The Coming Climate Change Panic

For those readers of this modest blog interested in perhaps the best climate change discussion out there on the web, I’d like to recommend Climate Progress.org.

They have a fascinating and frighteningly relevant series of postings currently up there on the overlap between climate change and human population – including a link to the clearest exposition I’ve yet read on the psychological tipping point we are now approaching, where the bulk of humankind will shift – as I agree it will, and quite soon – from ignorance/denial to panic/blame.

Also, Canadian Broadcasting has put together an outstanding three-part radio documentary on what is brewing which will chill the soul. Riveting and disturbing listening, as experts discuss the implications of climate change for refugee flows, war, famine and much more, with news bulletins from the 2020s.

Back with Climate Progress, I’ve posted a comment on the population question which I will copy in here as well.

(This is) one of the best websites on global warming and the coming catastrophe, and I read you every day from the UK – with despair of course, but also with relief, as a former journalist and now psychotherapist, that at least someone is naming it as it is.

But on population, isn’t one huge elephant in the room largely being missed in almost every discussion of climate change and sustainability? That it’s not that too many people are being born, but that too few people are dying?

To focus on reducing births while at the same time deploying every way we know to keep everyone alive for longer and longer is understandable given human emotions, but completely illogical.

This is of course, politically, a spectacularly incorrect thing to say. And quite impossible for us as 21st century humans through our own agency to do anything about. It’s not controlling births that’s needed now, but reducing numbers. Been tried before…

For me, the more I read the debates on this site and out there among the climate denial folk, this circle tragically can’t and won’t be squared.

Theoretically, yes. And we know what we would need to do. But given human behaviour (and we do after all function as a species just as we function individually), we won’t stop consuming, or wanting to consume, until catastrophe strikes. And we won’t sacrifice either our own children or ourselves to bring numbers down until Gaia does it for us.

Time therefore seriously to prepare for the worst that is coming, and for that psychological tipping point brilliantly identified in one of your earlier posts last week.

One wishes it wasn’t thus, but can anyone provide any serious evidence that this analysis is going to be proved wrong?