When climate activists make generic statements like, “It’s time for climate action” or “Governments need to act like it’s a climate crisis”, what specifically do they mean? At this stage of the game, with the UN proclaiming a “Code Red for Humanity,” shouldn’t we have better talking points by now?

I’ve been writing for the past few months about the many challenges facing the global climate movement — from attempts to dismiss the 1.5°C …


Forged in the fires of rampant climate denialism, the climate movement came of age at a time when most people didn’t really believe climate change was that big of a deal, or even real. We emerged from the womb, so to speak, playing defense. Our central, defining narrative was a reactive one, and it went something like this:

If only we do a better job of combatting misinformation by explaining how dire the situation is, we will get people to wake up and join the fight for climate action.

Effectively, for the past 15 years or so, we’ve been running…


How much will it cost to limit global warming to 1.5°C? Chapter 4 of the 2018 IPCC report Global Warming of 1.5°C (SR1.5) presents an estimate of the combined investments required to limit global average temperature rise to 1.5°C above early industrial levels, landing on a mean of roughly $48 trillion over 20 years, or $2.4 trillion per year for energy investments alone (summarized in Box 4.8, Table 1).

The models incorporated in the study however assume a heavy, ongoing reliance upon fossil fuels, resulting in what we believe is an inflated estimate. These models miss out on huge savings…


Are you spending sleepless nights thinking about the apocalyptic future your families will face due to climate change, sea level rise, viral pandemics, and the collapse of the global food system? Don’t worry your pretty little head about it… the tech bros are coming!

This is part 3 in my series on the narrative challenges faced by the climate movement. In some ways, this is the challenge that worries me the most. But back in the day, in 2008 when I wrote my first blog about climate geoengineering, it was little more than a folly, a thought experiment about the…


As described in my previous post on the narrative challenges facing the climate movement, we’ve seen a pronounced shift in the past few years towards a global ‘net-zero’ emissions target. As the window to achieve the “north star” goal of 1.5°C narrows, many have advocated for ‘net-zero by 2050’ (or 2040) as a more pragmatic goal that avoids the myriad complexities surrounding a defined limit to global average temperature rise.

The net-zero framing started to gain traction a few years after the cathartic Copenhagen climate summit in 2009, when leading intellectuals and policy pundits articulated the need for an action-oriented…


I always marvel at the ability of Hollywood writers to create situations for characters that seem impossible to escape. If you managed to binge-watch all 7 seasons of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. during lockdown (like me), you can see the pros in action. The final two episodes — “The End is Near” and “What We’re Fighting For” — are worth all 100 hours.

The characters are given impossible odds with all routes of escape blocked, and the enemy, equipped with far superior weaponry, is fast approaching. The fate of humanity and the survival of the planet is hanging by a thread…

Karl Burkart

Managing Director One Earth, formerly DiCaprio Foundation Dir. Science & Technology

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