Keeping what we’ve won: The ozone layer still needs defending.

When confronted with the claim that climate change is simply too big for us to do anything about, a lot of people like to bring up the ozone layer. For those who are unfamiliar, in the late 1970s humanity realized that our release of certain chemicals, mainly chlorofluorocarbons used in refrigeration, was eating away at our planet’s ozone layer like acid. Most alarming was a “hole” – a giant patch of especially thin ozone, over Antarctica. This scared a lot of people, because that ozone works to shield us from the frankly horrifying amount of radiation coming from the sun. Less protection would mean more skin cancer, among other problems, and so the world got together and mostly phased out the use and production of CFCs and other ozone-depleting chemicals.

And it actually worked. There are still a lot of chemicals we produce that mess with ozone, but the international effort to change course worked.

Scientists said the recovery is gradual and will take many years. If current policies remain in place, the ozone layer is expected to recover to 1980 levels — before the appearance of the ozone hole — by 2040, the report said, and will return to normal in the Arctic by 2045. Additionally, Antarctica could experience normal levels by 2066.

Scientists and environmental groups have long lauded the global ban of ozone-depleting chemicals as one of the most critical environmental achievements to date, and it could set a precedent for broader regulation of climate-warming emissions.

“Ozone action sets a precedent for climate action,” World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in a statement. “Our success in phasing out ozone-eating chemicals shows us what can and must be done — as a matter of urgency — to transition away from fossil fuels, reduce greenhouse gases and so limit temperature increase.”

And as with climate action, this is only really a “success” if we stay the course and keep not using those chemicals. As the article I quoted notes, just a few years ago, there was an upsurge in CFC emissions from eastern China a few years ago that had a number of people understandably worried. Emissions are back down now, but it’s a good reminder that we are still actively interacting with our atmosphere, and doing well for a few years doesn’t mean that we get to be irresponsible again.

Speaking of which…

While Elon Musk still has his fanboys, I think a lot of people reconsidered their belief in his genius when he kept insisting that Mars, a frozen, radioactive desert, was a totally viable place for humanity to live. Musk is, however, clearly playing five-dimensional chess. On the one hand, he’s going out of his way to obstruct mass transit projects that would reduce the need for personal cars, and on the other, he’s working hard to ensure that while it might not be frozen, Earth is also a radioactive desert:

Rocket launches emit both gases and particulates that damage the ozone layer. Reactive chlorine, black carbon, and nitrogen oxides (among other species) are all emitted by contemporary rockets. New fuels like methane are yet to be measured.

“The current impact of rocket launches on the ozone layer is estimated to be small but has the potential to grow as companies and nations scale up their space programmes,” Associate Professor in Environmental Physics Dr Laura Revell says.

“Ozone recovery has been a global success story. We want to ensure that future rocket launches continue that sustainable recovery.”

Global annual launches grew from 90 to 190 in the past 5 years, largely in the Northern Hemisphere. The space industry is projected to grow more rapidly: financial estimates indicate the global space industry could grow to US$3.7 trillion by 2040.

“Rockets are a perfect example of a ‘charismatic technology’ – where the promise of what the technology can enable drives deep emotional investment – extending far beyond what the technology also affects,” Rutherford Discovery Fellow and planetary scientist UC senior lecturer Dr Michele Bannister says.

Rocket fuel emissions are currently unregulated, both in Aotearoa New Zealand and internationally.

UC Master’s student Tyler Brown, who was involved in the research, says Aotearoa New Zealand is uniquely positioned to both lead and participate in this field. “New Zealand’s role as a major player in the global launch industry means we can help steer the conversation. We stand to benefit enormously from additional growth in our domestic space industry, and with that comes the opportunity to ensure that global activities are sustainable for the planet as a whole.”

The review lays out detailed plans of action for companies and for the ozone research community, with a call for coordinated global action to protect the upper atmosphere environment. Actions that companies can take include measuring the emissions of launch vehicles on the test stand and in-situ during flight, making that data available to researchers, and putting effects on ozone into industry best-practise rocket design and development.

“The international ozone research community has a strong history of measuring atmospheric ozone and developing models to understand how human activities could impact this critical layer of our atmosphere. By working with launch providers, we are well-placed to figure out what impacts we might see”, says Dr Revell.

“Rockets have exciting potential to enable industrial-level access to near-Earth space, and exploration throughout the Solar System. Creating sustainable global rocket launches is going to take coordination across aerospace companies, scientists, and governments: it is achievable, but we need to start now,” says Dr Bannister. “This is our chance to get ahead of the game.”

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that I’m a big fan of being proactive, when it comes to the environment. “Getting ahead of the game” is the big dream, but for the most part, it has just been that – a dream. Whether it’s handling of dangerous chemicals, public testing of automated driving systems, or lying about addictiveness and pushing opioids on people, the default is for the rich to get their way. They get to do whatever they want until the peasants get together a big enough mob to stop them. Over, and over, and over again.

I’m in favor of space exploration, and in developing our ability to get off this planet. I love the idea of humanity as an interstellar species, and one of my biggest gripes with mortality is that I won’t be able to see that happen. On the plus side, there’s no guarantee that it’ll happen how I want it to, and I also won’t be alive to see the horror show that is space exploration and exploitation driven by the greed of capitalists.

My big dream for my lifetime is to see humanity move towards a society that values life and the common good over the greed of the worst among us. Decade by decade, we have developed our ability to see problems coming well before they arrive. In the past, I’ve likened science to a flickering light over a rough sea. It gives us a series of imperfect snapshots of an ever-shifting future, and as we’ve gotten better at it, the flashes of light have gotten closer together, and lasted longer. A side effect of our success with the ozone layer was that it proved not just that we could see a problem coming – we’ve been able to do that for centuries – but that we could change course in response, and avoid that problem almost entirely.

The climate movement is plagued by fatalism, and it’s easy to understand why. It took decades of fighting to address the problem of lead pollution, and decades to get the truth about tobacco and cancer, and decades to get any protections of air and water. The fight for climate action is older than I am, and it seems like emissions only keep increasing, and the main thing governments are doing to prepare for the rising temperature, is increasing police and military spending. Worse, we live with the knowledge that at any moment, some multi-billionaire could use their obscene power to do something with global implications, like risking our ability to see into space, or mucking about with geo-engineering.

Or ignoring the warnings and undoing everything we’ve achieved in protecting the ozone layer.

