Behind Paul McCartney’s Fight Against Climate Change–and a Certain President–”Despite Repeated Warnings”

“There was a president named Trump who thought that climate change was a hoax,” Paul McCartney wrote in his book, The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present. “Sadly, he was not the only one to ignore this existential threat. I recall reading a newspaper article in Japan that stated, ‘Nobody’s doing anything about it, despite repeated warnings.’ I liked that phrase.”

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McCartney’s love of the phrase was eventually translated into a song of the same name, released in 2018. The powerful and direct lyrics link former President Trump to the disregard for climate change. McCartney doesn’t pull a single punch throughout this track.

[RELATED: Live and Let Cry: 3 Songs That Brought Tears to Paul McCartney’s Eyes]

Despite repeated warnings
Our danger’s up ahead
The captain won’t be listening
To what’s been said

It feels that there’s a good chance
That we have been misled
And so the captain’s planning
To steam ahead

“The whole climate change issue is hardly new,” McCartney continued. “As for the larger picture, we’re faced with the political situation, particularly in the US, where a braggart has been in charge…He’s shouting the loudest.”

In his book, he reckons with the question, “How can a person get away with some of the things he says?” He relays many of his own, similar questions in the chorus of this song.

What can we do?
What can we do?
What can we do to stop
This foolish plan going through
What can we do?
What can we do?
This band is ’bout to lose his ship and his crew

Like many of McCartney’s best songs, “Despite Repeated Warnings” goes through some changes. The sweeping musicality helps to drive home the severity of McCartney’s words. Toward the end of the song, McCartney’s tone changes from condemnation to hopefulness–a reflection of his opinion on the fate of the world.

“The climate crises is rightly a huge concern amongst [the younger generation],” McCartney wrote. “So, maybe those repeated warnings are starting to get through.”

Revisit this track, below.

(Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

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