Climate Documentary: The Cross of the Moment


So, the paradox is, if life were easy, if life’s just the sort of thing
that shows up relatively easily and grows relatively easy
into what we’ve become, and that from where we are, we can relatively easily
continue on on to grow, then we should expect the Universe to be full of things like us. In fact, we should wonder why
there’s any room for us at all. Why has something else
from somewhere else didn’t come and take over
Earth before we grew here? The Fermi paradox was a paradox promoted by Enrico Fermi in discussions
with his friend Ed Teller. It’s where are they? If there are extraterrestrials
out there, UFOs and so forth, really where are they? Because even though people
see UFOs in the sky, no one sees them land,
there’s no geological evidence that they left any trash
here in the distant past. So we’re not being visited by
extraterrestrials comparable to us that are intelligent
technological creatures. This is why I think the power
of the Fermi Paradox is so simple. Where are they? How come we’re not seeing them? And as a physicist, he would have quickly
just negated the thought, well, they’re all around us but they’re invisible, or they’re in some other dimension,
or they’re just some other– all the ridiculousness you hear now that we can be constantly visited and that they’re out there,
the truth is out there. The truth is out there,
they’re not out there. The Universe is like
13 billion years old. Earth is four billion years old. So the Universe had seven billion years before the Earth even showed up. There’s been lots and lots
of time for other life to expand and colonize the Universe,
but it looks so dead. So the question is,
why does the Universe look dead? To me, it is the single most important of all scientific questions. How do you go from non-life to life? Apparently, as far as we can see, there is no place
in the visible Universe, where some simple dead matter has gone from just being dead matter, all the way to become
an expanding visible civilization. So, that path must be hard, in the sense that most things
that start along the path don’t make it to the end, or at least they haven’t made it so far. That’s the idea of the great filter. We try to make a big point
on the difference between microbial habitability
and animal habitability. it doesn’t take hardly anything; all you have to have is have
liquid water on the surface and you can have microbial habitability. But to have animals evolve and survive, it takes a much narrower range
of conditions. All the different academic specialties that think about
these different areas of progress, the origin of life,
multicellular animals, sex, intelligence, future expansions,
all the intellectual areas that think about
these things tend to think they aren’t that hard,
that it’s not trivial, but it should be something that happens with a reasonable frequency. But when we add up
all those usual stories into one total story,
it tends to say, well, the whole filter isn’t that hard. But then that runs up
against the observation that the whole filter has to be hard, because the Universe
looks dead and empty. So I mean, somebody’s wrong. Somebody somewhere along the line has just been a little too optimistic. My thought has always been
that it’s very difficult for any planet
to remain habitable long enough to get to complexity. And complexity, I’m talking
about something as simple as a flower, an animal,
the simplest of animals. It took our planet
3.5 billion years before we got to very complex higher life. What are the blocks on the path
that could prevent that? So, simple dead matter, for example, could simply fail to start
any form of life at all. It could just stay dead. Simple forms of life
could fail to elaborate to more advanced forms of life. They could say,
fail to find sexual reproduction and be able exchange genes. They could fail to find ways to organize into multi-cellular organisms, to join together into larger units. They could fail to develop brains, or they could fail to elaborate brains into the size and complexity
of brains that we have. Those are all failures
that could happen along the path to at least, where we are. And then from where we are,
we could fail to continue to grow. We could destroy ourselves entirely, or we could become limited in such a way that we stop growing
technically or economically and we find a stable scenario
where we fail to grow. Now, you might not think
that’s such a bad thing, so some of the outcomes
of failing to pass the great filter might be mildly
reasonably acceptable outcomes. We stay on the Earth, we stay
at a certain level of development, we never go any farther. But relative to the other option
of expanding and growing and filling a Universe,
it still seems a bit of a shame. A lot of people instinctively think that the whole purpose of all this stuff is to go in a straight line to us. And as people point out,
if you did this 1,000 times, you have all these different
divergent ranges, you know? And even if you get the animals,
why we evolved? Because sharks haven’t evolved very much, Peter works on nautiloids and they’re largely unchanged
in 400 million years because they don’t have to. They’re perfectly adapted
to their environment. They don’t need to change. But complexity has
a narrow environmental window that allows it to survive. And so, complexity is
difficult to maintain if you have an environment that’s changing and rapidly changing. So you need stability,
complexity requires stability. How often do you get stability
is the major question about the frequency
of animal life in the Universe. People say, well, we’re a typical planet, we’re on a typical star. and that’s totally wrong. I mean, we’re not a typical planet. We’re drastically different
than all the other planets in the Solar System,
so we can’t be typical. Maybe you need tides,
gigantic tides to make life. So this is hypothesis one now, that tides are important for life. So how do you have tides? Moon. How often do we get a moon? Therein comes the really rare part. Our Moon obviously,
in our Solar System, is unique. There are other moons, but there’s no other moon as large
relative to the size of the planet, nobody else has that. I mean the Jupiter moons are really tiny compared to the size of it. Getting our Moon required a very, very low probability event. Another planetesmal– or actually,
a planet, A Mars-sized planet hit the earth early in time,
and it spun out our Moon. But one effect of the Moon’s on us,
besides making lunar tides, is that its helped stabilize
the spin axis of Earth for a very long period of time. So the Earth’s spin axis
is an 22 and 1/2 degrees and it’s stabilized by this big gyroscope orbiting around the planet. When the Earth hit that Mars sized body over 4 and a 1/2 billion years ago the re-scrambling of all this, because it produced– a smaller Earth, a Mars size came together and produced a bigger Earth
and a really small Moon. But the chemistry
of both places got recycled. Parts of the Mars got strangled together with parts of the Earth, and we ended up having a very thin crust. Venus has a very thick crust. It’s so thick,
it can’t do the subduction. It can’t go down through plate tectonics you don’t have plate tectonics on Venus. Did that moon impact, Moon forming event
produce the conditions– the Earth-like conditions– necessary to produce plate tectonics? And I think you have to have a Moon and you have to have plate tectonics to get life as we know it. From an astro-biology viewpoint, the occurrence of plate tectonics
is really important. I mean, is it typical
for an Earth-like planet to have plate tectonics? Maybe it is. But on the other hand, if we look at our neighbors in space, they don’t have them. The concentric layers of the Earth do something else for us. That gives us a magnetic field
and without that magnetic field you’re bathed in radiation from your Sun. And surface life, land life– life underwater is not affected. But you’ll never get on land, you’ll never have plants on land if you
are totally bathed in radiation without a magnetic field. All these factors, we
call rare Earth factors, probably not many of
them are really critical, but they are factors. So if you have the factor,
well, do you have magnetic field or don’t you have a magnetic field? Maybe if you don’t have one, maybe you’ll never evolve giraffes because nasty things that happen
with the Sun and wipe them out. But it’s not, if you have
this you can have life, if you don’t, you don’t. We get certainly undoubted
multicellular life, there are some really interesting fossils about two billion years
that look like life has finally figured out
how to put itself together into bigger assemblages. But again these are fairly rare, it’s not till a billion years ago that we see lots of evidence
of multicellular, like kelp, you have algae that are out there. So that’s a billion years ago. Wow, that sounds like that’s really old. Compared to the 4.567? Now we’re taking almost four, little less
than four billion years to get to something as complex as a kelp? Come on. Probably all the early life on earth we would consider extremophiles, because they were living
in extreme conditions that we could not live in. And they’re also very tough, too. Animals are very easy to extinct. A typical animal species goes extinct in a couple million years. The really lucky ones,
like sharks and nautiloids, maybe survive a couple
hundred million years. But typically those are
only a million years. Microbes are almost inextricable. The analogy is the mass extinctions
are weeding the garden. And once you weed the garden,
the good vegetables can grow. I’ve written about this, I’ve said, yeah, that’s probably way it is. Maybe you need to have
some critical number, too many, too few. Maybe you don’t have
to have mass extinctions. This is just us trying
to rationalize what happened. And going back to Frank Drake, he said, well a mass extinction,
a modern mass extinction would be a good thing. Because after every past mass extinction, new types of life have come forth. But Frank, the point
I was trying to make to him was that there is a dead period, a recovery period
of millions of years. Do we want to have
planet Earth five million years before things crawl back out and start– no, you don’t want
a modern mass extinction. Yeah, we don’t have that time. So the K-T event was the impact of a 10 kilometer-sized asteroid
or comet that made a crater about 200 kilometers in diameter
in the Yucatan peninsula. And this, it’s not
terribly rare earth event, it happens about every 100 million years. If you were looking at
this event from space, you would see
this big impact, big crater, big flash, very, very spectacular. And then the Earth would turn
this uniform Grey color. You’re seeing Mexico
blanketing the entire planet because it’s shrouded–
it blocked the Sun for a visible period of time,
at least a couple weeks. And so things that rely on the sunlight, like plants and so forth, have a problem. And things are herbivores that eat these plants have a problem. And then there are maybe
possible acid ocean changes and a variety of chemical effects which was a nasty cocktail
to life on Earth. Rare Earth to me was always
an environmental statement, that if life is rare,
if the Earth is rare, why in the world are we trashing it? We see on TV
that we’re just going to move on, that we’ll move out,
we’ll colonize the Solar System. And [that] we’ll get stellar drives, then we’ll beam ourselves
from planet to planet, we’re going to expand. What if we can’t? It’s just tough. Doing things in space is really tough. And I view that a lot
of ideas of interstellar travel are just absolute fantasy. It may not ever be possible
using any technology. I mean, warp drive is probably a fantasy. But there is, I think
a highly probable contingency that we will never get
out of our Solar System This in itself would answer
immediately the Fermi paradox. Maybe nobody gets out ever. There’s never ever, never,
interstellar travel. And right off the bat
people say, “Oh, that’s– you cannot deny that possibility. And yet that particular
possibility is never raised. So this is where rare Earth
comes back into it. If we’re stuck here,
we ought to take care of it. Global warming
and human caused climate change is an unhappy accident of there being billions of people
on the planet and an abundant fuel source
that we’re addicted to. Fossil fuels are
the engines of our economy. And the engines of our growth and the engines
of our population explosion, too. The problem in its most
immediate form is carbon. Coal, and oil, and gas release carbon into the atmosphere, and the molecular structure
of CO2 traps heat that would otherwise radiate
back out to space. I think that a different way of looking at it is to– I think, to understand that probably fossil fuel
is more important than ideology and the development
of the last few hundred years. Well, the stakes are very high, so this climate crisis
is the greatest threat that humanity has ever faced. People often talk about
