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What Do Climate Scientists Have to Say about Nations Fighting Climate Change

Environmental activist Greta Thunberg, of Sweden, addresses the Climate Action Summit in the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Monday, Sept. 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

There were a bunch of meaningless pledges made this week by nations that will do nothing to halt climate change.

Climate scientists basically have no hope that nations will ever do anything here.

Nature conducted an anonymous survey of the 233 living IPCC authors last month and received responses from 92 scientists—about 40% of the group. Their answers suggest strong scepticism that governments will markedly slow the pace of global warming, despite political promises made by international leaders as part of the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

Six in ten of the respondents said that they expect the world to warm by at least 3 °C by the end of the century, compared with what conditions were like before the Industrial Revolution. That is far beyond the Paris agreement’s goal to limit warming to 1.5–2 °C.

Most of the survey’s respondents—88%—said they think global warming constitutes a ‘crisis’, and nearly as many said they expect to see catastrophic impacts of climate change in their lifetimes. Just under half said that global warming has caused them to reconsider major life decisions, such as where to live and whether to have children. More than 60% said that they experience anxiety, grief or other distress because of concerns over climate change.

For Arias, who frequently sees the impacts of political instability out of her office window as immigrants from strife-torn Venezuela wander the streets seeking food and shelter, the choice about children came naturally. She says many friends and colleagues have arrived at the same conclusion. “I’m not saying that that is a decision that everyone should make,” she says, “but it’s not something I am struggling with much any more.”

I honestly do not see how one can bring children into this world at this time. When I see small children, I think of what a living hell this planet is going to be by the time they are 30, never mind 60 or 70. I guess not paying attention to climate change is a lot easier than paying attention to climate change. And optimism is a lot more appealing than reality. But it’s tough out there. I for one could not justify bringing a child into a world where 90% of the species are likely to be extinct in the next couple of hundred years and where the entire future of humanity is questionable. I mean, I don’t blame anyone for doing so either. We all deal with these things in different ways and let’s just say that no one brings me on board for the optimistic look. But that’s how bad it is out there and it is going to get worse every single year for the rest of the lives of every single living human, from the newest born baby to Betty White. Greta Thunberg has every right to be incandescently angry at the world’s leaders.

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