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

Source:  Intelligence2




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PROGRAM Intelligence Squared U.S.

Global warming is not a crisis




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]


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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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]


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



Okay, I’d like to thank I