The Case

The Case for Mobilization is a 50-page document that clearly lays out the reasons why we are already in a climate emergency, why national economic mobilization is the only way to fight climate change that can actually secure our civilization and democracy, and what such a mobilization would look like. It is the most comprehensive articulation yet of our vision. 

We hope that Mobilizers will find it useful in sharpening their arguments and recruiting efforts, and that interested or skeptical people will read it to understand what TCM is all about.  


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  • commented 2016-06-08 02:54:40 -0400
    I fully support the concept of the need for humanity to transform itself to a completely different way of being in our world, a way of living collectively with our Living Planet (Gaia) where we are least harmful. I get it that humanity has begun the Sixth Mass Extinction event in our Living Planet’s history, and global warming is the most obvious of our actions. I get it that humanity is facing an existential crisis, where actual evolution of our whole way of being in the world is required. Or we will go extinct, along with a massive number of other species.

    In your documents, you do indicate some authors who indicate a rapid reduction in carbon emissions is required by 2020, but I perceive this part of your argument as particularly weak. Making your demand for a transformation by 2025 as not very well supported.

    Anyone who has some basic knowledge of our climate crisis knows that a transformation is required, but why is The Climate Mobilization calling for a transformation by 2025, or else? The or else is what? Our climate goes into tipping points beyond our control? It is game over, and we may as well pack it in? The members of the Climate Mobilization then make a new deadline, or disband as an organization? Leaving their members to live what is left of their lives as best they can before famine or some other calamity overtakes them? That members of your organization declare they did the best they could, that society wouldn’t listen, that therefore they say
    “To Hell With It.” How profoundly irresponsible that would be. I’m sure none of you mean that, and none of you would do that.

    However, there is something irrational in your very public demand that a profound social mobilization equivalent to a WWII style level of effort happen now or else? Something you must know ( or should know ) will not happen.

    What is it in your organization mind set which allows you to make a demand which is impossible to meet? Why insist on 2025? Why not a demand for transformation by 2046? That is 30 years, which is quite short. The essential message is the same, with the timeline having some semblance of possibility.

    There is nothing in our cultural/social situation which will support the mobilization you seek. Not in the time frame your organization desires. The Republican nominee for President, Donald Trump, denies the existence of global warming or that humans have initiated it.
    He represents a significant percentage of U.S. citizens who feel the same. If he is elected, a real possibility, there will be some extremely dark times for the environmental movement in our country. There will be significant regressions in a number of areas, including U.S. efforts to reduce fossil fuel emissions.

    Significant numbers of Congressional Republicans deny human induced global warming, and I think 29 states have sued the EPA over the Clean Power Plan. The Supreme Court has placed a “stay” on the implementation of this plan, until the court case is decided.

    There will have to be some series of events, black swan events, which shock our collective sensibilities so much we really begin to perceive the existential crisis facing us. Only then, will we have the opportunity to move away from our almost psychotic collectively passive state, and move on to the kind of efforts your organization envisions.

    The message for transformation in the face of an existential crisis must be communicated, and I think there are some aspects of your mobilization proposals which have some chance of actually coming about, once there is enough of a perceived existential threat. This perception does not exist in any real way within our collective awareness here in the U.S. at this time. I don’t think even a lot of environmentalists really perceive this. Once the perception of existential threat begins to truly work its way to the surface of our collective consciousness, many mountains will begin to be moved. But not in the way you advocate. Not in this country.

    I applaud your organization for putting forth the message that an existential threat exist, and that a transformation must occur. I agree the environmental movement has been lacking in pushing these messages.
    Beyond the panic and the fear implicit in your demand for a tranformation by 2025, I would very much like to see the embracing of the vision of a coming Ecological Age for humanity. The Ecological Age that Thomas Berry talks about in his book, The Dream of the Earth.
    An age where the damages of our scientific/technological age are in the process of being healed, and humanity begins to live in some degree of mutual benefit with our Living Earth. We need to hear the dire messages, and I agree we need to deal with reality.
    We need the visions as well, to envision a world completely different from the one we have.

    These are my thoughts at this time. Late at night.

