(Tom Toles)

People have wrapped their arms around their knees, rocked back and forth and sung little songs to themselves as preparation for climate change, which more appropriately should be called Climate Rupture.

They have told themselves that a couple of degrees will just mean a bit more balminess. This assessment is correct in the sense that the idea itself is clearly balmy. More recently, with temperatures continuously smashing records and consequences to be seen everywhere, thoughts are more along the lines of the fires in California won’t burn MY house this year, the 200 mph winds didn’t destroy Mexico THIS time, we can build sea walls around OUR cities, right?

Adaptability and hopeful dodging are the new strategies, but you won’t get away with these either. What the Climate Rupture world is going to look like is those videos of refugees, twelve across in miles-long lines, snaking their desperate way towards countries which won’t take them. Syria is a war disaster area, but the breakdown of that society followed a long, punishing drought. Get ready for more, as much of the Middle East is now forecast to become unlivable.

Go ahead and dispute reports like this one. The comments under the story indicate that the capacity for continuing denial and dismissal is still in its own ‘pause’. But even if this particular forecast for this particular place proves imprecise, be sure the same will apply elsewhere. Cities aside, if you know anything about farming, you know how vulnerable it is to rainfall fluctuations even in normal times. It doesn’t take very many years of out-of-pattern rainfall to devastate a local agricultural region, its people and its economy. This can lead directly to refugees, or to unrest that produces even more refugees. The fabric that ties people to their homes is not as robust as we’d like to imagine. If you don’t believe it, there is a long line of displaced people heading your way to explain it to you.