David Wallace-Wells is Deputy editor and climate columnist for New York magazine. His book "The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming" is available now.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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Please welcome David Wallace Wells, the Joe Rogan experience. So, first of all, thanks for doing this on my pleasure and looks at it. How much trouble are we in Digital mentally. I mean it's pretty bad already, and it's going to get. I think a lot lot worse, so not bad! right now, right here, it's raining seems nice out there I mean how long ago were the fires right right. I got it back. You waited this October yeah. It was rough, but in all fairness, I've been evacuated three times over the past twenty years, yeah. I know the fires in California. Fires are kind of interesting in that they both seem like it's like the future of the apocalypse here, but also it's so familiar from like decades of while fires, but Other scientific estimates that say that they're going to get by the end of the century sixty four times worse, what
I think that number a little high 'cause that would mean more than half of California burning every year, but, it's going to get, it will get it get crazy. And there's no way to avoid any of this wildfire stuff. Why in you know. If we don't raise the temperature of the planet then, but is that the anything that's causing, while if I mean like, obviously, if the temperature raises there's more brown, try, yeah the use and grass and stuff like that, but yeah there there's a there's a lot of preventative stuff. You can do I mean not building in certain areas, like I mean you To be the Indians who lived here before the white people can did a lot of controlled burning. They like lived among fires, and I think that's
probably more responsible way to be, but we've now built up the whole state so that they're all these homes that we don't want to burn their all these you know properties we want to burn and when you, when you like, restrict the ability of natural wild fires to burn. That means that, like more tender gets built over time, and then you know at some point, some thing lights a match mission it all burns. So I mean you: could you could do more controlled fire? You could take more aggressive action in terms of you know, like spraying foam and that kind of thing you could have a lot more firefighters, but I was just talking about yesterday. I'm out here actually doing some report. Wildfires in who is saying that no Santa ANA powered wildfire has ever been stopped by firefighters and he's like a environmental historian. While um. It's like you can hope that the winds redirect them but like the action of firefighters, is basically just spitting in the wind. So the action is not the stop and it's kind of contain it yeah as best they can in minimize property damage
yeah, but you know it's hard 'cause, you have a lot more. It's a lot easier to do that when you know if the and was totally wrong. You'd, be like oh, let's just try to direct the fire in this direction, but if the land is like full of homes you're like well, we can't have any you ever seen. It live not one yeah one time we were filming fear factor and we were way up on the five like probably, I would say- maybe seventy five miles from here and for a full hour having about fifty miles an hour there was fire on, right hand, side of the road for a full hour I mean like Lord of the rings, of the world like you waiting for sale. To come riding on a burning phoenix over. Top of the hill, it was crazy. I've never seen anything like it. In my life, that was the worst one I've ever seen, but I think that was just because of placement. I think that this past one was actually worse in terms of physical damage and
size is just. I didn't see it the way. I saw this one well, the last year there were there were flames like hopping over four of five yeah, and that's that's really like crazy to me because I'm a new Yorker I've lived my whole life in New York and I just feel in my once I know it's sort of not true, but like my emotional perspective on the world is that I live in a fortress. I don't live in nature. Like I walked down on concrete streets. I look up at steel buildings. Nature can't come for Maine, but when you see like fire straddling the four or five that's you know, This is a major metropolis here and we're not safe, we're, certainly not totally safe, and that's like for me. That's a major like image. Revolution. I've had is that wherever you live, no matter how defended against nature you, our climate, just teaching us that you know used live within climate and when it gets fucked up it will fuck you up. It will affect you in some way
yeah. There was a both sides of the four hundred and five were on fire last year last year or the year before last, one of those, but it was insane it was. It was hitting Bellaire and people like well. This is this. We've never seen this before talk to far firefighter once this is years ago, and he told me with the right wind, it's a matter of time for a fire hits the top of LA and burns all the way to the ocean and and there's no anything we can do about it, because if the right wing catches and a fire starts at the top of LOS Angelus it'll, just go straight through la look at this. What is that from Jamie four hundred and five fire, but yeah ok? Oh that's it that's the crazy video. So this is Bel AIR on the left hand, side, and so these are people driving down the four hundred and five looking at you know the most insane. Right for a place that has thirty million people or whatever LA has to see the entire
hillside on fire in Bel air. To me, Bel AIR is really interesting, 'cause, its most climate impacts they hit the world's poorest first and like the wild, bears: are they work in the reverse? 'cause? It's like people living in the hills, yeah. Those are the people, but it just shows you like, no matter how rich you are no matter how comforted by that wealth. You are like. You know you might get hit, while the example was point doom and we were flying over at my friend. Bill has helicopter license, and so we went around the peak of point doom. It's crazy because you know these are like twenty million dollar states, the man. Massive bluffs I'd homes, they thought. They were living in the peak of luxury, reviewing the ocean and like wow, we're on top of the world and the fire just scorched it to the ground. Like that's what it looks like now, yeah, so crazy what's really crazy, 'cause. You like they couldn't even 'cause people,
said, although protectorates folks protect the rich folks, I think they can protect anybody like it's. It's crazy yeah. I think they will, it's more than six hundred homes in Malibu alone, yeah I mean that's, I mean yeah and the thing about Miami Beach going under water and right that's what Miami Beach is a weird one right, because the the ground is porous, yeah yeah, so it's inevitable I gotta get out. They're just basically a sand bar that, like some developers in the twenties decided that was, we can make this into a fake paradise. A railing yeah. I mean there was yeah. I was I mean, those kind of the same way like nobody, looking at LA in one thousand, eight hundred and fifty would have said like Here- is a great place to build a city right. We did it anyway, like America, in its like imperial swagger, was like now create some paradise out of this completely inhospitable land in both places, and then you know it's just a lesson that, like you know, just a matter of time. Well, the most cocky people are the people that have those houses on stilts on the water in Malibu. I wanted
it's going to work out for you. Yeah, like this thing, moves back and forth over time and it has for ever I mean, if you think, about like the long long sweep of human history. Most human settlements didn't happen on the coast right, like people lived, and maybe they live on a river, maybe to have a little community on a river. But the you know the last. Like fifty years we were a hundred years we built up so especially America, so much more on the coast and that's like you know, really inviting disaster, I mean all of Houston, like all of that is like that was floodplain that, like nature, was like You know swampland it was, and now it's you know, new, suburban, elements made out of concrete and that just means more and more flooding. Yet I've been to Houston right after floods and it's Houston is a crazy one that we hotel. We stay at whenever he's do gigs in Houston, it's gone now. 'cause the flood waters just filled up the hotel. So great I actually really love that city. It's kind of like a great food. Oh yeah, Houston's super underrated. It gets lumped into this weird
sort of San Antonio vibe. I don't know why, but I'm I'm a big fan of Houston big Fan, Texas. In general, there fun people yeah but yeah. If it gets hotter there fuct too 'cause, it's just in the summertime in Houston. You know when you're dealing with a hundred percent humidity and it's a hundred fifteen degrees outside you can't even that explain to people what that feels. Like I'm eating cooked there's. There are places in the world that are going to be they're, going to literally cook you by two thousand and fifty so cities in India, an the Middle EAST. You won't, people go outside during the summer, without being at risk of dying by two thousand and fifty by two thousand and fifty like what kind of temperature we Well, it's a combination of heat and humidity. So but usually the heat will be like up in the up around one hundred and thirty, combined with some bad humidity but you know there were already been. We've already broken that threshold, like there been temperature record set every year, but last year broke a hundred thirty in Amman. I think, but, like the disco parts are not some of these crazy desert places that have gotten really hot. It's that the cities like Calcutta has like twelve million people in it. An
it may not be able to. You may not be able to live there in the summer in just thirty years, and then you think about where all those people are going and how much that's going to destabilize everything. You know I've talked to people who are terrified about this, and I've talked to people for nonchalant. Where, where do you see it are you do? Are you terrified? You did a you thinking that you're going to be physically in trouble yourself, or do you think that with proper planning and is not being tied to once You can move to another area I mean I have. I have different feelings about it at different times of day, because it's that big a story, it's like an at affect everything. I think you know. I think civilizations not going to collapse. I think like they'll, be people around even living like kind of rewarding prosperous lives. Forever and the question is like what shape those lives take and where there were They are so me personally, you know I'm
a relatively well off person who lives in America in you know New York, I think I'll be able to do ok, I think my children will be able to okay and when I imagine their future, I think it's a reflection of all of our kind of like cognitive biases, emotional reflexes, that when I imagine like my daughter's future, imagine a world. That seems a lot like the one that we live in today, but when I look at the science, it paints a really, really bleak picture. So you know the question of like optimum an alarm it's really all a matter of perspective right, so we're at one point: one degrees celsius right now I think There's basically no way that we avoid two degrees of warming, which is like the UN calls. Catastrophic, warming, the island nations of the world called genocide, and that's when would be making these cities in the Middle EAST unlivable. It would mean, like some ice sheets, would permanent collapse, which could all the melted eventually bring two hundred if sea level rise and we're on track-
four degrees of warming, so that would mean six. Trillion dollars and climate damages by the end of the century. That's twice as much wealth as exists in the world today. It would mean there'd, be parts of the world. Scientists say where you could be hit by fix, simultaneous climate disasters at once, there be at least a few climate refugees. The UN says the low end estimate is two hundred million. The high end estimate is a billion, which is many people live in north and S. Erica stop topic resilient. Yes, six, simultaneous natural disasters at once, yeah. What does that mean like getting hurricane famine. You know some public health issue, like malaria, it's like every every category of modern life can be affected by this, and there aren't that many that could be hit by six, but already, right now in Australia, there's a craze heat wave, it's like over one hundred and twenty and lots of Australia they're also dealing with like epic floods in other parts of the country. An
that's kind of the problem actually with wildfires in California. It's not just that it's getting hotter, it's also getting wetter. So more rain means more growth means when it gets hot again that growth gets baked and then becomes fire starter and that's you know it's not just it's not just a temperature. It's like higher temperatures, mean crazier extremes in all directions, and you know like that's why I think sort of looking big picture. There's not a life on earth. That's going to be on touched by this force like over the decades ahead, but that's not to say that we're all be destroyed by either, I think like. We will find ways to live in, adapt and mitigate. It's just a question of how much it's going to screw up a Six, how much it's going to change the way we think of history, like I'm an end of 90s kid. I grew up end of history thinking the world was going better that was get richer globalization? Is progress, etc? What does it mean the climate change completely eliminates the possibility of economic growth, which probably won't be the case,
the US, but there are huge parts of the world without is going to be the case that we don't change course now so, like the end of the century. If we don't change course the economy, studying this say: global GDP. Could be at least twenty, possibly thirty percent smaller than it would be without climate change, thirty percent is twice as big an impact of the great depression. How did you get involved How did you get involved in studying this and what was your perception before you got involved and how did it shift so I'm a journalist I'm going to editor, mostly actually in New York magazine, and you know, I'm interested in the near future like as a result, read a lot of scientific papers read a lot of like obscure subreddits. Kind of thing just started, seeing a lot more of that a lot more of the news from science was about climate and a lot more of that climate news was really scary and when I looked around other places that, like we think of as our competitors, newspapers tv shows, I just felt like the scarier. End of the spectrum was just not at all being talked about, so most sign
talk about this two degree threshold is like the threshold of catastrophe and I think most laypeople. Did. That means that's kind of a ceiling for a woman like you to be the worst it could get, but it's functionally the best case scenario yeah. We hadn't had any storytelling any discussion around what the world would look like north of two degrees, and I just felt as a journalist. I was like holy shit. There's a huge story here, like the way that this world could be completely transformed by these forces is not something that anybody is writing about in parkas, it's a long story, but scientists science. Journalists were really they're, really focus I'm making sure that their messaging was hopeful and optimistic and they were reluctant to talk about the scariest findings. And so I was If I buy the science I looked at it and I was like nobody's talking about. This is scary. It like spread the word and I wrote a big piece in twenty seventeen that was very focused on worst case scenario, so I mentioned before I think
This is about our best case scenario. Four degrees is where we're on track. For now, this piece was looking at five hundred and sixty eight degrees of warming, so things were not likely to get this century at least, and it was a huge huge phenomenon. It was read by a bunch of people, the biggest story in New York magazine ever Published- and I just thought man, I guess there'll People like me out there who intuitions about climate suffering in terror, but aren't seen. In the way people are writing about the story. So I decided there's, there's more to say. And even beyond, like telling the bleak storytelling that really dark talking about the really dark possibilities. I just thought there. All these categories of life that we haven't, even What about how low impact? So we know about sea level rise, but that's like, as I mentioned before, that makes you think if you live off the coast, you'll be ok but the whole. That is going to be touched by this. Some places are going to be harder than others. India is going to be hit.
