Chris Hedges: Requiem for Our Species

The effects of the climate crisis intrude with increasing regularity into our lives and yet we do not act. We are as paralyzed as past civilizations were when facing catastrophic destruction.

Quebec Canada wildfire smoke consumes New Jersey and New York City, June 7. (Anthony Quintano/Wikimedia Commons/ Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)

By Chris Hedges

As I write this, the sun is a hazy reddish orange orb. The sky is an inky yellowish gray. The air has an acrid stench and leaves a faint metallic taste in my mouth. After 20 minutes outside, my head starts to ache, my nose burns, my eyes itch and my breathing becomes more labored.

Streets are deserted. The ubiquitous lawn service companies with their machine mowers and whining gas-powered leaf blowers have disappeared, along with pedestrians, cyclists and joggers.

Those who walk their dog go out briefly and then scamper back inside. N95 masks, as in the early days of the pandemic, are sold out, along with air purifiers. The international airports at Newark and Philadelphia have delayed or canceled flights.

I feel as if I am in a ghost town. Windows shut. Air conditioners on full blast. The Air Quality Index (AQI) is checked and rechecked. We are hovering around 300. The most polluted cities in the world have half that rate. Dubai (168). Delhi (164). Anything above 300 is classified as hazardous.

When will the hundreds of forest fires burning north of us in Canada — fires that have already consumed 10.9 million acres and driven 120,000 people from their homes — be extinguished? What does this portend? The wildfire season is only beginning. When will the air clear? A few days? A few weeks? 

What do you tell a terminal patient seeking relief? Yes, this period of distress may pass, but it’s not over. It will get worse. There will be more highs and lows and then mostly lows, and then death. But no one wants to look that far ahead.

We live moment to moment, illusion to illusion. And when the skies clear we pretend that normality will return. Except it won’t. Climate science is unequivocal. It has been for decades.

The projections and graphs, the warming of the oceans and the atmosphere, the melting of polar ice sheets and glaciers, rising sea levels, droughts and wildfires and monster hurricanes are already bearing down with a terrible and mounting fury on our species, and most other species, because of the hubris and folly of the human race. 

The worse it gets the more we retreat into fantasy. The law will solve it. The market will solve it. Technology will solve it. We will adapt. Or, for those who find solace in denial of a reality-based belief system, the climate crisis does not exist.

The earth has always been like this. And besides, Jesus will save us. Those who warn of the looming mass extinction are dismissed as hysterics, Cassandras, pessimists. It can’t be that catastrophic.

It Can’t Be True

NYC skyline shrouded wildfire smoke. (Anthony Quintano/Wikimedia/ Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)

At the inception of every war I covered, most people were unable to cope with the nightmare that was about to engulf them. Signs of disintegration surrounded them. Shootings. Kidnappings. The bifurcation of polarized extremes into antagonistic armed groups or militias. Hate speech. Political paralysis. Apocalyptic rhetoric.

The breakdown of social services. Food shortages. Circumscribed daily existence. But the fragility of society is too emotionally fraught for most of us to accept. We endow the institutions and structures around us with an eternal permanence.

“Things whose existence is not morally comprehensible cannot exist,” observed Primo Levi, who survived the Auschwitz concentration camp. 

I would return at night to Pristina in Kosovo after having been stopped by Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) rebels a few miles outside the capital. But when I described my experiences to my Kosovar Albanian friends — highly educated and multilingual — they dismissed them.

“Those are Serbs dressed up like rebels to justify Serb repression,” they answered. They did not grasp they were at war until Serb paramilitary forces rounded them up at gunpoint, herded them into boxcars and shipped them off to Macedonia.

Complex civilizations eventually destroy themselves. Joseph Tainter in “The Collapse of Complex Societies,” Charles L. Redman in “Human Impact on Ancient Environments,” Jared Diamond in “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed” and Ronald Wright in “A Short History of Progress,” detail the familiar patterns that lead to catastrophic collapse.

We are no different, although this time we will all go down together. The entire planet. Those in the Global South who are least responsible for the climate emergency, will suffer first. They are already fighting existential battles to survive. Our turn will come.

We in the Global North may hold out for a bit longer, but only a bit. The billionaire class is preparing its escape. The worse it gets, the stronger will be our temptation to deny the reality facing us, to lash out at climate refugees, which is already happening in Europe and along our border with Mexico, as if they are the problem. 

