The Collapse of Western Civilization

“It is the year 2393, almost 400 years from now. And a Chinese historian is looking back on our century, the 21st century, and trying to explain how the world saw climate change coming and did nothing. How we denied and delayed as an unbelievable price tag of suffering and destruction gathered around us. How that suffering finally came – with flood and heat and mass migration and chaos. How Western civilization collapsed”

3 responses to “The Collapse of Western Civilization

  1. Pingback: The Collapse of Western Civilization – The Science Show – ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) – Nadia |·

  2. I believe in the science of climate change, and the correctness of the IPCC models, but the forecasts of fossil fuel comsumption rates fed into those models are seriously wrong. The forecasts that the IPCC use are largely in line with IEA data, but the IEA is an organisation that is dominated by the US and major oil companies, and they refuse to admit the scientific reality of Peak Oil, Gas and Coal in order to protect their companies’ share values. To claim that these forecasts are scientically based is quite wrong – they are politically biased.

    So the IEA forecasts of fossil fuels to be burned in the future are way too high, and the scenarios chosen for IPCC’s AR5 are way too high, and therefore the results produced by the IPCC models are way too high and unrealistic.

    If you take peakists’ figures, and construct a scenario out of those, the resulting temperature rise is approximately +1.5°C, peaking in 2045 and falling slowly after that. Now that might be unpleasant enough on its own, but it nowhere near the scary scenarios that this book is talking about.

    However the frightening aspect of Peak Oil is itself enough to collapse industrial civilisation, since we no longer have the luxury of cheap energy to build the renewable energy infrastructure that you envision as a solution. Moreover Peak Oil is here RIGHT NOW, with the world in an economic depression because business models don’t work with oil at $100 /barrel, whereas +1.5°C is still 3 decades off.

    Any “solution” that starts off “We must build new …” is doomed to failure, because we don’t have the energy to spare to do it.

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