Like twenty nine percent of global climate impacts the century, but going to be affected in some way in the way that changes our politics the way it changes our pop culture, the way it changes our site. How your mood our relationship to history, how we think about the future, I waiting by the past what we expect from capital, So what we blame capitalism for what we expect from technology, what we think technology you can technology, save us? Can technology entertain us? All the world is burning, these are all these kind of like humanities, questions that I felt really really had not been talked about, and so the book does like it's a tour through what the world would look like between two and four hundred but it's also, which is a kind of hellscape, It is also you know about. Half of it is about we're going live here. We're gonna survive in what form? What will it mean? You know math at the mythological level. What let me in at the personal level, what will it mean. The way we think about our kids and our futures and all that stuff- and you know my my my big picture-
thinking about it is yeah, it's really bleak and I think there are some possible ways that we could avert some of these worst case. Scenarios I mean there is analogy that can suck carbon out of the atmosphere already? It hasn't been test that scale. It's really expensive, but if we really, if we can over the the next decade or two really like build it like global plantations of these carbon capture machines- then. Not only can we like stop the problem from moving, for we can actually reverse it. A little bit windows before I've seen the designs for those where they had these enormous, like apartment building, sized air filter things yeah. I mean basically like only in theory They do exist in the real world, but only that are kind of like in laboratories. They don't exist at anything like the scale they need to, but there's a guy at Harvard and David Keith who has tested his machines. They're able to
carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere at a cost of one hundred dollars a ton which would mean we could totally neutralize the entire, the entire carbon footprint of the global economy. We would have to change anything. We could. Suck out all the extra carbon opening into the atmosphere for cost of three trillion dollars a year, which is a lot of money, but there as for how much we're subsidizing the fossil fuel business that are as high as five trillion dollars a year. So we just re directed the subsidies to this technology in the sorry, we could literally solve the problem immediately. There are complications it's like in order to store carbon! You need an industry this two or three times the size of our present oil and gas industry which and where that goes in next, to whose homes and all that stuff located, but we have the tools we need is just a matter of deciding to put them into practice, and I were pretty like that. You know,
recent history shows that we're not doing that fast enough. So one of the big you know points that I'd like to make in the book and I it's six in my head so strongly. As you know, we think of climate change this thing that started in the industrial revolution like centuries ago, but Half of all the carbon that we put into the atmosphere in the history of humanity, from the burning of fossil fuels has come in thirty years. Thirty years that since Al Gore published first book on warming, it since the UN established, establish their climate change panel. It's since the premiere of Seinfeld so you and I have lived through the line. And share of all of the damage done to the climate in all of human history yeah. And the next thirty years are going to be just as consequential, so we brought the world from the basically stable climate to the brink of total climate catastrophe. In thirty years, one generation we have about one generation to save it
To me, that's like it makes me uncomfortable to use this language, but it's basically a theological story. We have the entire fate of Planet in the hands of these two generations. What happens fifty years a hundred years from now. Entirely be up to the way we act now and what we do. And the time scale is so crazy because you have this really compressed We must act now to avert these worst case. Scenarios timescale, but also Impacts will unfold. If we don't do anything over millennia, so like we could have you know if we really bring into being the total melt of all ice sheets. That means that eight centuries from now twelve centuries from now people will be dealing with the ship that were fucking today. We will be engineering problems for them to be solving eight hundred one twelve hundred and fifteen hundred years from now, that damage will be done if it is done in the next thirty or fifty years
so we are, I mean we we're really writing this epic story about earth. Unity and our future on this planet in the I'm of a single lifetime, a single generation, and that is- on. On the one hand, it's sort of like overwhelming. But it's also empowering you know, like all the I'm it impacts that I talk about all the climate horrors that are really terrifying if we make the, and we will be making them happen the, Main input in the system is how much carbon we put into the atmosphere. There are feedback loops that people are worried about their things about climate, that we can't control, but at this point, the main driver of future warming is what we do, and so we could, if we get to a four degree, health with hundreds of millions or a billion climate refugees that'll be because of what we're doing it's not
some system outside of our control, even though we're often kind of we find it kind of comforting to think that it's outside of our control 'cause. That means we don't have to change it in one of the problems Climate change is that human beings like to react to things that are median right in front of them and I think for us, it's very difficult to see the future, especially if it's inconvenient, as especially if it does some thing to inconvenience or get in the way of our day to day routine, and that seems to be what's happening here and that seems to me that seems to me to be why people are so willing to dismiss it so flippantly because in front of them right now, it's not an issue in front of them right now, this very second is very day: I'm going to Starbucks it's right there, it's open! Look I'm outside sixty five degrees out global warming is not a problem. So I think that's I mean totally true and I feel it in my own life, like I mean I've been living, I've been working in this material so long. I know it so deeply, and yet
When I look out the window, I'm like you know, things are fine yeah and that is a really powerful anchoring effect like we expect the world of the future to look like the world as it does today, but all the sciences. That's totally naive, and we're going to have at least twice as much warming as we've had to this point, and I think we need think about the future of the world. In those terms like what it will be at two degrees, at three degrees at four degrees, but it's not like the immediacy. I think we have so many by issues that make like we want to be optimistic about the future. We have a That is cool bias. We don't want to change things. We think that will be complicated expensive. We have a hard time holding big ideas in our head. Like that, the entire planet is like subject to these forces. I mean The list goes on and on in the book I have a little Therefore, I say you know. There's this new, not so new. Now Forty year, discipline in comics Behavioral economics, which is about all of our cognitive biases, how we can't really see the world every single one makes it harder to see climate,
There's. This is actually an english professor name, Timothy Morton, who wrote a book about climate. He calls it a hyper object which is like it's a It's a phenomenon that is so big that we can't. Actually hold it in our heads at once. We can only see it if you imagine seeing a four dimensional object in three dimensional space, it's that kind of thing where you can only see it at an angle only partially climate change is so all encompassing that we can't comprehend it properly. But I think that's all all of those things are reasons that we to be listening to the scientists and what they're projecting not to say that everything they're saying is going to come. True will come true exactly as they predict it. Obviously, that's not how science works. It gets revised some things or miss some things are extreme. Something is just wrong you know. I've been really working on this stuff for a couple years and the number of papers, I've read That show that make me have a more optimal
the idea about the future of climate, I could count on two hands and the number, neighbors? I've read that make me have a bleak review of the future. It's in the thousands and when Look at the totality of that, whether the Climate driven natural disasters prediction is going to pan out exactly as those authors say who knows, but when you see you know so many so many terrifying studies that you could feel like. I did a three hundred page book with them. You realize there's a huge margin for error and it would like we would still be really in bad shape. You know is there a? I mean, I'm sure there have been some studies that made mistakes in terms of like past studies have projected that by now we'd all be dead. Are those those seem to be a problem with this whole? or concept we have of wrapping your head around. It and if we find anything we could point to that say. Oddly back in the eighties, he said we all be dead by now and we're fine, we're gonna, be fine. Okay,
the thing is that that that is an issue. Correct total yeah. There is there's a really famous book in the middle of the twentieth century, the population by so this is a guy named Paul, Ehrlich Ehrlich, who he was like you know. The world just cannot support this. Many people like if we get to eight billion people, they're just won't be enough food. They won't be. You know that the planet can sustain that and he's often pointed to as the sort of like profit of doomsday that and his prophecy totally didn't work out, because we had this thing. That's called the Green revolution basically, we've figured out ways to make crops way way way more productive and that's encouraging human civilization. Does that a lot? We figure a way out of foxholes all the time, but that revolution was literally like one dude Norman Borlaug, who figured out how to grow crops differently. In one one set of innovations and he completely transformed the whole fate of the planet. What did he do? He just basically did genetically.
Modified crops before like the before the name. It was like he's the Golden Rice guy yeah okay, yeah and you know the whole world benefited enormously and you're still not today, like we see all these charts that you know so much poverty so much less. In from one tally in in developing world, that's great: that's like incredible progress, but a lot of that has was powered by the industrialization of those countries, so that bill is going to come, do going forward and and you know- I think like when you look at climate change- you If it was just one threat like let's take our since we're talking about agriculture, Estimates say that if we continue on the path around by the end of the century, grain yields would be half as productive as they are today just by the temperature so we have just as much land just as much grain crops
so we have now but the food we get from it. We only get half as much as we get today. What's the cause of that? It's just, temperature effects plants, the temperature alone, maybe yeah. Well I mean there are text Tuan Food, like insects, there's you know: temperatures means more insects which is bad for crops carbon complicated relationship took to crop growth like in some some plants grow better better with more carbon, but actually there like the weeds and the ones that we like to eat, don't grow better with more carbon and you know by the end of the century. So we could have half as much grain and we could have fifty percent more people than we have right now. Now there's a way you could imagine oh well like, will be another Norman Borlaug. Maybe he'll figure out a way through that. But when you look across the spectrum, it's like agriculture, it's you know, conflict for every half, a degree of warming. In a get between ten and twenty percent more war. So we get to the end century we're going to have more than twice as much war as we have to. This is projected because of battles over resources.
