The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

What Was Important In 2023

From most to least.

Climate Change Tipping Point

2023 is the year when climate change appears to have moved from linear to self-reinforcing in a big way. This was the tipping point many of us have been waiting for. Because of how movement between points of stability works, it may flip back and forth a few times, but this is the future. We had 30C weather in the middle of southern winter. Droughts. Vast forest fires. Way less ice in the arctic than their should have been, and so on.

I suspect that the point where we could stop climate change with anything short of massive geo-engineering (and I am not endorsing geo-engineering) is now past. Before, the problem was politics. Now it’s physics, chemistry and biology.

As I always note, environmental collapse is just as important, and 2023 also so a collapse of Alaska fisheries and continued degradation of coral reefs, insects, birds, and pretty much everything else.

Climate change and environmental collapse, when historians look back at this period, will be seen to outweigh everything else by a couple magnitudes, at least. Everything else is a footnote, except in in in understanding how it contributed.

Covid Continues And Long Covid Numbers Keep Moving Up

Yeah, almost no one’s paying attention, but a pandemic which is also mass disabling event and which we’ve given up even trying is one of those brute facts which matters whether you believe it does or not.

Huawei and China Handle the US/Euro Sanctions

All those chip sanctions didn’t stop Huawei in the end. They made a top end phone. China became better and better at making their own chips, and even the US forcing an end to exports of the best chip lithography machines won’t matter. China is now ahead of the US and Europe in more fields of science and engineering than it is behind in, and catching up fast in those few.

Russia Sanctions didn’t work

Notice a theme here? With the support of China, India, Iran, and the Global “South” Russia did just fine. In fact, sanctions have lead, as they did in China, to increased industrial progress and “teching-up”. Western sanctions also finally forced Russia’s oligarchs to stay at home and invest in Russia.

Russia Sanctions Did Hurt Europe / Europe’s Continued Decline

Lots of energy intensive industry had to move out of Europe over the last couple years, since replacements of Russian energy cost a lot more. Meanwhile the EU is no longer a scientific leader: China, the US, Japan and South Korea are all moving much faster. Europe’s in decline, probably terminal decline, in the sense that there’s no effort being made to do the right things to reverse it. Africa’s rebelling and kicking the French out, since they don’t need France any more as they have China.

BRIC Expansion

The BRICS are now the most important trading bloc. It isn’t close, actually.

Movement Away From the US Dollar

As everyone with half a brain has expected for a long time. Slowly, then quickly. The US dollar is still number one, but a lot of deals are now being cut in other currencies, including for petroleum products. This will continue, and you can discount all the garbage about how it’s impossible. Once it was impossible that the British Pound would be replaced. This will still take some time.

This is, almost 100%, happening so soon because of US sanctions, especially freezing so much Russian money. Money that the US can and will just take away whenever it feels like makes other countries twitchy.

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Ukraine Lost The War

Yes, there’s still a lot of shooting to go, but the failure of the counter-offensive and the fact that Russia has more manpower,  and that it and its allies can produce far more weapons and munitions than Ukraine and NATO mean the war is lost. It may go one for another couple years, but peace will made on Russian terms at the end. This was predictable day one (and I did) but now it should be obvious to everyone whose job or emotional integrity doesn’t require them to ignore the obvious.

The Gaza War

What’s interesting about this is that Israel isn’t winning. Oh, it’s committing genocide, but it’s not winning. What’s also interesting is that the US can’t bigfoot Yemen, because as I pointed out over a decade ago, the new generation of weapons are cheap and can easily be afforded by and made by third tier powers. A movement as fundamentally weak as the Houthis can tell America to bugger off. Missiles and drones aren’t just weapons of the rich and powerful any more.

Continued Collapse Of American Elite Consensus

The various prosecutions of Trump, all by Democrats, and the efforts to keep him off the ballot indicate America’s elite consensus is breaking down. This is low on the list because it’s just a continuation of previous trends. And no, it wasn’t actually started by Democrats: the theft of the 2000 election (and yes, it was stolen), and the attempted insurrection at the capitol were Republican.

In a way what’s happened is that the Democratic party is finally fighting back. They are no longer willing to just let Republicans do what they want. but Republicans aren’t backing down either, and so the elite is splitting. We’ll see how it plays out, but historically it’s either resolved by someone winning resoundingly and creating a solid new coalition around a shared ideology (FDR, for example) or by civil war.


