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.

Anthony Leiserowitz on Making People Care About Climate Change

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.”

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  • Anonymous

    “…although these anthropogenic forcings share a common stochastic trend, this trend is empirically independent of the stochastic trend in temperature and solar irradiance. Therefore, greenhouse gas forcing, aerosols, solar irradiance and global temperature are not polynomially cointegrated. This implies that recent global warming is not statistically significantly related to anthropogenic forcing.”

    Does that make any sense to you? If not, stop pretending that the slipshod statements by such people as put on this broadcast mean that global warming is caused by human actions. The above statement, recently released by real scientists, says it is not.

  • Talon Konkel

    The few times I have been terribly sick in my life, I have gone to see the doctor. When the doctor tells me what is wrong, and what should be done, I trust their judgement. Why? They are experts. They know what they are doing. They have spent many years of their life studying, analyzing, diagnosing, and treating illness. Climate scientists have spent just as many years studying, analyzing, researching, and diagnosing. They are the foremost in their field and they say we have a problem, yet around a quarter of our population alone won’t hear it. It is like going to the doc, having them explain to you that you have appendicitis and urgently need your appendix removed, and you telling them, despite your excruciating pain, “Doc, you don’t know what you’re talking about, I’m going to another hospital for a different opinion.” The last poll I saw from the National Academy of Sciences revealed 97% of scientists believe in human caused climate change, so I guess in that scenario, a skeptic would likely be deceased before finding that “different opinion.”

  • Talon Konkel

    You got a good source for that? And by good, I mean academically sound, like from a university, peer reviewed journal (such as Nature), or even a scientific organization like the National Academy of Sciences. I’d like to read it. As someone who likes to read published science, I rarely come across conclusions so oddly worded and so grammatically incorrect.
    Also, I know scientists often have a problem communicating science to people without scientific backgrounds, but even that paragraph seems purposefully worded to confuse and disinterest.

  • Eileen Weintraub

    According to the United Nations report entitled “Livestock a major threat to
    environment” animal agriculture generates more greenhouse gas
    emissions than all other transport
    (i.e. cars) as well as being a major source of land and water degradation. This is
    regardless of whether the animal products (meat, eggs and milk) are local or
    organic. Even the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors voted to promote
    “Meatless Monday”, let’s not forget about our diet and how we can lessen global
    warming daily by limiting or eliminating our reliance on animal agriculture one
    forkful at a time.

    to UN report see below:
    Eileen Weintraub

  • 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”

  • Anonymous

    Please check out the Savory Institute. It is in how livestock is managed that makes the difference in whether they bring about environmental holocost or environmental renewal. I just found about about this world-wide movement on traditional management of animals for HELPING the earth.

  • Lucia

    I know a climate scientist and he has always said that there is no doubt about global warming in the scientific community. If it weren’t for oil companies buying our government off, we citizens of the world would be on our way to solving this. They buffet our brains with doubt and superstition. We must quit letting these idiots control us!

  • Lucia

    Ok. I use my egg layers to make fertilizer. We have animal death camps now, we have no respect for the planet.

  • Pole

    I have known and written about Global Warming since my teaching days at a local college. I taught Comparative Religions and when we got to the life of Confucius I always lectured on his notion of the Mandate of Heaven. He said that when this mandate of heaven or Yang, is lifted all sorts of climatic changes occur from earthquakes, famines, floods, hurricanes, draughts, infestations, weather changes and so on. Yang is the sky or air. Confucius taught that those in charge who disregarded the land and people’s needs would set in motion events from the Yang sky meant to change their ways. Confucius lived over 2500 years ago.
    I don’t believe we can change our ways in time. The profit motivated among us and the foggy minded led by Carl Rowe are hard wired with a world view that doesn’t allow rational decisions. Profit and money ahead of people and their welfare move this group to deny any reality that warms them to stop.

  • Chisel

    If you intend to present a quotation, please cite your source. Two and one half sentences without any context cannot be used as the basis of a serious conversation. How can anyone decide “what sense” the statement makes presented as you did? I get the sense that you have your mind made up and do not really want to engage in conversation that involves an exchange of ideas.

  • Christopher S. Johnson

    That’s an interesting article about a report and I’m skeptical. It contradicts every other climate study on greenhouse gasses sources. In the other studies livestock surely plays a role but nowhere near this claim. That includes the WRI reports, the UN, UK government reports, ect. This would be a radically different understanding.

  • Anonymous

    This is not about egg layers or other animals BEING fertilizer. It is about large ruminants like cattle, bison, and numerous African species eating, producing a lot of fertilizer, trampling it into the soil, then leaving that area undisturbed for a year. Reforestation is occurring where there had been desertification.

  • jwc2blue

    Good stuff. I don’t normally get to watch Moyers. We really need to find ways to get people more engaged.

  • Gary Wilson

    Correlation does not prove causation. More severe floods and droughts are not proof that an increase in average global temperature is the cause.
    While global warming is given all the hype, declining soil fertility is ignored. Around the middle of the last century, the soil scientist, William Albrecht, Ph.D, explained how declining soil fertility increases the severity of floods and droughts. He also explains how another form of more hazardous weather, the dust bowl, was created by declining soil fertility and fixed by restoring soil fertility by liming the soil. While wind or rain are necessary to cause erosion of the soil, they are not sufficient to cause it.

  • Peter Grothe

    Bill, you can’t use science to call for action when you say things like “… hurricane Sandy and by almost all the extreme weather in the last two years.” Two years of weather data cannot be considered a valid data set- even a century of weather data is not sufficient. Don’t talk outside of the scientific process. You are dangerously close to fear-mongering here. Are burning fossil fuels bad? Yes. Should we develop alternative forms of energy? Yes. Do we have the capacity to alter the warming planet? No. If you own property on the coast consider selling out. I would also consider divesting from any insurance companies in your portfolio.

