Last month, Breakthrough Australia published a paper by David Spratt and Ian Dunlop that claims that “climate change now represents a near- to mid-term existential threat to human civilisation”.1 Climate scientist Michael Mann was quick to put down the paper as “overblown rhetoric”. He was quoted as saying that “I respect the authors and appreciate that their intentions are good, but as I have written before,2 overblown rhetoric, exaggeration, and unsupportable doomist framing can be counteractive to climate action.”3
The quote by Mann raises a number of questions. Is the report by Spratt and Dunlop “overblown rhetoric” indeed? Does Mann actually have the expertise to judge whether it is? Are Spratt and Dunlop really the “doomists” Mann seems to think they are? And are “doomists” really as dangerous as he thinks they are?
Answers to the last two question, of course, depends on what “doomists” are supposed to be. Mann has written about “doomists” before in the Washington Post.4 In that article he explicitly mentioned Guy McPherson, who believes that humans will go extinct before 2030, but also suggests that David Wallace-Wells’s “The Uninhabitable Earth” is an example of “doomism”. “Doomists”, according to Mann, overstate the risks involved in climate change and there is “a danger in overstatement that presents the problem as unsolvable and future outcomes as inevitable”. And perhaps most importantly, “doomists” predict near- or mid-term human extinction due to climate change.
It isn’t entirely clear which of these criteria – overstated risks, inevitable outcomes, human extinction – are necessary conditions and which are sufficient conditions to qualify as a “doomist”, but in a response on Facebook (to me) Mann wrote that the term “‘doomism’ is appropriate when the claim is being made – as it made in this report – that we face extinction as a species”, suggesting that the third criterion is particularly important. “This report” in Mann’s Facebook reply referred to the aforementioned paper by Spratt and Dunlop, by the way, so Mann’s response implies that he believes that they claim “that we face extinction as a species” and, therefore, that they are “doomists”.
That judgment doesn’t appear to be entirely justified, however. It can certainly be argued that Spratt and Dunlop are guilty of overstating the risks. Whether they actually are, I don’t know for sure, but if Michael Mann believes they are, I’ll take his word for it. Michael Mann, after all, is a climate scientist, and that is his area of expertise.5
Spratt and Dunlop’s report does not satisfy the other two conditions for the “doomist” label, however. They do not predict human extinction, and they do not present their “doomish” predictions as inevitable. They are guilty of “overblown rhetoric” in some sense, however, because their use of the term “existential risk to human civilisation” is very misleading. That term suggests human extinction, but that is not exactly what they mean. The term is defined on page 6 of their paper:
An existential risk to civilisation is one posing permanent large negative consequences to humanity which may never be undone, either annihilating intelligent life or permanently and drastically curtailing its potential.
In other words, “existential risk to human civilization” doesn’t necessarily mean human extinction, but can also be a “permanent and drastic curtailing” of humanity’s “potential”. Arguably, if 30% or so of the planet becomes effectively uninhabitable due to heat, drought, and/or rising oceans – and those are predictions of possible outcomes of climate change that Mann and nearly every other climate scientist supports – then that would result in a “permanent and drastic curtailing of humanity’s potential”. And a global societal collapse with little chance to rebuild civilization to anything resembling current levels due to a radically changed physical environment certainly also qualifies as a “permanent and drastic curtailing of humanity’s potential”. Importantly, if you read what Spratt and Dunlop are warning for in their paper, it is something like the latter: global societal collapse in a world plagued by natural disasters, not human extinction. Furthermore, they do not claim that that outcome is inevitable. In the contrary, the very aim of their report is to suggest policies to avoid this outcome.
The latter point is especially important because the reason Mann thinks that “doomists” are as harmful as climate change deniers (or “denialists”) is that both “doomism” and denialism lead us “down the same path of inaction”. Denialism leads to inaction because it implies that action to prevent climate change is unnecessary; “doomism” leads to inaction because it implies that preventive action is useless. In other words, “doomism” is a kind of apocalyptic fatalism, and Mann certainly has a point that such fatalism is as dangerous as denialism.6 However, Mann’s argument also implies that fatalism (i.e. inevitability) is a necessary condition in his definition of “doomist”. And since Spratt and Dunlop’s report does not satisfy this condition, they are – by Mann’s own implicit definition – not “doomists”. Calling them such was “overblown rhetoric” on Mann’s part.
