"We can solve this problem in a way that doesn't disrupt our lifestyle. . . . Public awareness seems to be increasing, and there are a lot of good things happening at the executive level: tighter fuel-efficiency standards, the carbon-pricing initiatives by the New England and West Coast states, the recent agreement between the U. S. and China on emissions. Last year we saw global economic growth without an increase in carbon emissions, which suggests it's possible to "decouple" oil and economic growth. And social change can happen very fast."
Of course, these are baby steps in comparison with the huge steps that must be taken in the next two or three decades. But at least a start has been made, and various things, such as the Pope's encyclical, might inspire the kind of worldwide mobilization that is needed.
Naomi Klein, reporting on her experiences at a Vatican conference based on the Pope's encyclical, spoke with amazement at the radical changes he is seeking to bring about in his church. She then added:
"[I]f one of the oldest and most tradition-bound institutions in the world can change its teachings and practices as radically, and as rapidly, as Francis is attempting, then surely all kinds of newer and more elastic institutions can change as well. And if that happens - if transformation is as contagious as it seems to be here - well, we might just stand a chance of tackling climate change."
Climate scientists should tell people the full truth about how dire the situation is, while simultaneously reporting the full truth about how quickly and completely the fossil-fuel economy could be replaced. If they do, and if governments and their media report these facts clearly and repeatedly, we just might be able to prevent the complete destruction of humanity and even human civilization, along with most of the other forms of life. We should at least try.