In the year 2018, the environmental writer Bill McKibben declared that,
“What we’re playing for now is to see if we can limit climate change to the point where we don’t wipe our civilizations.”
Some of you may be wondering what even a global environmental apocalypse is. To make it clear, an environmental apocalypse or climate apocalypse is a hypothetical scenario. This hypothetical scenario involves the global collapse of human civilization as a direct or indirect result of the global anthropogenic climate change. By the collapse of human civilization here we mean potential human extinction. According to this hypothetical scenario, the Earth will become inhabitable as a result of alteration in the composition of Earth’s atmosphere like extreme temperature change, severe weather events, inability to grow crops, etc.
One of the apocalyptic impacts of climate change is global warming. Global warming reduces the capacity of water in oceans and seas to absorb oxygen. This oxygen deficiency results in high carbon dioxide concentration under-water. This change is known to have contributed to the last five mass extinction events in the history of Earth.
Rising temperatures are known to increase the chances of an epidemic or pandemic. Which is what is happening in the world right now with the coronavirus pandemic. The science behind this spread of disease is explained by the fact that the distributors of infectious diseases like mosquitoes, ticks, flies, etc. spread to new locations and areas as the climate changes. This transmits illnesses to regions that may not have experienced them otherwise.
Floods and other severe weather events can wipe out fields of crops and lead to food scarcity for years. Flooded fields are not able to yield produce for many years until the nutritional status of the soil is restored. A global decline in food availability can render severe impacts on public health.
In January, former Vice President Al Gore said that climate crisis is way worse than people generally realize, way worse. Joe Bidden announced his $2 trillion climate change plan in July and said,
“The world has nine years before the damage is irreversible.”
Primatologist Jane Goodall argued that,
“We cannot hide away from human population growth. All these [environmental] things we talk about wouldn’t be a problem if there was the size of the population that there was 500 years ago.”
“Much of what people are being told about the environment, including the climate, is wrong, and we desperately need to get it right. I decided to write Apocalypse Never after getting fed up with the exaggeration, alarmism, and extremism that are the enemy of positive, humanistic, and rational environmentalism.”
Shellenberger fully acknowledges that global environmental problems exist. His only argument is that these problems do not constitute inexorable existential threats. He says that economic growth and technological progress can ameliorate them.