I discuss a recent peer-reviewed paper published in the September 2023 issue of The Lancet Planetary Health journal and its significant implications for humanity and the planet.
This episode was recorded on September 5, 2023 and it was published on September 6, 2023 at 5:15pm EDT.
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Greetings all, welcome to Aquarian Diary. I’m your host, John Irving. It is September 6th, 2023.
As I often do, I will be displaying some graphics on the screen. If you’re listening to this by podcast, you may want to watch it on YouTube if that matters to you.
As usual, I will be putting links in the episode description, which I encourage you to check out and read for yourself.
As I have said before, I do an awful lot of reading every day, especially about the environmental crisis. There are so many things happening now on a daily basis, it’s almost impossible to keep up with it.
And today, in fact yesterday, September 5th, I came across a report that referenced a paper that had just been published in the September 2023 edition of the Lancet Planetary Health Journal.
The reason I’m recording this right now is because this paper effectively validates a of the things I have been saying in my most recent episodes, and it has very striking implications for humanity, for the economy, and of course for the environment.
I haven’t really seen this paper talked about much yet elsewhere. I suspect we will because of the gravity of what it’s saying.
The gist of it goes like this.
For the past decade or so, a lot of the world’s major economies and their politicians have basically been making the argument, and I don’t use the word argument in a negative sense, I mean it as a statement of position.
But back to my point…
This paper does the math and has analyzed this notion that a lot of people in major developed economies have been promulgating, which is that we can basically decouple our economies from greenhouse gas emissions by shifting to green technology and things like that, and that we could continue to have economic growth while we reduced our emissions.
In other words, we could carry on with business as usual, simply by replacing highly polluting technology with green technology. And this analysis basically concludes that that is not happening as remotely fast as it needs to, not even close, despite pledges to do so.
Effectively, the pledges made in the 2015 Paris Climate Accord, which 195 nations are signatories of are all greenwashing and BS. That we are so far off our targets that we are heading towards catastrophe, and that the only way forward based on real-world evidence versus hypothetical or aspirational scenarios is radically changing our economies and lifestyles just as I have been stating in episodes that I have published on this topic.
The Lancet, as I am sure many of you know, is a very highly respected journal.
I could basically quote the whole article here, because it’s all quite jaw-dropping, and I thought about doing that, but basically I would end up reading the whole piece. Because it’s just too much information that’s really important. But here’s a few quotes.
At current rates, these countries, these are the major developed countries or economies, would on average take over 200 years to get their emissions close to zero and would emit more than 27 times their fair share of the global carbon budget for 1.5°C.
The scale of the gap between achieved and Paris compliant emissions reductions is dramatic. Among the 11 high-income countries examined, emissions reductions between 2013 and 2019 were on average just 1.6% per year. By contrast, reduction rates of 30% per year are needed by 2025 for countries to comply with their fair shares of the global carbon budget for 1.5°C.
Many major countries, including Belgium, Australia, Austria, Canada, and Germany, will need to reduce their emissions more than 30 times faster than they did between 2013 and 2019 under absolute decoupling.
In light of their findings, the authors say that attempts to pursue “green growth” in high-income countries will not deliver the emissions reductions required to meet the climate targets and fairness principles of the Paris Agreement and argue that a post-growth approach is needed.
They conclude that shifting away from economic growth as a core objective, and instead prioritizing ecological sustainability, well-being, and fairness as development objectives.
Scaling down carbon-intensive and unnecessary forms of production and consumption, for example, SUVs, air travel, industrial, meat and dairy, fast fashion, cruises, mansions, private jets, reducing inequalities in income and wealth, introducing laws to lengthen product lifespans and guarantee rights to repair, shifting away from private cars and improving public transit, bike lanes and walkability.
If we are to prevent even more catastrophic climate breakdown, high-income countries urgently need to pursue post-growth approaches that slash emissions while enhancing well-being and fairness.
Lower income countries will not need to make as radical changes as we do because their emissions per capita are much, much lower than ours.
Politicians and media have been celebrating recent decoupling achievements of high-income countries as ‘green growth,’ claiming this could reconcile economic growth with climate targets.
“There is nothing green about economic growth in high-income countries,” said the lead author Jefim Vogel.
“It is a recipe for climate breakdown and further climate injustice. Calling such highly inefficient emission reductions ‘green growth’ is misleading. It is essentially greenwashing. For growth to be legitimately ‘green’, it must be consistent with the climate targets and fairness principles of the Paris Climate Agreement, but high-income countries have not achieved anything close to this and are highly unlikely to achieve it in the future.”
If you recall, in my recent episodes I have been saying that there is no way that we can carry on with the lifestyles that we currently have, involving so much consumption, pollution, and high energy intensity lifestyles, like what we have been familiar with.
And what this paper demonstrates is that all of the strategies to try and do that in the 2010s were a complete and utter failure. We didn’t even come close to the targets that we need to in order for the world to maintain safe levels of greenhouse gas concentrations, which now are zero, because we blew the budget.
