tv U.S. Senate CSPAN May 4, 2012 9:00am-12:00pm EDT
>> and, chen, very quickly before you answer, christian bale, the great actor, called one hour before this hearing to convey his solidarity and concern for your well being and that of the rest of your family. [speaking chinese] [speaking chinese] >> translator: thanks, thank him. [speaking chinese] >> translator: yeah, thank him very much for trying to get to try to visit me.
>> i want to thank all of you for you here, and for your love. >> chen, we are all praying for you and we will be seeking our efforts to secure your freedom. jim sob[speaking in chinese] >> thank you, thank you. [speaking in chinese] >> any questions? >> thank you. i want to thank rob who are setting up that phone call -- bob fu for setting up the phone call. that underscores why we are here and why we will be an seizing.
if i could go to some final questions. did you ask all your questions? mr. horowitz, if i could begin with you, i think you made an excellent point about the willingness to negotiate and be the last person standing so to speak. your afl-cio i think analogy was a great one. i actually met with the pentecostal seven in 1982 when they were holed up in russia's u.s. embassy there in the soviet union in moscow. and we did stand steadfastly by them, and time was not the issue. so i thought your point was extraordinarily well taken, as you want to elaborate that. my hope is under no the press have all left but i think it's very important that the president of the united states, i'm sure we'd share your views on this, speak out from the
purge of the white house. obviously, as the leader of the free world. it's amazing to me that when asked about chen guangcheng come he said he had no comment. at the time during the horrible days of apartheid, when lech walesa and nelson mandela and lech walesa, others, if any president, reagan, bush were to be asked about those tremendous individuals, they would launch into a defense of those brave men and women, and yet no comment from the president here. thoughts on that if you could. the concern that we all have about the hurry up offense, time as you said quoting i think mick jagger, is on our side. we could have worked this painstakingly before allowing chen, whom we first heard from, to leave the embassy. and, finally, let me just say
when waging change was in moscow, another great political leader, father of the movement in china, i met with him in the early 90s when the chinese wanted olympics 2000, and he was such a high value political prisoner, they thought if they just gave him up they would get the olympics. when that didn't happen they rearrested him. but while he was out of happen to have been in beijing and had dinner with them. he made a statement that he repeatedly when he was finally given freedom under humanitarian parole scheme that you americans don't understand this, that when you are weak, vacillating, and kowtowing, they beat us more in the gulags. when you are tough, fair, transparent, you say what you mean and mean what you say, they beat us less. he said right here, he said it to me in beijing and anyone back
to further meetings, sadly, but right here in this very room, and he said why don't you get that? why don't you understand that you need to be tough? not unreasonable but tough. and he said that message is right down to the jailer level, and they beat us if he was beaten for 15 years, they beat for 15 years this man to the point where he almost lost his life, just like chen guangcheng. your thoughts on the. >> if i can take one, you gave the example of president bush. i think mr. wolf's point, at a prior income is very well taken. i've had presidents carter and clinton as mr. wolf said, all four of those presidents were met with the wives of some of
the political prisoners. this president, in the name of realism, has not done so. and i think he doesn't understand the point. and to get to the point, i think the greatest witness who could be here is george shultz, as he constantly tells the story of how the russian ambassador came to him and said, you know, i can't do business, and every time i tried to talk about the serious matters, he's always talking about these pentecostals and refused mix. ed schultz then said, soviet ambassador, hey, i have the same problem. he really takes this seriously. this is what he thinks he's supposed to be doing as president of the united states. well, ronald reagan, to make the point i've always thought was president of the screen actors guild, he was president of the union. he really understood the extraordinary power of these human rights issues and deliver, not only on human rights issues on every other issue, on the
agenda between the soviet union and the united states. so i think that's a critical point. the second thing is during the break, mr. chairman, somebody told me what i had not heard talk about, hurry up offense year, that someone told me that general counsel, the solicitor, i forget the formal title now of the chief lawyer at the state department, harold koh, was quoted by the "washington post" when asked why was this agreement not put in writing before this man was released, he said we didn't have time. now, mr. chairman, i hope that he will be called as a witness. this is a man from law school, a pretty smart lawyer. that is the shallowest justification, rationalization for throwing chen to the wolves
that i've ever heard. and it is even more level and on his part, or a sign of incompetence. if this is true, in my judgment, a respectful request for his immediate resignation is in order. this man, if this statement is true, and i do not know, has forfeited his right to be the chief lawyer of the united states state department. imagine, a lawyer, my goodness, could get disbarred for not putting agreements in writing for the sale of some goods and services. here he had the well being of the united states, the reputation of the united states, the life and the safety of this great hero, and he said what? if he did, we didn't have time to reduce the agreement to writing. that is the most rank, if true,
active malpractice in public life. and i've been general counsel of the government agency. i believe i've ever experienced. saw want to ask you, mr. wolf, and you, mr. chairman, to just get on that with all you've got and find out whether this is true, whether that quote is true. at the "washington post" reported to find out if it is true. because if it is he has as i say forfeited his right, absolutely, to service chief lawyer for the united states state department. >> anybody else like to comment? >> many other issue to that raises is what was this hard time deadline? what was the driving this time detailing, if it wasn't secretary clinton talks with the chinese concerning trade, and raises the further issue of was chen a bargaining chip in all of this? >> just have to say again, they
get it backwards. the fact that the chinese are on the defense is so acutely in advance of this high level meeting is the reason my time was on our side, if any bargaining would know, and throwing away that leverage on the geithner agenda is in itself inexcusable, incompetence. so i mean, to risk this man's life and future over the issue of a timetable that was working on our side and against the chinese is just, is, is so hard to live with and understand and accept we hear this man speaking from his hospital room now, not knowing the fate of his wife, and with television cameras all over his room. >> and one point mr. chen made a moment ago in the early conversation before we broadcast
it, one of the points he made was that he was so grateful that the u.s. diplomats were working around the clock and without sleep, to which i said that can be seen at another way. it can be seen also as they wanted to get this done, off the table. as a matter fact her testimony, without objection i would be made as part of the record, chai ling, head of a group called all girls aloud, a hero who is among the most wanted, makes the point, and i quote, last week i and other advocates of freedom in china watched with the joint as chen guangcheng made his bid for freedom. and then she goes on and says that now, do i want to believe that they willfully misled chen into thinking this was a possibility, talking about is freedom. then she goes on to talk about how he was a flight to be swatted away before diplomatic talks ensued. here's someone who again has
paid with her freedom and has endured great risk, being very concerned about this hurry up offense timetable issue. >> can i make one other point, mr. chairman, about the treatment of chen guangcheng? one of the things you learn as a lawyer dealing with clients, and we're talking about clients are, i with clients, mr. chairman, who were facing a criminal charge, they are vulnerable people. they don't know what's going on. that's part of your responsibility to if you represent somebody you've got to account for the fact that judgment is impaired, that there is terror here at one's family, about oneself, one doesn't know what's going on. and again, this is from all appearances, this time track, this hurry up business only contributes to the ill at ease, the sense of isolationism, the sense of vulnerability of
somebody. so the first thing you do with a client who is out there just terrified that the world is coming to an end, or not knowing what's going on, sit down, take it easy, have a cup of coffee, have a good nights sleep, come back, talk to me. that, too, is representation 101 when you're dealing with somebody like that, and the end up doing the opposite direction in dealing with this man. >> i just wanted to let the committee know that i just spoke with chen secretary's office. i spoke to a geoff ogilvy and told her that he would've been in conversation with chen and he made an official request that the secretary visited him in the hospital, and asked mr. fogarty to get that were to the secretary immediately. and he said he would. >> i thank you, mr. wolf. let me as, ms. wang, you've only been here in the united states for about a month, and i think we need to underscore, you know,
you personally, i'm not sure how many times, but several times undertook trips to visit with chen guangcheng. you talked about the body searches in the deprecating, degrading treatment that you endured, and i think the american public and the world, the western world, frankly at all people, need to be fully aware of how vulnerable everybody else is, who, who have aided and assisted chen. and all the more reason why, and as reggie littlejohn underscored with an exclamation point, why her particular case is so important to if you just elaborate on what others might face, because we are very worried about you. >> just one thing. somebody just pass this to me,
mr. chairman, and i feel like i ought to read it. again, i'm told that there's a new story in the "washington post," or one of the major press, quoting a u.s. official as explaining the u.s. officials quote, had to leave chen alone and leave the hospital, because hospital officials told them that visiting hours were over. now, once again, mr. chairman, mr. wolf, in your examination -- in your examination of state department officials i hope that that, too, will be high up on the list and that that official who said it in any official who testified it would have to sit here on this witness table and justify conduct of that kind you're talking about leaving a man alone and vulnerable, and being certain that that would be the outcome, some guy tells them that visiting hours are over and you got to go, and believing in the hands of the security police
with all of the tv cameras that have been installed. so i would say, excuse me for intervening, but i just got this message and if this is to come it something i hope this committee will investigate, and just put any official responsible for it, if it is true. >> mr. horowitz, the visiting hours at least now seem to be permanently over. chen indicated to us that the embassy has been unable to get back in to his room, to visit with him, to ascertain his well being, and so that raises, the talk of a durable solution is that he would be safe in china. there's no safety safety for any dissident in china. it just doesn't exist, especially with a man -- >> but the point is that they were there. is a lot harder to get into a room after you've been kicked out of the room, but it's pretty darn hard for the chinese to forcibly eject an american
official who firmly says, this man is my responsibility. we gave the honor and the full faith and credit of the united states to see that he would be and feel protected, and i'm not leaving this room. why didn't they say that, mr. chairman, is the relevant question. >> i appreciate that. hospital or police station, he seems to me to be a distinction would have a difference. because the hospital is crawling with police. ms. wang, did you want to answer that question? because again, i think it's underappreciated perhaps by some the risks that you personally undertook, coupled with the risks that you carry today. [speaking in chinese]
>> translator: as a supporter of chen guangcheng jacketed their people from all walks of life from all industries and professions that support him, and a lot of people actually have faced greater risks and to face greater danger in doing this than i have my cell. for instance, government workers, people who work for government enterprises are other companies. some of them as a result, their families haven't talked to. their fans have been harassed. and also the government comes and checks their books and gets them on economic crimes, financial crimes. [speaking in chinese]
>> translator: and then you get some teenagers, 16, 17-year-olds who are curious and went to see chen guangcheng for the very reason. as a result, the authorities went and tried to talk a lot to their parents and harass their parents. the kids were beaten and the parents couldn't possibly understand what was going on, but the was a lot of emotional damage done to the kids as a result of that. [speaking in chinese]
>> translator: i myself am married, so my personal life hasn't been dealt with in such an exaggerated manner as others. for instance, you mentioned -- she is not married, and if she had boyfriends, let's say, she would have, they would be a lot of personal attacks on her personal life. and that has also been quite an emotional, taking quite an emotional toll on her. [speaking in chinese]
>> translator: and then there are a lot of supporters who had very as types of, let's say, equipment or things that the use in the process of trying to show their support for chen guangcheng, like any equipment involved or any money that they spend in their efforts, the authorities basically would compensate -- take them, they took their assets. i haven't gone to verify but i do know of cases where for instance, cameras and others equipment that would've been used to document what had been taken away or confiscated. [speaking in chinese]
>> translator: a lot of us have tried so hard and put so much effort into all of this. so what we are looking at today is what it's all come to. i think i am not resigned to this but it's something i can't exit. i really hope that the media from all over the world to stand up and rise and be tough in the face of what they are facing. i think he needs his freedom, and we owe him this. we have done so much. if we're done all of this for nothing it would be as if we had done in vain. what we want to know is it wasn't for nothing, it was worth it. we want him to be doing much better. >> thank you. are there any comments that are distinguished witnesses would
like to make? lease. >> -- please. >> one of the good things that supporters have done, the supporters inside china who visited or did something concrete is that they quickly write account of their experiences, and post online. although very quickly, just as quickly it would be deleted. but still, there have been dedicated groups who does justice. they pass on the message is as good as possible, and then, and then within minutes it will be around the repost, that sort of thing. so from that i know, i particularly want to point out the two occasions that left a deep impression on me, is that two reporters who are employed, who were employed by the state
chinese state owned media, and till they tried to visit chen guangcheng, or did something. one other person name is -- he was agencies local reporter, regional reporter based in hunan province. he went to visit chen guangcheng as private person, of course not representing organization. he was just like many others. he was robbed, his money taken away. his cell phone taken away. he was beaten badly. he had detailed account how he was black, stacked with black cloth and pulled into a van and several people beat his head, his body all over. and then they threw him out in the open, and then he managed to
come back and wrote, as soon as he returned, his organization fired him. so, such a -- there's another reporter, it just occurred to me, it didn't happen because of chen guangcheng. it happened because of -- [inaudible] he is a reporter with the global times english version. his name is tommy, and he had the guts to run the report on global times very tough paper on disappearance. then he was disappeared is reported disappeared for 80 plus days. 80 plus days without his family
knowing where he was. and this sort of thing. >> would any of you like to conclude with any final comment? okay. i want to thank you again for sharing your extensive expertise, passion for human rights, and deep concern for chen guangcheng and his wife, yuan wejing and family at today's hearing. we will continue this effort. i'm going to reapply for another visa which has been turned down as october. would love to meet with them, and his family. most importantly, the hope -- told the administration account for what they may or may not have done. i take some of the questions posed by all do and by bob fu need to be answered. and i think we need to take him and they say this to the press with their grain of salt, with gratitude for efforts made on his behalf.
