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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  May 8, 2010 9:00pm-10:00pm EDT

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national platform? they had reruns of hannity and reruns of o'reilly and i've seen you on the bill o'reilly show but my question is have you ever been approached by fox to have a national show on tv, because we really need people like you, because you have been as a set on both sides of the political spectrum. >> new jersey, we got the point. let's get an answer. tammy bruce. >> i am honored to be a fox contributor. that was offered to me five years now, when no one else was dialing my phone. they have arias had a sense, roger ailes who is a long supporter of civil rights and martin luther king. he understands the nature of who americans are and that was an offer that was very generous five years ago. i am honored to be associated with them, clearly the influence
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of fox news has increased over time for a reason. even if you disagree with some of what you hear, you know you were getting people telling you the truth on both sides effectively. i would love to do something more regularly within that framework. i suppose it would be great if viewers called up oxon said that they would like to see me more. i certainly could probably serve that but we have all grown up with television. it is clearly in our fast-paced world, if we are lucky we are working. maybe you are working two jobs and trying to raise your family. you know as an american is your responsibility to save the country. .. ar and we do need to do what all. television, cable and the new social media and i have seen well writing and books was imperative is that they are always there.
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the work that i have done over the last decade and in the future with books will always be available for people. unfortunately we will also always be relevant. but television is clearly a medium that will remain imperative through the revolution and i hope to play a large part and i think navy that is something i need to get more aggressive about. >> host: tweet. is there a chance it could be hijacked by dick armey and the republicans? >> guest: there is a danger to everything. i equated the tea party movement to the issue of the eighth. it is like the power of the two-party movement is that it is a natural manifestation starting with mike santa l.e.t. nbc reporter having a head
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explosion on the air and at manifested naturally add of that progress a former former -- formal organizer nobody has ever seen anything like it. ther >> there has to be entities that raise the money that set out the stages. the responsibility of the average t.e.a. party patriot is to hold your movement like you would a bird, a miniature bird. you want to hold onto it tight enough so that it does not fly away. you want to have it be there. you don't want to hold it too tight so that you enter it and it becomes something thing thatt shouldn't be. it is difficult. americans have been able to do it. i am working on it. i tend to hold on to things tight come, but i have seen americans right now doing very well. and i think that for the of the
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conservative, the stakeholders are never organized. this organizing business, organizing cats, can you get cats in one room? yeah. but then you don't know what is going to happen. they might not stay there. if they meet up you don't know what they're going to talk about. think of yourselves as cats. they will come together in a pride to accomplish something. other than that, everything is rather unpredictable. i think that is the value of it, but also as an organizer you want results. but i also think -- and my last point, the last year rely on intensive organizing with leadership because of requests are unnatural. the t.e.a. party movement is not something that has been started to move the american people, it is the result. the t.e.a. party movement is the thing that represents the shift
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that is already occurred. when i hear karl rove talking about people need to get lists. you need to have t.e.a. party patriots place need to learn abe issues, that is insulting. we know the issues. the t.e.a. party exists because we have already made the shifts. the days of newt gengrich as a perfectly nice man are over. he is the one who told sarah palin in order to be belived that she better move to new york. karl rove is a nice man. it would be nice for them to participate. we will take it. power is usually taken. the matter is that the old conservative guard, and i think this is known, those with the
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differences. >> host: tammy bruce, we have about two minutes left. what are you reading? >> guest: a few things. what was suggested to me "florence of arabia." oddly enough. i want to read more fiction. i am also pursuing my doctorate at claremont university. i am reading a lot of things about the presidency including "presidential command." bucked more fiction should be on my list for pleasure. >> host: tammy bruce has been our guest. author of three books. here they are very quickly. "the new american revolution." "the new thought police."
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thanks for being with us. >> guest: a pleasure. >> tammy bruce is the author of "the new thought police" and the host of a talk-show program. the former los angeles chapter president of the national organization for women, served on california governor arnold schwarzenegger's transition team, and is currently a political analyst for fox news channel. for more information visit l.a. times dot com / festival of books. >> in his book "eaarth: making a life on a tough new planet" bill mckibben former staff writer for "new yorker" called for humans to make do with significantly less and concentrate on essentials. politics and prose bookstore here in washington is the host of this event. it is about an hour.
