Is global warming ever going to stop?
Climate change (which is a better term than global warming) is not the basic problem, but one of the terrible symptoms. Other symptoms are:
1. Various other ways we are causing the 6th extinction event of the planet, such as rainforest destruction, plastic killing marine life and birds, topsoil degradation, fresh water overuse, and the poisoning of the planet with a witches’ brew of toxins.
2. Wealth inequality that condemns billions to poverty.
3. War and conflict.
4. The threatening collapse of the global economic system, which is only being kept in place with smoke and mirrors tricks.
So, even if we managed to find technical solutions to slow or even reverse climate change, we’d still be headed for terrible times, with probable extinction of all complex life on Earth.
The problem whose symptoms these are has two levels. The most obvious is economic growth, which is held up as the solution to all problems, and is advanced by all sides in political discussions. But you cannot have unlimited growth in a limited system. That’s a cancer.
This can best be shown by looking at the measure: GDP. This is the turnover of money, for any reason. Increasing crime raises the GDP. The need to clean up rubbish does so, while stopping the generation of rubbish doesn’t. Frivolous energy use increases the GDP; energy conservation through behavioral changes doesn’t. (If I keep my house cooler in winter and wear warm clothes, I am reducing the GDP.)
At the same time, unpaid activity like housework and caring for relatives doesn’t count. Damage caused by economic activity doesn’t reduce the GDP.
There is a more appropriate measure: the Genuine Progress Indicator. While global GDP has been steadily rising, the GPI peaked in 1976, showing that all the “growth” has been of net damage rather than gain.
Now for the deep, real cause. It’s a global culture that encourages and rewards the worst in human nature: greed, aggressiveness, territoriality, hate and fear of those a little different from us. THIS is what needs to change if we are to survive, and by “we” I mean all complex life on this planet.
Live simply, so you may simply live. Wherever you are, act with compassion, cooperation, decency.
The practical changes and solutions are important, but only to buy us time.