Episode 45: A Climate Change Christmas Special with Ernst Jan Kuiper

Climate change podcast episode

Welcome back to another exciting episode of The Struggling Scientists. In this special Christmas edition, we dive deep into the pressing issue of climate change with our guest, Ernst Jan Kuiper. Get ready for a thought-provoking conversation that’ll have you reevaluating our approach to tackling this global challenge. Here are the topics we discuss:

1. Climate Change Efforts:

We kick off the episode by exploring the various methods that have been attempted to address climate change. From signing petitions to legal climate marches, voting for green parties to appealing to people in power, scientists and activists have been pulling out all the stops for the past 30 years. Unfortunately, these efforts have fallen short in bringing about significant change.

2. Nonviolent Civil Disobedience:

As we grapple with the limited success of conventional methods, Ernst Jan Kuiper suggests the adoption of nonviolent civil disobedience as a possible avenue for raising awareness and sparking public discussion. This approach, inspired by successful movements like the suffragettes, the LGBTQ+ community, and Martin Luther King, has historically driven societal change. Why haven’t we employed these tactics earlier to address climate change?

3. The Dilemma of Negative Emission Technologies:

We delve into the current plan of relying on negative emission technologies to combat climate change. On the surface, it seems like a promising solution to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. However, there are concerns about the ethical implications and burdens placed on future generations. The reliance on technologies that do not yet exist is a cause for alarm as well.

4. The Urgency of Climate Change:

Ernst Jan Kuiper emphasizes the urgency of climate change and reveals the need for scientists to become activists. He encourages scientists to join radical groups, give talks, and promote renewable energy cooperations to create a more just world. Individual actions, like reducing our carbon footprint or changing our dietary habits, are important, but the focus should be on systemic change and inspiring others.

5. The Carbon Budget and Tipping Points:

We discuss the concept of the carbon budget, which refers to the amount of CO2 emissions that can still be emitted before reaching a certain temperature increase. Currently, we’re emitting over 40 gigatons of CO2 per year, and if we continue at this rate, we will exceed the 1.5-degree increase by the end of the decade. This will lead to irreversible consequences, such as the loss of coral reefs and the collapse of ice sheets. The higher the temperature increase, the greater the risk of triggering additional tipping points.


As we wrap up this Christmas special, it’s clear that the fight against climate change requires us all to step up and take action. It’s not enough to rely solely on governments or technology to solve this crisis. Scientists like Ernst Jan Kuiper are paving the way by advocating for nonviolent civil disobedience and urging their peers to become activists. The urgency of the situation demands immediate systemic change and a collective effort to protect our planet.

Remember, each of us has a role to play, whether it’s through supporting climate activism, reducing our carbon footprint, or educating others about the importance of sustainability. Let’s come together and create a future where our planet thrives, not just for us, but for generations to come.


Tune in next time to The Struggling Scientists for more captivating discussions and insights into the world of science. Until then, keep questioning, keep exploring, and keep fighting for a better world. Happy holidays, everyone!

If you would like to follow Ernst-Jan Kuiper on LinkedIn you can do so here.

Ernst-Jan Kuiper

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