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>> i'm barbara meade. i am one of the owners here at politics and prose. this evening i want to welcome bill mckibben, one of the most prominent environmental activists in our community. [applauding] bill is a scholar and resident at middlebury college. he is co-founder of the on-line community, in case you don't know, the name of the organization 350 comes from the fact that leading scientists have said that only 35 parts per million in the atmosphere is the most that any climate can tolerate. if it goes over that then things are getting very unsafe.
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more than 20 years ago in his book, "the end of nature," bill mckibben warned about the impact of the destructive practices that could and have led to a global warming. through 12 books in the past 20 years he has continued his witness to the earth's declining health and its atmosphere's slowing pollution. now bill mckibben new book, "eaarth". he will speak this evening he will speak about why it has an idiosyncratic spelling. a passionate incitement along with a practical vision for maintaining what resources we have left. then you will find right across the front of the book a wonderful statement from barbara kingsolver who has been here many times. read it, please. stay through to the end. whatever else you were planning
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to do next nothing could be m ore important. here is bill mckibben to tell us about his book. [applauding] >> well, thank you so much. it is a great pleasure always to be here. i am just in the first couple of days of wandering around the country talking about this book. so the main problem that i have been facing over and over again doing tv and radio is the question, how do you pronounce this odd -- idiosyncratic may have been a polite word, title, e-a-a-r-t-h. but i finally hit on, you have to kind of channel your inner schwarzenegger to make it work. it more or less gets across both the attitude and the idea. the conceit of the title is
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pretty simple one. twenty years ago when i wrote "the end of nature," the first book about climate change it was full of warnings about what would happen if we did not make some changes pretty test. and we did not make many changes very fast at all, and actually much more quickly than we thought 20 years ago the impact of all that carbon that we have been pouring into the atmosphere has become clear. the earth that we now live in is no longer all that much like the one we were born on to. it has had significant change already. as the temperature has begun to rise, and we have pushed up about a degree, that has begun to kick off really large-scale changes, larger than we would have guessed 20 years ago. the atmosphere holds about 5% more moisture than it did. that is an enormous change in one of the most basic physical parameters of the planet, and it
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explains why we are seeing around the world one record rainfall or snowfall after another. y'all hear got a slight taste of that. that is what happens place after place. this week it was rio de janiero where they had the greatest range they had ever experienced. hundreds of people died in the resulting mudslides. on and on and on. that world needs to be described. our inability, really, to a imagine that we are capable of changing things on that scale is one of the reasons that we are so bad at taking any real action. it seems somehow emotionally impossible to us that we could have grown large enough to really be changing the world,
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but we have. i'm not going to burden you really with too much from the first chapter or so of this book because it is dark and hard and interesting. it's interesting to see what we have managed to make of this world. much of the book is devoted to the question, on a new planet how do we live? what new habits are appropriate to this planet that we have created? and the answers to that, i think, are kind of interesting, too, and kind of dramatic. above all else, i think, the habit that has been most thoroughly ingrained in us in our political lives, in many ways in our individual lives in a consumer society is that growth is the answer to almost every question that we face. if we have a tough choice we can
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avoid it by figuring out how to grow our way out of it as an economy. that, i'm afraid, is the option that is not going to be possible in the future. when in 1970 that team at mit published that book, "the limits to growth," that caused so much aid to for so many and so much push back. their prediction was that sometime in the next hundred years we would reach the point where continued growth of the sort that we were used to wouldn't be possible. they weren't able to say exactly when it would happen, but i think they would be -- i think they would be and surprised at some level to see the arctic melting, to see the daily's occurring in place after place after place, to see the very notion, or metaphor for fastness on this planet turned acidic,
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30 percent more simply by the effort of the ocean to drive that car been out of t of the atmosphere. if we are not, and you will just have to take this for the argument. if we are not going to grow our way out of our trouble than we we are going to have to think about other possibilities. i thought i might read just for a minute from the beginning of the third chapter here. a i kind of making make, to me, te beginning of the argument about where i think we need to head to. it starts with words, it is we need to get in our head if we are ever going to get about this business of transitioning to something else. we lack the vocabulary and the metaphors we need for life on a different scale. we are so used to growth that we
