Part of this awakening process is the backlash against the use of public savings, such as pension funds and the Australian "Future Fund" to invest in Earth poisons. A more modest example is the divestment by the Australian National University (ANU) of its shares in Metgasco, a company which extracts coal seam gas. Metgasco shares have since fallen so low that the company has been removed from the All Ordinaries Index. It makes no more long-term sense to invest in Earth poisons that for an individual to swallow arsenic every day. Perhaps recognising this, the mayor of Los Angeles has repeated an earlier promise to free his city of coal-powered electricity by 2025.
The New York Times journalist Andy Revkin commented on a report by Matthew Nisbet on the 350.org activist Bill McKibben. What I didn't like in Nisbet’s essay (repeated uncritically by Revkin) was his likening of anthropogenic climate change to an insoluble problem. This is true in the sense that human modification of the climate lasting for several thousand years is now inevitable. But Nisbet and Revkin seem to suggest that a limiting of global temperature increase to 2 or even 3 degrees is now impossible, and furthermore that it doesn't really matter — as if this is now a philosophical problem. This misses the pointof McKibben's 350 campaign. I agree that 350 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide is a rallying call, beyond reach; but what about 500 ppm? (We are very close to 400 ppm). Neither Nisbet nor Revkin appears to understand the concept of Earth system thresholds, let alone Earth system eco-social thresholds, such as the risk of global conflict in response to scarcity. Revkin's "neutrality" on this, given his influence and prominence attempts to undermine the arguments of McKibben and numerous scientists is deeply regrettable.