Welcome to 2024. It’s unlikely to be a better year than 2023.



Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – December 31, 2023


Construction of Reality: Who You Feel With


  1. Purple Library Guy

    I would have put the Ukraine war higher. Violence matters, and the capacity to do and resist violence matters, and perhaps even more the perception of that capacity matters. The fact that a country, any country, has demonstrated its ability to take on essentially NATO in a conventional slugging match war and win, is a huge thing for world politics. In a way the war and the sanctions should all be one bullet point. The point is, Russia has been able to defy NATO and is as a result not being significantly damaged either militarily or economically, and it appears they will even gain the objectives that gave rise to the defiance. The fact that somebody can get away with that is going to have a major impact in terms of what everyone else thinks they can get away with.

  2. Ian Welsh

    A fair point. The US days of bigfooting are done and the idea that the West could crush Russia either economically or militarily is dead. (Though it might have worked, if they didn’t have very good friends.)

    But I do think the US dancing around the Houthis is even more indicative.

    Also, US weakness has been evident for a long time. When did they last clearly win a war? But yeah, losing a conventional war rather than a guerilla one really underscores the point.

  3. StewartM

    In a way what’s happened is that the Democratic party is finally fighting back. They are no longer willing to just let Republicans do what they want. but Republicans aren’t backing down either, and so the elite is splitting. We’ll see how it plays out, but historically it’s either resolved by someone winning resoundingly and creating a solid new coalition around a shared ideology (FDR, for example) or by civil war.


    In fact, this is how the last US Civil War started—the North finally got exasperated by Southern “maximalists” who refused to place any constraints on the spread of slavery, either into the territories or into the “free” states*, and refused to continue backing down.

    (The real reason the Dred Scott decision caused such an uproar in the South—the Dred Scott decision clearly implied that no state could truly outlaw slavery. The court ruled that for any slaveowner traveling to such a state, the “free” state had to enforce his “property rights”. This created the specter of white slaveowners bringing their slaves up north and using slave labor to replace free white labor. Do you think white laborers were keen on seeing their jobs being taken away by slaves? The uproar wasn’t due to any sudden real concern over the plight of black slaves; ordinary Northern and Western working class whites wanted to keep their jobs!)

    To explain Southern hysteria, you have to consider Southern yellow journalism, that spread spread outright lies about Lincoln and the Republican party, Their version of Fox News and NewsMax and OAN writing things like Lincoln was campaigning on a platform of freeing all the slaves and having them marry white women and such.

    Ian, once you wrote about the keys for a successful left-wing government:

    Your First Act Must Be a Media Law

    Break them up. Take them over. Whichever. Ignore the screams about media freedom from the usual suspects in the West, this is a case of “freedom of the press belongs to those who own one.”

    I would go further that the media must be held to some sort of standard of truth. As you wrote in that article, you have to believe that the right will not play fair, that they will “cheat and cheat massively” because they have no ideological fidelity to democracy or universal ‘freedom’ (only for them, personally, which isn’t really ‘freedom’) or factual truth itself. So they will gladly tell outright lies via their media outlets. It’s not just a standard that applies only to left-leaning regimes in developing countries, without this kind of rightist “yellow journalism”, there probably wouldn’t have been the first Civil War in the US. Southerners probably still would have opposed Lincoln but they probably wouldn’t have backed secession if Southern papers had truthfully reported Lincoln’s actual positions on slavery (“I won’t touch it where it exists, but I will prevent its spread”).

  4. Soredemos

    Except the dollar isn’t being replaced as the reserve currency. This is such a frustratingly stupid topic, because BRICS, the supposed tip of the spear for replacing it, has itself explicitly come out and said they have no such ambitions.

    Because there’s no actual viable path towards doing it unless you explicitly want to sacrifice your domestic economy to run massive trade deficits, which no one does. NC had another piece today where they again pointed out how the only potential replacement is the renminbi, and China has no interest in leveraging it as a replacement.

    Long term the dollar will be ‘reduced’ to being the largest, likely by a significant margin, among a number of other, large-ish currencies.

  5. Ian Welsh

    People will just trade with their own currencies, rather than using the USD.

  6. Purple Library Guy

    One thing about all the guerilla wars the US lost is, all those wars still worked in deterring disobedience. Sure, Vietnam and Afghanistan won, but if I’m some other country looking at how things went down, would I want to follow their example? The Russian case is different–Russia is fine.