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can't imagine alternatives. at best we embrace the squishy sustainable with the implied claim we can keep on as before. to hear durable, sturdy comestible, hearty, robust. these are solid, solid words that conjure a world where we no longer grow by leaps and bounds but where we hunker down, dig in. the words we associate with maturity, not youth, steadiness, not flash. they aren't exciting, but they are comforting. think husband, not a boyfriend. think of it is a better metaphor. the economy that has defined our western world is like a race horse. narrow tapered legs. don't put it on the track. know that even a small bump in its path will break its stride. the third has been optimized by
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one thing only to mature, burning swiftness. what we need to do, even while in the saddle, is transformed our resource into a work force, into something dependable, even tempered, long-lasting. won't win though war, will carry the day. the times have been marked by ever-increasing speed. model t to formula one. can you imagine slower? our times have been marked by great upset, booms with the occasional bust. can you imagine is steadiness? our time has been the time of bigness. the amazing ever steepening upward curve where things grew and grew and grew some more. economies and road networks and houses, inflating until entire subdivisions filled with castles
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for entry-level monarchs. stomachs and breasts and lips. can we imagine smaller? this is the test of our time. practical and psychological. how can we object to the fact that we are not meant to get bigger? we need to lower our wind resistance. once everything we own is larger than it should be. it is not easy to make the imaginative leap. slow food is one thing. shrinking is another. the pain of recession, a word that literally means getting smaller has been entirely real because our economy is geared to work only with growth. by definition the only way to escape recession is to grow larger. in certain ways our economic trouble gives us insight into scale, makes it easier to start thinking subversive thoughts. if there is a phrase that sticks in the mind and in the craw from the last few years it is too big to fail. giants like aig or citibank had
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swelled to a size where if they collapsed they could bring down the entire financial system. loosely translated the government must balance out. that is the part we debated on tv and in the column. should we prop them up meaning that the phrase was that they were too big? anything too big to fail is, by definition, too big. we thought we have spun a kind of magic that would suspend the laws of gravity. ever since reagan the libertarians economists have insisted that self-interest alone was enough to hold the fate. did not make rational sense but made sense as long as the magic held. the spell broke late in the summer of 2008. after that there was only poor alan greenspan looking less like a master magician and more like a tired tiny wizard behind the curtain. his belief system turned out to
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be flawed, he testified to congress. i made a mistake in presuming that self-interest of organizations were such that they were best able capable of protecting their own survival and equities. you almost felt sorry for him. we lost our money, but he lost an entire belief system. as he put it, the whole intellectual edifice collapsed in the summer of the last year because the data inputted into risk management models generally covered only the last two decades us the path. that is a quote worth reading. on a larger scale a whole civilization stands on the edge of collapse because the data inputted into our risk management models comes from the last couple of hundred years. a very atypical time, a giddy time, high on oil. not just the banks that have gotten too big to fail, but all the arrangements of modern life. our time has been marked by the dizzying alice on her first pill explosion in the size of the
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human enterprise. in the few brief decades that the ratio has reversed. most of the time it happens just a little too slowly forested it. every once in awhile there has been a flash. the first was probably oppenheimer watching the first nuclear explosion. he quoted, we have become as gods, destroyers of worlds. that particular kind of explosion is easy for us to imagine. hence we have so far done what we can to hold it at bay. it is far harder for us to imagine that the explosion of a billion piston's every minute can be doing damage on the same kind of scale. that is us, big. that question of how we become less big in some kind of a graceful way is the most interesting question that we face, the most interesting political question, the one that
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will define the next period of time. the one that i think washington has yet to successfully grapple with and is going to have to if we are going to have some kind of future. now, the transition is to finally go about the business of putting a real price on carbon. making fossil fuel bear the cost for the damage that exact of the assignment. when that happens, when congress or the united nations finally gets it together to do that in a serious way then we may begin to see real, real work towards this transit we already see around the edges. you know, things like the local food movement in this country. the last agricultural census showed for the first time in 150
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years the number of farmers in america actually on the increase, not declining. that is kid news. it is because there is a beginning of a real demand for good food grown by our neighbors, in essence. that needs to expand dramatically. it will only happen when the economic signals that we are sending by putting a real price of fossil fuel begins to trickle-down into that system. trying to figure out how to make that happen is a difficult job, and i'm going to talk for just a minute about this work we have been doing at when i wrote "the end of nature" i was 27. i had a very simple theory about change. i would write a book. people would read it. that would accomplish the job. in fact, people did read it. it was in 25 languages. actually, that turns out not to be how political change happens.
