New York Times Magazine Climate Change Issue - Panel Discussion - Lake Harding Association

New York Times Magazine Climate Change Issue – Panel Discussion

New York Times Magazine Climate Change Issue – Panel Discussion

By Micah Moen 5 Comments September 13, 2019


okay could everyone take a seat we’re the same thing gonna get started my name is Pete Raymond I’d like to welcome you here to Yale fps I’m a faculty member and I’m leading the climate initiative which is something that came out of our strategic plan that our Dean in D Burke led over last year today the Yale program on climate change communications together with the Pulitzer Center is hosting a conversation on an article that came out in the New York Times over the summer which I’m assuming all of you have read the article covered what we knew about climate change in the 80s and how close we came to taking national action on what we knew part my own research focuses on understanding greenhouse gases fluxes globally and regionally and there’s still a lot of work to do on this front however it’s clear that our understanding of the risks and science is at a point where we should be we should have had national action a long time ago now so this pursuit of understanding why more action hasn’t been taken now is both important and interesting and FES is really happy to help further this conversation here today our moderator today is Tony lacera whit’s tony is the director of the y pcc and a senior research scientist here at FBS he did his undergraduate at Michigan State and got an MS and PhD from the University of Oregon he’s published over 60 articles in leading journals on factors that influence public opinion and public engagement around the idea of around climate change the YP ccc also publishes a number of reports and you might know it but you’ve also probably also heard tony on the radio in the morning as he does a daily program called climate connections his work is supported by a number of foundations including the macarthur Foundation and government agencies such as the National Science Foundation and just last year he won the friend of the planet award from the National Center for science and education and they only gave me a couple of minutes to introduce Tony for those who don’t know I’m Tony’s a scholar he was also very passionate about what he does and a very engaging speaker um so we’re really lucky to have him here today to moderate this interesting session well thank you so much I should turn on my technology can you hear me can you hear me now how about now there we go all right well thank you so much Pete for the invitation or the introduction today and thank you all so much for coming on a rainy day at least it’s not a blazing hot day and coming all the way here to Kroon Hall to join us for this really interesting conversation as Pete mentioned I’m a faculty member here at the school and director of a new center that we are launching this fall called the Yale environmental sorry the Yale Center for environmental communication and this is one of our kickoff events so we’re really excited about this new initiative and I just want to give you a little bit of background about what this is gonna be so this Center is going to have four key missions first conducting world-class research on environmental communication really building on the foundations of the Yale program on climate change communication really trying to understand how do math societies respond or not respond to these critical environmental issues but secondly teaching and training courses for both our students here and for working professionals who are trying to get action on many of these issues out there in the real world so to speak third we want to serve as a critical null node for an expanding network of environmental communication scholars and practitioners and then most relevant to today directly engaging the public in environmental ants stories and solutions through a whole variety of really amazing projects that we have here so in particular our award-winning online environment magazine Yale III 60 our student-run environmental Film Festival here at Yale which is one of the Worlds and one of the nation’s best two student publications sage magazine and the Yale environment Review which are great and then as Pete mentioned our own Yale climate connections it’s our own national climate change news service we have about a dozen reporters across the United States they’re producing articles a monthly video series and a national radio program which you can see some of the things on our front page right this moment we’ve been incredibly fortunate to grow this network out because we’re playing twice a day on more than 400 stations across the country and here’s a at least a pretty recent version of the map as you can see we’re pretty heavily dominated on the left and right coasts but I’m proud to say that we’ve got quite a bit of coverage in the middle part of the country as well and we’re trying to increasingly bring more and more attention to the south and to the Great Plains and really the critical point I want to make here that’s also part of this conversation for today is that second word in our title and that’s the word connections we’re trying to tell stories that help our listeners understand or connect the dots and understand that first of all climate change impacts are here and now not distant in time and space and secondly and perhaps even more importantly that climate change solutions are here and now they’re being innovated and implemented by people from every walk of life not just presidents and prime ministers and captains of industry people are rolling up their sleeves across this country and around the world and saying I don’t want to stand on the sidelines and watch the world burn I want to get involved and do what I can to make a difference so three years ago we formed a partnership with the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting to support climate change journalism that includes annual events like today bringing leading environmental journalists to campus and secondly a competitive student fellowship program so those students in the room please take note giving Yale students an opportunity to work directly with Pulitzer reporters as part of a training program in Washington DC and just to give our first example of the winner of this program was FBS student alum Shabat who did field research in Rwanda and wrote about the impact of climate change on the mountain gorillas and people living near its habitat which brings us to today so today we are so pleased to host Nathaniel rich and George Steinmetz the author and photo journalists behind this extraordinary full issue article this was the only article in the entire issue of the magazine entitled losing earth published by the New York Times magazine in August and John Sawyer executive director of the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting so just to feel logistics here here’s how we’ve organized the event to save time we’re not going to do long introductions and bios hopefully you all got a program and you can see how amazing every one on this panel is by just looking at that we’ll start with a few opening remarks by John introducing this project which the Pulitzer Center supported will then see a presentation by award-winning photographer George Steinmetz who traveled the world to document the current day impacts of climate change and then we’ll hear from an author that Daniel rich about his history of climate change science and politics in the 1980’s a critical decade when the scientific consensus was formed and the issue first reached the highest levels of national and geopolitical decision-making and then we’ll have a conversation with NAT George and John including Q&A with our audience here today note that this audience has spilled out ode out of this room into Bauer’s Hall and we actually have a fair number of people watching this live online so for those who are watching the live stream please know that you can submit questions at the end using the hyperlink provided on the board at Bauer’s Hall or in the description section of the YouTube channel we’ll try to include at least a few from external audience so again thank you all so much for coming today and now please join me in welcoming John Sawyer of the Pulitzer Center good evening thank you Tony well we’re here to talk about losing earth this extraordinary effort by the New York Times Magazine to bring this issue the attention it deserves to bring home its devastating impact right now around the globe and to explore in rich historical detail how three decades ago we blew what was likely our last best chance of fixing this problem without wrenching social economic and political cost we’re also here to talk about what we can do better how we can do better on this here today the entire washington press corps it seems is consumed this week with identifying the anonymous senior administration official who wrote the New York Times op-ed about attempts by him or her and others to thwart the worst instincts of President Trump and never mind that we’ve been reading accounts of similar unnamed officials with more detail for the past 18 months the coming midterm election appears to be focused on all Trump all the time you would be hard-pressed to name a candidate anywhere in the country who is making a principled theme the issue climate change that will