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How Long Does the Planet Earth Have? (with David Wallace-Wells)

January 21, 2024
Notes
Transcript
In a special climate episode of TNL Sunday, David Wallace-Wells, author of The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming, joins Tim to discuss the current state of climate change and efforts to reverse the damage that’s been done.
This transcript was generated automatically and may contain errors and omissions. Ironically, the transcription service has particular problems with the word “bulwark,” so you may see it mangled as “Bullard,” “Boulart,” or even “bull word.” Enjoy!
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:08

    Hello, and welcome to the Bulwark next level Sunday interview. I’m your host Tim Miller. Our guest today, David Wallace Wells. New York Times, New York Magazine journalist, author of the Un inhabitable Earth twenty nineteen book that was based off of the two thousand seventeen essay of the same title. We wanted an update for twenty twenty four on how uninhabitable Earth is really gonna be.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:33

    I’ve been wanting to do an episode about climate for a while, and I think David Wallace Wells was great. Part of the reason, you know, I get sometimes feedback from people. There are a number of issues that I care about, you know, some that code more conservative, some more liberal that I don’t really talk about as much because I don’t feel that I have an expertise in the subject, and climate is one of them. I I think wrote in the goodbye to all that essay about you know, the ways in which I changed and the way that which was the party changed, that led to me leaving the Republican Party. One of the things I mentioned is that in two thousand and eight, in the first Presential campaign that I worked on.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:08

    John McCain ran on cap and trade. Lindsey Graham was a big supporter of that bill, there were a number of Republicans in the Senate, had an alternate universe where John McCain becomes president in two thousand and eight, a climate bill probably, it passes as a bi as a bipartisan accomplishment. And then, you know, probably the far right overthrow, John McCain, and he gets primary by I don’t know. Prodo Donald Trump in twenty twelve. So, you know, you can sometimes overdo the counterfactuals, but it was something that I actively liked about him.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:39

    You know, being a millennial. I’ve come up in in the era of of seeing the effects of climate change, having lived in California. We talk about this with Dave Wall as well as the wildfires, now living in Louisiana, the flooding, having lived in Miami, when I worked for Jeb and seeing the impact climate change there. It’s always been something that I found important, and then I feel like we could do better to talk about more at the Bulwark So here we are. And this is this primary season, I’m trying to, on the Sunday interview, give you guys a little break from all the horse race analysis.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:09

    And, you know, just talk about uplifting issues, like, child sex trafficking and climate change, and we we have a couple more depressing off ramps. That’s a topic that I wanna be revisiting more and more in this year and the years to come. So suggestions on other guests you’d like to hear on this topic. Welcome, but I think this is gonna be a good primer and a good starting place is interesting to get an update from David who is who is extremely apocalyptic in twenty nineteen about the state of affairs and I guess to say he’s optimistic now would be an overstatement, but it is interesting to hear him talk about the way in which we’ve changed in our response decline that globally between twenty nineteen and twenty twenty four. And that story is a little better than the trajectory of the Republican Party.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:51

    So with that, Dave Rosells, if though you want to hear more punditry for me. I am on the focus group with Sarah Longwell discussing the New Hampshire primary And we talked to my people, a bunch of squishy centrist, MSNBC watching, undeclared voters, who don’t really like Nikki Haley Ron DeSantis or Donald Trump and are trying to decide whether or not it’s worth crossing over to vote for the for her, for Nikki. In the Republican primary. So it’s interesting to hear them kind of talk through their their thinking about all that. So if you want more New Hampshire straight into your veins, head over to the Focus Secret Podcast with me and Sarah Longwell that is already up.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:32

    And, and I think that you’ll enjoy that as well as this podcast. So up next, David Wallace Wells. But first, our pals at acid tongue. Peace. Hello, and welcome to the Bullericks next level Sunday interview.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:02

    I’m your host Tim Miller as you know, I’ve been trying to give you a break from the parade of Horables in the Republican primary on these, interviews. And so last week, We talked to Julie k Brown about a child sex trafficking ring, and Jeffrey Epstein. And this week, I’ve got David Wallace Wells Wells, right, or New York Times opinion, columnist, New York Times magazine, newsletter on Climate, and the author of the Un inhabitable Earth. Very uplifting title. Thank you for doing that, brother.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:32

    Thanks for doing this.
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:32

    My pleasure. Good to be here. Good to talk
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:34

    to you. I want your TED Talk. Kind of like Bulwark about the same age and, you made me chuckle because you’re like, I’m not really an outdoorsy. I’m not really a camper. We’re we’re not a natural person for this topic, but you’ve kind of got thrust into being the climate person at the times.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:51

    So just give us a little backstory. How did that, how’d that come to pass?
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:54

    Mean, honestly, the short answer is that it happened out of fear. I was a general interest journalist who is interested in the near future. And I was just seeing a lot of new research starting in twenty fifteen, twenty sixteen that sketched out a really scary future for humanity, not one that we were necessarily heading for, but one that seemed conceivable based on where we were. And it didn’t seem to me like there was anybody who was really thinking or talking about those worst case scenarios in media outlets, like the one that I was working for at the time, New York Magazine or New York Times or the Atlantic any of any comparable place, it felt like we just sort of agreed to not look all that closely about the, like, really the question of what’s the worst that could happen. And I wrote a big story in twenty seventeen that asked just that question.
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:40

    How bad could it get? How bad could climate change be? The answer was, you know, especially if we get a little bit unlucky on a few points. Really quite bad. And the article, which I had written a little bit on the larp, became the most read story in the magazine’s history, and produced a huge conversation about whether it was responsible to talk about worst case scenarios in the climate context.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:01

    And the more I thought about that, the more that I, thought about the meaning of what it would be like to live on a planet defines, not necessarily by those extreme warming scenarios, but even by the ones that we think we’re likely to hit. The more I thought that this was just a sort of grand meta historical, you know, all encompassing story, the story of our century, So I wrote a book in twenty nineteen, called Uninhabitable Earth. That is the downer of the title. The slightly more upbeat subtitle is life after warming. It’s not a prediction of a cockroach.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:29

    Message me
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:30

    when I reached out was, I’ve got a much less of a bleak vibe than the book title suggests. So, I mean, low bar, I guess. But And
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:37

    and that is the evolution of the world since then. I mean, since twenty seventeen, twenty eighteen, things have been improving somewhat. You know, we are now decarbonizing. We’re not doing it fast enough, but we’re really doing it. Global politics does acknowledge and think about climate impacts pretty regularly.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:53

