Heading for Extinction and what to do about it | Dr Emily Cox | Extinction Rebellion

Hi my name is Emily, I grew up in a
farming community in Somerset and I now work as a climate change researcher at
university We are here to talk about the climate crisis and it is indeed a crisis. when I did my PhD about 10 years ago we were already pretty clear
that climate change was a really serious threat and that it was getting worse and
we’ve known for probably a good 20 years or so that the link between what we do
as people between the choices that we make and the resources that we use and
the emissions that we create that the link between that and the changing of
the climate is now certain we know that there’s enough scientific evidence to
know that we as humans are causing the majority of the climate change problems
that we’re seeing in the world today The reason that climate change is happening
is mainly because of carbon dioxide and because of a few other greenhouse gases
as well the bad news is that our emissions of CO2 have never been higher
they continue to rise year-on-year despite the fact that we know that every
single ton of this gas that we release into the atmosphere causes graver
climate impacts in the future the problem is that the climate crisis is
already impacting food production it’s already becoming more difficult to farm
and this is even happening in places like the UK and it’s happening
especially in massive food producing countries
such as America where farmers are already saying that they’re seeing real
problems in producing food in the same volumes that they always have done
because they’re experiencing heat waves because they’re experiencing floods
because they’re experiencing drought and this is going to keep getting worse and
every extra degree that the temperature goes up it’s going to be increasingly
severe and what happens if we can’t create food is simply that there won’t
be enough of it to go around the prices will get higher and higher and higher
until the point where a lot of people actually can’t afford to buy staple
things such as bread and such as rice picture a situation where you go into a
supermarket and a loaf of bread is five pounds because areas such as Norfolk and
such as the US and such as Russia where we get most of our grain from to make
the bread because those areas have had such a severe heat wave, such a severe
drought that their crops have failed this is not some crazy nightmare scenario
this is not something that we’re looking at happening in 30 40 50 years time this
is something that’s going to happen soon and is going to be worse the more
we allow this climate crisis to continue here in the UK we were one of the first
countries to actually accept this problem and to actually put in place
meaningful action to do something about it which was great we’ve got a strong
track record back in 2008 we put into place some of the world’s first policies
to address climate change unfortunately since then what we’ve done has
essentially been nothing what’s happened is that all of the emissions that we
used to produce are now being produced by the goods that we consume that are
now made in factories overseas and so much as the government likes to
talk about how emissions have gone down in the UK the reality is that if you
account for all the stuff that we buy that it’s now manufactured overseas the
reduction has been a lot smaller the other thing is that we’ve managed to do
really well in certain sections of our economy but in other sectors such as
transport and industry our emissions actually haven’t gone down at all and
this is despite knowing for such a long time the urgency of the action that we
need to take and so we’re really a crossroads here in the UK we’re really
starting to see what happens if we don’t do something about climate change we’re
really starting to see the effect that it’s going to have on communities and
yet at the same time we’re seeing just how little action is being taken by
politicians and by businessmen to actually do something about this crisis
and so we’re here partly to take the correct fork in this crossroads to go in
the right direction and to try and put ourselves on the right side of history
to try and address this crisis before it becomes something that we can’t actually
address sometimes you’ll hear doom mongers
saying oh well it’s too late we’ve already reached a tipping point we’ve
already gone too far according to the science that’s not true however for
every degree that you go more the impacts become worse and so at the
moment the climate has warmed by approximately one degree since
industrialization started this doesn’t sound much but we’ve already seen the
impacts that this is happening and we’re already really clear we’ve got really
solid evidence that it’s our actions as human beings that’s causing these
impacts according to the world’s finest scientists working on this stuff then
anything above about two degrees of warming will have not only catastrophic
but also completely impossible to predict impacts once we go over that two
degrees we genuinely don’t know what will happen at the moment the impacts
that we’re seeing are already more severe than we thought they would be for
one degree of warming twenty years ago nobody predicted that Australia would be
on fire nobody predicted that Greenland would be melting as fast as it is right
now nobody predicted that we would be looking at the kind of sea level
increase that we’re really starting to think about what we need to do is we
need to keep it as far below that two degrees as possible because if we get
even close to that two degrees we lose the ability to predict what might happen
and we start to see mass ecosystem collapse we start to see species go
extinct at a faster rate than they ever have done we start to see food prices
increasing because farmers are going to find it more difficult to make food and
we’re going to start to see communities really torn apart by this crisis we’re
