Jon Richardson and the Futurenauts (Mark Stevenson and Ed Gillespie)
Podcast Series: How to Survive the Future
Episode: The Future of Climate Change
In the beginning of the quick-witted podcast episode Mark suggests a drinking game. The premise being to take a shot whenever the trio feel optimistic about anything being discussed. Climate Change being a reliably bleak topic you would imagine the game to be utterly futile but, whilst they do not end the podcast plastered, they do manage to get a few swigs of whiskey in.
So can we be optimistic about Climate Change? Their short answer is unfortunately ‘no’. The longer answer is that we have to think about climate change as being neither glass half full nor half empty, whilst paradoxically also being both. The Futurenauts take us through some well-researched realities, interspersed with significant amounts of humour, to educate listeners as to the extent of the changes that need to be made.
Raging wildfires, devastating hurricanes, disappearing ice sheets; it is easy to treat climate change as an inevitable doom, or like we’re in a ‘slow motion car crash about to hit the wall’. Having emitted 500 gigatons of carbon in the first 15 years of this century, scientists estimate that we have a ‘carbon budget’ of around 350 gigatons left to emit (which we look set to exhaust by 2028) if we are to follow the Paris Climate Agreement and stay below a 2°C global temperature increase. Or as the Futurenauts team so eloquently put it - ‘we are in cluster f**k territory’.
The hosts ask whether or not we’re going to be able to ‘Unf**k ourselves?’! In some ways no. Even if we stopped emitting today, 90% of the heat from climate change has gone into the water, so the oceans will still be way too hot and will continue causing this rising global temperature and melting ice caps. But amidst all this doom and gloom, Jon, Ed and Mark are able lift us back up again and provide us with some glimmers of hope that not all is yet lost. They discuss a myriad of ways that civilisation can save itself from a self-induced apocalypse; from the development of negative emission technologies to prog-rock (progressive rock!?)! The Futurenauts are able to successfully restore our faith in humanity, or at least offer hope. They mention that even the arms industry, the famous beacon of morality that it is, are considering how to respond to climate change - by creating ‘carbon neutral’ weaponry , with less bullets and more lasers!
All in all, the Futurenauts hit the nail on the head in how we as a society should approach climate change. They remind us that we first have to let go of the utopian idea that life could go back to normal ‘if we just roll out some more solar panels’, and that we need to roll up our collective sleeves and make drastic changes to how we live on this planet to ensure it’s still here for future generations. And hey, some of the solutions they suggest might even be fun - cue the ‘Get Sexy to Save the World’ objective that Ed puts forward.
For a podcast that’ll make you chuckle and simultaneously makes you want to grab your pitchforks and demand that your pension fund stops investing in fossil fuels, make sure you listen to How To Survive The Future by Jon Richardson and the Futurenauts!