On November 25th, Earth.Org had a conversation with Mark Lynas, environmental journalist and author, discussing his latest book, Our Final Warning: Six Degrees of Climate Emergency, released in June 2020 as a timely update on Lynas’ 2007 award-winning book, Six Degrees. Like its predecessor, Our Final Warning traces how runaway temperature rise will impact our planet’s climate, its geophysics and the lives of all its inhabitants. Each chapter is dedicated to another degree of warming, from the 1 degree world we currently live in to the nightmare that a 6 degree planet would entail. For Earth.Org’s review of Our Final Warning, click here.
Mark spoke with us about several topics, including:
- The best ways to communicate the urgency of climate change to a non-scientific audience.
- How political theatre has laid bare the challenges we face when engaging with such a crisis.
- The role that diverse or novel technologies can play in helping mitigate runaway warming.
- How processes and forums like COP figure into our global efforts.
- Why humanity is worth saving.
While he is more pessimistic than when he wrote the original Six Degrees in 2007, Mark remains hopeful that humanity can figure a way out of this crisis. Scepticism is all well and good, but despair and cynicism can do more harm than good. Being dismissive about a process like COP, for instance, disregards all the progress made because of it, the inclusivity it grants to developing nations and the spotlight in places on climate laggards.
While Our Final Warning is ultimately a scientific book, it is not climate science which makes Mark more pessimistic. The right-leaning turn in global politics, marked by the elections of populist leaders such as Donald Trump in the US and Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, have stalled climate progress over the past few years. The worst tendencies of humanity (greed, isolationism and xenophobia chief among them), were laid bare by these political shifts, and while public opinion is definitely recognising the urgency of the climate crisis, our political institutions will need to catch up very soon if we want to meet our goals.
You can check out the full length video of Earth.Org ‘s conversation with Mark Lynas below:
You might also like: Watch: Earth.Org In Conversation with Author Andri Snær Magnason