Ask A Genius 526 – Heatwaves Won’t Cooldown
July 26, 2019
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Scott Douglas Jacobsen: So, we’ve had massive heatwaves. Places like Greenland and elsewhere are set for records.
Rick Rosner: It has been apparent that anybody who is denying it is either a paid shill or is an idiot. What we’ll have is a slow-rolling apocalypse, in that, if you go on Twitter where I spend most of my time, you have people saying, “It is the end of the world, end of the planet.”
It’s not. It is going to be a touch century with surplus deaths and some small wars and the loss of some species, and the loss of ecosystems. But it will play out across many, many decades; and there won’t be catastrophes that wipe out more than 100,000 people at once.
Instead, it’ll be slow stuff where the aggregate displacements and deaths, and such, can be tallied up, but, on a daily basis, won’t feel like an apocalypse. It won’t wipe out a billion people, even over the aggregate of over a century.
Stuff will happen and will be addressed with varying degrees of efficacy. Sea walls will go up along the coast of Florida. Something will have to be done about New Orleans and Houston, probably more sea walls, also along Lower Manhattan.
Companies that build sea walls will make billions of dollars. There will be lots of devastation, but at sufficiently slow rate. That it won’t change the complexion of daily human life any more than any of the other technological displacements that are coming.
So, it’s always the end of the world for somebody. This will be the 21st century’s end of the world. The 20th century was good for genocide. You had Hitler killing roughly 30 million people and Stalin killing 40 million people, and Mao killing roughly 50 million people.
We can hope that we’ll avoid that in the 21st century. We can hope that Ebola won’t kill millions of people at once. But there is an Ebola vaccine. Even if Ebola gets nasty, we may be able to hold it off.
But the wholesale horror movie devastation of climate change won’t look like that. It will look like a whole bunch of what we’re already seeing with powerful storms that wipe out, temporarily, whole cities or islands disappearing.
But the rate at which all this happens while disturbing won’t be catastrophic for the human species. It won’t feel like a disaster is presented in 2012 or The Day After Tomorrow where you lose half or all of America overnight.
The devastation of climate change will take out hundreds, maybe thousands, of people during various mini-disasters.
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American Television Writer
Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Founder, In-Sight Publishing
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