Mainly that famines, droughts, weather weather impacts. Basically everything about, unstable societies get stressed by temperature rise. The Syrians the war was, you know, wasn't single it caused by climate change, but it was that's one of the causes that was of a drought, the produced it and that conflict is not just at the level of nation states or even civil war, it's also at the level of individual. So if you look at crime statistics, when temperatures go up, there's more murder, there's more rape. People get committed to mental hospitals more when there's when it's warmer out. Babies develop less well in the womb when it's hot out there forever. Today over ninety degrees that have babies in the womb. You can see these days in that babies, lifetime earnings and we're we're going to be living on a planet. That's considerably warmer, that's going to have real dramatic effects on everything, air pollution. There's a big study that I write. In the book. That's totally alarming an eye opening just between one point: five.
Season. Two degrees of warming, just through the effects of air pollution, would cause One slash two degree: warming would cause an additional one hundred and fifty three million deaths, which is twenty five holocausts. That's just air pollution, just but One point five and two degrees and two degrees for me- is best case scenario. Best case scenario is twenty five holocaust worth of death from air pollution, and that sounds verifying people when I say that's another like Holyshit, how could we possibly that's unconscionable but or He nine million people are dying every year from air pollution and we don't pay attention to it. So I think the likeliest outcome, even as we enter into this like climate hellscape, is that we find ways to turn away and not look at like the real pain of people, especially in the developing world, but To answer your earlier question, you know, like you, can imagine in agriculture getting figured out, but when you see
just how many impacts there are. It's like it's everywhere, everything will be changed and it just makes the challenge that much bigger and more complicated, because how you know are going to solve the conflict problem, how we're going to solve the problem of having thirty percent less economic growth. You know, like I said, that's an impact that twice as big as the great depression permanent six hundred trillion dollars in inclement images, twice as much wealth as exists in the world today, and that's just you know, then you do it the right, yeah, refugees, food- I mean it's, it's it's so all encompassing, and I think that's another reason why we don't want to look at it close because it's terrifying well, there's also a matter of how it's being projected to the public right like in in certain circles, particularly right wing circles. There
There are people that are trying to paint this with rose, colored, glasses, right, they're, trying to maximize short term profits and sort of dismissed the risks of climate change and dismissed the risks of, or rather the impact of, our, what we've done in terms of raising the carbon in the atmosphere. There's some people that point to that like this. This is nonsense. Science. This is been disproven. There's a few people like that, but it's it's over well, meaning the overwhelming consensus of scientists who study this are terrified yeah, I would say a there was some recent report that said it now past the standard of physics, but like climate science is no more reliable than physics, but as but You know the to the deniers, you say things like you know. The planet was hotter than this before that's oh yeah dinosaurs, lived humans were not here I mean if we
four degrees warmer for the last time. That was four degrees warmer there palm trees in the Arctic, um what yeah really we've already exited the entire window of temperature. That includes all of human history planet is now warmer than it ever has been when humans were around to walk on it, which means to me it's an open. With the humans would have ever involved in the first Place- and this is all from the industrial revolution from then on yeah and yeah and like an to that question. It's like there are people who say there are some natural woman going on. I don't think that's true. I think most scientists would say it isn't, but I also think if you're seeing is natural warming that should terrify us even more because it would mean that it's outside of our control and if we're really adding down the path that we're heading down and we have no control over it. That's even more scary! It should be a comfort that we're doing it because I- things we can stop doing it right. Well, it should be a comfort these people, smarter than the people that don't think that we're doing it that there are people that
and possibly consider some sort of way to mitigate this yeah and what are the ways that are being proposed: and how seriously are they being taken other than this? The idea of building machines extract carbon, the atmosphere, I'm sure, probably aware of them. There's some of the programs that they've talked about suspending reflective particles in the atmosphere to to minimize the amount of solar radiation we receive yeah. So it's interesting this guy, who I mentioned earlier, who's like done the most the sort of most innovative carbon capture machine I talked to a few weeks ago, and he was like no number can be capture. We should be doing solar GEO Engineering, which is what you're talking about and that means probably suspending. Sulphur is like the most useful thing in the atmosphere: great we're going smell like sulfur Jesus all is a static effects to which nobody talks about so like trees are going to just turn, immediately brown or not going to turn color. There was a
A couple weeks ago, the oceans are going to change color. This is, if we do that no. No. This is just your warm and just from warming. The oceans going color to yeah, I think, just from more green to more blue but be nice yeah. But thing is so we could, you know we could suspend is basically an umbrella of sulfur around in the atmosphere which would mean that with some of the sunlight coming to the earth- would be reflected back into the atmosphere, and that would mean that the sun would absorb less sunlight. I mean the earth would absorb less on some light, which would make it a little bit cool. The problem is that we have some impacts on agriculture we They don't know other side effects that would have an. How would you take that stuff out? Well, you could just stop doing it has a shelf life of. I don't know what it is ten years, so you could just stop doing it and that's a big concern actually, because if we did that just to mask the global warming that we are doing then, whatever
program was responsible, for it would be really vulnerable to terrorism to war, because if we, if we were if the planet were functionally say, five degrees, but we were suspending enough sulphur that it was actually only two degrees warmer. Then, if we just, for instance like some bombed the facility that was doing it the planet would be uh really tripped into a much much hotter state, and that would be completely Dystrophic even more catastrophic than more slow approach to five degrees, as we would just to with over a century or several centuries, we met him in ways would be able to adjust to sort of was immediate and immediate yeah. Why sulfur? I think it's just something about the particular characteristic of it. I I wouldn't it smell. Hartman would literally be like Hell, like that's what you hear about with the horror movies right. The devil smells like sulfur yeah, and I mean it's. It's the farts smell like and the reason that we were the reason we're able to smell farts is because sulfur is
so also I mean some related compounds. Hydrogen sulfide are are really toxic, and so that brings Methane, that's another issue as well: right yeah, the cow is producing methane gas yeah on a large scale, agricultural yeah. We let me just say one more thing that short amount. The so your engineering. So the thing about this car find this program. People are excited is really cheap, it's way cheaper than carbon capture, and but so there's a positive for it. But it's also. We are basically already doing this, so we have what's called small particulate pollution. Or aerosol pollution suspended in the atmosphere. That's why I like Delhi is really hard to breathe and because we have a lot of particular than the atmosphere. That is already suppressing global temperatures by as much as one slash two degree or maybe one degree, which means and that's the using those nine million people are dying every year from air pollution. So if we solve-
The problem we solve the air pollution problem, save those nine million lives we every year we would immediately make the planet at least a half a degree warmer and possibly one degree warmer, which would put us at the threshold of catastrophe or above it so we're sort of already doing this program, just not in a systematic way, we're doing and in a haphazard way, the methane you mentioned, there are basically two big issues with methane. The first is cows so yeah, cows produce a ton of methane, which is depending on how you count about thirty, five or maybe eighty five times stronger greenhouse gas than carbon whoa yeah. It's really intense, but there So these, like small scale, studies that show if we feed cattle just a little bit of seaweed there methane emissions could all by ninety five or ninety nine percent. So we could, if scalable, which is not clear. It is, but if it was we could. Immediately eliminate the entire carbon footprint of beef, which people talk about a lot. Now, that's incredible, yeah, just it's a reminder to me that, like you know, you get,
although you should eat less for hamburgers or whatever, but obviously like a problem, that's too big to be solved with like individual choices. We need some kind of global policy or national policy about it, but the scarier, methane issue is, carbon stored in frozen purpose. Trust in the northern latitudes that permafrost is melting when it melts that carbon will be released into the atmosphere? We don't know proportion that it will be released. As carbon dioxide versus methane, but there is in that primary twice as much carbon as now, in the atmosphere which if it were all released, possibly in ultimately sudden way, it could make our carbon problem immediately three times worse than it could be. Even the effect could even be more dramatic than that. If it was released, mostly is methane. 'cause methane is strong greenhouse gas. Most scientists think that that's not something that we need to freak out about in the short term, but it's there. It is melting and nothing is being released at
great so craziest solution that I ever heard for that. One was too bring back the woolly mammoth yeah yeah they're, trying to do that yeah and the idea that the woolly mammoth is going to save us all by releasing them throughout Siberia. Yeah, it's crazy right. I mean, I think, that we're going to have a whole a century of shit like that and should like cows, eating seaweed, that everything will have art global politics, will be reoriented around climate change so that you'll start to see sank put against nations that are behaving badly and yes, the guy who's, like kind of thug running Saudi Arabia now says he needs It is a kind to be totally off oil by two thousand and fifty because he knows that you know the global He will not tolerate someone producing more oil, as recently as you know, as soon as a few decades from now impacts are everywhere so that, like yeah like in California, now you can, you know
while versus and season you can buy. Masks to you know to show yourself the smoke which is really really damaging its effects on cognitive perform? so really dramatic, can lower cognitive performance by like one thousand and fifteen percent effect on the development of kids is really dramatic There was an incredible study a few years ago, where, if you looked at places where they instituted easy, but you have easy pass out here in California: no, we don't. We don't have tolls. Alright, so amazing yeah. I think one or two places where, like depending on where you live. Do you have to take that everyday? in New York. Right now- and I know it's me- I like that. Okay, so used to be the case that cars had to like slow down and pay a toll yeah and because they were slowing down, they produce more exhaust when they instituted EZ pass cars could just drive through and then meant they produce less exhaust and the effect on the on premature birth and birth weight in the areas where they instituted these new easy pass toll, plazas it reduce them by like fifteen percent each that's. How dramatic
just the exhaust affect- is on development of babies. How much is in effect of electric cars? Yes, I can I mean that that will be right now. It hasn't had enough of it and the fact, because there's not enough of them, yeah and but yeah. I mean the that problem on that. Unlike a technological level has been solved, we know how to replace cars with electric, cars we can make them even pretty affordable, not quite as affordable as they need to be, but the new teslas are like thirty five grand. I think if you get it down to fifteen grands that'll, be you know that will be a huge solution, but then there are a lot of other problems that are more difficult. Like air travel, you can't we don't have electric plans around the You can fly planes as or anything like that on the horizon. Is there some people who are who are trying to develop it, but it seems like probably it it's at least like a decade away, and you know one Cross Country Flight in the. U S is the equivalent one seat on one cost cross country flight is the equivalent of eight months of drive.
