"I believe we will see increasing nihilism. I think also there is a very big chance that if the science starts telling us we are beyond the point of no return, I think we could open up the box for a whole range of utterly aberrant responses. Some of which might be utter despair and a kind of last minute self-seeking behaviour. Some of which might go in who knows what direction in terms of aggressive scapegoating, projection, pushing this onto to other people, other issues that have nothing to do with climate change."
- George Marshall, "The Ingenious Ways We Avoid Believing in Climate Change".This whole lecture (in three parts: one, two, three) is worth watching for many insights into the psychology of responding to the threat of climate change. These comments come towards the end of the presentation and concern the situation that I am particularly interested in: the perception that we are "too late" to avoid some really horrible outcomes. For many people, such a scenario may well lead to the kinds of reactions that Marshall mentions, and things could turn very ugly. The 2006 film Children of Men depicted a world a in 2027 where hope for the future has been lost and the social backdrop is not a pretty one.
The point of no return in terms of avoiding some seriously bad outcomes was passed some time ago. That doesn't justify inaction or "let us eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die", since (a) negative effects won't hit all at once tomorrow, or even The Day After Tomorrow, but will build over years, decades and centuries, (b) our current actions can still avoid even worse outcomes than are already "in the pipeline" and (c) because of the resurrection, in the Lord our labour is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15.58). No act of love, however apparently futile, is wasted, since love is the future.