George Monbiot did a great job summarizing the science behind climate change, destruction of nature, and potential collapse of our Earth’s systems this century. He also warns us that if we do not take action now, we may lose our already damaged paradise. However, I do have one small issue with his frequent use of the word “could”, as it may overemphasize the chances of avoiding catastrophic tipping points in our biosphere.
The planet will still experience warming even if human-caused carbon emissions and harmful activities in nature suddenly stopped tomorrow. This is because natural sources, such as carbon and methane from permafrost and gas hydrates in shallow polar waters, collapsing forests and wetlands, increased water vapor, and loss of reflective albedo from polar and mountain ice melt, will continue to release these substances. This process is known as the “doom loop”.
Each decrease of 0.1 degrees is significant. The reason I wake up with optimism is because there are now four new global cooperatives that allow for the possibility of George escaping the loop through interaction.
Scientists, ecologists, and their professional organizations are joining together to strongly criticize global institutions, as well as political, corporate, and media groups in all societies, for contributing to the current state of the world. They are also educating the public on what changes need to be made.
Thousands of non-governmental organizations coming together to utilize their budgets worth billions of dollars and their millions of employees and volunteers to rally their members as voters, consumers, and shareholders in order to remove corrupt politicians from office, support environmentally and nature-friendly taxation, spending, and regulations, and support sustainable businesses and investments.
Thousands of idealists are coming together to drive the artificial intelligence revolution and create open-source solutions that will improve humanity’s ability to combat climate change, adapt to its effects, and cultivate genetically modified crops that can withstand extreme weather conditions.
(4) Young people everywhere uniting to build a cooperative political economy based on life-enhancing planet management.
George Monbiot discusses the Permian mass extinction that occurred 252 million years ago. However, there are significant contrasts between that event and the present time:
The current pace at which we are moving towards the next milestone is approximately 1,000 times quicker than the previous one, before the existence of humans. This was acknowledged by Nature magazine many years ago.
(2) It was indeed the mother of all mass extinctions so far, but now at the faster rate, it is equal to the IPCC emissions scenario known as RCP 8.5. Though for perhaps obvious reasons climate scientists seem anxious not to refer to this, jaw-droppingly it is the emissions path we are still on at this time.
It is important to note that even without human-caused global warming, the Earth would still be experiencing a sixth mass extinction due to our actions of harming species, habitats, and entire ecosystems. The speed at which this loss of wildlife is occurring is unparalleled.
In the 2030s, 2040s, or 2050s, as the world faces a catastrophic climate crisis, a desperate politician will likely be frantically pleading that they had no warning of the severity. However, we can refer to George Monbiot’s article and remind them that they were indeed informed, but chose not to heed the warnings.
Charney Bassett, Oxfordshire
There is concern that the rise of artificial intelligence could lead to global domination (as evidenced by the signing of a declaration by the UK, US, EU, and China on November 1st warning of its “catastrophic” danger). However, some argue that this change could actually benefit the planet. After all, AI may be more capable than us humans, as George Monbiot notes, as we are currently on a path to destroy the natural world that supports us.
Newcastle upon Tyne