Avoiding the Truth on Climate Change

David Roberts in Vox: “The obvious truth about global warming is this: barring miracles, humanity is in for some awful shit.”

“Here is a plotting of dozens of climate modeling scenarios out to 2100, from the IPCC:”

“We recently passed 400 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere; the status quo will take us up to 1,000 ppm, raising global average temperature (from a pre-industrial baseline) between 3.2 and 5.4 degrees Celsius. That will mean, according to a 2012 World Bank report, ‘extreme heat-waves, declining global food stocks, loss of ecosystems and biodiversity, and life-threatening sea level rise,’ the effects of which will be ’tilted against many of the world’s poorest regions,’ stalling or reversing decades of development work. ‘A 4°C warmer world can, and must be, avoided,’ said the World Bank president.”

“That’s where we’re headed [but] nobody wants to say that. Why not? It might seem obvious — no one wants to hear it!”

“The sad fact is that no one has much incentive to break the bad news … Humans are subject to intense status quo bias. Especially on the conservative end of the psychological spectrum — which is the direction all humans move when they feel frightened or under threat — there is a powerful craving for the message that things are, basically, okay, that the system is working like it’s supposed to, that the current state of affairs is the best available, or close enough.”

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