be far more important than any other in determining the world in which our children and grandchildren will live I’m reminded of the memorable passage in Nathaniel’s article detailing Al Gore’s leadership on climate change throughout the 1980s until 1987 when he launched a campaign for the presidency and discovered that he wasn’t getting any traction talking about climate so he dropped the issue and recast himself as an anti-abortion moderate southern Democrat and still by the way lost I’m reminded also of my own passion during those years as a reporter writing about the day years of proceeding with commercial nuclear power in the absence of a proven permanent solution to nuclear waste and never really comprehending the potentially much greater risk to the entire planet of doubling down on carbon fuel instead it wasn’t just me it seems that just about everyone except for Jim Hansen Ray Pomerance and a few lonely others had other priorities too whether it was acid rain or nuclear winter or income inequality the wars in Central America and the Middle East are you naming our hope with losing earth is to spark a different kind of debate to use this combination of stunning photography and reporting with deep historical context to set off a conversation that will reach more audiences and with longer impact than the usual journalism project that is published today and subsume tomorrow by something else George Nathaniel and I will be flying out to San Francisco at the crack of dawn tomorrow bringing this story to audiences gathered for the global climate action summit on Wednesday they’ll be sharing the story with students at the Inner City Lincoln High School in San Francisco one of several key partner schools around the country that are piloting the free online curricular materials that we’ve built for losing earth and that The Times has done a great job of promoting along with us to bring people into using that that resource on Wednesday also we’ll be citing this project and our launch of a major new initiative aimed at promoting more and better reporting on rainforest issues around the globe in a couple of weeks Nathaniel will be out in red state Missouri talking about this project at the University of Missouri and the week after that George Steinmetz will be on a panel we’ve organized at the Chicago Council on global affairs discussing the power of visual images and engaging the broad public in issues like climate change so we’ve got a lot of ground to cover here today and I think we’re going to start with George as Tony said taking us on a tour of what he’s done over the last year and longer to illustrate the consequences of climate change all over the world right now so George you all give me okay okay okay last June the the Times called me up and they gave me this extraordinary opportunity wanted me to go and photograph the effects of climate change on every continent and they wanted me to go and try to find the most extraordinary examples I could find and it was in in June and I had to scramble my fruit and to show you these photos roughly in the order they were taken but it’s kind of a global tour as I went to every continent over the past 12 months and my first I first stop was um was Greenland and this is up on the the Greenland ice sheet and what this is um in western Greenland in those mountains you see in the background that’s the Greenland coast you’re looking downstream and I wanted to look at the processes that are causing the rapid glacial melt in Greenland and you this is a this large Lake is a melt pool in last year last winter it was sorry last summer was a relatively cold summer in Greenland and the pool hadn’t quite let loose yet lit but most people most of the melting in Greenland is actually sub glacial it’s not it’s not the glaciers melting at the edges and so and they’re these large systems that that you can see that it flows and then there’s a big mole in there which is a hole that goes down to the bottom of the glacier when I was some scientists in the National Science Foundation we’re trying to say the dynamics of Mullins and the first step was to go and set up some GPS locations out on the ice sheet to see how fast it was moving and how fast it was going down and needs to be up all winter there was solar paneled weather stations and then they started dropping instruments down the Mullins so they could measure the flow and they were trying to get flow meters all the way down to the bottom of the glacier which is here it’s almost a kilometer deep and then they ran the big experiment I only got one past this with my drone but we flew out to a big Mullen and they put they put red dye in the Mullen to track the water flow and this is this is a very this is a really cold winter normally this would be a torrent but even but they’re trying to measure the the velocity and the volume of the flow it’s very windy if it’s why the drones kind of wobbling around and and this is their we’re waiting for the for the helicopter out and in a typical summer it’s so warm up there they have to move the tent every week otherwise n it’s been a pedestal this is that this is not snow that’s actually the the basal ice that’s melting but the tent winded up because it’s insulated from the Sun it would actually be up in a pedestal on the wind would blow it off so the next stop was uh for me what was China and this is the this is the biggest coal mine in China China consumes roughly half of the world’s coal and it only is a plate and it supplies about sixty percent of the country’s electricity needs Harewood su mine in Inner Mongolia this is done by a by a drone I was about two kilometres away with my drone when I shot this and the truck garden even know I was there when you look at a Inner Mongolia from from Google Earth you can see the the mine you can see the road from the mine to the power plants is it kind of a black smear and I followed that black smear to this huge coal sorting yard and missus mink at this terrain it’s not running or I hate when that happens I’m sorry but it is a video it’s a flyover so now first a little middle button doesn’t work well some things work and some things don’t good through the drone work so if you these are 18 wheel trucks and these are coal sorting of pens so the truck drives through and it drops up the bottom and they sort the coal in different qualities and in the top there that’s – – okay – oh it’s the it’s the biggest power plant in China it’s a plight one power plant supplies 1/3 of the power for Beijing but the size of the hunger of China for coal is really quite phenomenal this is one of the biggest power plants of China it’s not quite as big as to it take take to a take tool this applies in a big portion of Beijing’s power and the hunger is you see this night shot of Shanghai and when you think of 1.3 billion people with rapidly rising incomes there’s an incredible demand for more for more energy and the Chinese have done an amazing job of expanding their solar and nuclear capacity so that the coal consumption is actually plateaued but it’s also quite troubling is the amount of cars this is looking down on an interchange in China looking at the bridge going to Shanghai let me see if I get this one to run yeah this was and there’s my drone humming right over the center of the doughnut good sense it is the evening rush hour but what you think I mean that the the vehicle use is gone in car usin in 2009 there was 65 million cars in China by 2020 the estimate there gonna be three times that many vehicles if they have as many cars per capita in the United States or planets in serious trouble they also have a big problem with out with algae this is um Lake Tai it’s the third largest lake in China and in the summer with the increasing water temperatures and and a lot of agricultural runoff they get incredible algal blooms which are deadly for the fish and even the it messes up the the city’s water supply Xu Zhuo is right in the on the shore of Lake Tai and these are fish traps and of course they’re no fish with an algal bloom like this it even clogs up this this retro tourist attraction on the shore of Lake tide this is in the downwind side of the lake this is not like fancy Photoshop it actually looks this nasty this is the Swiss Alps and there’s this the the trip glacier in the background it’s that one of the fastest reading glaciers in the world I talked to Walter Luthi who ran the little guest the little summer guest hut near here he’d been there 20 years and when he started there were 30 meters of ice and wreaths that were that bridges today they use to be able to walk across that chasm and now they put a footbridge in because no he’d get across and I all the photos I had found even just a few years ago the ice was down at this level and they estimate that by the end of this century it only be ten percent of the glacial ice left in the Swiss Alps this is a flyover from the trif bridge now actually the bridge as you can kind of a tourist attraction because it’s a little bit takes a little bit of a vertical game going across it this is a I was on the first hillock copter into Houston when they opened up the skies after hurricane Harvey and hurricane Harvey in four days it dropped basically the whole whole year’s worth of rainfall in Houston and initially was a much place for the water to go it was even worse going over towards Beaumont and Port Arthur Texas this is the Phillips Conoco I started Phillips