We are living in Don't Look Up 🌍🌎🌏

This is the biggest story in all of human history, yet it makes less of a dent in the news cycle than Will Smith - Peter Kalmus

The IPCC just released the Sixth Assessment Report from working group III, on how to mitigate climate change. The conclusion is clear: if we want to stay under 1.5 °C, we need to act now. By 2030(in 8.5 years, mind you) emissions need to be cut by 43%[34-60] compared to 2019 levels.

And yet? I have heard little about it in the news. Sure, last IPCC report on the impact of climate change in late February - of which the the UN Secretary-General remarked "I have seen many scientific reports in my time, but nothing like this.", by the way - was snowed under by the Russian "special military operation"(read: invasion) in Ukraine, that was understandable. But now?

Recently, there was some concerning evidence regarding potential war crimes in Bucha, Ukraine. Now the European Union is further preparing sanctions, now including a ban on import of coal. But not a word about gas and oil, which makes a far bigger impact on the financials of the kremlin.

Why? Probably because many Europeans depend on it. ~40% of Europe's gas is imported from Russia. And we don't want to suffer. That's just for the people in Ukraine.

Also, before the war, electricity prices were already high. Electricity prices have risen steadily in 2021, as the economy awakened the initial covid-19 period. What I once considered high prices, are now nothing unusual, far higher prices have been observed in 2021. You'd think that this would further increase the drive for renewables.

The International Energy Agency released its 10 point plan to reduce oil demand, including car free Sundays. Much like it's Net Zero by 2050 plan from May 2021, I haven't heard about any nation implementing it. It helps the climate goals, and it helps the sanctions, it helps reduce the high prices. But no.

And what did the Netherlands do? We cut taxes on fuel and natural gas, but not on public transport. And despite a 4 billion fund to finance insulation of houses (source), this feels like this isn't a top priority. And also with the tips "shower shorter!" and stuff. Come on.

And then there are renewed plans to just expand a high way, of which was considerable protest the last few years..

We need to get rid of these fossil fuels. We need to make this a priority, much like fighting covid-19 was. And a low carbon life is possible, and enjoyable. I use public transport and the bicycle. I only occasionally eat meat in the weekends. I don't buy clothes often. Our climate is our home. We are nothing without it. I don't want to be in a shitty climate, let alone those in even worse areas of the world. Reminder: Even if we magically stop all GHG emissions now, it takes about a decade before the temperature stops rising.

But it's barely in the news. Do people not care? This subject is extremely important, in my opinion.

But obviously, Will Smith slapping someone is more important.

We are living in Don't Look Up.

Protestors at de Dam, Amsterdam, on the climate march, 6th of November 2021.
Protestors at de Dam, Amsterdam, on the climate march, 6th of November 2021.

I had similar feelings by the way after the climate strike in Amsterdam, on 20 November 2021. Sure, it wasn't a small protest, it was huge, but when I was at the final field with all the protesters, it wasn't packed. And while there were some political parties on stage, they were all but one in the opposition. Even after the hopeful calls to change stuff for the better after the pandemic, the emissions rebounded. Even the peak coal of 2014 is no longer certain. Was this going to save the climate?

I have grown up with climate change. I first heard it on the news(jeugdjournaal) as a kid. And I was taught about it in biology class. It was there the entire time. I always thought humans would like take this very seriously. But collectively, it has only risen since I was born. The current situation seems not too far off what they warned about in the first IPCC report from 1990. We had so much time.

And on a final note, I would like to say don't be hopeless. The situation is dire. But much like in don't look up, we will fight to the bitter end. I am more ready for change than ever. Things have been changing, a large climate protest a decade ago would probably be unthinkable. The price of renewables have sunk. In 2010, we didn't think peak coal could happen in 2014, nor it wouldn't have been economically viable to put ~7 kWpeak on my parents' house, but in 2019 I did just that. We have the tools. It is possible. The WG III report is essentially a manual to a better future. We can do it, just like we fixed the ozone layer. Maybe not 1.5 degrees, but maybe 2. Perhaps a political tipping point is close. Even scientists are practicing civil disobedience.

Yeah. It's really, really hard to have a correct nuance. It demonstrates on how I feel about it, how it just my perspective on it changes throughout time. Conclusion: the outlook is terrible, I sometimes think we are living in Don't Look Up (2021), but also, compared to two decades ago there is much more attention to climate change than before, and we do have the tools to fix it, and perhaps, just a chance, we can change the outlook.