Every time you fly from New York to London and back you melt nine. Three square meters of ice, every single seat on every flight from New York to London, melts three square meters of ice of Arctic guides yeah? That's insane! That's real yeah, yes, it's every time you fly across the country, it's like eight months of driving, yeah whoa, so globally? travel is only two percent of the carbon footprint, so it's relatively small, but for people in especially, people in rich countries, it's a much bigger part of the focus they fly around all yes, but you know the average American. I think that stat is the average American every year amidst enough carbon to melt ten thousand tons of ice Jesus
Christ, that's just the average American and if you're a person like me who flies like every other weekend, it's way worse way, worse yeah, so holyshit that perspective it's how much nice is there. I mean there's a lot of ice yeah, but it's gonna melt. Well, that's how you get the you know the I, the outside projections, the high and projections for sea level rise or two hundred and sixty feet. No, the the plus side is it's way better to get caught by hotter than is get colder right like ice ages, kill everything. Well, the you know the each of the so the men, five mass extinctions implants, our history and our sister before one of them was killed, was caused by an asteroid, but the other four were were produced by global warming related to greenhouse gas and one of them the ice age for the ice age doesn't count, it didn't didn't kill.
As many know, really the biggest mass extinction, the end permian extinction, which is two hundred and fifty two million years ago. Ninety to ninety five percent of all life on earth died. When was that two hundred and fifty two million years ago, so each of these mass extinctions basically is like a complete slate, wiping of the evolutionary record. It's like we're starting over from scratch. So we want to think that the asteroid hit the Yucatan did the most damage in terms of the fossil record. Is that not true is the one that was the global warming was that more what this other for their five and four of them were from global warming and the worst the worst one was just from from greenhouse gas warming, but yeah the the one to kill the The source was also really bad. It was something like seventy percent of all Iphone, but it's less than the one where there was a yeah temperature rise yeah. While there was a a volcano, this is a little bit sketchy science, but there was a volcano explosion, something like
thirty thousand years ago or something I don't remember the exact dates, but that volcanoes can cool global temperature for the same reason, we're talking with suspending particles 'cause, it basically clouds the atmosphere with and it dropped global temperatures. I think it was two degrees and the human population at the time then shrunk to seven thousand yeah we talked about that a bunch of times less people that live on Nantucket, and it just it just makes you see like everything about the way that we live on this planet is dependent on climate conditions like will figure out a way need to like have a civilization, but it will be transformed. It will be very different if the world is four degrees warmer than, and you know everything about the way that we take for everything we take for granted today is like a permanent feature of the modern world. I think we're going to learn is much more precarious. Much more unstable. And yeah. Like I said earlier, you know time. It's worse.
For all of human history. That's how we were groove all that's how we were able to invent agriculture that part of the world where we didn't agriculture, the Middle EAST. It's now getting almost too hot to grow crops. It's also me too hot to go to MECCA for pilgrimage in just a couple decades, weather like entirely outside of that window of temperatures, It means we're functionally now living on an entirely different planet than humans ever lived on before, and it's going to keep changing. So by the time we get to two hundred and thirty four degrees will be living in a climate. That's you know two or three or four times is as much different as the one that where is now from the one before the industrial revolution, and yet it's like those impacts could be totally overwhelming catastrophic. Now the Al Gore. Film, is something that scared a lot of people, but it was also very widely dismissed by a lot of other people as well. How accurate was that movie? I think it proved to be too sanguine,
it like it didn't deal with a lot of extreme weather. I thought that stuff was far away I think this is one of the one of the big shortcomings of most writing about climate. Most kind of communication about climate for twenty five years is that we were told it was slow. We were told it was going to be coming. Maybe at the scale of centuries- something we have to worry about for our grandchildren, but you realize that half of all the damage we've done has been done in the last thirty years, and you see already the extreme weather we had a global heatwave last summer. Totally unprecedented people died in they died in Russia, they died in the Middle EAST, the same season three million people actuated in China from a typhoon. Unprecedented rains in Japan. We had multiple, hurricanes in the Caribbean all at once there, island in Hawaii, EAST Island, small island, not one that most people have gone but got literally wiped off the map by hurricane
they're thinking about inventing a new category of hurricane category? Six. All of these impacts were are coming much faster than scientists predicted even a decade or two ago, and so I think the first inconvenience is a little too complacent, but Al Gore also, you know, I know I'm a little bit of talked the times he's temperamentally. He a technocrat he's not to missed. He thinks market forces can solve all this stuff and I don't even totally disagree with them. I think the market forces really before we had a huge green energy revolution in the US, that's you know and had spillover effects elsewhere in the world. Solar power is now cheaper than anybody expected. It would be decades go, although it's also the case that we haven't replaced any of our dirty energy with it. We just added to our capacity, so the ratio of renewable energy to energy is now the same as it was forty years ago who made no progress wise on, because we just-
if we're like, rather than saying saying, let's retire this coal plant and replace it with a wind farm, we think will have the coal plant in the wind farm will have more energy, You know we just grow the pie of energy, and this is uh necessary. It's not because there's it just a massive demand. Is it just because they don't want to end that in yeah I mean there is a demand. People like Nrg Trump was talking about clean coal and everybody was like what the fuck are you talking about clean Cole I mean I think, on some level policy is a red herring. The US is fifteen percent of global emissions and we're falling the future of climate. Of the world will be determined by China by India by subs Africa, those are carbon footprints that are growing. China is now almost twice as bigger carbon footprint. Is the US and they're building all this? structure outside of China that doesn't even count in Asia and Africa. You know the Belton Road. You know this new project, so the
actually taking the model that the USA had with like the Suez Canal in the Panama Canal and they're building the infra picture of the developing world so recently they they loaned um and yeah a huge amount of money to build the new rail line which was good being built with chinese workers. They built the rail line. Then they can. You couldn't pay back the debt, so China is threatening to take over. The entire port of Mombasa as debt repayment- and this is like going all around the world highways across Africa across Asia are being built by chinese workers as an in an effort to build a new imperial infrastructure for themselves,
and is the thought that they're doing this in terms of setting up the debt in a way that's on payable so that they could take over. I think that's one motive, yeah. I think that the Kenya example, but they be happy if the deck out repaid, I think it's their their stitching together, an alternative to the western infrastructure of trade entrance they're, basically stitching together an entire second system of how the world will work, how the Let me work and it will be conducted through their own infrastructure and through their own ports and through their own airports, and that's being done, by their own standards. So China is now pouring more concrete um every three then the entire then the usb port in the entire 20th century, Jesus Christ. If concrete, country, it would be the world's third biggest carbon emitter. So the path of development of these other countries, China, India and subs- aren't
Rvca are really what's going to be. Writing the story of the future. America has a kind of, I think, like a mark, a moral obligation to lead, because historically, we had the biggest carbon footprint, but the moment were relatively small part the problem and within the US market forces are doing a lot of are making a lot of progress for us So. The real issue is: how do we figure out a new geopolitics that forces countries like China to act better and one answer may be as weird as it is to say that you know. She's in pain is basically a dictator if he wants to impose, new standards. If he wants to invest aggressively in green energy, he doesn't any of the op political obstacles that we have in the US and so there's this sort of weird sympathy among american climate people for that um authoritarianism and he has, especially since Trump has been elected
More aggressive it talking about climate because you see is if America is not gonna, be leading. This is an opportunity for China to be like the real face of climate, and that means they've paid. If you know, they've invested a ton and in solar and and they've done a lot with air pollution. So Beijing used to be really awful in twenty thirteen, more than a million chinese people died of air pollution, and now that's much better. What have they done? Just closing stricter standards on pollution, so emissions coal plants, things like that kind of stuff yeah an but you know we think about about carbon and the whole problem. I think a little too much in terms of Nrg Nrg is just thirty percent of the Globe carbon footprint and it's the easiest one to solve, because wind and solar is actually really cheap. Now most parts of the world is cheaper than dirt ienergy. What's the majority of the footprint? Well, it's all nothing is in majority.
But so there's an nrg, there's infrastructure, there's transportation and agriculture is like a huge underappreciated part of it. It's something like thirty percent of the global footprint. Is it because of tractors or what is it recover everything everything everything that you need to do to run. The farm I mean really, everything you need to do to live in the world has some kind of carbon footprint, but you know So if we were able to like feed all cattle sea weed. That would have like a big that would have a big impact, but all kinds of crops have have carbon footprints in the, but they would still have to do something to get the sea weeds and have the c we travel. The sea weed yeah deliver it to the farms. Well, you could also do you know you can imagine lab grown meat having a much smaller carbon footprint. I mean it. It should if it like proceeds. As with respect it will and like I said before, like when you look each particular threat. There's, like you can see reasons for optimism. You can see like oh we'll figure it out in this way will figure it out that way.
But the UN says we need to have all of our global emissions by two thousand and thirty to have a chance of averting two degrees of warming, which they call catastrophic warming and The projects that we need to put into place in those eleven years are just much bigger than I think we're capable of pulling off They say the UN says is necessary- is a global mobilization at the level of world war, two against climate, starting this year, twenty nineteen and there's just no chance working to do that anytime soon I mean maybe ten years from now we'll get there. That may even be optimistic, but the total. Decarbonization. That's required is when totally zero out on carbon by two thousand and fifty they say just. I just think you know. The these sectors are much trickier.
