It's Depressing. I Get It.

The clans are on the move. They're heading for Glasgow.  Brace yourselves. You're about to be COPped.

Ordinarily I'd be posting a lot about the upcoming COP26 climate summit that opens in early November, this year in Glasgow. It's not like there's any shortage of materials, new reports, dire warnings, etc. It's just that  this year the tone is discernably different, with a more urgent and apocalyptic sense that's, frankly, depressing. They're not pulling punches.

I watched a guy, Rupert Read, some variety of environmental philosopher, addressing an assembly of Cambridge university students.  He described the climate crisis as a "here & now" emergency. Then he said that a good many of them could not expect to enjoy old age. "I fear for you. I fear some of you are unlikely to grow old."  Dr. Read conveniently sums up his dire prescription in the first few minutes of this address. 

YouTube is flooded with interviews of various wonks posted by outfits such as Britain's Extinction Rebellion that continue with this theme. Then there's Canada's homegrown Cassandra and climate geek, Paul Beckwith of Ottawa  University.

There was a time, just a few years ago, when the doom merchants, guys like Guy McPhereson (Nature Bats Last), could be considered a fringe element. Well, he's got a lot of company now.

Increasingly they're calling these annual COP climate summits a scam, pointing out that, after 26 of them, more than a quarter century, of earnest thoughts and promises, emissions are still going up. It's been a load of hot air, empty promises, meaningless commitments far into the future.  Some come right out and accuse the developed nations of using COPs to thwart action on the climate crisis.

What bothers me most is that I can't say these people are wrong. I  can't say they're right but it sure feels like it.



  1. from another no-holes-barred source:

    "There is a heavy price to pay for communicating distressing evidence, Cassandra-like, including psychological factors and/or social and professional isolation. Personal optimism may overcome realism. Some scientists are either self-censored or have their work suppressed or dismissed within institutions or by the media, including in government and academia. Some scientists have lost their position."

    Over to you, Greta
    Thunberg, youth climate activists call out leaders for delivering 'blah, blah, blah'

    1. True enough, NPoV. Camilo Mora broke the taboo when he gave an interview to Yale360 in which he drew attention to the link between climate change, overpopulation and overconsumption triggering resource shortages. Before that, climate science types followed an unwritten law to confine their views to their immediate area.

      Mora, who was born into poverty in Colombia, spoke of what happened even to good people when food shortages left them unable to feed their kids.

      He later said he received plenty of praise from his colleagues for breaking the taboo but none would follow out of fear of retribution.

  2. We're re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

    1. It does seem that way, Owen. 26 years worth of earnest promises and emissions are still going up. 26 years.

  3. Bad News or Good News?

    "China’s population could halve within the next 45 years, new study warns
    Researchers say previous estimates may have severely underestimated the pace of demographic decline
    Census data says the birth rate was 1.3 children for each woman last year – well below the level needed to stop the population from falling"
    per SCMP

    1. "Bad News or Good News?"

      The only earlier example of that sort of thing that comes to mind is the Black Death that swept Europe cutting populations in many places by half. Histories tell us that it was a good time for the survivors. There was plenty of housing, loads of stuff needing owners, etc. It also rejigged the bargaining power between serfs and lords. Peasants were able to command a better deal for their labour at least for a generation or two.

      There's a massive difference between medieval and modern realities. A smaller population may be in store for many countries. Reproductive rates will be just one factor.

      The future seems very, very cloudy.

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