The only way of ensuring that the overshoot is temporary is to decisively defeat the fossil fossil fuel cartel.

By Tom Athanasiou, The Nation

The 1.5°C temperature target is difficult to honestly and openly discuss. Within the climate movement, it has become a locus of anguish, confusion, and even despair. Long a symbol of mobilization and hope, 1.5° has become central to both activist campaigns and scientific analysis. Yet it’s now clear that the planet will almost certainly warm more than 1.5°C.

Group of demonstrators fight for climate change

This is a rough prospect. It will likely condemn countless communities, many of them largely innocent of responsibility for the climate crisis, to suffering and destruction on a vast scale. It will trigger major ecological crises, extinctions first among them—the coral reefs, to pick just one example, could almost entirely vanish as the warming breaches the 1.5°C line.

These are not encouraging words, but they should not be taken as invitations to despair, or to a strange denialism in which, fearing hopelessness, we soft-pedal the severity of our circumstances. Because the truth is that the planet is not doomed, and neither are the world’s most climate vulnerable people.

The message here is that it’s time to act. Fortunately, significant action seems finally to be possible. At the last climate summit, after a grand push from the Global South coalition (the G77 + China) and the climate movement, the long-deadlocked battle to establish a “loss and damage” fund was finally won. That fund could finance disaster prevention and disaster mitigation in regions that have been pushed beyond their adaptive capacities. There will, of course, be limits to such interventions, but this could be the beginning of real climate internationalism. And it would not be alone. To cite just one other justification for cautious optimism, the renewable technology revolution has finally arrived.

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