The Secondary Reality

Aarne Granlund
3 min readMar 10, 2017

Climate change is hard to think about in an emotional sense. There are dark periods of political inaction and hostility, emerging security risks and sheer anxiety of losing natural systems like the Great Barrier Reef.

Longyangxia Dam Solar Park in China (NASA Earth Observatory).

On the other hand, some climate action initiatives in planning seem to take epic proportions of their own. Massive solar farms in China and Dubai are examples of how gigantic an effort it will have to be to wain billions of people off dirty and polluting energy while lifting hundreds of millions out of poverty. However, electricity is just a part of our energy use and emissions profile. Oil use is growing, and natural gas use is increasing.

Sea ice on both poles recently lost millions of square kilometers in extent.

Meanwhile the rate of physical change is accelerating. Destruction of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean is perhaps the most critical large-scale phenomenon which is currently underway. There is emerging research on how Arctic sea ice loss is already affecting global weather patterns especially over the Northern Hemisphere continents.

Industrial-era global ocean heat uptake doubles in recent decades, Gleckler et at, Nature Climate Change 6, 394–398 (2016).

Some climate change specialists are beginning to seriously question if the Paris Agreement framing of ‘well below 2 degrees’ is in any way compliant with our current social and economic paradigm.

If one is inclined to realism despite mental and emotional stress such realism will undoubtedly instigate, it is not hard to see that many of the narratives such as clean energy and so-called negative emissions at scale are very far removed from what the actual physical and socio-economic situation is.

Pine Island Glacier shedding a Manhattan-sized block of ice into the ocean (NASA Earth Observatory).

The obvious conclusion of our linear thinking would be to say ‘it’s too late’ and fold over into consuming the last bits of entertainment out of our fossil fuel drunk civilization.

But as always, the reality is much more nuanced and complicated. What is interesting is that besides the rate and…

Aarne Granlund

Climate mitigation expert. Sufficiency is my lifestyle. Fly fishing, skiing, nature.