Angela Blanchard
2 min readAug 13, 2021


Can we please have some Climate Realism?

“Immediate complete annihilation of the fossil fuel industry is the only answer” from one climate activist.

Here’s my take.

“Immediate complete annihilation” of the fossil fuel industry would be the only path to doom faster and more brutal than the path we are now on.

We have created a worldwide fossil fuel dependent civilization. Your entire way of life is fossil fuel dependent. Period.

Perhaps it has been the worst mistake our brave little species has ever made but we made those choices a long while back.

Now what? The toughest question we’ve ever faced.

I’m really sick and tired of idiotic answers. We are desperate for some climate realism.

Here’s some. Millions of people will be (are) displaced. Will flee out of desperation. (Already are) Wide swaths of currently habitable land will be uninhabitable. Every country will be affected. (Already) Every major city impacted. (Already) What we think of as “emergencies” now will be commonplace and unrelenting. (Already). Too late.

I spend my time studying the best ways to deal with the unthinkable because it must become thinkable if we are to have even a pretense of preparation. (Those billionaires buying bunkers and flyover country farmland, aren’t buying it for their entertainment l or for you and me. Their self preservation instincts are very finely tuned.)

We are not going to give up fossil fuels overnight or within the timeframes activists argue as necessary to avert the worst. Not going to happen.

Because there is another kind of worst. And while weather feels beyond our control, this fossil fuel substance that makes possible everything we eat, drink, build, use for health — well — we control that and we don’t want to live without it. Your clothing, home, communications, bicycle, vaccine, inhaler, respirator, gym clothes, sunblock, water supply, — thank petrochem.

Give it all up?

Naked and afraid is not what we’re aiming for. I find it hard to demonize an entire industry devoted to providing what I keep using. All day. Every day.

I am not advocating a position here. I’m calling attention to the actual positions we are collectively taking.

We desperately need to shift our uses, change our way of life — but that fossil fuel ship has sailed and turning it is a dangerously slow process. There will be suffering. There is. Already.

Climate Realism

I’ve been putting plans together for a small conference. With colleagues at a university. A Climate Realism exchange between climate activists, energy sector professionals and humanitarian disaster responders. Because some of us really want to face reality. And try to come to terms with what’s happening ALEADY. And small tables matter.

Feel free to scream and shout at me below. On your petrochem enabled device…

Angela Blanchard

Out to Change the World. Born for Storms. Senior Fellow Watson Institute Brown University President Emerita BakerRipley @cajunangela