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.".

Life is easy. Why do we make it so hard? | Jon Jandai | TEDxDoiSuthep

There is one phrase that I have always wanted to say to everyone in my life. That phrase is "Life is easy." It's so easy and fun. I never thought like that before. When I was in Bangkok, I felt like life is very hard, very complicated. I was born in a poor village on the Northeastern of Thailand And when I was a kid, everything was fun and easy, but when the TV came, many people came to the village, they said, "You are poor, you need to chase success in your life. You need to go to Bangkok to pursue success in your life." So I felt bad, I felt poor. So I needed to go to Bangkok. When I went to Bangkok, it was not very fun. You need to learn, study a lot and work very hard, and then you can get success. I worked very hard, eight hours per day at least, but all I could eat was just a bowl of noodles per meal, or some Tama dish of fried rice or something like that. And where I stayed was very bad, a small room where a lot of people slept.

It was very hot. I started to question a lot. When I work hard, why is my life so hard? It must be something wrong, because I produce a lot of things, but I cannot get enough. And I tried to learn, I tried to study. I tried to study in the university. It's very hard to learn in university, because it's very boring. (Laughter) And when I looked at subjects in the university, in every faculty, most of them had destructive knowledge. There's no productive knowledge in university for me. If you learn to be an architect or engineer, that means you ruin more. The more these people work, the mountain will be destroyed more. And a good land in Chao Praya Basin will be covered with concrete more and more. We destroy more. If we go to agriculture faculty or something like that, that means we learn how to poison, to poison the land, the water, and learn to destroy everything. I feel like everything we do is so complicated, so hard.

We just make everything hard. Life was so hard and I felt disappointed. I started to think about, why did I have to be in Bangkok? I thought about when I was a kid, nobody worked eight hours per day, everybody worked two hours, two months a year, planting rice one month and harvesting the rice another month. The rest is free time, ten months of free time. That's why people have so many festivals in Thailand, every month they have festival. (Laughter) Because they have so much free time. And then in the daytime, everyone even takes a nap. Even now in Laos, go to Laos if you can, people take a nap after lunch. And after they wake up, they just gossip, how's your son-in-law, how's your wife, daughter-in-law. People have a lot of time, but because they have a lot of time, they have time to be with themselves. And when they have time to be with themselves, they have time to understand themselves. When they understand themselves, they can see what they want in their life.

So, many people see that they want happiness, they want love, they want to enjoy their life. So, people see a lot of beauty in their life, so they express that beauty in many ways. Some people by carving the handle of their knife, very beautiful, they weave the baskets very nicely. But, now, nobody does that. Nobody can do something like that. People use plastic everywhere. So, I feel like it's something wrong in there, I cannot live this way I'm living. So, I decided to quit University, and went back home. When I went back home, I started to live like I remember, like when I was a kid. I started to work two months a year. I got four tons of rice. And the whole family, six people, we eat less than half a ton per year. So we can sell some rice. I took two ponds, two fish ponds. We have fish to eat all year round. And I started a small garden.

Less than half an acre. And I spend 15 minutes per day to take care of the garden. I have more than 30 varieties of vegetables in the garden. So, six people cannot eat all of it. We have a surplus to sell in the market. We can make some income, too. So, I feel like, it's easy, why did I have to be in Bangkok for seven years, working hard and then not have enough to eat, but here, only two months a year and 15 minutes per day I can feed six people. That's easy. And before I thought that stupid people like me who never got a good grade at school, cannot have a house. Because people who are cleverer than me, who are number one in the class every year, they get a good job, but they need to work more than 30 years to have a house. But me, who cannot finish university, how could I have a house? Hopeless for people who have low education, like me.

But, then I started to do earthly building, it's so easy. I spend two hours per day, from 5 o'clock in the morning, until 7 o'clock in the morning, two hours per day. And in three months, I got a house. And another friend who's the most clever in the class, he spent three months to build his house, too. But, he had to be in debt. He had to pay for his debt for 30 years. So, compared to him, I have 29 years and 10 months of free time. (Laughter) So, I feel that life is so easy. I never thought I could build a house as easy as that. And I keep building a house every year, at least one house every year. Now, I have no money, but I have many houses. (Laughter) My problem is in which house I will sleep tonight. (Laughter) So, a house is not a problem, anybody can build a house.