Phillips Phillips kind of cool refinery out in your Beaumont you can see the cars under water here and there was this incredible sheen of oil it’s going off off out into the bayou this Beaumont Texas one day later Beaumont had a teenagers of rain in 18 hours there was literally nowhere for the water to go and this is the first day of sunny weather the first day after that they say after the rains had stopped and everybody came out to try and check on their neighbors all they came and used the middle of town to wash her little gym boats to try and go down streets and see if they could find people you see a little boat going down the street here and it was amazing that usually with the flood area you wouldn’t find a swimming pool here because they usually think of like you know big sheet flows this is just it was just rain with nowhere to go just filled up that blue pool and topped it out so I mean with with you know climate change you have increasing temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico which makes these super intense rain events more common but this was I think this is one of the most intense rain events ever record in the United States this is in Santa Rosa California the coffee park suburb and after many years of drought in California there is up there a lot of dead trees they had really strong winds and the winds blew the power lines are swinging and blue dead branches onto the power lines that lit a fire and it swept through this suburb at night and people they were very lucky to get out with their lives it was really spooky from the hill of copper but it was even creepier walking around in the ground this is the car I got so the fire was so hot it melted aluminum hubs you see them like it’s like flowing like candle wax the aluminum down the street but the entire neighbor was just was burned to the foundation this is the athletic field at the local Catholic school and it burned the astroturf you see the baseball diamond there your pillow and this is the central ferry terminal in Dhaka the capital of Bangladesh in Bangladesh like Houston has had increasingly intense rainstorms due to increased evaporation they’re really really strong storms and they’ve you can see there’s a there’s a high there’s a high levee on the shore but there’s so much rain that they actually it floods like a bathtub and one of the issues they have in Bangladesh is that they people have have built onto the old the old channels used to drain into the river and they built housing there so there’s nowhere for the for the city to drain and you find serious flooding problems in the Brahmaputra this is upstream from Dhaka and people live for years in the really fertile soils of the river but the flooding is making it increasingly difficult for them to to survive there this is just after the floodwaters receded let me see if I can get this to play it’s not playing you see if I can use this PC what a bummer it’s a really nice flavor but it’s just not working it’s a great projector there we go the the flood watt that people in Bangladesh have learned to live in rural areas very lightly on the land so that when they get flooded they don’t they don’t lose as much and so these little I think everybody had a head abandoned this area during the floods now they were just coming back and look at their banana trees had made it but about everything else got wiped out and all the the vertical plants there that’s jute which they use from for wading into like floor mats and different kinds of products everyone’s coming out to see the drill and it’s kind of exciting for them and when you go down the Delta this is the last island of the Brahmaputra Delta before you you go out in the Indian Ocean and this is it high tide it’s just amazing to see people growing rice right at the tide line I mean this is this is sea water here and that’s fresh water rice paddy so these people to me that there was like the water was like up to their nostrils they were just like barely above the waterline and when you get a storm surge there you can easily see how they be wiped out and in the summer when the monsoon rains hit if there’s this brown water is actually fresh and everything’s great but they get a storm surge and they’re they’re wiped out and you can see how lightly living in the land by this really kind of rickety infrastructure to kind of just barely enough to get by and easy to put together if it got wiped out this is the ferry leading to the island and you can see that they there’s no there’s the terminal is the ferry terminal is under water as well but that’s fresh water that that’s rice and it’s as basically as ocean water right against the Wrights I spent three weeks trying to get a picture of a penguin colony in Arctica that an Arctic peninsula has one of the is one of the areas of on earth that has the most rapidly warming climate and one of the big huge therefore for wildlife is krill because the krill krill depends on algae that grows in the bottom of sea ice and as the sea this is I was in the first boat down there in the spring and the Antarctic spring and you can see how quickly it had broken up I mean it normally should all be covering ice and it was all who’s all gone and the glaciers were calving and so that the with less with less sea ice there was less krill with less krill there was much less wildlife this is our our dinghy going through and doing a survey of the of the the ice as it was breaking up and the penguin the penguin this is um deception island and the penguin numbers here it was extraordinary the penguin the penguin population had dropped it had gone from 85,000 in 2003 to 55,000 in 2016 because they were basically they were starving to it because of lack of krill sure all the chinstraps they come down that they leave the one of the meeting couples leaves the other on the nest and the other comes down to get fish and they’re up ready to launch to try and find some some krill to eat this is in South West Australia near Perth and the the agriculture line that they’re at the line between like farmland and ranch land has moved a hundred miles towards the sea in the last 20 years due to do an increasingly warm climate and these are saline lakes there they’re red with algae but the the all the the wheat fields are all salting up and becoming less and less horrible and this is not far away this is in Shark Bay in Western Australia in Shark Bay it’s has rapidly warming water that’s killing all the sea grass it’s critical habitat for Dewgong and other marine mammals you see some divers there from the University in Perth routing a survey of the of the seagrass they’ve a trip they’ve had huge um kind of heat waves in the marine water there they’re killing all the seagrass and this is in the Mauritania on the edge of the Sahara this is a ancient caravan town called Chang jetty it’s a sweat started in the 12th century when she get e is slowly getting buried by sand due to increased sand storms caused by a climate change this is a flyover of chin Getty you see this to work works they’ve had about three feet of sand deposited through sandstorms in the past 15 years and it collapses the mud walls and even if X even this is the the gardens of chin Getty and here the gardens are getting buried in sand the sand storms come in from the left side of the picture and they put sand fences into the sand trying to stabilize the dune field so the date pumps don’t get buried this is the capital of Mauritania Martinez had severe droughts for the past 23 years now 30 percent of the country’s population lives in the capital and in the outskirts they’re getting buried in sand as well but you see here in the lower left that some that’s the water tribe comes once a week and you get you get 50 50 liters of water for your family and the last place I went and my project was the Amazon and The Times is holding on to that material potential use in the future article by one I’ve worked in the Amazon over the past few years and I wanted to to me the Amazon is really critical because it’s like though is the the lungs of our planet and this is the Amazon on fire I spent 15 hours flying over the Amazon in a small plane looking for deforestation in the in the dry season and the fires have been said is that is the very start of the deforestation process and this is a an area and prostate that’s been cleared for Ketel and this way was cleared for farming all that’s left is a little bit of a marginal on the river which is but by brazilian law you can’t you can’t clear all the way to the water’s edge and you also can’t cut down Brazil nut trees but with the roads drying and the dry season the Brazil nut trees don’t live very long this way this is a legal logging operation in legal locking is still continuing in the Amazon and they’re clearing all the valuable trees and after they do that it will be clear-cut for for farmland it’s a log yard I went out with Obama the Brazilian forestry police and an armed helicopter we landed there and check with their chiclet permits which they did not have and this is shows the different phases of deforestation in the Amazon they after they they take out the valuable timber and they burn it they come through with massive bulldozers connected by an anchor chain and they pull it down it’s kind of like shaving the forest and that’s what you see these these piles of logs here and you can see the tracks of the dozers and then they’ll burn that again and