Filed under: Hot Earth Dreams, livable future, sustainability | Tags: climate change, science
Okay, I’m a pessimist. Is it a good thing to cheer on the Paris COP21 Climate talks, or not?
On the one hand, if they fail, I’ve got a great marketing tool for Hot Earth Dreams: it will be a more likely future. Except that the scenario will probably fail because the Earth will get hotter faster than I predicted, so I might have to do a bit of a rewrite and get depressed that I wasn’t pessimistic enough the first time.
On the other hand, if COP21 comes up with a treaty, no one will want to read about a hot Earth, except that I’m pretty much describing what the COP21 treaty will accomplish: partial control of carbon emissions, which extends the terafart out to 100 years when it could run in as little as 20-50 years. Guess that means I’ll try selling the book again in 10 years, when people start seeing the shortcomings of getting GHG emissions cut but not eliminated.
Still, why not be hopeful? Maybe something will come out of this one. My pessimism is wrong more often than not. That’s why I’m pessimistic about it too.
If you’re interested in exploring a future that’s not depleted of fossil fuels, where we get GHG emissions truly under control, you might want to check out The Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project. It’s a think-tank, excuse me, a “global collaboration of energy research teams charting practical pathways to deeply reducing greenhouse gas emissions in their own countries.” With decent PR, obviously, despite “decarbonization.” From what I’ve read of their reports so far, they aren’t bad.
Their overall message so far is something that should be familiar to those who have read Hot Earth Dreams: it’s technologically feasible to get greenhouse gas emissions under control, keep economic growth going, and so forth. The problem is one of politics and logistics, since it requires a large-scale transformation of civilization over the next few decades to pull it off.
Am I the only one who thought “oh, so it will never work” on reading that last sentence? Why won’t it work? Builders are going to get rich rebuilding civilization to deal with this crisis. Why are so many people running away from it, rather than towards it? It’s funny that in the 21st Century, “let’s reinvent society so that everyone gets a better life” is something we’ve been taught to cringe from, when in the 20th Century, whole revolutionary movements got started that way. How times have changed.
In any case, let’s be hopeful that something good comes out of Paris. And if you want to write about a 21st Century with climate change, I’d suggest that the Decarbonization crew is a good place to start your worldbuilding research.
Any thoughts on it?
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