Bill McKibben

There’s no huge mystery. If you dig up huge amounts of carbon, huge amounts of ancient biology, hundreds of millions of year’s worth of ancient biology, and flush it into the atmosphere in a matter of decades, then it stands to reason that we’re going to have enormous effects, and now we can see those effects all around us.

I do a certain amount of work in religious communities on these issues. It’s not the central focus of my work but it is certainly an area where I have worked a lot. It has gotten much better over the years, especially over the last couple years. There wasn’t a religious environmental movement 15 years ago, but there is now – in the Catholic community, the Jewish community, the mainline Protestant community, and in the Evangelical community.

Scientists are telling us that 350 parts per million [of carbon] in the atmosphere is the upper limit. We’re at 387 parts per million now, and we’re up in that zone where the risk of going past irrevocable tipping points is elevated. It’s no different than going to a doctor and learning your cholesterol is too high, and you’re at risk for a heart attack. You have to work to lower your cholesterol and hope to get there before the heart attack comes.

Everybody was cratered after Copenhagen. If the movie had worked the way that it should have, if it had been scripted by Holywood, the world would have come together and addressed the biggest problem it ever had faced and delegates would have embraced each other, and it all would have been a good happy scene instead of the complete farce and debacle that it turned into – maybe in certain ways, an absolute low point for human diplomacy.

Share via