    It’s a feature of domestic politics in almost every country in the world. And so it’s no longer a question of this disaster. We’re racing towards without acknowledging it. It’s now a question of we’re neck deep in this big muddle. It’s a mess.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:07

    There’s gonna be a lot more suffering. But we have to figure out both in terms of limiting future warming. And in terms of figuring out how to live in that future, we have to figure out how to cut a path through that, through the messy climate world that we’ve already made inevitable.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:21

    Yeah. I think that there is kind of a parallel, with how you’re grappling with this, without what we do a lot of at the on a democracy issue at the Bull workaround. A lot of us come from the center right background. So it’s a different know, maybe climate wasn’t our top issue though. I always worked for rare Republicans to believe climate change was a problem, to the extent those even exist anymore.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:39

    But, you know, we found ourselves kinda calibrating, like, the alarmism question. Right? Like, how alarm should you be, you know, and and so how have you kind of thought through all that? Right? Like there’s there was I think clearly value to having that wake up call title of that article in the book.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:55

    You know, but now as time goes on, right? People sometimes tune out alarmism. So how do you balance that, right, as you think about writing about it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:02

    You know, I it’s a it’s a for me, it’s a really complicated question to answer all that briefly. So I’ll try to do my best, but
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:09

    We’re on a podcast, baby. Take your time.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:10

    This short version is that I think the world is still not nearly alarmed enough about climate change. So there’s been a global climate awakening. Part of that was because climate leaders started speaking in much more urgent language, few years ago, you can think of Greta Thunberg, you can think of extinction rebellion. You can think about presidential candidates using the language existential threat you know, those are not, those are not rhetoric that was used before, and it’s pretty common now among leaders of the world. So there has been a sort of a a turn of the dial towards alarmism and urgency.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:40

    At almost every level. And I think that’s one reason why we’re having much more political engagement. Climate is a much more politically salient issue. Everywhere around the world. It’s one reason why we’re moving as rapidly on decarbonization as we are.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:51

    But I still think when I look around the world is far too complacent rather than too alarmed. And so I don’t worry all that much about, you know, quote unquote, scaring people too much because though you know, certainly we all know people who have worried about climate change and have let it affect them. I think generally speaking at the level of society, we still need more urgency rather than So that’s a kind of like psychological political question. Sure. There’s also the scientific question, which is Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:18

    That’s where I was gonna go.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:19

    Yeah. You know, a few years ago when I was first writing about climate, what was called the business as usual future was, said to be somewhere between four and five degrees Celsius of warming this century, which is about four times what we’ve seen to this point. So we’re expecting something like four x where we are now. And the scientific consensus about what that would mean was that it would be quite catastrophic, not necessarily, you know, civilization ending, but we’re talking about a doubling of warfare. We’re talking about, you know, impacts on economic growth that could cut our GDP by as much as twenty or thirty percent.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:53

    We’re talking about agricultural crisis pretty regularly, and maybe overall agricultural declines, which we haven’t seen in many decades since agricultural yields have been improving very steadily over time. And all of these impacts and many others interacted with human responses. So you can’t say we know exactly what the world of twenty one hundred at four or five degrees would look like, but it looked really, really bad. Now about five years later, the consensus is that we’re heading for something like two and a half degrees of warming. So we’ve almost cut in half our expected in just five years.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:23

    And if you are basing your expectations for the future on that four or five degree scenario, that’s a lot of progress, and it’s a lot of cause for optimism. And that optimism is real because the progress is real. We have made a difference.
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:36

    What are the biggest contributors to that difference?
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:38

    We’re undertaking a global decarbonization project first through, electricity and power, secondarily through, the electrification of transportation with EV is we’re doing less well on agriculture and on industry, which are sort of a little harder to solve and a little farther down the road. And in different parts of the world, we’re doing a little bit better, a little bit worse. But because we’ve started to wake up because we’ve made major investments in green r and d, green tech roll out, I think for the last six years, there’s been more investment every year in green energy than in dirty energy. We’re now most of the new energy that we’re having every single year is is renewable power. So we’re we’re turning the corner there, and it hasn’t made that much of a difference to this point.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:20

    We’re still at a peak for emissions. We’re still doing more damage right now than we’ve ever done in any previous year in human history, but because the curves are all pointing the right direction, now when we draw out future scenarios that extend over the course of decades, we can say, okay, we know that twenty years from now, we’re just not gonna be burning a lot of fossil fuels to power home, to to heat homes. That’s just not gonna be a thing we do anymore. We know that fifty years from now, there probably not gonna be any internal combustion engine vehicles on the road almost anywhere in the world. And if we can make those dates a little shorter, we’ll do a little better And if we miss them by a little bit, we’ll do a little worse, but we know that we’re moving in the right direction.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:56

    So that’s the good news story. And it’s true. It’s real, and you should embrace it and, you know, celebrate it, if you’re so inclined. But there’s also a bad news story, which was, you know, five years ago, twenty eighteen, The UN put out this big report about the difference between one point five degrees of warming and two degrees of warming. And this was really the beginning of that kind of awakening of global alarmism that I mentioned earlier is what gave rise to credits, what gave rise to Sunrise.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:21

    That happened in twenty eighteen, and what it really said was that the world would be so different at those two warming levels that we had to do everything we could to limit warming to one point five degrees as opposed to two. And we’re not gonna do that. We’re gonna miss one point five. So when the world came out, if you have a vague memory of a few years ago, people really started freaking out about climate. The thing that they were freaking out about was everything we learned about what would happen if we broke the threshold of one point five degrees and got to two.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:48

    It wasn’t really about four or five. It was about one point five and two. And we’re pretty unlikely to stay below too. Maybe we will just by a thin margin if we really get get going. But so while it is the case that our ceiling of expectations is much lower than it was a few years ago, it’s also the case that our floor is considerably higher and puts us into a range of temperatures that five years ago, ten years ago, we described as catastrophic, islands of the world called genocide, African climate diplomats called death for the continent.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:20

    This is a really serious and disruptive level of warming, which is now practically speaking inevitable. And it’s hard to keep those two ideas in your head at once. We’re doing much better than we feared we would be, and we’re doing a lot worse than we hoped we might and that’s where we are right now, which to your point, you know, there are probably a lot of stories that are unfolding in a similar Sarah Longwell, including the state of democracy in the US.
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:45