global warming, climate change. Today civilization was built for the climate
of the early 20th century, but that climate is changing, all right? And the population growth
has been explosive. And so probably, civilization as we know it is unsustainable. My editors don’t want
anything about global warming, and they certainly don’t want anything depressing
about global warming, people don’t want to hear it. Science tends to be fairly conservative in what it says is true, because it has to stand up
to peer review, it has to stand up to other people
doing the same research and making sure they get the same answer. It has to be defended very rigorously. So the fact is
that these big assessments, like the IPCC report, tend to be fairly conservative
in what they say is true. So you guys are from California, so you have some sense of what’s going on in one small corner of the world where we’re seeing drought on a scale we haven’t seen before, for instance. And that kind of thing just gets more and more
and more common and violent as the temperature goes up two degrees Celsius,
three degrees, four degrees. That’s what we’re on path for now. That’s a world where we probably can’t have civilizations like the ones
we’re used to having, because we won’t be able to depend on raising food in the ways we do now. And our cities, most of
them built on the coasts, will be highly vulnerable. And it’ll be a difficult,
maybe impossible place to live. With a four degrees
Celsius temperature range, we can expect the Sahara Desert
in North Africa to jump across the Mediterranean
into central Europe, resulting in summer temperatures
of 120 degrees, typical day. With a three degrees of warming, we could expect the Brazilian rainforest to burn down and turn to desert, with probably super,
super storm hurricanes with the capability to obliterate cities occurring from time to time. Though those are the things we sort of notice on a day to day basis, the kind of bigger, more profound mess, or what’s happening
at the whole system level. Both the Arctic and the Antarctic are now melting at prodigious rates, and the oceans are 30% more acidic
than they were 40 years ago. We’re talking about the biggest physical features
on planet Earth, and they’re essentially breaking. In the last 150 years or so, sea level’s gone up
by about 20 centimeters, which is about eight inches. Now, that doesn’t sound like a lot when you’re standing there on the beach and the waves are crashing
over your feet. But you have to remember, that’s 8 inches times
2/3 the area of the planet. So it’s a huge volume
of water that’s been added. People don’t understand
is how fast levels gonna rise. Whether it happens three feet, weather it happens
at the end of the century, or even the middle
of next century is irrelevant. Three feet affects unbelievably the amount of food they can be produced. It doesn’t necessarily
have to happen all at once. Just like Hurricane Sandy
in New York, of course, that wasn’t caused by global warming, but it was exacerbated by global warming. Of the 18, 19 feet of storm surge, a foot or so was global warming. Now, that’s not a huge impact yet, but if we’re looking
at 5,6 feet of sea level rise in the next 100 years, it will begin to become
very, very important. We have harnessed
the meager water resources of the West, all right,
to sustain this great civilization that we’ve built here in California. It’s amazing in a semi-arid environment –this is the sixth
or the seventh largest economy in the world. The economy of California is larger than the economy
of Russia, all right? But we all forgot that it was semi-arid, and we have a long history
that’s written in great droughts. And it’s come back to haunt us here, at the beginning of the 21st century. And in this case,
the economics are very clear. If you let climate change
get any further out to control, the economic damage
that it does is on a scale that we haven’t encountered before. The British economist
Nicholas Stern tried to kind of– did the first sort
of full on global scale calculations and says it looks like unabated global warming is more
of an economic hit than World War I, World War II,
and the Great Depression combined. OK, so we know we’re trying to avoid. Why is this drought so much more severe than what we saw in the mid
1940s to the early 1970s? Well, the population of California has quadrupled since the 1950s
and the 1960s, all right? Agriculture has been explosive. In some ways you might say,
well, a lot of New Orleans, effectively what the government
and the society decided was that they were going
to continue to try to protect it, despite the fact
that sea levels are rising, despite the fact
that there will eventually be another storm that floods New Orleans. But if it’s important enough to you, then you might decide to protect it. But you have to make decisions. You can’t protect the entire coast, and so what areas are we going to protect and what areas are we going to let go of? Those are questions we should be
answering right now. There is no way that 20 million
people in Southern California, when the water from the Colorado
and the Sacramento in the San Joaquin river dry up, there is no way you’re going to move all 20 million of those people to Seattle and Vancouver. That’s just un-doable. So the question is
one of these tipping points. And the methane clathrates are suspected
to be a possible tipping point. To where if you warmed up
enough of these regions, they would release all this methane, and then you’d have greenhouse
warming the ran away from you. That wasn’t being driven
by humans anymore, it was really being
driven by natural tipping points in the climate. A tipping point, well,
a good metaphor to start with is you imagine an egg
on the edge of a table. And if you give it a little nudge,
but it doesn’t fall over, then you could give it a nudge back. You can kind of reverse the process. But if the egg is right
on the edge of the table and you give it a nudge
and falls over and it breaks, then your table and egg system
is in a different state and it can’t be reversed. All right, so there was a sudden change. You’ve crossed a tipping point
when that egg fell over. Well something like that exists
with aspects of the climate and the climate as a whole. Not yet, we haven’t yet so destabilized the Arctic we should give up
the fight and go on. CH4 is obviously a problem, like CO2. And it’s a difficult problem,
because with CO2 we have our hand on the thermostat. We can turn down the amount
of carbon that we use. If we let things heat to the point where we’re getting
really huge volumes of methane, we have no control of that thermostat. So that’s all the more reason
to move very fast. To me, the biggest problem on the planet is the population problem. And no one talks about it, really. Hardly anyone talks about it, and no one’s come up with a solution. You think it’s hard
to talk about carbon dioxide politically, talk about
population control politically. That’s almost impossible. But you know, there actually
are some great tools for it. Education, giving women a choice
over when and how many children to have, has been shown to actually lead to population reduction. So the solutions
to that one might be good, whether you’re interested
in population control or not. It’s a really huge problem and the global warming would not be such a big deal
if we had kept our population around a billion people or so. More people, more energy requirements, everybody wants to become part
of the middle class, growing affluence, growing technology,
so it’s not just population, you have to take population
and multiply it by affluence. You can’t tell the rest
of the world they can’t be affluent, all right? You can’t tell the rest of the world that they can’t have an iPhone. Our technology is totally
dependent on fossil fuels. We would have never have made to where we were without this gift from nature of this huge supply of fossil fuels. And don’t think
we should feel guilty about it, because it’s nature provided,
and we would probably still be the Stone Age without it, without developing iron, and so forth. But it is a– it’s almost
a predictable consequence of development of life
like ours on a planet that we get to the point where we– we’re over-productive
in terms of population growth. And we also consume
all this burnable material. And ultimately, we have to transition
to a society that does not use fossil fuels. I think it’ll eventually work
because it has to. Because we have finite amounts
of fossil fuels. So they will eventually run out. So ultimately we will be– we will have a wind, water,
solar economy. Now, the key is to squish it forward in time so that it’s faster. So will it work in the next 35 years? It’s possible, it’s technically
and economically possible. It all depends on if enough politicians and the general public
get on board with it. If the public and politicians
get on board, it will happen. What could get rid of us
is our own carbon dioxide through one
of the greenhouse extinctions. If you think–
call that nature, that’s nature. Engineering our way out is
our only hope that I can see. But engineering
our way out will only work if we recognize the limitations
of engineering your way out, that you have to take dire steps soon, or it will be too late. Now of course, some people say
that technology might save us. Well that’s true, but in a sense, technology is also part of the problem. Now, I always say that–
when I talk to my students, I said, if you want a good example
of global warming, all right, there she is or there he is. All right, this is
the poster child for global warming. Just think of all the water,
natural resources, and the energy that go into cellphones. There’s no way to avoid using fossil fuel in the world in which we live. That’s why the job is not
to spend all your time and money perfecting your own household. That’s why the job is to transform the way we live,
the structures in which we live. My roof is covered with solar panels. I drive an electric car. I eat close to home,
all those kinds of things. But I try not to fool myself that that’s solving
the problem, it isn’t. This is a structural
and systemic problem. That means the answers
are structural and systemic. That means, by far, the most important thing
that an individual can do is not be an individual. Join with other people
in a movement large enough to move those systems and structures. And if you have time left over after that to change you’re light
bulb, then by all means. We look at each energy sector,
electricity, transportation, heating, cooling, and industry. Then we try to electrify each sector and power that electricity
with wind, water, and solar power. And we find from doing that that we’ve reduced power demand just by electrifying everything
and using some hydrogen. We would use reduce power demand
overall in California by about 44%, because electricity is so much more efficient
than combustion or burning things. Technically, it’s possible to do it. The strives that the engineers
have made in the last 25 years are astonishing. The price of a solar panels
has dropped 95 percent. That’s an astonishing gift, and one that if we were
to take full advantage of, we’d be able to make– not a painless, or costless,
or easy transition, but it’s a transition we could make. That we’re not doing it in anywhere near the scale we need to is a reflection of the power
of the fossil fuel industry to get in the way of that transition. So that means what we should be doing is building the movements necessary to break the power
of the fossil fuel industry. We can’t outspend them,
they have more money than any industry on earth. But that’s not the only
currency the world works in and in extraordinary moments
the currencies of movement, passion, spirit, creativity,
sometimes, the willingness to spend one’s body and go to jail, those are currencies that count too. And we have to be– we have to be spending them
as fast as we can. So we would eliminate all fossil fuel. So we would have no more oil refineries,
no more gas pipelines, no more natural gas, no more coal, no more nuclear power, no more biofuels. We don’t need it. We can solve the entire problem 100%, and with 100% reliability
of the grid with wind, water, and solar. We’re building that movement. I don’t know whether it’s big enough yet. But we have to put it into action, which is why we’re confronting the fossil fuel industry wherever we can, on new infrastructure projects, on their financing
through things like divestment. I guess the grand plan, if there is one, is to try and hold down
the fossil fuel industry as best we can,
to freeze their expansion. A fossil freeze, and at the same time,
work and hope for a solar thaw. Personally, I think
a carbon tax is a good idea, it’s a good start. Because we don’t pay the cost of the carbon
we add to the atmosphere. We pay the cost of digging up
the carbon from the ground and putting in our car. We don’t pay the cost
of what it does to our planet’s climate. Well, I mean, every economist
