Yale Environmental Dialogue, New York City


I want to welcome you all to this special
Climate Week event, The Yale Environmental Dialogue. We’re honored to
have all of you here to join us for this
conversation on climate change. This event represents the
second of what we expect will be a long series
of conversations hosted by the Yale
Environmental Dialogue, an ambitious
initiative we launched at the Yale School of Forestry
and Environmental Studies to bring new energy into
the national conversation about environmental issues. There are others in
the months ahead, one coming up quite
soon in Washington, DC. During these events,
we’ll be bringing together some of the world’s most
respected environmental leaders across a range of
disciplines, sectors, and political perspectives, and we’re gonna ask them to lead some difficult
conversations. So why now and why difficult? Why now? We’re here today following
a century and a half of humanity
exponentially increase in greenhouse gas concentrations
in our atmosphere. Over 100 years of scientists
predicting climate change, a half a century of
planetary warming, four of the five
most recent years being the hottest
years in history, a summer of the hottest July
ever on record for the planet, including heat waves
that killed thousands of people in Europe, and the lowest Arctic and
Antarctic sea ice in history. We’re here following news today of three billion fewer birds
today than several decades ago. We’re here today following
a few days of climate action instigated by the generation that inherits the
consequences of our behavior. There are incredible
environmental challenges that are happening right now, and while we’re the
species that’s responsible for all these
environmental challenges, we’re also the species
that has the intellect, the innovation, and we
hope the political will to make a difference
for the future to protect the planet for
ourselves and other species. Why difficult conversations? We know we’re living at a time, especially here in
the United States where political division and deep differences
over core principles have stalled the most
urgent conversations about forward motion
on the environment. It doesn’t need to be this way. If we’re gonna address these
challenges in a meaningful way, we need to engage across
partisan boundaries, across different disciplines to do the hard work of
bridging these divides. Tonight’s events, of course,
also serves as a preview for a new book produced by The
Yale Environmental Dialogue, “A Better Planet: Forty Big
Ideas for a Sustainable Future” which each of you
have a copy of. My notes say that this will
be published next month on October 22nd. You’ve got an early
release copy here. The book features dozens
of leading experts including many of the
people in the room tonight, including six people on this
stage sharing their big ideas for a sustainable future. We’re really proud of the book and we hope you take
the time to read it, but it’s only part
of what we’re trying to achieve through
this initiative. We wanna promote conversation
about many of these ideas, whether it’s how to promote
sustainable business practices, what a re-imagined
environmental policy nationally and internationally
would look like, how we innovate to create a
low carbon emissions future, or how we stop the rate
of biodiversity loss. We know the challenges
are daunting but we also think
that as a society, we can do this with
our innovation and
our will to engage. I wanna thank everyone who
contributed to the book. We had many faculty at the Yale School of Forestry
and Environmental Studies, faculty from other
areas of Yale, scholars from across the
country and the world who shared their
time and their ideas, and I’d also like to thank
the staff at our school and the Yale University
Press who made this possible. There were a lot of
people who worked hard. We think that Yale is and
can be even more of a leader in addressing critical
and existential
challenges of our day in the environment, but we really do intend
for this to be a dialogue and this is structured
to be a dialogue. Tonight and going forward,
tackling this challenge is gonna require a
lot of smart people from different corners of
our society working together and I’m really pleased
that you wanna be part of that
conversation tonight. So without further
ado, I wanna introduce the leader of the Yale
Environmental Dialogue, author, editor, and our
facilitator tonight, Professor Dan Esty. Dan is the Hillhouse
professor at Yale University with appointments in the
Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies,
the Yale Law School, and at the Yale
School of Management. He also serves as the director of the Yale Center for
Environmental Law and Policy and on the advisory board of the Yale Center for
Business and the Environment. Professor Esty is the
author or editor of 10 books including the
prize-winning guide to corporate sustainability
“Green to Gold”, and dozens of articles on
environmental and energy policy and their connection
to regulatory policy, corporate strategy,
sustainability, sustainability
performance measurement, competitiveness, trade,
and economic success. From 1989 to 1993,
Professor Esty served in a number of senior positions in the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency in Washington. During this time, he led EPA’s
regulatory review process and helped to negotiate the 1992 Framework
Convention on Climate Change. From 2011 to 2014, he
returned to government service as Connecticut’s commissioner of the Department
of Environmental and
Energy Protection. Known for his innovative work at the business
sustainability interphase, Professor Esty has also
provided strategy advice to companies, governments,
international organizations, NGOs, and foundations
around the world. He’s really
spearheaded this effort for the Yale
Environmental Dialogue so let’s welcome
him to the podium. (audience applauds) – Thanks so much. (audience applauds) Indy, thank you very much. Thank you all for being here. It’s really a pleasure to
have a crowd to talk to and to launch this conversation that as our dean
has just suggested, we intend to carry forward
over coming months and years as we think about the pathway
to a sustainable future, the subtitle of our book that is on sneak
preview here today, and we recognize that
this is an issue, the sustainability of the planet that has touched
a lot of people, the energy around this agenda, particularly with regard to
climate change is palpable, and the fact that we have such
a turnout tonight tells me that people are interested not
just in the political battle but in the substance beneath it, and that’s what we think
we’re contributing to. So we are gathered at the
launch of Climate Week 2019. It’s an annual gathering. As many of you will know,
here at the same moment that the UN General
Assembly is kicking off, it’s a chance for those who care about the
climate change agenda to compare notes, to carry
forward conversations, to launch ideas, and we’re very
pleased to be part of that. We are gathered, as the
dean has already indicated, at an auspicious moment. The Amazonian
rainforest is burning, political leaders in
critical countries across the globe are struggling, and frankly, the
Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change is telling us that no matter how hard that political
agreement that we
came to in 2015, now called The Paris
Agreement, might have been, it’s not enough, at least
not enough scientifically. So we face a challenge
going forward of how we raise the ambition, move ourselves towards an
even more aggressive response to climate change, and we hope that the
ideas in this book may be part of that process. But I wanna start today and
