Convincing the Climate Change Skeptics

Almost any scientist looking at a new idea views it with deep skepticism and doubts it, and that skepticism is only overcome by a consistent preponderance of evidence that keeps supporting the idea that that might be important – that global climate change driven by humans might actually be occurring. As that evidence has been accumulated, skeptic after skeptic among the scientists have decided, "Well, I'd better pay more attention to this." The physics of this is much more well understood. The models that incorporate all of our known aspects of physics and atmospheric chemistry and and climatology and so on, all predict that what we're doing is going to lead to climate change. All these bits of evidence keep falling into place. They all keep saying, "Gee, we'd better pay more attention to this global climate change idea," because when we look at some data that maybe would have rejected it, it doesn't. It supports that idea. I guess what I would say is that the idea is so real now.

There have been so many attempts to test it, so many attempts to reject the idea that we might be causing climate change which have not been successful, which keep supporting that hypothesis. I think it is now incumbent upon us to take it seriously and to do things to help slow the rate of climate change and hopefully stop it. If we find out in the long-term that climate change is not going to happen, we won't have done much to harm ourselves. But if we don't act now, we could have a runaway climate change that could basically greatly decrease the livability of the earth. The science is now solid enough that any reasonable person examining the scientific evidence would decide, "We have to pay attention to it. It's time to have some action.".

7 CRAZY Recent Breakthroughs in SCIENCE in 2017

For all those celebrity deaths and insane political shenanigans, 2016 actually gave us some pretty weird scientific developments too. From batteries that run on pee through to the world’s first three parent baby, it was a pretty nutso year. But if January’s developments are anything to go by then 2017 is gonna be even weirder, because in the past month we’ve seen a human pig hybrid, a skin printing machine and the potential discovery of a material theorised over a hundred years ago. This is is our list of seven crazy recent scientific breakthroughs. Number 7: Skin on Demand Making your own human skin suit is tough work these days, what with all the DNA to clear up, the funny looks at the dry cleaners, not to mention the kerfuffle in constructing a watertight alibi to fool the Feds. But thanks to a group of Spanish scientists this problem no longer exists, as they’ve developed the world’s first 3D bioprinter capable of producing fully-functional human skin.

This printer was the result of collaboration between the University Carlos the Third de Madrid and the less flamboyantly named BioDan Group who specialise in regenerative medicines. Their material mimics the structure of skin using a layer of collagen-producing fibroblasts, and it’s so close to the real thing it can be used in a wide range of fields, such as testing cosmetics, creating android epidermis, covering human skin loss, and of course the creation of a snappy little waistcoat for daddy. Number 6: Pig Man In the real-life sequel to Babe nobody wanted or asked for, researchers at California’s Salk Institute announced in late January the successful creation of a human-pig hybrid in the laboratory. Now I’m not sure making a creature that’s addicted to eating strips of its own buttocks is something I’d refer to as a success, but that’s because Johnny Cynical over here doesn’t understand the ramifications of this amazing development. The point of creating a human-pig chimera wasn’t to exhibit it in some circus freak-show; it was to provide a potential new source of human organs for transplant. In this experiment, pig embryos were injected with human cells to see if they could survive, and now that we know they can, we think it may eventually be possible to grow human organs inside animals to make up the organ donor shortfall.

Wow, meat, milk, skin and now organs? Thanks animals, you do a lot for us. Those damn vegetables have got a lot of catching up to do, haven’t you Mr Aubergine. Number 5: A Fitting End To Fillings I hate going to the dentist, which is why I’ve pulled out all of my own teeth and now I pay strangers to chew my food for me. But if you still own all your original chompers then a trip to the mouth doctor may soon be a lot less painful, thanks to a strange discovery made just a few weeks back. Researchers at King’s College London found that a drug used to help treat Alzheimers has a nifty little side effect, namely, it can encourage your teeth to repair themselves. Your teeth already do this on their own using dentine, but they don’t produce enough to fill large holes or cracks. However, with a kick up the pants from a drug called Tideglusib an enzyme which prevents dentine formation is turned off, and damage can be repaired naturally within as little as six weeks. I mean, that sounds great and all, but it’s not as much fun as paying a guy down the bus station to spit up food in your mouth like a little baby bird. Number 4: A New Type of Life Ever wonder why the movie Gattaca was called Gattaca? It’s because the letters G, T, A and C are the initials of the four natural bases, Guanine, Thymine, Cytosine and Adenine.

These pair up to form the base pairs of the DNA ladder, and different arrangements of these pairs create different lifeforms when arranged together. Everything from bacteria and baboons through to people and Penelope Cruz – who is not a person, she is a Goddess – everything is based on just four natural bases; until some crazy scientists decided to add two more. On 23rd January 2017, Researchers at The Scripps Research Institute announced the creation of an organism which held two artificial bases within its genetic code, making it the world’s first semi-synthetic organism. Such a development has many possible applications, including the creation of organisms tailored to fight certain diseases. But right now I’m more worried about the title of that movie. Gaxyttaxcy? Xygattyaxca? It’s like they didn’t even think about the ramifications of what they were doing to Ethan Hawke’s finest work? Number 3: An End to Old Age? In another piece of scientific razzle dazzle from the guys and girls at the Scripps Research Institute, we may have just made one of the key discoveries in the fight against cancer and aging.

In Mid-January a protein was identified which is responsible for determining the length of your telomeres, which is important, as this in turn dictates how quickly your cells age and whether they’re likely to mutate into cancer. Telomeres are like your cell’s little clocks, and this protein named TZAP could be seen as some form of battery, determining how long the clock runs for. If we can stretch your telomeres we may be able to delay the aging process, but if they’re unnaturally long they then begin to pose an increased cancer risk. It’s like riding a see saw with whirring blades above and a pit of sex-raptors beneath you – you wanna aim for somewhere in the middle. Thankfully, TZAP naturally prevents your telomeres growing too much by trimming them to keep them nice and short, and a further understanding of how they do this could help us get rid of tumours and wrinkles all at once.

Awesome, those are two of the top three things I hate the most…along with sex-raptors of course. Number 2: Hot Damn Did you know that the Red Hot Chili Peppers can reduce your chances of death? Unfortunately we’re talking about the food and not those delightful LA funk-monkeys, but that’s not gonna stop me using a bazillion song-title puns in this entry. So how does it work? Tell me baby. Well if you listen to me for One Hot Minute I will. Researchers at the Larner College of Medicine in Vermont used data taken from 16,000 Americans over 23 years, and they discovered that those who Dosed their food with spicy chilies enjoyed a 13% reduction in mortality rates from heart disease and stroke. Obviously you Can’t Stop death forever, because passing over to the Otherside is inevitable. But even if you survive a stroke you can be left in a seriously debilitating condition, as each one leaves Scar Tissue on your brain which can trigger seizures, leaving your life’s Fortune Faded. So the knowledge that we can reduce strokes and heart attacks is clearly no Minor Thing.

By The Way, this revelation is old news to some, as historically, many people Around The World already believed that spices contains mystical healing properties. But this is the first time it’s been confirmed scientifically. And do you know who’s excited about this the most? Me and my me and my me and my me and my me and my friends. We love spicy food. Number 1: Metallic hydrogen The existence of a metallic form of hydrogen was first theorised in 1935 by Eugene Wigner and Hillard Bell Huntington, with the knowledge that if the lightest of all elements could be turned into a metal it would prove to be a revolutionary breakthrough for technology. Super-efficient vehicles, improved electricity grids, stupidly fast computers and even space-faring craft are just some of the possible applications for metallic hydrogen, so you can understand why the scientific community collectively soiled itself on January 27th 2017, when one group of Harvard scientists claim they’d managed to create some.

Their experiment used two diamonds to crush liquid hydrogen at a temperature far below freezing point, because the pressure needed to create this substance is greater than you’d find at the centre of the Earth. The metallic hydrogen is still stuck between the two diamonds at the time of writing, as it must be released gradually to see if it can exist in a stable form at room temperature, so it remains to be seen whether this potentially ground-breaking material actually can be used with purpose. And furthermore, some physicists doubt whether the results of this experiment even prove anything at all, saying that further evidence needs to be submitted to give this discovery credence. But I guess we’ll find out soon enough if those naughty boys are telling porky pies or not. So that’s our list, but if you’re after more science-based intrigue of a different flavour, why not check out our recent video on the seven most devastating things mankind could discover, because these are the kind of breakthroughs you better hope we never make in our lifetimes.

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Do the Math – The Movie

Like most people, I'm not an activist by nature. There's really not that many people whose greatest desire it to go out and fight the system. My theory of change was I'll write my book, people will read it and they'll change. But that's not how change happens. So I've been kind of forced to go against my sense of who I am most comfortable being. It seems like it's the things that's required now and I think it's probably required that an awful lot of us doing things that are a little hard for us, make a little noise, be a little uncomfortable, push other people to be a little uncomfortable. This is really the fight of our time. It's official: 2012 was the hottest year in the United States since weather scientists started keeping records. 2012 was not only the warmest year on record, but also the second most extreme, featuring tornadoes, wild fires, a massive drought. Rising seas due to climate change. Heat trapping gases from burning oil, coal and gas.

10.9 billion dollars in profits, people look at this and say that's a world turned upside down. Listening to your testimony makes me even more convinced that we need to act to prevent cataclysmic climate change. BP cut corner after corner and now the whole gulf coast is paying the price. How can you justify the record profits you're making? Well our business is one of very large numbers. Okay, let's bring out Bill, he's an environmentalism and president and co-founder of 350.org. And my guest Bill McKibben, our nation's leading environmentalist. We started this thing called 350.org. We're going out and building the kind of political movement that will change things. We just announced this road show out across the country to really try take it at the fossil fuel industry. People are just lining up to try and get involved in this fight. Well, thank you all, thank you all so much for being here today. It is a great pleasure for me to get to be here tonight and one of the gifts for me of these last few months was getting, tiring as it was in a sense, to travel around the country. And one of the things that was great was just being reminded was what an incredibly beautiful place this is.

