David Roberts @drvox Seattleite transplanted from Tennessee; now blogging for vox.com/ about energy politics. Climate hawk, deficit dove. Not a doctor. Oct. 08, 2018 2 min read

The new IPCC report is out. The top line is familiar: we can still limit climate change to non-catastrophic levels if we act quickly. But underneath that, what counts as "quickly" has grown ever more ludicrous.  https://www.vox.com/2018/10/5/17934174/climate-change-global-warming-un-ipcc-report-1-5-degrees 

Basically, stopping warming at 1.5C would involve an immediate, coordinated crash program of re-industrialization, involving every major country in the world. It would be like the US mobilizing for WWII, only across the globe, sustained for the rest of the century.

Nothing like that has ever happened. Nothing even remotely similar has ever happened. There are currently no indications that any such effort is getting underway, and indeed the US is vigorously moving the other direction.

We are slouching toward somewhere around 3 or 3.5C. That's probably not extinction-level, but it will cause enormous human suffering & irreversible changes that make the biosphere less welcoming to life. We could easily drive half of earth's other species to extinction.

We had plenty of time & warning to avoid this fate, without undue disruption. Now we can only avoid it with EXTREME disruption. Given how badly we've botched it so far, odds are we'll continue to go too slow. Tech could surprise us, but I very much doubt politics will.

I don't know how to end this thread. The Climate Messaging Police will be along shortly to scold me for insufficient can-do spirit. But I feel like at least *someone* should call out the implicit message beneath all these reports, which is: 🚨We are fucking this up.🚨 </fin>

Oh, and lol at the idea that a species that can't get its shit together to close coal plants is going to successfully pull off some massive geoengineering scheme and tweak the atmosphere to its liking.

Also (apparently I'm not /fin after all), enough with this nonsense about whether we're screwed. "Are we screwed? So you're saying we're screwed!" That is just childish. It's going to get bad. If we don't act, it will get worse. We still have influence over how bad it gets.

As people who have dithered & wanked around this long, sorry, we don't get to be hopeless. We don't get to give up. We haven't earned it. We don't get to give up until we've really tried. So yeah, the news is bad, but pull your pants up & get to work. </probably fin>

One more thing (apparently this thread is eternal): the new IPCC report should put to rest the fantastical notion that global climate change can be brought under control exclusively, or even primarily, through carbon prices. We need transformation, not reductions at the margins.

Back in Dec. 2011, I wrote a post that laid out more or less everything the IPCC said today in its summary for policymakers. Details are getting filled in, but big-picture wise, we've known all this stuff for a while.  https://grist.org/climate-change/2011-12-05-the-brutal-logic-of-climate-change/ 

And oh, look, here I am in May 2015, banging the same drum.  https://www.vox.com/2015/5/15/8612113/truth-climate-change 

And here I am in Nov. 2016, noting that the climate-change stakes in the election were unthinkably high -- and almost totally ignored.  https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2016/11/7/13533108/next-president-climate-change 

And here I am, in a post-election fit of despair, writing that Trump's election has effectively put the 2 degree target out of reach.  https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2016/11/9/13575684/trump-2-degrees 

I'm not NOT saying I told you so.

OK, one more, just to go out on a positive note: here, for the record, is what it would look like to go full-tilt on climate.  https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/5/7/17306008/global-warming-climate-change-scenarios-ambition 

You can follow @drvox.


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