Rear Mirror: IQ2 Debate: Global Warming is not a Crisis

Source:  Intelligence2

GLOBAL WARMING IS NOT A CRISIS

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14, 2007

MEDIA TRANSCRIPTS, INC.

41 WEST 83rd STREET NEW YORK, N.Y. 10024 (212) 362-1481

PROGRAM Intelligence Squared U.S.

Global warming is not a crisis

BGT NO. .

BEGIN TAPE

BRIAN LEHRER

I want to introduce to you, Robert Rosenkranz, Chairman of the

Rosenkranz Foundation, the sponsor of this evening’s debate,

who will make some opening remarks. [APPLAUSE]

ROBERT ROSENKRANZ

Thank you, Brian, and, and welcome to all of you. I’m Robert

Rosenkranz, Chairman of Intelligence Squared, which is an

initiative of the Rosenkranz Foundation. With me tonight is Dana

Wolfe, the Executive Producer of this, series of debates. I see a

number of, uh, a lot of familiar faces in the audience but also a

lot of newcomers. So let me just say a word about why we’re,

we’re doing this. It’s really with the intention of raising the level

of public discourse in this country. It comes from a feeling that,

uh, political conversations are just too rancorous and that, this

nation could benefit from a forum for reasoned discussion of, key

policy issues. The topic tonight is, is one that, uh, has attracted

an enormous amount of, of interest. The proposition: Global

warming is not a crisis. And the, panelists are going to try to

persuade you to vote for or against the motion. Uh, ultimately

your votes will decide which side has carried the day. Uh, well,

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why this particular, topic? Senator Barbara Boxer, Al Gore have

assured us that on this particular topic the debate is over. Well,

we took that as throwing down the gauntlet and I personally am

cynical enough to think that perhaps there’s a distinction

between science and political science. Um, and maybe a side

that feels like there is nothing to debate, might feel that there are

perhaps some inconvenient truths on the other side that they

would prefer not to deal with. I’m old enough to remember when

there was a, uh, scientific consensus on global cooling, and this

was in the 1970s with all kinds of alarmist data on that subject.

I’m enough of a businessman to know that the modeling and the

use of the computer, uh, algorithms and forecasting the future is

a very, very difficult undertaking. I mean, if one could predict,

uh, the weather or patterns of storms even a year in advance it

would be worth billions and billions of dollars to people engaged

in energy trading or, uh, or, insurance underwriting and a whole

bunch of other pursuits. And yet it can’t really be effectively

done. So tonight’s debate, I think, is addressing issues that for

me are very real and, which, at Intelligence Squared we feel can

use some serious enlightenment. Uh, first of all, on the science

of it. Does science really have the, the ability to tell us with, with

a good degree of reliability what is going to happen to our climate

over a hundred year period? And secondly, the economics. Um,

this all leads in effect to public policies that say, We should

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invest, money now for benefits in the future. Well, that always

poses the traditional questions of, well, what are the costs? What

are the benefits? What are the alternatives? What are the risks

of action? What are the risks of inaction? So there are a whole

welter of economic aspects that I think, hopefully tonight we’re

going to get some enlightenment on as well. Uh, this evening, of

course, is a live event but it will reach an audience through

National Public Radio of over fifty radio stations around the

country. We’re produced for radio by by WNYC in New York.

And it’s now time for me to turn the, uh, proceedings over to

Brian Lehrer, who is the award winning host of, WNYC’s New

York public radio call in program, The Brian Lehrer Show. This

has been called New York City’s most thoughtful and informative

talk show by Time magazine. It covers politics and life locally,

globally. Brian not only holds a master’s degree in journalism

but also a master’s in public health and environmental studies.

So he is very well equipped to lead these proceedings and to

introduce the extraordinary group of panelists who are the real

stars of tonight’s event. Thank you very much. [APPLAUSE]

BRIAN LEHRER

And, Bob, thank you so much. I so personally appreciate your

commitment to public discourse at a high level. We need much

more of that in this country. I would like to welcome you all

formally to the sixth Intelligence Squared U.S. debate. Let me

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give you a brief run-down of the evening. First, the proposer of

the motion will start by presenting their side of the argument.

The opposition will follow. Each person will get a maximum of

eight minutes and we will go back and forth from one side to the

other. Second, when all six speakers are finished with their

opening remarks I will do some follow-up questioning and open

up the floor to brief questions from the audience. And when I say

brief, I do mean brief. We have, we are limited to twenty minutes

for the entire follow-up discussion after the eight minute

presentations. And so I ask that you limit your questions to

thirty seconds and not give any speeches tonight and I will do the

same in my follow-up questions. Uh, third, when the Q and A is

complete, each debater will make a final statement, not lasting

more than two minutes per person. And fourth, during the

closing statements, uh, ballot boxes will be passed around for

voting. You have your tickets. This is what the ballot box looks

like and you will put in either the “for” piece, the “against” piece

or the whole ticket if you still don’t know which side you favor. If

anyone does not have a ticket ballot – are you snickering at the

very idea of being undecided or ambivalent? This is what we’ve

come to? Um, an usher will get you a ballot at the appropriate

moment if you still need one. And fifth, and last, after the final

closing statement is made I will announce the results of the

audience vote and tell you which side carried the day. Now, to

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introduce the panel. For the motion, author and filmmaker, best

known as the author of Jurassic Park and the creator of E.R.,

Michael Crichton. [APPLAUSE] The Alfred P. Sloan Professor of

Meteorology in the Department of Earth, Atmosphere and

Planetary Sciences at MIT, Richard S. Lindzen. [APPLAUSE] And

Emeritus Professor of Biogeography at the University of London,

School of Oriental and African Studies, Philip Stott. [APPLAUSE]

Against the motion: Climate Scientist at the Union of Concerned

Scientists, Brenda Ekwurzel. [APPLAUSE] Climate Modeler at

the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Gavin Schmidt.

[APPLAUSE] And distinguished Professor of, uh – I’m sorry. And

distinguished Professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography,

University of California, San Diego – Richard C.J. Somerville.

[APPLAUSE] And that was all very polite. I couldn’t tell how

many people voted for or against the motion. [LAUGHTER] All

right, first, for the motion: Richard Lindzen. Please go to the

microphone.

RICHARD S. LINDZEN

Okay, I’d like to thank Intelligence Squared, the staff, Bob

Rosenkranz, Brian Lehrer and of course, our worthy opponents,

for the opportunity to debate the proposition: Global warming is

not a crisis. Please keep in mind what the proposition is. It is

not a debate over whether the earth has been warming over the

past century. Uh, the earth is always warming or cooling, at least

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a few tenths of a degree. And we’re talking about, so far,

something on the order of six tenths of a degree centigrade.

We’re not even arguing about whether greenhouse gas emissions

are contributing at some level to warming. And they most

certainly should or I would suggest it would be very little.

Indeed, as far as I can tell, even our opponents do not claim that

global warming is a crisis at present. Rather, we are primarily

addressing the future. Now, much of the current alarm, I would

suggest, is based on ignorance of what is normal for weather and

climate. Extreme weather events occur all the time. There’s,

there is really no evidence of systematic increases, judging from

reports from bodies ranging from the National Hurricane Center

to the U.N.’s Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change. In

fact, outside the tropics the theory of such storms and variability

says that the variability should decrease in a warmer world.

Thus, if this is a matter of crisis for where we live the world is in

a permanent state of crisis and will be less prone to crisis in a

warmer world. Sea level has also been a matter of concern, I

think largely because it’s very telegenic, as opposed to a half

degree of temperature. And sea level has been increasing since

the end of the last Ice Age glaciation, with the most rapid change

increase about twelve thousand years ago. In recent centuries

the rate has been relatively uniform, averaged over ten year

periods. Uh, it amounts to a couple of millimeters per year and

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this is residual of much larger positive and negative changes

locally. Uh, those changes are due to tectonics. And, and the

risk, if you’re worried about sea level change, from these changes

is larger than it is from warming. The impact of warming on

agriculture is not easy to ascertain. But, for example, India has

warmed in the second half of the twentieth century and

agricultural output has increased greatly. The impact on disease

seems dubious at best, according to articles in Lancet. Infectious

diseases like malaria are not so much a matter of temperature as

of poverty and public health, most notably the elimination of

DDT. Malaria is still endemic in Siberia and was once so in

Michigan. Exposure, I would suggest, to cold is generally found

to be both more dangerous and less comfortable. Now, recently

the IPCC summary for policy maker came out and it had an

iconic claim about man’s impact on temperature change. Uh,

does this imply crisis? Well, the impact on temperature per unit

carbon dioxide actually goes down, not up, with increasing CO2.

Uh, the role of anthropogenic greenhouse gases is not directly

related to the emissions rate or even CO2 levels, which is what

the legislation is hitting on, but rather to the impact of these

gases on the greenhouse effect. Uh, modelers use double CO2 as

a convenient benchmark and on the basis of current models, it’s

claimed that this should lead to about one and a half to four and

a half degrees warming. What is less often noted is in terms of

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greenhouse forcing we’re already three quarters of the way to that

doubling. And we’ve only seen point six degrees. And there’s no

reason to suppose, furthermore, that this is all due to man. Now,

this certainly does not support the model forecasts upon which

alarm is based. Modelers commonly claim it’s still possible that

aerosols have canceled much of the greenhouse warming.

Unfortunately, the impact of aerosols is considered by the IPCC

to be virtually unknown. And indeed, many people consider that

canceling the warming involves a larger effect than seems

plausible. There have also been claims that warming has been

delayed by the ocean. But the results I’ve mentioned are from

coupled models involving the atmosphere in the ocean. And in

many of these the oceans have been tuned to have particularly

long delays. And I think it’s crucial to distinguish between the

claim that models can display past behavior from the actual

situation, which is that models can be adjusted to display past

behavior once that behavior is known. There is no reason to

suppose that the adjustment corrected the relevant error. It is

worth adding that warming, instead of accelerating, has been

essentially absent for about the last ten years. So the iconic

statement is itself not indicative of crisis. And one could, if one

had time, explain why the iconic statement itself may very well

not be true. The major defense of the statement is modelers

cannot think of anything else that gave warming over the last

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thirty years. But these are the same models that cannot account

for the Medieval warm period, or for that matter, even do a good

job of replicating El Nino. So even the basis for the iconic

statement is not particularly meaningful. So crisis is not a

product of current observations.

BRIAN LEHRER

[OVERLAP] One.

RICHARD S. LINDZEN

I suggest it’s not even a product of projections. Now, there is no

reason to suppose that anything will cause a threshold to change

this assessment. We’re still talking about a two per cent

imbalance and we’re also talking about the impact of CO2 per

unit CO2 that decreases. This is not the usual condition for a

threshold. Moreover, there are positive reasons to suspect that

greenhouse warming is not significant. The real signature of

greenhouse warming is not surface temperature but temperature

in the middle of the troposphere, about five kilometers. And that

is going up even slower than the temperature at the surface.

Finally, the underlying present concern is not the greenhouse

effect, per se. Doubling CO2 by itself only gives you one degree

warming. The –

BRIAN LEHRER

[OVERLAP] Richard Lindzen, thank you very much for your

opening statement.

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RICHARD S. LINDZEN

[OVERLAP] Okay.

BRIAN LEHRER

I do have to cut you off there. [APPLAUSE] By the way,

audience, you may feel free to, to applaud. Uh, you can give

polite applause, you can give enthusiastic applause. Uh, that is

your right. Of course, we ask that nobody shout anything out.

Richard Somerville, the next statement is yours.

RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE

The motion before us, global warming is not a crisis, means we

ought to know what crisis means. The word does not mean

catastrophe or alarmism. It means a crucial or decisive moment,

a turning point, a state of affairs in which a decisive change for

better or worse is imminent. We are talking about the future

here. The entire world now really does have a critical choice to

make. It is whether to continue on the present path of adding

more and more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to the

atmosphere or whether to find another path. We’re speaking of

the future. And science tells us that the path we choose will

largely determine what kind of earth our children and

grandchildren will inherit. Our task tonight is to persuade you

that global warming is indeed a crisis in exactly that precise

sense so you should vote against the motion. The science

community today has impeccable settled science, despite what

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you have just heard, that demonstrates the reality of global

warming and its primary origin in human activities. We fully

understand the fundamental physics behind the greenhouse

effect. We also now have persuasive observational evidence of

dramatic changes already taking place in the climate system,

changes that are not in any sense small. Mankind’s fingerprints

have now clearly emerged above the noise of natural variability.

That is the primary message of the intergovernmental panel,

climate panel, the panel on climate change report that Professor

Lindzen referred to – the IPCC. We also have powerful tools to

prode…project many aspects of the future climate with

considerable confidence. We take into account other important

factors besides greenhouse gases – the sun, volcanoes, pollution

particles. Some of our forecasts have already come true. A group

of people dispute these consensus findings of mainstream

scientists. Call them contrarians. Some are here in this very

room. Contrarians are not unique to climate. They exist in many

fields of science. There are a few retrovirus experts, fully

credentialed, who don’t think that HIV causes AIDS. The New

Yorker this week, many of you will have seen, writes about them.

When the revolution of continental drift was sweeping through

geology and geophysics, some imminent earth scientists couldn’t

be persuaded that plate tectonics were real. Continents can

move. These contrarians were mistaken. They faded from the

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scene. Experience, long experience shows that in science it tends

to be the rare exception rather than the rule when a lone genius

eventually prevails over conventional mainstream scientific

thought. An occasional Galileo does come along or an Einstein.

Not often. Most people who think they’re a Galileo are just

wrong. [LAUGHTER] We’re talking here about managing risk for

the future. It’s a big risk to the planet to bet it on the

contrarians. Here’s a brief look at some of what we know. The

IPC said…C said, quote: Warming of the climate system is

unequivocal, unquote — based on many kinds of observations.

Also our knowledge of ancient climates tells us that the warmth

of the last half century is unusual in at least the previous

three…thirteen hundred years. The IPC said…C said, Most of the

observed increase in global av…globally averaged temperatures in

recent decades is very likely due to the observed increase in

human caused greenhouse gas concentrations. These are

summary conclusions of, of experts. In a painstaking process,

lasting, uh, years with thirty thousand reviewer comments, each

log numbered responded to by teams of experts who represent,

um, the mainstream science and who take into account views

from the fringes as well. There’s never been as thorough and

vetted a process for summarizing science precisely for the point

of making input to policy makers. Nothing said here tonight in a

few minutes that we have can possibly undermine, uh, this

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powerful statement from the scientific community. We also

project a further warming of a half a degree Fahrenheit for the

next twenty-five years. Beyond that it does depend largely on

how much more CO2 and other greenhouse gases humanity

dumps into the atmosphere. Global warming since the

nineteenth century is already more than a degree Fahrenheit. It’s

continuing. Of the twelve warmest years in the instrumental

record, uh, eleven of them have occurred in the most recent

twelve years globally. 2006 was the sixth warmest year in this

record globally and the warmest year of all in the U.S. Arctic

temperatures in the last hundred years increased twice as much

as the global average. Since 1950 the number of heat waves

globally has increased. The heat wave in Europe in 2003 that

killed more than thirty thousand people was unprecedented in

modern times. Intense tropical cyclone activity, the IPCC

concludes, has increased in the North Atlantic region since about

1970. The global ocean, down to a depth of at least six thousand

feet, has been warming since the early 1960s. This warming is

contributing to sea level rise. It’s by no means all vestiges of the

last Ice Age. Sea level rose some seven inches over the twentieth

century. The rate of rise has apparently increased recently.

Water vapor in the atmosphere, as predicted, is increasing as the

world warms. This additional water feeds back. It’s a

greenhouse gas. It amplifies the warming. It’s as though you

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had your house wired funny so that when it got warm the

thermostat turned on the furnace and made it warmer still.

Snow cover and mountain glaciers are decreasing markedly. It’s

a long list. The list goes on. None of these observational facts is

a surprise to the climate science community. They are what we

had predicted. We scientists have been expecting measurements

like these and now we see them. The question for the future is

simply how much worse do we, do we intend? How much more

severe, uh, will we let these trends become? The science warns

us that continuing to fuel the world using present technology will

bring dangerous and possibly surprising climate changes by the

end of this century, if not sooner. Business as usual implies

more heat waves, higher sea levels, disrupted rainfall patterns,

vanishing glaciers and much more. Limiting carbon dioxide

amounts to any reasonable level will take large cuts in emissions.

It takes time. We have a giant intra… infrastructure based on

fossil fuels. To have a meaningful effect by mid-century we need

to start soon. The question is really whether humanity has the

collective determination to act in any meaningful way. The

economic case can be made convincingly, once people

understand the cost of doing nothing or too little. It’s like elective

surgery. It’s, uh, not free to decline it. Technology can

accomplish great things once society is committed to such a goal.

We know now that humanity has already increased atmospheric

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carbon dioxide by thirty-five per cent above natural levels. And

humanity, as a group, by default or on purpose, will now decide

what level it wants to tolerate. Then, after humanity has made

this decision, how much CO2 do you want in your children and

grandchildren’s atmosphere?, which –

BRIAN LEHRER

[OVERLAP] One.

RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE

…after that, nature will have its say and the climate system will

change in response to the level of greenhouse gases in the

atmosphere. Nature is superbly indifferent to politics and, and

spin. But it will have the last word, uh, in this debate. I have a

few seconds and I’ll say a few words about the IPCC. I’ve been a

coordinating lead author in it, uh, for three years. I’ve, I was in

Paris last month when this summary was negotiated and

released. It’s an extraordinarily impressive international

collaboration — thirty thousand review comments, a hundred and

fifty, uh, authors – seventy-five per cent of whom, by the way,

were new to the process. We’re not a clique defending what we

said six years ago. And I urge you to familiarize yourself with the

science because the science here has spoken very plainly. Thank

you. [APPLAUSE]

BRIAN LEHRER

Thank you, Richard Somerville. Michael Crichton, you have the

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next statement.

MICHAEL CRICHTON

The microphone goes up. [LAUGHTER] Before I begin I want to

just say one brief thing about what Richard has just told you.

He’s, he’s giving you the story of plate tectonics but it’s

fascinating. He’s turned it upside down. He’s turned it on its

head. The story of plate tectonics actually is the story of one

person who had the right idea – Alfred Wegener. He had it in

1912. And it is the story of major scientists at Harvard and

elsewhere opposing him for decade after decade until finally it

was proven to be incorrect what they were believing. So it is, in

fact — when I was a kid I was told the continents didn’t move. It

is, in fact, perfectly possible for the consensus of scientists to be

wrong and it is, in fact, perfectly possible for small numbers of

people to be in opposition and they will be ultimately be proven

true. [APPLAUSE] I want to address the issue of crisis in a

somewhat different way. Does it really matter if we have a crisis

at all? I mean, haven’t we actually raised temperatures so much

that we, as stewards of the planet, have to act? These are the

questions that friends of mine ask as they are getting on board

their private jets to fly to their second and third homes.

[LAUGHTER] And I would like, with their permission, to take the

question just a little bit more seriously. I myself, uh, just a few

years ago, held the kinds of views that I, uh, expect most of you

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in this room hold. That’s to say, I had a very conventional view

about the environment. I thought it was going to hell. I thought

human beings were responsible and I thought we had to do

something about it. I hadn’t actually looked at any

environmental issues in detail but I have that general view. And

so in 2000, when I read an article that suggested that the

evidence for global warming might not be quite as firm as people

said, I immediately dismissed it. Not believe in global warming?

That’s ridiculous. How could you have such an idea? Are you

going to try and tell me that the planet isn’t getting warmer? I

know it’s getting warmer. I grew up in Long Island. And when I

was a kid we always had days off from school for hurricanes.

There are no hurricanes on Long Island now. I spent thirty years

in California. We used to have something called June gloom.

Now it’s more like May, June, July, August gloom with

September, October, November gloom added in. The weather is

very different. However, because I look for trouble, um, I went at

a certain point and started looking at the temperature records.

And I was very surprised at what I found. The first thing that I

discovered, which Dick has already told you, is that the increase

in temperatures so far over the last hundred years, is on the

order of six-tenths of a degree Celsius, about a degree

Fahrenheit. I hadn’t really thought, when we talked about global

warming, about how much global warming really was taking

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place. The second thing I discovered was that everything is a

concern about the future and the future is defined by models.