You know, we got to Denver and it was gorgeous but the air was full of smoke from fires still burning in December after the biggest fire season ever and we got through this gorgeous farmland, much of it still-60% of it still in a federally declared drought. But it's also worth just saying that it's a terrible thing to take a world this beautiful and, for the sake of outsized profits for a few people for a little while, lay it to waste. Tonight's the start of the last campaign I may really get to fight. Not 'cause I'm getting tired but because the planet's getting tired. In the world that we've built where our institutions aren't working the way they should, we have to do more than we should. That news doesn't depress me. In a sense it excites me, because I think we know what we need to do. I think we've peeled away the layers of the onion. We've got to the very heart of things.

As of tonight, we're taking on the fossil fuel industry directly. The moment has come where we have to take a real stance, we're reaching limits. The biggest limit that we're running into may be that we're running our of atmosphere into which to put the waste products of our society, particularly the carbon dioxide that is the ubiquitous biproduct of burning fossil fuels. You burn coal or oil or gas, you get CO2 and the atmosphere is now filling up with it. We know what the solutions for dealing with this trouble are, many of the technologies we need to get off fossil fuel and onto something else. The thing that is preventing us from doing it is the enormous political power wielded by those who have made and are making vast windfall profits off of fossil fuels. Well, there have been a lot of efforts by scientists to try to estimate whether we are living sustainably in the sense of whether we're consuming planetary resources at a rate that can be continued. The threat that this combination that climate change, water shortages, food shortages and rising energy prices is enormously troubling to anyone who's aware of the data and the way these issues could play out.

You can't keep increasing your economy infinitely on a finite planet. One of the things that humanity is facing is the need to dramatically reduce its carbon footprint over the next 40 years. And we're talking in the wealthy countries about 80 to 90% reductions. We're no longer at the point of trying to stop global warming. Too late for that. We're at the point of trying to keep it from becoming a complete and utter calamity. We shouldn't have to be here tonight. If the world worked in a kind of rational way, we shouldn't have to be here. 25 years ago our scientists started telling us about climate change. I played my small role in that by writing the first book about all this in 1989 for a general audience, a book called The End of Nature. If the world worked as it should, our leaders would have heeded those warning, gone to work, done the sensible things that at the time would have been enough to get us a long way to where we needed to go.

They didn't. And that's why we're in the fix we're in. This is the biggest emergency the human family has faced since it came out of the caves. There is nothing bigger. All these issues matter: immigration and health care and education. But this one is really about the physical change of the planet. We all have been saying we need to save the planet. But as I think about it, the planet's going to be around for some time to come. What's at stake now is civilization itself. Our most important climatologist, Jim Hansen, has his team at NASA do a study to figure out how much carbon in the atmosphere was too much. The paper they published may be the most important scientific paper of the millenium to date, said we now know enough to know how much is too much. Any value for carbon in the atmosphere greater than 350 parts per million is not compatible with the planet on which civilization developed and to which life on earth is adapted.

That's pretty strong language for scientists to use. Stronger still if you know that outside today, the atmosphere is 395 parts per million CO2. And rising at about 2 parts per million per year. Everything frozen on earth is melting. The great ice sheet of the arctic is reduced by more than half, the oceans are about 30% more acidic than they were 30 years ago because the chemistry of sea water changes as it absorbs carbon from the atmosphere. And because warm air holds more water vapor than cold, the atmosphere is about 5% wetter than it was 40 years ago. That's an astonishingly large change. There's more energy coming in and being absorbed by the earth than there is heat being radiated to space, which is exactly what we expected because as we add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, it traps heat. Now we can measure that and that's the basis by which we can prove that the human made impacts on atmospheric composition are the primary cause of the climate change that we're observing. So let's get to work. We're calling this Do the Math and we're gonna do some math for a moment. Just three numbers, okay? I wrote about them in a piece last summer for Rolling Stone.

A piece that went oddly viral. It was the issue with Justin Bieber on the cover, but here's the strange thing: The next day I got a call from the editor saying, "Your piece has gotten ten times more likes on Facebook than Justin Bieber's." Some of that is doubtless the result of my sort of soulful stare, you know. But mostly it's because we managed to just kind of lay out this math in a very straight forward way that people needed to understand as we were going through what turned out to be the hottest year that America has ever experienced. Before we get to those three numbers, here's where we are so far: We've burned enough coal and gas and oil to raise the temperature of the earth one degree. What has that done? There was a day last September when the headline in the paper was "Half the Polar Ice Cap is missing." Literally. I mean if Neil Armstrong were up on the moon today, he'd look down and see half as much area of ice in the arctic. We've taken one of the largest physical features on earth and we have broken it. Shall we work through the numbers? There are three, and they're easy.

The first one's 2 degrees. That's how much the world has said it would be safe to let the planet warm. In political terms, it's the only thing that anybody's agreed to. Some of you may remember that climate summit in Copenhagen. There was only one number in the final two page voluntary accord that people signed. Only one number in it: 2 degrees. Every signatory pledged to make sure the temperature wouldn't rise about that. The EU, Japan, Russia, China, countries that make their money selling oil like the United Arab Emirates, the most conservative, recalcitrant, reluctant countries on earth. Even the United States. If the world officially believes anything about climate changes it's that 2 degrees is too much. Second number that scientists have calculated is how much carbon we can pour into the atmosphere and have a reasonable chance of staying below two degrees. They say about 565 more gigatons. A gigaton is a billion tons.

That's not a perfect chance, that's worse odds than Russian roulette, you know. Sounds like is should – it is a lot, 565 billions tons of CO2. The problem is we pour 30 billion tons a year now and it goes up 3% a year. Do the math and it's about 15 years before go past that threshold. So that's sobering news. But the scary number is the third number. The third number was the important one and the new one and it came from a team of financial analysts in the United Kingdom. And what they did was sit down with all the annual reports and SEC filings and things to figure out how much carbon the world's fossil fuel industry, how much they had already in their reserves and that number turned out to be 2795 gigatons worth of carbon. Five times as much as the most conservative governments on earth think would be safe to pour into the atmosphere. It's not even close. I mean, it's five times more.

Once you know that number, then you understand the essence of this problem. What the fossil fuel industry is doing is locking us into a future that we can't survive, that humanity cannot survive. And we know this because just at the end of 2012 we heard this from three different conservative sources simultaneously: The World Bank, The International Energy Agency, Price Waterhouse Cooper, hardly a hippy outfit. All told us that if we do nothing but more of the same, if we dig up those reserves, we are headed toward 4-6 degrees warming celsius. These numbers show, and I want to be absolutely clear here, these companies are a rogue force, they're outlaws. They're not outlaws against the laws of the state.

They get to write those for the most part. But they're outlaw against the laws of physics. If they carry out their business plan, the planet tanks. We have all the engineers and entrepreneurs we need. The thing that's hold us back above all else is the simple fact that the fossil fuel industry cheats. Alone among industries, they're allowed to pour out their waste for free. Nobody should be able to pollute for free. You can't, I can't. We can't walk out of here and go litter for free. If you do, you get a fine. If you run a small business, you can't just dump the garbage in the road, you've got to pay to have it hauled away or you get a fine. The only people who can pollute for free are these megapolluters when it comes to carbon: big oil, big coal. If you get a $25 fine for littering, you're going to pay $25 more than all of the industrial polluters have ever paid in 150 years for the carbon they've been dumping. That's how whack this whole thing is.

It's almost how we define civilization. You pick up after yourself unless you're the fossil fuel industry. Then you pour that carbon into the atmosphere for free and that is the advantage that keeps us from getting renewable energy at the pace that we need. We should internalize that externality. The only reason we haven't is because it would impair somewhat the record profitability of the fossil fuel industry and so they have battled at every turn to keep it from happening. These are rogue companies now. Once upon a time, they performed a useful social function. For a long time, the US's engine was fossil fuels like oil and coal to power trains, to power cars, to power industry. In the mid 1900's we realized there were consequences. If you look at industries like coal now, we just did a report with Harvard Medical School that showed that if they actually paid for what they're doing to us, what we're paying indirectly for that electricity, coal would cost anywhere from 3 to far more times their current cost.

They would be out of business and that is just, financially and morally, bankrupt. When a utility burns coal, it is the cheapest source of fuel, but they're not paying the full price. The externalities, the additional costs to society, to human health, to the environment, are not factored in as a cost of doing business. We subsidize the fossil fuel industries. We are paying them to continue to keep polluting and this means all kinds of things: it's tax breaks, it's loans, it's the fact that armies protect their pipelines and protect their trade routes. You're helping them stay on top and preventing their competitors like renewable fuels from competing. What we need is a level playing field. We could be using that public money, tax-payer money, to make the shift to green energy. Occasionally they will pretend to be seeing the light.

Ten years ago, BP announced that their initials now stand for Beyond Petroleum and they got a new logo and put some solar panels on some gas stations and they invested a tiny bit of money, a pittance in solar and wind research. Even that proved too much, three years ago they sold off those divisions and said that from now on they were going to concentrate on their core business. Which turned out to be basically wrecking the Gulf of Mexico. Why are they so fixated on hydrocarbons? Because these are the most profitable enterprises in human history. The top five oil companies last year made 137 billion dollars. That's 375 million dollars every day. That's a lot of money. They got 6.6 million dollars in federal tax breaks daily. They spent $440,000 a day lobbying congress.

Rex Tillerson, the head of Exxon, made $100,000 a day. Which, by the way, one of my favorite talking points is that climate scientists make up their findings because they're in it for the grant money, okay. The only problem that these companies have now is that the scientists are watching in real time while they pull off this heist and it's getting harder to deny. In fact, they're being to kind of admit what's going on. Last summer, for the very first time, the CEO of Exxon, Mr. Tillerson gave a speech in which he said, yes, it's true. Global warming exists. Clearly there's gonna be an impact so I'm not disputing that increasing CO2 emissions is going to have an impact. It'll have a warming impact. But since the only way to stop that would be to take a hit to the company's profitability, he immediately tried to change the subject.

