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Time for sanity on climate change, Goodall and Shiva tell Amanpour

September 30th, 2013
03:01 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Scientists are now 95% certain that humans are responsible for climate change, according to a major new study, and two prominent environmentalists told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that the time is now for a “groundswell” of changed thinking.

Amanpour spoke with Jane Goodall, a primatologist best known for her work with chimpanzees, and Doctor Vandana Shiva, an environmental activist who fights for changed agricultural practices, in an interview that aired Monday.

“I really believe the time has come for sanity, for responsibility,” Shiva told Amanpour, “for recognizing the rights of Mother Earth, for recognizing a deep science that works in accordance with the laws of Gaia” – the Greek personification of Earth – “not the shallow and irresponsible science that works only in the marketplace for profits and power.”

Goodall and Shiva spoke with Amanpour as they were attending the International Women’s Earth and Climate Change Summit in New York.

Goodall too emphasized the need for change.

“All my life I have loved being out in nature,” she said, “and I see nature shrinking and shrinking as human populations spread, as development takes over areas that once were so beautiful and so clean; forests, which protect the quality of the air and of the water, are being destroyed.”

For Shiva, a change in agricultural practices would have an impact of incredible scope.

“For every crisis we face today,” she said, “whether it be the economic crisis and the disappearance of wealth and jobs, or it be the ecological crisis with climate at the center, or it be the food crisis that a billion people are facing directly for lack of food and two billion for lack of good food, healthy food, and are suffering diseases of obesity, diabetes, etc. – all of these problems get solved by promoting ecological agriculture on the basis of a science of agroecology.”

“I think,” she said, “we need a groundswell across the world that creates another paradigm and another worldview.”

Goodall has focused much of her work of late on inspiring young people to do their part in keeping the planet healthy.

“It makes me so angry when I look at a small child today and I think how we’ve harmed this beautiful planet since I was that age,” Goodall said. “And it makes me so sad to my soul when young people, like in college, say, ‘Well, you know I feel depressed, or I feel angry, or I don’t care because you’ve compromised our future and there’s nothing we can do about it.’”

“And we have,” she said. “We have compromised their future.”

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Climate • Latest Episode

America’s CEO of the Environment

September 18th, 2013
08:43 AM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Is Sally Jewell a contradiction in terms?

She is a CEO turned government regulator. She is a petroleum engineer turned conservationist. Indeed, the contradiction is built right into her job: As U.S. secretary of the interior, she is responsible for both the conservation and exploitation of about twenty percent of America’s land – that owned by the federal government.

“I feel privileged to be in a unique position of understanding how we must balance both” conservation and exploitation, or extraction of natural resources like oil and gas, she told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday.

“You can't make a choice between having jobs and having resources and having a great environment,” she said from Washington. “It's a false choice.”


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Climate • Latest Episode

Climatologist analyzes Obama's speech

June 25th, 2013
05:01 PM ET

Climatologist Richard Alley reacts to President's Obama new initiative to combat climate change in an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour. Alley is part of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that received a Nobel Prize.

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Climate • Latest Episode

Why the poor will notice global warming before the rich

June 22nd, 2013
08:32 AM ET

CNN's Christiane Amanpour speaks with Nobel Prize-winning climatologist Richard Alley about why the poor will be more likely to notice the effects of global warming before the rich.

Filed under:  Climate

U.S. political storm trumps natural disaster

January 2nd, 2013
04:35 PM ET

By Lucky Gold & Richa Naik, CNN

The U.S. Congress narrowly averted going over the fiscal cliff, all the while ignoring the dire needs of a natural disaster.

Just a little over two months ago Superstorm Sandy devastated Northeastern United States and President Barack Obama along with other politicians promised that the country would not forget.

“We are here for you, and we will not forget. We will follow up to make sure that you get all the help that you need until you’ve rebuilt,” he said after touring the devastation caused by the storm.

The U.S. Senate approved $60 billion in emergency relief, but the Republican-led House of Representatives adjourned this week without even bringing the bill to a vote.

Outrage has been swift and passionate.

“There are Republicans who are deeply grieved by this action and there are Democrats on this floor deeply grieved by this action. This is not the right thing to do,” U.S. House Democrat Steny Hoyer said.

“Dysfunction, Mr. Speaker, in this Congress shouldn’t result in punishing victims of Sandy in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. This is a sad day,” U.S. House Democrat Nita Lowey said.

With President Obama also demanding action, House leaders now say they will take up the bill once the new congress is sworn in.

Meantime winter temperatures keep falling in the areas where Sandy’s victims are waiting for the richest nation on earth to keep its promise.

Is cliff deal really a win for Americans?

Filed under:  Climate • Imagine a World • Latest Episode

Sandy destruction didn't have to happen

November 2nd, 2012
12:36 PM ET

By Samuel Burke, CNN

The American East Coast has yet to fully asses Hurricane Sandy’s destruction, but people are already asking how they can rebuild to be better prepared in the future.

