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So Peter, thank you so much for being here at this time in history. This is traumatic stuff, isn't it? And thank you so much for agreeing for me to interview you. So if you can, I don't know if people are aware of who you are and what you've done. But if you could just briefly say, what you been up to, that'd be great. And then we'll take it on from there. Here I go, thanks, and let me say it is truly the greatest pleasure for me
to be able to talk to you and to be able to give the best help and support I can to the great Extinction Rebellion movement. So it's really great pleasure. So I'm an expert reviewer of the IPCC presently. I am reviewing the sixth assessment of the IPCC and previously, I reviewed
the big IPCC report of 2018 which had a huge impact suddenly, it had a huge impact on the world. The 1.5ºC report because it was following that that everybody suddenly clicked and realise, oh my gosh, we are in a climate emergency in an unprecedented Earth emergency, we're in emergency of our climate and an emergency of our oceans.
This is not a big challenge, right? This is not one of many challenges, this is THE challenge, right? This is the challenge for all all of humanity. Just explain briefly for the audience, because, you know, not everyone's quite well up on this whole International bureaucracy. We have two intergovernmental international organizations, which are supposed to respond to the
climate emergency and are supposed to keep atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases actually within a safe limit. So the first one is the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which we call the UNFCCC. That was signed in 1992 ratified by all nations in 1993. Then we have the Climate Secretariat and what they do and now we are
coming up to this is hard to believe the 26th annual conference of the parties to the UN convention. so the poll process has come into, increasingly, come into a process, not of responding to the climate emergency, but of delaying any
response at all. This, of course, is largely due to the influence of powerful, big economies countries, nations and who have worked for all these years to sabotage, in fact, these conferences. Yeah well this brings us to the sort of yeah, the main point of our
discussion was, isn't it? which is what's happening in the real world? How bad is it? And why is it so much worse than a lot of people would like to believe, and I suppose it's worth saying, as I understand it, that it's been what, 26 of these COPs and during this period, broadly 30 years, you see in a 60% increase in
carbon emissions. We're going to discuss this a little bit later but I think one of the reasons Extinction Rebellion came into being is because people were all around the world were going, you know, hang on a minute. These guys are supposed to be reducing this stuff and it's going up. So something isn't working. And we'll come on to discuss that but what I want to do before we do that is just to have you
just go through the state of play, as you might say, on what is happening with the climate and in the broadest sense. I know you do work on the oceans and what have you, the whole geophysical system, what's going on? Why is it so much worse than most people think? And I'm interested, of course because again, I do, myself and other people in XR do these talks.
who's to believe me? I'm a... at the end of the day I'm an organic farmer I can do the math, but there's something powerful about it coming from, you know, a semi insider I suppose is, I think you would might describe yourself, to sort of say, no. This is, this is the, this is it, right? You know, this is, this is science.
It's objective. There's probabilities, but it's fundamentally X Y & Z. Yeah, the, I've been calling it for some years, the, the terrible truth and the terrible truth gets, honestly, more and more terrible. But clearly, we have a duty to follow the great example of Extinction Rebellion and face up to the truth and act on the truth.
Act aggressively on the truth. Recently, thanks to the invitation to these interviews I've actually been looking into the Extinction Rebellion target of getting to zero in a matter of years. And I just want to say that, I kind of surprised myself that this is not only the only right target, it's the only target which gives us a chance,
a fighting chance, the only target which gives our children hope and the terrible data that I'm going to give you shows that it's a must that the whole world aims for this target in a united and pretty aggressive way, right? So we have a great United Nations secretary-general called Antonio Guterres,
and for the past two years, he has been repeatedly making public statements in which he has told the truth about climate change science. His first statement, which received hardly any publicity by the way, was his famous statement that climate change is an existential threat, quote, to the survival of life on Earth,
particularly including humankind. So, everything's accelerating. Everything is at record high. In a nutshell, everything is getting worse faster. The global surface temperature increase for the first six months of this year 2020 is 1.3ºC.