    So you wrote this week about or not this week, but recently about James Hansen, know, when the godfather’s the climate science, you know, kind of research and talking about how one point five is, is, is inevitable. Degree warming I listened to you. I forget what it was. Not that long ago, you went into making Kelly’s podcast. God bless you.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:02

    And you debated some other guy. Who who the I I thought the most interesting part of it was like, basically agreed with that. Right? Like that premise, right, that we’re gonna have one and a half degrees of warming. He’s maybe a little bit more optimistic than you about what the tale possibilities were.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:18

    But his view was just more like, well, that’s adaptable. That’s something that we’re gonna be able to deal with. Right? And then you guys had had a discussion. So so talk through that for us.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:27

    If everybody from like climate alarmist to like people now that are on the right that used to be climate denialists are now accepting that basic fact. Like, at least we’re dealing with from one fact, everybody, is in the same page on. Like, what does that mean practically? Like, what is that gonna mean daily life? Like, you know, what does that mean for coastal cities?
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:46

    Well, yeah. I mean, so the difference between one point five and two, there are a lot of ways to talk about it. And in certain ways, the global average temperature rise is not the best guide because it the impacts are so local and the, and so varied. But just to give a really big picture of you, at two degrees, we’re expecting that a hundred and fifty three million additional people would die prematurely from the air pollution produced from the burning of fossil fuels to get us two degrees. Now that’s not exactly a climate impact, but it’s produced by the same thing that produces climate change, which is the burning of fossil fuels.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:20

    And that is an absolutely gold star pedigree science. It has been approved by the UNIPCC and endorsed by every scientist who’s examined it. We’re talking about literally ten million deaths a year on an annual basis right now from the burning of fossil fuels.
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:37

    Give me, like, just a more tangible example of that. Like, who they’re dying from pollution because they live near fossil fuel plants or just because the, you know, because of lung, long term lung disease, I, like, what, like, what are some examples?
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:50

    It’s a variety of things because air pollution affects just about every of your health and well-being. So all respiratory ailments, cancer, dementia, it affects ADHD. It affects mental illness. It affects the premature birth and low birth weight in children. It affects the asthma and cardiac illness.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:08

    So it’s it’s almost everything. Although, you know, respiratory disease is the most significant one. So, the status of something like half of all children living in Delhi today are living with some respiratory ailments. In fact, in Delhi, which is basically the world’s most polluted, really large city. The average life expectancy is more than ten years shorter than it would be without, air pollution, which means that that’s a city of twenty million people.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:32

    And on average, every single one of them is living ten years less than they would. Otherwise, across India, it’s you lose seven years of life. So that’s one point four billion people that are on average living seven years shorter. And even in the US, which has relatively clean air, estimates are as high that three hundred and fifty thousand Americans are dying prematurely every year from air pollution. Now, everybody dies.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:53

    So it’s not like what we’re talking about are these like mass mortality events where you breathe in, pollution, and, like, people just immediately drop dead on the sidewalk. But it’s a question of when they die and what level of health and air pollution is really, really quite damaging effect. The WHO keeps lowering its standard for what it considers a safe amount of air of the breath. And the, you know, not right now, it’s in, like, ninety nine percent of the world is living in places that the WHO considers unsafe. And it tells you a little bit something about that threshold because most of us are walking around.
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:23

    We don’t think of this as being a public health catastrophe. But the numbers are adding up, and they’re adding up into the millions, which is a level of death and suffering that most of us would tell ourselves. We wouldn’t be willing to conscience if we are like considering it in a philosophy seminar or whatever. That’s just one impact. And at at two degrees, we’re talking about a hundred and fifty million additional deaths.
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:43

    You know, storms and flooding events particularly, coastal flooding, you know, on high tide days is expected to grow about a hundredfold. So, flooding events that used to hit once a century would now be hitting, in much of the world, indeed almost everywhere in the world, at least once a year. And when you think about the kinds of things that used to be once a century events, these are massive cultural moments. And we’re talking about expecting them to hit Every single year, by twenty fifty, almost regardless of the emissions path we take. Extreme heat, especially across the equatorial band of the planet, is going to grow more and more intense, We’ve already seen many instances of of heat waves that approached what’s been identified as the maximum survivable limit for humans in places that are very densely populated.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:29

    There’s a paper out this year saying that last year’s summer in the UK killed sixty thousand people just in the UK. That’s not even a place that’s like a hot, among the hotter places of the world. It’s, you know, relatively cool. Although there’s some complication there because generally speaking, a big spike in a cool place is more dangerous than
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:47

    a a
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:47

    small spike in a hot place because people are sort of used to the heat. But in any event, we expect that at two degrees large parts of the equatorial band of the planet across the Middle East and North Africa, San Asia would regularly become so hot that during summer, wouldn’t be able to go outside without risking some kind of health impact and presumably there would be relatively large death tolls annually in many of these cities, which are today home to ten and twenty million people. That’s not to say that ten or twenty million people walking outside will die. But it will it’ll mean that, you know, in a city like, you know, Islamabad or in a city like in in Mecca, it will, you know, there will every summer, be weeks or maybe even months, where it is some kind of, health risk, to go outside, especially for working people, even if they’re young. And even if you think about parts of the world that seem relatively well adapted to that, like in the US, there are serious risks.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:39

    So a study last year pointed out that in Phoenix, If there was a power outage in the in the middle of a heat wave, you could see as much as half of the city of Phoenix sent to the hospital because of the heat effects. And that is This is a, you know, Phoenix had, I think, last year had thirty straight days of over a hundred and ten degree temperatures. And we tell ourselves we figured that out. We’ve adapted some degree, that’s true, and it is to some degree an encouraging story. People don’t typically walk outside in Phoenix and collapse on the sidewalk.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:09

    Most of the time, they’re in air conditioned environments that protect them against those impacts. But sometimes those air conditioned, you know, sometimes those adaptations can fail, and those people become vulnerable as as a result. And this year, in in Phoenix, you know, the burn units of the city were filling up, because so many people fainting on the sidewalk were then scalding themselves. Because of the temperature of the pavement, which would reach something like a hundred and eighty degrees. That was happening at it with enough frequency that the city’s burn units were filling up.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:35

