UN climate report says we've run out of time

Originally published at: UN climate report says we've run out of time | Boing Boing


It’s good to remember that this is not an all-or-nothing game. It’s never too late to make the situation better, and the more action we take, the better the future will be.


Or, as The Daily Beast put it…


I agree. Though at this stage I think it is much more a case of ‘the less life-threateningly awful the future might be - if we’re very lucky’.


Adjust your plans for the next few decades accordingly.

Things are going to get very rough very quickly if the warnings in this report aren’t heeded (which, as you suggest, they won’t be), in a way most people really aren’t prepared for. The handling of the pandemic provides the opportunity for a relatively soft sneak preview of how governments, corporations, and large swathes of the population will fail to respond to the climate emergency.

While there’s no “away” from the worst effects of global warming (sorry, “free”-market fundies and preppers), anyone who now lacks flexibility and personal resources to mitigate them is pretty well screwed if they don’t form a collective counter-weight* to the corporations and national governments that aren’t treating the situation with the urgency it demands.

[* individual action and decisions, while worthy, only help to a point. That’s true despite the neoliberal impulse to absolve corporations and politicians who serve them by always placing the onus on the individual/consumer.]

In related news for USAians:

Please take a few moments to contact your Senators. Handy script here.


If we’re unable to address a devastating virus that has the immediate, unambiguously visible outcome of hundreds of thousands of deaths, there is no hope at all that we’ll address climate change in any meaningful way. We are, indeed, fucked. But it’s still noble to fight for a lost cause.


I have mentioned earlier the my little brother was a researcher at the Naval Research Lab back in the '90’s. Their research concluded that we had passed the climate tipping point already. Thing is, just like the oil giants, what this says is that the government knew at least 30 years ago that this was happening, and was gaining momentum. And we did nothing. Now we are running out of time for even mitigating the effects. Once again, the US is geographically insulated from the worst of the effects, at least for a while, and will sit and watch the global south drown, burn and starve while worrying about the effects on our stock portfolios and tutting about their irresponsibility. I hate this timeline so much…


I, sadly, must agree. The script for divide and conquer regardless of fact, reason, or logic has been expertly honed and battle tested. Corporations and those who profit from climate change have all the tools they need to counter any reasonable action to improve the climate catastrophe. Those who seek personal gain and/or to hold on to power at all cost know exactly how to sow the seeds of discontent and will do so at a moments notice.


Unfortunately nothing will happen. Far too many people would believe that the record temperatures are God’s punishment for failing to re elect his anointed, Donald Trump. The rich will blame the poor because of their selfish desires for food and shelter. The rest will blame the corporations while still being employed by them and buying their products.

We are indeed screwed.


feels like a hot fart outside


You forgot the part of the actual climate change plan that goes “we’ll allow the monied few to exploit the rest of us to become richer throughout the disaster”.


The depth of distrust in science and experts that has been sowed, not just in our country, for political gain has reached the point that I am not certain it would be possible to take effective, unified action even if all the leaders could reach consensus. I know it sounds like I have given up, I have not. But I am seeing this as we need to focus on taking care of what we can while pushing for our government to do more. Realistically, we are in deep trouble. I don’t see a way back to where we were. And I (personally) begin to focus on how to protect my family from what is coming. God, this sucks.


When the food chain breaks people will start to come around.

I’m watching my garden fry today. (Looking into a shading solution right now.)


We have had no significant rain in weeks, but we have a spring on the property that lets me irrigate through this. Mostly ok, although the plants with really shallow roots have suffered. My blueberries dried up on the bushes. The heat has impacted my peppers and tomatoes. They won’t set fruit if it’s over 90 deg F, which had been every day. Yeah, we’ll be ok for a time, but it won’t be fun.


The sump pump in the basement of my office which has pumped 1500 gallons per day for the past 15 years has gone dry.


In terms of the science, the message has been the same for decades: as far as we can tell, significant climate change is going to happen. IMO it was always a mistake to focus on the slim possibility of preventing that.

If we assume that worst-case temperature rises can’t be avoided, then there are a ton of urgent but achievable things to do at every level of society; mitigation could become a unifying cause, combined with all kinds of other needed infrastructure and welfare improvements. And individual regions can make progress on that without waiting for global agreement. Against that background, reducing emissions would be an easier sell, too.


We’re now in a situation where our global economy is designed exclusively around carbon emissions being cheap. Such a system could never produce politicians brave enough to call for the type of drastic reductions needed. At best we get incrementalists who promise a painless transition, and even that faces an uphill battle.

It really seems like we’re not going to take action until the shocks to the economy become unbearable. I wish it were different but I don’t think people realize how far our societies have developed in the wrong direction because of reliance on cheap fossil fuels.


So cheap that it’s economical to burn coal in order to demonstrate proof of work.


NO. A hundred times NO.

Warming of 2°C globally is indeed likely locked in, and it will be bad. It will kills millions. But that’s also true of the pandemic, and we’re not going around saying “we’re fucked” because of that. Please save the “we’re fucked” rhetoric for when we end up in the world of 3-4°C of warming, which will indeed cause the collapse of civilization as we know it.

The more times people say we’re already fucked, the harder it is to get anyone focussed on what needs to happen over the next decade or two.


Which I think is a pretty good definition of “fucked.”

You may not be. Others differ.

This is true, generally. It’s not a message that I try to amplify outside of specific circles. I doubt, though, that stating the obvious within the confines of this particular forum will have this effect.