Peter Kalmus on the Climate Emergency

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  • Keynote address by Peter Kalmus to the 2023 Green Party Annual National Meeting

Rough Transcript

It's a quite interesting for me to be here as since I'm a scientist.I'm a little nervous, so I'm just going to. Kind of feel my breath and try to stay in touch with the feeling of my butt sitting in the sea and so forth.

But Anyway, in a rational world, I wouldn't have to give this talk at all.

And a rational world, policymakers would listen. To the world scientists when they sounded such a huge alarm.

But as you all know, and as more and more people are starting to realize lust for money and profit as corrupted our society at the deepest level. It is corrupted the people with power in our society. So that we do not actually live in a rational society. As parents, as citizens, as humans. And as Earthlings, our backs right now are against the wall because of global heating.

We must rise up together. We must save. What can still be saved. We must rise up and take power back from the corporate sociopaths pass.

Who would continue burning down our Earth's habitability for profit until nothing is left. Make no mistake, this is actually a life or death fight.

Sometimes it's hard to keep that in mind because every year, every day actually, every second things get a little bit worse.

That's very gradual and we still have beautiful days. But as we as we've seen so far in 2023.

The forests in the north burning and sending smoke for weeks and weeks over half the country deadly floods deadly heat waves things like this are going to continue getting worse.

Just because of basic. Physics. I'm a scientist. I shouldn't feel the need to have to speak at political party meetings.

I'm a very angry scientist frustrated from almost 2 decades of sounding the alarm and being ignored.

I feel frustrated and terrified and angry and I'm grieving. But my message is one of the utmost urgency.

I implore all humans everywhere of every nationality, race, tribe, religion. Political party to rise up together.

Against this madness of fossil fuel expansionism. And again, save what we can still save.

I think of Earth as a spaceship, Carl Sagan described it as a pale blue dot. It's the place where everything we've ever known and loves has happened.

And we are losing it so so rapidly on our watch. Every little bit of fossil fuel that we burn, every gallon of gas, every flight that's taken, every firm of natural gas, every little chunk of coal that gets sold by the fossil fuel industry and burned.

Turns into carbon dioxide, goes into the atmosphere and reflects back outgoing infrared radiation that otherwise would escape to space.

So there's really 2 main ways that our planet interacts energetically with the rest of the universe.

Sunlight coming in and infrared radiation from the surface and from the atmosphere going out into space. That's been in balance for a long time but now There's less infrared radiation that can get out, which means that the whole planet has to get to a hotter temperature and emit more of that infrared radiation to come back into balance with the incoming sunlight, which is stayed more or less constant. So that's a new energy balance eventually. At a hotter temperature. Right now we are at about 1.3, maybe 1.2°C depending on exactly how you do the running average above pre-industrial.

And this is already a very, very dangerous level as. We are learning. You know you guys probably feel very much along with me that we've entered a terrifying new reality even at 1.3°C of global heating.

In my opinion, 1.5°C was never a safe level. I think that unfortunately, 1.5 degrees, so we're increasing at about a tenth of degree, tenth of the degree every.

5 years on the global mean, although there's no guarantee that, rate of increase is going to stay constant.

It could actually start accelerating, but that brings us, you know, this last month. Was the first month that was actually above 1.5°C.

But will basically be permanently above we're on track to be permanently above 1.5 degrees.

In their early 20 thirties. And I think that's going to be. Really scary place for us to be as a species on planet Earth.

The other thing everyone should know about. This climate emergency. Is that the damage that's being done is irreversible.

I feel like if The public really understood that at a deep level. They would be at a much higher level of urgency.

But there's all this garbage about a carbon capture, right? Pulling carbon out of the atmosphere.

Which the fossil fuel industry absolutely loves because it's effectively a distraction. Against what we actually need to do, which is to end the fossil fuel industry as quickly as possible.

That is job number one. Right? So forget all about carbon offsets and planting trees. And, carbon capture and, you know, all of the secondary stuff, which is good that we can do, even things like, you know, building out renewables, all this talk about jobs, right?

Which sort of politically easy thing to talk about building out solar, building out wind, which is good, but so far it hasn't even been keeping up with the growth and energy.

So we're, you know, globally speaking, we're still increasing our use of fossil fuels.

Faster than ever before. So it's not like cleaning up a park. You can't just, you know, with a park, you can go and pick up the plastic in the garbage, you can't just, you know, with a park, you can go and pick up the plastic in the garbage and bring it back beautiful pristine state that carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere

for hundreds or even thousands of years. Which means that the heating and all the impact from the eating will last for hundreds of thousands of years.