But there is a more serious issue here. By labeling warnings for the possibility of disastrous social effects of climate change (like those by Spratt and Dunlop) “doomism”, Mann is effectively saying “it’s not that bad, you can go back to sleep”. If what these warnings aim to avoid is within the realm of possibilities for our future, then Mann’s crusade to discredit the scientists, journalists, and others who issue such warnings is just another form of denialism, albeit a more subtle one: rather than downright denying climate change, he merely denies the seriousness of some of its possible effects.7
This, of course, leads us to the first two questions that I asked above: Is the report by Spratt and Dunlop “overblown rhetoric” indeed? And does Mann actually have the expertise to judge whether it is? The second of these questions may seem less important than the first, but Mann is an influential climate scientist, so if he would (unintentionally) abuse his authority as a climate scientist to discredit work that is really outside his area of expertise, then that matters.
A simplistic view on the matter is this: Michael Mann is a climate scientist; Spratt and Dunlop’s paper is about climate change; so Mann has the expert authority to judge their work. The reason that this is simplistic is that while Mann is an expert in (certain parts of) climate science indeed, Spratt and Dunlop’s paper is actually not in climate science. Rather Spratt and Dunlop discuss social effects of climate change, focusing on national security. Climate change is an external variable in their study – it is a given context, rather than something they aim to predict or explain. The study of the social effects of climate change is social science, with a dose of humanities (history, especially) mixed in. Particularly, Spratt and Dunlop’s paper is concerned with issues of national security (and it is thus entirely appropriate that the foreword to their study is written by a retired admiral). I don’t know whether Spratt and Dunlop are experts in national security and related branches of the social sciences and humanities, but I see no reason to believe that Mann is (and certainly nothing in his publication record). In fact, Mann is way out of his league. If and when Spratt and Dunlop make predictions about the global climate, then he has the authority to judge those predictions, but if he abuses his authority as a famous and influential climate scientist to discredit a study on national security – which, again, is not his area of expertise – then that is a problem.
This issue points at a broader problem in debates and research on climate science, however. Studying climate change is not just the business of climate scientists, but of a whole collection of other sciences as well. Predicting climate change itself should be left to climate scientists, but predicting the social effects of climate change is an entirely different matter. A climate scientist is not trained to assess the national security effects of prolonged drought, for example, or of the psychological and sociological effects of heat. If you want answers to those questions, you need to ask experts in national security, psychologists, and so forth.
Because many effects of climate change interact, the study of climate change is inherently multi- or interdisciplinary, however. Unfortunately, science is not. Multi- and interdisciplinary research is fashionable among science funders, of course, but this always concerns research that involves just two or three closely related (sub-) branches of science, while in case of climate change, almost every branch of science should be involved. But science has become increasingly specialized, and the kind of multidisciplinary expertise needed to successfully integrate many widely different scientific viewpoints and theories is exceedingly rare.
The most obvious way to solve this problem is compartmentalization: cut up a study in parts and assign those parts to experts in different fields. The problem is that this can only work if there are also people involved who can judge whether the parts still fit together. Perhaps, one of the best examples of this kind of compartmentalization going completely wrong are the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs).
The SSPs are five scenarios for the near future that attempt to integrate various aspects of climate science with economics, food security, national security, international cooperation, and so forth.8 The research that produced these scenarios was split up by fields, but probably without considering that these fields might have fundamentally different and even incompatible approaches. The parts (or “compartments”) of the study that involved climate science and most of the parts that involved social science were based on models and theories that were themselves the result of extensive empirical research, calibration, and testing. But the economic part – which is considered part of the foundation of the scenarios – was not. The economic model may have looked very similar to the other models to a casual observer, but there is a fundamental difference, as revealed by the following quote:
There is no unified theoretical model of economic growth . . . Macroeconometric models have been popular, but lack a theoretical foundation. They are subject to the Lucas Critique . . . , which states that models that are purely based on historical patterns cannot be used for policy advice, as they lack an explanation of the underlying structural parameters (. . .).9
What this means in normal language (rather than “econ-speak”) is that the economic model is not just not based on empirical reality, but explicitly rejects any empirical or historical basis. Rather, it is a mathematical model based on unrealistic assumptions and without any clear relation to (or relevance for) the real world.10 This kind of model has no predictive power whatsoever. In the contrary, the predictions of standard economic models routinely deviate from economic reality,11 but the “Lucas Critique” implies that this is irrelevant, because the modeling approach and the assumptions at the base of the model are exempt from revision or critique. Or to put this in more plain language: the economic model at the basis of the SSPs is an unempirical, unrealistic fiction. As such, it is incompatible with the underlying assumptions and approach of the rest of the SSP framework. Unfortunately, it appears that no one involved in creating the SSPs understood enough about economics to realize that.