But that achievement itself is worth remembering. The other source of doom-flavored fatalism that same group of powerful people who want to continue preventing real change. They spend so much money trying to stop us, because they know that we can change things, and that we can build a world in which nobody has the power to just fuck up the whole planet because of their greed and insecurity.

We can do this. We’ve done it before.

Thank you for reading! If you found this post useful, please share it around. If you read this blog regularly, please consider joining my small but wonderful group of patrons. Because of my immigration status, I’m not allowed to get a normal job, so my writing is all I have for the foreseeable future, and I’d love for it to be a viable career long-term. As part of that goal, I’m currently working on a young adult fantasy series, so if supporting this blog isn’t enough inducement by itself, for just $5/month you can work with me to name character in that series!

Researchers see good results from lower mowing intensity, and fewer pesticides

My posts about agriculture tend to lean one of two ways. The first is to advocate for a dramatic, rapid increase in indoor food production. That includes the various forms of indoor farming, as well as efforts to cultivate edible bacteria and microalgae. The second is that for the land that’s currently being used for farm, we shift to a form of ecosystem management much closer to what Native Americans did prior to the European invasion. Land Back should be part of that, of course, but the basic idea is to cultivate an ecosystem that’s full of useful and edible organisms, and to treat it as a community resource, owned in common by everyone, for everyone’s benefit. As always, the exact specifics of this approach will vary depending on regional and local conditions.

I get that just swapping over would feel like a big change to most people. We’re very used to what “farming” looks like, and it can be hard to trust that something like bacterial flour or rows of plants under LEDs would be able to feed humanity in our billions. Fortunately, while I’m more interested rapid, radical change, my philosophy for making the world better is one where every step along the way should come with its own improvements. My favorite example is probably the use of plant life to mitigate air pollution. There’s ample evidence that being around greenery improves both our mental and our physical health (not that those are really separate things). We’d get pretty immediate benefits from adding plants to the urban landscape. Those improvements to our health and wellbeing give us more power, through better health and saved money, to fight for the next step up.

That’s why, while the vision in my head may be some sort of solarpunk permaculture utopia, there are actually much smaller steps that we could take, which would have measurable benefits, both in terms of dealing with climate change directly, and in terms of improving ecosystem health. For example, this study lays out what seems to be a sort of intermediary step, designed to capture carbon, improve ecosystem health, and reduce dependence on pesticides and herbicides, with relatively little effort:

The researchers conducted two independent experiments at the University’s research facilities at the Ruissalo Botanical Gardens in Turku. In the greenhouse and common garden studies, the research team showed that the intensity of mowing has a great impact on pastures. By reducing the intensity of the mowing and cutting the plant higher, the overall yield of the pasture increased and the plants developed bigger roots. This indicates a higher atmospheric carbon sequestration into belowground storage.

What was surprising, Fuchs emphasises, is that the researchers found a detrimental effect of herbicide residues in soil on root growth regardless of the intensity of the yield harvest.

“This demonstrates a tremendous limitation to the potential carbon binding and storage belowground when soils are polluted by pesticide. Considering the vast amount of pesticides applied to agricultural fields yearly, we can conclude that the impact on soil quality is a major driver of limited root growth, carbon sequestration, and consequently plant resilience and productivity,” Dr Fuchs says.

The authors propose additional field studies to extrapolate their findings onto a field scale. Both studies conclude that climate change mitigation via optimising carbon sequestration and storage in soil can be achieved by reducing pesticides, which will facilitate root growth and improve plant resilience.

All over the world, cultivated grasslands are used as grazing pasture as well as for growing fodder that is turned into hay and silage. They cover large parts of the world’s agricultural land and have a tremendous potential for climate change mitigation through carbon storage. The plants use carbon dioxide as they grow, and some of this atmospheric carbon becomes bound in the soils.

“Consequently, understanding how pesticide pollution in soil and intensive management limit plant productivity is the key to optimising intensive grassland-based agriculture in a sustainable and climate-friendly way,” Fuchs concludes.

Oh yeah, it means better crops, too. Did I bury the lede? Maybe a little. They don’t really talk about ecosystem health, but I think it’s pretty easy to see how less intensive mowing, and less pesticide use would both have a “side effect” of improving the general health of the area.

I think we should be ending most of our animal agriculture, which would eliminate much of the need for grasslands as fodder, but we’re not going to get there overnight, and anything we can do to improve things now will make our lives just a little bit easier down the line. Of course, that only matters if this research actually leads to a change in practice. It always comes back to that, doesn’t it? There’s something we could try to make the world better, but nobody in the aristocracy seems to feel like investing in it. That’s why I keep coming back to collective power and political change.

As I said at the beginning, the steps we take now can be both immediately beneficial to us, and beneficial to our ability to get bigger changes down the road. We’re not capitalists here at Oceanoxia, so don’t think in terms of “political capital”. The kind of power we on the left want to build isn’t something that’s lost when used. Each victory brings more people and power to the cause, and sets us up for an even bigger victory.

I think many of us are accustomed to witnessing a political and economic “ratchet” effect, in which Republicans use their power to damage things like the social safety net, and Democrats stabilize things, but don’t actually reverse the damage, or guard against further damage. I mean, the Dems do plenty of damage themselves, but we’re talking generalities. While we’ve made great advances in terms of civil rights (hence the current reactionary backlash), 9/11 ushered in a new era of authoritarian government power in the United States, coupled with a dramatic increase in the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the ruling class. It’s discouraging, and often horrifying to watch.

The one bit of hope I’m offering today is that we can, by working together, create our own ratchet effect, whereby we can increase our own power and happiness, and lay the foundations of a much better future than what currently looms on the horizon.

Thank you for reading! If you found this post useful, please share it around. If you read this blog regularly, please consider joining my small but wonderful group of patrons. Because of my immigration status, I’m not allowed to get a normal job, so my writing is all I have for the foreseeable future, and I’d love for it to be a viable career long-term. As part of that goal, I’m currently working on a young adult fantasy series, so if supporting this blog isn’t enough inducement by itself, for just $5/month you can work with me to name character in that series!

