I was sick recently, so I had the time to watch the television series Newsroom. One clip really stuck with me:
Now given that this is from a fictional television series, viewers could be forgiven for thinking it an exaggeration. But the facts check out, though sadly a few are outdated and have increased negatively in the meantime.
What really interests me apart from the immediate content is that the whole reason it's funny (admittedly in a macabre sense) is because most scientists are a little less depressingly stark about our situation. Why is that?
It turns out that a recent paper "Duality in Climate Science" published in Nature Geoscience takes scientists and the media to task for underselling our ecological position due to fear of politically and professionally calamitous ramifications. The paper summary reads:
Delivery of palatable 2 °C mitigation scenarios depends on speculative negative emissions or changing the past. Scientists must make their assumptions transparent and defensible, however politically uncomfortable the conclusions.
What that's saying is that unless we can time travel backwards or develop technology in the future that we don't know exists yet, we're screwed. Here's another not-at-all-comforting review of this and other papers saying in part, "The latest installment of depressing news is the delightful prediction that dozens of American cities are at risk of drowning before the century is out, turning places like New Orleans and Miami into the lost kingdom of Atlantis."