they’ll plant soybeans in corn and in northern Metro girls sub-province they have a real sweet spot for agriculture they can get to crops on the same land without any irrigation so even if you get caught for illegal deforestation you just make so much money on farming that it doesn’t really matter this is the the soybean harvest on the edge of the Amazon when I was flying my paraglider here this is a few years ago as flying paragliders not drones but I saw him with cos flying through the floor she still had intact forests along this river margin and this is the biggest grain port at Santos in Brazil and virtually all the the grain here was going to China this is the main grain port for soybeans in the Yangtze River anyway where’d it come thank you hello can you hear me all right it’s really glad to be here I want to warrant apologize I have a cough and I don’t because I’m miked I don’t know how to cough and not explode your eardrums so it might just happen a few times a couple of years ago my editors at The Times asked if I’d like to write an entire issue length piece about climate change it’d be the second iteration of a partnership with a Pulitzer Center we’ve gotten a year earlier with fractured land Scott Anderson’s story about the Middle East the idea appealed to me but only and my editors felt the same way if we could figure out how to write about this subject in a new way after all the dominant mode of climate change writing for a general audience has become over the years pretty well-established like any common narrative it’s developed its tropes and cliches I characterize the basic template as something like this here’s some new disaster Trump is undoing a regulation dropping out of Paris calling for more coal power this is a big problem because the world is getting warmer and if we don’t limit warming to two degrees Celsius or one and a half degrees some really scary things will come to pass in the decades ahead but already you can see the effects wildfires drought flooding super storms the political and economic powers that be are aligned against us the oil and gas industry the Republican Party campaign finance law capitalism itself if there’s still time to avoid the worst if only we take action now whether that be holding Exxon accountable protesting and Standing Rock voting for Democratic socialists or what have you now all of this is valid and I don’t take issue with any of it but it’s remarkable how consistent the messages it’s undergirded by an activist impulse which simplified would read it’s not too late if only we act now that’s true too but is it the whole story I don’t think it is which is how we came upon the idea of writing a story about the decade between 1979 and 1989 when the fundamental scientific questions were settled beyond debate and attention turned from diagnosis of the problem to policy solutions there was also crucially a time before the oil and gas industry had consolidated behind a strategy of disinformation propaganda by enough scientists politicians and an entire political party to fort any serious effort to reduce carbon emissions and ultimately to propagate the clownish fantasy of climate denialism it was a decade when major figures within the Republican Party made strong good-faith efforts to push for action before an anti environmentalism became a central tenet of republicanism it was during this time that a practical solution was also first articulated a global treaty to curb carbon emissions modeled after the successful ozone treaty it was in other words a time not only before our political paralysis had taken hold but before the public conversation had undergone its own form of paralysis over the course of 18 months I read whatever I could find about the period academic theses newspaper and magazine articles congressional testimony government reports I spent weeks visiting archives the National Archive in Washington the Reagan Library Roger revels papers at UCSD several private collections I interviewed more than a hundred people former senators congressional staffers from both sides of the aisle scholars scientists inside and outside of government bureaucrats environmental activists oil and gas industry operatives and scientists several high-ranking members of the American Petroleum Institute journalists psychologists economists social theorists the most surprising thing about my research was the discovery that every single conversation were having today in 2018 about climate change was being held nearly verbatim in 1980 I don’t mean only the predictions about degrees of warming and sea level rise natural disasters and geopolitical tensions but also conversations about the need to help developing nations increase energy consumption with resorting to massive extraction of coal and petroleum geoengineering removing carbon from the atmosphere and the cost-benefit analysis that always seems to favor inaction in the end I settled on a narrative focus primarily on the two figures I felt were most responsible for moving the issue forward during those years for nearly convincing the US to take decisive action while there was still time rave Pomerance political lobbyists for Friends of the Earth and the World Resources Institute and James Hansen the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute their campaign can be broken down into three phases in the first from 1979 to 1981 they believed that it would be enough simply to share what they knew with those who occupied the highest seats of power that the size of the threat would move prudent officials to act so Jim Hansen published his shocking scientific findings and journals major scientific journals and gave interviews to the near times enraged Pomerantz organized a series of high-level meetings at various branches of the federal government including EPA Department of Energy National Security Council and the White House at these meetings Gordon McDonald a senior scientist who informally was considered the chief scientist to the CIA was very alarmed about the issue explain the nature of the threat and advocated for major policy to remedy it when this approach failed they tried to bring their warnings to the public through the press largely fueled by congressional hearings later they turned to their most desperate gambit yet a tactic of public shaming which reached his finest expression during the summer of 1988 the hottest on record during which the US was plagued by historic droughts and fires when Hanson told the world to stop waffling on global warming and take action Anton’s testimony had a major effect on public opinion and support for a treaty but obviously not enough in November 1989 thanks to the determined opposition of President Bush’s chief of staff John Sununu the u.s. declared it would not sign any binding treaty to reduce carbon emissions we haven’t come as close to a solution since why did we fail then when most of the obstacles now in our ‘we had yet to present themselves the narrow political answer is Sununu he won a heated policy debate within the Bush White House beating out Jim Baker Bush’s Secretary of State and then William Riley Bush’s EPA Administrator but it’s hardly a satisfying answer it raises in fact a different question why was public support for a treaty so weak that it took a single naysayer within the Bush administration albeit one who can who held considerable power to thwart the prospect of a binding global treaty to reduce emissions a small group of social scientists had debated since the mid seventies if a human solution to this human problem was even possible whether they came at the question from the Vantage of political science or economics or psychology they tended to conclude that human beings do not have sufficient sufficient reverence for the long-term future to motivate the level of immediate transformational change required to solve the climate crisis adaptation as the philosopher class Mayer Abuk concluded at the time seems to be the most rational political option I don’t think any discussion of the issue sorry I do think any discussion of the issue needs to take into account or general discomfort and engaging with long term threats especially those that are existential in nature but we have solved or at least endeavored more seriously to solve other pressing social issues this brings me back to the question of how we tend to write about climate change we know by now the political story the technology story the economic story the industry story those are all critical to understanding how we got here but what about the human story how do we live with the knowledge that the future will be far less hospitable to human civilization than the present how do we make sense of the complicity of our governments our corporations and ourselves in all of this what does it say about who we are as a people as a society as a democracy well future generations be satisfied with the answers that we now offer for inaction and even as we consider solutions today how do we understand our failures to this point these are just some of the moral questions that have not been we considered on a broad public level I don’t think as a culture that we’ve articulated a moral framework for how we think about climate change we speak in moral terms about all the other great issues of the day think of gay marriage or gun violence especially with the school shootings immigration as you’ve seen with the family separation policy even