Paul Beckwith (University of Ottawa) gets it:
Door A: If we carry on business-as-usual and continue to burn fossil fuels, the chemistry of the atmosphere and oceans will continue to change, trapping more heat in the former and destroying the marine food chain in the latter.
The enormous Arctic warming has already disrupted Earth’s heat balance from the equator to the poles causing global circulation patterns in the atmosphere to go haywire, and now recently the ocean currents and surface heat patterns are completely changing. Extreme weather events around the planet are wreaking havoc on our cities and infrastructure and global food sources. If continued, with abrupt climate change, first cities will drop like dominoes cascading to nation state failure and even societal collapse.
Door B: We accept that we have an unprecedented global emergency on our plate from abrupt climate change. We realize that this emergency threatens to take out our societies, and our technologies, and our subsidence and our humanity. Not only that, it threatens to remove all of our structures and science and historical signatures and achievements that have been accomplished on the Earth throughout human history.
Once we realize this, we must ACT, in concert and with all our resources and capital to fight this. We may fail in the end to reverse our course, but we must try. Nations of the planet must declare a global emergency, and act in unison.
A global emergency needs to be declared. It’s way, way overdue. Climate collapse has been recognized for many years as being dangerous to the survival of the human community.
December temperatures in London have been warmer than July’s. Scotland is balmier than Barcelona. Artificial snow covers European ski slopes. Africa faces its worst food crisis in a generation as floods and droughts strike vulnerable countries.
I finally have utility power here again, but thousands of other people still do not. The storms here have been severe enough to cause multiple power failures, but I don’t think we’ve seen anything yet. There are too many easily broken links in the power grid that are suspect to extreme weather events.
We’re Doomed. Now What? (New York Times)
The time we’ve been thrown into is one of alarming and bewildering change — the breakup of the post-1945 global order, a multispecies mass extinction and the beginning of the end of civilization as we know it. Not one of us is innocent, not one of us is safe. The world groans under the weight of seven billion humans; every new birth adds another mouth hungry for food, another life greedy for energy.
We all see what’s happening, we read it in the headlines every day, but seeing isn’t believing, and believing isn’t accepting. We respond according to our prejudices, acting out of instinct, reflex and training. Right-wing denialists insist that climate change isn’t happening, or that it’s not caused by humans, or that the real problem is terrorism or refugees, while left-wing denialists insist that the problems are fixable, under our control, merely a matter of political will. Accelerationists argue that more technology is the answer. Incrementalists tell us to keep trusting the same institutions and leaders that have been failing us for decades. Activists say we have to fight, even if we’re sure to lose.
Meanwhile, as the gap between the future we’re entering and the future we once imagined grows ever wider, nihilism takes root in the shadow of our fear: if all is already lost, nothing matters anyway.
There are a lot of people that advocate we should give up (already). I have my own vacillation at times on this topic, but always land on the side where we must continue to try. This is now our task as a species – to remake our entire civilization as fast as we can emphasizing sustainability and survival. It’s the same baseline message on this blog since its inception. But on the other hand, I well realize that our collapse as a civilization is inevitable – we do not have a power-down plan, nor any of the other elements required to navigate climate collapse.