Now, it is now generally acknowledged that 2ºC is ,out of the question, catastrophe! So the scientists have all switched and and I commend them for it. It's just been great to see how everybody has got together and agreed that the danger limit is 1.5 ºC. Today we're at 1.3 A world at 1.5ºC is
a disastrous world, no question. 2ºC is an impossible world. The scientists acknowledged earlier in the year that global surface heating is accelerating. Climate Change is catastrophic. Climate change is today. That's one of many reasons in general why Extinction Rebellion is right to put a target of zero in a matter of years.
Absolutely right. All of the other targets are wrong. None of the other targets are going to prevent global, climate, planetary catastrophe. They will not. Because the atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations are accelerating like never before. Recent research, just published a couple of weeks ago: atmospheric carbon dioxide is now the highest in 23 million years.
That's insane. That's absolute climate crazy. Now we can go back 40 50 million years right? on carbon dioxide. Scientist, it's just amazing what they can do. Absolutely amazing. But we are increasing the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Faster than in the past, 40 million years.
That is 100 to 200 times faster than happens naturally. Ending Ice Ages and bringing us into a warm period. It's now the survival of our children, not grandchildren anymore. We're looking at children. The world over and I stress not just in the poor vulnerable, most vulnerable developing world, no no. In the United States,
definitely in Europe. 2020 is the year, all the scientists have been agreed on this for many years, that at the absolute latest global emissions, must decline fast from 2020. The world's leading expert on ocean heating who took the trouble to work out. How many Hiroshima bombs would need to be exploded to be equivalent to the amount of heat that we've added to the oceans.
A few years ago it was three Hiroshima bombs per second. It's now five Hiroshima bombs per second and that's real. That is the real amount of energy that we're adding mostly to the oceans. And today, rather than responding on an emergency basis, rather than responding to Extinction Rebellion type targets.
We're not decarbonizing. The rate of decarbonization has actually slowed in the past few years. So, we're doing things worse, instead of doing things better. The Arctic. Yes., the scientists have told us for years and years and years that the Artic is crucially important to the entire planet. What they've said is what happens to the Arctic doesn't stay in the Artic. That's now become a sort of famous statement, and they've explained
that if the Arctic sea ice, melts away then we're in big, big, big trouble, because we're looking at hundreds of square miles of Arctic sea ice. Reflection, cooling, the Arctic, and Northern Hemisphere and the planet as a whole. We're looking at that switching from a cooling to a warming. As the open ocean is actually, has the best or biggest capacity for
absorbing heat on our planet. In 2016 the NOAA that US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They publish an Arctic report card every year. In 2016, shocking, was not picked up by the media, they said with a long chapter with great illustrations, that the Arctic
permafrost warming, thawing and emitting had switched the Arctic from a carbon sink to a carbon source. So this is Earth catastrophe news. This is Earth catastrophe, actual, not modeling, actual scientific finding today.
We've lost the Great Barrier Reef. That's been rather obvious for a few years. The Great Barrier, Reef suffered its third major bleaching in five years. Nothing like this has ever happened before to the Great Barrier Reef. We have two jewels on Earth, don't we? I think we sort of all know this. One on land, the Amazon, and the other
tropical rainforests, but primarily the Amazon and the jewel of the ocean, we've always regarded as the Great Barrier Reef. Biggest living organism on the planet, easily viewable from space, and a wonderful example of how life helps each other and lives together in mutualism and thrives and produces this incredible actually single organism of the, of all of this Coral.
The Amazon, I track the Amazon fires in the Amazon fire season. I've been doing it for probably about six years now. It's a, it's a very visually easy thing to do. Thanks to NASA. I was absolutely shocked to my core because just earlier this month we had more fires in the Amazon than I've ever seen like way way, way more.