Global warming reached central Greenland (over a decade ago)

Even with all of our fancy technology, fieldwork in places like central Greenland remains difficult and dangerous. The conditions are unforgiving, and the ground is treacherous. That’s why, despite the global importance of studying the ice sheet, expeditions into the heart of that island aren’t particularly common. A recently published study shows the results of an effort to update our ice core data. Previous cores from the 1990s didn’t show clear evidence of warming, but the new data, extending to 2011, is very different:

“The time series we recovered from ice cores now continuously covers more than 1,000 years, from year 1000 to 2011. This data shows that the warming in 2001 to 2011 clearly differs from natural variations during the past 1,000 years. Although grimly expected in the light of global warming, we were surprised by how evident this difference really was,” says AWI glaciologist Dr Maria Hörhold, lead author of the study. Together with colleagues from AWI and the University of Copenhagen’s Niels Bohr Institute, she analysed the isotope composition in shallow ice cores gathered in central-north Greenland during dedicated AWI expeditions.


The AWI researchers have now extended the previous datasets up to winter 2011/2012 by a dedicated redrilling effort, recovering time series unprecedented length and quality. The temperatures were reconstructed by using consistently one single method for the entire record in the lab: measuring concentrations of stable oxygen isotopes within the ice, which vary with the temperatures prevailing at times of ice formation. Previous studies had to draw on a range of different climate archives and combine results to reconstruct temperature, introducing much larger uncertainties in the assessment of natural variability.

In addition to the temperature, the team reconstructed the melt production of the ice sheet. Melting has increased substantially in Greenland since the 2000s and now significantly contributes to global sea-level rise. “We were amazed to see how closely temperatures inland are connected to Greenland-wide meltwater drainage – which, after all, occurs in low-elevation areas along the rim of the ice sheet near the coast,” says Maria Hörhold.

As Dr. Hörhold stated, this result was, to some degree, expected. The planet has warmed so much, and has been reacting to that warming so much, that there was very little chance that it wouldn’t be detectable by 2011. It’s nice that scientific understanding of the climate is good enough that expectations more or less match reality, but obviously it’d be nice if things were moving a bit more slowly. These data don’t change what needs to be done, and they don’t really change the urgency. It’s certainly frightening to hear that one of the coldest places of the earth is warming so dramatically, but I think it’s good to remember that our need for swift action is not driven by models or ice cores, but by the effects that the tiny amount of warming we’ve seen so far is already having on humanity.

I recently had a bit of a discussion with a longtime reader about the eugenicist history of the environmental movement, and it’s a good reminder of the importance of centering humanity as a whole in how we respond to environmental crises and injustices. A lot of environmentalism over the last century has followed the notion that humanity is somehow separate from the rest of this planet’s biosphere, and that advances in technology are some level of “unnatural”. This has been used, at times, as a justification for the under-development of the so-called Global South. Efforts to stop deforestation, for example, put the focus on the people doing it, rather than the systemic factors that made put them in that position in the first place.

The first example of a better approach that I personally saw was at the Kakamega Rainforest in Kenya. During the Moi regime, someone lower down in the government came up with the idea of putting a tea plantation around the rainforest, and employing the locals to work there. The basic idea was to provide them with a means of survival other than hunting in the forest. I’m sure it’s far from a perfect solution, but it was the first time I’d seen an environmental project that focused on the factors that caused people to do “bad” things.

That arrangement, however, still relies on the notion that keeping people out of “nature” is the best way to safeguard that nature from “human nature” as defined by a colonialist, capitalist society. The modern movement for environmental justice is trying to be something different, centering humanity’s right to personal autonomy and self-governance as inseparable from the environmental issues facing us. It aims its ire not at the people who are actually doing the clear-cutting, but on the global capitalist system its endless drive for ever-increasing profit, humanity and nature be damned. We’re trying to build something new, informed by science like this Greenland study, as well as science surrounding humans and our history. That’s why it’s good to know about this research, even though I honestly think that it should not affect your day to day life much if at all. This stuff informs me, but it’s not what drives me, if that makes sense.

And on that note, this study gave us another interesting finding – it turns out Greenland sort of has its own microclimate, separate from the rest of the Arctic:

Another exciting finding from the study: the climate of the Greenland Ice Sheet is largely decoupled from the rest of the Arctic. This could be shown in comparison with the Arctic-wide temperature reconstruction ‘Arctic 2k’. Although ‘Arctic 2k’ is an accurate representation of the circumpolar region, it does not reflect the conditions in central Greenland. “Our reconstruction now offers a robust representation of temperature evolution in central Greenland, which has proven to have a dynamic of its own,” says Prof. Thomas Laepple, AWI climate researcher and co-author of the study. “Actually, we had expected the time series to strongly covary with the warming of the Arctic region,” Laepple reports. But the authors have an explanation for these differences: the ice sheet is several kilometres thick; because of its height, Greenland is more affected by atmospheric circulation patterns than other parts of the Arctic. Temperature time series on the Arctic with regional resolution are needed, says Laepple, in order to reliably describe climate change in the Arctic.

I periodically run into people on Twitter and such places who insist that the world is too complex for us to ever understand or influence, and I honestly find that to be a bit of a depressing outlook. The last person that told me that had also openly said that he doesn’t need to know what climate scientists have to say about all this. That seems like a very self-limiting approach to life. It’s like he’s in Plato’s cave, and someone went out, saw the rest of the world, came back and told him about it, and he just dismissed them without even turning his head.

The world is complex – wonderfully so. It sometimes feels as though most of our problems come from people who desperately want that to not be the case. Personally, I love finding out that the Greenland ice sheet is such a massive chunk of ice that it stands out from the rest of the Arctic, a place that’s rather well known for having a lot of ice. Maybe I’ve just achieved some level of enlightened detachment, but stories like this give me just a glimpse of what it might be like to watch this incredible, planet-spanning change take place from the point of view of a scientist who is somehow not emotionally invested in the outcome.

It’s just a glimpse, because I am emotionally invested, but it’s still there. Nothing like this has ever happened in human history, and it’s teaching us all sorts of things about how the many interlocking systems of this planet function. We’re seeing how it affects migratory species that don’t rely on weather for migration cues. We’re seeing how it affects animals’ body sizes, and plants’ toxicity. We’re seeing how changes in the Arctic affect life thousands of miles away. We’re seeing what happens when a species creates chemical compounds that never existed before, and spreads them across the planet.

It often sucks to be a part of it, but it is absolutely fascinating to watch. I think it helps that I feel like I’m more or less doing what I’m able to at this point in time. I’d like to do more, but I’ve come to accept that I have limits on what I’m can to do, and when can do it. All of that buys me enough space to be able to appreciate how cool it is that people were able to go drill a few holes in the ice in north-central Greenland, and get so much intelligible information about the world’s past and present from that. For all the man-made horrors beyond our comprehension, it’s still a strange and wonderful world.

