Year 2, Month 1, Day 11: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

The Marshall study is an excellent hook for letters. This one went to the Montreal Gazette, which did a pretty good report on the team’s work.

Dr. Shawn Marshall and the rest of his team are optimists, which is hard to remember when we read their study on the likely long-term effects of climate change over the next millennium. Their forecasts presume that our planet’s politicians begin acting like thoughtful adults facing a serious problem, rather than squabbling ten-year-olds attempting to avoid responsibility. If (and it’s a mighty big “if”) our leaders were ready to make genuine commitments to significant reductions in greenhouse emissions, we can expect nothing more severe than Marshall’s best-case scenario (no more Venice, no more Manhattan). Failure to curb our world-consuming ways, on the other hand, may lead to what biologists euphemistically call an “evolutionary bottleneck,” with our own species one of the likely victims. We must act responsibly and rapidly to ensure that the ravaged world of Marshall’s predictions is a worst-case future rather than humanity’s last, best or only hope.

Warren Senders

Year 2, Month 1, Day 10: Y3K Edition

The London Metro reports on a new study projecting climate change’s effects a thousand years in the future. Hint: it’s not pretty.

Obviously, a lot can happen between now and the year 3000, so the scary thousand-year forecasts of a team of climate scientists should not be misunderstood as constituting an inevitable future. But we must recognize that their prognostications are based on a set of best-case starting points in which the entire world community begins to act like a community, reducing CO2 emissions rapidly and responsibly. If Shawn Marshall and his team were to run the worst-case numbers, they would foretell horrifying prospects for our species and our planet. Ultimately, it’s up to us; as private citizens, we must become aware of the climate crisis’ immediacy; as civic actors, we must pressure our politicians to do the right thing for the long term, rather than bow to the inevitable exigencies of the electoral cycle. After all, why make dire predictions if all we do is wait for them to come true?

Warren Senders