already seeing communities have to move because the sea-level rise has meant
that there’s now coastal flooding in their area and people have lost their homes because their homes are now getting
flooded every single year and this is just you to a tiny increase in sea level
at the rate that we’re going we’re looking at potentially up to a meter’s
worth of sea level rise in the UK we’re an island nation and we really cannot
afford to run this risk and the reason that we feel so passionate about this is
because the window of opportunities to do something about it is really closing
what’s needed is radical action of the kind that we haven’t had over the past
few decades our only option now is to try something new and that’s exactly
what Extinction Rebellion are doing now the whole point is that we can’t wait
for somebody else to do it we all have to accept that this crisis will affect
all of us and therefore we all have a responsibility to think about what we
can do to help think about all the stories that we read about people who’ve
done heroic acts you know people who’ve rescued someone from a burning building
none of those people stood back and waited for someone else to run into that
situation this is our chance to all be heroes we can all do this heroic act but
it has to start today when I’m talking about acting I’m not talking about
politics it’s not about whether you’re on the left or the right it’s not about
whether you’re conservative or labour we need to go beyond that because that way
of thinking is not working politics is just not getting us anywhere
so we’re going well beyond that and looking at what we can do that might
actually bring about the radical changes that we need the Extinction Rebellion
has done a lot of research into how this might be done and one of the best ways
of doing this research is to look at examples from history of cases where
it’s worked where people have actually managed to turn things around
and they’ve looked at examples including the civil rights movement the
suffragettes Gandhi who managed to gain our independence for India something
that they all have in common is that they all undertook civil disobedience
what that means is refusing to abide by all of the rules of society and in some
cases breaking the law and all of those movements were successful and nowadays
we look back on those movements and we think obviously votes were for women
obviously that was a fantastic thing but at the time those activists were
criticized for breaking the law those activists were criticized from all
corners and especially by the politicians and the powerful who had it
in their interests to prevent those women from getting the vote and what we
hope is that in the future will look back at Extinction Rebellion and people
go oh well of course it was a good thing that we did something about the climate
and of course it was good that they took those methods so the thing that all of
these successful examples of radical change from history have in common is
that they all caused a fuss and that was exactly what Extinction Rebellion is
here to do our acts are nonviolent and this is really core to our principles
because the history shows that if you undertake any sort of social change in a
violent way what you get is violent outcomes if you undertake a coup using
violence then what you tend to get is a regime that’s just as violent as the one that
proceeded it, as the one you overthrew the movements that have successfully managed
to bring about long-lasting change in a peaceful manner have used nonviolent
techniques but nonviolent doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to stick
to the law in some cases this is the best way of getting our voice heard and
this is why extinction rebellion follows the methods that it does but what’s
really important to our movement is that it’s not just about getting arrested the
arrestees get all of the press coverage of course they do the press love images
of people getting carried off a street by a police officer what they don’t show
is the hundreds of other people who are involved at all stages of the movement
all the way from planning something to getting people together to making the
art to making the social media pages all the way through to when you’re there the
people running the kitchen and the people playing the music and the people
looking after people in the welfare tent all of these people are crucial to
Extinction Rebellion because we’re going to need all hands on deck it’s the only
way that we’re going to avert this absolute catastrophe that we’re facing
at the moment the time for sitting and waiting for somebody else to deal with
this catastrophe is in the past that ship has well and truly sailed we’re
entering a world of entirely unpredictable outcomes which could
threaten the safety and security of our families our children our friends and
our homes and the things that we have around us and the place that we live and
the place that we grew up what we want the most is to protect the things that
we love we can do this kind of thing we have done it before during World War II
we had a mass program of investment in infrastructure we had a complete
reversal of the way society worked and we had people
and communities coming together to help each other through an incredibly
difficult situation and historians to this day talk about the incredible
atmosphere of community and cohesion and solidarity amongst those communities
such as those in London who were hit by the bombing in the Blitz so we can do it
we can pull together as a society to face this crisis the world that we’re
facing doesn’t have to be some nightmare scenario of just everyone out for
themselves in the face of these increasingly terrifying impacts it can be
a world where we all draw together where we all find our shared goals where we
all find our common interests and we start working as communities to address
this problem