It's an engineering problem and it has engineering solutions. Really? What kind of engineering solutions were you thinking? Changes to weather patterns that move crop production areas around, we'll adapt to that. Look, I mean all respect, but that's crazy talk. We can't move crop production areas around, okay. Crop production areas are what people in Vermont refer to as farms, okay. We already have farms every where that there is decent soil on earth. It is true that Exxon has done all it can to melt the tundra, but that does not mean that you can just move Iowa up there and start over again. There is no soil. If fossil fuel companies want to change, here's how we'd know they're serious: One, they'd need to stop lobbying in Washington. Two, they'd need to stop exploring for new hydrocarbons. The first rule of holes is that when you are in one, stop digging, okay.

And the third thing they'd need to do is go to work with the rest of us to figure out the plan where they turn themselves into energy companies, not fossil fuel companies and figure out with the rest of us how to keep 80% of those reserves underground. The thing that really does make this almost pathological is the fact that when we already have almost five times as much carbon as we can possibly burn, I mean Exxon alone: 100 million dollars a day exploring for new hydrocarbons. By this point we're scraping the bottom of the barrel. I mean we're in tar sands, we're doing shale oil, we're doing fracking, we're doing mountain top removal, we're doing deep sea drilling, we're taking apart the earth to look for the last bits of gas and oil and coal. I find that when I get depressed, the best antidote by far is action and I think that that's true for most people.

The problem with climate change is that it seems too big for any of us ourselves to take on. And ideed it is. It's only when we're working with other people, as many other people as possible, that we have any hope. So that's why I spend my time trying to build movements. I think it's the only chance we've got. Anybody can get involved. There's always stuff to be done and more of it all the time. That's what movements look like. We started 350.org in 2008 and when I say we I mean me and seven undergraduates at Middlebury College. We had the deep desire to try and do some global organizing about the first really global problem this planet's ever faced. And we spread out around the planet and for the next year or so we found people all over this earth who wanted to work with us. We asked them all to take one day and this was our first big day of action was in the fall of 2009. We said, Will you all join us for one day? Will you do something on that day to take this most important number, 350, and drive it into the information bloodstream of the planet? For the next 48 hours, pictures just poured in many a minute.

Before it was over, there'd been 5200 demonstrations in 181 countries. CNN called it the most widespread day of political activity in the planet's history. Cities across the globe have gathered today to rally for solutions to climate change. Locations around the globe. Hundreds of environment campaigners gathered in Edinborgh today. So we've gone on since then to do more of these big days of action. We work in every country but North Korea. We have had about 20,000 rallies or so. And we've gone on to do more direct things: spearhead the fight against the Keystone Pipeline, organize the largest civil disobedience action in thirty years. Now the high stakes battle over whether the Obama administration should approve a major oil pipeline bisecting the US. It would transfer tar sands from Alberta, Canada down to the Gulf of Mexico. The type of oil the pipeline would carry is far more toxic. Among the dirtiest of all fossil fuels.

This pipeline has proven to be very controversial. To the federal government to decide whether or not to give Keystone XL the green light. Tar sands is destructive in and of itself but it's also symbolic of a way of developing, a way of growing our economy that just can't be sustained. Right now a company called TransCanada has applied to build a new pipeline to speed more oil from Cushing to state-of-the-art refineries down in the Gulf Coast and today I'm directing my administration to cut through the red tape, break through the bureaucratic hurdles and make this project a priority. August was the beginning of the people's veto of this whole proposal. We will never give up until the very idea of Keystone XL is dead and buried. Tar sands are the turning point in our fossil fuel addiction. The fundamental fact is that as long as fossil fuels are the cheapest energy, they will continue to be used. The solution is to begin to put a price on carbon emissions. We the American people should not have to sacrifice our land and water to meet TransCanada's bottom line. We stand here right now because we are at our lunch counter moment for the twenty-first century.

President Obama, do the right thing. We are at a tipping point in America's history for this environmental movement. If you are going to be risking arrest, you're going to be lining up on this sidewalk. When I saw the acts of civil disobedience in front of the White House, people saying I will not let this Keystone pipeline be built, I won't let us be committed to an energy plan based on fossil fuels. You know the people who got arrested in front of the White House, those were not all people who were all self-identified as environmentalists. Those were farmers and ranchers, those were people from indigenous communities, those were business leaders, those were grandparents and moms and dads. We're really starting to see an expansion of the group of people that are fighting this fight, but we have a lot further to go on that. I've been forced to do things I didn't imagine I'd ever do: stand up on a stage in front of thousand of people, go to jail.

We're probably not going to be able to stop them all one pipeline, one mine at a time. We're also going to have to play, you know, offense. We think one thing the fossil fuel industry cares about is money so that's what we're going to go after. You want to take away our planet and our future? We're going to try and take away your money. We're going to try and tarnish your brand. This industry has behaved so recklessly that they should lose their social license, their veneer of respectability. We need these guys to be understood as those outlaws against the laws of physics. We need to take away some of their power and there's a lot of ways we're going to do it. One tool, the first tool, is divestment. We're going to ask or demand that institutions like colleges or churches sell their stock in these companies. The logic could not be simpler: If it's wrong to wreck the climate, it's wrong to profit from that wreckage.

That argument has worked in a big way exactly once in US history. There has been scattered violent incidence in the Athlone mixed race neighborhood. Authorities returned fire without warning. Organized, vocal and committed students urge the university to divest itself of all investments in South Africa. That's what happened during the fight against South African Apartheid. At 155 colleges and universities, people convinced their boards of trustees to sell their stock. And when Nelson Mandela got out of prison, one of his first trips was to the US and he didn't go first to the White House, he went to Berkley to say thank you to the University of California students who had forced the sale of 3 billion dollars worth of Apartheid tainted stock. Here's what we demand: One, no new investments in fossil fuel companies. Two, a firm pledge over the next five years that they will wind down their current positions.

It's not unreasonable. It's hard but it's not unreasonable. I'll give you a piece of news: The first college in the country to divest all its stock from fossil fuel companies was a college in Maine called Unity College with a 13 million dollar endowment. And none of that 13 million dollars at this point is in fossil fuels any place. Divestment really in one sense was a no brainer for us. When you look at other institutions and their struggle with whether or not to divest, it really boils down to one simple thing: willingness. The mayor in Seattle, he said, I spent the afternoon with my treasurer and we're figuring out how we're going to get the city's funds out of fossil fuel companies. Welcome everyone to our event tonight: Divesting from Fossil Fuels, a conversation with students from Barnard, Columbia, the New School, NYU and Hunter College. Students are asking for divestment. The fact that we have over 250 movements on different campusus around the country means that we have severely challenged that veneer of social respectability. They understand, like the religious denominations and cities that are also doing this, they understand what those numbers mean.

It's inconsistent with the reason these institutions exist for them to continue to invest in something that is dedicated to the destruction of civilization. We're asking the administration at NYU to divest the university endowment from the fossil fuel industry. We can re-invest in our antiquated infrastructure and make our buildings more energy efficient. People are always looking for this silver bullet, instead its the silver buckshot. How this campaign fits into the greater scheme of things is that this is just one of those ways in which we can take action. These are the kind of solutions that the university should be leading on and they should be saying, we're going to take the money that's piled up in our endowment that right now is either doing nothing or doing harm and we're going to take that money away from the problem makers and give it to the problem solvers. Once you know what's evil, now if you're ignorant you get a pass, but once you know what's evil, you have a moral responsibility to withdraw your energy from it.

We are participating in the destruction of our own world even if we don't want to because the fossil fuel industry is so intertwined in so many aspects in American life. They rely on our cooperation to continue what they're doing. But what if we said no? The divestment work is a piece of that and what it does is it has the ambition of transforming hundreds, thousands of institutions in the US to be allies rather than adversaries. We, as everyday people, have so much power. If you are a member of a church, you have the ability to work with your fellow congregants to make sure your church is not investing in fossil fuel companies. If you are a student on a college campus, not only do you have the opportunity, I think you have the responsibility to work with your fellow students to make sure that your institution of higher learning is not investing its endowment in the companies that are destroying your future and this planet. We have to send a message, a very clear message, to big oil, big energy that we are going to hold them liable and we are going to divest if they won't themselves being to change.

There is nothing, and I mean nothing, radical in what we are talking about here. All we're asking for when we talk about climate change is a planet that works the way that it did for the last 10,000 years, a planet that works the way the one we were born onto works. That's not a radical demand. That's, if you think about it, a conservative demand. Radicals work at oil companies. If you wake up in the morning to make your $100,000 a day, you're willing to alter the chemical composition of the atmosphere, then you're engaged in a more radical act than anyone who ever came before you. And our job is to figure out how to check that radicalism, how to bring it to heel, how to keep it from overwhelming everything good on this planet. And here's the good news, since I've been giving you lots of bad news, here's the good news: There's plenty we can do. The long-term solution to climate change is very clear.

We need to make the leap to renewable energy and we need to do it quickly, which will be hard. It will be the hardest thing we've done since gearing up to fight World War II or something but it's by no means impossible. When I feel a little overwhelmed with all the things we need to do, I go back and re-read the economic history of World War II. It was just a matter of months, you know, from the US automobile industry producing cars to tanks and planes and ships. It didn't take decades to restructure the US industrial economy. It didn't take years. It was done in a matter of months. And if we could do that now then certainly we can restructure the world energy economy over the next decade. And it's going to require some hard choices. It's going to require a real change in how we get our energy and how we move around. But the good news is that we have the solutions. You know, we have the ways.

