BILL MOYERS: This week on Moyers & Company…

ANTHONY LEISEROWITZ: The Earth’s climate does not care whether you are a Democrat or a Republican. It doesn’t care whether you’re liberal or conservative. Climate change will affect all Americans no matter what your political beliefs, your religious beliefs, your race, class, creed, et cetera, okay. And in the end, the only way we’re going to deal with this issue is if we come together as a country and have a serious conversation, not about is it real. But what can we do about it.

BILL MOYERS: And, the NRA and the big business of gun violence.

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BILL MOYERS: Welcome. So as you know, we avoided the cliff, at least for the moment. But only for the moment. A bigger Grand Canyon looms ahead, in about two months, as the government reaches its debt ceiling and can’t borrow any more money. President Obama wants to lift that ceiling. The Republicans don’t. And it appears we’re heading for another “Thelma and Louise” ride to the edge. Remember – they went over.

We’ll discuss that possibility next week with Paul Krugman, the Nobel Laureate in economics and New York Times columnist whose bestselling book, End This Depression Now! calls for full employment as an alternative to austerity. Read it, then send us the question you would like me to put to Paul Krugman.

Meanwhile, another reality beckons and there’s a menace more threatening than the fiscal cliff ever was. What should really be scaring the daylights out of us -- the crisis which could make all the others irrelevant -- is global warming. Get this one wrong and it’s over -- not just for the USA, but for planet Earth. That’s the message delivered by Hurricane Sandy, and by almost all the extreme weather of the past two years.

And here in the first month of the New Year, it’s the message from the most informed scientists in the world. They’re scared, for real. And they say that unless we slow the release of global emissions from fossil fuels, slow it enough to keep the planet’s temperature from rising by two degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, the earth’s polar ice sheets will melt away -- with catastrophic consequences.

Time’s running out. Not one, but two major scientific reports in the last few weeks have concluded that the rapid increase in fossil fuel emissions makes that increase of two degrees Celsius all but inevitable. This headline in the National Journal spells it out: It's Already Too Late to Stop Climate Change.

Yet as the clock ticks away and warnings mount, official Washington irresponsibly continues to look the other way. And so does the Beltway press – as demonstrated in that Town Hall debate last fall when CNN’s Candy Crowley almost – almost -- asked Barack Obama and Mitt Romney about global warming.

CANDY CROWLEY on CNN: Climate change, I had that question, all you climate change people, we just, you know again, we knew the economy was still the main thing so you knew you kind of wanted to go with the economy.

BILL MOYERS: And so she veered away, avoiding the issue as if global warming is of concern only to a small clique of elites instead of every one of us. And so for the first time since 1984 there was no mention of climate change in any of the presidential debates. No mention as that clock ticks away and the warnings mount.

Why isn’t this planetary emergency on every politician’s mind? Why are any of us still silent? Those questions prompted me to ask Anthony Leiserowitz to join me at this table. He’s director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and a research scientist at Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

He’s a geographer by training, with a specialty in human behavior, the psychology of risk perception and decision making -- an expert on the public’s perception of climate change and whether people are willing to change their behavior to make a difference. He has said, quote, “You almost couldn't design a problem that is a worse fit with our underlying psychology."

Tony Leiserowitz, welcome.

ANTHONY LEISEROWITZ: Oh thank you, Bill, it's great to be here.

BILL MOYERS: What did you mean that we almost couldn't design a problem that is a worse unfit with our underlying psychology? What did you mean by that?

ANTHONY LEISEROWITZ: Well, look, as human beings we are exquisitely attuned to what's happening in our immediately environment and what we can see around us and what literally touches us physically.

If you're walking through the woods and you hear the crack of a stick behind you, your body immediately goes into a fear response, a fight or flight response. Climate change isn't that kind of a problem. It's not an immediate, visceral threat.

And I can say right now, this very day we can look out the window and there's CO2, carbon dioxide, pouring out of tailpipes, pouring out of buildings, pouring out of smokestacks. And yet we can't see it, it's invisible.

The fundamental causes of this global problem are invisible to us. And likewise the impacts are largely invisible to us as well unless you know where to look. So it's a problem that first of all we can't see. And secondly it's a problem that is seemingly faceless. It's not like terrorists who we can imagine who are coming after us trying to kill us and challenge our fundamental values. It’s a problem that we can’t see, that’s going to have long term impacts that aren’t going to just impact us now, but impact us into the future; impact our children and our grandchildren.

BILL MOYERS: But you've seen the stories: 2012 the hottest year on record; 2011 carbon dioxide emissions the highest on record; Arctic sea ice shrank to a record low; the world's largest trees are dying at an alarming rate, I could go on and on. These are signs and signals, are they not?

ANTHONY LEISEROWITZ: They are. And, in fact, 2011 was an all-time record year in the United States, for example. We had 14 individual climate and weather related disasters that each cost this country more than $1 billion. That was an all-time record, blew away previous records. And in 2012 we had events ranging from the summer-like days in January in Chicago with people out on the beach, clearly not a normal occurrence, an unusually warm spring, record setting searing temperatures across much of the lower 48, one of the worst droughts that America has ever experienced, a whole succession of extreme weather events. And I haven't even gotten to Hurricane Sandy yet.


ANTHONY LEISEROWITZ: And the real question is at what point do we put on the brakes? So let me just use a simplifying analogy here. In some ways this issue is kind of like we're in a car driving through a very dark night, there’re kids in the back, they're not buckled.

We're fiddling with the radio, we're probably eating something at the same time and we're passing warning signs that are saying, "Curvy road up ahead. Mountain road up ahead. Be careful, there are landslides.” And yet we're going probably 70 miles an hour and our foot is on the accelerator.

So the real question is we are going to hit this patch of really rocky road. It's there up ahead of us. We're not exactly sure how soon we're going to get there, but it's coming. The question is do we start applying the brake?

There's a big difference between entering that stretch of road at ten miles an hour where even if we have an accident it'll be, you know, just bumps and bruises and a little body damage perhaps versus hitting that same stretch of road at 70 miles an hour.

BILL MOYERS: Here's the problem with that as I see it. The global accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers has warned that even if we doubled our current rate of reducing carbon emissions we would still be facing six degrees of warming, an almost intolerable situation, by the end of this century. Now the driver of that car with her children in the backseat hurtling down the road, not paying attention to the signs, is hardly going to put on the brakes because they heard about a report from the global accounting firm PricewaterhouseCooper.

ANTHONY LEISEROWITZ: That's right. It is about the warning signs. But here’s one of the real dilemmas, is that we've done a really good job at helping people understand that there is this thing called climate change. Almost all Americans have at least heard of it. But we've in our own work showed that in fact there is no single public. There are multiple publics within the United States. In fact, what we've identified are six Americas.

BILL MOYERS: Six Americas?

ANTHONY LEISEROWITZ: Six different Americas that each respond to this issue in very different ways and need different kinds of information about climate change to become more engaged with it. So the first group that we've identified is a group we call the alarmed. It's about 16 percent of the public. These are people who think it's happening, that it's human caused, that it's a serious and urgent problem and they're really eager to get on with the solutions.

But they don't know what those solutions are. They don't know what they can do individually and they don't know what we can do collectively as a society to deal with it. We haven't done a very good job of explaining what we can do. Then comes a group that we call the concerned. This is about 29 percent of the public. These are people that think okay, it's happening, it's human caused, it's serious, but they tend to think of it as distant.

Distant in time, that the impacts won't be felt for a generation or more and distant in space, that this is about polar bears or maybe small island countries, not the United States, not my state, not my community, not my friends and family or the people and places that I care about. So they believe this is a serious problem, but they don't see it as a priority.

Then comes a group, about a quarter of the public that we call the cautious. These are people who are kind of still on the fence, they're trying to make up their mind. Is it happening, is it not? Is it human, is it natural? Is it a serious risk or is it kind of overblown? So they're paying attention but really just haven't made up their mind about it yet. They need to be just engaged in some of the basic facts of climate change.

Then comes a group, about eight percent of the public that we call the disengaged. They've heard of global warming, but they don't know anything about it. They say over and over, "I don't know anything about the causes, I don't know anything about the consequences. I don't know anything about the potential solutions." So for them it's really just basic awareness that they need to be engaged on. Two last groups, one is we call the doubtful, it's about 13 percent of the public. These are people who say, "Well, I don't think it's happening, but if it is, it's natural, nothing humans had anything to do with and therefore nothing we can do anything about."

So they don't pay that much attention, but they're predisposed to say not a problem. And then last but not least, 8 percent of Americans are what call the dismissive. And these are people who are firmly convinced it's not happening, it's not human caused, it's not a serious problem and many are what we would lovingly call conspiracy theorists. They say it's a hoax. It's scientists making up data, it's a UN plot to take away American sovereignty and so on.

Now, that's only eight percent. But they're a very well mobilized, organized and loud eight percent. And they've tended to dominate the public square, okay. So here you have these six totally different audiences that need completely different types of information and engagement to deal with this issue. So one of the first tasks, and you know this as a communicator as well as I do, one of the first rules of effective communication is, “know thy audience.”

If you don't know who your audience is it's kind of like playing darts in a crowded room with the lights off. You might hit the target sometimes, but most times you're going to miss. And unfortunately too often you're going to do collateral damage. You're actually going to hit somebody by mistake and cause a backlash.

So you know, this is why if we were to do a true engagement campaign in this country we would need to recognize that there are very different Americans who need to be engaged in very different ways who have different values and who trust different messengers.

BILL MOYERS: Assume that I'm a skeptic. Not only a skeptic but a Tea Party Republican who goes to church every Sunday where my beloved pastor tells me that, reassures me that God created the earth 6,000 years ago and that if God wants to end the earth God will on God's terms, that this is out of our control. If you were sitting across from a good, disciplined believer like that, what argument would you make to me?

ANTHONY LEISEROWITZ: Well, the first thing I would do is I would listen, I would really listen. Because I'd want to know really what are the depths of, not just their concerns about this issue, but what are their aspirations? What do they want for their children? What do they want for their grandchildren? What kind of community do they want to live in? What are the values that really animate and motivate them?

And I would try to find some way to then meet them where they are first. So let’s just take the religious side. There are wonderful activities going on by all of the world's major religions right now including the evangelical churches to say this is a moral and religious issue, okay.

From our worldview, from our standpoint, this is crucial both because we were commanded by God in Genesis to till and tend the garden, to care for his creation which when he created he kept telling us, "It is good." Okay, it is our responsibility they would say to take care of his creation, and that the kinds of things that we are currently doing to the planet are essentially violating that promise.

But moreover, we're also seeing the theme of social justice, that we've been commanded, they would say, to take care of the least of these: the poor, the sick, the powerless both in our own country and around the world. And many churches, in fact, have invested enormous resources, I mean, sending their young people abroad to do great works to try to help people who desperately need that help.

Their argument would be how can we in good conscience ignore a problem that's just going to push millions of more people around the world into those exact same kinds of circumstances we're trying to help them with, okay. So all I'm saying is that the faith community itself is not monolithic, it isn't homogenous. And it too is trying, currently, struggling to make sense of this new issue and what is the role of religious faith in answering it.

BILL MOYERS: What do you say to the secularist?

ANTHONY LEISEROWITZ: I say let's engage on the science. Let me hear what your arguments are and then let's respond to them. And I would ask in turn that you listen to what the scientific community has to say. It's perfectly fine to have a great conversation with many people about the science itself because the science is so robust at this point. I mean, we have basically known for over 20 years now that, and it actually boils down, for all the complexity of the science it's really quite simple.

It's real, okay, climate change is real. It is mostly human caused this time. There have been climate changes over many millions of years in the past that had nothing to do with human beings. This time it's mostly being caused by our activities. Third, it's going to be bad. In fact, it's bad now and it's going to get worse.

Fourth, there's hope, that there are lots of solutions already on the table that are in fact already being implemented in this country, communities all across this country as well as around the world. There's an enormous amount of work that we can do right now with things that we have in hand.

And then last but not least, what we also know is that many Americans don't understand this one last crucial fact, and that is that the vast majority of the experts, the people who study this day in, day out for a living agree that it's happening, that it's human caused and that's going to be serious.

BILL MOYERS: How, then, do you reconcile the religious and secularist imperatives?

ANTHONY LEISEROWITZ: Well, it really actually boils down to this fundamental question of what is the proper relationship between human beings and the natural world, okay? That is really at the heart of it, what our challenge is in this century. Are we going to live in a world where we believe that we have mastery, domination over this planet, where it is basically a stockpile of resources for us to use and to use as quickly and rapidly as possible to give us all the things that we like?

Or do we have deeper responsibilities to the life of this planet? Because in fact species, ecosystems are not just inert warehouses of resources. They have evolved along with human beings. Our own evolution itself is inseparable from the climate system, the biophysical world and the other species that we ride on this rock with.

What is our responsibility to them? And I think one of the most interesting things that comes out of science that challenges some of our long held cultural beliefs that somehow human beings are fundamentally different than the natural world is the recognition that at root, when you look at the DNA, we are kin, okay? You and I share a lot of genetic material with a tree, other animals, with fish, and so on.

We are literally relatives, okay. That is an idea that we haven't even really begun to process as a complete culture. What does that really mean when you understand that we are inseparable in that way? We are descendants of the same lines of other animals and plants on this planet. Does that change the way you perceive your relationship with the rest of the world?

BILL MOYERS: So why isn't the message getting through?

ANTHONY LEISEROWITZ: Well, one, the volume has been really low, okay. So that's one side, and we've done media analysis as an example. The media plays an enormously important agenda setting role in this. Because, again this is an invisible problem to most of us. The only way we know about this is because of what we've learned through the media. As a normal American I don't know a climate scientist, I don't read the peer review literature. I only know about this issue because of what, excuse me, you, the media, tell me about it.

And so when the media doesn't report it it's literally out of sight and out of mind. And we've seen that this issue gets just a tiny proportion of the news haul. Of all the stories that the media focuses on every year climate change is miniscule. And in fact, even the environment as a category never gets above say 1 or at most 2 percent of total news coverage.

But it's not just the amount of media coverage. It's also the fact that there's been a very active disinformation campaign that's been going on for many years, it's very well documented, that was primarily, certainly originally and still to this day, driven by fossil fuel company interests who are the world's most profitable companies. I mean, they're very happy, thank you very much, with the status quo, okay?

BILL MOYERS: So what are they saying in this disinformation campaign?

ANTHONY LEISEROWITZ: Well, historically this has been the key strategy all along and in fact it's a strategy that was lifted explicitly directly out of the tobacco wars.

Which is make people think that the science is still unsettled. And if my perception is that the experts are still arguing over whether the problem exists, as a layperson my tendency is to say, "Well, you know, I'll let them figure it out. And you know, I'll take this as, much more seriously once they've reached their conclusion." Okay, so that has been the primary message. That has been the primary strategy of that disinformation campaign is to get people to believe that the experts do not agree.

BILL MOYERS: There's something else that has come through and I saw it, we all saw it I think, throughout the campaign last year, the argument that we can't do anything about climate change that the experts are urging us to do and keep our economy growing. What's the argument to respond to that?

ANTHONY LEISEROWITZ: Well, I'll tell you, that it's a myth. It's a false choice. It's a zero sum game. You either can grow the economy or you can protect the environment, okay. So I changed the question, and I've been doing this now for several years. I said, okay, here's the question: do you believe that protecting the environment harms the economy and costs jobs, has no impact on the economy or jobs, or actually grows the economy and improves jobs?

Okay, and what do we find? An overwhelming majority of America, now, I'm talking like two thirds of Americans, say that it either has no impact or it actually improves the economy. In fact, that's the most frequently chosen answer is that most Americans don't see this as an inherent contradiction.

BILL MOYERS: What you're saying is that a big powerful industry controls or affects the outcomes of perception in this country disproportionately to what most people think?

ANTHONY LEISEROWITZ: That's right. And in part they're able to do that because this issue is a low level issue, because we don't talk about it and because there is no what we call issue public on the other side.