The models tell us that human beings are the cause of the

warming, that human beings, uh, producing all this CO2, are

what’s actually driving the climate warming that we’re seeing

now. But I was interested to see that the models, as far as I

could tell, were not really reliable. That is to say, that past

estimates have proven incorrect. Uh, in 1988, when James

Hanson talked to the Congress and said that global warming had

finally arrived, The New York Times published a model result that

suggested that in the next hundred years there would be twelve

degrees Celsius increase. A few years later the increase was

estimated to be six degrees, then four degrees. The most recent

U.N. estimate is three degrees. Will it continue to go down? I

expect so. And this left me in a kind of a funny position. But let

me first be clear about exactly what I’m saying. Is the globe

warming? Yes. Is the greenhouse effect real? Yes. Is carbon

dioxide, a greenhouse gas, being increased by men? Yes. Would

we expect this warming to have an effect? Yes. Do human

beings in general effect the climate? Yes. But none of that

answers the core question of whether or not carbon dioxide is the

contemporary driver for the warming we’re seeing. And as far as

I could tell scientists had, had postulated that but they hadn’t

demonstrated it. So I’m kinda stranded here. I’ve got half a

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degree of warming, models that I don’t think are reliable. And

what, how am I going to think about the future? I reasoned in

this way: if we’re going to have one degree increase, maybe if, if,

climate doesn’t change and if, uh, and if there’s no change in

technology – but of course, if you don’t imagine there will be a

change in technology in the next hundred years you’re a very

unusual person. And I also was aware that we have actually

been starting to do exactly the kind of thing that we ought to do,

which is to decarbonize. Jesse Ausubel at Rockefeller University

points out, for example, that starting about a hundred and fifty

years ago, in the time of Abraham Lincoln and Queen Victoria, we

began to move from wood to coal, from coal to oil, from oil to

natural gas and so on. Decreasing our carbon, increasing our

hydrogen makes perfect sense, makes environmental sense,

makes political sense, makes geopolitical sense. And we’ll

continue to do it without any legislation, without any, anything

forcing us to do it, as nothing forced us to get off horses. Well, if

this is the situation, I suddenly think about my friends, you

know, getting on their private jets. And I think, well, you know,

maybe they have the right idea. Maybe all that we have to do is

mouth a few platitudes, show a good, you know, expression of

concern on our faces, buy a Prius, drive it around for a while and

give it to the maid, attend a few fundraisers and you’re done.

Because, actually, all anybody really wants to do is talk about it.

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They don’t actually do anything. [SOMEONE CHUCKLES IN

BACKGROUND] And the evidence for that is the number of

major leaders in climate who clearly have no intention of

changing their lifestyle, reducing their own consumption or

getting off private jets themselves. If they’re not willing to do it

why should anybody else? [APPLAUSE] Is talking enough? I

mean, is, is — the talking cure of the environment, it didn’t work

in psychology. It won’t work in the environment either.

[LAUGHTER] Is that enough to do? I don’t think so. I think it’s

totally inadequate. Everyday 30,000 people on this planet die of

the diseases of poverty. There are, a third of the planet doesn’t

have electricity. We have a billion people with no clean water, we

have half a billion people going to bed hungry every night. Do we

care about this? It seems that we don’t. It seems that we would

rather look a hundred years into the future than pay attention to

what’s going on now. I think that’s unacceptable. I think that’s

really a disgrace.

BRIAN LEHRER

One.

MICHAEL CRICHTON

This doesn’t need to happen. We’re allowing it to happen. And I

don’t know what’s wrong with the rich self-centered societies that

we live in in the west that we are not paying attention to the

conditions of the wider world. And it does seem to me that if we

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use arguments about the environment to turn our back on the

sick and the dying of our shared world, and that’s our excuse to

ignore them, then we have done a true and terrible thing. And it’s

awful, thank you.

[APPLAUSE]

BRIAN LEHRER

Thank you Michael Crichton. Gavin Schmidt, you have the

podium next.

GAVIN SCHMIDT

Thank you. I want to talk to you a little about the nature of this

public debate. And I want to give you some background to what

you’ve been hearing so far, and what you’ll hear a little bit later

on. The issue of global warming and whether it’s a crisis or not, is

in fact a scientific decision, it’s a scientific issue. It’s not a

political one. On the other hand, deciding what to do about it is

obviously political. Science can inform those decisions, but it

can’t determine what decisions society makes. But we’re here to

debate the existence of the problem and whether it is a crisis.

That’s something that the scientists on this side are eminently

suited to do. You’ve all seen or heard about the CSI police drama,

where high tech forensic scientists try and work out who done it

when they come across the scene of a crime. Well think of climate

scientists as CSI planet Earth, we’re try-, we see a climate change

and we try and work out what’s done it. Just like on CSI we have

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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 22.

a range of high tech instruments to give us clues, satellites,

ocean probes, radar, a worldwide network of weather stations

and sophisticated computer programs to help us make sense of it

all. The aim is to come to the most likely explanation of all the

facts fully anticipating that in the real world there are always

going to be anomalies, there are always going to be uncertainties.

Conclusions will be preliminary and always open to revision in

the light of new evidence. If this all sounds familiar, it’s because

it’s exactly the same approach that doctors take when examining

a patient. They don’t know everything about the human body,

but they can still make a pretty accurate diagnosis of your

illness. We end up then with a hierarchy of knowledge. Some

things that are extremely likely, some things we’re pretty sure of,

and some things that we think might be true, but really could go

either way. There isn’t a division into things that are completely

proven and things which are completely unknown. Instead, you

have a sliding scale of increasing confidence. Let me give you a

few examples. We’re highly confident that the sun is gonna rise

tomorrow, it might not, it might go nova. But it’s likely that it will

happen. It’s quite likely that you’ll be able to get a cab home from

this event, unless it’s raining of course. [LAUGHTER] But, but

those two things have different levels of certainty. You’re used to

the idea that different kinds of knowledge come with different

levels of certainty, and that’s exactly what we’re talking about

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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 23.

when we talk about the impacts of climate change. Going back to

being climate detectives, we’re certain that carbon dioxide and

methane are greenhouse gases and they’ve increased because of

human activity. We’re very confident that the planet has been

warming up, and we’re pretty sure that the other things that are

going on, changes to the sun, changes to particles in the air,

changes to ozone have made some difference but aren’t

dominant. The physics tells us that this is a very consistent

picture. Our suspects, the greenhouse gases, had both the

opportunity and the means to cause this climate change and

they’re very likely guilty. And they are increasing faster than ever.

Now, the lawyers get involved. Lawyers are paid to present a

certain case regardless of its merits and they do that by

challenging everything in the case, and if one argument doesn’t

work, well, they’ll just move on to the next. This procedure works

very well when the proposition being debated is very binary, a

yes, no. Is the subspe-, is the suspect guilty, uh should he go

free, should he go to jail? It is designed specifically to prevent

significant action in the face of uncertainty. If there is still

reasonable doubt, the suspect gets acquitted even if you still

think that they did it. But contrast that with the scientists. They

want to know the most likely explanation. The lawyers, they want

to win the case. In their own domains both ways of finding out

things are very useful, it’s only when they come together in

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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 24.

situations like this that things get tricky. Particularly when

scientific results are perceived to have economic or moral

implications, it’s common for political debates to get shifted into

the scientific arena. It makes the political argument seem much

more scientific and therefore logical. But since the basic

disagreement is still political, this is a disaster for any kind of

action. So tonight, you’re not gonna hear us arguing about

obscure details in climate science, if you have any questions, I

have a web site realclimate.org, you can go and check that out

and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have. But

here we’re gonna talk about the bigger picture. Let me give you a

few examples of how that works. Creationists have argued that

the eye is too complex to have evolved. Not because they care

about the evolution of eyes, but because they see the

implications of evolution as somehow damaging to their world

view. If you demonstrate the evolution of eyes, their world view

won’t change, they’ll just move onto something else. Another

example, when CFCs from aerosol cans and air conditioners were

found to be depleting the ozone layer, the CEO of DuPont, the

main manufacturer argued that because CFCs were heavier than

air, they couldn’t possibly get up to the ozone layer. So there was

no need to regulate them, that was pure fantasy, but it sounded

scientific. Again, tobacco companies spent millions trying to show

that nicotine delayed the onset of Alzheimer’s because that was a

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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 25.

distraction from the far more solid case that, that linked tobacco

to lung cancer. That was a distraction and a red herring. These

arguments are examples of pseudo debates, scientific sounding

points that are designed not to fool the experts, but to sow

confusion and doubt in the minds of the lay public. This is a

deliberate strategy and you’re hearing it here tonight. So during

this debate, let’s play a little game. I’ll call it spot the fallacy.

Every time that you hear the other side claim that we are

predicting an imminent catastrophe, give yourself one point.

Every time you hear an anecdote used to refute a general trend,

that’s cherry picking and we heard that already, uh give yourself

another. And every time you hear there’s a lag between carbon

dioxide and temperature in the ice cores, give yourself two points

because that’s a real doosy.

BRIAN LEHRER

One.

GAVIN SCHMIDT

So far this evening we’re running at about two red herrings, two

complete errors, three straw men and one cherry pick.

[LAUGHTER] So see how you do and we’ll compare notes at the

end. Scientists have to be professional skeptics, right, they are

trained not to take new information at face value, they have to

ask where measurements come from and what they could

possibly mean. They have to be dispassionate about the data,

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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 26.

and just see where it leads. Once you start making logically

fallacious arguments in order to support a predetermined

position, you are no longer acting as a scientist, you are acting as

a lawyer, however scientific sounding you might seem. Despite

that natural skepticism, the national academies of all eight, G8

countries, all the major scientific societies, even the White House

have agreed with a scientific consensus on this matter, which

pointedly did not happen in the 1970s by the way. Michael

Crichton for one has frequently stated the

consensus…..[OVERLAP]

BRIAN LEHRER

Gavin Schmidt, thank you very much.

[APPLAUSE]

BRIAN LEHRER

Philip Stott, you have the podium next.

PHILIP STOTT

Brian may I just take one second to thank very much the

Rosenkranz Foundation and Intelligence Squared for having the

great courtesy to invite me over from London to participate in this

very exciting set of debates. Thank you also to all my colleagues

for their contribution and above all to the audience for I’m sure,

gonna be exciting participation as well. I want to start exactly

with the consensus word that was used by Richard. Can I just

remind you he wanted an example. In the early 20th century, 95%

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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 27.

of scientists believe in eugenics. [LAUGHTER] Science does not

progress by consensus, it progresses by falsification and by what

we call paradigm shifts. And in my, riposte [UNCLEAR] I’ll be

coming to a paradigm shift that could actually throw the whole of

what that other side is saying through the window. But that’s

later. [LAUGHTER] What I want to come to now is the 1970s that

Robert Rosenkranz quite correctly reminded us of. Because then

a crisis was announced. And I want to quote from three

newspapers. The Christian Science Monitor, “Warning, Earth’s

climate is changing faster than even experts expect.” I really like

that. Your own New York Times, “A major cooling of the climate is

widely inevitable.” And in Newsweek, back to consensus,

“Meteorologists are almost unanimous that catastrophic famines

will result from global cooling.” That was the 1970s. And there

are many headlines. And what I would like to stress is, it was a

stress on consensus, it was faster than expected, the evidence

came from the oceans, from polar bears, it’s always polar bears,

from the changing seasons and it’s always disaster. Why do we

believe them now? And what is important in this I think is to

remember what that first Earth Day claimed. The first Earth Day

in America claimed the following, that because of global cooling,

the population of America would have collapsed to 22 million by

the year 2000. And of the average calorie intake of the average

American would be wait for this, 2,400 calories, would good it

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were. [LAUGHTER] It’s nonsense and very dangerous. And what

we have fundamentally forgotten is simple primary school

science. Climate always changes. It is always as Dick said

warming or cooling, it’s never stable. And if it were stable it would

actually be interesting scientifically because it would be the first

time for four and a half billion years. [LAUGHTER] Second,

humans have been influencing climate for a million years as

hominids, from the first hominid that set fire to the Savanna

grasslands in Africa, when particulates and gases started to rise

and they changed the reflectivity of the surface of the Earth. It’s a

long relationship. So the debate, is climate changing and are

humans affecting climate change is actually nearly irrelevant.

The answers are yes and yes, and always will be. What is really

crucial in all this is something that none of the scientists or none

of the politicians want you really to hear. Climate is the most

complex system we know governed by thousands of factors, I

haven’t time to list them. But the point is, it’s like in my country,

Glasgow on a Saturday night, chaos. [LAUGHTER] And what

we’re trying to do is manage it by dealing with one pub. One. And

it just won’t work, that’s the danger. In such a system, doing

something at the margins and not doing something in the

margins are equally unpredictable. And the question we should

be asking our politicians are, what climate are you actually

aiming to produce and when we get there won’t it change

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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 29.

anyway? The crisis is therefore in ourselves and if we are

rejecting this and I ask you passionately to do so for the next two

more important reasons, our uh, political agenda as Michael

hinted is wrong. There are two great crises in the world of which

the biggest unquestionably is four billion people in poverty. And

this topic is an ecocondria of our rich selves, London, New York

and Washington. It’s about us and about our hypochondria

about the world. If you actually have clean water, you have

modern energy, you will cope with change whatever it is, hot, wet,

cold or dry. I’m a left wing critic of global warming because the

agenda is fundamentally wrong and dangerous. And believe you

me, neither Republican nor Democrat will do anything about it,

because our second crisis is a crisis of hypocrisy. Now Michael

hinted at this, but I come from Europe which has been lecturing

the world on this subject. Let me tell you, the hypocrisy in

Europe is absolutely mind blowing, I am embarrassed.

[LAUGHTER] [APPLAUSE] The latest statistic from the

Environment Agency in Europe will predict under the Kyoto

Protocol we won’t even be minus, that by 2012, we’ll be plus four

percent. And did you know that island whom we all love actually

under the Kyoto Protocol is allowed a growth of 13%? And some

of the figures for the, for Europe are just spectacularly worrying.

Spain, Italy, Portugal, we’re in the 40 percentile. And yet we

lecture the world. What we see in this is an enormous danger for

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politicians in terms of their hypocrisy. I’m not going to say

anything about Al Gore and his house. [LAUGHTER] But it is a

very serious point. Global warming is also dangerous because I

am an environmentalist, but what I’m beginning to see is that

global warming is setting age-, agendas which are actually

damaging for the environment. Bio fuels in which the energy

relationships are very dodgy, but which have a very significant

effect certainly in my country on biodiversity. What is more, we’re

having wind farms placed for global warming on very, very

sensitive peatmoor habitats. Don’t think therefore that if you’re

an environmentalist, you have to be attached to this agenda.

Because it is now overarching, overdominant and is actually

taking money and effort away from genuine and real on the

ground habitat……[OVERLAP]

BRIAN LEHRER

One.

PHILIP STOTT

…..environmental concerns. But let me end with two images.

Angela Merkel the German chancellor, my own good prime

minister for whom I voted let me emphasize, arguing in public

two weeks ago as to who in Annie get the gun style could produce

the best temperature. “I could do two degrees C said Angela,”

“No, I could only do three said Tony.” [LAUGHTER] Stand back a

minute, those are politicians, telling you that they can control

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climate to a degree Celsius. This is a political crisis, not a crisis

as put here, and I ask you passionately to vote against it. And

Samuel Johnson and James Thurber, I have to end with Thurber

because of the New Yorker. Samuel Johnson, the great

lexicographer talked of a, in Russia last talked to an astronomer

who thought he could control the sun and the

clouds….[OVERLAP]

BRIAN LEHRER

Philip Stott.

PHILIP STOTT

….he was mad.

BRIAN LEHRER

Thank you very much.

PHILIP STOTT

I can’t get Thurber in, thank you.

[APPLAUSE]

BRIAN LEHRER

Brenda Ekwurzel, the podium is yours.

BRENDA EKWURZEL

I’d like to thank the Rosenkranz Foundation, to all of you for

taking time to discuss this urgent topic. Uh, Gavin Schmidt, like

in the climate scientists to forensics team of the CSI, uh another

metaphor that applies is that of a doctor. And studying global

warming is like taking the Earth’s temperature. We’ve seen that

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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 32.

it’s rising, and also we have diagnosed the dominant cause of this

fever is the heat trapping emissions from human activity. So far

temperatures have gone up about over a degree, point, one point

four degrees Fahrenheit. That doesn’t mean much to our

everyday lives, but it means everything to the Earth. All of us

have experienced 100 degree temperature, a hundred and two

degree temperature, but we’ve survived. Now the body cannot

withstand 107 degree Fahrenheit temperature. That’s about an

eight degree jump above the average body temperature. Now

when it comes to the Earth, the Earth is much more fragile than

the body when it comes to temperature. What we see is that a

seven degree increase in global warming would mean that we

would accelerate, we would intensify the water cycle, that means

the wet places will get wetter and the dry places will get drier. It

means we put at risk species that are gonna go extinct. It means

that the summer arctic ice is at risk of disappearing. It also

means that a seven degree rise in temperature would commit us

to substantial sea level rise from melting of the Greenland ice

sheet. The Earth’s fever is only getting worse and the animals and

the plants that are out there struggling are already giving us the

early warning signs. We’ve seen them shift their habitats and

we’ve seen them struggle as they cope with the shifting of the

period, the warm periods and the cold periods of the seasons.

Furthermore, there’s already heat in the pipeline as the oceans

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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 33.

play catch-up to the atmosphere loading that we’ve put, these

heat trapping gases in our atmosphere. As the oceans warm up,

the temperatures will commit us to further warming. We’re

locking in another degree of Fahrenheit of warming. That’s heat

in the pipeline. Do we really want to lock in even further

warming? We’re going to keep studying the symptoms of scie-, as

scientists. But the diagnosis is very clear and the course of

treatment is even clearer. Choosing not to fight global warming is

as foolhardy as ignoring the early warning signs of a fever of a

young child and not attending to that. So what is the course of

treatment and can we really do something about it? The answer

is yes, but we have to act soon, we have to start tackling this

problem on all fronts. Our landfills, farms, and livestock are

emitting methane and other heat trapping gases. Our fossil fuels,

our oil, our coal, our gas, cutting down forests, are committing us

to ever increasing levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, in

fact, these levels of heat trapping gases are at the highest level

than they’ve ever been for hundreds of thousands of years. It’s

not natural. Since the dawn of the industrial age, humans have

been digging up carbon and putting it on fire, and using it as

energy. Now the Earth doesn’t normally set on fire million year ol-

, million year old stores of carbon, it’s unnatural. It’s not, it’s not

a normal thing. What we’re doing by using these fossil fuels is

overwhelming the Earth’s capacity to clean up and absorb that

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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 34.

carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The Earth takes hundreds

of years to get rid of carbon dioxide and what’s most important, is

that this fact is very important to help us decide when we have to

start acting about global warming. While some of the worst

effects might not be felt for decades or centuries the actions we

take today will determine how much carbon dioxide will be in the

atmosphere, how much global warming we are locking in, how

bad are the effects going to be for ourselves and for our children

and grandchildren. That’s what’s really important. We probably

have a decade to institute meaningful solutions. Why ten years?

That’s because the decisions we make today have a long term

commitment. If we do not reform our agriculture practices heat

trapping gases will continue to accumulate in the atmosphere.

However, if we were to capture methane from our landfills, not

only would we stop those emissions from going to the

atmosphere, we would also be creating energy at the same time.

If we make a building in the old way then we would be polluting

for decades to come. However, if we were to build with renewable

energy sources new cleaner buildings then that means that we

have eliminated that fossil fuel loading of emissions to the

atmosphere. If we construct coal power plants the conventional

way that means we are substantially increasing the heat trapping

emissions in our atmosphere for fifty years and they will linger for

many, many more years. However, if we invest in research and

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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 35.

technology to capture carbon from those coal plants this will

would be welcome news to all the nations of the world that have

deep, vast coal reserves. Increasing energy efficiency and

harnessing renewable energy from the sun, from the wind, from

other sources will help us along this path. If our cities continue

to grow, that increase the commuting distance of our citizens,

that means we are committing ourselves to burning more fuel.

There are better ways. With profitable solutions at hand it’s

irresponsible to postpone action. Right now we could put nations

on target to reducing emissions. If we start now we reduce each

year. However, if we delay that means that the cuts that we have

to make to meet our goals will become steeper and steeper and

we may not even be able to meet those demands. They will

become too hard for us to reach. It’s the equivalent to the person

with a credit card who can no longer pay off the minimum

payments, that cannot reach their goals. Right now we’re on a

spending spree with our heat trapping emissions. We’re building

up the future costs of global warming. And –

BRIAN LEHRER

[OVERLAP] One.

BRENDA EKWURZEL

And when this bill comes, uh, when the bill for our emissions

today comes, comes due in the not too distant future, um,

choosing not to fight global warming is about as irresponsible as

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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 36.

not making payments on a high interest credit card. With such

high stakes common sense requires that we act now and while we

still have options. Um, within the next decade we will continue to

determine whether or not our children and grandchildren look

back at this time and decide whether we failed them. Or will they

look back at this time and see that built a better planet for

ourselves and for them? We have a chance to avert this crisis

and to assure a safer planet. And if we wait for the children to

solve this problem it’s too late. The risks are too big. But before

we act on the global warming –

BRIAN LEHRER

[OVERLAP] Brenda Ekwurzel, thank you very much.

BRENDA EKWURZEL

…we must recognize it for the crisis that it is. Vote no.