i believe we have dropped the ball significantly. i've been in this business of human rights work for 32 years. i broke my eye teeth on soviet jewry issue. my first trip was moscow leningrad in 1982. as a mentioned earlier, to mr. horowitz in response to his mention of the siberian seven, the pentecostal christians met with him and we stood firmly, clearly under u.s. lay with those who are espousing freedom and democracy and said we are a solidarity with you, and in the case of soviet jewry, we risk superpower confrontation by linking with the release and freedom of soviet were being horribly treated by moscow. we need that same kind of fire in the belly for human rights at the white house. i still find it appalling that president obama had no comment when speaking about chen guangcheng. he should have gushed about this
brave leader, and equally his wife's commitment to combating the most horrific crime on the face of the earth, forced abortion and forced sterilization carried out routinely by china. we should stand with chen and not look to facilitate his loss of freedom which it appears to be. there are good people who have tried within the administration, i'm sure, to find a way out. but the timeline issue remains a very troubling issue. this should have been the topic, not even a topic, but the topic at the dialogue. what's the use of having a dialogue on strategic and economic issues if you're not going to link human rights with it, and say why should we trust you on intellectual property rights, copyright in a vision and the like, e.g. treat, so maltreat your own people? chen is a hero. is commission will stay focused on him, and we will not rest until he and his family, and
story from china, secretary clinton has commented on the case. the state department has released the following statement from victoria newman sang the chinese government stated today that mr. chen guangcheng has the same right to travel abroad as any other citizen of china. mr. chen has been offered a fellowship from an american university what he can be accompanied by his wife and two children. the statement goes on, the chinese government has indicated it will accept mr. chen's application for appropriate travel documents. that statement from the state department this morning. "the new york times" writing from beijing reporting that in her first public comments on the dissident since arriving in china, secretary of state clinton said today in a news conference that she was encouraged by the progress in the diplomatic crisis. that from "the new york times." we will take you live over to a debate today by the american jewish committee in washington on the 2012 election, future debaters and speakers are barney frank and editor bill kristol.
congressman frank, a democrat from massachusetts, first elected in 1980, and announced earlier this year that he won't seek reelection, retiring at the end of this term. mr. kristol previously served as chief of staff to vice president dan quayle, and, of course, it's also a fox news commentator. a discussion and debate to be moderated by david harris of the american jewish committee and we expected to get underway shortly. ♪
>> just to let you know about some other programming coming up today on c-span2. q. and a with madeleine sackler permitted document about the lottery system. we have been bring you to in the office and we will have it again this evening at 7 p.m. eastern. and with the senate in recess all week we've also been bring you up tv programming. tonight at 8 p.m. eastern former black panther jamal joseph on his book panther baby. >> we will take you back live now to the american jewish committee's forum. they are debate between bill kristol and congressman barney frank getting underway shortly.
shortly will debate political issues here live on c-span2 at the american jewish committee. more like political coverage coming up for you this weekend. the libertarian party holds its 40th convention. they will be picking the presidential nominee. coverage gets underway this evening with a two-hour debate among the candidates for the libertarian presidential nomination. that's at nine eastern on c-span2. on saturday the delegates hear speeches from candidates and will vote on the nominee. we will have that live as well also on c-span at noon. part of our political coverage this weekend. we will take you back to the american jewish committee, they are debate is getting underway in just a moment here. >> please, take your seats.
employment, unemployment never coming out today dropping to 8.8.1%. "the wall street journal" reporting reaction saying that presumptive gop nominee mitt romney called today's jobs report quote terrible as he kissed the president's policy of slowing the economic recovery. mitrani's and quote it is a terrible and very disappointing report. that from "the wall street journal." >> please take your seats. last call. please, take your seats. [inaudible conversations] >> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome ajc executive council members linda morales and john shapiro.
[applause] >> good morning. john and i are delighted to welcome you to today's great debate of 2012 for ajc, global forum. this has become an anchor event for the global forum, and the great debate can really be, is always a place where you can hear first the important issues. two years ago, many of us were here are the memorable debate on iran. and as we heard yesterday, this continues to be a very pressing issue for the community. and last year the event covered israeli relations with diaspora jews come another issue which can be heard in the corridors of
all major jewish organizations. most appropriately, this year the debate will be on the american presidential elections, an issue that will impact us all and have great implications of the state of israel. and, of course, ajc can be counted on to present all sides of the story indeed. >> thank you very much, linda. welcome to all of you, and it's a delight to be here this morning. i think it's not going to be too far of a stretch to suggest that our debaters, william kristol and barney frank, we'll have some disagreements. [laughter] this morning about the election. and, in fact, i think on many political issues we might find they have disagreements. but what they don't disagree point is the importance of being here with us today at the ajc. because what i believe, what did you believe is in the value of
the ajc, the respect of the ajc, the intellectualism and the nonpartisan approach to the challenges that we face in this world, and the great success of our quiet diplomacy. so for that i thank them for being here today. i think it will be fun, and i'd like to encourage a now to sit back, watch a great introductory video, and then let the good times roll. so thank you all. [applause] >> a strategically important region, i've yet to find the region that was -- [inaudible] >> in the blue corner, barney frank, famous for his quick tongue and illustrious political career that has spanned the big issues of civil rights to financial regulation, to foreign
policy. >> in 2005-2006, the clinton machine sink barack obama? are you getting? was he ever done. he can't run against hillary clinton spent in the red corner, bill kristol, the editor of "the weekly standard," one of america's most celebrated political commentators, as falling on the side of the obama administration and everything from health care to u.s.-israel relations. >> before becoming -- it is one in which ajc spy or greece will be set to stage. what is the best approach to iran, given the regime's continuing drive to make nuclear weapons capability. is the grand prize of an israeli-palestinian peace settlement something that has eluded successive presidents for more than half a century any closer? and against the continued debate about homeland security, how close is the united states towards reducing its dependence on energy supplies from hostile states? over the next hour, these and
other issues will be in the spotlight, so don't forget to submit your questions. we welcome you to ajc's great debate on election 2012. [applause] >> thank you. and thank you to linda and john. and welcome to this year's ajc great debate. i especially want to welcome our viewers are watching on c-span across the country and around the world. our subject is the 2012 american election. its applications for domestic and foreign policy, its specific implications for developments in the middle east and for the
security of our democratic ally, israel. its meaning as a yardstick of political attitude and loyalties in the american jewish community. ajc, it must be clearly stated at the outset, is strictly nonpartisan. we do not and we cannot support any particular candidate in any election. but nonpartisan does not mean nonpolitical. the policies that we advocate in the united states and around the world, policies to promote peace and security and human rights, our policies that succeed or fail in the political arena. our engagement in the political process could not be more intense. it is because of our active political interests that ajc regularly convenes in election-year debates and discussions on a slightly smaller scale than this, in cities across the country to its the region we published candidates responses to ajc policy questionnaires, conduct
issue for and that the two parties political conventions, and regularly and scientifically survey american jewish political of any. in fact, the latest ajc opinion survey was released at the beginning of this week. and we will be discussing it shortly. before we begin our debate with congressman barney frank and "weekly standard" editor bill kristol, a word about our format. we will begin with opening statements, each debatable that five minutes for his statement, and then two minutes to respond to his counterpart. we will then move to the question and answer portion of the debate, in which each is equally can have up to five minutes to respond. finally, each debatable of the opportunity to offer two-minute concluding remarks. these time limits will be strictly enforced. now, i'll ask bill to kick off this years ajc great debate. bill, thank you. spent thanks, jason but it's good to be here. a long association of a person long association of my film has a long association with the ajc
and have always been how to go with the organization. my father was working, terry way back in 1947-1952 when commentary was part of the ajc and before the ajc moved to the fancy building a 156th, and third. it was not today fancy building when they moved in last that i think they refer to the downtown originally, some even dump your place. and then my uncle worked at the ajc for many, many years. edited the yearbook and i may be the only, i think i was the only person the first bush white house with several editions of the ajc yearbook in my bookcase, in the old executive office building. it's good to be here. debate the case, that's what it's both before mitt romney and the republicans against president obama. every four years, i dutifully accept invitations to debate prominent liberals and democrats because a republican candidate
before jewish audiences, and so pathetic scene -- [laughter] i have a record, unmatched record of failure is -- [laughter] at this effort from 1984 on. i won't even really try bigger all the dosage of primate of your mind, 98% of you, i'm sure they're very thank you -- that i very few undecided voters. and 96 i debated leonard son, distinguished jewish journalist but i think he was editor of moment magazine at the seminary in new york. and i remember that because the moderator was a woman before he walked on the stage, about 500 people there, i said is probably a pretty liberal crowd, clinton against dole, the height of oslo, prime minister rabin had been a sassy. clinton was very good friend official. dole had no particular affiliation. he was a close to the jewish
committee, and i'm reminiscing before and walked out on stage, i imagine this audience is probably a little bit pro-clinton, and the moderator said to me, i don't know, there are about 500 people, about 480 of them are pro-clinton. [laughter] about 20 are undecided. [laughter] i think i lost most of the undecideds in the course of the debate come in the course of the evening. thinking my principles case for conservatism, and a 2000, a true star, i debated, mike reid where we live in northern virginia. months before the election and before, early in 2000 i said, he was setting up in october, one of the sunday brunch is, to debate the election and i debated mark mellman was a pretty prominent democratic pollster, political operative from this area, and we didn't know who the nominees are going to be or if we did early to know the whole ticket and i remember thinking, this will be tough again.
