Note — Oct 21, 2018

The Big IPCC Report

Seen in → No.53

The Big IPCC Report

By now you’ve certainly heard of the IPCC report on climate change. Instead of going 😱 too much, here’s a good overview by Robinson Meyer and kind of hopeful (in a way) calls to action.

UN Climate Report: How to Understand Its Scary Warning

People keep saying that one reason we haven’t acted is because it’s too far out in the future and hard to envision. Well now we see extremes year long and the cut off for massive action is basically 2030 which, remember, is 12 years away. So it’s not that far anymore and it’s easy to see.

Meeting that target would require humanity to abandon coal and other fossil fuels in the next decade or two—an economic transition so abrupt that, in the IPCC’s words, it “has no documented historic precedents.”

The report, in other words, lays out humanity’s last best hope for managing climate change. But it does so against a backdrop of generational failure. […]

The new prognosis is stirring. A world that warms by 3.6 degrees—and not 2.7 degrees—will find that its problems metastasize out of scale with that seemingly small difference. In the hotter world, the number of people affected by water scarcity will double. Twice as many corn crops will perish in the tropics. The size of global fisheries will drop by 50 percent. And 99 percent of the world’s coral reefs will perish. […]

A lot of the reason it’s been so challenging to turn the corner on climate change is it will mean that some of the folks who are in positions of power and privilege won’t maintain that privilege, we have a huge number of special interests that benefit from making the transition slower rather than faster.

Don’t despair: the climate fight is only over if you think it is

Rebecca Solnit on taking action because it’s the best way to live and because it is right.

Right now living as decent people means every one of us with resources taking serious climate action, or stepping up what we’re already doing. […]

Taking action is the best way to live in conditions of crisis and violation, for your spirit and your conscience as well as for society. It’s entirely compatible with grief and horror; you can work to elect climate heroes while being sad. […]

“Giving up” is often how fossil fuel is talked about, as though it’s pure loss, but renouncing poison doesn’t have to be framed as sacrifice. […]

A revolution is what we need, and we can begin by imagining and demanding it and doing what we can to try to realize it. Rather than waiting to see what happens, we can be what happens.