frame our conversation today by stepping back 30 years. 30 years ago, as you just heard, I was at the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency and was working with an
incredible team there. A number of you are in
this audience today. Darry Allen who was with
me in the policy office, Sue Biniaz who was the
lawyer leading the charge on our climate negotiations, and Bill Riley our Yale graduate
who was my boss at the EPA. And we were, along with
then Senator Kerry, later to become Secretary Kerry, thinking hard about how
to advance this agenda. And I remember being taken
aside in the spring of 1992 as we were moving towards
the Rio Earth Summit, June of 1992, at which a climate change
treaty was to be presented, and being pulled aside
by the secretary-general of that Rio Earth Summit,
a very well-known, highly-regarded
Canadian businessman and diplomat named
Maurice Strong. And he took me aside and said, “Dan, you’ve got
a big job to do. “The U.S. is critical. “But remember, there
are only going to be “two possible outcomes
in this kind of event “where we bring
together a hundred plus “presidents and prime ministers, “thousands of additional
government officials, “many thousands of
media representatives, “and then an endless number “of non-governmental
organization officials. “With all that crowd assembled, “two options are success
and real success.” And sadly, the intervening
decades suggested that we had much more
success than real success. Greenhouse gas emissions
continued to rise, they did not come down, and that’s the challenge
to all of us today. How do we convert a success, which The Paris Agreement
of 2015 really represents, Secretary Kerry
leading the charge, Sue Biniaz right there with him, President Obama pushing hard
from a leadership posture that the U.S. has
not always held but did at that
moment really reflect how do we convert that
into the watershed moment where the world community does raise the
trajectory of response? And as I’ve said, I think
it’s gonna require solutions, it’s gonna require
a focus on action, it’s gonna really
require a transformation of that political commitment into real change across the
society in many respects and certainly the energy
foundations of the society. We do think the book that
you have in front of you offers some frameworks, some
concepts, some analytic tools, some technology suggestions that can be part
of that process. we’re very pleased to have
a number of the authors of the 40 big ideas
here in the audience, five of whom are on the stage, but a dozen more
are in the audience and we hope at the
reception that follows, you’ll have a chance to
catch up with them as well. Our program is gonna be this. Each of our panelists will
speak for just a few minutes to introduce their big idea. There’ll be a little moment of
conversation across the panel as they talk to each
other about these ideas, and then we’re gonna come to you to really make this a
dialogue and a give-and-take. We’ve got students
prepared to run mics to you so if you wanna talk,
please raise your hand when we get to that moment and
we’ll get you a microphone. But before we go further, I would like to
invite Secretary Kerry to offer us a thought
and opening comment as we dig into this discussion. Secretary Kerry. (audience applauds) – Dan, thank you
enormously for allowing me. I’m crashing this party, folks. And I openly admit
it to you unabashedly and I’m very honored
that Dan and his team saw fit not to kick me out
and allowed me actually to stand up here
and say a few words. I’m also delighted to be
able to be with Sue Biniaz for whom we all worked
in the State Department. She’s extraordinary. Yale is very lucky to have her. We’re also lucky to have
all of you here tonight. Look, let me just cut
right to the chase. I have been involved
in this issue for longer I’d like to think. Goes back to 1970 Earth Day
where we did have real success. And we kicked seven of
12 terrible congressmen out of the Congress and we
passed the Clean Air Act, Safe Drinking Water,
Marine Mammal Protection, Coastal Zone Management,
and we created the Environmental Protection
Agency of our country. We had political accountability. We created it. As I stand here tonight, I
regret to say to all of you, having been to all, most of
the conferences of the parties, having actually
witnessed a failure that was camouflaged as
a victory in Copenhagen right before I became
Secretary of State, I know this journey and so
does Sue and so do all of you. No country in the world
is getting the job done. Despite all the warnings, despite everything
that’s coming at us, despite the science,
despite all of the facts, despite everything we’ve
seen, we’re not doing it. And I find it incomprehensible
that as a society, we are prepared to allow 16
year-olds and teenagers and kids have to go straight from school because the adults are not
willing to do what’s necessary, not even in the
remotest serious way. Now, yes, good
things are happening. A lot of solar panels, a lot
of solar prices come down, wind prices come down, we’re competitive in
certain technologies, we’re moving,
businesses are moving, tomorrow I will have a chance to address that The Climate
Group, We Mean Business, and Paul Polman
and Nigel Topping and a bunch of people
who are serious, a thousand companies
that have joined with 21 trillion dollars of
capital, but guess what, folks. We got a president
in The United States who’s coming here tomorrow who is gonna skip the climate
meeting at the United Nations. We have a president
of The United States who believes that it’s
okay to tell the world that climate change
is a Chinese hoax. We have 130 plus members of
the United States Congress who are deniers of the
existence of the problem, and I got news for you. When that happens, you can’t get done what
we have to get done. There are fabulous ideas in this and I’m proud that
Yale is taking a lead and gonna be putting
these ideas on the table, but if you want these ideas
to see the light of day and to begin to be implemented at the rate that
we have to do this in order to win this battle, we have to change political
accountability in the country, we have to change
the entire dynamic. Not one country in the
world living sustainably, 200 species a day
being lost forever. So here’s I wind up
just by saying to you. I am wound up enough about this (audience giggles) that I just came back from Aspen where we had a cook-day weekend with a bunch of high
mucky-mucks in the country, a lot of private aircraft in
that runway, I will tell you, but everybody is
geared up and energized to try to get something done. So Ernie Moniz who is our
Secretary of Energy, and I, and Arnold Schwarzenegger,
former governor of California, and Christine Todd Whitman, former EPA and
governor of New Jersey, we are going to be
joining together, and we announced,
I announced today preliminary on “Face the Nation” that we’re gonna
be creating this, and do “Morning Joe” tomorrow. We’re starting the rollout. We’re gonna formally
have the website up but we are starting something
called World War Zero. World because if the
world doesn’t do this, it ain’t happening. War because unfortunately, the deniers, the
delayers, the distorters have declared war on humanity, with people dying in floods
and mudslides and fires, and you know the story. But here’s the deal, folks, and every single one of
you is critical to this. In 2016, when President Trump
was elected in this country, the turnout was 55.6%
of eligible voters. When I ran in ’04, it was 61.2%, and when Obama got elected
in ’08, it was 63.7. Do you get the drift? The majority of Americans
believe we need to do something, but do you know what
happened in 2016? Only 19% of young
