One year ago I came to Davos and told you that our house is on fire. I said I wanted you to panic. I’ve been warned that telling people to panic about the climate crisis is a very dangerous thing to do. But don’t worry, it’s fine. Trust me, I’ve done this before and I can assure you it doesn’t lead to anything.
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For this theoretical physicist here it seemed actually very simple. It’s a conservation law. If you take carbon out of the ground and you put it into the system it will stay there unless you take it back out. From a societal perspective, this is much much more complicated because as we fix it there will be winners and losers.
At places like Davos, people like to tell success stories. But their financial success has come with an unthinkable price tag. And on climate change, we have to acknowledge that we have failed. All political movements in their present form have done so, and the media has failed to create broad public awareness. But Homo sapiens have not yet failed.
As a person who’s been criminalized and arrested for the sole act of being poor in the US, it’s probably something I’m always walking with, speaking on, and trying to effectively change just by…in some ways not so much raising awareness, which seems very passive to be, but more about sparking people’s understanding and change.
What I’ve seen as a founder of MoveOn is that we’ve become increasingly polarized. And in fact we have gotten to the point where we have separate…realities? when it comes to a whole raft of facts. And so how can we possibly make good decisions together when we don’t even share basic facts? You first have to have a relationship, and you have to have shared values.
Solar geoengineering rests on a simple idea that it is technically possible to make the Earth a little more reflective so that it absorbs a little less sunlight, which would partly counteract some of the risks that come from accumulating carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. When I say technically possible, it appears that at least doing this in a crude way is actually easy, in the sense that it could be done with commercial off-the-shelf technologies now, and it could be done at a cost that is really trivial, sort of a part in a thousand or a part in ten thousand of global GDP.