Ice melts for ice sheets to reform that could take tens of thousands of years or longer. So that's the time scale for basically sea level ride so in my opinion probably much of the world's coastal cities low lying areas Probably, we've already passed a point of no return for a lot of them.

And then the final time scale for irreversibility is the mass extinction that we are in the early stages of.

Which will cause degraded biodiversity on planet Earth for up to 10 million years. So that is the time scale in the fossil record from the previous mass extinctions that Earth has experienced in its 4.5 billion year history for the dip in biodiversity, lost to recover fully.

But despite how, how bad things have gotten. What we're experiencing now on Earth.

It's still the merest beginnings. I am very afraid of extreme heat. It's my number one.

Climate impact that, I personally lose the most sleep over. I've been moved over the last few years been kind of moving my whole career towards studying extreme humid heat and how that.

Impacts human bodies and how that's going to impact human bodies, in different emission scenarios in the future and I don't see really any way around heat waves that are capable of killing a million people or more now at this point.

And what really frames me is that global heating doesn't stop there just because we've.

Attain that awful milestone of for example, a heat wave in India or Pakistan that causes, electricity to go out and so causes all, you know, no air conditioning anywhere and at least a million people die.

As long as we keep emitting fossil fuels, the planet will get even hotter and hotter hotter until we start getting heat waves that could potentially kill 10 million people or even more.

We're heading towards, multiple simultaneous crop failures, which will lead to global food shortages and price spikes, which will increase.

World hunger. We're heading towards huge numbers of immigrants. Feeing deadly hot tropics and trying to find We're dying on away a lot of them and trying to find refuge in other places.

In the global north, which has caused this problem. We risk global rise of authoritarianism.

We risk nuclear war due to, for example, water shortages and parts of the world. Where the nations are not necessarily friendly toward each other and do have nuclear weapons.

This is a complex complex. Interconnected system of systems that we live in that we call this civilization.

And every little bit of fossil fuel we burn pushes the planet towards a hotter temperature, right?

Which pushes a little bit more on these complex global systems pushes on our water systems with drought and flooding pushes on food systems and infrastructure systems and trade systems and insurance and economic systems.

Geopolitical systems. Pretty much everything that we depend on. 8 billion of us depend on on spaceship Earth to live.

Global heating is pushing harder and harder a little bit harder every day. Until inevitably these systems will start to fail.

Probably in a very unpredictable ways, possibly earlier than any of us. Expect. If we stay on this insane path of expanding fossil fuels, which, this nation is currently doing and which rich nations all over the world are currently doing.

We are heading potentially towards billions of deaths in my opinion. And I find it really strange that more people aren't saying that and sounding that alarm very loudly because there's really no strong evidence.

To push back against that eventuality. I think there's a general sense, maybe even among a lot of climate scientists.

That we might be in some sense in some kind of a new scarier normal. But instead it's a trend that just gets hotter and hotter so long as we keep burning these fossil fuels.

It gets hotter and hotter so long as we keep burning these fossil fuels. And yet corporate and world leaders, they continue to expand fossil fuels as quickly and as eagerly as possible.

So we must rise up together and end this insanity. We have no other choice. The fossil fuel industry as I think you know has been Actively lying for many, many decades since perhaps the 1970.

They've been actively colluding to block action by bribing politicians of both parties.

Work by, you know, Miaoyi and Ben Franta and many other historians have found documents from Exxon and other oil majors.

It's a smoking gun. They've known this whole time and they consciously, intentionally, willfully made a decision.

To continue heating up this planet so that they could have profits. In the 1970, 70, s when their science has warned them where we're headed as planet and that this was a reversible.

They could have said, oh, they could have gone together and said, Wow, this is going to potentially take down Wi-Fi on planet Earth.

Maybe for our kids sake maybe for the sake of life maybe because it's the right thing we should get together and figure out how to accelerate the transition.

Away from fossil fuels, even though it might, you know, we just can stick in these wells and basically print money from them.

Maybe we shouldn't do that so much anymore. We're already filthy rich.

Let's work with world leaders and transition to an economy that doesn't run on carbon dioxide and methane producing fossil fuels.

They did not do that. They did precisely the opposite. It's hard for me to imagine anything more evil.

But this is literally what they did. They got together and they colluded, they worked with some of the best publicists on the planet, some of the best marketers.

To figure out how to spread this information to basically discredit scientists and confuse the public. So that the public didn't feel any urgency to.

To end fossil fuels. And at the same time, they figured out that they could buy politicians.

