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Time to change the term. We now realize our use of fossil fuels is causing more than climate change, we are causing rapid planet change.



Our understanding of the changes the planet is experiencing and the time scales of past changes has improved.

Consider this specific comment for the U.S. National Climate Assessment:

Chapter 1, Page 3, Lines 17-20 – Evidence for climate rapid planet change abounds, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans.  This evidence has been compiled by scientists and engineers from around the world, using satellites, weather balloons, thermometers, buoys, and other observing systems.  The sum total of this evidence tells an unambiguous story: the planet is warming rapidly changing.  The ocean is becoming more acidic.  Sea level is rising as the oceans expand while warming, glaciers melt, and groundwater aquifers are emptied.  Climates are changing.  Ocean deadzones have increased while fish stocks decrease.  The planet has always been changing, but the changes we are experiencing over a couple hundred years today occurred over tens of thousands of years in the past.


Category of the action

Changing public perceptions on climate change

What actions do you propose?

Start using the term “rapid planet change.”

We have been evolving the term to match our understanding of the changes as our understanding evolves.  Has it happens our understanding has evolved to include more concerns.  One way to communicate our increased number of concerns in a “sound bite” is to change the term.

Rapid planet change is a long-term (centuries) issue.  It needs a change of term every decade or so to revive interest.

Temperature (in Marcott et. al.) is a surrogate for all the other rapid changes to Earth ecosystems. The rapid rise of temperature in the pictured graph could represent ocean pH, severe weather, droughts, sea level, etc. It happens that temperature can more accurately and reliably be inferred from many other preserved features. The rapidity of change may cause more economic damage and loss of life/species than the overall change.

Who will take these actions?

Journalist, scientists, and others will repeat the new term.

Where will these actions be taken?


How much will emissions be reduced or sequestered vs. business as usual levels?

What are other key benefits?

A term that covers more of the changes:

Helps all 7 billion of us realize we, our children, and our grandchildren will be paying for our addiction to fossil fuels very directly.  Maybe we cannot grasp the danger of changing precipitation, but want to keep our job raising oysters.  Maybe early spring would be a blessing, but not the high tide and storm surge on top of rising sea level.

Helps all 7 billion of us realize we need holistic ecosystem solutions.  Sure, search for solutions in the traditional silos-of-thought (like a U.S. Department of Energy list of funding opportunities), but recognize we really need holistic ecosystems (like Ocean Afforestation).

Helps convert those who would argue we have more pressing concerns.

What are the proposal’s costs?

Nothing.  If you are already working for geologic (aka natural, non-human) planet change, you type or say “rapid planet” or “planet” instead of typing or saying “climate.”

Time line

Two months to change many discussions.  A year for near-complete change.

Related proposals

Scaling renewables ….   “Fiji, then Indian Ocean Afforestation” highlights the inexpensive renewable energy and food production of ocean afforestation.

Geoengineering               “Rapid negative CO2 via seaweed forests” highlights the carbon dioxide removal (CDR) features of ocean afforestation.

Shifting Cultures ….       “Mad Babies Saving Oceans” is a scenario wrapped into a video game employing the ocean afforestation ecosystem.

Electric power sector and Fossil fuel sector  “Save the methane!” suggests a carbon tax (credit, fee, dividend, …) to slow oil drilling, build the methane economy, and then ocean afforestation builds the biomethane economy.

Electric power sector and Fossil fuel sector              “Replace coal and oil with renewable natural gas (biomethane)” – Ocean afforestation provides the sustainable biomethane supply.


A Reconstruction of Regional and Global Temperature for the Past 11,300 Years, Shaun A. Marcott, Jeremy D. Shakun, Peter U. Clark, and Alan C. Mix, Science 8 March 2013: 1198-1201. [DOI:10.1126/science.1228026]