Comments 49

  • Tell the truth. Include the Aerosol Masking Effect. Please

  • Can anyone explain the connection between handmaidans and extinction rebellion? As someone who's volunteered with the woodland trust for years and planted countless native trees, why not change the imagery to something that represents our concerns better? Btw, I'm not trolling. It's a genuine question

  • Tell the truth. We are moving in the wrong direction and there is no mechanism by which we can easily change direction. The rise of XR was rather drowned out by the rise of Trump and Putin and Bolsanaro and Morrison and a whole host of their fellow travellers. And that rise was a popular response. And XR represent an unpoular choice. Reality will confound your intelligence and your passion so better get used to it. Time for Planet B. The Planet where everything is fucked and dead and where we are responsible and where we preferred extinction to doing what was necessary. The science is settled and so is the stupidity.

  • Les décision majeur entourant les énergies utilisés relèvent des décisions gouvernementale.Les pipeline sont l exemple flagrant de la position des visions du futur par les gouvernements.russie us canada arabie sahaudite pour ne nommer que ceux-là.l Avenir est très noir si nous ne nous battons pas contre ces politiques destructives.

  • ✊ hell yeah. keep it up XR. realistically, I don't think people can give up. I don't even think that's even possible in a complex and informed society, in this context.
    but, and not to be overly doomerish, I think it's wise to plan for collapses and for what happens after.

  • Their is no going back.
    I mean this from a consumer lifestyle position.

    First word nations will not cut back
    consumerism in any meaningful way.

    Second and third world nations
    want consumerism


    “Idealism…the fatal attraction
    like insects flying into the night porch light.”

  • what's wrong with her nose? 😂

  • Target The Financial System–Hurt Them Where It Is Painful-Their Profits!!!

  • Honestly, this idea that anything is going to get done by dramatic stunts or more peaceful protesting is hilarious. They WANT you to peacefully protest. THEY WANT you to be passive. THEY WANT you to get it out of your system, so you can feel good about yourself, and then push through whatever project they're working on anyways.

    The time for peaceful protest is coming to an end.

  • "A philosophy professor and 'old school goth' says the only way to save the planet is to stop having children . . .

  • you are the 1st country to start doing something about it is because your country started the industrial revolution and you feel guilty about it. "the guilty runs away without a chase" old bulgarian expression

  • Methane in the Arctic? Yale claims there is none…, IPPC has no intention of mentioning it either…, working hard?

  • So your a scientist Emily, where is your science? You don't show what is really happening in this world your just dishing out a dumbed down version. Where are your results and statistics, it's not that some things may happen, it's happening now, hundreds of plants and animals are currently going extinct every week, this is no future event. You need to support what you are saying with hard facts not computer models or conjecture but FACTS! As an organisation you are ideally placed to inform the world of the truth. Please stop holding back. One more point, you are not offering people solutions, real actions that make a real day to day difference. Get people working together to support themselves in ways that benefit our fragile ecosystem. Until you address this you will always remain a fringe organisation that is just a splinter for the corporate controling arm, go out and break that arm with hard facts in the courts and don't stop until you win then the people will take you seriously!

  • Well done keep up the good work. Sadly though it IS to do with politics. The rich and super rich have lost sight of what is important in our lives. Without a planet their money will count for nothing, but as we are told "If you want to know what God thinks of money, you only have to look at the people he gives it to"

  • " See, its a crazy world we're living in "

  • Fantastic video, incredibly articulate. Thank you.

  • If we want to stay alive we only have one choice and that is to change this society and we had better be quick because there is not much time left! Dr Cox thank you for the video.

  • XR needs to change its direction of protest. All action must be directed at government. Governments depend on taxes. Turn off the money tap and governments will start to pay attention.

    What I'm proposing is the selective withholding of taxes by millions of citizens.

    Break down government budget into those items XR believes are sustainable and necessary expenditures, e.g. education, health, mass transit etc and those items which are contributing to the crisis e.g. more roads, new airports, more aircraft carriers etc.

    I'm quite sure millions of citizens will be willing to break the law by withholding that portion of taxes not aligned with sustainability.

  • Google the POLLTAX riots

  • Can't take you seriously with that bull ring in your nose.


  • Emissions has fallen massively in China, due to Covid 19. it may turn things upside down.

  • wow, super well made and on point, good job

  • Why don't you mention self-reinforcing feedbacks like loss of the Arctic sea ice, or permafrost melt, or the carbon lag, or the aerosol cooling effect? My understanding is the amount of CO2 already in the atmosphere locks in temperature increases of at least 3C due to these feedbacks and that the only way we're going to avoid global famine is if we're able to go from emitting 10's of billions of tonnes annually, to extracting from the atmosphere 10's of billions of tonnes of CO2 annually. I know no one wants it to be "too late" and I don't know what we should do (in terms of policy) but I still support XR because I have way more faith in a citizens assembly than I have in the very politicians that have been downplaying this catastrophe. Cutting emissions won't reverse the heating, it will just slow it down a little. (Or because of the aerosol cooling effect, it could actually increase temperatures.)

