Climate change, especially in the US, has been extraordinarily politicised — Elizabeth Kolbert

Hockey Stick based on Mann & Jones 2003
Hockey Stick based on Mann & Jones 2003

Here’s an interview with author Elizabeth Kolbert (“The Sixth Extinction”) from The Guardian (Andrew Anthony). Click through and read the whole interview. Here’s an excerpt:

Your previous writing on climate change met with scepticism. Do you think this broader approach might have a more engaged reception?

Climate change, especially in the US, has been extraordinarily politicised, and that is a real barrier to getting people to even think about the issue. The other issues in the book, which are all contributing to this mass extinction – invasive species and ocean acidification – have not been politicised. But acidification is completely the same phenomenon as global warming. It’s all about carbon emissions. Unfortunately the public discourse has really taken leave of the science and just exists in its own realm.

The irony of the previous catastrophes is that we wouldn’t be here without them…

Yes, there’s a consensus that the dinosaurs were doing just fine 66m years ago and presumably could have done fine for another 66m years, had their way of life not been up-ended by an asteroid impact. Life on this planet is contingent. There’s no grand plan for it. We are also contingent. Yet although we are absolutely part of this long history, we turn out to be extremely unusual. And what we’re doing is quite possibly unprecedented.

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