for a long time has said, one of the first things we should do is put a price on carbon. Clearly, and the way to do it,
is this fee and dividend scheme where you put a big price
on carbon and rebate the money back to everybody. Because if anybody owns
the sky, it’s us, not Exxon. That would help, we need a crash scale, World War II scale kind of program to put solar panels on every south facing surface
we can find, to put windmills where there’s wind. We’re technically capable of doing it, but it’s going to take money,
and will to make it happen. Now, to actually get
the thing implemented though, you need capital. So you need capital
to buy all the devices, just like you would need capital to buy devices
for fossil fuels and plants. And that capital cost would be on the order of about $15 trillion
in the United States. And again though, you have to look at how
that cost is spread over time. So this is between now and 2050, we would have
the whole infrastructure up. And I would be working hard to make sure that we were transferring
sufficient resources north to south to allow this transition to happen
where it’s needed most, in the poorest countries of the world. These guys need more energy, unlike us. And it’s now entirely plausible for them to get it from clean sources, but they need help, you know,
technology, to make that happen. In the negotiations at Paris this year, probably the most important question will be actually
not over targets and timetables, it will be over financing
for the transition in poor parts of the world. Those are decisions we have
to make together as a society. And the answers are not
in the scientists pocket. We don’t have the answers– you know, we can tell you about
the ice sheets changing, but we can’t really tell you what a carbon tax is
going to do to the economy. So remember that when I talk about this, I’m just another citizen. But the fact is that I think we have to begin to try those kinds of things, because we’re probably going
to mess up along the way as we try them. But that’s not
a good reason to do nothing, the alternative of do nothing
is the worst thing we can do. If your experience, not your beliefs, not your theoretical understanding,
but if your experience is that your food comes from
the grocery store and your water comes from the tap, you will defend to the death the system that brought those to you because your life depends on it. If on the other hand,
your food comes from a land base and your water comes from a river, you will defend to the death
the land base and the river because your life depends on it. And so, that’s one of the things
that has happened is that we have had
our allegiance, our loyalty, and our life dependence transferred away from the living planet
and over to this capitalist system. So, you know, we can ask ourselves, well, given the danger of climate change and given that we have adequate solutions with existing technology to supply
the energy that we’re even using, which is excessive, but we can even supply that
through renewable sources, why aren’t we doing it? And so the answer is capitalism. Capitalism is based
on profit and inequality, because obviously, some are going
to get rich, someone will be poor. So it’s based
on the system of Inequality, which always means domination. So it is a rule of money. And as the ancient Athenians knew, which many of us apparently don’t know, the rule of money
is not the rule of the people. Democracy means the rule of the people, oligarchy is often the term
used for the rule of money. Oligarchy means the rule
of the few, literally. But Aristotle explained,
the wealthy are always the few, and the poor are always the many, so the role of the few
is a rule of the wealthy. Our lot in life isn’t due to God’s will, instead it’s the market forces. So the market has
rewarded the billionaires. The market has punished you,
because you’re poor. So the market forces are portrayed as some sort of objective force the works for the common good
of everyone. But in reality, the market was man made. It was created by human beings and it’s manipulated by the rich
to serve their own interests. So they basically run the government through their lobbyists, and they deregulate their own industries. They create rules
which will enrich themselves. They create policies which requires the government
to buy services from them to enrich themselves further. So this market force
which serves as kind of a moral– the moral basis of capitalism kind of contributes
to the role of capitalism as a kind of a religious force. It’s very hard
for people to get past that. In fact, many, many people,
I would say, probably most people, can more easily imagine
the end of the world than they can imagine
the end of capitalism. And you know our whole political system is one of bribery. I mean, contributions, contributions are bribery unless their small. If I give five dollars
to a senator, obviously, I don’t think I’m going
to have access and control, and so that’s not bribery. Because I’m not going
to get anything from my $5, and I know it. And same people give ten dollars or– but the people who give thousands
and thousands, this is bribery. They’re saying, I’m giving you money
if you pass the laws I want. But it’s legal bribery,
though some of it is illegal too. The Congress is a perfect reflection
of who paid for it. I mean, when there’s a vote
on something like the Keystone Pipeline, if you tell me in advance how much money each of these guys got from the fossil fuel industry, I can predict with unerring accuracy
how they’ll vote. It’s a better predictor than party identification or region
or anything else. But there’s also a lot
of just pure misinformation put out there. There are groups and organizations often funded buy oil companies, who make it a business
to collect information, distort it, and submit it
out to the public. There’s no shortage of folks like that. So there’s a lot of disinformation out there, as well. As we switch off fossil fuel, we will be moving
in interesting new directions. The sun and the wind are
omnipresent but diffuse. We all have some. And that means that we can
power ourselves close to home. We’re no longer dependent
on the richest people in the world who became the richest
people in the world because they happen to live over
deposits of coal or gas or oil. We begin to upend the balances of power. I mean, the richest men in the world is the two Koch brothers, taken together, an oil and gas fortune. They used that oil and gas money,
about $100 billion, to dominate our political life. They just announced
they’d spend $900 million on the next presidential election, more than the Republican Party
or the Democratic Party, Koch brothers: party of two. I don’t think electoral politics
is a way out, because you basically have two parties which are the two halves
of the capitalist party. They both serve Wall Street, they both serve the same masters. The problem with climate change is that it’s not in the end
a political adversary. It’s not Democrats versus Republicans or industry versus environmentalist. Those fights are important, but the basic fight
is human beings against physics. Physics is poor negotiator,
it isn’t cutting us any slack, we don’t get points for spin. This culture is systematically,
and fundamentally, and I would say, psychologically,
and psychopathically, based on a refusal
to acknowledge or accept limits. And there could be no limits on– I mean, the whole point of this culture is to boldly go
where no man has gone before. And there could be no limits on so-called technological progress. There could be no limits
on the number of humans there are. There could be no limits
on our influence over the planet. There could be no limits on,
essentially on our behavior. And I’ve thought a lot, I’ve written a lot about cash and money. And I’ve just written some about it. I think money is really
interesting in that, let’s say that I’m going
to attempt to acquire resources, and we don’t have a cash economy. And I’m going to acquire
say, all the fish. The thing is, the fish are going to rot. But there’s a great thing
about money, which is it doesn’t rot, and you can accumulate
infinite amounts of it. And it– because it’s entirely abstract, it means you can keep
accumulating essentially forever. Even if you were going to try to accumulate gold or something
that doesn’t rot, there still is a physical limit
as to how much you could get. There’s five times
as much carbon underground in known proven reserves around the world as we can afford
to burn without going over the two degrees Celsius limit that I mentioned a little while ago and which has been
embraced internationally as a sort of a red line not to cross. That means we would have to leave at least 80% of it
underground, untouched. Well how much is that 80% worth? Well it’s around 20 trillion
dollars, give or take. So does anybody seriously believe that Wall Street is going to
give up 20 trillion dollars just to save the planet? Fossil fuel industry gets huge subsidies and has for a couple of hundred years. So they have this huge built up
pile of money, infrastructure. And you know, you can list
sort of the easy ways in which they get subsidized,
the annual depreciation allowance, all those kinds of things. The biggest subsidies
are things like they’re allowed to use the atmosphere
as an open sewer for free, unlike any other industry. And they get all the rest of us to pay for defending the supply lines. I mean, nobody’s under any illusion that we would have bothered
to go fight wars in Iraq and places like that had there
not been oil somehow involved in the whole equation. If this was a nation
that ran on solar energy, what would we care about Saudi Arabia? Guys, whatever. Have you ever noticed that when you look at any article
in the mainstream press about the extinction or about the endangerment
of some creature, you– it always has to come back
to its economic value? Every time there’ll be
these extraordinary articles about– oh like, there was
one about how basically the deep oceans, even the deep oceans are being significantly
harmed by this culture. And after talking about that for a while, it said, while it may not seem
like they have commercial value, but there are commercially
viable fish down there. I was like, for God sake, you’re talking about the vast majority of the space of this actual planet. This water planet is being harmed by this culture and the only thing you care about how it
affects your pocketbook. Part the problem is with the tremendous voracious
appetite we have for stuff, is that were decimating
much of the plant life on Earth and particularly deforesting in Southeast Asia, Indonesia,
in the Amazon, in Africa. And so people forget,
not get too complex, but fully 20% of global warming
is deforestation, because that CO2 is no longer
being taken up by the forest that we’re consuming for
toilet paper in China. What we need to figure out is–
the biggest challenge therefore comes in places with relatively
stable populations, like China, but who are starting
to consume like Americans, OK? The planet clearly probably can’t deal with one continent
consuming like Americans and definitely can’t deal with three or four consuming that way. You know, trash, toxins,
all kinds of waste is necessary to maximize profit. So when things are produced,
it’s cheaper to produce them without protecting the environment than it is with protecting
the environment. There’s 100 billion tons
of junk mail each year in the United States alone. And that junk mail which we all– you know, we pick up in the mailbox, we toss it in the trash
as soon as we walk in the house, that 100 billion tons of junk mail generates 51 million tons
of greenhouse gases each year. So it’s just– it’s all over the place. Overproduction, waste, it’s endemic to the capitalist system. States, many states in the United States are facing the choice between clean drinking water
and fracking. And this was presented according
to the article as a dilemma. And they said scientists
response are mixed. I said, are you kidding? This is– it’s a dilemma to choose whether to have drinking water that you need
to survive, or fracking. That’s how much these techniques control our lives. Is that that’s how the Japanese Energy Minister
can say that, “Oh, we can’t imagine living
without electricity.” The electricity is in charge,
it’s no longer us in charge. So, the first thing to
observe about green capitalism is that it has been a failure, and a spectacular failure so far. So even with the advent
of solar panels and wind turbines and green products of all sorts, global carbon emissions keep going up. Somewhere in the last,
say 20 to 30 years, environmentalism has had
a dramatic shift for the worse. And it used to be that environmentalism was really about protecting
places and beings. Various, you know,
somebody would love salmon, they try to protect them. Somebody else loves the Grand Canyon, so they try to protect that. And somewhere along the way it shifted from being about protecting wild places and beings to sustainability. And sustainability