The kids, 13 years old, at the school, they make bricks together, they make a house. After one month, they have a library. The kids can make a house, a very old nun can build a hut for herself. Many people can build a house. So, it's easy. If you don't believe me, try it. If somebody wants to have a house. And then, the next thing is clothing. I felt like I'm poor, like I'm not handsome. I tried to dress like somebody else, like a movie star. To make myself look good, look better. I spent one month to save money to buy a pair of jeans. When I wore them, I turned left, I turned right, looked in the mirror. Every time I look, I am the same person. The most expensive pants cannot change my life. I felt like I'm so crazy, why did I have to buy them? Spend one month to have a pair of pants. It doesn't change me. I started to think more about that. Why do we need to follow fashion? Because, when we follow fashion, we never catch up with it, because we follow it.

So, don't follow it, just stay here. (Laughter) Use what you have. So, after that, until now, 20 years, I have never bought any clothes. All the clothes I have are leftovers from people. When people come to visit me, and when they leave, they leave a lot of clothes there. So, I have tons of clothes now. (Laughter) And when people see me wear very old clothes, they give me more clothes. (Laughter) So, my problem is, I need to give clothes to people very often. (Laughter) So, it's so easy. And when I stopped buying clothes, I felt like, it's not only clothes, it's about something else in my life, What I learned is that when I buy something, and I think about, I buy it because I like it, or I buy it because I need it. So, if I buy it because I like it, that means I'm wrong. So, I feel more free when I think like this. And the last thing is, when I get sick, what will I do? I really worried in the beginning, because then I had no money.

But, I started to contemplate more. Normally, sickness is a normal thing, it's not a bad thing. Sickness is something to remind us that we did something wrong in our lives, that's why we got sick. So, when I get sick, I need to stop and come back to myself. And think about it, what I did was wrong. So, I learned how to use water to heal myself, how to use earth to heal myself, I learned how to use basic knowledge to heal myself. So, now that I rely on myself in these four things, I feel like life is very easy, I feel something like freedom, I feel free. I feel like I don't worry about anything much, I have less fear, I can do whatever I want in my life. Before, I had a lot of fear, I could not do anything. But, now I feel very free, like I'm a unique person on this Earth, nobody like me, I don't need to make myself like anybody else. I'm the number one.

So, things like this make it easy, very light. And, after that, I started to think about that when I was in Bangkok, I felt very dark in my life. I started to think that many people maybe thought like me at the time. So, we started a place called "Pun Pun" in Chiang Mai. The main aim is just saving seed. To collect seed, because seed is food, food is life. If there is no seed, no life. No seed, no freedom. No seed, no happiness. Because your life depends on somebody else. Because you have no food. So, it's very important to save seed. That's why we focus on saving seed. That's the main thing in Pun Pun. And the second thing is it is the learning center. We want to have a center for ourselves to learn, learn how to make life easy. Because we were taught to make life complicated and hard all the time. How can we make it easy? It's easy, but we don't know how to make it easy anymore. Because we always make it complicated and now, we start to learn, and learn to be together.

Because, we were taught to disconnect ourselves from everything else, to be independent, so we can rely on the money only. We don't need to rely on each other. But now, to be happy, we need to come back, to connect to ourselves again, to connect to other people, to connect our mind and body together again. So, we can be happy. Life is easy. And from beginning until now, what I learned is the four basic needs: food, house, clothes and medicine must be cheap and easy for everybody, that's the civilization. But, if you make these four things hard and very hard for many people to get, that's uncivilized. So, now when we look at everywhere around us, everything is so hard to get. I feel like now is the most uncivilized era of humans on this Earth. We have so many people who finish university, have so many universities on the Earth, have so many clever people on this Earth. But, life is harder and harder. We make it hard for whom? We work hard for whom right now? I feel like it's wrong, it's not normal.

So, I just want to come back to normal. To be a normal person, to be equal to animals. The birds make a nest in one or two days. The rats dig a hole in one night. But, the clever humans like us spend 30 years to have a house, and many people can't believe that they can have a house in this life. So, that's wrong. Why do we destroy our spirit, why do we destroy our ability that much? So, I feel that it's enough for me, to live in the normal way, in the abnormal way. So, now I try to be normal. But, people look at me as the abnormal one. (Laughter) A crazy person. But, I don't care, because it's not my fault. It's their fault, they think like that. So, my life is easy and light now. That's enough for me. People can think whatever they want. I cannot manage anything outside myself. What I can do is change my mind, manage my mind. Now, my mind is light and easy, that's enough. If anybody wants to have a choice, you can have a choice.

