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Jonathan Gibson's new climate book warns of the collapse of civilization in 2040

Updated 11.13 | Posted on 09.16

Jonathan Gibson, Aftonbladet's excavation manager.

Our civilization could collapse as early as 2040 – within 16 years.

-Jonathan Gibson has come close.

In his new climate book, he writes about a world where food riots are common and the wealthy live in bunkers.

Jonathan Gibson is director of excavations at Aftonbladet and four years ago wrote the climate book Atta steg mot agrunden. Now he wrote another poem: Towards the Heart of Collapse.

Why?

Behind the climate crisis lies a much closer crisis: the collapse of civilization and the end of growth. It is to some extent caused by the climate crisis, but it is coming before time. I started from a report that suggests there is a year we are approaching when the collapse could occur: 2040.

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It is very close.

– Yes, it will be soon. It is outside our conceptual world to speak in these terms. But this is exactly what I want to try to express in words in this book.

She writes that the world's population will rise to just under 10 billion in 2050. Then we'll need 50 percent more food. To achieve this, a 146 percent increase in water is needed, and 20 of the world's largest groundwater reserves are already running out of water. Doesn't look good.

– no not like that. Hunger is already increasing in the world. We live in a time where once a country has a debt crisis, we print more money. But we can't invent more food from nothing. it's not possible.

We may face an unprecedented epidemic of food riots as early as 2040, and civilizational collapse within a couple of decades. How likely is that?

– I rely on various scientific reports. The risk exists, and it is not small. In order for us to avoid collapse within a couple of decades, I think it is important that we include this risk as a reality. So that you have the opportunity to act rationally.

Carbon dioxide emissions must be reduced by seven to eight percent annually if we want to halve these emissions by 2030, and we must work to capture up to 1,000 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during the twenty-first century. Using technology that has not yet been able to achieve this. Out. Can we handle this?

– No, there's no chance. It is incredibly expensive and requires huge amounts of energy. Mere conversion, which would replace fossil fuels, would cost a lot. Capturing carbon dioxide is something else entirely. It will be the largest project undertaken by humanity on the scale of manufacturing.

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“For me, this belief in technological liberation is like belief in magic,” says researcher and data analyst Jaya Harrington. What are you saying?

-I understand that people shy away from these questions, and that you don't want to deal with them. There is hope that with the help of new technology – which we do not yet know what it is – we will be able to get out of the enormous impasse in which we are living. But since we don't know what it is, it becomes a kind of magical thinking.

In order to transition to the energy production needed in 2050, we must build 586,000 fossil-fuel-free power plants, she writes. Today there are about 50 thousand electric power plants. In addition, 15.6 million battery assemblies are needed to balance energy systems. It is possible?

– These are calculations made by a Finnish mineralogist, trying to show how dependent we are on the fossil fuel sector and how difficult it is to leave it. No one believes we can replace all fossil fuels. But he calculates what is needed.

The new thing among the wealthy are bunkers in New Zealand where they can survive climate collapse. What will the gap between rich and poor look like in 2050?

– The gap will increase. The wealthy already see this as unsustainable. They are getting ready. They're betting on bunkers, and that's no coincidence.

Growth is sacred today. In your book, he talks about downward growth instead. How will this be done?

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– There are no opportunities today to sell in light of declining growth, as we should have shrinking economies. I don't think it's likely to happen. But I am trying to discuss the steps needed to solve the problems we face. Therefore, reducing growth is an option, even if it is unrealistic.

Your latest book is about the fact that we need to stop hoping that we will be able to keep our way of life the way it is. What is the content of this book?

– Even if you think you are not reaching your goals, the resistance must continue.

Do you have a new climate book in the works?

– no.

Do you risk going to the wall if you continue writing climate books?

– No, that's not the case. It was a really difficult book to write, and a difficult book to read. “But it's really good to know what it's like,” says Jonathan Gibson.

Jonathan Gibson book cover