    Dave Mitchell
    Kansas City, Mo.
  • commented 2016-05-01 01:44:01 -0400
    Great treatise. The only thing I would add is that COP21 publicized the goal of staying below a 2 degrees-C global mean temperature, and embraced the goal of +1.5 degrees-C. What is less obvious is that successful implementation of signed INDCs, which is itself a question, are on track to deliver an increase of +3.6 degrees-C, with a level of uncertainty between intervention and outcome that could bring us to +4.9 degrees-C. And again, that presumes the nations of the world deliver on their INDC commitments. Putting aside concerns about nations making good on their commitments, there exists a major disconnect between the celebrated INDC plans that total +3.6 degrees-C in a best case scenario and the celebrated overall COP21 goal of staying below a global mean temperature rise of +1.5 degrees-C. Yet and still, this ignores the uncertainty that the actions promised will actually total keep the global mean temperature rise below +3.6 degrees-C. Now let us put that aside as well, there also exists a level of uncertainty as to what outcomes we can expect if we did keep below +3.6 degrees-C… or even below the goal of +1.5 degrees-C, which has neither planning nor commitments to back it up. Cogent data was presented on this in February 2016 in D.C. during the anuual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science [AAAS], an organization that represents 10 million scientists, engineers, and biomedical researchers around the globe. Putting models and predictions aside, there is some very straightforward mathematics that demonstrate that the underwater buttressing of many Antarctic glaciers have melted past a point of no return. That is to say that for these particular glaciers, supports that keep extensions of the glaciers over the sea have melted to the point that further melting and collapse of these glaciers in now inevitable. And with mathematical certainty, the collapse of extensions over the ocean will create exit doorways for the sections of these glaciers on land to rush through and into the sea, next creating entry doorways for the sea to rush in and expedite further erosion driven by ocean water infiltrating Antarctica. While this absolutely does not indicate the total loss of glaciers in the Southern Pole, it is now inevitable for some. What is we can control is how fast this happens and what other glaciers follow the same path toward a point of no return. The other profound misunderstanding, even among those who have studied the general question of climate change, is what this will mean. Yes, this melting of sea ice will result in a mean sea level rise. What most fail to think about is that very few places will actually experience the mean. Antarctica, where there will be a substantial reduction in mass due to melting of glaciers, will also exert less gravitational pull. In the interplay of gravitational forces that drive the tides, Antartica is expected to experience a drop in sea level relative to the land mass, which itself may also rise as glacier mass on Antartica is reduced as glaciers melt away. On the other hand, if relative sea level falls in some places and the global mean rises, it stands to reason that some regions will experience sea level rises much greater than the global mean. One such region is the Eastern seaboard of the United States. And as the melting of glaciers changes the salinity of oceans and their currents, these forces will no longer be present as countervailing forces that moderate the sea level rise effected by high tide along the eastern shore. In extremely crude terms, imagine someone aiming a backyard hose directly at you. However, you don’t get wet because there is an industrial strength fan blowing at right angle to the flow of water projected at you and inserting this diverting force between the hose and yourself. Now imagine if someone turns off that fan. Suddenly a misty spray that was barely detectable is hitting you with full force. However, these are predictable effects within margins of error. The uncertainty is high, but at least we can guess at a range. But there are also feedback loops that create tipping points that we cannot imagine. Worse, there are tippings points like methane release from melting permafrost and ice that we can model, but are not even part of the calculations that drive the COP21 analysis and the INDCs that came out of COP21. So to be clear, COP21 was a great achievement. For once, after 20 years of conversations, the nations of the world could agree that something had to be done and they were prepared to “stretch” themselves to do it. But now it is time to move beyond serious …to being uncomfortably honest. The agreements we have are far below inadequate. And it is clear that the COP process cannot – - at this moment in history – - rally nations to do what is necessary by themselves as a collection of governments. We now need everyone everywhere to engage in a process of evaluating and doing what each can… at the level of individuals, communities, sub-national governmental entities… private enterprise, global communities of faith, etc. That everyone, everywhere bears some degree of responsibility to act is self-evident from the fact that everyone, everywhere will be affected.
  • commented 2016-03-22 21:43:27 -0400
    This generally excellent document gives a false impression in a couple of places. One is that only by sacrificing consumer production could the US go on a war production footing. But the large scale unemployment at the time, from an incomplete New Deal still trying to recover from the Great Depression, had left millions unemployed, underemployed or ineffectively employed to respond to the need for workers and military personnel. The relative equality of the US at the time, at least compared to today, left almost everyone with either comfortable room to sacrifice some consumer goods and services, or choices. (Many of those choices involved risking life and limb, unfortunately.)

    Compare our situation in the US with that of the USSR. Already at full employment just to meet basic food and survival needs, having suffered massive casualties (30 million, by the end) from civil war and repression, and then suffering from loss of energy supply lines, food production areas and territory, with floods of internal refugees to care for, Soviet capacity was pushed to the limit by the war. Tremendous deprivation was caused by the switch to war production. Millions starved or froze to death, especially in the war zone. Read about what inhabitants of Leningrad went through during the 2 1/2 year siege, for example: 1.5 million dead, an equal number evacuated. For about 3 months at one point daily civilian rations consisted of 4 1/2 ounces of bread which was half made of sawdust, and for 2 weeks even that was only available to soldiers and prioritized workers. In the end, resupply of the city over a frozen lake was largely made possible by US-made trucks, part of our wartime mobilization.

    Today, nearly 2 billion people hover on or near the edge of starvation, half of them in the uncertain realm of “food insecurity” though for now, people in that category mostly have enough to eat. Climate change threatens that, but increasing equality, and increasing employment in a global climate mobilization (especially one that involved massive planting of forests and transforming farms to ecologically sustainable forms and diets) could solve several of our most serious problems at once. The US is grossly unequal compared to 1941; though poverty in the US is hardly as dire as world poverty, climate catastrophe could push the US to 3rd world levels if we don’t prepare now. A climate mobilization would be just the green jobs program needed in several ways both in the world and the US, but if we don’t act immediately, in both the US and the rest of the world any existing comfort margin and ability to respond effectively could be wrecked very quickly.
  • commented 2016-03-15 13:39:03 -0400
    The Case for Mobilization is compelling. It is well researched, documented and written. I intend to explore some the sources used to expand my understanding and help me answer questions from people I recruit to the cause.