An this is early in the Amazon fire season. And those fires, I look at them every couple of days now, they are now encroaching and swallowing up the entire Amazon. These fires, by the way, are intentional. It's not just the Amazon, the biggest area of bright red fires that you see on the map is in Africa, is sub-Saharan Africa, where they burn every year all of the grasses
These fires produce massive amounts of carbon dioxide but also a lot of methane. And also, of course, black carbon soot going up in the air. The international community has to act so that people are not setting fires in the Amazon anymore. They have to make it economically viable. That this can be done that, the Amazon is left intact and not destroyed.
That means as many people, many many people have said for decades. Countless books and papers, we have to change our economy fundamentally because we live under an economy which is inherently destructive of the entire planet. It just needs to be said, doesn't it? What the overview is,
and one of the big problems is, I'm sure many people are aware, is you just get a scientist talking about a little, a little bit over here, or a little bit over there and it's a bit like talking about little bits of a body. You need to know what's happening to the whole thing. It's all connected by the life is fairly logical. And what you've done, brilliantly is just, lay out the top,
the top things that are going on: the Arctic, the methane permafrost situation the Great Barrier Reef the forest fires and in the context of this this fundamental understanding, which I think a lot of people haven't quite understood is: once you've triggered this, it continues without you having to do anything.
That's my understanding of a feedback. And so, in principle like, if you stop the whole thing is carrying on it's like you've started an engine or something isn't it? like it is on the go and I think that this is the full horrific sort of realization and realistically speaking. It's not like you can switch it off tomorrow anyway, I mean, you know a matter of years, yes.
So we still got a few years to, you know, even if everyone was totally with the program on it, it's still going to take years to get down to zero. So, but just to make absolutely clear here what we're looking at is having no human beings on the planet. Forever. Right? That's where Extinction means. Is it not that? I mean that's what we're talking about.
Do you, can you just confirm to everyone as a scientist? That's what an existential threat means. It's not some abstract thing, it means there's no humans and when there's no humans just going to be no humans for infinity. Yeah, I mean, as you and secretary-general Antonio Guterres said This is now an existential threat. That's a threat to our survival. That's what it is.
But you see we're in the sixth extinction, right? And it's accelerating at an unbelievable pace. It's almost certainly the most rapid extinction that the Earth has ever experienced. If we continue to emit, right? There's no question. No question about what's going to happen, right? The Earth is going to get an intolerable place to live in
with intolerable heat waves but those heat waves won't just be intolerable. They will trash our crops because there's a definite limit of heat that crops can tolerate even with irrigation. There was a paper that got a lot of publicity year before last and that was what the media called the Hothouse Earth paper that explained all of these feedbacks and described them as cascading feedbacks.
A good description is the domino effect. So you start one and they go on and on and on and on and on and then you just get more feedback but they're actually all happening at the same time. I think there's two things, we've established number one is, if this carries on there's going to be no humans left. Humans are going to die and that's going to be end of the human race. That's Point 1, and point 2 seems to be the mechanism through which this
happens is through a compounding effects, and positive feedbacks. Lots of different things. Triggering themselves, triggering each other, and then triggering themselves even more and even more. Let's just spend a few minutes just being honest with ourselves that it's not like suddenly someone will click their fingers and the human race is going to disappear. As I see it, and maybe there's no words to adequately describe this,
we're looking at the suffering and death of billions of human beings. This isn't like they just get up one morning and die like, this is a slow death scenario, for billions of people. And just explain, if you don't mind, one or two of the mechanisms through which this mass death happens.
Mainly it's food and water, of course, right? Global surface heating and climate change results causes multiple multiple damaging adverse impacts on crops. I mentioned the Amazon and I should also mention the shocking situation in Siberia. Because Siberia holds most of the world's permafrost
and we have unprecedented fires right across Siberia today. And those fires in Siberia are actually never going out in Russia They're calling them zombie fires, because they just subside but they keep burning under the peat. And then when we get into the spring and summer time and it's only been the springtime, that's done this whoosh, up they come again
and as I say they're emitting vast amounts of carbon dioxide. So that's one huge feedback. Any projection that you look at in terms of where global temperature is going to stop at, right? Whether it's 1.5ºC we're going to lose food production and the latest models, they all show this.