maybe i have a chance because george w. bush was very pro israel and it wasn't clear that clinton at least wouldn't be running for reelection so we would have a chance for a fresh look. and then i remember the day that al gore announced that joe lieberman was joining the ticket. [laughter] joe lieberman personally has, you, spent a lot of time in every cell person with the audience at the northern jewish virginia center. that was a wonderful moment defending them making the case bush-cheney against gore-lieberman. it turns out they were relatives of joe lieberman there, people had been at his daughter's wedding. [laughter] it was a nightmare. i told the story to the lieberman's a year later. i thought it was amusing i made the case against them. and joe thought it was funny. he had dashed his daughter had less of a sense of humor. look, the differences within the
parties are pretty evident i don't know that there's much specifically jewish honest about the differences in terms of economic policy, in terms of foreign policy, social policy. we have a center-right republican party and a centerleft democratic party. with greater division. i hope honestly this election is a policy heavy issue, heavy election but i'm worried it will be because of course the campaign operatives takeover in both parties and we end up with idiotic sideshows and little debate. the country deserves a serious debate now about in time reform, about tax policy, about the best way to stop iran from getting nuclear weapons, about supreme court appointments, about the whole spectrum of issues. and i'm somewhat optimistic that now the republicans are through the primaries and president obama didn't have a primary, that's another thing i'm happy about. i am sorry barney is here, run against president obama in the primaries. illiberalism of voice, you know? they just let him fail, very
unfortunate. more unfortunate because income of presidents have done a primary challenge is have a better chance of winning, of course. spent about a week trying to get people like barney frank and russ feingold to challenge obama in the primaries to that work as well as my attempt to get jews to vote republican in the past. but look, we'll have a serious debate, a serious argument about foreign policy, about national security which i think is very, very important. it should not be put aside simply on behalf of the economic issues but also about and, reforms, about obamacare and everything else, and they do think your poll, the ajc poll shows romney doing considerably better than most jewish voters and mccain. obama beat mccain in the air of hope and change it country. change. if romney can do much better
among the whole country, as it looks like is going to do among jewish voters, he will be the president obama which it would be a good thing for the country. >> no, thank you. party. you will have extra time. >> thank you. let me acknowledge the compliment bill paid me by regretting that i wasn't dumb enough to -- [laughter] it is only my refusal to run against the president in a way that would endanger the chances of the public policies i bought been accepted but i guess that's why mark is why try not to live up to the stereotype that people use regarding me. and with regard -- there were some very important issues here. we've got to reduce the deficit, and the question is what makes a policies do you do? that are very real -- have one very clear difference though with the way bill cejka when he
said there is a central left democratic party and a center-right republican party. used to be. there has been a center-right republican party. unfortunately, the republican party has moved much further to the right, and as thomas mann and bill orenstein just document in political science documented, there's been some movement apart by the republicans have moved further right than the democrats have moved further let's. bill has just testified to that by his mistake at those of us who are sensible liberals but not attacking our president because he has not been able to get done everything we want. but the fact is that the republican party has moved entirely to the right, sweet now have this major debate in foreign policy on the republican side whether or not the fact that you are gay disabled you from being a foreign policy adviser. that has taken is beyond the realm of rationality but if you look at the republican party in the house i think you sadly no longer have a center-right
republican party. but i hope you will. i have been very proud to work with a lot of republicans, but i find much harder to do in the current congress, and i hope that it will be a resurgence of the more responsible mainstream republicans. as to the election, obviously on most of the issues, i say obvious, it's a statistical tie, even where american jews have been in terms of the political spectrum we start out with a notion that they will vote democratic in the majority. again, that's been confirmed when a 68-32 democratic margin is considered an erosion, as it would be. but the issue that i think has to be framed is this. given the fact that most jewish americans, given their views on economics, on the environment, civil liberties, women's right to view, on a whole range of other issues would be likely to vote democratic, should they instead vote republican because president obama is weaker on
israel, and i think the answer is no. one of the questions i had, should this be a referendum on obama's policy towards israel, no for two reasons. the most important reason is that there were no significant differences, and, in fact, this notion that somehow president obama has been anti-israel, i served with the president who did take some steps that were blocking israel in congress. that was george h.w. bush. the only time in my 31 years in congress when israel was frustrated in trying to get a policy through the congress was when president george h. w. bush, or wh, whatever, -- [laughter] i don't mean to denigrate. h. w. d block loan guarantees. israel sought loan guarantees to be one of the great things israel has done which is to assimilate the immigrants, and george bush blocked a key block it because yitzhak rabin had said this land will remain
jewish press for as the eye can see forever. i tried to ameliorate that by pointing out the premiere at the poll is very short and very old, probably couldn't see that far. [laughter] but the fact is that bush was able to block us from getting the loan guarantees. damaging israel. he also other things, i come in but in the obama administration being as openly negative about israel as secretary of state james baker, when he said here's my phone number, if israel wants to make peace, call me, on television. in fact, it one sample in which the obama administration delivered for israel as was any president ever had to go back to about a year ago and you go back and look at the papers, and there was this notion that there was going to be at the u.n. a successful move by the palestinians to get their statehood recognize it and there was a fear, the presumptuous that would likely to happen and the americans would have to veto such a resolution and the security council. clearly, it would've been dashed
it would've isolate israel in a way that would've been very negative. and the obama administration went to work and one of the most successful examples of diplomacy i have seen, the obama administration pulled out all of its lobbying stops. we lobby people in european union are those of us the congressional contact. but the obama administration successfully lobbied to the point where they could not get in the security council a sufficient majority so that we had to be delivered that was a big victory for israel and an unexpected one. one of the few israel has been able to do in the u.n. [applause] and i will close with this. the fact is that obama's credibility to do that was, in fact, enhanced by the fact that he'd been critical of some elements of this settlement policy. the notion that you're only of individual if you agree with every thing, is not just wrong, it's counterproductive to although many of my friends on the right who now think, now think that you can never criticize the israeli government, i would never people
attacking begin, but i think it was precisely because obama articulate the position he did that there was a problem with a sub and that there were too many, it was a mistake in phraseology on 67 i believe he corrected it. but i think his separation from the government with every aspect of the israeli government with one of the things that add to the credibility so his administration was able to deliver one of the few diplomatic successes at the u.n. >> earning, thank you. [applause] >> we will provide you an opportunity response that i think is repeating barney has to attack the george bush administration but the big story, the republican party -- the big story is the republican party has become a regular book and party with respect serving to israel and the issues and not a bush baker republican party. i was dan quayle's staff. he should be a tough one is a. the loan guarantees what to do
at the end of a bush did the right thing in the gulf which of israel. it wasn't dashed and help israel's security a lot and some people were opposed to that were and they were republicans. so i would argue a tactically having bush in the white house was actually a better thing than having michael dukakis in the white house, just as richard nixon who was no great fan of the jewish people and to didn't have a lot of jewish vote, an awful lot of juice in october 73 were happy that richard nixon was president of the training and not george mccubbin. we have to look at the current rebel can party. the current republican party much to barney's distress is that the bush a bigger moderate one of the republican party that was full of come very close to their of interest. barney cam is the is to put issue. they give the government the benefit of the doubt the they don't complain when they built a department don't does it is across the green line that will not, it's across the green light in existence in 67 and put in an area that will of course be the
heart of visual under any conceivable settlement when there is a peace deal. but no, the obama administration has to make a big deal about that apartment building. mitt romney will be a more reliable friend of israel than president obama. [applause] >> response. >> know, it's not a reagan republican party. it's to the right of a reagan issue after issue after issue. ronald reagan had time to raise the debt issue several times. that is rational economic policy. these people are now running the house republican party -- [laughter] attack them, and mitt romney and to accommodate the right wing very enthusiastically actually attacked rick santorum because he had voted to raise the debt limit at the request of ronald reagan. this is not a center-right party. as to israel, we differ about what's the most effective way to defend israel. i have been going to college campuses working with a pack. i've been to berkeley,
california. i've been to brown. i've been to georgetown, yale to defend israel. and ago from the left or i do in part because by doing one thing i want to give credit to the netanyahu government, regular public and party, the right republican party won't like it, but in history of the united states, three government leaders have said pro-gay rights things from house of representatives. .. >> with real security for israel, it's not israel's fault. and there are political pressures, and here's the deal,
there are clearly political pressures within that democracy, israel, that i believe pull them away from what is the most effective international advocate si, and i am very pleased to try and do some counseling. in the end, the obama administration has taken no negative actions against the israeli government because of a disagreement unlike the bush administration. what we have, though, is, i think, a much more effective way of defending them, and the results are very clear. >> it's good. i just want to point out for the record that it's wonderful to have barney frank defending netanyahu and santorum all in one -- and i applaud that. [laughter] >> no, i was differentiating netanyahu from santorum. he's way better than santorum. [laughter] [applause] >> we will stipulate that both of us prefer netanyahu to rick santorum. [laughter] [applause] >> so let me begin the formal questioning with you.
each election we hear that this is the year that jews are going to shift their traditional democratic loyalty to the republican party. in ajc's just-released survey of american jewish public opinion, we found if vote were held today, the jewish vote would split, about 61% for president obama, 28% for governor romney with the remainder undecided. what do you make of these numbers? is 2012 finally the year of the republicans? >> no. and i think if you do the 61-28 and then allocate the undecided, what, about 8 to 4, you'd end up with 69, 31. i've been saying 70-30, so there will be progress over '08. jews eventually learn from reality, it takes them quite a while sometimes, and i think younger jews and more affiliated jews will be voting more republican this year, but it has
been a long and slow process for jews to shed some old-fashioned views about the bush republican party and about the republican party of the '30s and '40s. you know, i don't tell people how to vote, people should vote for the candidate they think will do the best job as president of this cub. i would just point out as one thing in the poll as jason knows, for the jews, these jewish americans, 80% of american jews ask them the most important issues, 80% cite the economy, 57% health care, 26% national security, 22% u.s./israel relations. of those who cite national security and u.s./israel relations reading from the ajc's press release, 42% of those would vote for obama, 44, 45% will vote for romney. so if jews are, you know, liberals, they will vote for president obama, and they should because president obama is a lot more liberal than president romney will be. but those jews for whom national
security in israel trumps health care and the economy, they are breaking slightly for romney, and i think that's significant. >> well, let me say, first of all, the year we're waiting for has already come. bill might know the figures, but '76, what was the jewish vote? the ford/carter breakdown -- >> i think '80 was the best year, reagan got about 40% of the -- >> yeah. it took four years to watch jimmy carter, and be he wrote it. so, yes, we have been below that. look, i think the answer is, and those numbers are very interesting, i think that there has been a misperception of the obama record. yes, he was more critical of the settlements. i have been critical of the settlements, and i believe it makes me a more effective advocate for israel. as i said, i go to an apec conference, and i'm told by young people that they get beat
up. i talk about israel's domestic liberalism compared to its repressive neighbors in every area, but i also make it clear that i think the policy is mistaken and, in fact, weakens israel. and that's what obama said. i think, as i said -- and i want to go back to this again -- i would ask anybody to tell me the last time israel scored as well in the u.n. as it did when we kept them from getting a majority, and i think that's enhanced by if fact of difference. so this notion that romney would be a better friend of israel, um, for now, as i say, when we talk about romney, there are no guarantees, no warranty on any romney position. [laughter] but probably he would stick with it. but the point is, and i cannot think of a single policy action where obama has not done what was in israel's clear interest. >> the ajc survey found that on domestic matters jews remain
where they have been for decades, as we have been discussing, firmly inside the democratic party's camp. you're frowning, i know. >> from i'm just resigned to it, you know? [laughter] >> is that -- >> as long as you don't resign from it, bill. we still want you. >> is that sustainable? if majority of jews favor democrats on reproductive choice, immigration, energy security, what can republicans offer to turn them in a different direction, bill? >> look, i mean, there's no -- this is not about talk and magic words. people aren't stupid. people have to make up their minds whether these policies work. has president obama advanced a responsible agenda? has he put his political capital on the line as president bush and senator mccain did in 2006 and 2007? it's labor that is now the barrier to responsible immigration reform more than elements of the republican party, and there are elements of the republican party that are bad on that issue. do you think obama's policies are working terrifically well, do you think tax hikes would be
good for the economy or bad? those are legitimate public policy questions. you're all adults, you can make up your own mind. i would ask that people take a fresh look and make up their own minds. mitt romney is a one-term governor of massachusetts, he's somewhat of a new face. he's been running for president for a while, but he's not like a bob dole or a george h.w. bush who's been around for a long time. take a look at his vp pick, take a look at the younger republican governors and senators and congressmen, paul ryan, marco rubio, chris christie, scott walker, mitch daniels, you decide whether these people have reasonable public policies and whether they're doing better for their constituents in the case of the governors in particular than the equivalence in the democratic party. >> please, barney. >> well, first, to be accused by bill speaking on behalf of the republicans of insufficient commitment to rational immigration policy is like being called silly by the three stooges. [laughter]
[applause] and i mean that with no disrespect because -- [laughter] no, to the three stooges. [laughter] shep howard, shep howard born horowitz was married to my father's cousin, babe frank. so that's my -- [laughter] >> now, that's impressive. [laughter] >> we never met. but the point is that, yes, we have targeted immigration. it has been the republicans demagoguing it, including mitt romney who has moved far to the right on this. but as to the broader issues, no, i think, again, there is an extremism. this is not the reagan republicans. if you look at the house of representatives, if you look at the way they vote on issues, they have gone far to the right. and the key issue i would have is this, and it's one of the deaf definitions -- definitions i have with my republican friends, we differ as to how much we should continue to maintain an active policy of
america having this worldwide role, etc., but here's the problem: i am disappointed when people continue the great mistake that president bush made in 2001 and '2. and believe me, that was important for us to be aggressive in the world and to go into war in two places and maintain military forces elsewhere and cut taxes at the same time. it is an entirely legitimate debate about being more involved militarily. but to do that in -- and cut taxes at the same time is, i think, irresponsible. the ryan budget, let me quote "the wall street journal" with this. "the wall street journal" praised paul ryan because he was maintaining the military and resisting military spending and instead cutting medicare and medicaid. now, that's not me, "the wall street journal" thanking him. that's the kind of debate i want to have. i believe we are overspending on the military. it's time for the western europeans to do a little bit on their own, and that's the trade-off. so when you talk about more of an aggressive military posture
and oppose any tax increases whatsoever on anybody, then you are forcing -- as "the wall street journal" act knowledges, cheering him on -- cuts in the quality of life programs domestically, particularly medicare and medicaid. >> bill, do you want to respond to that? >> yeah, i mean, ryan's budget does not cut medicare or medicaid, it reduces the totally unsustainable rate of growth. the deficit for each of the four years of the obama administration will be at $1.2 or $1.3 trg. i'm certainly proud to have supported the surge in afghanistan, for getting out of afghanistan immediately which i think would be dangerous, but that's a legitimate foreign policy debate, as he said. the total military budget all in, all wars, cia, is about $600-700 billion, it's coming down. it's half the deficit. you can't solve the debt problem by cutting the military, and
it's extremely risky in the world we live in to do so. i'm for, also, strong foreign aid budget, strong development budget, strong reform of our state department. we need to be, i think, if we don't lead in the world, it'll be a much more dangerous world, but it's a legitimate debate. there's nothing hypocrite call or wrong about paul ryan saying we need to sustain military spending, and we need to reform medicare and medicaid, and we need -- because otherwise we're going to go off a cliff with these deficits. >> well, first of all, the military budget, yes, it's 700-plus billion if you throw in the intelligence and other things. it's bigger than the medicare budget. and i agree you can't solve it entirely from the military, but i don't think you can solve it from exempting the military. and again, when i say the ryan budget increases military spending over what president obama has proposed, i know what congress temporarily agreed to last year, and makes up for it
by reductions in medicare and medicaid, i am quoting "the wall street journal." that's from a month ago, an editorial there. yes, bill says, well, they're not cutting medicare and medicaid, they're cutting the rate of growth. that's right. if you say given the fact that there are going to be more old people and more medicaid-eligible people ten years there now and the cost of medical care may go up, that we're going to give them the same amount of money that we're giving them today, it's not a technical cut, it's a real cut. and that is a very big difference between the parties. it is a republican insistence that military spending go up and up and, yes, wars cost money. we're bringing some of that back. but we continue to have the full set of nuclear weapons to defeat the soviet union in a war. we continue to be defending western europe against i am not sure what. maybe another moorish invasion, but it's not coming militarily this time, it's coming socially. [laughter] if fact is that the average european nation spend less than
half a percent of gdp on the military. i think the time has come for us -- i want us to be the strongest nation in the world by far, but we have an excess there. we are doing other people's business and, again, it's "the wall street journal." protect the military against further cuts, and you make be up for it with medicare and medicaid. that's their description of the ryan budget which ryan accepts. >> if i could say, we're spending on almost nothing on, quote, defending europe. we have 75,000 troops there, down from 300,000 in the cold war, and they're mostly paid for by the host countries. the nukes are costing us very little. those are not the drivers of the military budget -- >> no, the troops -- >> do you want the ability to deal with iran, to have to use troops whether it's in the balkans or the middle east or in afghanistan, and if you think that's necessary, i think you end up -- >> no, i don't want to -- >> military budget. >> no, i don't want to use troops. this notion we're not defending western europe, you haven't listened to the western europeans. nato -- which was a great move by harry truman, very
bipartisan -- nato is a mechanism for keeping the europeans' military budgets low. we have a major presence in europe, and the planning is still there. in terms of the balkans, yeah, let the europeans take the lead there. we have wealthy nations in europe with a large population that leave it all to the united states. and it is true, no one thing costs a lot of money. we could save, well, let me go back on the weapons. as the price of the ratification in the senate of the nuclear weapons treaty last year, the republicans to keep it from getting the two-thirds vote or to give it the two-thirds vote insisted on spending tens of billions of dollars more on enhancing the nuclear arsenal in the ways the military doesn't thing is necessary. >> let me move on. let me also say that there were cards on your chairs. if you have yet you would like to pose -- questions you would like to pose, please, fill out those cards, and we'll start feeding them into the debate.