Dirt cheap. One of the things that makes me the most mad actually is this little thing that was hitting the New York Times article a year or 2 ago where Chuck Schumer actually a Democrat took about $270,000 in one election cycle from the company that owns the Mountain Valley Pipeline and look at how he's been working with Joe Manchin to every possible term to get that fast tracked and

get that permitted and get that deadly pipeline built. We're in a climate emergency and these people are still fast tracking and building brand new fossil fuel infrastructure and pipeline pipelines that's going to plague us for the next 40 years.

You have investors, the banks, the insurance, the corporations, they all assume that and they will fight as hard as they can to make sure these new projects last.

For their full lifetime so that they can get their full return on investment. It's absolute madness and it.

Part of me feels like it's just so strange that anyone would So our planet would sell the world so cheaply.

I mean, if you're going to do that, at least. Get a little bit more money for it.

So, you know, even more recently in 2021, this is something shocking that I think the whole public should know.

There is a congressional hearing where some great policy makers actually grilled 4 CEOs from oil majors Darren Woods the CEO of Exxonmobil.

I think it's important to name some of these names. Because in my opinion humanity will see them as criminals.

In the future. Michael Worth, the CEO of Chevron. David Lawler, the CEO of BP America and Gretchen Watkins, the president of Shell Oil.

They stood in front of, well, virtually they went in front of Congress. Which asked them, point blank.

Will you stop lying and spreading disinformation? Will you stop blocking climate action? And they hand and they hard and they spoke in legal ease and word salad and the congressional representative said you're filibustering so I take that as a know.

So these CEOs literally said that they would continue intentionally willfully spreading disinformation and doing what they can.

To, to prevent planet action. This is why we must rise up together. Against the capitalist death cult.

Again, what other choice do we have? We risk losing everything.

I feel as a citizen in the United States, yeah, I'm in my late forties now.

That electoral politics has effectively been broken. My entire lifetime. It's been serving the ultra rich and their corporations.

It's been transferring record amounts of wealth away from the working class and to the rich. It's been literally killing the working class.

Through crazy. Medical systems that make absolutely no sense except to, as understood through, what this is, which is the capitalist death cult.

And we see the same thing now with global heating and the fossil fuel and animal agriculture industries.

Okay. So it's very hard for me now in 2023. After having been a Bernie Sanders surrogate in 2020 and seeing what happened there.

It's hard for me honestly to believe and Electoral politics. We have.

You know, well, I mean, you see the evidence of this corruption of the profit sort of.

All around us. From the fact that the Democratic Party still, as far as I know, like, their, latest party platform, actually still, did not end fossil fuels.

So it is a protected fossil fuel subsidy. So we're still sending money public money to the industry that's killing planet Earth.

You know, this Mountain Valley pipeline. Biden recently begged the Supreme Court to overturn a stay that was preventing construction.

So now construction can proceed. I think the Mountain Valley pipeline for the rest of 2023 and probably into 2024 is going to be a major.

Focal point for the climate movement. So let's all get out there and support the climate movement.

So let's all get out there and support the climate movement. So let's all get out there and support the activists and do everything we can to stop this absolute We evil project, which should, which should not be going forward.

We all know that President Biden has been at least in his first 2 years in office, approving drilling permits and even faster rate than Trump did.

And he's been, kind of hiding behind. The inflation reduction act. Which has been praised by those same fossil fuel CEOs so they do not feel like that their business is threatened by the IRA.

I think they probably feel that whether or Republicans in office or Democrats in office, they're going to be fine.

And if you look at the parts of the IRA that fund climate action, and you annualize that funding it comes out to about 6% of what the United States spends on its military in one year.

Despite his expansionist policies and despite the weakness of the IRA, when we're on the verge of losing an entire planet.

Biden has been going around calling himself a climate champion. About a week ago, I wrote an OP ed in the Guardian urging something very, very obvious, which is for Biden to declare climate emergency.

The next day, a journalist asked. The press secretary on air force one about that OP-ed you know why Biden wouldn't declare a climate emergency and she basically the bar is so so low she basically said well we're the good party.

The other party still hasn't even accepted that this is really happening. Right. So, that's not enough.

So, we need to end fossil fuels as quickly as possible. This is the basic physics.

It's brutal. It doesn't care about our politics and the longer we have the fossil fuel industry, the more irreversible damage we do.

It's as simple as that. And now in 2023 this summer, it seems that we have passed.

Into a ferocious new phase. Of global Keating. It's the place that back in 2,006 when I first became a climate activist.