We know what we need to do to get to a world where we're not buring as many fossil fuels. Why would we build a thousand mile pipeline taking almost a million barrels of oil from the most carbon intensive fuel source on the planet when wind energy is a whole lot cheaper and a whole lot cleaner? Why would be drill in the arctic when we know that solar power can meet our energy needs across the country? Why would be frack our countrysides and our watersheds when we know that energy efficiency would save more energy than natural gas can provide? I think that we're coming to that point now where extreme energy sources are so bad that the questions and these challenges are going to become easier and easier. Our whole economy is going to be dependent on how we respond to this crisis. Competition between countries will be between those who will be advanced in developing the technology and who will be selling it to others or those who stay back and don't seize the opportunity. We should never underestimate our ingenuity and resolve. If those people that say we cannot do anything about this do not know who we are, do not know what we can do.

I think this is the moment where we dig deep and say okay we are ready. The solutions are in front of us and no longer in good conscience can any of us, everyday citizens, elected officials, religious leaders, stand idly by. All the big problems that we have, they all have very local solutions and finding what those solutions are actually results in a whole bunch of different benefits from an environmental standpoint, economic standpoint and social aspect. We are in a situation where we're going to have an ecologically sustainable economy for everybody or ultimately we won't have one for anybody. It's just the smart thing to do to bet on the future and to being to invest in the future. The past has a lobby and it's a well-paid lobby and it comes right out of big oil and big coal. The future doesn't have a lobby until now. We have to be as sophisticated as the system we're trying to change. The legislation that Senator Boxer and I are introducing with the support of the leading environmental organizations actually addresses the crisis. A major focus is a price on carbon and methane emissions. I think a lot of people wondered, maybe still wonder, whether our political system is up to this task.

In the largest sense, I don't know if we can win this fight. There are scientists who think we've waited too long to get started. Clearly the power on the other side is enormous. Everyone once in awhile I get discouraged. There was TV reporter who was sort of grilling me who said, Well this just seems impossible. You're up against the richest industry on earth. This just seems like one of these David and Goliath stories. What chance do you have? And I was thinking, oh, you're right, this is terrible. But then I thought, and since we're in church, maybe this is apropos, you know, I thought, I know how that David and Goliath story comes out. David wins against the odds, okay. I don't know if we're going to win, but we have a real chance. We know that civil disobedience has helped to achieve great things. It's helped secure for women the right to vote. It's helped to end segregation.

And so we know that we can't win on climate change if we continue to dither, if we continue to talk about it but not do anything. We have a moral catastrophe on our hands. We have to do this because our democracy has been subverted, our laws have been subverted. I say it's criminal. I say that not lightly. When you have no recourse in our democracy, legally or democratically, we not only have the right but we have the duty to break the law to show our discontent. As a nation, we can come together. This is not about Republican or Democrat, it's about humanity. We're connected to each other and that organizing has got to be the basis for this kind of larger fight. We're very glad to be here, some of us are especially glad to be here because we're glad to be out of jail where we spent much of yesterday in this demonstration about the Keystone pipeline and that's, of course, of the reasons Americans are descending on this city this week. Thousands of people marched past the White House and urged President Obama to take strong measures to combat climate change.

In the second high profile event organized in a week by groups including the Sierra Club and 350.org. I'm here because I have an obligation to my children, my ancestors, our future generations. If this pipeline goes through, it will be at the cost of human life. When disaster strikes, it's not going to know race, color or creed. The fossil fuel barons, their lawyers, their spindoctors are losing their grip on our countries psyche. We're not going to create the clean energy economy when one side beats the other, we're going to win when we all come together for solutions that work for all of us. And the good news is that in this country, when we finally decided that we're going to take action on a moral question at the question of who we are we tend to respond, when we respond, explosively. That is the epic struggle of this century and we're going to meet it. If we don't we won't have a twenty-second century. Whenever a great generation stands up, it stands up based on idealism. It stands up based on moral courage and that's what's happening now.

This is the last minute of the last quarter of the biggest most important game humanity have ever played. The reality of our movement is this: if we fail, the consequences are dire. None of you could be in a more important place than you are right now. Part of this battle against the very deepest problems we've ever faced, very few people on earth ever get to say, "I'm doing the most important thing I can be doing any place on the planet at this moment in time" but you guys get to say that because you are on the front lines of this all-important battle. I think we can win this fight. I think we can win it if we act as a community, if we do not do anything that would injure that community but instead build and knit that community together in a way that allows it to take powerful action. We know the end of the story. Unless we rewrite the script, it's very clear how it ends with a planet that just heats out of control. So that's our job: to rewrite the story. All I ever wanted to see was a movement of people to stop climate change and now I've seen it. Today at the biggest climate rally by far, by far, by far in US history, today I know we're going to fight the battle, the most faithful battle in human history is finally joined and we will fight it together.

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8 Negative Effects of Climate Change

Climate change is real, and it’s affecting us all. From severe heat waves to extreme flooding, here are 8 negative effects of climate change. You’d wish it was all just a hoax… Number 8: Destruction of archeological sites We often think about how changes in the climate are threatening the lives of humans, animals, and plants on the planet. But we fail to realize that it’s not only the living that are affected by climate change. In fact, archeological sites – priceless windows to our past – are suffering as well. High sea waves are hitting Easter Island, the famous site of the moai – mysterious giant head-and-torso statues built by ancient Polynesians. The platforms supporting the moai are slowly being damaged by sea water, and if this continues, the monolithic figures might fall off and end up at the bottom of the ocean one day. Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado is also at risk, and is cited as one of the places most vulnerable to climate change in the US.

There are thousands of archeological sites here, constructed by the ancient Puebloans thousands of years ago. But rising temperatures have caused frequent wildfires, and with it the destruction of rock carvings. This also causes the exposure of new sites and artifacts that become vulnerable to erosion and flooding. These are just two examples of many priceless ancient artifacts and ancient archeological sites in the world that are at risk. Archeologists seem to be in a race against time to document and protect these places before they are gone forever. Number 7: Food shortages We’ve mentioned how climate change and global warming leads to drought, deforestation, and pest infestation. All of this combined causes one major problem – it inhibits the ability of farmers to grow food. In order to grow, crops need to be on fertile land, which becomes largely unavailable due to water shortages.

Food shortages have not occurred widely yet, and international trade will likely prevent any major famine to affect us soon – at least not in the near future. But at the rate we’re going, food prices will soon skyrocket, both due to shortages and the need for refrigeration when extreme heat waves come hitting. Third World countries on the other hand, have it harder. In less developed countries, drought equates to star facial and suffrage sing. Prolonged drought and conflict have left 16 million people across East Africa on the brink of star facial and in urgent need of food, water and medical treatment. Number 6: Rising CO2 levels Since the Industrial Revolution over 2 centuries ago, we’ve gradually been producing more and more Carbon Dioxide on a regular basis. With large scale industrialization and the burning of fossil fuels, we’ve put a total of 2000 gigatons of CO2 in the atmosphere, and about 40% of it has stayed there.

Humans have only been roaming this planet for a relatively short period, yet today’s CO2 levels are the highest they have ever been for millions of years. C02 is one of the main gases contributing to the greenhouse effect, the process by which radiation from the atmosphere heats the planet’s surface. The greenhouse effect is essential for supporting life on the planet, but its extreme intensification has led to global warming. Number 5: Global Warming Global warming – it is the main form of climate changing, and the 2 terms are even often used interchangeably. As of right now, the Earth is warming at a scary rate, 10 times faster than at the end of the Ice Age. Since we started measuring global surface temperature in 1850, each decade seems to surpass the previous, and that rate does not seem to be slowing down. This directly affects us in a number of ways, mainly in the form of drought and extreme weathers. Since the previous century, mega droughts have been appearing everywhere all over the Earth.

Rainfall has been scarce, farms get deserted, and lakes are drying up. Some lakes have even dried up completely, and are no longer existent. An example is Bolivia’s Lake Poopo, which was once its country’s second largest lake. The process of global warming brought increased temperatures to the region, and its evaporation rate multiplied exponentially since the 1990s. By December 2015, Lake Poopo had completely dried up, leaving only a few marshy areas. According to scientists, it is unlikely that it will ever recover. While some places are affected by drought, other places are more vulnerable to extreme weathers in the form of heat waves and storms. The frequency and duration of heat waves has increased greatly within the past half century, and are only going to get worse. Heat waves alone kill more people in the United States compared to natural disasters like tornadoes, earthquakes, and floods combined. Global warming also affects storm formation, by decreasing the temperature difference between the poles and the equator.

Some experts have found a correlation between global warming and the intensity of recent Atlantic Ocean tropical cyclones such as Katrina, Wilma, and Sandy. Number 4: Losing our forests Climate change affects all life on the planet, and this includes forest ecosystems, many of which have been destroyed indirectly by global warming. Bark beetles are major pests that feed and breed between the bark and wood of various tree species, damaging them in the process. These insects thrive in warm temperatures, and as a consequence of global warming, have expanded their ranges and proliferated widely in the forests of North America and Europe. Millions of acres of forest have been destroyed due to bark beetle infestation in recent years. Another cause of widespread deforestation is wildfire. While climate change does not directly cause trees to burn up, wildfires are generally the result of forests getting extremely dry.

Global warming lessens the humidity of forest areas, making them vulnerable to catch on fire. Forests in the western coast of USA, particularly in California, get set ablaze often during dry seasons. If rain fell more often, these forest fires would be extinguished much quicker. There has indeed been a notable increase in wildfires in California within the last decade compared to the decade before, meaning a correlation with climate change is very much likely, and would probably get worse with rising temperatures. Number 3: Insufficient energy to meet demands Since the dawn of mankind, people have learnt of various ways to keep themselves warm – from starting simple fires to creating electric-powered heaters. One of the main reasons for energy demand used to be heating, as people needed to survive long and chilly winters. But a global trend that started in the past century has seen a reversal, especially with the invention of cooling devices like refrigerators and air conditioners.