the accelerating rate of mechanization major social changes tend to be powered by a sense of moral purpose the major transformations that are now required to end our dependence on fossil fuel consumption over a brief amount of time will require such a shift in consciousness it’s not enough to appeal to self-interest even people have no reason to believe that they will be harmed by wildfires or rising sea levels must demand change out of a higher sense of duty to one’s fellow human beings I don’t doubt that will ultimately summon the will to take decisive action the question is whether we do so because the suffering is so is already so flagrant that we have no other choice or whether enough people understand that when we talk about things like say fuel efficiency standards or solar power battery technology or enhancing public transit networks we’re talking about nothing less than the fate of civilization all we love and all we are thank you okay good all right well thank you for everything just there so we’ve got a lot on the table and a lot of big things to think about and talk about here let me begin actually with George so just to get us started here this was really an incredible assignment that you were given you were given the opportunity well Ann you have traveled the globe as a photographer for National Geographic geo magazine from Germany you’ve had this incredibly rare opportunity to explore and experience the world in a way that almost no other human beings on this planet ever have this however was a unique assignment focused on documenting the impacts of climate change and really the photographs that you brought back are stunning and so with all respect and Nathaniel and his writing I’d argue that it’s probable that your images are what most readers are going to remember years from now so I’m wondering first of all what did you learn from this experience that you didn’t already know having certainly learned and known about climate change for a long time but having traveled to every continent on this planet to investigate and document this story how did it change your own understanding you’re in your bones your own understanding of this issue I think the most you know it’s I think it’s most affecting when it’s in your own backyard and it was I’m a native Californian and when I walked through these um burned-out neighborhoods in California the kind of tract homes and a little cul-de-sac and just saw places burn to the foundation it was it was really stark and and I went to my drone crash that morning eh you can augur it in and so I went to Lake ship it out FedEx to get it for the FedEx guy I like lived in that neighborhood and I ended up talking to him about you know how he barely got out like how he heard the the bombs of like barbecues the barbecue tanks were like exploited so woke him up Wow and then it’s like his dog was barking but that came in at like you know 2:00 in the morning and just in in California we’ve had numerous droughts but the drought they were go ahead been through in the previous few years with very severe it it was a combination of things that caused that when it’s your own when it’s your own neighborhood your own people I mean I’m used to going through you know I’ve been through refugee camps and Somalia and it’s heartbreaking but when it’s your own backyard it’s much more affecting yeah so that’s a perfect segue then because my next question is really about the kind of photography that you do and this actually relates to a new course that we just started here at Yale today that’s looking at perspectives on the Anthropocene this biggest story of our time of essentially how do we as a population of probably 9 to 10 billion live on a single planet without breaking the life-support systems on which we all depend getting to some of the big narratives that you were just raising and I’m really struck by the first of all the power of photography which we’ve known now for years I mean David Brower you know pioneered the environmental coffee table book because he knew how powerful those images would be in shaping public opinion and galvanizing action what you’ve really brought because of this new technology both from your prior work and helicopters and ultralights but now with drones you’re giving us a different perspective on these issues than we usually have usually the picture is at the ground level looking at a person who’s maybe had their home destroyed so and I mean so much of the TV footage for example tends to focus on that level you’re bringing us up above all of that you know a bird’s-eye view even a God’s eye view if you will how do you think that plays how does that shape the perspective of the viewer as they try to get their head around these issues I think it really helps because you you what I love to do is get a picture just kind of a little bit above the ground so you can see something kind of personal you can relate to whether it’s like or flowing swimming pool or you know some melted cars and then you see the expanse of it in the background it’s the to of that something kind of that’s relatable and then the magnitude I think is really powerful and yeah this technology that I’m not a geek but this drone technology is really an amazing tool and I couldn’t I couldn’t have done a lot of what I did without it and even getting into let’s say like getting into like a coal mine in China without official permission shall we say it like the decibel nobody really even knew I was there it was really quite extraordinary alia opens up a new possibility so I don’t really into the geek I’m into what the these things can do and it’s pretty amazing yeah yeah it’s it’s pioneering a whole new form of photography yeah okay so then to Nathaniel so this is an incredibly rich piece and I’ll just say as someone who really kind of came to political awareness in the 1980s it was an incredible experience to go back into those days and really realize how much was going on at the time and for those that haven’t read it let me just give you a quick summary so in the 1980s the scientific community had reached consensus the fossil fuel industry had not yet started its climate denial propaganda campaign there were at least a few Republicans in Congress who had even sponsored climate legislation and as you document during the 1980s climate change went from being largely unknown to a global geopolitical issue and yet the United States and the world failed to act and have continued to feel that and your narrative largely focuses around and circulates around these two heroes Rafe Pomerance and Jim Hanson who made enormous sacrifices in their own life over that decade to bring climate change to the world’s attention you also identify these two critical moments that zooms in that time period when key leaders acted to delay or or derail climate action and you mentioned one but I hoping you can unpack that a little bit for us because the first was by a man named William nirenberg who was chair of the first comprehensive review of climate change science by the National Academy of Sciences in 1983 which was a pretty strong comprehensive report that had pulled together stuff that had been out there for a while but it was a very authoritative panel the top people in the country were part of it and it was a critical seminal moment in this and yet he himself publicly undermined the conclusions of his own report by publicly saying after was published that actually climate change wasn’t that urgent of a problem and we could probably just adapt our way around it why and then the second related is the one that you talked about and that’s Sununu john sununu who was chief of staff to president HW Bush and I’ll say with an assist from Yale zone Allan Bromley who was then science advisor to President Bush blocked international action in 1989 so yes your your question is a good one why wasn’t public opinion strong enough to overcome these barriers but at the same time these men did fundamentally delay and derail action at the time why so and there had been I guess to give a little background to changing climate report the Jain climate report there have been a series of major government reports about climate change beginning in the 70s and a couple that I talked about in the piece for the Charney report in 1979 which essentially has the function of establishing scientific consensus there’s a follow-up report that reviews the Charney report a couple years lady Micheline report and Schelling was a major architect of nuclear Cold War theory game theory and he then was part of nirenberg effort which was another National Academy of Sciences effort comprehensive the first comprehensive treatment of climate change so it wasn’t simply like the Charney report you know how much will the world warm if carbon dioxide in the atmosphere doubles but how will this affect basically every aspect of life what are the causes what could be done and what are the the socio-political impacts and so Reagan took office in 81 and basically there was this kind of nightmarish moment for the environmental movement as he they read took all these radical measures to stop the environmental progress legislative progress that had been happened over really decades and that first knocked that was I would say even before changing climate knocked the the the climate change movement for lack of a better term off its heels because people like gray Pomerance were no longer had the luxury to