  • rodger

    From the journal Earth System Dynamics billed as “An Interactive Open Access Journal of the European Geosciences Union” comes this paper which suggests that the posited AGW forcing effects simply isn’t statistically significant in the observations, but other natural forcings are.

    “…We show that although these anthropogenic forcings share a common stochastic trend, this trend is empirically independent of the stochastic trend in temperature and solar irradiance. Therefore, greenhouse gas forcing, aerosols, solar irradiance and global temperature are not polynomially cointegrated. This implies that recent global warming is not statistically significantly related to anthropogenic forcing. On the other hand, we find that greenhouse gas forcing might have had a temporary effect on global temperature.”

  • Connie

    I wish everyone would watch this incredible, amazing, disturbing segment. Here is a mild-mannered, intelligent and compassionate man of science speaking truth to a world that wants not to understand that truth.

    The best all of us can do who have been willing to listen is to urge as many people as we can to hear Leiserowitz speaking here. To talk to the doubters among us respectfully, requesting that they give the idea a chance — but speak to them without rancor or a superior attitude. But let’s do it. Let’s start to really speak out and follow up with our own private actions and contributions.

  • Rationalist

    Another interesting interview. I watch each week since I loved how you exposed the financial industry who, based on simple human nature, convinced others to Spend their money on risky investments with huge payoffs to themselves. Strangely, this interview was the same, but you took the opposite side of the argument!

    Mr. Leiserowitz, described the American zietgeist accurately with the following groupings:

    Alarmed 16%, Concerned, Cautious, Disengaged 8%, Doubtful, Dismissive 8%

    Since when did 16% of the population gain the right to tell the rest of us how to live, especially when most of them are hypocritical Hummerventalists who don’t live by their own talk anyway?

    I fall into the “Dismissive” group because I’ve read the work of Lomborg, Spencer, Monkton, Gerondeau, NASA Astronauts as well as Hanson, Gore, Carson, and IPCC reports just for balance. Alarmists are quick to point out that anyone paid by the Koch brothers is conflicted and will report information only beneficial to their argument, but why do you only interview people who make a living off Climate Change Alarmism?

    Is it really such a mental leap to realize that your guest as well as essentially all the scientists voting that global warming is a crisis will lose their funding if they said Climate Change wasn’t a crisis? There is now a world-wide Environmental Industrial complex that, just like the financial industry, promotes their own cause with the primary goal not to legitimately change the climate (they secretly know that’s not possible) but to feed their families.

    As a journalist, don’t you see the bias? Why not interview someone who represents the other 94% of us?

  • Rationalist

    Ooops, Two corrections in the posting above, I’m actually Doubtful, not Dismissive, and 100%-16% = 84%. Sorry!

  • Bill

    Climate Change is real. I am sick of the same old argument

  • Peter Grothe

    I agree. The fear-mongering on the side of the climate changers is equal to any extremism you can find these days. In the hundreds of millions of years this planet has existed climate change is the norm. Furthermore, because most Americans are doubtful and/or dismissive does not mean they don’t believe in alternative energies. The discussion should be focused more on forwarding technology, not using a century of weather data to extrapolate the future of a planet that is millions and millions and millions of years old.

  • Anonymous

    After some 30 years of histrionics and no significant change to the climate, climate change – the secular millennialism formerly known as global warming, is still the imminent disaster of the future.

    And always will be.

  • Anonymous

    Asking a “Climate Change Communication Director” about why we should be concerned about supposed climate change is like asking one’s barber if one needs a haircut.

  • Thomas Brady

    Anthony, I began to watch your treatise on Billy’s show. It tugged at my heart strings. Oh so much.

    Quick question, since the Earth is billions of years old, and has seen climate change from day 1, is any climate/weather we’ve been witnessing for the past recorded history, truly any different that is actually out of the statistical norm? I live in the Finger Lakes region of upstate NY, what caused the glaciers to melt some 10,000 years ago? Carbon emissions?
    Why did you and Bill spend so much time chastising the Republican party & not China, India, Russia?

  • John Ackerman

    Marvelous. I’m going to share it with my congregation that has selected climate change as THE issue for us all,
    not just a few activists. John Ackerman, Minneapolis

  • Anonymous

    probably because the conversation was focused on the U.S. and what individuals can do

  • Richard Bradlee

    Your guest suggests that a bottom-up, grassroots movement to climate change is lacking. Has he not heard of Among its many current initiatives is one urging US colleges (maybe even Yale) to divest their endowment portfolios of fossil fuel holdings so as to hit Big Oil where it hurts. Why not invite’s co-founder Bill McKibbon onto your show to affirm that at least one bottom-up group is politically active, serious and growing in numbers?

  • Dr. Lora Chamberlain

    We must, simply must end the over $14 Billion worth or subsidies for Coal, Oil and Natural Gas and even billions more for Nuclear. WE MUST CUT THE SPIGOT OFF FIRST! Then we need a Carbon Tax, like Ireland passed, period, maybe Obama has more balls now!Then the carbon forms of energy will not be economically viable.
    Then we must get the Germany styled policy decisions passed here in at least the States if not the Feds.

    Personally I do not drive hardly at all any more, mass trans almost all the way. I also am a vegetarian, I still eat eggs and cheese but those can be grown in a sustainable way and I eat organic, local grown, so I do not see any evidence that I have to stop the eggs and cheese. We do not have to shoot every cow on the plains to get a decrease in the carbon output from Big AG, we simply have to stop buying from Big Ag-period and that I have done!

  • Thomas Brady

    Again, climate is worldwide. In this made up issue, those fear mongers have decided we(U.S.) need to completely alter our lifestyles. Considering we are the #2 economy and producer of the small % “green house” gas, CO2, I would suggest that Bill & Anthony discuss the global response. All this was was yet another media sponsored targeting of Republicans.

    Ok, so maybe it was about what individuals can do. 2 things: Why were only U.S. Republican individuals highlighted? Why hasn’t Al Gore cut back on his C footprint?

