Imagine for a moment that we reached the middle of the century. E ‘2050, and we have to think of air for a moment the fight is the battle of our time consumption, but the most intensive phase can be in our rearview mirror. And so we can look back to see how we were able to drastically our society and the economy may change. We had no choice. There was a point after 2020 when we started together to accomplish a few basic things. One, we were not always free from this. Climate change, even at an early stage, had begun to ache: a city, California watching literally called paradise turned into hell within 2 hours has made it clear that all Americans were in danger. When you breathe wildfire in Silicon Valley Fortress mid-summer smoke, or finding insurance fight for your beach house in Florida, he insinuates doubts even for those who think that they were immune. Two, there was not some solutions effects. By 2020, the cheapest, the electricity was to create the planet, in fact, renewable energy, the cheapest way it had ever been. The engineers had done their work, under the sun and the wind from the whimsical backyard DIY projects to cutting-edge technologies. The batteries had the same cost curve, such as renewable energy, so the fact sink to the bottom, that the sun was no longer part of the night, went that much you could save their jets to be used later. And the third insight? People began to realize that the biggest reason why it is not full, it was the industrial political power of fossil fuels in these new technologies quickly use. Investigative journalists had exposed his campaign than three decades of denial and disinformation, and Advocates and lawyers of the plaintiffs began to take part. And just in time. These trends intersected strong first election day in 2020. The hurricane Halloween, which crashed into the Gulf simply not take hundreds of lives and thousands of homes; It showed a political seam that had begun before showing in the survey data a year or two. Of all the problems that American women suburban particularly concerned about the president-Trump, it was made its position on climate change near the top. He had a modest advantage for the Democratic challenger rolled expanded during the last week of the campaign reports damage in Louisiana and Mississippi, appeared; on election night, turning it into a rout, and exceeded analysts underestimated that a “green voice” was an important part, after all, played current Green parties in Canada, the United Kingdom, and much of continental Europe were also exceeded expectations. Young voters were turning in record numbers: Greta generation as punsters were calling induced climate change his problem # 1. And if the new president took the oath of office, will not disappoint. In his inaugural speech he promised America back to Paris immediately made an agreement, but then added: “Now we know that Paris is not nearly enough. Even if all the countries around the promised follow in this Agreement, the temperature would rise above 3 ° C (5 ° F to 6 ° F). If we warm much off the planet, we will not be able to civilizations such as the ones we are used to. So we will make the changes we need to do, and we them make fast. “Soon, of course, it is a word that does not really apply to Capitol Hill or most other conferences in the world, parliaments and the central Committee. It took continuous demonstrations of increasingly large groups such extinction rebellion, and led by young activists mainly from the communities who suffer the most, in order to ensure that politicians feared an angry voters angry over a carbon lobby. But America, as much carbon into the atmosphere was thrown historically has ceased to any other nation to block progress. away with the filibuster, by one of the Senate in order approved by the narrowest margin a bill for subsidies for coal and oil and gas companies, coal began to tax the product and traded on the fundamental principles of the Green New Deal: Financing a rapid deployment of solar panels and wind turbines, federal jobs guarantees for all those that work and end the drilling and mining in the federal states wanted. Subscribe to newsletter climate change Since these public lands only China radius for one.five, TIME, USA, India and Russia as a carbon source, which is a big deal. His greatest impact was treated on Wall Street, where investors began reserves of fossil fuels with increasing disdain. If BlackRock, the largest asset managers in the world, its clean basic passive index funds reserves of coal, oil and gas, companies were mostly ordinary investors taboo. As demonstrators cut their Chase bank cards, the largest creditor of the fossil fuel industry suddenly green investment started much more sense. Industry has been rejected and the insurance industry started honest new oil and gas pipelines and to sign its easy access to capital and sheared shaved much of their political influence. Each quarter meant few voters extracts coal and installed the solar panels, and made the easier political change. As a new American leaders are trying began to mend fences with other nations, proved me deal with climate change a key way to rebuild diplomatic confidence. China and India have had their own reasons