think about global warming when they were worried about the EPA stopping to function or a Department of Energy you know being closed down and so on so the answer that there were that the administration gave during all this time was about climate change was we need to wait till the changing climate report it’s published and that will tell us what we and will follow the advice of that report so it had a lot of significance and so it’s a 600 page report which you can read online now and it basically comprehensive and it basically didn’t change anything about the scientific the science of the problem confirmed the findings of of the Charney report and many others and yet the gloss that on it given by nirenberg and also I should say Roger Revelle who’s one of was was was on the committee with nirenberg and as one of the leading figures to bring the attention the public to global warming back in the starting the 50s was essentially that these are very bad problems yet our position should be one of caution not panic and we should wait to develop solutions technological solutions particularly and so yes I found this mystifying other people have written about this before and I owe me RS Kees is written about it as well and and I spoke with a lot of people on that committee who worked near and Bert’s dead but I looked at the papers of the committee at UCSD and Roger Ravel’s the special collection and I looked and I spoke with with you know his assistants and secretaries on it and basically the the explanation that I got from everybody including all the people who spoke with arrestees was that there was a real generational battle that was going on within the scientific community at the time where you had a whole generation of senior scientists with enormous influence in in the federal government which is also something that I think it’s hard for people now to wrap their minds around that there was this kind of priestly class of scientists that emerge from the Manhattan Project originally and then had been key top advisors to every president until Reagan basically who were advising on on a every major issue of national security and social policy Nierenberg was part of that Ravel was part of that quarter MacDonald was part of that and a lot of these guys especially Nierenberg had come of age in the depression they had been nirenberg himself as part of the Manhattan Project they had had this very strong belief in technology to cure our ills there was a sense that if we could win the war if we could invent the a-bomb we could get out of the Great Depression through the wonders of Science and Mathematics then surely this carbon dioxide problem as as scary as it might seem now to you young people we will be able to do so in time and the amount of the reorganization of the kind of economic system of the of the world if we take action ahead of time right now would be too disruptive to justify the possible benefits and so what it was a reinterpretation of the you know and he was a guy grew up in South Kelley you know he was part of generate he was a Reagan voter he was part of that whole community so he had a kind of there was a Republican political aspect to it but nobody I spoke to you as much as I tried said that he was at all influenced politically directly by the white house if anything he had got into a fight with the white house and they tried to stop the report earlier and so is it basically the best answer I could get was that it came down to a kind of generational difference the difference in the optimism about the future optimism in the wisdom of the sort of political elders to solve great problems that I think the younger group this revered non-vet generation that Pomerance was part of didn’t share Sununu is just a bizarre own case he I you know I I spoke with him at length he’s very proud of his role in disrupting all of this he’s still a skeptic about the science and he came to his scientific skepticism independently he was a mechanical engineer PhD he had done some computer modeling for engineering he any the computer modeling that a lot of the client the client projections were based on he didn’t buy because the resident I mean for various technical reasons that lots of climate scientists have assured me a complete godly good but he stood by that and he also saw this sort of sinister he had this theory of a sinister cabal of environmentalists with anti-growth forces and and he was determined to try to stop this as much as he could so what’s interesting in particular again for our students are going to be dealing with these exact things as in the case of Nuremberg you’ve got this fundamental shift this conflict actually in worldview between this kind of Promethean view of humans can control nature we can make it do what we want right we can solve all problems which came out of that experience of cracking the atom and you know building the Hoover Dam and you know the interstate system and winning World War two and and so on I mean it seemed like for those mostly men we could do anything so and then as you said in this late 60s and 70s is the rise of this particularly the environmental sciences which are beginning to call into question so many of those assumptions do you see that in fact they’re enormous unintended consequences of which things like Three Mile Island and some one really kind of brought home is that this modernist technological civilization that we were building had lots of unintended consequences that we’re harming the planet and people okay so I know we have at least Dan Esty is somewhere in the crowd and hopefully okay great so Dan is one of our professor actually participated at this time at the EPA and Dan would like to give you the first question Thank you all again for this piece and for raising an issue and bringing it back to attention So I spent this period of time focused as a special assistant to Bill Reilly in the office outside of his at the EPA trying to move this issue forward And I think you’ve captured a number of dimensions of it But I guess a piece that I want to push you on is I think there was a broader story around a Republican Party that itself had two __________s at the time There was Bill Reilly pushing very aggressively for action, Bob Grady who was in the Office of Management and Budget pushing for action, And Sununu was not alone in blocking. There was ________. there was _______ … evil guy behind the just-say-no agenda. And I think you have captured, I would say …one of the four elements here and that was reliving the Limits to Growth kind of debate. And that’s what John Sununu saw in the environmental group yeah I guess first I would say about dharman who’s dead my from talking to Cindy Anu and others and Riley my sense was that Darmon certainly was onsen and his team as was Allan Bromley yell nuclear physicist but that Sununu was the engine that pushed them both but yeah I spoke a lot with Riley and a lot of you know we’re put you know during senator durin burger during this time a Republican from Minnesota who is very active on the issue there are a few senators who are deceased Chafee and Stafford were very powerful very strongly pushing these issues then and of course if you look at if you look at these letters that were being sent to Reagan and Bush during the decade from from the Senate urging strong policy its majority Democrat but you’ll have a dozen to 20 or so Republican senators putting their signature on these these lists and it’s a wing of the party that doesn’t seem to exist at all now and as to I think there is a strong conservative argument for global warming for climate policy I think that it’s essentially in the long-term we know from all of these studies it’s economically prudent is a conservative decision to to protect our resources over the long term we should not be you know we that there’s that there’s conservative values and in preserving the environment preserving the natural world the world that we’ve been given these were arguments that were made I mean I quote in the piece from from a speech given by a Republican former member of the CQ Malcolm Forbes Baldwin laying this out to some extent but nobody makes those just those arguments or anything like those anymore the Republican Party I don’t but you look a lot of a lot of what was the old Republican Party has gone it’s not just this the party is unrecognizable from what it was during this period that I wrote about so is it I guess your question is is it possible that they’ll come around I mean I think it is I just don’t I don’t know that it’ll be called a Republican Party I think it might be something else I mean that’s sort of a broader question about where’s where’s the Republican Party post Trump and it’s I don’t want to start going out on a limb on that but but I this does feel to me like the death throes of a movement and I think something else will come on to replace it that will be a part from what we think of as the Democratic Party okay all the questions let’s go with right here right up on Tucker uh if you could just wait for the microphone um thank you so much Nate and George and John for helping this and Tony for hosting it I was so glad my Mary Lynn Tucker and with my husband we have a project here on world religions and ecology and I’d love for you to come pick up on your last point because I think it’s so true and I think you really nail it when you say we don’t have the moral and ethical perspective for