Donald Trump: The World’s First TV President | Adam Mansbach

You’re seeing Trump bandy around the term "fake news" to describe some of our most venerated, venerable, trustworthy institutions. When the president is calling anything he doesn’t like “fake news,” yeah, it dislocates the term. It dislocates the idea. I think in general what we’re seeing is an assault on the idea that there can be objective truth, the idea that anything can stand above the political fray. And, you know, he’s seizing on that. But it comes out of a much, you know, it comes out of the polarization that the coverage and the news media has been mired in for a good long time. And he’s opportunistically seizing on it, but he didn’t invent it, right. We’ve been in the era for a long time now of polarized talking heads spewing venom at each other on cable news shows in what is supposed to be a fair and balanced and kind of like equal playing-field situation.

But because objectively speaking some of these people are dealing with facts and others are dealing with invented, imagined, biased nonsense there’s often, you know, creating that illusion of a balanced playing field is difficult. Like you can turn on the news and see like, “A Fair And Balanced Discussion of Climate Change”. And like on this side we have like this dude who’s got like, you know, a doctorate in physics from Oxford and is like a triple Ph.D. in every relevant field and wrote six books, all of which won the Pulitzer Prize. And representing the other side is like Joe Schmucko from Illinois who like thinks global warming doesn’t exist because he has a snowball in his freezer or some shit. And these people are being presented as if they have equal credentials. So, you know, the polarization that leads to the dislocation of truth, it’s got to be – the blame for it needs to be spread around. Like it’s been going on for a good long time. Yeah, I mean satire is an incredibly powerful tool and weapon.

And I think we’re in an age where satire seems outdated. It’ll come back around, but at the moment we are living in such an absurd world. Trump and his administration, his cabinet, his cronies defy satire because they are more ridiculous than anything that our greatest satirical minds can come up with. So as you say we’ve moved into a phase where, you know, right now satire is not for the masses. Satire is directed only at the president. Like Alec Baldwin’s entire audience on Saturday Night Live is essentially Trump. We’re in a moment where Trump’s own advisors are letting it be known that the way that they have to get his attention is to go on television. He won’t listen to them if they’re in the same room together. So they go on TV hoping that he will see them and listen because he apparently only pays attention to things and people that he hears on screen.

So, you know, I think there’s a very real sense in which both the satire and the entire sort of talking head infrastructure is increasingly directing itself solely at him. It’s like, you know, this guy watches TV all the time. He gets his news, he gets his information not from intelligence briefings, not from this treasure trove of classified information that most people would be fascinated to delve into, but from the same idiots that everybody else has access to. Maybe satire isn’t dead. That’s pretty absurd in itself. I take it back. Satire is very much alive in the form of Trump, you know, an audience of one for everything that goes on in the media..

The Daily Show – Welcome to President Trump’s Reality

It's been almost a week, a whole week since Donald Trump became president. -But… but it feels… -(audience booing) Yeah. It feels like a lot longer, right? (audience voicing assent) Like in Trump's presidency, one day is like a year. I mean, this was me last Friday. -Look how innocent I was. -(laughter) Look at me. Look how I've aged! It's hard to believe that in less than seven days, we've had an inauguration packed with empty space… (laughter) …worldwide protests that made it acceptable to say "pussy" in any context… (cheers and applause) …confirmations, executive orders, Sean Spicer lying about how he'd never lie, and to top it all off, Kellyanne Conway came in to say that the week didn't happen because there are no such things as weeks, only alternative days.

(laughter) Now, outside of a couple formal speeches, you realize we haven't had a chance to see President Trump himself on the job. But yesterday, he gave the first television interview from his new home office at The White House, or as he calls it, the Mar-a-Lago of the north. -(laughter) -But think about it. We've only ever known Trump the candidate, but yesterday, we got introduced to Trump, the president, who we learned is a man who, from the get-go, is determined to create his own reality, starting with how he gets the news. You took some heat after your visit to the CIA, in front of that hallowed wall, 117 stars of those lost at the CIA. That speech was a homerun. That speech– if you look at Fox, okay… I'll mention, and your net…

Read… See what Fox said. They said it was one of the great speeches. There was love in the room. You and other networks covered it very inaccurately. I hate to say this to you, and you probably won't put it on, but turn on Fox and see how it was covered. -I love how he says "Fox." -(laughter) But you see that there? Yeah. If the news is critical of Donald Trump, it's fake news. -Only praise is real news. -(audience voicing assent) Which is insane, and it's also crazy -that all he does is watch Fox. -(laughter) He doesn't want to read, he doesn't want to have briefings. Trump watches Fox to get his news! You realize the reason that we need the news is because we don't have what the president has, -which is all the information! -(laughter) And then Trump is turning on the news going, -"I wonder what I do today." -(laughter) "I wonder what happens." -You are the news! -(laughter) Can you imagine how this must feel for the FBI, where they come in, and then he's like, "Guys, did you know about the shootings in Chicago?" And they're like, "Yeah, we wrote about it in the report every day!" Now you realize what the CIA and FBI have to do.