So in scientific terms, as I put it, all the accelerating data trends together result in a trend that the biosphere is in a state of collapse. That means that the human species, although there's a heck of a lot of us and although we still live on a beautiful planet, that means that nature is not going to support us.
There's a specific mechanism I think. obviously I've been a farmer for 20 years and one of the things that I have difficulty communicating to people is to destroy a crop, you don't need to be at like 20ºC or something - higher than normal. You just need it to be 20º higher than normal for like two weeks. Once you've killed a crop, it's like, you know, it's like human beings once
the crop's gone, it's not coming back and then if that's happening on the critical mass of different places, like I think it did about three years ago when food production is down 20% in the US, Europe and Russia, wasn't it? or thereabouts Then if that continues for two or three years, you're literally going to run out of food We have research for Iowa, which which has looked at the possibility
of what they call multiple simultaneous, breadbasket failure, and they say, yes, that's what we're heading for. And what that translates into everyday life is you go to the supermarket and there's no food. I mean, that's the immediate reality we're talking. I mean, when you say the end of the human race you know it sounds a little bit science fictionary abstract but what you're basically saying is at some point in the next few years, you'll go to supermarket
and there's going to be no bread or there's going to be no pasta Yeah, I mean it should be well recognized that the past 10,000 years when we made our greatest invention, ever, agriculture, right? The past 10,000 years has been most unusually stable, with respect to the climate most unusual and all at the same time,
and this is fascinating, in various parts of the world agriculture was developed about 11,000 years ago and then we just got better and better and better at agriculture. Actually we're now too good on agriculture. Agribusinesses is not good. And we know and the research confirms that in all aspects, organic
agriculture mixed with hedgerows woodlots, right? Is, is the best form of agriculture. So we definitely do have to switch our agriculture because our modern agriculture is a huge emitter. A huge emitter of greenhouse gases. All of our energy and climate plans of all governments and corporations right? are all for
not only continued greenhouse gas emissions but for continued increase in greenhouse gas emissions. So we are headed for a post agricultural world we're changing the climate of the past 10,000 years into a completely different climate which is not an agricultural climate. And when you say a post agricultural world.
What we're saying again, to be blunt, is not enough food to feed people. That's right. And billions and billions of people starving to death. That's right. We're looking at billions of people not able to survive because of starvation, water deprivation. And then, of course, you pile on the diseases for many, many, many years. The Infectious Disease experts.
We just had an experience of it with covid-19, have warned us that actually all of the infectious and communicable diseases are going to be increased by putting up the global temperature. And lots of floods. It's a recipe. It's a suicidal recipe. And the only plans we have are plans for Global suicide.
As someone that's got more of a social science background for me like, there's also tipping points and positive feedbacks in social systems as well. If you've got not enough food and you've got infectious diseases, then you're going to create social breakdown. Social breakdown is going to reduce security. Security is going to make it more difficult to transport food.
To grow food, which just going to create more infectious disease which is going to create more social breakdown. In other words, all these things are interrelated, right? Yeah, and they go exponential, it happens fast. It doesn't just gradually creep up on societies. Once a society passes a certain point, then it all cascades downwards into chaos
and slaughter and death and that's what we're looking at! Yeah, we're now looking at what people call, you know, the unthinkable, but we can't afford not to think about it. So, the great thing about Extinction Rebellion is Extinction Rebellion is challenging us to think about it, and look at it and it's bleak, it's grim it's very late in the day. The 2007 IPCC assessment
stressed over and over and over that emissions had to be in decline by 2015. For a 2ºC limit. We're years too late. So we really have to give ourselves good kick up the backside and really everybody has to take a hard look at this. I want to bring us on then to something that you've been very vocal about.
