[Vision2020] Climate Scientist Katharine Hayhoe on Amanpour 11-18-19: Green Marshall Plan
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Wed Nov 20 19:04:10 PST 2019
If you think the Green New Deal is a socialist scheme, the following
discussion on PBS with Christiane Amanpour mentions Ian Bremmer of the
Eurasian Group proposing a "Green Marshall Plan" to address climate change,
no doubt arousing the ire of those who view global warming politics as a
plot to enforce egregious international violations of national
sovereignty, like the Paris Climate Accords which the Trump administration
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AMANPOUR: Now Professor Katharine Hayhoe runs the Climate Science Center at
Texas Tech University and served as lead author for a U.S. National
Climate Assessment. As an educator, she’s devoted to exposing diverse and
often skeptical audiences to the cataclysmic climate changes happening
right before our eyes. And Professor Hayhoe is joining us now from Lubbock,
Welcome back to the program, Professor Hayhoe.
KATHARINE HAYHOE, ATMOSPHERIC SCIENTIST: Thank you for having me.
AMANPOUR: So, you just heard Henk Ovink speaking particularly in light of
what is happening here in Europe with the floods, Venice and elsewhere,
about all the stakeholders that need to be involved and all the innovator
designs and, you know, the time consuming but necessary infrastructure that
needs to be built.
>From your perspective, I just want to — because in America, it seems,
unlike in Europe, that it’s much more sort of public consciousness thing.
It’s much more — you know, you’ve got to convince people to then convince
their governments because, you know, you have the only — I think, the only
official climate skeptic party in the Western Democratic world happening
now to be, you know, presidential office.
HAYHOE: Well, sadly rejection of climate science is no longer unique to the
United States. We are seeing it around the world. But the party that
is currently in power is one that specifically says climate is not changing
due to human activities when it is.
We care about climate change because it’s a threat multiplier. So, any
disaster, including what is happening in Venice right now, is a function of
three things, exposure, vulnerability and then the climate or weather
hazard. And Venice really is the perfect storm but we’re seeing plenty of
perfect storms here in North America as well, Houston, Mid-Western U.S.,
they all have that combination of exposure, vulnerability
and then, climate change is super sizing or amplifying what used to be
entirely natural disasters, making them stronger or more frequent than they
have been in the past.
AMANPOUR: So, also, obviously, the fires. I mean, we’ve seen these terrible
fires that came so close to residences in the urban part of Los
Angeles recently. And we’ve seen over several years that terrible
devastation by the fires.
But when you say that climate science disbelief, in other words, people who
believe it’s all a hoax, is not unique to the United States, are you saying
it’s getting worse or it’s always been something that’s been around? Are
people becoming more aware of human, you know, responsibility or less aware
around the world?
HAYHOE: Well, we are becoming more aware of the need for solutions. And so,
the push back is becoming even stronger because no one truly has a
problem with science that dates back to the 1850s. What people have
appropriate with are the per received solutions. So, the closer the
solutions come to reality, the stronger the pushback, not just in the U.S.,
but in my home country of Canada, we see it in the U.K., we see it
throughout the E.U., in Australia, in Brazil and other countries as well.
AMANPOUR: So, I want to play a little bit of a soundbite from a speech that
was delivered by Ian Bremmer of the Eurasia Group at their conference
recently. It’s about, you know, super sizing the response. We’ve heard,
obviously, in American all about a Green New Deal, but he goes further.
And let’s just play this and I’m going ask to get your take on it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IAN BREMMER, PRESIDENT, EURASIA GROUP: There is one area where Chinese
cooperation with the West right now is more feasible, and that’s combatting
the advance of climate change. What we need is a Green Marshall Plan.
Mainly Western funded, project that includes the best ideas of the private
sector thinkers and the state funded scientists from the West and China on
how to make the policy changes and invent the technologies that clean the
world’s air and water and limit the damage inflicted by climate change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, Professor Hayhoe, there there’s three main elements there.