    So we’re already in a situation where Yes. We’re we are adapting. Yes. We are making life much more livable than it would be without human innovation and response. But the the challenges are also mounting, and it’s kind of an arms race between the impacts of warming and the response and the human response And unfortunately, you know, we’re doing in certain ways relatively well, but I think we’re filling the gap there less by really, really ramping up our adaptation.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:02

    And more just by normalizing a lot more climate suffering that we would have once considered unacceptable, and we’re just learning to treat Kind of as background noise.
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:12

    The stuff you all listed that that you just listed out about Islamabad and Delhi and what’s happening in the world, like, that’s all just baked in. Right? Like what the you are that was not a that was not your worst case four degrees.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:23

    No. That’s a one point two degrees.
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:25

    Yeah. You’re right. So that’s that’s where we’re going. And so to that, I think it’s, you know, we’re all solipsistic about this, you know, thinking about our own, interests and, and maybe that’s good. Hopefully, we can get people to actually care about their own interests.
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:37

    Like, I live in New Orleans. Right? I deep concerns off flooding. I just moved I just moved from Oakland. The fires.
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:44

    We’re already living through a period where most summers for the past few years, not last year, but the years prior than that. Like, there was a week or two. You couldn’t really go outside because the air was so bad. But We see adaptation in that in the way that people are learning to live with that. We don’t see adaptation like people moving to different places.
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:00

    If you look at the migration in the US, people are moving to the warmer. Client, you know, and it’s Florida and Texas. And
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:07

    And that’s true globally. It’s where we’re moving towards climate risk kind of away from it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:11

    Yeah. So talk about those things. Like, one, like, what are some practical at one point five two degrees warming US impacts in in in places where folks that listen to this live. And and like, how do you explain that? Kind of the fact that people aren’t.
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:25

    I just did this. So how do how do you explain my irrationality? Why did I just move to New why are people like me just moving to New Orleans and not to Minneapolis or whatever?
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:33

    Look, you know, on some level, evolutionarily is relatively rational. We’re gonna be living in the world that we’re living in and we should accommodate ourselves to it rather than, fleeing it in fear. And I think we’ve been trained over, you know, thousands of generations to be pretty adaptable, to have different apply different standards. I think we’ve also grown, especially over the last century or so, quite dependent and confident in our ability to engineer and innovate our way out of disaster, especially in places as rich as the US is. And I think to some degree, we have, and there are success stories here, even large scale success stories.
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:08

    You know, most often people talk about the effect of just early warning systems for tropical cyclones in, in south Asia, we were talking, you know, these are cyclones that used to kill hundreds of thousands of people in relatively recent memory. And now, you know, when they they kill a few dozen. And that’s an unbelievable, mark of progress in, you know, we made that we made that jump. We made that leap in places like the US a long time ago. In other parts of the world, they’re catching up.
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:35

    So it’s a question of, you know, there’s a human psychological element. There’s a political element. There’s a way in which We have a hard time conceptualizing challenges that unfold over decades as opposed to, right in front of us. There’s a way in which recent experience very quickly even if it seemed completely outlandish at the time becomes totally normal to us. And, you know, you mentioned the fires in in, on the West Coast.
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:57

    It was an Eastcoaster. The twenty twenty fire season was really, really eye opening to me. It was, and maybe more than to me, to a lot of people who are a little less engaged and inclined with my friends and colleagues, because they saw those images of the orange skies across the Bay Area, they they and they they really, really, you know, weren’t horrified scared of the of those impacts. And on some of what we all told ourselves, well, that’s the risk of living in California. That’s the price you pay.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:22

    Even though it had been it was sort of unprecedented in California, we told ourselves that it was just part of the bargain of living out there. And then this year, just three years later, we’ve got same skies in New York City. We got the same AQI, you know, mornings in New York City and all across the East Coast, because of fires in Canada. Which this year more land burned, enough land burned in Canada that you could fit half the world’s countries inside the burn scar. And yet people in New York were just immediately like, oh, I guess that’s climate change now.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:49

    And within a day or two, they had already totally normalized it. Now on some level, you could say, this is a sign that the actual, the actual concrete interruptions and disruptions to our lives. We’re not all that significant. For a couple days, we put on a mask. Maybe we didn’t go to the playground with our kids that day, but we did two days later when things were a little bit better.
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:07

    And on some level, that’s true. On the other hand, I’m sure that when we look at emergency visits and ultimately, you know, the mortality numbers from a few years down the road, we’ll see the impact of these smoke events in New York. And at the population scale, it really does matter. So that’s another psychological complication, which is when something is affecting us only in the margins, the impact on the individual seems relatively small, but the numbers really add up. And there, I think the pandemic is a really useful lesson.
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:35

    Know, the overall fatality rate of the pandemic was, you know, everybody’s age is very different, but for the population as a whole, something like one percent, given an infection and that can allow individuals to say, I don’t really need to worry about this.
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:46

    You know, we’ve people now that’s like they look back at it like our big mistake was that we did too much.
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:51

    Oh, yeah. I mean, that’s a whole other substance, which I’ve written a lot about. And I think another profound indication of our, you know, capacity for normalization. We basically have sort of taken for granted the idea that one and a half million Americans would die if we believe that number. And we’re just like The only variable was not how many people would die.
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:09

    It was how we responded to that fact as though those two things had absolutely nothing to do with each other. And even if you have questions about our pandemic response, I think they’re a legitimate is to ask, you know, it just seems crazy to me personally that you would in the immediate aftermath of a pandemic of that scale think that we overreacted when this was the largest mass mortality event, in the century in America. So I think among other things, climate change is this fascinating you know, sociological and psychological experiment. And the way that we’re responding to that processing it is telling and the way that we’re doing it is by basically learning to live with disasters that even ten years ago, we would have considered a complete partying and unacceptable. And I think that will continue.
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:50

    I think if we’re at two degrees or two and a half degrees, a lot of the science that I laid out, a lot of that will be validated. And yet people alive at that temperature level will look around and say this is normal. Yeah. And I think about, you know, when when we do this locally. We also do this globally.
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:07

    You know, there have been studies showing that something like, many countries in sub saharan Africa have lost twenty or thirty percent of their wealth. Already because of the impacts of climate change. But Westerners looking at the plight of people in Africa don’t think, oh my god, how horrible the climate change has impacted them? They think, oh, their poverty is an eternal feature of the global status quo. Maybe we should do more to alleviate it, but certainly it’s not something that we could have avoided by changing our consumption patterns or our emissions patterns to this point.
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:36