    As serious as this video is, it seems like it's still downplaying the gravity of the situation. The earth doesn't have a thermostat that you can just set, the higher the temperature goes the more likely feedback loops will push the earth into runaway heating. If you say that we really don't know what the effects of heating by more than 2C will be, you make it sound like it might not be that bad, (because we don't know) but we do know that the effects will be catastrophic and we do know that we will cross 2C if something practically miraculous doesn't occur. ( i.e. pulling CO2 from the atmosphere.)

  • Actually more like 1.78c from a more reality based 1750 time frame. You figure cutting the trees down in Spain to build Armada caused nothing, extinction of large mammals back tens of thousands of years ago caused nothing, and many other examples caused nothing?

    Some biological sciences people are no longer comparing our species in a vague superior way to great apes or our civilization to organized bees or top down hierarchical ants. They are coming out saying we are more like an overbreeding rappacious one that destorys it's habitat- a virus.

    Non violence.

    But in this case the enlightened (minority) are contending with a royal flush of:

    Mainstream media against (those "non violent" protests actually had a significant segment of the mainstream press releasing objectively) that is actually proactive in propagandizing, often with logical falsehoods, asides and straight out lies- at this point swallowed hole by the 40% (unalterable "right" they claim backed by God no less).

    A tyrannical oppression organ in place ("war on terror" enabled a military style overwatch and massive expansion)- just keeping the peace policing has been replaced by oppression and punitive "fund fishing" by bloated organs and because of that are cash strapped, so police and justice system are revving away destroying individuals and hurting the economy in agregate. You think of Ghandi? Well, think about it, troops thousands of miles from reinforcement and supply in an evolving into unpopular expensive mission. In reverse, it is kinda easy to oppress in your backyard.

    Many psychopaths, sociopaths and narcissists are our leadership in companies, corporations and nation? Guess what people, perhaps a vast majority of us are acting in a psychopathic sociopathic narcissistic way. Me included as a well off Western Civilization living person who's only merit was where I was born.

    Our very culture; pro-natalist, pro consumer, pro life (a human baby is worth far more than all the lions, elephants, koalas and insects combined- impossible to argue against that and I'm not either, I'm just listing factors). This is who and what we have evolved to in thousands of years of generational and habitat pressure. You gonna say "we must change"? Now?

    Not saying I'm better, worse or whatever. Just some inconvenient issues I'd thought up to add to the hopium expressed by this lady.

    I did read a paper that points out the steps needed, but the guy who wrote it was villainized and censored. The steps were draconian and terrible!

    Better to 'go out' fighting, together and human, kind and doing at least what is possible. The bad won't really kick in for a little while now, at least here. At 75 I'm gonna worry? Well, maybe the young'uns putting our oldster heads on a pike when they realize… At least those not in bunkers (graves really).

  • Thank you for being amazing.

  • Atmospheric CO2 concentration of 450 ppm and beyond is now unavoidable,population growth and increasing World energy demand will largely offset any carbon reductions this decade,Miss Dr Emily Cox Mad Max -style dystopia Wold food shortages soon is incorrect,based on detailed studies crop failure each degree C in warming (NASA,)..(NAS), however its becoming doubtful that our current infrastructure can remain the same before temperatures reach a further degree C.

  • Awesome – thanks – a bit shorter so that's nice – and images are great. Some of my conservative friends here in CA, USA will be put off by so many piercings – which is of course, superficial, but looks matter – could we do one with a fake suited banker??? LOL just kinda kidding but not really……

  • The Aral sea drying up has nothing to do with Climate change. Man made yes, but not climate. Less emotive photo bites and more rational thinking

  • It's already on the brink I don't think we have no 30 years if we had 10 years that would be extremely lucky Antarctica had its warmest recorded January ever this year with 20% of the ice melting in 9 days when we lose the ice it's game over for us just the fact that it's lost so much ice now has affected the jet stream causing flooding droughts cold snaps hot temps it's just gone wacky. This year is going to be awful with extreme rains this spring in the 🌽 belt and Midwest. Then extremely hot drought conditions effects west coast can expect drought conditions earlier just a repeat of last year just worse. I just hope crops can be planted in time last year was close

  • This is ridiculously positive. Arctic sea ice volume in Sept 2019 was 75% lower than in 1979. We are fucked. The last time CO2 was this high the temp was 3.5C higher.

