Climate Change: How Doomed ARE We?

(bouncy music) – All right, so climate change is the existential question
that humanity is facing. Just hearing those two words, I can feel my heart rate going up. – [Man] Climate change! – Oh, Oh, There it goes. But here’s my worry, are we too late? Has climate change reached
the point of no return? I guess what I’m trying
to ask is are we doomed? (record scratches) Greta Thunberg became a household name when she sailed to New York City and spoke her mind about climate change directly to the United Nations. – How dare you continue to look away, and come here saying that
you are doing enough, when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight? – At just 16, Greta has become the face of the youth-led global
movement that’s dead set on taking action against climate change. I had the chance to talk to
some of the people involved in the movement to get their perspective. How do you guys feel
about the current state of climate change? I’ve talked to a lot of
people like my age or younger, and everybody seems kind of like, anxious, or like always on ten. So do you guys kind of relate to that? – I definitely do, I really
worry about the future. It really concerns me that
there’s so many kids here that should be in school, but they have to fight for their future. – It’s overbearing, you know? We’re all living on this Earth, we all need to do something to protect it, because damn near no one did before us. – The older generation
isn’t doing anything, so it’s put on us, because we’re the ones who are going to have to live in it. So we have to do something so the Earth doesn’t just explode. – Now I’m no climate expert, so I figured I’d better talk to an
actual climate expert. So I took a trip to UC Berkeley to speak with Doctor Daniel Kammen. He’s a Professor of Energy, and was a part of the United Nations
climate panel that won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, so he knows what he’s talking about. So I guess just jumping
right into it, are we doomed? – We’re not doomed, but
we’re doing our best to become doomed. Every little bit of warming
we get from now on means more intense hurricanes,
more droughts, more fires, more disruption in fish and food systems, and that’s the path that we’re on. – All right, a quick little
climate change recap. Since around 1880, the
average global temperature of the Earth has increased
by one degree Celsius, or 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit. That increase is due almost entirely to humans burning fossil
fuels, mostly from 1950 on. That might not sound like
a big increase, but it is. It means sea level rise,
shrinking polar ice caps, and increased extreme weather events, like heatwaves and monsoons. Now as bad as all that is, things can get even worse the
hotter that the planet gets. That’s why 190 plus countries signed on to the Paris Climate Agreement. The goal is to limit
the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius
or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of this century. Many scientists say that
staying under 1.5 puts us near the upper limit of what’s tolerable. We’ll have droughts, sea level
rise and extreme weather, but chances are we can manage it. But in case you haven’t noticed, we haven’t stopped burning fossil fuels, which means that the world
continues to heat up. So, all the bad climate change stuff will continue to get worse, and that’s what I mean when I say doomed. Think about Florida, the
flattest state in the country, with over 1,300 miles of
coastline, and over three-quarters of its residents living along the coast. Rising sea level means
that most of the state is at risk for big time flooding. And think about all those
glorious beaches ruined. So it’s clear that the
Earth is heating up, there’s no debate about that. What’s not so clear is exactly how hot things are going to get. Climate science is really complex and difficult to make predictions, and scientists don’t have a crystal ball. – We don’t know when we’re going to hit those disastrous thresholds, but we know that every bit of more warming
makes them more likely, so you’re loading the
dice against yourself. – That’s where the IPCC comes in. The IPCC is a part of the United
Nations, and it stands for the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change. It’s been the world’s top authority on climate science for the last 30 years. Thousands of climate scientists
from around the world volunteer their time to
analyze and summarize the latest and best climate science. The result is big fat reports
that are the best around when it comes to predicting
the future of climate change. So what do these big fat reports say? Well, strap in for a
giant dose of doom, folks. If we keep burning fossil
fuels like we are today, then we’re blowing past 1.5
degrees of warming by 2100. We’ll almost definitely hit two degrees, and we might even reach
three, or even four degrees. That means longer and
more intense heat waves, and stronger hurricanes
and dangerous flooding. In fact, since 2008 an average of 24 million people have been displaced by catastrophic weather
disasters each year. As climate change worsens,
scientists and migration experts expect that number to rise. – Doesn’t mean we won’t survive
as a species, or something, but it means that we are in for a huge amount of climate change. And every day we delay makes
it easier to be a pessimist. – To get a handle on climate change, most experts agree that we
need to make drastic changes to the way that we live. Just recycling and using energy-efficient light bulbs ain’t gonna cut it. I’m talking big system-wide
changes to get off fossil fuels, like carbon taxes on businesses and phasing out gas vehicles. But to do this, we need politicians to agree on stuff and pass laws. And I don’t know if you’ve
been paying attention to politics recently, but our
representatives in Washington can’t even agree on what
day of the week it is. The status quo is the
status quo for a reason, it’s just easier to keep doing things the way we’ve always been doing them. All right, so things don’t look so great. After hearing all this,
you might want to go sit in a dark room with a pint of ice cream and eat away your feelings. Ice cream is a great
way to deal with doom. But here’s the good news,
we know what we need to do. Let’s take a quick look
at the three big areas where shifting away from
fossil fuels would slow down the warming of the planet. Let’s start with transportation. 95% of the vehicles on the
planet burn fossil fuels. They’re responsible for almost one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. It might seem like a pipe dream to replace all of those gas guzzlers
with electric vehicles, but it might not be. – In the last decade and
a half, electric vehicles that don’t have any pollution
out of the tail pipe went from a dream to commonplace, in places like California, China, Norway. – Then we have the energy
sector, think power plants. In 2016, 80% of the world’s
energy came from fossil fuels, while only 5% came from
renewables like solar and wind. But we’re seeing that change. – Now solar is the
cheapest form of energy, in just two decades. That’s a huge change, and
now we have rooftop solar across most of California,
we have large solar systems in desert and sunny areas, and so we’ve seen technologies
go from attractive but not affordable, to everyday. – In fact, in the US,
renewable energy has doubled over the last 10 years. And finally, we need to talk about how we’re using land, people. Basically we’re cutting
down way too many trees and using a lot of that
land to raise livestock that we end up eating. Now I don’t want to
tell anyone how to eat, I mean I just had two steak tacos. But the United Nations estimates that if the world stopped getting
food from animal sources, greenhouse gas emissions
could be cut by one-forth. – We’ve already seen what
five years ago people thought was going to be a real battle to get our meat-dependent diet start to shift. We’re already seeing young people around the planet shifting significantly, whether they go vegetarian, or vegan or just reduce the number
of days they eat meat. – Still feel like we’re doomed? Well, even if we can’t stop
global warming at 1.5 degrees, it’s not the end of the world, literally. The world won’t suddenly
end if it gets two, or three, or even four degrees warmer, but we will have to adapt the way we live to function in a hotter world. So what does adapting to
climate change look like? It’s building sea walls in more wetlands to protect coastal cities from flooding, planting different varieties of crops that can handle hotter temperatures, thinning fire-prone forests, and requiring tough new building codes. It might even mean living
in different places. Take Indonesia for example. Their coastal capital,
Jakarta, is sinking. And experts predict that by 2050, almost the entire city
could be underwater, so they’re considering
moving the whole city to avoid massive flooding. Now that’s not an easy task
to relocate 10 million people, but hey, it beats drowning. But of course, adaptation
costs money, which means less developed nations will have
a harder time adapting. Those countries will most
likely suffer the most. So what’s your mindset when
it comes to climate change? Are you an optimist or a pessimist? Let us know why in the comments below, and if you want to learn more
about climate change policies, check out our video all
about the carbon tax debate. And we’ve got a whole other video that deals with extreme weather. And for all you teachers out there, get your students talking about this on our website, KQED Learn. And as always, I’m your host, Miles Bess. Peace out.