    And I think all of those coping mechanisms at every level, the individual up through the geopolitical, are gonna continue and make it on some level harder for us to take dramatic action. So I don’t think there’s gonna be a big wake up moment. We’re probably gonna just be muddling through. And one of the reasons that I try to talk about Sarah Longwell term and try to talk about the, you know, the data about what we know about these impacts is to remind us that there is a moral cost of, our complacent march towards continuity of of the present. That we are every year killing ten million people because of air pollution.
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:08

    That’s something that’s really important to remember. Even if when we look around, we don’t think that we’re living in an air pollution apocalypse. We think we’re living in normal times, which
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:16

    Right.
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:17

    We also are.
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:23

    Okay. I wanna do just quick apocalyptic moment and then talk through some of the things that can be done since you you did write the uninhabitable Earth. So so the the myopic view first about, you know, America, I totally agree with you on the way that people adapt and, you know, yeah, you told me before co Like, there was a pandemic movie. I forget on Netflix. It had a Jude Law character that was like, this fake drug will fix everything.
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:48

    I mean, I was like watching the movie It’s like there’s and and like that came to life. Right? Like you never could have convinced me that we would have been in that situation. And so I’m sure that no matter what habits we’ll have people say, like, This is wonderful that the seas have risen, but I at what point does America have some kind of event that does cause mass displacement when you look at those degree warming kind of marks. Is it is it two degrees?
  • Speaker 1
    0:29:12

    Is it two and a half? I I, you know, I know you’re not, you don’t have a crystal ball, but like when you’re looking through science. Like, is it flooding? That’s the first thing? Is it, you know, Miami, New York, New Orleans?
  • Speaker 1
    0:29:21

    Is it fires? Like, what where are the what’s the apocalyptic?
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:24

    And the big picture, I would say that Everything is going to feel basically continuous as opposed to discontinuous, but the continuities do take us pretty rapidly to some uncomfortable and unhappy place So you’re already seeing the way that the insurance market is changing in places like the Southeast and in places like the West Coast and the Southeast in the case of flooding and hurricanes. The west coast in the case of fires, how exactly that reshapes our housing markets in those places is still TBD, but the rates of, like, I don’t remember off the top of my head. There’s something like, you know, double tripled over the course of just a couple of years. And we we don’t exactly know what that will mean, but it’s going to mean something for habitation patterns in those places. There’s also effective heat on economic productivity.
  • Speaker 2
    0:30:10

    There are a lot of studies showing meaningful dampening effect especially again in the American Southeast, effect on agricultural productivity, through the, through the Midwest. All of this is already happening. It’s just going to get worse. So I don’t expect that any of these levels are warming. We’re gonna see something like a true, like, forced or mass displacement migration in people out of Florida.
  • Speaker 2
    0:30:30

    But people are good.
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:31

    Some beaches aren’t going underwater in the next twenty years.
  • Speaker 2
    0:30:33

    I mean, they’re on some bubble. It’s already underwater. There’s rainy day flooding very regularly on Miami Beach and you know, you just drive through the water and you stomp through the water and like there’s probably more infectious disease there and possibly that building that collapsed had something to do with the with the water intrusions. But, you know, most people there think, well, my life is still basically the same and go on, go on without it. So I think that that’s basically the story for America, and really for the world, we’re going to be marching through some grim scenarios and just becoming very quickly comfortable with them.
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:10

    When I think about the effect of wildfire in the American West, I think that we’re already we’re already well along that path. Few years ago, I wrote a story about California fire, and I wrote it in twenty nineteen, and I spoke with, Eric Garcia who was the the mayor of Valley at the time. When he was born, forty thousand acres, burned in California that year, the year he was elected mayor, thirty some odd years later, it was four hundred thousand. The year he was reelected mayor. It was one point two million.
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:38

    The year that I was the the fire season that had just passed when I had spoken to him, it was one point eight nine million. That was one year. We’re talking about a fifty percent increase in one year. And in twenty twenty, it went up to four point two million. So we’re talking about a really, really dramatic increase in the space of a lifetime.
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:53

    And yet, when I was in California, everybody I talked to would say, well, we’ve always had fire here. Which is true. Right. But it’s like it’s ten times more than you had in your in the years of your childhood, and it doesn’t really make sense to get used to that, but that is what we’re doing. The impact that the season in in Canada this year was maybe even more dramatic.
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:17

    But, you know, what’s probably most concerning when you talk about holy shit or wake up moments, it’s more likely to be the events like We saw in Paradise, California a few years ago, we saw in Lahaina in Hawaii this year. It’s not the the size of the burn. It’s how it intersects with human housing and habitation, it actually produces death. But even there, you know, the the fire in in Lejaina this year deadliest fire in America in a more than a hundred years. And it’s not unlike anybody’s top ten list of, like, the biggest deal events that happened this year.
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:51

    Right? Maybe somebody reminds you of it. You think, oh, that was terrible. You know, we had more than a hundred people die in the, in a firestorm that ran through us city. It wasn’t in You can’t even call it a wildfire because it’s not in the forest.
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:05

    It was through a city. And this is also a new phenomenon, this sort of return of the urban firestorm. We’ve seen it in Bulwark, We’ve seen it in a few places in Santa Rosa and and paradise in California now in La Haina, where the fires get so intense that they just burn from house to house. Rather than needing any other fuel to burn. And you had you killed, you know, more than a hundred people died.
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:23

    That should have been the kind of thing that really woke us up. And yet we’re, you know, we’re kind of slatching forward, you know, returning to complacency and worrying about other things, not to say that there are other things to worry about. There are. But climate change is playing a bigger and bigger role in our lives already. So rather than thinking, you know, we gotta avoid two and a half or three degrees, it’s really gonna be brutal.
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:44

    I think we have to think we’re already there now, and the future is gonna be like the one we have now just a bit worse. Know exactly how bad One of the authors of the the sort of landmark heat sensitivity studies that I mentioned earlier told me a few months ago that, you know, at three degrees, he was like, you know, he was talking to me from Vermont, and he said, at three degrees, I wouldn’t say that Vermont’s gonna be uninhabitable because you could just live in your basement, but you certainly couldn’t have a dairy farm up here because the cows were just stuck. And that’s not to say that at three degrees, there won’t be people living in Vermont probably will have figured out some ways to live there. But how to get there? How to get have the ability under those conditions is a really enormous challenge.
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:29