The choice to be easy or to be hard, it depends on you. Thank you. (Applause).

Drug Sentencing Changes & Climate Change & Dementia Care

Next on "Arizona Horizon," the Justice Department proposes big changes in federal drug sentencing laws. We'll talk about the changes with former U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton. We'll hear from an ASU professor and student who participated in a global climate change conference. And we'll see how a local facility is improving the care and treatment of those with dementia. Those stories next on "Arizona Horizon." >>> "Arizona Horizon" is made possible by contributions from the Friends of Eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you. >>> Good evening, and welcome to "Arizona Horizon," I'm Ted Simons. U.S. attorney general Eric Holder today suggests changes to sentences laws for low-level drug cases with the goal of reducing federal prison populations. We will discuss with it former Arizona Attorney General Paul Charlton.

Nice to see you. >> Thank you. >> What Eric Holder wants to do is reduce the number of people currently incarcerated for the low-level offenses. We have approximately 220,000 people currently in federal prisons, a percentage of them for drug related reasons. If you have, for example, five grams of methamphetamine and you're brought into the federal system, you must serve if convicted a minimum of five years in prison. Eric Holder wants to begin to change some of those rules. >> When did that particular mandatory minimum sentencing start, and what has been the impact? >> From the 1980s to the 1990s there was a pendulum shift in the way we looked at criminal justice. We wanted to take away the discretion that judges and prosecutors had, and we wanted to force prosecutors and judges to give certain and severe sentences. As a result, we did see a decrease in crime. Now Eric Holder says that cost is about $80 billion too much for the current budget to handle and we need to find a way to be smarter about the federal justice system.

>> Too much because of federal crowding? >> We are at about 40% over our current capacity. It's costing too much and he believes this is one way to reduce the costs and reduce the number of people currently in prison. >> Over half of these people are in federal prison. Is it low-level drug offenses or drug offenses in general? >> 40% of any kind. Eric Holder wants to find those low-level, nonviolent, not associated with larger criminal gangs and give those individuals the opportunity to receive a sentence less than a mandatory minimum might be. >> How do you figure out these people are supposed to be worth taking the risk? How do you keep them from becoming high-risk second and third offenders? >> Many of the offenders released from the federal system reoffend. How do you determine who will not reoffend? If we're picking nonviolent offenders, low-level individuals that they are less likely to reoffend.

>> Okay. Is there indication that that is the case? Have we seen studies? Seems like I've heard about studies that showed a lot of times these lower level drug cases, these folks do wind up leading to other problems. >> A number of people will tell you there is a direct correlation between the number of people in prison and the reduction in the rate of crime. If we let more people out of prison or give them a lower sentence, there is a risk we might see again an increase in the crime rate. The trick is to find a way to release people who won't reoffend, and that is going to be the difficult challenge here. >> Has criminal justice research and studies, have they changed over the decades to where it might be a little easier to say, A, and B, if they are released and put into a treatment program, how much of a factor that is? >> There are different states that have acted as the laboratory for our democracy. They have had some success in that regard.

Texas is one of those states that Eric Holder pointed to today, a state that we, the federal government, should be looking at to determine whether or not releasing individuals into society, keeping them out of prison for longer periods of time, might reduce costs and still keep the communities safe. >> U.S. Attorneys, are they ready for this? >> I think U.S. attorneys will largely embrace the opportunity to exercise greater discretion on their own. Any federal or local prosecutors, or any U.S. Attorney, they will say I would like to make the decision myself about whom to charge and what charges to bring. The risk there, Ted, you may see discrepancies between the kinds of charges brought for example on a marijuana case in Tucson and the kinds of charges brought on a marijuana case in Buffalo, New York. Different communities will require different sentences and they will see different charges.