doesn’t mean sustaining a planet, it means sustaining this culture
that’s killing the planet. You know, it’s true that an electric car is less polluting when you drive it. It’s much more efficient, especially if you supply the electricity
from renewable energy sources. But it turns out that about
half of the carbon footprint of a car, that is to say
the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere
by the existence of a car comes at the point
of manufacturing the car. So electric cars have
a carbon footprint too, through their manufacturing. They’re better
than the gasoline cars, it’s true. But because of the nature of capitalism, because of its need to expand
and find expanding markets, the selling these cars in China
and India all around the world is likely to make things
worse, rather than better. What we really need is this first rate mass
transportation systems. It’s like, what do
salmon need to survive. What they need is for
industrial logging to stop, they need for industrial fishing to stop, they need for the murder
of the oceans to stop, they need for global warming stop, which means they need
for the oil economy to stop, and they need for dams to be removed. Those are all straightforward
technical things. Does that mean they’re easy? No. But they’re straightforward
technical things. When people say, I hope salmon survive, what they’re saying is, I hope
salmon survive without a stop to industrial logging, without
a stop to industrial fishing, without a stop to–
without taking out dams, without a stop to global warming. We can say the same thing
about global warming. When people say, gosh, I hope
global warming doesn’t exist. It’s like, what will it take
to stop what warming? Well, the industrial economy
needs to stop. So if we really want
to reach zero emissions across the world, that’s going
to take extraordinary measures that go far beyond
just renewable electricity generating plants,
solar panels and wind turbines. So even if we generated the entire– all the world’s electricity
through renewable sources, we would still be killing ourselves because only about 25%
of global carbon emissions come from electricity and heating. The other 75% comes from other sources, so it comes from
a variety of other sources. It comes from industry,
it comes from transportation, its comes from agriculture and land use. So the changes have to go
across the entire global economy if we’re serious about staying
below two degrees Celsius by the end of the century,
and certainly after that, too. So that means industries are just going to have to be shut down, like it’s not just the oil,
gas, and coal extraction, but manufacturing
of all sorts, paper products. The third biggest industry in the world is packaging, after energy and food. So you don’t think about all the things that you buy, they come in boxes are too big for the thing that it holds. That’s part of marketing, you know, they make the boxes bigger on purpose so it looks like
there’s more stuff inside. So all that stuff you throw away, you buy something in the pharmacy
or the grocery store, or something, and there’s all
kinds of paper you throw away. I mean all kinds of industries
like this, wasteful industry, just have to be shut down
or scaled way, way back. And other industries have to be open. So there’s really
no way around socializing the major industries
and coordinating production with a view towards the carbon emissions that these industries cause. And this now not– it’s not really a moral imperative, so much
as a survival imperative. Oh well, what is socialism? So socialism is,
at least the Marxist kind, is that you cannot have real freedom if you’re a slave,
or an underdog, or a servant. So you have to abolish
class distinctions. Because for Marx, what constitutes a class is how much money it has, its role towards the means
of production, means of production is what people work on
and with machinery, the Earth and all that,
that has to be communal. And you can have one class
that dominates the economy and produces only for its own profit, because what capitalism is,
you produce for profits. If it’s not profitable,
you’re not going to produce it. The idea of communism,
or socialism, is the opposite. You produce for need. What human beings need,
then you manage to produce. And what are luxuries, are superfluities, things I think are needless armaments, you don’t produce that, because it’s not a question of profit. It’s a question
of what human beings need. I don’t think capitalism exists because– inevitably because of human nature. I think that there’s a range
of behaviors in human nature. And that range is manifested
not only in a single individual, but across the entire population
of human beings. And what capitalism does
is it rewards the worst aspects of human nature. So it rewards greed,
it rewards aggressiveness in pursuit of the greed, to the extent that wars are almost unavoidable under capitalism. Now I’m not saying that capitalism causes all wars, because there were wars
before capitalism existed. But there are certain kinds of wars, which are almost unavoidable
under capitalism, and those are resource wars. So, for example,
the US invasion of Iraq in 2002 was for the oil. Rousseau had a wonderful passage about what would we think of a society where the interests
of every man is opposed to the interests of every other man, where the good luck of every man requires the misfortune
of his fellow man. And yeah, if I can only win if you lose, then what kind of attitudes are we going to have towards each other? So capitalism engenders
animosities and hatred and stifles any compassion. I’m sorry, but I have
to destroy your forest, but it’s profitable. I don’t care where
you’ll live afterwards, that’s not my problem. So when money– in fact,
I quote Rousseau again, it says “when profit
is the only imperative, is it always more
profitable to be a rascal.” Best case scenario is that we have the– we have habitat for
humans on the planet in 2040. That’s the best case scenario for humans. Best case scenario for non-human species and for humans in non-industrial cultures is complete collapse
of industrial civilization as rapidly as possible. Our planet can, and the human beings
on this planet can survive more or less intact
with many of the technologies that we admire right now intact
using renewable energy resources, primarily solar, and wind,
and maybe tides, and so forth, but only if the population
of the world is reduced by 90%. That’s my estimate
and some other people’s estimate of what population would be supported by renewable energy resources,
really tapping in to them. But you know, you can lose
90% of the population over a couple of centuries just by cutting way down
on the birth rate. What I think’s going to happen? What do I honestly
think’s going to happen? I think that this culture is going to continue to grind away until there’s nothing
left but ashes and dust. And we also famously have
this global warming technique, which commonly people say,
the end of the world. It’s not the end of the world, you know, I mean, it’s a problem. It’s a huge problem for us,
a huge problem for civilization. But it’s by no means
the end of the world. The world doesn’t care. The world will totally
recover from all of this. I assume we will burn every
drop of coal in the planet. We probably won’t burn all
of it, but a large amount of it. And eventually on a timescale
of thousands of years, that will be removed from the atmosphere. So it– it’s our problem,
not the Earth’s problem. When the average temperature of the Earth goes not 1.6 degrees but
four degrees, six degrees, if it goes to 10 degrees,
much of the earth will be uninhabitable, all right? So at that point, you can definitely put your head between your legs
and kiss your tukas goodbye. So worst case scenario is we kill everything
on the way out the door, and I mean everything. A six degree temperature
increase, six degrees Celsius, which is about 11 degrees Fahrenheit, could result in an extinction
level event for humanity. There may be a few lucky individuals who would survive it, maybe a billionaire
finds a deep hole to dig in Antarctica or something
and stores supplies. But it would be the end for most of us. Human beings are just not well suited to live in that kind of a situation. Sea levels going up to 240 feet, when that happens
we have this stagnant world, hydrogen sulfide starts rising. How fast does it take, how
fast from where we are now? If we hit 1,000 parts per million,
and we’re at 400 now, the fossil record tells
us that the probability is we’re going to go into
this hydrogen sulfide world. At the rate we’re doing this,
that’s about 200 years at most, and at the rate we’re changing
and increasing in population, it could be as little as 100 years where hit 1,000 parts per million. The notion of near term human extinction certainly adds clarity
to what’s important in life. And is it depressing? Yes. I don’t think humans
are going to go extinct, we’re a resourceful bunch
and at least the richest among us will figure out ways to keep going. But that doesn’t seem
to me to be the issue. We’re going to take a lot
of DNA out along the way, biologists think half
the species on the planet could go out this century. And we’re going to do
in incredible numbers of the poorest and most vulnerable people on Earth, most of whom have
done nothing to contribute to the problem we now face. If you’re a family member
of the 5 million people a year who die early deaths
because of climate change, you’re already feeling it. No, I don’t think it’s going
to be too late for humans. Humans are an incredibly
tenacious species with all kinds of ways of getting by. And they are all over the planet living in some far, far places and in some very
unpromising environments, and doing sometimes fairly well. So no, that’s not what we’re going to– we’re not going to lose
human beings, unfortunately. What we’re going to lose
is a lot of species, of other species
and a lot of stuff in the ocean. And then things will, you know– you’ve read about the six extinctions, or the five previous extinctions,
they all came back. Even the ones where life
on Earth was reduced to some fairly simple organisms,
they do come back. So no, it’s not an end of humanity, but it is a reduction
of, and a loss maybe, of a lot of technology,
and information, and science that might come about
if things got really weird. I think as a socially
progressive ideology, we want to try to help everybody. I mean, we want to embrace
humanity as a whole and try to create a system
where we can all live. I mean, population is
a problem, it should go down. I agree, it should decrease. But not through this kind
of Mad Max dystopian futures where you have
a few deep green resistance types who are trying to live off meadows
and then you’ve got raiding, you know, right wing gun fanatics
who go and steal their food and there’s no civilization there, so they got that. But it’s not a very
attractive kind of future. One also has to look underfoot,
and in their backyard, to say, well, what are
the environmental problems? They’re not the same here as they are in East Asia or many
other parts of the world where environmental
problems and social problems are right in your face all the time. They’re not in our face here, which is why so many Americans
go about their lives heedlessly at the moment. But the changes that are coming
seem to be pretty inevitable. When you have sustenance level living, you are not thinking too much
about major global problems, you’re worried about your kids. It’s too many kids,
to many mouths to feed. Parents will do anything they need to do to keep their kids fed. Now from day to day, most people are just trying to survive. Trying to put a roof over their head. Their education level
is not necessarily high, doesn’t mean their intelligence
is not high. But how much time
do they have for global warming, you know, when they’re trying
to feed their family, look for a job in a sinking economy? Fighting off Al Qaeda
Poor people are in the Middle East. And so, you know, you have to– to us, it seems
the most compelling issue. But for most people,
there are many, many issues. But remember, this issue will tend to override everything else and guide all the rest of these issues. I mean, we don’t know how much longer
before we have such disasters in floods, or droughts, or whatever, which we already starting to feel. And whether that can be
counteracted in time, that’s a very iffy question. And so it’s hard to be optimistic, but we have to act
as if something can be done because we can’t just lay back
and let disaster overwhelm us. It looks to me like there’s still time. You know, there’s 20 years or so where we can really try
to turn things around and save ourselves. And I can’t think of anything
better to do than try. I mean, if you just take the point of view that we’re doomed, then why get out of bed in the morning? You know, I mean, why send these emails
saying that we’re doomed, if there’s really literally