let me come back to israel. ajc's survey show that is the obama administration's middle east policy has actually gained ground among jewish voters in the last year with 58% approving and 40% disapproving the president's handling of u.s./israel relations. while just last fall the results were 40% approving, 533% dis-- 53% disapproving. is this election a referendum on the president's approach to israel? i'll start with you, bill. >> well, it's improving, yeah. he's now at 58-40 which is bad compared to his general approval from jews, and i think the reason is in the first year or two he picked more fighting with israel, citizens rationally disapproved more of his policy since he's decided he's not going to pressure the netanyahu government, that they're not going to negotiate with palestinian state while hamas controls gaza and the various
other sort of attempts to pressure israel. look, the reason they were able -- they did a good job at the u.n. why was that resolution introduced in the u.n. for the first time ever? they would not have thought of introducing it under bush or clinton because they knew it was a total nonstarter. it was because of president obama's criticism of the israeli government and seeming to side with the europeans that made the palestinians think they might get somewhere in the u.n. the obama administration did a good job then of pivoting and sort of solving, partly solving the problem they had partly created, but they don't deserve that much credit for that. they're a little better now than they were two years ago, and that's nice, and it's important for israel, and some of us on the outside will continue to pressure them to do the right thing both for the u.s. and in terms of the u.s./israel relationship. >> barney? >> well, first, you know, is it a referendum on the israel policy, as you said, 22% it's particularly that. i would say that the problem the
president started with was, to some ec tent, of his own making. the speech talking about the '67 lines was a badly-crafted speech. and to their credit, they pulled back from it, and the rhetoric is important. but the public policy is also important, and i think what you have is the increasing recognition that there has not been a single policy action that has been less than fully supportive of israel. and i disagree with bill's notion that it was because president obama elevated the notion of a pal palestinian stae that they decided to file the resolution. the palestinian state has been a strong aspect of every president for as long as i can remember, not going back to the first president bush and then bill clinton and then the second president bush. that just is ahistorical. there's been an evolution on the palestinians about trying to push there for things, they saiy were frustrated by peace. but again, i understand the president causedded some of the problems by a badly-worded
speech. i do believe, however, and i think this is a case where you don't just always say to your friend wonderful, good for you. sometimes the best act of township is to -- friendship is to say i think you may be making a mistake. i believe that the settlement policy into which netanyahu has, i believe, pushed somewhat by the nature of israeli politics. has some negative aspects for israel. in terms of world opinion. and i believe it is important to advise him that, and i would repeat i think bill is denigrating a great diplomatic accomplishment. i would just urge people, go back and look at the media reports months before that vote, and the assumption was it was going to win and it was going to the go to the general assembly if they lost, and i believe it was to the enhanced credibility of the administration that they could stop it. i think the effects of badly-worded speech are rubbing off. >> there's no bigger priority than preventing iran from
obtaining nuclear weapons capability. how do you judge the president's record on this vital security matter, and how would a republican administration's approach differ? let me start with you, bill. >> well -- [inaudible] >> i'm sorry. >> last word is always better. [laughter] >> you're being so nice. >> no, i mean, it's a question of fairness. [laughter] i think there's actually been a great deal of continuity here with regard to iran and the north korean situations. i mean, it is very frustrating. and, you know, look, one of the things we, one of the great frustrations to me is that we tend to be self-critical in america, and we should be, but the unwillingness of russia and china to be more supportive of efforts to block nuclear weapons, and i don't fully understand it. if i was russia living next door to iran, the notion of some of these crazy people having nuclear weapons would make me a lot more nervous than it seems
to make them. and that's frustration to us, and it's a constraint on our policy that we have to deal with. given that, i believe that what we have been doing is the best that can be done. i will tell you, when the israeli -- when the obama administration took over, i was approached by the israeli government asking that i intervene to make sure that stuart levey was continued to be head of the sanctions division at treasury. he'd been a bush appointee. he did a great job, i did that, he was kept on. i believe we are doing as much as can be done keeping the military threat on the table. and i cannot and, again, i would stress if you look at the bush administration policy and the obama administration policy, i think they are very similar because they are dictated by the realities. >> no, i agree that the best aspects of the obama administration policy towards iran are those where he's continued the bush administration policy. that's true in general, his best
policies are when he's given up on his campaign promises and followed bush policy, um, and keeping stuart was part of that. but, look, i think obama has changed a lot on iran. look at the cairo speech from the summer of 2009 and his general attitude towards the middle east and the muslim world, look what he did or didn't do disastrously in june 2009 with the green revolution erupting, the green movement took to the streets in iran with no support from us, and now look to his speech to aipac a couple of months ago where he said that you cannot contain, you cannot reliably contain or deter this regime with nuclear weapons, this iranian regime with nuclear weapons, so they have to be prevented from getting nuclear weapons. the u.s. policy is prevention, not deterring or containment, and then it becomes a question of whether sanctions will prevent -- i'm afraid they won't, though they're weakening iran in certain ways -- diplomacy, i don't think, will prevent, so it may be necessary to use force, and i think the
administration should spend a little more time thinking that through and preparing for that and a little less time sort of creating obstacles to israel if they feel they would have to do that. but obama has moved on iran. i hope he finishes the job in the sense of really preventing iran, you least for the foreseee future from getting nuclear weapons. when he came in, his true view of the world is embodied in the speech at cairo and the failure to aid the protesters in the streets of tehran in 2009. >> first, there's nothing to suggest -- bill sort of throws away i wish the administration would spend more time thinking about the military effects. frankly, i think that's unfair to the people of the pentagon. suggesting they're doing anything less than their duty, i don't think you really meant it -- >> the people in the white house are leaking things to the try to prevent military from -- >> two separate things, and you're degrading one of them. yes, there is some question of
restraint about israel which is coming, of course, by major israeli military figures as well. there's a thriving debate in israel. but the suggestion you said less -- more time planning the military, looking into the military possibilities, less on israel, i think the first is simply inaccurate. secondly, in terms of the change, i think people overinterpret some of the language, the policies have always been consistent. but i guess that's a kind of grudging acceptance of the fact that the current policies are okay or at least acceptable, so you have to criticize the fact that they weren't always his policies, and again i would have to go back to a kind of, you know, to the advocate of mitt romney for attacking anybody's positions or impugning that is, i think, a reach. [laughter] >> let me take up a question that we've received from a member of the audience. starting with bill. bill, please, talk about your support for the emergency committee for's -- israel which has placed advertisements in
newspapers and why you think it's, how you relate to its importance to turn in some sense israel into a partisan political issue, what do you hope to gain? this is a question from the audience. >> emergency security for israel. i'm sure most of you don't know what it is, that is a very small organization that i'm chairman of which is we formed in, i guess, early, mid -- late 2009, early 2010 when it did seem, really, that the obama administration and parts of both political parties, but especially, unfortunately, the democratic party in the united states were not strong supporters of the traditional u.s./israel relationship. we've put ads in newspapers, we've done some appropriate, you know, legal interventions and political campaigns. we strongly criticized some democrats in the house and the senate and some republicans, incidentally, who were -- there are many fewer republicanses in this camp, honestly, who had gone into j street, peter wineart, you know, it's all diplomacy, and they spend as
much time seemingly criticizing the netanyahu government as criticizing, let's say, abbas and the palestinian authority for their impasse in the peace process, and they spend a lot of time trying to prevent, actually, keeping the military option on the table with respect to iran. so i think i'm pleased that we've had a little bit of impact with the emergency committee on israel. i think we may intervene in one or two democratic primaries, there's an interesting one in new jersey. there's a strong pro-israel democrat in the house and someone else who has been a j street democrat, and i think you'll see a little bit of emergency committee for israel activity on we half of a good -- behalf of a good democrat. so we're not partisan, though it's just a fact that the buchanan wing of the party has been marginalized. barney and others have fought hard to marginalize the anti-israel wing of the democratic party, but it's just bigger. empirically, it's just a fact. and i think it's more of a problem, therefore, for the
left, um, and i hope liberals, you know, marginalize those elements of their own party as we've tried to do in our party. >> barney? yeah. >> the fact is that you're talking about, um, minuscule is bigger than microscopic. laugh the fact is that the democratic party has been overwhelmingly and consistently sprtive of a policy that respects israel's right to a independent, democratic jewish state. you're talking about in the house of representatives 10, 20, maybe 25 votes, a very small minority, a couple of republicans, more democrats. but this notion that the republicans have marginalized ron paul and buchanan, but the democratic anti-israel wing or the wing that's critical of israel to the point -- and i guess here's the difference. i would differentiate it this way, the question is do people take their differences with the policy of any israeli government -- and be historically conservatives have been critical of the israeli government on a whole range of issues thinking they went too
far -- do you translate that into actions that deny israel the support it needs in foreign policy or in foreign aid, etc. and the answer is that neither party's wing that is excessively critical of israel and unwilling to support measures for israel has had any impact on the policy process whatever. and when people take credit for the fact that obama has become more pro-israel, i think we're talking about an elephant stick. an elephant stick is a guy walking around central park with a big stick, and people say what is that for, he said that's to keep away the elephants. and they say, well, there are no elephants. and he says, yes, because my stick worked. [laughter] i don't think obama needed that. again, even during the time when people were interpreting his speeches that way, i -- from the beginning of this administration on foreign aid and everything else, i have seen no actions taken by the obama administration or anything less than fully supportive of israel's legitimate needs. >> let me ask another foreign policy question. across the wider region of the
middle east, over the last 16 months we've seen the collapse of long-established regimes in tunisia, yemen, libya, and we continue to watch the horror that is syria. has the obama administration been fast enough and wise enough in its response to the raich upheaval? -- arab upheaval? what would a republican administration do differently? do you want to start, barney? >> i'll start. there is a tendency as our country to say everything doesn't go right, it's our fault, we have to deal with it. look, the arab spring has been a serious set of issues if or us -- for us. the notion that democracy is a good thing is something i believe in morally, but it isn't always clear the consequences are going to be of the right sort. what's happening now in egypt is troubling with people talking about cutting off the contract. one of the best things that's happened in the middle east was the camp david agreement and the willingness of both sides to live up to it. to the extent that's called into
question, that is deeply problematic. and i think the administration has been dealing with it fairly reasonably, including, by the way -- let's be clear people pointed out -- neither this administration nor, i believe, any republican administration has shown any great eagerness to urge the rulers of bahrain or saudi arabia to join the push to democracy. once again, reality constrains, and i think the problem here is not party differences, who would do that -- what, but o how do we reconcile our belief and support for human rights with concerns about the negative aspect of what happened? look, as a matter of democratic principle it was a very good thing that the palestinian authority had elections, and then hamas won them. and that was not such a good thing. and that is a dilemma. i have not yet fully worked out as to what to do when elections are going to bring about negative con generalses. so i think it does call not for a, oh, let's all be for it, but
to give some serious thought to what's involved. >> could the u.s. have steered the outcome of what's happening in egypt in a slightly different election with different policies early on in the tahrir square evolution? >> that's hard to say. i was a little slightly more forward-leaning policy there, but i agree with barney there. you find splits in both parties and among different groups, most of the foreign policy communities just as a practical matter on how to handle this, how much influence we really have. i'm part of the anti-saudi arabia wing of the republican party, but i will totally agree that's a very minority view in both parties. there seems to be something about the authorities that causes people to really defy their -- it's a wonderful place -- >> i think -- >> we have to be extremely nice to them. if we had more energy development at home -- >> no, i think it's cultural lag from lawrence of arabia. laugh. >> i would say this, so i think
the arab spring is complicated. i've been on the more hopeful side of those looking at the arab spring, we're not going to go prop up a bunch of dictators. i do think the administration fell back a little once things started in egypt, they could have done more, i think, on the ground in terms of economic development. there were efforts in congress, and those were bipartisan to do a little more, to get serious economic development aid in, to make sure that the egyptian public didn't have the view that, gee, the only people to help us are the muslim brotherhood. this is a case where i think the u.s. government has not adjusted to realities. one of the things, ironically, that i sort of would criticize the obama administration for, and this isn't at all, really isn't partisan, this is just a kind of government management thing, they talk a lot about soft power, smart power as opposed to bush, but they actually have not reformed the u.s. government as much as they
should have. aid is not a well-run agency, but this is a development agency, but its money doesn't go as effectively as it could to grassroots, the public diplomacy hasn't been improved as secretary clinton hoped at the beginning of her term. i think the one place where i would be, i've written things and signed letters, bipartisan letters urging the obama administration to be more forward-leading in syria where i think it's a complicated situation, but that is a government that is an ally of iran, it's both a terrible government in terms of human rights and democracy, and it's also a strategic enemy of ours, and i think we should do more to stop the slaughter there and to try to effectuate the toppling of the assad government which the administration's for, they just haven't done much to try to make it happen. >> barney? , please. what would you do? >> like libya, a no-fly zone, at least for starters. >> i understand that. here's one of the, again, the
criticisms i would make of some of the people advocate that. we're not doing enough militarily, say n syria. then at some point if you're going to expand the military reach, please, raise taxes to pay for it. don't make everything come out of -- [applause] i think there is a serious problem with those who are advocates, and i don't mean bill here, but i mean some of my congressional colleagues who are all for doing more militarily, but forget about that. the other thing i would say is this, and they were great to us. as far as getting aid into egypt, development aid wouldn't -- you know, we wanted some good, old-fashioned walking around money, and it's kind of hard for a government to do that. but -- [laughter] the point is this, and it's totally nonpartisan, not everything that goes wrong is the fault of the incumbent american administration in the world. and we have been guilty of it ourselves. we have taken on the responsibility. well, you read in the newspapers, gee, there was this massacre, where was the american government?