Thank you for reading! If you found this post enjoyable or interesting, please share it around! Due to my immigration status, my writing is my only source of income right now, which is why I like to “pass around the hat” now and then for people’s spare change. Supporting me on Patreon can cost as little as three or four cents per day, and when enough people join in, even those $1/month pledges add up. There’s not currently much in the way of patron-only content, but my $5 patrons do have the option to name a character in the fantasy novel I’m currently working on, so if you like my fiction and want to immortalize yourself, or someone you know, then giving me money may just be your best option!

A new year, a new Brazilian president, and new hope for the Amazon

I’ve written before about the political situation in Brazil, where Jair Bolsonaro, a neofascist with ties to the old military dictatorship, ended up in power after a bogus corruption scandal and Bolsonaro’s soon-to-be Justice Minister put the most popular candidate in prison, so he was unable to run for office. Fortunately, that candidate, Lula da Silva was freed, and then won the next presidential election. While the man was in no way perfect, his previous time as president saw a great many people lifted from poverty, new rights and protections for Indigenous Brazilians, and for the Amazon Rainforest. There’s still very real concern about a coup attempt from Bolsonaro’s faction, but Lula will be sworn in as president this coming Sunday, and it looks like he intends to continue doing good things for Brazil, and for the world:

Environmentalists and rights advocates around the world are celebrating Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s selection of Marina Silva and Sônia Guajajara to serve as the nation’s environment and Indigenous ministers, respectively.


Several advocates throughout Brazil and beyond celebrated both appointments. Kenneth Roth, the former long-time executive director of the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch, proclaimed that “Lula’s win was a win for the Amazon.”

Jennifer Morgan—who earlier this year stepped down as Greenpeace International’s executive director to serve as special envoy for international climate action in the German Foreign Ministry—also congratulated and celebrated both women on Twitter.

“The world is fortunate to have you in this critical position at this key moment of history,” Morgan said of Silva. “Look forward working together to achieve your vision for a social, ecological transformation for the people and nature of Brazil.”

Morgan wrote of Guajajara: “Your courage and tenacity is an inspiration. Celebrating this historic day for you and Indigenous peoples around the world.”

As The Guardian detailed: “Guajajara was born in the Araribóia territory of the eastern Amazon and became one of the leading lights of Brazil’s flourishing Indigenous rights movement, as well as a prominent leftist politician. In 2018, Guajajara became the first Indigenous woman to run for Brazil’s vice presidency. She won a place in Brazil’s overwhelmingly white, male Congress in October’s election.”

While I’m far from knowledgable about this, both women seem to have strong records when it comes to the intertwined subjects of the environment, and Indigenous rights. From what I can tell, the political situation is still far more precarious than I’d like. There’s some evidence of FBI involvement in Bolsonaro’s rise to power, and there’s a long history of left-wing regimes being attacked by the United States and other imperial powers. Lula is no communist, but he’s a ways to the left of the United States, and he seems to mostly put people over profit, which seems to offend the sensibilities of capitalist “world leaders”. Unfortunately, I think it’ll be a long time before we can expect to see real movement to the left in the world without that movement drawing fire from the global capitalist war machine. The upside is that Biden has show support for Lula, and has some political reasons to maintain that support, given Bolsonaro’s closeness with Trump, and the Dems’ desire to stop there from being a pattern of this particular kind of coup attempt.

Sorry, had to fret at least a little about that. The reality is that this is good news, and there’s been so much bad news the last few years, that good things feel like a trick sometimes. This really is good news, though. I first started paying attention to Brazil back in 2006, when I met a man in Tanzania who had been at a renewable energy conference, and was excited to talk about all the advances Brazil had been making – it seemed like it was way ahead of the U.S.! That was right in the middle of Lula’s first stint as president, and while Bolsonaro has done his damnedest to sell the Amazon for lumber, there’s still a lot left to save, and Lula taking office is a great way to start 2023.

If you like the content of this blog, please share it around. If you like the blog and you have the means, please consider joining my lovely patrons in paying for the work that goes into it. Due to my immigration status, I’m currently prohibited from conventional wage labor, so for the next couple years at least this is going to be my only source of income. You can sign up for as little as $1 per month (though more is obviously welcome), to help us make ends meet – every little bit counts!

Scientists: It’s dangerous to assume we’ll be able to cool the planet later this century

A month or two ago, I heard some politician/executive type person saying that there wasn’t any real concern with the likelihood that we’ll overshoot our climate “goals”. His reasoning was that the goal was to be under two degrees warming by the end of the century, maybe that’ll mean that we overshoot, and spend 2060-2100 bringing the temperature back down through stuff like carbon capture. I don’t remember who it was, or where I heard it (Found it! It was Shell CEO Ben van Beurden talking to John Stewart (in this video)). I also have no idea whether he believed what he was saying, but I doubt that matters. The level of irresponsibility is honestly breathtaking, given that this dude is certainly not going to be around for the period in question. He’s just cheerfully declaring that his grandkids will deal with it. Clearly the dogma of “personal responsibility” has always been projection, just like all other conservative rhetoric.

Meanwhile, back in reality, we have research confirming what anyone who’d been paying attention already knew: passing the goals set by the Paris climate agreement is unlikely to be temporary

“To effectively prevent all tipping risks, the global mean temperature increase would need to be limited to no more than 1°C—we are currently already at about 1.2°C,” noted study co-author Jonathan Donges, co-lead of the FutureLab on Earth Resilience in the Anthropocene at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). “The latest IPCC report is showing that we’re most likely on a path to temporarily overshoot the 1.5°C temperature threshold.”

The researchers examined various scenarios with peak temperatures from 2°C to 4°C. As lead author and PIK scientist Nico Wunderling explained, they found that “the risk for some tipping events could increase very substantially under certain global warming overshoot scenarios.”

“Even if we would manage to limit global warming to 1.5°C after an overshoot of more than 2°C, this would not be enough as the risk of triggering one or more global tipping points would still be more than 50%,” Wunderling said. “With more warming in the long-term, the risks increase dramatically.”