[APPLAUSE]

BRIAN LEHRER

And thank all our panelists for their initial presentations.

[APPLAUSE] I am now ready to announce the results of the predebate

vote, rounded to the nearest whole number. [LAUGHTER]

Those for the motion that global warming is not a crisis, were

30% of you. Those against the motion were 57% of you, those

undecided, were 13% of you. Not worthy of snickering, those 13

percent. Or, more precisely, 29.88% for, 57.32% against, and

12.8% undecided. So we’re now ready to begin the Q-and-A

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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 37.

portion of the program, I will call on the questioners, someone on

each side of the auditorium will come to you with a microphone

when you raise your hands. I will be looking for, from you,

challenging questions for the pro side and for the anti side. Uh,

if you can identify yourselves that way, uh, to the people with the

microphones that would be good. Um, if some of you don’t fit

into that category that’s okay too. Uh, we’re gonna mix in my

questions and your questions and to the panelists, um, I hope to

keep a good pace here because by the rules we have 20 minutes

only, and there is so much to follow up on. Also…audience

members, uh, please do not start to ask your question until you

have a microphone. please make your questions short and to

the point, please, 30 seconds if you can, and, the more focused

your question, the more likely you are to be on NPR. So—

[LAUGHTER] There you go. Okay. Brenda Ekwurzel, and

Richard Lindzen. Can I get the two of you to engage for up to two

minutes on one thing I noticed in your conversations, in your

presentations, um… Richard Lindzen, you seemed to say that

warming could make the climate more stable. Brenda, you

seemed to suggest, that it would make it less stable. Richard

Lindzen, I’ll start with you, and talk to each other. Are you

arguing that global warming could be good for the earth?

RICHARD S. LINDZEN

Yeah, of course it could be. [LAUGHS] That’s, uh, goes without

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question. There’s no reason to assume we’re at the optimum for

climate. It’s been all over the place—

GAVIN SCHMIDT

But it’s the climate that we have adapted to, it’s the climate that

has led us to put—

RICHARD S. LINDZEN

It may be—

GAVIN SCHMIDT

—Battery Park City right at the waterline, that’s the problem—

BRIAN LEHRER

Gavin Schmidt, thank you, let him, let him— [LAUGHTER] Hang

on, hang on, hang on, well— [OVERLAPPING VOICES] Let him

finish your thought, go ahead, Richard Lindzen—

RICHARD S. LINDZEN

What I was referring to was the issue of variability. And that

depends basically on the pole-to-equator temperature difference.

And since the models are suggesting that the warming would be

greater at the poles, then you are reducing the equator to poletemperature

difference, you’re increasing the—decreasing the

forcing for storms, and you’re decreasing the range.

BRIAN LEHRER

Brenda Ekwurzel?

BRENDA EKWURZEL

Yes, I think the risks are gonna grow, we know this with the

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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 39.

warming of the planet further. And furthermore, if we have those

risks that means that governments are gonna spend much more

money, hand over fist, bailing out farmers that are suffering from

more extreme draught, we have arable lands growing—

PHILIP STOTT

Look—

BRENDA EKWURZEL

—uh, stuff like this—

PHILIP STOTT

But they’d have less water source—

BRENDA EKWURZEL

—this is gonna be—and less money for fighting poverty and all

those other aspects that are important—

BRIAN LEHRER

Philip Stott, you wanted to get in here?

PHILIP STOTT

Just to say I did find Gavin’s comment a little amusing because

in fact 8,000 years ago, at a peak of warming much higher than

today, you know what the climate people call it? The climate

optimum. In other words it’s actually perceived as more optimal

in terms of vegetation and other factors.

GAVIN SCHMIDT

Not for people who own—

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BRIAN LEHRER

Gavin, go ahead and respond.

GAVIN SCHMIDT

Not for people who own basement property in Battery Park City.

[LAUGHTER]

BRIAN LEHRER

A low-lying area of New York City for those of you living…

[LAUGHTER] around the country.

PHILIP STOTT

But I think that raises a really interesting issue because of

course adaptation to change is always the way that humans have

coped with it, in fact of course bad planning and bad building

doesn’t excuse and is not proof of global warming.

BRIAN LEHRER

Here’s a question for the anti side. [APPLAUSE] A question for

the anti side if I might, these 1970s headlines about global

cooling. That always comes up as an inconvenient fact. I’ve

almost got a title there. [LAUGHTER] How do you explain that?

Who wants it.

RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE

You know, that’s an—that’s the scientific equivalent of an urban

legend and I’m shocked, that not—

BRIAN LEHRER

Richard Somerville.

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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 41.

RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE

That not—not only, uh, did we hear it from Michael Crichton and

Philip Stott but we heard it from the fourth member of the pro

team, Mr. Rosenkranz, at the beginning. The—there wasn’t a

scientific consensus in the ‘70s about global cooling. There was

hype in the news media. Quoting Newsweek is not the right way

to evaluate, uh, scientific thought, you can look it up.

[APPLAUSE]

RICHARD S. LINDZEN

But, can I—can I answer that?

BRIAN LEHRER

Wait, Richard Lindzen, go ahead?

RICHARD S. LINDZEN

Yeah. But, you know, the claim of consensus right now is also

not based on a vote…or anything else, and in fact it was invoked

by Newsweek in 1988…when they stated all scientists agree.

BRIAN LEHRER

But wait, on—do you agree on this 1970s global cooling thing,

that that was media hype, Richard Lindzen?

RICHARD S. LINDZEN

Actually, I do not disagree with Richard on that.

RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE

Thank you—

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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 42.

RICHARD S. LINDZEN

I think it is true that the media amplified what was going on

considerably, and that the field itself was in a much healthier

state at that time and the open discussions were greater.

BRIAN LEHRER

Philip Stott, very briefly.

PHILIP STOTT

Yeah, what’s very amusing was, one scientist came out in 1970, a

Swedish scientist, and actually said we should pump out carbon

dioxide to ensure that we didn’t go into global cooling.

[LAUGHTER]

RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE

You know, you—you can always find, uh, people on the fringes—

BRIAN LEHRER

Richard Somerville, go ahead—

RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE

You can always find people, uh, on the fringes, consensus doesn’t

mean unanimity and science isn’t a democracy anyway but it’s

not good to misrepresent, the situation when an overwhelming

majority of genuine experts have come to conclusions opposed to

some of those who’ve heard, uh, from the other side.

BRIAN LEHRER

So, so to the yes team…Michael Crichton, you talked about, how

consensus is sometimes wrong and it takes the individual to

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burst through the consensus. [CLEARS THROAT] Excuse me.

Um, this debate is set up three on three, as if everything were

even. But in the real world out there, we just had the big intergovernmental

panel on climate change report in which 90% of the

world’s governments and 90% of their atmospheric sciences

declared with 90% certainty, that global warming is real and

human beings are causing it. Why would you three be more

credible to the non-scientists in our audience, than all of them?

MICHAEL CRICHTON

It—it’s…this is always to me a very fascinating point. If, if we

were to say, um, does the moon revolve around the earth, uh, we

would say yes, and no one would ever, would ever preface that by

saying, well, the consensus of scientists says this. You know,

the, the notion of consensus is only a vote for very particular

kinds of things, and to me it’s a serious warning signal. For

example, ordinarily if I were to say the moon is full of green

cheese, no one would, no one would vilify me or— they would

take me out and prove to me that that wasn’t the case. It’s, it’s

when there isn’t a very good and powerful counter-argument,

that’s the first answer, the second answer is, is one I really like

very much and it’s one Einstein made. He, um…there was a—

the Nazis decided that they would, uh, do something to

demonstrate that German science was bad and they got 200, uh,

German scientists to say that Einstein was wrong and then

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somebody asked Einstein, how does it feel to have 200 scientists

against you. And he said, it takes only one to prove me wrong.

BRIAN LEHRER

All right, who on the anti side wants to respond. Uh, Gavin

Schmidt.

GAVIN SCHMIDT

Okay. You’ve frequently stated that consensus is not science.

And you know what, I agree with you. Consensus is what’s left

over, after the science has been done. Consensus is what goes

into the textbooks. The science is happening at the frontiers. It’s

the filling in of the interesting pieces of the jigsaw puzzle. It’s the,

not—it’s not the overall picture, the big picture, is the stuff that

everybody knows and everybody understands. Your, your

assessment of— You’re—you’re arguing that, because something

is—people agree on it, you can’t possibly agree with it. It’s like

saying, well if you disagree, then I’ll agree.

MICHAEL CRICHTON

No, I was—

GAVIN SCHMIDT

You’re saying you’ll never agree which means that you’re not

listening to what the people are saying—

BRIAN LEHRER

Yeah—

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MICHAEL CRICHTON

—what am I saying again—

BRIAN LEHRER

Michael, go ahead, I’m sorry?

MICHAEL CRICHTON

I’m not saying that the consensus is necessarily wrong, I’m only

saying that consensus is not a—a clear proof that it’s right.

RICHARD S. LINDZEN

And moreover, Michael—

PHILIP STOTT

Of course not, no—

RICHARD S. LINDZEN

—has made the point—

BRIAN LEHRER

Richard Lindzen on the same side, go— continue.

RICHARD S. LINDZEN

Lamont made the same statement, you don’t use consensus if

you have a proof.

PHILIP STOTT

What’s very important—

BRIAN LEHRER

Philip Stott, you wanna back that up further—

PHILIP STOTT

Yeah, quite, Gavin right, you said, we should always be at the

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edge, the edge of science on climate change has nothing to do

with CO2, it’s to do with what we call cosmic rays, the

relationship to the sun, and water vapor.

BRIAN LEHRER

Anybody else on the anti side wanna come back on that?

[LAUGHTER] They all three got a—got a lick in there.

RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE

I—it is— [LAUGHTER]

BRIAN LEHRER

Richard Somerville—

RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE

It is mind-boggling, to say that [LAUGHS] cosmic rays are the

cause of, of climate change is to en—endorse one of the least

proven, most tentative—

PHILIP STOTT

I didn’t say that.

RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE

Oh, good, I’m glad—

GAVIN SCHMIDT

But then why—why did you bring it up.

RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE

Why did you bring it up, yeah—

PHILIP STOTT

Simply because there are a whole range of scientists who are

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working on this particular topic and they say it’s one of the big

unknowns and a great deal of research has just been done on it.

At the edge—

GAVIN SCHMIDT

But we’re—we’re talking about global warming, we’re talking

about the trend in temperature that—

BRIAN LEHRER

Gavin Schmidt—

GAVIN SCHMIDT

—we’ve seen over the last 30 years. There has been no trend in

cosmic rays. So any change that there might have been because

of cosmic ray impacts on climate, can’t possibly have an impact

on what’s been going on—

PHILIP STOTT

The most famous—

GAVIN SCHMIDT

—in the last changes.

PHILIP STOTT

But the most famous astrophysicist working on it say that it has.

GAVIN SCHMIDT

Uh, he is wrong. [LAUGHTER]

BRIAN LEHRER

Okay—

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GAVIN SCHMIDT

I’m sorry.

BRIAN LEHRER

We’re now ready to vote—no, I’m kidding. Um, for—

PHILIP STOTT

That’s a serious accusation against some very serious sci—some

are infinitely better than any of us on this platform today.

GAVIN SCHMIDT

I’d like to meet the person—

RICHARD S. LINDZEN

Explain that—

PHILIP STOTT

There are some very eminent scientists, Professor Jan Veizer for

example, uh, uh, Nir Sh—Professor Nir Shaviv who won the

Young Scientist of the Year in Israel two years ago, who are in

fact arguing that 70% of, of climate change is primarily driven by

cosmic rays working through water vapor and clouds. I’m not

saying they’re right or wrong, they’re pointing however at the

edge, to new research. You cannot dismiss that, because it’s a

consensus for CO2.

BRIAN LEHRER

Gavin Schmidt, one more time?

GAVIN SCHMIDT

Okay, this is exactly what I was talking about. You see? Now, it

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looks like we’re having a scientific argument, but, this is

completely bogus. You don’t know that it’s bogus, but I know

that it’s bogus, he knows that it’s bogus. [LAUGHTER] You’re

being led astray. [LAUGHTER]

RICHARD S. LINDZEN

You’ll forgive me, Gavin… [APPLAUSE] If—if you seriously wish

to maintain that, then you’d better explain why—

BRIAN LEHRER

Richard Lindzen—

RICHARD S. LINDZEN

—between you and Richard, you’ve made statements that are

overtly untrue. And I’ll give you some. You say, the earth has

been warmer—is warmer now than it has been for 1300 years.

The national academy evaluating this said, the methodology was

no use beyond 400 years. Why do you make this statement.

You keep on quoting these groups, and when they disagree with

them, you make up the quote.

GAVIN SCHMIDT

I—I’ve gotta say that one, one thing at a time—

BRIAN LEHRER

Gavin Schmidt—

GAVIN SCHMIDT

—let’s deal with that. The National Academy of Science report

said that we have good evidence that we’re warmer from 400

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years ago, we have credible evidence that we’re warmer from

900—

RICHARD S. LINDZEN

No, they did not—

GAVIN SCHMIDT

Yes they did, Richard, please— [LAUGHTER]

RICHARD S. LINDZEN

No, the—

GAVIN SCHMIDT

Read the reports before—

RICHARD S. LINDZEN

—front end—the front end said—

GAVIN SCHMIDT

Read the—read more than the front page, Richard—

RICHARD S. LINDZEN

No, I’m saying the text, said it was not credible beyond 400

years—

GAVIN SCHMIDT

That’s not what it—that’s not what it said—

RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE

Moreover, moreover—

BRIAN LEHRER

Right, well, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait—

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GAVIN SCHMIDT

I can tell you why it’s not—

BRIAN LEHRER

We’re into “he said”-“he said.” But— [LAUGHTER] But Gavin

Schmidt, you seem to suggest that the other side does not have a

real scientific argument, but a culturally or politically

constructed one. You don’t think they’re sincere?

GAVIN SCHMIDT

That’s a very difficult question. I think—I— no, I, I do think that

they’re sincere—

BRIAN LEHRER

You as much as said it.

GAVIN SCHMIDT

I don’t think that they are completely…doing this on a level

playing field that the people here will understand. And, there

are…

AUDIENCE MEMBERS

[MOANS, VOICES, ETC.]

BRIAN LEHRER

Well… [OVERLAPPING VOICES] explain yourself, because—wait

a minute—

GAVIN SCHMIDT

No, let me—let me explain, explain that—

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BRIAN LEHRER

Because they have larger cultural or political agendas?

GAVIN SCHMIDT

No, um, I have no idea what their political or cultural agendas

are, and to be frank I’m not very interested.

PHILIP STOTT

I’m left-wing and have no money whatsoever from any oil

company—

GAVIN SCHMIDT

Okay, and—

PHILIP STOTT

—and I wouldn’t.

GAVIN SCHMIDT

That’s fine. [LAUGHTER, APPLAUSE] That’s fine. But I’m, I’m—

BRIAN LEHRER

All right—

GAVIN SCHMIDT

—I’m not interested in your motivations—

PHILIP STOTT

But I know—

BRIAN LEHRER

All right—

PHILIP STOTT

—[INAUDIBLE] has interests.

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BRIAN LEHRER

Let’s go to the audience, and, when you ask your questions, uh,

members of the press, please identify yourselves as such.

Members of the audience who are not with the press, you have

the option to identify yourself, or not. Okay. Right down here.

LINDA CARO

Hi, my name is Linda Caro, um, it kind of surprises me that , uh,

the emphasis is on CO2 which is about one-third of 1% of the

total atmosphere, whereas global—uh, water vapor is the vast

bulk of it all. Uh, is it possible that we are, um…are not

accounting properly for, uh, the giving off of heat such as nuclear

power plants which are several thousand degrees Centi—uh,

Fahrenheit, that we’re cooling with water and air, every day, every

week, every month, every year, that can’t—

BRIAN LEHRER

Is there anyone you would particularly like to answer that

question?

LINDA CARO

Whoever feels most qualified. [LAUGHTER]

BRIAN LEHRER

Richard Somerville is raising his hand.

RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE

The, the direct heating from sources like power plants is

negligible, uh, compared to these, these other factors, solar

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radiation, greenhouse effect. And the greenhouse effect is due to

water vapor, primarily carbon dioxide and other gas is secondary,

we can’t control water vapors. It’s controlled by the atmosphere

itself, largely by temperature, so when you add CO2, you

humidify the atmosphere and the water adds to the warming.

That’s one reason why Richard Lindzen’s talking about CO2 only

giving you a degree or so is disingenuous because that feedback

is expected theoretically and has been observed.

BRIAN LEHRER

I think Richard Stott is, uh—Philip Stott is bursting out of his

chair to agree with you. [LAUGHTER]

PHILIP STOTT

I could not agree more. Yes, it’s governed by the atmosphere.

Absolutely, and is not under our control.

RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE

But it’s—

PHILIP STOTT

It is therefore one of the big factors, that we have no control over.

RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE

It’s—

PHILIP STOTT

In a non-linear couple system.

RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE

I’m, I’m, I’m stunned by, by your amazement that non-linear

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coupled chaotic systems are things that we can’t understand

even in part, that—

RICHARD S. LINDZEN

He didn’t say that—

PHILIP STOTT

I said—I said control.

RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE

Very—very good. You can control how much CO2 you put in the

atmosphere and that will have a big effect on how much water

vapor is in the atmosphere, that’s not controversial.

PHILIP STOTT

Well you can’t predict—

RICHARD S. LINDZEN

That is controversial—

PHILIP STOTT

Yeah.

RICHARD S. LINDZEN

—and it’s controversial because it is not a homogeneous

distribution of water vapor.

PHILIP STOTT

Yeah, exactly.

RICHARD S. LINDZEN

And, you know, to pretend this is settled, is bizarre. Moreover

with clouds, which are comparably important, you know full well,

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that that is not settled.

BRIAN LEHRER

Let us—

RICHARD S. LINDZEN

By a long shot.

BRIAN LEHRER

—go to another questioner from the audience—

RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE

[INAUDIBLE]

BRIAN LEHRER

Down on this side in the front.

ANDREW REVKIN

Uh, Andy Revkin from the New York Times, this is, this is kind of

neat to, to listen to.

BRIAN LEHRER

Did I hear a hiss? [LAUGHTER]

ANDREW REVKIN

Ssss. Back atcha. [LAUGHTER] Um, I’ve been writing about this

for a long time. Uh, most every aspect of it. So my question is,

uh, one about the hedging, managing risk came up before, which

is not what you think of when you think of crisis and

catastrophe. My—my sense is that there’s one thing that

everyone has agreed on, at least—except maybe Philip, which is

that, more greenhouse gases will make the world warmer. Is

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there anyone other than Philip who disagrees with that—

PHILIP STOTT

I don’t disagree with it.

ANDREW REVKIN

Okay, you did it—yeah, so, we all—I love to find the things we

agree on. Um, so everyone agrees, more greenhouse gases will

make the world warmer. Uh, the doubling is, is a step on the

staircase we’re—we’re heading on toward tripling or quadrupling,

I think everyone would mostly agree that if we go to nine billion

people, all of whom would love to have our level of affluence,

we’re going in that direction. And so, as a hedging exercise, if it

weren’t costly to slow the pace, beyond the Jesse Ausubel very

slow [LAUGHS] decarbonization, if we could find a new way that

didn’t cost a lot, that actually could give energy for those

developing countries that crave it, and limit emissions at the

same time, would anyone on the pro side think that it’s a bad

idea to stop emitting greenhouse gases, if there were a solution.

BRIAN LEHRER

Michael Crichton, you’re shaking your head no?

MICHAEL CRICHTON

No—

ANDREW REVKIN

As a hedge—

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MICHAEL CRICHTON

—no, I don’t think anybody objects, uh, the, the, the question is

whether or not you’re gonna spend what Bjorn Lomberg thinks

which is $558 trillion and I think, if in fact it’s going to prove to

be that kind of enormous construction project, then that should

not be the first priority right this minute. But no, I don’t—

BRIAN LEHRER

So let me pursue Andy Revkin’s stab at striking a consensus on

what to do. For the anti side…if this is a crisis, what kind of

lifestyle change, what kind of economic pain, and how quickly are

you proposing…to hedge our bets?

BRENDA EKWURZEL

ASAP—

BRIAN LEHRER

Brenda Ekwurzel.

BRENDA EKWURZEL

[LAUGHS] As soon as possible because—

BRIAN LEHRER

But what?

BRENDA EKWURZEL

Everything, everything that we can throw at solving this climate

crisis—well, this climate problem, is important because, every

day that we emit carbon dioxide means that it will last for many,

many centuries, and so we have to start weaning ourselves off of

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ways of emitting more methane, more nitrous oxide, all the heattrapping

gases, not just carbon dioxide, it’s the ones that have

long life, nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, that are very, very

important, in the short term methane is very important ‘cause it

has such heat-trapping potential.