well, the american government was in washington trying hard to think about what to do, but we should not get ourselves put in the position where there's this expectation that america can resolve every problem everywhere in the world, and then that -- and i think it becomes an unfair metric for any administration. and i've seen it being used unfairly against both. >> okay. [applause] we have a question, a question from the audience about iran. we talked about this earlier in the debate. if sanctions against iran do not work, how long should we wait before pursuing a military option, and do you see differences in the timelines, the timetables that a second obama administration or a romney administration would apply? bill? and. >> you know, it's, this is one of those things you really can't predict how an administration will behave. certainly, a new administration, they often do things that people don't expect them to do both more hawkish or doveish in different cases. i mean, i believe, you know, golf romney has spoken clearly about the unaccept about the of
iran having a nuclear weapons, president obama has move today that view, and they don't sound that different from each other. a lot depends on one's judgment of what is acceptable in terms of iran getting close to breakout capability, what is acceptable for israel as opposed to us since we have greater capability. i strongly believe if military force is going to be used, it would be better for the u.s. military force. this is our responsibility. barney can be right that we can't do everything every in the world, and we certainly shouldn't blame the administration for everything that goes wrong on their watch, but there are certain basic things we need to do around the world, and one of them is to try to maintain, keep some kind of lid on nuclear proliferation and on the worst regimes, terror-sponsoring regimes, radical regimes getting their hands on nuclear weapons. i do believe iran getting nuclear weapons would be a game changer in terms of the arms race in the middle east, or the of a cuban missile crisis type situation. the ability to put an umbrella
over their terror sponsorship. so i think that is a huge issue, and, you know, i trust the romney administration to handle it, and i hope if president obama's reelected, i really do say this honestly, i really hope he does the right thing. um, i hope he will do the right thing even during the next several months if it comes to that. >> barney? >> well, except for the unjust bipartisan thing at the end, there was no, again, there's been no real difference between the two administrations. the president has said very clearly we rule out containment. that means you take military action because that's the other, the other option. and as to when, and i think here there is no difference between administrations, you are now talking about probably the most serious military undertaking since vietnam. i think that, in fact, taking on the iranians if they've got nukes is more of a deal than
going into iraq. and in terms of iran's capabilities elsewhere. so what you're going to have to then do is some very careful planning in conjunction with all of our middle eastern nations with which we are aligned. the israelis, the saudis, others will have to worry about that iraqi government we helped install which is iran's only other good friend in the middle east, and we need to do serious planning. this is one that either president would say to the pentagon, okay, we're at the point where we have to act. we're told, the intelligence people tell them that, because they're about to have a weapon. what can we do? and that means planning for a military action, it means planning in conjunction with the other nations, their defenses. it becomes a very complicated, technical problem, and i believe at that point any president would, essentially, be working with his defense and intelligence establishment as to what to do. i do think bill has a good point, it is unfair for israel to be canned to take on this
burden. -- to be asked to take on this burden. one of the things we learned from the wikileaks cables which were a terrible abuse in putting a lot of good people in danger, but what we learned was how scared many of the arab states are of iran. this fear of iran and this wish that somebody would do something about iran goes far beyond the israelis, and it would be unfair to put the burden on israel now. >> thank you, barney. we picked that up, in fact, in our many conversations around the arab world as well. let me turn to a non-foreign policy question. at ajc, we've been encouraging energy independence since the 1970s. it's better for the environment, of course, better for our economy and better for national security. if we end our dependence on petroleum supplies from hostile states s that a goal that is staired by president obama and governor romney? -- shared by president obama and governor romney, and how can we best advance toward that goal? bill, do you want to start? the. >> i think full independence is
not actually realistic, and there's no problem, of course, with importing energy if it's from reliable, friendly nations, especially neighboring nations including canada where we have the opportunity to build a pipeline which the obama administration is stopping on environmental grounds. so it's not the case that -- gee, if independence is good and the environment is good and there's no tension, but, of course, i don't know that the environmental concerns are legitimate. i would argue they're overblown but to the degree the environmentalists believe they're legitimate and they're an incredibly powerful force within the obama add mrgses, they're obstructing energy development whether it's offshore or government lands. one of the great things that's happened is the natural grass breakthroughs, the fracking, what's happening in north dakota and south texas. we would be developing much more oil and natural gas in this country if we didn't have excessive environmental regulations which the obama administration has can
consistently come down on the side of the what i would call the pretty extreme environmentalists against those who would like us to develop more energy here. >> well, first, again, we tend to be too negative. we have been making progress. the dependence on foreign oil has dropped some. bill is right, the question's not that everything has to be produced internally, we have mexico, we have canada, we have others. there are, of course, more, there's more drilling going on, more production going on right now than there has been. not on government lands, but the overall total is up. obviously, alternatives are a part of this. but one of the things i want to say is this and, again, we can be too -- there is this notion that the fact that we have to import oil from the middle east constrains our foreign policy. i haven't seen any evidence of that. and, in fact, one criticism i have of some of my colleagues who want to bomb iran immediately, there's no question, the fact that it is
american policy contemplating a military attack on the iran nuclear facilities and the fact that american policy has been very tough on sanctions is a contributing factor to the increase in the price of oil, and it's irresponsible not to understand that. it's not the hugest factor, there are some others, but i think the good news is that the fact that what we are doing with regard to iran has some upward pressure on oil prices has not deterred any significant political faction in america from going forward with it. so, yeah, it'd be good to reduce it, but, again, i think we have overestimated the extent to which that has been a constraint on foreign policy. >> thank you. before we go to your closing remarks, let me ask a question that came from the audience. it really comes to a question of america's role in the world, america's responsibility in the world. over the last few years against the background of war in afghanistan and iraq, we've seen a resurgence to turn attention homeward, to fall back from
foreign troubles and foreign commitments. what are the reasons, strategic and moral, that would justify continued american efforts to remain the world's greatest power? and what do you both say to those who will go to the polls this november with the belief that fixing our own problems is our first priority? >> i'll start. um, i think they should be equal priorities. i am one who believes we can substantially reduce a worldwide military expenditure at no cost to our security. now, there is an element of people in the argument for maintaining the status quo and even as some republicans would do going beyond increasing military spending unlike what we've now agreed to try to restain it. -- restrain it. i'd like to restrain it more. but what we have is this notion that it's part of america's purpose, that america shouldn't be at least talked about in england a nation of shopkeepers. we have this moral responsibility to be the leaders of the world. i think we overestimate the
ability we have to do that. i would be morally conflicted, i don't think we should be trying to build in afghanistan and iraq good, democratic-tolerant societies because i don't think you can do that with the military. i think we have a military that's very good at stopping bad things. it's not a good instrument for making good things happen in a socially-complex way, and i think those things are overdone. secondly, you have this reliance by our allies on us. there is a much greater role to be played. libya was a good example because we let the europeans take the lead, they did a bad job in some way. we need to insist, for example, in the mediterranean there isn't any reason why france and germany and england and spain can't play a more aggressive role. the french have done some of that in africa. and we need to pay more attention to home. to reduce the deficit, i mean, we have to curtail military
spending some, increase taxes -- particularly on wealthy people -- and cut domestically. and that's the difference between the parties. that's the democratic position. the republican position is, no, forget about any tax increases on wealthy people, forget about the military impact, in fact, you've got to spend more. just take it all out of programs that enhance the quality of life here, and i think that's a very grave error. >> barney, thank you. some of the countries we want, perhaps, to assume a greater role in defense responsibility are a little strapped themselves, however. >> yeah. but we're also strapped, and it's their defense. i'm not talking about poor countries. i'm talking about germany, france, italy. they have a temporary problem, but they pay much less than half of their gdp -- bill talked about our 4% -- they're under 2% of gdp. and, yeah, they are strapped, but here's part of the problem. if you look at the programs they have, medical programs and
others, there are people who are giving their own citizens substantially greater social benefits than we give our citizens, and that's partly because we're paying their military budget. so i think it's fair to ask them -- we're not asking them to subsidize anything, just be self-sufficient. >> bill? >> look, i'm strongly in favor of outlined in the book, a book that president obama likes as well as governor romney much to bob's amusement and pleasure. soen that count, i think the world would have been immeasurably more dangerous to the degree the u.s. retreats. can we get allies to do more? perhaps. should we have strong alliance structures around the world? i do believe so. but you can wish that germany and sweden and italy and spain and france do spend more on defense, you can wish that they would be more responsible in stopping genocide in africa or
helping israel out, but those wishes aren't going to be worth much, at least not in the near future. i was part -- every administration tries to go to europe and get them to spend more on defense, and it hasn't worked. and now they are in, of course, position that they have spent be time on their welfare states, and they're going bankrupt doing that as well. so that's not a sustainable model. i do think one of the cases if you care about america around the world, one of the cases for real reform at home is we do need to be strong at home to be strong abroad, but i do think a world in which we retreat, a world in which we cut defense spending by 30% and pretend we can still provide security guarantees that will keep the peace in east asia, that will keep something like peace in most of the middle east, i mean, that will keep peace in places like the balkans, i don't think that's practical, and i think it's much too high a risk to run. fortunately, even president obama seems to think it's too high a risk to run. i think he should stop the defense sequester right now, at least he's rejected those people
within his own party who wanted radical cuts in the defense budget. >> bill, is there a difference between the parties on american exceptionalism, on american responsibility? >> i don't know about -- american exceptionalism, i think, is a term which is an interesting term. i sort of don't like particularly its use in the current debate. i just don't know quite what people mean by it. i think the republicans have a more robust, vigorous, if you want to use less nice adjectives, interventionist or, i don't know what, let barney provide the negative answers for the republican view on this. [laughter] view of america's role in the world generally, but there are, of course, many democrats who have shared that view, and there are some republicans who dissent from that view. i think there will be a difference between president obama and governor romney. i don't think it's going to be mcgovern/nixon or reagan/carter. i mean, i'm happy about that.
i'm happy that the obama administration has moved away from what i think was an early mcgovernite view of the world and to a more centrist, left-centrist foreign policy. i still worry about a certain, certain aspects of their foreign policy quite a bit and especially about the defense cuts, and i think a republican administration with mitt romney as president and joe lieberman as secretary of state will be a slightly better foreign policy -- not slightly, it'll be a better foreign policy administration than an obama second term. and i would say this, the second term is different than the first term. he has come back to the center partly because of political pressure, partly because of the 2010 elections, partly because of concern about the 2012 elections. it's not just a republican talking point to say he was overheard saying to medved jeff, once my last election is over, i will have more flexibility. what text is that going to -- direction is that going to go in? that is a legitimate question
for people to ask as they think about who to vote for. >> we're kind of merging into the closing statements and in some sense, bill, i guess that was almost a closing statement, but i'd like it not to be. if you could just continue for a couple of minutes, and we'll give you, barney be, two minutes to conclude this debate. not just foreign policy, but on other questions as well, bill. if you could just wrap up the case for republicans in 2012. >> look, i want to make the case for being open-minded and taking a real look. there'll be three debates, there'll be connection speeches by president -- by governor romney and president obama in late august and early september, there'll be a vice presidential pick by governor romney first, and then there'll be three debates, i assume, as there have been the last several elections between romney and obama and a vice presidential debate. people should go into those with an honest, i think, open mind as people don't, you know, if people have strong views one way or the ore, they'll also be committed. but i think people should just take a look and decide whose policies they think make more sense in terms of america's
future, in terms of reducing this terrible debt and deficit, in terms of a strong foreign policy and whether the obama administration has been a successful administration or not. at what a second term of president obama would look like as opposed to a romney administration. so my plea to people, to a community that may to some degree already have its mind made up is to be open-minded, think hard about the choice that is ahead, don't think about george h.w. bush or -- i'll promise not to raise the issue of george mcgovern if barney promises not to raise the issue of george h.w. bush and jim baker. i think that's an unfair comparison and take a look at the actual, real choice before us in 2012. >> thank you. [applause] >> could i just ask bill one question? i was impressed with bill's urging people to be open-minded. are you open-minded approaching the election, bill, or is that just what you're telling them to do? [laughter] >> i've been open-minded. we praise the obama add --
administration -- >> you know who you're going to vote for. >> i'm a partisan, you know who you're going to vote for too. >> i don't pretend they should be open. i would say this, if you have decided views about elements of public policy and you don't know now whether you're going to vote for obama or romney, something's the matter with you. [laughter] >> i think that that's really -- i think, i think that's a foolish statement, barney. >> nonsense! >> i know people, including people who are pretty close to me who don't know who they're going to vote for, and they're not stupid people, they're conflicted. they agree with obama on certain issues, they agree with republicans on other issues. >> no, but that's different than the open-mindedness. [applause] that is different, that is different. there are a very small number of people who tend to have those conflicting views. what you were saying is be open about the whole thing, see who's on what side.
