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People’s Climate March

Who is the we in ‘We are causing climate change’?

By: 
Genevieve Guenther

eople writing on climate change really like to use the word we. “We could have prevented global warming in the ’80s.” “We are emitting more carbon dioxide than ever.” “We need to ramp up solutions to the climate crisis.”

That verbal tic was in full effect on Monday, after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its special report on the differences between 1.5 degree and 2 degree Celsius global warming. The IPCC stated in no uncertain terms that climate change will threaten the lives of hundreds of millions of people in the next decades unless greenhouse-gas emissions halve in 10 years and cease entirely in 30. In response, one prominent climate journalist wrote on Twitter, “We had plenty of time & warning to avoid this fate, without undue disruption, but now we can only avoid it with EXTREME disruption. Given how badly we’ve botched it so far, odds are we’ll continue to go too slow.”

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