  7. Purple Library Guy

    I think that modern computer and telecommunications technology basically makes the whole “reserve currency” thing obsolete. Back in the day, the idea of trading in dozens of fluctuating currencies was a nightmare. Heck, exchange rates could probably shift between signing a contract and moving the money. Now, computers will keep track of it all, the transactions are instant around the globe, and you can automatically set up futures contracts or whatever the hell to hedge any risk from currency movements. Financial complexity is a much, much smaller deal.

  8. Some Guy

    A good summary, not too much I would add or quibble with.

    We will see if it sticks over time, but if it does, I think the rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran (brokered by China) could prove, in retrospect, to have been one of the biggest geopolitical events of 2023.

  9. Ian Welsh

    What was most interesting about that, to me, is that it was brokered by Chin and no English was spoken in any of the meetings.

  10. Mark Level

    Excellent piece as usual, Ian, & as usual I largely agree with your ranking & overall take.

    2 quibbles however– That BRICS map you show was accurate in September. But the election of the maniacal Millei means that Argentina (the large country in SW S. America) will reintegrate with the US, IMF and do shock doctrine austerity. It will also eliminate its own currency for the dollar. (Essentially a murder-suicide pact; but that’s what happens when the electorate chooses a literal delusional psychopath.)

    I will also disagree with you & Stewart M on your final point. I think the U.S. Ruling class, Extreme Right (R) & Center Right (D) (or the Bad Cop & Good Cop; or the Harlem Globetrotters & Washington Generals, whichever analogy fits) remains in lockstep.

    All the Culture War bullshit is just pablum for their dupe voters. They believe in crushing everyone not in the 0.1% or their subsidized Club and will continue to act in concert to do so. They will continue to shit on the majority of us & imagine that when things collapse they can safely shelter with their bodyguards behind gated estates. (And this might be true, I have no idea if it would work or not.)

  11. @ Purple Library guy
    I agree, looking at how many people America’s wars killed in Afghanistan and Vietnam would make anyone think very hard about not following American dictates.
    However Vietnam occurred 50+ years ago, and Afghanistan 20 years ago. Is the America of today capable of doing what it did 50 years or even 20 years ago?
    Will the America of 10 years from now be even less capable?
    Venezuela in essence annexed Exxon’s oil reserves, and the Houthi’s are blocking shipping to Israel. America’s response to those recent events so far has been telling in it’s lack of substance.

  12. Sean D

    Hi Ian,

    I haven’t been on social media much, so I don’t know how your health has been faring, but I hope you’re doing better nowadays.

    I will offer a slightly different perspective on Long COVID. Post-viral illness is not a new phenomenon, as I suspect you know. Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) was the definition used broadly for post-viral illness prior to COVID, and could occur after a variety of other viruses, although probably most commonly from Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV).

    After the coining of CFS as a disease entity in the mid-80s, the CDC decided for whatever reason not to treat this seriously. They thought it was psychosomatic. They misappropriated allocated funds to researching the disease and put those funds to researching other diseases until the point where there were congressional hearings about this. The ME/CFS community was absolutely ignored and gaslit by the CDC and many mainstream medical professionals for decades.

    This was despite numerous immune-related abnormalities, cognitive deficits, and signs of post-exertional malaise. The bulk of the literature did suggest this was biogenic in nature, not psychogenic. But CFS was joked about as just ‘Yuppie Flu’ and largely ignored. Before COVID, you could still find too many doctors who thought this way.

    The result was that the NIH didn’t treat it seriously, too. Journalist Hillary Johnson, author of Osler’s Web: Inside the Labyrinth of the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Epidemic, pointed out that the NIH was spending more on male-pattern baldness at one point than ME/CFS.

    ME/CFS has a prevalence on par with Multiple Sclerosis. Some estimate it as high as 1 in 200 individuals in some countries, although severity of the illness can vary quite drastically. But in the worst cases, individuals can be physically and cognitively disabled and effectively waste away until they die.

    Now, science is finally awake and catching up. Numerous peer-reviewed papers have noted the vast similarities between ME/CFS and Long COVID in terms of the pathophysiology and the inflammatory, immune-related dysfunction. But it is unfortunate that it took a pandemic to bring us to this point.