people 18 to 24 saw fit to come out and vote. And in 2018, when we
took back the House, it went up to 31%
but that still means that 69% are not voting. So World War Zero is a
nonpartisan (mumbles) that we’re going to gear up. Hank Paulson is a
supporter of it, Chuck Hagel, former senator, Republicans, Democrats
alike then come together and we’re gonna
have the top roots try to marry the grassroots and provide the political
cover that changes the dynamic. We’ll have Nobel laureates,
we’ll have scientists, hopefully university presidents, people from every walk of life, farmers who’ve been
affected in South Dakota and in Oklahoma, Nebraska
all coming to the table to try and change the political
dynamic of the country in order to make this
issue a voting issue. I believe we can do it, but every one of you
has a great idea, has an obligation to help us
create the political dynamic we can implement it. This will take the President
of The United States who is prepared to call all the auto dealers
in the White House, bring all the utility
folks to the White House, bring all the public
construction people
to the White House, sit down and tell
them we have to move to a completely
electric vehicle fleet in the United States of
America as rapidly as possible, we have to build the
infrastructure to do that, we have to have the power
production decarbonized, and we have to do all of this. Unfortunately, because of what
the scientists are telling us and because of our inability
to have done this previously, we have to do this in
a short span of time. So tonight, every one
of these meetings, most important thing
we can be doing in the United States of America, we have to restore
America’s leadership on this on a global basis. Remember, we knew in Paris,
and I’ll disclose it, we knew in Paris that we were
not gonna be guaranteeing, we hold the Earth’s
temperature rise to two degrees centigrade. We couldn’t do that ’cause we
couldn’t make it mandatory. If you did, too many candidates
are running around saying, we’re gonna return
to Paris, folks. Paris, if you did everything
we set out in Paris, we are still at 3.7 degrees. And the fact is that
I stand here tonight, we’re actually heading
towards four to 4 1/2 degrees, and scientists
will tell you that is the difference between two
degrees and four and 4 1/2, there’s a difference between
civilization and not having it. Let’s get the job done. Let’s make sure we build on
this week here in New York. Thank you. (audience applauds)
– Thank you so much. Thank you. (audience applauds) Thank you, Secretary Kerry. Thank you for your
leadership on climate change, more broadly on the
sustainability of our country, and for service to our
country more broadly. We’re gonna turn
now to our panel, and let’s dispense
with biographies. They’re in your program. We’ve got five
fabulous perspectives on how we move towards
a sustainable future. All five of our panelists are also focused
on climate change. And we’ll begin with Sue Biniaz. – Is the mic on? Hello, can you hear me? – You’re on. – Okay, great. So my chapter is called
Paris Can’t Do It Alone. And my idea is a procedural one. But it’s also about substance. My premise is that the Paris
agreement is very different from other international,
environmental agreements, and therefore, requires
a lot more support from other international
agreements and institutions. So my idea is I’m calling for
a SWAT team to do an inventory of what other agreements and
international institutions have done, could do, should
do to better align themselves with the goals of
The Paris Agreement. So why is The Paris
Agreement different from other agreements? Well, most agreements
are self-contained. The commitments are in there. If the countries go home
and do what’s in there, maybe with a little extra
money, they get the job done, but Paris is not like that. 30 seconds on what The
Paris Agreement does. It has a goal of limiting the temperature
increase in the world, each party designs
its own commitment, the parties update those
commitments every five years, and they, in theory, are
supposed to encourage, the agreement encourages
an increase in ambition each time they update
their commitments. And then Paris has
two other goals: to increase the
resilience of the world and to make financial
flows around the world compatible with its
temperature goals. So why does it need help? I’m gonna give you
quick seven reasons. One, the goals are
incredibly ambitious and they implicate
the entire economies, and that distinguishes Paris
from every other agreement. Two, the commitments
are not preset. Countries actually have to
set them every five years and it’s gonna require all
kinds of cajoling of countries to get them to
set those targets, and we see that that’s
one of the purposes of the Secretary General’s
summit this week. The third is that many parties are gonna need
financial assistance to implement their commitments. And more broadly, the world’s
financial institutions, including the World Bank,
regional development banks, and the private sector are
gonna have to make changes to align themselves with
a Paris-compatible world. The fourth is that other
international agreements might even impede the
ability of parties to implement their
Paris targets. If Paris works properly and countries make their targets
more ambitious over time, you can easily imagine
challenges in the WTO or under investment agreements to the commitments that
they’ve undertaken under Paris. The fifth is that the Paris
agreement actually designates other regimes to
implement certain issues. One is international
aviation emission reductions and the other is international
maritime emission reductions. So those are, by definition, gonna have to happen
somewhere else. The sixth is that
for certain issues, other forums actually
make more sense. You’re not gonna negotiate an agreement on fossil
fuel subsidy reform among 195 countries. You don’t have the expertise and it’s not gonna work
with so many countries. And the seventh is that some
issues are so cross-cutting that they just cry
out for treatment across multiple
international institutions and that includes climate impacts on the
ocean, carbon removals. If you do those at scale, you’re gonna implicate
biodiversity and forest, and migration that results
from climate impacts. So far, there’s been
quite a mixed record. If you look at other international agreements
and institutions, the Montreal Protocol
has done a good job in the sense that they
have regulated HFCS which the greenhouse gas. Others have a much worse record, particularly the economic
agreements including the WTO. So we need an inventory
of what can be done so that at the point when
the world is actually ready to take this issue seriously,
we international lawyers and other policy
people are ready to go. Thank you. – Sue, thank you very much. (audience applauds) Gary! – Hey, I’m Gary Brudvig. So I’m a chemist. And the title of my essay was “Reimagining Solar Fuels “to Power the Planet
with Sustainable Energy”. As you know, we’re
burning fossil fuels that provide most of our energy and creating carbon emissions. We need to transition to
a carbon neutral economy. So how can we do this? Where will our sources
of energy come from? Most estimates that will be
from wind and solar energy. We have good technologies,
as John Kerry just said, for photovoltaics
to make electricity and wind turbines
to make electricity. The problem is electricity
is instantaneous and wind and solar
are intermittent, so how do we transition
to use wind and solar to provide all our energy? The issue is storage. We need to come
up with good ways to store solar electricity
or wind electricity. Do you know what the main way that we store
electricity right now is? Pumping water uphill, yeah.
