Alice in Wonderland: UNEP Warns of New “Tipping Points” Being Reached.

Since when did a pop culture meme like the ‘tipping point’ become suitable for discussing serious scientific ideas? More on this in another post. But for now . . .

The BBC reports that the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) is warning of a whole new set of ‘tipping points’ being reached unless “population growth” and “unsustainable consumption” are tackled at an international level. Translation: there are simply too  many of you, and you’ve all got too much stuff.

UNEP is calling for tough new international agreements to tackle the crisis, arguing – in perfect Alice in Wonderland fashion – that this has already failed hundreds of times, so we should be trying it again, just more so:

For the current edition [of the UNEP report], researchers assessed progress in 90 important environmental issues.

They concluded that meaningful progress had been made on just four – making petrol lead-free, tackling ozone layer depletion, increasing access to clean water and boosting research on marine pollution.

A further 40 showed some progress, including the establishment of protected habitat for plants and animals on land and slowing the rate of deforestation.

Little or no progress was noted for 24, including tackling climate change, while clear deterioration was found in eight, including the parlous state of coral reefs around the world.

For the remainder, there was too little data to draw firm conclusions.

This is despite more than 700 international agreements designed to tackle specific aspects of environmental decline, and agreements on alleviating poverty and malnutrition such as the Millennium Development Goals.

BBC: Green Decline May Bring Irreversible Change.

Isn’t that just fantastic “Mad Hatter” reasoning ? We’ve had more than seven hundred international agreements on environmental protection and apparently things are still getting worse. So apparently the problem is that we don’t have enough of them, we need more international agreements, and they need to be stricter. Much stricter, and much more wide-ranging in scope.

“The problem, you see” said the Mad Hatter, “is that international environmental agreements haven’t worked. Which is why we need more of them”
“I see” said Alice, although she didn’t see at all.

You’ll be reassured to hear that the conclusion that we are rapidly approaching a new set of dangerous tipping points is based on “information on major transformations in the Earth’s past (such as mass extinctions) with models incorporating the present and the immediate future”. You will be further convinced of the solidity of these predictions when you hear that the dates being bandied around for this tipping point are (as always) about twenty to thirty-five years into the future. Near enough to be a “clear and present danger” but far enough away that it can be forgotten about as the date approaches and Armageddon hasn’t yet arrived on schedule.

So, what’s the prescription handed down by UNEP if we want to avoid these new and even more scary tipping points that computer modelling suggests could be just a few years away? Would you be ever so surprised to learn that we must do more work and consume less? Would you be shocked to learn that UNEP believes that the only way to prevent disaster was for the “unsustainable consumption” that was the Western capitalism to be “reversed”?

“GEO-5 reminds world leaders and nations meeting at Rio+20 why a decisive and defining transition to awards [sic] a low-carbon, resource-efficient, job-generating ‘green economy’ is urgently needed,” said Achim Steiner, Unep’s executive director.

“If current trends continue, if current patterns of production and consumption of natural resources prevail and cannot be reversed, then governments will preside over unprecedented levels of damage and degradation.”

BBC: Green Decline May Bring Irreversible Change.

(I apologise for the breakdown in the English language in the first paragraph, but this is quoted verbatim from the BBC’s Science and Environment website.)

“What you have to do” said the hookah-smoking caterpillar, “is less work with more effort. That’s the way to make everything better”.
“Less work with more effort?” repeated Alice, a little confused. The caterpillar had told her how wise it was, but this didn’t seem to make any sense whatsoever!

Apparently, ” unsustainable consumption in western and fast-industrialising nations” must be brought to a decisive end, and a new economy “transitioned” to. One in which more jobs are created, but using less resources. So once again, it seems that a scientific and impartial report finds that the answer is an international agreement to end the Western way of life. Who would have thought it?

Alice, maybe?

13 responses to “Alice in Wonderland: UNEP Warns of New “Tipping Points” Being Reached.

  1. Would you be ever so surprised to learn that we must do more work and consume less?

    How else would we support a flourishing parasite class?

  2. “How else would we support a flourishing parasite class?”

    We will simply increase training opportunities – Hairdressers could be first – they’ll need to know how to style so that we all have a “forelock” to tug.

  3. Here’s a quote entirely in line with the above:

    “Can there be any doubt of our technical ability to take on – and succeed at – the task of managing our global environment? I have been told it is unrealistic to expect that we will. But is it unrealistic to expect that man will be wise enough to do what he must for his own welfare? In our relentless pursuit of competitive, material and national interest, we have constructed self-justifying promises and values which are in themselves the source of a kind of unreality. Is it realistic to think that we as nations, or as species, can continue on our present course? Is it realistic to think that we can continue to reap the benefits of exploiting our precious planetary heritage while continuing to permit its accelerating desecration? Is it realistic to assume that a small minority can monopolize the benefits of a technological civilization, which is inherently global in scale and scope of the interdependences it creates and which requires global cooperation to sustain it? Is it realistic, in light of this growing interdependence, to tolerate such disparities in the conditions of people? Surely a sober and objective appraisal of our present conditions and future prospects must say that this cannot be realistic. Surely, too, our sense of a larger realism must lead us to believe that because we can change, because we must change, we shall change. We must not allow the frustrations of our past failures to prevent us from finding a new basis for international cooperation.”

    Rio, 2012? Actually, this is from Stockholm in 1972; it’s part of Maurice Strong’s opening statement to the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment:

    Something very similar will no doubt be said in June 2052.

    As the Red Queen remarked: “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place”.

    • It is striking just how heavily they lean on presumption and supposition isn’t it? Lots and lots of rhetorical questions and assumptions and precious little real evidence. Continually amazes me that so few people ever stop to question it. It truly is the new religion.

    • Maurice Strong is the worst “Traitor” Canada has ever experienced! He is “persona non grata” here in his home country, so what does that tell you about this “Lizard”!
      Only China welcomes him…………that pretty well sums up this wee little bitter man’s life!

  4. Pingback: Alice in Wonderland: UNEP Warns of New “Tipping Points” Being Reached. «

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  6. manicbeancounter

    It shows why a massive emphasis is being placed on shutting out any alternative points of view. The parts of the “science” that justify policy – the extreme catastrophic forecasts – are those based on the shakiest foundations. Then the policy recommendations are based on “eccentric” ideas that are well outside of mainstream economics, whilst practical issues of public policy-making and implementation are ignored.

  7. Martin Hertzberg

    Only one “tipping point” is involved: It is in the liquid level pouring from the glass the UN is drinking from that contains whatever it is that is causing them to hallucinate!

  8. The United Nations and all it’s affiliated “groups” are nothing more than “Exotic Traitors”!

  9. Pingback: Alice in Wonderland: UNEP Warns of New “Tipping Points” Being Reached | Sovereign Independent UK

  10. Pingback: HTL: Alice in Wonderland: UNEP Warns of New “Tipping Points” Being Reached. |

  11. Pingback: A FARSA DO RIO + 20 USANDO A NATUREZA PRA ENGANA O POVO » Noticias da Hora

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