nothing that can be done? It’s both a– it’s
an unprecedented threat, but it’s also
an unprecedented opportunity, because it has the potential
to bring us together. It intensifies all struggles for justice. Economic, ecologic,
civil rights, human rights, you name it, every issue out there is intensified by the climate struggle. I think if we change
our culture to the point where people are really
concerned about climate change and understand it it’s completely possible
to address and deal with it, then I think the politicians will probably have
no choice but to follow. You know, I think
the hopeful analogies in our time are the ways in which things
like gay marriage became– quickly went from
being impossible to contemplate to being so obvious that only the most troglodyte
stand up against it. This is harder, because there’s
more money involved, you know? But, the stakes are high enough that it’s worth the fight
to find out if we can do it. So things can change–
if you look back in history, things don’t change gradually,
they change suddenly. Take the American Revolution, that was a sudden change
within the British empire, or the Russian Revolution of 1917. Things can change much
faster than you imagine, and because of that, it’s very important to have ideas out on the table for the aftermath. How do we get from here
to a global green New Deal that solves the climate crisis
and the economic crisis in one fell swoop? We do that by standing up
and using the residual, you know, the vestiges
of democracy that we still have. We still do have a democracy, they do everything
to tilt the playing field. I mean, one of the problems
of environmentalism is I think a lot of us
don’t know what we want. Do we want this culture we continue? Do we want for there to be
photovoltaics on every rooftop? What do we want? And I’m very clear what I want. What I want is for there to be more wild salmon every year
than the year before. What I want is for there
to be less dioxide in every mother’s breast milk
every year than the year before. I want for there to be more wild fish in the oceans
every year than the year before. I want for there to be more
migratory song birds every year than the year before. I want there to be more newts every year in the world
than there was a year before. I want for there to be
more frogs every year than there was the year before. We have such a steep
hill to climb to be seen, to be on the ballot, to be heard, to participate in debates, et cetera. It’s so difficult to be a third party in the US, that’s forced many
of us parties to come together. So the greens have sort of encompassed a broad agenda of the left
and of independent politics to some extent, of libertarian
and civil liberties, kinds of thinking as well. There’s no reason that we couldn’t have
all kinds of social services, and especially in the United States. We have a productive
capacity to give everyone free medical care, free education through the PHD Level, mass transportation as I said, we can make sure people
have places to live, all this is easily within grasp
of our productive capacity. And we could do this
with a low carbon footprint. Fewer emergency room visits,
fewer hospitalizations, less respiratory illness,
less cardiovascular disease, less asthma, and temperatures will just be
more stable on a global scale, when people realize these benefits, in addition to
the direct financial benefits of stabilizing energy prices
and the job creation, they’ll be on board. So I think right now
it’s more an education issue, because most people just
aren’t aware what is possible. We need to put people
and planet over profit. You know, I think sort of fundamentally, that’s what Eco-socialism is about. And I think that is also fundamentally what the Green Party is about, that if we want the planet to survive, we need a political and economic system that puts people, planet,
and peace over profit. And right now we don’t have that. I just an email
from Lawrence[inaudible] the other day. He said, I think the answer Gary, is a civil ecological socialism. So you have to put
some other label with socialism to say that socialism might work. The resistance to socialism is not necessarily a bad resistance, its resistance to too much organization of the state by people
who are not tuned in to what everybody else
is thinking and doing. So it is a most universal moral rule and it often has a religious basis, but there’s no reason
why it can’t have a secular appeal. So in that sense it’s universal. And what it tells us is not to treat others in the way
we don’t want to be treated. So if we want good schools
for ourselves and our children, we should want good schools
for our neighbor. If you want medical care for ourselves, we should want medical care for others. If we don’t want
to be treated like animals in sub living wages, we should not want to treat anybody
like animals and sub living wages. So that’s why socialization is a demand for equality, for humanity. Operatively, the real problem is the control of big money
over our political discourse, and over our communications system. Because they’re forever
putting us into pigeon holes and trying to fan
the flames of combat between us. But, you know, I’ve worked
with libertarians quite a bit. In fact, we now have a joint legal case against the Commission
on Presidential Debates to try to open them up. I don’t– I mean, I don’t know what sort of system
we’ll have all at the end of it. I anticipate we’d still have
markets and things. I don’t think we’re going to have a centrally planned economy. The idea of market, you can only have a transformation– a revolutionary transformation of a society through revolution
is essentially correct. I mean we say, that’s terrible, people should find a way without– we didn’t find a way
to start without revolution and we didn’t abolish slavery
without a civil war. And England has its own civil war to establish a parliamentary system. France, we all know
had the French Revolution. The Russians had theirs,
the Chinese had theirs, the Cubans had theirs. Confrontation, education’s good, but best education’s accomplished often in confrontation
with the powers that be. The point is that it’s not this
culture that’s hitting bottom, it’s everybody else hitting bottom. As this culture is addicted
to its power over– and addicted to these
authoritarian techniques, addicted to its technologies, addicted to– one
of the pro-slavery philosophers in the 1830s wrote that the reason that they couldn’t get rid of slavery
is because how else would they get the comforts or elegancies on which their entire way
of life is based. And that’s really what the arguments against bringing down
civilization come to, is that we’ll lose
our comforts or elegancies. And that’s not a good reason
to kill the planet. I think that going to jail, for me, it’s no fun to spend
a few nights in jail, but it’s not the end of the world. The end of the world
is the end of the world. Is this anarchism or anarchy? Anarchy means real disorder. Anarchism means– actually all it means is societies without the formation of the institution of the state. So what it means, really,
is self government. I think complaining about capitalism as a destructive competitive
system comes from our intuition that the forager way of life
is the right way of life. We evolved as foragers, and deep
inside us as a forager still, who wants to live in a world like that? Foragers lived in small communities
of 20 to 50 who shared food, who shared resources, who make communal decisions
and decided where to go when. You were free to leave,
and so it was nice. But in order for humanity
to become larger and more powerful, we had to adopt behaviors
that were not forager behaviors. Religion and other forms
of culture pressure came in to help us do these things. But at some level we’re aware
that they aren’t natural and they aren’t what feels right. And then there’s Marshall
Sahlins groundbreaking study, called Stone Age economics, in which he said a number of the hunting and gathering
cultures of the upper Paleolithic were the original affluent society. They only had to work
about 20 hours a week to get the food and materials
that they need to live. We didn’t have a city on the planet until a few thousand years ago. A city by definition is an area in which humans are
overshooting their land base. They require water and food
and sometimes clean air and in today’s case, fossil fuels to be shipped in
to within the city limits. So we all rely upon several acres, or several hundred acres
for our own survival. You live in a city,
you just don’t know it. There’s a lot more in the world then people who are– don’t even remember what it
was like to have an outhouse. And they think,
I couldn’t live like that. Well, you can live like that. There’s all kinds of ways
that people have lived and done very sophisticated little things as they did it all the way through. Does our founding document
for this country say, life, liberty, and the pursuit of electricity? No, we lived for two million years, we lived through the early 1960s
in this country, in many places without grid-tied electricity. The rural South didn’t have electricity– grid-tied electricity until the 1960s, and there were no solar panels. What I’ve been working
toward is to try to develop an anthropological humanist
perspective on history. And I talked about that when I was up at my college
the other day, Reed, about a post-human humanism
and a new perspective on the whole global project, which is to understand
the varieties of human strategies for survival, and not just survival, but for living the good life as they find it
in each in their own place. And that is one of the answers
that we will come back to as the global type economy crumbles and the high energy use
type economy crumbles. And then the questions are
what do you lose after that? Which reminds me of Pericles,
the famous orator, during the Peloponnesian War where he meant what democracy
meant to the Athenians. And among other things he said, when people don’t mingle with politics, who don’t say
they mind your own business. They’re failing their business. Their business is to be
involved in politics, it is to be involving the arts. So he has asserted the multi-dimensional capacity
of the Athenians, which he contrasted
to the one dimensional Spartans that they were fighting at the time. So I wrote this poem
called “For the Children”. Think of it as the models then of graphs. The raising hills, the slopes of statistics lie before us. The steep climb
of everything going up, up, as we all go down. In the next century
or the one beyond that, they say, are valleys, pastures. We can meet there
in peace, if we make it. To climb these coming crests, one word to you too,
you and your children. Stay together. Learn the flowers. Go light. My name is Robin Hanson, I’m an Associate Professor of Economics at George Mason University. I’ve spent many years thinking about a excessively wide
variety of subjects, including the distant future,
aliens, big issues like that. So I’m Don Brownlee
at the University of Washington. I’m an astronomer. I work on comets
and extraterrestrial materials. And I was the principal investigator of the NASA Stardust Mission, which flew out to a comet
and grabbed samples of it and brought it back to Earth. Peter Douglas Ward, Professor of Biology
and Earth and Space Sciences at the University of Washington, and soon to be Professor of Geobiology at the University of Adelaide, Australia. My name is Josh Willis, I’m a climate scientist
at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. And I study global warming and how the oceans change as a result
of human caused climate change. I’m Bill McKibben, a professor
here at Middlebury College and the founder of 350.org, which is the first big global
grassroots climate campaign. Yeah, hi, I’m Bill Patzert, I’m a climatologist
at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. I’ve been working on climate
variability and climate change for more than four decades. Sure, I’m Guy McPherson, I’m Professor Emeritus
at the University of Arizona. I left the institution
about five years ago in despair and disgust. My name is David Klein,
I’m a mathematical physicist and a Professor of Mathematics at California State
University at Northridge. I’m also the Director of the Climate Science Program on campus. Well, my name is Roger Carasso. I’m a Professor Emeritus at California State University
in Northridge where I taught some 40 years and my special interest was
always classical political theory. I’m Derek Jensen,
I’m the author of “Endgame”, and “A Language Older than words-
Culture Make Believe”. And I’m a longtime grassroots
environmental activist. I’m Mark Jacobson, a Professor of Civil
and Environmental Engineering and director of the Atmosphere
Energy Program at Stanford University. I’m Jill Stein,
and I’m a candidate for president. I’m Gary Snyder, a melon grower, and a seller of okra and aubergine in one of the remote
back country forests. Also, I write poetry sometimes.




