The climate crisis has progressed to the point that we look forward to devastating climate change but still have time, according to the best minds in climate science, to avoid catastrophic climate change.
- Devastating climate change: Western civilization and richer countries may survive it, but almost certainly tens or hundreds of millions will die and be displaced, and the cost will be in the trillions. Cities like Miami will be largely abandoned, many areas will no longer be suitable for agriculture, mass migrations of climate refugees from desertifying and war-torn areas, pests and diseases spread.
- Catastrophic climate change: Billions die, Western Civilization and most modern conveniences like electricity and indoor plumbing are no longer possible. It makes no sense to count the financial cost, because there will be no finances. Call it 100%. Those people who survive will be back to living like foragers, hunter-gatherers, and life will be nasty, brutish, and short once again.
For those who the above an exaggeration (as I certainly once thought it ridiculous hyperbole), consider this: At 5C of warming, only a small area in the Pacific Northwest is likely to be suitable for agriculture of any kind, and cannot possibly support the current US and Canadian populations of ~360M. And of course, we continue to increase our populations. We are on a track to blow past 5C.
So, it is time to get serious about getting action on climate change. There are countless solutions already in existence – utility-scale solar is now cheaper than gas or coal, for example – but unless we implement some of them, fast, it will be too late and we’ll be committed to 5C or more. The naysayers must be convinced or swept aside. Those who deceived for decades about the reality of the climate crisis must be neutralized and should be punished as all traitors are.