We could maybe zero out on Energie zeroed in carbon when it comes to enerji in fifteen years. If we wanted to, but again that's just thirty percent of the total problem, which is why I think there's the negative emissions stuff that carbon capture is so important because it will allow us to move more slowly than the UN says need to and still if it works out. You know, keep the planet relatively stable, relatively livable, but that's you know. Those technologies have been called magical, magical thinking by the journal. Nature. Which is like the biggest scientific journal writing about this stuff. So it's sort of a leap of faith to think that they could solve that problem. Do you think that we're dealing with like shifts in degrees of perception that it is things like your book things like Al Gore's movie? things like you know, anytime, there's a new story, that's written the New York Times or in any any periodical. We need more of this. He needs to be hammered home to people
it's me in these to be something that so a global discussion that accelerates totally, and I think that that's happening. You know. I think there was this big report. The that the ended in a Ober that spurred a lot of conversation about it, and I think that in a grotesque way, the best teacher is just extreme weather. You know when you see every year, these California wildfire every year, when they're burning, that is really dramatic people I talk to in Europe are focused on the California fires even yeah well fears over there, something with the California fires that they're really worried about. When you see these glow, he weighs when you see on Preston hurricane seasons. We just had a typhoon in the Pacific in February. First time in recorded history, every day on the news, there's some there's some dramatic extreme weather and when they come one after the other, I think that's a really powerful teaching tool. So you know
there's this term is now outdated, but five hundred year storm, you hear a lot about five hundred year. Storm means you know hurricane. That would hit a particular area once every five centuries right that mean times five centuries ago there were no white people in America. So let me we're talking about a storm that would harm come once these colonists came to America as they you know committed. Genocide against native Americans as they built their own empire. So they built an empire of slaves and cotton as I follow civil war, they fought world war, they fought World WAR Ii, everything that we've done. We expect one one storm of that kind. In that time, Hurricane Harvey was the third five hundred year storm to hit Houston in three years. We are living in such unprecedented climate that it's impossible to look at the news and not learn that, despite all of our,
inclinations, Oliver Reflexes, to look away. I think it is. Sleeping in. I think people are beginning to be more alarmed about it. I think alarm- is really useful. There, people in a kind of community who think you know it's dangerous to scare people, it turns them off, but I'm somebody who's awakened to this out of fear and you look at the history of environmental activism. When I look at activism generally like we don't try to get people to smoking cigarettes by I'd like messaging through optimism. We try to get them to stop, because we tell him how bad it's going to be for them, drunk driving nuclear proliferation, same thing, Rachel Carson wrote silent Spring pesticides, it was called hyperbolic alarmist, it led to the creation of the EPA, and so when you think about that UN directive that we should be mobilizing the scale of world war, two to come back climate, we didn't fight world war, two out of hope. We fought world WAR two out of panic, and I think that that should be part of how we think about this story
seriously, I think you know when I look around the world when I talked to anyone when I talk to my family when I watch tv when I watch movie whatever read stuff it just seems obvious to me that there are many more people who are still too complacent about this issue, even if they're concerned about a little bit, even if they're aware of it, they don't think of it as like the over arching, all encompassing story of our time. That requires an existential response and even saying those words make me uncomfortable, because I, like it's hard, it's hard for me to believe that the skin that threat is that big. But that is what the science says an and, like I said before, some of that science is not going to get born out. But when you look at the full scope of it and just how just how large, just how bleak the impacts will be, you realize, like we really need to wake up to. Just how dangerous a world we're heading into and do everything we can to avoid it? In addition to We be planning to adapt. Now,
you live in New York, were you living in New York when Tribeca flooded a few years ago yeah? What was that like? What I mean I think in a situation like that, most people emerge from a particular disaster, an think, my god, since this is so awful, it must be an anomaly and you know I think New York was really horrified as a city by sandy, but There's going to be sandies, I remember the exact stat like once every five years, which category storm sandy. I think it made land All is a category three, so it's not even a five yeah. So if a five hidden is it possible for five to hit New York as a too far north? Now possible to be possible. I was talking to a really prominent climate scientist a few months ago, who is like one of the he was one of the Authors on the UN report lives in New York does a lot of consulting with the city, and I said
So we can build a seawall to protect New York from flooding and. He was like. Oh absolutely Manhattan. Real estate is way too expensive to let flood so will definitely build a seawall, but an infrastructure project like that takes at least thirty. To build, and if we started right now we wouldn't be able to finish in time to save Howard Beach in parts of Brooklyn and Queens. We started right now. He said he said. The city knows this. And you'll see in the next few years. They'll stop doing repairs on infrastructure. They'll stop! attending to the subway lines in those neighborhoods and even a few years after and I'll start staying explicitly to the people who live there. You might be able to continue living in these homes for a couple decades, but you're not going to be able to live them, leave them to your kids, wo this is in New York City, it's like the richest country in the richest city in the world, and he a huge parts of huge parts of southern Brooklyn Queens,
are going to be underwater. So for the people that live there right now. What parts are you talking about? one that the one that he mentioned most explicitly was Howard Beach, but which is it's kind of an inch. It's like a a mob neighborhood, and you know it's still, yeah really well yeah yeah, so because that was like the Gotti neighborhood right, yeah, that's where they buried all about dead bodies wow. And I didn't know that was still a mob neighborhood well, to the extent that there is a mob yeah and yeah. I mean That's true everywhere, on the coast, everywhere is not just New York. New York's, not exceptional. You know their projections that, like thirty billion dollars of Jersey, real estate, could be underwater by twenty thirty twenty thirty. Why not as alarming I was born in New Jersey, it's not as alarming, and then you know Miami Beach is Miami. Beach is done for yeah Miami Beach.
Which is almost inevitable, correct, yeah yeah, I mean you know they could they could build to see? but that does not help because the the ground right the end- and this is just so expensive, so you really have to you really have to pick you. Poison, and then, when you look around the well. Do you know it's like Bangladesh, that country to be almost entirely underwater, that's hundreds of millions of people if we wanted to see you. They can't afford that who's going to who's gonna, to pay for that and This is all because of the raising sea level because of the melting ice because of the temperature, and all this is happening, and I think you know we think of sea level is really a thing that happens on the coastline, which it is primarily, but it also increases flooding on rivers, because the water is all connected, of course, So flooding in the UK is expected to grow fifty folds by the end of the century.
Well that life default London is already like underwater a couple of times a year. I mean not the whole city, but is this Jamie? This is Bangladesh. I just went to in addition, water, she's, like city of that pops up, show all my god. These people are yes, as eighteen million residents live here, that's a swamp yeah that It's crazy, like it will give you a real estate project on your flying over the elect a yeah yeah yeah. We can build here, get out your card. It will we totally under what those apartment buildings like you could see the water level look back up a little bit. This is just a running a little slow, but if you see it, look it like does not looks like a water level on the with the on the right hand, side near where your cursor is yeah like, like that's going to go. Up to wear that orange level is cry, well. I mean over millennia, we're going to rise, hundreds of oh God,
I mean it's gonna take a long time, so you can adjust a little bit, but but that's always been the case right. The the the I mean they're still find they find these artifacts and things in the middle of the ocean yeah areas where people used to be able to live in now they can't live anymore yeah, I think that'll be. We have to Move people have to move so what's a good spot, Alberta, anymore, n anywhere off apartment in yes, the spot. Now I mean I think I would like people ask me that all the time- and I say honestly the place that I would move to somewhere in Scandinavia, really because you know I talked about the impact of economic growth before but they're going to be part of the world benefit economically in this anywhere in the north to Canada, Russia and Scandinavia will benefit because the white kids don't go to Scandinavia, go to Canada, it's right there! Well, let's get I don't know, yeah well. Scandinavia is nice, but Camden is like our although they also they have wildfires there to Canada.
And in the arctic circle in Philadelphia errors outlines but so I got the economist who studied this stuff say that there is actually an optimal temperature for human productivity. It's thirteen degrees celsius, which is the history, median temperature of the USS. It's also the historical median temperature of Germany. What is thirteen Celsius was at sixty degrees or something like that, and I think it's like a high 50s. Well, we got jammed. Google doesn't give a do right. Never I'm in Canada was like. I don't know what you're saying yeah I feel like holy. It's twenty two degrees, fifty five point four, and so for every degree, north of that you lose about a percentage point of GDP so that the US is now at about thirteen and a half uh. Degrees Celsius at a medium temperature. That means that we're losing half percentage point of GDP every year from it. But there are parts of the US that were cooler than thirteen and are now brought up to this optimal level,
Silicon Valley is like exactly at thirteen degrees right now, which is you notable 'cause they're like super productive, yeah and that's going to be so. That will be true for Scandinavian generally, and it may be part of the explanation why there's been so much economic productivity in Scandinavia of the last generation is that they have already started doing better with temperature crops are going to be more bountiful in Russia, like Russia will have better agriculture because of global warming, which is why they make such a such a complicated figure in the geopolitical story about climate, so they're, a petro state they have almost all of their economic activity. Activity has to do with burning oil, but there are also poised to benefit from warming, so they're doubly motivated to produce more global and they have such a fuck that were the rest of the world perspective that they're not going to stop, whereas Canada, probably there are likely to, even though they would benefit from more warming. They'll probably get on board with any program to avert warming, but that is uh '
the dilemma. The faces every nation. You know like Justin, Trudeau, guess you know, talks a lot, should about Donald Trump and his climate policy, but Justin Trudeau is also approving new pipelines, Lemarchal does the same, but she retiring nuclear so quickly in Germany that having to use dirty energy and even though they've had credible Green Energy revolution, their there missions are going up, and every country in the world is a collector action problem. Every country in the world is incentivized to behave badly and let the rest of the world clean up the mess. So this guy yesterday about wildfires- and he was like you know. California is doing so great, you know with all of the mission standards are basically, you know, holding themselves to the Paris accords, even though the country as a whole isn't, but that impact isn't local. It's global, so is dissipated. The temperature impasse
on California. Wildfires will be determined by, like I said earlier. Basically what China does so in terms of you know. What any individual area would any individual nation is doing. The motivations are really really complicated there and in California in particular. This is a bit of a tangent, but. You know, the state has done incredible stuff with emission standards, fuel efficiency, green energy, and yet all of those gains now are wiped out every year by the fires, because fires are trees. Trees are burning, trees are basically coal in the sense that they are stored carbon when they burn their release, carbon into the atmosphere, so every time there wildfires like they were last year in California, literally wipes out all of the progress that the state made in all of its green initiatives. That year, yeah And you know about in in that in in Brazil, the the press
Brazil wants to like basically deforest the Amazon, the Amazon is responsible for something. Like thirty percent of the world's oxygen, um and is a huge all plans. Obviously absorb carbon produce oxygen to plant life is really good for fighting. When you see he wants a divorce, the Amazon look at what scale. What is he? What is he talking about doing? so the scientists who study this proposal say that his plans would be the equivalent of adding over a ten year period, adding a second China to the world's global footprint Jesus Christ yeah, and this is just to pump up Brazil's economy yeah. Well, he has a kind of a trump be like I'm gonna that environmentalists perspective too so he's just like, but look a little bit like you know. If
whatever flipping the bird to people who care about it, my god, and that just makes you think that, like it seems crazy now, but it really won't be crazy. I think a generation from now for another country to threaten at least sanctions and maybe military action. To deal with that. You know after world WAR two we built it whole liberal, international order around the principle of human rights. That would have been unthinkable in the 20s yet it led to a series of military invent interventions over the next century, half century, because people are behaving badly toward their own citizens. If we could do that, it doesn't seem all that crazy to me. That's save thirty years from now an empowered cereal, China. Looking at someone Bolsonaro in Brazil would just be like now she can to I'm just we're just going to go in and like take you out, yeah
and this is what I mean when I say it's a kind of all encompassing all impacting threat. Our politics will be shaped by it. Our GEO politics will be shipped by it. Our you know our everything will be shipped by it. We could have climate wars like in the not too distant future Jesus Christ, how is this being received? The book yeah, our people, people? existing it is there anybody that wants to debate you on this, so I wrote this a couple years ago that produced I mean it was a huge sort of viral phenomenon, but it produced also some scientific criticism and you know we published a fully annotated version where every single lot we should where every single line came from, but there were still scientists who were arguing about whether messaging was precisely calibrated whether it was too bleak, too dark the book has had. None of that I mean it's personal. It's been the bus. At first week it was on the times best seller list number six best seller. In England it's been an ad that is on top ten
and all of the reviews have been really kind uhm. I think this goes to what you're saying I think, like the conversation is changing. People are actually really interested in talking seriously about just how big a deal. This is in a way that they might not have been just a year ago. Here's the resistance, though, is there any resistance to it right now to well not just the book, but just the concept in general, Seventy three percent of Americans believe climate change is real, Eighty percent of Americans are concerned about it. Those numbers are up: fifteen percent since two thousand and fifteen, who are the twenty seven? That don't I mean I think it's. You know it's hard right, wingers yeah yeah, but you know those numbers are we live in, Culture now we're, like most people's world view, passes through a prism of partisan politics. So, like You know: there's amazing studies that show that
not. In the early nineties, there was no partisan divide between on the on the question of whether Oj Simpson was guilty when you control for race, Republicans and Democrats had the same idea about Oj Simpson's guilt. That is totally unthinkable, today an there's now a huge, partisan split on whether twelve years a slave deserves an Oscar partisanship is like totally taken over our minds, such but the fact that we have seventy three percent of Americans believe global warming is real and happening to me. That's a really fucking high number. Actually, because one of the two part I think that the Republican Party is really anymore. A denier party, I think they're, just a party of skeptics and self interest. They want to lookout for business interests which actually the calculus. There is changing, which I'll talk about in a second, but people don't want to believe our findings. Things are real because who would it's terrifying, but seventy three percent of the That's a lot I mean that's, you know, that's more!
