Tag: Disaster

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

The New Denialism

The old denialism denied the reality of climate change. Funded by the fossil fuel industry it spouted disinformation and lies and fostered doubt. It changed climate change from an objectively observable fact into a political “opinion”. The old denialism is dead. Not even the fossil fuel industry denies climate change anymore. A new denialism has replaced it, however. The new denialism doesn’t deny climate change. In the contrary, it emphatically affirms it. The new denialism doesn’t deny that climate change is a serious problem either – it admits that too. What the new denialists deny is how big the crisis...
Climate ChangeSocial Issues

Lessons from the Ongoing Disaster (for the Next One)

Presumably, you are aware that we’re in the middle of a disaster. That’s unpleasant – to say the least – but it’s also quite instructive. There is much we can learn from the ongoing disaster and humanity’s responses to it. But whether we can use those lessons to avert the even bigger disaster looming on the horizon is questionable. Rather, it seems that the most important thing that we can learn from the corona crisis is that we as a species may very well be incapable of avoiding catastrophy. ignore and deny For months, the general attitude of most governments...
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,...
Climate Change

Fictionalism – or: Vaihinger, Scheffler, and Kübler-Ross at the End of the World

In 1911 the now almost forgotten German philosopher Hans Vaihinger published Die Philosophie des Als Ob (The Philosophy of ‘As if’) in which he argued for something approaching global fictionalism. In the preface to the second English edition of his book he wrote: The principle of Fictionalism . . . is as follows: “An idea whose theoretical untruth or incorrectness, and therewith its falsity, is admitted, is not for that reason practically valueless and useless; for such an idea, in spite of its theoretical nullity may have great practical importance.” Fictionalism is the view that claims in some area of...