    We can’t just believe that we’ll casually figure out a way to make it all normal. It’s gonna require a lot of transformation of the way that we protect ourselves, conduct ourselves, conduct our economic and and social lives. And I don’t think many of us are all that prepared for that level of warming or that level of adaptation, frankly.
  • Speaker 1
    0:34:47

    Yeah. The why thing is a great example of this. I mean, I obviously got news coverage. I’m not in attend. But it’s funny.
  • Speaker 1
    0:34:52

    Like, when I think back of the coverage on Hawaii, the thing that really sticks out in my head about where I was consuming the most information was I I I have to suffer through mega media for this gig and like the conspiracies about it. Yeah. Like like the right that that they were pushing. Right? That it was not natural.
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:08

    Then that’s just like a little preview of of what’s to come. Okay. Well,
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:12

    can I say one quick thing about that? We just, you know, it’s it’s None of these things are entirely natural because they are all interfacing with human systems. And it is one of the newly significant talking points of they’re not climate deniers, but they’re sort of like soft skeptics. People who are comfortable with a much higher level of warming and say that we shouldn’t be overstating or hysterical about the impacts of climate change. They Will Saletan of these stories are stories about human design and response and that is true to an extent.
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:43

    You can see if you put early warning systems in Bangladesh, fewer people will die from the typhoons. If you have flood barriers in lower Manhattan, as hurricane sandy will be less damaging. That’s true. So when you do have those impacts and you do have those damage it is in some ways an indictment of our response and our adaptation planning, but it is also the case that climate change is making those challenges much larger and requiring us to do much, much more to secure the levels of stability and human flourishing that previously we took for granted and assumed we wouldn’t have to defend ourselves in some cases quasi militarily against, just thought that by the progress of humanity and the neat passage of time, we would be comfortably richer and comfortably safer and comfortably more stable. Now it’s like we gotta do a hell of a lot to make sure that the promises, the climate promises, in particular, but many other promises too, that we would have once liked to pass down to our grandchildren.
  • Speaker 2
    0:36:36

    We have to do much, much more to secure those promises and make sure of the future does look like the one we might have imagined a decade or two ago.
  • Speaker 1
    0:36:44

    Yeah. Well, this gets to an area where I I I would not foot put myself in the soft skeptic camp, but in the camp where sometimes I find myself at odds with, you know, at the Sunrise folk or people like that that are talking about degrowth. Cause to me, like listening to you, my natural reaction, right? This is my old free market tier kicking in, but my natural reaction to this is Like, the only way to fix this is innovation, really. I mean, she, like, yes, we need to do, you know, we need to have caps and, you know, always say, like, in two thousand and eight, I worked for Republican president that wanted, now neither wanted cap and trade.
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:16

    Right? Like, so, like, a lot has changed on the Republican Party side since then. So, you know, certain elements of capping them for, but but what do you say to that like the kind of tech bro side of this? Right? Like the free market side of this, the Sam Altman.
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:27

    That’s like the way to fix this fusion. The way to fix this is decarbonization blocking the sun. We’ve even have some we’ve even had some blocking the sun buzz lately. Like what what’s your re response to that. Like, if that’s, the given the scale of the threat, the kind of innovating out of it is is really more of the answer than degrowth and capping.
  • Speaker 2
    0:37:49

    Well, they’re you’re throwing a lot of stuff at me.
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:51

    So a lot of different
  • Speaker 2
    0:37:52

    things out. Pick your
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:52

    pick your favorite one does.
  • Speaker 2
    0:37:54

    You know, what I would say about innovation is that we have the tools we needed to do the lion’s share of the work right now. And not only do we have the tools we need in terms of wind and solar power and to a lesser extent nuclear. Certainly with wind and solar. The prices are falling so Great
  • Speaker 1
    0:38:09

    news for the birds with the wind recently, by the way, too. It seems like the birds are okay. Donald Trump was worried about the bird.
  • Speaker 2
    0:38:14

    I was just reading an article that said that thirty percent of bird populations in the US have, have collapsed since, in the last few decades, but I don’t think it’s primarily because on the rollout of wind, which is, I saw another study recently that said that fracking is actually worse for local bird populations than wind power. But in general, we sort of see the future for power because the prices are falling so rapidly. They’re now cheaper, by the sort of industry standard metric of price. They’re cheaper than, dirty energy in not just parts of the world. They’re cheaper than dirty energy in ninety five plus percent of the world.
  • Speaker 2
    0:38:48

    Wow. In many parts of the world, it’s now cheaper to build new renewable capacity than just to continue running your old dirty fossil fuel plants. And that’s not to say that the transition will be immediate or easy, but it does mean that if you’re like making a plan on a whiteboard and you’re saying, here’s where we’re gonna be in two thousand and fifty. If you’re a government minister, if you’re a long term investor doing that kind of work, you see the the way the wind is blowing, so to speak, and it is blowing away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy in a pretty big way. In that sense, what we’re seeing is the innovation that you’re describing.
  • Speaker 2
    0:39:19

    It’s just innovation that happened in the past because we did developed these technologies, and then we iterated them so much that we drove the cost down and made them not just viable competition for the dirty alternatives but actually preferable choices. And that is, in many ways, a sign of, you know, r and d and development. It’s also a sign of public investment and focus because a lot of that money came from governments. And, you know, a lot of the, actually, the development is now being done in China in a more state directed way, even than than we’ve seen in the US or Germany, which were two of the other contributors to the price declines. Innovation is a huge part of this.
  • Speaker 2
    0:39:52

    I think that the biggest chunk of what we need to do right now, we already have the tech. And if we’re going back into the lab to develop new tech, safe fusion, which is really I think people quite overhyped the progress that’s been made there. They’ve made they’ve a couple of times had experiments that had a very slight net increase of energy, but the amount of energy they had to put into the system was so large that you’re talking about an unbelievably inefficient system, maybe thirty years from now, It’ll be much more efficient and scalable in commercial. But if we’re waiting thirty years to deploy carbon free technology, we’re waiting way too long because we already have really good carbon free technology right now. So I think in general, we’ve been sort of given a myth because of our experience with the iPhone that like all we need to do to change the world is like download the right app, but we’re talking here about building stuff out into the real world with actual engineers and infrastructure.
  • Speaker 2
    0:40:44