One, that it’s absolutely imperative to work with China, the world’s
biggest polluter on this. But two, the notion of that tried and tested and
true thing that is called a Marshall Plan and make it a Green Marshall
Plan. But three, that it should be mostly funded by the West. It sounds
sensible. Is it tenable, do you think? What do you think of the proposal?
HAYHOE: Well, I’m a scientist not an economist. So, I know that we need to
cut carbon as much as possible and as soon as possible. And as a human,
I would add without harming people and hopefully with helping people by
doing so. I also know from looking at the facts that China has more wind
and solar energy than any other country in the world. And India is one of
the world leaders in green jobs. Yes, China has a lot of coal and now,
they’re selling it to countries like Pakistan and helping them build their
own coal-fire powered plants. So, we do need an energy revolution and need
it to happen everywhere.
AMANPOUR: And in terms of the economy, you know, we’ve just seen one of the
political parties here in Great Britain launch its business plan, as we
have an election coming up on December 12, and they have said they’re going
propose a skilling tens of thousands of young British people as apprentices
in the climate economy, so to speak.
And I just wondered — you know, I know you’re not an economist, but how
does it impact the science and the solutions when the major, you know,
employer in the United States has become the renewable energy industry? It
is nearly 3.3 million Americans working in clean energy, which outnumbers
fossil fuel workers 3-1.
I guess I’m asking you how the economic and employment reality affects, I
don’t know, people’s acceptance of the science and the ability to translate
that acceptance into doing something about it?
HAYHOE: It does affect people’s acceptance of the science because, again,
people don’t truly reject 200-year-old science, they are rejecting what
they perceive to be the solutions. They perceive the only solutions to be —
to ruin the economy, to let the government tell them what to do, to let
China take over the world. But in fact, as we see, clean energy is part of
the solution that grows jobs. And we know that the more people we bring to
the people with the greater diversity of ideas and solutions, the more
robust those solutions will be.
So, we are already seeing this happen today. But as a scientist, I know
that it is not yet happening fast enough to avoid the most serious
and even potentially dangerous impacts of a changing climate.
AMANPOUR: So, President Trump is — has pulled the United States out of the
Paris Climate Accord. From your perspective, as a scientist and
talking about the urgency of it, what are the immediate solution the and
how quickly do they need to be enacted?
You heard Ovink said this is going to be a long-term process. Certainly,
the infrastructure. But what are the immediate solutions that need to go
into effect and lifestyle changes?
HAYHOE: Well, in the Climate Solutions Community, there’s often what I feel
as a false debate between do we need individual action, do we need
lifestyle changes or do we need system wide change. My answer to that is
yes, we need it all.
If you look at the richest corporations in the world, at the top we have
Walmart, which is planning to be 50 percent clean energy by 2025, and then
you go down the rest of the list and it’s oil and gas energy, energy oil
and gas automotive, all companies who have made their money from producing,
processing, refining, selling or making things that burn fossil fuels.
So, we absolutely need system wide change, but systems are made up of
individuals. And so, that’s why as individuals we need change too. And
personally, I think one of the most important things that anybody can do
about climate change is talk about it. Because when you look at public
opinion surveys, it turns out hardly anybody talks about it.
Why it matters to us in the places where we live, how it’s super sizing our
wild fires, our area burned, our hurricanes, our floods, our heavy rainfall
events, and what are some sensible things that we can do to fix it. We all
need to be having that conversation today.
AMANPOUR: Well, very quickly, your husband is in the Christian community,
you both are. And you told me last time that he was having some success
convincing some of the pastors about this necessity and, of course, they
form big part of President Trump’s base. Is he still having that success?
HAYHOE: Well, we’ve actually ran some experiments with evangelical colleges
looking at providing information on how climate is changing, how
it’s affecting us and what are some things we can do to fix it. And the
good news is, we found that there’s a significant difference in students’
opinions after they’re exposed to this information, and the most
conservative ones move the furthest.
AMANPOUR: Well, that is really interesting and really good news. Professor
Hayhoe, thank you so much, indeed.
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