That discrepancy is sometimes difficult for people to accept. >> And we're emphasizing, this is the federal prison population, these are federal drug laws as opposed to state laws, correct? >> Federal prison population is only about 13% of the overall population of prisoners in the United States. So this is a small impact on a small percentage of prisoners. But the Department of Justice has oftentimes taken a leadership role in making these decisions. >> Is the country ready for this? We've discussed, had debates on this program before, and there was a movement in the state legislature to lessen drug sentencing laws, and it didn't get too far. Is the country ready for this, the idea that we can look at different ways to treat people who are only incarcerated for low-level drug crimes? >> Soft on crime has never been a winning motto for politicians. But there is this. In the Senate right now senator Paul from Kentucky, and Senator Leahy, the senator from Vermont, and others are working on giving judges greater discretion on charges. So there does seem to be an increased appetite among our political leaders on both sides of the aisle for reduced sentences. >> How much will that appetite be impacted by the private prison industry? I would imagine they are looking at this and saying, hey, let's get active here, let's start moving.

>> I don't think there's a bill passed in Congress that doesn't see its share of lobbyists. You're identifying one very much involved in the criminal justice system. >> Incarceration should punish, deter and rehabilitate, not merely convict, warehouse and forget. >> There are many people, as an old prosecutor, I would say that applies to. There are those it ought not to apply to. There are certain individuals I would be happy to put into prison and forget about, and I'm sure the surviving family members agree, as well. We do need to find a way to reduce costs but keep the community safe. Whether or not Eric Holder has found that correct balance, only time will tell. >> The other thing is we can't incarcerate and prosecute our way to a safer nation.

Some would say we already have. >> Crime rates are down. Whether it's because we have been prosecuting our way or not, the sociologists will have to tell you. >> Good to see you. >> Good to see you, Ted. >>> Get the inside scoop on what's happening at Arizona PBS. Become an Eight Insider. You'll receive weekly updates on the most anticipated upcoming programs and events. Get the "Eight Insider" delivered to your email inbox. Visit azpbs.org. >>> A group of professors and students traveled to a U.N. convention on climate change in Bonn, Germany. Here to discuss the trip and the conference is Daniel Bodansky, USA professor of law, ethics and sustainability, and also joining us is Ashley Votruba, one of the ASU law students who presented research at the conference. Good to have you joining us.

>> Thank you. >> This is an international U.N. conference. Give us a better idea of what was going on here. >> There was a convention adopted in 1992, a meeting under the U.N. convention. It's a meeting of countries from all around the world to try to develop a new agreement to try to develop — >> That is a framework, that is what that means? >> Now there are various things going on under that to try to push the process forward. >> Is it similar to the Kyoto protocol and those things? >> That was developed under the framework. >> And you guys are over there presenting white papers on a variety of research? >> That's right. The idea of the project is to try to inject some fresh thinking into the climate change process. The process tends to get bogged down and gets very task dependent.

It's hard to move from one track to another track. The idea of academia is bringing fresh ideas. >> And your idea is about lands, and arid and semi-arid. What did you bring to the conference? >> My project is, is there something we can gain from a bottom-up approach. It's one where we can let our states and countries choose their own commitment levels. I choose the convention as examples of conventions that have developed a bottom-up approach, and whether or not those things can be useful and effective. >> What were those approaches and how universal were they? >> It's difficult to say how useful they are. Some of the advantages are increased state participation, states are more willing to get involved if they are able to set their own commitment levels. There are funding opportunities that come with adopting those approaches and there are of course downfalls, as well. Difficult to maintain a high level of stringcy from a bottom-up approach. >> How did you research that, what did you do? >> You do a lot of reading into academic literature published on those institutions. The ransar convention started in the 1970s, so it's older. There are papers written on its effectiveness.

There are papers written on the research out of different conventions. >> You're looking at depletion of plant life. >> Desertification convention, yes. That's one of the measures, seeing if there are ways to mitigate desertification from happening and looking to see if it's been successful in certain areas or not. >> Do you look at Arizona or places trying not to become like Arizona? >> The goal is to look at places trying not to become like Arizona. There are countries in Africa that have taken measures to move forward in preventing desertification from happening. >> I worked at the State Department and I have been involved in the process for about 20 years now. We were trying to find something where ASU could make a contribution and give students real-life experience. Papers on the process, rather than just academic purposes.

I developed in conjunction with the U.S. climate change secretariat and tried to find something they would think is useful to the negotiations going on right now. >> Sounds like an independent research project. >> That's right, it was. The idea was not just to do an academic exercise, but something that's applied and really practical and makes it actually useful to the people involved in the negotiations. >> We heard what Ashley focused on. What were some of the other areas of interest that ASU students participated in? >> One was the human rights treaty system, how that evolved. It hasn't been that successful. Our idea was to look at other systems where it's been more evolutionary, step by step, incremental. That was one of the other ones we looked at.