  • Richard Pauli

    Great metaphors. We are all floating in a boat – all 7 billion humans are in a giant canoe, on a pleasant river – under sunny skies – a lazy day. There reports of a giant waterfall ahead, even rapids starting to appear. Half of us in the canoe are paddling furiously to safety. The other half are asleep and ignoring the problem, refusing to paddle. We are not sure just where our river will become a waterfall or rapids. But the sound of danger is getting louder.

  • Bexcee

    This was the most arrogant person, boldly laying out the plan/tactics on how powers that be plan to to control the conversation on ‘climate change’, to manipulate public opinion. (can’t call it global warming anymore) Anytime the name-calling & the maligning of those who disagree with you begins, you know you are not dealing with real scientists. There are many scientists who don’t agree. Man made? We have only been industrialized a few hundred years. Natural disasters and weather catastrophe have been happening since time began. We spend over 7Billion a year on warming ‘studies’. Politicians and people who want to control human behavior, and basically stick us all in compartmentalized high-rises, w bus/train transportation only, and the Gov’t controlling all food/industry/etc. Disaster waiting to happen.

  • Bexcee

    End $14Billion in oil/gas subsidies? Fine, but get our money back from the green industry Obama wasted taxpayer dollars on. Our country is in serious financial trouble. And the non-businessman that Obama is, threw money at donors (80% of green dollars went to donors), foreign companies and satisfied the massive/hopeful green lobby. $80 Billion was set aside in the stimulus for green loans/grants/tax credits. How many declared bankruptcy? 19 bankruptcy filings, and 15 in serious trouble. It’s ok to help out green, but NOT when we are in debt up to our grandkids eyeballs. At this point in time, green cannot sustain the world economy anytime in the foreseeable future. Foolish.

  • P Edward Murray

    5 years ago when I and others came together to ask Al Gore to run as President, I believed that this was the most important issue other than jobs. Today, I am not so worried. Why? Because personally, I can’t move that mountain BUT folks in Washington D.C. can do something and they choose not to.
    I have a feeling that we are over that cliff and should be working hard to adapt to the changes that are coming.
    Yes, we should try to stop it of course but we are going to have to live with what is happening…
    And we are NOT doing it!

  • TenneyNaumer

    So, there are over 13,500 papers that say global warming is occurring and about 15 that disagree. Many other papers say the recent warming is significant and can be detected over the noise of natural variation.

  • TenneyNaumer

    If a university scientist receives a grant that will pay him/her a salary, the university then uses that money for the professor’s salary instead of university funds. However, well-known deniers like Patrick Michaels are getting rich. He stated on CNN in 2010 that he was making $4 million a year – he does that consulting for conservative think tanks and coal companies.

  • John Kutzler

    If Your an NRA member, dO NOT EXPECT THE FACTS TO STAY POSTED ON THIS WEBSITE. Tommorow We will withdraw our pbs Support.

  • Mary Boudreau

    IF there is any chance of human cause ( which I believe it is ) wouldn’t it be better to err on the side of caution, after all we are talking about the environment that supports our life…..

  • Mary Boudreau

    We have screwed up big time !! it is unbelievable to me that we aren’t aggressively addressing this life threatening problem. Its like Karma,, if there is even a small chance that Karma is true, then wouldn’t you change your life just in case? ( maybe you should read Dante’s Inferno ) So if we are ( and we are ) destroying our environment wouldn’t it be better to change that right away….. just stop, invest in renewable resources, stop destroying the rainforests, rebuild America with non toxic eco friendly technology… If we dont stop our destructive ( WAR) insane policies we are dooming future generations to real problems…..

  • Flowen

    “Environmental Industrial Complex”????

    What amazes me is that people who think like you actually know how to read and write….unless you have a machine do that for you….or, maybe you are a machine.

  • Greg Robie

    Regarding questions for Paul and next week’s interview: To the degree peak conventional oil is peak credit, and the current economic ‘disfunction’ is systemic and a matter of credit worthiness, how does further systemic devaluation of credit worthiness by increasing public indebtedness honorable and/or responsible? Isn’t extending the Anthropocene creating economic paradigm of limited liability law enabled global capitalism non-rational? To the degree debt-based capitalism is on, at best, extra-legal life support, and flash-frozen in its systemic collapse due to the twin threats of peak conventional oil (read OPEC oil whose sales are denominated in the US dollar and make it the planet’s reserve currency) constituting peak credit, and the unfolding Anthropocene precluding the environmental, social, and economic justice the current iteration of capitalism is predicated on, isn’t a religious-like trust in borrowing as a solution to over borrowing an iteration of what Einstein observed was impossible: that the thinking that creates a problem can be trusted

  • Greg Robie

    …to find the solution to the problem?

  • Greg Robie

    Common law precedent associates behavior with responsibility. In this sense, those who polluted the atmosphere with formerly sequestered carbon for creditworthiness have both the responsibility for this and the means, to the degree the credit-worthiness-as-wealth is real, to fix the mess. While the concept of national sovereignty precludes the emissions associated with this nation’s consumption and investment decisions that are generated external to its boarders by its citizens and chartered corporations from being legally regulated as though they are domestic, such is a political and legal differentiation for which the physics of climate change cares nothing.

  • Salome

    politicians and oil,gas and coal companies might as well be related…thats part of the problem..even when people organize and use the political system to try and change things,their efforts are thwarted because of the alliance between the corporations and the politicians.

  • Greg Robie

    And Mr. Leiserowitz seems lost to what is called in neuropsychology, motivated reasoning, when equating what little is being done with such being statistically significant. The science such is based on is pre-2005, excludes land-based ice, Arctic carbon, and feedbacks and called for a 20-40% reduction in carbon emissions re 1990 by nations like ours by 2020–ie useless to the point do wishful thinking. In addition, like the questions I’ve posed for Krugman, the optomistic assertion regarding what can be done and will help not thaw the flash-frozen-in-its-collapse economy, is based on economic assumptions that, with peak oil peaking credit meriting the same label.