So effectively, it’s validating what I’ve been saying, that our lifestyle is completely unsustainable and not possible based on the laws of physics if we want to maintain a habitable planet.
And even more importantly perhaps, because that’s not entirely surprising, to me at least, is that the policies and the positions of our governments and those who have been promoting the idea that we could continue to increase economic activity while at the same time addressing this crisis are completely wrong and that that logic is completely flawed and untenable, if not deliberately misleading.
If you look at your screen now, I will be displaying a graph which shows where we are headed That’s the red line in a business as usual scenario based on emissions in 2022. The blue line that swoops down and goes really low down to the bottom is where we need to be. As you can see, there is a dramatic difference between the two. This graph comes from the report in the Lancet.
This is really, really important.
It’s one of the most important things I’ve read recently, because now we have the evidence in one paper from a very reputable source that validates that perpetual economic growth is not tenable if we want to maintain our civilization.
And the implications of that are huge.
A few weeks ago I did an episode titled “Our Paradigm is Literally Untenable” and here’s the evidence, a peer-reviewed paper in a highly respected journal.
I’m sharing this because I want people to realize two things. One is that what I’m saying is extremely important. And two is, it’s not just conjecture. We have science and evidence to back up those assertions that I’ve been making. So it gets very real.
This issue is going to persist for decades, if not millennia, and many, many generations. So it has an overriding quality to it.
One of the most remarkable things I read that happened today was that Greece got hit with extreme rainfall. They received 30 inches of rain in the span of a day, effectively.
Can you even imagine what that would be like? That is like having a river everywhere from the sky. And this followed a period of extreme heat and drought and wildfires and then they get slammed with 30 inches of rain.
That’s around 76 centimeters. They normally get half that much in an entire year. It’s almost incomprehensible.
If that were to happen on, say, New York City, it would be a catastrophe, or any highly populated area.
That’s just one event on one day. That was yesterday, September 5th.
So the point of all this is just that here’s hard evidence from a very reputable source that backs up what I’ve been saying for weeks or months and even years now, that our current lifestyles are untenable, literally, and that our institutions, our politicians, the corporate sector, the finance and economic sectors are completely full of BS.
It’s not possible to maintain this way of life anymore, literally. It’d be like trying to defy the laws of physics or gravity or something.
Now, just so you understand, when they talk about decoupling, what they mean is separating emissions from economic growth and lifestyle activities. In other words, we can reduce emissions while we can still have growth and expansion.
And what this study goes on to demonstrate is that in practice not only has that not happened, but we haven’t even come close to the objectives we set in the Paris Climate Accord, which was established in 2015 and to which 195 nations are signatories of currently.
So in effect all of these nations signed up to these pledges and the most developed nations have not come anywhere close to actually keeping them despite everyone claiming that they would. So there’s a huge difference between what countries said they would do versus what they’ve actually done.
And this is really important because if we don’t meet those targets we are going to exceed extremely dangerous thresholds that will threaten the viability of civilization, which is another topic I have discussed here a lot on my channel.
It’s also important to understand what de-growth means in this context. It means probably just what you think it means, but think about that. When, in modern history, has anyone said we need to reduce growth and been taken seriously?
In a recent episode I stated that no politician would be likely to say that, very few of them at least, but that’s exactly what this study is saying, that the only way out of this scenario is to scale back everything.
This is extremely profound. It’s a concept that probably hasn’t really been applied willfully for millennia. That’s how big of a deal it is.
It flies in the face of the vast majority of conventional thinking about the economy, how societies function and operate, what our expectations are as individuals. It’s diametrically opposed to the prevailing paradigm, and yet that’s exactly what we have to do. I’m not exaggerating when I say this is huge.
This idea has been put forward by some people, primarily environmentalists, but not at high levels of government or on any kind of significant policy level. I myself have advocated this for decades, but of course nobody would take that seriously. They would almost laugh at you if you suggested that as a path or course that we should pursue, And now we have irrefutable evidence that trying to maintain the status quo has been an abject failure, and, like I said, is leading us towards utterly catastrophic outcomes.
So as I said in my most recent episodes, we’re being forced into this. The question is, when do we accept that? And when we do, it’s going to radically transform everything about our world as we know it. I cannot overstate how important this is.
And as I’ve said before as well, there is a huge chunk of the population that either this is completely foreign to, or they are in complete and utter denial about it. They can’t even imagine it or conceive of it. But here it is. This is happening right now.
We have to make fundamental changes on a civilizational level, or we’re screwed. And that is exactly what I have been saying here on my channel, and that very few people are actually recognizing. Very few.
One other point that I think is very important is that it’s fairly safe to assume that the assumptions that underlie these targets are probably conservative. What I mean by that is that, especially based on recent empirical evidence, it appears as if warming is occurring more quickly than people expected or anticipated.
And I presume that they are basing their assumptions on data that was used to formulate the Paris Climate Accord in the years leading up to 2015. Well here in 2023, it’s quite evident that the crisis is accelerating in ways, like I said, that we hadn’t fully anticipated.