BILL MOYERS: What do you mean?

ANTHONY LEISEROWITZ: Okay, so an issue public is basically an organized social movement that demands change, okay. And we're very familiar with this term. It's the pro or anti-immigration movement or the pro-gun control or the anti-gun control movement--

BILL MOYERS: The Civil Rights movement--

ANTHONY LEISEROWITZ: The Civil Rights movement.

BILL MOYERS: --the Suffragette movement, women's rights, you've got to be organized.

ANTHONY LEISEROWITZ: Absolutely. You've got to be organized. And what we see, remember that 16 percent I identified as the alarmed? Again people who are very concerned and think this is an urgent problem, but they feel relatively isolated and alone. They say, "I feel this way, some of my friends and family feel this strongly." But they have no sense that they're part of over 40 million Americans that feel just as strongly as they do.

They've never been properly organized, mobilized and directed to demand change. And I mean, that's what the political system ultimately responds to. If you basically have a vacuum of people who are demanding change, and I don't mean that truly. I mean, there are of course many great organizations that have been advocating for change for a long time. But it hasn't been a broad based citizens movement demanding change. In that situation a relatively small but well-funded and vocal community that says no can absolutely win the day.

BILL MOYERS: As you know twice in the last 20 years the country's tried to take, the government's tried to take a big step forward, under the Clinton administration and then under the first year of the Obama administration. And each time the Senate killed it.

ANTHONY LEISEROWITZ: Yeah. But the key thing there is that each time both the Clinton administration and the Obama administration tried to do this it was essentially a top-down, inside the beltway strategy. We are going after and trying to cajole and convince and persuade the members of the Senate and the House to pass this legislation without first engaging the broad public and building a citizens movement, a issue public as I talked about before that was actually demanding change. Because in the end politicians care about their job.

And if they don't feel like there's a political price to pay for opposing action on climate change or alternatively a political opportunity to be had by being a leader on this issue, it's very easy for them to say, "You know what? I've got a lot of other things here on my plate to deal with. I've got lots of lobbyists coming into my office as well as people back home saying, 'Do this, do that, do this.' And it's not climate change." So until they feel that they have to act many of them probably won't. And in fact, almost you couldn't find a worse problem that fits with our current political institutions, okay. Because this is a long term problem, okay. Our government is run on two-year cycles, four-year cycles or six-year cycles. Our businesses are essentially run on three-month cycles, what is the next shareholder report going to tell you, okay?

Those time frames of decision making lead to decisions that are profitable or best in the short run but do not adequately address these long term creeping problems that turn out to be much worse when they are allowed to fester. And it's not just climate change. It's the health care problem, it's the entitlements issue, it's debt and deficits. All of these are not things that suddenly happened in the space of a couple months.

These are long term problems that people were warning about years and years ago and yet we didn't respond back when the problem was relatively small and relatively easy to fix. Instead we have this tendency because of this short term myopic focus to put those kinds of problems on the back burner until they become so big it requires much more wrenching change to try to deal with them.

BILL MOYERS: So if the president asks you to suggest what he should say, to send him a draft of what he should say about climate change in his upcoming State of the Union message, what would you urge him to do?

ANTHONY LEISEROWITZ: I would ask him to do two things. One is to say I have consulted with the nation's leading climate scientists including the National Academy of Sciences which exists to guide the nation on science and science policy. And they all tell me, all of them tell me that this is real, that it's human caused, it's a serious problem but that we have the solutions in hand to do it. So, one, I would want him to carry that message.

But the second thing I would like to hear him say is that this issue has to stop being a partisan issue. The climate -- the earth's climate does not care whether you are a Democrat or a Republican. It doesn't care whether you're liberal or conservative. Sandy did not only destroy the homes of Democrats and not Republicans.

The terrible drought that has gripped the Great Plains and our nation's bread basket has not only gone after liberal farmers and ranchers, it's gone after all of us. The point is that climate change will affect all Americans no matter what your political beliefs, your religious beliefs, your race, class, creed, et cetera, okay. And in the end the only way we're going to deal with this issue is if we come together as a county and have a serious conversation not about is it real, but what can we do about it, okay. And I think that the effort to try to de-politicize this issue so it doesn't just become this knee-jerk-- identity politics: I'm a Democrat, therefore I believe in climate change, I'm a Republican, therefore I think climate change is a hoax. This is crazy, okay. I mean, again the climate system doesn't care.

BILL MOYERS: But the realists in politics will say that that's unrealistic, in fact former Republican congressman Sherwood Boehlert has said that the best way for this to happen is if a Republican comes up with a proposed solution. If Obama does it, it won't happen. But if some Republicans start the conversation and make the first proposal, that's the only way we're going to have not only the conversation you're calling for, but action on change.

ANTHONY LEISEROWITZ: And I totally agree with that.

BILL MOYERS: So why can't we get the Republican Party to see what you have been talking about?

ANTHONY LEISEROWITZ: I think basically the Republican Party has reached the conclusion themselves that they are appealing to the dismissive wing of their own base. I mean, it's actually quite remarkable when you look back over the history of this. I mean, remember the figure in the U.S. Senate who repeatedly put forward the nation's best and most sophisticated answers to the climate challenge for many years was Senator John McCain.

The nominee of the Republican Party was the premier architect of responding to climate change. How far things have changed in the past four years where we ended up in the primaries of-- the Republican primaries of 2012 and we found that all of them, with the one exception of John Huntsman, were calling into question the basic reality of the problem itself. Were basically saying in some cases saying that it was a hoax, okay. This is a remarkable turn for the party itself.

And you know -- and what we're seeing of course right now is that in the aftermath of the loss of 2012 -- Republicans are beginning to look inward and they're trying to say, "Where have we gone wrong? Where are our new opportunities to engage the public?" Immigration is one of those issues that they're beginning to say, "Maybe it's time to change our position." Climate change could be another of those.

Because it's one of the ways that they can appeal back to the middle. Our own work, we found that Independents are much more like Democrats on their beliefs about climate change than they are Republicans. So if Republicans want a way back, this is one of the ways that they could do it. And there's actually a historical precedent.

We used to have a huge acid rain problem in this country. We created essentially a cap and trade system where we capped the amount of sulfur dioxide being emitted from these smokestacks, brought that cap down over years and allowed companies to sell their emission rights between each other. So a company that was really good at reducing their emissions could sell that remaining block to another company that needed more time.

It was one of the most successful programs in American history. It was put on the table and passed by a Republican president, the first George Bush, Bush Sr. And it solved the problem or it largely solved the problem at a cost far below what even the best estimates at the time were. We know that these kind of policies can work. It was a Republican idea, okay.

And so the irony of it is that the Republican Party has walked away from even one of their best ideas, one of their best proven ideas that really worked. So the question is how can we bring Republicans back to the table and say, "That's ours, we own that. This is our contribution to solving the problem. And in fact, we think our principles and our solutions are better than yours."

BILL MOYERS: So I'm Speaker of the House John Boehner and I ask you to come see me and I say I want to do what you're suggesting. Give me the sound bites a real conservative can use.

ANTHONY LEISEROWITZ: I think there are a couple things. One is they need to look at the threat, okay. So as an example could we think in a different way about climate change as a threat to our freedoms, okay? Climate change itself is a threat to our freedoms.

BILL MOYERS: To our freedoms?

ANTHONY LEISEROWITZ: Sure. If you're a rancher or a farmer in the Great Plains today, your freedom is enormously constrained by the fact that you're in the midst of a two-year severe drought, okay. You don't get to choose what you're going to plant. You don't get to choose what cows you're going to slaughter. In fact, we've just seen in Texas in the past year two million head of cow, cattle are no longer in Texas, they had to move them out because they couldn't provide the food and forage and water for them because of that drought. That's not freedom, okay. You are literally not able to do the thing that you were raised and that you believe in as part of your culture because the climate has changed.

BILL MOYERS: You got me on that one. What's another one?

ANTHONY LEISEROWITZ: Another side though is the opportunity side. First of all, political opportunity which is perhaps the language that most touches them directly, and that is that they've now lost two national elections, okay. And that hurts. I'm sure it hurts. They need to find a new way back to the middle of this country, okay.

Now, there’s an active debate happening within the Republican Party right now between, “perhaps our problem is that we weren't pure enough,” okay-- I mean, we hear those voices on the right who were saying, you know, Mitt Romney was really just a liberal in disguise, that we didn't make a stark enough choice, and that what we need is purification, we need to become true, you know, even take this party farther to the right versus those that are in the middle that are saying there is no pathway to political success unless you can reach this new America that is quickly emerging: Hispanics, minorities, young people, women who voted in record numbers not just in 2008 but in 2012.

And if we ever want to be able to succeed at the national level again we have to find a way to appeal back to these new voters who are not responding to these far right messages, okay. So there's enormous political opportunity. We'll see where the Republican Party decides to move.

BILL MOYERS: And that brings me to a survey you took part in, you and your colleagues at Yale took part in with the Gallup group globally, the worldwide group that studies public opinion.

ANTHONY LEISEROWITZ: Yeah, this is the Gallup world poll. It's the first every scientific quality survey conducted in 130-plus countries around the world. It's a remarkable scientific achievement. And one of the things that it taught us right from the very beginning that to be honest surprised me, four out of ten people on planet Earth have never heard of climate change.

BILL MOYERS: Forty percent?

ANTHONY LEISEROWITZ: Forty percent. And in fact, when you look in particular countries, even countries that are kind of poster child countries for climate change like Bangladesh, it rises to two-thirds of people have never heard of climate change. In some countries it's 75 percent have never heard of climate change.

Now, this doesn't mean however that they're not observing acutely the change that are happening in their local systems. They are. What they lack is the concept of climate chance to make sense of the observations, the changes they're seeing in local temperature and precipitation patterns and so on, as well as the understanding of here's what this means going forward.

How do we use this new information to change the decisions we're making now, the kind of crops we plant, the kinds of cities we build, where we site a hospital, you know, do we build next to the coast? I mean, these societies are making enormous, you know, decades long investments, infrastructure investments, and often doing so without thinking about climate change as part of that decision making process. So globally we see that there's an enormous need even for the building of basic awareness of the problem.

BILL MOYERS: There was a destructive typhoon in the Philippines recently as you know that killed over a thousand people, caused massive damage and left over a million people displaced. And as fate would have it at that very time delegates from around the world were meeting in Doha for the climate change conference. And the representative from the Philippines, while there hearing about this typhoon back in his home made this very impassioned plea.

YEB SANO: There is massive and widespread devastation back at home. Hundreds of thousands of people have been rendered homeless, and the ordeal is far from over. Madame Chair, we have never had a typhoon like Bopha, which just wreaked havoc in a part of the country which has never seen a storm like this in half a century. And I am making an urgent appeal, not as a negotiator, not as a leader of my delegation, but as a Filipino. I appeal to the whole world. I appeal to the leaders from all over the world to open our eyes to the stark reality that we face. I appeal to ministers. The outcome of our work is not about what our political masters want. It is about what is demanded of us by seven billion people. I appeal to all – please, no more delays, no more excuses. Please let Doha be remembered as the place where we found the political will to turn things around. And let 2012 be remembered as the year the world found the courage to do so. To find the courage to take responsibility for the future we want. I ask of all of us here, if not us then who? If not now, then when? If not here, then where?

BILL MOYERS: Were you there?


BILL MOYERS: Was anyone really listening to him?

ANTHONY LEISEROWITZ: Absolutely, people were listening to them. But what I think is particularly important about what he said is the world needs to open its eyes.

These events are no longer abstractions. They're no longer talking about what's going to happen in 2050 or in 2100. Again this pervasive sense up to now has been that climate change is distant, distant in time, and distant in space. And what we're now beginning to see is that it's not so distant. It's not just future generations. It's us and it's our own children. I have a nine-year-old son. He's going to be my age in the year 2050. I don't want him to live in the world that we're currently hurtling towards.

BILL MOYERS: Describe that world for me as you can see it.

ANTHONY LEISEROWITZ: Currently we are scheduled, unless we change direction to go through the two-degree mark. And in fact, we're heading on towards three degrees, four degrees and perhaps even six degrees centigrade warmer than in the past. As you go things get much, much worse. And in fact, let me just use a simple analogy.

Because people often will say, "Wow, you know, four, five degrees, that doesn't sound like very much. I mean, I see the temperature change more from night to day." But it's the wrong way to think about it. I mean, think about when you get sick and you get a fever, okay. Your body is usually at, you know, 98.7 degrees.

If your temperature rises by one degree you feel a little off, but you can still go to work. You're fine. It rises by two degrees and you're now feeling sick, in fact you're probably going to take the day off because you definitely don't feel good. And in fact, you're getting everything from hot flashes to cold chills, okay.

At three you're starting to get really sick. And at four degrees and five degrees your brain is actually slipping into a coma, okay, you're close to death. I think there's an analogy here of that little difference in global average temperature just like that little difference in global body temperature can have huge implications as you keep going. And so unfortunately the world after two and especially after three degrees starts getting much more frightening, and that's exactly what the scientists keep telling us. But will we pay attention to those warning signs?

BILL MOYERS: What do you think?

ANTHONY LEISEROWITZ: I think we are entirely capable of responding to those warning signs, absolutely. When this country and when this planet puts their minds to do something, they absolutely can do this. And in fact, I often go back to a great old quote by Henry Ford who said, "Those who think they can and those who think they can't are both right."

This is within our power. We have waited however a long time to really engage this issue and to get started. And unfortunately, and this is actually a core American value, it goes back to the founding of this country and it goes back to Benjamin Franklin, one of the leading lights of that time, who said - and every American knows this - "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

A little action now is going to forestall much greater-- the need for much greater action later. And that's exactly the nature of this problem, is that if we delay-- if we wait until we've reached three and four degrees, it's too late. At that point the climate system is locked. It's a massive system. The heat is already in earth's system, it's absorbed in the oceans, it's being absorbed by the ice systems.

It's in the atmosphere, there is no magic vacuum cleaner that's going to suddenly pull the CO2 out and bring our temperatures back to what we consider normal. So that's why it's so imperative that we begin taking these actions now to forestall the worst effects that are going to happen decades to come.

BILL MOYERS: So what ounce of prevention could be taken in this new year, 2013, that would make you think we might be on the right path?

ANTHONY LEISEROWITZ: It's not like we haven't already gotten started. California has done tremendous work already to take action on climate change.

If it was a country it would be one of the leading countries in the world. There are mayors all over this country that are doing tremendous things, companies that are changing their systems and getting the CO2 and its emissions out of their processes because they find it actually makes them more efficient and profitable in the process, citizens all over this country that are doing what they can individually and are starting to engage the political system to demand change.

We're not starting from ground zero, okay. But what we haven't had is the ability to come together as a country and clarify the choice that's in front of us and to really help the broad set of country, those six different Americans I was talking about, engage with this issue and recognize that we as a country and as a planet are facing a fundamental threat, a fundamental challenge to the way of life that we have now and the kind of life that we want to hand on to our children.

Until we start with that conversation it's very hard for me to see how we ultimately lead to the national policies that are going to be required, much less the international policies that are also going to be required. So I think whereas in the past we've treated this as an issue, that we learned about from climate science and that has basically been a few set of political leaders that have tried to impose solutions on this country, on our states, at the world from the top-down, what we have not down is build the bottom up to meet them halfway.

And until we have that bottom-up demand for this issue because it's going to affect every one of us, it absolutely is going to affect us either directly or indirectly through economics, through disease, through foreign challenges in faraway places, the world is now one planet. We are all interconnected in fundamental ways. And so these issues are rising the most deep questions about what it means to be a human being, and what is the right relationship that we have-- and again not just to the planet but to our fellow human beings. Because our choices now are going to have collectively huge implications for the lives of our fellow travelers within the human family on this planet as well.

BILL MOYERS: How did you come to this, to this depth of commitment and passion about this issue?

ANTHONY LEISEROWITZ: Well, it really actually comes down to a key moment actually, an epiphany in my own life. When I graduated from undergraduate school I went and lived in Aspen, Colorado for four years where I worked at the Aspen Global Change Institute.