When I was halfway through my PhD in physics. This is the moment I've been writing this level of global heating.

Like so many other climate scientists and like so many other citizens and climate activists. I've seen this level of global heating.

Coming. You know, we've seen such crazy stuff this summer. Ocean temperatures going off the charts.

I'm really afraid that We're going to lose coral reefs on planet Earth. Much sooner than we thought.

So I've been doing some research on that projecting from the climate models and I am just shocked by what we're seeing so far.

This year in terms of. Ocean heat waves. Heat waves on land as well. a, colleague of mine who was an expert in tropical rainforests.

Told me that he feels that the Amazon rainforest has already passed at the pinpoint. Which is a hit me like a good punch.

I can't believe that. We're losing that cosmically precious ecosystem on our watch.

It just kills me. Scientists who study ocean currents are talking about the Atlantic, Meridian, overturning circulation, shutting off much sooner than we thought it would potentially.

Others evidence that it's weakening. And again, I just feel It feels even worse than don't look up.

The fact that we're so clearly in climate emergency and yet. Were leaders including this president.

Refuse to declare a climate emergency which seems to me like the bare minimum they can do. I feel so much rage.

I feel so much helplessness. At the stubborn stupidity of our society. You know, I don't really hear a lot of people sounding that.

Talking point of that 0 by 2050 anymore. I wrote another article a couple of years ago that This is, you're dangerously irresponsible.

There's a problem with the net 0 part. And there's a problem with the 2050 part.

So net 0 is that whole carbon capture thing. It leaves. Open that distracting possibility that we could somehow expect our children to clean up our mess from the atmosphere which would take a huge amount of money, a huge amount of energy while they are dealing with.

Multiple crop failures and fires and floods and droughts. And he waves, that we can barely even imagine right now.

We would somehow expect them to find a way to build millions of these carbon capture facilities and those facilities aren't even disclosing how much it costs for them to pull a ton out of the atmosphere of carbon dioxide and they're having trouble right now storing that permanently in the ground.

So it's It's basically techno optimism. And paperware and then 2050 I hope we can all agree now after summer 2023.

That's way too slow. We need to find our way into climate emergency mode somehow and we need to do it now.

And we've been trying to do that with this rag tag grassroots movement. Without barely any funding, state and federal governments and governments around the world have been increasing punitive laws to punish climate activists.

So it's how do we expect this? Courageous group, tiny group of climate activists.

To stand up against the most powerful industry that we've ever seen that's supported by these huge militaries and governments and media outlets who are not connecting the dots.

We're not telling the public the way the fossil fuel industry has. Very intentionally lied and blocked action.

We need action from the White House. We need help from the federal government. There's so much that a president can do if they chose to do so.

Using executive orders and federal agency rules without even needing to involve this absolute failure of a congress. A president could end new drilling leases on federal lands and waters to block new pipelines could effectively ban fracking could unleash I think this is really key a historic education program to counter fossil fuel industry disinformation actually use the bully pulpit to build awareness and support, for this movement instead of actively trying to suppress this movement. in the service of fossil fuel industry CEOs.

A president could prohibit government financing over these fossil fuel infrastructure. Could ban new fossil fuel vehicle sales by 2030 or earlier.

Prosecute violations by fossil fuel polluters and really importantly commit to vetoing any laws which would grant immunity to such criminals.

That's, that's just through executive orders without declaring a climate emergency, but climate emergency declaration would unleash additional power such as batting all oil, gas, and coal exports.

Batting even private overseas fossil fuel investment. Further accelerating renewable energy build out on scales we haven't seen since the mobilization for the second world war and declaring climate emergency would send symbolically and unmistakable signal to global markets and the nations of the world to investors who are still living in the past.

Do you that have been shamefully slow to divest. To media outlets that have failed to connect the dots and to all of the dangerously lagging institutions of our society.

It would be a desperately needed win for climate activists as well. Who I can tell you are feeling exhausted, feeling discouraged.

Who need reinforcements and who need some victories. Now, Maybe at the risk of angering some of you, my talk today is not meant as an endorsement for any one party or candidate.

If the Democrats or the Republicans and invited me to speak, it would have been much the same talk.

But probably a lot angrier because I feel really furious at both parties. Both of them have shown a limitless capacity to expand fossil fuels though with really different flavors of that expansion.

The one party through the deepest and most hateful ignorance. The other party to reckless willful disregard of the science they claim to know.

As a scientist, it's not actually clear to me which of those is worse. Both ways of disregarding reality are deeply repugnant to me.