Comments
  1. The answer to Fermi's paradox is relativity. We are trapped in our solar system by the speed of light, and other life forms are similarly trapped in their part of the galaxy.

  2. Cost Cost Cost this imaginerary GeoEngineered star wars machine to defeat the suns deadly rays is only even THINK ABLE once we dump the monetary system and just DO IT.

  3. Thanks a lot for posting this very interesting document but, i must say,
    very respectfully, the names of interviewed people are missing.
    Best regards,

  4. Ok, their names appear almost at the end.
    maybe as artistic videography concept but,
    maybe not so practical to relate the people with their words.

  5. Why do these "scientists" look so smug with this idea.  Why do they assume that the observing force here, us mere humans, even have the capability to perceive fully other life forms.  How much does your dog know about your personal life, about as much as we know about "alien" life forms.  Ever think we are the visitors here on earth and they are the residents?  ~~~ Think trans-dimensional ~~~

  6. So, maybe social development beyond natural evolution demands a fossil fuel based "burn out"  (intense temp avgs, desertification) to revert to sustainable cycles. The only thing missing then, would eventually be human-beings – a win for other life forms. Assuming conditions with water redistribution supports new life, just not human.

  7. Why spread the information about Near Term Human Extinction? So that we use the time left, and we don't know exactly how long that will be, to do all that we wish we could do. Don't squander time or resources because they are in shorter supply than we may have thought last year… last decade…. last century.

  8. The Fermi Paradox ASSUMES that any intelligent species will also have OUR inclination to explore. There is no reason to assume that to be true.
    I conclude that a truly intelligent species will be invisible. No electromagnetic emissions. Radio silent. If you are intelligent and realize that you are on the side of a mountain at night in POTENTIALLY hostile territory, you aren't going to light a bonfire.

  9. September 2016, the 14th month in a row breaking all records. A 12 year old child can figure out how the world will be like in 3 to 4 years. In 5 years you don't want to be on this planet anymore, in 15 years there is not going to be anyone on this planet anymore. What can we 'do'? Come in terms with your being and prepare for death.

  10. Our global problem is like this, a full glacial cycle takes 100,000-years and CO2 varies 100-ppm, from 180-280-ppm.

    During all those ice-ages the maximum CO2 was 305±5-ppm, ok, we passed that about 1916 and since then added 100-ppm.

    That's a glacial cycle in only 100-years and it's all ABOVE the highest CO2 value ever reached in a million years, acidifying the oceans 10-times faster than an extinction event.

    We must exit the Steam Age for electrons, most grid power is for thermal end-uses not electricity so to switch will only take 5-years, maybe 2-months if it was a war.

  11. Be realistic, the only way we can engineer out of this crisis is to develop new nuclear technologies as quick as possible. Only nuclear has enough power to provide all the energy we need. In case of massive extinction events happen, only nuclear can guarantee us a stable power source to go through many many years of nature disasters.

  12. Climate change is a systemic issue and requires a systemic solution. Let's assume that our intent is to heal the Earth's climate vs. maintain it precariously in an advanced state of disrepair. This is impossible in the current socioeconomic system since the system is oriented towards endless economic growth, with consumption as its organizing value and competition as its organizing principle.  Our only option is to formulate a new socioeconomic system that is oriented towards human creativity as opposed to endless growth, with compassion, not consumption, as its organizing value and collaboration, not competition, as its organizing principle. This is because creativity, compassion and collaboration are infinitely sustainable characteristics while growth, consumption and competition are blatantly unsustainable…

  13. You guys are basically saying that if any other life forms in the Universe, that it must form under the exact same cercumstances that life evolved here. Even if you are only one star away from our sun, and you look directly at the spot in the sky where our earth is, you will see nothing. The universe looks dead, because we can't see past one star system. Then your theory, is that life only exist in the physical form that you can see and touch. What if life has evolved from a collective of intelligence from energy, such as light, and electromagnetic fields. Time and space are too large for you to have such a small set of variables to your equation of how life evolves. You don't even know how it evolved here on earth, how can you rule it out so easily throughout all other space and time?

