Insisting on the Old Paradigm

As you may have guessed it has been raining here today. I have nipped out between showers to do the out of doors chores.

If Britishvolt folds and Renault/Nissan relocate because of Brexit induced difficulty, the UK is up the proverbial Sierra creek in a barbed wire canoe without a paddle, when it comes to Lithium batteries.

What worked and could be relied on prior to Brexit has been put at risk because of Brexit. So, the UK has changed its EU member paradigm a little and the consequences continue to unfold as they will do for decades.

COP 27 is at Sharm-el-Sheikh this month. It was pretty hot there in August 2003 when I went on a dive vacation. The average high in November is 27˚C with a record high of 37˚C. There are some swanky hotels there. When I went, on my own, I ended up having a few beers with some of the numerous Russians who were there. They seemed to enjoy a good piss up. There was a terrorist attack there and from time to time there is a shark attack, in the bay where I did my underwater navigation task.

As Greta says greenwashing is the new de rigueur trend in governmental and corporate public relations hyper-spin. Everyone needs a green fairy-tale to hand out to the punters with their logo.

From what I can see the rationale behind trying to limit global warming is to insist that the old socio-economic paradigm can be sustained and global warming slowed.  People seem to be adamant about this.

It is the I can have my cake and eat it too catch 22 paradigm. It involves a lot of finger crossing and burying of head in the sand.

With the upcoming winter of discontent, 2050 looks a long way away with the repo man at the door.

The war in Ukraine has turned very attritional, and compassion fatigue may be setting in. I suspect that things will get ever more difficult in Ukraine. Russia has people from Siberia…

I am no economist but this paradigm of continuous growth lies aback all the fiscal models of government and taxation. People have become accustomed to all the luxuries they can afford and now expect. People { even those on benefits} expect wide screen TVs and smartphones with space telescope quality CCD cameras. The idea is get electric cars and grid charging infrastructure. It is not to reduce travel nor the speed of travel. Bigger batteries, mean more weight, means more power needed for same velocity.

Growth is not infinitely sustainable on a planet of finite resource. Sooner or later there has to be the big crunch. Everybody crosses their fingers hoping that the bubble will not burst.

Everybody else should do something about climate change, it is their fault, not mine.

Nobody is mentioning reduction in consumption as a climate change solution. But it is so obvious. Stop or significantly reduce consuming, reuse and there is less carbon dioxide in the air. I am not an anti-phone fascist but nobody needs a new ‘phone every two years, just to show off with. Nor do we need frequent shiny new cars. We don’t have to take Instagram multi-megapixel photos in the Maldives. Therefore, we don’t need giga-server farms with energy gobbling air-conditioning.

Unless a new paradigm emerges, the growth mantra will clash with the flood defence mantra. We must not drown. We must not drown.

Something big is going to have to give.

This year we have learned how fragile our dependency of fossil fuels makes us. Soon we shall have a Lithium dependence too.

How long will humanity cling to the old paradigm of continuous economic growth before it is forced by nature to change its ways? How long will hedonistic acquisitional materialism be the driver and aim of human desires? We locust beings are damaging our home.

Who is going to win the debate about finite resource, humanity or the planet?

No Planet B – Paradigm Change Needed.

I’ll kick this off with two quotes from today’s Guardian. I can do this because I was wearing “Save the Rainforest” T-shirts in the eighties.


“The fact that 3 billion people use less energy, on an annual per capita basis, than a standard American refrigerator gives you an idea of how far away from global equity and climate justice we currently are.”

Greta Thunberg


“They say we must be able to compromise. As if the Paris agreement were not already the world’s biggest compromise. A compromise that has already locked in unimaginable amounts of suffering for the most affected people and areas. I say: “No more.” I say: “Stand your ground.” Our so-called leaders still think they can bargain with physics and negotiate with the laws of nature. They speak to flowers and forests in the language of US dollars and short-term economics. They hold up their quarterly income reports to impress the wild animals. They read stock-market analysis to the waves of the ocean, like fools.

We are approaching a precipice. And I would strongly suggest that those of us who have not yet been greenwashed out of our senses stand our ground. Do not let them drag us another inch closer to the edge. Not one inch. Right here, right now, is where we draw the line.”

Greta Thunberg


‘Clean up public life’

While the science and technology for saving the planet is challenging, it is not the bottleneck. But to deal with these complex systemic challenges requires high-quality, clear decision making. At the moment, that process is largely disabled by hidden agendas, dishonesty and greed. So my planet-saving idea is to cultivate and insist on much higher standards of honesty and compassion among our political and business decision-makers. Without it, nothing will work.

Mike Berners-Lee, author


Elsewhere in this blog I have mentioned Atlantis. Nobody has found convincing physical plane evidence for it. Yet it remains a metaphor for what may happen to our current civilisation. I seem to have read that we have enough ice on the planet to raise the sea level 65m. At an elevation of 130m we should not be covered by sea. The financial “heart” of the city of London would be inundated.

I have been inside the Rhone glacier and looked down on Konkordia Platz from Jungfraujoch. It is a UNESCO world heritage site. It is breath-taking.

My generation might be the last to be able to make such a claim.

Elsewhere I have suggested that a nuclear winter is a solution for global warming, we are closer to that now than we have been for fifty years. There is a prime minister in the UK who is obsessed by “growth”. I have said factually that growth is not sustainable on a planet of finite resource. Sooner or later “growth” will and must cease. It is simple logic.

This old economic paradigm and black magic greed mantra must end.

Is being greedy, acquistional, sequestering resources from other people and being arrogant, growth? If so, it is malignant. Will crossing your fingers, and burying you head in the sand, avert climate disaster? No. Is ravaging the planet like a swarm of locusts, growth?

Some people have a funny idea about what growth means.

I doubt that humanity has the will, to back off on consumption. It may need to be forced, by events, to do this.

I feel that many have been hypnotised by mobile ‘phones and great deals on data. So, they take needless high pixel number fatuous selfie after selfie, which they store on the power hungry servers around the globe. We melt more sand for silicon than we actually “need” because people “need” the newest, grooviest ‘phone. We must invent more shit to flog so that the economy can “grow”.

We do not need to send spaceships to Mars, or the moon.

We do not need so many airmiles now we have the internet.

We do not need to go on a cruise liner the size of an aircraft carrier bedecked with photo ready infinity pools.

We do not need to fly to the Maldives even though they may not be around for much longer.

We do not need perfect green beans from Kenya in January.

There is a tendency to justify this kind of excess. People argue the toss to promote their own agendas. I do not think that politicians are serious about climate crisis, especially now there is this bizarre wave of “popularist” politicians. Sociopaths can get elected to high office.

We have had truly biblical floods in Pakistan.

If the ice melts, the sun does not get reflected, the rate of increase in temperature goes up. When things go nonlinear, they can get very chaotic sharply.

I’ll wager things will have to get truly bad, catastrophic even, before humans will have sufficient will to address what changes need to be made. People can be very slow and unwilling learners.


have one’s cake and eat it too


Definition of have one’s cake and eat it too

: to have or enjoy the good parts of something without having or dealing with the bad parts They seem to think they can have their cake and eat it too by having excellent schools for their son without paying high taxes.