A Wicked Problem

Global Warming - - A Wicked Problem


We might call global warming a "wicked problem" because it has so many loose ends, no known boundaries; it has no simple remedies. Worse, we have no way of knowing its many outcomes. One year we might expect dramatic changes to the polar regions, like additional ice at the Antarctic. The next year we might expect an increase in Greenland's glacier melt. My point, global warming leads to nonlinear climate changes. If we looked for an analogy, we'd quickly find it in evil; evil has no known breath or depth. Every time humanity thinks that it's reached evil's limits, it morphs into many unforeseen outcomes.

The fossil fuel industry played a large part in creating this wicked problem. They produced their toxic product in spite of knowing its hazards. Still, they've ignored and denied the problem. They hired front groups to spin stories, to confuse and deny human caused global warming. Their public relation's propaganda spinners deflected attention from the fossil fuel industry onto the collective efforts of climate scientists. Their disinformation campaigns bought decades of greater profits at the expense of the Earth's many species, humanity included.

So years of fossil fuel consumption continued to pollute Earth's atmosphere and oceans. We cannot know the dimensions of this damage. We cannot solve this problem. Reducing damage from global warming's rapid growth remains our one option.

Most importantly, keep in mind that only recently in human history has science arrived. Only now do we have thinking and technical tools to study nature. Only now do we have a way to understand some part of our damage to this planet's atmosphere. We don't know enough - - that's for sure. We altered Earth's atmosphere and oceans and now we naively continue this worldwide experiment.

Science tells us that in fact, an objective world exists out there and most of it exists beyond our senses. We don't really know what we're doing beyond today's scientific limits, at best. Worse, corporate propagandists attack scientists when science innocently unveils corporate deception.

Thanks to science we know more about this objective world, but we remain strangers to our planet's many complexities. Yes, our objective world remains very hard to define, but we have a better sense for nature's complexities than a century ago, thanks to science.

Just think, had congress listened and acted on this global warming when President Lyndon Johnson brought it up, something meaningful might have followed; instead, our concerns were with Vietnam (Hear Plan 34A) somehow damaging our way of life, ironic as it may seem.


By 1970 the National Academy of Sciences would come to a consensus concerning rapid, human caused climate change. Still, our government chose to remain in the dark. Carbon dioxide's part in a climate change loop continued its rapid increase.

Western fossil fuel technologies grew rapidly across the globe, like a spider web. China became an industrial giant within a few short decades with growing demands for fossil fuels, coal and oil. In their way, they too began treating the Earth like a giant test tube. Their carbon dioxide pollution surpassed the US's pollution. Between 1988 and the present, China released over half of Earth's atmospheric carbon dioxide. It sped global warming by increasing the Earth's atmospheric CO2 to 400 parts per million. Earth was at 350 in 1950.

Unlike the United States, China's communists recognized the role of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. China realized that the threat of global warming and climate change threatened its national security. They've started a rigorous renewable energy campaign, but it's not enough. As a result of our climate change denial we, in part, created catastrophic outcomes around the globe. Other countries heed carbon dioxide feedback loops.

Today's politicians continue to ignore the primacy of environment, but glimmers of hope now begin to appear (see Climate Denial News Links). So even now we might seek out boundaries to help define problems in the here-and-now, but we cannot even begin to find boundaries to catastrophic climate change that future generations must confront, endure. Our citizens choose climate change deniers' ideology and propaganda over the needs of the person, the needs of the planet.

Optimal solutions do not exist and most likely will never exist. People and wild nature must suffer as a result. Short of suicide, hardly an optimal solution, no way out of this problem in the foreseeable future exists. It's too wicked for science to claim full knowledge of this event's outcomes; it's never happened in such a short period of time, ever. Climate science alerted us while many of us intuitively expected it, reasoned it out as well.

For certain, 1,000,000,000 cars burning fossil fuels must have some influence on the environment; toss in worldwide deforestation and catastrophic climate change follows. It's foreseeable. We didn't need science to tell us the obvious, but it helps get through to less environmentally aware populations.

Now, claiming "optimism" for this horrible circumstance creates magical thinking and dissuades hard choices, hard work. And it is just that, magical thinking manipulating the Earth's many populations in this wicked situation. "What can be done will be done" drove wicked, mindless growth. "Be optimistic."
In this case we insisted on believing that we could alter billions of tons of biomass into an airborne gas without consequences for the environment. How naive.

We've most likely gone too far for too many species in the wild. Still, we might yet become familiar with current events unfolding in climate change and the biological sciences. Then we might see this wicked problem more clearly. We necessarily pass this climatic problem onto the generations of humans. We need to educate them to learn to learn about sustainability, appropriate technologies.  Humanity must never again deceive the next generation.

Only because we still live in an open society were we able to uncover the fossil fuel industry's climate deception. Only because we've allowed science a relatively free-hand to do Earth Science integrated with other sciences have we objective, testable knowledge to pass onto the next generation.

We might also consider that what started out as a complex environmental problem became a wicked environmental problem because of climate deception.





Climate Modeling

Paraphrasing, you "can do all the climate modeling you want and you can do all the vegetation modeling you want, but it's never going to pick up the sensitivities that exist between species, which makes entire ecosystems vulnerable; so anything you get from climate modeling vegetation is basically going to underestimate the impacts that are likely to come."

Species-Populations Facts in the context of human caused climate change

  • Landscape is human dominated and habitat is fragmented
  • Species don't move together
  • Change will not be linear or gradual
  • Systems change

Professor Thomas Lovejoy (March 2017)


Keywords: President Johnson (audio Message to Congress regarding climate change - Politicizing Science, Climate Denial, Evading Responsibility, Moral Corruption, Global Warming, Catastrophic, Greenhouse Gas, Lag Time, National Security, War, Migration, Species-Populations, Ocean Acidification

A Brief History of Global Warming

Arrhenius, Sevante Swedish geochemist 1896

Cruz Pause Myth Destroyed

Global Carbon Cycle

Climate Matters - Game Over?

Dr James Hansen Facing the Truth About Global Warming

Guardian Article - Trump Deleting Climate Data

Making China Great Again

Airforce Learns CO2 adds Heat; subtract CO2 removes heat

Colonel Wilkerson Keynote: National Security and Climate Change, Why They Are Connected


Typically we find intergenerational, environmental buck-passing takes any or all of the following forms:

Distraction • Complacency • Selective attention • Unreasonable doubt • Delusion • Pandering • Hypocrisy


(See National Climate Center pages related to climate change (audio); ask yourself how much greenhouse gas we can release without causing changes to Earth's atmosphere. Perhaps you believe that we can release any amount of airborne gas into the atmosphere without causing changes to the Earth's climate.) eddie evans