In a World on Fire, Stop Burning Things

Extended members-only version free to read for everyone!

This is David, your diligent curator, and you're reading the Weekly Filet for another carefully curated set of the best things to read, watch and listen to. It's great to have you.

This week, the extended version of the newsletter — usually reserved for paying members — is free to read for everyone. This is thanks to Important, Not Important who are sponsoring this issue.

It's a great newsletter that brings you science news, analysis, and action steps you need to feel better and make change. It's «science for people who give a shit.»

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Now, let's get right to this week's recommendations.


1. In a World on Fire, Stop Burning Things

Every once in a while, there's an article that doesn't say anything new, but pulls together everything that's known in a way that affords clarity (in this case, aided by the perfect title). So, if you read only one thing this week, make it this one by Bill McKibben. If you don't have time for the entire piece, take away this key point: «As of 2022, [the task of abolishing fossil fuels] is both possible and affordable. We have the technology necessary to move fast, and deploying it will save us money.» Plus this mind-blowing fact: «Roughly forty per cent of the cargo carried by ocean-going ships is coal, gas, oil, and wood pellets—a never-ending stream of vessels crammed full of stuff to burn.»‌

In a World on Fire, Stop Burning Things
The truth is new and counterintuitive: we have the technology necessary to rapidly ditch fossil fuels.

2. Ukraine invasion has revealed a new world disorder

A perspective from India: «An America understandably losing capital outside the West because of its hypocrisy, a Europe still speaking in forked tongues, a Russia that would rather see the world and its own citizens suffer, and India and China using western hypocrisy as a cover for displaying an outright cynicism is not a good portent for a world order

Clipping of Indian Express - Delhi
Dated 23 Mar 2022

3. 50 Ideas That Changed My Life

Ignore the title (and the teaser image, while you're at it) — there are a lot of useful concepts in this lists. Some of which you will recognise, some you'll hear for the first time. Among my favourites:

  • Gall’s Law: A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked.
  • The Paradox of Consensus: Under ancient Jewish law, if a suspect was found guilty by every judge, they were deemed innocent.
50 Ideas That Changed My Life - David Perell
David shares 50 ideas that changed his life. Read here.

4. Ukraine Must Win

It might seem self-evident that in a war like this one you root for the attacked country to prevail. However, as this seemed too unrealistic an outcome, many outside the Ukraine had (secretly or not so secretly) hoped for a quick end to the war. Anne Appelbaum makes the case why an outright victory of Ukraine can be the only desirable outcome. She leaves open a lot of questions on how exactly that could be achieved, and what it would mean for Putin and Russia, but the clarity about the goal is helpful.‌

Ukraine Must Win
Ukrainians and the world’s democratic powers must work toward the only acceptable endgame.

5. ​​Energy prices skyrocket in Europe – policymakers must now set the incentives right for the climate

The war in Ukraine has sent prices for oil and gas skywards — that's a good thing for renewables as a (now: much) cheaper alternative. Well, not necessarily. I like how this piece reminds us that effects in complex systems are never clear-cut and that there are often second-order effects that change the entire picture

Energy prices skyrocket in Europe – policymakers must now set the incentives right for the climate
Carbon prices are a key policy instrument to make real costs visible. By paying attention to the price path over time, policymakers can contain the political fallout from increasing carbon prices and safeguard the energy transition.

What else?


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Have a nice weekend. See you next Friday!‌‌‌‌
— David 👋

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