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at some point in the last few years i became convinced that one of the reasons we were making no progress was that we had no movement demanding change. we had the superstructure of movement. we had al gore, economists, scientists, engineers, policy people. they just had nothing behind them to give that movement any power on capitol hill or any place else. and so slowly and haltingly since i had no idea what i was doing, with the few young friends of mine and we started trying to build this kind of movement. we started in the u.s. in 2007 we organized about 1400 simultaneous rallies across the country in april. that was enough to convince barack obama and hillary clinton, then running for president, to adopt our goal of
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80% cuts in carbon emissions by 2050, a number you'll still hear the president using. but six weeks after we did that the arctic started to melt. by the time that summer was over it was clear those targets that things were out of date. we needed to work much more quickly. in january of 2008 we finally got the one thing we really have been lacking, a specific number to tell us how much is too much. jim hanson and his team at nasa put out a paper that said, if i can remember, any value for carbon in the atmosphere greater than 350 parts per million is not compatible with the planet on which civilization developed on to which life on earth has adapted. strong language for scientist. stronger still when you realize we are well beyond it already. the air outside is 390 parts per million co2. that is why the oceans are
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acidifying. that is why moisture, water vapor is collecting in the atmostphere. on and on and on. we decided to see if we can organize around that number dollar around the world. it is clear we are going to have to deal with this globally. it was not an intuitive choice to pick a number as our kind of organizing cry because the numbers kind of extract. it is a scientist, not like i have a dream. it does not lead of the time. on the other hand, for global organizing it has one great advantage. arabic numerals translate across linguistic boundaries. and so with no money particularly or anything we set out to try to organize. winter of 2008. there were me and seven 24-year-olds. seven was a good number. each one of the entire
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continent. the guy who had the antarctic got the internet because the kind of its own continent. we decided that we would make october 204th last year this sort of pinnacle of this campaign. everything aimed toward that to see if we could figure out a way to drive this number into the middle of the debate. we did not know how will it work. we gathered in new york a few days beforehand to kind of wants the return, as it were. we told everybody to applaud pictures. bob, what do you know? it turned out that it worked pretty darn well. on october 24th we had 5,200 different rallies and demonstrations in the 181 countries. cnn said it was the most widespread day of political action in the planet's history. "foreign policy" just wrote that it was the largest coordinated global rally of any kind on any
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issue ever. it was all about this scientific data point. it was all about this point of, sort of, truth about the planet. very interesting. one of the things that was most beautiful about it was that we have 25,000 pictures in the flickr account that people sent back. what they show is that the old canard that environmentalism is something for which white people is a lie. most of the people in those pictures, i was showing earlier, most are poor, black, brown, aging, and young, some combination of those because that is what most of the world is. it was stunning to see that around the world. it was also stunning to see people's intuitive understanding that politicians had gotten this wrong in many ways. our constant interpretation of this as a debate between
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republicans and democrats, industrialists and environmentalist, americans and chinese and whatever is the most superficial understanding. this is a much, much, much more important debate than that. it is a debate between human beings on the one hand and physics and chemistry on the other. and that is a tough debate. because physics and chemistry don't bend. i'm sorry, your economy is in a tough patch. let's suspend the laws of nature. that's not going to happen. i have told us what the bottom line is. 350 parts per million. we had that great day. we had a lot of momentum when we went off to copenhagen. copenhagen, in certain ways, this big climate conference was pretty grand. we had a church service in the middle of it at the great cathedral. desmond tutu and the archbishop
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priests, and then they rang the great bell of the cathedral. 3,000 churches across europe did the same thing that afternoon. it was all remarkable. 117 of the world's nations signed onto this 350 target which made us quite happy. but they were the wrong hundred 117 nations. they were the most vulnerable nations, not the most addictive ones. the most addictive once, led by our own had been unable to come to terms yet with the real size of this problems and to propose once commensurate by our scale. this fight continues. i hope that some of you will help us. this is october, october 10th, 10/10/10 we are having not a global political rally, but a global work party. all across the world in thousands of places people will be putting up solar panels or