I’ve long felt that we have already passed some tipping points, such that even if we eliminated most or all of our CO2 emissions, we’d keep warming, albeit more slowly. This is by no means a confirmation of that belief, but I think it does imply that whether or not I’m right, we should be acting with a great deal more urgency. That is also why I keep insisting that we should be planning for life in a hotter planet, and we should expect “too hot” to be the norm for at least a century, probably much longer. Barring a political or technological revolution on a scale that I find unlikely (though that won’t stop me from trying), we’re headed for rough times.

Of course, there’s also the fact that the more it warms, the more it’s likely to keep warming, which is why I think our preparations need to include dealing with our emissions. We have to do everything at once. I’m not kidding about the time frame, either. What we do over the next fifty years or so is likely to set the climate trajectory well into the future:

Study co-author Ricarda Winkelmann, co-lead of the FutureLab on Earth Resilience in the Anthropocene at PIK, pointed out that “especially the Greenland and the West Antarctic ice sheet are at risk of tipping even for small overshoots, underlining that they are among the most vulnerable tipping elements.”

“While it would take a long time for the ice loss to fully unfold, the temperature levels at which such changes are triggered could already be reached soon,” she said. “Our action in the coming years can thus decide the future trajectory of the ice sheets for centuries or even millennia to come.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean that the entire climate would be as “doomed” as the ice sheets – it may be that we could get to a point where the collapse of the ice sheets will continue even if cool back down significantly. Unfortunately, that kind of long-term risk isn’t limited to the ice – it threatens other systems like the Amazon rainforest, which could be turned into grassland even without continued clear-cutting. What’s possibly even more worrying is the risk to ocean currents:

An analysis of the Amazon released in September by scientists and Indigenous leaders in South America stated that “the tipping point is not a future scenario but rather a stage already present in some areas of the region,” meaning portions of the crucial rainforest may never recover—which could have “profound” consequences on a global scale.

study on the AMOC from last year, also published in Nature Climate Change, warned that the collapse of the system of currents that carries warm water from the tropics to the North Atlantic “would have severe impacts on the global climate system,” from disrupting rains that billions of people need for food and increasing storms to further threatening the Amazon and ice sheets.

Donges stressed that “even though a temporary temperature overshoot would definitely be better than reaching a peak temperature and remaining there, some of the overshoot impacts may lead to irreversible damages in a high climate risk zone and this is why low-temperature overshoots are key here.”

Pointing to estimates that current policies could lead to an average global temperature of up to 3.6°C by 2100, Donges declared that “this is not enough.”

As Winkelmann put it: “Every tenth of a degree counts. We must do what we can to limit global warming as quickly as possible.”

Neither the actions that we have taken so far, nor the actions that have been promised, are not enough. “Better than nothing” is, you know, better than nothing, but we’ve got beyond the obscene callousness shown by rulers to their subjects, and entered an era where we can see a murderous scorn for the entirely of humanity, extending indefinitely into the future.

Or, you know, maybe they’re just deluding themselves, and they’re driving us to extinction out of ignorance. As far as I can tell, there’s no material difference for the rest of us. It’s clear that they cannot be talked into actually giving a shit about anything but themselves. Hell, we can barely get the media to even pay attention to the issue. Hell, a guy literally set himself on fire in front of the Supreme Court to draw attention to the issue, and it felt like it barely made a ripple. I have an almost compulsive urge to find a way to end every post on a positive note, but sometimes it’s just hard to find a silver lining. I’m sure the darkness of the season isn’t helping my mood, but for all some progress was made in this last year, it’s progress on a scale that would have been more appropriate two or more decades ago.

Climate change has already killed millions of people, and we’re still getting what feels like less than half-measures, while those at the top are allowed to literally steal billions from workers, and legislators are concerned with their “right” to engage in insider trading. As far as I can tell, there is no line. There’s no “tipping point” at which those in charge will do the right thing. We have to do it ourselves. I’ll be updating my direct action post some time in early 2023, so if you have suggestions to improve it, feel free to let me know. We’ve got a lot to do, and it’s still hard to figure out how to go about doing it in a world so clearly shaped to make us spend all our energy enriching those at the top.

If you like the content of this blog, please share it around. If you like the blog and you have the means, please consider joining my lovely patrons in paying for the work that goes into it. Due to my immigration status, I’m currently prohibited from conventional wage labor, so for the next couple years at least this is going to be my only source of income. You can sign up for as little as $1 per month (though more is obviously welcome), to help us make ends meet – every little bit counts!

The U.S. is about to freeze. Stay warm, and help others if you can!

It looks like the U.S. is headed for another devastating cold snap driven by the increasingly distorted polar vortex. I’ve seen no indication that places like Texas are any better prepared to deal with this than they have been for such events in the past. As is usual for this sort of thing, anarchist groups on the ground are doing what they can.



The infuriating reality is that even people with shelter are going to get hit by this, and I’m willing to bet a lot of people didn’t have the resources to do much preparation. In this age of endless recovery those with the means to make a difference at the systemic level clearly have no interest in doing so, and so it’s left folks on the ground with the time, energy, and tools to help both neighbors and strangers.

Try to stay safe and warm, and help others if you can. Remember to *always* run generators outdoors, even if that means you have to crack a door or a window for the cable. Far too many people die of carbon monoxide poisoning when cold weather hits and the power goes out, and we need you – yes you – to be alive, so no gassing yourself! I’ve always found enjoyment and a degree of beauty in cold weather, but that’s because I’ve always known I have the means to get warm. I want a world in which that’s the default (and *not* because of global warming), but we’re not there yet.

If you want more updates on this sort of thing, you can follow It’s Going Down on Mastodon.

Whales, Carbon Sinks, and Eco-Socialism

The “mainstream media” has gotten ahold of a bit of interesting research, and I wanted to give my own two cents on the subject. Basically, cetaceologists (and others, but I wanted to use that word) have added a little weight and some important framing to something we already knew – whales sequester carbon.

“Understanding the role of whales in the carbon cycle is a dynamic and emerging field that may benefit both marine conservation and climate-change strategies,” write the authors, led by Heidi Pearson, a biologist from the University of Alaska Southeast. “This will require interdisciplinary collaboration between marine ecologists, oceanographers, biogeochemists, carbon-cycle modelers, and economists.”

Whales can weigh up to 150 tons, live over 100 years, and be the size of large airplanes. Like all living things, their hefty biomass is composed largely of carbon and they make up one of the largest living carbon pools in the pelagic ocean, part of the marine system that is responsible for storing 22% of Earth’s total carbon.

