Our Window of Climate Opportunity
“We are facing this massive global systems challenge. If that doesn’t make you feel small … if you’re not feeling grief, rage, anxiety, or some mixture of both of those things, you’re probably not paying attention,” said Dr. Katharine K. Wilkinson, co-author of “All We Can Save,” an anthology of climate writing and solutions we recommended in the newsletter a few weeks ago.
But the report also offers a “glimmer of hope,” as Henry Fountain, our guest and climate correspondent, said. “For years, thinking about climate change has left me with a sense of paralysis, but this week was clarifying,” producer Diana Nguyen added. “We learned that it’s not too late to stave off the worst possible outcomes of a warming world.”
Avoiding the worst — 2, 3 or even 4 degrees Celsius of warming — will require a coordinated effort among countries to stop adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere by around 2050, which would entail a rapid shift away from fossil fuels starting immediately, as well as potentially removing vast amounts of carbon from the air — halting and leveling off warming at around 1.5 degrees Celsius, the report concludes.
This necessitates transformative structural change. “So I think then the question is, how then do you participate in more systemic change still as an individual?” Katharine said. We asked Henry and Katharine to answer that question, and are sharing their recommendations for what you can do in this window of opportunity:
Getting educated and staying hopeful: Henry recommends subscribing to The Climate Optimist newsletter from Harvard’s public health school for a monthly dose of solutions-oriented climate reading. We’ve also curated a playlist of our latest coverage of the climate crisis for you to better understand how we know recent extreme weather has been influenced by human activity and what the United States and European Union are (or aren’t) doing about it.
Opportunities for divestment — and investment: “Bill McKibben has described money as the oxygen that is fueling the fires of the climate crisis, quite literally in some cases,” Katharine said. She encourages people to think about “opportunities for getting capital out of the sources of the problem and into solutions,” whether they are managing their own investments, their companies’ or their clients.