  • Rain,adustbowlstory

    Here’s a good small step: Go see Promised Land. As a writer, I actually felt relief to be sitting in a movie that doesn’t rely on car chases and guns (how can we sit through all those violent trailers any more after Newtown?). Promised Land is anti-fracking but not in a preachy way. Its very subject matter is a rebuke to climate-deniers.

  • Dale Sherman

    Bill McKibbon was on last April. It’s in the archives.

  • Anthony Thomas

    The grassroots like Occupy is being left out of the MSM. That’s how most people get their information. How many outside of your group know what even is? We need crisis to bring people together. That’s the unfortunate reality of Western Society especially North America.

  • Anthony Thomas

    As I said we need crisis to get things moving, massive crisis, not local ones like Hurricane Sandy or the Northridge Earthquakes. A real and deadly crisis will get asses in gear, but as you said it will be just about too late.

  • Anthony Thomas

    I hope you know that conservative web sites pay people to post nonsense like that.. IE Trolls

  • Anthony Thomas

    I compare Climate Change to Racism in America, deny, deny, deny, deny and deny some more until something serious happens…

  • Anthony Thomas

    Who is “We”? Didn’t he just say about 2/3 of people in poor countries have no idea what Climate Change is? I would liken those people to the people that say its a hoax It is also a race problem because we all know who will be mostly impacted by climate change, those who are brown and can’t afford to move to the highest point to avoid flooding. Didn’t you see the impact of Katrina? Its still being felt and largely unresolved. We as you said have already somewhat doomed our grand children but they won’t quite as stupid as we are and may have actual solutions.

  • Anthony Thomas

    Oh let him have its opinion, when it hits his arse in the gas tank, to power or heat his home he’ll deny that too. Carbon is going to get much more expensive as we move along here.

  • Anthony Thomas

    Oh its done, let it happen, then something good will come out if it. It won’t save the day but it will make daily life manageable until more solutions are found. That’s why I may move to Germany, have a nice day..

  • nrcbtm1

    I am one of the group categorized by Anthony Leiserowitz as aware of the dangers that climate change is making and will get worse, and that there is ample scientific evidence that the current climate change is due to human activities, unlike past ones of other eras. But I am resigned to the concept that the best we can do at this late date is to try to mitigate the consequences. Even should activists manage to convince the movers and shakers to reverse our growth in CO2 emissions, elsewhere people will continue to cut down rain forests.

    I also wonder why activists can’t convince the smart people running the fossil fuel industry that their descendants will be harmed by continued burning of fossil fuels?

  • Dave Pruett

    By far the best discussion on climate change I have ever witnessed. A must see, regardless of political persuasion.

  • Dave Brillig

    For 1800 years, from Aristotle’s day BC until the 1500’s, The educated and scientific communities believed Aristotle’s “common sense” postulate that heavier objects fall faster than lighter ones, and that the sun orbited the earth. Gosh sakes, didn’t they have a tree to climb to make a simple observation? Orthodoxy made people silent because noone wanted to dispute Aristotle. It took the unorthodox Galileo to publicly drop items of various weights from the Tower of Pisa, proving it false. He was imprisoned in his home for his final years until his death for refusing to say that the sun orbited the earth. If a poll of scientists had been taken in the 70’s, what percentage of them would have agreed that saccharin was carcinogenic?

    Mr. Leiserowitz never once mentioned the words CO2 or carbon dioxide in his interview with Moyers, and to me it was more of an infomercial than an interview.

    Two simple and easily verified facts about CO2 are 1. CO2 comprises only 4/10ths of 1 percent of the atmosphere. 2. If you’ll google the following: Changes in temperature precede changes in CO2, with a lag of around 800 years fischer et al

    you will find that many studies have shown that changes in CO2 levels have lagged changes in temperature ove the last 420,000 years. The science is settled allright, CO2 does not force temperature change. Al Gore was wrong,

  • Dave Brillig

    If you’ll read the description below the video above, you’ll see that Leiserowitz is not a physical, climate, or earth scientist, he’s a psychologist specializing in the psychology of risk perception. He has a government job at Yale, of trying to convince people that we can control the climate.

    He also has a verbal obsession, saying the word OK about 25 times in 25 minutes.

    He never once used the words CO2 or carbon dioxide, lest he would have to delve into the actual science.

    Two easily verified facts about CO2 are these:

    1. CO2 comprises only 4/100ths of 1 percent of earth’s atmosphere. In other words, The ratio of CO2 molecules in our atmosphere is 1 out of every 2500.

    2. If you’ll google the following words: Changes in temperature precede changes in CO2, with a lag of around 800 years fischer et al

    you will find that many studies have shown that changes in CO2 levels have lagged changes in temperature over the last 420,000 years. The science is settled allright, CO2 does not force temperature change. Al Gore was wrong. Orthodoxy is the reason many scientists just want to believe the orthodox answers. How many scientists believed in the 70’s that sacharin was carcinogenic? For 100 years the scientific community believed Aristotle’s postulate that heavier objects fall faster that lighter objects.

  • Dave Brillig

    You are a sick puppy if you see a correlation between racism and climate change.

  • Gale Tyler

    I watch Bill Moyers each week. Thank you for providing us with full coverage of the most important issues facing all of us. This week, the excellent interview with Anthony Leiserowitiz on the appalling neglect of the environment. I am Canadian. The Canadian oil far sands are one of the most polluting industries on the planet. Neither the Canadian nor the US governments have endorsed the Kyoto Accord and neither has a plan to reduce green house gasses. Together, our countries contribute massive amounts of green house gasses affecting all parts of and every person on the planet. Anthony Leiserowitz provided us with the devastating future we humans will face if we keep fiddling while Rome burns, only this time it will not be just Rome burning.