Wright, who calls industrial society “a suicide machine,” writes

“Civilization is an experiment, a very recent way of life in the human career, and it has a habit of walking into what I am calling progress traps. A small village on good land beside a river is a good idea; but when the village grows into a city and paves over the good land, it becomes a bad idea. 

While prevention might have been easy, a cure may be impossible: a city isn’t easily moved. This human inability to foresee — or to watch out for — long-range consequences may be inherent to our kind, shaped by the millions of years when we lived from hand to mouth by hunting and gathering. It may also be little more than a mix of inertia, greed, and foolishness encouraged by the shape of the social pyramid.

The concentration of power at the top of large-scale societies gives the elite a vested interest in the status quo; they continue to prosper in darkening times long after the environment and general populace begin to suffer.”

We will frantically construct climate fortresses, like the great walled cities at the end of the Bronze Age before its societal collapse, a collapse so severe that not only did these cities fall into ruin, but writing itself in many places disappeared.

Maybe a few of our species will linger on for a while. Or maybe rats will take over the planet and evolve into some new life form. One thing is certain. The planet will survive. It has experienced mass extinctions before.

This one is unique only because our species engineered it. Intelligent life is not so intelligent. Maybe this is why, with all those billions of planets, we have not discovered an evolved species. Maybe evolution has built within it its own death sentence.

I accept this intellectually. I don’t accept it emotionally any more than I accept my own death. Yes, I know our species is almost certainly doomed — but notice, I say almost.

Yes, I know I am mortal. Most of my life has already been lived. But death is hard to digest until the final moments of existence, and even then, many cannot face it. We are composed of the rational and the irrational. In moments of extreme distress we embrace magical thinking. We become the easy prey of con-artists, cult leaders, charlatans and demagogues who tell us what we want to hear.  

A Ghost Dance

(Anthony Quintano/Wikimedia/ Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)

Disintegrating societies are susceptible to crisis cults that promise a return to a golden age. The Christian Right has many of the characteristics of a crisis cult. Native Americans, ravaged by genocide, the slaughter of the buffalo herds, the theft of their land and incarcerated in prisoner-of-war camps, clung desperately to the Ghost Dance.

The Ghost Dance promised to drive away the white invaders and resurrect the warriors and buffalo herds. Instead, followers were mowed down by the U.S. Army with Hotchkiss MI875 mountain guns.

We must do everything in our power to halt carbon emissions. We must face the truth that the ruling corporate elites in the industrialized world will never extract us from fossil fuels.

Only if these corporatists are overthrown — as proposed by groups such as Extinction Rebellion — and radical and immediate measures are taken to end the consumption of fossil fuel, as well as curtail the animal agriculture industry, will we be able to mitigate some of the worst effects of ecocide.

But I don’t see this as likely, especially given the sophisticated forms of control and surveillance the global oligarchs have at their disposal.

The awful truth is that even if we halt all carbon emissions today there is so much warming locked into the oceans’ deep muddy floor and the atmosphere, that feedback loops will ensure climate catastrophe.

Summer Arctic sea ice, which reflects 90 percent of solar radiation that comes into contact with it, will disappear. The Earth’s surface will absorb more radiation. The greenhouse effect will be amplified. Global warming will accelerate, melting the Siberian permafrost and disintegrating the Greenland ice sheet. 

Melting ice in Greenland and Antarctica “has increased fivefold since the 1990s, and now accounts for a quarter of sea-level rise,” according to a recent report funded by NASA and the European Space Agency. Continued sea level rise, the rate of which has doubled over three decades according to the World Meteorological Organization, is inevitable.

Tropical rainforests will burn. Boreal forests will move northward. These and other feedback loops are already built into the ecosystem. We cannot stop them. Climate chaos, including elevated temperatures, will last for centuries. 

The hardest existential crisis we face is to at once accept this bleak reality and resist. Resistance cannot be carried out because it will succeed, but because it is a moral imperative, especially for those of us who have children.

We may fail, but if we do not fight against the forces that are orchestrating our mass extinction, we become part of the apparatus of death.

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prizewinning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for 15 years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East bureau chief and Balkan bureau chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Science Monitor and NPR.  He is the host of show “The Chris Hedges Report.”

