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

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Do we Still have a Chance? The Challenge of Emergency Measures for the Survival of Humankind


The epidemic of COVID-19 seems to have snuffed out all other subjects of debate. But there remain problems that we could define as a little more worrisome than the COVID pandemic, for instance, the possibility of the extinction of humankind and, perhaps, of the Earth's biosphere. Here Dr. Ye Tao is giving an effective presentation that highlights that we are in a dire emergency. Perhaps, the pandemic can at least teach us what NOT to do in an emergency.

 Caution: highly catastrophistic post!

The Problem

The clip above shows a recent talk by Dr. Ye Tao, interesting for several reasons. One is how it goes to the core of the climate story with the typical approach of the physicists: based on data and on the laws of physics. This approach bypasses much of the ongoing debate, in large part hijacked by modelers and their opponents. 

Unfortunately, the emphasis on models has generated the diffuse misunderstanding that climate change is mainly a question of models and that the future climate can be predicted by models. That resulted in an attempt by skeptics to show that models generated poor predictions in the past. From that, they maintain that if models can't predict things right, then climate change doesn't exist or is not a problem. One reason, although not the only one, why the debate remains stuck and leads to no decisions.

Instead, if you go to the basic physics of the issue, you'll discover that models are certainly wrong as predictive tools simply because they can't include the non-linear forces that push the system to change its state by going through a tipping point. That doesn't mean that models can't identify at least some of the tipping points of the system, nor that they can't estimate when these transitions could occur. But these estimations are extremely uncertain and, for all we know, the problem could well be way worse than models can calculate.

Once we do our due diligence, the results are -- well -- let's say a bit uncomfortable. There are many uncertainties, but the robust result is that we are heading for disaster. We can't even rule out the total extinction of the biosphere. But even the consequences of a warming over 3-4 °C would be more than sufficient for the extinction of our civilization, if not of humans as a species.

It may well be too late for conventional solutions: double-pane windows and bicycling to work won't help us much. Even if we could switch to 100% renewable energy tomorrow morning, the warming trajectory may well continue along with the current trends. So, how early is too late? We don't know, but Dr. Tao has a nice touch when he looks at the audience and says: "all of you will experience some of these effects" (and some in the audience have white hair.). 


If this is how things stand, then what do we do? Some people seem to find a certain satisfaction in joining the various groups that go under names such as "near term extinction" where they tell each other "we are all going to die soon." But others have a more aggressive reaction. If this is a dire emergency (and let me repeat that it is), shouldn't we think of extreme emergency measures? This is what Dr. Tao proposes. 

The main point of the proposal is to counter the greenhouse effect of CO2 by increasing the earth's albedo (the fraction of light reflected in space). The idea is to use standard, aluminum-coated mirrors to be deployed on the Earth's surface, either on land on the surface of water bodies. Of course, the surface needed would be enormous, of the order of 3%-4% of the total if we want to offset the heat forcing generated by the current concentration of CO2. It is a lot, but not inconceivable. 

This is not the only element of Tao's proposal. The plan pivots around mirrors to be used to generate renewable energy in concentrating solar plants. Mirrors should also be used to create the high temperatures needed to decompose calcium carbonate from seashells in order to capture CO2, which would then be sequestered underground. The calcium oxide resulting from the process would be dissolved back into the ocean, where it would reduce the acidification problem. The production of edible mollusks would also ease, or even solve, the problem of world hunger.

The plan is as good as the best plans of mice and men (those that tend to gang agley) can be. But, as you can probably guess, it suffers from a typical problem with physicists, their tendency to the "back of the envelope" approach to problems. Physicists are normally great at determining what's possible and what's not possible on the basis of the laws of physics. The problem is that then the envelope is handled to an engineer, who is tasked to build the spaceship that will travel all the way to Mars. Usually, it is not so easy. 

This problem appears very clearly with Dr. Tao's approach. The physics is good, but how about the engineering? I don't have enough details of the plan to enter into a detailed assessment, but the questions are many. 

Just a few examples: if the mirrors are placed on land, how to make sure they are kept clean and shiny? If they are on water, how to avoid blotting out entire ecosystems? Decomposing calcium carbonate is not a new idea in order to capture CO2 from the atmosphere. But does it have advantages over methods that work at low temperatures? Then, reflective devices placed in space or high altitude have many advantages over those placed on land: for one thing, you don't have to protect them from wind and dust. 