    Following is an argument I made to my conservative Christian brother and one we might use on everyone who is still a Climate Change doubter or denier. “Suppose you are right and Climate Change is a natural phenomenon not caused by humans. Surely you can agree that our efforts to clean up any environmental messes we have made and work to eliminate environmental pollutants and improve the water we must drink and the air we must breathe can’t hurt and can only improve our lives whether or not Climate Change is man made or natural.”

  • Greg Robie

    Anthony Leiserowitz’s categories seem to me to have a distinctive liberal moral bias. To the degree liberal moral integrity is conceived and experienced through talking a talk that is not walked, isn’t this interview and its framework an exercise in avoiding owning the consequences of this moral bias? And the most profound consequence is the loss of the knowledge that what, in good faith, one does, is what one hopes for.

    If one can talk about the threat of the Anthropocene to the economy while still flying to Doha to the failed–thanks, primarily, to the US–COP, or Colorado to observe that alpine tundra flowers are going extinct off the top of the mountains, in front of a set of expansive, and apparently non-south facing picture windows (as a ‘homey’ look and feel?), how can a political system managed to pander to our unconscious desires, do anything other than what is unfolding with our headlong rush into extinction and scapegoating?

  • Greg Robie

    How can the similarly managed economy not do so as well?

    To the degree our good faith actions demonstrate that we are hopelessly addicted to oil, and peak conventional oil constitutes peak credit for an economic paradigm for ‘wealth and security’ of systemic avarice predicated on ever expanding credit on a finite planet, is not the first step in recovery owning the addiction and changing oneself and the thinking that constitutes the addiction; to engaged in disciplined metanoia? 

    Returning to the categories and their liberal bias and affecting moral homeostasis. Conservatives bring to the social dynamics a need to practice what is preached to experience the same degree of homeostasis that liberals tend to achieve simply by knowing what is right. Critiquing the categories through this lens, doesn’t a second continuum reveal itself in terms of moral integrity dynamics with what constitutes integrity. Within the economic construct do not the doubters and dismissives practice what is felt and trusted while, motivated reasoning withstanding, the ‘activist’ end, to the degree they are unsure what to do, hypocritically, do, primarily, scapegoating?

  • H. Perez

    My coral reef is at risk.

  • Richard Bradlee

    Would you know the broadcast date? I’ve found only a Q&A from a phone interview back then.

  • Richard Bradlee is primarily a youth-driven movement, so tell all the young folks you know to add their names to the email list so as to stay informed & engaged.

  • Robert S. Forrest

    A remarkable and very useful description and dicussion of climate change and what is needed by each of us.

  • Michael Hetz

    What party of 97% of the world’s climate scientists agree that AGW is caused by CO2 don’t you understand?

  • Alex Cannara

    And, the real problem, imminent and catastrophic for many species, is ocean acidification.

    We’ve trashed the natural Carbon Cycle by a factor of about 30, meaning the sea life that dominates carbon uptake and sequestration has been tasked with trying to handle about 8 billion tons of carbon per year, while it can only handle 200 million tons.

    This means the oceans are becoming less alkaline, more acidic, and beginning in the N. Atlantic to pre4vent proper functioning of life forms that are the base of most sea food chains.

    We’ve moved ocean chemistry half way to shut down of the sea food chain in only 100 years. The rate of acidification has increased as our combustion has increased and before 2050 it will become serious enough to affect about 20% of all the food protein humans consume on earth.

    Climate warming, sea rise, etc. are peanuts compared to shutdown of food sources for billions.

    Dr. A.. Cannara

  • Thomas Brady

    You could have just typed in: Gobbledygook.

  • Anonymous

    Nowhere in the description does it say that Leiserowitz is a psychologist. To the contrary, Leiserowitz holds a PhD and an Masters in Environmental Science. He IS a scientist.

    And btw, working at Yale is not a ‘government job’. Yale is a private university.

    Please stop copy/pasting garbage from right-wing websites.

  • Eleanor H.

    Thank you, Bill, thanks for your informative program on combating climate change. Please have more programs in this area, with more information on what individuals, cities, states, and the national government can do.

    Recycling is good, but I think the most important thing is reducing the use of fossil fuels, reducing CO2 emmissions.

    An organization that I think is doing good work is the League of Conservation Voters (I think, It has information on the environmental voting records of senators and congressman. Their Give Green program provided an easy way to contribute to the campaigns of environmentalist candidates. Most of the candidates they supported in 2012 won.

    One question is, how can individuals finance the retrofitting of their homes? How about something on loans for retrofitting that are paid for out of the energy savings? I think Berkeley, ÇA has such a program.

  • Anonymous

    Why Climate Deniers Have No Scientific Credibility – In One Pie Chart

    13,950 peer-reviewed climate articles 1991-2012
    24 reject global warming

  • Anonymous

    Your two facts are half-truths, chosen to mislead people.

    CO2 is an important greenhouse gas. It effects are amplified by water vapor, which is the biggest greenhouse gas.

    CO2 and warming each increase the other. The current warming is driven by increased CO2. Past warming was not.

  • Rob

    I respect Bill Moyers and his guests enormously and I watch the program each week. However, every time I decide to contact the show itself rather than just leaving a comment here under a specific segment I realize time again that THERE IS NO “CONTACT US” LINK ON THE MOYERS AND COMPANY WEBPAGE!

    Now THAT is a TOTAL PARADOX and a very sad one at that for a program that presents itself as a grass roots attempt to expose important issues that need the attention of every citizen.

    If the CONTACT US link is indeed present on the website and I just can’t find it, would someone from the program please CONTACT ME?

  • Rob

    This is the comment I wanted to send to the show’s producers but cannot since there is no CONTACT US link:

    Would producers and editors at the MOYERS & COMPANY show please do their bit in terms of counteracting the prevalent method of identifying guests on the program while they are speaking?

    What I mean is this: One of Bill’s guests is speaking and (1) we seldom see their name displayed at the bottom of the screen, and (2) when the guest’s name IS displayed viewers are given about 3 seconds to read the name and what the guest’s job!