With the climate getting warmer and warmer, the demand for cooling has skyrocketed. With the increase in carbon emissions and the resulting hot temperatures, the demand for more energy to produce cooling is getting out of control. The worse thing is that this creates a neverending heat-producing cycle. More demand results in more power plants and cooling devices being created, which when used, emits more carbon that heats up the environment. Our only hope is the creation and use of clean energy sources that could keep up with the demands while breaking this vicious cycle. Research and development in solar power shows promise. On the other hand, hydro-electric power is expected to fall behind, as global warming and droughts have caused a decrease in river water levels. Without enough water flow, generators at the dams will not be able to provide energy.

Meanwhile, sea levels are rising, creating a potential risk of flood and storms that could cripple power generators along coastlines. This would disrupt power transmission to entire cities, and create a more desperate demand for energy. Number 2: Melting ice caps & rising sea levels Water covers more than 70% of our planet, and they absorb most of the heat added to the atmosphere. So it’s only natural that is where the extreme changes of climate change are seen. Sea levels around the world have been rising a 10th of an inch every year, and they’re already up 8 inches since 100 years ago. There are two reasons for this. One water expands as it gets warmer. Two, because glaciers, ice caps and icebergs are melting, so they add up to the ocean’s water volume. White sea ice is essential in reflecting sun rays back up into the atmosphere.

Without an ice layer, the dark ocean absorbs the heat rays, feeding the cycle forward. Summer sea ice in the Arctic has decreased a staggering 40% since just 40 years ago, making it the lowest in 1400 years. Antarctica is also experiencing a similar thing, with its western glaciers melting at an alarming rate. At this current rate, the oceans would be up a meter higher by the end of this century. Coastal settlements would be flooded, and many of them would become uninhabitable. And it’s not just cities, but entire nations are also at risk of being wiped off the map. The island country of Maldives is particularly endangered, and is at risk of being swallowed up by the ocean within the next few decades. Their leaders’ pleas to the world to cut global greenhouse gas emissions have been generally ignored, and they are already looking into purchasing new land from neighboring countries to settle their people in the future. Number 1: Animal extinction All the damages caused by climate change is not only affecting us humans, but nearly all the other species on the planet are also struggling to adapt to these changes that we have caused. A lot of animals, mostly birds, are seen beginning their seasonal migrations a lot earlier.

For instance, scientists have found that the Icelandic black-tailed godwits have started migrating 2 weeks earlier than normal to escape the summer heat. Some animals are moving away from their natural habitats towards cooler areas in higher elevations. The distribution patterns of Adelie penguins across Antarctica have also changed significantly. They are known to mainly feed on Antarctic krills, which are small crustaceans that stay under ice caps. But with fewer ice caps remaining, Adelie penguins find themselves in short of food supply leading to mass migrations. All this migration of various animal species is indeed a sign of the climate getting warmer every year. We have also seen a disturbing change within the behavior of several animals. The melting of polar ice in the summer has led to Polar bears channel arising their own cubs out of desperation in order to stay alive. The ocean is our planet’s largest carbon sink. With more Carbon Dioxide released into the atmosphere, more of it ends up dissolving into the ocean, causing a decrease in the water’s pH levels.

Although still far away from turning the ocean into acid, creatures with calcium shells are really sensitive to these slight changes. The ocean is on the course of hitting a pH level of 7.8 within a century, which would mean the end of about one third of the ocean’s species. The Orange-spotted filefish has already gone locally extinct around Japan due to extensive coral bleaching and hypersensitivity to warm waters. Some animal species have already gone totally extinct. The Golden toad that was once native to the forests of Costa Rica was last sighted in 1989, having likely all bite off due to high temperatures. They were known to mate in wet conditions, and the repeated dry seasons presumably ended their species..

Kansas: Conservation, the “5th Fuel” (ENERGY QUEST USA)

Narrator: Kansas, a land of wheat, and corn, and cattle. In the heart of the country, it's number 48 out of all 50 states in energy efficiency. So this is a place where energy conservation can really make a difference. Come on, girls. Our region is a region of farmers. We are famously conservative and we have talked from the beginning about putting the conserve back in conservative. Narrator: According to a study by the Natural Resources Defense Council, improvements in energy efficiency have the potential to deliver more than $700 billion in cost savings in the U.S. alone. But, they say motivating consumers to take action is the key to unlocking this potential and that was the aim of Nancy Jackson's Climate and Energy project, with its Take Charge! Challenge. Kansans are patriotic, Kansans are hardworking, Kansans are humble.

Narrator: And Kansans are competitive. You all are competing against Ottawa, Baldwin City, and Paola, so really, you gotta beat those guys, yes? Do you want to help us beat Manhattan? Narrator: 2011 was the second year for the Take Charge! Challenge, a friendly competition among 16 communities arranged in four regional groups aiming to reduce their local energy use. Some of the lowest cost, most effective ways that you can take ownership of your energy future is taking ownership of the efficiency and the conservation of your house or your business. Narrator: Ray Hammarlund's office used federal stimulus dollars to fund four prizes of $100,000 for each of the four regions in the competition. Just as important as the grand prize, $25,000 went to each community to fund local coordinators who took the lead in galvanizing grassroots efforts.

Here's how the challenge worked in Iola. The challenge started in January of this year and ends October 1st. You're required to have three community events. We're going to have a lot more than that. Today, we are at the Fight The Energy Hog Festival. Becky Nilges: I love the hog. He was just so ugly that he is cute. He represents energy hogs in your home. You would probably let him in but you don't know the damage he's going to do. Narrator: Competing towns scored points by counting how many cfl bulbs and programmable thermostats were installed and how many professional home energy audits were done. Our job as energy auditors, both for commercial buildings as well as residential buildings is, we're essentially detectives.

What's happening here? Is there a great deal of air leakage? And we're finding that the majority of the houses that we're dealing with actually use a lot more energy than they need to. Narrator: In Lawrence, a house of worship did an energy audit, made changes, and got a pretty nice donation in its collection plate. David Owen: One part of the audit was to contact the power company. Well, during that process we discovered they had been overcharging us. And so we got a check, a rebate check from them for $4,456. Narrator: Other changes start small, but add up. We were a little bit worried at one point that the congregation would not accept the very bright, white type lights. So as an experiment, we took one of these chandeliers and changed all the bulbs in it to the cfls. And then we took the priest over here and we said, "which one did we do?" and he could not tell us.

So that told us it was ok to do them all. Narrator: Changing lights, adding insulation, and upgrading windows paid off. Even though it's an old building, we saved 64% on the consumption of energy in this room. Narrator: Lighting makes up about 15% of a typical home's electricity bill, and lighting all of our residential and commercial buildings uses about 13% of the nation's total electricity. But changing out old bulbs is a lot easier than paying for audits and the energy enhancements they recommend. Here's where the 2011 Take Charge! Challenge promised material assistance using stimulus funds. Ken Wagner: It's a $500 audit that costs you $100. The rest of that $500 is covered under the Take Charge Challenge program through the Kansas Energy Office. We really love the competitive spirit of the program and I think it's really raised a whole awareness of energy efficiency and the importance of energy efficiency to a lot of segments in our community here.

Narrator: Even Baldwin City bankers were grateful for financial assistance from state and federal governments. Dave Hill: Nine months ago, we installed a 14 KW solar power system. I believe the initial cost of the system was basically $65,000 and then we got a substantial grant from USDA, I believe it was $20,000. We have about $18,000 of our own money invested in the system, after all the deductions. We think it will pay out in about 7-8 years. Narrator: David Crane of NRG Energy thinks that kind of approach makes good business sense. Crane: What I say to every businessman who has a customer-facing business, think of a solar panel not only as a source of electricity, think of it as a billboard. You don't even have to write your name on it. Just put it on the top of your store and it will be sending a message to your customers that you're doing the right thing when it comes to sustainable energy. Narrator: Surveys of why conservation is hard to achieve have found that people want one-stop shopping, a place where they can find out what to do and get practical recommendations about who to hire and what it all might cost, just what this new facility was to offer.

Now it's mid-October, time for the results of the 2011 Take Charge! Challenge. MC: Fort Scott. MC: And the winner is Baldwin City. Nancy Jackson: Over 100 billion BTUs were saved as a result of this Challenge, and millions and millions of dollars in each community. Those savings come from measures that have been installed that will guarantee those savings for years to come. So the savings are enormous over time. $100,000 has a nice ring to it and it's a nice cash award for a community of our size. Our challenge now is to continue on with energy efficiency and encourage our community to save. Nancy: One of our real goals was to help people to stop thinking about energy efficiency as the things they shouldn't do, as what not to do, and think about it instead as a tremendous opportunity to both save money in the near term, and to make our electric system more resilient in the long term.

So it's about what we can do, both individually and together, and for us that feels like the real win. The United States today is twice as energy efficient as it was in the 1970s. And I think we have the capability in the decades ahead to become twice as energy efficient again. We believe this is something that can be done really anywhere with great success..

EXPLAINED: Global Warming

Howdy. It’s me again. It’s been a while. Um, I haven’t made a video in quite a while because reasons. So I’d like to reintroduce myself, but won’t because we have some science to talk about. Follow me. We’re not going anywhere, so just stay put. If you’ve ever listened in on a conversation about global warming, you’ve probably heard that it’s a greenhouse effect caused by carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere trapping in the heat from the sun. While this simple one sentence explanation is indeed correct, is brings up another question that I don’t hear asked very often: “If the earth is able to use the layer of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to trap in heat from the sun, why does that same layer of carbon dioxide also not block the heat from ever getting into the atmosphere to begin with.

” People often describe this greenhouse effect as if the carbon dioxide is acting as a two-way mirror, which allow the sun’s rays to pass through the atmosphere when they’re coming in from space, but then traps them in after they’ve been reflected back off of the earth’s surface. It doesn’t make any sense. So what’s the deal? Are carbon dioxide molecules special or something? Do they have, like, a shiny side that’s always faced down that’s constantly reflecting the heat off of the earth? Yep! No… no they don’t. You’re dumb. But I’m you. Oh right. So we all know that the sun emits visible light, and most of us have heard ofthose nasty UV rays that cause sun burns and turn normal people into reality TV stars.