As a more basic problem, the proposal takes into account the fact that mirrors can't do anything against acidification. That's the reason for removing excess CO2 by using the CaCO3/CaO reaction. But there is a basic problem, here: if you want to eliminate acidification, you have to remove all the excess CO2, but if you can do that, then you don't need mirrors. The idea seems to be that there is an optimal ratio of effort and costs to balance the effect of mirrors and CO2 removal. But does such a ratio exists? And how do we determine it?

There would be a lot more to say, but let me explain my position. I am not saying that Dr. Tao's plan is impossible (and you probably remember something that Arthur Clarke said and that goes as "when an old and distinguished scientist says that something is impossible, he is almost certainly wrong." It is not a law of physics, but it has a certain value). On the contrary, I think that the plan is bold, interesting, and deserves to be considered, although there is a considerable need for refining it. The problem goes beyond the specific geoengineering technologies that we might choose to deploy in an emergency situation. The question is how do we manage a planetary crisis that requires emergency measures


 The problem with emergencies.

The collective intelligence of the current Western society is comparable to that of a five-year-old child. Society, like children, operates mainly in an emotion-driven mode. Things are either ignored or they take all the attention, and the attention span is very short. So, our society either ignores problems or it goes in full "emergency mode." It is a switch, it is either on or off. 

We saw the switch to emergency mode with the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a minor perturbation, but it was amplified by the media to the point that Western society went into full panic. That generated the need for action, a typical behavior of human beings that even has a name: "action bias". We tend to think that "doing something" is always better than doing nothing, even though there is no evidence that a certain action will be effective to solve the problem. It is a typical problem in medicine where doctors tend to overreact before having sufficient data.

In the case of the COVID pandemics, society reacted by acting on the problems, suddenly dumping all the concerns about human rights, the economy, and people's welfare. To say nothing about neglecting other pathologies, even much more deadly ones than the COVID-19 itself. This behavior was pushed onward by a collective intoxication that saw the virus as an existential threat to be fought by all conceivable means, no matter what the negative consequences. Action bias, indeed.

Such a switch to emergency never happened for climate change, at least so far. It is not obvious that it will ever occur: climate change occurs slowly and society is simply unable to react to anything not directly detectable on a time scale shorter than a few months. But what if, suddenly, we were to see climate change treated with the same frenzied request of "doing something" that we saw with the pandemic?

If that were to occur, we would probably see the same kind of collective intoxication we saw for the virus and the resulting desperate attempts to do something, no matter what, and the hell with the consequences. Tao's mirrors might be seen as the magic wand that dispels global warming, but there are other ways that could go in parallel. Fertilizing the ocean with iron oxide, lobbing nukes into the caldera of active volcanoes, or getting rid of most of humankind (not a solution I propose!!). The important thing is to do something, do something, do something. Action bias, indeed.

This is how things stand: we are facing a switch between two equally dangerous states: doing nothing against climate change or doing something that could worsen the problem. But, unfortunately, society has no other means to manage emergencies than to go into a collective frenzy in which the deadly mechanism of enhancing feedback leads to the disappearance of all intermediate approaches.

You may have noticed how, in this blog, recently I have been examining the record of some strong leaders of the past (Napoleon 3rd, Mussolini, Hitler). It was because I was thinking of the evolution of societal emergency situations. Typically, dissent is eliminated (sometimes by physically eliminating dissenters) and strong leaders are chosen.  Unfortunately, without the possibility of dissenting by expressing alternative opinions, no rational planning is possible. Then, the record of strong leaders is abysmally bad: not only they are unable to solve problems, but they tend to worsen them and to do much damage in the process -- including killing large numbers of people. 

Do we still have time to choose a rational course of action? In a paper I published in 2016, together with my colleagues Sgouridis and Csala, we outlined the requirements for building up a renewable energy supply system fast enough to be able to stop the build-up of CO2 in the atmosphere before it is too late. Our results showed that it was expensive, but possible. But, four years later, not enough of what would have been needed was done (not that we expected anything different, of course!). So, it seems that we are stuck between two unappealing alternatives: doing nothing or doing something desperate. Maybe we can find solace in thinking that, at least, we can learn what NOT to do in a future crisis from the way the COVID crisis was (mis)managed. All crises are also opportunities and the pandemic might have been one. But sometimes you wish you didn't have so many opportunities. (I told you at the beginning that this was a catastrophistic post!)