    This is not a problem with MOYERS & CO. but with PBS in general as well as with many other bradcasters and it needs to change. Why are editors and producers so oblivious to this growing problem? It’s almost as if they are in such a rush to display a guest’s name and then get it off the screen as soon as they can.

    For goodness, can you PLEASE display a guest’s name and credentials for AT LEAST 5 seconds and do so at least 4-5 times as often as you do so at present?

    Many viewers WANT TO KNOW the guest’s name and their credentials and don’t want to be forced to go to the website.

    In the end this is all about respecting both viewers and guests enough to identify them properly on the air and NOT rushing the process in what appears as a self conscious but ridiculous attempt at somehow not disturbing the guest as they speak.

  • Anonymous

    Our defense establishment was preparing for combustion driven climate change (Global Warming) since 1965. Now we’re living it. Jerry Mander (The Capitalism Papers) examines some of their Rube Goldberg solutions in Chapter 7 (artificial volcanoes, algal blooms, mirrors in space, et al). I hope none of these things are in the works. Ecology is the system we depend upon for food, water and air; and Jerry says Capitalism (an outdated superstition) is killing life on Earth. Rigged market Libertine Capitalism is strangling us. Does the 1% have the means to self-deport to a new planet? I doubt it.

  • moderator

    Hi Rob,

    If you go to the front page ( you will find the CONTACT US link in the lower right hand corner. It’s the below the script “Moyers”. I hope that helps!

    Thank You,
    Sean @ Moyers

  • Anonymous

    Holy Hell! A thousand mile wide storm is not local. Also not local is the circulating radiation from Fukishima, but our MSM never mentions that. Australia (a continent more or less) is having an unprecedented heatwave right now. Soon circumstances may bring devastation to TonyThomas’ street, but he’ll be watching TV.

  • Anonymous

    Kool Aid in German is a mighty long compound word.

  • Anonymous

    A simplification of his gibberish: While there may be background global warming (stochastic) the portion due to fossil fuel use is much larger. When all the possible factors are combined we can easily understand that climate change is caused by human energy use.

    Jerrymat does not have the reading comprehension to decipher such Talcott Parsons-like gibberish. “Real scientists”, whomever they are must intend obfuscation. Maybe it’s a Petroleum Council rerlease.

  • BeingThere

    Sadly with the Milton Friedman disaster capitalist model they have already figured out ways of making money at our expense. When money trumps all else, we can’t let anything get in the way of the globalists. This isn’t a country anymore–its global finance. I wish this speaker is right, but if coming up with a solution or set of solutions get in the way of the global CEOs making money it’s not going to happen–even if we all want it.

  • G Mangat

    It is interesting that throughout the interview with Mr. Leiserowitz, not once was there a mention of climate change due mainly to “human activity”. That being the case, does it not ring the bell that the discussion should really be about the 7 billion human beings and growing? There is NO WAY that climate is going to reverse in the foreseeable future considering the CO2 being spewed out not just by coal fired power plants, or by millions of cars, but has anyone given any thought that everyone and his cousin is on a travel binge in the developed world, which in and of itself translates into over a million people who do not even have their feet on the ground at any given time and are in fact leaving a carbon footprint in the flying machines that man has successfullt created. Never before has our “Spaceship Earth” been overcrowded with human beings. Therefore its is NOT a cyclical occurance as some of the right wingers and religious zealots would suggest.

  • Rationalist

    Okay…. so that’s at least 1 person who makes money as a denier…
    How many make at least a middle class living as climate scentists, Big Govt. regulators, environmental lawyers, activists and fundraisers? Maybe 100,000+++?
    They are not bad people, but they, like everyone else, know on which side their bread their bread is buttered and will work hard to maintain their relevance.

  • Rationalist

    Thank you for letting me have my opinion and for actually reading it!

    For anyone who is really ready show their commitment and put their actions where their opinions are, I challenge them to …

    Just stop generating CO2!

    Sell the car, eat raw food (that you grow with rainwater), heat the cave with blankets, you get the picture…

    Sallustius said, “Prayers divorced from sacrifices are only words.” In this case, outrage and calls for action without significant individual sacrifice is just childish bluster, plain and simple.

    When the 16% who are “alarmed” no longer consume the power to turn on their computers, their strong words about combating climate change will not longer ring hollow.

  • Gary Siebenlist

    I’m glad you corrected your math error. With 84% concerned enough to do something about global climate change if they saw practical solutions, your arguement doesn’t hold water. We have tackled big problems in the past, so what’s stopping us? It’s the 16% that gets their denier arguements from funding provided by big energy.

  • steven sanders

    Termites produce more methane than all human industry combined. The U.N. may want us to eat lower on the food chain. Eating the grain our self rather than feeding it to animals and eating them would feed more people. I just wish they would be honest instead of trying to manipulate people.

  • Rationalist

    The simple way to stop letting the idiots control you is to…

    Stop generating co2! Sell the car, live outside (no campfires though!), stop paying your gas and electric bill,…if you are serious, stop whining and start doing!

    Are you waiting for someone else to do it for you? From whence come the calls for change that require no personal sacrifice? Hypocrisy?

  • Rationalist

    What part of:

    97% of Germans publicly supported Hitler in 1937, or

    97% of Bernie Madoff’s clients thought they were getting a great deal, or

    100% of doctors thought bloodletting was a great cure,

    don’t you understand.

    Polls are for marketing and thought control by enforcing conformity.

    Science moves forward by carefully listening to the outliers, while fleeing the cause de’jour.

  • Rationalist

    By the way, that poll was at the IPCC meeting of people who are PAID to say that. It is equivalent to asking 100 dentists if anyone should go to the dentist! The fact that 3% said NO is the canary in a coal mine.