BRIAN LEHRER

But forgive me—

BRENDA EKWURZEL

And so, landfills—

BRIAN LEHRER

—but the question from—

BRENDA EKWURZEL

—everything, uh—

BRIAN LEHRER

The—the question from the audience was, things that we could

do, correct me if I’m wrong, Andrew, things that we could do

without much pain that would stave this off—

PHILIP STOTT

Well—

BRIAN LEHRER

Either you’re talking about—

BRENDA EKWURZEL

Well, what—

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BRIAN LEHRER

—revolution, anything necessary.

PHILIP STOTT

The real problem is—

BRIAN LEHRER

Philip Stott—

PHILIP STOTT

—there’s no social discounting in this, let’s get a bit of economics

in. So in fact, if you—if you have an increase now, and you take

inflation into account, what you’re doing is an average world, um,

income at the moment of $7,500. Predicted by a—a distance

ahead, that will rise to about $88,000, you knock off what in fact

the Stern Report in Britain estimated, as in fact the cost of global

warming, 13.27 or so percent, it comes down to something like,

uh, 70-something thousand dollars but even taking inflation

account [sic], that is still a massive increase in wealth so what

you’re actually asking in economic terms, is what is strange but a

poorer generation to sacrifice a great deal for what will in any

case, even with global warming cares, be a wealthier generation.

BRENDA EKWURZEL

The thing is that companies right now when they reduce heattrapping

emissions they find profits that keep giving back to them

because, right now we’re so wealthy in many nations of the world

that we are wasting energy because we can afford to. And the

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reality is many companies are saving lots of money when they

make small investments to reduce their emissions, DuPont did

50 million to invest, they’re getting 2 billion on return on that

investment, and it keeps on giving, so, it’s not an

economic…argument.

BRIAN LEHRER

Anything else from the anti side that you think might be…

MAN

The, the—

BRIAN LEHRER

—consensus, uh, good for us anyway kind of measures that they

might agree to?

GAVIN SCHMIDT

Right. Energy conservation—

BRIAN LEHRER

Gavin Schmidt.

GAVIN SCHMIDT

Everybody is gonna agree that energy conservation is a good

thing and it should be encouraged. Um, right.

BRIAN LEHRER

That’s three heads nodding on this side?

RICHARD S. LINDZEN

Yeah.

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GAVIN SCHMIDT

You’re gonna argue with energy conservation— [LAUGHTER]

BRIAN LEHRER

Two—all right, two, two and a half. Two and a half heads, that’s

good enough. Go—go on, Richard Somerville.

RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE

You know, a lot of things could be done, once you free up the

creativity of, uh, of technical people, of business people by

making this a priority nationally and internationally, the problem

isn’t that there’s nothing that can be done, the problem is that,

the people who are asking for your vote haven’t heard loudly

enough that this is an important issue to the electorate, so it’s

way down on people’s priorities, that’s the reason for the lip

service that Michael Crichton talked about, people are a lot like,

like Mark Twain, they’re all for progress but are opposed to

change.

BRIAN LEHRER

Let’s go— [LAUGHTER] Let’s go back to the audience, someone

on this side, do we have someone lined up on that side? Okay.

HEATHER HIGGINS

Thank you, my name is Heather Higgins, I’m not a scientist, so,

pardon my ignorance when I hear the scientistic—scientific

establishment believes in something I immediately think of flatearth

consensus, and the fact that there’s no geography that

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should be admitted as science and that women are all hysterics

and ought to be bled. Uh, so, uh, that, um, assurance that the

scientific community believes something does not take me very

far. My question is address particularly to Brenda, as well as to

anyone else. Um, I was fascinated by your statement that the

earth is more fragile than human beings are. Uh, I am not a

scientist so maybe you can explain to me how we managed to get

through the Ice Age and the Middle Ages when Greenland was

actually green and people were a foot taller and there was

farming there, uh, and nobody was digging up coal to warm the

earth. Um, and, I’m curious as to why you think that this is an

optimal period of climate, uh, certainly for far less money we

could move everybody out of Battery Park City. And I am

curious, if you believe that CO2 is actually the, the—the

particular problem is actually the issue, the degree to which you

are willing to, to become like France, where instead of having

20% of their power from nuclear, they have 86%.

BRENDA EKWURZEL

When there was a natural ice age before and when we were

coming out of that ice age there weren’t millions of people, 80% of

our population living on the coasts with their high-dollar homes

or, maybe fragile homes, not such high-dollar homes. There are

many people living in Bangladesh that are squeezed between sealevel

rise and the melting of the, the Himalayas and flooding from

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the land side. And so, we are talking about the fragility of

humans adapting to this rapid change, as well as, when— In the

past, sea-level rise, you could have, for example, wetlands

marching up onto land, and moving inland and adapting and

dunes moving inland, right now we have all our infrastructure in

its place, and you can see, Miami is stranded out there, Atlantic

City is stranded out there, we spend many of— millions of

dollars dredging, and, and keeping these unsustainable systems

that are not able to adapt naturally anymore because we’re in the

way. And we also are gonna suffer, if we don’t, uh, make action.

BRIAN LEHRER

Philip Stott, you get 20 seconds to respond—

PHILIP STOTT

Yeah, it was a, I think a brilliant question that, because the earth

is as tough as an old boot. If there is any fragility it’s in us and

that’s what we’re concerned about, the earth will survive whether

we’re here or not or whether there’s global warming or not—

BRIAN LEHRER

Question on this side?

VAN GREENFIELD

Hi, Van Greenfield, just following up a little bit on the,

uh…question two minutes ago on what we could do, um…

Philip, you had said in another article, “My own instinct is that

our ability to change reflectivity on the earth’s surface will in the

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end prove to have been far more important.” In terms of the

concept of reflectivity could you expand on that and its

possible…less expensive method for dealing with this?

BRIAN LEHRER

Very briefly, please.

PHILIP STOTT

Very briefly, but it’s a very important point, the point is very

simple, that humans are not just doing CO2, we do many factors,

and the way we have altered the albedo as we call it, the surface

reflectivity of the earth, uh, particularly I may add since the

Neolithic revolution in agriculture has had probably quite a

significant effect. However, we can’t model it very well. And the

problem is it’s one of those big gaps like many others things in

the models that we’re talking—and that is a human factor. So in

other words I agree with that, exactly how we cope with it though

is another issue, because we know so little about it. And can I

remind everybody that IPCC that we keep talking about, very

honestly admits that we know very little about 80% of the factors

behind climate change.

BRIAN LEHRER

One more thing for the anti side…bef—oh, you wanna—okay, go

ahead and give a quick response to that, 20-second response?

Go—

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GAVIN SCHMIDT

Uh, what is 80%—

BRIAN LEHRER

Gavin, Gavin Schmidt—

GAVIN SCHMIDT

—of the counter-factors even mean. If you look at, if you look at

the radiative forcing from carbon dioxide, from methane, from

nitrous oxide, from CFC’s, from tropospheric ozone, from

stratospheric ozone, from land-use change, from aerosols, from

black soo—from black soot’s pa—um, impacts on, um, snow

albedo, you know…all of those, all of those things, we know some

of them very well, we know some of them less well. But to, to, to

claim that we don’t know anything about 80% of them, is, it’s, it’s

a meaningless statistic—

RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE

Yeah, I’d like to—could I chime in there just for a moment,

Brian—

BRIAN LEHRER

Richard Somerville, also 20 seconds—

RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE

Listen, it’s, it’s fun to hear other people practicing meteorology

without a license, so, and you know— [LAUGHTER] This, this

field is like all fields of science, you know, medical science is

incomplete and has uncertainties too. But it’s good enough to be

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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 67.

useful. You don’t dismiss your doctor’s advice, because she

hasn’t solved all the diseases. And I think the same is true of

climate science today.

BRIAN LEHRER

Philip Stott—

PHILIP STOTT

Don’t dismiss it—

BRIAN LEHRER

—one—one retort.

PHILIP STOTT

Well let’s use an engineer, I don’t think I’d want to cross Brooklyn

Bridge if it were built by an engineer who only understood 80% of

the forces on that bridge. [LAUGHTER]

BRIAN LEHRER

There’s one thing…

GAVIN SCHMIDT

I—I actually—

BRIAN LEHRER

That—

GAVIN SCHMIDT

—I, we, we…I think we might have a solution to the energy crisis,

we just need to tap Philip Stott. [LAUGHTER]

BRIAN LEHRER

There is one thing that I think we need to get to before we wrap

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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 68.

up. For the anti side…they say…the real crises today include

poverty, dirty water, and a lack of modern energy supply to 4

billion poor people on earth. So if this is a crisis, how do you

prioritize it, compared to those other things, and assuming that it

takes tremendous amounts of resources to solve any of them.

RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE

You know, I—I cannot imagine why Philip Stott and Michael

Crichton seem to think that doing something about these terrible

crises is impossible if you do something about climate change, or

even made more difficult, climate change need not be in

competition with or be an alternative to doing something about

the terrible toll that poverty and preventable disease take. We

can do both of those and many other worthy things as well, in

fact, it’s exactly the poorest and most vulnerable people on the

planet who will suffer the most from the consequences of, of

global warming which goes on unabated.

BRIAN LEHRER

Michael Crichton?

MICHAEL CRICHTON

You know, uh, I’m really fascinated at the number of newspaper

headlines and articles that I see about global poverty and the,

and the difficulties of people in Africa as compared to the

headlines about, about global warming, and, um, uh, of course

Richard it’s very true that we can do two things at the same time,

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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 69.

it—the, the reality is that we don’t. And the reality is, that, we

are failing and have continuously failed to address the issues of

the third world even though, everyone knows that if you were to,

to look at it for bangs for the buck, if you were to look at it from a

humanitarian standpoint, if you were to look at it from the

easiest way to do the most for environmental degradation as it’s

created around the world, you would address global poverty. But

we’re not. We’re talking as we’re talking tonight, we’re all getting

very heated about something that may or may not happen 100

years from now. And while we’re doing, 3,000, 5,000, 10,000

people are dead.

BRIAN LEHRER

That concludes… [LAUGHTER] the discussion portion of our

program. [APPLAUSE] And it is now time to vote. If you wanna

vote for the motion, tear off “For” from the top…of the motion, uh,

ballot, and slip into the ballot boxes… This is a ballot box, that

will be passed among you. If you are against the motion, tear off

and deposit “Against” into the ballot box, and if you still don’t

know where you stand…put your entire ticket into the box. The

ballot boxes will be given to the person at one end of a row,

please pass the ballot box to your neighbor until it reaches the

end of the row, pass it down just like in third grade. One of the

ushers will then take the box to the next row, everyone will get a

chance to vote so please don’t reach over your neighbor, wait for

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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 70.

a ballot box to be passed to you. If you need a voting ticket, the

ushers will give you one, just ask. No voter fraud, please. Okay.

Now, here’s the deal. While you’re voting, we will have the closing

remarks, two minutes, from each presenter, so we ask for your

silence while they finish up, and then of course we will read the

results of your voting. So now the final remarks from the

panelists, beginning with the side opposing the motion, panelists,

please stay in your seats this time around, we begin with Richard

Somerville.

RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE

You know, the, the fossil fuel age will surely end, sooner rather

than later I hope if we’re wise. Sheikh Yamani, the Saudi oil

minister was fond of saying “The Stone Age did not end because

we ran out of stones.” And continuing to generate 80% of the

world’s energy from fossil fuel and using the atmosphere as a free

dump for waste products, will ultimately produce a damaged

planet. We’ve heard a lot of chatter about decarbonization this

evening, the fact is that carbon dioxide emissions in the US and

globally are going up, not down. Sherwood Rowland, later a

Nobel laureate, was a frustrated person in 1984, because

humanity was so slow in dealing with the issue of ozone

depletion. He said, quote, “After all, what’s the use of having

developed a science well enough to make predictions, if in the

end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to

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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 71.

come true.” Roland’s remark is apt for our topic tonight. As in

the case of ozone loss, so with global warming, once again,

powerful technology, in this case abundant cheap fossil—

BRIAN LEHRER

One—

RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE

—fuel energy, with unanticipated side effects, has brought us a

Faustian bargain. Once again, the world finds itself at a point

where difficult decisions must be made. That’s the definition of a

crisis. Nothing to do with alarmism or catastrophe. Once again

doing nothing or too little will lead to dire consequences.

Belittling the science, attacking the scientists, impugning their

integrity and, and competence and motivations, refusing to

recognize what we have learned about climate change in the vain

and naïve hope that the problem will somehow solve itself is

irresponsible. Action is needed, meaningful action, soon. Global

warming is a crisis. Thank you. I hope you voted against.

[APPLAUSE]

BRIAN LEHRER

Philip Stott, your closing statement.

PHILIP STOTT

May I say that the last thing I want to do is to demean any

scientist. The whole point about science is that it is a constant

debate. And actually, what has worried me deeply about this is

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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 72.

not the demeaning of scientists but the attempt to close down the

debate, and actually take it away from science. [APPLAUSE] If I

may use a musical analogy, my other great interest, trying to

reconstruct the climates of the moment as we’re talking about is

a bit like trying to play Mozart’s wonderful Symphonia

Concertante 364, when you’ve no viola part and only a quarter of

the violin part. In other words we know remarkably little about

so much of the climate that, that we are facing. And, what I

would like to stress is, it—it’s a debate on the crisis. We’ve

mentioned the crisis of poverty, and I think the crisis of

hypocrisy. Actually where I think we probably agree entirely as a

panel, what there really is in the world, there’s not a crisis of

climate, a crisis of energy. That is certainly true in my country.

And I’ll tell you what worries me particularly about attaching it to

climate.

BRIAN LEHRER

One.

PHILIP STOTT

In the world, there are groups, including some very reputable

groups in Denmark and in Russia and in other countries, which

are predicting actually that we will enter a global cooling phase

between 2012 and 2015. Now, I no more necessarily believe that

than I do about the global warming. But just supposing that

happens, and just supposing what the public reaction is to the

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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 73.

hype that there has been about global warming, I actually think

that we have to face up to a genuine energy issue in the world,

and that most of our politicians are not doing that, in fact they’re

dressing it up in this idea of global warming and saving the

world, and what we desperately need are very practical decisions

about energy, on the ground. And I think the idea of using the

climate to do this is potentially a very dangerous one. So, what I

am worried about is that everybody is now using the global con—

global warming construction for their own agendas. From

capitalist carbon trading, right the way to making you wear hemp

underpants. [LAUGHTER] I distrust that because in the end—

BRIAN LEHRER

Philip Stott—

PHILIP STOTT

—it’s an ism—

BRIAN LEHRER

—thank you very much—

PHILIP STOTT

—and I distrust isms. [APPLAUSE]

BRIAN LEHRER

Gavin Schmidt, your closing statement.

GAVIN SCHMIDT

Hemp underpants, ugh. [LAUGHTER] Climate change is not a

new issue. Even human-cause climate change is not new.

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Richard Lindzen was arguing these same points 15 years ago,

Michael Crichton is recycling talking points that are decades old.

Philip Stott is grasping at extremely flimsy straws. Serious

scientists in the 1960s made predictions for what would be found

if human emissions of greenhouse gases were to continue. They

said the planet would warm. It has. They said the water vapor

measurements would show rises. They do. They said that hos—

ocean heat content would rise. It has. They said the

stratosphere would cool. It did. If I had time I could go on listing

the number of challenges this basic idea has faced and come

through. But you only need to know that it is still standing, and

that there are no coherent theories that fit the observations

better. Given that understanding, and the ever-increasing

emissions that we are putting into the air, to deny this is a crisis

on a planetary scale is truly to fiddle while home burns.

BRIAN LEHRER

One.

GAVIN SCHMIDT

I’m done.

BRIAN LEHRER

That’s it? [APPLAUSE] Richard Lindzen, your closing statement.

RICHARD S. LINDZEN

Yes. I think it’s a little bit difficult to know how to respond, to be

told that, uh, one shouldn’t attack scientists while you’re

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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 75.

attacking scientists, to go and say you have to control methane

without explaining that methane has stopped growing. You

don’t explain why there’s global warming on Mars, Jupiter, Triton

and Pluto. You don’t look at the ocean data and see, that

whereas your boss Jim Hansen was saying that the heating of the

ocean proved the flux that he needed for high sensitivity, that in

the last year there’ve been two papers in the same journal, that

point out that the original Levitus data’s wrong, that the ocean is

cool, and that the new numbers would call for one-tenth the

sensitivity that Hansen mentioned. If all this is so certain, why

is the data changing, or is it a case when the data changes you

ignore it, and—

BRIAN LEHRER

One—

RICHARD S. LINDZEN

—stick to the point. [APPLAUSE]

BRIAN LEHRER

You have a minute, do you want the other minute? You have a

minute—no? Uh, okay. Brenda Ekwurzel, your closing

statement.

BRENDA EKWURZEL

Global warming is here today and is accelerating. Many business

leaders are already realizing that it makes economic sense to

start fighting global warming. Wal-Mart, DuPont, BP, General

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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 76.

Electric, they all are asking for action. And, businesses need a

clear signal from the national level. Because they want to have a

level playing field, and, they want to plan for the future. And

that’s what makes good business sense. We need a national

policy because people, cities and states cannot reduce global

warming enough to make a significant dent in this issue.

Ultimately the atmosphere is gonna register all of our choices

from today onward. We must act now because if we leave it to

our children, the risk will be too great and it will be too late.

Fortunately there already exist solutions, all we—we need now is

the will to implement them rapidly. Thank you. [APPLAUSE]

BRIAN LEHRER

Michael Crichton, your closing statement.

MICHAEL CRICHTON

There was a time when I worked in a clinic and, uh, one day a

young woman came in, she was in her early twenties for a routine

checkup and, I said what’s going on with you and she said I’ve

just become blind. And, I said, oh my gosh, really, when did it

happen, she said, well just, uh, coming into the clinic, walking up

the steps of the clinic I became blind. And I said, oh, and I’m—by

now I’m looking through the chart and I said, well, has this

happened before, she said yes, it’s happened before. I’ve become

blind in the past, and, what she had of course was hysterical

blindness. And the characteristic of that, is that, the severity of

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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 77.

the symptom is not matched by the emotional response that’s,

that’s being presented. Most people would be screaming about

that but she was very calm, oh yes, I’m blind again. And I’m

reminded of that whenever I hear, that we’re facing, whether we

wanna call it a crisis or not, a significant global event, of, of, of

importance where we’re gonna have species lost and so on and so

forth—

BRIAN LEHRER

One—

MICHAEL CRICHTON

—that we can really address this by changing our light bulbs. Or

that we can really make an impact by unplugging our appliances

when we’re not using them. It’s very much out of whack. And so

if…if it were only gonna do symbolic actions, I would like to

suggest a few symbolic actions that right—might really mean

something. One of them, which is very simple, 99% of the

American population doesn’t care, is ban private jets. Nobody

needs to fly in them, ban them now. And, and in addition,

[APPLAUSE] let’s have the NRDC, the, the Sierra Club and

Greenpeace make it a rule that all of their, all of their members,

cannot fly on private jets, they must get their houses off the grid,

they must live in the way that they’re telling everyone else to live.

And if they won’t do that, why should we. And why should we

take them seriously. [APPLAUSE]

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BRIAN LEHRER

I wanna thank the debaters… and the audience for all your good

work. Before I announce the results of the audience vote I wanna

take care of a few little things. First, the next Intelligence

Squared US debate will take place on Wednesday, April 18th, here

at the Asia Society and Museum. The motion to be debated is,

“Better more domestic surveillance than another 9/11.” The

remaining two debates in this spring series including that one are

all sold out. The good news is that packages are available on-line

and by phone for the Fall 2007-Spring 2008 series. Priority will

be given to full-season subscribers, so avoid disappointment and

buy those series packages now. [LAUGHTER] Tonight’s debate

can be heard locally on WNYC AM 820, on Friday, March 23rd at

2 p.m. You can also purchase DVD’s from previous debates

upstairs in the lobby or on the Intelligence Squared US website.

Finally, please be sure to pick up a copy of the Times Literary

Supplement—are those actually available, there was some

question about that. Is that a—yes, yes, they are available, uh,

as you leave the auditorium, and in a minute you can all go home

and watch the “American Idol” results show. [LAUGHTER] And

now the results of our debate. After our debaters did their best

to sway you…you went from, 30% for the motion that global

warming is not a crisis, from 30% to 46%. [APPLAUSE] Against

the motion, went from 57% to 42%… [SCATTERED APPLAUSE,

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MOANS] And “undecided” went from 13% to 12%. The hardcore

ambivalent are still among us. [LAUGHTER] So, in terms of

opinion change, those in favor of the motion, have carried the

day, congratulations to the team for the motion. [APPLAUSE]

And thank you all again very much, good night.

