The New World: Envisioning Life After Climate Change
By David Wallace-Wells
New York Times — 10/28/2022
Climate change has led to roughly 1.2 degrees Celsius of warming so far, making the earth hotter now than it has ever been in the long history of civilization. . . .
We know what put us in this predicament: more than one trillion tons of carbon produced by human activity now suspended in our atmosphere.
That’s as much as the total mass of every human-built structure and object on earth. . . .
Not very long ago, scientists warned that this could cause four or five degrees Celsius of warming, giving rise to existential fears about apocalyptic futures.
But in just the past few years, the future has begun to look somewhat different, thanks to a global political awakening, an astonishing decline in the price of clean energy, a rise in global policy ambition and revisions to some basic modeling assumptions.
When scientists talk about the path we’re on today, they are often referring to warming between two and three degrees Celsius, or between 3.6 and 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit — a little more than half as much as was projected to be the “business as usual” future a
decade ago. The United Nations confirmed that range in a report released this week.
To stabilize the world’s temperatures at the cooler end of that range, two degrees, will require a near-total transformation of all the human systems that gave rise to warming: energy, transportation, agriculture, housing and industry and infrastructure. But, while ambitious and difficult, it now seems possible — a very different sort of future, neither a best-case nor a worst-case scenario.
Continue reading New Climate Change Impact Forecast: Massive, Drastic, Inescapable — But (Not Necessarily) Apocalyptic