We looked at the intellectual property regime, and we looked at private international law dealing with commercial law aspects. >> I was going to say, trade law, intellectual property law, all of this and climate change, that's some pretty deep weeds there, isn't it? >> We're trying to identify what are some of the key things facing the negotiations. Do they try to develop a single agreement or a series of different agreements. The intellectual property regime is an example of a lot of different treaties. It's been successful, so we're trying to see why that is the case, why it's worked as well as it has, and if there are some lessons we can learn. >> What kind of response did you get from the white papers? >> We had people interested in the work and talking to us afterwards.

Hopefully some of these ideas will move forward and turn into something. >> How do you know if the ideas have moved forward? >> It's difficult to see. We'll look to see if pieces of what we presented will turn up in an agreement in the future. >> Is there a way to track what ASU students presented? >> I think it's difficult to see where the exact influence goes, but you can watch and see whether somebody's ideas can be traced through. >> And as far as the students, what did you want them to take from all this? >> We wanted to try to give them some sense as to how the international process really works, so they would have a better understanding as to really when countries are negotiating, what are they concerned about, how do they interact, so they are not just studying it from afar but they can actually see it in practice.

>> And Ashley, what did you take from all this? >> Much similar to what he said. The opportunity to see the delegations in action, how it works. It really provided a different perspective. >> Going to change your career plans? >> Maybe a little bit, we'll see. It's still a ways away. I certainly have an interest in international law and climate change. If there was a way to weave that into my future I'd be up for it. >> It's kind of a life-changing situation here? >> I think it's really eye-opening to go to one of these meetings and see what it's like in practice. >> Thanks for joining us, we appreciate it. >> Thank you. >> Thank you. >>> We want to hear from you. Submit your questions, comments and concerns via email at Arizonahorizon@ASU.edu. >>> Beatitudes Campus has created replicable ways to decrease prescribed drugs, eliminate physical restraints and generally keep patients more comfortable.

Reporter Lorri Allen and photographer Scot Olson visited to see the principles in use. >> These have been there, we see those every once in a while. >> Joann and Phillip Young married soon after they met. >> On our first date she laughed at my jokes and she was a good dancer. I figured that's about all I really needed. We've been laughing together and having a great time. >> 60 years later, Phil visits his wife several times a day at a place unlike typical dementia communities. >> Here you are, sweetie. You're going to get your picture, too, aren't you? >> Comfort first is the philosophy, with an emphasis on creating a sense of home. >> The home they are asking for may not be reality any longer. But we're looking for those elements that stress the importance of home, those things that connect us to a broader sense of community, and those things that ultimately at the end of the day are the things that give us peace. >> All things really boil down to what makes you comfortable.

So the individual who has napped in their living room, the person who likes their recliner better than their bed, should still have the opportunity to have those same kinds of patterns that have always made sense to them. It's not my reality that's important, it's not what I say that matters, but it's rather what this person says that really counts. >> Yes, that's for you. >> Alonzo calls the fourth floor the neighborhood. And taking away the dietary rules here helped. >> One, it's not too fattening. >> No, ma'am, it's not. >> When people have dementia, it's important to know folks may not have the same kind of clock everyone else has. Being able to eat whenever you're hungry is really important. Being able to sleep whenever you want to is really important. If the person happens to be hungry or thirsty, there's something always available to help them provide a sense of comfort and security. >> You want to sit down for a little bit? >> Alonzo is credited with many of the common sense ideas behind comfort first.

She'll tell you it's a team effort; like almost everyone she works with Alonzo got into this career because a loved one suffered. >> My grandmother was my mentor, and someone that I looked up to more than anyone else in lifetime and when she succumbed to dementia and started to show all the symptoms that we normally see, it was really heartbreaking for my family. But what I learned out of the experience that is there had to be something more, there had to be quality of life. There had to be an opportunity to embrace who she truly was. And so I've been in pursuit of that. >> That pursuit has meant the elimination of restraint, diapers and many drugs. >> All right, good. >> Instead of scheduled activities, play is spontaneous. >> What we're trying to do is get people to realize that indeed, there's this person inside this, beautiful, beautiful person. And there are so many other ways to make meaningful connection beyond the language of the brain, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

The language of the heart and soul through touch, through taste, through song, through a kiss, a smile, all of these things. From a change perspective, isn't this feasible? Isn't this easy to replicate? Does it cost a lot of money? No. Where is it taking place, the change? Between our ears and in our hearts. let me call you sweetheart I'm in love with you >> That was beautiful! >> Thank you. >> Gallagher, a professional singer for 30 year,s, has found a new audience. It happened when she started working for Hospice of the Valley and collaborating with the Comfort First program at Beatitudes. >> It's the most fulfilling thing that I've ever done in my life, every single day. It's difficult but it's very fulfilling, you know.