  • Great video very well put together, I took part in London Rebellion last October. I do think to point out the fact that Animal Agriculture is one of the leading causes of the Climate crisis that we are going through, even far greater than all the planes trains and automobiles combined. I wish those who are wanting to halt this catastrophy that are still consuming animals and their by-products they should switch to being Vegan. As Vegans its not perfect and we still need to do all the other things that is required but being Vegan instantly helps not only the animals that are having their lives robbed but also helping halt this crisis we face by not paying for animal agriculture to exists and wrecking our planet.

  • Heading for extinction
    What a load of Bullshit

  • Acknowledging that it is too late, at least without massive geoengineering, is not "doom-mongering" and saying that nobody predicted this is factually incorrect. We all know that it' is no longer possible to have economic growth on a finite planet and therefore no longer possible to have capitalism, there will be no progress without politics. I'm disappointed.

  • Strange. Spoke with Emily 'I'm a climate change scientist' yesterday and she knows that 2 degrees C is locked in….agreed when I pointed this out. Also strange that she's talking about the extinction of species in the future, rather than as something that's been going on for decades. The animal death industry is the major cause of biodiversity loss, and a major (if not the major cause) of catastrophic climate breakdown. I'm not sure what the point of this video is. Citing WW2 as a role model of 'pulling together' conveniently leaves out the role of government propaganda and the role of corporate players and geopolitics.

  • Fantastic video, a good one to share with non believer's.
    It would actually make them think about what XR is really trying to do and tells it like it is!
    Please share and get this message out their!!!!

  • Too late. Guy McPherson is right. The methane dragon has been unleashed, which should be the final nail in the coffin since humans have done nothing in the 30 years we have known about the problem and won’t even knowing what you just pointed out. Enjoy the moment. Time is short. Peace.

  • Dr Cox, you know It's too late this is all just wishy thinking to make us feel better.

  • Every reasonable, intelligent, adult on this planet should feel very disappointed that CHILDREN have to skip school to take up this fight. It's time more PARENTS go out to demand a liveable planet for their children!

  • Brilliant talk. Very clear and articulate and excellent video clips. We all need to act now. We have to get out of our comfort zone to protest and make a fuss, non violently. I am very proud to be a member of XR.

  • This is about Socialism over Capitalism. Propaganda revolution with no alternative solutions. If you don't like the Capitalist system, then try North Korea or Russia and see what victimisation, persecution and poverty are like under your precious Socialist ideology. Orwell's 1984 is so relevant. I don't expect a reply because free speech is no longer recognised. If it's not the accepted line, then it is ignored, with no logical argument offered in return. The benefits of Capitalism with the ideals of socialism, can't have them both.

  • She does enjoy using the proverbial "we" a lot. The main issue is obviously having children. Only this bunch of pussies would sooner blame anything else. Yes it's pretty worrying, but scaremongering your kids into apocalyptic neurosis when they shouldn't be all that bothered unless they spawn is pretty shameful.
    To breed or not to breed. If not, don't believe their hype kids. Enjoy the ride. Peace.

  • Dr. Emily Cox — “Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”

    We humans are nature… We have a fight between humans on, to do or not to do … fight if you like that the nature of things — just try not to become sorrowful —- no matter which — remember life finds away

  • Instead of converging into London why don't you try do something useful to the environment by going into the countryside around London and plant a million trees you will do more for climate change then blocking London as the next day the pollution spike triples as they have to use diesel operated cleaning machines to clean your mess up. So before you spout your tripe maybe practice what you preach instead of making matters worse

  • Thank you for this wonderful, touching, powerful talk. Very clearly stated and inspiring!

  • Wheat prices are rising. Corn prices are falling.

  • Dr. Guy McPherson Emeritus Professor of Natural Resources and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, (with 500 peer reviewed papers published), maintains that humankind faces near term extinction by 2030. Everything he has predicted over the last fifteen years has come to pass. Check him out, but only if you are mentally robust enough to accept what is about to befall you. Enjoy!

  • my grandkids think its normal to dump most items that die after a couple of yrs and replace it with more economically planned obsolescence , i feel that asia,s manufacturing pollution could be HALVED if we were given the option of purchasing robust long lasting products ! IF WE,RE HEADING FOR AN ECONOMIC CRASH IT MAY AS WELL START HERE ! EH ?

  • Ten years after her phd, climate not getting worse, it is very stable and no evidence what she says is actually happening. Laughable.

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