This isn’t a 2ºC or bust fight. It’s a fight to limit consequences. It’s a fight for every 1/10 of a degree. If we fail to hold to 2ºC, we have to fight for 2.1º; failing that, we battle on for 2.2º. With millennia of impacts at stake, we never get to give up, even if we end up in 4ºC. For future generations, 4º is still better than 4.1º.
“Game over” is neither realistic nor responsible. Even the most catastrophic outcomes humanity aren’t the apocalypse — the end of the future itself — they’re just appalling failure and tragedy. We have a duty to people who will live after those failures.
The world won’t end, even if we lose completely. Life will go on, but people will suffer profoundly, human possibilities will be dwarfed, lives impoverished, beauty undone, achievements lost — for millennia, and sometimes forever. –Alex Steffen