Author’s Note to Readers: There is now no way left for me to continue to write a weekly column for ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show without your help. The walls are closing in, with startling rapidity, on independent journalism, with the elites, including the Democratic Party elites, clamoring for more and more censorship. Bob Scheer, who runs ScheerPost on a shoestring budget, and I will not waiver in our commitment to independent and honest journalism, and we will never put ScheerPost behind a paywall, charge a subscription for it, sell your data or accept advertising. Please, if you can, sign up at so I can continue to post my Monday column on ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show, “The Chris Hedges Report.”

This column is from Scheerpost, for which Chris Hedges writes a regular columnClick here to sign up for email alerts.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.


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38 comments for “Chris Hedges: Requiem for Our Species

  1. LeoSun
    June 15, 2023 at 11:47

    “Maybe a few of our species will linger on for a while. [OR, maybe RATS] will take over the planet and evolve into some new life form. One thing is certain. The planet will survive. It has experienced mass extinctions before.” CHRIS HEDGES

    9.25.2020: “Hero RAT,” MAGAWA — a giant African pouched rat, AWARDED UK’s Highest Medal for ‘Lifesaving Bravery’ Sniffing Out Landmines. MAGAWA was trained by a charity previously funded by UK aid.

    “He’s been awarded a gold medal for life saving devotion to duty. He’s identified and helped to clear deadly landmines in Cambodia. He’s perfectly suited to the task as he’s very light and very short.” @BBCr4today Nick Robinson, 9.25.2020.

    “The PDSA Gold Medal, the animal equivalent of the George Cross — the UK’s most prestigious award for bravery — for clearing 141,000 square metres of land in his distinguished career, equal to 20 football pitches, according to MailOnline.

    In that time, he has uncovered 39 landmines and 28 items of unexploded ordnance. It’s estimated that there could be up to 6 million landmines still buried across Cambodia, resulting in over 64,000 casualties and 25,000 amputees since 1979.

    Every hour, another person is killed by a landmine somewhere in the world. And on average, half of those killed are children.”

    September 25, 2020 by James Hitchings-Hales


  2. LeoSun
    June 15, 2023 at 11:26


    “Few things fuel the climate crisis quite like WAR!!!” Hedges says it best, “We may fail, but if we do not fight against the forces that are orchestrating our mass extinction, we become part of the apparatus of death.” CHRIS HEDGES 6.13.23

    Coming in HOT!!! Planet Earth! NO doubt “global warming” has been accelerated by “WAR” in Ukraine, Syria, Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. “IF, the US military were a country, it would have the 47th highest emissions total worldwide.”

    “How War Impacts Climate Change and the Environment-APRIL 6, 2022, by Joe McCarthy. hxxps://

    —-Warfare Releases Greenhouse Gas Emissions, “The world’s militaries account for an estimated 6% of all greenhouse gas emissions, and many governments don’t even report data on emissions from military activities.”

    “Those that do, often report partial figures. So figures for military aircraft could be hidden under ‘aviation,’ military tech industry under ‘industry,’ military bases under ‘public buildings,’ etc. Indeed, it’s not just the public who are unaware, the policymakers are also unaware, and even the researchers.” Dr. Stuart Parkinson, Executive Director-Scientists for Global Responsibility.

    “Even in peacetime, militaries consume extreme amounts of dirty energy.” The US Dept. of Defense’s 566,000 buildings, i.e., account for 40% of its fossil fuel use. The USG’s DoD got “training facilities, dormitories, manufacturing plants; &, other buildings on the department’s nearly 800 bases worldwide.”

    “In countries like Switzerland and the United Kingdom, defense ministries similarly consume the most fossil fuels among government agencies. Other countries with massive militaries like China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Israel Do NOT Report their Emissions totals;” BUT, but, but, “the pattern is expected to be the same.”

    —-Three (3) Key Facts About How War Impacts the Climate Crisis and the Environment:

    * Militaries consume enormous amounts of fossil fuels, which contributes directly to global warming.
    * Bombings & other methods of modern warfare directly harm wildlife and biodiversity. The collateral damage of conflict can kill up to 90% of large animals in an area. 
    * Pollution from war contaminates bodies of water, soil, and air, making areas unsafe for people to inhabit. 