You know what they should do? They should start making little videos for Trump to watch. They should make news especially for him, 'cause he's like little child. They're gonna have to come up and make, like, a little production for him. Just like… (imitates trumpet playing fanfare) It's CIA News! Today, Donald Trump, the great Donald Trump needs to know how to fight ISIS! And Trump will be like, "Yay! That's me!" -(laughter) -"I'm on the news! ISIS Bad!" -(applause and cheering) "Donald Trump good! Yay!" (applause and cheering continue) It's his own reality! He only accepts that news. So we learned that President Trump only acknowledges the media that praises him, and also, acknowledges only the citizens who voted for him. Many of these people were the forgotten men and women, many of them, and they loved what I had to say. Part of my whole victory was that the men and women of this country who have been forgotten will never be forgotten again.

The forgotten men and women. They're not forgotten anymore because they came out and voted. (as Trump): I keep a little note on my fridge. It says, "Don't forget to never forget "the forgotten men and women we forgot. That way I never forget what I just forgot about." (laughter) -(applause and cheering) -What does that mean? Here's another way President Trump only works within his own reality. It has to do with his executive order to block immigration from a number of Muslim countries. It's countries that have tremendous terror, uh, and it's countries that people are going to come in and cause us tremendous problems. Let me ask you about some of the countries that won't be on the list. Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia… I don't want terror in this country.

You look at what happened in San Bernardino, you look at what happened all over. You look at what happened in the World Trade Center. Okay? I mean, take that as an example. Oh, okay, okay. Let's take that as an example. These are the countries Trump will ban people from. In the San Bernardino shooting, one of the terrorists was a U.S.-born citizen. The other person was from Pakistan, a country not on Trump's list. Or let's look at 9/11. All the hijackers came from these four countries. None of them on Trump's list. What he's doing doesn't solve his problem. It's like if you got pregnant, and then afterwards you said, "This is never happening again! "From now on, I'm only wearing condoms on all my hands! -"Yeah! Yeah! -(applause) Problem solved!" Here's the most disconcerting part of the interview for me. It's not just how Donald Trump perceives reality, it's the fact that as president he's now powerful enough to shape it.

Three to five million illegal votes. That would be the biggest electoral fraud in American history. Where is the evidence of that? You look at the dead people that are registered to vote who vote, you look at people that are registered in two states. When you say, in your opinion, millions of illegal votes, that is something that is extremely fundamental to our functioning democracy– -Sure. Sure. Sure. -a fair and free election. You say you're gonna launch -an investigation into this. -Sure. Done. (laughter) (whispers): I see dead people. (laughter) (applause, cheering) Who is this? You do understand… because Donald Trump truly believes that he should have won the popular vote, the federal government will now spend a ton of money and time investigating nonexistent voter fraud, which is not going to find you the two-state registered Mexican ghosts who are voting. But instead, all that's gonna happen is it's gonna end up as an excuse to restrict more American citizens from voting.

That's all that's gonna happen. That's all that's… And by the way, dead people using their power to vote? That's the weirdest Walking Dead episode ever. -That is just strange. -(applause, whooping) It's another reality. So… so here we are, one week into Trump's presidency, and the realization is beginning to dawn. The difference between candidate Trump and President Trump is that now we have to live in his crazy reality. And that fact hit me when Trump said this. David, David… I mean, I know you're a sophisticated guy. The world is a mess. The world is as angry as it gets. Well, you think this is gonna cause a little more anger? The world is an angry place. Jesus, dude. If he's gonna talk like that, I feel like he needs a different style of makeup.

David, David… I mean, I know you're a sophisticated guy. -(audience cheering) -The world is a mess. The world is as angry as it gets. Well, you think this is gonna cause a little more anger? The world is an angry place. (laughter) We're all his hostage..

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..