– Oh, sure. – And that takes a lot of land, it’s not particularly
sophisticated. So I take inspiration
from biology. Biology stores the solar energy in the form of chemical bonds. And all of our fossil fuels
came from this process. They have huge advantages
because chemical bonds or the chemicals that are
produced in photosynthesis can be stable for indefinitely, for millions, even
billions of years in the process of photosynthesis that has produced
our fossil fuels. And so how can we
transition to this? Well, we’d like to be able
to develop the technology to make chemical bonds with solar electricity
or wind electricity. And we could solve
the storage problem. This is really a
critical issue right now. In Southern California, the price of electricity goes
negative every day at noon because there’s too
much electricity and there isn’t a good
technology to store it and we’re not
pumping water uphill. If we had a technology that could use the
electrical potential or direct sunlight to
create chemical fuels, we could store them. And one possibility would be
for example water splitting to make hydrogen as a fuel. I’m not advocating a hydrogen
economy in my chapter. I would like to see a technology where we could
make liquid fuels. That would provide the
ability to store energy, but also would allow us to use
our existing infrastructure as transportation
fuels for distribution, but it would be a
carbon neutral economy, and this is my vision
for the future. So there’s a number
of advantages for
this as I mentioned, but what are the challenges? Well, we don’t have this
technology right now, and so we need to
develop the research. There has to be a sustained
support for research to be able to do this. The other issue is that
the price of fossil fuels are really cheap right now, and economically, we don’t
have a competitive advantage to be able to introduce these
alternative technologies. So this is a policy issue too. I’m not a policy person. The others on the panel
can address that point. But I think to
achieve this vision that we could power
our planet completely with wind and solar energy
requires the research to develop the technology which should be
sustained and ongoing so that we can introduce it, and the policies
to make it economic so that we can
actually not get it at a economic disadvantage to develop sustainable
renewable energy. So that’s my chapter, and
my vision for the future is using solar and wind energy
to create chemical bonds and solar fuels to
power our planet. Thank you. (audience applauds) – [Dan] Gary, thank
you very much. We’ll turn now to Ken
Gillingham who is my colleague at The School of Forestry
and Environmental Studies. He’s an energy economist. – Yes, hi. So my chapter is about
fostering energy innovation. So it’s a topic close
to the previous topic, but on a much
finer policy level. And I really am looking
for a ready-to-go proposal in many respects. I’m an economist so
I start by thinking what are the market failures
that help motivate policy? And there’s some very
clear market failures in clean energy innovation. Besides the obvious climate
and local air pollution ones, there are also spillovers
in research and development from early-stage technologies. And these intersect
in such a way that the lowest cost long-run
approach to addressing issues such as climate change
real externalities may actually be not be the
lowest cost short-run approach ’cause it requires a lot
of investment upfront. There also may be
coordination failures. So these people think of
as chicken and egg problems or network externalities
as economists put them, and you could think of this as if when you have
electric vehicles, if you have multiple
different charging platforms for electric vehicles rather than a single
charging platform, that would be one
coordination failure. These market failures led
me to think hard about what are some of the issues
that are gonna come about as we move to a cleaner grid
and a cleaner overall economy. When I was working
for the White House, I was doing some
analysis at one point on the Recovery Act, and looking into
the TIGER grants that are transportation grants. There were some key
features to the TIGER grants that I found quite intriguing that may have some
relevance today. Obviously, at the time, they
were for shovel-ready projects but they were for desirable
long-run outcomes. They were awarded on
a competitive basis. The applicants were expected, and not all of them
perhaps met this threshold but expected to focus
on innovative projects that fit in with a larger
long-run transportation plan, ideally with multiple
modes of transportation, so not just building new bridges but thinking about
transportation from a more holistic
perspective. The TIGER grants were
actually widely popular. They were bipartisan, there’s been substantial
support for them, and they’ve followed on. It was originally 1.5
billion in the first year and then since then, there has
been about a half a billion and there’s a new version
of the BUILD Program, a new version of
the grants today which is maybe focusing a
little less on the innovation, but the grants
that have remained. So think about this
from a perspective of clean energy innovation. Can we apply the TIGER model
to clean energy innovation? Now, the question here is what are the ways that
it would be best applied? So there are key
principles, first of all. You don’t want them to be
competitively awarded grants, you want them to be innovative, so new ideas that
really are essential, and ideas that provide
longterm benefits. What I’m focused
on in my chapter is areas where a modest
amount of funding could go quite a long ways with the idea that these
can help unleash the market. So there are a whole
bunch of different ideas I have in my chapter for areas that often involve coordination, so as simple as
coordinating between States but as well things
along planning out
new transmission lines in areas where you’re gonna have huge numbers of renewables
hopefully coming on, thinking more carefully
about new technologies that allow for a smarter grid, So allowing, developing
new technologies that allow substations
to work in two directions and if you have lots
of distributed energy, it can be sent back. Thinking carefully about how can electric
buses potentially
have an infrastructure that allows them to recharge
as they’re moving along so that in New York
City for example, when you have buses go by, they can actually recharge and
you can have electric buses. These types of investments in infrastructure
and coordination that may not have been done, the key aspect is they would
very likely not have been done or not been fully coordinated, so coordinated standards as well for new clean
energy technologies. This is an area that I feel is a very important
and exciting area but often gets very
little attention. It’s not a substitute
for carbon pricing, for other early
stage investment, but
it’s a complement. That’s the key
elements to this plan is complimenting
other strategies to make sure that we have
the connective tissue that allows for the
clean energy transition to occur in a low-cost
and rapid way, as rapid as is needed. – [Dan] Ken, thank
you very much. (audience applauds) So let me introduce Tony
Leiserowitz, another colleague from The School of Forestry
and Environmental Studies. Tony, as a number
of you may know, is the director of
the Yale Program on Climate Change Communications and is heard on the radio if
not every day, almost everyday. Tony. – Thank you. And if you don’t mind,
I’m gonna stand up ’cause I think better standing. I wanna pick up from where
Secretary Kerry left off. My essay in this book was called “Building Public and Political
Will “for Climate Action”. And I have to say, this essay
was written over a year ago and it feels more relevant
today than when I wrote it. We just saw the largest
mass global protest demanding action in world
history two days ago, and was– (audience applauds) And we may see it
again this Friday because there’s
gonna be another one. So what I try to lay
out as a strategy for how do we build
the public demand, and that’s what I really
mean by public will, for the action that has to be