What this example shows is that the sciences of climate change (which include climate science, but also much more) need genuine multidisciplinary perspectives, but unfortunately, modern science cannot really provide those. To some extent, journalists fill that gap. David Wallace-Wells and Bill McKibben have recently published books that present useful overviews of the climate crisis from a variety of perspectives, for example.12 Unfortunately these efforts are not always appreciated by climate scientists (and others), but their critique reminds me a bit of the famous Indian parable of the elephant and the blind men.
In that parable, a group of blind men hear of a strange animal called an “elephant”. Since they are blind, none of them knows what an elephant is like, and so they decide to go and find out. One of them puts his hands on the elephant’s trunk, and announces that an elephant is like a snake. Another touches a leg, and declares that an elephant is like a tree. Yet another finds its tail, and thinks than an elephant is like a rope. And so forth.
Sometimes, some scientists seem to act a bit like these blind men: they only see their little corner of the beast (the area they are specialized in) and lose sight of the whole. And then, when someone who actually can see looks at the elephant from a few meters away and describes the animal to them, they don’t believe the description, and declare the person who can see the whole to be mad.
Unfortunately, some of those who claim that they can see actually are mad. The reason for that is that it is much harder to see the whole of climate change and its implications than it is to see an elephant. The latter only requires your eyes; the former requires at least some understanding of a long list of scientific disciplines. However, that some who claim they can see are really mad, doesn’t mean that all attempts to get a better view of the whole picture of climate change are madness.
I’m getting slightly sidetracked here, and there is still one important question left: Is the report by Spratt and Dunlop “overblown rhetoric” indeed?
This question puts me in a somewhat uncomfortable spot because I argued above that Michael Mann isn’t really qualified to answer it. So, if I’d try to answer this question here, it would seem that I am claiming that I am qualified, on the other hand, and I’m not sure I am. I have a degree in geography, but have drifted to philosophy since. I have always refused to specialize, and consequently, there doesn’t appear to be any thematic consistency in my list of publications. None of that makes me particularly qualified, so I guess that I’m about as qualified as some of the journalists I mentioned above, which means that you should probably take my judgments with a grain of salt. Or even better, you can just check what I write here and decide for yourself whether my conclusions hold up.
The paper by Spratt and Dunlop consists of (roughly) two parts. The first explains the background and approach of the paper, and can be summarized as follows:
1) Science can be overly cautious.
2) Some effects of climate change that have a low probability but a very large negative effect may actually be realized.
3) We need to investigate “plausible worst cases” to prepare just in case such a low probability effect becomes reality.
The second part discusses such a “plausible worst case” scenario and its implications:
a) Action to curb dangerous climate change is too little, too late. (This is the basis of the scenario, and not a prediction.)
b) This leads to the passing of some tipping points by 2050.
c) “A number of ecosystems collapse, including coral reef systems, the Amazon rainforest and in the Arctic. Some poorer nations and regions . . . become unviable. Deadly heat conditions . . . contributing to more than a billion people being displaced from the tropical zone. Water availability decreases sharply in the most affected regions . . . affecting about two billion people worldwide. Agriculture becomes nonviable in the dry subtropics. Most regions in the world see a significant drop in food production and increasing numbers of extreme weather events, . . .” (pp. 8-9).
d) “Even for 2°C of warming, more than a billion people may need to be relocated and In high-end scenarios, the scale of destruction is beyond our capacity to model, with a high likelihood of human civilisation coming to an end.” (p. 9)
e) This has serious implications for national security. States and their security forces will be overwhelmed by the scale of the problems (numbers of refugees, disasters, epidemics, famine, and so forth).
f) To prevent this, we must switch to zero-emission industrial systems very soon, which requires a “society-wide emergency mobilisation of labour and resources” (p. 10).
