's fine book Thanks:How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier (2007).

8. "Technology is addictive. Material progress creates problems that are—or seem to be—soluble only by further progress. Again, the devil here is in the scale____" (Wright, 2005, p. 7).

notes to pages 149-213 s 227

9. For those other practitioners who have forgotten the list, they are pride, greed, lust, anger, envy, sloth, and gluttony.

Chapter 6

1. James Lovelock (1998 and 2006) is among the very few to conjecture about how to convey the rudiments of science and civilization in a durable and usable form to those living on the other side of a collapsed civilization.

Chapter 7

2. Read political philosopher Brian Berry's compelling case for justice in a greenhouse world, titled "Justice or Bust" (2005, pp. 260-273).

3. This phrase is adapted from Wells (1946). Wells wrote: "This world is at the end of its tether. The end of everything we call life is close at hand and cannot be evaded" (p. 1).

Chapter 8

1. The U.S. Supreme Court is apparently losing a large share of its international audience who find its decisions, perhaps, too ideological, aloof, formulaic, and remote from lived reality. See Liptak (2008).

2. It is worth studying the similarities between slavery and our use of fossil fuels as a matter of intergenerational law. See for example, David Orr, "2020: A Proposal," in Orr (2002), pp. 143-151, and Mouhot (2008).

3. Robert Ornstein and Paul Ehrlich once proposed the creation of a "foresight institute" charged with evaluation of long-term trends and their consequences: Ornstein and Ehrlich (1989).

4. With the leadership of Tony Cortese and his staff at Second Nature, hundreds of colleges and universities, including Oberlin, have responded to the challenge by signing commitments to move toward carbon neutrality and are taking steps to reduce the use of fossil fuels. Reaching the goal of carbon neutrality will be easier where sunlight and hydropower are abundant and more difficult in regions like our own that are highly dependent on coal. In any event, the case for moving rapidly toward levels of energy efficiency that lower carbon emissions includes lower costs as the price of fossil energy rises, resilience in the face of price shocks and supply interruptions, and the moral obligation not to damage the world in which our graduates and our children will live.

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