At the drug store there is a short information video about the health risks of smoking, featuring the following:
Smoker: “Nothing is bothering me at the moment.” (NL: “Ik heb nu nergens last van.”)
Medical advice: “It is dangerous to postpone quitting smoking. Not all consequences are reversible at that point.” (NL: “Wachten met stoppen is gevaarlijk. Niet alle gevolgen zijn dan nog terug te draaien.”)
The same can be said about climate change. Nothing about the future is for sure, but different actions bear different risks. Postponing any meaningful mitigation action until the shit hits the fan comes with considerable risk, because many changes in climate are not reversible on human timescales. Once you notice the trouble, it’s only the beginning, because of the inertia in the various systems (energy-, carbon cycle- and climate system). The ‘stop’ button has a delay of multiple decades, which means you have to act based on foresight, or what comes closest to it (e.g. projections based on science).
I was willing to take the low risk of using the drug in order to avoid the high risk of the cancer count building up and being hard to reverse.
Climate and health: Both are a matter of risk.
If the situation deteriorates only gradually, rather than shock-wise, it is apparently much harder for people to seriously gauge the risk. It’s tempting to say: “Oh, I can still bear this”. It’s as if your point of reference gradually moves in synch with the situation. In such cases, a helicopter view is especially important.