and, n., most people who are following things closely will know now who they are going to vote for. there are no surprises coming. and i will say this, i read the focus groups that they do in october of the undecided voters. they are not an impressive group of people. [laughter] first of all, they don't know a lot of things that are true, and more frightening, they are absolutely convinced of fantasies. [laughter] but let me go, now, to talk about the election. [laughter] i do want to say i think bill is a little guilty here of campaigning by innuendo. there are all these, oh, obama's move today the center, etc. not a specific public policy has he shown or talked about or alluded to where obama was too far to the left from his standpoint compare today where he is today. and particularly with with regao foreign policy, in fact, in the 2008 election obama was being criticized for talking about intervention in afghanistan and pakistan. this is a kind of a myth that, oh, obama move today a realistic
position. there's no drastic change from his position on afghanistan and iraq today. i would like him to be moving out of afghanistan quicker. but this notion that he was further to the left and moved, and again on israel. i've seen nothing negative. what we have today is not a reagan jite republican part, but a republican party that is to the right of ronald reagan where mitt romney attacks rick santorum for voting to raise the debt limit. you have people advocating expenditures and no tax increases. and where they say in the ryan budget, and, again, ryan's own assertion, let's increase military spending so we can make cuts from what otherwise would be there in medicare and medicaid. it is a very radical agenda in the social area with regard to the rights of lesbian and gay people, with regard to women's reproductive rights. on immigration they have been very militantly anti. yeah, the administration hasn't
been successful in trying to get a more rational policy, but that is in part because the republicans have so militantly opposed it, and a number of people are frightened by it. the one encouraging thing that's happening is that the little bilingualism is creeping into the republican party, and they're learning how to count in spanish, and they're up to several million, and that's having an impact. [laughter] but i think you have a very clear choice between a very right-wing, disciplined faction on the republican side and an administration that inherited a lot of problems and has made progress in just about all of them, and i hope people will, in fact, having looked at the issues decide that way. >> thank you. congressman barney frank, thank you, bill kristol, weekly standard. [applause] thank you all for being part of this year's ajc great debate. [applause] i'd like you to make sure you, please, stay in your seats. we're about to begin the next portion of the program. please stay while i exit the debaters out. [applause]
[inaudible conversations] >> and a reminder, we have more road to the white house coverage coming up this weekend on the c-span networks. the libertarian party holding its 2012 convention this weekend in las vegas to pick their presidential nominee. our coverage on c-span begins at 9 eastern tonight with a two-hour debate between the candidates for the libertarian presidential nomination that includes former new mexico governor and former republican presidential candidate gary johnson. then at noon eastern on saturday the delegates will hear candidate speeches and vote on the nominee. that's also live on c-span. also on c-span this weekend, president obama holding a rally, a campaign rally with first lady michelle obama in richmond, virginia. that gets under way tomorrow afternoon at 4:35 eastern. that'll be live on c-span,
c-span radio and c-span.org. >> sunday on q&a -- >> i don't regard this as just the biography of lyndon johnson. i want each book to examine a kind of political power in america. i'm saying this is a kind of political power. seeing what a president can do in a moment of great, in a time of great crisis, great crisis, how he gathers all around, what does he do to get legislation moving, to take command in washington, that's the way of examining power at a time of crisis. i said i want to do this in full. i suppose it takes 300 pages in there. so i couldn't, that's why i just said let's examine this. >> robert caro on the passage of power, volume four in the years of lyndon johnson, his multivolume biography of the 36th president, this sunday at 8 on c-span's "q&a." and look for our second hour of conversation with robert caro
sunday, may 20th. >> now we go to boulder, colorado, for a discussion on climate change and its effect on the world economy and people's health. we'll hear from the head of the national wildlife foundation, environmental activists and scientists. this is almost an hour and a half. >> all right, let's get started. good morning, boulder. >> good morning. >> welcome to live anything a new climate paradigm. at 9:00 on wednesday morning in old main chapel. this is an issue that's near and dear to a lot of our hearts, especially folks in the boulder. it's an issue we're all wrestling with, and this is an especially exciting panel we have to prompt us into an exciting dialogue about it. everything we do this morning is
being filmed by c-span, and it's especially important that everything we say get captured on a microphone. so especially when we get to q&a, we're going to and you to speak into a microphone not because we can't otherwise hear you, but so that it can be recorded for posterity. so bear with us on that one. so let me introduce the panel. a good one. um, we are going to start off by hearing from larry swagger, he's the president of the national wildlife federation which is america's largest conservation organization. and in addition to his long and impressive resumé on conservation and climate change issues, one of his other claims to fame is that he's inspired and mentored a whole generation of conservationists, myself included. i used to work down the hall from larry in one of my first jobs at national wildlife federation. so we could season up we're going to hear from doug ray. he is an associate lab director for the department of energy's national laboratory and pacific northwest. he's one of those really smart
people that deals with science, technology and all things having to do with energy and implications on climate change, so, doug, we need your kind in boulder. [laughter] and third we're going to hear from dan ferber who is an independent, award-winning journalist with several biology degrees who seems to have a knack for taking scientific issues and making them understandable to the reading public. in other words, a science geek that can communicate. so that's a rare breed, and we're happy to have him with us. he, also, just published a book called "changing climate, changing health." so, hopefully, we'll hear some of the insights from that book. and batting cleanup is merle levkoff. >> sorry. i don't get a had lot of practie with complicated names. [laughter] deals with all things complex, so she applies complex, adaptive systems' thinking to complex conflicts and complicated parts of the globe.
so why not climate change, huh? this woman likes a challenge. so that's our line up, and we'll start off with larry. and we'll hear from each speaker for about 10-12 minutes, and then we will open it up to all of you. >> thank you, susan. and it's great to be here this morning to share this urgent issue with you. for the last 11,000 years, humans have existed in a climate where the carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere were about 280 parts per million. today we have succeeded in the moving that number to about 391 parts per million, probably be 393 by the time this year's out which is about a 40% increase in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. ..
and she said in her book at this very moment we are witnessing a startling alteration of climate. that is what she said in 1950 and that happens to be the year that i was born, so she was prescient in her observations that nature was responding to a shifting climate. nature has always been the frontline of our warning systems of changing planetary conditions. the home that we have lived in the sciences call the period that we have enjoyed, is really the period where all of the
great things that humans have accomplished has occurred, so our civilization is really bound by this whole period. the scientists more recently there are now a couple of papers published warning us that we are moving out and moving into a new climatic period on the climate and there has been a lot of discussion in the scientific community about the fact that we are on a course to this period. what would it look like and what it looks like depends largely on what we do over the next few years to curb our carbon emissions. clearly we are moving out of the paradigm that we have enjoyed for 11,000 years into a new time condition on the planet. what does that place look like? obviously none of us know for certain but there is some things we can say about that. for example there was a recent paper published that suggested a two-degree rise and that
two degrees celsius rise in temperature was triggered and is triggering and melts of greenland and the renal and melts will continue. it will largely be unstoppable as the temperature goes over two degrees and it will be a predictable slow melt of greenland. so to think about greenland being this massive hunk of ice sitting on an island. currently it is dumping about 100 billion tons of ice into the ocean. if you go back a couple of decades greenland produce no net water flow to the ocean so we have already seen a very dramatic shift in the amount of water coming off of greenland. that water does a lot of things. it cools the surface temperatures of the gulfstream. and intends to ride on top of the warmer saltwater, and has the potential as has been warned in the past, to change and alter
conditions particularly in europe and elsewhere. nonetheless greenland will be locked into a steady melt if we go over that two-degree c. and i should tell you the scientific team that is working on taking all the promises of all the governments to address climate change and putting them into the model. i saw some early results on that and look like we were going to 2.3 degrees warming by 2040. so we are going to tip over that two to three-degree mark with all of our promises even though we are not going to live up to her promises. if you assume why are we are still headed to a very dramatic shift that will have enormous impact on greenland. what happens in greenland does not stay in greenland. as greenland melts, we will add sealevel rise of one meter rise in sea level will shift situation such it will displace 100 million people on the planet who are living in these islands,
living in coastal areas. these people will be pushed out of their place and they will have to go somewhere. they will have to find in a place to live to produce their food and that is particularly critical in places like egypt where they now is already trouble because of the as one dam. there are going to be places like that. coastal louisiana is another place where we will see severe shifts as a result of these conditions. storm intensities will increase. i will leave that to others to talk about but clearly what we are going to see is as we raise the temperature already one degree celsius we have seen a 4% increase in moisture over the oceans, and that additional moisture causes additional storm events and has had a profound impact already i believe if you step back and look at the overall data. we are also seeing -- already
while we are entering into this changing period. we have about 2% less arable land today as a result primarily of climate change. add to that the fact that we are going through 7 billion people to 9 billion people so we will have more mouths to feed and a climate that is shifting quite dramatically. we also are adding acid to the ocean and part of the carbon dioxide that goes to the atmosphere reigns on us as carbonic acid and that carbonic acid is in the ocean. and interferes with calcium uptake and i should tell you the oceans have about a 30% increase in carbonic acid so we are shifting the acidity of the ocean in a way that it will interfere with all life in the ocean because it all requires calcium uptake. the more acidic the water is the less calcium it can take up so if there are shellfish or finfish or even phytoplankton that makes life a lot more difficult because you will have
a hard time collecting the calcium you need. we are seeing that already and the fido plankton is down 40% and that may not matter to some but it actually is one of the great engines of our oxygen production. about 50 to 70% of our oxygen on the planet is derived from the oceans primarily by phytoplankton so we are messing with primary systems of the planet as we shift our behavior in the direction of more carbon. i want to add this to the conversation and that is that if you add up everything everybody is doing on the planet to deal with climate change we are actually turning the temperature up. so if you have a a pot at home boiling over on the stove who would run over and turn the temperature up? but that is in fact what our politicians are doing. they are turning the temperature of. i am sorry and all of the above energy policy is not an energy policy, it's a political statement. we have got to change the nature of our energy policies today in
order to protect our children's tomorrow. there things we can do in terms of adaptation but clearly we are headed for trouble. wildlife are in the frontline of damage. the models suggest we will lose somewhere between 17 and 37% of the species if the temperature goes up over two degrees. if it goes much higher than that we will see 40 to 70% of the species on the planet. the notion that we can just throw other species off the planet and still survive as a species ourselves is pure hubris. it is insane yet that is the direction we are going as we continue to put carbon in the sky. a couple of years ago my daughter had asked me to come and to the delivery room to watch her bring a new baby into this world and she said dad i want you to cut the umbilical cord. and so i am in this delivery room watching my daughter deliver her first child, and the
doctor handed me the scissors. i have to admit i was deeply moved at the moment for seeing my new grandchild for the first time at all so i was deeply moved that i knew i had an obligation to that little guy's future. and i wanted to rededicate myself to that future are quite made a promise to that little guy that i would continue to fight this battle for his future, and i must have been taking too much time because the doctor finally said are you going to do this or what? [laughter] but i really believe that this is a moral issue. it's no longer an issue of science. the sciences are dead on. it's clear the sciences have warned us and as we move forward down this road we are seeing the science that scientists have warned us about. we are seeing the kind of changes in our ocean in seeing the changes in the before us as trees die off in this dramatic shift in nature.