  14. Hey awesome film…excellent speakers , quite engaging, well done. The only criticism , if that, is WHAT can people do? on an individual level was never really answered. Comments below demonstrate the helplessness and ongoing denial people feel rather than rising to the cause. I personally take it upon myself to do everything I can to lead a low impact life. No small water bottles, minimal driving, minimal consumption, no meat eating, second hand goods, creating , recycling etc. Theres so much! and this lifestyle of spartan values need to become popular, people follow willingly , we know that so everyone must rise to the challenge and see 'celebrity' for what it is. There is nothing more satisfying to every human than accomplishment with purpose. This is all slowly rising out of the artist circles into mainstream but not fast enuff.

  15. Perhaps our ancestors saw all this coming: And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. Luke 21 ??

  16. I came to these conclusions 30 years ago, just a woman in the youngest nation, after 2.5 years of reading on the subject, everything I could fond on the subject. So what is wrong with the rest of you? I have been talking my head off for these last 30 years, even con structured a restructure of this civilization that would not require a huge cull or a melt down in wealth. So I I can do this! then some of these so called educated morons, so tightly bound by their rote learning as to be unable to think. or too greedy to take a stand.

  17. In my opinion climate change is directly related to the fermi paradox because we are about to wipe ourselves out by ruining our climate. I suspect that most technologically advanced races end up doing themselves in in a similar manner before they have a chance to colonize the universe.

  18. vote green party – the only serious party for solving climate change and unempoyment and poverty and education and transportation and medical care. people planet and peace over profit.

  19. You can't tell the rest of the world they can't be affluent but you can tell the minority you can't be super-affluent. Given the richest 10% contribute to 1/3 of emissions there is a moral obligation to introduce a maximum wage.

  20. We certainly can't outspend the fossil fuel industry but the dollar in the pocket is the most powerful vote that is cast every day..

  21. One of the big stumbling blocks with mitigating climate change is the reluctance to be associated with NGO's and the effect that may have on their independence.

    Also, I wonder what proportion of academics provide the equivalent of press releases similar to companies and government bodies to provide more accurate reporting.

    These are potentially huge barriers to communication and especially in terms of number crunching and relating complex ideas in amore timely manner.

  22. While I don't disagree with the science and opinion in this film, I found (with the exception of Jill Stein) the exclusive parade of older white male talking heads a little depressing. There are lots of other intelligent voices that need to be heard on this issues. Xiuhtezcatl Tonatiuh is an example, Broadening your horizons is the way to gather creative solutions. This video misses out.

  23. How can scientists tell us that it's all over in this video and tell us in the next video they tell us we're going to mars?

  24. This is fraud and bullshit. CO2 backradiation 'blanket' is a fucking myth, you will not find it in REAL energy budgets. AGW theory lacks a basis in physics. The people in this video are giving their personal aesthetic views masked in scientific verbiage.

  25. Expect first category 6 hurricane in 2018. Location the Gulf of Mexico based on La Nina and 30% slow down of the North Atlantic Drift which is adding to ocean temperature at this location

  26. the answers are what they have always been when we discover our mortality and limits: live in spirit with gratitude is all you can do human minds have not conquered greed and other excesses of the self by following the example that is evident in nature Species do overshoot and die off simply by succeeding in a favorable environment. However, humans have decoupled from god with science but our powers of observation did not keep up and inform our moral universe. We are not so smart after all apparently. So our epitaph is "greed killed us" and science made us blind to the frailties of human nature. This posting is old since we have warmed up since Jan 2016 by almost .5 degrees Celsius so we are in exponential warming. So NO it is too late sorry mr scientists corruption has vanquished us.

  27. A while back (around 40 years ago), I read somewhere that the days of humanity were numbered; and that our world would end in floods, droughts, famines, diseases, earthquakes, etc…; and that it would all be because of our insufferably bad behavior. And for decades I couldn't even begin to imagine how the two were related. And then James Hansen stepped onto the scene, and I was like: "OH! … Alrightie, Then!"

    So, the way I figure it… If people two thousand years ago could have known this was coming (and don't ask me how they knew), then there was probably nothing we could have done to prevent it. Just sayin'…

  28. I've being a scientist for 37 years w/ MSc and MBA, studied and worked in 7 countries across the globe, published papers and a book and visited academic and commercially 50 countries. I've watched several hundreds of documentaries, videos, commentaries, seminars etc and read a number of books on climate change (stop using the term "global warming" because it was abandoned many years ago). Probably we are entering (or are) in a climate chaos! First almost 100% of the international scientific community agree in the ongoing climate change (ex-global warming) due to immensely increase of the concentration of CO2, methane, water vapor and other gases + de-florestation + heat-emmiting cities worldwide + etc and this is only questionable by those who are mentally blind or have personal interests ($ etc).

    Now at the same time, there are those (few) that swear that we are entering in a kind of "ice age" due to the solar minimum cycle (sun spots, polar shift and other solar activities), stopage of Oceanic Overturning Circulation (Ocean's conveyor belt), procession of the equinox cycles, planetary alignments, earth polar shift and weakening of the magnectic field etc. Others swear (fewer) that this ongoing-upcoming chaotic climate and terrestrial equilibrium (increased earthquake and volcanic activities) are a result of the approaching of Planet X or Nibiru and other celestial phenomena. Or global cooling due to Geoengineering…..

    One of the saddest things of this actual planetary unbalance that we are entering is that, all these well educated people are seeing from their OWN POINT OF VIEW and forgetting or ignoring or minimizing the others! They normally study what reinforce their point of view. This is shameful for our supposedly evolved brains which should have a more comprehensive impartial view of life, in all respects (e.g., religion which each one thinks his/hers are the right one and that "God" choose some in detriment of others what by itself is totally foolish).

    I try to see from a multidisciplinary, comprehensive and unifying ("gestalt") understanding considering all these factors at the same time (at least CO2 etc concentration, solar cycles and procession, as Planet X is more questionable). However with the bombardment of so many points of view, all of them with their own valuable justifications, I am kind of lost in coming with a more highly probable point of view of our future. Is there any intelligent and comprehensive enough mind out there that can balance/ weight out all these factors (especially CO2 etc with solar/earth cycles) and "suggest" are more trusty-ward standpoint ? This might mean the direction of the actual destiny of our Civilization!

  29. The only reason humans evolved is because the dinosaurs were wiped out. Mammals then had a chance to become the dominant species. Chance? I don't know.

  30. If all we know and acknowledge is physical existence and that life accidentally/randomly evolved into complexity, then perhaps we are a very rare anomaly indeed. That's the real puzzle, or did consciousness preexist before the appearance of our species? We assume that the intellect is at the apex of creation, but what if it's a tiny part of a much broader instrument? If so, we cannot begin to apprehend the whole of creation from the intellect alone. The other mysteries of whether there is intelligent life elsewhere where conditions support it depends on that understanding. Maybe the vast distances of space prevent contact, or could be that no intelligent civilization made it beyond a certain point, meaning they became extinct. As a final thought, maybe our view of 'intelligent life' is too narrow. Many think of earth as a dead, inorganic sphere from which life arose. What if the earth, itself, is a 'life form,' albeit a planetary one? So much we just don't know.

  31. i graduated with a degree in environmental studies and im trying to get into a masters program (Env Studies). Climate change mitigation is my main goal in life. Thank for the documentary, i spend my time at work listening to climate change documentaries and seminars…..while i do work, of course.

  32. Hello wake up and smell the chemtrails, the weather is controlled by the ptb this global warming scam is about taxing us…

  33. Having lived with an outhouse on several occasions, I can categorically state that you can't live with an outhouse. 🙂

  34. 'Top scientists' my arse! WTH is 'public intellectual' anyway? Miserable bunch of anti-humanistic, far left loonies. Which one of them was a real climate scientist? I bet no one. I think humanity has a big problem in school bullying, which produces these sad creatures.

    I suggest they start de-populating by being the first volunteers.

  35. Have to laugh at these guys. We can't even cure the common cold or cancer. Can't solve world hunger, can't even stop war. These are all problems that are immensely easier to solve compared to our ability to change the climate. We won't do it and we can't do it. Climate change industry is only a vehicle in order for a few to seize power and money from the many. The loons that are actually afraid for the world warming up never lived through an ice age. They don't know what will actually happen any more than anyone else's guess.

  36. These guys are full of shit pure globalists, they have a product and they are trying to initiate legislative removal of their competition. Clearly their prospect of of carbon tax is to eliminate competition.

  37. Cash for comment these guys are more salesman than they are scientist, so there is the capitalist now capitalism is the cause of climate change what a bunch of wankers are any of these guys poor or are they very comfortable, they talk about lobbyists the largest lobbyists on the planet are these guys.

  38. Contributions are bribery then what is carbon tax these guys are so wrapped up in the sell they don't understand how pathetic they are what they are really trying to do is dispose other wealthy so they can take their place .

  39. Were are Thy??? Is that your fucking q? Well we can't travel to other earth yet. Ask again when our brain is better than now!!

  40. the future is not survivable, most of us will see the Great Cull, few of us will survive it. Those that do will inherit a temporary reprieve yet that reprieve will only enable us to envy the dead.

  41. Thank you for sharing, really great documentary! We need to take actions, every one of us by taking a collective movement!