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digging community gardens. not because we think we are going to solve this problem one project at a time. we are not. we will come close to doing anything about it until we pass serious legislation that puts a price on carbon. but our hope is to make a very pointed political comment on that day in october which is coming if we can get to work it is time for our leaders to get to work. if i can climb up on the roof of the school with a hammer in my hand and put in a solar panel then you can climb up on the floor of the senate and hammer out some legislation. twenty years in this country of a perfect bipartisan record of accomplishing nothing on climate is enough. it is time to actually get to work. we hope we can get that message across. it is too late, as this book makes clear, to solve the problem of global warming, to stop global warming from
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happening. that is no longer on the list of options. we raised the temperature of the planet 1 degree. we have another degree in the pipeline. there is going to be a heck of a lot of damage done, even if we do everything right. but everything is relative. we can keep it from getting more out of control than it has to get if we act somewhat nimbly, some would quickly. we are going to have to live on a new planet. we're going to have to adapt to that new plant. we are also going to have to do what we can to make that adaptation possible. slow things down enough that we have some kind of chance in the world that we are building. that is the thesis of the book, anyway, and that is what my life's work is about. i am extraordinarily grateful to y'all for coming up tonight and very grateful. the people arouno know have helped us a lot lot un
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the past. i hope all lot of you will join us in the future. thank you all very, very much. [applauding] >> it seems to be that we are not really addicted to oil in the sense that people often say that we just want to drive around. i think it is a military project. the way we use oil, besides direct use of military is we subsidize products like food and then dump them on markets around the world and to disrupt the economies of other countries. so to put a price on carbon you are actually saying what we need to do is change a military strategy that we've been using for decades.
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and so have you got some way to deal with that? basically we need to stop trying to dominate the world militarily if we are going to do what you say. i think people need to realize that is actually what is stopping it. >> yes, you could look at that, actually, from all kinds of different directions. okay. it is becoming clearer that the greatest threat to security with the military, at least the radically engaging, has now shifted to be precisely the kind of thing that i described in the book. their is a lot in there about just how chaotic and unsettled the ed the world we are creating as we begin to change the one thing we always take for granted, the physical stability of the planet. but i think you are right. the change in the price of carbon will have incredibly deep effect on almost every realm of
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life, that included. it is not an overstatement to say that see the thing that is underwritten modernity is cheap fossil fuel. that explains why our societies look the way that they do, who we are, what we do, the fact that we have had at our disposal 700 slaves for a couple hundred years has everything to do. you can get a sense of just how dominant and the fact that is just just by by doing some easy comparisons. cut to o western europe. i'm sure most of you have. understand that one of the biggest reason that it looks and feels so much different from our part of the world saw is that they put a hefty tax on the price of oil. they never sprawled out into the suburbs. they didn't develop the kind of complete car depended habits we did. they retained, by every measure,
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a much stronger sense of community and connection that we have. our biggest economic project for the last 50 or 60 years has been building bigger houses farther apart from each other. the erosion in the life and connection of community is very easy to measure and seems to be the biggest explanation for why americans self express satisfaction with their quality of life has gone steadily downhill over 50 years, even as our the radical standard of living has traveled. >> thank you for your work with 350. i sort of appreciate what you were going to say about how easy it is to translate and how difficult it is to make into a political slogan. i have been thinking along similar lines. in america i took inspiration from, perhaps, the only campaign slogan of remember from history class. i have been pitching it to everyone you can hear it. but you think we all clean it up
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by 80 or double lot and to 80, 2100? >> not bad. we find numbers in a lot of ways are useful. that's pretty good. one of the things that people told us when we were first starting with this 350 thing is that it was too complicated and people would not be able to get it or understand it. it turns out that is not true, in part because we all have easy analogies close to hand. for instance, if you go to the doctor, and the doctor says, your cholesterol is higher than it should be, it is in that zone where people have heart attacks. it gets your attention. you don't immediately, you know, say to the doctor, could you give me a long lecture now on how the lipid system works and you know, so on and so forth. he say okay, what to do?
