Bullseye. If everyone who said "there's nothing one person can do" actually did something - like not flying, minimising car use & consumerism generally, protesting, and supporting environmentally-aware politicians - we might make some progress. And if we all give up, we're headed for +4C or more, whereas if we work together we might end up well below that. It could be the difference between a disaster and an utter catastrophe.

Meanwhile most of my friends and acquaintances are busily looking the other way and pretending it's nothing to do with them.

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I suspect this is a realistic assessment. Our political systems and our mainstream media are totally locked in to a belief in BaU: the assumption of endless growth leading to the glossy-magazine lifestyle for all. Just about everyone I know is in total denial - any mention of climate change makes people get fidgety and strangely eager to change the subject. The mass migration we can expect from vulnerable regions is going to be a source of major conflict, which will in turn simply intensify the crisis.

No surrender though: an eventual global mean temperature rise of +2C will be disastrous, but +4C would be utterly catastrophic. We have to keep pushing for change, knowing very well that we are likely to fail. What an extraordinary time to be alive.

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Very useful analysis, thank you. Will share! I've been trying to construct something similar as a way of analysing the assumptions that determine climate activists' choices of action - NVDA or lobbying? Personal conversations with friends, or meetings with politicians? Protests or letters to the papers? Planting trees or cutting flights? It might be wise to admit that none of us really knows what works best, and that working together might be better than any one mode. As for giving up, no thanks: a +2.5C future is less bad than +4C.

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I try not to be provocative or challenging when discussing climate, but frankly most people REALLY don't want to know. Mention it, and most of my acquaintances get restless and strangely eager to change the subject. Most of my friends are science literate but seem unwilling to modify their lifestyle in any way - even though their kids' future is under severe threat. Cognitive dissonance on steroids.

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Graham Townsend

Graham Townsend

Background in chemical physics. Grew up in East Africa, lives in Christchurch NZ. Retired.