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2466. Next, a more extended analysis
The following analysis seems extreme
but the question is, is any approach, including this one, adequate to the wicked problems of the time? Humanity has lived through the fall of Rome, the breakup of feudalism, the religious wars of the 1500s, World Wars and the use of nuclear weapons. We must see that the current crisis is at least on a par with all these. One of the few positive examples is the ending of colonialism, still incomplete. Toynbee has written about the challenge-response of failing civilizations. Joseph Tainter has written about the collapse of complex societies.
The current situation
Climate effects are caused globally and have effects globally. CO2 is still being released into the atmosphere and the rate of release is increasing. There is no current governance capable of stopping this.
Even if we stopped all new CO2, the co2 in the atmosphere the CO2 already present will continue to trap heat and raise temperatures. . Light from the sun makes it through the CO2 blanket but the reflected light from the earth is at a longer wavelength and is trapped by the CO2. Methane in the ground is released by warming which also increases the amount of water in the atmosphere.
Arctic rapid melting brings water out of the glaciers but also the dark water absorbs much more heat than the ice it replaces. This process might already be unstoppable.
Topsoil, which is a living amalgam of many species, creates the conditions for the growth of plants for food. By using one ocrop agribusiness structured as farm factories to extract from the earth, is killing the soil. World wide topsoil is in serious decline.
Food supply will be curtailed by warmer temperatures that interfere with the growth of standard crops, such as wheat. Food scarcity is the greatest threat to society, nuclear war being second. The move of agribusiness to new mega crops means more land converted from forest to monocrops and people are forced off the land.
Fishing. Vast over fishing that is also killing the seabed. Drift nets limited!! by regulation to 2.5 kilometers wide.
Loss of biodiversity. Birds, small mammals, insects (we no longer need to wipe the bugs from our windshield), insects feed birds, pesticides kills the prey and its predator. Bees are in a downward spiral. In China a new job: human pollinators of crucial crops.
Impact of global warming is leading to mass migrations that are predicted to become much larger. This leads to killing zones that would depress the whole human population with the daily news of "border incidents". As temperatures increase and food decreases some corporations are already developing strong walls around their buildings "to protract assets", and making intelligent decisions about climate much harder. Holding on (and preventing change) is a near universal strategy.
Western Civilization, with itss stress on objectifying in a dead universe while stripping away the organic and the source of values for living, is part of the problem and may be terminal.
The majority of people are expecting leadership to wave the magic wand and come up with a strategy of substituting something like solar and wind to replace coal and oil with the result that the economy keeps on running as it has been, with no need to change anything. The high cost and complex mechanics of such a substitution make it unlikely.
Decentralization. If fossil fuel injunctions or spontaneous breakdowns lead to less truck and car traffic all institutions in society will be affected and most brought to a halt. This seems like bad news, but it is what reducing climate damage actually requires.(And needs to happen faster than anyone is planning for. ) Supply chains are likely to be broken as workers, protecting families, don’t come to work . We can imagine that the people, confused, gather in the street and start conversations about what to do. This emergent community building may be mafia like or cooperative. Hard to predict which.
Centralization: the tech scenario. There s a growing awareness that we need world governance to cope and impose uncomfortable solutions. Using big data and algorithms under the management of big platforms (Google, Facebook, Apple) in joint efforts with governments, will try to manage the world distribution of work and product. Many in Silicon Valley have this vision of tech and corporations managing the world.
What is likely to happen
Drift and cascading failures
Supply chain breakdowns
Assets hard to value, threatening the banks and the money system.
Failure of government to act, In part because there is no plausible plan to act on.
Social reaction: people staying home from jobs to avoid threat of Covid and care for children at home. Suicide rate and killing of children "so they don't have to live through this with no solution in sight". People not trusting the workplace to be healthy knowing that top management is looking at ways yo contain costs more than potect workers.
What to do? Help create a new effort to bring together a significant number rof world leaders from diverse fields to demand that they seize control, asking those leaders to help get the commitment to compliance from existing governments and make available their militaries to protect this effort. Be serious about species survival and provide a new welfare effort( Hoover at the end of WW! Rescuing Belgium from starvation) to project those who are hurt by the process.
(insert your plan for conversation).
(apologies for typos in first version)