Results of the newest computer modeling, to be published in next month’s Nature, warn that half the nations on Earth will contain someone negatively affected by climate-change thoughts by mid-century.
To date, the worst impacts of climate science on global consciousness have failed to materialize as predicted.
But while scientists can’t say what’s causing our current period of climate calmness, they’ve always known it’s just temporary.
The new paper finally provides hard, empirical vindication of this. Based on a computer simulation of the vagaries of human beliefs, attitudes and intellectual fashions, it envisions global climate equanimity running out even sooner than expected.
For once, the authors quip in their conclusion, it’s better than we thought.
The centrepiece of the study—of which Climate Nuremberg was given a press teaser—is an impressive, obviously-credible world map that imagines the trajectory of climate change awareness as it leaves fewer and fewer regions untouched with each coming decade.
Nations are coded red to indicate the presence of one or more adults who would be willing to say, with a straight face, that they are “scared of climate change.”
(The fine print concedes these may include occupational and entrepreneurial stakeholders in the climate problem—a potential weakness the authors plan to address “as soon as computing power is sufficient to tease apart the rich tapestry of human motives.”)
The ever-shrinking blue zone represents peoples who still resist acknowledgment, either verbal or conscious, of their own terror of what science is glimpsing on the horizon. Whether these societies are trying to kid each other by keeping up a brave face, or simply kid themselves, the authors do not attempt to say.
What they do know is that the international conspiracy of climate indifference is unsustainable.
If the authors’ observations are accurate—and they’ve double-checked their model, so there’s no reason to doubt them—then the red (concerned) bloc, currently encompassing the Southern Pacific nation of Australia, could expand to two countries as early as 2020, and is expected to grow exponentially from there.
What makes the new simulation more plausible than previous attempts to forecast the facts?
The breakthrough in verisimilitude was largely a matter of good luck, admit the authors. Something drew their attention to a report about an Aussie climate psychologist who’d moved to Bristol University, a UK institute best known for its brief appearance in the new Inbetweeners film.
“The piece was about some utter [intellectual] mediocrity, but it did make a light bulb go off [sic] in our heads: Australian scientists didn’t have to work in Australia. They could migrate! Not as fast as normal people, obviously—but now that they’ve got airports [Down Under], the stereotype of a country of weird boat-people girt by sea has to be partially revised.
“Suddenly all bets were off,” continued the authors. “What if that unique brand of climate neurosis we’ve come to associate with the bloated and largely talentless Australian university class was less well-contained than we’d always assumed?”
The resulting paper—the first to properly account for the impact of Australian academics as vectors of climate angst—will be honored by Nature as its next cover story.
Look for it wherever glossy magazines are sold.