Reddit and weep – of #climatewhiplash and how things are going…

Someone pointed me at a reddit group where people swap links about the pending ecological debacle (no longer pending, actually, has solidly arrived). In it was this heart-breaker of a comment, entirely accurate.

“We are solidly on the RCP 8 path and I have to work hard to not freak out about it often. It’s INSANE how the climate conversation in my life (born in 2000) has rapidly shifted from ‘things are maybe going to get worse but here’s what you can do to prevent it’ to ‘things are definitely going to get worse but we can curb total disaster’ and now to ‘the worst is here and here’s what we can do to survive.’

“I don’t know how any human is supposed to process this”

Okay, so let’s unpack this, and give it a name.

RCP stands for  Representative Concentration Pathway

These are about what the concentrations of greenhouse gases might be in The Future (I’ve seen it, it’s murder). They range from ‘optimistic’ (‘we don’t believe this is possible, but our funders insisted we put it in so everyone can toke on the hopium pipe for a bit longer’) through to ‘what is the stupidest thing we could do?’ Which, naturally, we are doing….

Narrative one – ‘things are maybe going to get worse but here’s what you can do to prevent it’ (roughly from 1992 to 2009)

Also known as ecological modernisation. I am going to say this one started with Rio (though of course the climate issue was well understood by anyone paying attention by the late 1970s).

Kind of came to an end with the failure at Copenhagen (as far as the useful myths of ‘every little thing’s gonna be alright’ ever truly come to an end). The idea that we could avoid dangerous climate change kind of died between 2005 and 2010.

Narrative two – ‘things are definitely going to get worse but we can curb total disaster’ (roughly from 2010 to 2018)

The tortured gluing back together of the international process (Cancun, Doha, leading on to Paris) and the hopium on sale there. But it carried the seeds of its own demise, because part of the deal of getting the most threatened nations to sign what was in effect a suicide pact was the IPCC had to produce a report on what a 1.5 degree warming target entailed etc etc. That was released in late 2018 and, well, oops.

Narrative three- ‘the worst is here and here’s what we can do to survive.’ (2019 onwards)

This has been accelerating among the general end-of-days vibe around the rona, and in 2022 is reaching the first of its fever pitches (there will be stronger, longer, nastier fevers, trust me on this).

That hellmouth sea is on fire thing. The heatdome over that town in Canada that just burnt to a crisp. California on fire most of the time. The India/Pakistan heatwaves, now Europe…

Obviously these dates are rough – YMMV if you were a) paying attention, b) bulls-eyed by Haiyan or Katrina or any of the others that have all kind of mushed into one, then you probably powered through, in your gut, to Narrative Three ahead

This last point – about adapting to every more terrifying narratives, trying to internalise them – that’s the kicker, that’s the killer…

Well, obviously the breakdown of our agriculture, health, water, democracy systems, THOSE are the actual killers. But you know what I mean…

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