  42. This Intro is terrible. How can we even say the Universe is empty of life. We have had a very narrow range of observation of planets. Humans have been here thousands of years without the technology to even look at near by planets. How do we know there aren't planets out there with intelligent life, if they haven't evolved to the point to look into space themselves. I think we would need way more observations to know for sure, and certainly better technology. If we flew to a planet with humans that were constantly destroying nature and warring with each other all time, do you think we would even want to contact them?

  43. okay, with all due respect these people are not in the real world. climate change may be happening and it may indeed be caused by human behaviour. They need to spend time in developing countries and see how the local populations trash their environments shamelessly. If it was as simple as just educating already educated westerners the problem would be solved in about 2 years flat. Spend time in African shitholes and the ME, then you'll understand. And that's not even mentioning China. Hope I'm not setting off your oppressor's guilt complex by this comment.

  44. «By the year 2000 we will not see the blue of the sky»… In «The Doomsday Book» by Gordon Rattray Taylor (Panther Books) (1972)… But the song goes on… And on…

  45. Well , Atleast i don't have and don't plan on getting any kids so in a sense i already did more for the planet than most of us…

  46. Embrace life, keep calm and carry on.
    Just make steady progress and prepare to ensure you're part of the 1-2 Billion that endures while the remaining 8 Billion suffers, struggles starves and drowns..

  47. Anyone who wants a deeper understanding of the whole issue of climate change should watch Stefan Molyneux' videos about it.

  48. Ya, as the scientist said, fossil fuels were a gift, but it was a temporary gift, like signing a contract with the devil. While I salute all the people working hard to change things for the better, It's way too late. The people in control will not give up anything, Money, privilege and control. It's greed and greed is the most powerful addiction in the world for which there is no rehab. To me the funny thing is that by the time you get half way through this video, All these guys sound like what Guy Mcpherson's been saying for decades. The sad thing is quite possibly the only humans that might survive are the wealthy psychopaths that were too greedy to give up anything, the same people will reset civilization underground with the same paradigm and the same results. It's the very definition of insanity.

  49. Well, lets hope we have a bit longer then predicted to make large sweeping change occur because it doesnt appear we will make it in time otherwise.

  50. Hey mister in the yellow shirt. We can see or sense next to nothing beyond our solar system to be able to determine whether or not life exists elsewhere. Obviously you know next to nothing about what is possible, (or not possible), as far as astrophysics is concerned. For you to make that statement even tho you know little or nothing about our limitations and/or the size of our galaxy let alone the known universe… The only people I have ever heard speak that way are the ones who are basing their opinion on religious beliefs.

  51. Sorry but the opinion of somesome who cant subtract 4 from 13. (13b -4b dont equal 7b) is not going to change my mind……

  52. It started interesting, then it fell for the old climate change propaganda. Co2 has never been a driver of the climate, NEVER, it has always followed changes in temperatures, and it's less than 0.05% of the atmosphere, so why now? Oh because of industrialization, and you can tax or blame anything on anyone now for any political objective… of course. Pull out the climate change trump card and voilà, end of discussion. Come on folks, put this thing to rest. Pollution is problem, wars and whatever… the climate, all we can do is adapt. It's been colder, it's been warmer and the planet keeps going. We just have to clean up our act, but using the climate which is 99.99% controlled by the sun is a pointless distraction.

  53. This documentary starts with a stupid assertion that life evolved from non life at all. It can't and didn't. There are no "simple" life forms. Every known life form is enormously complex compared to any non-living environment.

    The Ferme paradox is not a paradox at all if you factor in the obvious but unpopular conclusion that the universe was created by God.

  54. Would all the people who say there's too many people kill themselves, please? That should solve the overpopulation problem.

  55. Every minute worth watching, with many pointed​ quotes from the speakers striking at our fundamental social existence, the future of civilization and beyond.

  56. Some comments say there is a lack of women voices. Here's one. "Power to Save the World: The Truth About Nuclear Energy" by Gwyneth Cravens, is a good start to understanding this issue. Then you will see why James Lovelock , James Hanson, Stewart Brand, and other prominent environmentalists think nuclear power is the realistic answer to the climate crisis. That is if we want to keep living with enough electric power to maintain our civilization.

  57. Guys that was a delighful documentary, I really enjoyed it and also it helped me to learn new fancy words to the TOEFL. thank you very much.

  58. Excellent, thought provoking documentary. It's paced rather slow though, if you play it back at 1.25x it sounds completely normal and saves you 20 minutes.

  59. The logic in discussing the Fermi Paradox is spurious. There is little acknowledgement that our technology is limited in its scope of observation. Life actually COULD be all around, and because the vastness of space, we are unable to detect it. Because of the sparsity of observable life in deep ocean waters, it was once thought that no life could exist below a certain depth. As it turns out, even the deepest trenches in the Pacific ocean support forms of life heretofore unimaginable. The rest of the documentary is tolerable, if not always completely logical. There is an innate arrogance in the main body of research science that exerts pressure on cutting edge research to avoid proposing theories that cannot be proven with current technology. Though this has not dissuaded scientists like Sir Roger Penrose from proposing theories kindred to Panpsychism, the main body of science tends to be cautiously dragged along by such so-called "heretics." There is no way to know for certain whether or not life exists outside of Earth, but the mathematically established likelihood is so great that it can almost be considered a "given." The number of discovered exoplanets continues to grow, and the cosmic anomalies that tend to violate contemporary theories attempting to explain them should be enough to give anyone pause about making any absolute assertions. Just as 17th century mankind might have doubted or misunderstood the reality of radio waves which are invisible to our eyes, or other forms of electromagnetic energy, current mankind appears to have difficulty conceptualizing a reality that cannot be immediately quantified or tested. To the extent that this is a product of a limited understanding of the empirical method, this might be understandable. However, empiricism DOES NOT automatically rule out explanations where the technology does not exist to test a hypothesis. "A concept isn't valid simply because we can't prove its validity" is not a scientifically valid statement. It may or may not be valid, by implication. Fermi's paradox is one that is less paradoxical as time passes, and our technology allows us to make more detailed assessments of complex cosmologies. It is disturbing to hear scientists talking in such concrete terms absent any acknowledgement of the limits of our state of technology, and the limited nature of the inquiry. It would be nice if scientists exercised more humility in making proclamations, especially since many of the most important scientific discoveries were made by individuals who defy conventional wisdom, and often made predictive statements about the nature of existence that were later acknowledged as functionally prescient. Just a thought.

  60. The answer to environmental problems is something WE all can help with. please watch the following film and change YOURSELF because its the only option for our childrens/grandchildrens future. The government won't do anything, they are in the pockets of the owners of industry and they are profiting from the destruction.
    Cowspiracy :- http://youtu.be/JyTFZefMvZ8

  61. How do you know they haven't already come and taken over earth and put a tent over your heads and The Who, they are searching for is The Creator who is coming to take down the Tent so all can see the Life that is wonderful and fruitful !!

  62. Brilliant conversation on the end of life on planet E as we know it. No methane discussion was a surprise, though I acknowledge it wasn't really a scientific presentation of data etc. When you factor in just how slow culture and society moves to new ideology and social systems, I have zero optimism for addressing global warming before the worst case scenario tipping points.

    Ultimately, it's not a revolution that we need but an evolution. A revolution would simply spin around the axis of ego and story – that which got us into this mess – whereas an evolution would see us move beyond fear and ego to align with life, because we are life, not something apart. We are animal, it's time we stop pretending (through the cloak of technology) that we are above the biological and energetic connections giving rise to us. It's also time we realise that it's people, not money, that make things, build things, create things. There is nothing stopping us to transition to a green, resource based economy, that eliminates money as the limitation for creative expression and experience, except the beliefs and personal stories driving the imaginary divides of the species. Together we could bring about the necessary changes, but since there is still debate about the effects of global warming, and a reluctance to ditch capitalism as the foundation stone to human existence, then I weep for all life on earth. Now it's a case of how bad will the extinction be? One thing is certain, I would not want to be in a populated center when the reality of the situation becomes undeniable and palpable to the general population.

  63. CAPITALISM!?!?!? What is there about capitalist theory that precludes mandatory accounting in the schools? If everyone understood accounting then wouldn't the Depreciation of Durable Consumer Goods be obvious to everyone?

    So why don't scientists figure out the unnecessary CO2 production due to Planned Obsolescence? Yeah, worry about the Fermi Paradox!

  64. No its all over. In 30 more generations , around 500 yrs from 2018, circa 2500 a.d. anno no jesus, our descendants will die off in massive die offs. Our goal now should be to help those descendants prepare and learn to lie down and die with grace and dignity. I am writing a book about my vision.

  65. the question that YOU should really be asking is, "if I have come to this conclusion, then the people that know have also come to the same conclusion, WHY is nothing being done?" I believe the same people that killed 3000 of our friends on 9-11 are the same people that are doing NOTHING. In essence, …. they are going to K I L L you after wringing every last ounce of wealth out of you first and then destroy the evidence by burning it to a crisp. Who could possibly BLAME this "Act of God" on any individual? The profit motive just doesn't make sense when things are this dire
    LESS of YOU=MORE for ME
    the Earth is BURNING./.. nothing else matters
    get ready

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