There is one sense in which the paper by Spratt and Dunlop is “overblown rhetoric” indeed, and that is in its terminology and tone. The term “existential risk” suggests human extinction, while their conclusions don’t suggest anything like that. What they do suggest as the outcome of the “plausible worst case” scenario they discuss – see (c) to (e) above – is best described as global societal collapse. Such collapse would be the end of civilization as we know it indeed, but would not be the end of mankind. The overall tone of much of the paper is also rather apocalyptic – (d) above is a good example – and appears intended mainly to draw attention from the mainstream press (at which they have been quite successful, it appears). So, yeah …, there certainly is some overblown rhetoric here.
But let’s look beyond that at the actual content of the report. With regards to the general approach of the report, I see little reason for serious criticism. (1) is true, but should not be overstated. (2) is also true, of course, but these risks should not be overstated either. (3) is a normative statement, but appears to be widely held in national-security related fields. At least, in as far as I can see, it is common practice with regards to national security to develop plausible worst case scenarios to consider the possibility and necessity of preparation for what they predict as possible futures. And from a moral or social-philosophical point of view, that practice can be easily defended. I’m inclined to say that developing and assessing such scenarios is part of what a government and/or those in its service (particularly those tasked with national security) should do. That’s just responsible government.
The scenario sketched in (a) to (d) is supposed to be a “plausible worst case” scenario. (a) is, unfortunately, very plausible. Given what has been published about tipping points in the past years, (b) is also plausible, but that some tipping points will be crossed in a “too little, too late” scenario doesn’t necessarily imply that the most disastrous tipping points will be crossed.
(c), however, is probably too extreme. What Spratt and Dunlop write about coral reefs, the Amazon rain forest, and the Arctic is relatively uncontroversial, but that deadly heat conditions will lead to the displacement of a billion people seems an excessively high estimate. Parts of India, Pakistan, the Middle East, and Central America will indeed become uninhabitable due to heat, but those areas don’t currently have one billion inhabitants together (although the real number might be in roughly the same order) and not all of those people will flee. That two billion people will be affected by drought is not very controversial, on the other hand – I have seen several studies suggesting that – but that doesn’t imply that it will be equally severe for all of those people.
(d) doesn’t follow from (c), but a more charitable reading of their argument is that (d) leads to the national security problems mentioned under (e) above, and that those those ultimately (could) lead to societal collapse as mentioned under (d).
It seems to me that there are two serious weaknesses in Spratt and Dunlop’s argument. Firstly, (c) seems a bit extreme. Because of this, together with the paper’s terminology and tone the qualification “overblown rhetoric” is indeed not entirely inappropriate. Because (d) and (e) depend on (c), a more realistic scenario may break the argument (that is, (d) and (e) would no longer follow). Secondly, the report concludes that (f) we need to shift to zero emissions soon, but this conclusion appears out of thin air, other possible policies and adaptations are not considered, and it is not discussed whether this solution would be enough either.
So this raises two questions: How likely is global societal collapse by 2050, as Spratt and Dunlop predict as a possible (but not necessary or inevitable) future? And is switching to a zero emissions economy sufficient to avoid that?
I have attempted to answer both of these questions before. The short answer to the second question is “No, that is not enough”. For a longer answer, see The Lesser Dystopia. I don’t want to give a short answer to the first question, however. My longer answer can be found in On the Fragility of Civilization, but I’ll summarize and explain the main points of that answer in the following.
The basis of my answer to the question about the likelihood of global societal collapse (or “the end of civilization”) is a fairly simple model that can be graphically summarized as follows:
The top circle in this diagram represents natural disasters (top half: hurricane/typhoon; bottom half: drought). A natural disaster has three (here relevant) kinds of effects, which is shown in the diagram by the three arrows leading to the three circles on the second level. On the left: a natural disaster causes economic damage and thus decreases (red arrow) the size of the national economy. In the middle: a natural disaster causes (and thus increases) the number of evacuees or refugees. On the right: a natural disaster causes (and thus increases) mortality (especially in the case of drought- or flood-induced famines!), disease, PTSD, anxiety, depression, and so forth. The three circles in the middle are all related to civil unrest. Economic decline, increasing number of refugees/evacuees, and the various effects combined in the black and red circle on the right all increase dissatisfaction, which can turn into unrest and in extreme cases in rioting and even civil war or other kinds of armed conflict. (The arrow from the economy to unrest is red because it is economic decline which causes an increase in unrest. In other words, it’s an inverse relation like the other red arrow.) Finally, the size and health of the economy determines the ability of a society to cope with disaster, represented with the circle in the lower left, by providing food and shelter to refugees/evacuees, rebuilding devastated areas, and so forth.