A comment by Ugo Bardi's personal troll, Mr. Kunning-Druger

This is really too catastrophistic, professor. You know what I'll do? I'll buy myself a new diesel-powered SUV and I'll just be very happy.


  1. A collapsing economy, could make mitigation impossible, or mitigation could collapse the economy.

  2. Why complicated technical solutions? Plant trees! They will bind carbon and at the same time shade the ground to cool it. Add Permaculture principles and you will grow much more food on that land with the help of mycelium. Trees will also bind water. We don't need more impossible technical solutions, we need to go back to what worked before we screwed up the place!

    1. Because there is absolutly no guarantee that trees will remain carbon sinks - actually we are pretty sure that a part of them will turn into carbon source as temperature are rising. We screwed up the place so well that we can't go back to what worked before. Now to go back to normal, it'll take quite a lot of time (that Earth has, but not mankind), or technical solutions - I mean real large scale one to solve the problem, not the usual wishfull thinking hoping we'll continue as usual.

    2. Ha! There is absolutely no guarantee that any of the technical solutions are even feasible. Peak oil and resource depletion are strong arguments against the success of that route. Biological solutions have the advantage that they are relatively light on resources and as mentioned can actually contribute to our food supply.
      Planting trees is only one of many biological strategies for climate mitigation. Building soil with holistic range management and better cropping practices has the potential to sequester a huge portion of our atmospheric carbon. Reducing our impact on ocean ecosystems by ending industrial harvesting practices and removing plastic waste can also have an impact far less costly and much more effective than any of the ideas proposed here.
      Sadly we are a bio-phobic culture that would rather fantasize about shiny technological vapourware than embrace proven biological solutions.

  3. Oysters, sand, and velocipedes. who would have thought that could save the world? Thank you science! To the point about back of the envelope physics. Richard Feynman used to do a lot of his work on the backs of cocktail napkins at the local strip club. Look where that got us... Hi-Ho! as Kilgore Trout used to say.

  4. Large scale civilisation has now proven a delusional project.

    Any energy system bigger and much more powerful than human's body scale and power is a waste of energy, and has served the civilisation not humanity.

    Time to decentralise.

    The civilisation is required to dissolve itself peacefully and with dignity – Centralisation proves too much Energy-intensive for the good of humans at large!

    Not dissolving itself leaves the civilisation delusional even more than its citizens – which turns the Tragedy of the Commons for all humans even more tragic.


  5. Ugo, the first step in science is to observe. Now climate change can be observed readily. (I have been in the California fire zone for over a month. Two family homes were spared by a few meters.)

    Next step is to take every projection as incomplete and speculative, especially those which rely on smooth (linear or even exponential) transitions. State change must be factored in.)

    Most serious is nuclear power dependent on stable cooling water. River floods, river droughts, sea surges destroy nuclear plants.

    Next apply energy accounting, not money to assess. If someone says a solution is too expensive, remind them that economics is an instrument of policy, no more. If the energy equation works, the politics can be adjusted.

    Most geoengineering proposals are bad science. Who decides will be China. At least their government is not being led by idiots or lawyers. Global leadership will shift from the US decisively in the next few months regardless of the outcome on November 3

    1. I agree: China will decide many things in the future


      In an exclusively economic sense, while an authoritarian system like the Chinese one might be far from the best example, at least they (the CCP) have the option to act rationally if they decide to do so, which is not the case in any western country due to the firm grip of capital and the influence of those so called special interests on the state apparatus together with the entrenched neo-liberal, neoconservative, mercantilist ideology. All of these factors act as decision options limitations or restrictions that effectively prohibit any rational, facts based proactive, risk-averse approach to any given issue.

      So called western governments are filled with thieves, businessmen, lawyers and crooks, beliers and dark triad personality types. Nearly all of them are in for themselves and the networks they belong to and those who offer them the most benefits according to the revolving door principle. Everything else and everyone else gets shafted. They act as front-men for the all defining, permanent and always present interests of capital in the background. Even if they wanted to, which they don't because of the careful pre-selection processes they have to pass through to get to any position of power, the politicians have only a very limited number of real options at their disposal, all of which are, by design, fully compatible with the interests of their paymasters who also own, influence and control Sauron's mouth (=the MSM) that eagerly takes down anyone who dares to have the temerity to step out of line by actually proposing some alternative solutions/or ideas regarding the many issues caused by economic ideology, anthropocentric hubris and bad neurological programming.

