Kjells Page


Systems Analysis of our Fossil Civilization

This systems analysis followed the insight that "turning off the tap" of fossil fuels would be a very strong lever for solving the climate crisis (see previous analysis). It tries to map out the territory where interventions with that goal will have to take place. The Leave it in the Ground Coalition (LINGO) is working towards that goal, uniting extraction resistance movements with those who work on transitioning to a post-carbon society.

The variables:

Impacts of each variable on each other variable:

How active the different variables are and how much they are involved in positive feedback loops (aka vicious/virtuous cycles):

A graph to show the roles of variables in the system:

The results indicate that we should take a closer look at the Fossils Lobby, to follow their steps and counter their influence. While Mitigation Targets and lately also Fossil Subsidies rightfully receive a lot of attention, there is another variable which may be a good candidate for some more investigation and targeting: Fossil Research and Development.

Today, billions are getting invested in pushing the fossil frontier further, increasing the pie of unburnable carbon that we can't have anyway. I am pretty sure that some noise about this would drive some investors that have a heart (and common sense plus a long-term interest) out of those investments.

Another insight coming from this analysis is that the Fossils Lobby, its Investments, Subsidies, Prices, Infrastructure, etc. are so closely intertwined that the analysis is running in circles, because everything leads to everything else. (I identified about 80 positive feedback loops, and I cut it at 3-4 links, there are surely more.) This level of integration deserves the name "complex". Similar to the military-industrial complex in the US, we should call this the "fossil complex" and our goal must be to break it, or at least to tranform it, to put the fossil age to an end.

I left out things like CCS, REDD+, public transport and biofuels, because I either know from previous analyses that they are not important players in the system or I have a notion of what their systemic role would be. Please feel free to try it out for yourself with those or other variables included.
Here you can find the full analysis.