    It takes a long time, to build it even putting aside land use questions and permitting and all that stuff. But when you throw that in the mix, it takes even longer. So if we’re saying we’re we’re gonna go back to the lab to figure out climate change now. We’re gonna be really behind the eight ball because we’re not gonna have anything to be deploying at a commercial scale for a few decades, and these are the crucial decades.
  • Speaker 1
    0:41:03

    Don’t know if you didn’t mention blocking the sun. How do you feel about blocking the sun?
  • Speaker 2
    0:41:07

    Well, I don’t love it. When it let me say one more time.
  • Speaker 1
    0:41:12

    I don’t know. When someone makes a Mr. Burns style proposal that would help us avoid climate change, I just sometimes, I, it piques my interest. That’s awesome.
  • Speaker 2
    0:41:21

    There there are bundle of things that are not on the, what are called, the mitigation side, which is like, how do we draw down our carbon emissions? I think there we basically have the tools we need through with wind and solar. It’s not the whole answer, but it’s enough for us to really get going and not worry about innovating. We have the tools we need. On the adaptation side, and what’s called negative emissions.
  • Speaker 2
    0:41:41

    There are a lot of other more interesting, possibilities. So you mentioned blocking the sun, putting typically, the idea is to put sulfur particles up there to reflect something back into outer space.
  • Speaker 1
    0:41:52

    This is an andreessen thing.
  • Speaker 2
    0:41:53

    And in fact, we’ve done that accidentally over the last couple of centuries, that air pollution that I mentioned that’s killing ten million people a year is probably cooling the planet by about a half a degree. That’s our best estimate. It might be cooling a planet by a full degree, which means if we draw that down and save those ten million people per year, we may also be adding significantly to the amount of warming that we have. There’s kind of a devil’s bargain logic there, which is complicated. And so there is some, you know, there’s some logic to saying, well, why don’t we instead of accidentally cooling a planet and killing all these people by doing it, why don’t we figure out a way to to do it strategically so that we’re not impacting people’s health?
  • Speaker 2
    0:42:28

    I am for that I am for research on that question because I think the big challenge with geoengineering blocking the some stuff is that We really don’t know what it would do. We don’t know what it would do to rainfall patterns. We don’t know what it would do to agricultural productivity. We don’t know what it would do. To cloud formation.
  • Speaker 2
    0:42:46

    There’s a lot that we really don’t know. So I think we should be collecting more data, but I’m I’m personally worried that a large scale intervention of that kind would be manageable without really significant and probably pretty worrying side effects. So I wanna know more before we embark on that project. There are other things that are sometimes grouped in that bucket that I think are better and worth pursuing more aggressively today, not in a research way, but in a real development and deployment way. And a lot of those have to do with what are called negative emissions, which are ways of taking carbon out of the atmosphere.
  • Speaker 2
    0:43:18

    So one thing that many people don’t really appreciate is that carbon, once it’s up there, it’s up there basically forever. It stays up there for at least centuries. Many times millennia is some cases, millions of years before it comes down. And so what we’re talking about is that this is not a flow problem. It’s a stock problem.
  • Speaker 2
    0:43:34

    It’s up there. It’s basically up there for good and continue heating the planet for good if we don’t take it out. How much of it is up there? The weight of the carbon in the atmosphere is more than the total weight of everything we’ve ever built on planet Earth. So we’ve done more damage and transformed the atmosphere more than we’ve planned transforms the surface of this planet.
  • Speaker 2
    0:43:55

    And those monuments will last practically forever. And as long as they last, they will be heating us. So we also need to do something to get that carbon out if we can. And we have big machines. They’re called direct air capture.
  • Speaker 2
    0:44:08

    Machines. They’re really expensive, but they can do this. They can take carbonate. Maybe if we deploy them enough, the cost will get cheaper and more manageable. We also have low tech machines.
  • Speaker 2
    0:44:17

    They’re called trees. They business at a smaller scale, but there are problems with using trees because they burn, they die, it’s not permanent in the same way that some of these technological solutions are. There’s also slightly more speculative stuff. People are now looking into what happens if we slightly change the pH balance of the ocean, such that the ocean can then absorb more carbon. That worries me a little bit.
  • Speaker 2
    0:44:37

    People are also thinking about sprinkling certain kinds of mineral dust over large open areas of land to absorb more carbon. That’s something that seems a little safer to me. But in any event, I think for all of these technologies, We wanna be pursuing them without using that pursuit as an excuse to delay decarbonization. Because none of them will matter. They’re all too expensive and all too difficult to matter if we just continue burning at the rate that we’ve been burning.
  • Speaker 2
    0:45:04

    So that’s my view on the tech I, you know, development r and d side of things. But I just want to say one last thing about Deepgram since you mentioned it a couple times. This is an incredibly Lightening rod, term, and idea. And I think there’s a basic misunderstanding on both sides about it. Now, I am a pro growth person wanna see the world get more prosperous.
  • Speaker 2
    0:45:24

    I also wanna see its prosperity shared more equally, but I wanna see both things happen at once ideally. But when we talk about degrowth, it’s like You know, replacing all of the mining that we do for fossil fuel today with all of the mining that we would have to do to produce wind and solar power is gonna reduce the mining footprint of our energy system by a factor of about a hundred. We are gonna be not this is a project that is fundamentally both growth and degrowth at the same time. It can produce more energy. It can produce more prosperity, but it’s doing so without the environmental impact.
  • Speaker 2
    0:46:06

    If we’re talking about, you know, the public health impacts of of of fossil fuels, we’re talking about living in a much more prosperous green future if we decarbonize rather than if we continue to burn fossils. There are all of these ways in which a greener future is, you know, cleaner, smaller, more efficient. And, you know, there are certainly people on the climate who actually don’t want any economic growth at all or who think at least that the economic growth among the rich nations of the world is kind of immoral. For environmental reasons among other reasons. But much more broadly, I would say the climate movement as a whole just wants to get off of this stuff that’s poisoning our health and poisoning our future and get onto this stuff that can provide cleaner, healthier, more stable, less environmentally intrusive energy.
  • Speaker 2
    0:46:53

    And, you know, whether you call that degrowth or growth is a little bit of, you know, for me, a semantic game. We’re trying to transition from one system that’s really large and damaging to another that’s much more nimble and healthy. And like don’t see any argument against making that transition. I certainly don’t see a reason to continue burning fossil fuels at the rate.
  • Speaker 1
    0:47:12

    Yeah. I’m with you on that transition. I start to cringe in a couple areas. We’re running out of time. We do a whole podcast.
  • Speaker 1
    0:47:17

