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Don’t Be A Climate Doomer

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Deepa is a freelance researcher and journalist. She writes and makes documentaries and videos.

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Climate Doomism is Spreading

Many scientific reports paint a hopeless picture of climate change. The latest IPCC report warned that things are going to be worse if we do not immediately take decisive action to contain the factors leading to climate change and global warming. The latest IPCC report also presented an actionable plan to mitigate climate change. Despite all these, across the globe, on a high pan-social media intensity scale, Climate Doomism is spreading roots into the social psyche. Climate Doomism leads to climate inaction and a depressed and anxious worldview and future view. The most alarming fact is not climate change but that Climate Doomism is prevailing, especially among the young.

Is Climate Doomism Justified?

Earth has warmed by 1.1 degrees Celcius and a 1.5 degrees Celsius warming means more climate disasters and deaths, and irreparable damage to ecosystems. There is no reason why we would throw caution to the wind. However, the problem, the wrong idea, lies in the notion that nothing can be done about it. That is not how the planet and its climate work. Recent studies show that once we reach a net-zero carbon emissions rate, the earth will be able to reduce the carbon dioxide levels in its atmosphere in a few years, just because our oceans and forests are routinely absorbing CO2. In other words, if for once we stop pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, in a few years, the earth will be able to get back to the pre-global warming days. Interestingly, till a couple of years ago, a large section of people was in climate change denial mode. Now everybody accepts that climate change is real. But so easily do we slip into this ‘doomed’ planet nonsense.


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Climate Doom Influencers

Guy McPherson, an ecologist who retired from the University of Arizona is one of the popular-most Climate Doomers. He has said in a public statement that humans are to go extinct in 2026. True, scientists have predicted the Arctic ice to melt completely by 2050. What Climate Doomers do not understand or count is the adaptability of humans as a species and their ability to change. Jonathan Franzen, a US-based author has also fallen prey to the bandwagon. He was quoted as saying, “We are living in end times for civilisation as we know it… We are long past the point of averting climate catastrophe.” Meanwhile an American climate scientist, Michael E. Mann decided to fight Climate Doomism with every available resource and published a book countering it titled, ‘The New Climate War’. Many right-wing politicians are also singing the same tunes as Climate Doomists because they do not want to assume responsibility and take action that could be deemed unpopular short term. Despite these negative reactions, Mann in his book paints a picture of hope and possibilities. He says that there is a renewed climate enthusiasm among young climate activists and that even many politicians are trying to make positive change. The industry and corporates are also listening for the first time in history. Bill Gates has written a book ‘How to Prevent a Climate Disaster’, though the solutions he offers are criticised as being too ‘technocratic’. His suggestions include synthetic meat, energy storage solutions, and new types of building material.


Rainforests are the Easiest to Reincarnate

In 2021, a new study published by Poorter et al, titled, ‘Multidimensional Tropical Forest Recovery’, showed that if left to itself, the soil of rainforest will recover in less than a decade and the species diversity and biomass will recover in about 100 years. The study also revealed that human-made forest plantations do not grow as good as natural recovery. The study outcome came out of observing and studying rainforests depleted and destroyed for agricultural purposes. For 20 years, these scientists studied 77 such sites to arrive at their inferences. This finding is a pointer to humanity in which direction to move to regain a more habitable climate on earth.


dont-be-a-climate-doomer

There Are Ways to Save Arctic Ice

The white flat surface of the Arctic ice acts as a huge reflector of sunlight and helps keep our planet cool. As the Arctic ice is melting due to climate change, scientists are trying to find ways to save it. As the ice melts, the blue water surface increases and absorbs more heat and has a domino effect on global warming. A California-based non-profit, Arctic Ice Project, recommends scattering a thin layer of reflective glass powder over the ice surface of the Arctic so that sunlight does not melt them. Though this idea might seem outlandish, it gives hope that science is evolving solutions to climate change.

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How to Fight Climate Doomism?

There are many like Michael E. Mann who fight the Climate Doom ideology. Alaina Wood aka thegarbagequeen (TikTok) is a scientist specialising in sustainability. She is all against Climate Doomism and has a solid rational explanation for her stance. Climate Scientist Jacquelyn Gill is also a proponent of hopeful climate action. NASA’s Global Climate Change website admits that human activity has triggered a change in our climate with grave consequences but says that the impact can be lowered by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to the new climate situation. The best way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to stop burning fossil fuels and reduce industrial air pollution. Both are doable if countries show political will. Brightening the clouds above the oceans by spraying water so that they reflect heat rather than absorb it, is another solution offered. Similarly, the oceans can be fertilised so that phytoplankton populations grow faster and absorb the carbon dioxide in the sea. Planting trees is another simple and cost-effective way. Consciously evolving a more planet-friendly lifestyle can supplement these efforts.


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Instead of slipping into thoughts of climate doom, this is the time to unitedly start making changes to the ways we live and function as a society.



References


Why is Climate ‘Doomism’ Going Viral- And Who is Fighting It?, Marco Silva, BBC.com

Earth Needs Climate Action, Not Climate Doomism, Scientists Say, Seth Borenstein, csmonitor.com

Why Climate Doomism is Not an Option, Philippa Nuttal, newstatesman.com

Climatologist Michael E. Mann: “Good People Fall Victim to Doomism, I Too Do Sometimes”, Interview, Jonathan Watts, theguardian.com

Tropical Forests Can Partially Regenerate in Just 20 Years Without Human Interference, Sofia Quaglia, theguardian.com

Bill Gates: ‘Be Open to Ideas That Seem Wild’ to Fight Climate Change, Tom Huddleston Jr., cnbc.com

Is It Too Late to Prevent Climate Change? climate.nasa.gov

Reversing Climate Change with Geoengineering, Santana Kulkarni, sitn.hms.harvard.edu


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Deepa

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