Global Warming Theory Based on Evidence, Not a Belief – Alan Robock on RAI (1/5)

PAUL JAY: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Baltimore. One of the stories we promised to be on top of–and it's one of the stories we have been least on top of, at least compared to its relative importance–is the whole issue of climate change. We've been wanting for a long time to have a full-time climate change environmental journalist. And we don't yet, but this year we're really going to try to. But we're going to up our game in terms of doing climate change stories and try to unfold the debate about just how urgent is it and a debate about what to do about it. And when you look at the issue of climate change debate and discussion in the society as a whole, it's gone from, in the 2008 period of being on the front page of every newspaper and on the front page or as the main story on most television news shows for weeks, to practically not being in the public discourse at all.

And it's one of the things we're going to explore why and see what we can do about it. One of the issues has been a concerted campaign to discredit climate change science. And one has to believe, if one thinks that the preponderance of scientists who believe that human industrious activity causes carbon emissions, which causes climate change crisis and global warming, if you believe that's all not true, you have to believe in one of the grandest conspiracies of our time. But a lot of people do believe that, and we want to try to unpack that as well. So in this episode or series of interviews we're going to do on Reality Asserts Itself, we're going to meet a real live climate scientist, because you have to believe that he's in on this conspiracy if you believe that climate science is hokum. So we're going to explore, through the life of our guest, how he came to a conclusion that in fact this is science as best he knows it, it is urgent; and we'll unpack all of this.

So now joining us in the studio is Alan Robock. Alan is a distinguished professor of meteorology in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Rutgers University. He's an editor of Review of Geophysics, the most widely read journal in the field. He was also in the faculty at the University of Maryland, where he served as a professor and state climatologist of Maryland from '91 to '97. He was a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was awarded a Nobel prize in 2007. His current research focuses on geoengineering, climatic effects of nuclear weapons, soil moisture variations, the effects of volcanic eruptions on climate, and the impacts of climate change on human activities.

Thanks very much for joining us. ALAN ROBOCK: Thanks for having me. JAY: So, as people that watch Reality Asserts Itself knows, we start with a personal biographical background of our guest, usually, and then we [incompr.] get into the issues. And we're going to do that now through exploring Alan's life. We're going to also get into some of the issues he's trying to deal with in his scientific work. So let's start from the beginning. Are you in on a grand conspiracy to delude the world to make money for corporate–green corporations? This is the kind of stuff we read on the internet every time we do a climate change story. And we get it–you can see it from a right-wing position and a left-wing position. So we are going to get into the more–biography of your life and get to know how you came to this conclusions through your own investigation. But just to set a kind of framing, what do you make of the extent of which this seems to have credibility in this society? ROBOCK: I guess I don't understand it.

I guess people like to believe in conspiracies. But if–my research supports the global warming science, that humans are putting greenhouse gases, mainly carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere, it causes warming, it's real, it's caused by us. All the scientists agree it's bad. But I think there's hope. Now, so that's based on evidence. You asked me if I believe in global warming. It's not a question of belief. It's a question of looking at the evidence and weighing the evidence. And I'm really a skeptic. I try to be critical of anything that's told to me, and want to ask questions, and then I make conclusions based on the evidence. My motivation in my career would be to find a flaw in global warming, not another paper that supports it. JAY: Why? ROBOCK: If you found a flaw, you'd be famous. You'd prove that it was wrong.

That's what would give you fame, not another paper that supports the science. So there's a lot of motivation to be critical and find what's wrong with what people say, not another paper that supports it. JAY: That's interesting. There's certainly a lot of money from the fossil fuel industry that would encourage you if you could make such a discovery, as well. ROBOCK: Well, no, I don't get paid [crosstalk] my results. JAY: No, no. I'm not saying you do. I'm saying if one could find the flaw in climate science–. ROBOCK: So you're saying they're funding people to try and find the flaw. JAY: Well, yeah. ROBOCK: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. JAY: There's a lot of research going on to find the flaw. ROBOCK: Yeah. JAY: Okay. We're going to come back to how you came to these conclusions, but I just wanted to kind of set the framing. And now let's go back.

So you're born 1949. Tell us where and give us a sense of the household you grew up in. ROBOCK: I was born in Boston in 1949. A few months later, we moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, and my father was the chief economist for the Tennessee Valley Authority. And my brother and sister were born there. And when I was four years old, we moved to Brazil. I went to kindergarten in Rio de Janeiro and first grade in Fortaleza. My father worked for the United Nations there, helping to–the bank Banco do Nordeste in Fortaleza. Then we moved to Kansas City, Missouri, or /m?'z??/, where I went to third or fourth grade, and moved to Prairie Village, Kansas, for part of fourth grade. And then my mother said, "We're moving again." I said, "What? We just moved to this house." "Yeah, your father got a job in New York.