these issues we’ve got science we’ve got economics we’ve got policy we’ve got incredible photography and so on and it seems as though right this week in California there’s going to be a lot on this issue with the brown climate summit especially at Grace Cathedral and Pope Francis’s encyclical is clearly a massive way forward but we’ve been working with seminaries on this issue they’re still locked into a human centered ethics so we’re trying to bring this you know to expand this with a different world religious but they love for you and anyone else to comment on that because it’s so crucial and John maybe you can add to it as well yeah I would say the person that has most effectively articulated that argument cyclical I think that’s the the best example that I know of a major public figure making a moral argument for action that goes beyond the politics I bet I don’t know if it was you know who in the states was persuaded by it but it does seem to me that there need to be more figures like that to come forward you need a kind you need kind of Martin Luther King of this movement and I don’t think we have one yet and that the appeal has to go sort of above and below the politics in order to generate the kind of public effort and demand for a really major major action that we need all the Jesuit universities in the world are picking up the encyclical despite the bishops who aren’t too interested so I can at least reference that and that we actually did a study on the impact of the Pope’s encyclical and visit to the United States and we actually report on our website you’re welcome to come look at called the Francis effect because we found that there was an effect not the encyclical itself because there’s great of a work addition I encourage everyone to read it although it was written by the Pope he doesn’t pontificate it’s actually it’s actually a really great instant classic but believe it or not people didn’t line up outside bookshelves like the latest Harry Potter book to read the encyclical it was his visit to the United States which was covered 24/7 by your profession the news media and when he was in front of the White House he talked about climate change as a moral issue when he spoke before a joint session of Congress he talked about climate change as a moral issue when he spoke in front of the United Nations he spoke about climate change as a moral issue and in every single event he went to he talked about it and as a result Americans heard a framing of climate change that they had frankly never heard before which is that wait a second this has something to do with morality with ethics with my religious beliefs huh isn’t this just about polar bears but critically it has to be continued in fact I was invited to the Vatican a couple years ago and that was my message so you have to keep talking because we forget we forget in today’s cycle within 24 hours and so how does this conversation continue and I’d like to pick up on her point and really say and now that I’m going big picture here because when you were describing the dominant narratives that most climate journalism falls into and I think you’re right I would even say it’s even further its environmental storytelling period has generally been one and I don’t mean to overemphasize but one of dystopia okay and I don’t want to over frame it in religious terms because it’s not religious but it has this character of repent and change your ways or we’re going to end up in this future hell that we’re depicting and now we can even see the early signs oh okay what we don’t seem to have done is told an opposing story the story of actually the sustainable world that we actually want to live in and that’s a huge cultural vacuum and it’s a vacuum that people like Rush Limbaugh are more than happy to fill themselves where they say he says he’s so beautiful in the way it says things you know it’s environmentalist want to take away your car they want to take away your home they want you to live naked and shivering in the caves I don’t know anybody anybody here why don’t live like that I don’t know anybody who says that and yet we don’t have that clear vision of the world that we actually want to live in that by the way isn’t just better than the hell we’re describing but is actually better than the hell that many people are living in today because this current system ain’t working so great either so this is really a big question for any of you to try to address what’s the role of journalism in telling that kind of a story well I think part of the challenge for journalist is what you’re saying jet is repetition its engagement they have to be – sort of you have to reach different audiences and I think one of the traps that we and the media have fallen in and particularly with the era of trop it’s the US versus them it’s the it’s it’s preaching to your own choir and we for years we talked about Fox and how bad Fox was that it was a distortion that it wasn’t true journalism and yet looking you know I I would make my coffee that MSNBC the Morning Joe and that is about as distorted on the the other way is as Fox’s to the right and and it is just as self-contained and within a within a bobble and so when we started having conversations with Jake silverstein in his colleagues at the New York Times about doing this project 18 months or so ago and it became our the biggest project that we’ve done in the last year so at the poetry Center what I kept saying to him and then when we were talking to Daniel about it as we’re framing they were they were framing the approach was that I goal is not to make the Times subscriber audience feel good or feel bad and feel good about feeling bad their reconfirming their views and we want to reach to do want them to do something that’s going to reach beyond the times audience and sort of create something that will actually generate conversations so when Nathaniel started going down this road of the moral dimension of this and the and the fact that that back then even when you had much more bipartisanship as Nathanael just described then we have today that even then under those circumstances we couldn’t bring together the political will to make something happen and and it wasn’t just because of Big Oil or it wasn’t just Exxon it wasn’t the next on new and kept it from us it wasn’t just the Republican Party of being so and and it’s been a fascinating debate there’s lots of people on the left after this project and if annals thesis and you can speak better to this and I and I you have been this notion that no no he got it wrong he was much too easy to that he left the Republicans and big whale off the hook and I think if all of us just stop for a nanosecond I think about our little role what we’ve done in our lives and purchases that we’ve made the consumption that we do the the priorities that we make we haven’t made this a priority and so what we want to do now is in what we’re in the course of doing is take this out to as many venues as we can and where is interested in doing it in rural red state communities and in finding audience and in that part of the country as we are with with being at places like yeah I’ll work we’re all more or less on the same page so that and in that sense I think that the real work is beginning and you and when you have resources like this and images like Georgia has provided for us it’s a huge thing to take out and spark conversation so that’s what we’re about I don’t know and there are a lot of things raised there I guess I would question the premise of a journalistic obligation to tell to be pessimistic or optimistic that you know I this is the only subject that that I can think of where there’s an expectation on the part of a writer to to motivate the per the reader to act in one way or another that’s not how we approach journalism about race or you know gun violence or any of these other major social issues so why is there an expectation that any article written about climate change should be trying to figure out the best way to motivate people to act I think there’s value in that kind of activist journalism I think there should be it should exist there should be more of it there should be better but I don’t see that as the responsibility of journalists or writers in general that’s that I think there is a responsibility though to take into account some of these places where there aren’t clear answers and where there is some moral complexity and I think that’s that’s a subject that’s a terrain that really has been left on addressed by writers of all kinds not just journalists by novelists as well and so yeah you see these dystopian treatments and you sometimes see utopian treatments and I think there’s room for all of that but I also think there’s there’s a need and I think the response to the piece has reflected this for a greater reckoning with with the complexity of the issue and the challenges that it poses not only the technical you know technological challenges but the challenges to the way we think about ourselves in our place in the world okay other questions well actually let’s give a student a chance yes right here in the middle hey thanks I have a question for word George I was wondering how you chose the places in which to photograph and fly your drones it seemed like you were kind of lucky despite the unluckiness of let’s say Houston with the flooding for that to happen during the period in which you were doing the the research