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Jeremy Grantham Keynote Speech: The Existential Threats Of Climate Change

Jeremy Grantham’s remarks from this presentation at the 2019 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit, discussing the existential threats of climate change.

Jeremy Grantham Existential Threats

Jeremy Grantham: The Existential Threats Of Climate Change

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Transcript

I'm so sorry not to be there in person. I've learned the hard way in recent years as cold gets on your chest. You should take this action and not traveling around. When he had pneumonia twice in my life he was twice in the last six years. On the other hand I was really keen to appear so I pushed for this talk.

I hope it's not too inconvenient. It's such an important issue to me and I know it's not that important to you. And in terms of the general public and my general clients they don't register these issues. As I do the grant and foundation has substantially all my capital are committed I don't really view it as philanthropy but as a necessary defense action for my children grandchildren and their descendants that is to say grandchildren that was clearly their children. Every few weeks we have the luxury Grant and foundation we wanted to nobody to to reassess what we're trying to do. And issues really come down to and we do. Can we help the encourages sustainable stable environment. You obviously can't have that with the climate changing. You can't have that with burning of fossil fuels.

You can't have that with population continuing to grow indefinitely and you certainly can't have increasing steady waste the fire station or the current style of agriculture especially the excuse me have a use of chemicals we are in short way over the sustainable carrying capacity of our planet and our challenge is can we buy time for an ordered orderly decline in the population over the next eight or 10 generations. Perhaps to a level of two three four billion.

The amazing thing to me is how how little average person appears to care about these existential threats than they really are existential threats and inexplicable In the case of climate awareness, 2018 was a breakthrough year new administration new president had something to do with that. Scientists felt they were being attacked and spoke with a clear voice and last year in particular we had a heavy coincidence of important peer reviewed papers and top journals and and reports from agencies the IPCC one and a half degree paper NASA and the other government agencies reporting in a particularly to the point way in both cases and they were backed up by absolutely critical papers in Nature and Science and the proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

One of them nicknamed hothouse outlined clearly what could become self reinforcing vicious cycles. And some of them might even start at one and a half degrees. No guarantee that we are not passing as we speak.