taken by our political leaders for the structural,
for the systemic change that we know is all
critically needed. Public will can be expressed
in lots of different ways but the one way I’m gonna focus
on here is citizen activism, citizens basically demanding
that the political system act. And one of the ways
that we come at this is through our research, I’m gonna use the United
States specifically, is that in our work, and I
do national scale studies looking at how the Americans
respond to this issue, and one of the things
that we’ve learned is that Americans don’t have a single viewpoint
on climate change, and too often, people say, okay, there’s believers
and there’s deniers, and that’s too simplistic and it does real
violence to the truth. In fact, what we’ve identified
is six distinct Americans in the United States that
each come at this issue from a different vantage point. And very quickly,
the first group, and I’ll come back to
them, is the alarmed. That’s 29% of Americans
who are firmly convinced it’s happening,
human-caused, urgent, and they strongly want to
get involved personally to demand action. A second group that
we call the concerned, 28% think it’s happening,
human-caused, and serious, but think the distant, that the impacts are still
distant in time and space so don’t yet see
why it’s urgent. Then a group we
call the cautious, about 17% who are
still on the fence. Is it real? Is it not? Is it human? Is it natural? Kinda making up their mind. A small but important group
we call the disengaged, 5% who say I don’t even
know what global warming is, believe it or not. Then a group that
we call the doubtful who, see, that’s
9% who are like, eh, I don’t think it’s real
but if it is, it’s natural. Natural cycles, nothing
we need to do with it, nothing we can do
anything about. And then last but not least, a group we could title the
dismissive, also just 9%, but who are firmly convinced
this is not happening, it’s not human-caused,
it’s not an urgent problem, and most of whom would tell us, literally tell us that
they’re conspiracy theories. It’s a hoax, it’s scientists
making up data, et cetera. Now, I have four
proposals in this chapter. One, I think we need to
organize the alarmed. They are a latent
potential social movement. The alarmed are
29% of the country. That’s 71 million Americans. And you know what
an issue public is, it’s a political science term. Think of the pro-choice
or anti-abortion movement, the pro or
anti-immigration movement, the pro-gun control or the NRA, that the NRA is a really
nice case in point. It’s not enough to have overall
public opinion behind you. You need an issue public, a small set of citizens who
are passionate about an issue, who are willing to
put themselves out
on the front lines and say you will take
action on my issue. Now, the NRA is
an interesting one ’cause they’ve clearly been
able to be very effective How many people are in the NRA? Four million. In a population of
over 300 million, they punch way
above their weight. Why? Because they’re organized. The alarmed are 71 million
and 21 million of them say that they would personally
definitely join a campaign to convince elected
officials to act. They outnumber NRA
members five to one but they’re not organized. And by the way,
eight million of them say that they would personally
engage in civil disobedience to demand climate action. But secondly, you can’t
just have that issue public, you also have the
silent permission of the other 60% of Americans
who are in the middle. If you’re an elected official, you have to get
elected by a majority. And these are people who are never gonna
march in the streets, they’re never
gonna donate money, they’re never gonna call
their members of Congress, but what you want from them
is their silent permission, that they won’t punish
politicians for leading, and a little bit more ambitious, you want them to
say, you know what, I’m gonna prefer candidate
A over candidate B because this one’s
more active on climate. And that’s it, that’s
all you want from them. The third major strategy however is that you need to build
that original issue public to be as diverse as
everybody in that 60%, because far too many
Americans right now think that climate change
is an issue being discussed and led by scientists,
environmentalists, or some Liberal politicians. And if I don’t identify with
any one of those groups, then it doesn’t really
feel like my issue. It’s their issue. And what we need is to get it
from their issue to our issue to ultimately to my issue. So the last thing I’ll
just say about this is that I think in many ways, I take inspiration from
climate change itself because we know as
we warm the world that we get more
and more frequent and intense, extreme events. That’s what one of the major
outcomes of climate change. But on a positive side, if we can shift the
political, social, and cultural climate
of climate change, we will win more frequently,
those wins will go farther, and they will be more durable because this is an issue that’s gonna take the next
generation to accomplish. 2050 is 30 years. We don’t solve this
in the next year, we don’t solve this
in the next 12 years, this is a longterm
sustained struggle. Are we building
the political power that will sustain us through
that entire time period? Thank you. (audience applauds) – [Dan] Thank you, Tony. Our fifth and final
panelist is Monica Medina. She has been in the government back and forth several
times with service at our National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration, but today is in fact the
founder and publisher of a new online
environmental news service called our Daily Planet. Monica, thank you
for being here. – Thanks, Dan. And I just wanna
say it’s a tough act to follow these
incredible people, and I’m proud to be the
diversity on this panel ’cause I went to
Columbia, not Yale. (everyone laughs) And I’m thrilled to be here. I wanna thank you, Dan. I wanna thank everyone at
Yale for even inviting me to be a part of
this publication. I feel honored, and
to be able to talk to Representative Castor
who’s leading our government and former Administrator
Reilly who paved the way, it’s such an honor to be able to talk to you
about my big idea, and it came from my
time in the government that Dan referenced. I am also a member
of the Sue fan club. I worked at NOAA, and we often supported Sue’s
work in the State Department trying to make sure
our negotiators had the most up-to-date
weather and climate data so that they could well
represent us there. I spent a lot of
time thinking about how our weather forecasts
are now being tested and stretched more
than ever before. Our National Weather Service, which is a government
agency as you all know, delivers 5,000 forecasts a year. And most are routine
but a few are critical to saving lives and property, and I’ll take a minute. I hadn’t really planned
to talk about this. And when I wrote the
chapter, it hadn’t happened. But President Trump actually
I think helped us all to have a new appreciation for
the National Weather Service when he took out that
Sharpie and drew on that map. And I was actually watching
on television when it broke and started to Tweet,
and it was amazing to me, I’d never had a viral
Tweet before that. And it was amazing what
happened when I said, “This is unprecedented.” And he’s crossed a line in terms of putting
the public at risk because by changing that map, he threw into confusion what
was the actual forecast. And to me, it really
is the essence of why I wrote this chapter and what my, quote
unquote, my idea is. Because every time in the past when we’ve had
weather challenges, we’ve had to expand our
forecasting capabilities and that’s how we went from being a National
Weather Bureau to the National Weather Service, and it seemed to me
that it’s time for us to expand our capabilities again given the challenges that
we’re up against with climate. So my big idea is, more my chapter is called
“Bracing For Impact” and my big idea
is a practical one that we need to transform
our National Weather Service into a national weather
and climate service in order to prepare for
the impacts of climate that we know we are
about to experience. 40% of the public lives