I go completely against the grant of my nature in very different ways. The hateful and curious ignorance of Republicans is a key characteristic of fascists.

While the willful disregard of known long term consequences, which scientists have been warning about for many, many decades and the death of poor people and they're wrong to think that it will only be poor people, but I do think that's what they still believe.

This is a key characteristic of the corporate capitalist colonialist cult. And yes, to address the element in the room, I'm obviously.

Deeply concerned by the possibility of another Trump presidency, as anyone who opposes fascism should be.

But I'm also frankly deeply concerned about another Biden presidency. I feel that Biden had the last pretty clearly had the last opportunity of any president to keep the world under 1.5 degrees of global heating.

Tragically he chose to squander that opportunity he might have not made it even if he'd done his best to prevent going past 1.5°C but instead of trying he did as far as I can tell pretty much, 1.5°C, but instead of trying, he did as far as I can tell, pretty much everything he possibly could to expand fossil fuels.

At least to me, he shows no signs of pivoting to become the sort of visionary climate president.

The planet desperately needs. And then finally, rank choice voting is only the law of the land in 2 states.

And it's hard for me to imagine a third party candidate. In the White House until we do have widespread rent choice voting.

So, you know, Not great news, but. Maybe I can now pivot to giving a little bit of advice.

Again, with the caveat that I'm just, to giving a little bit of advice, again, with the caveat that I'm just the scientist, but I think probably preaching to the choir, push rank choice voting every chance you got.

I feel like it's the key way to fix electoral politics. And of course, both of the corporate parties will fight it tooth and nail.

I think we need a Working Class Green Party, sort of Green Labor Party. And I think the climate movement has to merge with the labor movement.

That's I think the next big thing that needs to come. These 2 movements. Should become the same thing.

And anti-billionaire. And corporate elite or is destroying Earth movement. So. We need to realize working class on the left side of the spectrum and on the right side of the spectrum that we all need a livable planet and that the ultra rich are destroying it for all of us.

So somehow, despite the essentially destruction of the labor movement  which we've lived through in the 21st century while wealth has been transferred away from the working class and toward the ultra rich.

We still need. Oh. To rise up together. Against the real enemy, the rich sociopaths.

And, you know, it's easy to rattle off a lot of specific policies. The problem isn't coming up with those policies.

The problem is that the people in power don't want to implement them and aren't being held to account right now.

So they can get away without implementing them. But you know, it's a no-brainer to end private jets and luxury yachts. I was arrested one time at a private jet terminal because I think that's something we can all get behind. I think we should also ban frequent flyer programs, which is something that people don't say as often.

All world leaders to declare a climate emergency. Declare a climate emergency and transition into a war time scale mobilization. We need to end building new fossil fuel infrastructure immediately we need to adopt a fossil fuel non-proliferation international treaty and end the fossil fuel money pipeline.

We do need to end industrial animal agriculture, which would mean not 0 meat eating, but a lot less meat eating for most people.

This animal, industrial animal agriculture is responsible for very roughly 15% of the global heating emergency that we're in right now and also quite a bit of the biodiversity emergency through the destruction of forests, so that people can have beef.

We need a national education program for reality and to build understanding and the will for solutions. We need laws making it illegal for media outlets and for corporations to spread disinformation so easily.

I think it should be personally a one-strike policy. So if a media corporation or any other corporation is proven to have knowingly lied. That's it. They don't exist anymore.

We also need to end corporate personhood. Obviously, that's just insane. We need accountability for fossil fuel criminals such as executives and lobbyists who as I said before knew that they were profiting off of the irreversible destruction of the only place in the universe we know that has life, the habitability of that place. And I believe they should be held personally accountable.

We need to ramp down commercial aviation, which to me is like a litmus test for whether or not society has entered climate emergency mode. So as long as commercial aviation is growing exponentially as it is right now and as long as it's considered cool to post about your flights on Instagram as opposed to a source of shame, it will mean that we have not yet revoked the fossil fuel industry and the aviation industry and the animal agriculture industries social license, and we have not yet transitioned into climate emergency mode.

Rich countries much provides climate justice to poor countries who have polluted the least. We need to figure out how to support general strikes through mutual aid and then crucially and I don't think this is spoken about enough either, all of these policies to transition away from fossil fuels must protect the working class as a practical matter.

Otherwise if they make the life of working class person harder if they can't feed their families, they can't get themselves to work. Then they will fight against those policies and they will work to elect people who don't want to have climate action.

So that's a lot. But I'll obviously, the corporate leaders, in control, I made it clear that they'll dredge up every last bit of fossil fuel they can.

