Cassandra has moved. Ugo Bardi publishes now on a new site called "The Seneca Effect."

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

What We Do in Life Echoes in Eternity - Also for Climate Change

"What we do in life echoes in eternity" is a line from "Gladiator"  (actually from Marcus Aurelius). What our politicians are doing now, and will be doing in the near future, for the climate will echo for a long time in the future of our planet. 

President Trump's decision to exit the Paris agreement has been correctly vilified almost everywhere outside the US, but some commentators noted that Trump may have done the right thing, even though for the wrong reasons. It seems that for many politicians and industrialists, the Paris treaty was seen as the perfect tool to appear to be doing something while at the same time doing nothing. Personally, I tend to agree with this interpretation, especially from what I know about Italian politicians.

So, here is a link to a text where Trump's decision is discussed in these terms. I am impressed by Graham Readfearn's statement that the Paris treaty was seen by the coal industry as a way to get financed for "clean coal" and other useless technologies. Again, knowing the people involved in this kind of tricks, it doesn't surprise me at all.

In the end, Trump's attempt to revitalize dying industries, such as coal, are bound to fail and this may give a bad reputation to some bad ideas that really deserve that. And that may create a momentum for doing the right things as argued, for instance, by Jean-Marc Jancovici.

What we do now will echo on the future of our planet and for a long time to come.

Here is an excerpt from Graham Readfearn

"At least two coal companies, Peabody Energy and Cloud Peak, had tried to convince Trump to remain in the Paris deal. Oil and gas giants Exxon and Conoco also voiced support for the Paris deal.

This internal fight represented two different approaches from a fossil fuel industry trying to sustain itself. One approach is to bulldoze and cherry-pick your way through the science of climate change and attack the UN process — all to undermine your opponents’ core arguments.

Another approach is to accept the science but work the system to convince governments that “clean coal” and efficiency gains are the way forward.

The latter was exactly the rationale reportedly deployed by coal firms like Peabody Energy and Cloud Peak.

According to White House officials quoted by Reuters, these firms wanted Trump to stay in the Paris deal because this gave them a better chance of getting support for “low-emission” coal plants. They might also get some financial help to support the development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology."


  1. JanCovici*... Sounds kind of Italian actually, unforgivable Ugo...

  2. Thank you, once again, Ugo, for your insight, and for the excellent references you cite. Concerning climate change, I am not only a believer but a very pessimistic one; nevertheless, I agree that the Paris "deal" was a sham.

    The negotiator from the "developing" countries did a good job, securing hard promises of massive cash transfers in exchange for empty promises of climate action. And for that reason alone, I agree with the US pulling out. The US needs all the cash it can raise to repair its own society, not send billions to other countries, where it will disappear into offshore bank accounts, or be "invested" in overseas housling bubbles (as China is doing), or squandered on absurd vanity projects, such as India's space program.

    As for effective action, it simply won't happen. No straight thing was ever made of the crooked timber of humanity. Accept that and make your peace with Nature.

  3. Ugo the only thing I will give Trump and the Americans is they are being honest. The Americans are not interested in pricing carbon or changing their lifestyles or means of production and industry. Truth be know they have aready sent offshore or shuttered the main big CO2 emitters, excepting coal of power and petroleum for transport, so it is now a newly emergent industrialising nations problem, convenient, and they are not going to pay to fix them up either. Being entirely jaded and cynical, I did not believe anybody, except a few misguided souls, was going to do anything to make Paris work, rather it was BAS and tell lies about what they are doing. Any doubts just go the international lie detector at Mauna Loa, have a look at the atmospheric CO2 reading. As for CCS it was just a feint or fake move another distraction.

  4. Echos seem to be coming .. actually now. What is happening with Quatar in mid-east really?



Ugo Bardi is a member of the Club of Rome, faculty member of the University of Florence, and the author of "Extracted" (Chelsea Green 2014), "The Seneca Effect" (Springer 2017), and Before the Collapse (Springer 2019)