    So this next question, so you’ll get to pick your favorite part and do five minutes on it. But, I start to cringe at the, oh, you know, we need to, dial that capitalism. You know, we need to dial, you know, we need to completely shut down systems where people can where where people are you know, making money and earning wealth. I’d I’d really cringe at we we we now. And it’s like now that all the rich countries have done well, we’ve gotta pull the rug out from under the poor countries, right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:47:44

    Is there start is right? Is there starting to grow right now and use more energy? Like, I that bothers me, right, that now we’re creating new rules that’s gonna put put ceilings on their aspirations. What really bothers me is, and and this is what I’d like to get your answer on the most, is I I do I worry a lot about gen z and younger people being so paralyzed by fear about this that they feel like they they can’t do stuff. That they, you know, that they can’t have kids, that they can’t travel.
  • Speaker 1
    0:48:14

    Like, there’s a there’s all this, there’s discourse on Twitter right now about how I don’t think I can go on vacations ethically. I don’t like people saying I don’t wanna bring a kid into this world because It might be uninhabitable. All that stuff makes me very nervous because as you said, and there’s obviously bad stuff happening, but it is there is adaptable and humans have an ability to adapt, and we, and we’ve done so before. And so anyway, I don’t know. How do you kind of respond to the criticism of that element of the degrowth side of things?
  • Speaker 2
    0:48:42

    Well, I would just say on a psychological level, I don’t trust the polling that says that climate fatalism is a really large feature of anyone’s worldview at the moment. I just don’t see it reflected in other aspects of our lives aside from those polls. I don’t see, you know, the sort of if people really felt like the world was going to end in the next two decades, I think we would see a much more much larger and more apocalyptic climate movement than the one that we’re seeing. If people really believed that, you know, it would be brutal to impose the climate suffering of a few decades down the line on children. We would be seeing a much larger drop off infertility declines than we have, fertility declines are very linear, and they reflect factors other than these cultural concerns about climate change.
  • Speaker 2
    0:49:35

    So people do answer certain polls in certain ways. But for me, it’s given rise to a certain amount of moral panic fear mongering around the state of a mind of of young people that I think is really not justified. When I look around the world, I just do not see too much fatalism. I see too much complacency. And there are individuals here and there who are suffering in these ways and who are panicked about this, and in some ways they have good reason to.
  • Speaker 2
    0:50:01

    But at the mass scale, I just I just think, you know, There’s much more to worry about than there is, than people are worrying about. Now, exactly what that means for systems change and capitalism, I think that says a lot more about the political value set that you bring to this question than it does about the question itself. Certainly, at the moment, the system that we have is producing a future of full of climate suffering that was unnecessary. You know, globally, we’re subsidizing fossil fuels directly by something like, a trillion dollars a year. There’s really no justification for that given that said a few minutes ago, ninety five plus percent of the world is now living in places where clean energy is cheaper than dirty.
  • Speaker 2
    0:50:44

    If you’re worried about the plight of the global poor as I am, we should be pushing to make it possible through financing reform for those places to transition more quickly. And when they if they are getting onto the electricity grid for the first as many countries in sub saharan Africa are to do it in a clean way rather than a dirty way so that there won’t be this air pollution burden There won’t be this mining burden, and they won’t be dependent on countries in the Middle East or Russia or China for importing that material. They’re actually much more energy abundant in clean sources than they are in dirty sources. I wanna see a prosperous future for all. I don’t wanna pull the rug out from developing nations, but to me, part of that is our stopping doing climate damage as quickly as we can because at the moment, we’re burdening them already somewhat significantly.
  • Speaker 2
    0:51:30

    With climate changes. And when I think about, for instance, the African coup belt, where in the last three years, we’ve had seven successful coups, and something like a half dozen other unsuccessful coups, across the Sahel in Africa. The Sahel is the place where people have long put climate scientists have long pointed to is the most climate, unstable climate vulnerable place in the world. There have been other shocks there too. I don’t wanna reduce that narrowly to a climate story, but I think it’s naive to say the climate is not playing a role.
  • Speaker 2
    0:51:55

    And I think that we’re gonna see more of those kinds of instabilities and disruptions if we allow warming to get worse over the coming decades, especially in the parts of the world that are least prepared to deal with it. I wanna help those countries develop. I wanna help them adapt. But I think it’s not just a matter of keeping capitalism in place. It’s a matter of reforming the system that we have to work better for them and they can share that they can, you know, transition in the ways that, we’d like them to and they’d like to away from dirty sort of self defeating and punishing energy sources.
  • Speaker 2
    0:52:25

    To ones that are, you know, much more healthier and comfortable and ultimately, enabling a born prosperity for them.
  • Speaker 1
    0:52:31

    Alright. We’re over at a million things I wanted to ask you that I didn’t get to. Just one last thing to look I the IRA. Is there any was that was there one most encouraging thing to you about what was passed?
  • Speaker 2
    0:52:40

    I think the whole thing is is remarkable as in initiating a industrial revolution in the US around clean energy was almost unthinkable, and we’re seeing huge gains all across the I think what’s maybe most striking is how many red states are really leading the renewable transition. And I think that’s hopeful in a number of know, in part because it means that there’ll be less of a backlash than we saw, for instance, to Obamacare a few years ago. There are limits to the IRA. It’s all carrots and no sticks. You know, oil production is still projected to continue basically at a flat line, over the next couple of decades.
  • Speaker 2
    0:53:13

    That’s worrying. But I think the first step was making sure that we’re rolling out much more green energy than we had been. And I think, you know, we have to say on that on that market it’s a success.
  • Speaker 1
    0:53:24

    David Wallace Wells. Thank you so much, man. Can we do this again sometime? We don’t do enough climate at the Bulwark. Or give me other people.
  • Speaker 1
    0:53:31

    Give me other other suggestions. So it’s not just you and me all the time, but, I do I feel a guilt that we are, we’re not You know, we’re focused on, you know, trying to prevent an autocracy. That’s a pretty big deal too, but, we can we can have time for that.
  • Speaker 2
    0:53:43

    Well, you know, honestly, these things are connected. The immigration crisis has a lot of time to all over it. We could talk about that in another episode or I could put you in touch with some other folks, but it’s great to be in touch. It’s great to be talking. Let’s do it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:53:53

    Thank you, brother. Appreciate the time.
  • Speaker 2
    0:53:54

    Yes.
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