END

MEDIA TRANSCRIPTS, INC.
41 WEST 83rd STREET NEW YORK, N.Y. 10024 (212) 362-1481
PROGRAM Intelligence Squared U.S.
Global warming is not a crisis
BGT NO. .
BEGIN TAPE
BRIAN LEHRER
I want to introduce to you, Robert Rosenkranz, Chairman of the
Rosenkranz Foundation, the sponsor of this evening’s debate,
who will make some opening remarks. [APPLAUSE]
ROBERT ROSENKRANZ
Thank you, Brian, and, and welcome to all of you. I’m Robert
Rosenkranz, Chairman of Intelligence Squared, which is an
initiative of the Rosenkranz Foundation. With me tonight is Dana
Wolfe, the Executive Producer of this, series of debates. I see a
number of, uh, a lot of familiar faces in the audience but also a
lot of newcomers. So let me just say a word about why we’re,
we’re doing this. It’s really with the intention of raising the level
of public discourse in this country. It comes from a feeling that,
uh, political conversations are just too rancorous and that, this
nation could benefit from a forum for reasoned discussion of, key
policy issues. The topic tonight is, is one that, uh, has attracted
an enormous amount of, of interest. The proposition: Global
warming is not a crisis. And the, panelists are going to try to
persuade you to vote for or against the motion. Uh, ultimately
your votes will decide which side has carried the day. Uh, well,
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 2.
why this particular, topic? Senator Barbara Boxer, Al Gore have
assured us that on this particular topic the debate is over. Well,
we took that as throwing down the gauntlet and I personally am
cynical enough to think that perhaps there’s a distinction
between science and political science. Um, and maybe a side
that feels like there is nothing to debate, might feel that there are
perhaps some inconvenient truths on the other side that they
would prefer not to deal with. I’m old enough to remember when
there was a, uh, scientific consensus on global cooling, and this
was in the 1970s with all kinds of alarmist data on that subject.
I’m enough of a businessman to know that the modeling and the
use of the computer, uh, algorithms and forecasting the future is
a very, very difficult undertaking. I mean, if one could predict,
uh, the weather or patterns of storms even a year in advance it
would be worth billions and billions of dollars to people engaged
in energy trading or, uh, or, insurance underwriting and a whole
bunch of other pursuits. And yet it can’t really be effectively
done. So tonight’s debate, I think, is addressing issues that for
me are very real and, which, at Intelligence Squared we feel can
use some serious enlightenment. Uh, first of all, on the science
of it. Does science really have the, the ability to tell us with, with
a good degree of reliability what is going to happen to our climate
over a hundred year period? And secondly, the economics. Um,
this all leads in effect to public policies that say, We should
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 3.
invest, money now for benefits in the future. Well, that always
poses the traditional questions of, well, what are the costs? What
are the benefits? What are the alternatives? What are the risks
of action? What are the risks of inaction? So there are a whole
welter of economic aspects that I think, hopefully tonight we’re
going to get some enlightenment on as well. Uh, this evening, of
course, is a live event but it will reach an audience through
National Public Radio of over fifty radio stations around the
country. We’re produced for radio by by WNYC in New York.
And it’s now time for me to turn the, uh, proceedings over to
Brian Lehrer, who is the award winning host of, WNYC’s New
York public radio call in program, The Brian Lehrer Show. This
has been called New York City’s most thoughtful and informative
talk show by Time magazine. It covers politics and life locally,
globally. Brian not only holds a master’s degree in journalism
but also a master’s in public health and environmental studies.
So he is very well equipped to lead these proceedings and to
introduce the extraordinary group of panelists who are the real
stars of tonight’s event. Thank you very much. [APPLAUSE]
BRIAN LEHRER
And, Bob, thank you so much. I so personally appreciate your
commitment to public discourse at a high level. We need much
more of that in this country. I would like to welcome you all
formally to the sixth Intelligence Squared U.S. debate. Let me
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 4.
give you a brief run-down of the evening. First, the proposer of
the motion will start by presenting their side of the argument.
The opposition will follow. Each person will get a maximum of
eight minutes and we will go back and forth from one side to the
other. Second, when all six speakers are finished with their
opening remarks I will do some follow-up questioning and open
up the floor to brief questions from the audience. And when I say
brief, I do mean brief. We have, we are limited to twenty minutes
for the entire follow-up discussion after the eight minute
presentations. And so I ask that you limit your questions to
thirty seconds and not give any speeches tonight and I will do the
same in my follow-up questions. Uh, third, when the Q and A is
complete, each debater will make a final statement, not lasting
more than two minutes per person. And fourth, during the
closing statements, uh, ballot boxes will be passed around for
voting. You have your tickets. This is what the ballot box looks
like and you will put in either the “for” piece, the “against” piece
or the whole ticket if you still don’t know which side you favor. If
anyone does not have a ticket ballot – are you snickering at the
very idea of being undecided or ambivalent? This is what we’ve
come to? Um, an usher will get you a ballot at the appropriate
moment if you still need one. And fifth, and last, after the final
closing statement is made I will announce the results of the
audience vote and tell you which side carried the day. Now, to
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 5.
introduce the panel. For the motion, author and filmmaker, best
known as the author of Jurassic Park and the creator of E.R.,
Michael Crichton. [APPLAUSE] The Alfred P. Sloan Professor of
Meteorology in the Department of Earth, Atmosphere and
Planetary Sciences at MIT, Richard S. Lindzen. [APPLAUSE] And
Emeritus Professor of Biogeography at the University of London,
School of Oriental and African Studies, Philip Stott. [APPLAUSE]
Against the motion: Climate Scientist at the Union of Concerned
Scientists, Brenda Ekwurzel. [APPLAUSE] Climate Modeler at
the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Gavin Schmidt.
[APPLAUSE] And distinguished Professor of, uh – I’m sorry. And
distinguished Professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography,
University of California, San Diego – Richard C.J. Somerville.
[APPLAUSE] And that was all very polite. I couldn’t tell how
many people voted for or against the motion. [LAUGHTER] All
right, first, for the motion: Richard Lindzen. Please go to the
microphone.
RICHARD S. LINDZEN
Okay, I’d like to thank Intelligence Squared, the staff, Bob
Rosenkranz, Brian Lehrer and of course, our worthy opponents,
for the opportunity to debate the proposition: Global warming is
not a crisis. Please keep in mind what the proposition is. It is
not a debate over whether the earth has been warming over the
past century. Uh, the earth is always warming or cooling, at least
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 6.
a few tenths of a degree. And we’re talking about, so far,
something on the order of six tenths of a degree centigrade.
We’re not even arguing about whether greenhouse gas emissions
are contributing at some level to warming. And they most
certainly should or I would suggest it would be very little.
Indeed, as far as I can tell, even our opponents do not claim that
global warming is a crisis at present. Rather, we are primarily
addressing the future. Now, much of the current alarm, I would
suggest, is based on ignorance of what is normal for weather and
climate. Extreme weather events occur all the time. There’s,
there is really no evidence of systematic increases, judging from
reports from bodies ranging from the National Hurricane Center
to the U.N.’s Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change. In
fact, outside the tropics the theory of such storms and variability
says that the variability should decrease in a warmer world.
Thus, if this is a matter of crisis for where we live the world is in
a permanent state of crisis and will be less prone to crisis in a
warmer world. Sea level has also been a matter of concern, I
think largely because it’s very telegenic, as opposed to a half
degree of temperature. And sea level has been increasing since
the end of the last Ice Age glaciation, with the most rapid change
increase about twelve thousand years ago. In recent centuries
the rate has been relatively uniform, averaged over ten year
periods. Uh, it amounts to a couple of millimeters per year and
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 7.
this is residual of much larger positive and negative changes
locally. Uh, those changes are due to tectonics. And, and the
risk, if you’re worried about sea level change, from these changes
is larger than it is from warming. The impact of warming on
agriculture is not easy to ascertain. But, for example, India has
warmed in the second half of the twentieth century and
agricultural output has increased greatly. The impact on disease
seems dubious at best, according to articles in Lancet. Infectious
diseases like malaria are not so much a matter of temperature as
of poverty and public health, most notably the elimination of
DDT. Malaria is still endemic in Siberia and was once so in
Michigan. Exposure, I would suggest, to cold is generally found
to be both more dangerous and less comfortable. Now, recently
the IPCC summary for policy maker came out and it had an
iconic claim about man’s impact on temperature change. Uh,
does this imply crisis? Well, the impact on temperature per unit
carbon dioxide actually goes down, not up, with increasing CO2.
Uh, the role of anthropogenic greenhouse gases is not directly
related to the emissions rate or even CO2 levels, which is what
the legislation is hitting on, but rather to the impact of these
gases on the greenhouse effect. Uh, modelers use double CO2 as
a convenient benchmark and on the basis of current models, it’s
claimed that this should lead to about one and a half to four and
a half degrees warming. What is less often noted is in terms of
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 8.
greenhouse forcing we’re already three quarters of the way to that
doubling. And we’ve only seen point six degrees. And there’s no
reason to suppose, furthermore, that this is all due to man. Now,
this certainly does not support the model forecasts upon which
alarm is based. Modelers commonly claim it’s still possible that
aerosols have canceled much of the greenhouse warming.
Unfortunately, the impact of aerosols is considered by the IPCC
to be virtually unknown. And indeed, many people consider that
canceling the warming involves a larger effect than seems
plausible. There have also been claims that warming has been
delayed by the ocean. But the results I’ve mentioned are from
coupled models involving the atmosphere in the ocean. And in
many of these the oceans have been tuned to have particularly
long delays. And I think it’s crucial to distinguish between the
claim that models can display past behavior from the actual
situation, which is that models can be adjusted to display past
behavior once that behavior is known. There is no reason to
suppose that the adjustment corrected the relevant error. It is
worth adding that warming, instead of accelerating, has been
essentially absent for about the last ten years. So the iconic
statement is itself not indicative of crisis. And one could, if one
had time, explain why the iconic statement itself may very well
not be true. The major defense of the statement is modelers
cannot think of anything else that gave warming over the last
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 9.
thirty years. But these are the same models that cannot account
for the Medieval warm period, or for that matter, even do a good
job of replicating El Nino. So even the basis for the iconic
statement is not particularly meaningful. So crisis is not a
product of current observations.
BRIAN LEHRER
[OVERLAP] One.
RICHARD S. LINDZEN
I suggest it’s not even a product of projections. Now, there is no
reason to suppose that anything will cause a threshold to change
this assessment. We’re still talking about a two per cent
imbalance and we’re also talking about the impact of CO2 per
unit CO2 that decreases. This is not the usual condition for a
threshold. Moreover, there are positive reasons to suspect that
greenhouse warming is not significant. The real signature of
greenhouse warming is not surface temperature but temperature
in the middle of the troposphere, about five kilometers. And that
is going up even slower than the temperature at the surface.
Finally, the underlying present concern is not the greenhouse
effect, per se. Doubling CO2 by itself only gives you one degree
warming. The –
BRIAN LEHRER
[OVERLAP] Richard Lindzen, thank you very much for your
opening statement.
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 10.
RICHARD S. LINDZEN
[OVERLAP] Okay.
BRIAN LEHRER
I do have to cut you off there. [APPLAUSE] By the way,
audience, you may feel free to, to applaud. Uh, you can give
polite applause, you can give enthusiastic applause. Uh, that is
your right. Of course, we ask that nobody shout anything out.
Richard Somerville, the next statement is yours.
RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE
The motion before us, global warming is not a crisis, means we
ought to know what crisis means. The word does not mean
catastrophe or alarmism. It means a crucial or decisive moment,
a turning point, a state of affairs in which a decisive change for
better or worse is imminent. We are talking about the future
here. The entire world now really does have a critical choice to
make. It is whether to continue on the present path of adding
more and more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to the
atmosphere or whether to find another path. We’re speaking of
the future. And science tells us that the path we choose will
largely determine what kind of earth our children and
grandchildren will inherit. Our task tonight is to persuade you
that global warming is indeed a crisis in exactly that precise
sense so you should vote against the motion. The science
community today has impeccable settled science, despite what
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 11.
you have just heard, that demonstrates the reality of global
warming and its primary origin in human activities. We fully
understand the fundamental physics behind the greenhouse
effect. We also now have persuasive observational evidence of
dramatic changes already taking place in the climate system,
changes that are not in any sense small. Mankind’s fingerprints
have now clearly emerged above the noise of natural variability.
That is the primary message of the intergovernmental panel,
climate panel, the panel on climate change report that Professor
Lindzen referred to – the IPCC. We also have powerful tools to
prode…project many aspects of the future climate with
considerable confidence. We take into account other important
factors besides greenhouse gases – the sun, volcanoes, pollution
particles. Some of our forecasts have already come true. A group
of people dispute these consensus findings of mainstream
scientists. Call them contrarians. Some are here in this very
room. Contrarians are not unique to climate. They exist in many
fields of science. There are a few retrovirus experts, fully
credentialed, who don’t think that HIV causes AIDS. The New
Yorker this week, many of you will have seen, writes about them.
When the revolution of continental drift was sweeping through
geology and geophysics, some imminent earth scientists couldn’t
be persuaded that plate tectonics were real. Continents can
move. These contrarians were mistaken. They faded from the
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 12.
scene. Experience, long experience shows that in science it tends
to be the rare exception rather than the rule when a lone genius
eventually prevails over conventional mainstream scientific
thought. An occasional Galileo does come along or an Einstein.
Not often. Most people who think they’re a Galileo are just
wrong. [LAUGHTER] We’re talking here about managing risk for
the future. It’s a big risk to the planet to bet it on the
contrarians. Here’s a brief look at some of what we know. The
IPC said…C said, quote: Warming of the climate system is
unequivocal, unquote — based on many kinds of observations.
Also our knowledge of ancient climates tells us that the warmth
of the last half century is unusual in at least the previous
three…thirteen hundred years. The IPC said…C said, Most of the
observed increase in global av…globally averaged temperatures in
recent decades is very likely due to the observed increase in
human caused greenhouse gas concentrations. These are
summary conclusions of, of experts. In a painstaking process,
lasting, uh, years with thirty thousand reviewer comments, each
log numbered responded to by teams of experts who represent,
um, the mainstream science and who take into account views
from the fringes as well. There’s never been as thorough and
vetted a process for summarizing science precisely for the point
of making input to policy makers. Nothing said here tonight in a
few minutes that we have can possibly undermine, uh, this
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 13.
powerful statement from the scientific community. We also
project a further warming of a half a degree Fahrenheit for the
next twenty-five years. Beyond that it does depend largely on
how much more CO2 and other greenhouse gases humanity
dumps into the atmosphere. Global warming since the
nineteenth century is already more than a degree Fahrenheit. It’s
continuing. Of the twelve warmest years in the instrumental
record, uh, eleven of them have occurred in the most recent
twelve years globally. 2006 was the sixth warmest year in this
record globally and the warmest year of all in the U.S. Arctic
temperatures in the last hundred years increased twice as much
as the global average. Since 1950 the number of heat waves
globally has increased. The heat wave in Europe in 2003 that
killed more than thirty thousand people was unprecedented in
modern times. Intense tropical cyclone activity, the IPCC
concludes, has increased in the North Atlantic region since about
1970. The global ocean, down to a depth of at least six thousand
feet, has been warming since the early 1960s. This warming is
contributing to sea level rise. It’s by no means all vestiges of the
last Ice Age. Sea level rose some seven inches over the twentieth
century. The rate of rise has apparently increased recently.
Water vapor in the atmosphere, as predicted, is increasing as the
world warms. This additional water feeds back. It’s a
greenhouse gas. It amplifies the warming. It’s as though you
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 14.
had your house wired funny so that when it got warm the
thermostat turned on the furnace and made it warmer still.
Snow cover and mountain glaciers are decreasing markedly. It’s
a long list. The list goes on. None of these observational facts is
a surprise to the climate science community. They are what we
had predicted. We scientists have been expecting measurements
like these and now we see them. The question for the future is
simply how much worse do we, do we intend? How much more
severe, uh, will we let these trends become? The science warns
us that continuing to fuel the world using present technology will
bring dangerous and possibly surprising climate changes by the
end of this century, if not sooner. Business as usual implies
more heat waves, higher sea levels, disrupted rainfall patterns,
vanishing glaciers and much more. Limiting carbon dioxide
amounts to any reasonable level will take large cuts in emissions.
It takes time. We have a giant intra… infrastructure based on
fossil fuels. To have a meaningful effect by mid-century we need
to start soon. The question is really whether humanity has the
collective determination to act in any meaningful way. The
economic case can be made convincingly, once people
understand the cost of doing nothing or too little. It’s like elective
surgery. It’s, uh, not free to decline it. Technology can
accomplish great things once society is committed to such a goal.
We know now that humanity has already increased atmospheric
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 15.
carbon dioxide by thirty-five per cent above natural levels. And
humanity, as a group, by default or on purpose, will now decide
what level it wants to tolerate. Then, after humanity has made
this decision, how much CO2 do you want in your children and
grandchildren’s atmosphere?, which –
BRIAN LEHRER
[OVERLAP] One.
RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE
…after that, nature will have its say and the climate system will
change in response to the level of greenhouse gases in the
atmosphere. Nature is superbly indifferent to politics and, and
spin. But it will have the last word, uh, in this debate. I have a
few seconds and I’ll say a few words about the IPCC. I’ve been a
coordinating lead author in it, uh, for three years. I’ve, I was in
Paris last month when this summary was negotiated and
released. It’s an extraordinarily impressive international
collaboration — thirty thousand review comments, a hundred and
fifty, uh, authors – seventy-five per cent of whom, by the way,
were new to the process. We’re not a clique defending what we
said six years ago. And I urge you to familiarize yourself with the
science because the science here has spoken very plainly. Thank
you. [APPLAUSE]
BRIAN LEHRER
Thank you, Richard Somerville. Michael Crichton, you have the
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 16.
next statement.
MICHAEL CRICHTON
The microphone goes up. [LAUGHTER] Before I begin I want to
just say one brief thing about what Richard has just told you.
He’s, he’s giving you the story of plate tectonics but it’s
fascinating. He’s turned it upside down. He’s turned it on its
head. The story of plate tectonics actually is the story of one
person who had the right idea – Alfred Wegener. He had it in
1912. And it is the story of major scientists at Harvard and
elsewhere opposing him for decade after decade until finally it
was proven to be incorrect what they were believing. So it is, in
fact — when I was a kid I was told the continents didn’t move. It
is, in fact, perfectly possible for the consensus of scientists to be
wrong and it is, in fact, perfectly possible for small numbers of
people to be in opposition and they will be ultimately be proven
true. [APPLAUSE] I want to address the issue of crisis in a
somewhat different way. Does it really matter if we have a crisis
at all? I mean, haven’t we actually raised temperatures so much
that we, as stewards of the planet, have to act? These are the
questions that friends of mine ask as they are getting on board
their private jets to fly to their second and third homes.
[LAUGHTER] And I would like, with their permission, to take the
question just a little bit more seriously. I myself, uh, just a few
years ago, held the kinds of views that I, uh, expect most of you
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 17.
in this room hold. That’s to say, I had a very conventional view
about the environment. I thought it was going to hell. I thought
human beings were responsible and I thought we had to do
something about it. I hadn’t actually looked at any
environmental issues in detail but I have that general view. And
so in 2000, when I read an article that suggested that the
evidence for global warming might not be quite as firm as people
said, I immediately dismissed it. Not believe in global warming?
That’s ridiculous. How could you have such an idea? Are you
going to try and tell me that the planet isn’t getting warmer? I
know it’s getting warmer. I grew up in Long Island. And when I
was a kid we always had days off from school for hurricanes.
There are no hurricanes on Long Island now. I spent thirty years
in California. We used to have something called June gloom.
Now it’s more like May, June, July, August gloom with
September, October, November gloom added in. The weather is
very different. However, because I look for trouble, um, I went at
a certain point and started looking at the temperature records.