in coastal counties and they’re increasingly
at risk from storm surge. Cities like Miami
and New Orleans, New York and Newark even will be greatly impacted
by climate change even if we manage to
stay within two degrees, or if not, if we go beyond that. So weather events, as you all
know, and Tony’s talked about are becoming more severe and
we are more and more vulnerable to them as a country,
and I’ll name a few. Just from recent times, there were six tropical storms
brewing at once last week that tied the record. There were five
Category 5 hurricanes in the last three years. There’ve only been
35 in 100 years, and so we see them increasing. August tied for the hottest
August globally since 1880. And you see the impacts of that when 59 people in a country
like Japan died from heatstroke in the month of August. Hurricane Dorian, we all know the horror of Hurricane Dorian and what it did to the Bahamas but you don’t have
to think back far to think of hurricane Michael and what it did to the
Panhandle at Florida. So what happened in The
Bahamas is gonna happen to us. It’s happened to us in the
past, it’s happening now. But it’s not just storms,
it’s Paradise, California and the thousands
of climate refugees that the fires created. When I was at NOAA in 2009,
we started keeping track of the number of
billion-dollar storms, and we didn’t think
there would be very many, and yet, last year, there were 14 billion-dollar
storms in the U.S., and I suspect that number
will go higher and higher, and the number, the
amount of damage from each of those storms is getting to be a
higher and higher amount. So my idea is, all right,
well, let me take one step back and say one more thing which is we are a
weather-ready nation. I don’t want people to think
that our weather forecasters are not working
around the clock, that we don’t have the capacity to forecast weather every day. We do. We do warnings and watches, and that’s a critical
government function. And I think back to
just watching Twitter and seeing how quickly news
is spreading on Twitter today. It’s a great
public-private partnership. We need to do the same
thing for climates, climate services,
climate forecasting. We need to take what we do
in the weather service now and think about it in terms of what happens at
10 to 14 to 30 days and then seasonal forecasts and
then inter-annual forecasts. We need to use the same basic
government capabilities. We need to build them up, create a store of
information of data, put sensors on everything from
ships to airplanes to cars, try and gather more data
so that we can make better, more durable, more
useful forecasts for the kinds of climate
impacts that we’re gonna see so that when we improve
our infrastructure, if we pass The Green New Deal or somehow we improve
our energy grid, we will be better
prepared to do that by having the kind
of information that we don’t really
have readily available
to us right now. So with that, I’ll just
say one last little plug which is to read
Our Daily Planet which is my publication because we’re trying to do
just what Tony talked about which is bring this kind of
information to people every day. Easy to subscribe. We were a co-sponsor of the
Climate Forum last week. We had 12 bipartisan
presidential candidates come and talk about
their climate plans, so I am fully subscribed
to what Tony is preaching and hopefully,
you’ll all read us and help share the publication
and spread the word. – Monica, thank you very much. (audience applauds) So some themes are
starting to emerge, and I thank our panelists for
having put their ideas forward and to present them here today. I wonder if any of you
have anything you wanna say in reaction to what you’ve
heard from any of the others. – Can I just put in a
plug for another chapter? – Please. – So one of the other chapters was written by my former
boss at NOAA, Jane Lubchenco, who wrote a wonderful
chapter about oceans. And her idea was to save oceans by creating more
marine-protected areas and better managing fisheries, and so I wanna plug that
one because it’s excellent and I know of her expertise and I think it’s another
dimension of this challenge, another great idea, so. – Well, it’s a joy. Thank you for that. And it’s a joy to have solutions across so many of
the sustainability
issues that we face, that we can bring forward a significant perspective
on climate change. And by the way, there are four or five more climate
change related chapters that are in this book beyond
the ones represented here. So we really are pushing
forward on lots of fronts and it’s a joy to be part of
a solutions-oriented effort, so I thank you all again. I do wanna turn in just a minute to all of you in the audience. We are focused on a
conversation, on a dialogue. We’ve got mic
runners ready to go so if you wanna ask a question,
please do raise your hand and we’ll get a
microphone to you. But we also have with us today one of the leaders
in the Congress on the issue of climate change, and I just wanna invite
Representative Kathy Castor who is the chair of the
House Select Committee on the climate
crisis to say a word. – Yup. (everyone applauds) Dan.
– Thank you. – Well, good evening, everyone. I’m Congresswoman Kathy Castor. I represent the Tampa Bay
area in the state of Florida where we did set a record, an unfortunate
record this summer. Just a few weeks ago,
for the first time ever, we did not fall below
82 degrees at night for three days in a row. It’s quite warm. Elizabeth, it’s
great to see you. I feel like all of you are
answering the call-to-action. You may not be aware that
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the outset of
this new Congress, when the Democrats
took the majority, she reestablished a
climate committee. It’s called the Select
Committee on the Climate Crisis. 10 years, ago it was
led by Ed Markey. Then, it was titled
the Select Committee on Global Warming and
Energy Independence. So you can see, just as
Secretary Kerry said, we’ve lost ground. We are in a full-blown crisis and we have to address it
with bold, creative action. This is fantastic, Dan, and to
all of you because right now, the Select Committee
on the Climate Crisis has a request for an
information act out and we are soliciting ideas
from all across the country, all across the world, from academic institutions,
the private sector, all of you for the climate solutions that
we need to put into place. The charge of the
Select Committee now is to develop our
climate action plan, the details of The
Green New Deal, and to present that
to the Congress and to the country by
March of next year, and then turn it into
legislation that a new president can then take off the shelf
and we will be ready to go. We’re doing a lot in
the interim as well because we simply don’t
have time to wait. But thank you for your work,
for your attention to this. I’m inspired by the
youth climate activists. We had Greta Thunberg in
the committee last week. She said, “Follow the science.” And what I took away from that is that we truly have
a moral obligation to our kids and our grandkids
and the next generations to tackle the climate crisis,
so this is an important step. Thank you very much. – Thank you so much. (audience applauds) Thank you very much,
Representative Castor. And the floor is open. We’re interested in
thoughts crisply formed, questions sharply
and pointedly asked, and we will happily
have you direct it to any one of our speakers
or two if you’d like, but we’d like to move
the conversation around. So we’re gonna keep people
to tight, focused questions. All right. We’ve got a lot of hands up. Our mic runners have
got the microphone. Please, by the way,
tell us who you are and an affiliation if
that would be helpful. – Can you hear me? Oh, cool. Rachael Petersen, I’m with
The McGovern Foundation. Many of you touched on, I
believe Kenneth and Gary, you touched on some of
the resource constraints that are preventing
the implementation and scale of your big ideas. So I’m wondering where can
the philanthropic community have the biggest impact? And if you suddenly
found yourself in charge of
millions of dollars, where would you put it and why? – Wanna answer that? – That’s for me, okay. – You’re right! – That one?
