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The scientific consensus re climate change isn't anywhere near that gloomy in the short term range. We've already had nearly 1 degree C increase since 1975 and it hasn't been a disaster yet.

I think the far bigger problem will be that it won't really be that bad for the next 50 years, leading to complacency, and we will hit the point of no return before we really feel much impact in the richer western countries.




I keep seeing people spread variants of "if we don't act now, climate change will destroy the world 12 years" and "we only have 18 months to stop emitting CO2". Not just by random social media users - quite a few journalists and even members of Congress have said those things. I've even seen a few people explicitly claim that they're suffering depression, not saving for retirement, etc, because they expect climate change will kill them personally by 2050. Of course, none of those claims are backed by science at all.

The 18 month stat is a mashup of two totally different deadlines. First, that we need strong emissions commitments by 2020, which is not a meteorological deadline but a political one: UN meeting schedules and the Paris Agreement call for strengthened emissions plans by 2020, so failing to act by then implies an overall lack of political will. Second, the IPCC report that CO2 emissions need to peak by 2020 to keep warming below 1.5 C by 2100. That's important and hard to reach, but "peak" is not "become net negative" and >1.5C is not "doomed".

The 12 year stat is basically backwards - confusing an emissions deadline with a temperature peak. The IPCC finding is that we'll reach 1.5 C of total post-1975 warming between 2030 and 2050, and that major emissions cuts by 2030 (and net-zero by 2050) could limit warming to 1.5C. The worst case described was 3C by 2100, not 2030, and harms arriving some time after their "locked in" warming thresholds.

None of that means it's not a serious problem, or that rapid action isn't needed, but I'm really disturbed to see people predicting death and doom for what are actually emissions deadlines. It seems like an attempt to trick people into acting fast, but action that fast isn't actually possible. I think that instead we're going to get to the 2020s and be hearing "you said the world would end but things are still basically ok, you're full of shit, clearly we don't need to keep taking action".


We haven't had a disaster yet, as in a showstopping, "this is the end of the world" disaster. And those may be far off. But even a small disaster can create massive problems. For instance, take New York. It's quite literally at sea level. Sandy did a number on the infrastructure. Now let's say we get a hurricane with maybe 1.5x the power of Sandy, maybe 2x. What do you think that would do to the world's economy if New York faced serious damage? Or what about power plants? Do you think Fukushima is the only power plant that has crumbling infrastructure?

This isn't necessarily validated by hard scientific evidence, but I have a suspicion that climate change is exacerbating conflict in the middle east. For one, heat is a known catalyst for violence. But also, as desertification takes effect, resources become constrained, creating conflict.


The political instability resulting from food shortages and migration caused by climate change will be devastating, and much of the world has already experiencing it. Things get ugly fast when food becomes scare. We've seen what's happened in North Africa, South & Central America, and Syria. India is suffering now as well.

The US has a refugee crisis stemming directly from the loss of arable land in Central America, and Europe is suffering from one as a result of the a massive drought and the Arab Spring hitting Syria.


You are very simply uninformed. What you think will happen in 50 years is the present. We’re already past the point of no return (well...officially we will be in 12 years, but we don’t have even close to the political will or infrastructure to avert it, so it’s more or less a certainty). People are already complacent and refuse or are unable to understand the massive scope of the problem.

Effects of emissions take about 20-30 years to be seen, so today’s emissions are already locked in to be felt mid-century. That should help put the 1 degree C rise you mentioned in proper context.

So, yes, things are that gloomy. We need immediate, global efforts in a war-like sense to change our entire energy sector if we are to avert the worst of it, and of course we’re only headed faster and more headstrong in the opposite direction. It’s not incorrect to say that we’re most likely completely fucked, and that Gen Z will be the last generation to experience a peaceful planet.


> we will hit the point of no return

We have hit the point of no return. The only options available to us right now are how to minimize the inevitable effects.




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