      Such a system, totally subverted and crooked by design, where every decision taken only resolves around who or what group or network gets to benefit most in the shortest timeframe possible, is destined to fail (see Lebanon) as it has been coopted and captured by some very narrow and specific interests, to which everything that does not benefit them almost immediately has no intrinsic value and is therefore by extension also without worth and merit and conclusively amounts to mere costs that need to be reduced, like the environment, the public good and so on. It is parasitic at its core and deeply rotten beyond all repairs. There are no goals and no plans for the future, only lying, cheating, robbing, stealing, looting (and worse, see Epstein for example) in the present count and those who plunder the most get the highest status among their fellow plunderers.



      Now compare that to the economic policies in place in current day China. They have 5 year plans where they outline which goals and which targets are to be pursued and to be achieved under which scenarios in what sectors according to a variety of current, future and sometimes past factors, conditions and circumstances.
      Stated overly simplified, they set out their goals in accordance to their (decades) long time trajectories, look at what is necessary to achieve them and then use the collective efforts and resources available (or they make them available during progression) to get there step by step, always refining, adapting and optimizing their approaches in the process. Attaining intermediate goals in order to lay a solid groundwork to achieve the larger ones later on is the way a rational decision maker would act according to rational decision theory. The CCP might be corrupt and power hungry, but in their quest for absolute power and world domination they are not stupid, in fact far from it. Contrary to the Soviet Union they have been intelligent enough to allow private initiatives where necessary (alleviating the need for stifling micromanagement and its inflexible structures) while limiting the self-destructing forces that a dictatorship of capital brings with it, partially resembling some sort of balance between economic micro and macro-management. Therefore they get to have the benefits of both systems while reducing the negative aspects of them to manageable levels on a macroeconomic scale, while on a microeconomic scale their system can indeed be very harsh. Partly, a larger form of Singapore might be one of the models based on which they use a few selected metrics for orientation, but they are obviously not there yet.

      In closing, just to give an example let's look at fuel cell powered vehicles for a moment. The production of such vehicles needs a supra-regional system of hydrogen gas stations in place for anyone to produce such cars because otherwise they wouldn't be bought in high enough numbers to offset the costs of development and production. Under current circumstances, western companies might develop a few concept cars or prototypes in order to secure a few patents for some key technologies here and there (really mostly for extortion purposes, also known as licensing), but mass production won't be seriously considered. On the other hand no gas station chain would be willing to build hydrogen stations if there are no fuel cell powered cars. One thing has to come into existence first. Currently in the west, mainly due to the present market fundamentalist extremist ideologies and ideologues, also often blinded by their own ideologies, nothing of any importance happens until a private entity, which has done the required calculations, deems an undertaking to be profitable enough in the short term to invest something. Then the state where the investment is planned to occur offers some benefits, paid for by common folks, like tax breaks or exceptions/exemptions for the investors to invest. That's it about it, if there is no short term profit in it and an almost immediate return of investment within at least a single quarter; nothing happens (the same goes for startups).



      In China some selected key industries and or technologies with good growth potentials or other highly desired features get access to state funds, almost interest free loans that can be extended for decades, infrastructure and allowances provided to them according to the respective requirements and set out goals, with the purpose of developing those specific industries and key technologies to become either competitive or market leaders. That such an approach works in a purely economic sense, provided that enough resources and energy remain available, has been shown for the past 3 decades during which China managed to become the world's manufacturing center for most consumer related goods and thanks to a carefully planned and very tight supply chain integration, together with low unit labor costs, the interdependent web they've built cannot be entangled that easily. If something is considered to have potential in some desired fields in the mid to long term and is in alignment with the goals as set out by the party, it gets supported also in the mid to long-term, while in the west support only happens if there is enough profit "in it" for venture capitalists or banks in the short term to receive the desired return on investment.