– Yeah! (everyone laughs) – No, no! – I think there’s a lot of
things that need to be done. To put only one, I think, my view on technology is
that we should be funding all the possibilities right now because to pick a winner at the
beginning is a bad strategy. In the end, it may not be what you think it is
gonna be right now. I wouldn’t put all my
eggs in one basket. – That’s a very good answer, although I think one
of the themes you saw is that innovation
broadly is critical. Innovation has various
places it can play out. Ken has identified a way to help drive that
through government. But I think
historically at least, universities in particular played a critical
role in basic science and the kind of breakthroughs on which we might
build over time. So do you wanna
say anything about? – [Woman] You can
handle that, can you? (panelists laughing)
– All right, on we go. Where is our microphone next? And we’ll start here. Thanks. – My name is Dan Vermont,
I work at Yale University. When James Brady was shot
along with President Reagan, I joined the Brady
campaign because I thought something should
be done for guns. When Gabby Giffords was shot, I joined the Gifford
organization. Then, I decided to look it
up and there were 19 others. Well, I decided to look up how many climate change
organizations there were, and Tony has commented
there are 121 that are listed in
convenient locations. Anybody can look it up. So we’re sort of organized. Would you comment on why the
NRA is this consolidated body? The anti-NRA is 21 bodies
and we are 121 bodies. – Wow, great question. So there’s a lot of
things going on there, but a couple key things. My fourth point,
which I didn’t get to, so thank you very much for you, (audience giggling) is that it’s not
enough to be organized in all these
different communities within the climate community. So let me just take
a moment to say I call climate change The
Policy Problem from Hell ’cause you almost couldn’t
design a worse fit for our psychology
or our institutions, except that this
is so fundamental, this is so all-encompassing that every human
being on this planet has a direct and real stake
in the outcome of this one. And one of the things that’s
so exciting in this movement is all the new voices that
are coming to the fore. Religious voices, military
voices, businesses, doctors and nurses on and on that are beginning to speak
up and say, you know what? This is our issue too. This isn’t just
about polar bears. We’re beginning to
see the formation of more and more of those groups and there’s more
than 121 out there. However, two things. Most of those groups
are not organized around developing and
exerting political power, most of them have been
very much oriented to policy research and
development, lobbying, making rational
economic arguments in the halls of
Congress and so on, and that’s all crucial
work, don’t get me wrong, it’s absolutely vital work, but it’s not accompanied by
a demand from constituents, from consumers, from the
public for those things. So one is we need more groups
that actually develop power, and the second is that they
need to be coordinated. That we… It’s like a massive cat
herding problem, right? This community almost has just
a problem getting together and actually rowing
in the same direction, whereas our opponents tend
to be highly coordinated. And I like to say it’s the dirt between an incandescent
light bulb and a laser. Same amount of energy,
completely different results, and in this case,
we’re the dim bulbs because our energy is going
every which direction, and sometimes even
contradictory, whereas if you look at, and I’ll name them,
the Koppen Network, wow, I have so much
respect for what they built for generations, for
more than a generation. They built it, it’s powerful, it’s organized, its well-funded, and when they lose and they
have lost lots of times, do they give up and take
their toys and go home? No, they double down. They say what happened? What did we do wrong? Let’s go back at it and we’re
gonna put even more resources into accomplishing
our longterm goal. Our community, the climate
community organized around 2008 with this big project
called Designed to Win, and when it didn’t work, when we just barely lost
all the foundations, back to the question
before in particular, said, well, that didn’t work, let’s take our money and go
our own separate ways again. We get creamed, so
that’s my response. – And there was a
question in the back. Thank you. – [Ornella] Good evening. My name is Ornella Byguamba and I’m a current
undergrad at Yale College, and I actually had the pleasure taking Professor Esty’s
class my first semester and he’s shaped a lot
of my path at Yale, so thank you for that. But I’m actually really
here representing, or as Rwanda’s
youth representative for the Climate Action Summit, and I actually wanted to
ask almost all of you, it really is a general question is a lot of the science
and innovation that we see is still very much so
centered in the global North, and if we do want to
increase the stake that everyone else
in the world feels and improve the
innovation that occurs so that it can be for everyone and mainly help empower
those rural communities. Sorry this is kind
of getting confusing, but what I’m trying to say is how do we build that research and technology infrastructure
in the global South so that people
are able creations to create solutions for
themselves in those areas and not just have to rely
on innovation happening on another part of the world? Thank you. (audience applauds) – Gary, would you answer? – Yeah. I think my topic is solar fuels, and I think this is something that you could apply
on a local scale. For example, a rooftop,
so photovoltaic, and this allows
rural environments to be able to empower themselves
as opposed to a huge grid that requires much more
massive investment. So I think this is a technology that potentially could
address this point. – Anyone else wanna
offer an answer to that? But I think the bottom line– – Oh.
– Go, Ken. – Yeah, and I think it’s
critical to build connections and I think that
there’s a dearth of those connections right now. Yale’s actually doing
something with Rwanda, I don’t know if
people have seen this, to try and build some of
exactly these connections. With Rwanda, now
that’s one country, but in order to
solve climate change, this has to be done with
many, many different countries and many different places. And in many respects, it
does require resources, getting back to resources,
and this is an area actually where I think there is real
value in putting some resources to extend what we’re learning. There is innovation going
on in the developed world that doesn’t always
immediately translate into the developing world. But with some thought, we
might be able to find ways to help that leap frogging
that we’d love to see happen happen as much as possible. – I would also just add
that you’re quite right. We can’t afford, with
a problem this big, to leave it to some
subset of the society to pursue the solutions, so we need to bring to bear
all the brainpower we can from across the world. My own personal
big idea on this, perhaps not yet fully developed, would be to take advantage of the excess supply
of doctoral students that are coming out of programs in the research university
of the United States and find a billionaire
who will support them going to the developing
world on 10-year contracts to help build the
infrastructure in a big way so that we would find, everyone of us who teaches
and has doctoral students finds a number of them who cannot find teaching
jobs in America. They would love to
have a teaching job in any one of the
developing countries and have a chance to launch
into the career they care about. So if any of you have
a spare billionaire who can drop over a billion
dollars or so into this, I think we could
transform higher
education across the world and engage the next
generation globally in a whole set of solutions,
climate change among them. All right, another question. I think we had another
one on the backside here. Do we have a mic there? – [Mary] Thank you very much. This was terrific. I’m Mary Evelyn Tucker teaching
at The School of Forestry. I just wanted to mention as the congresswoman
from Florida said, this is a moral issue. And it was very significant
when Dan Esty came back from the cop meeting in Paris and we had a panel at at
the Kroon Hall, Burke Hall, and Dan held up the papal
encyclical of Pope Francis and said, “This is why we
got an agreement in Paris.” and I just wanna put
into the discussion here, as I think many of you
are sympathetic to, that the religious communities, the ethical force that’s
coming onboard in huge ways needs to be a major
part of this discussion because that’s the diversity
that you’ve also signaled that’s needed as Tony
and others have said. So the question is
simply how do we do this? Because the science and policy have driven the action and law but how do we really engage
religious communities who can make a difference
on these issues? 85% of the world’s people
say they’re religious. In the divestment movement
that’s now at $11 trillion, 27% is from religious
communities. There’s a force here
of institutional power, of educational understanding, and even a financial commitment in socially
responsible investment, so I’d love to
have your response. – Anyone wanna take that up? – Well, I’ll take it.
