Tag: Climate Scenarios

Climate Change

Carbon-neutrality by 2050

(Originally published on December 15, 2020. First major revision on June 13, 2022. This is the second major version.) A few years after carbon-neutrality became an official goal in the Paris Agreement of 2015, one after the other, governments started to announce that their countries would be carbon-neutral by 2050 or a little bit later. Richer countries generally opted for 2050, while China and India, for example, aimed for 2060 and 2070, respectively. The promise of carbon-neutrality by 2050 (or 2060, or 2070) is a cheap promise, however, as the target is so far in the future that it doesn’t...
Climate Change

The Probability of the End of Civilization in the 21st Century

Climate scientists have been calling recently for more research into warming scenarios of 3°C and above because such scenarios are dangerously neglected. According to mainstream models such levels of warming are by no means impossible or even unlikely, and would have catastrophic effects. Luke Kemp and ten colleagues write: Could anthropogenic climate change result in worldwide societal collapse or even eventual human extinction? At present, this is a dangerously underexplored topic. Yet there are ample reasons to suspect that climate change could result in a global catastrophe. The answer to the question in this quote is obviously “yes”, but that’s...
Climate Change

(Not) Too Late for What?

Some people seem to believe that it is too late to fight climate change. Others seem to believe that this kind of fatalism is as dangerous as climate change denialism (because both effectively advocate not doing anything). It’s hardly a secret that I’m rather pessimistic about climate change and its effects – just have a look at what I’ve written about the topic before – but that doesn’t mean that I think that it is “too late” to fight climate change. Rather, I think that the notion of it being “too late” (or not) in this context is nonsensical. The...
Climate Change

A Theory of Disaster-Driven Societal Collapse and How to Prevent It

(abstract) — One of the effects of climate change is an increase in extreme weather and natural disasters. Unless CO₂ emissions are significantly reduced very soon, it is inevitable that the effects of disaster will exceed many (and ultimately all) societies’ mitigation capacity. Compounding unmitigated disaster effects will slowly but surely push a society towards collapse. Because no part of the planet is safe from the increase in natural disaster intensity and because some of the effects of disasters – such as refugees and economic decline – spill over boundaries, this will eventually lead to global societal collapse. Furthermore, just...
Climate Change

The Lesser Dystopia

(This is part 3 in the No Time for Utopia series.) In On the Fragility of Civilization, I argued that due to the slowly compounding effects of an increasing number of relatively localized “natural” disasters caused (directly or indirectly) by climate change, a vicious circle of failing disaster management, economic decline, civil unrest, and hunger will trigger a cascade of collapsing societies, eventually leading to global societal collapse in roughly 25 to 30 years from now (give or take a half decade). The world during and after collapse will be very different from what most of us have ever experienced,...