The Arctic was on fire last month. 

And as this End Times scorch reached the boreal forests, from Quebec to Japan the heat frazzled civilians like ants under a magnifying glass. Carbon is a heat-magnifier. And, as during the 'Lucifer' heatwave last year, the crops failed, driving up food prices. These are the palpable confirmations of the famous 'hockey stick'.

There will be more, much more, of this. In the UK alone, it is estimated that there will be 7,000 heat-related deaths a year by 2050. Globally, it is estimated that heat-related deaths will treble by 2080. The droughts will become, are becoming, hotter and more lethal. The extinction of species will accelerate. The combination of heat and acidification will destroy the few remaining ocean wildernesses, and submarine cities, thus endangering the global supply of oxygen.

Well, you might say, so what? A bunch of joyless snowflakes melting in the heat? A few thousand deaths? A little food shortage? We've survived world wars, we can adapt. We've put people on the moon, we can terraform mars if this one goes wrong. Whatever happened to just enjoying the summer? 

Such, at any rate, is the nihilistic call of the seasoned pub contrarian. One can hear, behind this, palpable despair. If one really believed that something could be done, the tone, the affect, would be one of urgency, and dread, not a cheerful whistle. The pseudo-stoical refusal to be moved by 'a little bit of sunshine for heaven's sake', is underpinned by what Ernst Bloch called the "genuine nihilism", the "load of hopelessness, despair" in capitalism wherein one can only seek "miserable triumphs" in the daily struggle for existence. It is the foghorns of cruel optimism who are hopelessly resigned to the worst.

Ironically, it is the catastrophists, the doom-mongers, who believe in the future. If they were resigned to species extinction, they would shut up and retreat, like Cistercians, to the cloister, and pray hopeless prayers, and bang the extinction gong for every lost species. The moment we lose the catastrophists, is when we have lost the planet.

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