Many people perceive climate change as a sort of moral and economic debt, accumulated since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and now come due after several centuries — a helpful perspective, in a way, since it is the carbon-burning processes that began in 18th-century England that lit the fuse of everything that followed. But more than half of the carbon humanity has exhaled into the atmosphere in its entire history has been emitted in just the past three decades; since the end of World War II, the figure is 85 percent. Which means that, in the length of a single generation, global warming has brought us to the brink of planetary catastrophe, and that the story of the industrial world’s kamikaze mission is also the story of a single lifetime.
Fascinating required reading about all the environmental disasters facing us over the next several decades. In reading this, I wonder what effect emotionless terms like "global warming" and "climate change" have had on public apathy about the existential dangers facing us. "Warming" (and arguably even "Change" to a certain degree) are words with positive connotations. It seems like the right time to move to something like "self-induced extinction" or "boiled earth". There's probably a better term out there, but the way we talk about it now isn't cutting it.