And they're literally hell bent on taking down life on earth, to a deeply integrated state, as I said, for millions of years.

So I believe the grassroots climate slash labor movement is the only way forward and it must become more powerful than the fossil fuel industry.

We need all hands on deck. We need all sorts of tactics, including civil disobedience, climate, nonviolent climate disobedience.

We need to remember that the movement is in flux. More people are joining now than ever before.

I do feel that the summer of 2023 is taking us closer to the social tipping point that I know we've all been pushing for for so long.

More young people are understanding that this is a life or death struggle as they are rising up together and they are experimenting with new tactics.

I think it's important for us to keep in mind a perspective of a young person in 2030, or maybe in 2040 or maybe in 2050. What will they wish that we did today? What will they wish climate activists had done?

I do believe that so far climate activists in general have been far too polite. So, the planet to conclude the planet is crying out for visionary leadership. I think we all have started to share a vision for a better future. A future with a lot more community.

A future where our economic systems, the way we organize ourselves as a species shift away from this madness of profit just for the few, and toward a goal of flourishing for all. I want to see a humanity that has gratitude for this amazing planet that we live on has empathy for other humans, has empathy for other species and learns to live without all this consumerism.

And without this need to hoard and hoard as some sort of way to deal with the fear of death.

I want to see this shift towards that sort of new kind of society before I die. That's actually my My deepest wish of all. I know through my own experience that the surest way to feel happy is to help others. This simple observation branches out into the future in very profound ways. I feel it's the path forward to coming out of Earth breakdown. It's coming out of warfare, coming out of inequality. To coming out of injustice.

Others above self, is the blueprint for a new humanity. But while it's important to plant that seed, it's going to take a long time for that tree to grow huge and healthy and to benefit all life on earth. So we must also put out the fire, which is burning our house down right now.

We must rise up together and we must help each other. This is the only path to saving what can still be saved and also to living a good life.

We can never give up. We owe that to our children, to all the good people who don't deserve this.

To all the life on this absolute gift of a planet. No matter how much we've lost, it will never be too late to fight.

But the hour is very late. It's time to set aside differences and to rise up together, as creatively and courageously as we can to save all we still can.

Very soon I feel sure that all but the greatest schools among us will realize that nothing was more important.

Thank you.


Some I'm going to do this for everyone that you can't hear right now, but thank you very much.

What a speech! What a presentation. Wow. So we got a lot of questions for you as you were going through. Lots of personal observations. You know, I just want to like pull out a couple real quick here.

Like it was really powerful to me when You know, you're like, this is, this is worse than Don't Look Up.

That was a terrifying movie and I think a lot of us have seen it on our under like it's we can't imagine that that's a real thing. It that's a real thing and it's happening right now. It in is climate catastrophe.

The other thing you said, you know, which I really think is like something which can't be overstressed enough, which is we can't have climate justice without working class justice, and the the polite politics is the tool of the oppressor. We're never going to get where we need to be if we're polite. We have to we have to really stand up.

So I'm, we do have a bunch of questions.

I'll do my best to try and get to to everyone's. And and give you a broad variety of them.

You can, I guess I'll just pick them and you can kind of go with them there. Okay, so from blue wombat, blue woman asks, if you believe Seymour Hirsch that President Biden is responsible for blowing up Nord Stream pipeline. How much methane did this release into the atmosphere and how badly will it accelerate global boiling?


Oh, I don't have the numbers on that. I suspect. It's probably not a huge amount relative to the I mean, we're, emitting every year as a species, about 40 billion tons of CO 2 equivalent into the atmosphere every year. So, this is probably a little bit of a perverse answer, but, whenever there's like a oil spill, for example, there's a big hue and cry.

Environmentalists have like, you know, get a lot of traction and I always want to scream the thing that's really killing our planet is what everything works just as it was designed and that fossil fuel gets burnt.

It gets to the market, it gets burnt and goes up into the atmosphere and heats up the planet.

So yeah, methane is a much stronger greenhouse gas than CO 2 after about 10 years that basically oxidizes the atmosphere and turns into CO 2 and it stays up there for a very long time. But I think we should stay focused on the sort of business as usual, expansionism, primarily.


Gotcha. Thank you very much. Cindy, from Ohio, says, we've had some awful days this summer with particulates due to smoke from the Canadian forest fires. They've noticed how much the ozone levels have been rising on these quote hazy days. Is there a connection to that? And what can we do to help?