And I was very surprised at what I found. The first thing that I
discovered, which Dick has already told you, is that the increase
in temperatures so far over the last hundred years, is on the
order of six-tenths of a degree Celsius, about a degree
Fahrenheit. I hadn’t really thought, when we talked about global
warming, about how much global warming really was taking
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 18.
place. The second thing I discovered was that everything is a
concern about the future and the future is defined by models.
The models tell us that human beings are the cause of the
warming, that human beings, uh, producing all this CO2, are
what’s actually driving the climate warming that we’re seeing
now. But I was interested to see that the models, as far as I
could tell, were not really reliable. That is to say, that past
estimates have proven incorrect. Uh, in 1988, when James
Hanson talked to the Congress and said that global warming had
finally arrived, The New York Times published a model result that
suggested that in the next hundred years there would be twelve
degrees Celsius increase. A few years later the increase was
estimated to be six degrees, then four degrees. The most recent
U.N. estimate is three degrees. Will it continue to go down? I
expect so. And this left me in a kind of a funny position. But let
me first be clear about exactly what I’m saying. Is the globe
warming? Yes. Is the greenhouse effect real? Yes. Is carbon
dioxide, a greenhouse gas, being increased by men? Yes. Would
we expect this warming to have an effect? Yes. Do human
beings in general effect the climate? Yes. But none of that
answers the core question of whether or not carbon dioxide is the
contemporary driver for the warming we’re seeing. And as far as
I could tell scientists had, had postulated that but they hadn’t
demonstrated it. So I’m kinda stranded here. I’ve got half a
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 19.
degree of warming, models that I don’t think are reliable. And
what, how am I going to think about the future? I reasoned in
this way: if we’re going to have one degree increase, maybe if, if,
climate doesn’t change and if, uh, and if there’s no change in
technology – but of course, if you don’t imagine there will be a
change in technology in the next hundred years you’re a very
unusual person. And I also was aware that we have actually
been starting to do exactly the kind of thing that we ought to do,
which is to decarbonize. Jesse Ausubel at Rockefeller University
points out, for example, that starting about a hundred and fifty
years ago, in the time of Abraham Lincoln and Queen Victoria, we
began to move from wood to coal, from coal to oil, from oil to
natural gas and so on. Decreasing our carbon, increasing our
hydrogen makes perfect sense, makes environmental sense,
makes political sense, makes geopolitical sense. And we’ll
continue to do it without any legislation, without any, anything
forcing us to do it, as nothing forced us to get off horses. Well, if
this is the situation, I suddenly think about my friends, you
know, getting on their private jets. And I think, well, you know,
maybe they have the right idea. Maybe all that we have to do is
mouth a few platitudes, show a good, you know, expression of
concern on our faces, buy a Prius, drive it around for a while and
give it to the maid, attend a few fundraisers and you’re done.
Because, actually, all anybody really wants to do is talk about it.
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 20.
They don’t actually do anything. [SOMEONE CHUCKLES IN
BACKGROUND] And the evidence for that is the number of
major leaders in climate who clearly have no intention of
changing their lifestyle, reducing their own consumption or
getting off private jets themselves. If they’re not willing to do it
why should anybody else? [APPLAUSE] Is talking enough? I
mean, is, is — the talking cure of the environment, it didn’t work
in psychology. It won’t work in the environment either.
[LAUGHTER] Is that enough to do? I don’t think so. I think it’s
totally inadequate. Everyday 30,000 people on this planet die of
the diseases of poverty. There are, a third of the planet doesn’t
have electricity. We have a billion people with no clean water, we
have half a billion people going to bed hungry every night. Do we
care about this? It seems that we don’t. It seems that we would
rather look a hundred years into the future than pay attention to
what’s going on now. I think that’s unacceptable. I think that’s
really a disgrace.
BRIAN LEHRER
One.
MICHAEL CRICHTON
This doesn’t need to happen. We’re allowing it to happen. And I
don’t know what’s wrong with the rich self-centered societies that
we live in in the west that we are not paying attention to the
conditions of the wider world. And it does seem to me that if we
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 21.
use arguments about the environment to turn our back on the
sick and the dying of our shared world, and that’s our excuse to
ignore them, then we have done a true and terrible thing. And it’s
awful, thank you.
[APPLAUSE]
BRIAN LEHRER
Thank you Michael Crichton. Gavin Schmidt, you have the
podium next.
GAVIN SCHMIDT
Thank you. I want to talk to you a little about the nature of this
public debate. And I want to give you some background to what
you’ve been hearing so far, and what you’ll hear a little bit later
on. The issue of global warming and whether it’s a crisis or not, is
in fact a scientific decision, it’s a scientific issue. It’s not a
political one. On the other hand, deciding what to do about it is
obviously political. Science can inform those decisions, but it
can’t determine what decisions society makes. But we’re here to
debate the existence of the problem and whether it is a crisis.
That’s something that the scientists on this side are eminently
suited to do. You’ve all seen or heard about the CSI police drama,
where high tech forensic scientists try and work out who done it
when they come across the scene of a crime. Well think of climate
scientists as CSI planet Earth, we’re try-, we see a climate change
and we try and work out what’s done it. Just like on CSI we have
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 22.
a range of high tech instruments to give us clues, satellites,
ocean probes, radar, a worldwide network of weather stations
and sophisticated computer programs to help us make sense of it
all. The aim is to come to the most likely explanation of all the
facts fully anticipating that in the real world there are always
going to be anomalies, there are always going to be uncertainties.
Conclusions will be preliminary and always open to revision in
the light of new evidence. If this all sounds familiar, it’s because
it’s exactly the same approach that doctors take when examining
a patient. They don’t know everything about the human body,
but they can still make a pretty accurate diagnosis of your
illness. We end up then with a hierarchy of knowledge. Some
things that are extremely likely, some things we’re pretty sure of,
and some things that we think might be true, but really could go
either way. There isn’t a division into things that are completely
proven and things which are completely unknown. Instead, you
have a sliding scale of increasing confidence. Let me give you a
few examples. We’re highly confident that the sun is gonna rise
tomorrow, it might not, it might go nova. But it’s likely that it will
happen. It’s quite likely that you’ll be able to get a cab home from
this event, unless it’s raining of course. [LAUGHTER] But, but
those two things have different levels of certainty. You’re used to
the idea that different kinds of knowledge come with different
levels of certainty, and that’s exactly what we’re talking about
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 23.
when we talk about the impacts of climate change. Going back to
being climate detectives, we’re certain that carbon dioxide and
methane are greenhouse gases and they’ve increased because of
human activity. We’re very confident that the planet has been
warming up, and we’re pretty sure that the other things that are
going on, changes to the sun, changes to particles in the air,
changes to ozone have made some difference but aren’t
dominant. The physics tells us that this is a very consistent
picture. Our suspects, the greenhouse gases, had both the
opportunity and the means to cause this climate change and
they’re very likely guilty. And they are increasing faster than ever.
Now, the lawyers get involved. Lawyers are paid to present a
certain case regardless of its merits and they do that by
challenging everything in the case, and if one argument doesn’t
work, well, they’ll just move on to the next. This procedure works
very well when the proposition being debated is very binary, a
yes, no. Is the subspe-, is the suspect guilty, uh should he go
free, should he go to jail? It is designed specifically to prevent
significant action in the face of uncertainty. If there is still
reasonable doubt, the suspect gets acquitted even if you still
think that they did it. But contrast that with the scientists. They
want to know the most likely explanation. The lawyers, they want
to win the case. In their own domains both ways of finding out
things are very useful, it’s only when they come together in
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 24.
situations like this that things get tricky. Particularly when
scientific results are perceived to have economic or moral
implications, it’s common for political debates to get shifted into
the scientific arena. It makes the political argument seem much
more scientific and therefore logical. But since the basic
disagreement is still political, this is a disaster for any kind of
action. So tonight, you’re not gonna hear us arguing about
obscure details in climate science, if you have any questions, I
have a web site realclimate.org, you can go and check that out
and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have. But
here we’re gonna talk about the bigger picture. Let me give you a
few examples of how that works. Creationists have argued that
the eye is too complex to have evolved. Not because they care
about the evolution of eyes, but because they see the
implications of evolution as somehow damaging to their world
view. If you demonstrate the evolution of eyes, their world view
won’t change, they’ll just move onto something else. Another
example, when CFCs from aerosol cans and air conditioners were
found to be depleting the ozone layer, the CEO of DuPont, the
main manufacturer argued that because CFCs were heavier than
air, they couldn’t possibly get up to the ozone layer. So there was
no need to regulate them, that was pure fantasy, but it sounded
scientific. Again, tobacco companies spent millions trying to show
that nicotine delayed the onset of Alzheimer’s because that was a
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 25.
distraction from the far more solid case that, that linked tobacco
to lung cancer. That was a distraction and a red herring. These
arguments are examples of pseudo debates, scientific sounding
points that are designed not to fool the experts, but to sow
confusion and doubt in the minds of the lay public. This is a
deliberate strategy and you’re hearing it here tonight. So during
this debate, let’s play a little game. I’ll call it spot the fallacy.
Every time that you hear the other side claim that we are
predicting an imminent catastrophe, give yourself one point.
Every time you hear an anecdote used to refute a general trend,
that’s cherry picking and we heard that already, uh give yourself
another. And every time you hear there’s a lag between carbon
dioxide and temperature in the ice cores, give yourself two points
because that’s a real doosy.
BRIAN LEHRER
One.
GAVIN SCHMIDT
So far this evening we’re running at about two red herrings, two
complete errors, three straw men and one cherry pick.
[LAUGHTER] So see how you do and we’ll compare notes at the
end. Scientists have to be professional skeptics, right, they are
trained not to take new information at face value, they have to
ask where measurements come from and what they could
possibly mean. They have to be dispassionate about the data,
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 26.
and just see where it leads. Once you start making logically
fallacious arguments in order to support a predetermined
position, you are no longer acting as a scientist, you are acting as
a lawyer, however scientific sounding you might seem. Despite
that natural skepticism, the national academies of all eight, G8
countries, all the major scientific societies, even the White House
have agreed with a scientific consensus on this matter, which
pointedly did not happen in the 1970s by the way. Michael
Crichton for one has frequently stated the
consensus…..[OVERLAP]
BRIAN LEHRER
Gavin Schmidt, thank you very much.
[APPLAUSE]
BRIAN LEHRER
Philip Stott, you have the podium next.
PHILIP STOTT
Brian may I just take one second to thank very much the
Rosenkranz Foundation and Intelligence Squared for having the
great courtesy to invite me over from London to participate in this
very exciting set of debates. Thank you also to all my colleagues
for their contribution and above all to the audience for I’m sure,
gonna be exciting participation as well. I want to start exactly
with the consensus word that was used by Richard. Can I just
remind you he wanted an example. In the early 20th century, 95%
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 27.
of scientists believe in eugenics. [LAUGHTER] Science does not
progress by consensus, it progresses by falsification and by what
we call paradigm shifts. And in my, riposte [UNCLEAR] I’ll be
coming to a paradigm shift that could actually throw the whole of
what that other side is saying through the window. But that’s
later. [LAUGHTER] What I want to come to now is the 1970s that
Robert Rosenkranz quite correctly reminded us of. Because then
a crisis was announced. And I want to quote from three
newspapers. The Christian Science Monitor, “Warning, Earth’s
climate is changing faster than even experts expect.” I really like
that. Your own New York Times, “A major cooling of the climate is
widely inevitable.” And in Newsweek, back to consensus,
“Meteorologists are almost unanimous that catastrophic famines
will result from global cooling.” That was the 1970s. And there
are many headlines. And what I would like to stress is, it was a
stress on consensus, it was faster than expected, the evidence
came from the oceans, from polar bears, it’s always polar bears,
from the changing seasons and it’s always disaster. Why do we
believe them now? And what is important in this I think is to
remember what that first Earth Day claimed. The first Earth Day
in America claimed the following, that because of global cooling,
the population of America would have collapsed to 22 million by
the year 2000. And of the average calorie intake of the average
American would be wait for this, 2,400 calories, would good it
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were. [LAUGHTER] It’s nonsense and very dangerous. And what
we have fundamentally forgotten is simple primary school
science. Climate always changes. It is always as Dick said
warming or cooling, it’s never stable. And if it were stable it would
actually be interesting scientifically because it would be the first
time for four and a half billion years. [LAUGHTER] Second,
humans have been influencing climate for a million years as
hominids, from the first hominid that set fire to the Savanna
grasslands in Africa, when particulates and gases started to rise
and they changed the reflectivity of the surface of the Earth. It’s a
long relationship. So the debate, is climate changing and are
humans affecting climate change is actually nearly irrelevant.
The answers are yes and yes, and always will be. What is really
crucial in all this is something that none of the scientists or none
of the politicians want you really to hear. Climate is the most
complex system we know governed by thousands of factors, I
haven’t time to list them. But the point is, it’s like in my country,
Glasgow on a Saturday night, chaos. [LAUGHTER] And what
we’re trying to do is manage it by dealing with one pub. One. And
it just won’t work, that’s the danger. In such a system, doing
something at the margins and not doing something in the
margins are equally unpredictable. And the question we should
be asking our politicians are, what climate are you actually
aiming to produce and when we get there won’t it change
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anyway? The crisis is therefore in ourselves and if we are
rejecting this and I ask you passionately to do so for the next two
more important reasons, our uh, political agenda as Michael
hinted is wrong. There are two great crises in the world of which
the biggest unquestionably is four billion people in poverty. And
this topic is an ecocondria of our rich selves, London, New York
and Washington. It’s about us and about our hypochondria
about the world. If you actually have clean water, you have
modern energy, you will cope with change whatever it is, hot, wet,
cold or dry. I’m a left wing critic of global warming because the
agenda is fundamentally wrong and dangerous. And believe you
me, neither Republican nor Democrat will do anything about it,
because our second crisis is a crisis of hypocrisy. Now Michael
hinted at this, but I come from Europe which has been lecturing
the world on this subject. Let me tell you, the hypocrisy in
Europe is absolutely mind blowing, I am embarrassed.
[LAUGHTER] [APPLAUSE] The latest statistic from the
Environment Agency in Europe will predict under the Kyoto
Protocol we won’t even be minus, that by 2012, we’ll be plus four
percent. And did you know that island whom we all love actually
under the Kyoto Protocol is allowed a growth of 13%? And some
of the figures for the, for Europe are just spectacularly worrying.
Spain, Italy, Portugal, we’re in the 40 percentile. And yet we
lecture the world. What we see in this is an enormous danger for
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 30.
politicians in terms of their hypocrisy. I’m not going to say
anything about Al Gore and his house. [LAUGHTER] But it is a
very serious point. Global warming is also dangerous because I
am an environmentalist, but what I’m beginning to see is that
global warming is setting age-, agendas which are actually
damaging for the environment. Bio fuels in which the energy
relationships are very dodgy, but which have a very significant
effect certainly in my country on biodiversity. What is more, we’re
having wind farms placed for global warming on very, very
sensitive peatmoor habitats. Don’t think therefore that if you’re
an environmentalist, you have to be attached to this agenda.
Because it is now overarching, overdominant and is actually
taking money and effort away from genuine and real on the
ground habitat……[OVERLAP]
BRIAN LEHRER
One.
PHILIP STOTT
…..environmental concerns. But let me end with two images.
Angela Merkel the German chancellor, my own good prime
minister for whom I voted let me emphasize, arguing in public
two weeks ago as to who in Annie get the gun style could produce
the best temperature. “I could do two degrees C said Angela,”
“No, I could only do three said Tony.” [LAUGHTER] Stand back a
minute, those are politicians, telling you that they can control
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 31.
climate to a degree Celsius. This is a political crisis, not a crisis
as put here, and I ask you passionately to vote against it. And
Samuel Johnson and James Thurber, I have to end with Thurber
because of the New Yorker. Samuel Johnson, the great
lexicographer talked of a, in Russia last talked to an astronomer
who thought he could control the sun and the
clouds….[OVERLAP]
BRIAN LEHRER
Philip Stott.
PHILIP STOTT
….he was mad.
BRIAN LEHRER
Thank you very much.
PHILIP STOTT
I can’t get Thurber in, thank you.
[APPLAUSE]
BRIAN LEHRER
Brenda Ekwurzel, the podium is yours.
BRENDA EKWURZEL
I’d like to thank the Rosenkranz Foundation, to all of you for
taking time to discuss this urgent topic. Uh, Gavin Schmidt, like
in the climate scientists to forensics team of the CSI, uh another
metaphor that applies is that of a doctor. And studying global
warming is like taking the Earth’s temperature. We’ve seen that
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 32.
it’s rising, and also we have diagnosed the dominant cause of this
fever is the heat trapping emissions from human activity. So far
temperatures have gone up about over a degree, point, one point
four degrees Fahrenheit. That doesn’t mean much to our
everyday lives, but it means everything to the Earth. All of us
have experienced 100 degree temperature, a hundred and two
degree temperature, but we’ve survived. Now the body cannot
withstand 107 degree Fahrenheit temperature. That’s about an
eight degree jump above the average body temperature. Now
when it comes to the Earth, the Earth is much more fragile than
the body when it comes to temperature. What we see is that a
seven degree increase in global warming would mean that we
would accelerate, we would intensify the water cycle, that means
the wet places will get wetter and the dry places will get drier. It
means we put at risk species that are gonna go extinct. It means
that the summer arctic ice is at risk of disappearing. It also
means that a seven degree rise in temperature would commit us
to substantial sea level rise from melting of the Greenland ice
sheet. The Earth’s fever is only getting worse and the animals and
the plants that are out there struggling are already giving us the
early warning signs. We’ve seen them shift their habitats and
we’ve seen them struggle as they cope with the shifting of the
period, the warm periods and the cold periods of the seasons.
Furthermore, there’s already heat in the pipeline as the oceans
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 33.
play catch-up to the atmosphere loading that we’ve put, these
heat trapping gases in our atmosphere. As the oceans warm up,
the temperatures will commit us to further warming. We’re
locking in another degree of Fahrenheit of warming. That’s heat
in the pipeline. Do we really want to lock in even further
warming? We’re going to keep studying the symptoms of scie-, as
scientists. But the diagnosis is very clear and the course of
treatment is even clearer. Choosing not to fight global warming is
as foolhardy as ignoring the early warning signs of a fever of a
young child and not attending to that. So what is the course of
treatment and can we really do something about it? The answer
is yes, but we have to act soon, we have to start tackling this
problem on all fronts. Our landfills, farms, and livestock are
emitting methane and other heat trapping gases. Our fossil fuels,
our oil, our coal, our gas, cutting down forests, are committing us
to ever increasing levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, in
fact, these levels of heat trapping gases are at the highest level
than they’ve ever been for hundreds of thousands of years. It’s
not natural. Since the dawn of the industrial age, humans have
been digging up carbon and putting it on fire, and using it as
energy. Now the Earth doesn’t normally set on fire million year ol-
, million year old stores of carbon, it’s unnatural. It’s not, it’s not
a normal thing. What we’re doing by using these fossil fuels is
overwhelming the Earth’s capacity to clean up and absorb that
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 34.
carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The Earth takes hundreds
of years to get rid of carbon dioxide and what’s most important, is
that this fact is very important to help us decide when we have to
start acting about global warming. While some of the worst
effects might not be felt for decades or centuries the actions we
take today will determine how much carbon dioxide will be in the
atmosphere, how much global warming we are locking in, how
bad are the effects going to be for ourselves and for our children
and grandchildren. That’s what’s really important. We probably
have a decade to institute meaningful solutions. Why ten years?
That’s because the decisions we make today have a long term
commitment. If we do not reform our agriculture practices heat
trapping gases will continue to accumulate in the atmosphere.
However, if we were to capture methane from our landfills, not
only would we stop those emissions from going to the
atmosphere, we would also be creating energy at the same time.
If we make a building in the old way then we would be polluting
for decades to come. However, if we were to build with renewable
energy sources new cleaner buildings then that means that we
have eliminated that fossil fuel loading of emissions to the