    “The hardest existential crisis we face is to at once accept this bleak reality and resist. Resistance cannot be carried out because it will succeed, but because it is a moral imperative, especially for those of us who have children.” CHRIS HEDGES 6.13.23

    It’s been suggested, ad nauseam, write your $enators & Repre$entatives to Stop the Hemorrhaging! Problem is our Senators & Reps aka Congress, IS The Party of, by & for War!!! Whadda we gotta do, REVOLUTION?!? Anyone/Everyone?!? “KEEP IT LIT!”

  3. Tony
    June 14, 2023 at 08:41

    The UK government is taking action, not against those who cause this sort of thing, but against those who seek to prevent it.

  4. Gendun
    June 13, 2023 at 18:04

    We live on a spaceship orbiting a medium-sized star, 0ur life support system is on the outside of our ship. If it fails, we can simply call 911.

  5. Daniel Fry
    June 13, 2023 at 15:25

    Climate has changed on this planet for billions of years, and so have the species. Did the trilobites or dinosaurs cause their own extinction, or were they just ignorant victims of their own behaviour or both? Does it really matter?
    Currently our societies will not get by without fossil fuels. Facts. Our collective energy and food requirements are too large.
    The technology is not there *right now* to replace all hydrocarbons, apart from nuclear.
    The corporate sponsored ‘green agenda’ will not change this dynamic, unless we turn the clock back to the middle ages – with corresponding levels of population, and quality of life. That means mass depopulation, mass starvation, a completely failed economy, and almost total social apocalypse, caused by energy shortage crisis.
    Maybe if the faux left Turdeau over there in Canadia actually allocated sufficient state budget to effectively fight wild fires, instead of pissing it up the wall on actual nazis in what was Ukraine, the air quality in NY would be a lot better.

    • Jon Adams
      June 13, 2023 at 19:53

      Our collective “energy and food requirements” are greater than they need to be.

      • Henry Smith
        June 14, 2023 at 08:55

        ‘We’, particularly in the west, waste more than we use.
        It’s not the requirement that is the problem it’s how we use what we have and the inequality between the 1% and the 99%.
        We have enough resources for everyone on the planet, but ‘our’ resources are not shared equally between ‘us’.

    • Laurie Holmark
      June 13, 2023 at 22:59

      First of all Trudeau isn’t even “faux left” whatever that means. He’s a neo-con through and through. Second of all your comments just proved Hedges right “The worse it gets the more we retreat into fantasy” anjd you are big into the fanstasy. Thinking that what we have created is the height of human civilization and ingenuity is truly nihilistic.

    • Czarist Bot
      June 14, 2023 at 11:13

      Hi Daniel, you should check out William Rees on YouTube. He’s an ecologist that might help clarify the issue for you. In a nutshell, the issue isn’t climate change per se but “overshoot”- that is the hyper-exploitation of natural systems beyond their capacity to regenerate. Humans depend on these natural systems to survive, and our civilization has been rapidly depleting resources accrued over millennia. Rather than “producing”, we’re “extracting”.

  6. Robert Emmett
    June 13, 2023 at 10:19

    Well, since this article is as much about human nature as it is about science, if not more, what sort of credentials do we need to comment cogently about it? When someone is describing actual experience then putting it in context of previous experience under more harrowing circumstances, to me it’s something to pay attention to. It seems an apt description of human behavior under extreme conditions. So what if it’s projected into the future? Isn’t that when our children & grandchildren will be alive?

    It reminds me, a little bit, about when the electricity suddenly goes off. Not that that is anywhere near as distressing as suddenly not being able to get a breath of fresh air, something I admit I’m horribly addicted to & fortunate enough to enjoy in abundance. Many of the world’s people are far less fortunate & have been for some time now.

    It also puts me in mind of those tobacco shysters. Lied to our faces for years while thousands of people suffered & died early deaths. Got their “scientists” & experts to lie for them too, many of whom turned out to p.r. flacks. Played the long con. Ran out the clock. Then paid or strung out the paying of their fines. Cost of doing multi-billion bidness.

    Now it’s the same playbook for the oil & gas guys. The plastics guys. The chemicals guys.