“Their size and longevity allow whales to exert strong effects on the carbon cycle by storing carbon more effectively than small animals, ingesting extreme quantities of prey, and producing large volumes of waste products,” write the authors. “Considering that baleen whales have some of the longest migrations on the planet, they potentially influence nutrient dynamics and carbon cycling over ocean-basin scales.”

Whales consume up to 4% of their massive body weight in krill and photosynthetic plankton every day. For the blue whale, this equates to nearly 8,000 pounds. When they finish digesting their food, their excrement is rich in important nutrients that help these krill and plankton flourish, aiding in increased photosynthesis and carbon storage from the atmosphere.

A blue whale can live up to 90 years. When they die and their bodies fall to the seafloor, the carbon they contain is transferred to the deep sea as they decay. This supplements the biological carbon pump, where nutrients and chemicals are exchanged between the ocean and the atmosphere through complex biogeochemical pathways. Commercial hunting, the largest source of population decline, has decreased whale populations by 81%, with unknown effects on biological carbon pump.

It seems that “nature-based solutions” is a catchphrase that is very much in vogue right now, and I’m thrilled to see it. The authors of this study state right at the beginning – before the abstract – that we need to do something about climate change, and if we know what’s good for us, we’ll save the fucking whales.

  • As climate change accelerates, there is increasing interest in the ability of whales to trap carbon (i.e., whale carbon), yet it is currently undetermined if and how whale carbon should be used in climate-change mitigation strategies.
  • Restoring whale populations will enhance carbon storage in whale biomass and sequestration in the deep sea via whale falls, though the global impact will be relatively small.
  • Whale-stimulated primary productivity via nutrient provisioning may sequester substantially more carbon, though there is uncertainty regarding the carbon fate in these food webs.
  • Recovery of whale populations via reduction of anthropogenic impacts can aid in carbon dioxide removal but its inclusion in climate policy needs to be grounded in the best available science and considered in tandem with other strategies known to directly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Good note at the end there. Even a full recovery of whale populations, back to their numbers before commercial whaling began, would not “fix” the climate. It would be awesome, and it would certainly help, but it’s just one part of the system I always rant about changing.

Confession time – during a rather bleak period a couple years before I left the U.S., I more or less gave up on saving marine ecosystems. Honestly, I have up on pretty much everything for a bit. That coincided with a number of health problems, which may have influenced my mood, but a lot of it was from grim news about oceanic plankton levels, my recently-assuaged fears about the so-called “clathrate gun”, and a growing understanding of just how incredibly fucked up our political and economic systems were. Improvements to my health and to Raksha’s also helped my mood, I think, as did a change of employment.

More than that, however, I needed a shift in how I looked at things. I had had the “ecologist” perspective, and the “environmentalist” perspective, but I think I was lacking the “socialist” perspective to bring me to some form of eco-socialism. I couldn’t see hope for a better future, because all the paths to change that I knew about were blocked by the immense and utterly ruthless power of corporate interests. The solution, of course, is to forge a new path, by attacking that power itself. People talk about grassroots organizing, and while that’s basically what I advocate, I think tree roots might be a better metaphor here – we need to increase our own power by cracking apart the foundations of theirs.

All of this is to say that while I still feel the outlook is not currently good, there is a synergy between problem and solution that makes the way forward not only clear, but beneficial to humanity in the short term, if only we can convince people to abandon their understandable fear of big changes. Whales may or may not be the most charismatic of the charismatic megafauna, but they certainly fit the “mega” part of the description. Maybe a new “save the whales” campaign will tie into the same nostalgia-obsession that has a stranglehold on Hollywood and TV? I joked about charisma, but honestly, whales really are cool.

The more I think about them, the more fascinating they become. The obvious thing about them, of course, is their size. They’re just way, way too big, and unlike other organisms of comparable size (I’m thinking trees and some fungus), they move around a lotThis means that in addition to their role in ocean mixing (along with smaller critters), they also move large amounts of biological material around. Some of that was covered in the quotes above, but it seems that in addition to moving nutrients around vertically in the water column, the fact that they are so big means that they distribute nutrients all over the planet, simply by being nomadic and huge.

Fortunately, efforts to restore whale populations have actually had some success, and that in turn has had a real effect on the oceans:

“As humpbacks, gray whales, sperm whales and other cetaceans recover from centuries of overhunting, we are beginning to see that they also play an important role in the ocean,” Roman said. “Among their many ecological roles, whales recycle nutrients and enhance primary productivity in areas where they feed.” They do this by feeding at depth and releasing fecal plumes near the surface — which supports plankton growth — a remarkable process described as a “whale pump.” Whales also move nutrients thousands of miles from productive feeding areas at high latitudes to calving areas at lower latitudes.

That article, which also mentions the cetacean role in carbon sequestration, is from 2014, which triggers a couple thoughts. The first is that, as I said at the beginning, we’ve known for a while that whales play a part in natural carbon sequestration and natural carbon capture, but as with so many other things, it hasn’t been given much attention in media or in policy.

The second is that we actually have a pretty good idea about how to make life easier for whales. Recovery efforts have had huge successes just in my lifetime! This is yet another area in which we pretty much know what needs to be done, and to some degree it is actually being done in this case. I feel like I don’t get to say stuff like that very often. Even so, it’s not like whales are out of the woods. While they are, by themselves, foundational to oceanic ecosystems, they also depend on said ecosystems, and we’re messing with those in a variety of ways. As ever, what we’ve done is good, and we need to do more.

I mentioned the fears people tend to have about change, and the article I quoted just above actually addresses what may be both the most long-standing and the most culturally persuasive objection to the idea of a boom in global whale populations: What about the fishermen?

Sometimes, commercial fishermen have seen whales as competition. But this new paper summarizes a strong body of evidence that indicates the opposite can be true: whale recovery “could lead to higher rates of productivity in locations where whales aggregate to feed and give birth,” supporting more robust fisheries.

As whales recover, there may be increased whale predation on aquaculture stocks and increased competition — real or perceived — with some commercial fisheries. But the new paper notes “ a recent investigation of four coastal ecosystems has demonstrated the potential for large increases in whale abundance without major changes to existing food-web structures or substantial impacts on fishery production.”

