The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future
Naomi Oreskes, Erik M. Conway
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The year is 2393, and the world is almost unrecognizable. Clear warnings of climate catastrophe went ignored for decades, leading to soaring temperatures, rising sea levels, widespread drought and―finally―the disaster now known as the Great Collapse of 2093, when the disintegration of the West Antarctica Ice Sheet led to mass migration and a complete reshuffling of the global order. Writing from the Second People's Republic of China on the 300th anniversary of the Great Collapse, a senior scholar presents a gripping and deeply disturbing account of how the children of the Enlightenment―the political and economic elites of the so-called advanced industrial societies―failed to act, and so brought about the collapse of Western civilization.
In this haunting, provocative work of science-based fiction, Naomi Oreskes and Eric M. Conway imagine a world devastated by climate change. Dramatizing the science in ways traditional nonfiction cannot, the book reasserts the importance of scientists and the work they do and reveals the self-serving interests of the so called "carbon combustion complex" that have turned the practice of science into political fodder. Based on sound scholarship and yet unafraid to speak boldly, this book provides a welcome moment of clarity amid the cacophony of climate change literature.
advocated eliminating subsidies for fossil fuels and creating “carbon” markets.11 Others recognized that certain interventions could be justified. Von Hayek himself was not opposed to government intervention per se; indeed, as early as 1944, he rejected the term laissez-faire as misleading because he recognized legitimate realms of government intervention: “The successful use of competition as the principle of social organization precludes certain types of coercive interference with economic
went so far as to insist that because methane was a commercially valuable gas, it was impossible that corporations would allow it to “escape.” Great Depression The period of pervasive market failure, deflation, and unemployment, in the United States and Europe, from 1929 to 1941, separating the First Gilded Age from the Second World War. Brought on by the collapse of unregulated financial markets, it led to widespread questioning of capitalist theory, and for a period of about a half century,
authoritarian societies will be more able to handle catastrophic climate change than free ones. So people who care about freedom should want to see early action to prevent catastrophic climate change. Delay increases the risk that authoritarian forms of governance will come out ahead in the end. The nation in which our historian is writing is the Second PRC, because we imagine that after a period of liberalization and democratization, autocratic forces become resurgent in China, justified by the
the 95 percent confidence limit came from, and whether it makes sense in the nearly indiscriminate way that it is currently applied. EC: Plus—we have crappy science and dangerous policy despite the existence of the 95 percent confidence limit convention! NO: Good point! EC: That’s why journals have retraction processes, for one thing. The 95 percent confidence limit is a choice—just like our choice of 2093 as the end of Western civilization—but it’s not entirely arbitrary: it’s designed to
widespread outbreaks of typhus, cholera, dengue fever, yellow fever, and viral and retroviral agents never before seen. Surging insect populations also destroyed huge swaths of forests in Canada, Indonesia, and Brazil. As social order began to break down in the 2050s, governments were overthrown, particularly in Africa, but also in many parts of Asia and Europe, further decreasing social capacity to deal with increasingly desperate populations. As the Great North American Desert surged north and