Contraction & Convergence

Ask Aubrey #1 : An Optimistic Riff for Revkin

[ Guest Post from Aubrey Meyer, Director of the Global Commons Institute. ]

An optimistic response – and a riff – to Andy Revkin’s “A Post Pollution Path to Global Climate and Energy Progress

It has always made sense to focus on ‘collaborative work’ and innovation’.

These are the very pulling together and pushing ahead of our development as a species. Our history of ‘success’ [if only just, we’re still here!] has been intricately woven within the complementarity of this ‘energy-field’. It is like a ‘musical riff’. Using this framework musicians, in-time and in-tune with each other, have always done this.

Andy Revkin rightly draws attention to the work of Elizabeth Burleson and William Moomaw, again recognizing and advocating those very points in response to more bathos at COP-17. William and Elizabeth, doing what you say makes complete sense as across all time, none of us could have proceeded anywhere without those values and that intent.

But this ‘common sense’ and ‘innovation success’ are now so seriously challenged by global climate change that worst case scenarios suggest most of us may not be here much longer, if the well-established trends in the growth of consumption, pollution and changing climate continue much further unchecked: –

We will no longer have a creative riff so much as a destructive rift, where the ‘pulling-together’ has all but been over-whelmed by a manic will to ‘push-ahead’. The monetary-unit is now what measures this blind momentum as ‘success no matter what the cost’, and it is now amplified through the runaway off-shore growth of deregulated money from the financial sector: –

Since growing [Greenhouse Gas] GHG pollution is the other side of the coin, the possibility of runaway climate change is now real and both sides of this coin invite conflict as societal and environmental limits are snapped. As is, the ever-widening gap created in these global trends of ‘expansion and divergence’ is heart-breaking: –

As damages are running at twice the rate of growth, it is also becoming explosive and making confrontation impossible to avoid: –

What this says is that we can’t just look away and proceed as if that wasn’t an issue. It is a structural crisis with a massive international confrontation over it already and we have to address it as such. Rational people see this as a ‘fast-breeder-reaction’ and for the sake of our civilization, not-to-mention all the children, want to change these trends away from the disaster that looms and turn instead towards a recovery that is inclusive, rational, structurally resilient and in some sense at equilibrium.

So, since the question is now ‘global’, how do we get push-and-pull back into that equilibrium at some level? Well we certainly won’t do it – as still happens at the COPs – by picking yet more numbers out of half a hat and yelling at each other, anymore than fiddle players try and play on broken strings and then, with blame attached, smash instruments over each other’s heads. It means ‘jihad’ in the pure and original sense that means bringing ‘truth and reconciliation’ to bear at the UNFCCC, noting this entails ‘climate-justice’ but ‘withoutvengeance’ and bearing witness to that. That is what the riff or the framework of the C&C principle brought to the UNFCCC negotiation. It is rational, structured, just and inclusive and it separates what must be limited to achieve ‘post-pollution’ from what is not. Naomi Klein’s forensic and brilliant analysis with the Shock Doctrine opens the curtain on this proscenium for equity and survival.

C&C makes UNFCCC-compliance [a] possible [b] negotiable [c] communicable and [d] achievable

The key is noting that while the UNFCCC Executive say C&C is ‘inevitably required’ for UNFCCC-compliance: – the ‘market’ for renewables is vast and proportional to how fast we embed the transition we must make to survive in this framework: –

C&C is not a ‘prescription’, it is a simple principle that, like the start of the US Constitution, has a core structure in equality and gives rise to a pragmatic negotiating framework: – where the Parties to the UNFCCC can settle the differences rationally.

C&C has much support: –

It is just a musical riff and is no more prescriptive than the musical ‘overtone-series’. It is just rational sub-divisions of the whole: –

Being in-tune with each other and, at much slower Herz, in time together, all music is possible because of that ‘constant’ and not in spite of it. All creativity flows from this. It is proportionality and as around any centre of gravity, like the Higgs boson, it is an attractor, or an energy-field or a concept-constitution. It ‘pulls together’ so that the ‘push’ is energetic, innovative durable and prosperous.

This is collaboration; it’s in the programme. Look at the Helio-Centric, the Geo-Centric and the Venus-Centric orbiting and see – just like music – constant Pythagorean proportionality regardless of the ‘point of view’ where 8 Earth years, equals 13 Venus years, with 5 Apogee moments, manifesting like music, perfect Pentagramatic proportionality of the Golden Section in each of the 8 year cycles, just at it has done and will yet do for millions of years. Had you ever seen that? That is literally true – the pull and the push are not just at equilibrium, they are at equilibrium in a beautifully structured way: –

Music, like our common future avoiding climate change, is impossible without proportionality. First recognized and articulated by Pythagoras nearly three millennia ago with a length of string vibrating at a constant tension, it precedes the inverse-square law. If you halve the length you double the frequency and if you third the length you treble the frequency and so on. That simple mathematical formula is now rightly described by Stephen Hawking as, “the first instance of what we now know as theoretical physics”

In other words it is not just ‘a string at constant tension’. As an organising principle, it is ‘stringularity’, a universal constant, and there is nowhere on any scale that you can go in time or space where it isn’t true. That is helpful. That is why Bach, Mozart, Revkin have ‘legs’ and why C&C has too. Here’s a Well-Tempered Climate Accord: –

Cooperation, innovation, the very fibre of success and so much else, are the very children of this. Accepting the C&C principle underwrites and enables the very success of the ‘Path to Post-Pollution’ Andy Revkin articulates and that we all so much want. You might think, seeing the umpteenth routine, stupid but lethal confrontation at COP-17 to the UN Climate Treaty, that the COP-UNFCCC process doesn’t yet demonstrate that understanding: – and you’d be right. But, as all life aspires to the condition of music, we’ll see to that and push and pull so that it does, won’t we.

Aubrey Meyer, Director GCI

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