port than there is for just about anything. So I'm like basically and the speed at which Those numbers have grown, is really dramatic. I said fifteen point since two thousand and fifteen eight points just since March has moved up. That's incredible. I do think that the economic logic is real. Powerful here. So it used to be the case that there was economic, conventional wisdom, that action on climate was going to be really expensive. It will require mass, upfront investment and it would mean also forgoing economic growth. But all of the new research. The last couple of years reverses that logic totaly. So there's a big report in that said that we could add twenty six trillion dollars to the global economy through rapid decarbonization by just two thousand and thirty. We could avoid all of these horrible six hundred trillion dollar impacts that we're talking about. If we decarbonize rapidly
and they're also obviously, business opportunities there, their whole solar empires to to build their whole new electric grid to build for the conventional wisdom is now. The fast action on climate is better for the economy than slow action on climate that hasn't yet totally taken over the perspective of our policy. Globally, but I think it will soon and when it does, That will see like a real sea change in their perspective, because I think for a long time, even people who cared about climate thought well, I want to do something, but if I have to like cost some people, some jobs and costs like a percentage point of economic growth, that's worth it. Let me just kick the can down the road. This is a slow moving phenomenon will inventar. Out of it will grow our way out of it, but all the research says like: let's get started right now and
we'll see how that plays out, I mean if we really have to have global emissions by two thousand and thirty. It means really really aggressive action, which I don't think is possible. But I I think it will be much more aggressive action in the decade had them we've had in the decades in the past so think that once there's a financial incentive for people to either some sort of an industry that produces carbon or something along those lines, industries that are working to mitigate global warming that once there's a financial sort of benefit for these people to innovate and to move forward with this that's we're gonna to see real change. Yeah. Well, also that I mean direct investment of particular companies, but also you know government leaders who look around and say if the economic picture is going,
better ten years from now, if we make massive investments in green energy, then it would be and and even like pass laws you know regulating safe. You feel efficiency or even banning internal combustion engines, which I think will happen within a couple decades. If that's gonna be if the economic picture taking that path is much rosier than the economic picture of inaction. I think they'll go down the path of action right and you know again. The question is how aggressively how quickly and in what form, but I do think that you know I do think the incentives will be different five years from now than they looked five years ago and that'll be that'll, be huge, so that that you think, would be a great motivator for people to shift their perceptions and particularly right wing folks, maybe amongst the twenty seven percent, are in tonight yeah. Well, I mean, if you look around the world- and I was not really a problem anywhere, but the US there's a little bit of and in the U K, but it's a totally american phenomenon and we wonder,
and that the US is only fifteen percent of all global emissions is, as is typical american arrogance like what it would be that we think is them the root of that. I think it's. It's basically bad behavior by the oil companies I mean they have like put out really aggressive disinformation and denial here, see the movie merchants of doubt. Yeah yeah perfect: ample that right, yeah, totally yeah. I know- and I know the the people who wrote the book to a really really great- and you know it's a actually horrifying, because in the 60s and 70s Oil companies were like doing some of the most ambitious research on climate, so there you know they ended up suppressing that going forward, but they knew shed about how the planet was going to change before any of the rest of us really there's no alternatives back then, and there was no real emission standards. So like this, that's when catalytic converter started being intact.
Yeah. Well, you know somewhere on that. If we had started decarbonization in two thousand, which is just coincidence it was the year that Al Gore won the popular vote for president. We would have had. Globally cut emissions by about three percent per year to get below two degrees were now but where we have to cut them by about ten percent per year, and if we wait another decade we're going to have to cut them by thirty percent per year, which is like an unthinkable great, so we wouldn't have had to take such aggressive action. If we had started early, we would have had to just be doing moderate kind of on the margins changes, but we're now in a situation where the problem is way too big for that, and there are people who want to talk about the solutions that could have been useful twenty years ago now going to carbon taxes like one quite another thing to talk about the UN says that, in order to be effective, the carbon, a global carbon tax would need to be it's as high as five thousand five hundred dollars a ton and there's no
else in the world there's nowhere in the world where there's attacks- that's even one one as high as that right now and the places in the world where they do have carbon taxes. Everybody's emissions are still growing up, so there was a time when, like the kind of you don't have to change. Anything will just like fiddle in the margins here could have worked if we had taken if we had really been focused on it, but we're sort of past. That point now shortly, but it's interesting. You know that they're talking to the oil companies, I think they- you know, I think they're responsible for denial, but I also think that denial is not all that important in american politics, because when you look around the world you see many countries which fit with very
from politics, even quite universally focused on climate issues were not behaving any better when it comes to carbon than we are, and so you think well, what is the sickness here is that the Republican Party and the climate denial or is it the fact that all of us should just want? You know more better, cheaper stuff, and we have a really hard time conceiving of different paths that don't push us for towards more consumption, and you know more or the modern amenities that we sort of assume all keep accumulating overtime. I mean people say: financial capitalism is the problem. I have some sympathy for that view, but I also look around the world. I see social democracies who are behaving really poorly when it comes to carbon. I see so. Countries were behaving really poorly when it comes to carbon It seems on some level, like it's even deeper than the systems that we have to organize and manage our cultural priorities, and there are now you know getting back to the ability of the.
Companies there. Now all these lawsuits that are being brought against them for basically on the model of the of the cigarette companies like that for claiming damages, and that may be they may be victorious. They may put some of these companies out of business. I think it's not that likely, but it's possible there are also other lawsuits that are happening in a really interesting. There's one in the Netherlands that some people held the dutch government they basically dutch government was not honoring the Paris accords and citizen sued, to hold them to that and won the case. So the dutch government is now obligated legally to do better on climate than they were doing. And in the US there's. This amazing court case call Juliana, first, United it's, which is a lawsuit being brought by kids, using it's kind of ingenious use of equal protection clause. There arguing that their generation has been,
supposed to climate damages that there, the previous generation of parents generation were protected from, and so they're saying this climate policy is a violation of the equal protection clause, you're not protecting us. In the same way you protected our- and that's at the district court in Oregon, which is just one level below the Supreme Court. I think it'll win in the district court almost certainly won't one of the Supreme Court, but if it did when the Supreme Court, It would immediately obligate the US to really maximalists climate policy, because 'cause, it's literally impossible to protect the next generation from climate damages as fully as the previous generation was, but they'd be obligated to do everything they could, which would mean sort of suddenly something like the world war. Two scale mobilization that the UN calls for, which would be really kind of dramatic incredible, and I think that's one path forward is through litigation because so many places in the world- it's not just politics- are inert like american politics or a nerd. It's just
a lot of slow moving bureaucracy and slow moving public opinion and in the same way, that a lot of civil rights victories were fought and won in the courts. I think we might be able to make some progress in the courts on climate to we'll see if you had a magic wand, but if they made to the king of the world- and they said you- you can decide what we do. What would what would the first step in the first It is just ending fossil fuel subsidies. I mean there's no reason why these companies should be receiving public money and why are they just income? The advantage is that well connected companies. A lot of them are really big and powerful. An any government in the world is not going to want a major industry to like completely collapse. But you know if we're really subsidizing them five trillion dollars a year. That's a ton of money that could be poured into green like to RD of new technology. It could be poured into carbon capture,
we talked about before that's just unbelievable resource and it would accelerate the decline of coal in particular, and other oil other fossil fuel businesses, which would be great, is there discussion about that individual countries yeah, but it's slow moving. You know, there's stuff about people the action in all different ways at all different levels, which I think is basically necessary. Cities in Europe where cars are now being banned, cars yeah in the city yeah just like riding around yeah, even living in Eleh too. You can do in Amsterdam. You could do that It just seems ridiculous, yeah. Well, I mean maybe maybe it'll just be. You can only have an electric car. You know- maybe ten years from now, like it illegal in the US to build, like you know, a gas guzzling car. I got an electric car recently and it's amazing the blowback from my friends. What is they saying? Well, first of all,
It's always homophobic or or or feminine the the rose going after you about your estrogen levels in your manhood. It's like it's weird, it's kind of like a space because teslas are kind of like there's kind of like spaceships, though they feel I mean. There's only been one yeah you driven one. I haven't driven one of two women, one yeah, drove in one years ago, and I wasn't that impressed, I want to say, like maybe five six years ago, but now I have one of the new ones: that's crazy fast. It doesn't even make sense. Regular cars are stupid, there's stupid and you spend all that money on gas oh you want to yeah, but I mean they're stupid, like they don't work as good like that thing is way better than any car I've ever driven yeah. It's only getting up there? They don't even make sense how fast they are and they drive themselves like you hit this little thing go to do and it just fucking steers it takes over yeah like it drives yeah and it's stays within the speed limit. You can just kind of half fast space out his keep your
the steering wheel and it it Acheson is cars in front of you and slow. It's very strange, even change lanes for you, amazing. It's fakt, it's weird! It's weird! It's it's very difficult to let go and to give in like that, but the the strange thing that I felt was the the blowback from my friends yeah like end their joke being around. Obviously most of my friends are comedians, but it's uh, it's hilarious. Even people have heckled me about it. Well, I feel that, like just at the aesthetic level, I understand that mocking of like the pre yes, but I feel like the tesla- is actually a little macho yeah. This is a piece of shit. It's like a cheese. Yeah wheels yeah, but I mean You know yeah in a sick culture where, like being like with healthy, a responsible like that says that it was like cigarettes and whiskey yeah, but the mach someone eating a salad yeah. It's very weird. It is very weird, but