    Long COVID has finally forced mainstream medicine to recognise that a virus that can be trivial for one person can result in disabling, long-term chronic illness for another. It is well overdue. And that even when that virus is seemingly trivial, it can still result in a certain amount of damage and accelerated ageing and other effects. I do not wish to diminish COVID, but it is an important point to recognise that this is not unique to COVID.

    If not for the CDC, we could have had a head-start of 30 years on understanding post-viral illnesses and treating them. US medical research is >60% of all medical research dollars in the world, so the Americans acting in this fashion was a costly mistake. (Not that I expect the CDC to own up to it.)

    As for the size of the Long COVID epidemic, I am still waiting for more data on this. Some of the early estimates were not systematic enough and far too high. But even the more conservative estimates using more systematic criteria are worrying. Perhaps 10% of the population will have persistent long-term symptoms from COVID. But we likely need to look exclusively at those who remain relatively disabled after six months, similar to ME/CFS.

    We also need to understand the secondary factors here. What is it about some people that Long COVID disables them while others find COVID a trivial cold to deal with? Poor lifestyles and diet and other environmental factors might be catching up with us here. And a healthcare system that sometimes seems more concerned with selling pharmaceuticals than promoting health and healthy behaviours might also be to blame.

    But a key fact to note is that Long COVID is more associated with those who have pre-existing autoimmune disease than those who do not (e.g., see Jacobs et al., 2023, Journal of Autoimmunity). And the rise of autoimmune disease in younger generations is already a worrying trend that started well before COVID.

    Simply put, there is a larger pattern afoot here in terms of human health to keep your eye on.

  13. Soredemos

    There are very real reasons to conduct international business through a singular currency, especially one with a massive (and still relatively well regulated; the alternatives are worse) financial sector, one that retains deep liquidity. It’s a combination of genuine benefits and massive inertia, aided by the fact that no one is likely to step up to do the work of replacing it, that is going to keep the USD dominate for a long time.

  14. Troy

    Something important that many people may or may not realize is that we are currently in social collapse. This is what it looks like. This is how it is. Books and novels where society disintegrates just doesn’t happen. Rather, everything feels the same but you add up the numbers and the mortality rate is up to a level that would’ve been unfathomable and unacceptable just a couple decades ago. Now, everyone just ignores the deaths as best they can.

    Terry Pratchett in his novel, Night Watch, described social breakdown as such: “Little wheels must spin so the machine can turn, (Vetinari)’d say. But now, in the dark, it all spun on Vimes. If the man breaks down, it all breaks down, he thought. The whole machine breaks down. And it goes on breaking down. And it breaks down the people”.

    We’re about there. We’re about broken in Canada. But in America, they’ve been broken for nearly two decades. And we can see this in the difference between Canada and America. Canada still maintains its roads and highways whereas you can’t drive across any bridge in America without wondering if today’s the day when it finally collapses. Canada’s mortality rate from Covid-19, while bad, still doesn’t compare the abysmal US one. In nations where the health care system was fully functional, the mortality rate was incredibly low.

  15. bruce wilder

    Today is my birthday and I am old. I won’t say exactly how old, but old enough to be “elderly” in my own eyes.

    And, this anniversary makes me thoughtful about how much the signs of what seemed reliable, orienting constants in my youth and middle age are now reversed. The dominance and dare I say “virtue” of the U.S. in geopolitics is certainly among the reversals of sign.

    When I was young, the Republicans were the party of business, both small and large, and the Democrats the party of the professions and working class. Nixon, as I recall, made a subtle appeal to the resentments of the mediocre, which he well represented in his own person at war with the shiny myth of the Kennedys, who in many ways were selling idealism and various kinds of aspiring idealism. I was too young to be aware of the subterranean machinations of the Dulles brothers, say, and “Impeach Earl Warren” billboards scattered across rural Indiana (but not Michigan as far as I could see) did not mean much to me.

    There was an “elite consensus” possible because mostly the elites were pretty close to the ground, identified as “American” — for my parents’s generation the trauma of WWII was recent and the Space Program was a source of pride. I have vague memories of visiting Bel Air in Los Angeles and seeing beautiful homes that really were just slightly larger, shinier versions of houses in the better parts of my small town. Now, in Bel Air there are houses of 40,000 square feet and more.

