Behind all the crisis, the wealth machine pulls money up to the one percent.  The worse things get, the less for everyone else.  Author and activist Marjorie Kelly: “  “Wealth Supremacy:  How the Extractive Economy and the Biased Rules of Capitalism Drive Today’s Crises.” How long can we keep burning fossil fuels  before losing a livable climate?  2030? From Imperial College London, Dr. Robin Lamboll led a team study “Assessing the size and uncertainty of remaining carbon budgets”.  The reality is: we are on a short carbon fuse.

Listen to or download this Radio Ecoshock show in CD Quality (57 MB) or Lo-Fi (14 MB)



Remember the bad old days when a few European countries divided the world among themselves.  They hauled in wealth from “their” colonies.  Today most of us are colonized by invisible nations of capital, always working to divert wealth to the few, even during disaster.  It’s all in a new book by Marjorie Kelly: “Wealth Supremacy:  How the Extractive Economy and the Biased Rules of Capitalism Drive Today’s Crises.

Kelly is an award-winning writer, with a Masters in Journalism, currently Distinguished Senior Fellow at The Democracy Collaborative.  She was co-founder and president of Business Ethics magazine.  Find her web site here.

Listen to or download this 29 minute interview with Marjorie Kelly in CD Quality or Lo-Fi


Forget about the Roman Empire or the British Empire.  Kelly writes: “Today’s empires are portfolios of assets.” Whatever becomes in short supply, or needed for life, is just a market opportunity.  They drag out more wealth from desperate subjugated people.  Food, heat for the winter, electricity for AC during the heat waves, it is all a big chance to make even more money – and they do, in case after case.  See: Naomi Klein’s book “The Shock Doctrine and the Rise of Disaster Capitalism”.

This book and Kelly’s interviews have a two-part mission.  She starts by convincing people there really is a logic and force behind a whole array of problems and crisis points.  Then, if they are willing to listen, she sets out starting points, some alternatives.  Because that’s the problem isn’t it: most people are so fixed in the ideology of only one way – capitalist victory – they are not willing to hear about anything else?

Everybody has several head-shaking horrors to worry about.  Aside from crushing climate change that threatens to burn us out every year, I follow the on-going COVID pandemic, the student loan fiasco, and over a hundred thousand Americans dead every year from opioid abuse.

Let’s take student loans. Young people are told they must have a university education to have any chances.  They do it and get exploitive loans which are almost impossible to pay back.  You’ve heard the horror stories – paying every month for years and having a bigger debt in the end.  America has a nation of student debt slaves.  They can’t complain and have to work one or three jobs for corporations because they owe their soul to the company store.  Surely there is a way out, and a better way?

Monarchies and other historic institutions were designed to NOT change. So are religions. Despite the democratic veneer, our current civilization is fighting change.  A lot of people want to go back the “good old days” – which were not all that good if you were black, an immigrant, a woman, gay – just not that great.  But we imagine it was.  Why can we imagine a better past, and yet not a better future?

For years, Marjorie has been advising on better solutions, things like “B corporations” and the “Democracy Collaborative”.  She says we also need more unions.  She talks about “Recology” 100% owned by workers, purpose is to recycle everything. Garbage truck drivers make $100,000 years.  There are a lot of solutions in this book.



Recology San Francisco


Kelly says we need “a new paradigm for organizing an economy, beyond corporate capitalism and state socialism. It is a system where the ethos of democracy is infused into the institutions and practices of the economy itself, a democratic economy designed not for the extraction of wealth but for the flourishing of life.


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Their first myth is that they must limitlessly expand.  As a result of this expansion in recent decades, financial assets now vastly overshadow the real economy of jobs and income and spending, a state that economists call financialization and have long warned us about. It has created a social order where finance dominates the economy, politics, society, and, to a dangerous extent, the natural world.

– Marjorie Kelly

The wealth system is a kind of invisible colonization of the many by the very few.  Just as Colonial Spain or England used the land and bodies of others to ship gold and other goods back to the home country, the financial industry is a machine to draw resources and labor from the rest of us.  They always want more (and consider that “sacred”) – which means we must have less.

Why are “profits” and “shareholders” draped in quasi-religious terms, with a “sacred” “duty” to return profits?  Did the wealth system develop out of religious times and take some of that mantle of social power (and secrecy) into the new system?  Centuries ago, during the birth of capitalism in Europe, everyone was religious.  Catholics, Protestants and Jews often mingled their religious beliefs with their business.  God favored the successful, they thought.

As Kelly says, like religions and Monarchies, the foundational myths are supposed to come from an unseen higher power (“the hidden hand of the market”), cannot be challenged, and are designed to resist change over time.  Now when we need significant fast change, some are trying to do it with a system designed to fight change.  It can not be done with financial rule.


Chasing Financial Equality. The Climate and Financial Emergencies are One. Available on YouTube, Apple podcasts, and Spotify (September 26, 2023).  Marjorie Kelly and Kane Jackson






Frankly, listeners want to tune out instantly when they hear politicians talk as though 1.5 degrees warming over pre-industrial is still possible.  We don’t believe it. But we are being sold a climate future as though there is a workable plan. Thankfully, scientists are asking hard questions about that.