it's tough to watch the change on this important issue for our children's future. thank you. [applause] spain next up we will hear from -- >> good morning. i'm going to follow up -- i'm going to spend a little time talking with you about i guess what i think they scholarly community refers to as impact vulnerability as far as climate change. not going to talk about mitigating climate change. i think that is critically important. i think there is a lot we need to do. we the people as people, as a nation, are not doing everything we could be doing but i spend a budget time in a on a panel yesterday talking about that. unless it comes up in queue q&a i'm not going to really talk about that but i care about that
as well and i've a lot to say and many thoughts on that. what i do want to talk about again is what is likely to happen? temperature is going up. is going to go up even if we have a complete cessation of carbon emissions today or tomorrow because we have already put enough and the atmosphere to cause a temperature rise to occur. so, i think we have to think about what does that mean and are there things we could do to reduce the bull marbella these of the planet and the human beings on the planet. the take home for me is really you know given the changes going to happen, we have some idea of what those changes are going to be but there certainly and certainly in how significant those changes are going to be. in my view the most important thing to realize is that, as the most significant impacts are going to happen in the developing world. so as we, as a world, speaks to
those developing nations seek to obtain the quality of life that we in the developed world generally experience, think we have to think about helping them get their in a sustainable way. and use that sustainable mechanism and build and strengthen their adaptive capacity to respond to the changes in the climate there undoubtedly coming, whatever they are. some are coming in some of them are going to be very very serious. let me kind of go through a brief outline of some of those changes to give you a flavor and i will amplify a couple of them and differ on a couple of others we can expect significant changes in river flows all over the globe. 10, 20, 30, 40% changes in river flows. increased river flows in the northern areas and in tropical, and the temperate latitudes that
have plenty of rain. i don't really want to go rainforest but they are definitely included. areas that are typically dry like here in the western united states, probably reduced river flows. most importantly the resilience of many ecosystems on the planet are likely to be exceeded the century. and ecosystem has an adaptive capacity. there is an external change on an ecosystem and it's a modest change, the ecosystem can fairly easily adapt to it. some changes occur. they are significant to perhaps for a particular species but in aggregate the ecosystem is fine if it is just modern. it's almost certain to century the adaptive capacity and the resilience of many ecosystems will be exceeded. now that is probably relative as you see in the popular literature, the popular press so we are likely to hit some of
this. when i don't know but almost certainly we will hit some of it and it will have very significant trouble play disastrous consequences for those ecosystems. what is interesting about that, before midcentury, carbon uptake by the ecosystem not necessarily the ocean but by the land are likely to increase but peak by mid-century. than they are going to turn around. that is what science tells us so that means after the midcentury those ecosystems will start releasing carbon or at least reducing their uptake of carbon. this will amplify the change that we are driving going forward so we are going to see by mid-century frankly fairly relative to what we are going to see in the latter half of the century we are going to see to see in the first half is going to be fairly moderate. the bad stuff comes later. that is really what that point says. it's the best likelihood.
interestingly enough the potential for food production is projected to increase globally. that is probably a good thing because there a lot of people that don't have enough. that is to my mind, i actually search for a positive because i don't want to always be a downer and that is the positive you are going to hear from me. i know, it pales in comparison to the negatives. i grew that completely but there is one little positive in that direction. coastal areas and small islands will be exposed to increased risks. that make adults and asia and africa are especially faux marble. specific to my point that we in the united states and canada and america broadly and we in the developing world are not going to be impacted directly without much. the real impact the most significant impacts are going to happen in these areas in the delta and in asia and africa exacerbated by the fact that
those societies don't have much adaptive capacity. we can contemplate that there is -- contemplation in europe and the netherlands to build bigger dams in bigger. that is a great mitigation strategy and an adaptation strategy. and it is in that nation and others like it including ours that have the capacity to actually execute land if we choose to. well you know bangladesh doesn't have that. they lack that adaptive capacity so they are in -- the future him looks much of bleecker and for those nations of building that capacity is really really important. health impacts will vary from one location to another and you will hear from my subsequent speaker dan ferber more about the health impacts of climate change so i'm not going to say much of anything more about that. but let me emphasize really the final comments. future vulnerability really
depends not just on how much the climate changes, because i guess at this point you know it's going to change and it's a question of how much. that remains but also the development pathway especially the peoples of the world. we can have a big role in that as well and i think a very important connection between sustainable development and the vulnerabilities to the peoples of the world to climate change. so that is the final thing i want to leave you with and with that we can take questions later. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you, doug. next up is dan ferber. >> okay, thanks for coming out this morning to hear about this critical, critical issue. and larry and doug both have sketched out a very clear view of the bigger picture and i want
to give you some specifics and the name of this panel is the new climate paradigm so you probably are to know a lot. i thought about going into aspects that are not familiar to a lot of people. so, talking about objections going forward, we have just heard about some of these projections. i worked extensively over the last few years with a scientist and a physician named paul epstein who is associate director of the center for health and global environment. we wrote a book together on this and it was mentioned. so, one of the things that he did, one of the projects that he and the center did about a few years back is put together a large multidisciplinary team of experts and made projections about use and area planning to
figure out you can have a mathematical model or computer model to figure out exactly what will happen, you can still create scenarios and using that educated guess of the top experts. so that is what they did and they came up with two possible scenarios. what happens if climate change moves forward at that time. this is the best information from the ipcc and others. so in the milder scenario, glaciers would retreat, more extreme weather and disasters, permafrost melt, sea levels rise and gradually swamping coastal areas, things we have heard about, water supplies on the coast and on islands becomes so unaided and fresh water is hard to to come by in coastal areas so it's hard to grow food in those areas. coral reefs are damaged, perhaps to the point of extinction of the ecosystem and perhaps not. they have lasted a long time through a lot of climate changes. that is the milder scenario.
economically, just the major economic effects, the more severe scenario is the sort of thing i was just talking about, tipping points and in that case you get some of the things actually we are saying, some of the drought and pest and the dye back of force. we are seeing that out here in this part of the country with bark beetles and of course new trees will grow but you talk about major changes in ecosystems and changes of carbon sources in some areas. coral reefs could collapse as a more severe scenario. more severe storms challenging and affecting more katrina's. oceans acidified, more disease and we will talk more about that in a minute. so that actually is not the worst possible scenario. the worst possible scenario is something that most people don't
think about which is the possibility of a climate change. so we know how climate has behaved over 800,000 years or so from analysis of air bubbles trapped in ice cores in greenland. they are like tree cores. you can look at every layer and using a ratio, you can figure out what the temperature was when the ice form so forms so we have records of each climate from that. and what that analysis has shown over the past 15 or 20 years is that climate has -- we are in a very unusual period right now because it is stable. more typical is up and down and up and down allen little bit of stability so we are talking about changes could be on the order of 10 or 20 degrees fahrenheit average global temperature. could be as quickly as a decade or quickly as three years so these things have happened. the last one was about 12,500
years ago as we are coming out of the last ice age. so, what happens if we do get something like that? so in our book we talk about in in the analysis that was done by some consultants for the pentagon, a very detailed analysis based on a national academy report and interviewing was scientist of years back but they came up with -- they work that scenario of more fresh water off of greenland, changes in the ocean current, change and they climate recently particularly in europe and the east coast of north america but so here's what they found. the scenario was warming that sudden chilling of north america, europe and asia. they thought the southwest was drier and farming was hit harder in the south. europe got a lot colder. the climate in northern areas was like siberia and people started moving south from scandinavia because it was just
too cold to live there. fell 10 to 20% and there was a massive famine in china because they just couldn't feed all of those people because of increased crop yields. remember this is for pentagon planning so they are giving them the best guess, the best educated guess as of a few years ago. the u.s. have secure borders because to keep out serving immigrants and caribbean, north america -- south america and mexico aggressive wars will be -- [inaudible] the global economy suffers on the rum of the 1930s depression. and basically the world becomes resource haves and have-nots and that is what the world would become under that broad climate change scenario. is that going to happen? nobody knows. the science is not there to predict whether the climate will shift abruptly but in complex systems, a complex system cannot undergo a tipping point.
that is well understood so if you have a top that is spinning and wobbles more before it falls down, instead of like riding a bicycle to wobbles a lot more before you fall so those sorts of things so what are the signs that are climate system is wobbling in extreme weather? extreme weather is happening and there has been last year for example, 60% of the united states experienced extreme weather. the drought in texas, extreme wet conditions, terrible flooding in vermont. that 60% was the highest amount, highest area covered ever in any given year. how did that play out as far as louis in this climate paradigm? while the number of billion-dollar insurance disasters has skyrocketed since 1980 from two to 14 and so global reinsurance companies are really feeling the pain of this, because they ensure when there is a runoff claims that could
bankruptcy an ordinary insurance company, reinsurance companies back it up. justin move on, so we don't know if the climate is going to flip but there are some pretty scary things happening today. the climate is stable but the good news is unstable systems can be stabilized. we don't want to be pushing the system any further. in our book we use an analogy by a climate scientist named wally roe than what he said was, what we are doing to the climate is basically like poking an angry beast with a stick and we need to stop doing that. so, here is how it could play out in terms of the human health effects. let me go through quickly how this would play out in terms of health. dangerous heatwaves, he ways are the most interest type of natural disaster.
even though we do have ways of dealing with it, the 2003 european heatwave killed 52,000 people. the 2010 moscow heatwave killed 50,000 people and also affected agriculture in the area. the climate regional modeling and the national climate modeling says if we don't cut radically back on greenhouse gas emissions heatwaves like chicago in 1995 which is the most famous bad heatwave of this country where over 1500 people were killed. that could happen every of the year by the 2040s, every year by the 2040s somewhere in the united states and the heatwave in europe of 2003 could happen -- so that is what the climate modeling is. you have infectious diseases. you're expanding the rains were insects could carry infectious diseases like malaria. mosquitoes would be an higher amounts in text that carry lyme disease are moving into new england and canada. you have asthma and allergies. the higher carbon dioxide levels
have triggered ragweed to put out a lot more pollen, twice the pollen according to some scientists. and the pollen is more potent so that if you hear in many parts of the country more people are having allergies. maybe there is a reason for that. there is recent science saying that there is. extreme weather we talked about and also the indirect effects of the ecosystems going over the edge so trees and crops. the agriculture scenario, i love the good news but there are also complications that there is unsettled finds their too in terms of rising temperatures. it would also increase the range of more heatwave and drought and extreme weather affects crop yield. and there are a lot of concerns on how this is going to affect us. this is not about polar bears. this is about people so i will close on that note and i will
take more questions later. [applause] >> our last panelist -- one thing i failed to mention is she has street cred closer to home. she was one of the delegates to the first solar conference ever held just down the road in golden. >> thank you. that is because i have been around a long time. [laughter] i have a bunch of notes here but i'm not going to use them. i had to go last because i had a feeling i was going to be listening to wonderful experts on a very dystopian future, and i would like to respond with the potential for some good news.
we have to balance what we know is happening scientifically. so that is what i want to talk about and i made some notes while the guys were talking. as i said i'm throwing out what i was going to say. i do want to pick up on some of the important things that my distinguished panel had to say. larry started off by saying there are dramatic shifts in nature, and he mentioned that also we have to change our energy policy. our organization, which is an organization that is applying complex adaptive systems science which is very hard science, to how to transform the negotiation and the diplomacy around the issues in the world that are completely stuck, that are completely at an impasse. and we go in immediately in
>> i have come to this conference last week, i was at the united nations, facilitating on behalf of the prime minister of bhutan. how many of you know where bouton is? yes. so, you know, about the growth of national happiness. this is a system level possibility for change. because if we measure how humans develop or how we progress, in a new way then perhaps they will begin to change our world view and our mental models. when you can measure something, it becomes real. we only measure human
development now as we know, in terms of economic development. that's how we measure progress. until we stop doing that and until we begin to think about, i hate to call it anti-growth, but we've got to stop this unlimited growth paradox. and this perhaps is a system level intervention. the reason that i was at the u.n. last week was bhutan has been playing with this for about, i about, i don't know, 25 years, and they are ready to launch it into the world as, in preparation for rio+20. we haven't talked about the failures of real 20 years ago. a lot of wonderful things happened 20 years ago. i mean, we had negotiated agreements around so-called sustained development. and then nothing happened. here it is 20 years later, we're
getting ready for rio+20, and we need something that is going to push people into action. so this is, so we are trying with the growth national happiness, which is a very sophisticated index of human progress, and development. and hopefully we're going to be able, and i want all of you to help, i'm going to be saying is that every panel i'm on this week, hopefully we'll be able to get this on every agenda at rio, which starts just i think in about eight weeks, it's in june. so i wanted to mention that. so changing energy policy isn't enough. we have to change hearts and minds. and we are trying to figure out how to do this. in the panel that i was on yesterday i got a question from the floor about how do we change hearts and minds, and how can you change the habits and the mindsets of human beings so that
there's a possibility for some kind of profound change? and i said to him, one of the things we're looking at, because i'm a complexity scientist, is meditation and contemporary practice. this is not a question of religion. this is not, this is a question of the fact we can look inside our brains now with our new technology, functional mri, and we can see the parts of the brain that light up when different activities are introduced. and what we know from the contemplative the brain, those people who meditate on a regular basis, which i now believe we should all be doing, is that our changes in the brain that lead us to become, not just more compassionate, but more in touch with the whole, that we are a part of.
which is one of the ways i know that we possibly can come back to nature. so i'm going to be talking on my next panel later today, nuclear disarmament -- i mean it's a nuclear weapons panel. because our organization, our organization brought in, we do a lot of back panel negotiations. we are testing new process and how you transform diplomacy and these tough issues. this was a natural one for us. we brought, we have the luxury and the privilege of bringing in the arena, israelis, the koreans. it was three but one of the things we did was put meditation cushions in the room without saying a word. and delegates from many cultures in our meeting, every break, every lunch break those cushions were filled.