    Signs & portents? Can’t help but to take note of them more & more as human follies unfold. Got to pay attention to something while expecting Big explanations & Big solutions that will be spouting forth from the Biggest, most advanced & well-tended Brains any day now.

    u.c. (un-credentialed commenter)

  7. June 13, 2023 at 07:16

    Elegantly put Chris, as ever. Our ability to articulate the nature of the existential crisis becomes ever more elegant. The volume of problematic commentary and blame increases exponentially — global warming in metaphoric terms. Missing for me is the meta-perspective on the current dynamic in archetypal terms. rather than in the repeated commentary on the material issues. How can we think otherwise about our condition, knowing that any assembly of those so inclined would replicate a version of the unfruitful dynamic with which we are confronted? Are the gurus of social change and paradigm shifts capable of dialogue among themselves in contrast to their engagement with their followers? If we do not understand how we (the “good guys”?) are part of the problem, we have little possibility of understanding the nature of the solution required — and engendering it.

  8. Jamie Aliperti
    June 12, 2023 at 18:38

    The deniers of human-caused climate change know full well that it is actually an established fact — they just don’t want to alter their lifestyles or impinge upon their profits by making the economic and social changes necessary to combat it. The one per cent believe that they have the money and the resources to enable them to avoid the consequences of the inevitable flooding of the coast lines, the massive droughts, the planet-wide extinctions and the like, and that these will primarily be the problems of the “little” people like us.

    But the coming deluge will wash all of us away, activists and deniers, capitalists and workers alike. Chris is right that civilization itself is in the process of collapsing. What both the climate deniers and the incrementalist reformers don’t seem to grasp is that a “radical transformation of human society” is about to happen whether we deal with climate change, or whether we ignore it entirely. Our current way of living simply isn’t sustainable and the bill is coming due not by mid-century, but right now. The capitalist system that our rulers are so desperate to maintain has no answers to these problems — indeed, these problems have been largely caused by late stage capitalism, burning hotter and hotter as it runs out of resources, both natural and human, with which to expand. It has been a giant ponzi scheme that has taken us to new heights of prosperity (for many, but not even for most) over the past 200 years, but that is all about to end. If some rear guard of humanity is able to survive, it will be in a world that bears little resemblance to the one we currently inhabit.

    • mgr
      June 13, 2023 at 05:48

      Jamie: Excellent summary.

    • Greg
      June 14, 2023 at 09:04

      There is also a sub group of “human caused climate change deniers” that can look up at the sky and pretend not to see all the sprayed pollutants coming from jet aircraft .
      Aluminum and barium laced aerosols criscrossing once blue skys play no roll in producing the greenhouse effect ?
      CO2 is beneficial to plants and only comprises .04 % of atmospheric gases.
      All of Mr. Hedges talking points , whether intentional or not , mirror the Club of Rome’s alarmist anti-human agenda.
      A solution could entail producing HHO powered transportation and setting up parallel financial systems .

    • Observer
      June 14, 2023 at 14:26

      > “The one per cent believe that they have the money and the resources to enable them to avoid the consequences of the inevitable flooding of the coast lines, ”

      Indeed: a considerable number of them have already established large estates in Patagonia and the South Island of New hopes of avoiding the worst.

  9. June 12, 2023 at 18:04

    Yes. We should resist. But what does that mean? What does resistance to corporate immorality and suicide by progress look like? Recycling? Refusal to participate in consumer markets? Keeping the autos in the garage?

    • Jamie Aliperti
      June 12, 2023 at 18:41

      Direct action. Take it to the streets.

  10. Valerie
    June 12, 2023 at 17:05

    “We may fail, but if we do not fight against the forces that are orchestrating our mass extinction, we become part of the apparatus of death.”

    But we are not allowed to fight. Protests are prohibited. Protesters are arrested and jailed.
    Protesters are removed or rebuffed with water cannons and tear gas.

    “Maybe a few of our species will linger on for a while. Or maybe rats will take over the planet and evolve into some new life form. One thing is certain. The planet will survive. It has experienced mass extinctions before.”

    But those mass extinctions did not have to contend with nuclear reactors or giant gas/oil installations reliant on human control. (“The world without us” by Alan Weisman reveals the consequences of man’s disappearance from the earth in this current epoch.)

