Quick disclaimer: I’m certainly no climate expert, and I don’t fully understand all the numbers being used in these articles to describe the effects of climate change. What I did gather from reading these articles is that letting global warming of 1.5 C or 2 C are both bad, and at the current rate might occur faster than we think. Also, preventing this increase will have its positive outcomes, will prevent many negative ones including rising ocean levels and extinction of species, and will need to include carbon dioxide removal (IPCC Headline Statements). If we take a step back we see that we’re on the road to those environmental catastrophes resulting from climate change by 2040, and we need to shape the heck up before then so there’s a serious time crunch. This sounds really stressful at first, like there’s no hope because it’s all just happening too quickly. However, I think that we’ll be ok, thanks to my good buddy the Technological Fix. I don’t off the top of my head have the “cure” for climate change, but I do believe that as advanced as we are as a society, we can whip up a techno-fix, or several, and I think we have plenty of time to do this since the techno-fix seems to work well under pressure. Some ideas would be to focus on CO2 removal, or to replenish atmospheric components using technology, or to innovate the technology that’s changing our atmospheric composition so that it stops doing so, which we have already begun to do. No matter what we choose, we may need a band-aid (or several) for now so we can focus on the larger societal and environmental issues over more time or we may just be able to solve the problem using only techno-fixes. Either way, I think it can be done because we’re really really good at using technology to help solve our problems, and this really isn’t any different.
If we’re being completely honest here, I have always been slightly skeptical when it comes to the idea of climate change. No, I am not ignorant or uneducated or ignoring the numbers, I certainly believe in climate change, I just sometimes worry that certain groups overexaggerate the extent to which it is caused by humans. I also don’t take very kindly to being told that I am a horrible person who’s killing my planet simply because I exist and breathe and drive a car. That being said, I don’t need the lectures or the judgement based on my opinion, I just feel that it is important with a topic like this to understand where someone is coming from before you understand their argument. I don’t believe climate science is too young to be credible, but some of the data arguably is. Reading the IPCC articles, can we really say with one hundred percent certainty that those numbers mean what we think they mean, and furthermore apply them to the future? Based on Michael Reidy’s article, even back in the 19th century, John Tyndall understood the basics of climate science in terms of atmospheric composition (Reidy, 13). This shows that people have been studying our atmosphere and what would happen should its composition be altered for a moderately long time. The issue here is that astronomy has been around for ages, yet scientists can’t really prove a lot of things about outer space, and biology has been around for a long time as well, yet we still don’t know all the mysteries of our own human body. This doesn’t mean that climate change isn’t real, it just means that the part of climate science that people have trouble trusting is not the science itself, it’s the data and the theories and the findings that are still fairly new (and the political agenda that almost always accompanies).