    If we are realistic, the ruling elites are globalists and billionaires — people so detached in their interests and experience from the great mass of the working and middle classes that the latter have no influence. That authoritarians like Putin and Xi and MBS should become the global champions of something vaguely admirable, even slightly hopeful or marginally beneficial to the mass of humanity would have seemed highly unlikely to me 50 years ago, but I suppose they have, not least because they have remained tied to the interests of their nation-states and native peoples, while the greedy psychopaths who pay for the Kayfabe of Euro-American politics couldn’t care less about the societies and institutions they strip-mine.

    The idea that “the Democratic party is finally fighting back” summarizes the situation is preposterous to me. I might say that, on some level, the Democrats joined and then beat the Republicans at their own corrupt game of prostituting themselves to corporate business and financial interests. The Clinton Foundation, scamming internationally for vast sums to finance a permanent campaign and influence apparatus while pretending virtue, was genius. I don’t always follow these things in detail, but I can smell. I remember that Tony Podesta had to resign his lobby firm when Manafort’s corrupt involvement in Ukraine surfaced — already evidence of mirror image corruption. I remember when a Canadian mogul made the Clinton Foundation his favorite philanthropy so he could engineer a sale of U.S. uranium interests to Russia; Hillary was out of the office that day, naturally to provide implausible deniability. “Fighting back” on behalf of Goldman Sacks maybe.

    The thing is, I think it is genuinely hard to know who is cooking what when a rancid mess like that congeals. I look on, at the Foreign Policy that put the U.S. in Syria, Ukraine and Israel on the side of some of the worst, most corrupt and cruel people on earth, pursing despicable ends by reprehensible means, and then consider the mechanics of how that happened and what I see — just to take a salient example of personalities involved — is the Kagan Cottage Industry: Robert and Frederick Kagan, Victoria Nuland with their Institute for the Study of War, fronting an op-ed and press release mill that drives propaganda where news coverage used to happen while supplying personnel to staff think tanks and government agencies, all generously financed by the military-industrial complex and not incidentally serving as a representative office for both Eastern European lobbies and the Israeli lobby.

    I am enough of a social scientist by training to know that this horror show is an “emergent phenomenon” and not really a deliberate design by a fully centralized and coordinated cabal of self-conscious evil masterminds. There are Koch brothers and Klaus Schwabs at work, for sure, but mostly it is the social and political chemistry of economic class at work, supported by institutional and ideological interventions, by distinguishable actors, individual and corporate. My only insight, really, is embodied by memory constrasting with the present reality — horror, for example, that “Never Again” Zionism has culminated in a murderously corrupt pissant like Netanyahu pursuing an idiotically self-destructive policy of genocide accompanied by aggression against every neighbor, trusting (I don’t know what?) that bullying and decimating the helpless works as “persuasion”, in the patient forbearance of corrupt dictators(!?), in the impotence of tribalist or idealistic protesters, in the unselfconscious moral blindness of Zionists habituated to supporting Israel.

    I had a laugh at StewartM’s “the media must be held to some sort of standard of truth”. By whom? Their owners? You think Jeff Bezos cares if “Democracy Dies in Darkness”? He may well have done his best to stab it in the darkness paid for by the intelligence agencies that fund Amazon Web Services; we wouldn’t know. The New York Times that published the Bush Administration’s lies about Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq and promoted the Russiagate hoax does not have any more a “standard of truth” than Fox News, maybe less.

    For myself, I hold myself to a standard of truth, while knowing that I don’t know “the truth” (or who to trust to tell such truth as they may think they know) most of the time in a world flooded with propaganda.

    The real “truth” whole and sufficiently complete is often so complex in its detail that it is hard, skilled work to distill or compress it down into some understandable and morally reliable narrative that has a verifiable attachment to objective facts. And, we don’t have institutions marshalling the resources to do that hard, skilled work. Apparently, the masters of our universe don’t think it particularly necessary or worthwhile to support public institutions of one sort or another in such work — not great newspapers such as we once had, not even the twice-weekly, eight-page broadsheets that recorded the Lincoln-Douglas debates or Lincoln’s Cooper Union address before the Civil War. Not great universities in a diversity of secular and religious foundations. And, we the hoi polloi, are too disorganized and confused to do anything for ourselves (except “do your own research” — which like as not produces paranoid rants about pizza on X/twitter or “follow the science” into a different kind of idiocy).

  16. mago

    Make your way through any USA public transportation system be it bus, subway, airport or train station, then compare the experience with any similar system in the developed world and even some of the so called undeveloped locales, and it’s obvious this is a broken nation.
    Numerous other examples abound in the land of the free and home of the brave.
    Just mentioning a small sliver of the burnt pie.
    Economic and environmental collapse, war, pestilence and famine. . . it’s all of biblical proportions.
    Gather your sheaves where ye may.