    “Maybe this is why, with all those billions of planets, we have not discovered an evolved species. Maybe evolution has built within it its own death sentence.”

    As far as i know, we haven’t even found any species – evolved or otherwise (except our own, according to Charles Darwin and fossils) on those billions of planets. I believe we know that we are in the “astral” period of the Universe and that eventually we will progress to the “black hole” period when the Universe collapses in on itself. Billions of years in the future. There is merit based on the “death sentence” when taken into account the “black hole” collapse. But none of us will be here to witness that. The Sun will have melted us by then.

    “We must face the truth that the ruling corporate elites in the industrialized world will never extract us from fossil fuels.”

    And face the truth that we are just a miscroscopic blip in the “big bang” and that we might go out in a “big bang” if NATO has anything to do with it.

    And that’s all i have to say.

    Except: thankyou Mr. Hedges for your incredible contribution with all your articles and writings and physical attendance to the Earth’s history and memory if it survives this ongoing 6th Mass Extinction.

    • Bostonian
      June 13, 2023 at 10:27

      It’s perhaps a dark comfort, but remember the half-lives of these radiocative elements, and that the planet has an estimated 500 million to a billion years to continue on before the sun becomes so hot it cooks away the atmosphere and the oceans. Five, ten, twenty million years from now there will be nothing left to show we were here, save a level of fossilized plastic in the rock (maybe with a heavy ash band just above it) but life will have long since returned in its teeming abundance just as it always has. Every handful of soil or cup of seawater has more living microorganisms in it than all the humans now alive. Some say an exobiologist would call this “the bacteria planet” and take scant notice of the noisy, self-important bipeds clumping about, save to avoid their weapons.

      • Valerie
        June 14, 2023 at 05:49

        In that book i mentioned, Mr. Weisman does talk about the soil and the impacts of fertilizers etc. I believe the biggest impact will be the nuclear reactors/bombs etc. But as you say, in a few million years, the effects will be lessened. I wonder what monstrous/fascinating creatures might evolve. Oh to have a time machine.

  11. Wally Roth
    June 12, 2023 at 16:57

    We’d probably be better off preparing for the inevitable changes that come with climate variations, while at the same time curbing the production of pollutants and poisons that cause illnesses. If we spent our energy and resources making sure that everyone had reasonable access to food, clothing, shelter, clean water and security we’d at least be able to survive whatever is coming to a much greater degree than the present practice of “may the best man win”.

  12. ray Peterson
    June 12, 2023 at 16:56

    Sounds like “. . . the Lamb opened the seventh seal. . .” (Rev.8.1). But
    should we accept the judgement; I wonder if then comes an inner
    power to bring remediation and strength for tasks ahead.

  13. William F Johnson
    June 12, 2023 at 16:50

    Thanks, Chris for all you do in fighting back against an insane system. Like you, I’ve been fighting this fight most of my life from Vietnam onwards while I came of age. Yep. That means for some folks that I’m old and possibly senile or am becoming so, but I reject such criticisms, and go about the work that has to be, at least, attempted. I’ll send you what I can when I can and to CN also. The walls are closing in om me as well, so it won’t be a lot, but I am doing what I can.
    Appreciate you and CN, along with the Greyzone very much. Y’all do outstanding work and if you folks ran the media, we might actually solve most of these troubles’ others brought on to us all, but hey, can you imagine being the anchor of the evening news without censorship? Not going to happen of course, so we all have to do our part.

  14. Georges Olivier Daudelin
    June 12, 2023 at 16:23


    Depuis plus d’une décennie (si ce n’est depuis plus d’un siècle), le Québec reçoit toujours, ou presque, la pollution du pays de Washington et du Canada ; les vents dominants étant Sud, Sud-Ouest. Montréal se paie depuis tout ce temps, dans le silence absolu de Washington et d’Ottawa, ce SMOG washingtonien et canadien.

  15. Carolyn L Zaremba
    June 12, 2023 at 16:19

    Dear Chris, We here in California (and Oregon and Washington) have experienced this gray/yellow smoke pollution twice since 2018. Air Quality in San Francisco was in the 400s for days; also in Portland, according to a friend who lives up there. We survived it during lockdown in 2020. An entire town in California burned to the ground. Been there, done that, and have the singed T-shirt. Why is it suddenly important because New York and the east coast are getting it? Don’t misunderstand me. It is a climate catastrophe. But it was the same catastrophe 3 years ago out here.

