“You Can’t Take Away My Hope”: Thirty Years of Climate Scientists Helplessly Describing Our Dangerously Changing World

In a new video by Peter Sinclair, prominent climate scientist Michael MacCracken discusses how the last thirty years have confirmed the predictions he and others made in 1982 and earlier. The scientific understanding of how burning fossil fuels transforms the atmosphere was well established then, and predictions of warming and systemic changes in the world have come to pass. The scientists did underestimating how rapidly some of the most extreme consequences of global warming — such as Arctic sea ice melt and loss of the Greenland ice sheet — would come to pass. We are now on the pathway for rapid global sea level rise of several meters a century, having failed to reverse our carbon addiction when we were warned ahead of time.

The video concludes with Dr. MacCracken discussing the obligation we all hold towards young people:

I have a colleague who went home very discouraged to her 13-year-old daughter. And her daughter just heard this disappointment and all this stuff, and basically said to her mother, “You can’t take away my hope.” I think we have an obligation to try to find a path.

Dr. MacCracken is now the Chief Scientist for Climate Change Programs at the Climate Institute. He had a 25-year career as an atmospheric physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. From 1993-2002, Dr. MacCracken was the senior global change scientist for the interagency Office of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) in Washington DC.

Other climate scientists who appear in the video include James Hansen, Jason Box, Andrew Dessler, Tom Wagner, Seymour Laxton, David Titley, and Julienne Stroeve.