was there somewhere else in the state that you’ve been maybe planning to go before that happened I I didn’t really you hadn’t really figured out where to go in the United States and then those two events happened and I thought I thought I needed I thought I’d cover a tropical strawberry I’d go to like you know the Philippines or Indonesia or something like that and it was quite surprising when when Harvey happened and I was actually in deny was actually Tanzania when the hurricane hit and I had to fly back on short notice and again he’s slowing up getting the first chopper in I was pretty lucky so it was the us it was that was kind of happenstance I actually wanted to go to a wildlife situation up in Alaska but I couldn’t get bridge from the from the Fish and Wildlife Service to fly over the walruses up in Alaska they wouldn’t allow it so it was an accomplice and I had was looking for like the best example in every continent and it was the times left that pretty much up to me where to go it wasn’t like a blank check but I was pitching them a bunch of ideas and I traveled a lot over the years so like I knew more had been didn’t I had been to fill that place in Mauritania before I was gonna go back 20 years later so it was it was complicated South America was kind difficult we couldn’t find much I went to the Amazon and one of the reasons they didn’t use it in the article was that it was actually it wasn’t an effect of climate change and they wanted a thanks then he used a coal mine in China because that wasn’t a cough that was an effect either so it was it was kind of complicated with some it was kind of a dream gig and sometimes you you’re struggling defiance thing I was looking for glaciers in China and it came out doing like Google searches for images above glacial loss and then I came across the bridge in Switzerland it was really wonderful about that situation was that you had you have to do two pictures you had there’s gonna be you had this little bridge and that was kind of like the old water line so you had everything in one image and I was leaving for in China and I came across so I was kind of obsessed with like you know that xx pages of Google Image searches it’s like oh oh it’s in Switzerland it’s not China and I was in China looking for something so it was you know it’s kind of like some of the best things you look for it you find her serendipity and then the framework you you talk to people like I talked to a sleeper while situation people said penguins were getting hammered and so I talked to some penguin ologist who’s actually guy was at penguin ologist I talked to this pin when I was at Oxford and he said oh you want to go to penguin see penguins the biggest quality is like deception island and it’s a black sand volcanic beach and if you get there really early it’s all like this and it’s like oh I talked to some of the other like some other wildlife guys I know what the geographic oh yeah you want penguins you go to go to surf snail and then you call and they say well but do you want to go there you got to have your own boat and then the boats are five grand a day and and so I end up on a sailboat and it took 20 days to get that picture and I really I’m really incredibly grateful to the Polson Center and the times I spent a lot of times on pictures you got I spent like a week in a picture I never spent three weeks in a picture and a lot of vomiting going across Drake Passage what happened but it was a great picture I thought was a good picture so it was yeah it’s a lot of hard work and happenstance and let’s see one more question here let’s see let’s go right back there right yes you if you could just raise your hand so they can get you a high this is mostly a question for Nathaniel but also any of you who wanted to want to comment on receptions to the peace particularly I’m interested in Nathaniel the people who you interviewed you know 100 plus interviewers are interviewees how many of them kind of grasp the significance of the topic that they were engaged with while at the time and their reflections now as its you know probably become more clear to them and you know if you could comment on like some of the environmental activist perspectives versus some of the science scientists perspective and they’re kind of state of being when you interviewed them yeah well it was very scary doing the piece because we sort of settled on generally what the premise was going to be after some amount of research but then I actually started to interview people and I was prepared for them to tell me you know that everything was wrong that’s usually what happens when I report stories and it happened to some extent for this piece I mean for instance I originally planned on having there would be a much stronger have a full industry narrative over the decade and I didn’t think necessarily that there would be one character but I thought I could string it together through a series of characters but there just wasn’t enough to go on I spent months trying to to do that but you know so I had to abandon a few things but but generally the response from people were who were involved intimately during this period where I’m so glad you’re telling the story nobody talks about what we were doing then I’m so glad your folks didn’t rate Pomerance like everybody loves Rey Pomerance and he’s someone who’s always been behind the scenes very purposefully very modest and there’s some things in the piece even like that he came up with for instance this major number that was put forward and in Toronto that you know the world needs to reduce carbon emissions by 20% by by 2000 it took him to like the last week of fact-checking for him to admit that he it was that was his number that he just like blurted it out in a meeting and it got adopted so he’s very modest um which made things very difficult sometimes to report but I know generally they basically all told me the same thing which is that you know everywhere people were engaged at the highest levels of the government during this period that there were major figures within the Republican Party within Congress there were major people within the Carter White House you had William Riley and that in the Bush White House all working to get this thing done and yeah I mean it’s all on the piece they but there wasn’t a lot of and since the piece I’ve I’ve generally I’ve received a very warm you know letters from those people I interviewed and yeah I think this was especially poignant piece of reporting for people of kind of my generation 60s and up maybe who and I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had with people in the last month that were like me either journalists or in policy or law or whatever but they lived through this and they actually remember a lot a lot of these things that Manuel brought back to life the kinds of the questions the debates the negotiations that went on we kind of lived through that as professionals look back now and see what was missed and the chasm that has opened up where there’s not even really the opportunity to kind of talk back then you still worked engaged across the political and the closing of the ranks with the oil and gas industry right at the end of the decade and then there’s a sense of total impossibility starting then into the 90s I mean the other thing that’s interesting is even people who follow the issue somewhat closely think that this all started with Jim Hansen’s testimony in 1988 but there’s almost a century of history leading up to that moment so I think a lot of people involved during this earlier period feel vindicated that the story is being told so I just want to thank both of them for pointing out for our enterprising student researchers perhaps in journalists photographers etc that as fancy and as beautiful and as perfect as this looks you will spend months going down cul-de-sacs and you know wrong directions and there may even be some protracted vomiting involved so with that thank you all for coming and for those of us who watched us online we’re going to be hosting a series of exciting events on that YouTube channel so please subscribe I also really want to make a quick really important shout out to the great team that is required to put an event like this together and a big THANK YOU to our staff that helped do that in particular Eric fine Lisa Fernandez and Laurie Basu toe of our team just thank you and finally just join me in thanking John Nathaniel and George for coming today and we’ll have our sets in there good to see you how are ya and thanks for bringing Tony Tony yeah yes great pleasure to meet you thanks so much for coming

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Steven David Stoffers

19:42 "serious trouble" given we maintain the current level of "dirty" energy output, without which we would already be in trouble. eh? meaning the previous coal mining pictures he gave us are reassuring. not "bad". yes? if it were an at all serious presentation, it would almost exclusively have been pictures of airplanes and airports. 1/3 a ton per hour of air travel per passenger and usually a lot farther than how far we drive anywhere in a car… for purposes that usually are quite frivilous. not even essential, and to get at all serious on carbon emissions it gets real serious in terms of choices.

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Jolujo 58

Unfounded quackery 💩

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