So in order to answer the question of how global warming is even possible, we’re going to have to talk about radiation. Electromagnetic radiation. So… light… just light. Ultraviolet light is a high frequency electromagnetic radiation that’s invisible to the human eye and is what’s responsible for heating up the surface of the earth. However, it does not heat the air. UV light comes from the sun, and because of its short wavelength, is able to pass through the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and is gets absorbed by the earth’s surface… or your skin… if you’re lucky. But not all of that UV light can get absorbed by the ground. The leftover energy gets reflected back away from the earth’s surface, but at a lower frequency we call infrared. Infrared light is a low frequency electromagnetic radiation that we also can’t see with the human eye. But even though we can’t see it, we can feel it… and we call it heat. It’s this infrared radiation that warms the air, and because if it’s longer wavelength, the carbon dioxide is able to trap it in and keep it close to home. Here’s a quick visual to put all the pieces together and help make sense of things.

The sun produces UV light which passes through the carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. The earth’s surface absorbs most of the UV light and heats up. The leftover energy is reflected away from the earth as infrared radiation. The infrared radiation heats the air and is trapped in by the carbon dioxide. So there you have it. Hopefully that made sense and you learned a little something today. Thanks for watching. Have a good one. Oh, one other thing. Nothing, I just wanted to do that split screen thing again. Dude, get the **** out of here! Ok, sorry..

The Crazy Plan to Capture and Store CO2 Under the Ocean

CO2 is created by every living thing on the planet, but also by burning fossil fuels, which is causing global warming… So, what if we just trapped it all under the ocean? That'd work, right? Howdy oxygenators, Trace here for DNews. Every breath you take, you'll be exhaling CO2. In fact, each exhale contains 100 times more CO2 than was inhaled, totalling about 2 lbs of CO2 per day, per person. Carbon Dioxide is odorless, colorless, highly toxic; and apparently tastes "pungent" and acidic. Because Earth is a relatively closed system, so carbon never leaves. It gets burned and then trapped and then breathed and reused all over the planet again and again. Most of us probably connect CO2 with breathing. While we only release pounds per day, industry releases tons, and if we don't capture it, the CO2 will continue to exacerbate the greenhouse effect.

In 2014 we were projected to release 37 gigatons of carbon dioxide into the air, which is more than the planet can absorb. This is getting serious. So, scientists are working on ways to filter and trap this ubiquitous gas. In the 1930s, researchers figured out if you bubble air through a solution of a derivative of ammonia called amine, the CO2 will be plucked out, "scrubbing" the air clean. We've since developed a bunch of other ways to capture it, but in 2014 MIT developed a super-efficient process using electrochemistry — electricity plus chemistry — it's awesome. The researchers used amines to pick up CO2, just like in the 1930s, but they added a modern twist. When you bubble polluted air through an amine solution those guys naturally want to cling to CO2. They love it. But then, electricity throws copper ions into the mix.

If you're an amine, copper ions are way more enticing than CO2, so they drop the toxic gas like a bad habit and pick up the copper. At that point the lonely CO2 floats out of the system! Yay! Afterward, the copper is pulled away from the amines who have to run through that process again and again. I sort of feel bad for the hard-workin' little guys, you know? But back to the CO2. So now that we've filtered it, then what? Well, because industry faces such strict penalties for releasing CO2 into the atmosphere, they've created Carbon Capture and Storage technologies. Essentially, most companies take the filtered CO2, cool it until the gas becomes a liquid, and then transport it somewhere for storage. There are two major ways to do this, one is straightforward, and one just seems crazy. The straightforward one is called geologic carbon sequestration. In the States, the US Geological Survey has identified 36 regions around the country where the CO2 could be injected into porous areas of rock between 3,000 and 15,000 feet underground (914-4600M).

And hopefully, there it will stay. The second CRAZY one, is similar, but it's oceanic carbon sequestration. In liquid form, CO2 is denser than water. So theoretically, if we just, pumped it under the ocean, the water above it would hold it down there like a weighted blanket. A 2013 study in Geophysical Research Letters looked at the viability of pumping liquid CO2 to the bottom of the ocean, and determined it would form a lake of liquid carbon dioxide. Yep. A lake. The high-pressure, cold world of the deep sea would hold it in stasis for perhaps 1,000 years. I know what you're thinking, and yes, both of the ideas have their dangers. For example in geologic sequestration the pressure of the rock above should keep the CO2 liquid and it should stay there. Should. But if the CO2 finds its way out of the rock… global disaster. In the undersea example, the implications are also dangerous. CO2 is toxic, remember, so it could drastically increase ocean acidity, and deep sea life might not survive. Plus, if it DID leak out… global catastrophe again. Look, there's no real, permanent solution to CO2 problems except maybe venting it into space somehow… or simply stopping the release of so much carbon.

Pollution doesn't just hurt the planet, it can also hurt YOU. Check out how in this video! And if you're down to listen to my weird voice, come subscribe to my podcast! On each episode we take 45 minutes to dig into a topic all the way to the brass tacks. Here's a taste Every time we talk about this stuff, I just want to never use fossil fuels again. What about you? Ever feel guilty about your carbon footprint? Tell me about it….

Climate Change: Hasn’t Warming Happened Before?

PAUL JAY: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Paul Jay, coming to you from Baltimore. We’ve been unfolding a series of interviews and discussions about climate change and the whole issue of the sense of urgency. And there’s–a conference has just taken place in Portland about just this. And now joining us from Portland is Valérie Masson-Delmotte. Valerie is based just outside of Paris at the Université de Versailles. And thanks very much for joining us, Valérie. VALÉRIE MASSON-DELMOTTE: Thank you for your invitation. JAY: So, first of all, just give us a little sense of what area you work in and a bit of a sense of your background, your credentials, your expertise. MASSON-DELMOTTE: So I’m a physicist. I first qualified in a PhD thesis on climate modeling, and over the last 20 years I’ve been working on past climate dynamics. I’m using data from ice cores from Greenland or Antarctica, and also from tree rings, and I’m using these data to test the ability of climate models to represent these past changes.

And I’m also trying to place the current changes and the projections of risks in a longer perspective. So I’ve been active in the scientific community. I’ve published more than 100 papers in the peer-reviewed literature. JAY: Okay. And you’re also–I know you’re speaking on your own behalf here, but you’re also–is it you’re going to be a coauthor, is it, of the next IPCC report? MASSON-DELMOTTE: So I was a coauthor of the 2007 IPCC report, on the paleo climate chapter, and I’m coordinating the next one for 2013. JAY: Before we get into sort of the meat of all this, let me remind our viewers that part of the series is about you. So we’re interviewing climate scientists, and then we’re asking you to send questions, comments, challenges, arguments.

And we will go back to Valerie, who will answer some of your questions. And we’ll keep going back and forth until we work our way through some of the scientific questions. And we will be organizing some debates as well. So, moving ahead, before we get into some of the scientific issues, let me just ask you: you know, the IPCC, under the auspices of the UN, has issued, you know, reports that represent the majority scientific opinion in the world. The reports get increasingly urgent and dire. And it’s almost like the more dire or urgent the reports get, the less traction it seems to be getting in terms of political action, political debate in United States, but not only United States: in Canada, and even in Europe. I mean, one of the things that accounts for it, I guess, is the economic crisis. But do you think that’s the only issue? Like, why isn’t there more sense of urgency here? MASSON-DELMOTTE: I think there is a clear link with the economical crisis, which drives policymakers to urgent and short-term issues rather than mid-term issues and changes required by mitigating climate change.

I also believe that for a number of people, climate change remains something that is sort of an intellectual construction, and I do not think that they are [incompr.] concerned. So there is, I think, a huge effort to be done by climate scientists, by the media, by educators in explaining what are our methods, what are the findings, and what are the risks, and how we can act to prevent climate change and to adapt to climate change. I think this is the major gap that we have, discussing with a lot of actors that are not that familiar with what is climate science. JAY: I guess part of the problem is when, you know, you’re losing your job or you might lose your house and economy’s so bad, and then you hear talk of possibilities of war, and there already are–there’s one war going on in Afghanistan, and there could be–there’s talk of war with Iran, and I guess it increasingly–climate change then seems to fade a bit in the background, ’cause it seems like, well, it’s so long-term before I might get affected that I’m going to worry about these other things first.

MASSON-DELMOTTE: So we have to be aware that the climate of the generation of our children–my daughters are 10 and 14–is already different from the climate we had when we were teenagers and the climate our parents had. So the change is real. We only see the beginning of these change, because we are continuing to inject greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. So we are committing ourselves to growing climate change in the next decades. That’s one point. And the other point is what you mentioned, economical crisis, international tensions. What we would like is a stable environment, and climate change is acting against that ideal. Climate change would oblige us to adapt constantly to a different environment. So this is why I believe that we have to incorporate this challenge amongst all the others that we have to face. JAY: Right. Okay. Well, let’s work through just two or three of the issues to get started with, and then, as people mail in–and you can send your questions or comments or challenges to contact (at) therealnews (dot) com or you can write them in the comments section below the video player.

So we’re going to work our way through two or three of the main skeptic arguments, ’cause Valérie’s been dealing in writing about this as well. So, Valérie, take us through what you think is sort of the most persuasive or prevalent skeptic argument. And what’s your take on it? MASSON-DELMOTTE: So I would summarize that in the following points. Some people think that climate is not changing. Some people think that it’s recurrent, natural. Some people believe it’s linked to the sun, for instance, and that it’s not man-made. Some people have doubts about our ability to model the complexity of the climate system, and so that results from climate models for the future are too uncertain to take into account. These are a few of the arguments I’ve heard and I’ve tried to discuss with. JAY: Well, pick up the last one, ’cause that’s one of the–I think, one of the ones that has got a lot of influence, that this is too difficult to model, and that this has happened before, these sort of spikes in warming of the Earth, and that until we know more and the modeling is clearer, there shouldn’t be such dramatic changes in the way we do business and earn our livings.