29 thoughts on “Climate Change: How Doomed ARE We?”

  1. So let us know…when it comes to climate change and our collective fate as humans on Earth — are you an optimist or a pessimist?

  2. Stop being in denial, 14% of all global warming is caused by fossil fuels, 51% is caused by livestock consumption!

  3. a huge chunk of our co2 emissions come from transport. and a huge part of our transport emissions is food transportation. eating locally is probably one of the best ways to reduce how much you're contributing. as well as cutting down on meat, beef especially.

  4. If mankind's history is any indication of our ability to plan for the future (especially where some sacrifice is required), we are quite doomed. Wars, displacement and starvation is in our future.

  5. Watching my Tesla stock jump 20% while watching this. We can work ourselves out of this mess people. Get an electric car and solar, eat less meat, and support a carbon tax.

  6. It's not just droughts and hurricanes. A 3-5 C rise may sound small but consider the last glacial maximum — glaciers covered much of US and Canada in ice that was thousands of feet high. Sea levels were hundreds of feet lower. The Earth looked completely different. The temperature difference between that and the 19th century? Only about 6 C.

    A 5 C warming would be a radically different planet. And the main point here is that it is climate change, not "climate changed". This is the climate in which civilization has always existed. It has been remarkably stable for 8,000 years. It is the climate in which we have laid our farms, built our coastal cities, and generally decided where we want to live. A rapid, massive, and surely conflict-riden change represents a terrifying game of chase that will last centuries, a tremendous extra unnecessary burden for humanity.

    It is not one that will wipe out every last one of us, but this is frankly a stupid reason to feel "reassured" considering the unimaginable scale of human suffering that will be its price.

  7. I'd like to be more optimistic, but I've seen very little real action on climate change in my lifetime. Even if the action were to be dramatic from now on, we're still well on our way to 2 degrees or more of warming.

