In the movie Don't Look Up, humanity dithers when faced with an extinction-level threat from a comet and is wiped out. Designed explicitly as an analogy for what the moviemakers see as our collective lack of response to the existential risk of climate change, how accurate is this comparison? Mark Lynas, the climate author who has recently released an updated version of his award-winning book Six Degrees, reviews the latest evidence as to whether climate breakdown can be considered a planetary-scale extinction threat and whether human civilisation or even humanity as a species it significantly at risk this century.
Mark Lynas is the author of several books on the environment, including High Tide, Six Degrees, The God Species, Nuclear 2.0 and Seeds of Science. His most recent publication, in June 2020, was ‘Our Final Warning: Six Degrees of Climate Emergency’. This is an entirely new update of the original 2007 Six Degrees which won the prestigious Royal Society science books prize. The original Six Degrees was translated into 22 languages and was also adapted into a documentary broadcast on the National Geographic Channel. He also received the Breakthrough Paradigm Award in 2012.He advises former Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed on climate, and works with the 48-member Climate Vulnerable Forum in this capacity. Mark is currently a visiting fellow with the Cornell Alliance for Science at Cornell University, which engages in pro-science advocacy and research around the world on issues ranging from GMOs to vaccines to climate. He has written for numerous publications, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian and CNN.com.