“Certainly there are things we could do to avoid what we saw happening this week,” says Kate Ascher, an urban planning expert who understands how all the pieces of this complicated jigsaw fit together.

Ascher says when the coastal areas begin to rebuild, they’ll need to construct various types of sea walls to break the surf that have various parts of the East Coast surrounded by water in Sandy’s aftermath.

In New York City, much of the infrastructure is located in the lower part of the city, Ascher says it’s unlikely those will be moved, so the structures must be updated to protect against the tides and storm surges.  FULL POST

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Climate • Latest Episode

Climate scientist: Sandy just a taste of things to come

November 1st, 2012
11:59 AM ET

By Samuel Burke, CNN

Superstorm Sandy is a sign of more things to come, says climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer.

He's been studying climate change for three decades and is a geoscience professor at Princeton University, but superstorm Sandy stunned even him.

“I knew it could happen. But until it happens to you, and hits you on the head, you don't really fully appreciate what it's like to be in a situation like this.”

Oppenheimer lives in the area of lower Manhattan still experiencing a blackout.

“I went down to the coast before the storm peaked to watch the seas rising. And even though we've predicted stuff like this in the past, it was a shock to me to see it.”  FULL POST

Filed under:  Climate • Latest Episode

Climate Change Showdown Heats Up

February 25th, 2010
02:12 PM ET

To watch the full-length edition on the meltdown on the discussion on climate change, click here to get our podcast.

(CNN) – One of the world’s leading climatologists Wednesday hit back at charges by U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) that some of the world’s top climate scientists have in effect “cooked the science” and should be investigated by the federal government.

James Hansen, head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and an adjunct professor at New York’s Columbia University, said, “I’d love to have an investigation which should include Senator Inhofe, who’s one of the most well-oiled, coal-fired politicians in Washington.”

“He’s very well funded to protect the fossil fuel industry, but he was elected to support the people,” Hansen added in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.

New York Times columnist and best-selling author Thomas Friedman strongly supported Hansen saying, “I’d love to see all the e-mails between his office and various coal and oil companies over the last 20 years.”

“We’ll let Senator Inhofe lay all his emails on the table going back and forth between oil and coal companies, and we’ll let citizens and voters decided where the real science is.”

CNN asked Senator Inhofe to join the discussion with Amanpour, but he declined. In a statement to the Senate Environment Committee Tuesday, Senator Inhofe, the ranking Republican, said, “The minority staff found that some of the world’s leading climate scientists engaged in potentially illegal and unethical behavior. In other words, they cooked the science.”

His remarks came after revelations that some climate change data has been based on questionable scientific practices and even errors.

One leading climate change skeptic, Bjorn Lomborg, Director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center in Denmark, told Amanpour it’s obvious Senator Inhofe has a political agenda and he does not agree with him.

“But I think we need to say if we’re going to re-establish credibility with the climate science, we need to dial back on the scariness and start talking about what the facts are actually telling us.”

The debate over climate change is heating up as world powers prepare for another climate change conference in Bonn, Germany in April – four months after the Copenhagen summit failed to agree binding cuts in greenhouse gas emissions which many blame for global warming.

But the United Nations climate chief, Yvo de Boer, last week announced that he will resign at the end of June after four years on the job and what many say is the disappointing outcome of the Copenhagen conference.

In his resignation statement, de Boer said, “Copenhagen did not provide us with a clear agreement in legal terms, but the political commitment and sense of direction toward a low-emissions world are overwhelming.”

Hansen had a grim warning about the consequences of inaction on this issue. “If we burn all the fossil fuels, we will hand our children and grandchildren a situation that’s out of their control.”

“We have to be honest about the fact that we have to have a rising price of carbon emissions. We’ve got to put a price on these fossil fuels, because right now we’re subsidizing them.”

Friedman said the world faces a choice. “If we listen to climate change scientists like Dr. Hansen and we prepare for climate change, but climate change does not happen, what happens? We have cleaner air, cleaner environment, We have a more energy-independent economy, new industries, and global impact.”

“If we listen to Jim Inhofe, the climate deniers, and don’t get ready for climate change and climate change comes, we’re a bad biological experiment.”

Lomborg said it’s clear the world is going to see a temperature rise. But he’s skeptical of the way that it’s being communicated and skeptical of the way solutions are being proposed.

“I think fundamentally what’s happened is a lot of people have been pushing to scare the pants off people, to get us to cut carbon emissions, but we haven’t done so”, he said.

“Essentially what we saw in Copenhagen was exactly the failure of that strategy. We need a new and smarter way forward.”

Lomborg added that many climate economists are demanding action that could cost $40 trillion a year – a price that is much higher than most people are prepared to pay.

He said targeted investment is the key to solving the problem.  “What we need to do is invest dramatically more, 50 times more than what the world spends now on research and development.”

“That’s cheap and that will actually work. So let’s get off the high horse and actually start working with promises that will function and deal with climate change in the long run.”

Filed under:  1 • Climate
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