  8. 6:50 And of course, there was the obligatory "I don't want to tell anyone how to eat". Of course, you have to say that. If you don't some people will get mad.
    But we don't hear sentences like "I don't want to tell anyone to not steal from his neighbour" or "I don't want to tell anyone to not beat up his neighbour". We don't hear anyone say that others shouldn't tell you what to do there because something like that is just a personal decision. Simply because it is not a personal decision. Your neighbour is affected by that decision in a negative way and by definition that makes it a non-personal decision.
    But at least by now, we know that the way people in the western civilisation eat meat others (and even themselves) will feel negative effects. When we include animals and not just other humans even eating meat just occasionally has negative effects on others.
    So perhaps it's time to accept that eating meat, especially in those high amounts, is not just a personal decision because others are affected by it in a negative way. So perhaps it actually is time to tell others how to eat (and of course also how to produce energy, how and how often to travel, how to go to work, …).

  9. Gotta be optimistic. Pessimism will get us nowhere. So many changes need to occur in order to reduce the effects of climate change, but I’m hopeful that human innovation and engineering will save us. One thing nations could try is more funding for education, especially for STEM programs. To paraphrase Naval Ravikant, so many of humanity’s problems could be quickly solved if everyone was an engineer. This is obviously unrealistic, but it’s certainly possible to train more people to do awesome, innovative things that can help our planet and improve our lives. Letting robots take over all the mindless jobs would be a good start. Too many minds are wasted working dumb jobs. Give people the necessary freedom to be human and create.

  10. I'm don't really care to a point. I life in a city where i have 80% chance that there comes so much water that it is 3+meter (10+ft) deep with water. And if it happens than yeah i can't stop it i'm vegan dont have a car never go flight etc. And if it goes wrong i did what i can do. Stress or thing like that dont help also

  11. France gets 70% of its electricity from Nuclear, and the US Navy has 5,400 years of reactor operations without an accident. But in this video it's just "other", not part of the solution. Unlike wind and solar, which require some sort of storage because it's not always windy or daytime, nuclear is on-demand energy. Waste storage won't take as extreme of legislation as the Green New Deal plan to replace airplanes, so it's much more likely to get passed.

    It's not enough to complain "Something must be done", you have to campaign for something that's doable. We're only doomed if we keep demanding things that don't work.

  12. Pessimist here and why:
    Anything we do to mitigate global climate change is only a stop gap measure as long as our population increases at an exponential rate, which it's presently doing. You can't beat math.

  13. There is no such thing as human caused climate change. Wait until the IPCC includes solar forcing particles. The sun plays a huge factor and we are just as likely to end up in a new ice age. Look up actual facts.

    Also, tell China and India to change…

  14. I accepted a long time ago that nothing concrete was ever going to happen to challenge human-induced warming. What I don't like is that, even though we're still burning coal and oil like it's going out of style, we aren't doing anything to help prepare for the inevitable long-term damage.

    I predict that fossil fuels will continue to be utilized and green technology subverted as long as it remains profitable for established industries to do so. When natural disasters and famine increase, it will likely be gradually enough for governments to treat each event as a separate issue, and the conversation on climate change will continue to be shelved indefinitely.

    It will be more expensive, both financially and in human lives. But that's part of the game when corporations can buy government influence, effectively making them beyond regulation.

  15. I want to be optimistic. But we still have some major challenges and complications ahead.
    As someone who is studying electrical engineering, one challenge with renewables like wind and solar is grid stability. Even if wind and solar were not dependant on weather and time of day, the fact that these technologies interface with the grid using electronics rather than heavy turbines running at grid frequency means that they do not add stability to the grid. This can be counteracted by use of flywheel storage or by using synchronous condensers, but such things are an added expense.
    Hydro is the only reliable renewable that provides large amounts of stable power. Though Hydro is very location-specific. Fission power is also a reliable carbon-neutral power source and it is honestly safer than coal, but it tends to be expensive to start-up and maintain and does produce small amounts of hard to deal with waste.

    Basically, it isn't as easy as saying, just use wind and solar. I know that it is hard to cover complex topics in short videos.

  16. Less carnists policy…. Start to tackle the biggest silver bullet: veganism.
    Easy but humans are very conservatist and hate to change…

  17. as george carlin used to say, the earth is going to be just fine (it won't "explode", as some nitwits appear to believe). it's just us, the people, that are fucked!
    and by people I'm not referring to the entire human race. rest assured, the 1% will have no issue surviving this.

  18. Well, listening to the Climate Scientists themselves rather than the propagandist mainstream media, you learn that things aren't as bad as people think and this won't be Permanent. People are just desperate for a cause, and what can fulfil both meaning and world peace more than the Earth. Humanity isn't weak, nor is the Earth. Utopianism is dangerous, so don't be so idealist. Have some Faith and some backbone. Have fun, laugh and smile with friends and make good memories… don't let this alarmism and mass hysteria ruin your life experience (especially if you're young).

  19. It is pretty clear that Republicans have politicized the science. The scientist know. The educated know. Why do Republicans pretend we do not know?

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