Is 2014 the hottest year on record?

2014 is set to be the warmest calendar year in recorded human history, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Centre revealed in its latest monthly report.

The “combined average temperature” of land and ocean surfaces for September was the highest in recorded history, the report states. Furthermore, October 2013 to September 2014 was the warmest 12-month period ever recorded.

“If 2014 maintains this temperature departure from average for the remainder of the year, it will be the warmest calendar year on record,” concludes the report.

The NOAA’s findings echo those of NASA, which revealed earlier this month that the last six months were the warmest such period of time ever recorded.

The degree to which these increases in global average temperatures of land and sea recording sites is the result of anthropogenic effects of adding green house gases  to the atmosphere (as opposed to natural causes) is still a contested issue, though there is clear evidence that levels of atmospheric CO2 have been rising at around 3 parts per million (ppm) each year from around 310 ppm in 1960 to around 400 ppm this year. This hockey ‘J’ curve graph of CO2 increase is named the Keeling Curve after Dave Keeling, the originator of atmospheric CO2 measurement who started his research in 1953. (see Scripps Institute  website)

Global Wealth maldistribution accelerates

In the year between mid 2013 and mid-2014 world wealth increased by 8.3% (a rate of doubling every 8.5 years)

The growth added $20.1 trillion to global assets

Total global wealth (assets and income combined) is now $263 trillion comared to $117 trillion in 2000

The richest 1% own 48.2% of these global assets

The richest 10% own 87%

The poorest 50% own less than 1%

And the inequality among passengers of Spaceship Earth continues to accelerate.



Accelerating Extinctions on Spaceship Earth

Another Guardian article adds weight to the WWF report on the 50% loss of vertebrate wildlife over the last 40 years. Here is and extract:

Humans, said TV naturalist Sir David Attenborough last year, are a “plague on earth”, but WWF claims there is still time to stop the rot. Its UK chief executive David Nussbaum said: “The scale of the destruction highlighted in this report should act as a wake-up call for us all. We all – politicians, business and people – have an interest, and a responsibility, to act to ensure we protect what we all value: a healthy future for people and nature.

“Humans are cutting down trees more quickly than they can regrow, harvesting more fish than the oceans can restock, pumping water from our rivers and aquifers faster than rainfall can replenish them, and emitting more carbon than the oceans and forests can absorb,” he said.

“A  healthy future for people and nature” at least implies that the world does not simply exist for the benefit of humans. Nature in the form of the entire web of life has it right to exist. Attenborough’s frightening metaphor of humans as “a plague on earth”, echoes the view of James Lovelock that our species (the dominant passengers of Spaceship Earth?) is an infestation, an invasive species, that is threatening Gaia, the material and organic planet. Responding to this planetary threat is the greatest challenge of our Age of Accelerating Extinctions brought about by the impact of human population, affluence and technology.

Is a ‘Not for Profit’ (NFP) world imaginable?

This link to a Guardian article from two co-directors of the Post-Growth Institute tackles this question that is asked by radical thinkers about the unsustainable nature of exponentially growing economies on our finite planet. To quote:

… we live in a for-profit world.

This way of conducting business has led to socioeconomic inequality, with capital gains and company dividends the largest contributor to income divides. What else could we expect when private profit is seen as the driver of economic activity and profit maximisation is the priority of most big businesses?

Furthermore, the social stratification that results from global financial inequity is tied to ecological devastation, driving our ongoing march towards full systems collapse in the next 50 years.

After outlining many examples of NFP enterprises in the UK and around the world, the article reaches this conclusion:

… For the first time in modern history we have the structures, capabilities and impetus to evolve to an NFP world, in which the best energies and drivers of good business are harnessed for our collective flourishing.