A Darker View of the Age of Us – the Anthropocene
I alerted a batch of scholars and scientists focused on climate change and sustainable development to my taped talk on “Paths to a ‘Good’ Anthropocene” at the annual meeting of the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences.
Clive Hamilton, a professor of public ethics at Australia’s Charles Sturt University and the author of “Requiem for a Species: Why We Resist the Truth About Climate Change,” reacted bluntly. Read on for his reply to the group, which he also posted on his blog, followed by an initial reply from me. I’m going to edit a version of the video that includes my slides and will weigh in at greater length when that’s ready.
Here’s Hamilton’s critique, which doesn’t deal with the core argument of my talk (the need for a shift in goals from numerical outcomes to societal qualities) and instead focuses on my use of the word “good” in relation to an era he clearly sees as awful.
Thanks for sending the link to your talk on “Charting Paths to a ‘Good’ Anthropocene”. Since you ask for responses let me express my view bluntly. In short, I think those who argue for the “good Anthropocene” are unscientific and live in a fantasy world of their own construction.
If we listen to what Earth system scientists, including climate scientists, are telling us, the warming of the Earth due to human causes is a slowly unfolding catastrophe. We already have 2.4°C of warming locked in and, even under the most optimistic mitigation scenarios, it will be very hard to avoid 4°C by the end of this century. According to those best placed to make projections, a world 4°C warmer would be a very different kind of planet, one unsympathetic to most forms of life, including human life. Apart from climatic change, other manifestations of human impact in the Anthropocene, from interference in the nitrogen cycle to plastics in the oceans, only add to the grim outlook.
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