" So we moved to Rye, New York, where I went to fifth and sixth grade. And then my father got a job as a professor at Indiana University in Bloomington, and I went to junior high school and high school there. JAY: So talk a little bit about your father and mother's politics and sort of your own political evolution. But everybody kind of starts with their parents, 'cause that's where you first encounter these kinds of ideas. ROBOCK: Well, my parents were traditional liberal Democrats. They supported Adlai Stevenson and Hubert Humphrey. My mother supported Gene McCarthy. She was a little bit more left-wing than my father. But I didn't really rebel against them at all. That's what I learned and that's what I became, although I always thought the Democrats were a little bit too conservative for my taste. JAY: And when do you start to get a taste for science? As you're going through high school or even earlier, when do you feel like, boy, I'm good at this kind of stuff? ROBOCK: I was always good at math and science in school.

And so I had a little weather station out behind my house in Bloomington. And I went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. When I was in ninth grade, I signed up for earth science, and the school counselor called me and said, you know, earth science is for the students who don't do well in science; you should be taking biology. Okay. So I took biology. I didn't really find it that interesting. But then I took chemistry and physics in high school. I did well at that. When I got to Wisconsin, there was a freshman course in earth science, which I signed up for, and it was taught by the chairman of the meteorological department, and about a third of it was meteorology. And I'm not a weather weenie. Some people grow up loving weather from when they're really little.

JAY: Well, you had a weather station. ROBOCK: Yeah, but I did other stuff, too. I wasn't a weather weenie like our students now. And some people find it later. So I was a freshman, and I was taking a course, and a third of it was meteorology. We were plotting weather maps in Science Hall at Madison. It was a teletype, and we were plotting the data. And I did an analysis, and there was a warm front on the map. I looked out the window and there was this wedge of clouds on the horizon, and I said, that's the warm front I'm studying–I can study something that's real, that's relevant to humans, not something I have to imagine in a test tube or in an accelerator. And I discovered I could major in meteorology–that was actually a subject, and they had a big department at Wisconsin. So that's when I became a meteorology major. JAY: This is when you're in college. ROBOCK: Yeah. JAY: So, while you're in college–this is in the '70s. ROBOCK: No, in the late '60s. JAY: Late '60s–even more.

This is at the height of the Vietnam War. ROBOCK: Yes. JAY: So what does this do to your outlook of the world? Because to a large extent this was a war led by the Democratic Party. ROBOCK: I guess you could say that, yeah. JAY: Well, Kennedy and Johnson. ROBOCK: Yeah, yeah. So I wasn't really political at all. I didn't understand politics. I wasn't interested. But then I had to register for the draft when I turned 18, and I realized–. JAY: What year is that? ROBOCK: In 1968. I started college when I was–I guess in '67, the end of '67. I started college when I was 17, so I went for a year before I turned 18. And in Madison, if you turned 18, that meant you could go drink beer. That was a big deal. But I also had to register for the draft, and I realized the government wanted me to go to Vietnam and kill people. And I didn't think that was a good idea at all. I didn't support the war and I didn't support killing and I didn't want to participate.

JAY: Now, when I said Democratic Party led, you did a bit of a double take. I mean, in '68, when the government is telling you, sign up to go to war to kill people, it's the Democratic Party telling you to do that. Now, you grew up in a household that was very pro-Democratic Party. ROBOCK: So in 1968 there was–you know, this was–Lyndon Johnson announced that he wasn't going to run for reelection because of the opposition to the Vietnam War. And so there was a campaign, and Gene McCarthy was running, Robert Kennedy was running. Richard Nixon came to Madison campaigning on the Republican Party, and I went out to the Dane County Memorial Coliseum to meet him. And I got–he was there with Tricia. And I shook his hand and I said to him, "Do you support the military draft?" He says, "Oh, I support the vice president's commission report, which says you should draft young people first." And I said, "Well, but what about graduate students? Are you going to support a deferment for graduate students?" And then this sort of big guy sort of picked me up and moved me along. Gene McCarthy campaigned there also, and the place was packed with 20,000 people.

When Nixon came, it was 2,000 people. So I was just–wanted to learn about their different positions. And I supported–I couldn't vote then. You couldn't vote till you were 21. So it wasn't an issue of who I was going to vote for. But all the politics came at us at the time. JAY: But the draft made it hit home. ROBOCK: Yes. JAY: And to what extent does that now start radicalizing the way you look at the world? ROBOCK: There were demonstrations against the War in Vietnam with teargas. Dow Chemical Company was recruiting people. They made napalm, which was this jellied gasoline that the American military was dumping on Vietnamese people. And there was a protest. So the people were sitting in in the building, and the campus police came in and said, move or we'll take you out; you have two minutes. And then, 30 seconds later, they came in and started beating people. And people outside started protesting, and they used tear gas.