atmosphere. If we construct coal power plants the conventional
way that means we are substantially increasing the heat trapping
emissions in our atmosphere for fifty years and they will linger for
many, many more years. However, if we invest in research and
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 35.
technology to capture carbon from those coal plants this will
would be welcome news to all the nations of the world that have
deep, vast coal reserves. Increasing energy efficiency and
harnessing renewable energy from the sun, from the wind, from
other sources will help us along this path. If our cities continue
to grow, that increase the commuting distance of our citizens,
that means we are committing ourselves to burning more fuel.
There are better ways. With profitable solutions at hand it’s
irresponsible to postpone action. Right now we could put nations
on target to reducing emissions. If we start now we reduce each
year. However, if we delay that means that the cuts that we have
to make to meet our goals will become steeper and steeper and
we may not even be able to meet those demands. They will
become too hard for us to reach. It’s the equivalent to the person
with a credit card who can no longer pay off the minimum
payments, that cannot reach their goals. Right now we’re on a
spending spree with our heat trapping emissions. We’re building
up the future costs of global warming. And –
BRIAN LEHRER
[OVERLAP] One.
BRENDA EKWURZEL
And when this bill comes, uh, when the bill for our emissions
today comes, comes due in the not too distant future, um,
choosing not to fight global warming is about as irresponsible as
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 36.
not making payments on a high interest credit card. With such
high stakes common sense requires that we act now and while we
still have options. Um, within the next decade we will continue to
determine whether or not our children and grandchildren look
back at this time and decide whether we failed them. Or will they
look back at this time and see that built a better planet for
ourselves and for them? We have a chance to avert this crisis
and to assure a safer planet. And if we wait for the children to
solve this problem it’s too late. The risks are too big. But before
we act on the global warming –
BRIAN LEHRER
[OVERLAP] Brenda Ekwurzel, thank you very much.
BRENDA EKWURZEL
…we must recognize it for the crisis that it is. Vote no.
[APPLAUSE]
BRIAN LEHRER
And thank all our panelists for their initial presentations.
[APPLAUSE] I am now ready to announce the results of the predebate
vote, rounded to the nearest whole number. [LAUGHTER]
Those for the motion that global warming is not a crisis, were
30% of you. Those against the motion were 57% of you, those
undecided, were 13% of you. Not worthy of snickering, those 13
percent. Or, more precisely, 29.88% for, 57.32% against, and
12.8% undecided. So we’re now ready to begin the Q-and-A
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 37.
portion of the program, I will call on the questioners, someone on
each side of the auditorium will come to you with a microphone
when you raise your hands. I will be looking for, from you,
challenging questions for the pro side and for the anti side. Uh,
if you can identify yourselves that way, uh, to the people with the
microphones that would be good. Um, if some of you don’t fit
into that category that’s okay too. Uh, we’re gonna mix in my
questions and your questions and to the panelists, um, I hope to
keep a good pace here because by the rules we have 20 minutes
only, and there is so much to follow up on. Also…audience
members, uh, please do not start to ask your question until you
have a microphone. please make your questions short and to
the point, please, 30 seconds if you can, and, the more focused
your question, the more likely you are to be on NPR. So—
[LAUGHTER] There you go. Okay. Brenda Ekwurzel, and
Richard Lindzen. Can I get the two of you to engage for up to two
minutes on one thing I noticed in your conversations, in your
presentations, um… Richard Lindzen, you seemed to say that
warming could make the climate more stable. Brenda, you
seemed to suggest, that it would make it less stable. Richard
Lindzen, I’ll start with you, and talk to each other. Are you
arguing that global warming could be good for the earth?
RICHARD S. LINDZEN
Yeah, of course it could be. [LAUGHS] That’s, uh, goes without
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 38.
question. There’s no reason to assume we’re at the optimum for
climate. It’s been all over the place—
GAVIN SCHMIDT
But it’s the climate that we have adapted to, it’s the climate that
has led us to put—
RICHARD S. LINDZEN
It may be—
GAVIN SCHMIDT
—Battery Park City right at the waterline, that’s the problem—
BRIAN LEHRER
Gavin Schmidt, thank you, let him, let him— [LAUGHTER] Hang
on, hang on, hang on, well— [OVERLAPPING VOICES] Let him
finish your thought, go ahead, Richard Lindzen—
RICHARD S. LINDZEN
What I was referring to was the issue of variability. And that
depends basically on the pole-to-equator temperature difference.
And since the models are suggesting that the warming would be
greater at the poles, then you are reducing the equator to poletemperature
difference, you’re increasing the—decreasing the
forcing for storms, and you’re decreasing the range.
BRIAN LEHRER
Brenda Ekwurzel?
BRENDA EKWURZEL
Yes, I think the risks are gonna grow, we know this with the
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 39.
warming of the planet further. And furthermore, if we have those
risks that means that governments are gonna spend much more
money, hand over fist, bailing out farmers that are suffering from
more extreme draught, we have arable lands growing—
PHILIP STOTT
Look—
BRENDA EKWURZEL
—uh, stuff like this—
PHILIP STOTT
But they’d have less water source—
BRENDA EKWURZEL
—this is gonna be—and less money for fighting poverty and all
those other aspects that are important—
BRIAN LEHRER
Philip Stott, you wanted to get in here?
PHILIP STOTT
Just to say I did find Gavin’s comment a little amusing because
in fact 8,000 years ago, at a peak of warming much higher than
today, you know what the climate people call it? The climate
optimum. In other words it’s actually perceived as more optimal
in terms of vegetation and other factors.
GAVIN SCHMIDT
Not for people who own—
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 40.
BRIAN LEHRER
Gavin, go ahead and respond.
GAVIN SCHMIDT
Not for people who own basement property in Battery Park City.
[LAUGHTER]
BRIAN LEHRER
A low-lying area of New York City for those of you living…
[LAUGHTER] around the country.
PHILIP STOTT
But I think that raises a really interesting issue because of
course adaptation to change is always the way that humans have
coped with it, in fact of course bad planning and bad building
doesn’t excuse and is not proof of global warming.
BRIAN LEHRER
Here’s a question for the anti side. [APPLAUSE] A question for
the anti side if I might, these 1970s headlines about global
cooling. That always comes up as an inconvenient fact. I’ve
almost got a title there. [LAUGHTER] How do you explain that?
Who wants it.
RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE
You know, that’s an—that’s the scientific equivalent of an urban
legend and I’m shocked, that not—
BRIAN LEHRER
Richard Somerville.
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 41.
RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE
That not—not only, uh, did we hear it from Michael Crichton and
Philip Stott but we heard it from the fourth member of the pro
team, Mr. Rosenkranz, at the beginning. The—there wasn’t a
scientific consensus in the ‘70s about global cooling. There was
hype in the news media. Quoting Newsweek is not the right way
to evaluate, uh, scientific thought, you can look it up.
[APPLAUSE]
RICHARD S. LINDZEN
But, can I—can I answer that?
BRIAN LEHRER
Wait, Richard Lindzen, go ahead?
RICHARD S. LINDZEN
Yeah. But, you know, the claim of consensus right now is also
not based on a vote…or anything else, and in fact it was invoked
by Newsweek in 1988…when they stated all scientists agree.
BRIAN LEHRER
But wait, on—do you agree on this 1970s global cooling thing,
that that was media hype, Richard Lindzen?
RICHARD S. LINDZEN
Actually, I do not disagree with Richard on that.
RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE
Thank you—
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 42.
RICHARD S. LINDZEN
I think it is true that the media amplified what was going on
considerably, and that the field itself was in a much healthier
state at that time and the open discussions were greater.
BRIAN LEHRER
Philip Stott, very briefly.
PHILIP STOTT
Yeah, what’s very amusing was, one scientist came out in 1970, a
Swedish scientist, and actually said we should pump out carbon
dioxide to ensure that we didn’t go into global cooling.
[LAUGHTER]
RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE
You know, you—you can always find, uh, people on the fringes—
BRIAN LEHRER
Richard Somerville, go ahead—
RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE
You can always find people, uh, on the fringes, consensus doesn’t
mean unanimity and science isn’t a democracy anyway but it’s
not good to misrepresent, the situation when an overwhelming
majority of genuine experts have come to conclusions opposed to
some of those who’ve heard, uh, from the other side.
BRIAN LEHRER
So, so to the yes team…Michael Crichton, you talked about, how
consensus is sometimes wrong and it takes the individual to
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 43.
burst through the consensus. [CLEARS THROAT] Excuse me.
Um, this debate is set up three on three, as if everything were
even. But in the real world out there, we just had the big intergovernmental
panel on climate change report in which 90% of the
world’s governments and 90% of their atmospheric sciences
declared with 90% certainty, that global warming is real and
human beings are causing it. Why would you three be more
credible to the non-scientists in our audience, than all of them?
MICHAEL CRICHTON
It—it’s…this is always to me a very fascinating point. If, if we
were to say, um, does the moon revolve around the earth, uh, we
would say yes, and no one would ever, would ever preface that by
saying, well, the consensus of scientists says this. You know,
the, the notion of consensus is only a vote for very particular
kinds of things, and to me it’s a serious warning signal. For
example, ordinarily if I were to say the moon is full of green
cheese, no one would, no one would vilify me or— they would
take me out and prove to me that that wasn’t the case. It’s, it’s
when there isn’t a very good and powerful counter-argument,
that’s the first answer, the second answer is, is one I really like
very much and it’s one Einstein made. He, um…there was a—
the Nazis decided that they would, uh, do something to
demonstrate that German science was bad and they got 200, uh,
German scientists to say that Einstein was wrong and then
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 44.
somebody asked Einstein, how does it feel to have 200 scientists
against you. And he said, it takes only one to prove me wrong.
BRIAN LEHRER
All right, who on the anti side wants to respond. Uh, Gavin
Schmidt.
GAVIN SCHMIDT
Okay. You’ve frequently stated that consensus is not science.
And you know what, I agree with you. Consensus is what’s left
over, after the science has been done. Consensus is what goes
into the textbooks. The science is happening at the frontiers. It’s
the filling in of the interesting pieces of the jigsaw puzzle. It’s the,
not—it’s not the overall picture, the big picture, is the stuff that
everybody knows and everybody understands. Your, your
assessment of— You’re—you’re arguing that, because something
is—people agree on it, you can’t possibly agree with it. It’s like
saying, well if you disagree, then I’ll agree.
MICHAEL CRICHTON
No, I was—
GAVIN SCHMIDT
You’re saying you’ll never agree which means that you’re not
listening to what the people are saying—
BRIAN LEHRER
Yeah—
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 45.
MICHAEL CRICHTON
—what am I saying again—
BRIAN LEHRER
Michael, go ahead, I’m sorry?
MICHAEL CRICHTON
I’m not saying that the consensus is necessarily wrong, I’m only
saying that consensus is not a—a clear proof that it’s right.
RICHARD S. LINDZEN
And moreover, Michael—
PHILIP STOTT
Of course not, no—
RICHARD S. LINDZEN
—has made the point—
BRIAN LEHRER
Richard Lindzen on the same side, go— continue.
RICHARD S. LINDZEN
Lamont made the same statement, you don’t use consensus if
you have a proof.
PHILIP STOTT
What’s very important—
BRIAN LEHRER
Philip Stott, you wanna back that up further—
PHILIP STOTT
Yeah, quite, Gavin right, you said, we should always be at the
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 46.
edge, the edge of science on climate change has nothing to do
with CO2, it’s to do with what we call cosmic rays, the
relationship to the sun, and water vapor.
BRIAN LEHRER
Anybody else on the anti side wanna come back on that?
[LAUGHTER] They all three got a—got a lick in there.
RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE
I—it is— [LAUGHTER]
BRIAN LEHRER
Richard Somerville—
RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE
It is mind-boggling, to say that [LAUGHS] cosmic rays are the
cause of, of climate change is to en—endorse one of the least
proven, most tentative—
PHILIP STOTT
I didn’t say that.
RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE
Oh, good, I’m glad—
GAVIN SCHMIDT
But then why—why did you bring it up.
RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE
Why did you bring it up, yeah—
PHILIP STOTT
Simply because there are a whole range of scientists who are
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 47.
working on this particular topic and they say it’s one of the big
unknowns and a great deal of research has just been done on it.
At the edge—
GAVIN SCHMIDT
But we’re—we’re talking about global warming, we’re talking
about the trend in temperature that—
BRIAN LEHRER
Gavin Schmidt—
GAVIN SCHMIDT
—we’ve seen over the last 30 years. There has been no trend in
cosmic rays. So any change that there might have been because
of cosmic ray impacts on climate, can’t possibly have an impact
on what’s been going on—
PHILIP STOTT
The most famous—
GAVIN SCHMIDT
—in the last changes.
PHILIP STOTT
But the most famous astrophysicist working on it say that it has.
GAVIN SCHMIDT
Uh, he is wrong. [LAUGHTER]
BRIAN LEHRER
Okay—
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 48.
GAVIN SCHMIDT
I’m sorry.
BRIAN LEHRER
We’re now ready to vote—no, I’m kidding. Um, for—
PHILIP STOTT
That’s a serious accusation against some very serious sci—some
are infinitely better than any of us on this platform today.
GAVIN SCHMIDT
I’d like to meet the person—
RICHARD S. LINDZEN
Explain that—
PHILIP STOTT
There are some very eminent scientists, Professor Jan Veizer for
example, uh, uh, Nir Sh—Professor Nir Shaviv who won the
Young Scientist of the Year in Israel two years ago, who are in
fact arguing that 70% of, of climate change is primarily driven by
cosmic rays working through water vapor and clouds. I’m not
saying they’re right or wrong, they’re pointing however at the
edge, to new research. You cannot dismiss that, because it’s a
consensus for CO2.
BRIAN LEHRER
Gavin Schmidt, one more time?
GAVIN SCHMIDT
Okay, this is exactly what I was talking about. You see? Now, it
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 49.
looks like we’re having a scientific argument, but, this is
completely bogus. You don’t know that it’s bogus, but I know
that it’s bogus, he knows that it’s bogus. [LAUGHTER] You’re
being led astray. [LAUGHTER]
RICHARD S. LINDZEN
You’ll forgive me, Gavin… [APPLAUSE] If—if you seriously wish
to maintain that, then you’d better explain why—
BRIAN LEHRER
Richard Lindzen—
RICHARD S. LINDZEN
—between you and Richard, you’ve made statements that are
overtly untrue. And I’ll give you some. You say, the earth has
been warmer—is warmer now than it has been for 1300 years.
The national academy evaluating this said, the methodology was
no use beyond 400 years. Why do you make this statement.
You keep on quoting these groups, and when they disagree with
them, you make up the quote.
GAVIN SCHMIDT
I—I’ve gotta say that one, one thing at a time—
BRIAN LEHRER
Gavin Schmidt—
GAVIN SCHMIDT
—let’s deal with that. The National Academy of Science report
said that we have good evidence that we’re warmer from 400
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 50.
years ago, we have credible evidence that we’re warmer from
900—
RICHARD S. LINDZEN
No, they did not—
GAVIN SCHMIDT
Yes they did, Richard, please— [LAUGHTER]
RICHARD S. LINDZEN
No, the—
GAVIN SCHMIDT
Read the reports before—
RICHARD S. LINDZEN
—front end—the front end said—
GAVIN SCHMIDT
Read the—read more than the front page, Richard—
RICHARD S. LINDZEN
No, I’m saying the text, said it was not credible beyond 400
years—
GAVIN SCHMIDT
That’s not what it—that’s not what it said—
RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE
Moreover, moreover—
BRIAN LEHRER
Right, well, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait—
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GAVIN SCHMIDT
I can tell you why it’s not—
BRIAN LEHRER
We’re into “he said”-“he said.” But— [LAUGHTER] But Gavin
Schmidt, you seem to suggest that the other side does not have a
real scientific argument, but a culturally or politically
constructed one. You don’t think they’re sincere?
GAVIN SCHMIDT
That’s a very difficult question. I think—I— no, I, I do think that
they’re sincere—
BRIAN LEHRER
You as much as said it.
GAVIN SCHMIDT
I don’t think that they are completely…doing this on a level
playing field that the people here will understand. And, there
are…
AUDIENCE MEMBERS
[MOANS, VOICES, ETC.]
BRIAN LEHRER
Well… [OVERLAPPING VOICES] explain yourself, because—wait
a minute—
GAVIN SCHMIDT
No, let me—let me explain, explain that—
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BRIAN LEHRER
Because they have larger cultural or political agendas?
GAVIN SCHMIDT
No, um, I have no idea what their political or cultural agendas
are, and to be frank I’m not very interested.
PHILIP STOTT
I’m left-wing and have no money whatsoever from any oil
company—
GAVIN SCHMIDT
Okay, and—
PHILIP STOTT
—and I wouldn’t.
GAVIN SCHMIDT
That’s fine. [LAUGHTER, APPLAUSE] That’s fine. But I’m, I’m—
BRIAN LEHRER
All right—
GAVIN SCHMIDT
—I’m not interested in your motivations—
PHILIP STOTT
But I know—
BRIAN LEHRER
All right—
PHILIP STOTT
—[INAUDIBLE] has interests.
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BRIAN LEHRER
Let’s go to the audience, and, when you ask your questions, uh,
members of the press, please identify yourselves as such.
Members of the audience who are not with the press, you have
the option to identify yourself, or not. Okay. Right down here.
LINDA CARO
Hi, my name is Linda Caro, um, it kind of surprises me that , uh,
the emphasis is on CO2 which is about one-third of 1% of the
total atmosphere, whereas global—uh, water vapor is the vast
bulk of it all. Uh, is it possible that we are, um…are not
accounting properly for, uh, the giving off of heat such as nuclear
power plants which are several thousand degrees Centi—uh,
Fahrenheit, that we’re cooling with water and air, every day, every
week, every month, every year, that can’t—
BRIAN LEHRER
Is there anyone you would particularly like to answer that
question?
LINDA CARO
Whoever feels most qualified. [LAUGHTER]
BRIAN LEHRER
Richard Somerville is raising his hand.
RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE
The, the direct heating from sources like power plants is
negligible, uh, compared to these, these other factors, solar
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 54.
radiation, greenhouse effect. And the greenhouse effect is due to
water vapor, primarily carbon dioxide and other gas is secondary,
we can’t control water vapors. It’s controlled by the atmosphere
itself, largely by temperature, so when you add CO2, you
humidify the atmosphere and the water adds to the warming.
That’s one reason why Richard Lindzen’s talking about CO2 only
giving you a degree or so is disingenuous because that feedback
is expected theoretically and has been observed.
BRIAN LEHRER
I think Richard Stott is, uh—Philip Stott is bursting out of his
chair to agree with you. [LAUGHTER]
PHILIP STOTT
I could not agree more. Yes, it’s governed by the atmosphere.
Absolutely, and is not under our control.
RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE
But it’s—
PHILIP STOTT
It is therefore one of the big factors, that we have no control over.
RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE
It’s—
PHILIP STOTT
In a non-linear couple system.
RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE
I’m, I’m, I’m stunned by, by your amazement that non-linear
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coupled chaotic systems are things that we can’t understand
even in part, that—
RICHARD S. LINDZEN
He didn’t say that—
PHILIP STOTT
I said—I said control.
RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE
Very—very good. You can control how much CO2 you put in the
atmosphere and that will have a big effect on how much water
vapor is in the atmosphere, that’s not controversial.
PHILIP STOTT
Well you can’t predict—
RICHARD S. LINDZEN
That is controversial—
PHILIP STOTT
Yeah.
RICHARD S. LINDZEN
—and it’s controversial because it is not a homogeneous
distribution of water vapor.
PHILIP STOTT
Yeah, exactly.
RICHARD S. LINDZEN
And, you know, to pretend this is settled, is bizarre. Moreover
with clouds, which are comparably important, you know full well,
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that that is not settled.
BRIAN LEHRER
Let us—
RICHARD S. LINDZEN
By a long shot.
BRIAN LEHRER
—go to another questioner from the audience—
RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE
[INAUDIBLE]
BRIAN LEHRER
Down on this side in the front.
ANDREW REVKIN
Uh, Andy Revkin from the New York Times, this is, this is kind of
neat to, to listen to.
BRIAN LEHRER
Did I hear a hiss? [LAUGHTER]
ANDREW REVKIN
Ssss. Back atcha. [LAUGHTER] Um, I’ve been writing about this
for a long time. Uh, most every aspect of it. So my question is,
uh, one about the hedging, managing risk came up before, which
is not what you think of when you think of crisis and
catastrophe. My—my sense is that there’s one thing that
everyone has agreed on, at least—except maybe Philip, which is
that, more greenhouse gases will make the world warmer. Is
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there anyone other than Philip who disagrees with that—
PHILIP STOTT
I don’t disagree with it.
ANDREW REVKIN
Okay, you did it—yeah, so, we all—I love to find the things we
agree on. Um, so everyone agrees, more greenhouse gases will
make the world warmer. Uh, the doubling is, is a step on the
staircase we’re—we’re heading on toward tripling or quadrupling,
I think everyone would mostly agree that if we go to nine billion
people, all of whom would love to have our level of affluence,
we’re going in that direction. And so, as a hedging exercise, if it
weren’t costly to slow the pace, beyond the Jesse Ausubel very
slow [LAUGHS] decarbonization, if we could find a new way that
didn’t cost a lot, that actually could give energy for those
developing countries that crave it, and limit emissions at the
same time, would anyone on the pro side think that it’s a bad
idea to stop emitting greenhouse gases, if there were a solution.
BRIAN LEHRER
Michael Crichton, you’re shaking your head no?
MICHAEL CRICHTON
No—
ANDREW REVKIN
As a hedge—
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MICHAEL CRICHTON
—no, I don’t think anybody objects, uh, the, the, the question is
whether or not you’re gonna spend what Bjorn Lomberg thinks
which is $558 trillion and I think, if in fact it’s going to prove to
be that kind of enormous construction project, then that should
not be the first priority right this minute. But no, I don’t—
BRIAN LEHRER
So let me pursue Andy Revkin’s stab at striking a consensus on
what to do. For the anti side…if this is a crisis, what kind of
lifestyle change, what kind of economic pain, and how quickly are
you proposing…to hedge our bets?
BRENDA EKWURZEL
ASAP—
BRIAN LEHRER
Brenda Ekwurzel.
BRENDA EKWURZEL
[LAUGHS] As soon as possible because—
BRIAN LEHRER
But what?
BRENDA EKWURZEL
Everything, everything that we can throw at solving this climate
crisis—well, this climate problem, is important because, every
day that we emit carbon dioxide means that it will last for many,
many centuries, and so we have to start weaning ourselves off of
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 59.