Well, so those fires are being driven largely by global heating, so the best thing I think we can do is, well, first of all, I want to take a moment just to kind of think about what that smoke is that we're breathing in. It's actually the bodies of trees that were living a short moment earlier. Someone who actually loves trees and feels like when there's a tree I really love and it dies, I feel a lot of grief. So just wanted to say that. But the best thing I think we can do, like I said, in my talk is to end the fossil fuel industry as quickly as possible.

You know, there's, a lot of articles that come out about things like how to avoid the heat waves, drink more water about, you know, maybe staying indoors and the worst of the smoke events, but all of that it's like putting bandit on a severed limb right so the root cause of this, the roughly 85% level is the fossil fuel industry.

Most of the rest of that is industrial animal agriculture. That's what's driving these fires and these smoke events and they will keep getting worse, maybe until there's basically no more forests to burn. But, until that point, which is a really terrifying point to think about, we will continue having these kinds of smoke events. So, again, don't get distracted from the primary thing which is doing everything we can, working together, to ramp down and end this destructive dishonest fossil fuel industry as quickly as we can and doing it in a way that's equitable, to the working class, to the most vulnerable to front line communities and to developing nations. That's the real tall order that we have right now. But anything else we do is just going to be moving around deck chairs.


Thank you, Peter. So another question here. This one is from Sean. Sean says that here in Inglewood, Florida, we were devastated by yet another cat 5 hurricane,  losing a huge amount of trees in other plant life not to mention habitat for the wildlife.

There's a lot of talk of rebuilding, but not so much talk about replanting or even rebuilding human man landscape. That's more resilient or sustainable. What science-based resources are available at a local level to help make our communities make peace with Mother Nature so she'll stop being so mad at us.


Oh wow, that's that's a really great question. There's so many parts to that question. It's so it's a little crazy making isn't it that so many local governments have failed to basically accept that we live on a different planet now, again, due to end. It's not like the planet isn't heating up, right?

One industry primarily and people that are leading that industry are causing the planet, so it really bugs me when people use the pass the voice there.

But yeah you know you still have Phoenix as far as I know it's still the most rapidly growing city in the country. And it's had, you know, 30 plus days of over a hundred 10 degree. And like I said in my talk, that's not gonna stop. That's gonna keep getting worse and worse. And the same thing in parts of Florida. Right. We need new zoning laws.

We need probably to think about whether it's even okay to be, sort of, rebuilding in certain places as hard as it is to say that. And again, just like, we need to get federal motion and federal support and federal policies, we need a stronger climate movement. We need everyone to realize the urgency and basically realize that this is a life or death thing that we're facing, before we get local governments to start taking mitigation and also adaptation, which is what you're talking about. Seriously, right?

They're still city councils and state governments all across the country and local governments all across the world that are still have their heads in the sand basically and are pretending that we can keep doing things just as we've done them, throughout the rest of the Holocene, before the fossil fuel industry started overheating our planet.

So keep pushing, at the grassroots level. I think it is people are waking up like I said and it is okay to to feel afraid of what's happening because it's scary. If you didn't feel afraid of what's happening to our planet right now, I think it simply means you don't understand what's happening and where it's going. So we need that social collective, sense of danger to actually start moving away from a danger, right?

So it drives me crazy. When the climate denial drives me absolutely crazy, of course. I kind of, I don't try to dispel that because it's like trying to convince someone who firmly believes that 2 plus 2 is 5 that they're wrong. I mean, if they just keep saying 2 plus 2 is 5.

Eventually what can you do, right? But all of the sort of softer denial to really bothers me, you know, people that Kind of accept intellectually where we're at but haven't gone through that grief process and haven't accepted emotionally where they're at.

So they're still holding on to the shred of false hope that maybe somehow the EPA is enough. Or maybe somehow what the scientists are saying, it's not going to be that bad or that maybe we've plateaued and this is the new normal.

I'm not exactly sure what they're thinking. but I do know from personal experience that a lot of people who know the science, again, at an intellectual level. They're just kind of grasping. Emotionally that somehow things aren't all that bad when they actually are.

So I feel like collectively and individually we have to we have to accept that grief and we have to do that crying and let those tears flow. Before we, I think pretty much all the climate activists I know especially the ones doing taking risks and doing civil disobedience I've all gone through a grief process like that and come out the other side and kind of continue to grapple with that grief and live with it. But use it as a very motivating force.

So yeah, it's a great question. I know that was kind of a long answer and not maybe not as specific as you wanted for Florida but I think that the same question, is you wanted for Florida, but I think that the same question basically applies to pretty much everywhere at this point.