Therefore, the targets that they’re referencing are probably inadequate to begin with, meaning that the actual reductions that are required and the rate at which they need to be made are probably greater than what was expected back when the Paris Agreement was formulated.
I expect that in the near term we will be seeing data coming out that will show that we can safely emit fewer carbon emissions than we thought we could.
I recorded most of this yesterday, September 5th. And when I woke this morning, one of the first thoughts in my mind was that this is what Pluto transiting Aquarius represents.
One of the things that Aquarius, which naturally rules the 11th house, covers is hopes and dreams. Our collective paradigm is to achieve independence and prosperity, wealth, riches, comfort, security.
And Pluto, which is frequently referred to as bringing a process of death and rebirth, during its transit of Aquarius is going to completely upend all of our dreams about the future, and it will bring an end to those beliefs and expectations that are fundamentally corrupt or untenable. And it will do so on a collective scale, on a planetary scale.
So here we have this problem, and as individuals we can’t really solve this problem. No amount of recycling, for example, is going to address this problem. It has to be dealt with collectively on a planetary scale with all nations of the world participating.
So in terms of mass consciousness, we are beginning to become aware that all of our fantasies and dreams about what’s possible and what’s realistic and what is achievable are completely defunct.
That our way of being – and remember, Pluto’s orbit is about 248 years, so all of the dreams and ambitions that we have been focused on for the past couple centuries, and that takes us back to the beginning of the industrial revolution, which kicked off this whole crisis – are basically up in smoke, quite literally, if we think about all of the out of control wildfires.
And so humanity is going to go through this process of death, of old ideas, old paradigms, old ways of being, and that can be very upsetting and disconcerting. But we need to go through this process of death so that we can renew ourselves and create something that is much better. That’s the death and rebirth process of Pluto.
But even though I’ve done episodes on this before, I hadn’t fully thought about it in this way about our ecological footprint collectively, which currently far exceeds the boundaries or carrying capacity of the Earth’s biosphere, clearly.
And so yes, many ways of being and thinking and many of our expectations and ambitions and dreams about what the world was going to look like are going to die or collapse, like a house of cards.
And it’s really interesting because this paper I’ve been talking about in The Lancet makes the case very clearly that there’s no way of fixing this problem based on our past paradigm of endless growth. It’s literally untenable.
That’s what I hope people understand, that this isn’t just an abstract conceptual discussion about being more environmentally conscious or aware, it is about fundamental and foundational aspects of our reality that are completely defunct and corrupt, and that that is coming to a complete dead end.
Our governments, our institutions, the economy, the corporate sector, everything is about to hit a major, major wall that we cannot surpass if we try and do so with past thinking, or within a past paradigm that is effectively dead.
The vast majority of people probably do not realize this yet, but there will be a shocking awareness, because at some point we’re going to have to hit the brakes, and we’re going have to hit the brakes really hard. And this is going to be extremely upsetting for millions, if not billions of people.
We don’t have a choice. We can either keep going with business as usual and go right over the edge of the cliff, which would probably lead to the complete collapse of civilization, or we stop.
Who has the will or ability to do that? This is a huge question.
Either our leaders are phenomenally and inexcusably incompetent, or they are malevolent, they just don’t care. And we’ve been being lied to on an unprecedented level. Mass deceit and deception that puts our lives at stake, our future at stake, and the habitability of planet earth at stake.
At best it’s gross incompetence, at worst it is criminally negligent on a scale never before witnessed. And that’s what I would like people to start thinking about. We have been sold a bill of goods that enriches a few at the expense of everyone and everything that constitutes our biosphere.
This is one of the biggest events or periods of time in all of human history. Period.
If you think this through, what I’m saying is not hyperbole. It is very, very real.
And we are starting to see the consequences of that now on a dramatic level, but those consequences are going to continue to get worse and worse and worse from here on in, despite everything that has happened environmentally in 2023, it might be the best year we yet see going forward. It’s going to get worse from here on in.
This is a paradigm shift unfolding, and paradigm shifts are really dramatic, and once you go through the shift, your entire perspective and understanding about everything changes, And that is what we are at the early stages of experiencing on a collective level.
Some of us are way ahead of the curve, the vast majority of people haven’t even started to experience it yet, but that’s coming. And there’s going to be a lot of people who are in shock when they find out that everything they believed was a lie, that many of the things they took for granted are simply not true.
On Monday, September 4th, I had a great chat with Irish Granny Tarot. The discussion is on her channel. I’ll put a link to that in the episode description as well.
We had a nice long chat about a whole wide variety of issues. You may find that interesting. Check it out.
Finally, I still have my 20% sale on readings that are longer than one hour. There’ll be a link to that in the description too.
I’ll put links in the episode description to any related content, and if you’re interested in a reading with me, I’ll put a link to that as well.
Many sincere thanks to everyone who supports me, especially my YouTube members.
Thank you very much.
Take care, all the best, and I’ll talk to you again soon.
Bye for now.
End of episode transcript.
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