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what bill do i take? what food don't i eat? where do i buy my running shoes? zero, that same kind of thing happens when you're able to put a concrete definition on what we talk about when we say global warming. it also, of course, makes abundantly clear the thing that is so difficult about dealing with this problem which is that this kind of gross inequity in guelph in our world which has always been a san is now a great impediment to practical action because if you are in china, you know, or india, you have a nation with hundreds and hundreds of millions of poor peasants these easiest way out of that poverty would be to bring cheap cold just the way we do for a couple hundred years. it rankles you to look at that number and understand that the west already filled up the sky
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and that there is no margin left for you to do the obvious and easy thing. that is one of the reasons that negotiations in copenhagen broke down. it is very difficult to make, to grasp on both ends of this the fact that we are going to have to transfer some resources north to south and they're going to have to let, reality dictates they have to find a different path. in many ways the chinese are doing a better job of grappling with that reality at the moment and we are. they have clearly decided they're going to invest a lot of money and bring in agee and green technology. they will make the best of a bad situation and try to hone that industry as it emerges. that is a smart response than the kind of stick your head in the sand, let's see if we can get another election cycle out of coal before we have to deal
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with it. i'm afraid that is pretty much where we are right now. >> bill, thank you so much. i already finished your book. by any measure it is the best book or material i have read on really eliminating the actual impact of impact of climate chn the world that we live in right now, how it is affecting our life even though we may not be aware of the causes of it. i hope that it will be widely read. i don't know if you will send a copy to sarah palin or mitch mcconnell or anybody. i don't know if it would do any good. i have a quick question. something that has always puzzled me on one aspect of the civil consumption is that i have never seen a figure for how much fuel is burned up by nascar racers. i would guess that it must be in the zillions of gallons. i was wondering if anybody ever compiled that figure because it is the number one spectator
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sport. all the rest of us are trying to get to a hybrid car. >> unless i am wrong i think that all those nascar guys are running on ethanol or some alcohol. i don't think they are pumping unleaded. of course, it illustrates the point. where is the real money, the real fuel, 200,000 people that are showing up in rvs to watch every weekend to watch or whatever. that is the problem with this from, that is the problem. there is no easy way to get at it because it is so deeply ingrained in all of our actions in all of our lives.
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think of the way we nonchalantly get on jet airplanes. by now it is normal. it is not a normal. the amount of energy that takes is so astonishing. one trip on a jet is more than most people in the world, more energy than they use in the course of the year, maybe a decade. so so those mundane things, not the exceptional ones, the ones that drive the damage in a sense. we have enough, you know, there is enough room in the atmosphere that if all we did was have nascar guys going around a track and everybody sat at home we would probably be okay. >> coming at the problem from another aspect. october 31st, 2006, i was in london. the stern report was released. many economists and scientists agreed that if we continued down our present course the economic
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effect would be culpable to the disaster culpable to the great depression. so it made front-page headlines in all of london papers. the next day i flew back to washington and it had fallen flat. the "washington post" page three. i was flattened. i could not believe it. i am wondering just if you have the same reaction to this. are you aware of this? >> it was very important. thinking through the economics of this is extremely important. our assumption has been -- and i'm afraid this is one of the tougher parts of this book. our assumption has been all along that we are just going to eventually some day just make the decision and go to something called green energy and just switch out what we are doing now for something else. it is going to be, we may have passed the point where that kind
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of easy substitution is possible. their is a lot lot of economic friction and drag that comes with this new plan that we are creating. a notion that we live on a flat earth, if it was true ten years ago, is no longer true. we live on an uphill planet. the kind of costs associated with the deteriorating physical stability of the planet are real and large. the inability of many of people to get insurance in coastal areas and things already begins to operate as a kind of break on economic development, certainly in parts of the world where they need that kind of economic development. if you think we have problems with infrastructure at the moment in this country, and we do, think what happens when, as is becoming more and more common, the 100-year storm that planners plan for occurs every
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five or six years. those kind of costs mount up in huge ways. economists are never very good at subtracting. we need to figure out just how dangerous and expensive it is going to be to not take action so that we can, you know, gear ourselves up to take the action that we must. >> refuting the argument that it is too expensive to do anything about. it is going to be very expensive to do anything about it. the only more expensive is not doing anything about it. yes. >> i think we have four people in line there. and so the fourth person is going to be the last questioner. is it four or five? five. okay. so the man in the blue shirt as the e last line.