Thank you very much. That was, that was a great question and a really good answer. We've gotten a ton more questions as you might imagine as we've gone on.

And Greens, I apologize to you all. We won't have time to get to all the questions. I'll pick a few more which I think would be really good to expound on. So,


Do a lightning round, Margaret. I'll try to try to answer fast.


You're gonna try. Okay, lighting you around. So Dr. West would like to know what are you what do you think the prospects are for a labor green alliance.


I think they're really good. I don't know quite how that is going to unfold or quite how to make that happen. But you know, we in the climate movement have then started to talk to labor leaders and vice versa.

Personally for me, it's still very early stages there, but, I think that we share a common danger, a common foe which is basically killing us. You know, both on the climate side and, the labor side.

And so somehow we have to make that happen and I do think the prospects are good. And I expect to see that.

I hope that starts happening. Even this year. So I think we should all be pushing for that and talking about making that happen.


Thank you. There are several questions here from folks regarding agroecology and alternative in your generative agriculture and ending the the meat murder market. So could you, I'm gonna combine those all together I guess into one question.Do you have any ideas like what other kind of industry should be a eliminated in like the food industry and what appropriate steps could we take to like push that action forward.


Yeah, so I mean, I think we have to end industrial animal agriculture. I don't see any way around that. I think that a lot of people in this country are going to like basically crucify me for saying that. Because we're not ready yet. We're basically people haven't gotten afraid enough about global heating and the climate emergency to accept that we're going to there's some things we're probably not going to be able to do in the short term.

People could still eat meat if it's grown sort of locally, sort of on small integrated organic farms where it's actually benefiting. And if a lot of that meat also is not beef, right? So beef the most damaging of all, especially when it's grown industrially.

So obviously we have to end, the fossil fuel industry. We have to end commercial aviation as it exists now. Because we don't know how to fly across oceans without fossil. There's just not enough vegetable oil which can be converted into biofuel. But there's not enough of it. So, maybe super rich people could still fly on that without kind of producing more fossil carbon dioxide, but that still we kind of need that land for food, not for veggie oil.

I don't know if there's, hydrogen electric planes they could come eventually but not for a very long time so we had I mean we're in an emergency right now we have to deal with what we have now. And I think that's also very hard for people to accept. at least for some time until we do have non fossil flight. Except that travel will have to be a little bit slower. Like we used to travel before planes and maybe in a way that's kind of good because I think that slows the pace of life down.

Our trips will be longer and more intentional. Stay at destinations longer and kind of, absorb the culture more. Maybe our sort of bosses and the corporate culture will have to change to give us more vacation.

I mean, we were working ourselves to, right now and all these bullshit jobs, right? So, So maybe slower travel is not the horrible thing that a lot of people assume it would be.


Yeah, you're not wrong. I think it would be nice to travel a bit on the slow side of life, maybe this line.

A bit of a lifehearted question, perhaps in a sense, but. When do you think Mar-a-lago is going to be underwater?


Yeah, so, as a climate science, it's really hard to give years to those kinds of things.

Our climate models are really good at kind of at predicting big average things like like, you know, global mean temperatures at least up till now they've been pretty good at that.

But for dynamic processes like ice sheet melt, it's very, very hard to make, you like to put a year to those kinds of things but I wouldn't recommend anyone to, to try to buy Mara-a-logo at this point. I think it'd be a bad real estate investment. Yeah.


Yeah, I think you could be right about that. Greens delegates and attendees today.

We are at the end of our scheduled time for our keynote address. I'd like to thank, Peter Kalmus for being here and talking to us today, gracefully answering some of our questions and addressing many of our concerns with a keynote address. And I'd like to leave, Peter, I'd like to give you the last word to send this off out of here, please.


Yeah, so. Don't lose hope, but don't have false hope. We barely started to address school heating as a country and as a world again I raise 6% of what we spend on the military. So if we actually prioritize having a livable planet more than we prioritize killing people around the world.

If we could stop this media disinformation, if we had support from the federal government and we had international support and we protected the working class, we could solve this.

And keep and prevent more damage. Faster than we can imagine. So there's every possibility that we're heading towards that social tipping point.

Keep pushing as hard as you can, keep suing the pants off the fossil fuel industry, keep changing all your institutions, keep doing climate civil disobedience and just keep, keep rising up and fighting together.


Thank you so much. Thank you, everyone, for being here. Once again, we're so grateful to have had you to speak and I think that your message was really well received by us and it's a global message which needs to be well received by everybody.

Thank you once again, everyone.

Thank you.

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