I was that is an american problem like other parts of the world and they're, not as attached trucks and short gross yeah, we're gross, but but there's some something: pretty We strange about being on that side of it. 'cause I was I want to. I don't want to say I was pessimistic about electric cars, but when Elon did the podcast, I told my by one of its cars. He was telling me how the great there yeah yeah yeah, I'm probably in cars, but I really did not expect to like it as much as I do. And then once I got it, I was like. Oh ok, now I get it, but then I was thinking about my own resistance to it because I like cars, I have you know, so cars. I have a couple. I have an older Porsche. I love them, yeah they're fun! Well, I like those kind of cars but they're stupid. They really are dumb. That's a dumb way to get around the the is a better way to get around and he's got one. That's coming out in twenty twenty, that's going to have a six hundred and sixty mile range, which is insane
Can you drive all the way to San Francisco and back with one charge? Now I mean he's incredible. I think you know there are reasons why he gets the that he gets, but I also think like Tesla and solarcity are credibly, important and Actually, I don't understand why there aren't more people in Silicon Valley who are focused on climate in this way, like, obviously they want like these are people see themselves as gods, who want to be world historical figures there Do they do that? Who do you think is doing that? Well, like Jeff Bezos is, I think he thinks himself as a God. Yeah really yeah, really, you know and now read those text messages he said check. I don't I would say that you know, God would say you should be lucky to get this dick, all the Spacex creation- stuff, though it's like you, know all that, like people are obsessed with end of the Life Extension Extension
I think this is a side effect of having one hundred and fifty billion dollars. So you can do so much good with that. Yes, so businesses pouring a billion dollars a year into his into his space exploration project, which is like I mean I'm cited by space. Two, I think, would be cool to go up there, but there's some pressing problems here which we could really benefit. You know that money could really benefit, and I agree but long term. I think the philosophy is that we're going to have to get off this planet. If the human race is going to succeed, but I have not just the threat of global warming but of asteroid, Paxson many factors, asteroid thing, I think I mean from supernovas there's a lot of factors more on the particular question of climate. There's just no way that the earth is going to get as inhospitable as Mars is so idea of building only there as a hedge against global warming is just crazy. We could. It is ridiculous, but good. On the positive note, if we could fix that shithole yeah, I can imagine what we could do
yeah Paradise yeah. Well, the idea is terraforming right going to go there with some kind of massive machine, it's going to create oxygen in the environment and yeah. Well, it's a good place to practice. 'cause no one lives there, so you could do all kinds of goofy ship and go well good news and bad news. The good this is we figured out a way to terraform the bad news is already fuckedup Mars, so we're going to try another spot we're going to we're going to move during this yeah yeah yeah. We know Venus used to be actually quite earth. Like yeah, I went through really rapid global warming. Yeah that made it now. It's like a total hell hole right and that's like the sort of worst case worst case for TH is living a scenario. Well, ultimately, does sun's gonna burn out, rightly, if put that's many early in two years sure, but if we really do look into the future, something something has to be done you know, I mean this is the grandest transparency, the concept of some sort of interstellar ark. I mean, I believe that I'm and I'm I'm I'm with it. I just think it's the time scale of the threat, the work that we need to avert by space exploration
that's a time scale of Millenia. Yes, we have, a lot of new technology developed over the next one thousand years. That will allow us to do it more efficiently, but climate change, time scale is like the next thirty years, so we need to focus on it now. No, I give myself the opportunity to do the other show. Why do you think it's sex here to go to space? Is that what it is like rockets- and I mean I think, for these dudes yeah yeah, it's a big metal, dick shooting off in the atmosphere that we do have flux space actually made that argument about Mars yeah and it's like they're shaped like yeah something to that yeah? Also in this generation of people really grew up in the in the age of like the the space race yeah, I mean it's and the aftermath of landing on the moon, and I think there is like Peter Thiel talks about this. There's this kind of unfulfilled sense of
future that we all like anybody who grew up in the post war years in the sixty seven, they were like you know, whatever his famous line were promised flying cars, and all we got was one hundred and forty characters or whatever. I think that applies to the Spacex, and stuff it's like well, the government is no longer doing the really ambitious yet, but we can do it privately on the, and there is a government in the world that is doing that shit and China, they landed on the far side of the moon, they're, doing really aggressive space exploration, and I haven't been there in twenty years. But the people I know who lived there say there is so much faith in the future there they just believe in a very inherent deep down way that, like the future, will be back and Sci Fi E in an exciting way- and that's so far and from the way that Americans think about the future, is that part of the benefit of having a dictator run things. I think it's it's like they're on a huge upswing right, but it's also like there's no debate about how things get done. Yeah yeah totally. I mean that's what I was saying:
It's like it gives you some hope for climate if, like cheese and things just like okay immediately, no more coal Mmhm, the last up right, This is also throwing two million Muslims in concentration camps right, yeah, this basil thing I mean, I'm not criticizing you because I think it's very common thought, but why is it that we look at these super rich billion billionaire characters that are on the top of the heap? Why do we think of them as like? Having these tremendous egos and looking like gods, isn't it sort of just does just how you're always going to look at someone who lives in uh hundred million dollar house and it's possible. I think, when you look at me not to get too like armchair psychology as in a business, but when you look at the physical transformation that he's put himself through when you think about like the life extension, what is it done? Physically he's just like I mean if, if you look at photos of him, when he's like a young man he's, you know just kind of like to ab right and now he's like a an action hero. This is really
Yeah, I mean maybe not like you but he's like he's. Yeah he's pretty big. Those jacked am I missing something. Let me show you if it looks different, go pull up, pull up some images of Jeff Basos jacked. I didn't know but he got a trainer. I mean no, I'm not blaming him, but that's only part of it, I would say bigger than that is that I just have thin skins on the world's ok. Let me say zoom in well. I guess I guess he's got some more there is a wow, that's a big difference. Yeah, but he's also got a vest on. I guess his a do. Look pretty big yeah! I mean I'm not in most ways, I'm not a business hater. I think Amazon has been actually really pretty great. I'm a fan yeah I like will listen to the guy talk and I loved his letter to the national Enquirer
there. He is right there yeah, so he looks fit in front of the king Kong Rampage Movie guide him yeah. It looks pretty good ok, I guess physical transformation, but that's yeah. Probably life extension idea uploading your brain to the computer, so many busy into that ship. He is actually, I think, not as intuitive other people that is so Sci FI. I interviewed Kurz while a while back when I was doing this Sci FI show when I went to this two thousand and forty five conference that they had in Manhattan, and it was these guys are talking about something that they think will be invented and they're acting. If it's been invented, inevitable, yeah yeah totally, I mean Eric Schmidt has said about climate change. The solution is already here in the sense that I will just solve it and it's like well. No, that's that's a weird thing that we do, though, right we always looked like. Oh so
it's going to handle this yeah. Well, the the the brain upload stuff is interesting to me with regard to climate, just because it's like a a portal through which we can escape environmental degradation of the world is on fire and full of self. Right when we can just upload our minds to some machines and not not live in the real world anymore right, think about even my relationship to my phone, like tech addiction, generally we're sort of being taught to think of the world, our screens as more real than the world that surround us and that sounds in a lot of ways like decline, Aston and whatever, but I also think it be a kind of coping mechanism for a world that we're about to head into So there is that much more suffering and when I, when I see, for instance, like the whole wellness movement, I think intuitions there about like the toxicity of the world and how we have to avoid it. I think the way They will reshape our own sense of self and relationship to the world, an idea of our place in nature
and history all these things are really up in the air and will be affected by climate change. I think in you know in ways that we don't yet appreciate or understand so the to wave the wand, yeah? What would be step number one step number one is ending: fossil fuel subsidies and fossil fuel subsidy step two step, two massive RD investment, massive best men in indian and new infrastructure, which would be great for the economy right totally so all these things taking a positive or sing a negative and looking at positive aspects of mitigating the problem yeah yeah new energy sources. I mean that you know you there really are. There are already new business empires that were are from the climate change, air, there's new solar empires, their new window buyers, but that can happen globally. That needs to happen globally, and you know that's. You know that we have to. We have to
deal with agriculture, which may be about seaweed and maybe about lab grown meat. I don't know but uhm. You know it's like the big picture, it's all carbon, it's all just how much carbon we put into the atmosphere. So I think it will come to be the case that in the decades ahead. Everything about the way that we interact with the world will be described in understood in terms of carbon, so that, for instance, you walk down the aisle in the supermarket. You see organic food. You see non GMO food, you see like carbon free food, and that will be a big part of the way that we consume everything that things will be advertised that way promoted that way but glow. We just need to really focus on reducing carbon is it like and it is which is almost everywhere. We need to figure out new ways to Do whatever it is we're doing? That's that's causing a problem we need to make it Dnla! That's why I do have some organic gluten free carbon free food.
I feel like that's already kind of have. This should be yeah. That would be as long as that kicks in, and people realize, there's some street cred to being carbon free yeah. I mean, I think, a different different parts of the world. People will relate differently to it's a like yeah and show they are scheduled to have this huge boom in beef consume. And dairy consumption, because it's expected that as the country gets richer, the people will adopt a more western diet but it's also possible that they want that. Like new chinese middle class will be still really. Interested in you know: tofu less interested in beef in milk. You know and. It might be. It might be easier to have them follow that path, and it will be to make the american Average American eat less beef, but.
