What motivates that crazy activist?

Friends and family (but mostly family) have called me alarmist for the way I talk about climate change. They think people like Tim DeChristopher, who’s in prison for an act of nonviolent civil disobedience, are absolutely nuts. But consider this conversation DeChristopher had with IPCC author Terry Root at one of her presentations:

 I went up to her afterwards and said, “That graph that you showed, with the possible emission scenarios in the twenty-first century? It looked like the best case was that carbon peaked around 2030 and started coming back down.” She said, “Yeah, that’s right.” And I said, “But didn’t the report that you guys just put out say that if we didn’t peak by 2015 and then start coming back down that we were pretty much all screwed, and we wouldn’t even recognize the planet?” And she said, “Yeah, that’s right.” And I said: “So, what am I missing? It seems like you guys are saying there’s no way we can make it.” And she said, “You’re not missing anything. There are things we could have done in the ’80s, there are some things we could have done in the ’90s—but it’s probably too late to avoid any of the worst-case scenarios that we’re talking about.” And she literally put her hand on my shoulder and said, “I’m sorry my generation failed yours.” [from this Orion Magazine interview]

Maybe if more scientists were more vocal about what we were facing, DeChristopher wouldn’t seem so crazy.