Emerging threats analyst and author Robert Marston Fanney on new frontiers of climate change. Dr. Alex Rogers of Oxford: State of the Oceans 2013. Radio Ecoshock 131016 1 hour.

Illustration by Marek Okon for Luthiel’s Song by Robert Marston Fanney.

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Yes, we are in trouble. Last week, in this interview with Nicole Foss, we peered into the impending crash of the economy. It may dance on for a while using funny money from the Federal Reserve and other central banks. But fall it will.

A mere Depression would be good news, if the climate could stay the same for humans and all creatures. But even during hard times, we’ll keep on dragging more and more dirty fossil fuels out of the ground. It’s a burning party, maybe a funeral pyre.

Coming up we’ll talk it all through with emerging threats analyst and author Robert Marston Fanney. You’ll also hear an interview with a top marine biologist from the UK. Alex Rogers is the co-lead author of the new State of the Oceans 2013 report.

Alex reminds us that global warming is more a story of the oceans than our experiences of floods, fires, and storms on land. Most of our excess carbon is going into the sea, changing its chemistry, temperature, and the basis of the food chain. The ocean is where it’s happening, and the ocean is a news nowhere land where reporters don’t go, and humans don’t care.

Going through the emerging science, I’m also alarmed to discover big changes in Antarctica can reshape our world. Climate change is like the many-headed Hydra. We think we know it, but we don’t. The Earth is re-arranging in all the places humans don’t look: at sea, at the poles, deep in the melting permafrost, and in the farthest forests and mountain tops.

In our opening show this Fall of 2013, climate scientist Paul Beckwith suggested warming
could come very suddenly, even in a decade or two. A new paper by Morgan Schaller and James Wright of Rutgers finds, as Joe Romm writes, “When CO2 Levels Doubled 55 Million Years Ago, Earth May Have Warmed 9°F In 13 Years“. It’s a shocking example of what could happen.

The helpful Rutgers press piece on this study is here.

Business and political leaders have already announced they expect, or will tolerate a doubling of CO2 levels from the pre-industrial level of 270 parts per million to over 600 parts per million. We are already on our way, touching 400
parts per million this year, and adding more carbon faster every year, as the fossil fuel party expands around the world.

Canada, Australia, the UK, Europe, Brazil, and every country who can is promising to develop more fossil fuel resources. We are investing billions, possibly trillions, into more mega-coal mines, more fracked gas and Liquid
Natural Gas plants, bigger tar sands and shale oil projects. Humans seem intent on fossil suicide.

Next week we’ll talk with Morgan Schaller to find out what can happen in a mere 13 years on this fragile planet.


Look at it another way. Another paper released this week says that by 2047 the coldest years will be hotter than the warmest years of the last two decades. We’ve already set new temperature records, and those will be the old years we look back on.

This paper was published in the Journal “Nature”, by a team of post-grads at the University of Hawaii, led by Dr. Camilo Mora.

In an article by Justin Gillis of the New York Times, Dr. Mora says: quote

Go back in your life to think about the hottest, most traumatic event you have experienced.” “What we’re saying is that very soon, that event is going to become the norm.

Do it. Remember the heat wave you prayed would end. The day the sun seemed to be the enemy. You waited impatiently for the cooler darkness. That’s the new day in 2047. Just 34 years from now. How old will you be then? How about your kids or grand-kids?

Other scientists suggest a concerted effort to kick the fossil fuel habit, going with reduced energy from renewable resources, could delay that heating by at least 25 years. That’s more precious time for humans to move away from the rising seas on the coast, to re-think the whole food supply system, to work out ways to survive the coming heat. We must at least give our children that time.


That climate hydra pops out of this new paper again. I thought, and many scientists have suggested, that climate change would be less stressful around the equator. Most models suggest the extra heating will be the most extreme in temperate areas, and even more closer to the Poles. Certainly that’s where we see the big news stories, about storms and fires in North America, Europe and Russia. Plus those crazy heat waves developing around the Arctic.