And I walked by there a little bit later and my eyes started to water. That was the first time I had ever gotten teargassed. And I said, whoa. And then there were marches on the street against the war. So I got–experienced teargas three out of the four years that I was in Madison. JAY: But how involved did you get in the antiwar movement? ROBOCK: I didn't lead any protests, but I participated in them. And my main concern was: how do I avoid the draft? The draft was they would take you and require you to go in the army. My senior year, they had the first draft lottery to calculate what order they would take people in. And my draft board was in Bergen County, New Jersey, which was a pretty upscale middle-class place, and they needed bodies. And so I knew that–my draft board was actually attacked by the Berrigan Brothers spilling blood on it at one point. So they determined what order they would–. So I turn on the TV, and it wasn't on TV, so I turn on the radio, and they were doing the draft lottery.

And they got–they kept going on and on and on, and I didn't hear my birthday. But they had started at number ten. And they said–they got to 150. I said, well, that's great. "So for those of you who tuned in late, we're going to start over again from the beginning. Number one: September–." My birthday's September 7. "Number one: September 22." Phew. "Number six: September 6. Number eight: September 7." So I was number eight in the lottery. So I knew that no matter how far–they got to about 160–that I was going to get drafted. So then I had to figure out how to avoid that. JAY: And how did you avoid it? ROBOCK: I decided to join the Peace Corps, which was a two-year voluntary service. And there was a deferment for people that were doing things that were vital to the national interest, like being a graduate student, being a teacher, like being a Peace Corps volunteer. But then they did away with those deferments just before I graduated, so I couldn't go to graduate school and get a deferment.

I got admitted to graduate school. I said, "Will you write a letter to my draft board?" "Well, we'll write a letter, but they can still draft you." And so I said, well, if I go to Canada, then they can't draft me. There was no extradition treaty, so a lot of Americans went to Canada. It really helped Canada out at the time. I went through Canada. JAY: I met a lot of them. ROBOCK: I went to the Toronto anti-draft program to find out [crosstalk] JAY: So you did go to Canada? ROBOCK: I drove through there when I graduated from College. But I ended up flunking my physical. And so I got a I-Y. And I had joined the Peace Corps. And so I–. JAY: Well, how much for you was I don't want to go to war, and how much was it we shouldn't be fighting this war and I'm not going to be a part of it? ROBOCK: It was mainly I don't want to kill.

I could have joined the Navy, sat in Monterey, California, and forecast the weather, 'cause I was a meteorologist. And I thought that was the same as pulling the trigger. I didn't want to participate in it at all. JAY: So your involvement in science and meteorology and climate begins in college. So how does this start to become your passion? ROBOCK: Well, meteorology is a pretty small group of people doing it. It's, like, this fancy, this really nice club, and you get to know everybody in the club. And you're pretty special if you're a meteorologist: you can tell the future. Most people can't tell the future. I'm the director of the undergraduate program in meteorology at Rutgers now. You can tell the future if you become a meteorologist. And if you become a climatologist, you can change the future, because you can tell the world, this is what's going to happen if we behave this way, and this is what's going to happen if we, for example, put a lot more greenhouse gases in the–.

And that helps society–inform them to make decisions. JAY: And the issue of human-caused climate change, it goes right back into the '70s, if not before. When is the first research that makes this connection? ROBOCK: Arrhenius did research in the late 19th century and calculated that if we double the CO2, that the climate will warm by a few degrees. So it's really old research. In 1969, there was work by a Russian scientist, Budyko, and an American one, Bill Sellers, and they at the same time, without knowing it, published almost an identical paper showing what would happen if we–how sensitive the climate system was to a changing amount of energy. So we weren't sure then how much the climate would change. We knew that humans put in these gases which trap the energy, mainly carbon dioxide. But we also put in particles, we put in pollution which reflect sunlight and cause cooling. So there's a fight between the warming and the cooling. And at the time when I was a graduate student, we didn't understand–have a good feeling for which was the stronger thing. JAY: Okay.

In the next segment of the interview, we'll kind of trace the evolution of your thinking and what persuaded you that this was the evidence that humans do cause climate change. So please join us for the next segment of our interview on Reality Asserts Itself on The Real News Network..