And I remember there was one day where I went up to my favorite place which is up above this old ghost town called Independence, Colorado. And I was sitting on a mountainside and I noticed all of a sudden, these little wildflowers, these white wildflowers. And they grew in the tundra, these little tundra zones on the tops of these mountains.

And I suddenly realized that these patches of tundra on top of these mountains were the remnants of tundra that used to cover all of the West when the ice sheets retreated 10,000 years ago. And this is where they were left, this was the remaining fragments of that ecosystem. And that they just like islands in the South Pacific that are going to be inundated because of seal level rise, these ecosystems were going to be literally pushed right off the mountaintops because of warming temperatures and climate change.

And I just realized looking around that the forest I was looking at and the animals and the fish and so on, that I had resonated with were also deeply at risk because of the changing climate.

And then I kept looking down the valley and I saw Aspen twinkling down below. And beyond that there was Glenwood Springs and beyond that there was Las Vegas and beyond that there was Los Angeles. And if you could see those there would be these huge clouds of CO2 pouring out of them. And so for me it was really about suddenly the bringing together of my analytical understanding of this issue as an abstract scientific problem with my lived experience in this particular landscape which I love deeply to this day.

And unfortunately now I go back to Colorado and I see the impact, I see what's happened with for instance Pine Bark Beetles that have devastated entire forests of that state and then just this past summer the record setting wildfires that have happened in Colorado.

And I think every American has a place whether it's Colorado or the ocean or the farm or the ranch or the city that they love dearly. And if they can see it they will see how each of these places is uniquely at risk and how the places and the people that we care about are at risk because of this issue.

BILL MOYERS: Tony Leiserowitz, thank you very much for sharing this ideas a new time with us.

ANTHONY LEISEROWITZ: Oh my pleasure Bill, great to be with you.

BILL MOYERS: You may remember that we spoke about guns just a few days before Christmas, following the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. So did Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the National Rifle Association.

WAYNE LAPIERRE: The only way, the only way to stop a monster from killing our kids is to be personally involved and invested in a plan of absolute protection. The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

BILL MOYERS: Listening to LaPierre, my jaw dropped, and it occurred to me that he might well have plagiarized his vision of a wholly armed nation from another “man of the people” of forty years ago, the protagonist in the famous sit-com “All In the Family.” When a local TV station comes out in favor of gun control, Archie Bunker hits the airwaves with a rebuttal, which he watches at home with his family.

ARCHIE BUNKER in All In The Family: Good evening, everybody. This here is Archie Bunker of 704 Hauser Street, veteran of the big war, speaking on behalf of guns for everybody[…]

Now I want to talk about another thing that's on everybody's minds today, and that's your stick-ups and your skyjackings, which, if that were up to me, I could end the skyjackings tomorrow.

MICHAEL 'MEATHEAD' STIVIC in All In The Family: You could?

ARCHIE BUNKER in All In The Family: All you got to do is arm all your passengers. He ain't got no more moral superiority there, and he ain't going to dare to pull out no rod. And then your airlines, they wouldn't have to search the passengers on the ground no more, they just pass out the pistols at the beginning of the trip, and they just pick them up at the end! Case closed.

BILL MOYERS: Case closed. Except that Archie Bunker’s a fictional character, created by Norman Lear, who knew better. Not Wayne LaPierre--he’s real and he means business. Big business. Every time we have another of these mass slayings and speak of gun control, weapon sales go up. And guess what? As the journalist Lee Fang reports in The Nation magazine, “For every gun or package of ammunition sold at participating stores, a dollar is donated to the NRA.”

So naturally, in a country where even life and death are measured by the profit margin, the cure for gun violence becomes, yes, more guns. Bigger profits. Never mind that just before LaPierre spoke, three people were shot and killed outside Altoona, Pennsylvania. Or that early on Christmas Eve morning, in Webster, New York, two volunteer firemen were called to the scene of a fire, then executed by an ex-con who allegedly set the blaze and murdered them with the same kind of assault rifle used against those school kids and their teachers in Newtown. Or that on New Year’s Eve, in Sacramento, California, reportedly in a fight over a spilled drink, a 22-year-old opened fire in a bar, killing two and wounding two others. In fact, in just those few weeks since the Newtown slaughter of the innocent, more than 400 people have died from guns in America. That should boost the last quarter profit margins. So not surprising, the merchants of death are experiencing a happy new year.

We can’t forget. We mustn’t relent. We have to keep talking about this, because Wayne LaPierre and the NRA are insidious and powerful predators. Have you seen the reports in both the Journal of the American Medical Association and The Washington Post of how, 16 years ago, the NRA managed to get Congress to pull funding on gun violence studies at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention? And just two years ago, NRA henchmen even snuck a provision into the Affordable Care Act that prevents doctors from collecting information on their patients’ gun use.

As Wayne LaPierre’s brazen call for an armed populace makes clear, the odds don’t favor common sense. There are always members of Congress willing to do the gun lobby’s bidding as they profess their love of the second amendment and wait like hungry house pets for the next NRA campaign donation.

Every American a gun-toter is a frightening vision of our future. It doesn’t have to be, if only we stop and think about where the Wayne LaPierre’s would take us. That’s what a fellow named Frank James did. He stopped, he thought, he changed directions. He’s a pawn shop owner in Seminole, Florida, his youngest child is six. Frank James told a local ABC station he has decided to stop selling guns.

FRANK JAMES on ABC Local News: It'll probably cause my business to go out of business because it was a big part of it, but I just couldn't live with myself. I thought, wow, this is crazy. As a gun dealer myself, I’m like, yes, we need more gun control. Guns are getting into the wrong hands of the wrong people.

BILL MOYERS: He also said “I’m not going to be a part of it anymore. Conscience wins over making money.” Thank you, Mr. James.

Coming up on Moyers and Company, poet Martín Espada with a litany at the tome of Frederick Douglass.

MARTÍN ESPADA: this is the crossroads of the unimaginable: the tomb of Frederick Douglass, three days after the election.

This is a world spinning away from the gravity of centuries, where the grave of a fugitive slave has become an altar. This is the tomb of a man born as chattel, who taught himself to read in secret, scraping the letters in his name with chalk on wood; now on the anvil-flat stone a campaign button fills the O in Douglass. The button says: Obama.

BILL MOYERS: That’s it for this week. You don’t need a weather man to know which way the wind blows. At our website, there is a lot more to learn about global warming. Our climate change spotlight page is filled with articles, tools, and resources, to enlighten, inform, and help you make a difference. And with this new year of Moyers & Company, I want to thank all of you for getting us to nearly one hundred and fifty thousand fans on Facebook. There’s lots of room for more so, join us. I’ll see you there and I’ll see you here, next time.

Watch By Segment

  • Bill Moyers Essay: The Gun Lobby’s Firepower

    Climate change communication expert Anthony Leiserowitz explains why climate change gets the silent treatment, and what we should do about it.

    Air Date: January 4, 2013
    Bill Moyers Essay: The Gun Lobby’s Firepower
  • Anthony Leiserowitz on Making People Care About Climate Change

    Climate change communication expert Anthony Leiserowitz explains why climate change gets the silent treatment, and what we should do about it.

    Air Date: January 4, 2012
    Anthony Leiserowitz on Making People Care About Climate Change

Ending the Silence on Climate Change

January 4, 2013

Remember climate change? The issue barely came up during the presidential campaigns, and little has been said since. But bringing climate change back into our national conversation is as much a communications challenge as it is a scientific one. Scientist Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, joins Bill to describe his efforts to do what even Hurricane Sandy couldn’t — galvanize communities over what’s arguably the greatest single threat facing humanity. Leiserowitz, who specializes in the psychology of risk perception, knows better than anyone if people are willing to change their behavior to make a difference.

“[A] pervasive sense up to now has been that climate change is distant — distant in time, and distant in space,” Leiserowitz tells Bill. “And what we’re now beginning to see is that it’s not so distant. It’s not just future generations. It’s us and it’s our own children. I have a nine-year-old son — he’s going to be my age in the year 2050. I don’t want him to live in the world that we’re currently hurtling towards.”

Later in the show, in a broadcast essay, Bill reports on how the NRA and gun merchants continue to strong-arm Congress and state legislatures into keeping any and all discussion of sensible gun control off the table.

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  • Anonymous

    Over the years Global warming has been elevated to the status of a religious crusade with the cult of true believers espousing their belief based solely on blind faith. Like most evangelistic causes, even the disclosures of corrupt activity and false claims made by those who choose to call themselves the keepers of the environmental tablets are rejected as tricks by an ever present pollution devil. Fortunately for the rest of us the true intent of this group was made crystal clear when Carbon Credits were first proposed by Tricky Al Gore, the accredited ring master of this circus. As usual, the U.S. Press refused to print the news of Mr. Gore’s association with a British law firm, that bears his name, who were setting up a market for Carbon Credits in Europe with future plans for this country. Considering the outcome of Mr. Gore’s recent business venture Current TV that was just sold to Al Jazeera News Service at a bargain basement price, I think were safe for the near future. Once again the Capitalist profit motive surfaced as the savior of humanity, we’ll sell the right to pollute the environment to the corporate evil doers and that will ultimately make them stop. Hands up, who really thinks that they won’t pass the cost of these credits down the chain to the consumer, $6.00 a gallon gasoline and doubling of electric rates in an environment of almost non-existent living wage jobs, massive unemployment, massive education loan deficits that rival the real estate collapse, non-existent medical benefits for families, and rising taxes to continue the bailouts of the Too Big To Fails !

  • Stupid Git

    The whole world is just a big conspiracy to you isn’t it? All those fat cat scientists across the globe are on Al Gore’s payroll and the big banks are siding with green tech over oil companies (the biggest/richest companies on the planet) just for kicks. What a magical place you inhabit.

  • Anonymous

    Well… that’s one lobbyist for Big Oil and Big Coal heard from. Presumably smoking is still good for your health also. And BTW, industry told us that cap & trade for sulfer dioxide (acid rain) would cause everyone’s energy rates to skyrocket. We should just ignore the fact that the final costs were far below what even the advocates predicted, and the new regulations had zero impact upon energy costs.

  • observer

    Missed your opportunity on this topic by a wide margin when you hosted Naomi Klein. Perhaps you would consider having Bill Mckibben, Ms. Klein, and James Hansen on to discuss this issue?

  • Anonymous

    The odds are high that he was paid to make the posting. Why would somebody with his views even bother to be watching the episode?

  • William P. Gloege

    The Climate Denier comment was deleted! Communist conspiracy!

  • Anonymous

    I have to take exception to the idea that Clinton and Obama were “trying” to do something but got shafted by the Senate – the biggest foot dragger at the climate change summits was/is the US – and that came from the WH. And, as was pointed out, though most folks think the economy will either be helped or at least not harmed by efforts to deal with CC, that case has not been made by the WH ….

    Prof L contends that the change must come from below, but then points out that when the WH was supposedly “trying” it was by “pushing” the Senate (and if you believe that, I have a bridge for you – though it’s a pretty rickety one …) and NOT by reaching out to the public to enlist that support “from below”. And it is not as if Obama doesn’t know how to do that …. As was pointed out – he didn’t even bring it up in the debates …

    I wish Bill had countered this claim of Obama “trying” by pointing out his “drill baby drill” policy of allowing more drilling permits, backing part, soon to be all, of the XL pipeline for tar sands, backing fracking, etc.

    Far from being a promoter of doing something to halt or slow CC, Obama and crew are facilitating it ….

    It has been clear to me for some time that the best noise we can make would be pulling different levers at the polls – the D/Rs are too far gone, to sold out to the CO2 peddling crowd to give a damn. We blew it this last time, again, we can’t afford to blow it any more …

  • Joan

    Any and every physical creature that might live on this or any planet in our universe, MUST face this same issue if its civilization and planet is to survive. This isn’t a quirky human race type of thing. It’s not secondary to other more important issues. It isn’t less of a spiritual crisis than the question of God and the nature of human beings. The nature of human beings and our world is precisely the issue. It is our coming of age crisis. To solve this one every person and institution, every beloved cultural tradition and skill in every country and state, will have to rise up and with eyes wide open, find the will to accommodate nature and her designs with spirit.and its free will.

  • Anonymous

    FORMER climate blame believers are better planet lovers.

    *Occupywallstreet does not even mention CO2 in its list of demands because of the bank-funded carbon trading stock markets ruled by corporations and trustworthy politicians

    *Canada killed Y2Kyoto with a freely elected climate change denying prime minister and nobody cared, especially the millions of scientists warning us of unstoppable warming (a comet hit).

    *Obama has not mentioned the crisis in the last two State of the Unions addresses.

    *In all of the debates Obama hadn’t planned to mention
    climate change once.

    26 years of the all the scientists only saying it “could” be a crisis, never saying it “will” be a crisis means it won’t be a crisis, because “maybe” isn’t a lie. Help my house could be at the point of no return
    possibly from being on fire maybe? This Reefer Madness of climate blame is our legacy and real planet lovers are glad a crisis was an exaggeration. The
    remaining doomers wanted this misery to be real.

  • California Hal

    “It is time for a new look at energy supplies”

    The current hearings scheduled before Congress will do little but pit ‘feel good’ energy (wind, solar, and bio-) against ‘business as usual’ (carbon based) energy supplies. Recent applications for a plethora of new fission power plants only exacerbate the issues for fission is both dangerous and has many hidden taxpayer costs as do the persistent advertisements about clean coal (the world’s greatest oxymoron), abundant natural gas supplies, and the expected status of the US becoming an oil exporting nation in the next decade. All of these positions only confuse the public and are likely to result in an increased expenditure of tax dollars for ineffective solutions. Instead of our energy policy being based on sound bites, we need to engage in a lengthy debate about what our energy policy is and what it could and should be.

    For the past 10 decades our policy has been to use the cheapest form of energy available, to foster the development of fossil fuels, to encourage the use of nuclear energy, and, more recently, to adopt the philosophically feel good energies (wind, solar, biomass) as our long term energy supply. This encouragement has been provided via tax incentives given to selective industries without any clear understanding of the consequences of these policies. And our lack of full discussion and disclosure now looks as though it will result in the taxpayer becoming responsible for the inherent and immeasurable risk that is present in the current trend. This risk is many faceted and only poorly understood and varies from loan guarantees for questionable projects, to potential radioactive discharge events like Chernobyl or Fukushima, to rising sea level that will destroy ports and coastal land, costing the world trillions of dollars

    But there is another unintended policy consequence. Complacence and assurances that our energy supply is adequate has led to a position of ‘no urgency’ relative to implementing fusion processes as our source of future energy. Fusion is clearly the cleanest of all forms of energy for it has no CO2 emission, cannot ‘go critical’, and generates virtually no radioactivity. But research, both basic and applied, has all but died for there is no source of funding, neither appropriated nor via tax incentives, for the development of the most promising long-term base-load source of energy available for the world.

    Fusion research is supported at levels that are laughable by any standard. America’s total annual budget for fusion has been less than one tenth that spent on ethanol subsidies. Fusion has the potential to be THE SOLUTION while ethanol never had a ghost of a chance to make even a dent in our energy supply and subtracted from the food supply.

    Inexpensive energy is what has made our country prosper. But all of our incentive efforts are aimed at developing ever more expensive sources of energy, many of which will never repay the investment that has been made in them for they are known to be impractical in terms of energy efficiency, energy availability, or demand load requirements.

    To be real about what is needed to meet the energy crisis, one only needs to step back and look at where we have been. Wind, solar, and biomass have many problems becoming the base load for the 14 TW needed by 2050. The world cannot afford the CO2 load in the atmosphere from fossil fuel that is expected to be used in the next 20-30 years.

    So what is the alternative? Fusion, but not as we have been currently lead to believe to gain energy. (Laser fusion is a spoof, magnetic confinement needs a magic material for protection and plasmas are squirrely – uncontrollable.)