  • Richard Bardsley

    It seems to me as an English man that most replies within this forum perpetuate the philosophy that money always or nearly always drives opinion. Me, I’m poor, not religious (another denier driver) old ( yes I have a pension from the good old UK government) and believe I should enlighten myself with contemporary opinion and world events as well as have a serious regard for the future. I have four grand children who deserve a world to live in as much as those who live in it now. I believe as a species, human kind has been excessively greedy in it’s exploitation of this planet for our own comfort, security and fun with out too much regard for the rubbish we leave behind for others to clear up.

    I’m not a scientist. I would rather make judgement from people who are qualified to offer advice. Friends of oil companies and universities sponsored by similar industries including bankers do not seem the correct people to follow. Paul Nurse perhaps is along with Brian Cox, Davis Attenborough Ove Hoegh Gulberg, Andrew Baker, Anthony Leiserowitz seem a better bet too me.

    Much of the industrial damage spews out into the wider environment such as acid rain to the oceans and interference with local climate that confusers animals. Eventually the machine will break. What happens then is anybody’s guess. As Ian Stewart said in his compilation about the a

    earth and it’s structure, ” it doesn’t matter what we do to it, it, the earth will still survive, we might not be around to enjoy it”

    The world is a very complex machine and as my old grandma used to say, don’t mess with what you can’t fix.

    Let my and your grandchildren have a world fit to live in as well as every other creature that inhabits this planet.

  • Nancy Marks

    you seemed very confused and unable to say anything that contributes to this conversation. Did you take some Koch money?

  • Nancy Marks

    You are so right…maybe paid by Koch.

  • Nancy Marks

    Beautifully said….thank you!!!

  • Nancy Marks

    You are way off base. It is the corporations who are killing us, i.e.: Monsanto…and the gov’t is giving them a lot of power so they can do that. Take control of your food by growing your own organically. Real scientists know that the planet’s heat does rise and fall, but now it is warming more rapidly and there is reputable scientific evidence that we are enhancing these natural changes. Please do more homework and open your eyes.

  • hangnailias

    I don’t know who can make them care, but i know what.

  • Vicki Newman

    I, for one, have learned not to trust every doctor, but to find a doctor you can trust!!

  • Shinan Barclay

    Do something today and every day that future generations will thank you for. Its the tribal tradition of asking ‘how will this effect the next seven generations?’

  • Talon Konkel

    You can always claim government interference if they fund or support a study, but look, man, climate studies have been going on for decades now. So some are funded by gov’ts controlled by democrats, some by republicans, and so far the findings of these studies are in line with each other. Those are just studies funded or supported by our government. What of studies funded by Germany, Britain, France, Denmark, the EU, or United Nations? They all have funded or supported climate studies. You seem to be suggesting, literally, a worldwide conspiracy to… I don’t know, use less fossil fuels? Encourage more green energy? It would be a conspiracy in scope even Dan Brown would be proud of, though the goals seem far less sinister…

  • William Hughes-Games

    What a clear description of the problem and the likely hood of us doing something about it any time soon.

  • Judy Lindow


    Incredible analysis – articulate and persuasive!

    Please rethink using the rising price of meat due to
    droughts and climate change as incentive to address climate change (at about 30 mins.). Are you aware of the connection between our food choices, the
    environment, and climate change?
    Livestock’s Long Shadow,

    Today, “the livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems” (Steinfeld et al. 2006). This includes stresses such as deforestation, desertification, “excretion of polluting nutrients, overuse of freshwater, inefficient use of energy, diverting food for use as feed and emission of GHGs” (Janzen 2011).

    You mentioned ‘the farmers’ and ‘ranchers’ as if they were the old Mac Donald’s of the past. Traditional farmers and ranchers provide an incredibly small percent of the food we eat today. A few corporations
    control the current food system. The connection between food choice and climate change is significant. Most crops are actually subsidized and produced to support livestock (less than 5% of the corn is actually eaten at dinner tables). I suggest you study the
    connection between climate change and eating meat. With reductions of 15-20% meat consumption we could all help our health and the health of the planet.

    With this minor exception, you explained so much, asked so many important questions, and inspired me in many different ways. Thank you!

  • TigLy

    Time to stop debating with those who reject the scientific method and intentionally mislead with pseudo facts, and interpretations. The time to adjust is now. The first step is to get these corporate powers that are ruining our society and planet under more regulation as they were 35 years ago.

  • steverose

    Climate change is continuing to accelerate out of control. What people think and their personal opinions shortly will no longer continue to matter. The human race is about the cause its own extinction. What most scientists still don’t understand is Gaia the spirit of the Earth is a living thinking being that just can’t handle the destruction that mankind is causing to her plants, animals, mountains and other humans. Both climate and weather is changing in response to humans and Gaia (mother nature).

  • Anonymous

    Okay, let’s wait for another 40 years, and see what the scientists have to say. (!)

  • filio

    “Mr. Leiserowitz in his interview with Bill Moyers never once mentioned the words CO2 or carbon dioxide” … Actually, you’re wrong. He did mention it, several times.

  • filio

    your analogy of dentists and the IPCC is faulty. Just because the messenger believes in the evidence doesn’t mean the evidence is wrong. It only suggests that the messenger is on the side of the evidence. The opinion is based on knowledge and study. On data. In the case of climate change, 97% of scientists believe the compelling evidence of data on climate change and agree there is a problem. Your 3% is a minority.

  • filio

    Yes, but if 10 out of 12 doctors tell you that there is a problem, then you should trust the 10.

  • Anonymous

    Climate change may be an ‘inconvenient truth’ but the ultimate inconvenient truth is that economic growth must be limited on a finite planet.

    I’m SO tired of that statement, oft repeated, that the tradeoff between the economy and the environment is ‘a false choice’ because a vibrant economy depends on a viable environment. While the latter is largely true, the economy can get way out ahead of what the environment can support on a long-term basis. The fact that in many ways the health of the economy depends on the health of the planet in no way means that if we simply ‘clean up our act’ a bit we can experience endless growth in the material economy. Some of us need to take a Logic 101 course.

