May 28, 2022

I write about climate change for about 22 seconds. I spoke with a dozen venture capitalists about how they see the world of climate change. I read every report, spoke to dozens of founders, and took a few deep breaths when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently released their 3,675-page report, starting with the first episode of the (inconclusively) benzo of fear, and went to read.

What you need to know about the IPCC is that while it is not exhaustive, it certainly is. With over 270 authors, over 34,000 sources, and an extensive peer review process that resulted in over 62,000 comments and feedback, this report is one of the most comprehensive and thorough annual climate change reports we have. We are moving around a molten ball of death and fire at 67,000 miles per hour where we are.

The main conclusion of the report is that “it is not too late, but we are inevitable.” In other words, even if we somehow manage to curb all the new emissions, we will still be very disappointed, as modern children say. In recent years, “Is that buzz” has returned to “Is it real?” Was more than disappointed to hear. And “maybe it really happened, but it’s not our fault,” and the entire political machine of the world’s largest economy hid its ignorant head in the sand for four years, while the planet hung its proverbial head in shame and despair. Is an. Flaming barbecue on the grill.

The report is full of words: we are facing disruption to human lives, ecosystems and food supplies, and a very hectic and unknown future awaits us. Over the course of our lives – over the next 20 years – we will see very significant changes in the way the planet eats, sleeps and breathes. She’s been a planet watched for the rest of her life, and doctors are wondering if it’s time to move her to the intensive care unit as things aren’t going well.

“This report is a dire warning of the consequences of inaction,” said IPCC Chairman Hosung Lee. “This shows that climate change is a serious and growing threat to our well-being and a healthier planet. Our actions today will determine how people adapt and how nature responds to rising climate risks.”

The truth is that the world will face many inevitable climate risks, including 1.5°C global warming over the next two decades. The bottom line here is that even if we manage to stay below 1.4°C, this does not mean that everything will magically be fine. And the second point is that even temporarily exceeding this level of warming by 1.5°C will have additional serious consequences, some of which will be irreversible. Risks to society, including infrastructure and low-lying coastal cities, will increase.

The technological exodus from California to Miami — one of the poorest cities that would be nearly livable if the current trend continues — hurts my soul. To me, this is a testament to the short-term thinking of Tech Brothers and, by extension, the venture capital industry itself. In a world where venture capital operates on a 7-10 year scale, but the event horizon of catastrophic disasters extends slightly beyond that time frame, we have no financial incentive for VCs to tackle the biggest problems. When the event horizon gets close enough to that venture capital can do The issue is serious, we’re already ankle-deep in water with personal portable air purifiers strapped to our faces.

This is not to say that the $40 billion invested in climate startups last year is ineffective. Not that it hasn’t helped solve some of the problems that climate startups face. But what he usually lacks is the bold vision to roll up his sleeves and make real change. According to them, the number of venture capitalists willing to admit that they are doing it for the money and that saving the planet is a good thing is staggering. Maybe I’m unnecessarily upset about this, but oceans rise and empires fall, and every time a famous millionaire is broadcast around the world, a Hollywood elite feel-good procession while slapping another famous millionaire, let’s agree. Forget about the tide and the atmosphere. Unless all local grocery stores run out of cat food due to the next storm or the next wildfire season that burns two-thirds of California to the ground and the pendulum returns for another hot minute to take care of environmental fluctuations.

“This report recognizes the interdependence of climate, biodiversity and people, and brings together the natural, social and economic sciences more closely than previous IPCC assessments,” Li said. “This highlights the urgency of taking immediate and more ambitious action to address climate risks. Half measures are no longer an option.”

In a country that produces the least amount of crap you can get away with under late capitalism, I’m increasingly worried about our chances of making it through the coming storm. The COVID-19 pandemic fills me with fear and hope in equal measure. It’s terrible, because on the level of personal responsibility, it’s shameful that we disagree in our hearts that wearing a mask to take care of each other – a $0.10 piece of cloth that can kill someone, can save another person – good idea. What are we really doing to ourselves? There is hope, because it shows that when the world’s elite scientists agree to rally around a common goal (well, of course, with a huge financial prize from the scientific community), we may face a new coronavirus. introduce the vaccine. one year.

The cynic in me thinks, “Sure, it’s easy to rally around a vaccine when people are being taken to the hospital in bottles,” but it proves that with the right encouragement, people can really lift mountains, pebbles at a time. we can move if we need to. The profound tragedy of climate change is that people be die, but all together we’re a bunch of stupid, less educated tadpoles in a giant barrel that’s slowly burning down. We don’t get out alive, but the pot gradually gets hot enough that we can enjoy the water in the tub until we die one by one. Poor and very under-resourced at first, of course.

Does this sound like the world you want to live in? Yes, me too. So here’s my challenge: do you have talent? Skill? Source? A mind that works, a pair of hands that can help? Then stop making dog walking apps, quit web3 and stop making stupid laser pointers that can point at mosquitoes. Together we are better than this. If you want to change what you’re doing to address one aspect of the climate crisis, do it. If you’re happy with your location, use your social capital to influence how your company does business. Are you climate neutral? Can your company recycle, use clean energy, travel less, change energy suppliers, etc.? Then do it. Set goals above the recommended minimum and don’t let your communities – whether it be your neighborhood, your business, your family or your friends – put off apathy and take no action.

“The scientific evidence is clear: climate change is a threat to human well-being and the health of the planet. Any delay in coordinated global action will miss a short and rapidly closing window for a sustainable future, said Hans-Otto Portner, co-chair of IPCC Working Group II. Listen to him and the work of 34,000 groups of scientists.

If it turns out that saving the planet is wrong, we can always burn it to the ground later. Let’s leave our options open for now, okay?

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