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>> the defense department is the single largest buyer of fuel and the world. the whole idea was to get them to start paying attention to this. i started reading a book today called "cornered" which is all about monopolies. what worried me is this whole question of values and how do you start shifting the values, because if all this merger and acquisition and getting everything together creates a superstructure that we can't really fight, what is interesting about this book is there is a lot of talk about walmart. in the beginning walmart seemed like they were one of the leaders on addressing green issues. >> this is why i think it is so important to start trying to put. that is why we print books. we can get new -- the thing that we have been searching for for a very long time, i think, in the
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environmental is not the next great engine. it is the next great metaphor to allow us to understand how we might live lives of the kind that we want to live that don't require the destruction of the planet along the way. so i lean towards that in here. the world that we are going to need to build is a world that looks different than the one we are used to now. it looks different because the fuel source for the one that we have now dictates. fossil fuel is concentrated in its forces. it is easy to transport, and it is highly-rich in btus. it made sense to centralize a lot of functions, huge coal-fired power plants. solar energy or wind energy or most of the other things we're going to need are almost exactly the opposite. omnipresent, but diffuse,
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dispersed. we will need an energy system that lets not like network television, it looks like the internet. everybody putting in, and everybody taking out. i have solar panels all over my roof in vermont. on a sunny day i'm a utility. i'm firing electrons down the grid. that's good in all kinds of wastes spirited . it gets around that today, ig, endemic too big to fail problem even the most extreme case say a terrorist wants to go after my utility. well, if he can't. taking climb up on the roof with a hammer and break my solar panel but if he does it doesn't matter to anybody else. it doesn't cripple the grid. it doesn't spew deadly solar power out into the atmosphere. we have gotten around some of these sort of problems. that is where we have to go. >> i have a question for
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speaking of numbers, just a little clarification. when you talk about it being 1 degree warmer than it has been, are you talking in centigrade or fahrenheit? because in this country i think that is one of the big stumbling blocks. for me, and i try to read about this and work on this all the time. i am just a layperson. i am constantly confused. i don't relate to centigrade. >> and this is a bigger problem than you would think. a good technical answer to your question is .8 degrees celsius about 1.3 degree fahrenheit. first the debate at copenhagen and before in the run-up to it was all about this question of people kept talking about the target of the mainstream environmental groups now acknowledged to be much too high, we tried to hold temperature increases to 2 degrees. 2 degrees centigrade.
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we don't speak centigrade. whenever it was transmitted in this country it said 3.6 degrees fahrenheit or whatever it is. completely meaningless and arbitrary figure that means nothing. that is one of the reasons we were so insisted on saying 350 parts per million. it's a better measurement anyway. it tells you what you need to have been the atmosphere. it also means the same thing everywhere around the world. that is not a trivial problem, that problem of where -- and it is one of the things that makes it possible for people to just sort of shrug their shoulders and look the other way. getting past all this kind of barriers is s is really importa. now, we were able to do it for a day with this 350 thing. for a day, for 36 hours we owned google news. it was the most written about story in the world because we
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have these edges. i hope you will look at them. they all managed to get that 350 in there some how and get it into people's faces. that is good. that is what we need. >> when you say 1 degree i am just thinking of your book tour. can use a numbers? 1 degrees centigrade. we have already warned almost 4 degrees fahrenheit. >> it is the difference of about .8 degrees centigrade, 1.3 fahrenheit. not that far apart. >> okay. and then my second question speaking of numbers is going from 390 to 350. obviously working really hard on this. at some level you must believe we can do something, but i think you probably also think you don't have a choice. i would just like to know what
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your state of mind is, how optimistic, pessimistic. i'm sorry. >> it's a very fair question. i will tell you the god's honest truth which is at some point in the last 20 years i gave up thinking about whether i was optimistic or pessimistic at all. i get up in the morning and do what i can to sort of change the odds. scientifically the picture is very dark right now. the science has gotten very bad very fast. so politically we have not done much. on the other hand for that last year i have woken up every day from dozens of e-mails from young people around the world organizing their hearts out to make things happen. that, to me, is incredibly encouraging. the first thing that came in came in two days early of two sisters in ethiopia, 18 and 19. a training camp we ran in south africa and sent them back.
