The IPCC’s latest climate report is dire. But it also included some prospects for hope | Rebecca Solnit

The IPCC’s latest climate report is dire. But it also included some prospects for hope | Rebecca Solnit

The striking thing is not the bad news, which is not really news for those who have followed the science closely. It’s the report’s insights on possibilities for cautious optimism

The first response many of us have to a cancer diagnosis is terror, horror and the conviction that we’re doomed. For those who haven’t been paying serious ongoing attention to climate chaos, reminders that we are facing catastrophe can bring the same kind of response. But if you’ve been through cancer or been close to people who have, you know that the usual next phase is figuring out what the treatment options are and, in most cases, going all out for them. The good news is going to be that you got approved for a promising new treatment, are responding well, you are in remission, feel healthier, have a good prognosis. That there are things worth doing that make a difference.

Climate change is a nightmare, and this summer’s floods, fires and extreme heat, from China to Siberia to British Columbia, are reminders that the problem is rapidly growing worse. Yet the striking thing about the IPCC report released earlier this month is not the bad news, which is not really news at all for those who have followed the science closely. It’s the clarity about possibilities, which I found hopeful.

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