Commentary

Consequential 2016

12/31/2015:

The next year will be one of consequence, no matter how you look at it.

Notably the United States will elect a new president who will either accept the reality of our unfolding environmental catastrophe as exemplified by climate change, or not, and will either take appropriate action or not. I try not to be explicitly political on these pages, but there is no clearer distinction in this case than between Democrats (acceptance and action), and Republicans (denial and inaction -- or worse). Even if a Democrat is elected, there is no assurance that appropriate action will be taken, and by that I mean rapid reduction of ecological footprint to a safe level and suspension of consumption growth. This action must of course be taken here, and be promoted globally.

Science and technology had a great year in 2015, with major progress in astronomy, physics, biology, computing, and manufacturing. Next year could be just as groundbreaking if the drivers of that progress aren't hindered by external factors such as war and environmental disaster.

The following graph shows projections of key global variables through mid-2020 (where each year such as "2016" marks the middle of the calendar year) based on the Warming Reference Case.


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