      It is clear which system will steamroll the other one if no energy, resource limitations or climate disasters happen first. As soon as the economic center of power moves from the western hemisphere to Asia, the center of military power will do so too after some time and the US, without the special status the $$ is currently enjoying and affording the former, could potentially suffer a comparable fate as the Soviet Union did in the early 90ies ultimately.
      As long as the current trajectory holds true (it won't in the long term) China could be calling the shots in the not too distant future and the Western Banksters would have no say in that. Then the profiteers of today would find out too what a far more rational, in some ways brutally effective (while not being overly efficient) reincarnation of the third Reich looks, behaves like and is capable of.
      It is to hope that the decline of easily available energy sets in before that happens.

      The center of the current western economic ideology, which amounts to the collective manifestations of the sum of private, individual greed (and at its core it remains just that, pure unbridled greed) has no concept of the common good, but for things to evolve and to move in a collectively improving sense, capital (=an artificial, imaginary abstraction to gather and provide energy and resources) as the means to initiate change has to come first (before anything can be achieved) and that, which amounts to a mere question of ideology, since capital nowadays is created out of thin air anyway, is a necessary premise for things to move in any direction, way, shape or form. The CCP understood that a long time ago, but did the so called leaders in Europe and the US did so too? Their reactions, the important term and emphasis being on "reactions" as they weren't the least bit proactive like Taiwan was for example, to the CCP Virus and Wuhan sickness, does not give the impression of that being even remotely the case.


  6. Ugo, the pandemic is a good example of misguided policy. The medical solution had been in place in China since February when 50 tonnes of Vitamin C were shipped to Wuhan. Epidemiology was also applied and Covid is now a non-event in China.

    Here in the USA the medical treatment was resolved in April
    ... see

    The issue since then has been medical institutional protectionism. WHO > CDC FTC FDA took charge and drove out the science.

    What's the point?

    Geoengineering will suffer from political privilege and ignorance, just as Vitamin C has been overlooked, even punished, though it [administered as IV injection] is the one reliable treatment.

    (I have detailed rigorous science for anyone who cares to learn.)

    Again, not to lose the point: geoengineering will suffer many opportunists while safe reliable robust options will remain elusive

    ... except in China

    ... or maybe even there

    1. And sometimes even China can be disappointing!

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Start of Part I of II:

      About China:

      Whenever China is mentioned, the endlessly, propagandistically constructed amalgamation of the country and the CCP as a single unit ought to be considered too and since according to their own propaganda the CCP equals China it follows that the CCP is also fully responsible for anything that happens there on an executive or jurisdictional level of government, although the state and government act as mere instruments for the will of the party (some dictatorships are that way, but in this instance their own propaganda most likely unintentionally offers an additional layer of argumentation potential). As soon as that link has been established, it is about time to take a closer look from a more critical perspective at the multitude of shenanigans committed there on a daily basis. That focus might sound a little bit off at first, but at least in the humble opinion of the author of these lines, it is always of utmost importance to search for the worst one is able to find about any entities or identities because, not least since everyone (neurotypicals in particular) and everything (for marketing purposes) is accustomed to wearing a "mask" anyway, it is always the worst excesses of any kind that usually have more unhidden truth to them than the multitude of camouflaging layers masquerading the former to further the respective goals of those in question. These excesses can then be seen as the lower boundaries enclosing or limiting the spectrum of possibilities of what is to be potentially expected from any given actor or political/risk constellation, given the appropriate circumstances.

      That is one of many reasons why the reports of forced, involuntary organ harvesting in China have far wider implications than only to those being unfortunate enough to be directly affected by them and are therefore definitely an issue of serious concern beyond the gravity and significance of the topic itself.
      These practices serve as a testament to the complete indifference, ethical and moral yawning chasm and total lack of checks and balance of the CCP and the fact that their depravity and the atrocities committed by those in charge know absolutely no boundaries. Contrary to the Tiananmen square massacre on June 4th 1989, when the CCP felt its power base being threatened by potentially having to compromise, the reports of David Matas and David Kilgour clearly show that the CCP still continues to resort to committing atrocities on a mass scale for mere ideological and financial reasons alone whenever the perceived benefits outweigh the risks or negative aspects according to their estimations and the victims are powerless by default.

      End of Part I of II.