MASSON-DELMOTTE: So, coming back to your point about our ability to anticipate climate change, from past climates we know that despite its chaotic character, climate is predictable. We understand a lot of the past changes–the way the climate responded to changes in the orbit of the Earth on glacial and interglacial timescales, the response of the climate to changes in solar activity, in volcanic activity over the last centuries, for instance. And over these different timescales, we have a huge amount of data, and we can simulate these changes with the same climate models as are used for the future. So we know that these climate models which are based on physics of the atmosphere, of the ocean, of the land surface, and their interactions, they capture properly the first order of the responses. And what I mean, first order, I mean at the continental scale, at the hemispheric global scale, for temperature, for aspects of large-scale changes in precipitation, for instance.

So this is a very important aspect that we can simulate correctly, some of the past changes, which is for me a prerequisite for any trust in climate projections. JAY: Okay. Well, I’m sure we’re going to get mail and questions on this point, ’cause it’s one of the issues that’s really in contention. The other issue that’s in–an argument that’s made is–and I think, from my reading of it, at any rate, the majority of people that are skeptics do acknowledge the fact that there’s been a warming, although some people dispute that. But the argument is this isn’t the first time this warming has happened, and you can’t attribute–there’s no evidence to attribute that this warming is any different than previous warmings and that it’s essentially natural.

So how do you respond to that? MASSON-DELMOTTE: Okay. So there are different types of warming events at the local scale or at the global scale and through time. So you can consider the geological timescales, time of dinosaurs, for instance. And we know climate was warmer at that time. And we think that it’s caused by, at that time, two changes in the atmospheric composition with more greenhouse gases. And we can also model this type of climate changes on the deep times. Now we can also look at more recent timescales. And, for instance, about 10,000 years ago to 6,000 years ago we know the Arctic, for instance, was warmer than today by a few degrees. And this change at the time was caused by the orbit of the Earth around the sun that was different. It changes regularly because there’s not only the sun and the Earth, but also other planets.

And this we can calculate very precisely. We can take this into account in the climate models. And when we do so, we are able to simulate the patterns of these Arctic warming about 10,000 to 6,000 years ago. And now I’m moving to the last example I would like to give. That’s the climate of the medieval time period. And during this interval we have a number of high-resolution climate records. We know some areas were warmer than today, for instance, areas around Scandinavia, Greenland, or the North Atlantic. We also know that this warming was not the same everywhere. It was not that well detected, for instance, in Antarctica; it was not reported in what we know for the tropics. So we know that the spatial structure of the change was different from today. And now there’s an effort to model the climate evolution over the last 1,000 years, including this anomaly. And we think that this anomaly is caused by a lack of volcanic eruptions, more active solar activity, and also a coincidence of some natural modes of variability in the tropics and in the North Atlantic area. JAY: Well, we’ll–in the next time we do this–and I know we’re going to get some email about this, ’cause the issue of the spike in temperature during the medieval times, I think, is the one that’s used most often to say that why would you think it’s any different now than it was then.

And in this interview we just intend to sort of just very–begin the conversation. And these are complicated scientific issues, and to dig into it you need the time. So we will do a digging in just on this issue of why you think this isn’t a repetition of the medieval warming. MASSON-DELMOTTE: On this point, what I’d like to mention, of course, is that, you know, climate research is based on new data, new simulation, new process studies. And for the last 2,000 years there’s a very huge international effort in building new estimates of hemispheric temperatures, but also regional temperature changes. And this is done in the auspices of a program called past global changes. So there will be a lot of new findings in the coming months on this specific topic. JAY: Okay. Well, before we conclude this first part of this back-and-forth–and again, viewers, we’re inviting you to get in on this and ask your questions and make your challenges.

But just how urgent is it, in your opinion, the climate-change crisis? As we’ve said earlier in the interview and some of the other interviews, you wouldn’t know there even was a climate-change crisis if you listen to the debate in the U.S. presidential elections, and, for that matter, in the European elections, too. Economic crisis has overwhelmed any other discussion. But how–in your mind, how urgent is it? MASSON-DELMOTTE: Yeah, I think the position of policy actors is a little different in Europe. I know it quite well from France. I think there is a general consensus that climate change is real, that it questions our use of energy, and that there is an urgent need for mitigating climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. So I think there is a political consensus in Europe on this issue. And this is the reason why it was not key in the political debates in the last years in many countries in Europe.

So, now coming to your point–and here we come out of my expertise as a scientist, and you ask me my opinion as a citizen, in a way, and I do believe that it is urgent to address this question, due to the fact that it is demonstrated that greenhouse gases act on climates. Today we are emitting, year after year, more and more greenhouse gases. So, so far the United Nations have been unable to control their emissions. So we are committing ourselves, our children, our grandchildren to climate change, because we keep changing the composition of the atmosphere, and the more we wait, the more the magnitude of the change or the need for action will be large. JAY: Okay. Well, so now join us for this discussion, the debate. Send in your questions, your challenges. You can do it at contact (at) therealnews (dot) com, or you can just do it below the video player here–there’s a comment box. And Valérie will join us again and again and again. We’re going to keep working our way through these issues one by one, and there will be debates.

So thanks very much for joining us. MASSON-DELMOTTE: Thank you. JAY: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network..

NASA’s Earth Minute: Gas Problem

The Earth’s atmosphere is a mixture of gasses. Some are known as greenhouse gases. That’s because they trap heat from the sun and warm the Earth. That’s good, because without greenhouse gases, our planet would freeze and life as most of us know it would be impossible. These greenhouse gases – mainly water vapor and carbon dioxide naturally cycle between the land and atmosphere and ocean. And over the ages, these greenhouse gases have reached a delicate balance that results in temperatures that we like. A lot. It’s been that way for thousands of years. Until the last 150 years. That’s when people began burning fossil fuels. Those fossil fuels – coal, oil, natural gas – contain carbon that’s been locked away from the natural cycle for eons. But when we burn them, that carbon joins with oxygen to make carbon dioxide that goes into the atmosphere. It throws the natural balance out of whack. The more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the more heat that is trapped.

And the warmer it gets. And the warmer it gets, the more the climate changes. And the higher the ocean will rise. The more we learn about carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, the better we can deal with the changes caused by global warming. Because good planets are hard to find!.

David Keith: A surprising idea for “solving” climate change

You've all seen lots of articles on climate change, and here's yet another New York Times article, just like every other darn one you've seen. It says all the same stuff as all the other ones you've seen. It even has the same amount of headline as all the other ones you've seen. What's unusual about this one, maybe, is that it's from 1953. And the reason I'm saying this is that you may have the idea this problem is relatively recent. That people have just sort of figured out about it, and now with Kyoto and the Governator and people beginning to actually do something, we may be on the road to a solution. The fact is — uh-uh. We've known about this problem for 50 years, depending on how you count it.

We have talked about it endlessly over the last decade or so. And we've accomplished close to zip. This is the growth rate of CO2 in the atmosphere. You've seen this in various forms, but maybe you haven't seen this one. What this shows is that the rate of growth of our emissions is accelerating. And that it's accelerating even faster than what we thought was the worst case just a few years back. So that red line there was something that a lot of skeptics said the environmentalists only put in the projections to make the projections look as bad as possible, that emissions would never grow as fast as that red line. But in fact, they're growing faster. Here's some data from actually just 10 days ago, which shows this year's minimum of the Arctic Sea ice, and it's the lowest by far.

And the rate at which the Arctic Sea ice is going away is a lot quicker than models. So despite all sorts of experts like me flying around the planet and burning jet fuel, and politicians signing treaties — in fact, you could argue the net effect of all this has been negative, because it's just consumed a lot of jet fuel. (Laughter) No, no! In terms of what we really need to do to put the brakes on this very high inertial thing — our big economy — we've really hardly started. Really, we're doing this, basically. Really, not very much. I don't want to depress you too much. The problem is absolutely soluble, and even soluble in a way that's reasonably cheap. Cheap meaning sort of the cost of the military, not the cost of medical care. Cheap meaning a few percent of GDP. No, this is really important to have this sense of scale. So the problem is soluble, and the way we should go about solving it is, say, dealing with electricity production, which causes something like 43-or-so percent and rising of CO2 emissions.

And we could do that by perfectly sensible things like conservation, and wind power, nuclear power and coal to CO2 capture, which are all things that are ready for giant scale deployment, and work. All we lack is the action to actually spend the money to put those into place. Instead, we spend our time talking. But nevertheless, that's not what I'm going to talk to you about tonight. What I'm going to talk to you about tonight is stuff we might do if we did nothing. And it's this stuff in the middle here, which is what you do if you don't stop the emissions quickly enough. And you need to deal — somehow break the link between human actions that change climate, and the climate change itself. And that's particularly important because, of course, while we can adapt to climate change — and it's important to be honest here, there will be some benefits to climate change.

Oh, yes, I think it's bad. I've spent my whole life working to stop it. But one of the reasons it's politically hard is there are winners and losers — not all losers. But, of course, the natural world, polar bears. I spent time skiing across the sea ice for weeks at a time in the high Arctic. They will completely lose. And there's no adaption. So this problem is absolutely soluble. This geo-engineering idea, in it's simplest form, is basically the following. You could put signed particles, say sulfuric acid particles — sulfates — into the upper atmosphere, the stratosphere, where they'd reflect away sunlight and cool the planet. And I know for certain that that will work. Not that there aren't side effects, but I know for certain it will work. And the reason is, it's been done. And it was done not by us, not by me, but by nature. Here's Mount Pinatubo in the early '90s. That put a whole bunch of sulfur in the stratosphere with a sort of atomic bomb-like cloud.