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somehow without they managed to get 15,000 people out in the street talking about it. the poorest capital in the world almost. to me and to see those first pictures come across, it was followed ten minutes later by a picture of afghanistan of u.s. troops had made a big 350 with sandbags and sent us a note saying we are saying we are parking our on parking our on these for the weekend so. the problem is not that it saying we are parking our on is impossible. we have not faced it yet. we have not built the kind of movement that we need to make it happen. we don't know that we can in time. we will do our best on some very true level. depends on how many people help. >> i heard one of the callers on the radio earlier today mentioned something about the sunburnt tomatoes and using
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sunscreen on tomatoes somewhere. it reminded me of some of the things that had been about, the absurdities that i see tomorrow. oh, my goodness. the moment with benjamin braddock. the graduate in terms of plastics, i notice plastic s a lot. going to include the bottle water as one of the things. one of the things i see advertised in this country is just beyond the absurd is outdoor gas patio warmers so that when you are out there, you know, if it's not warm enough and you just refuse to put on this water, you know, you are going to come up the environment more to be outdone your patio barbequing or whatever. i noticed people idling for
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air-conditioning, for heat. i just want to mention to you and ask anyone here to join me in the only trend i've ever tried to start in my life which is to win and refusing a plastic bag if i have not brought my bag or decide to double my way out i say no petroleum bag please rather than plastic. it is really young people are just astonished that there is a connection. what i'm most worried about even though i agree that legislation is the top priority i'm most concerned about the people i work with and everywhere, not here. >> this is a very good point. it is why, in a sense, one of the things we have to do is
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political action. we do not have time. there just isn't time. given a generation or two we can do that. that is not the time limit the planet is given. the percentage of us that are worried about this are enough to affect political change, to put the price on carbon. when that happens people's behavior will change quickly. it would get what happened in the summer of 2008 when the price of gasoline went to $4 a gallon for six weeks. all of a sudden it was as it scales fell from. i don't actually need a military vehicle to go to the grocery store. you know. [laughter] it was a, kind of, it was as if able to come down from heaven. it was doubled not a bolt from . it was the price spinning on the
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pump. we need to leverage political action today economic structural change that sends a message that will result in behavioral c hange. i think that's the set of levers we have to pull. >> listen, thank you very much for all that you do. there have been certainly, i remember, when the hummers first came out i had to really hold ups with my kids in the car bece these people, i thought maybe i would have known them for work. would not have helped. i know that also. actually, i do think just, i've been around a lot and i've been working on this a lot of the smaller level. i think that the movie, the gore movie did more. and i'm surprised there have not been in the other fabulous, you know, exciting film. i guess it is very hard to do
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that that would attract people. i think that opened up a lot of people's eyes. the bummer question that i have, there are many different issues extinction, global warming. i feel like there are many specialists. where is the family doctor? i personally am curious. if we all work really hard something will be done. if nothing were done, and things went on as they are. i've got kids. is there anywhere, any source where sound science would just give an educated guess as to what things might look like in 30 years? >> the first chapter of this book is devoted to that. >> oh, it is? >> yes. [laughter] >> most of this isn't good. you know, our civilization arose in this moment of a climactic
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stability. disrupting that turns out to be a very interesting. one of the things that always makes me crazy is to have people who describe themselves as conservative oppose action on climate change. abbie hoffman on his most yippiesh day never thought of anything have as radical as doubling, doubling the carbon concentration of the atmosphere and seeing what happens. if it was being done by some, you know, the communists were doing it or something we would be bombing the hell out of them to keep them from doing it. it is crazy to describe that as conservative, opposition to action on that. it is crazy to let this become the partisan and ideological debate that it has. that is why we like working


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