McKibben is the man who wrote that article in Rolling Stone warning that fossil fuel industry math is going to cook the planet. They have billions and billions of dollars in fossil fuels still in the ground. If it stays there, that's money they don't make; if they succeed in getting us to buy and burn it, that will push us over the edge on climate change. Way over the edge.
Albany, NY weekly alternative news Metroland carried an interview with McKibben this week. Calling it a must read is a bit like saying you ought to listen to that smoke detector fire alarm going off in your house if you get a chance....
More below the Orange Omnilepticon.
The interview in Metroland by Mark Maximov is short enough that excerpting it here is almost a wast of time. Follow the link, find out the reaction to McKibben's article in Rolling Stone, and the effort that's being organized to tackle climate change by targeting those who stand to profit by literally cooking the planet. The "Do the Math Tour" is heading out to spread the word about the critical numbers we can't afford to ignore: how much carbon we can stand to burn, how much warming we're already going to get, and how much time is left to act.
We’re hitting the road to jumpstart a new movement.The interview with Maximov has this to say about where McKibben is coming from on this, and why:
It’s simple math: we can burn 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide and stay below 2°C of warming — anything more than that risks catastrophe for life on earth. The only problem? Fossil fuel corporations now have 2,795 gigatons in their reserves, five times the safe amount. And they’re planning to burn it all — unless we rise up to stop them.
This November, Bill McKibben and 350.org are hitting the road to build the movement that will change the terrifying math of the climate crisis.
The real point of it all, the reason we’re doing it the night after the election no matter who wins, is our sense is that the time has come to stop spending all our effort trying to reach our political leaders and instead reach the people who are really in charge of things, the fossil-fuel industry. I wrote a piece for Rolling Stone this summer that went oddly viral, became one of the most shared pieces. And it laid out the mathematics behind the fact that, really, the fossil-fuel industry is turning into a kind of rogue industry at this point, doing enormous damage. They have in their reserves about five times the amount of carbon than even the most conservative government thinks would be safe to burn. So, as Desmond Tutu says in a video that he put together for this road show, after the fight against apartheid, this is the next great moral issue for the planet, and we need to bring some of the same kinds of tools to bear. One of the things we’ll be doing is trying to launch divestment campaigns on college campuses across America to get those institutions to get rid of their stock in fossil-fuel companies.While there is bipartisan acceptance in America that the private sector and market forces are wonderful things, the truth is that market forces are driving catastrophic climate change. By the time the consequences become too big to ignore, the highly profitable business of burning fossil fuels will have already pumped too many greenhouse gases into the atmosphere for the damage to be escapable. Market forces simply won't reflect reality fast enough to respond appropriately - but short term financial rewards will be working just fine. (As financiers say about long-term consequences, "IBGYBG - I'll Be Gone, You'll Be Gone.)
Right now our political system and the MSM is tied up solving imaginary problems (the fiscal cliff) while obsessing over Sexy Time and Love Pentagons, and fake scandals (the Benghazi non-coverup). Meanwhile the clock is ticking and vast amounts of money are at stake (profits by some, losses for ALL) so long as fossil fuels continue to be extracted and burned. Calculations show we are already faced with some unavoidable effects - and the scary thing is that past predictions have been wrong on the low side of disaster. Things keep getting worse faster than predicted.
Bonus Link. If you want to see some of the most incredibly stunning images of our home planet, along with some of the most horrendous things we're doing to it even now, and why the next ten years are absolutely critical in preserving the only known planet in the universe where humans can live, watch the video Home. It might be the most useful hour and a half you spend. It's a bit slow to get going, but the cumulative impact is palpable - rather like climate change in that regard. (If you'd like a DVD copy, you can get one through Amazon - it's an incredible resource if you want to do educational outreach.)