The result of that was pretty dramatic. After that, and some previous volcanoes we have, you see a quite dramatic cooling of the atmosphere. So this lower bar is the upper atmosphere, the stratosphere, and it heats up after these volcanoes. But you'll notice that in the upper bar, which is the lower atmosphere and the surface, it cools down because we shielded the atmosphere a little bit. There's no big mystery about it. There's lots of mystery in the details, and there's some bad side effects, like it partially destroys the ozone layer — and I'll get to that in a minute. But it clearly cools down. And one other thing: it's fast. It's really important to say. So much of the other things that we ought to do, like slowing emissions, are intrinsically slow, because it takes time to build all the hardware we need to reduce emissions. And not only that, when you cut emissions, you don't cut concentrations, because concentrations, the amount of CO2 in the air, is the sum of emissions over time. So you can't step on the brakes very quickly. But if you do this, it's quick. And there are times you might like to do something quick. Another thing you might wonder about is, does it work? Can you shade some sunlight and effectively compensate for the added CO2, and produce a climate sort of back to what it was originally? And the answer seems to be yes.

So here are the graphs you've seen lots of times before. That's what the world looks like, under one particular climate model's view, with twice the amount of CO2 in the air. The lower graph is with twice the amount of CO2 and 1.8 percent less sunlight, and you're back to the original climate. And this graph from Ken Caldeira. It's important to say came, because Ken — at a meeting that I believe Marty Hoffart was also at in the mid-'90s — Ken and I stood up at the back of the meeting and said, "Geo-engineering won't work." And to the person who was promoting it said, "The atmosphere's much more complicated." Gave a bunch of physical reasons why it wouldn't do a very good compensation. Ken went and ran his models, and found that it did. This topic is also old. That report that landed on President Johnson's desk when I was two years old — 1965. That report, in fact, which had all the modern climate science — the only thing they talked about doing was geo-engineering. It didn't even talk about cutting emissions, which is an incredible shift in our thinking about this problem.

I'm not saying we shouldn't cut emissions. We should, but it made exactly this point. So, in a sense, there's not much new. The one new thing is this essay. So I should say, I guess, that since the time of that original President Johnson report, and the various reports of the U.S. National Academy — 1977, 1982, 1990 — people always talked about this idea. Not as something that was foolproof, but as an idea to think about. But when climate became, politically, a hot topic — if I may make the pun — in the last 15 years, this became so un-PC, we couldn't talk about it. It just sunk below the surface. We weren't allowed to speak about it. But in the last year, Paul Crutzen published this essay saying roughly what's all been said before: that maybe, given our very slow rate of progress in solving this problem and the uncertain impacts, we should think about things like this. He said roughly what's been said before.

The big deal was he happened to have won the Nobel prize for ozone chemistry. And so people took him seriously when he said we should think about this, even though there will be some ozone impacts. And in fact, he had some ideas to make them go away. There was all sorts of press coverage, all over the world, going right down to "Dr. Strangelove Saves the Earth," from the Economist. And that got me thinking. I've worked on this topic on and off, but not so much technically. And I was actually lying in bed thinking one night. And I thought about this child's toy — hence, the title of my talk — and I wondered if you could use the same physics that makes that thing spin 'round in the child's radiometer, to levitate particles into the upper atmosphere and make them stay there. One of the problems with sulfates is they fall out quickly. The other problem is they're right in the ozone layer, and I'd prefer them above the ozone layer. And it turns out, I woke up the next morning, and I started to calculate this. It was very hard to calculate from first principles.

I was stumped. But then I found out that there were all sorts of papers already published that addressed this topic because it happens already in the natural atmosphere. So it seems there are already fine particles that are levitated up to what we call the mesosphere, about 100 kilometers up, that already have this effect. I'll tell you very quickly how the effect works. There are a lot of fun complexities that I'd love to spend the whole evening on, but I won't. But let's say you have sunlight hitting some particle and it's unevenly heated. So the side facing the sun is warmer; the side away, cooler. Gas molecules that bounce off the warm side bounce away with some extra velocity because it's warm. And so you see a net force away from the sun.

That's called the photophoretic force. There are a bunch of other versions of it that I and some collaborators have thought about how to exploit. And of course, we may be wrong — this hasn't all been peer reviewed, we're in the middle of thinking about it — but so far, it seems good. But it looks like we could achieve long atmospheric lifetimes — much longer than before — because they're levitated. We can move things out of the stratosphere into the mesosphere, in principle solving the ozone problem. I'm sure there will be other problems that arise. Finally, we could make the particles migrate to over the poles, so we could arrange the climate engineering so it really focused on the poles. Which would have minimal bad impacts in the middle of the planet, where we live, and do the maximum job of what we might need to do, which is cooling the poles in case of planetary emergency, if you like.

This is a new idea that's crept up that may be, essentially, a cleverer idea than putting sulfates in. Whether this idea is right or some other idea is right, I think it's almost certain we will eventually think of cleverer things to do than just putting sulfur in. That if engineers and scientists really turned their minds to this, it's amazing how we can affect the planet. The one thing about this is it gives us extraordinary leverage. This improved science and engineering will, whether we like it or not, give us more and more leverage to affect the planet, to control the planet, to give us weather and climate control — not because we plan it, not because we want it, just because science delivers it to us bit by bit, with better knowledge of the way the system works and better engineering tools to effect it. Now, suppose that space aliens arrived. Maybe they're going to land at the U.

N. headquarters down the road here, or maybe they'll pick a smarter spot — but suppose they arrive and they give you a box. And the box has two knobs. One knob is the knob for controlling global temperature. Maybe another knob is a knob for controlling CO2 concentrations. You might imagine that we would fight wars over that box. Because we have no way to agree about where to set the knobs. We have no global governance. And different people will have different places they want it set. Now, I don't think that's going to happen. It's not very likely. But we're building that box. The scientists and engineers of the world are building it piece by piece, in their labs. Even when they're doing it for other reasons. Even when they're thinking they're just working on protecting the environment. They have no interest in crazy ideas like engineering the whole planet.

They develop science that makes it easier and easier to do. And so I guess my view on this is not that I want to do it — I do not — but that we should move this out of the shadows and talk about it seriously. Because sooner or later, we'll be confronted with decisions about this, and it's better if we think hard about it, even if we want to think hard about reasons why we should never do it. I'll give you two different ways to think about this problem that are the beginning of my thinking about how to think about it. But what we need is not just a few oddballs like me thinking about this. We need a broader debate. A debate that involves musicians, scientists, philosophers, writers, who get engaged with this question about climate engineering and think seriously about what its implications are. So here's one way to think about it, which is that we just do this instead of cutting emissions because it's cheaper.

I guess the thing I haven't said about this is, it is absurdly cheap. It's conceivable that, say, using the sulfates method or this method I've come up with, you could create an ice age at a cost of .001 percent of GDP. It's very cheap. We have a lot of leverage. It's not a good idea, but it's just important. (Laughter) I'll tell you how big the lever is: the lever is that big. And that calculation isn't much in dispute. You might argue about the sanity of it, but the leverage is real. (Laughter) So because of this, we could deal with the problem simply by stopping reducing emissions, and just as the concentrations go up, we can increase the amount of geo-engineering. I don't think anybody takes that seriously. Because under this scenario, we walk further and further away from the current climate. We have all sorts of other problems, like ocean acidification that come from CO2 in the atmosphere, anyway. Nobody but maybe one or two very odd folks really suggest this. But here's a case which is harder to reject. Let's say that we don't do geo-engineering, we do what we ought to do, which is get serious about cutting emissions.

But we don't really know how quickly we have to cut them. There's a lot of uncertainty about exactly how much climate change is too much. So let's say that we work hard, and we actually don't just tap the brakes, but we step hard on the brakes and really reduce emissions and eventually reduce concentrations. And maybe someday — like 2075, October 23 — we finally reach that glorious day where concentrations have peaked and are rolling down the other side. And we have global celebrations, and we've actually started to — you know, we've seen the worst of it. But maybe on that day we also find that the Greenland ice sheet is really melting unacceptably fast, fast enough to put meters of sea level on the oceans in the next 100 years, and remove some of the biggest cities from the map.

That's an absolutely possible scenario. We might decide at that point that even though geo-engineering was uncertain and morally unhappy, that it's a lot better than not geo-engineering. And that's a very different way to look at the problem. It's using this as risk control, not instead of action. It's saying that you do some geo-engineering for a little while to take the worst of the heat off, not that you'd use it as a substitute for action. But there is a problem with that view. And the problem is the following: knowledge that geo-engineering is possible makes the climate impacts look less fearsome, and that makes a weaker commitment to cutting emissions today. This is what economists call a moral hazard. And that's one of the fundamental reasons that this problem is so hard to talk about, and, in general, I think it's the underlying reason that it's been politically unacceptable to talk about this. But you don't make good policy by hiding things in a drawer. I'll leave you with three questions, and then one final quote.

Should we do serious research on this topic? Should we have a national research program that looks at this? Not just at how you would do it better, but also what all the risks and downsides of it are. Right now, you have a few enthusiasts talking about it, some in a positive side, some in a negative side — but that's a dangerous state to be in because there's very little depth of knowledge on this topic. A very small amount of money would get us some. Many of us — maybe now me — think we should do that. But I have a lot of reservations. My reservations are principally about the moral hazard problem, and I don't really know how we can best avoid the moral hazard. I think there is a serious problem: as you talk about this, people begin to think they don't need to work so hard to cut emissions. Another thing is, maybe we need a treaty.

A treaty that decides who gets to do this. Right now we may think of a big, rich country like the U.S. doing this. But it might well be that, in fact, if China wakes up in 2030 and realizes that the climate impacts are just unacceptable, they may not be very interested in our moral conversations about how to do this, and they may just decide they'd really rather have a geo-engineered world than a non-geo-engineered world. And we'll have no international mechanism to figure out who makes the decision. So here's one last thought, which was said much, much better 25 years ago in the U.S. National Academy report than I can say today. And I think it really summarizes where we are here. That the CO2 problem, the climate problem that we've heard about, is driving lots of things — innovations in the energy technologies that will reduce emissions — but also, I think, inevitably, it will drive us towards thinking about climate and weather control, whether we like it or not.

And it's time to begin thinking about it, even if the reason we're thinking about it is to construct arguments for why we shouldn't do it. Thank you very much..