    The fact is, the same old ‘rational materialist’ thinking that got us into this mess isn’t going to get us out of it. Our environmental problems go way beyond climate change – poisoning everything, disemboweling the Earth, carrying out a mass extinction, wasting our freshwater, spreading invasive species, tampering with DNA, blowing holes in the ionosphere with the insane HAARP project, etc. So, moving to alternative forms of energy isn’t going to get it done. Also, pretending that nanotechnology (itself toxic) and a more service-oriented economy is going to bail us out (because the economy supposedly won’t need much in the way of material inputs) is wishful thinking. People only want so many services, and if the economy keeps growing we’ll keep using more physical resources and producing more physical waste.

    We need to change the whole way we live.

  • Anonymous

    Dear Liz W. Every experiment that you
    have seen in a school science lab is an example of the “greenhouse
    effect” which is confined space heating , this is not the
    “greenhouse gas effect” If you want to learn about the
    “greenhouse effect” being confined space heating look up
    the work of Robert W. Wood an expert in IR and UV radiation.
    Professor Wood was a teacher a John Hopkins University from 1905 to
    1955. In 1909 he published his experimental work that proved that the
    “greenhouse effect” was caused by “confined space
    heating” and not by IR back radiation. It was hypothesized that
    “back radiation of IR” was causing the build up of heat in
    the real greenhouses.Wood’s knowledge of IR radiation including the
    developing of both IR and UV photography gave him the knowledge to
    prove that it was not “back radiation” that caused the real
    greenhouse effect. This is real science at work. AS I have repeated
    thousands of times “There is no credible experiment that proves
    the “greenhouse gas effect”.

    “The Great Green Con no. 1: The
    hard proof that finally shows global warming forecasts that are
    costing you billions were WRONG all along

    By David Rose

    PUBLISHED: 18:37 EST, 16 March 2013 |
    UPDATED: 08:41 EST, 18 March 2013

    Comments (732)


    No, the world ISN’T getting warmer (as
    you may have noticed). Now we reveal the official data that’s making
    scientists suddenly change their minds about climate doom. So will
    eco-funded MPs stop waging a green crusade with your money? Well…
    what do YOU think?*

    The Mail on Sunday today presents
    irrefutable evidence that official predictions of global climate
    warming have been catastrophically flawed.

    The graph on this page blows apart the
    ‘scientific basis’ for Britain reshaping its entire economy and
    spending billions in taxes and subsidies in order to cut emissions of
    greenhouse gases. These moves have already added £100 a year to
    household energy bills.

    global warming graph

    global warming graph

    Steadily climbing orange and red bands
    on the graph show the computer predictions of world temperatures used
    by the official United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
    Change (IPCC).

    The estimates – given with 75 per
    cent and 95 per cent certainty – suggest only a five per cent
    chance of the real temperature falling outside both bands.

    Read more:

    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter |
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  • Vic

    It’s true that science has been wrong in the past and will probably be wrong in the future. However, based on the research I have done on the evidence, I do not believe science has it wrong this time.

    The biggest problem we have now is that a response to the problem should have been started years ago.

    If you want to Google something, try “rising sea temperature,” “islands lost to rising sea,” “glacier reduction,” and “increase in storm intensity.” Then come back and tell us that science has it wrong.

  • Vic

    The quote comes from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem from their departments of economics and earth science. (Note: Economists would like the whole global warming thing to go away. This may present a conflict of interest.)

    That said, the fact that the sun has cooled slightly and though solar radiation has increased by .1% (NASA), NASA has determined that this increase which has occurred over the past 24 years would have insignificant effects on global warming unless sustained for 100 years or so.

    If the sun can’t be blamed, then what or who? I think we all have to go look in the mirror and point. Our collective demand for oil, coal and other sources of energy gives rise for our large footprint homes and gas guzzling cars gives rise to corporations to fulfill those demands. In addition, our insatiable appetites for meat certainly haven’t helped.

    We are all to blame for the problem and we all need to work together to fix it. If we don’t, Nature will fix it for us. And we’re not going to like the suffering that will bring to us all.

  • Vic

    There are those that truly do not believe global warming is human caused.

    Unfortunately, they will continue to believe that even as they’re fleeing for their lives as their homes are ripped from their foundations by a tornado, hurricane or flood.

    Remember the flat Earth society which, by the way, is still in existence.

  • Anonymous

    So 97% of people should support climate warming denial.

    Good ol downhome logic.

  • Anonymous

    So he’s not a scientist. What’s that got to do with the problem? The problem isn’t science, it’s denial. Gee, maybe we could use a psychologist.

  • V. C. Bestor

    Psychology inspired my idea for ladies to make an end-run around denial: the Fanged Wilds and Women Program. I’ve enjoyed your comments on climate and would love your take on the sexism angle.

  • Robert H. Pike

    The date; over a year ago? Jan 4, 2013?

    Search “Gaia hypothesis”.

    According to it, the earth is suffering a “fever” which will act to kill the “infection” like human fevers kill germs.

    I’ve discussed this for decades with my Environmental science students; Whenever a human gets “overpopulated” with a germ, our body reacts with a “fever” which triggers several defensive mechanisms.

    The Gaia hypothesis says the earth is a giant living organism, being “infected” by 230,000 more humans every day. The “fever” (global warming”) will then trigger several defensive mechanisms.

    The solution is not just stopping the burning of ALL fuels (40% of CO2 comes from wood burning, and waste decomposition); it’s population control. The good news is that we have the technology to stop it in its’ tracks.

    As Leiserowitz points out, the problem is the mind set, not the technological solutions. First we have to not only allow, but encourage and reward family planning. Secondly, we need to invest in “fluvial” technology; energy by flowing wind, water and currents. Third, we need to address consumption. With 37% of America obese, we need to applaud those who consume less.

    I like Leiserowitz’ optimism about the religious, who have a strategy of nurturing the earth, not exploiting it; but we need to consider the root of Malthus’ theory; “as the quantity of life increases, the quality of life decreases”.