Putting the life back in science fiction

2017 Predictions, Piled Higher and Deeper
January 5, 2017, 11:02 pm
Filed under: 2017, climate change, futurism, Speculation | Tags: ,

Over Christmas, we had all the relatives over, and our beloved nieces gave us their colds.  Well, I’m not sure it’s just a cold, because I’ve been spiking a fever every evening for the last week, but we loved seeing them anyway.

All this is in explanation for why I haven’t said anything over the holidays.

Anyway, 2017 predictions.  I’ll throw mine out, and feel free to add yours at the end.

BEFORE I START, HERE’S A WARNING: if there’s any US online publication that you need for climate science or anything else, download that sucker before January 20th.  There’s no reason to think it will be available on the 21st, although hopefully the Wayback Machine and international mirror sites will help.

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Paris aftermath
December 11, 2015, 6:34 pm
Filed under: climate change, futurism, Hot Earth Dreams, Speculation | Tags: , , ,

Friday 11 December 2015: Okay, the negotiation dudes are running over. I’m shocked, shocked that this is happening.

Since I’m so shocked, shocked, and pretend to myself that I know what’s going on, I’ll try my hand at prognosticating what will come out of this. Then we can see what reality dishes up in the next few days.

If you’re really pessimistic, you’ll bet that the talks fall apart over the next 24-72 hours. That would suck, because it’s as good a “beginning of the end of civilization” point as future historians are ever likely to find. After that, there’s no momentum to deal with climate change, and it’s every group for themselves. If we’re lucky, this will end in Hot Earth Dreams territory. It might conceivably be worse, depending on what happens with Arctic methane clathrates.

Still, my guess is that this probably won’t happen, and a deal will be announced, probably Sunday afternoon or so. Here’s what I think will happen, and we’ll see whether I got any of it right.

1. Brinksmanship. For the last few decades, we’ve been engaged in disaster capitalism, with richer countries and corporations forcing their weaker opponents to accept bad deals under the duress of emergencies. Even though it would be cheaper and better for everyone to not do this at the COP21 Conference, I’m equally sure that this hasn’t stopped any negotiator from trying to use the possibility of failure to leverage a deal out of someone. Because of this, any deal will be last second stuff, when negotiators finally stop being assholes for a few minutes and actually bargain in good faith.

2. The deal will be “legally binding,” but not in a useful way.

3. There will be lots of noise about keeping the Earth to 2oC warming. Admittedly, I haven’t analyzed what 2oC looks like in terms of human misery, but my guess is that most people don’t realize just how much of a mess it sets us up for in the next few hundred years. By itself, it probably won’t crash civilization, but it will likely leave us with the biggest migration in human history. Among other things.

Whether the deal will actually keep us to 2oC is another question entirely, and I don’t know if any of us will live long enough to see the answer to that.

4. There won’t be enough money provided by the major polluters (especially the US) to do anything truly substantive. The last I’d heard, pledges were less than 1% of the amount thought to be needed to actually fix the world.

5. At least some major hard decisions will be kicked down the road to COP22 or whenever.

6. The major good effect, to the extent there is one, is that there will be increasing political and social momentum to decarbonize global civilization. Getting people to act is an unfortunately huge accomplishment.

7. If we’re lucky, that decarbonization momentum won’t be gone by April 2016.

Any predictions you want to add? If you’re reading this later on when the talks are over, what do you think (or know) about what actually happened?