And I've been so impressed by, because so many scientists I mean, a lot of presentations would finish here wouldn't they I've watched hundreds of presentations of the science most of the time the scientists will say so to summarize you face an existential threat. A few of the scientists will actually go on and actually admit we're looking at the indescribable suffering
and death of billions of people and that's just starting to happen. But no-one hardly actually talks about the moral and political implications of what actually it means to knowingly, and consciously in full view of the science engage in a project that is going to lead to this much suffering.
And I'd like you just to say, you've used this word evil and you've used the word crime why I have used those words? Why do you think that's appropriate at this point ? it's a crime. It's a crime against humanity. It's actually a crime against all humanity, right? If we start calling it a crime as it is, I call it the crime of all time.
Then, at least we will switch the discussion to a level that people can actually understand, right? You can give people all these numbers but they're just numbers. You can show people graphs but they're just graphs, right? We are now, our business model are perverse, irrational economics, it's destroying us!
It's destroying the planet! Disrupting all the oceans, poisoning the oceans. The entire oceans with acidification with heating, which disturbs and breaks down all the healthy, ocean, currents, and deoxygenation. This is evil! If you don't act against that evil, if you don't call that evil, evil
you are complicit and that's an enormously powerful and emotional realization and I think you're dead right. Which is, once you know, there's no escape from moral responsibility. You know, if the people don't know about it then they can't be responsible right? But everyone that's listened to this video, to be blunt, knows, and I'm sure many
people that are listening to this video have known for a while. And, you know, you come in and out of it don't you? But what you're saying and I think this is, you know, this is a transformative point is there's no escape once you know, in terms of deciding whether you're going to be complicit or whether you're going to name it and then act upon it
The most effective, definitely effective, immediately effective, readily doable, action that everybody in the world can do is go vegan. In theory, we can all do that. If we do that emissions drop immediately. So yeah there's there's the immediate thing. I want to mention now the covid lesson, the covid example.
Now much has been written about the covid experience which has been an amazing worldwide experience but to me the big thing is that emissions dropped a huge amount. And dropped fast. And and this comes back to responsibility, doesn't it? The it's not an act of nature, to put this amount of carbon into the atmosphere.
It's a political decision due to a political desire, a political program. And as being a political situation, it's changeable, it's within our control. I mean, we've got as you say, we've got the unavoidable. Social evidence of the last six months. When decision makers make the decision, they can reduce carbon emissions
in a matter of weeks by 25%, in fact, there's no dispute about that. Which brings us back to the collective responsibility we have as human beings. and as Citizens to make sure this happens in order to not be complicit in the evil. that is obviously in front of us. And as you've rightly said, there's enormous changes in our personal life styles that are now necessary.
and let's not beat around the bush they're necessary. It's necessary for people to become vegan. It's necessary for people to massively reduce their travel. It's necessary for people to review their lifestyles, their jobs, their careers because we're facing the massive and Indescribable suffering of billions of people if we don't period, right? I mean that, that seems unavoidable.
I mean, I'd love to be able to avoid it. I can't avoid that conclusion. I should make clear that I've been a part of this evil myself, right? I mean. Yeah. I was a highly paid person, right? Big fast cars boats, the whole... I've been there, right? It's not a person who is evil, right? If you go in and study what it means, which, you know, It's actually a result.
Evil is a result, right? So this greatest evil manifestly the greatest evil we've ever seen, right? is very simply the result of our energy production and our food production. It's really simple, right? And it's not only advantageous for all of us to survive, for our children to survive, for us to get those emissions in the decline now
in a matter of years it's for our own health. Three to four million, the highest number I came across was 4 million, people a year are killed from fossil fuels. The fossil fuel industry is killing four million people a year. I don't think anything you said today is particularly different to what the scientists
were predicting 30 years ago. And the only difference is we've actually got the hard data now. We can look at the real world and we can see it, so it's no longer a prediction. It's here as you rightly said and I think you know, just to move towards the end of our discussion. I think you've rightly said there's massive changes that are necessary
in terms of people's lifestyles and there's also massive changes in government policy that need to be changed. And as you know Extinction Rebellion has been at the forefront of a fundamentally new message which is if a government doesn't change, it's your right and as we've identified, your duty, if you're not going to be complicit,
to go into a rebellion a nonviolent civil disobedience against the government in order to fundamentally reduce carbon emissions. It's not actually that complicated, Is it? If you ask the average person who controls the economy, right? They know it's the banks, the big banks, right? And we had the banks, I think they did it pretty deliberately ten years ago.