ways of emitting more methane, more nitrous oxide, all the heattrapping
gases, not just carbon dioxide, it’s the ones that have
long life, nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, that are very, very
important, in the short term methane is very important ‘cause it
has such heat-trapping potential.
BRIAN LEHRER
But forgive me—
BRENDA EKWURZEL
And so, landfills—
BRIAN LEHRER
—but the question from—
BRENDA EKWURZEL
—everything, uh—
BRIAN LEHRER
The—the question from the audience was, things that we could
do, correct me if I’m wrong, Andrew, things that we could do
without much pain that would stave this off—
PHILIP STOTT
Well—
BRIAN LEHRER
Either you’re talking about—
BRENDA EKWURZEL
Well, what—
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BRIAN LEHRER
—revolution, anything necessary.
PHILIP STOTT
The real problem is—
BRIAN LEHRER
Philip Stott—
PHILIP STOTT
—there’s no social discounting in this, let’s get a bit of economics
in. So in fact, if you—if you have an increase now, and you take
inflation into account, what you’re doing is an average world, um,
income at the moment of $7,500. Predicted by a—a distance
ahead, that will rise to about $88,000, you knock off what in fact
the Stern Report in Britain estimated, as in fact the cost of global
warming, 13.27 or so percent, it comes down to something like,
uh, 70-something thousand dollars but even taking inflation
account [sic], that is still a massive increase in wealth so what
you’re actually asking in economic terms, is what is strange but a
poorer generation to sacrifice a great deal for what will in any
case, even with global warming cares, be a wealthier generation.
BRENDA EKWURZEL
The thing is that companies right now when they reduce heattrapping
emissions they find profits that keep giving back to them
because, right now we’re so wealthy in many nations of the world
that we are wasting energy because we can afford to. And the
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 61.
reality is many companies are saving lots of money when they
make small investments to reduce their emissions, DuPont did
50 million to invest, they’re getting 2 billion on return on that
investment, and it keeps on giving, so, it’s not an
economic…argument.
BRIAN LEHRER
Anything else from the anti side that you think might be…
MAN
The, the—
BRIAN LEHRER
—consensus, uh, good for us anyway kind of measures that they
might agree to?
GAVIN SCHMIDT
Right. Energy conservation—
BRIAN LEHRER
Gavin Schmidt.
GAVIN SCHMIDT
Everybody is gonna agree that energy conservation is a good
thing and it should be encouraged. Um, right.
BRIAN LEHRER
That’s three heads nodding on this side?
RICHARD S. LINDZEN
Yeah.
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GAVIN SCHMIDT
You’re gonna argue with energy conservation— [LAUGHTER]
BRIAN LEHRER
Two—all right, two, two and a half. Two and a half heads, that’s
good enough. Go—go on, Richard Somerville.
RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE
You know, a lot of things could be done, once you free up the
creativity of, uh, of technical people, of business people by
making this a priority nationally and internationally, the problem
isn’t that there’s nothing that can be done, the problem is that,
the people who are asking for your vote haven’t heard loudly
enough that this is an important issue to the electorate, so it’s
way down on people’s priorities, that’s the reason for the lip
service that Michael Crichton talked about, people are a lot like,
like Mark Twain, they’re all for progress but are opposed to
change.
BRIAN LEHRER
Let’s go— [LAUGHTER] Let’s go back to the audience, someone
on this side, do we have someone lined up on that side? Okay.
HEATHER HIGGINS
Thank you, my name is Heather Higgins, I’m not a scientist, so,
pardon my ignorance when I hear the scientistic—scientific
establishment believes in something I immediately think of flatearth
consensus, and the fact that there’s no geography that
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should be admitted as science and that women are all hysterics
and ought to be bled. Uh, so, uh, that, um, assurance that the
scientific community believes something does not take me very
far. My question is address particularly to Brenda, as well as to
anyone else. Um, I was fascinated by your statement that the
earth is more fragile than human beings are. Uh, I am not a
scientist so maybe you can explain to me how we managed to get
through the Ice Age and the Middle Ages when Greenland was
actually green and people were a foot taller and there was
farming there, uh, and nobody was digging up coal to warm the
earth. Um, and, I’m curious as to why you think that this is an
optimal period of climate, uh, certainly for far less money we
could move everybody out of Battery Park City. And I am
curious, if you believe that CO2 is actually the, the—the
particular problem is actually the issue, the degree to which you
are willing to, to become like France, where instead of having
20% of their power from nuclear, they have 86%.
BRENDA EKWURZEL
When there was a natural ice age before and when we were
coming out of that ice age there weren’t millions of people, 80% of
our population living on the coasts with their high-dollar homes
or, maybe fragile homes, not such high-dollar homes. There are
many people living in Bangladesh that are squeezed between sealevel
rise and the melting of the, the Himalayas and flooding from
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 64.
the land side. And so, we are talking about the fragility of
humans adapting to this rapid change, as well as, when— In the
past, sea-level rise, you could have, for example, wetlands
marching up onto land, and moving inland and adapting and
dunes moving inland, right now we have all our infrastructure in
its place, and you can see, Miami is stranded out there, Atlantic
City is stranded out there, we spend many of— millions of
dollars dredging, and, and keeping these unsustainable systems
that are not able to adapt naturally anymore because we’re in the
way. And we also are gonna suffer, if we don’t, uh, make action.
BRIAN LEHRER
Philip Stott, you get 20 seconds to respond—
PHILIP STOTT
Yeah, it was a, I think a brilliant question that, because the earth
is as tough as an old boot. If there is any fragility it’s in us and
that’s what we’re concerned about, the earth will survive whether
we’re here or not or whether there’s global warming or not—
BRIAN LEHRER
Question on this side?
VAN GREENFIELD
Hi, Van Greenfield, just following up a little bit on the,
uh…question two minutes ago on what we could do, um…
Philip, you had said in another article, “My own instinct is that
our ability to change reflectivity on the earth’s surface will in the
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 65.
end prove to have been far more important.” In terms of the
concept of reflectivity could you expand on that and its
possible…less expensive method for dealing with this?
BRIAN LEHRER
Very briefly, please.
PHILIP STOTT
Very briefly, but it’s a very important point, the point is very
simple, that humans are not just doing CO2, we do many factors,
and the way we have altered the albedo as we call it, the surface
reflectivity of the earth, uh, particularly I may add since the
Neolithic revolution in agriculture has had probably quite a
significant effect. However, we can’t model it very well. And the
problem is it’s one of those big gaps like many others things in
the models that we’re talking—and that is a human factor. So in
other words I agree with that, exactly how we cope with it though
is another issue, because we know so little about it. And can I
remind everybody that IPCC that we keep talking about, very
honestly admits that we know very little about 80% of the factors
behind climate change.
BRIAN LEHRER
One more thing for the anti side…bef—oh, you wanna—okay, go
ahead and give a quick response to that, 20-second response?
Go—
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GAVIN SCHMIDT
Uh, what is 80%—
BRIAN LEHRER
Gavin, Gavin Schmidt—
GAVIN SCHMIDT
—of the counter-factors even mean. If you look at, if you look at
the radiative forcing from carbon dioxide, from methane, from
nitrous oxide, from CFC’s, from tropospheric ozone, from
stratospheric ozone, from land-use change, from aerosols, from
black soo—from black soot’s pa—um, impacts on, um, snow
albedo, you know…all of those, all of those things, we know some
of them very well, we know some of them less well. But to, to, to
claim that we don’t know anything about 80% of them, is, it’s, it’s
a meaningless statistic—
RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE
Yeah, I’d like to—could I chime in there just for a moment,
Brian—
BRIAN LEHRER
Richard Somerville, also 20 seconds—
RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE
Listen, it’s, it’s fun to hear other people practicing meteorology
without a license, so, and you know— [LAUGHTER] This, this
field is like all fields of science, you know, medical science is
incomplete and has uncertainties too. But it’s good enough to be
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 67.
useful. You don’t dismiss your doctor’s advice, because she
hasn’t solved all the diseases. And I think the same is true of
climate science today.
BRIAN LEHRER
Philip Stott—
PHILIP STOTT
Don’t dismiss it—
BRIAN LEHRER
—one—one retort.
PHILIP STOTT
Well let’s use an engineer, I don’t think I’d want to cross Brooklyn
Bridge if it were built by an engineer who only understood 80% of
the forces on that bridge. [LAUGHTER]
BRIAN LEHRER
There’s one thing…
GAVIN SCHMIDT
I—I actually—
BRIAN LEHRER
That—
GAVIN SCHMIDT
—I, we, we…I think we might have a solution to the energy crisis,
we just need to tap Philip Stott. [LAUGHTER]
BRIAN LEHRER
There is one thing that I think we need to get to before we wrap
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up. For the anti side…they say…the real crises today include
poverty, dirty water, and a lack of modern energy supply to 4
billion poor people on earth. So if this is a crisis, how do you
prioritize it, compared to those other things, and assuming that it
takes tremendous amounts of resources to solve any of them.
RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE
You know, I—I cannot imagine why Philip Stott and Michael
Crichton seem to think that doing something about these terrible
crises is impossible if you do something about climate change, or
even made more difficult, climate change need not be in
competition with or be an alternative to doing something about
the terrible toll that poverty and preventable disease take. We
can do both of those and many other worthy things as well, in
fact, it’s exactly the poorest and most vulnerable people on the
planet who will suffer the most from the consequences of, of
global warming which goes on unabated.
BRIAN LEHRER
Michael Crichton?
MICHAEL CRICHTON
You know, uh, I’m really fascinated at the number of newspaper
headlines and articles that I see about global poverty and the,
and the difficulties of people in Africa as compared to the
headlines about, about global warming, and, um, uh, of course
Richard it’s very true that we can do two things at the same time,
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 69.
it—the, the reality is that we don’t. And the reality is, that, we
are failing and have continuously failed to address the issues of
the third world even though, everyone knows that if you were to,
to look at it for bangs for the buck, if you were to look at it from a
humanitarian standpoint, if you were to look at it from the
easiest way to do the most for environmental degradation as it’s
created around the world, you would address global poverty. But
we’re not. We’re talking as we’re talking tonight, we’re all getting
very heated about something that may or may not happen 100
years from now. And while we’re doing, 3,000, 5,000, 10,000
people are dead.
BRIAN LEHRER
That concludes… [LAUGHTER] the discussion portion of our
program. [APPLAUSE] And it is now time to vote. If you wanna
vote for the motion, tear off “For” from the top…of the motion, uh,
ballot, and slip into the ballot boxes… This is a ballot box, that
will be passed among you. If you are against the motion, tear off
and deposit “Against” into the ballot box, and if you still don’t
know where you stand…put your entire ticket into the box. The
ballot boxes will be given to the person at one end of a row,
please pass the ballot box to your neighbor until it reaches the
end of the row, pass it down just like in third grade. One of the
ushers will then take the box to the next row, everyone will get a
chance to vote so please don’t reach over your neighbor, wait for
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 70.
a ballot box to be passed to you. If you need a voting ticket, the
ushers will give you one, just ask. No voter fraud, please. Okay.
Now, here’s the deal. While you’re voting, we will have the closing
remarks, two minutes, from each presenter, so we ask for your
silence while they finish up, and then of course we will read the
results of your voting. So now the final remarks from the
panelists, beginning with the side opposing the motion, panelists,
please stay in your seats this time around, we begin with Richard
Somerville.
RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE
You know, the, the fossil fuel age will surely end, sooner rather
than later I hope if we’re wise. Sheikh Yamani, the Saudi oil
minister was fond of saying “The Stone Age did not end because
we ran out of stones.” And continuing to generate 80% of the
world’s energy from fossil fuel and using the atmosphere as a free
dump for waste products, will ultimately produce a damaged
planet. We’ve heard a lot of chatter about decarbonization this
evening, the fact is that carbon dioxide emissions in the US and
globally are going up, not down. Sherwood Rowland, later a
Nobel laureate, was a frustrated person in 1984, because
humanity was so slow in dealing with the issue of ozone
depletion. He said, quote, “After all, what’s the use of having
developed a science well enough to make predictions, if in the
end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 71.
come true.” Roland’s remark is apt for our topic tonight. As in
the case of ozone loss, so with global warming, once again,
powerful technology, in this case abundant cheap fossil—
BRIAN LEHRER
One—
RICHARD C.J. SOMERVILLE
—fuel energy, with unanticipated side effects, has brought us a
Faustian bargain. Once again, the world finds itself at a point
where difficult decisions must be made. That’s the definition of a
crisis. Nothing to do with alarmism or catastrophe. Once again
doing nothing or too little will lead to dire consequences.
Belittling the science, attacking the scientists, impugning their
integrity and, and competence and motivations, refusing to
recognize what we have learned about climate change in the vain
and naïve hope that the problem will somehow solve itself is
irresponsible. Action is needed, meaningful action, soon. Global
warming is a crisis. Thank you. I hope you voted against.
[APPLAUSE]
BRIAN LEHRER
Philip Stott, your closing statement.
PHILIP STOTT
May I say that the last thing I want to do is to demean any
scientist. The whole point about science is that it is a constant
debate. And actually, what has worried me deeply about this is
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not the demeaning of scientists but the attempt to close down the
debate, and actually take it away from science. [APPLAUSE] If I
may use a musical analogy, my other great interest, trying to
reconstruct the climates of the moment as we’re talking about is
a bit like trying to play Mozart’s wonderful Symphonia
Concertante 364, when you’ve no viola part and only a quarter of
the violin part. In other words we know remarkably little about
so much of the climate that, that we are facing. And, what I
would like to stress is, it—it’s a debate on the crisis. We’ve
mentioned the crisis of poverty, and I think the crisis of
hypocrisy. Actually where I think we probably agree entirely as a
panel, what there really is in the world, there’s not a crisis of
climate, a crisis of energy. That is certainly true in my country.
And I’ll tell you what worries me particularly about attaching it to
climate.
BRIAN LEHRER
One.
PHILIP STOTT
In the world, there are groups, including some very reputable
groups in Denmark and in Russia and in other countries, which
are predicting actually that we will enter a global cooling phase
between 2012 and 2015. Now, I no more necessarily believe that
than I do about the global warming. But just supposing that
happens, and just supposing what the public reaction is to the
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hype that there has been about global warming, I actually think
that we have to face up to a genuine energy issue in the world,
and that most of our politicians are not doing that, in fact they’re
dressing it up in this idea of global warming and saving the
world, and what we desperately need are very practical decisions
about energy, on the ground. And I think the idea of using the
climate to do this is potentially a very dangerous one. So, what I
am worried about is that everybody is now using the global con—
global warming construction for their own agendas. From
capitalist carbon trading, right the way to making you wear hemp
underpants. [LAUGHTER] I distrust that because in the end—
BRIAN LEHRER
Philip Stott—
PHILIP STOTT
—it’s an ism—
BRIAN LEHRER
—thank you very much—
PHILIP STOTT
—and I distrust isms. [APPLAUSE]
BRIAN LEHRER
Gavin Schmidt, your closing statement.
GAVIN SCHMIDT
Hemp underpants, ugh. [LAUGHTER] Climate change is not a
new issue. Even human-cause climate change is not new.
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 74.
Richard Lindzen was arguing these same points 15 years ago,
Michael Crichton is recycling talking points that are decades old.
Philip Stott is grasping at extremely flimsy straws. Serious
scientists in the 1960s made predictions for what would be found
if human emissions of greenhouse gases were to continue. They
said the planet would warm. It has. They said the water vapor
measurements would show rises. They do. They said that hos—
ocean heat content would rise. It has. They said the
stratosphere would cool. It did. If I had time I could go on listing
the number of challenges this basic idea has faced and come
through. But you only need to know that it is still standing, and
that there are no coherent theories that fit the observations
better. Given that understanding, and the ever-increasing
emissions that we are putting into the air, to deny this is a crisis
on a planetary scale is truly to fiddle while home burns.
BRIAN LEHRER
One.
GAVIN SCHMIDT
I’m done.
BRIAN LEHRER
That’s it? [APPLAUSE] Richard Lindzen, your closing statement.
RICHARD S. LINDZEN
Yes. I think it’s a little bit difficult to know how to respond, to be
told that, uh, one shouldn’t attack scientists while you’re
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 75.
attacking scientists, to go and say you have to control methane
without explaining that methane has stopped growing. You
don’t explain why there’s global warming on Mars, Jupiter, Triton
and Pluto. You don’t look at the ocean data and see, that
whereas your boss Jim Hansen was saying that the heating of the
ocean proved the flux that he needed for high sensitivity, that in
the last year there’ve been two papers in the same journal, that
point out that the original Levitus data’s wrong, that the ocean is
cool, and that the new numbers would call for one-tenth the
sensitivity that Hansen mentioned. If all this is so certain, why
is the data changing, or is it a case when the data changes you
ignore it, and—
BRIAN LEHRER
One—
RICHARD S. LINDZEN
—stick to the point. [APPLAUSE]
BRIAN LEHRER
You have a minute, do you want the other minute? You have a
minute—no? Uh, okay. Brenda Ekwurzel, your closing
statement.
BRENDA EKWURZEL
Global warming is here today and is accelerating. Many business
leaders are already realizing that it makes economic sense to
start fighting global warming. Wal-Mart, DuPont, BP, General
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 76.
Electric, they all are asking for action. And, businesses need a
clear signal from the national level. Because they want to have a
level playing field, and, they want to plan for the future. And
that’s what makes good business sense. We need a national
policy because people, cities and states cannot reduce global
warming enough to make a significant dent in this issue.
Ultimately the atmosphere is gonna register all of our choices
from today onward. We must act now because if we leave it to
our children, the risk will be too great and it will be too late.
Fortunately there already exist solutions, all we—we need now is
the will to implement them rapidly. Thank you. [APPLAUSE]
BRIAN LEHRER
Michael Crichton, your closing statement.
MICHAEL CRICHTON
There was a time when I worked in a clinic and, uh, one day a
young woman came in, she was in her early twenties for a routine
checkup and, I said what’s going on with you and she said I’ve
just become blind. And, I said, oh my gosh, really, when did it
happen, she said, well just, uh, coming into the clinic, walking up
the steps of the clinic I became blind. And I said, oh, and I’m—by
now I’m looking through the chart and I said, well, has this
happened before, she said yes, it’s happened before. I’ve become
blind in the past, and, what she had of course was hysterical
blindness. And the characteristic of that, is that, the severity of
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 77.
the symptom is not matched by the emotional response that’s,
that’s being presented. Most people would be screaming about
that but she was very calm, oh yes, I’m blind again. And I’m
reminded of that whenever I hear, that we’re facing, whether we
wanna call it a crisis or not, a significant global event, of, of, of
importance where we’re gonna have species lost and so on and so
forth—
BRIAN LEHRER
One—
MICHAEL CRICHTON
—that we can really address this by changing our light bulbs. Or
that we can really make an impact by unplugging our appliances
when we’re not using them. It’s very much out of whack. And so
if…if it were only gonna do symbolic actions, I would like to
suggest a few symbolic actions that right—might really mean
something. One of them, which is very simple, 99% of the
American population doesn’t care, is ban private jets. Nobody
needs to fly in them, ban them now. And, and in addition,
[APPLAUSE] let’s have the NRDC, the, the Sierra Club and
Greenpeace make it a rule that all of their, all of their members,
cannot fly on private jets, they must get their houses off the grid,
they must live in the way that they’re telling everyone else to live.
And if they won’t do that, why should we. And why should we
take them seriously. [APPLAUSE]
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 78.
BRIAN LEHRER
I wanna thank the debaters… and the audience for all your good
work. Before I announce the results of the audience vote I wanna
take care of a few little things. First, the next Intelligence
Squared US debate will take place on Wednesday, April 18th, here
at the Asia Society and Museum. The motion to be debated is,
“Better more domestic surveillance than another 9/11.” The
remaining two debates in this spring series including that one are
all sold out. The good news is that packages are available on-line
and by phone for the Fall 2007-Spring 2008 series. Priority will
be given to full-season subscribers, so avoid disappointment and
buy those series packages now. [LAUGHTER] Tonight’s debate
can be heard locally on WNYC AM 820, on Friday, March 23rd at
2 p.m. You can also purchase DVD’s from previous debates
upstairs in the lobby or on the Intelligence Squared US website.
Finally, please be sure to pick up a copy of the Times Literary
Supplement—are those actually available, there was some
question about that. Is that a—yes, yes, they are available, uh,
as you leave the auditorium, and in a minute you can all go home
and watch the “American Idol” results show. [LAUGHTER] And
now the results of our debate. After our debaters did their best
to sway you…you went from, 30% for the motion that global
warming is not a crisis, from 30% to 46%. [APPLAUSE] Against
the motion, went from 57% to 42%… [SCATTERED APPLAUSE,
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PROGRAM Rosenkranz-Intelligence Squared US-“Global warming is not a crisis” Page 79.
MOANS] And “undecided” went from 13% to 12%. The hardcore
ambivalent are still among us. [LAUGHTER] So, in terms of
opinion change, those in favor of the motion, have carried the
day, congratulations to the team for the motion. [APPLAUSE]
And thank you all again very much, good night.
END
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