I think a lot of people cling to the way we do things now, because of how well it’s done for us. For all of its problems, there’s a lot to like about life as it exists, especially if you live in richer nations. We have a fear of putting our weight on an unproven bridge, especially if it doesn’t look like the bridges we’ve crossed before. That combines with the modern love of incremental change (which seems to be uncomfortably similar to the slippery slope fallacy) to persuade people that the path forward is for people who care about this stuff to try their changes and see how they do “in the marketplace of ideas”. Somewhere along the way we seem to have developed a societal belief that we can make the world better without risk or discomfort, because of how well our current system supposedly works. We’re in the perfect vessel, and it’s on autopilot, so just go don’t rock the boat and everything will get better.

Part of the beauty of the path I want us to take is that while it will not be easy, safe, or free of problems, every step we take actually takes us in the right direction. We’ve been taught to view good things with suspicion. To quote The Dread Pirate Roberts, “life is pain, and anyone who says differently is selling something.” We hear it so often, in so many different ways, that it feels like it’s just… how things are. Everyone’s always trying to get one over on us, because that’s just how the world works, right? My twitter bio may say “utopian pragmatist”, but this isn’t a matter of even the most level-headed of utopianism. This more akin to understanding why an increase in greenhouse gases causes an increase in temperature.

When we take measures to reduce our impact on the ecosystems around us, we reliably get results that make life better for us. In some ways, this feels obvious, right? It’s like how maintaining good hygiene, diet, and exercise habits pretty reliably improves our health. There are real and important benefits to modern technology, social innovations, etc., that have made life better, and for many people possible. Most of the good stuff we can keep, and that does include a variety of “toxic” chemicals. What we need is to make a societal priority out of global ecosystem health in a way that includes us as a part of that global ecosystem.

Hence, eco-socialism, hence solarpunk, hence climate justice, hence the call to organize and build collective power.

The advances we’ve made have not come from “capitalism” or from our so-called leaders. They have come from the hard work of people, often fighting against capitalism and its leaders. That includes labor rights, civil rights, environmental protections, even safe living spaces – none of that was given to us. All of it was taken, by people working together to make life better for everyone. That’s the attitude I see in the rise in unionization and strikes in the United States. It’s the attitude I see in the Land Defenders of Atlanta, and the Water Protectors of Standing Rock. I would say it’s also an attitude that’s been long-standing among indigenous activists around the world, which is why it is so important to listen to them on things like ecosystem management, and to support the land back movement. It’s a matter of justice, but it’s also a matter of changing our relationship with the planet.

If you like the content of this blog, please share it around. If you like the blog and you have the means, please consider joining my lovely patrons in paying for the work that goes into it. Due to my immigration status, I’m currently prohibited from conventional wage labor, so for the next couple years at least this is going to be my only source of income. You can sign up for as little as $1 per month (though more is obviously welcome), to help us make ends meet – every little bit counts!


Video: Positive Leftist News from November, 2022

Recently, I’ve been made aware that some people avoid watching the videos I post, because the content tends to be depressing, infuriating, or both. I know that the format just isn’t “for” some people, and that’s fine, but for those who do like videos, but are tired of bad news, well, at least we have PLN. There’s a particular frustration that comes with being a leftist in a world dominated by neoliberal capitalism. All of the major news outlets are owned by for-profit corporations, and they have a very definite pro-capitalist bias, while pretending to be “just reporting the news”. This pattern reaches peaks of enraging absurdity when it comes to moments like MSNBC’s panicked attacks on Bernie Sanders, a moderate social democrat whose values and policies seem to be in line with what most of even a right-wing nation like the United States wants.

Positive Leftist News features a wide variety of commentators from different backgrounds and different leftist schools of thought. It focuses on victories in the effort to empower the working people of the world, end oppression, and remove the artificial and/or unnecessary barriers that are maintained by the current capitalist order. This is news from all over the planet about real fights for systemic change, and I hope that it uplifts and inspires you.

Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, you’ll burn in the fire, if you don’t get fried.

Many years ago, in this blog’s toddler years, I wrote a little about the advantages of being motivated not just by fear of the future we want to avoid, but also by hope for the future that we want to build. While that fear is valid, if it’s our sole motivator, we’ll be too busy looking over our shoulder to pay attention to where we’re going. Most of the time, when I’ve talked about this, the focus has been on the kind of society we want to build, and how being proactive could head off disaster. At that point, I wasn’t thinking much about politics, economics, and power, but I I think the overall idea holds true there as well. What I hadn’t really considered was how literal the metaphor of running away could end up being.

I suppose it’s obvious, in hindsight, and it’s not like the subject of climate refugees hasn’t been discussed. I had assumed that if people were leaving an area because of climate change, if they had a choice in where to go, they’d factor climate change into their decision. After all, if you’re moving away from hurricanes and killer heat waves, you might not want to move to somewhere that’s having a problem with drought, heat waves, and an ever-worsening fire season, right? Right?

Oh dear.

Americans are leaving many of the U.S. counties hit hardest by hurricanes and heatwaves — and moving towards dangerous wildfires and warmer temperatures, finds one of the largest studies of U.S. migration and natural disasters.

The ten-year national study reveals troubling public health patterns, with Americans flocking to regions with the greatest risk of wildfires and significant summer heat. These environmental hazards are already causing significant damage to people and property each year — and projected to worsen with climate change.

“These findings are concerning, because people are moving into harm’s way—into regions with wildfires and rising temperatures, which are expected to become more extreme due to climate change,” said the University of Vermont (UVM) study lead author Mahalia Clark, noting that the study was inspired by the increasing number of headlines of record-breaking natural disasters.

Published by the journal Frontiers in Human Dynamics, the study—titled “Flocking to Fire”—is the largest investigation yet of how natural disasters, climate change and other factors impacted U.S. migration over the last decade (2010-2020). “Our goal was to understand how extreme weather is influencing migration as it becomes more severe with climate change,” Clark said.

‘Red-hot’ real estate

The top U.S. migration destinations over the last decade were cities and suburbs in the Pacific Northwest, parts of the Southwest (in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Utah), Texas, Florida, and a large swath of the Southeast (from Nashville to Atlanta to Washington, D.C.)—locations that face significant wildfire risks and relatively warm annual temperatures. In contrast, people tended to move away from places in the Midwest, the Great Plains, and along the Mississippi River, including many counties hit hardest by hurricanes or frequent heatwaves, the researchers say.

“These findings suggest that, for many Americans, the risks and dangers of living in hurricane zones may be starting to outweigh the benefits of life in those areas,” said UVM co-author Gillian Galford, who led the recent Vermont Climate Assessment. “That same tipping point has yet to happen for wildfires and rising summer heat, which have emerged as national issues more recently.”