Think about it, people with dementia lose their ability to think and interpret. So Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia are diseases of the brain. But they are not diseases of the heart, the soul, whatever elements of a human being you want to label it. >> Everyone can do this. It is changing the way you think about giving the care. >> And the comfort first philosophy saves money. >> When you anticipate someone's needs, you don't have to spend the money on products to keep someone dry. You don't have to buy expensive supplements or nourishments because they are eating good too. When you have someone who is comfortable, the staff that you have doesn't have to spend time trying to fix because they are uncomfortable. So the same staffing that we had back 10, 15 years ago, is exactly what we have now. We always make sure that we have staff who know how to take care of the person. And so it is very economical.

Being able to know that you helped somebody to smile or feel that there was a special moment is priceless. It is the kind of thing that nurtures your own soul. >> You know, 83 yeah, I would want to go. >> This is an intricate type of hanging and tapestry, but we comment every time we go by because it's so pretty. She can forget sometimes day to day but it's so nice again to be able to see something familiar like that, something we appreciate. Joean's had her memory problems, it goes back Eight or 10 years really, but it was to the point where we knew we were going to have to have some additional help along the way. And Beatitudes has an outstanding program for that kind of memory support. >> It's kind of funny sometimes, she'll go, okay, she'll say, I know he's messing around with other women.

He laughs and gets a chuckle out of it and brings daisy his little dog over, when she tells you I've been with other women, this is the only other woman I've been with. He has his little dog in his arms. They are so loving, you can see it when they are together. >> O you're so cute. Honey I love you. >> We get by, we know we have to take it one day at a time. There's comfort in that. >> Comfort First considers what some call innovation as simple common sense. It allows residents the flexibility to live in a relatively unstructured manner within a long-term care environment check out the Beatitudes website at Beatitudescampus.org. That is it for now. I'm Ted Simons, thank you so much for joining us. You have a great evening..

How Worried Should We Be About Climate Change?

The United Nations recently held their climate summit in New York City. A few days ahead of the event, more than 300,000 people joined a peaceful march in Manhattan to call attention to the issue of climate change. Secretary Of State John Kerry recently argued that the problem of climate change should be addressed with the same immediacy as Ebola or ISIS. So, putting politics aside, how serious is this issue? Well, there’s an incredible amount of statistical evidence that illustrates the severity of climate change. But instead of getting mired down in talk about ice caps and polar bear populations, let’s just discuss what the UN Climate Summit is really about: air pollution. The UN is meeting in hopes of signing a deal that could cut down on carbon emissions worldwide.

Just to be clear, we are talking about cars and our dependence on oil, but we’re also talking about things like coal power. Climate change is a pressing issue now because there are nations, chief among them China, that are actively pumping carbon into the environment on an enormous scale. According to the Global Carbon Project, China alone accounts for 28% of the world’s total carbon emissions. And they increased their emissions last year by 4.2%, which increased global emissions worldwide, by 2.3%. In other words, year over year – the situation is getting worse, not better. The ultimate goal of this meeting is to establish a plan to reduce these emissions. And one way to do that – is switching away from coal and fossil fuels, to cleaner forms of energy; a switch that some economists and ecologists now argue could also help developing countries, like China, save money in the long run.

They also argue that it would benefit not just the environment, but also the health of the people in those nations. The argument against committing to cleaner energy is that it requires an enormous initial investment and could potentially slow down economic progress. The problem is that the very nations that need economic progress most, are also the nations that emit the most carbon. It’s a catch-22, and a large part of why an agreement still hasn’t been reached. To find out more about what’s going on in China, check out our video on the conflict between China and the Tibetan Independence movement. Or watch our other video on How Powerful China really is. Remember we upload new videos five days a week, so please subscribe..