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PART 2: MEMORIAL DAY 2020 (May 25, 2020)

Jean Arnold: Military Cemetery

Situation:  COVID-19 continues to dominate everything and everyone. In the United States, more than 1.75 million infections and more than 100,000 deaths mark this Memorial Day. Yearning for a return to normalcy is coupled with the dawning realization that normal is evaporating in the summer warmth.

We are in an emergency: Humanity will either respond immediately and constructively to the emergent crises of ecological overshoot and the cooking climate, or there will be no viable future for humanity. So, let us relate to those who at least have some understanding that the climate and ecological emergencies exist.

What do they propose and are their proposals plausible?


To begin, these well-meaning, but nonetheless deluded groups argue for a plethora of things falling under the umbrella of a Green New Deal (GND) accomplished through a rapid displacement of fossil energy with “renewable energy.” This GND idea expects that the United States can have its present consumer society with economic growth using the “plug and play” of renewable energy instead of fossil fuel energy. At the same time, they claim that by replacing fossil fuel rapidly, i.e., 50% by 2030, and 100% net-zero energy by 2050, we can avert the worst aspects of the climate emergency and hold world warming to  less than 2◦C.

This Is a Wonderful Wish and a Fact-Free-Fairytale.

The Green New Deal’s plug-and-play renewable US consumer society, like the one we left behind pre-COVID, is not possible in any way whatsoever despite the plethora of articles that argue otherwise. The fact-free fairytale of the GND is an example of the Tinkerbell-Effect.

Tinkerbell, by Diarmuid Byron O’Connor, 2005

People demonstrate this effect when they operate as if something is real, because they enthusiastically want to believe what is being discussed or suggested is actually real. Whether or not there is any factual- or reality-based corroboration or confirmation for the enthusiastic belief does not affect the Tinkerbell-Effect.  It is the measure of wanting or needing to believe, despite any confirmation in Reality. It can be readily illustrated in real life. Audiences enact the Tinkerbell Effect in every live dramatic production of Peter Pan by reviving the dying Tinkerbell when Peter Pan asks them to clap their hands if they believe in fairies. Unbelievable things then happen because the audiences be­lieve in the impossible.

Tinkerbell is revived and then she uses her powerful pixie dust so that the Pirate Ship can fly back to London. Then, everyone goes home happy because of the agreed-upon delusion. The delusion is beautiful.

The pirate ship Jolly Roger flying because of Tinkerbell’s pixie dust.
Image: Pirate Fairy Movie, Walt Disney Studios, 2014

The corresponding Tinkerbell-Effect is a fiction that enables the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to imagine that its goal of reducing net carbon emissions by 50% by 2030 and 100% by 2050 mean anything real about halting climate cooking before we are all well-done! It is a simple delusion to believe that humanity has ten years to cut fossil fuels in-half and then 20 years to get rid of them. Given the amount of the carbon budget left, people in developed countries need to reduce fossil fuels by 66% by 2030  and down to nil fossils by 2035.

Belief in Green New Deals through “renewables,” is a fact-free fairytale.  There are no facts to support a Green New Deal proposal, or anything related. As described in our blog post “Visions & Contradictions: Assessing the Green New Deal,” the GND does not hold up well in the context of our climate and ecological emergencies by maintaining delusions of perpetual growth, continuing our extractive economy, and providing much more for everyone.

The GND assumes a massive renewable buildout, but renewables cannot supply the ravenous energy needs of this industrial system. An excellent start to understanding this is “ Pulling Back the Curtain on the Energy Transition Tale,” which explains why renewables can’t deliver the quantity and quality of energy as fossil fuels. If you want a deeper analysis, you could try Richard Heinberg and David Fridley’s book, “Our Renewable Future,” which is available free online. Or, if you prefer, try their film.

Factually, “renewables” are not even renewable. They cannot deliver us.

A Banquet of Consequences

What would be a nice way to say that we humans are destroying our life-supports?  Cooking the climate is just a symptom; there are many others.  When it comes to climate and rejecting fossil fuels, valid and reliable climate science explains that this must be accomplished in a few years, not in two or three decades. Otherwise, we will make our planet uninhabitable for us and most all of life quite soon. We are on track to cook ourselves well-done.

It has long been said that “sooner or later, we all sit down to a banquet of consequences.” Robert Lewis Stevenson is credited with making that statement in the 19th century. Now in the 21st, the consequences are upon us.

We do not have to choose. Mother Earth’s limits, like the limit of any mammal mother, will choose for us; and being rejected by Her will be quite ugly.