    Fusion is an energy source that has been known and generally understood by scientists for more than 5 decades. Fusion requires tremendous heat and compression for its ignition. It takes energy to provide this heat and compression and the energy one gets in return must be large enough to assure that more energy is created than the amount it took to initiate the reaction. The H bomb resulted from a small trigger yielding more than 1000 times as much yield. But controlled releases are also possible at much smaller levels that still put out 100 times as much energy as is consumed.

    A controlled process to do this was defined in the 1970s by Argonne National Laboratory (ANL). But are we supporting research in these processes now? No, not one single federal dollar is directed to these promising avenues of achieving fusion through RF accelerator driven fusion reactions as researched in the 1970s by ANL. Why? The research was done in a weapons lab by the DOD and it can not be a weapon. And because the energy industry is built on the delivery of about 1GW at a location. Fusion requires the delivery of more than 10 Gigawatts of energy from one site to become economic and the driver is thought to be too expensive and cannot be made smaller. In the 1970s this decision may have been wise for the US had no need for large new sources of clean energy at the time. But now, we have an urgent need to replace a significant amount of our dirty base load facilities with sources that do not emit CO2 or other harmful products and do not go critical.

    Fusion comes in many flavors, from the impractical systems that produce less energy than they consume, to the ones that produce massive amounts of radiation due to their failure to adequately shield the system from the neutrons generated by the Deuterium-Tritium fusion reaction. Only one system has repeatedly received the endorsement of hundreds of scientists and that is a system that uses a large RF (radio frequency) accelerator to provide the energy to drive the fusion reaction. It would produce no climate altering CO2 and, since all the research has been done, it could be online in about a decade.

    RF accelerator driven fusion should be our showcase national energy project, but this process seems to be totally unknown. It does not have the support of the US Department of Energy and thus is unknown to politicians.

    Politicians need to understand that RF accelerator driven fusion is a viable option for the replacement of fossil fuel for energy generation, NOW.

    RF accelerator driven fusion is a technique that has been endorsed by leading scientists throughout the world for the past 35 years and it is time it was implemented.


    Here is how it can be done NOW … not 20 years from now …

    Google Tech Talk “Heavy Ion Fusion”

    You Tube “StarPower for Tomorrow”

  • California Hal

    … or Dr. Charles Helsley from the University of Hawaii !!

  • Cakifornia Hal

    The solution …

    RF accelerator driven fusion should be our showcase national energy project, but this process seems to be totally unknown. It does not have the support of the US Department of Energy and thus is unknown to politicians.

    Politicians need to understand that RF accelerator driven fusion is a viable option for the replacement of fossil fuel for energy generation, NOW.

    RF accelerator driven fusion is a technique that has been endorsed by leading scientists throughout the world for the past 35 years and it is time it was implemented.


    Here is how it can be done NOW … not 20 years from now …

    Google Tech Talk “Heavy Ion Fusion”

    You Tube “StarPower for Tomorrow”

  • John Friedrich

    Terrific interview with Anthony Leiserowitz! He made so many good points, including that we need to have a conversation not about whether climate change is real, but what we’re going to do about it. What will we tell our children and grandchildren we did in response to this crisis, when it was so clear that it was happening, and when we still had time to be part of the solution?

  • Muhammad al-Khwarizmi

    I don’t know why people even bother to try to do anything about climate change when all that CO2 is just going to persist years and years out from now and the human species is still just as dumb as it’s ever been.

    Myself, I look forward to living in a violent shoot-em-up video game as Famine and War declare themselves to be the kings of this world.

    You may not share that dream but in any case now’s the time to get desensitized.

  • Scott Bolden

    What we desperately need is a massive shift in social consciousness towards gaining a better understanding of ourselves and each other. Why do we behave the way we do? Can we through thoughtful self reflection and action, socially evolve enough so that we are able to re-evaluate the organizing constructs of our societies?

    Ours should first be a quest for creating social sustainability and the conditions that perpetuate it. Loosely speaking, social sustainability is our ability to learn to treat ourselves and each other and our world better so that we live more balanced and fulfilling lives.

    This is a cause worth fighting for because it is this knowledge that can lead us to living more humane and sustainable lives in many ways: economically, environmentally, emotionally, intellectually and so on.

    Before we save the world we need to understand the root causes of it’s demise; Us! Things are going to get tougher here on the planet for the foreseeable future and the very least we can do is start to learn how to better deal with each other in ways that are based on mutually beneficial collaboration rather than dominant winner take all competition.

    A nice advantage to this approach is that the people who you may normally spend your time fighting also share an interest in living humanely therefore there exists the opportunity to find common cause with them too.

    Perhaps my small contribution is just a drop in the bucket, but a least it’s one drop more:


  • Scott Bolden

    One of the most significant factors driving our global warming problem is that our systems of production, consumption and governance etc., are essentially being run for profit by people who are determined to maintain a secure position of dominance and power, often with disregard for the consequences of their actions on others.

    This is a social problem at it’s very roots where profit motive even produces more guns with which to commit the ultimate act of domination via lethal violence.

    I suppose it’s easily appropriate to give some blame capitalism because it is a system which is set up to create and manage imbalance by creating winners and losers but that’s not going away too soon…

    I don’t suppose we can count on the timely and effective intervention of (for-profit) government regarding climate change or gun violence in the next 4 years, although those are good ones to keep chipping away at…

    Look, I’m no real authority on human behavior but, it seems to me that the people who profit by perpetuating global warming and gun violence are seriously out of synch with the ideas of finding ‘balance’ and ‘equilibrium’, two very handy tenants of the universe in scientific and social terms. Maybe there’s a story for our grandkids somewhere in that general notion…

    Maybe we can tell our grandchildren a nice story… The story about how we finally realized that we had to start to learn to understand the root causes of most of our problems, “Ourselves and Each Other”. Maybe we can tell them about how we learned to look at the human condition in simple universal ways that allowed us to better understand ourselves, our motivations, our needs, our desires, our fears and all the things that make us human. We had a great conversation among all nations, races and cultures regardless of economic status or religious affiliation. We spoke in simple and intuitively understandable ways so that we understood the essence of our ideas.

    We can tell our grand children funny stories about how we used to have more fundamental knowledge about things like computer programming or fixing a car or about baseball stats than we did about ourselves, and they will laugh belly-fulls of warm incredulity and disbelief!

    And after wiping away the tears of a good laughing bath, we’ll explain to them that we started this massive shift in human consciousness just by starting to ask simple questions of ourselves and each other about who we are as human beings. And we did it without great funding, without the help of politicians (until it became too obvious), without waiting for a new technology or without waiting for any messiah or new law to take effect. We did it with just us starting to communicate to each other in meaningful and honest ways.

    We can tell of how we learned to recognize and accept our needs, desires, vices and virtues, how we consciously learned to live more balanced and sustainable lives physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually and psychologically. And because we learned to live satisfying lives in collaboration with each other the whole thing became trendy, prompting people all over the world to help each other live humanely…even the ones who were screwing it up in the first place!

    “… So you see children, we used these great many perspectives to re-examine the constructs of the world. We started measuring Gross Domestic Happiness instead of GDP to guide the health of our nation….”

    But it won’t matter because no matter how many times you tell the story, the kids will always say that they don’t believe that humanity could have been so stupid to maintain such bad habits for such a long time in the first place.

  • Donald Ciesielski

    Funny thing, I don’t believe that all or most of our climate change is man made but I respect the earth and use a manual mower. However, I have 3 strong boys which 2 of them believe otherwise and all 3 refuse to cut the (pretty small) lawn without a power mower. So much for that. Could it e that they are looking to the government to impose restriction first? Are they so dependent on information from the ‘experts’ that they need the experts to tell them what to do? The dangers of centralized government and free thought?

  • Donald Ciesielski

    Yeah China and India were much better off when they didn’t adopt capitalism Just ask them. They are not turning back and they are about half of the world population.

  • meltyman

    rltml: please pay attention: the atmosphere doesn’t care what you think. Physics does not have a political point of view. It doesn’t care if Al Gore is an idiot, or corrupt, or mistaken on some points. The vastbulk of credible science published by qualified experts says that a problem of geological magnitude is headed our way (e.g., over 60,000 years for the biosphere to re-sequester the carbon we are digging up andburning). That’s what we have to deal with. Doing “nothing” is not an option: we are already geo-engineering a new planet.

  • Kim Triolo Feil

    Spread THIS FAR AND WIDE to fossil fuel lovers so we can debunk the hopelessness they spread about the inability of renewables to support the grid ….Seeking Alpha wrote…”Growing Threat to Georgia Power from Solar Startup – Utilities around the world are not adapting fast enough to the growing threat from distributed solar energy. Already solar prices have become competitive with fossil fuel in many parts of the world even without subsidies. Georgia Power was forced into building 200 MW solar power capacity after a start-up threatened its monopoly position in Georgia. Utility investors have not realized the massive threat from falling solar energy prices. We see little evidence that analysts and investors have understood the threat from the drastically falling solar energy prices.”

  • Donald Ciesielski

    Who clean up their emission the most over the past 25 years and who creature more emissions of the past 25 years. For you low-informed voters, the USA lower their co2 emissions the most and China and India have increased theirs the most.

  • Donald Ciesielski

    We can live together with technology if we do it smartly. Power, for instance, can be producer safely and cleanly with a small (very small) nuclear battery for you home to power all your needs including your (electric) car. No emissions no danger. and we still have the technology of today and tomorrow.

  • Thom Hawk

    Best analysis of the political gridlock
    on climate change that I’ve heard to date, and provocative on why people
    don’t act. But he offers no way to stop the gridlock and inaction of both
    the public and the politicians in time to stop the destruction.

    Jill Stein and many others say Obama is totally selling the environment out to
    Big Oil…that’s why the EPA director quit. Ralph Nader says Big Money in
    general is not intimidated in the least by any of the progressive or green
    organizations or by recent Democratic electoral wins. Or even by Bill Moyers.

    There simply is no mass resistance. Leiserowitz, says we didn’t evolve
    with the necessary psychological equipment to perceive threats we can’t
    physically sense in the present. I don’t buy it. We are the only
    species to evolve with a brain large and complex enough to allow us to plan far
    ahead and prepare for future problems. We’ve done it many times.
    Why is Global Warming different? Because of the immense success since
    about 1950 of consumer-oriented propaganda–psychological manipulation in the
    media by the corporate oligarchy, as foretold by Orwell, who could really see
    into the future. Not to mention Marshall McLuhan. The public is
    stupefied by trinkets and lies, just like the Native Americans were by French
    fur-traders. Shopping malls and media are the new beads and booze.

    Moyers finally pinned the guy down and Leiserowitz had to admit that it is the
    Republicans who are to blame. And who are the Republicans? Totally
    owned by Big Oil and Big Money, who also happen to own at least half of the
    Democrats and control the mainstream media. In other words the criminals
    and their mobsters are in charge and will stop at nothing, including dead

    A massive non-violent public uprising is probably the
    only thing certain to get results. We are at a Birmingham/Selma moment. But the public is drugged and pacified, so that won’t happen.

    The only hope remaining is the Capt. Watson, Sea Shepherd, affect: that
    some David will slay Goliath. Watson doesn’t wait for everyone to get on
    board. He takes whatever meager resources he can muster and attacks head
    on with brilliant, aggressive military strategy and non-violent tactics. We have many
    courageous Davids in the fight for the planet, so there might be a chance in
    that direction. Our only hope, as I see it, at this point. We need
    more super smart heroes like Capt. Paul Watson.
    Step forward all you David’s, both men and women, and take a stand. You have nothing to lose.

  • Anonymous

    Yep. The deniers are welcome to spread all the vitriol they can muster. They are heavily invested in ideology that does not readily accommodate reality, and that stubborness is proving increasingly difficult to maintain. Sadly, that stubborness has already claimed lives of their fellows — but that fact is just one they choose to ignore.

    Reality happens to us all. Turn up your A/C, pay for your bottled water if you are rich enough, but in the end the earth does not care what you believe.

    There is a certain peace in understanding the physics of climate (and watching that physics grow more mature almost by the day). None of us are exceptions.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t you mean 60MY, not 60 thousand years?

  • Anonymous

    So once again we cry, “USA! USA!” while we watch our planet become steadily more inhospitable. Sigh. We’re not after blame, Mr. C., and since our per capita emissions still dwarf the rest of the world, I suggest we (USA) still have much, much more to do.
    Don’t you remember your mother saying to you, “I don’t care what Jimmy’s mother lets him do. You are not jumping over that cliff!”

  • Anonymous

    Could you clearly state the point of your comments? Can’t tell if it’s sarcasm, snark, or just emotion.

  • stacy clark

    This is the best climate discussion of 2013! Thank you so much!

  • pammyams

    I find Mr Leiserowitz very believable and I don’t know why everyone persists only in playing the blame game. It’s incomprehensible. I am hoping but am afraid that it is already too late for us. Americans are addicted to their luxuries and the Chinese and Indians are imitating Americans, wanting more, more, more. I just saw an exhibition of Native American art in Amsterdam and was impressed with their spiritual engagement with the earth, with nature. They were part of it, not its masters, and we killed most of them and put their children in Catholic schools and forbid them to speak their own languages or take part in their own native rituals. The beautiful native wisdom that could have guided American pioneers to a lasting, sane, relationship with this beautiful planet, this wondrous universe was made into a laughable, inferior culture, given no respect or credibility, to the detriment of the country, the world. I am playing the blame game myself it seems.

  • butterflygal

    Everyone needs to read David Owen’s recent eye-opening short book “The Conundrum” which aptly identifies the solutions to our global warming dilemma. No one will like them but he is spot-on in his analysis of the crisis and whether or not renewables can even make a dent in our energy savings.

  • sunflower58

    It’s easy to feel nihilistic when confronted with the realities of GW. There is always hope for the future but it is hard to see how we can get people to work together to limit the amount of carbon in our atmosphere. I think Bill’s guest is correct that we don’t see the impending danger because we can’t see the forest from the trees. I think the present generation (mostly baby boomer’s) who need to take charge of this situation, are too absorbed in their own personal lives and distracted by family/work obligations, unemployment, political tensions, threats of terrorism and mass shootings and technology to understand that the canary in the coal mine is dead.

  • Anonymous

    re: “Jill Stein and many others say Obama is totally selling the environment out to Big Oil…that’s why the EPA director quit. “Thom Hawk

    Lisa Jackson quit because she was caught using a fake e-mail account to avoid oversight transparency. She deserves to be in jail.

    Dan Kurt

    p.s. To get a taste of the position of the so called “deniers” visit this web page: http://stevengoddardDOTwordpressDOTcom/

  • Kevin Parcell

    The silence is your fault, Bill. No one can lead on this issue while sitting at the banquet table. Either step away from the table or step away from the podium.

    Kevin Parcell
    CEO Natural Villages of India

  • Scott Bolden

    I’m all for using technology to enhance sustainable lifestyles but nuclear power creates nuclear waste that will remain quite dangerous for generations to come. It’s probably better that we stick with renewables like wind, solar, geothermal and other cleaner technologies.

  • meistre

    After identifying and labeling six Americas, Mr. Leiserowitz still missed the one I live in – the one full of people who have given up and have no hope in the ability of human nature to put on the brakes until we’re already careening off the cliff.

  • Victor

    At last some sanity is creeping into American society, lets hope it’s not too late to tackle this huge problem of climate change.

  • cheri baird

    The earth will remain in some form, regardless of what humans do. Human extinction only matters to us, but apparently not enough to deal with the problem before it eats us. To bad there wasn’t time to discuss why the military are already planning for climate change & feel it is a threat to national security.

  • Anonymous

    Citations? Even if so, the recession had a lot more to do with it than any “intention” on our part …. :) It is no secret that the US is one of the biggest refuseniks with regard to committing itself to greenhouse gas reductions ….

  • Anonymous

    Good grief ….

  • Anonymous

    There is no reason for Bog Oil to be “intimidated” by the Dems – the Dems’ head honcho is signing their drilling permits ….