want to respond quickly-more, the fact that smog choked cities and more deadly heat waves were to undermine the stability of the regime in power. If Beijing that the belts and the streets were known lead initiative for renewable energy, not coal, energy future changed much of Asia overnight. If electric cars and scooters India for urban areas have begun warrant the future of the internal combustion engine has been largely sealed. Tesla continues to attract American luxury, but the real numbers came from cheaper electric cars in Asian factories pouring. That was enough to convince finally Detroit that a seismic shift was underway when the first generation of Ford E-150 pick-up debuted with display its torque performances unmatched by showing them a million pounds of towing of only the irreducible motorheads locomotive were still insisting on the superiority of the gas-powered racing. Other simple technological gains have come into our homes. Heat pumps, heat of the outdoors shot after a century of a tank of oil or gas in the basement to keep the heat, you quickly discovered the appeal of air source (even in the rare days when the temperature also it falls below zero on the left) in a comfortable indoor air. gas burner avoided induction hob. The last light bulbs were in museums, as well as most of the CFLs have long since been replaced by LED since. Electricity demand was high, but when people entered their electric vehicles at night, the ever-growing fleet has more and more like a large battery has acted to smooth curves, fell like the wind or the sun eclipsed. Some people stopped eating meat, and many, many people ate transformation less of it cultural, facilitated by the fact that the Impossible burgers turned out as the disc by at least juicy, slinging chains of fast-food restaurants for years had been. The number of cows on farms around the world began to fall, and with them the source of perhaps one-fifth of the emissions. More significantly reduces the pressure for new diets remaining tropical rainforests to make way for pastures to cut. In other words, the low-hanging fruit has been picked quickly and gatherers were paid well. Perhaps the fastest growing companies on the planet involved third party contractors to a factory or an office with the energy-efficient technology and simply take a cut of the savings on the monthly electric bill would be adapted. Small businesses and rural communities, the economic benefits have begun to bear in paid notice for the current relatively close to home instead of money to ship it to Houston or Riyadh. The world had wasted so much energy that many of the early work was simply how to lose weight by cutting hair. But the early euphoria came quite quickly. By the end of 2020 it became clear that we would pay the price of delay action for decades. First, the cuts in emissions prescribed scientists were incredibly deep, almost. “If you started in 1990, when we felt the work was simple: you could cut a carbon atom or two percent a year, have” an eminent physicist explains. “But wait 30 years turned a school field in a black diamond.” As usual, turned out to be of any help it simple “solutions” of all: natural gas sources Fracked large amounts of methane into the atmosphere have been losses, and deforestation “biomass burning,” to be burned for the ‘ electricity was put carbon in the air boost at just the wrong moment. (Trees As it happened, the math was left were crucial to the carbon from the secondary atmosphere forest while dragging were grown, they called a third or more of the excess carbon humanity created.) Environmentalists have learned need to do some compromise, and so most of America are aging nuclear reactors were in line with their left dismantling dates: supplements that lower output of carbon renewable industry increased in the early years, as a researcher, if the fusion power He continues to see the work, thorium reactors or other advanced design work could. The real problem, though, was that climate change has continued to grow and even though the world looks for his energy and agriculture began to turn systems. The carbon giant snail that the world in a more penetrating had worked since 1990 as in the history of mankind as a timed fuse before, and the temperature rose only held. Worse, is that scientists have appeared only systematically underestimated the amount of damage every tenth of a degree would actually do, stressed one point in 2032, when an ice giant blade of the leaf majestically West Antarctica in the Southern Ocean He pushed, and all of a sudden the sea was rising to his feet, not inches measure. (Nothing, it turned out, the Americans were able to embrace move the metric system.) It maintained the loop heating valuations triggered, which in turn accelerates the warming: more and more forest fires, for example, who always keeps more carbon in the air slide, and their smoke blackened ice sheets, which in turn merge into more quickly. This hot world produced a continuous flood emergency “fire season” was now substantially over the year, and the warmest sea continued to hurricanes and typhoons months ago boil the old rules. old carcasses held by the permafrost melting of the North arise, and thought with them the