With every natural disaster, the size of the three circles on the second row changes: the economy shrinks a bit, while the other two circles grow. If economic growth is larger than the damage caused by disasters, this is not a serious problem. The ability to cope with disaster will be large, refugees/evacuees are helped, disaster damage is repaired, and there is no or little increase in civil dissatisfaction or unrest.
But numbers of disasters are increasing and so is their size, and slowly the damage starts compounding. Damage repair starts falling behind or devastated areas are even abandoned; refugees can no longer all be housed and fed; and civil unrest starts to rise. The final stage of this process is a complete breakdown of social structure: civil war or societal collapse. This process – from a healthy economy with few evacuees and little dissatisfaction, to ever increasing problems – is graphically represented in this animation:
If the frequency and severity of natural disasters – droughts, floods, storms, and so forth – continues to increase, then it is no question whether this will happen, but only how fast. There are limits to the amount of natural disaster damage a society can cope with, and if the frequency and severity of natural disasters keeps increasing due to climate change, then it is inevitable that those limits will eventually be crossed. At that point, a society gradually slips into chaos. How long this takes depends very much on the starting situation. (Syria is already in a state of chaos; Germany can take a lot of hits before it even gets close.)
Furthermore, most countries have neighbors, and that matters in two different ways. Firstly, the state of a country’s economy will partially depend on the state of its neighbors’ economies because of trade. And secondly, a country may (willingly or not) receive refugees from its neighbors. Because of this, a collapsing country might drag its neighbors down with it. Trade may be especially important because there probably is some kind of tipping point in a world-wide application of this model: when the global trade network breaks down, collapse will almost certainly speed up.
In On the Fragility of Civilization I described a computer model based on the above. That computer model has 43 variables and 64 regions (as well as a bunch of model parameters), which means that every model year requires 43×64=2752 calculations. (Actually, it’s a few more.) That may sound like a lot, but the model is really ridiculously simple – way too simple to produce reliable predictions. At model settings that seemed rather conservative to me, but not excessively implausible, the model suggested global societal collapse in 20 to 30 years (or perhaps a bit more) from now.13 It would be nice, however, if some more capable simulation builders would try to create a more detailed and more realistic model of the compounding social and security effects of climate change and natural disasters.
On the basis of my model, Spratt and Dunlop’s prediction of possible (!) global societal collapse by 2050 does not seem unlikely. There is, however, a fundamental difference between their prediction and mine. If you’d look back to my summary of their argument above, you’ll find that their prediction of global societal collapse is a “plausible worst case” scenario and that it depends on significantly worsening effects of climate change. My model, on the other hand, does not depend on controversial, worst-case assumptions about what might happen to the climate, but merely on a gradual increase of the severity and frequency of natural disasters. In fact, the 20 to 30 years to collapse prediction assumes an increase in frequency and severity of natural disasters that is far slower than what we have experienced in the past decades. In other words, my model suggests that even with very conservative assumptions about the effects of climate change, global societal collapse by 2050 is quite likely. (And thus, this part of Spratt and Dunlop’s argument doesn’t necessarily have to depend on contentious claims about unexpectedly sever effects of climate change.)
I must repeat here, however, that my model is too simple for reliable predictions and that my aim in building it wasn’t to come up with an end date for civilization, but to better understand the social impacts of climate change. The most important things I learned from the model is that economic decline and refugees are likely to play key roles, but this is hardly surprising. What is, perhaps, more surprising is that while Spratt and Dunlop are also very much aware of the scope of the refugee problem, it plays no role in their conclusions.
Even in a best case scenario, the world-wide refugee population is likely to increase by 100s of millions by the middle of the current century. As national security experts have pointed out repeatedly, those are not numbers that can be handled by means of walls, fences, and armed guard posts. Those will eventually be overrun, and when that happens, security forces (and the societies they aim to protect) will be overwhelmed by a sudden unmanageable refugee influx hastening societal collapse.14 This is probably the most important reason why just switching to a zero-emissions economy is insufficient: without responsible refugee management (i.e. large-scale, international resettlement programs) societal collapse will spread like an oil-stain throughout the world.
