The domino effect and climate change

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Forest fire in Yosemite National Park

Earth is no longer a safe operating space, according to today’s guest on rabble radio. Look at the dramatic and devastating events of this year - hundreds of fires across the world, monster sized hurricanes, earth parching heat waves and drought. All but the most stubborn of climate change deniers can see this. Unfortunately, some of those climate change deniers are politicians who are making decisions which affect our very survival. It’s grim.

Will Steffen has a long history in international global change research, serving from 1998 to 2004 as Executive Director of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), based in Stockholm, Sweden, and before that as Executive Officer of IGBP's Global Change and Terrestrial Ecosystems project. He was the Inaugural Director of the Australian National University's Climate Change Institute, from 2008-2012.   He is currently a Climate Councillor with the Climate Institute, and from 2011 to 2013 was a Climate Commissioner on the Australian Government's Climate Commission; Chair of the Antarctic Science Advisory Committee, Co-Director of the Canberra Urban and Regional Futures (CURF) initiative and Member of the ACT Climate Change Council.

He is co-author of a paper called Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene.  On today's podcast he talks about that paper, written with Johan Rockström looks at the earth as a geophysical system. It presents the theory that the earth is no longer a sustainable space – we’re in a transient phase. The earth is shifting and we don’t have a map to see what trajectory it might take. But, Will Steffen says, it’s like a domino effect. Once temperatures reach a certain level, those dominoes will start to fall to the point where nothing can be done. We’re not at that tipping point yet, but the science indicates that it’s coming.

This interview is from the August 17, 2018 episode of The Green Blues Show, hosted and produced by David Kattenburg who is an occasional contributor to rabble radio. Listen to the Green Blues Show on CKUW Radio in Winnipeg or online by going to Thanks to  for permission to reuse this interview.

Image: Wikipedia - Forest Fire in Yosemite 

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