One implication of the study—given how development can exacerbate risks in fire-prone areas—is that city planners may need to consider discouraging new development where fires are most likely or difficult to fight, researchers say. At a minimum, policymakers must consider fire prevention in areas of high risk with large growth in human populations, and work to increase public awareness and preparedness.

I want to say that I’m not blaming these people, as such. There are a lot of factors that go into deciding where to move, and very often the “choice” is no choice at all. You have a job in California? You move to California. We live where we can, not always where we’d like to.

am blaming the federal government, and the largely corrupt crowd that comprises it. This is the result of inaction. This is what neoliberal, laissez-faire policies, gets us. Why are there no programs to help people resettle somewhere with more water? Why haven’t we already been moving people out of the Colorado River Valley? Because it would threaten fossil fuel profits, of course, but also because most politicians in both major parties view government action as essentially evil. Some Democrats view it as a necessary evil, and a handful are mostly focused on the good it can do, but as a party, they mostly seem to serve the same agenda as the GOP.

We will be seeing more climate refugees as the temperature continues to rise. Literally the only way to prevent that would be to find a way to get them to move to a safer place before disaster drives them. Instead, we have a borderline useless federal government, and a disorienting fog of misinformation about the issue. People are left to figure things out while navigating a ruthless housing market that’s increasingly controlled by big corporations, with a government whose advisors are advocating an increase in unemployment. This kind of crisis is exactly what society is supposed to be for, but our world is run by people who want to convince everyone that society shouldn’t provide us with any real benefits.

Beyond the aversion to hurricanes and heatwaves, the study identified several other clear preferences—a mix of environmental, social, and economic factors—that also contributed to U.S. migration decisions over the last decade.

The team’s analysis revealed a set of common qualities shared among the top migration destinations: warmer winters, proximity to water, moderate tree cover, moderate population density, better human development index (HDI) scores—plus wildfire risks. In contrast, for the counties people left, common traits included low employment, higher income inequality, and more summer humidity, heatwaves, and hurricanes.

Researchers note that Florida remained a top migration destination, despite a history of hurricanes—and increasing wildfire. While nationally, people were less attracted to counties hit by hurricanes, many people—particularly retirees—still moved to Florida, attracted by the warm climate, beaches, and other qualities shared by top migration destinations. Although hurricanes likely factor into people’s choices, the study suggests that, overall, the benefits of Florida’s desirable amenities still outweigh the perceived risks of life there, researchers say.

“The decision to move is a complicated and personal decision that involves weighing dozens of factors,” said Clark. “Weighing all these factors, we see a general aversion to hurricane risk, but ultimately—as we see in Florida—it’s one factor in a person’s list of pros and cons, which can be outweighed by other preferences.”

For the study, researchers combined census data with data on natural disasters, weather, temperature, land cover, and demographic and socioeconomic factors. While the study includes data from the first year of the COVID pandemic, the researchers plan to delve deeper into the impacts of remote work, house prices, and the cost of living.

For most of my life, climate change has been talked about as some kind of future issue. It has also been talked about as something that will hit poorer countries first, and hardest. While there’s some truth to that latter point, I hope it’s obvious to all of you by now that it’s happening now, and it’s hitting everywhere. It will get worse, of course, but we have entered the Age of Endless Recovery, and part of that is the endless, weary movement of people trying to find that one place where maybe they can live in peace.

This doesn’t have to be our future.

We could, if we can build the collective power to do so, stop prioritizing endless war and the indulgence of bottomless greed. We could build quality public housing in places that are likely to have plenty of water going forward. We could pay people to do ecosystem support and management work, or to clean up pollution, or to work on indoor food production, or any number of a hundred other things that society needs people to do.

We could, in short, respond to this crisis by proactively building a better world, with the changing climate in mind. We have the resources and knowledge to do this, and we’ve had them for a long time. What we lack is political and economic power among those who actually want the world to get better, because the people who currently hold that power? They would rather see the world burn around their bunkers than allow for systemic change.

If you like the content of this blog, please share it around. If you like the blog and you have the means, please consider joining my lovely patrons in paying for the work that goes into it. Due to my immigration status, I’m currently prohibited from conventional wage labor, so for the next couple years at least this is going to be my only source of income. You can sign up for as little as $1 per month (though more is obviously welcome), to help us make ends meet – every little bit counts!

France takes a small step in the right direction

This isn’t world-changing, but it’s a first (to me, at least), and an encouraging thing to see. France has banned short-distance air travel along routes for which there exists a train ride of two and a half hours or less. This is, in case it needs to be said, a very narrow ban, clearly designed to cause as little disruption in daily life as possible. Honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me if the people most upset about this are exactly the people who should be upset – rich dingdongs with private jets.

France has been given the green light to ban short haul domestic flights.

The European Commission has approved the move which will abolish flights between cities that are linked by a train journey of less than 2.5 hours.

The decision was announced on Friday. The changes are part of the country’s 2021 Climate Law and were first proposed by France’s Citizens’ Convention on Climate – a citizens’ assembly tasked with finding ways to reduce the country’s carbon emissions.

France is also cracking down on the use of private jets for short journeys in a bid to make transport greener and fairer for the population.

Transport minister Clément Beaune said the country could no longer tolerate the super rich using private planes while the public are making cutbacks to deal with the energy crisis and climate change.

The super rich are not accustomed to having to follow rules, so we shall see whether they are held to this, or whether they manage to buy their way out of it. This is a trial run that will be re-assessed after three years, but I hope it’s just the start of a broader shift from air to rail travel, at least within Europe. I don’t have extremely high hopes for the U.S., but wouldn’t it be nice to have high-speed rail tying all of the Americas together? One baby-step at a time, I suppose.

Initially, the ban will only affect three routes between Paris Orly and Nantes, Lyon, and Bordeaux where there are genuine rail alternatives.

If rail services improve, it could see more routes added including those between Paris Charles de Gaulle and Lyon and Rennes as well as journeys between Lyon and Marseille. They currently don’t meet the criteria for the ban because trains to airports in Paris and Lyon don’t allow passengers to arrive early in the morning or late in the evening.

Others – such as routes from Paris Charles de Gaulle to Bordeaux and Nantes – weren’t included because the journey time is more than the 2.5 hour limit.

Connecting flights will also have to follow these new rules.

It’s a glimpse of a better world, if we can build it.

‘Cause to be victorious, you must find glory in the little things.