germs of diseases long extinct: and sometimes the novel was damage. But the biggest crisis were slow, inexorable derjenigediejenigedasjenige: force the prolonged drought and desertification large number of Africans, Asians and Central Americans to move; in many places, the heat wave was literally unbearable to be with night temperatures above 100 ° C and outdoor work almost impossible for weeks and months at a time. On low ground as the Mekong Delta, the increase in ocean fields of savory essential supply the world with rice. The United Nations had long appreciated can see climate refugees before the century a billion, and began to appear was unnerving right. What can be said that the rich countries? These were people who did not cause the crisis, now devouring their lives, and there was not enough walls and cages to keep them under control so that migration policies of the planet roiling detainees. There was, in fact, provide two possible ways. The most obvious way was to see an ongoing competition between nations and individuals could thrive in this new climate regime, with more occasional seats are transformed into fortresses above the flood. In fact, some people tried to hold on to some places in old ideas: Plug in some solar cells and could somehow return to a naive world where economic expansion was still the goal of any government. But there was to understand a second response that came through the day in many countries, as an increasing number of people that the land was really moved beneath our feet. If the economy had seen the lens through which we had the world a century, it was time to make decisions for the survival of the single reasonable basis. These decisions aim at not only carbon dioxide; these companies went after the savage inequality that marked the age. The Green New Deal turned out to be all brothers Koch had feared most, when it was introduced as a tool for America a fairer, healthier, more educated place. It ‘been imitated around the world, such as America Clean Air Act had long served as a model for laws around the world. Slow to measure both the Keeling Curve, carbon in the atmosphere and to measure the Gini coefficient, the distribution of wealth, began to flatten. That’s where we are today. We clearly do not “leak” climate change “fix” global warming, the temperature keeps climbing, although the growth rate has declined. It became a mere century, which is much better than a catastrophic. We ended with the deepest and most dangerous physical changes in the history of mankind. Our civilization certainly faltered and a huge number of people who paid an unfair price and overwhelming, but did not fall. People have learned to defend what can practically be defended: medium expensive dams and pumps in New York is still New York, although the example Antarctic has something on the subject. Let go other places we have learned much of the east coast has moved a couple of miles to more defensible ground. Yes, that was billions of dollars in real estate from the edge, but the roads and bridges would cost to defend Katherine, and even then the odds were having bad. The cities in a different way now look much more densely populated, has given as NIMBY defense against the new developments towards a more vibrant urban life. intelligent communities banned private cars from the city center, free open public transportation systems and construction of civil fleet of self-driving cars, which got rid of wasted space on the parking lot. But counties have changed weather conditions put a premium on hands-on farming skills, which in turn have offered opportunities for migrants to get destroyed farmland elsewhere. (Agriculture by solar panels mine has a particular specialty.) Railway network in the United States is not good enough as it was in the early 20th century, but approaches each year, the good news is, since the lower aviation carbon emissions has proved difficult to get off the ground, what has changed is primarily the mood. The idea of the challenge that we have been so for more natural to the different nature pride, would overcome: always celebrate to bend without breaking our ability to adapt to respect the grace possible for a natural world whose temperament we came, When we look back to the beginning of the century who, angry, people that so little did the great heat to slow down, if we have a decade or two before seriously recognized, maybe we have some degree shaved the temperature to climate change, and degree is measured in great pain and danger. But we also know that it was difficult to understand for people what is going on: the history of mankind dates back to 10,000 years and those millennia were physically stable, which makes emotional sense that stability would be detected stretch forward and passed. Now we know better, we know that we threw the planet from their bases, and that our task for the next centuries to absorb the bounces, as it rolls. We dance as fast as possible, and so far we have fallen. This is an article in a series on the state of the global response to climate change. Read the rest of the stories and register for one.five, TIME Climate Change Newsletter illustration Picture copyright by David Doran (background Photo: Getty Images).