Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Divergent History

 By Will Jackson (World: Hikeyay)

In the very first real-time conference call between worlds, Maura, Sally, and I met with Brandon Johnson from Green Horizon Station to discuss projections of the futures of our two worlds. 

Brandon shared new data showing a large increase in his world’s global temperature over the past year that did not track with cumulative human carbon emissions, indicating that a major climate feedback was triggered. The minimal data since then suggests that the effect is slowing instead of accelerating; but acceleration cannot be ruled out until we know and understand the source. This is in contrast to our own warming, which is slowing in response to our reduced consumption, and will hopefully have less impact if the expected restoration of habitat is achieved and we can avoid or offset catastrophic climate feedbacks by that and other means.

Comparing annual changes in the per-capita resource distributions of the two worlds provides some interesting insights. The difference in lessons learned since World War II is perhaps most responsible for the most obvious divergence in history between us. 

Here in Hikeyay, we established the World Information and Coordination Organization to enable all people to be aware of the effects of their actions on each other and on humanity as a whole, along with other species that comprise and influence the global environment we all share. That awareness, and continuous dialog in every nation to identify, agree to, and ensure accountability to basic values that help define our mutual future, has generally resulted in gradual rather than rapid changes in the amount and quality of resources like those that characterize the experience of Brandon’s world. 

While we promote cooperation, the people in Green promote competition and exploitation. The United Nations (UN), WICO’s counterpart, has components that perform similar functions, but it is managed by independent nations that seek dominance over the others. People’s values are typically those of the groups they identify with, as has been the case for most of our shared history, but rarely are they explicitly debated, agreed to, and evaluated based on tested understanding of reality. As a result, groups instinctively fight each other to achieve their preferred resource distributions, as evidenced by the rapid changes seen on the global level.

Global average temperature has increased and then decreased in the past. If this happens again, such that Green resumes the temperature trajectory it had before last year’s increase, the anomaly (temperature change since 1800) will reach 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2039, just two years before no people are projected to be left in the world. Added warming might speed up the population crash that is expected to start next year. People in Green could follow our example by reducing their consumption and restore habitat to delay extinction; but Brandon and people who call themselves “doomers” consider it so unlikely as to be effectively impossible.

Reality Check

The graphs and discussion, like most posts on this blog, are based on my own mathematical simulations identified as “worlds” and a fictional backstory that explains how they relate to each other.

The model used to project the temperature anomaly is a linear curve fit of temperature as a function of cumulative consumption, where annual emissions are a binomial function of consumption, and consumption is proportional to the estimated global ecological footprint. The temperature increase reported for last year in world “Green,” a close approximation to our real world, is based on news reports, while its deceleration is purely fictional, modeled as consumption by a non-human source that is added to the cumulative consumption used to calculate temperature. In the temperature graphs, the dotted lines are simple exponential curve fits to projected temperature from 1951 to 2023, shown for reference.

Cooperation as an explanation and a preference is actually a consequence rather than a cause, and only strictly applies to the period since the “global strategy” was implemented. Exploitation evidenced by the decline of habitat until then, with a growing tendency toward cooperation, is a better characterization.

No comments:

Post a Comment