    As long as we keep putting pols (i.e. D/Rs) who are owned by Big Money, Big Anything has nothing to fear from “we the people” …

  • Anonymous

    I beg to differ – that beautiful culture was not “made into” anything laughable or inferior – it, and those who live it are still here, vibrant and available to be listened to and to act as guides. Our mocking of it/them hasn’t degraded them, it has degraded us ….

  • Anonymous

    What a farce – we have a Pres. illegally droning folks to death with no due process let alone oversight, refusing to reveal his rationale, with impunity, and a person supposedly using a “fake e-mail” to avoid “oversight ” by a bunch of Congress critters who hate the EPA is worthy of jail time???

  • Virginia Baker

    This quote is from Homer’s The Odyssey written over three thousand years ago: “It also occurred to me – and this is more serious – that since the very presence of a weapon provokes a man to use it you might start quarrelling in your cups and wound each other, thus spoiling your festivities and discrediting your suit.”
    How slow we humans are to awaken.

  • Anonymous

    Lester Brown sez farmland is the new gold and food is the new oil (NPR Science Friday with Ira Flatow January 4, 2013). One fifth of we 7 billion are starving now, and humanity consumed more grain than was produced 7 of the last 8 years. No reserves and no room for crop failures makes 2013 famine and unrest likely. Ain’t no denying, if you still own your brain.
    Maybe leaders can’t risk discussing reality, but are busy making more nerve gas and drones to please the 1%.

  • Verifiable Truth Matters

    Bill Moyers, please speak to Amory Lovins, at Rocky Mountain Institute ( in Snowmass, Colorado. Theoretical Physicist, author of several books, including REINVENTING FIRE–how to grow GDP by 158%, leave the DEBT in the dust, get a Sustainable Future. A blueprint for how to transition off of dirty fossil fuels to clean energy. He lays out a market-based plan to 2050, but this planet is over an irreversible real cliff 2015 with several of the horrific accelerations the GOP have in motion, including: The Keystone XL Pipeline. Filthy tar sands will be sent down to Port Arthur TX, converted to diesel to put on ships, and sent off to Europe and Central America, while the American People are told it’s all about energy independence, just another lie. When tar sands are processed they spew 70% more pollution into an atmosphere that is already saturated. This will kick Global Warming into high gear. As the oceans warm all the methane ice balls are melting, releasing methane into the atmosphere. As a Greenhouse gas, methane is 23-30 times more destructive than carbon dioxide. Methane is also being released from ice balls as the permafrost melts. That permafrost contains 10 times the Greenhouse Gases already in the atmosphere, including high levels of methane. The atmosphere only tolerates 350 parts per million of pollution and we’re already at 400 parts per million. These 3 accelerators: processing tar sands, methane being released from the ocean ice balls, methane released from permafrost ice balls put the planet over an irreversible cliff and create self propelling loops, we won’t be able to stop. Right now we have no way to get substantial amounts of carbon or methane out of the atmosphere. The best way to get it out, is to not put it there in the first place, but we’re dumping 90 million tons/day into the atmosphere and now the GOP wants to accelerate that with a 70% increase from processing tar sands, and methane which is 23-30 times more destructive.

    The GOP has already murdered TENS of MILLIONS, soon to be HUNDREDS of MILLIONS, with sea level rise, severe weather events, and especially food crop failures from severe weather events since 2010. The list of damage that has already occurred just since 2010 is quite extensive. As Asia is flooding, Russia and the United States are in drought and burning with food crop failures. The wheat crop failed in 2010 & 2011 by 40% in Russia, driving malnutrition and starvation number from 600 million to over one billion, then it failed again in 2012. The corn and soybean crops failed in the U. S., two more food staples, which impacted another 200 million people. As Lester Brown pointed out on NPR’s, TALK, Science Friday, 1-4-13, these crop failures drove up the price of food 45-45%. So poor people all over the world, decide what days they’re not going to be able to eat. 200 million of the 500 million people shoved into starvation and malnutrition are young, vulnerable children.

    This entire crisis, just like derivatives stuffed w junk damaging the economy for the 3rd time in September 2008, is totally preventable. But GOP policies are “DEATH SPIRALS” because they’re based on lies, corruption, and fabricated information. And it’s really time that they are held to account with arrests, prosecutions, convictions, and prison. They’ve already murdered TENS of MILLIONS, there’s already TENS of BILLIONS in damages from sea level rise, severe weather events, and food crop failures from those events. They’ve murdered millions and are setting up a breach of national security, as more than 600 million people begin migrating to find food and water which will spark wars and a HUGE National Security crisis. They’re also engaging in crimes against humanity putting all this unnecessary suffering into motion, just because they’re owned by corrupt multinationals, who want to make trillions selling their products.

    We could be growing GDP by 158% with millions of Green Jobs, leave the DEBT in the dust and get a Sustainable Future. Instead the GOP have their usual “DEATH SPIRAL” policies in motion and we’re going over an irreversible cliff 2015 with millions murdered and TRILLIONS in damages 2015-2020.

  • Andes

    The state of our health is determined by factors contributing to climate change. When people, I think, have definite proof that what they eat, drink and breath is causing their health probllems it might have an impact.
    Information is never definite. We hear or read that this and that is bad for our health but the information is so scattered.

  • Ed Mac

    A very interesting show about climate change. Next week you are having Paul Krugman on the economy and employment. Two subjects that conflict.
    The stronger the economy is, the worst it is for the environment, especially if that prosperity extends around the world.
    The best thing that can happen to our environment would be a slow down in consumption. Of course that will mean more unemployment, in spite of what some experts may preach environment friendly projects. Just the fact of increased consumption around the world, that will mean the deplesion of our resources.
    We have to find an economy that can flourish with less consumption.

  • BG

    The Archie Bunker clip was the best response I’ve seen to Wayne LaPierre’s the “good man with a gun” solution!

  • Thom Hawk

    Yes, it is bad, very, very bad. We can all wring our hands and beat
    our chests. WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT IT? Hello!!!! Anybody out

    There is no mass movement, no mass civil
    disobedience, no mass incarcerations, no hundreds of bodies in front of
    the trucks, no courage, no reduction in over-consumption of
    discretionary consumer goods, no stopping
    business-as-usual, just a few lonely heroes shouting in the wind. It’s
    pathetic, people! We’re all pathetic benchwarmers, including
    Leiserowitz and Moyers. Powerlessness is pathetic.

    Get out of your heads, people, and into
    your bodies. Your bodies, those of your
    and your grandchildren, are all on the line. So stop this mental
    masturbation and get out there. Martin Luther King and his brave
    didn’t stop Jim Crow sitting in front of a computer. Everyone a hero.
    That’s the only way to win for the earth. Ask Captain Paul Watson and
    his courageous volunteers braving the antarctic ocean at this very
    minute to save whales from extinction at the hands of criminals. And,
    by George, they’re winning! Big time! Duh.

    To begin with, use your bodies to stop them from preparing to lay the Keystone pipeline. It’s the
    to guaranteed global annihilation of species. Don’t expect Obama to do
    it. He’s not only a self-serving politician, he’s a conservative and
    an irresponsible father for not doing everything he can to save the
    earth for his daughters and grandchildren. He can stop the pipeline if
    he chooses, but he won’t and we can’t wait to find out.

  • Brenda Bachman

    It all comes down to population control

  • Brenda Bachman

    Population control

  • Demogoddess

    If people are deluded about the very real existence of climate change, is it truly their fault? The current journalism model of “fair and balanced” that many Americans are exposed to has the result of muddying issues that should be crystal clear. At one point more and more people were becoming convinced of climate change until Climategate, a manufactured “controversy” of some hacked e-mails of climate scientists that falsely purported to show that they skewed their data in favor of global warming. After Climategate, fewer and fewer people were convinced that climate change/global warming exists.

    It is not because I am a Democrat that I believe that climate change is real. I believe climate change is real because I have read extensively about the subject, watched Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” and believed my own personal observations of the climate around me. I have been convinced of climate change for years. I listen to controversies like Climategate, but I don’t allow such distractions to overwhelm the preponderance of evidence available.

    Al Gore is one prominent American to champion the cause of global warming, but he’s become a joke in the conservative media which presents him and his efforts as ridiculous to give legitimacy to climate deniers and I don’t feel that this is the fault of the grassroots that Mr. Leiserowitz seems to feel are at fault.

    Bill McKibben and other courageous Americans protested the Keystone XL pipeline in front of the White House but how much did Americans hear about this protest? McKIbben and others went to jail in very uncomfortable circumstances to publicize this issue, but there has been a campaign to discredit their objections and Al Gore’s film as illustrated on the Frontline installment “Climate of Doubt” presented on October 23, 2012. Climate deniers like Lord Moncton should be discredited rather than the climate scientists of Climategate, but the opposite has been true. Is this purely the fault of foolish Americans?

    James Hansen, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space studies, said the Keystone XL pipeline, when constructed would mean, “game over for the planet.” Those stark terms should mean “game over” for Keystone XL, but his objection has been drowned out by likely inflated promises of jobs and prosperity. Those who object to Keystone are invested with all kinds of ulterior motives in the media, while those who have the most to gain from its construction are hailed as job creating saints. Is it any wonder that Americans are confused?

  • Phillip Johnson

    the moment at the last debate when President Obama was asked what was the greatest national security issue was a moment when he could have galvanized the nation toward Climate Change – I blogged on this

  • Ratinalist

    …and China and India will use any fossil fuels that we pledge to cut back on. But that’s OK, that will only affect their half of the atmosphere!

  • Rationalist

    Finally someome recognized the Elephant in the room.
    Since we cannot control the envoronmental proclivities of our children, grandchildren, etc, anyone who has 3 kids will create 50% more environmental damage over the next 1000 years than someone who has 2. I’m guessing 99% of scientists (who understand statistics) would vote that is true.

  • Rationalist

    Since the profit margins of Oil companies is about half of health care and Internet providers, Apple, Railroads, financial services, etc, …
    where is the urgency to take their ill-gotten gains? Oops, we forgot govt. funded scientists, which is one of the biggest growth industries in the world, and their only product is fear-mongering! Now that’s an investment that has paid off!

  • Moonya

    so, someone please recommend to me a great electric car I can buy that will drive 800 miles at a time without recharging.

  • Anonymous

    watch ‘catastrophe denied’ – one of the most important videos on this topic I have seen. and I have watched a lot.

  • Anonymous

    you should watch the video ‘catastrophe denied.’ It made me rethink some of my positions on climate change, which I had considered fixed in stone.

  • Anonymous

    Where are you going? Why are in you such a hurry to get there? And are you willing to spend the extra few dollars to buy it when it does come?

    Be patient. Your dream of driving 800 miles in an electric car will come true. In the meantime, slow down and enjoy the view. Time is precious.

  • Sonny

    I’m looking for ideas for a grass-root effort. I believe asking my city mayor to initiate a committee to see what citizens can do to respond to climate change. Maybe negotiate for lower price for solar panels, etc.

  • Beth Langton

    This was an excellent interview about climate change. I want to use this interview on the first day of my Environmental Science college class next term.

  • Gordon Lehman

    Fossil fuels are our inheritance and we should quit burning through them like trust fund teenagers as a matter of principle. But the science of human carbon dioxide is far from settled and those who believe otherwise are simply not up to speed.

    The atmosphere, which should be warming has flatlined since 1997 and the oceans, impervious to the infrared radiation emitted by grenhouse gasses below a micron thick surface film have continued to warm, albeit unevenly.

    The ice cores are unequivocal. For the last 800,000 years carbon dioxide has followed temperature like a poodle on a leash. We humans pump about 10 gigatons of CO2 a year into a system that cycles 200gt anually, and the feedbacks touted to amplify the effect of the paltry 1 particle in 2500 of the atmosphere representing human CO2 now appear to be slightly negative.

    So to argue that the science is settled is to ague from ignorance. To believe in ignorance is your privalege, but it is theology, not science. I call it Carbon Theology.

    For an analysis of the sociology please see:

  • Anonymous

    The psychological issue runs deeper than the 6 types. Much of the Co2 emitted is from the production and maintenance of goods and services, whether here or overseas. Our economic system is based on continued (and increasing) consumption. Our psychological reward system has become tied to stuff — status or “success” is not so much recognized in what we do as in what we have. Freedom is equated with our right to buy what we want. The holiday season — ostensibly religious — is an orgy of buying upon which the success of retailers (and jobs) depends. A benchmark of the state of the U.S. economy is new homes constructed. More houses (and furnishings), cars, clothes, electronic devices, etc., all requiring enormous amounts of energy and releasing like amounts of Co2. A massive program to replace as many dirty power generators with clean, while absolutely needed, will not do it alone. Our gains in energy efficiency have been superseded by increases in energy consumption. The free market is blind to climate change, it up to us to steer it towards sustainability and responsibility. Business will not initiate, the change has to come from the bottom up.

    We also need to be more activist regarding government. Both parties need to be aware of how imminent the crisis is, and how time to act is running out. It’s not just the freedom of a drought-stricken Midwest farmer that’s at stake, or victims of Sandy. As climate change kicks in, the resulting worldwide social and economic upheavals — especially from food and water shortages — threaten all of our freedoms. The president and many Congressional leaders are intelligent people, and (one would hope) have access to the same information as we, yet remain fantastically silent and inactive. Read Bill McKibben’s recent article ( comparing climate change to FDR’s problem overcoming resistance to entering WWII. We need to reduce dirty energy consumption by ~ 5%/year (50 – 80% over the next 20 years to avoid the dreaded 2 degree warming tipping point). The clock is ticking…

  • hungrymother

    Loved the comparison of 6 degrees of climate change to a fever of 6 degrees in the human body. Really brought the degree of danger home. Great interview!

  • L, Darlene Pratt

    I hope Mr. Leiserowitz was correct, that the moving UN appeal got attention. On the clip you showed, those around the man from the Phillipines did not look up or make any indication that they had heard anything. It appeared they did not care or were trying to convince others that appeals and emotion were beneath them.

    Thank you for the show.

    Darlene Pratt

  • Lorencito

    The Free Trade Agreements gave private companies to continue destroying lungs of the world. It is happening in the Choco’s Forest in Colombia, Amazonas Jungle in Colombia, Peru y Brazil. Also happened in the Orinoco river in Venezuela and Colombia. And no new jobs for the Americans like the Bush and Obama propaganda promised. It is part of the picture. But no consequences for politicians what soever. Bad signed. Can we stop the mass production of cars? And start the mass production of buses and more trains?
    I will read more about this crucial issue and what the solutions. Workers and unions must do something and integrate our struggles on the solutions to save our planet Earth.

    Thank you Mr. Moyers for the wonderful issues in your program. I am promoting your program among the Colombian’s activists her in NYC.

  • Rose Red

    Mr. Leiserowitz was undeniably articulate, and a terrific advocate for humanity’s awakening. Thank you for an excellent interview on a crucial topic. For Mr. Leiserowitz’s future reference, however, I was frustrated by how many times he veered away from answering the question being asked. In order to maximize his potential impact in the future, I suggest that he listen carefully to the transcript of THIS interview and note where (and how often) he veers away from the question and, instead, answers a different question or, worse, emphasizes the opposite point of what is being asked. When Mr. Moyers asked him, for example, what more could be done NOW to address climate change and make a difference immediately, he began to list the good things California has already done. While interesting and perhaps informative, such an answer did not take in the gravamen of the question and was, therefore, not effective advocacy. I don’t think this is representative of all this very educated, knowledgeable, and erudite man is capable. I want him to be as effective as humanly possible, and he does come close. I, on behalf of all of us, thank Mr. Leiserowitz, for his life’s work and wish him godspeed in his mission. I thank Mr. Moyers for his wonderful work over these many years.

  • Anonymous

    I’m unconvinced by the global “warming” rationale. The more credible explanation for the unusual weather patterns is our Sun and its 11-year magnetic cycle. During the low cycle gw scientists told us that snow in the winter is a thing of the past. Really? So what’s that white stuff that for the third year in row has blanketed Europe and N.USA? By the way, this and next year the Sun is/will be at its highest cycle. NB: NASA could use some of the money wasted by the military/industrial complex to explore our own background to benefit those who will survive this country’s decades-long planetary warmongering. Ditto the oceanographers. We know next to nothing about our oceans and its impact on the more solid part of the planet.

