Changing our flawed destiny

The August 2018 report from scientists, describing “Hothouse Earth,” had a blip of attention before it faded away.

The report described how a 2 degree C rise in global temperature could lead to irreversible changes: producing an Earth with 4-5 degrees C in warming over pre-industrial levels.

An Earth that is 5 degrees warmer would quite literally be uninhabitable to humans in many parts, or perhaps even everywhere.

Here are three challenges that we face as a result of so-called “runaway climate change”:

1) Runaway climate change may cause human extinction. Even 1 degree of warming (where we currently are at 2018) is posing dramatic challenges for many countries. The destruction of Puerto Rico happened at 1 degree of warming.

But keep in mind that the Earth’s temperature is set to increase an additional 0.5 degrees in 10 years, and may warm another degree shortly after that.

Two degrees of warming will be dangerous to our species, and we should expect to see refugee movements and war like we will have never seen before once that happens.

If the planet rises 3 degrees, as some scientists think, human extinction becomes a concrete possibility.

2) Runaway climate change will threaten democracy. This type of runaway climate change is also going to pose a direct threat to democracy.

The wealth of the elite will be placed in grave risk by social instability. Refugees will be categorized as enemies and threats. Walls will go up; societies will be militarized in response to the severity of the situation.

Democracy will not survive this type of government response.

3) Runaway climate change may make us all refugees. If civilization collapses, there is really no stability for any one of us.

It may sound extreme to write this, but I truly believe there is a significant chance that in 100 years, every person on the planet will be a refugee.

This is a prediction that is grounded in the science: a world that has warmed 3 degrees C will be so different than the current world, and so hostile to human life, that our civilizations may just fall apart. If that happens, we will quite literally revert to a Hobbesian state of nature.

There will not be stability for anyone. Life will be nasty, brutish and short.

This is a future that we cannot have happen. This is a future we absolutely have to change. Every morning, when I wake up, I commit myself even more to changing this flawed destiny so that the human race, and our civilization, can survive these challenges and emerge stronger, healthier, saner. There is no other choice. We who are alive today must fight to change things. That is why we are here. This is the reason we were born.