We need to fix this now

I don’t know any other way to say this that will make this reality any easier to take, brothers and sisters, so I will just say it in plain English. There is no reason that climate feedback loops can’t produce local temperatures higher than those that human beings can survive. In other words, “the hottest day since records began” for your part of the country or your part of the world doesn’t have to be 107 degrees Fahrenheit or even 120. It could be 140. Or even 175. It could be so hot that you won’t live for five minutes. And we’re starting to see signs that this kind of thing could happen and we’re seeing them earlier than we feared.

Temperatures are getting hotter and hotter and hotter. “The hottest year on record” is a headline that is becoming the rule, not the exception. “2025 was the hottest year on record.” That’s not me travelling in time. That’s me making a prediction that is almost inevitably going to come true, because we are entering the curve of a climate crisis that is so steep it won’t leave room for cooler years any more.

We are a species that seems incapable of taking action to save ourselves. For example, there is no reason, in principle, that coronavirus couldn’t mutate into something ten times more deadly and ten times more contagious, and yet we insist on playing politics with it. So it is with global climate change, and we are literally playing with fire. If we don’t get serious about this now, we might not have to worry about our grandchildren, because there may not be any.

“Hothouse Earth” is a term used to describe one possible future where human activity leads to a higher average global temperature than at any time during the past 1.2 million years. This could occur due to a breakdown in the feedback loops that regulate the planet’s temperature. Losing feedback safeguards would make warming largely beyond our control, no matter how much we finally get serious and start making inroads into reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.

Right now politicians and major corporations pay lip service to climate change. They know all the right things to say and all the right things to appear to do. But in reality they do nothing, or worse than nothing. Even doing a little to reduce greenhouse emissions will be ultimately indistinguishable from doing nothing, because at the end of the day it won’t be enough. Like coronavirus, global warming hasn’t affected enough of us for many of us to sit up and take notice — yet. And by the time it finally does it could be too late.

Is it a foregone scientific fact that a “hothouse earth” will happen and, once the crisis passes a certain point, there’s nothing we can do about it? No it isn’t. It’s just one possible scenario. But it’s a possible scenario a lot of scientists think is likely. And for what possible reason in the buffet of sane choices available to us would we not take such an eventuality seriously? Why are we dithering on climate change? Why is climate change not the number one issue facing us all?

  

There are seven other planets in our solar system and all of them are incapable of sustaining life as we know it. Again, there’s no reason in principle why earth can’t join them, and if it does, the most destructive species this planet has ever produced could very well be the cause. And, as ever , ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.

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