Dr. Mora says it only takes a small change in the tropics to create major damage. Why? Because the plants and animals there developed into a stable climate that doesn’t change much during the year. Even a degree or two, combined with some changes in ocean or atmospheric currents, could bring down the rainforests, wreck the coral reefs, and cause mass extinctions of species. Tropical plants and animals are less able to adapt.

We simply haven’t thought it through. Our unintentional geoengineering of the Earth has created a maze of cascading changes beyond our imagination. We are heading to a different world, if we survive to see it.

I’m asking for your help. I’m asking you to use every engine of communication, and every link to all the people you know, to raise the alarm. Join with me in this pledge I make for Radio Ecoshock: say it. We will speak the truth about what we are doing.

Our political and corporate leadership is bankrupt and dangerous. They don’t know what they are doing, or their short-term gain seems worth risking the whole future. We let them, because we are comfortable and most of us too well fed.
Geared to hunt and migrate as a species, now we have super powers to travel and kill. All of us have a thousand energy slaves to serve us delicacies every day. We’re addicted to fossil fuels.

I don’t know what twelve-step program can break us out of this master complex. I don’t know if we will survive the fossil trap. But we have to try.

Nobody want to hear this. Your friends and family don’t. But honestly, when we add up the science and our experiences in the real world, when we look the unstable weather in the face, there is no choice but to speak up.

Forget the envy of a better car or truck. Forget chasing paper wealth. Look at the young innocents and the other un-knowing species, the other passengers on this planet. Even in small steps, whatever changes we can make in our own lives matters most. Whatever sign we can make, whatever we can do, matters now.

Become a climate activist. Start with this interview with Robert Marston Fanney.


Download/listen to this Robert Fanney 34 minute interview in CD Quality (31 MB) or Lo-Fi (8 MB)

We begin with Robert Marston Fanney reading from the introduction to his new book “Growth Shock, Tragedy and Hope at the Limits of a Finite World“.

I have a confession to make. One that is not easy to vocalize. One that is equally difficult to listen to. My confession is not one of a personal nature. I am not revealing my own, petty, individual sins. Instead, I’m making a
confession for us all. A revelation of the ongoing and maturing tragedy of our race. One we will each need to be made aware of soon if we are to effectively act. For the age of excess is rapidly coming to a close and we are now
entering a difficult and hard to manage age of consequences.

My confession is simply this: we are in trouble…

We’ll get to the book, but that isn’t why I called Robert. He captured my undivided attention with his searing analysis into large-scale patterns of climate change, based on real-time events happening around the world, right now. That’s in his blog called “robertscribbler” at wordpress.com.

There it is, the scientific maps and satellite shots of extreme weather events and danger, brought together in ways we can all understand. Then Robert tops it off with analysis that I think raises whole new questions about our future together.

Maybe that’s Fanney’s previous training as an intelligence analyst, and years gathering scientific and technical assessments, as Editor for Jane’s Information Group’s emerging threats books, magazines, and electronic publications.

But there’s another side to Robert Fanney that helps him imagine the future. He’s the author of the science fiction series Luthiel’s Song, which attracted a cult following, including many artists. You heard a few snippets written for the book “Luthiel’s Song: Dreams of the Ringed Vale” by multi-media artist Ethan Jackson.

Details on composer Ethan Jackson here.


We humans have always believed the sea is so vast we can’t seriously damage it. A new report warns this isn’t so. It’s called “The State of the Ocean 2013: Perils, Prognoses and Proposals“. We’ve reached one of the lead authors, Professor Alex Rogers of Somerville College, Oxford, and Scientific Director of IPSO, The International Programme on the State of the Ocean.

The informative press release about this State of the Ocean is here. It contains a fast summary of the gravest concerns.

Copies of the report can be found here.

The United Nations’ latest climate report concludes most of our carbon pollution is falling into, and damaging, the oceans rather than the land.

Download/listen to my 16 minute interview with Alex Rogers in CD Quality (14 MB) or Lo-Fi (4 MB)


That’s it this week for radio activism. Download our past programs and help the cause at our web site, ecoshock.org.

Our opening music was DANCE Live at the Labyrinth at Shambhala Music Festival 2011. That closes the show as well.