The British Met Office, whose day job of short-term weather forecasting isn’t going well partly because they keep predicting the end of winter since the planet is warming, has gone into another type of forecasting, this time telling us that in 80 years it will be so hot we will all die or be murdered by roving gangs of armed maniacs. We are not making this up. As the Daily Mail reports: “It is a bleak forecast even by the Met Office’s standards – the complete collapse of society leaving armed militias and criminal gangs to roam the land unchallenged.” In the wacky world of climate, anything is possible except good news and good sense. So under the soporific title “Shared Socio-economic Pathways” we’re warned of an eruption of “Right-wing populism” that destroys “political and governance systems” leading to yet another “tipping point” where “the police and justice system (as known in the past) cease to exist… without an effective central government, different military groups (militias, criminal groups, etc.) rise to de facto power”. Or a rich elite imposes conscription and privatizes Britain’s socialized medical system. And maybe shuts down the Met Office, if we’re lucky.
If we were composing satire, trying to imagine what might happen if woke undergraduates, sadly cheated equally of factual knowledge and argumentative skills, were turned loose with a bunch of public money to drivel about how climate change will empower all their bugbears, we’d feel obliged to tone it down a bit. Actually it wasn’t undergraduates but, among other things, two universities (Edinburgh and Exeter), along with Cambridge Econometrics and the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. But adults are increasingly hard to find these days.
Mind you be thankful for small mercies. They do not seem to have worked in a reference to Donald Trump. And they are not the first to conjure up nightmare scenarios that would have been pushed aside as preposterous by studios working up a Mad Max sequel; the Pentagon did it too at one point, though mercifully without the right-wing-populist Genghis Khans all over the place. But the new British study does call for “establishment of a federal UK, with citizens’ assemblies becoming the ‘primary’ decision-making mode” including about re-entering “a progressive and expanded European Union”.
We’d say sarcastically “All power to the Soviets, what?”. But we fear their expensive modern educations would lead them to gape blankly and go “huh” instead of getting the reference but insisting that the parallel was an accident. Instead they declare this rubbish presents “plausible socio-economic future outlooks up to 2100 that provide the challenging context within which future decisions... must be determined and implemented”. Must.
Instead of gaping blankly, or after doing so, a spokesperson for the Met Office, which really does now go by what was once a slang abbreviation of “The Meteorological Office”, stiffened their upper lip and intoned that “The Shared Socio-Economic Pathways project is important in order to understand climate risk and resilience as climate change and socio-economic factors are highly linked.” A classic case of a bunch of fancy words that fail to link ideas together because they individually contain none. Perhaps a bunch of heat-crazed right-wingers rampaged through the quotation destroying everything.