On May 14 2021, Earth.Org founder Constant Tedder had a conversation with Michael Mann, Professor in Atmospheric Science and Director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, about his recently published book, “The New Climate War,” published in January 2021.
Mann spoke with Earth.Org about several topics, the highlights including:
- How to reconcile adjusting individual behaviour with the systemic change needed to mitigate climate change
- What the fossil fuel industry is doing to obstruct decisive action against climate change
- How we can resist the messaging of misinformation and misdirection surrounding climate change
- How important the policies of Joe Biden’s administration are in the fight against climate change
- How the US, China and the rest of the world could and should step up their ambitions before COP26
- If we’re nearing a social and political tipping point where governments can no longer delay ambitious climate action
Mann asserts that we should all try to be the best stewards of this planet that we can be and try to minimise our environmental impact- all “no regrets” actions. However, we shouldn’t allow for bad actors to make it seem like individual action is all that’s necessary. He refers to studies that show that this line of thinking can lead to a decrease in support for important systemic action, like subsidies for renewable energy and carbon taxation. He adds that we should vote in climate advocates and use our individual voices to effect collective change.
Further, Mann says that while climate denialists are adept at misdirection and division, scientists have a secret weapon on their side- the truth. He believes that even in today’s age of alternative facts and fake news, people have the ability to see through this.
Talking about Biden’s plan, he calls it the “boldest plan on climate we’ve seen yet.” Biden has put forward a pledge to bring emissions down by a factor of 2 within 10 years, which is what we need to avoid catastrophic warming. He is hopeful that this will put pressure on other nations like Australia, who have yet to show meaningful commitments to fight climate change. He adds that once the US and China put forward their updated commitments at COP26, this will put additional pressure on countries.
You can check out the full length video of our conversion with Michael Mann below:
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