    Melting polar ice? The summers in the Antarctic reach temps in the high 70s, even 80s. Ice tends to melt in copious amounts in such weather. The oceans that surround the icebergs are liquid, not solid, i.e., of above freezing temps, further adding to the melting process. Oh, and that fraudulent movie with the poor polar bear cub atop a single piece of ice? Polar bears are awesome swimmers. Just ask any seal that managed to escape the bears relentless hunt. Some filmmakers cannot be trusted. Just consider the bigelow women and her pentagon commissions. (Or try and find the cruel outtakes from Gore’s movie) Gore’s trading house is one of the two biggest billion-dollar beneficiaries from the carbon tax imposed in response to gw.

    My gw skepticism is further fuelled with the knowledge that the original “scientific source” for global warming came from the same place as the dodgy dossier and around the same time.

    The better idea would have been to farm out the scientific work to a number of reputable centers around the world (with few, if any, ties to big money and their interests), and supervised by reputable organisation(s). Kind of like what is now going on vis a vis the research of GMOs.

    Rather than the questionable global warming, the better, more effective and indisputable term would have been global pollution. Plug the term into any search engine and one will be inundated with pictures of massive mountains and islands of non-degradable plastic rubbish, nuke waste leaking out of its old containers and contaminating underground aquifers at a rate in competition with the daily and huge rivers of waste dumped by big agriculture, or massive amounts of carcinogens used in fracking that is making our water ignitable. Find the documentary “Gasland” on the internet to try and grasp the magnitude of the horrendous and exponentially growing destruction wrought by fracking.

    Then there is American manufacturing. To try and fathom the size and rate of their “contribution” to the corrosion of the US’s environment check out Robert Grunwald’s documentary “Koch Brothers Exposed”:!

    Add to the above list our fast-decaying nuclear reactors, while contemplating why alternative sources, including thorium, are not vigorously pursued. What’s with thorium you ask? Nothing new. The technology has been languishing for decades. Please find the time to watch “Thorium Dream”:

    I will end this short list of our real problems with humanity itself. Our combined body heat must be doing some damage. Only those who have travelled inside an overcrowded bus with broken heating in the middle of a cold winter will grasp my inference.

    Those are our real, unarguable and easily provable problems, nay, catastrophic real and present danger. Not the ephemeral and arguable “global warming”. We are likely to first die of thirst because aquaducts with potable water are fewer with each day, before we die from an extra one or two degrees of heat.

    Happy New Year and let’s hope for hundreds, even thousands, more to come, or the history of the Universe will not register even a blip of our existence. The fate of the Blue Marble is in our hands:

  • MJR

    Yes, Essentially everyone needs to read and heed “The Lorax”

  • Anonymous

    Wow … talk about a bloviating drama queen!

  • Bonnie

    Anyone remember the doomsday clock? We need a doomsday thermometer!

  • garigaru

    If a fifth of the globe’s population is starving, why haven’t they died? The is the usual result of not having food, It doesn’t take years to starve. Where are the bodies of the starving people being hid? When I see a hack like Lester Brown quoted anywhere, as in comments here, I find it hard to take serious anything said. He has been so wrong for so long as have all the fear mongering perps over the years. I am sick of hearing we are running out of air, water, food, oil, have too many people and all the rest. If it is a problem, lets see the evidence, more dead people and declining populations, the big crash from which we survivors keep on trucking. It hasn’t happened and I look forward to the day it does before I get so old, die and miss all the excitement. As for the weather, don’t count on it. Few can figure out what is going to happen this week correctly. This is just one more cash cow to me.

  • Thom Hawk

    You want elephants in the living room? How about religion? Do you know any atheists who are human-caused-global warming deniers? I don’t.

    How about willful, arrogant ignorance? How about agriculture? How about civilization? How about sheer stupidity? How about under-educated? How about irrationality of all kinds?

    It’s obvious what is going to happen. We’re going to do nothing significant in the next four years to stop the warming, and when the planet is incinerating and we are eating each other (talk about your over-consumption), we’ll take action to stop abusing the earth. It will be too late. There will be no second chance.

    I recommend the docu-drama, “The Age of Stupid.” It’s time for the Darwin Awards committee to give their first Lifetime Achievement Award. …and the winner is: The Human Race! What would George Carlin say if he was still alive? “F you all!” And he would receive a standing ovation.

    So party on, folks. Enjoy yourself while you can. The party will soon be over for all of us. I hope you won’t mind if I don’t join in. I hate to be a party pooper, but I have to go home and keep working on reducing my carbon footprint. Every little bit helps the earth, and helps me live my values. The way I live my life, my personal choices, is the best antidote to powerlessness.

    Look, I’m 75 years old and don’t have a hell of a lot of time left to get this Voluntary Simplicity thing right. But I’m going to keep trying to live by the maxim, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” And I’m going to keep agitating, like I’m doing now. Because I love all the creatures of this planet, including us morons.

    Yes, even Republicans. “‘Love thine enemy’, sayeth the Lord.” F you, Jesus.

    Hey, does anybody have a good alternative to paper towels? I think I’m addicted to them. I gave up all my plastics. But I will not give up toilet paper until Armageddon arrives. Well, I am hedging my bet by stockpiling cotton rags. Worked for No Impact Man (see the film, read the book). Save those old t-shirts.

  • Cathy

    I’m so much aware of climate change thanks to Mr Leiserowitz. I wish we had a president who was half as knowledgeable or cared as deeply as he ..

  • cathy

    car rags or wash clohes can be bought in packs of 10 or 20 for under $4.00. You will save over 300.00 a year not buying paper towels.

  • Thom Hawk

    Weep for the buffalo,
    weep for the trees,
    weep for our bodies,
    weep for the seas,
    weep for the planet;
    it bleeds.

  • Alan Blanes

    A completely under-utilized tool is the World Movement for the Culture of Peace for the Children of the World – which was founded as a UNESCO project as a way of replacing the culture of war with the culture of peace as a 100,000,000 strong world network. This was part of the International Year for the Culture of Peace – the year 2000. Anyone can join this cadre by becoming a signatory to the Manifesto 2000 Declaration, which can be found at the Culture of Peace website. It is noteworthy that the major powers refused to allocate any funds for this program and instead relied on militarism as the allocator of geopolitical values during the past decade. Clearly if the Culture of Peace was given its due priority, a great deal of solidarity building to tackle the goals of carbon absorption through benign methods such as restoring fertility to the arid regions of the world – would be a much more realizable objective.

  • Thom Hawk

    The kind of violent breakdown of civil society going on right now in Syria is a good sampling of what we can look forward to on a global scale as the ecosystem deteriorates and food and clean water become even scarcer than they are already in many parts of the world.

  • MBrecker

    We export our culture globally in many ways and believe that we are the “best”. Other people abroad suddenly have a chance to have a higher standard of living, and naturally want it. Yet, despite us using a big percentage of global resources and causing a large percentage of global pollution, we still have the “exclusive right” to the best because we ARE the best? I don’t think so.
    To solve this global problem we need to think globally. Unfortunately, to many rich and powerful people, global=socialism=threat. How come Obama hasn’t pushed harder for actual results in climate change? Because the White House DOESN’T want to fight the “Obama’s a socialist/Muslim/non-American/Kenyan/terrorist/birther” garbage all over again, that’s why.

  • A Qui Tam Relator

    You know I’ve been trying to get people using Solar & Hydronic Energy since the 1970’s when I worked at Arco Solar in Los Angeles. People would actually laugh at me and tell me I was crazy. They asked my why should I invest that much money to convert to Solar, I told them because I sat in line for gas in the early 1970’s for gasoline and besides if there is ever a earthquake in California don’t rely on Edison or DWP for power or help. Low and behold Arco Solar went out of business and years later the 1994 Northridge Earthquake happened leaving 10’s of thousands without electricity and water for months. I also told them in the early 1970’s look at the air pollution in L.A. and the inversion layer that hold down the deadly gases due to car and home emissions, and they laughed ! Are they still laughing now ?

  • Don Porter

    One thing that could have improved this interview would have been a plug for Bill McKibben and Having Bill on for a followup would be a start to make up for that omission.

  • Thom Hawk

    Nature is brutal. The great arc of human evolution traces an accelerating domination of tribalism over empathic humaneness. We are born brutish towards outsiders, and with population growth, scarce resources select for tribalism.

    You and I, and many like us in this discussion and elsewhere, choose to nurture our common humanity. Your personal efforts are laudable, noble and vitally important, and I commend you. I join with you. Yet, sadly, it is not enough. Those like us should never stop trying, but we shouldn’t delude ourselves. Natural selection does not favor us and species extinction is the way of the cosmos. The great, inscrutable, indiscriminate dichotomy of creation and destruction. It’s just life, baby. Ya gotta love it and keep trying. More power to you. You are an impressive human being.

  • Brenda Bachman

    The most common solution was simply to grab what was at hand: coconuts, shells, snow, moss, hay, leaves, grass, corncobs, sheep’s wool—and, later, thanks to the printing press—newspapers, magazines, and pages of books. The ancient Greeks used clay and stone. The Romans, sponges and salt water. But the idea of a commercial product designed solely to wipe one’s bum? That started about 150 years ago, right here in the U.S.A. In less than a century, Uncle Sam’s marketing genius turned something disposable into something indispensable

  • John Friedrich

    Well stated, Scott! If we could link up the love and concern we have for our own children with parents & grandparents everywhere, for the sake of the well-being of ALL children, then we’d have a powerful force to demand a shift from war & warming to peace & sustainability. Imagine if even 10% of the U.S. military budget was spent instead on conflict prevention and renewable energy. Time for a return to family values, global style. Check out:
    “creating a peaceful, livable, just world for all children on earth”

  • steven sanders

    Thank you for pointing out that even though global warming isn’t caused by humans, we still need to get off of fossil fuels as quickly as possible.

    As you pointed out the sun is hotter now. The poles of Mars are melting. So is the ice on the moons of Jupiter. I have yet to have anyone explain to me how humans are causing that. This however is worse news than if we were causing it. This is not just the usual sun cycle we’re seeing. Before this was a political issue, or even publicly known, more than 20 years ago weather experts were warning about this. From the middle of the 19th century, since the end of the mini ice-age, the world has been undergoing unusually regular weather. This has been a warm period but not as warm as the 12th century when they grew vineyards in Scandinavia. However the the regular weather has aloud yearly crop harvesting. We take this for granted but in prior human history there have always been years in which crops failed, do to weather. Sometimes 2 or 3 years in a row. Famines were common. This global warming is actually a prelude to an ice-age. Note that in the past century mass starvation has been the result the World Bank collaborating with American and European agribusiness to maximize profits. The word was growing sufficient food to feed everyone. For 7 out of the last 8 years, do to crop failures the world has produced to little food. We are also as you mentioned having a water crises. This is why it is essential to stop F raking which is poisoning our ground water. We are going to have to prepare for periodic world food shortages. Consider the Supreme Courts decision to allow bio-modified plants to be patented. One company now controls most of our corn and soy production. For those who haven’t studied economics, profit is maximized by producing less then what is needed by the market. This is why there will never be enough food, medical care, etc, without government involvement. Note also that prices are those of a monopoly market if 5 or fewer companies control 50% or more of the market. This is why Americans pay so much. Almost all the things we buy are from monopoly markets. Big Corporations are trying to monopolize our food and water resources in anticipation of the future shortages. In order to survive we need to diversify farming. We need to have farming going on all over the planet and we need to do this now. It is therefore essential that we end the patenting of bio-modified products. We must move agribusiness off of a for profit economy. We could do this using the same methods that have been successful in non-profit medicine in other countries. These aren’t things we can wait 5 years to do. They must be done now.

  • A Qui Tam Relator

    A Qui Tam Relator • a day ago −
    You know I’ve been trying to get people using Solar & Hydronic Energy since the 1970’s when I worked at Arco Solar in Los Angeles. People would actually laugh at me and tell me I was crazy. They asked my why should I invest that much money to convert to Solar, I told them because I sat in line for gas in the early 1970’s for gasoline and besides if there is ever a earthquake in California don’t rely on Edison or DWP for power or help. Low and behold Arco Solar went out of business and years later the 1994 Northridge Earthquake happened leaving 10’s of thousands without electricity and water for months. I also told them in the early 1970’s look at the air pollution in L.A. and the inversion layer that hold down the deadly gases due to car and home emissions, and they laughed ! Are they still laughing now ?
    0 •Reply•Share ›

  • Rationalist

    “Do you know any atheists who are human-caused-global warming deniers? I don’t.”

    I do.

    It’s not well publicized, but I read (source could be wrong) that 90% of the active members of the National Academy of Sciences do not believe in God. Some of these people are climate researchers, and an even larger number are Climate Change Heretics (a more appropriate term than Deniers). The second group don’t make a living in the Climate Change Research field so they are free to think what they want (or even deny that there is a God!).

    If I were 75 and still healthy and financially comfortable, I would sit on a beach and enjoy the view. There are enough others who thrive on Fear and Anxiety to carry that flag. Relax, you’ve earned it!

  • Scott Bolden

    John, that’s a very nice initiative and good strategy. I really like the idea of utilizing networks of families to accomplish things. Families already have a high potential for coming to the game with a high degree of social cohesion and trust. I think that families can also have the effect of creating a sense of inclusion for those who do not have traditionally strong family ties.

    The toughest thing about getting folks together to make the world a better place is motivating them into action. Starting from the perspective of the family is a good idea. Thank you for your input and action; I will begin to integrate the family concept into my current initiatives.

  • Rationalist

    The military are planning for Climate change because they are fully stocked with $600 toilet seats, their budget keeps expanding (as Eisenhower predicted it would in “Why We Fight”) and they really have run out of legitimate wars to fight. If you have nothing to do, and a budget you will “loose if you don’t use”, you study Climate Change. You only have to look to NASA for a case study.

  • Scott Bolden

    Thom, I am thankful and honored by your words of support. However, I believe it is possible to overcome our animal nature of brute force domination.

    It just so happens that at the same time we are realizing the negative impacts of actions, we are also able to communicate en mass more efficiently than ever before. If there was ever a time in the history of mankind when it would be possible to experience a great global shift in consciousness, now is that time.

    Historically speaking, we have moved away from the most blatant, obvious and brutal forms of repression to those that are more subtle because the most obvious forms are rejected by society at large.

    Our charge now is to remove the cloaks of secrecy, diversion and manipulative tactics from the inner-workings of societal constructs while at the same time building a new vision of constructs that support humane and balanced lifestyles. We are just at the beginning stages of both efforts. So while things look bad now, I believe we can also view this as a period of transition.

    Don’t get me wrong, I see your broader point about the arc of human civilization and its repetitive patterns, but I also think we are poised to create a great social evolution the likes of which mankind has never experienced before.

  • Rationalist

    The realization that well meaning efforts to increase efficiency actually increases consumption is not new or novel, but it is accurate, so thanks for shedding that light. So Why does that happen? Consider the following example.

    If you used to make 1 trip to the store in your gas guzzler, you generated 2 tons of CO2/day. If you trade it in for a >New< Chevy Volt where you now make 2 trips, and use power generated in a coal-fired power plant transmitted over miles of wires (V=IR). You now generate 5.5 tons CO2 /day.
    BTW: Junking your clunker to replace it with steel, plastic and other resources in the new car also generated several hundred tons of CO2.

    If you want to see the facts and not just the hype and whyning, see a screening of Switch.

  • (Anonomous)

    An excellent interview, however discussions among the fringe intelligentsia will simply not prepare us for the coming effects of climate change.

