Making Sense of the Climate Crisis

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What frightens me about the climate crisis is we don’t know how bad things really are

It’s becoming harder and harder not to see the effects of global warming right here, right now (and if you only see then, you’re still lucky enough not to feel them or suffer from them). From here, things will get worse. Indeed, they might already be worse than anticipated. «None of the observed changes so far (with a 1.2C temperature rise) are surprising. But they are more severe than we predicted 20 years ago, and more severe than the predictions of five years ago. We probably underestimated the consequences.»

From Weekly Filet #451, in July 2023.

Global heating will push billions outside ‘human climate niche’

The world is currently on track for 2.7 degrees of warming. Of all the consequences this is still one of the most mind-boggling ones — and yet surprisingly little talked about: It would mean that 2 billion people — a quarter of the entire population of the planet — will soon experience average annual temperatures above 29 degrees celsius, a level at which very few communities have lived in the past. That means a lot of suffering, and migration like we’ve never seen before.

From Weekly Filet #443, in May 2023.

Climate Change from A to Z

Don’t be put off by the title that puts to you sleep before you’ve even arrived at the zzzzzz. It’s a great piece, from one of the best climate writers of our time, with beautiful illustrations to match the words. 26 stories – well, 25 if we drop the despair — that tell of our past, present and future with climate change, from Arrhenius to Zero. Just the right mix of realism and optimism.

From Weekly Filet #419, in November 2022.

Ten ways to confront the climate crisis without losing hope

As part of my new job, I’m currently thinking a lot about how we can tackle the climate crisis from a place of hope and optimism. This week, I came across this wonderful piece by Rebecca Solnit published last year. Ten pieces of advice for staying both hopeful and clear-eyed. My favourite two: Feed your feelings on facts, and Imagination is a superpower.

From Weekly Filet #412, in October 2022.

A Matter of Degrees — What Can I Do?

When talking about the climate crisis, asking what each and every one of us can do is tricky. We don’t want to be distracted from the systemic issues at the heart of the crisis (as BP wanted when they popularised the concept of the «carbon footprint»). Then again, individual actions matter and we can all do better. In a three-part series on their podcast, Leah Stokes and Katharine Wilkinson approach the question with just the right balance, with curiosity and intellectual rigour, to provide us with actionable advice.

From Weekly Filet #411, in September 2022.

The Single Best Guide to Decarbonization I’ve Heard

Solving the climate crisis isn’t easy, but it’s fairly straightforward: We just need to stop emitting greenhouse gases. We need to decarbonize everything. What exactly does that look like? Where are the key challenges? And why is it so important that we create enormous amounts of clean electricity? As usual, Ezra Klein does an excellent job navigating through the topic and making the most of his guest’s knowledge.

From Weekly Filet #410, in September 2022.

The Transapocalyptic Now

This is an important aspect of the climate crisis that cannot be stressed enough: «The 21st century will be apocalyptic…but not everywhere, and not for everyone. Some parts of the world will experience death and suffering and tragic upheavals as horrible as any humanity ever seen, even while others experience unprecedented prosperity.» This essay is not an easy read, but it’s worth the effort.

From Weekly Filet #371, in November 2021.

The case for a more radical climate movement

Andreas Malm is a professor of human ecology in Sweden, and he wants to blow up pipelines. Well, sort of. His argument: The climate movement in its current form will not achieve the drastic changes needed. It needs a more radical wing, one that will literally «destroy the property that’s destroying the planet». In this hour-long conversation, he lays out his case in detail, and responds to obvious objections. Thought-provoking.

From Weekly Filet #368, in October 2021.

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