and we never said a word about it. the delegates would come back to the negotiations, and obligations are very open debate. that some of the things we do differently, and they would be renewed. even if it never sat and meditated for 20 minutes in their lives. we never suggested that they do that. so i had to mention that. one of the techniques that we are testing is futures planning. so we are using scenarios building as well, but i think we do it in a little bit different way. what we do is as those delegates, we say please put the victimization that we're all going through, victimization, the present and past a site, and let's just see if we've come up with a future scenario. you pick a time horizon, 10 years, 20, 50 years from now, and force you to think about a positive future. boy, let me tell you. it took two meetings, the third
meeting before the guy could go there. very difficult results to be because we are so trapped in the present, trapped, that's the wrong word to use. but we want to see if it's possible there could be a better future. and so we've been testing that. and then once you go to that positive future and you say well, i don't know if this can happen to but this is what we came up with. then we asked them to say what steps happen to be we go back to the future. what steps happened to get there. that isn't happening now. and that's where the creative thinking finally breaks loose. so i wanted to mention that, and helping developing countries get their futures anymore sustainable way once again with time, i have to say it this time little himalayan kingdom is try to figure this out. there's this light in the world
in terms of this tiny little country, because they are trying. they are really trying hard to do it differently. and they are beginning to succeed. i want, let me know when it out of time, because i'm not looking at my watch. we also talked about this multidisciplinary teams of top experts. i just got a book called here comes everybody, and i'm a big supporter of occupy wall street. i think it's the one thing that's happening to change the paradigm in america right now. the age of, the so-called experts is over. we are all experts now. we all have to come to the table to solve these drones. and leadership emerges everywhere throughout complex systems. they are depressed by hierarchy. because it's still the way the world works. but there's leadership at every
level. at the communities grassroots level, because what top complex scientists say is it's a property of our complex system. so if we can promote a broader leadership, and i know people, a lot of people, especially in the press don't understand this idea of a leaderless self organizing system. this is what's happening now and this is a future where we are going to be able to solve this problem. the expert panel, we mixed experts at our negotiations to people who don't know very much about the issue, artists, writers, poets, psychologists. and that makes a real difference in our negotiations. so finally i wanted to say how grateful i am that the pentagon has discovered that global climate change is a national security issue. it's about time. because you know where the money is, guys.
where's all the money? right, it's right there. so maybe they will start putting some new money into some new ideas for how to address these problems, and they are way ahead because they have the resources, the money to do, way ahead of looking at these scenarios. so thank you so much. i'm just so grateful, and please pay attention to rio+20 and urgent action there, and urge the growth, national happiness to be on the agenda at rio. thank you so much. [applause] >> a huge thank you to our panel. they've given a lot to work with this morning for a real interesting and lively dialogue. before we launch into that, i forgot to introduce myself. i am suzanne jones, and i'm a member of your city councilmember. [applause] spent one of the properties of being a local elected official
is a get to ask this question but let me remind you because we're filming this for c-span, the other asks a question needs to get to the man with a microphone. the man with a microphone will get to you when we get to questions, so i guess what i also want to do, just to start things off is, merle just also very provocative ideas, and i just wanted to give you guys an opportunity to respond, if you would like, since we started out with some heavy-duty kind of depressing science, and ended on a hopeful, we can also this together. and i wanted to allow a little interplay here. >> absolutely. and i think that was tremendously encouraging, because i paid attention to what's been happening in bhutan over, for a while. and the fact that this is now merging with a movement toward sustainability is just tremendous, tremendous development and incredibly encouraging, because my personal
belief is that people actually, despite all the depressing news i just gave you, is that people ask are motivated -- if you want people to move and change, then you should do a positive goal. because scare tactics don't work on people. they just shut down in general. having a positive goal and a vision of a healthier future, which is what we, you know, i will be talking about that on certain panels later this week in terms of the vision we laid out, but it's tremendous to have, to merge this goal of happiness and having meditation as a tool to get their with a large goals of sustainable society. so thank you for that. >> my observation would be an experience that i had, getting back to the notion that we are relying too much of exports and not enough on the average
person. i've been struggling with this notion of answer procedure i can barely pronounce it but i suspect most people can barely covered and what it means. and so on my facebook page i posted a question, and sought advice from the various friends that i had on facebook. with quite a lively discussion about what was a better name for intro posting. we had some really funny names of people came up with it but the one would end up settling on is a boc. because where it is if we allow ourselves our children to go to the next place. without a really serious fight that was with the conclusion i think the we would have done that it would've sat around with a group of scientists with a proper name. but it would like the term. i use it quite often. >> i just want to quickly kind of -- i do think we are trapped with index that we use to
measure human progress but it's not just about money but i think we all agree that exciting figure out how effectively to place the current metric with the gross national happiness index or something a lot like that would just be a spectacular thing. we need to move forward on the. thanks for bringing that up. >> all right, let's turn to questions. >> you, you win the prize. >> you talked about, dan, i need you mentioned that the insurance industry is one of these interests, even a conservative environment, they can acknowledge and recognize that this is impacting them economically. you can draw together from the 2011 worst year in history that there is a financial impact. there is a, tied together
between the ramifications of this and business comment and economy. and injured in turn is -- took extrapolate models that will allow them to determine what those economic cost will be, how to make exceptions and change and ready methodology and he claims people in the field quicker to mitigate faster. i know this happens in other industries, and energy, supply chain. isn't there a way in which we can almost fight fire with fire a little bit, work towards maybe using some of these new technological tools to extrapolate the economic impacts? and talked in terms of the way that our government sees things today, and that paradigm as we move toward something, maybe happiness, pro-domestic goods in some way, like a quantifiable positive versus negative lead you to look at by using something like predictive analytics. couldn't you may be move that
model a little further towards the present to be able to say okay, we can take these models and look at the economic long-term across all these different impacts, and bring that to the table? >> let me try to respond to that, if i may. one of the things that happen and the climate debate was we kept talking about the cost of addressing climate pollution, but the opposition that really constraints are talking about the benefits. as a look at economics and looking at the cost without the benefit doesn't make much sense. we left -- one of the things the national federation is in or as we are working with the reinsurance industry to actually read to our federal flood insurance program it was a disaster because it does not consider actuarial costs. and fax i'm flying out there is happening heading to florida to talk more about this as impacts florida the state of florida has had such severe flooding and storms in recent years that they
can't the insurance industry can't afford to play there anymore because it's too expensive in certain areas in florida. so the state of florida has decided in its wisdom that it would take up the insurance, reinsurance business was going to underwrite the insurance. the problem with it is they can't afford to do that. it's a terrible way of allocating risk and it's headed for a complete collapse at some point when they get a bad storm. so we are going to try to make the point in florida that they need to understand their state insurance program with actuarial insurance standards, and actually open it up to a private sector risk distribution. that needs to happen. it's one of the ways that we begin to put the real cost on the table, but i can say for certain the reinsurance industry gets the climate changes, the real up-and-coming threat. if you look at some of the papers they publish, their talk about a 1% increase every year in damage, in cost to the
reinsurance industry which will ultimately come back to all of us. so we are paying an increasing interest rates as result of damage that is occurring now. that assumes there will not be a dramatic shift in storm events. so we are betting on a gradual 1% at least a year, but that may, in fact, not be real itse itself. >> you mentioned predictive analytics, and i'm not entirely familiar with some of the analytics of the insurance but what i do know about this one of the things michael author worked on which is catastrophe modeling. and he worked a lot with the insurance industry. to better predict the kind of extreme events, and insurance as you know, it's all about rejecting risk and pricing properly. that's the whole business model. so that's one thing i wanted to mention to another sort of bigger picture in terms of having a positive view economically, if i could boil down what you're saying, i think
that's what you're asking, is there a positive vision that we could move towards. it's also a bit dated now from six, seven years ago, but if you're familiar with the stern review, he was a chief economist and put together a major economic report in 2005. the punchline is by investing 1% of the global gnp, global gnp, you end up preventing much more damage down the road, and 1% something that we as a world couldn't afford them and can still afford. so the investment that we need to make is not overwhelming. we can do it. that sort of a bigger picture beyond the insurance industry. i want to make one more point, which is, and the more the insurance industry advocates, the better. i think the reinsurance industry has really been fairly strong in
advocating, even though it is a conservative culture. they know about this and that working at this. but the associations of insurance companies, i don't get the impression that they are pushing for climate action as much as the reinsurers are. i could be wrong. they may change the last few years, so correct me. one thing that the insurance industry could do and has historical done, but a positive role in society, is pushed rules and regulations and laws that reduce risk. for example, the insurers, we have fire safety codes in, building codes, reasons for things like seatbelts. i mean, those are things that insurers have always been for because it's in their business interest to do so. so if the insurance industry as a whole, which is one of the world's largest industries, and i think the world's largest, massive, could take a more
active role and really advocate a look at the big picture and advocate for strong climate action, well, you are protecting your own interest going forward. if you want to have a business in 40 years, because florida? in my comments and point things become uninsurable. and the flood insurance example is a great example of that. and if things become uninsurable, in the market shrugs, right? so the insurers have a very strong interest in pushing for strong climate action and move towards sustainability, so i would certainly encourage anyone in the industry, and people know a lot more about an idea, but but to really push for that. [inaudible] >> couldn't other industries also use the predictive analytics to more quickly ascertain whether long-term costs are going to be in making short-term decisions? it seems like dogma and pure economics, you know, we are
caught in this gridlock, why doesn't, why don't other people look at economics in a long-term fashion like that? >> i think we're onto something here. i think about the insurance industry also. but i also know that we are in a nonlinear present and future. i don't know about predictive analytics but i do know something about nonlinear mathematics, because i worked, not that i'm a mathematician but i worked with nonlinear mathematicians for four years. you cannot predict what's going to happen. and if we continue to think that we can, we have new patterns emerging now. i sometimes call the science complexity, the science of emergency, and sometimes i call it the science of surprise. and abrupt climate change would be one of those. this is something that no one can predict because the patterns
are emerging now and we've never seen these patterns before. so if we can let go a little bit about the need, as human beings, once again, change our mental model, our need to control and predict, we may come up with new ideas if we keep focusing on the. on prediction. i think we're going to loose the opportunity for some creative thinking together thing i want to say that is either true with you that the insurance industry, business, worldwide can be a catalyst for other business in pushing ways to make ourselves safer in this new climate paradigm. and that's one of the ways that people can change their habits. we talked about fastening seatbelts, for example. that's a huge change for people. so that's federal i think of the insurance industry, and could be a catalyst and a pioneer for the rest of businesses. but trying to use analytic grid
you can methods i think will fail. >> mary? >> i have a couple of questions. the first one is about, i'm wondering why the population predictions remain the same, despite the projections for more disasters, and more infectious diseases. so that's my first question. and my second question has to do with how do we overcome the barriers to contemplation when we have so much standing in the way, such as the earbuds and cell phones and all these other distractions. so those are my two questions? >> who wants to tackle the first one. come on, you science people. >> this is totally from a non-science perspective, but the idea that our population is
going to go to 9 billion has been a modeling done by the u.n. and others. you know, i think getting back to this notion that we may not be fully aware of what's in store for us, we may see that number change either up or down depending on wrapped catastrophic events, or changing behavior as we stabilize populations or aggressively, in light of changing climatic and world conditions. so, you know, i've seen in my lifetime when i was born, we have a three-point peoples on the planet, now we are 7 billion people. so in my lifetime i've seen more than doubling of the population. so there's this incredible engine out there that is pushing the number of words, and because we were able to find food and improve the conditions of people around the world, we've seen an acceleration and also provide medical treatment around the world. we have seen a real change.
i don't put a lot of weight in that 9 billion, but if you believe that we're going to be seeing an increase on that, and that's as much as i can say at this point. we will learn more as we go for but i think there's a fun a mental shift that we need to ultimately realized that this planet, about 40% of the total energy from photosynthetic process is going into human population. so we are now gobbling up more and more of the natural reserves of this planet, less and less is being left behind for other species. i think that's more fundamental high level question to be asking. how far can humans go before we start to collapse the entire system? how much land can we devote to agriculture, to aggressive forest management and that sort of thing without disrupting the fundamental fibers of the ecosystems of the planet. >> let me take a stab at the
second, your second question, the second part. >> there was a second caution about how only going to get people to be contemplative? and there are all kinds of ways to do this. you can do this, hiking the flatirons. that's a form of meditation. we have to get the earbuds out of, yeah, out of our ears for a little while and to get off the commuters for a little while. i just, for me, it's a part of daily life like brushing my teeth. so i think if he becomes habitual, it becomes something that is easier to do. harder for kids, harder for kids, but in the science world the fact that this helps kids down regulate, is the term they use, from all the things that are coming at them all the time in their daily lives is very helpful for changing behavior.
so we keep on trying as gently as again. and by the way, i have six grandchildren in boulder. i don't live here, but i was very touched by larry's story about the birth of his first grandchild, and i think about my six grandchildren in boulder all the time and what the future is going to be like. and i'm grateful that they live in a place where people meditate. >> i've wanted, reflecting on the question about earbuds and technology and all the advances. i was reminded, certainly so much of what's happened in the arab spring has been enabled by the use of those very technologies. don't know if you're using earbuds to do all they can step but it has been a powerful catalyst for positive change. they are not always, of course, but just has tremendous potential to move, to use those
approaches to move beyond the expert-based systems, right, which in some cases kept people down. but in that example, it was all about the nonexperts, the people, younger people in many cases, picking up relating to one another and really moving forward, a pretty powerful change. i don't know if it will apply into space we're discussing it or not but it's been a great thing in the world. spent i which is why, that's a great point i just wanted to add one small point to the, which is that the idea of crowd sourcing solutions to problems has really caught on. in science and in other fields. and it's catching on. and has had some pretty amazing successes. just one example i wrote about a few months ago, scientists have tried to determine the structure of a protein, from the hiv virus, for a long time. and hadn't been successful eve