  17. Forecasting Intelligence

    Great post John.
    Agree with all of that.

    Something to monitor closely is the US shale oil production – signs are that it might be peaking now or very soon.

    Although there are some big shale fields in Argentina that will probably get developed this decade, the era of energetic growth is coming to an end.

    That will have huge implications for the global economy.

    Or as John Greer put it recently:

    “Gardener, I expect to see the global birthrate down below 2.0 fairly soon. That’s necessary, because the planet can’t support 8 billion people for long — but I don’t think many people are prepared for the impacts of sustained population and economic contraction. I’ll be doing a post on that early this coming year.”

    I would also appreciate a post soon on the updated LTG BAU model and your thoughts on that.

  18. Curt Kastens

    Sean D.,
    I found your comments more interesting than any comment that I read in all of 2023. In fact in might be the most interesting comment that I have read for years.

    Soredemos, I agree with your take on the US Dollar. All the hype about BRICS is pathetic.

    BRICS is a joke. The SCO is not a joke. But I would still say that the odds are still against the SCO being able to destroy the US led west before the US led west destroys the SCO. Well, perhaps better said the odds are that environmental collapse will destroy both of them for either of them destroys the other.

    If one side or the other does manage to defy the odds and destroy the other before the overall collapse of human civlization neither side offers any credible solutions to all of the problems the face humanity.

  19. Curt Kastens

    OOPS, Be, Be all that you can be. BE FOR environmental collapse destorys the US led west and the SCO. I hope what I wrote above was not to confusing as the BE was missing.

  20. Olivier

    Nitpick but maps like the Statista map above will need updating since in the end Argentina declined to join the BRICS.

  21. Purple Library Guy

    @Sean D, very interesting and informative post.
    @Oakchair, yeah, there seems to be a combination of US decline hampering their specific capacity to dominate, with technological shifts that increase the military capacity of relatively poor actors to resist richer more powerful ones. Who knows how far that will end up going. I just hope that second thing lasts because I’m sure whoever ends up rich and powerful, they will need to be resisted.

  22. different clue

    At the risk of sounding repetitive and boring, I will again offer the thought that if the ChinaGov thinks China is being/ will be hurt badly enough by global warming, then the ChinaGov will do planet-wide geo-engineering whatever others may think.

    Probably something simple like filling the upper atmosphere with a worldwide layer of reflective sulfate particles.

  23. StewartM

    Bruce Wilder

    I had a laugh at StewartM’s “the media must be held to some sort of standard of truth”.

    There’s a big difference between different ways of organizing facts, and the emphasis one gives to each, which is an intrinsic part of the discovery of truth, versus knowingly telling lies, Bruce.

    I think you know that, you’re just trying to continue to ride the ‘both-sides’-erism shtick to mitigate how truly awful the other side really is.

  24. ProNewerDeal

    what is the future of Covid?

    Is there any chance of a nasal vaccine or other vaccine that actually confers sterilizing immunity? Or is the current Covid status quo just going to continue indefinitely for the next 5 or X years? If I understand correctly, some historic pandemics lasted for decades.

    If the Covid status quo continues, is there a chance that the Long Covid Denial Bubble pops, ala a supermajority of USians realizing Smoking Nicotine Is Bad? If so would certain economic sectors like indoor bars/casinos/etc contract in half or worse, and would that alone cause a recession, absent a Covid-Mitigation New Deal to replace the lost aggregate demand by say installing air filtering equipment in public buildings, etc.

    On apersonal level, it is hard to plan for the 1-5 years near future with this Covid uncertainty.

  25. Carborundum

    My view, the most important thing is not the “climate change tipping point” (given the complexity of the systems it is unlikely that this year [or any other specific year] truly marks *the* tipping point). The most important thing is the proposed “why” we’ve seen the temperature excursion this year. If the notion that it is significantly related to the reduction in the sulphur content of maritime fuels bears out (or achieves intellectual adherence in policy circles), it is going to significantly change the discourse around climate engineering. The foofera around 1.5 degrees or 2 degrees or whatever has been theatrics for a decade – the issue centroid is the extent to which we start seeking to manipulate dynamic systems to theoretically predictable ends.

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