08 December 2022

"High overshoot" climate change ahead

An interesting article at The Washington Post looks at 1,200 possible scenarios regarding our planet's future climate (using the semi-arbitrary year of 2100 as an end point).  Most of the scenarios result in a global mean temperature rise of 2-5 degrees Celsius, widely considered to result in ominous or even extinction-level effects.

Of the "hopeful" scenarios, only 112 result in an increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius or less by 2100.  The components of the scenarios (see the link for detail) involve such things as CO2 removal, decreased CO2 production, changing energy demand, reducing methane production etc.  If you narrow down the choices that permit "reasonable assumptions" about human behavior, there are no paths to keeping the mean temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

I'm in the "doom and gloom" camp.  I don't think humans will do anything meaningful. I think the people who have the power to effect meaningful change will not do so; they will continue to "kick the can down the road" hoping a future generation will solve the problem.  This includes businessmen, politicians, and individuals.  The former two groups will come up with multi-year "plans" but not allow their company or country to suffer while they themselves are still in power.  Adult individuals will remain either ignorant or indifferent because the latter years of the century are beyond their lifespan.

And I often wonder if in fact we have already gone past a "tipping point" but nobody is telling us that because they don't want the global public to panic.  


  1. Support for the "individual morality" version of environmental responsibility is thin. Thin as it is, I'm of the opinion there's no reason for optimism when the moral orientation of humanity remains so far from anything that could be described as "morally competent"--in this arena, "environmentally morally competent."

    In a nutshell, moral competence is exhibited in a life that goes deep, perennially reforming behavior by way of a practice of attending to the unnecessary suffering of the world--human, animal, ecological--especially as it arises from our actions/way of life. To listen, then act on the voice of that suffering, a voice often asking us to make sacrifices. (This whole thrust regarded as lunacy, across the political spectrum.)

    I'm ever more convinced humanity is in "over its head." Technologically rich and morally impoverished. And stubbornly so. So that's a bad brew.

    1. That is to say, whether we are past a "tipping point" (the seemingly absolute conviction Guy McPherson, for example), which we may well be, I just can't, from 66 years of life experience, imagine how we make the kind of revolutionary moral progress necessary for survival. At the same time, I'm bound to a brutal particle of hope. A conviction that we're never entirely free of the existential challenge to keep our souls, which requires something more than acquiescence, regardless of the "odds." Moral investment being imperative, even if the yield could be known to be zero. The many "spiritual" paths offering a way out of this struggle/tragedy are fraudulent, IMHO.

  2. Reading this article from 'The Third Pole' does little to diminish the thought that we are already past a tipping point: https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/energy/shrinking-tibetan-glaciers-threaten-china-india-energy-transition/


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...