We are still screwed: the coming climate disaster


#21

More to the point, it would be uninhabitable for 6 billion people at once (actually, our planet's population will likely be significantly more if and when those six degrees comes about).


#22

This is not how climate change works.

Stopping the globe from warming 1 degrees Celsius is already impossible.

Stopping at 2 degrees Celsius - considered the limit of where climate change effects go from being an inconvenience to dangerous - is extremely unlikely - if not already impossible.

Climate scientists have almost stopped even discussing 2 degrees as a realistic goal anymore, and are now focusing on the 4 degrees target.

Personally, though, I doubt massive amounts of people will die. People are very adept at surviving weather by changing their indoor climate and migrating. We will, however, see lots of people go through Katrina-like events, and then be so stubborn they move right back into affected areas and be killed in the next round.

If global temperature increases by five degrees, we are talking widespread desertification of some of the worlds most densely populated regions today. A five degrees future is incompatible with the idea of an organized global community, is beyond adaption for the majority of natural ecosystems, and is extremely unlikely to be climatically stable.

Beyond that, we are entering anoxic event territory. Sure - some humans may adapt to toxic water and a devastated biosphere, but I am not sure we would recognize their society as human.

Incidentally, the most recent IEA report (not exactly the most environmentalist friendly agency in the world), predicts that we are well on track to hitting six degrees by the end of the century.


#23

A planet with 6 degrees higher average annual temperatures would not be uninhabitable all over. There would be huge regional differences - as there is on earth today, and will be on earth in future.

What is going to do in human civilization is not the problem of large parts of the world becoming uninhabitable (which they will be, unless you consider the Sahara "inhabitable"). What will do us in is that most of the animals and plants that we depend on to live won't survive climate changes on the scale that we are causing.

Except for the roaches. Roaches always survive. Anyone got some good roach fricassee recipes?


#24

This is topic I spend a lot of time considering and preparing. I am not out there to save the world, just myself and my family.

What are your survival plans?

Mine are - move up north, into Canada, and buy fairly remote chunk of land. Invest into making it sustainable. Once things start getting heated so to speak, invest into making it defendable. I think we have 20 years until real starvation starts, 30 years until wars, 40 years until collapse of western civilization.

My only hope we, as a civilization, don't nuke too much on the way out.


#25

I try not to think about it too much; frankly, I find it depressing just reading this thread.

The linked to suggestions are not bad. Making people and policy makers understand the problems is - I think - the most important point; if we fail in that... well, soon the problem won't be possible to ignore any more.

Other than that, avoid living in regions that are already at risk from extreme weather events, flooding, and drought.


#26

So oranges will be more expensive, is what you are saying.


#27

What he is saying is that you will have to kill, cook and feed your cat to your malnourished grandchildren.


#28

Sadly I arrived at this a few years ago, by combining the worst-case scenarios with my utter cynicism that is always later justified in our inability as a species to do anything forward-looking. If a girl who is famous for showing her fake tits can cause the entire Western culture to suddenly stop vaccinating their children, climate change is akin to Pluto crashing into Earth; we ain't got no chance.


#29

Your anti-orange tree agenda has been noted.


#30

Untrue. IPCC2007 is viewed as being, bluntly, a whitewash by several national science bodies, and they think their projections are too low (the actual situation has consistently tracked well above the "median" line of IPCC projections). The UK gets a 10C temperature DROP from ocean pattern shift at some point, screwing us over nastily. (As in, two-thirds and more of the housing stock becomes essentially an icebox)

(Glasgow in Scotland, for instance, is at the same latitude as Moscow and the far northern edge of Canadian towns - places which are routinely -5 or more in the winter, rather than Glasgow's 4C)

Moreover, Humans are likely to cause a LOT of damage in the process. The food production capacity of the planet is going to devastated, and places where a lot of people live become uninhabitable. There is going to be mass migration and massive wars. (Hopefully only conventional ones)


#31

Yeah, the idea that we can personally adapt to hotter weather doesn't mean our food supply can.

It may in the end be a self-correcting problem if the population is greatly reduced, but there's a chance that the method of correction would include wars as well as starvation. If we're willing to go to war over oil we're certainly willing to go to war over food.


#32

Not to mention war over fresh water.


#33

This.

I would like to buy some future ocean front property though.


#34

Such as? You realize that you're arguing against your own inability to see past headlines, right? All of the actual scientific estimates have wound up on the low side of reality, not the high side. We're not all going to die but life is going to get very, very unpleasant.


#35

If it was all rich people, theoretically, but the rich people are largely in countries that aren't going to get it as bad from climate change (there'll be chaos and economic problems, but not millions of deaths). The vast bulk of the deaths and problems are going to be in developing countries closer to the equator, which don't use that much carbon per capita. They're also too poor to "mitigate" much of anything.


#36

So we're not screwed. The same people who get killed when there is civil unrest in the Congo, a mudslide in India, or a tsunami in Indonesia will continue to be screwed.


#37

Right. We'll just start paying a lot more for things than we did previously and staying inside our air-conditioned houses more often. Progress!


#38

This analogy makes a lot of sense, since we are a major exporter of mudslides and tsunamis and Congolese civil unrest.


#39

Hey, if they wanted those diamonds and that uranium then they would be using them already, right? FREE MARKET BITCHES!


#40

"Probably not mass death" isn't the same thing as "not screwed." Imagine a continual string of Katrina-level disasters, periodic crop failures, a starving-to-death Mexico sending a continual stream of refugees north, etc.