    • Carol C.
      June 13, 2023 at 12:11

      Chris was speaking about this many years ago out there: hxxps:// I was also a tiny voice back then too. But I have another take on your “what-about-us” thinking. News reports about these fires only spoke of the impact on the U.S. I have family and friends in Canada, and I had to go to Canadian news to find out how they were doing in all this.

  16. ThisOldMan
    June 12, 2023 at 16:12

    Chris must know this better than anyone, yet even he apparently fears to say it: we haven’t done squat about the climate crisis because you can’t fight, let alone win, a modern war without access to cheap and abundant oil-based fuels. Kicking them completely is tantamount to unilateral disarmment. So solving the climate crisis and ending war are essentially the same thing: you cannot have one but not the other.

    Thus it should be no surprise that we’re failing dismally at both. Read “Oil, Power and War: A Dark History” by Matthieu Auzanneau.

  17. mgr
    June 12, 2023 at 15:27

    Thanks as always. The IPCC says that we will pass the 1.5C limit in 2037. By that point, feedback loops will be locked in. Kerry is basically maintaining the status quo while running out the clock. His “solution” to global warming is to depend on technical solutions yet to be found and developed to save the day. The technical term for that is, “The fuck..?” This, in a nutshell, is the (un)seriousness with which our “leaders” are leading us into the future. Perhaps getting rid of such feckless leaders, everywhere, is the first step in saving our lives and futures?

    Apparently, it’s not just me now questioning our ability to survive as a species on this planet but honestly, this has been clear since Greta Thunberg focused minds at COP24.

    • Jan Roman
      June 12, 2023 at 16:39

      I don’t think that IPCC says so. Did you look at the probabilities they discuss? What’s your background? Or are you just regurgitating the popular talking points?

      • mgr
        June 13, 2023 at 05:58

        Jan: Yes, I looked again, you are correct. I thought it came directly from the IPCC. However, as you can see below, it is not, as you say, “just regurgitating the popular talking points.”

        “Human-caused global warming is set to surpass 2.7° Fahrenheit (1.5° Celsius) by the year 2037, overshooting an international goal beyond which severe climate disruptions may become the norm, according to a new analysis (hxxps:// from 50 climate scientists.

        “‘This is unprecedented in anything we have seen historically,’ said Piers Forster, a professor at the University of Leeds and an author on the paper. Forster has also authored multiple climate reports with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), widely regarded as the international authority on climate science.”

        If you wish, the whole article is at hxxps://

  18. June 12, 2023 at 15:10

    I don’t believe it. Better take a look at the powerful, crackpot neo-eugenecists that have bought up all the media. There has been a long standing propaganda campaign to make humanity hate itself. People are so convinced that humanity is the problem of the world that they are practically ready to commit suicide. I am way more worried by heavy metals, and other endocrine disrupting molecules that are poisoning us and making us sick and mentally ill than I am by carbon dioxide.

    • James Williamson
      June 12, 2023 at 15:54

      Thank you. Well said.

    • Carolyn L Zaremba
      June 12, 2023 at 16:20

      It’s not carbon dioxide that is the problem. It is smoke.

    • Jamie Aliperti
      June 12, 2023 at 18:25

      Doesn’t your comment prove Chris’s point?

  19. Drew Hunkins
    June 12, 2023 at 14:50

    Struggling working people aren’t going to give one whit about “climate change” when they’re on the brink of suicide over medical bills, student loans, exorbitant housing costs, and low wages.

    • James Williamson
      June 12, 2023 at 15:58

      Not to mention that the U.S. is NOT the problem in this case. Anyone who has travelled to Argentina, China, India, etc, knows that the U.S. has some of the cleanest air in the world compared to other developed nations. Hedges, despite his renowned faculties, has always been a hysterical propagandist in my opinion.

      • J Anthony
        June 13, 2023 at 06:45

        Hysterical propagandist? I don’t think so. Just because other countries have worse situations presently doesn’t automatically negate the US role in it all, does it?

      • firstpersoninfinite
        June 13, 2023 at 10:10

        Yes, nothing hysterical at all about promoting the geographical qualities of “air.”

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