You know it's it's everywhere. It's like everywhere. You look, there's some there's some some little problem to solve, but you pull back. It really is just carbon. It's absolutely everything. If, if you think everything you do in terms of the carbon impact. It has then You know the solution suggests themselves, and I do think that in the in decades, if, even if you, when I don't start to think. In those terms, our policy makers well that, like everything, will be over entering into a new trade agreement with Japan. What's the carbon budget here, like what kind of has their carbon behavior over like you know we're providing some public subsidies for this factory over here. What's there like a mission situation like, can we ask them to bring along some carbon capture planned so that they produce their foot print. You know every at every level. The level of the end of
Do you like talking about buying a Tesla or buying a you know, buying a range rover or whatever, I think we'll start to think in the term in terms of carbon, it will be a sign of just how total climate change will have totally. Climate change have conquered the world so that there won't be an aspect of modern life that will be not just untouched but in a certain way kind of ungoverned by it yeah What about? Is there a way to educate people in in a way? That's not preach. That sort of moves the needle in that direction. I think conversations like this are important. I think your books are important and I think you know reviews that I'm sure you're doing right now and all these different shows are important and everything kind of like ups, the needle or ops, the perception of a little bit, but Is there anything else that can be done that can educate people in a way- that's it's not preachy or it's not it does it's not aggressive, the way that annoys people, it's a horrible thing to say, but
I also like the same way we like we need sugar in the medicine. You know I mean what yeah the song from Mary Poppins yeah I mean I think in general, like climate messaging, communications really suffered for a long time because it was so preachy and because it was so holier than now, because the people- get involved in that part of the reason why they get involved in its virtue signal totaly, an I've been asked, like you know, as I've been proven, promoting a book by a lot of people like what have you done to in your life to change? And it's like well being a little bit. Less defined really makes me feel guilty, but otherwise I basically haven't changed anything because I do think that politics and policy are the most important impact you can have and I'm like spreading. The word whether I eat like a couple fewer hamburgers here, just doesn't really matter that much. But the idea that you would ask a newcomer to the movement to demonstrate their commitment by making themselves the most optimally committed that they possibly could be
that's just going to alienate so many people, and this is obvious, the issue where we need more people engaged in a more direct profound way. So I think for me it's like anyone to care about crime, and once the vote about climate like come on yeah, and I think that you know, Hollywood can be really important here I mean, since I've been out here. I've been, I have as a couple meetings about shows and stuff, and I do think that we had really corny storytelling about climate change and that there are actually opportunities for like really incredible, kinds of storytelling I mean in the book. I read. The story that happened a couple years ago, where you know anthrax had killed a reindeer in Russia in the early. 20th century the reindeer was frozen in permafrost for the entire 20th century. Permafrost melted, the reindeer thought the anthrax was released and kill at least one boy and a number of other reindeer in Russia wow, and that is
so in the ice in the Arctic ice are you know we know of rock is like a record of Logical history ice is also record of geological history, so they're like the Bani plagues for truck, denies that the Spanish flew in from nineteen eighteen that killed. Hundreds of millions of people is trapped nice, there are diseases trapped in the Arctic. Ice from before humans were around, which means that humans immune system have no variance with them. There's so many horror movies that you can make about this subject Holyshit. I don't even think of that. I didn't know that the spanish flu is trapped in ice yeah, and there have been instances where, like in lab, can things anyway, Dave revived back t that are millions of years old one doctor literally injected a bacteria that he had revived from like thirty five thousand years ago, had been frozen for thirty five thousand years. He brought it back to life and injected
into himself. Why would he do that? Just to see what would that's a fucking Marvel comic book you become like the the Red Skull or yeah. Well, that's what I'm but this this story is so big. It's like the world that we live in in the next couple of decades will be completely transformed, like we will be reading about diseases coming out of the Arctic ice we will be reading about tropical diseases arrive, in Copenhagen, because now mosquitoes are there, because the temperature, them to live there in a way that they never lived before we'll be reading about climate conflict will be reading about. You know I mean all the it's it's it's everywhere it. You know, air pollution increases the rates of autism and ADHD. It changes the develop babies in utero, it's like it's all, encompassing wow the disease in the ice things really freaking me out. I never even considered that yeah
That is something to think about. Along with the methane and carbon, it's going to be a minute into the atmosphere as it melts. Well, let me tell you the story, so there are we now so there is there this the space of antelope called antelope. They in Siberia, they're kind of dwarf, antelopes and they've been around for many engineers and all of a sudden in twenty sixteen or two thousand and fifteen. They literally all died. It's called a Megadeth. The entire species died there extinct there now extinct, Jesus an and That happened because a bacteria that had in living inside their guts was changed by temperature conditions. It was an unusually hot unusually humid summer, and this bacteria that had been living inside them. Presumably, for millions of years comfortably
as a kind of peaceful co operator, became a killer and killed the entire species. Now we have inside us countless bacteria and viruses, scientists believe millions. In every human! So our guts are full of bacteria that do our digestion for us. They monitor our moods there You know there are some scientists who think it's really misleading to even think of the hue. And as a unitary animal, rather than a kind of composite creature system yeah and most of those bacteria and viruses are not going to be dramatically transformed by a degree or two degrees of warming But there are so many of them the chances that one could it's hard to dismiss that and whether that would mean we'd all immediately go extinct, probably not, but what? If that means? Suddenly schizophrenia increases by fifteen percent?
Schizophrenia is related to a bacterial infection, called Toxoplasma guide things. Bacteria, Toxoplasma Gandhi, with that's account, parasite, yeah, exactly a schizophrenic Zulu, yeah, really yeah. It's like triple your chances of getting schizophrenia, wow yeah and our bodies are so so complex, such intricate ecosystems, like you say that if one little thing gets disturbed, it could have really catastrophic impacts on us and that's true of the planet as a whole. I think that's a bit. That's one of the big lessons of my book is it. This is such a delicate system. It's been stable for all of human history, and now it's not stable what that means for how we live. We don't know yet that the changes will be significant will be profound, but it's also true of the individual. You know our bodies will be living differently in a world. This two degrees.
Warmer than they are today. We can't really predict what those impacts will be, but it could be quite dramatic and they could be things that we can't even imagine today, because there are, you know by some counts millions of bacteria inside us that we haven't even identified yet Jesus Christ you're free. Give me out David. It's a crazy world out there. Which is crazy, but it seems like well When you talk about things like this, we talking about climate change affecting our actual gut parasites or gut biome, and that this literally could change the human beings behave. I mean these are all things that I've never heard discussed and it just it's really terrifying really is you know I mean, and part of the problem is people here like oh relax, everything is fine. This is constant thing that we do where, if it's not affecting uh currently right now in the moment is not a fire in front of us. We don't worry about it. It's a weird compartment.
Compartmental station thing. The human beings do yeah and it's you know wished me think that evolution we have trained us differently. You think that evolution would have Tranice over time to have a least some long term capacity, and I guess we do have some long term planning capacity, but it's we choose to think when really short term way is just about all the time now, you've already freaked me out how's your book in a freak me out more, I mean it's every page every page is of this yeah Jesus man. How do you, the ninety okay, I mean I sleep through compartmentalization in denial to I'm, not I'm not mentioned earlier, like I think, there's been a problem for environmentalism for a long time, this kind of holier than now thing. It's not who I am I'm not environmentalist. Until a couple years ago, when I started really worrying about this stuff, I had the same
disinclination to take it seriously than that most people do you know I thought climate change was real. I thought it was something that we need to worry about and deal with, but I thought it was like a small problem that could be dealt with without much changed. My life and I still basically feel that way- I mean I you know I like going on vacations in nature, but I'm not someone who's like spends months, hiking that trail or whatever I've never even had a pet. I don't love animals, you know, but why the more I looked at the science, the more I just realized, this isn't about affecting some part of nature over there. It's about affecting all of human life. Every aspect of human life as it's lived on this planet and that really terrified Maine, but even knowing that even staring at it straight in the face I mean I still get up in the morning and you know whatever do the same. Shit go to the gym. Watch basketball go to my day job and I don't think that we should be ashamed of.
I think all of us have are going to have different reactions to the story. Different perspectives on the crisis and that's good- that's human but spreading the word generally making people a little more alarmed is going to make people take some more action and that's what we need. But you know. The psychological, like I said before, the psychological biases are so strong that, like when I imagine my daughter's life I'm not imagining a hellscape, I'm am during the life the world that I grew up in right and again, that's not like that's how everybody, let's everybody, we it's really the world and it's just a a reminder of how important it is to look really directly at the science, because the word
Does it exist today is not a good guide to the world that will be living in a decade or two there's no way that the climate system as it exists today will be stabilized forever. It will get hotter, All of these things will get worse. Every tick upward of temperature will make will create more climate suffering somewhere in the world, and if we get to really dramatic levels of warming, that suffering will be basically everywhere. We can't continue orienting our perspective on the future on the world is today we have to take seriously this range of temperature temperatures, two degrees to four degrees that we're on track for the century as a way of Generating sufficient active in response and adapting as we need to. If we keep looking out the window and thinking the world as it is now will continue we're not going to do anything and that's what we've done over the last thirty years, which has been catastrophic. I think that message is really important.
I think the also the message of that. We need to change and evolve as a civilization, but as a human being, you need to still enjoy your life and that you know it's just it's it's a it's not all, my god. I need to drop everything. I'm doing that leaves any sort of a carbon footprint. It's we need to address it as a civilization. Yet I mean it. You know the if the average American I had the carbon footprint of the average European America's carbon emissions will fall by like thirty five percent I don't think of like the difference. What do they do differently? They drive less, they swear 'cause, they make the best cars yeah. It's like less terror ok, yeah I mean there aren't many people in Europe who like commute an hour and a half to work everyday and that's not so uncommon in America. Their diet is better carbon wise and they have more. You know they have some more aggressive, green energy stuff going on how's their diet, better carbon wise. They just they waste less food basic.
So, like a third of all american food, I think it's. A third is wasted. Mmhm, that's just ways to carbon yeah and you know, I think I think the number of of what I'm electricity. Is like seventy percent of american electricity is wasted, because how bad the grid is It just is so bad at delivering from one source This is one reason why it's solar city is so important, because the battery can be a much more efficient transporter of electricity. Well, there's no excuse for California, I mean other than this this winter. It's sunny everyday! yeah, but so if seventy percent of american electricity is wasted, it's like we're just throwing. All that carbon monoxide yeah, let's giant yeah, and if we or less wasteful. We have you less of a problem on our hands, but we still. Order twice as much food as we want to throw it out. I mean I know that yeah,
but you can understand why someone would say to you like what are you doing, but it's that sentiment behind it. That's kind of gross right, yeah! It's like they're. Looking for you to be a hypocrite they're, trying to Well, when I look at hypocrisy, what I see is like you know you want the world to be. Their place. Then you yourself are doing. Yes, it's like that to me. There's a way it's like. Photography is like a negative quality. I think it's kind of a positive. It can be a positive quality. You believe we should be behave, being yeah yeah, and it's need to adjust you like you're, saying not just what everybody needs to do, what you you need to do as well. You conscious of this need to change like you know, if someone believes in say like better healthcare, we don't them to donate all of their money to hospitals. That's what taxation is for, like right policy directs our cultural energy towards targets that we want to each again as a civilization. We need to adjust and's
that individual. We need to be aware so that we promote and support this idea of a civilization, shifting, yeah yeah, listen Thank you. Thanks for scaring the shit out of Maine thanks I'm down here, tell people with the name of your book one more time. Please call the uninhabitable earth. The subtitle is life after warming. It's on my instagram and will put a link to it on Amazon on Twitter. An thank you David. I'm greatly appreciate it man it's great to meet you too. Good luck with your book around I think it's going to be a big impact. Thank you. Thank you. Everyone tune to show, and thank you to the cash. The number one app in finance in the app store for a very good reason, download the cash app. Today in the app store or the Google play market order, your cash card and, of course, when you download the cash app enter the referral code, Joe. In all one word. Five dollars will go to you. An five dollars would go to support.
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It's going to a lawyer's office for a lot of different issues. Legalzoom isn't a law firm, but their network of independent attorneys can review contracts. Help you with employment laws. Lisa events in more and they can really pump up your small business check it out during national our business month do not forget to use the code Rogan to save fifteen percent after L, L, C's corporations and more at Legalzoom dot com. That's it did you get scared. I got scared five, it's one of those things this this subject that- and we talked about this on the on the show itself, it just doesn't seem real. While everything is ok, but I think it's important to to read stories. Like God, the uninhabitable earth and read books about it and really understand where we're headed. It's fucking. So thank you today
I really really appreciate that and thank you to all for tuning in I love and respect to wall, much love and kisses, and one one one, one one and we'll talk to you soon, bye bye
Transcript generated on 2019-11-10.