Note From McKay: On Urgency

By: Adam McKay

In the years I’ve been saying this climate crisis is much more urgent than we think, I’ve been met with hundreds of eye rolls from establishment types.

But not once, except in a few interviews, has anyone asked “Why do you say that?”

So here is an answer to the question almost no one asked…

Once we started burning oil, gas, & coal at the start of the Industrial Revolution, the gases produced started trapping tremendous amounts of heat on our planet. We went from 280ppm of CO2 to 426ppm today which, in terms of heat created, looks like this:

After a LOT of delay, in Paris in 2015, world governments set a “do not cross” line of 1.5°C, or 2.7°F, warming. They pledged to keep warming well below 2°C — which everyone agrees will shift the planet into changes resembling, well, hell. However…

…others, using fossil records, tree rings, etc theorized that planetary shift starts closer to 1.2°C, or even 1.1°C, above the pre-industrial average temperature.

But 1.5°C became the “do not cross” line. Estimates when we’d cross it ranged from 50 to 100 years.

Do you know what the global warming temperature has averaged for the past 12 months?


No, that’s not a multi-year average, and yes with a La Niña approaching it will come down.

But it’s not the only thing that’s happening much faster than experts predicted. Critical earth systems are showing signs of collapse much sooner as well…

Major cities are running out of water around the globe.

5% of Earth’s Boreal forest — also known as Snow Forest(!) — burned last summer.

Acalpulco, Derna, Lahaina, and countless towns have been wiped out…

What’s so horrible is there are SO many things we could be doing right now to prepare, prevent, maybe innovate.

Most think climate deniers are the problem. But they’re only 11-14% of the population.

In my experience it’s the climate delayers who do the most damage with sideways talk, filtering everything through a near-constant electoral lens.

See: This OpEd from after the IRA passed:

Narrator: “They did not.”

Look, the IRA had some good stuff in it and some bad stuff. But it all but ignored two all-important questions:

1) Time frame, and 2) Risk.

Scientist Sir David King, as establishment as they come, said three years ago “what we do over the next three to four years, I believe, is going to determine the future of humanity.”

So why aren’t you hearing about this every day?

The answer is billions of oil dollars flowing through world governments and news media.

There are incredible climate journalists out there but their work is constantly framed as an “environmental story.”

We have to start thinking and behaving differently about this incomprehensible crisis.

We need to be mobilizing at WW2 scale, right this second.

If you don’t believe me, listen to what the scientists are saying.

– Adam McKay