Let’s return once more to the questions I asked in the beginning of this article. Is the report by Spratt and Dunlop “overblown rhetoric” indeed? To some extent it is, but that is a matter of style more than of substance. Their prediction that civilization as we know it might come to an end by 2050 is not without merit.15 Does Mann actually have the expertise to judge whether it is? No. He’s a climate scientist, not a national security expert. Are Spratt and Dunlop really the “doomists” Mann seems to think they are? No. By Mann’s own (implicit!) definition they are not, because they do not claim that global societal collapse (i.e. “the end of civilization”) is inevitable. In the contrary, they advocate policies to avoid it. And are “doomists” really as dangerous as Mann thinks they are?
Perhaps, that last question is the most important one, but to answer it we need to make an important distinction that Michael Mann refuses to make, namely that between apocalyptic fatalists (like Guy McPherson) and people who merely predict that catastrophe might occur but is not yet inevitable. I’m not sure what to call that second group, but “doomist” certainly sounds very inappropriate. Apocalyptic fatalism is harmful indeed for exactly the reason Mann mentions: they promote inaction (because fatalism makes an attempt at avoidance futile). But the second group is not harmful for the same reason. In the contrary, by pointing out the seriousness of the situation we are in they may even stir more people to action. (In contrast, and as mentioned above, Mann’s response to the paper by Spratt and Dunlop really sounds like he is saying that climate change is really not that bad and thus that we don’t have to worry. I don’t think he intends to give that impression, but that’s the effect he has. Without realizing it, his response to Spratt and Dunlop’s paper may be much more harmful than that paper itself.)
Unfortunately, Mann isn’t the only one who refuses to make a difference between apocalyptic fatalists and the second group, the press also frequently fails to make that distinction. This is, of course, the consequence of the press’s hunger for clickbait: a spectacular headline produces more advertisement revenue than a responsible analysis. Perhaps, the worst thing about the paper by Spratt and Dunlop is that they chose to feed that hunger for clickbait.
Back to the question: How dangerous are these “doomists” who really aren’t doomists but who are just warning for the catastrophe we are heading for if we don’t quickly change our ways? It’s difficult to be sure about the answer to that question without doing extensive psychological research about how people respond to different kind of messages and what motivates them to take action. However, I think it is pretty clear that the past decades of reporting on the effects of climate change have been largely ineffective. It’s time to try something else. It is time to tell people what really is at stake.
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- David Spratt & Ian Dunlop (2019). Existential Climate-Related Security Risk: a Scenario Approach (Breakthrough).
- In the Washington Post.
- Source: New Scientist. Michael Mann shared this article on his Facebook page, which suggests that the quote is accurate. He also added the following “NOTE to Guy McPherson followers & doomers: Trolls get blocked here, whether they’re deniers or doomists.”
- Michael Mann (2017). “Doomsday scenarios are as harmful as climate change denial”, The Washington Post.
- Actually, this is a lie. I don’t take anyone’s word for anything just like that. I believe someone if she has a good argument and/or strong evidence, not just because she happens to be an authority in her field. Mann tends to have pretty solid evidence for his climate-change-related claims, however.
- See also: Fictionalism – or: Vaihinger, Scheffler, and Kübler-Ross at the End of the World.
- I wonder whether Mann is also going to tell the activists in the Extinction Rebellion movement that the term “extinction” in their name is inappropriately “doomist” and that they really shouldn’t worry that much.
- For an overview see the section titled “Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs)” of Stages of the Anthropocene.
- Rob Dellink, Jean Chateau, Elisa Lanzi, & Bertrand Magné (2017). “Long-term economic growth projections in the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways”, Global Environmental Change 42: 200-214, p. 202.
- See also: Economics as Malignant Make Believe, and (especially): Steve Keen (2011), Debunking Economics, Revised and Expanded edition (London: Zed Books).
- Such models were unable to predict the 2008 Great Recession, for example, because according to such models economic crises are impossible.
- David Wallace-Wells (2019), The Uninhabitable Earth: A Story of the Future (Allen Lane). Bill McKibben (2019), Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? (Wildfire).
- And obviously, at less conservative settings collapse comes faster, although due to inertia it cannot come much faster.
- But not causing it by itself. Again, it is compounding effects of natural disasters and secondary, human disasters that ultimately will bring down societies.
- Actually, even if what I write in The Lesser Dystopia is only half right, we have to completely overhaul civilization as we know it to avoid global societal collapse, so current civilization will come to an end either way.