They pulled our chain and we had the most massive transfer of wealth that the world has ever seen the bank bailout, right? Trillions and trillions of dollars. We're seeing the same thing now with covid and the banks have got to be behind it, right? If the banks wanted and decided that emissions have to decline from today
fast in a matter of years, the banks can do it, right? Because the banks hold the strings. All governments now are in a massive amount of national debt . we have an axis of evil if you want, we have the big banking corporations. We have the big fossil fuel corporations and we have the compliant government.
We are human beings. We all have compassion. None of us like to see other human beings suffering. None of us like that. Something I've been working on in over the last two years is is to try and make this argument Here's science. Here's the moral responsibility. And here's you with your choices what are you going to do with your life?
And I think, you know, to finish off you put your finger on it that at the end of the day, we're talking about what's going to be happening to people we love our children, our grand children, our relatives, to people in our communities. They're going to be starving at some point. If we don't deal with this.
This is not something abstract. It's not something in 2100, it's in the next 10 or 20 years. it's a casino. No one knows who's going to be hit next. But what we do know is it's going to be exponentially worse the casino that we're entering into and it's a casino of death it's a casino of massive suffering unknown in the human experience.
I mean that's what you've been saying for the last hour or so. And for me and for Extinction Rebellion, we have to do something with that agitation, don't we? that, you know, all the people that have got to this point in this video know that's why they're still watching this video most people, many people switch it off after 7 minutes
because it's like, I don't want to go there. If you're at this point in the video, you know and we know as Extinction Rebellion what we need to do which is to engage in civil disobedience, which is to break the law in order to uphold the higher moral law. Is there anything you want to say before we finish Peter? I just have one final comment. I just have one final comment. Years ago,
it was clear, it was, it was published in some magazines that we are the human race was at a crossroads, that we were looking at what was described as the worst possible future or the best possible future and that was absolutely right, it was described very well. We're not only robbing our children of a decent life. We're robbing them of a what I would call a golden age.
You don't have to have much imagination to think about a world in which there's no fossil fuel energy. No fossil fuel pollution, right? It's all clean renewable energy. It's getting more, the more we use it the more we use it, it's getting cheaper the energy is available to everyone. Everyone on the planet. Can produce and use this energy.
Plus we're not slaughtering billions of other animals and eating them. We're not doing that, right? We are growing the best nutritious healthy plants. Now, of course, we have the industries that are making great great products, real juicy, tasty products, right?
For vegans, it's easy to be a vegan now. When I started it wasn't that easy. This world which should be our human destiny is a golden glorious world in which at the same time because we're not polluting the planet we're not poisoning, the oceans anymore the Earth is recovering, the Earth is replenishing, right?
The Earth is becoming rich rich rich again, right? The Earth can become as rich and as wonderful as when you and I, Roger entered into this living on this fabulous, fabulous planet. Well, thank you so much Peter. I mean, it feels like we've investigated the depths of the
greatest horrors and the potential for the greatest good. words continually fail me when I talk about all this so I don't know whether that sums it up but thank you so much for joining us and thank you everyone for the bravery of seeing it through to this point and just to reiterate again, Action, Action Action
There's no other way forward now to overcome our complicity and what's coming down the road. The details are at the bottom of this video. If you're watching on YouTube and yes, thank you. We're all going to get to it. Thank you, Roger. Thank you for everybody that managed to listen to us. Thank you. Thanks.
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