Dr. Robin B. Lamboll is part of a group checking official climate plans.  Lamboll has a PhD in the physics of solar cells from the University of Cambridge, and a Masters in Natural Sciences.  She led the paper “Assessing the size and uncertainty of remaining carbon budgets”.  That was published October 30th in Nature Climate Change.  There is no shortage of uncertainty about our climate future.

From the Centre for Environmental Policy at Imperial College London, we welcome Robin Lamboll to Radio Ecoshock.

Listen to or download this 27 minute interview with Robin Lamboll in CD Quality or Lo-Fi


Just to be clear, carbon budgets set out by models and governments do not protect us from dangerous climate change.  It is a gambling house.  We get a 50% chance or a 66% chance of avoiding even more terrible heat waves, storms, fires, and flooding cities.  Is it so late in climate change we only have half a chance left?

Major institutions, like the World Meteorological Organization, say at least one year within the next five will be 1.5 degrees C hotter than pre-industrial times.  For the last few months Earth was already 1.5 degrees warmer. James Hansen says 1.5 is “deader than a door-nail.”  Is the 1.5 degree target still worth talking about as an attainable future?

Hardened climate hawks think 2 degrees warming is certain, especially once governments clean up dirty air – not mentioning any names New Delhi.  Hansen says we will go well over that.  But Dr. Lamboll co-authored a May 2023 paper in Nature Climate Change that ran four models showing an Earth running below 2 degrees C. warming is still possible.

Analyzing possibilities in a complex world required breaking the problem into relatively solvable parts.  Each sub-process has it’s own uncertainties and error margins.  Adding them up as this paper does, I ask myself: “Are we talking about anything real?” So I was relieved to find in the Supplementary Information, this group actually discusses “a sanity check”.  The whole process of remaining carbon budgets does seem a little like Alchemy.  But if world leaders are going to base their new fossil project approvals on these numbers, we better tune into that discussion.

This study and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change use the idea of “Shared Socioeconomic Pathways” or SSPs.  I notice none of the socio-economic pathways includes widespread collapse.  We all know that is possible due to nuclear war, an even more serious pandemic, a fierce solar-magnetic storm, a space war knocking out satellites, the mother-of-all hacking attacks, or simple financial collapse now globalized to a scale never before seen.  Why don’t they model that?  It has been done – obliquely – but modeling what happens if emissions suddenly stop, but even that science is still up for debate.

We discuss aerosols.  It’s the new big thing now, with Leon Simons and James Hansen claiming cuts to sulfur ship pollution are partly responsible for record-smashing warming this year.  I fear that is overblown. Despite more solar activity and El Nino, the main reason for warming is not a secret: we all burn fossil fuels for a living and for fun.  The aerosol question is important to the remaining space in the carbon budget (if any).

In my opinion, the whole process sounds like “How much can we get away with before we ruin Earth for coming generations?”  Then we set out to burn that much just to find out, hoping we win the bet.  It’s like 2 degrees is the allowable goal, to keep business going.  We are aiming for tragedy, calculating how many bullets we can take, and still partly survive on a shrunken world (sea level rise, inhabitable zones) with shrinking species.  Good scientists are asked to calculate this for the financial class and power brokers and their funded “leaders” in a concatenation of failing states.

Personally, I think there is no human carbon budget left, and has not been for a few years.  Any remaining atmospheric space for more greenhouse gases must be reserved for contributions from feed-back sources already in the works, – in “the pipeline” as Hansen would say.  Although many scientists question whether a “pipeline” exists, or if the world would stabilize at whatever temperature it reaches when a new carbon balance in the atmosphere is reached (we stop adding more).


Window to avoid 1.5°C of warming will close before 2030 if emissions not reduced



When it comes to the imaginary carbon budget, the United Nations just dropped depressing news.  Their new 2023 Production Gap report finds “Governments plan to produce double the fossil fuels in 2030 than the 1.5°C warming limit allows”.  You will hear a Lead Co-Author of that report next week.  Take your anti-depression meds first, because the verdict is in: governments and big fossil fuel companies intend to keep greenhouse gas emissions going until some natural reaction makes us stop, until the crash.

This confirms what I’ve been telling you for months.  Big fossil fuel companies made stunning profits in the last two years.  Their CEO’s and Boards of Directors are plowing it back into more oil, coal, and gas production – lots more fracking, new wells, new mines, new pipelines.  Middle East dictators are all in, including Sultan Al Jaber of the United Arab Emirates – the leader of the next COP28 climate conference.  From alleged progressives like Joe Biden and Justin Trudeau, to Conservatives like the UK’s Rishi Sunak, they all approve more, more, more fossil fuels.

So after years of dithering the plan is in.  The biggest corporations and the biggest nations have decided.  Your climate will be overheated, flooded, drought-ridden, and on fire.  Then it gets worse for our kids.  That is the official plan now, unless a revolution of sanity breaks out.  Will we try against impossible odds, or ride it out to a hostile world as humans and their animal friends get pushed off the planet.  Stay tuned.

I’m Alex Smith.  I appreciate your heart and time.  Thank you for listening to Radio Ecoshock. and caring about our world.

Please help support this independent environment journalism if you can.  Any donation, or a monthly giving, keeps this site advertising-free with free downloads for people all over the world.  It’s easy to give a little here.