Scientists warn that human activity in the Anthropocene is causing the transgression of several planetary boundaries. The population/environment/development equation has become insoluble. This paper reviews the trajectory of climate change and discusses the shortcomings of ongoing efforts to address it. It analyzes the current crisis in global governance, fostered by widespread disenchantment with globalization, and reflects on the risks that the resulting political imbroglio presents for our environmental future. Global responses are ineffective due to crumbling multilaterism and the continuing promotion of unsustainable economic growth based on consumerism. Discontent with the consequences of globalization has destabilized national governance and, in the process, further corroded prospects for effective global governance in facing symbiotic social, political and environmental crises. Frustration with globalization is providing media populists a platform from which to attract voters with naive schemes that highlight climate change denial. Potential pathways and obstacles for multilateralism in efforts to resolve the current crisis are blurred. Blind faith in technology, negationism, and the pervasiveness of the consumer culture further hamper awareness raising. Unfortunately, voters, institutions and policies may only adjust when the intensification of climate disasters forces a sea change in outlook.
Brazilian Journal of Population Studies, Vol. 36, pp. 1-30, 2019