Currently — October 27th, 2022

What you need to know, currently.

The UN released a report today warning that developed nations were “nowhere near” where they needed to be to stay within the boundaries of the 2015 Paris Agreement, which limited global warming to 1.5°C. Without dramatic cuts, the planet is headed towards 2.°C to 2.9°C of warming — ensuring a future of drought, wildfires, devastating extreme weather events, and rising sea levels.

This is depressing, but not exactly shocking.

”It is very likely that we will reach 3°C [of warming], warned Hans Olav Hygen, a climate researcher at the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, after COP26 last year. “I already consider 1.5°C and 2°C to be almost unattainable. Now the question is how close to three we will get.”

The areas that will be most affected by the global increase in temperature are already the most vulnerable; many are among the world’s lowest emitters. Small island nations will be swamped, both by rising sea levels and increasingly violent storms, drought will spread across arid regions and begin creeping towards regions that have historically been water abundant, and wildfires will spread. It can be difficult to grasp what a difference three degrees of warming would make, because the number itself seems so innocuous, but every fraction of a degree counts. 1.5°C of warming is difficult; three degrees of warming will take an untold cost on people’s lives.

Mike Davis, the writer and activist, passed away yesterday before the UN report was released, although it’s unlikely he would’ve been surprised by it. Often “the prophet of doom,” Davis became infamous for predicting catastrophe — ecological and otherwise. He disliked the nickname, insisting that he was not hopeless, just paying attention. Four years ago, an interviewer quoted Raymond Williams to him (“To be truly radical is to make hope possible, rather than despair convincing”) asked asked him his thoughts.

“‘Hope’ is not a scientific category,” Davis said. “Nor is it a necessary obligation in polemical writing. On the other hand, intellectual honesty is and I try to call it as I see it, however wrongheaded my ideas and analyses may be. I manifestly do believe that we have arrived at a ‘final conflict’ that will decide the survival of a large part of poor humanity over the next half century. Against this future, we must fight like the Red Army in the rubble of Stalingrad. Fight with hope, fight without hope, but fight absolutely.”

What you can do, currently.

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