    4. Start of Part II of II:

      About China:

      TED Talk of David Matas & David Kilgour in Munich 2015:

      International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse:

      About the International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse:

      Introduction and Overview:

      2006 Report – Bloody Harvest:

      2016 Update to the 2006 Report – Bloody Harvest:
      PDF (~40MB):

      Chinatribunal, The Independent Tribunal into Forced Organ Harvesting from Prisoners of Conscience in China:

      The Independent Tribunal into Forced Organ Harvesting from Prisoners of Conscience in China JUDGMENT [PDF]:

      Also I would like to hereby apologize at least a thousand times in the most polite way possible to the operator and grandmaster of this blog, Professor Ugo Bardi, for my last post from Friday evening (central European summer time). At no point in time has it been my intention (nor is it my intention or will it ever be) or desire to tarnish, discredit, dishonor, or to cause any negative effects to this blog or the author of it. As stated I fully respect the qualified authority of the author and adhere to right of the author to consider certain content inappropriate for publication at his sole discretion and I too apologize profoundly for any distress, inconvenience and unease that might have been caused and or have been experienced by the aforementioned submission.
      May everyone reading these lines have a nice and beautiful week and weekend!

      End of Part II of II.

    5. QUOTE:***...China is continuously building up its power base in every area deemed appropriate and expanding its nuclear arsenal while being simultaneously engaged in economic warfare. A successful and growing domestic and export oriented economy acts, by virtue of the funds being made available that way, as one of the main power factors for the CCP as it provides the necessary means for increased military spending in order to also enable power projections abroad by hard power (compared by mere soft power) to directly counter or challenge any US presence in a given region of interest.***

      If I'm not mistaken, China's businesses are also suffering big time because the global economy is currently so badly affected that less and less people from other countries either can or want to buy what China has produced. The warehouses are sitting idle. And China's food harvests have also been wrecked by unfavorable weather.

      If the rest of the world suffers economically, China's dream of a Pax Sinica is dead and gone. We're all headed for a return to the good, old agrarian way of life, what James Howard Kunstler calls the 'World Made by Hand'. And regretfully there's likely to be plenty of extreme hardship for everyone that will last for years before we finally arrive at that world. As Kunstler said, "The journey back to non-oil population homeostasis will not be pretty."

  7. It's nice how this YouTuber mixed a classic Zager and Evans hit from 1969 and Friz Lang's masterpiece:


    In the year 2525, if man is still alive
    If woman can survive, they may find
    In the year 3535

    Ain't gonna need to tell the truth, tell no lie
    Everything you think, do and say
    Is in the pill you took today

    In the year 4545
    You ain't gonna need your teeth, won't need your eyes
    You won't find a thing to chew
    Nobody's gonna look at you

    In the year 5555
    Your arms hangin' limp at your sides
    Your legs got nothin' to do
    Some machine's doin' that for you

    In the year 6565
    Ain't gonna need no husband, won't need no wife
    You'll pick your son, pick your daughter too
    From the bottom of a long glass tube

    In the year 7510
    If God's a-coming, He oughta make it by then
    Maybe He'll look around Himself and say
    "Guess it's time for the Judgement Day"

    In the year 8510
    God is gonna shake His mighty head
    He'll either say, "I'm pleased where man has been"
    Or tear it down, and start again

    In the year 9595
    I'm kinda wonderin' if man is gonna be alive
    He's taken everything this old earth can give
    And he ain't put back nothing

    Now it's been ten thousand years, man has cried a billion tears
    For what, he never knew, now man's reign is through
    But through eternal night, the twinkling of starlight
    So very far away, maybe it's only yesterday

  8. Replies
    1. Hey, dude, what do you want from me? I am already insulted every time that this so-called professor calls me "troll." But I can tell you that, yes, my SUV makes me very happy, just as it does my Smith&Wesson. Are you satisfied, now? (KD)

  9. I understand the current pandemic has slowed down much of the economic activity around the globe and therefore caused the state of the environment actually to improve in many places? And that as all our economic activity slows down further -- due to the destruction of the global financial system caused by excessive amounts of debt -- the environment will only improve further as a result?

    As I see it, the only true way for the eco-crisis to be truly solved once and for all is for us all to leave behind the whole darn modern industrial way of life and revert to a pre-industrial, agrarian way of life. That's because all our other attempts to overcome the eco-crisis will be eventually overtaken as long as we remain committed to an expansionist economy. The only question is whether we'll drop the modern industrial way of life (1) voluntarily or be (2) forced to. I'm putting my money on (2).



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)