Extreme weather is ‘smacking us in the face’ with worse to come, but a ‘tiny window’ of hope remains, say leading climate scientists
A little over two centuries ago, in the year 1800, roughly a billion people called Earth home.
Just a century later, it had grown by another 600 million.
Today, there are around 8 billion people on the planet.
That sort of growth is unsustainable for our ecosphere, risking a ‘population correction’ that according to a new study could occur before the century is out.
The prediction is the work of population ecologist William Rees from the University of British Columbia in Canada. He argues that we’re using up Earth’s resources at an unsustainable rate, and that our natural tendencies as humans make it difficult for us to correct this “advanced ecological overshoot”.
The result could be some kind of civilizational collapse that ‘corrects’ the world’s population, Rees says – one that could happen before the end of the century in a worst case scenario. Only the richest and most resilient societies would be left.
“Homo sapiens has evolved to reproduce exponentially, expand geographically, and consume all available resources,” Rees writes in his published paper.
You may not have noticed, but earlier this month we passed Earth overshoot day, when humanity’s demands for ecological resources and services exceeded what our planet can regenerate annually.
Many economists criticising the developing degrowth movement fail to appreciate this critical point of Earth’s biophysical limits.
Ecologists on the other hand see the human economy as a subset of the biosphere. Their perspective highlights the urgency with which we need to reduce our demands on the biosphere to avoid a disastrous ecological collapse, with consequences for us and all other species.
Record low sea ice levels, the collapse of ice shelves, and surface temperatures 38.5C above average cited as concerns in new review
It is “virtually certIt is “virtually certain” that future extreme events in Antarctica will be worse than the extraordinary changes already observed, according to a new scientific warning that stresses the case for immediate and drastic action to limit global heating.
Climate optimists keep talking about hope, but philosophers offer us a warning.
I’ve heard it all before:
Doomers are ruining everything. They’re encouraging everyone to give up. They’re evangelizing hopelessness and fear.
The hopium dealers trot out every tired cliche they can think of. They claim expertise and pass judgment on anyone who tries to express their raw emotions about what’s going on these days. Apparently, people don’t have a right to make anyone else feel uncomfortable.
Anyway, I got curious about this word hope. The climate optimists keep throwing it out there, like it’s a good thing.
Even in Antarctica — one of the most remote and desolate places on Earth — scientists say they are finding shattered temperature records and an increase in the size and number of wacky weather events.
As the northern hemisphere burns, experts feel deep sadness – and resentment – while dreading what lies ahead this Australian summer
The report argues that nearly half of the planet’s animal species are now in decline, but unlike past mass extinctions, this one has been entirely caused by humans.
James Hansen, who testified to Congress on global heating in 1988, says world is approaching a ‘new climate frontier’
The world is shifting towards a superheated climate not seen in the past 1m years, prior to human existence, because “we are damned fools” for not acting upon warnings over the climate crisis, according to James Hansen, the US scientist who alerted the world to the greenhouse effect in the 1980s.
Hansen, whose testimony to the US Senate in 1988 is cited as the first high-profile revelation of global heating, warned in a statement with two other scientists that the world was moving towards a “new climate frontier” with temperatures higher than at any point over the past million years, bringing impacts such as stronger storms, heatwaves and droughts.