    As an environmental scientist, I have acquired 40 years experience, have consulted on three continents and been listed by the United Nations. I have spent the last 20 years participating in discussions very much like this interview by Mr. Moyers. Five years ago, I submitted to the obvious, and left the forum. I moved my family to a safer location, began building hyperinsulated dwellings in a protected compound and gathering the tools that would assist my family and loved ones as they deal with the scenarios which they must.

    Bluntly, I have placed my bet that the voices of people like Beck, Inholfe, Limbaugh and others will continue to over shout the warnings of men like Mr. Moyers and Mr. Leiserowitz. For 20 years, I argued for mitigation and tried to educate those around me – without success. Today, I simply do not waste my time dealing with those who are willfully ignorant. I have decided to prepare for the future, not with reliance upon the actions of our society, but in spite of it. Call me a ‘doomer’ or a ‘chicken little’ if you like; I’ve heard it all before.

    I’ve watched our projections come to realization for a decade now, even the cautious ones of ‘what may happen by the end of the century’. The greatest failing of the scientific community is that we failed and are still failing to realize the cumulative effect of climate change. We will soon experience cascading and catastrophic occurrences, each impacting and accelerating the others. There will be no re-climbing the slippery slope we have embarked upon.

    To prevent the very worst of climate change effects, a global leader must arise and instigate radical policies that would initially devastate economies and societies. Such leader would be remembered by history as either another Hitler, or another Churchill. I see no leader of such vision or courage today.

    So, we continue to discuss the problem, continue to make plans to hold the hands of the religious, or patiently again explain science to those unwilling to listen. Within another 20 years, America will know both hunger and panic. Perhaps then, we will become united in adaptation. Perhaps then, it will be of no use.

  • Thom Hawk

    Possible, yes, Scott. Probable? With all due respect to you and the internet, probably not. This is not saving whales or stopping Jim Crow. It’s not even stopping slavery, which took a civil war. Saving the earth’s creatures from man-made pollution, poisons & degradations of all kind, and from global warming is a magnitudes greater task. Is the human race up to it? Now or ever? What do others think?
    We shouldn’t fight global warming and pollution because we think we can win. We should fight because anything else would be unthinkable, and just to put up a good fight. Do everything we possibly can, and be amazed if we succeed.

    The hope we need to keep fighting in a hopeless situation like this, is the hope of small victories. Many of those are won often within the environmental movement, and, yes, thanks to the internet we have gained a certain momentum. But so has the other side. That small glimmer of hope in what is a hopeless situation on a larger scale, is enough to keep us in the battle.

  • Emanuel Sferios

    Great interview. Only one criticism. Leiserowitz claims we can continue economic growth rates while also significantly slashing carbon emissions. This is a “we can have our cake and eat it to” argument, and it is false. We need to accept the simple facts of physics. A renewable-based energy economy will require much lower growth rates. This is science, not politics. This is the elephant in the living room, and why we are not dealing with climate change. We have not yet, as a society, been able to envision and or accept a low-growth economy. We want perpetual growth on a finite planet, and it simply can’t happen.

  • Alan Gregory

    Many Americans have even forgotten how to walk: Walk to work, walk to collect the postal mail, walk with their children to school, etc.

  • Thom Hawk

    My very dear, 84 year-old friend, Nura, has been following this discussion and was moved to write something; she is okay with my posting it:

    “Actual, on the ground action. Pods…all over the world, going door to door, teaching, showing house-dwellers how to conserve, walk softly, alter this and that and
    yes, even save money. Boycott. Don’t buy. Exercise enormous self-discipline and restraint, in the food eaten…where, when, from whom, how. The Internet could zoom everything from Paris to Mombai to Buenos Aires to Haifa, Montreal, Puerto Rico, Brooklyn, Cairo. Teach. Preach. At the door, with printed material in translation for all to see.
    An ‘army’ of teachers, resources…relentless, until the garbage is gone, recycled safely, fossil fuels gone with the dinosaurs and rivers running clean and wild again. Help all harness the sun, wind, water….Catch the
    rain. Store it. Farm with it.

    O what a beautiful, meaningful, people run world that would be. All of us in it together, doing what we can toward the common goal of not just survival, but a healthy, happy, cooperative, productive, interrelated lifestyle, where we truly are one for all and all for one.

    Just your conversation inspires such thoughts and wishes and dreams and I begin to feel anything is possible again.”

  • Nanciel

    US Department of Defense is the Worst Polluter on the Planet

    I feel that the amount of pollution the military produces is the most unreported story ever. Consider the pollution generated by the production of weapons and war machines, the transportation of weapons and troops, the amount of oil used, the destruction of infrastructures, defoliation for military purposes, discharge of weaponry into the environment and the residue left in the earth, and it becomes overwhelming and impossible to fathom. Yet who is talking about this in real terms?

  • Amy Zucker Morgenstern

    I turned the radio off in frustration after Mr. Leiserowitz spent several minutes talking about the 8% of people who are completely dismissive and how we can reach them and turn them around. The show had begun with a declaration of how critical this problem is, and I agree, and so there is only one thing to do with a small, vocal minority that insists we should run full tilt in the wrong direction: move forward without them. We don’t have time to bring them around, and why on earth do we need consensus anyway? It was such a weird, sad case of nice liberals trying to get everyone on board before we take one step forward that I wanted to weep.

    My work involves persuasion and social change (I’m a minister) and one thing I learned a long time ago is that in any work for change, you have several categories of people, as Mr. Leiserowitz said, and you focus your powers of persuasion on the ones in the middle. The ones who are already with you, you thank and encourage; the ones who are dead set against you, you ignore and teach others to ignore. I don’t mean you don’t talk to them–no need to be rude–but you don’t engage with them on this topic. It’s a complete waste of time, and time is something we don’t have.

  • Thom Hawk

    Exactly what I’ve been thinking, Don. McKibben has demonstrated that he is capable of pulling off a great strategic and tactical victory for the environment. He’s the most likely activist who could do for climate change what Capt. Paul Watson is doing for the whales by combining aggressive, in-your-face non-violent action with brilliant military strategy. McKibben deserves our wholehearted and vigorous support. Like Watson, he won’t back down until he gets the job done or dies trying. One of our heroes.

  • Sally Swisher

    I have a question:
    Anthony Leiserowitz said that to advance on this issue, we need solutions spearheaded by Conservatives. Why is it perceived that liberal agendas can only be implemented if they are perceived as conservative ideas? This is the “Nixon to China” argument and it has seemed to be true in our history. The thing I don’t understand is that the reverse doesn’t seem to be true. Conservative ideas can and often are implemented by Republicans or Conservatives. Why is this true? What’s the difference?

  • Anonymous

    It’s called a train.

  • John Friedrich

    there are networks of families everywhere there are families! Those with young children are busy, but also very concerned about the world into which they/we are bringing our children. The challenge, as you said, is translating concern and love into effective action.

  • johnpdeever

    Exactly. We all agree on “translating concern & love into effective action” — and then as soon as we get to the action itself, we have no agreement whatsoever. Energy policy is so hard, so many tradeoffs.

  • Anonymous

    The key to every man is his thought. Sturdy and
    defying though he look, he has a helm which he obeys, which is the idea
    after which all his facts are classified. He can only be reformed by
    showing him a new idea which commands his own.

  • Thom Hawk

    This is for you, Professor Leiserowitz. Here’s what is going on in America:

    Desert Life

    In the San Fernando Valley,

    city of Glendale,
    you will find, on the corner of
    Kenneth Road and Pacific Avenue,
    a dry front yard filled with flourishing

    prickly pear, palo verde,
    organ pipe, ocotillo,cholla,
    hedgehog, agave,yucca, candelabra,
    barrel, boojum and beavertail

    surrounded by
    a vast neighborhood of
    bland lush lawns
    copiously watered,
    sometimes in the middle of the day,
    by automatic sprinklers
    that often wet the pavement,
    making rivulets in the gutter.

    On my walk today
    I followed one of these
    incongruous streams uphill
    for several blocks
    to a lavish lawn entertaining
    plastic deer and swans
    who were enjoying
    their morning shower.

    You probably know the good news, Professor, that Los Angeles has outlawed plastic bags. The bad news is that the city council has not yet told Angelenos that they have to tear up their lawns. Homeowners should be doing that voluntarily so they don’t look so absurd.

  • Thom Hawk

    Are you always dismissive towards elders?

  • Lou

    Well, he also missed the group who know climate change is occurring, who know that man is causing it, but who have a vested interested in denying it, and so create and propagate false information about it, in an attempt to muddy the waters. Moyers brought up corporations who were doing this, but it ended up being a brief mention of the issue.

  • Anonymous

    What studies are you citing here Gordon?

  • Rationalist

    I read your posting with a sence of sadness since it seems you have chosen to resign yourself to a fate that many reasonable people feel is unlikely. I had a friend who was a paramedic and after picking up broken bodies all day began to think THAT was all the world was made of. He eventually got some help and is doing fine, but do you not see that 40 years of worrying about the planet will be self-fulfilling, even if the planet is doing just fine (in geologic time scales)?

    If you want to ease your mind (and escape the Climate cult) watch the slide show by Warren Meyer titled “Catastrophe Denied”.

    It will give you the balance that this subject desperately needs.

  • Gordon Lehman

    Wow, lots of studies. There are three groups that track the temperature of the atmosphere from satellites; the Hadley group in England, and NASA GISS, and the University of Alabama over here. All three datasets agree that there has been no significant (above the measurement error) atmospheric warming since 1997. I believe the Met Office in England made an official announcement to this effect last week.

    Very few people understand that IR in the 15 micron range absorbed and emitted by water vapor and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can only penetrate a few microns into the ocean or any water surface. This is indisputable physics and can be verified easily online. Whether it is possible for CO2 to warm the oceans at all is very much in dispute, but all of the mechanisms proposed for such warming are slow and involve absorbtion and concomitant warming in the atmosphere. As we have seen above the atmosphere has not been warming.

    For a cutting edge discussion of this topic see Willis Eschenbach, RADIATING the OCEANS and comments.
    If you google carbon cycle you can verify the enormous natural flux in CO2 in relation to human contribution.
    If you google earth energy budget you will find many diagrams. The salient message to me from these diagrams, and one I have not seen mentioned, is that more energy cycles between the surface (70% ocean) and the atmosphere than the earth recieves from the sun. And the science is settled?

  • Eleanor Brown

    One of the best shows on the subject I have seen yet. Mr. Leiserowitz was clear, concise, and helpful with his reasoning and suggestions. Excellent!

  • Anonymous

    If you are a climate scientist George, then your views clearly belong to a very small minority.

    When it comes to discussions about internal cycles, such as the natural flux you speak of with the oceans. Your argument doesn’t quite fit with reality, not only because scientists keep track of oceanic emissions of CO2 and volcanic for that matter, and know that they are small compared to anthropogenic emissions, but also because CO2 from fossil fuels has its own fingerprints. Its isotopic signature is depleted in the carbon-13 isotope, which explains why the atmospheric ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-13 has been going up as anthropogenic carbon dioxide goes up. Additionally, atmospheric oxygen (O2) is decreasing at the same rate that CO2 is increasing, because oxygen is consumed when fossil fuels combust.

    A natural cycle that fits all these fingerprints is nearly unfathomable. However, that’s not all the cycle would have to explain. It would also have to tell us why anthropogenic greenhouse gases are not having an effect. Either a century of basic physics and chemistry studying the radiative properties of greenhouse gases would have to be proven wrong, or the natural cycle would have to be unbelievably complex to prevent such dramatic anthropogenic emissions from warming the planet.

    It is indeed possible that multidecadal climate variability, especially cycles originating in the Atlantic, could be contributing to recent warming, particularly in the Arctic. However, the amplitude of the cycles simply can’t explain the observed temperature change. Internal variability has always been superimposed on top of global surface temperature trends, but the magnitude – as well as the fingerprints – of current warming clearly indicates that anthropogenic greenhouse gases are the dominant factor.

  • Anonymous

    I am not exactly sure, as you don’t seem to be either Gordon, of what atmospheric temperature dataset the Met Office in England recently released, but here is their view on the state of the (world’s) climate:

  • Gregg Kleiner

    The question about what to tell President Obama to say about climate change is right on. The next question is why isn’t he speaking out? The following poem contains two reasons he should be, and soon.

    White Caps

    As a fellow father, I beg you
    Mr. President—
    to please speak up,
    utter a few words at least
    about our warming world,
    before it burns up
    Malia’s and Sasha’s future, dries
    the tears of our rivers, melts
    the cool white caps on our Planet’s poles, soaks
    our cities and suburbs with saltwater.
    You’re a smart man.
    You know it is real,
    and arriving too fast. So why such
    s i l e n c e
    when your own daughters
    will inherit a too-hot world?
    Why wait until Sasha and Malia
    and all our children ask us,
    in a few years,
    “What were you thinking?
    You knew this was happening and
    what were you doing?”
    while their only future smolders
    along the horizon that encircles them?
    Say something. Now. For god’s sake.
    For theirs.

    –Gregg Kleiner

  • Thom Hawk

    Dear President Obama:

    It took the brutal slaughter of babies for you to begin to use the power of executive order to do something about gun control. You could have done something during your first term. The danger was clear and imminent, with several mass shootings during those four years. Now there are millions of guns on the street that you can do nothing about. Whatever you do now
    will be better than doing nothing, but it is too late to get back the guns.

    Are you going to wait until it’s too late to avoid irreversible human-caused global warming that leads to species extinction and environmental collapse? Will American babies have to die dramatic and horrible deaths before you are moved to stop further extraction of our fossil fuel reserves?

    You don’t have much time. According to your own government scientists, we are in a four-year window of opportunity to avoid irreversible and catastrophic decline of ecosystems. If you don’t issue executive orders to stop extraction this year, the necessary changes won’t be in place in time to make a difference. Is that what you want your legacy to be? That you were the only person powerful enough to stop the devastation and you did nothing?

    The Keystone pipeline and other extraction projects cannot be allowed to proceed. If you don’t put a stop to all extraction of our fossil fuel reserves this year, it will not be someone else’s babies that you will be crying about. It will be your grandchildren.


    A Former Democrat

  • Gordon Lehman

    To say that human CO2 is a small part of a large cycle is not to deny that it increases atmospheric concentration. Too many people have the idea CO2 just sits there in the air like a blanket. It’s more like a freight train. We currently emit close to 10 gt (the weight of a cubic kilometer of water) anually, but 90 gt circulates between the ocean and the atmosphere and another 120 gt between biological processes on land and the atmosphere anually.
    As you likely prefer not to carry heavy things, biological processes prefer the lighter isotopes of carbon when they are available. The fossil fuels we burn have been biologically processed so they are rich in 12C, but the 120 gt that cycles from land and a part of the 90 gt from plankton at the ocean surface surface have the same signature.
    But we ARE increasing atmospheric CO2. I mention the above to counter facile statements like “we have found dirty human fingerprints on CO2″.
    Carbon dioxide IS a greenhouse gas with the radiative and chemical properties you allude.
    What is clear from the sensors on Mauna Loa is that atmospheric CO2 exibits a linear response to an exponential increase in human output, which really isn’t surprising if you consider the magnitude of the natural cycle.
    What is clear from the satellites is that in spite of the fact that nearly 1/3 of all historic human CO2 production has occurred in the last 15 years, the atmosphere has not warmed in this period.

  • Anonymous

    The flaw in your interpretation Gordon is in drawing conclusions about long term climate change over a relatively short period of time. Only over a period of decades can you confidently discern climate trends. Otherwise, you run the danger of mistaking weather for climate.

    Global temperatures continue to rise steadily beneath the short-term noise.
    NASA and climate scientists throughout the world have said, that the years starting since 1998 have been the hottest in all recorded temperature history. Claims, that clearly don’t sound confusing or contradictory to me.

  • John Bell

    Leiserowitz still drives a car daily and uses energy, so why should any one else be different?

