Astrophysicist Adam Frank takes the very long view in response to Trump's anti-climate decision and the view is not pretty.
On Thursday, folly won — and now we face the consequences.
Under even the most charitable assessments, climate change is going to stress the deeply interconnected world we've built. There is a great deal of fragility in the multiple overlapping networks on which our project of civilization depends (food, energy, economic, communication). If things fall on the "really hard" side of the spectrum, then consequences like a collapse of those systems is not unimaginable.
That's why Thursday, the day a U.S. administration choose to pull out of the Paris climate accord, may end up being unlike any other in our long collective history. While it might be possible to repair the damage with a new administration, the ball will already be rolling downhill toward dissolution and away from structured, organized response. Everything will be harder.
In that way, we may have reached a split in the road of our fate — and we have taken ourselves down the wrong path. While those alive today might want to forget the consequences of Thursday's decision, the future will not have that option. The future will not be able to forget.