  • Gordon Lehman

    Unfortunately, we only have satellite data for the atmosphere since 1979 and for the oceans since 1982. Any conclusions we wish to draw will necessarily be from a relatively short period of time. The cornerstone of the hypothesis that human CO2 causes dangerous warming is the correlation in the slopes of temperature and human CO2 production between 1976 and 1997. This 21 year correlation remains the only evidence supporting the hypothesis.
    The atmosphere has flatlined for 16 years since 1997 at the level of the top of the 21 year run up. So each year a silly exercise is carried out to determine which year is the fourth warmest or whatever of “all time”. All time being since 1979.

  • Anonymous

    Your willingness to cherry pick or isolate data sets such as recent atmospheric temps, and introduce strawman type arguments- “Very few people understand IR in the 15 micron range absorbed…” for instance are not completely helpful in forwarding a cogent discussion on the subject of global warming. Your singular use of air temperatures to make your argument against anthropomorphic influences on the Earth’s climates is a little disingenuous as well, no? Concentrating on air temperatures when there are other, more useful, indicators gives us a better idea how rapidly the world is warming. Oceans for instance — due to their immense size and heat storing capability (called ‘thermal mass’) — tend to give a much more ‘steady’ indication of the warming that is happening. Here records show that the Earth has been warming at a steady rate before and since 1998 and there’s no signs of it slowing any time soon.

    Here is a rigorous peer-reviewed paper, as opposed to a webblog on the subject that you may want to look at:

  • Anonymous

    That’s a totally lame argument.

    The fossil fuel behemoths have made sure that modern life depends on profligate energy use. A person would have to go way out of his way to not consume energy, so that’s a ridiculous standard to set.

  • Anonymous


    This may be the ultimate “inconvenient truth.” I recall reading the much-lauded (and rightly so) book “Cradle-to-Cradle,” and being astounded at the authors’ failure to recognize physical limits. They were gung-ho about green Capitalism and said we should manufacture things similar to what Nature produces (which I am all for), “things you want more of, like cherry trees.” I remember thinking, “yes, but Nature doesn’t put a million cherry trees in one square yard of earth.”

  • Anonymous

    No it doesn’t. That’s simply the convenient view of people in energy-squandering developed countries, who want to blame the problem on others rather than change their own behavior. We should be controlling the population but the bigger problem is our lifestyle and relationship to the planet. One wealthy family in the U.S. often uses more resources and energy than a whole village in the Third World.

  • Gordon Lehman

    The optical properties of water a strawman? The issue is whether IR emitted by CO2 and watervapor (hereafter greenhouses) can warm the bulk ocean at all since they can only penetrate a few microns into the surface. As I mentioned the issue is controversial but the mechanisims advanced so far to explain how this radiation could defeat the thermal stability and warm the bulk ocean would be slow and involve atmospheric warming.
    It is far more likely that your “more useful indicator”, the oceans, have continued to warm (so far) as a result of increased UV from reduced cloud cover, ozone reduction, or a change in spectral composition of TSI. UV penetrates roughly to the depth of the 800m mixed layer.
    It is not cherry picking to focus on a 16 year period without atmospheric warming when 30% of all historic human CO2 was produced during that period, when the entire satellite record is only 34 years, and when the hypothesis in question is based on a 21 year correlation within the satellite record.

  • Brenda Bachman

    Some where in the middle is the answer, but how do you get there,
    One end is the people who have it all and then those who have nothing.

  • Anonymous

    The issue is controversial? Again, where and what are the studies, other than your observations and webblogs, that support this controversy?

  • scott

    I tell my kids all the time to eat less sugar for health reasons. They often replay “Dad, you eat too much chocolate” – as if that is somehow justification for their destructive behavior. I ask them if my behavior somehow makes their behavior acceptable. Of course, they have no rational answer.

  • Gordon Lehman

    None of the optical properties of Carbon dioxide nor the spectral measurements you mention are controversial. But when the same satellites tell us that the atmosphere has not warmed in 16 years, where is the direct, empirical, causal link?

    I read the study you cited some years ago. It was written back when there had been only 11 years without warming and it makes the error of “adjusting” for ENSO. The atmosphere gets most of its energy from the oceans, and ENSO is a fundamental mechanism for transfer through the aforementioned superheated skin. ENSO is not noise to be filtered out. ENSO is the signal.

    Look, I am not some monster truck driving yahoo. I have two hybrid cars. I am a scientist. But your certainty that CO2 is a great danger based on simple physics is not supported by the evidence. The physics is more complex.

  • Anonymous

    First you claim,
    “..indisputable physics that can easily be verified online.”
    “The physics is more complex.”
    Which is it? Physics easily defined, or physics defying simple explanation because the subject matter is more complex?
    Whose postulations have resorted to faith based reasoning here?
    …alas, I don’t drive a monster truck either Gordon: perhaps, reading this will help you see the light…

  • Anonymous

    You may also want to have a look at this article from 2005

    From the introduction:

    “There is general agreement among the world’s climate scientists that the Earth’s global average surface-air
    temperature is now increasing at rates that are without precedent during the last 1000 years, and that this increase is
    at least in part due to human activity – particularly greenhouse gas emissions and land use practices. These conclusions are based on nearly a century of temperature data from over 900 surface weather stations with close to global coverage, and a wide range of data from various proxy indicators such as tree ring cores, glacier and snow-pack change, radiosonde, rocketsonde, and satellite data, and more. These suggest that the Earth’s global average temperature has risen between 0.4 and 0.8 deg C. since the early 20th century (IPCC, 2001).

    Even more disconcerting
    is the likelihood that this global warming is being driven by processes that have very long response times so that once started, it may take generations to stop even after mitigation activities are implemented around the world. Though the evidence for this warming grows stronger every day, there is still a great deal of uncertainty regarding how it will play itself out. Most climate scientists believe that by the end of the 21st century the consequences will be severe, but there is wide disagreement about the level of severity and what the actual impacts will be. There is also disagreement about the extent to which human activity is contributing to this increase. Some have argued that the observed warming is entirely natural and that we cannot do anything to mitigate it. At the more extreme end, some have even argued that the warming is beneficial. If indeed we are contributing to global warming, it is of the utmost importance that the
    remaining uncertainties about our fingerprint on the earth’s climate be answered soon lest we delay too long before implementing needed changes.
    One of the more important open questions involves the relationship between temperatures at the Earth’s surface where we all live, and those of the troposphere and stratosphere, and how the two influence each other. Since anthropogenic (of human origin) greenhouse gases are thought to be a major contributor to this warming, and these gases are well mixed in the atmosphere, climate scientists believe that the lower and middle troposphere should warm
    at least as much as the surface. Even so, detecting this warming has been problematic. Many recent observations have only revealed about half as much warming as expected, and the difference is likely to be statistically significant (NRC, 2000).

    Climate scientists point to the many gaps in our understanding of how the surface and troposphere interact with each other as well as how they are forced by the many factors driving climate change. They also point to
    the many gaps and uncertainties in our data regarding the historic evolution of troposphere and stratosphere temperatures. But others who are more confident of what is already known claim that this discrepancy is a showstopper for global warming, and proof that global warming mitigation policies are unneeded and wasteful. This
    perceived discrepancy between surface and troposphere temperature trends is one of the last and most significant roadblocks to a general recognition of the reality of global warming. It must be explained, one way or another, before a clear picture of the nature and extent of anthropogenic climate change can be achieved.”

  • Gordon Lehman

    The indisputable physics I was referring to was the optical properties of water. This simple physics is analagous to the simple physics of the optical and radiative properties of CO2 you have mentioned.
    If these simple properties were the end of the story then there would be no possibility that greenhouse gasses could warm the oceans and the atmosphere would be merrily warming from all the CO2 we are adding.
    Evidently not.
    What if by displacing water vapor whose spectral range overlaps CO2 has a slight net cooling effect at the current ranges? More simple physics. The trick is discovering all the simple physics that pertains.
    No, you are the faithful one. All I have is questions.

  • Anonymous

    No tricks, Gordon. Thorough scientific reasoning, yes please.

    …and really, the best response you can come up to having your tautology exposed about all those who don’t see the world as I do are fooling themselves, is :

    “No I’m not, you are.”

    As far as the end of the story, at least the one you ascribe your misgivings to, perhaps the following peer-reviewed article (you have yet to offer any in support of your overall positions) will help with the question you pose in regard to your misguided, or under informed interpretation and subsequent similar conclusion derived from short term atmospheric datasets.

  • vkdisme

    If we could only get Mr. Leiserowitz to speak to the gun control issue. The simple, but oh so effective technique of listening and speaking ‘to’ what is being said could do a lot for that current conversation.

    Thank you Bill, well done as always.

  • Gordon Lehman

    Belief is the balm of the ignorant. It saves a lot of research. Are you seriously quoting me IPCC 2001? Check out what they are saying in the drafts of their 2012 convocation. These have been leaked and are all over the internet. No trend in atmospheric water vapor (read flat), atmospheric temperature way below the error bars for even the most conservative model projections. The draft contains graphs with commentary admitting this.
    I have no beliefs. I don’t even believe in God, but if I did, my motto would be, “In God we trust, all others bring data.”

  • Anonymous

    You said, “Belief is the balm of the ignorant. It saves a lot of research.”

    So where is your research, Gordon?

    So far, from you, we have an opinion, links to a blog, and a reference to a draft. A draft that can’t even be picked apart in the blogger world without its critics having to resort to lifting incomplete paragraphs to make their points.

    You remind me of Gollum from the Lord of the Rings series. A character that simultaneously lauds and despises the object of his desire: in this case that would be the search for understanding.

    I included some of the introduction from Church (2005) because the questions he attempts to address in this study is fairly sympathetic to your perspective on the matter. That you would instantly puke up IPCC 2001 as it was used to make your point in this context, demonstrates that your precious questions no longer serve to satisfy any real curiosity on your part. You seem compelled to be make your arguments (ie: everybody but me is delusional, I don’t believe in God, I drive two hybrids) out of habit (or worse), rather than trying to get somewhere.

    Good luck with that.

  • Kent Smith

    In 1973 John G. Bennett gave an insightful talk to a London gathering where he placed as the highest human purpose the realization of our proper relationship with the Earth. That talk is now available on-line. I enthusiatically encourage everyone to give a listen to this talk.

  • Rationalist

    You are right that we should all do the right thing because it is the right thing, but…
    Ask your kids if you should sell your car and live in a cave so someone in India or China can buy a car and live in a McMansion. That is a more fitting comparison and the CO2 concentration will not change when you trade lifestyles.

  • Martha Shaw


  • Salvador Quiroz

    All people should see this, but Americans should see and act!

  • Alan Cree

    Have never heard this man talk before. He is an excellent communicator. Hope he gets wildly heard, but as he pointed out the media generally do not seem that interested in giving the subject the coverage that it requires and deserves.

  • anonymous_os

    Here is the deal. Human population is expected to grow to 9 billion people by 2050. Almost all of the young people in the world are aware of and aspire to the 1st world standard of living, yet we today are currently “mining” the earth. We are taking more of renewable resources like trees and fish than the earth can sustain indefinitely. Finally, it is obvious that humans do not require washing machines, microwaves, iPhones, PS3’s, etc. to be happy. I know. I live in Phnom Penh, do not have hot water, no washing machine, no microwave, no A/C, no car, I never watch TV. At some point, you just realize, hey with this simple lifestyle, I only need to work maybe 10 or 20 hours a week. So here is the deal, it is not just climate change – the issues include overpopulation, loss of agricultural land to urban sprawl, invasive plant species, and desertification, deforestation, toxic chemicals, loss of species diversity, the risk of disease epidemics, the risk of political instability. Anybody who isn’t scared and motivated to do something is probably not paying attention or understanding things.

  • anonymous_os

    Remember, it isn’t just climate change. As I have said above, it is also: deforestation, loss of agricultural land to desertification, erosion, and urban sprawl, invasive species, toxic chemicals and runoff from mines, overpopulation, water shortages, pollution, disease epidemics, etc. The 1st world in cooperation with authoritarian governments in the 3rd world are doing some pretty serious damage with the current human population…

    Studies show that we would need 1.5 earths to sustain our current global standard of living indefinitely.for example, that if we are to meet the moderate emissions targets of the IPCC (2007) then the carbon intensity of global economic output must be 130 times lower than it is today requiring 11% reductions every year. Even with the unprecedented technological advances of recent decades the efficiency improvements over the period 1990-­‐2007 were merely 0.7% per year. (Simplicity Institute)

  • anonymous_os

    I think there are too many nihilists and sociopaths who wouldn’t change their behavior even when they knew it was bad. Some people just plain only care about themselves and possibly their families. Like the Hummer drivers, people with blasting stereo systems, people who pour their used motor oil onto the ground, etc. Some people just don’t care about being good.

  • anonymous_os

    I recommend instead that you find a job close to where you live or vice versa. Or find a home and work close to the transit lines. But with the current design of suburbs, highways, etc., it makes it pretty difficult. America needs a tax or a cap on carbon, or both. Then investment and changes would come about automatically through human struggle to avoid costs.

  • anonymous_os

    Another example is that the average global temperatures during the last ice age were “just” five degrees lower than they are right now. Sheesh. :(

  • anonymous_os

    Sadly, most of the original Native American lifestyle has been lost. Like Russell Means said, having a casino on your reservation is proof that you have been totally colonized (he describes casinos as legalized robbery). Seriously, there are a lot of people of all backgrounds fighting for something better, but we are too fragmented. America seriously needs a spiritual awakening. Individual egos are as oversized as our waistlines, houses, cars, credit card debt, federal debt, etc.

  • anonymous_os

    Cloth towels can be washed over and over again to dry your hands. Or you can simply wipe your hands on your clothing.

    I am an American living in Cambodia and I ran out of toilet paper for a few days and was to lazy to run to the market. Most Cambodians do not use toilet paper. They use a high pressure water hose to clean their posterior. I have adopted this method without any difficulty. It is just as clean and easy. Thank you for your comments. I totally hear what you are saying and agree with you.

  • anonymous_os

    Yeah, we are basically stealing from people in the third world and stealing from our children and grandchildren. We are a bunch of thieves. We are stealing the earth.

  • Anonymous

    Well, there is another way to look at it – when Euros first arrived, they conned the Natives with ETOH and shiny beads and stole their land – now the natives are conning the Euros with tobacco and poker chips to get their land back – seems like a bit of poetic justice to me …

  • anonymous_os

    Don’t forget Rwanda in the 1990s.

  • Anonymous

    Hmmm – 2 arrows down, must be some folks who dislike natives around ….

  • anonymous_os

    I hear you, but I think it is safe to throw away that argument on the basis that “two wrongs do not make a right” Sadly, I doubt that most tribes use their casino money to invest in land. Also, pretty much all food, clothing, tools, etc. are produced off the reservation. Hell, I received an Indian style blanket as a gift from my native friends and it was made in China.

  • Anonymous

    *THIS* is what the very best of Journalism is all about. Thank you once again, Bill Moyers for setting the example by which all others must me measured.

  • Mary Martha White

    Leiserowitz says that there is no movement pushing for actions to be taken to deal with climate change. Is he not familiar with They pulled together 50,000 demonstrators in Washington just a couple of weeks ago from climate change groups all over the country to call for the rejection of the Keystone pipeline. In December of 2009 they had demonstrations going on all over the world calling for real negotiations to take place during the United Nations Climate Change in Copenhagen. No serious agreements were drawn up. The movement exists. The problem is that the fossil fuel industry is so powerful politicians feel they can ignore their own citizens.

  • Wayno

    I totally agree! Also Mr. Moyers must understand that on the other end of the spectrum of global warming is the unfortunate fact that a lot of people will need a lot of guns if they ever expect to have a chance in hell in surviving a global warming event. As in any major event, you do not ever want to find yourself in a position where your loved ones will become victims in the plight of someone else’s survival.

  • Anonymous

    The sun is currently in a cooling phase, yet the planet continues to warm, each decade warmer than the last. It is not the sun. CO2 has been known to be a greenhouse gas since Svente Arrhenius in 1896.

  • Anonymous

    The science IS settled among climate scientists. To argue that it is not is to be complicit with the deniers that have plunged our planet into peril.

  • Fred G

    You much be in CCL but cannot find you.