– Go ahead. – So of course, Mary
Evelyn, great to see you, and I totally agree with you. To oversimplify,
organize, that’s it. We just gotta organize. And that’s, unfortunately,
one of the great things that’s actually happening
within the religious community. As you know, you help
bring this into being. Each of the world’s major
religions have come together, have separately
and come together to say that climate change is a core challenge
for our faith. And what can we draw on in terms of our religious texts, in terms of our
precepts, our practices, how should we act, as human beings that happen
to believe in the divine, how should we act in this new and incredibly difficult
and challenging world? And the great thing is that that conversation is happening
in every corner of the world and it’s being increasingly
starting to organize. And I’ll just pull
out one organization and that’s GreenFaith. They have hundreds and hundreds of leaders from
around the world, religious leaders
coming together and actually beginning to
design joint campaigns. They were one of the
sponsors of the mass protest that we just saw
a couple days ago, so I think there’s
tremendous potential that is just on the
verge of really starting to be unlocked in
that community. So more, please.
– Thank you. – [Jim] I’m Jim Huffman. I’m at Lewis & Clark
Law School in Portland. I’m afraid I haven’t had a
chance to read the whole book, but if the indexers
did a good job, there’s only two mentions of
nuclear power in this book: one, with reference to
the Fukushima disaster, and another recommending,
I think correctly, that we not decommission
existing nuclear power plants. But it seems to me when
you have a source of power that is carbon-free, the technology is
already developed and improving very rapidly. Why isn’t it part
of the conversation? And it’s not just true here, it’s true in all conversations
about climate change. Why isn’t it not part, a central
part of the conversation? – Yeah, but I think my chapter was one of the ones that
mentioned nuclear energy. I’m a big advocate of
nuclear energy personally ’cause they just, as
you rightly pointed out, it’s carbon-free and we
do have the technology to scale it up. But it’s really an
issue of the concern of risk of nuclear energy and I think this is
something we have to address if we’re gonna really
scale up nuclear energy. And Fukushima and
other nuclear disasters have just really made this
a toxic issue right now. – And do you wanna add anything? – I mean, the other
aspect to it is at least, in recent years, we’ve seen
a lot of cost overruns, the economics of, at least
in the United States, of building nuclear reactors
has not looked very good. Now, that doesn’t
say that TerraPower and other future generations
of nuclear technology couldn’t lead us down a path that has safer and less
expensive nuclear technology, but it’s hard to harder to
justify nuclear technology with the exception
of keeping plants that are currently
existing around longer when the attempts
to build new plants turn out to have
such cost overruns. – Thank you. Right here. – [Mathy] Hi, Mathy Stanislaus, the director of the
Global Battery Alliance, and used to work with an
agency formerly known as EPA. (panelists and
audience chuckling) So we just released
a report on Friday which calls out 30%
reduction of greenhouse gases between the energy and
transportation sector. Could also deliver energy
for communities a lot with that electricity in Africa. One of the key recommendations
is utility policy. But in the U.S., utility
policy is controlled by states, our multi-state power pools. So it seems to me
one of the key things that we need to focus in on is utility policy to
enable battery-enabled dispatchable or
renewable energy. Thank you. – Thank you. Anyone wanna comment on that? – He’s right.
– Probably have a lot of people agree. – Yeah.
– No, he’s right. – I actually have said many
times and said to my students that looking back
on my three years running Connecticut’s
Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the thing I regret most
that I didn’t get done was re-imagining the
utility business model, and then building the Public
Utility Commission structure of rules and regulations, it would transform
that business model. So I think you’re quite right and we probably do
need to get onto that as a matter of priority. Back on the side here. – [Michael] Michael Coren, I’m an FUS grad and
a reporter at Quartz. So I think a lot
of you mentioned scientific, social,
technological issues. One of the things that didn’t come up
explicitly was economics. I think there was an economist who said I don’t
wanna be president, as long as I can write
economics textbooks. And I think that’s very true. Is there a concerted
effort or potentially one that changes the discount rate? Essentially, this is the problem that we don’t value
the future enough and we make cost-benefit
decisions that
don’t reflect that. Is there potential
either at the state or on the national level, or some of the level government
that I’m not aware of that can actually
maybe not be so public but have really deep
and profound changes in how we make decisions on what we invest
and what we don’t? – And I hate to say this but as the resident
economist here on the panel, I’m afraid this
one goes your way. – This one certainly
goes my way. The discount rate is a
large and complicated topic. I’m not gonna be able to
summarize this in a short time, but happy to talk
to you afterwards. But briefly, there
have been efforts within the economics community to bring in considerations
of intergenerational equity as well as within
generation equity into how we think about
the discount rate. One of the challenges
with doing all of this is that we have rates of return and we have a long-standing
consensus in economics that you use standard rates
of return as a metric. So it’s a slow process
that is occurring but I actually do see
movement towards using for intergenerational
problems like climate change lower long-run discount rates. And I think that
within 10 years, I wouldn’t be surprised
if that’s become standard at the state and federal level. – Thank you. – Dan, thanks very much. Tom McHenry from
Vermont Law School. It’ll seem like a setup question but what would the panel tell
us in terms of the skills that we need to be
educating young people about to address these problems? I’d be interested in those, talking about those
skills a little bit. – Seems like a softball,
but our panel is fumbling, the mixed metaphors. (panel chuckling) – There’s a lot of skills, and this is a question
we wrestle with at The School of Forestry and Environmental
Studies all the time. I would come down to one
keyword and it’s leadership. If there’s one thing I hope
our students come out with is how to be leaders
for the environment, no matter which
field they end up in because that’s the great
thing about our students is that they go on to be
leaders in government, in business, in the advocacy
community, and so on. They’re remarkable where
our students end up. But are we training
them to be full leaders? And all the dimensions
that have to go into that, it’s not enough to be
a content knowledge. You have to be able to, for
instance, from my perspective, you have to be able
to communicate. You have to be able to persuade. You have to be able to engage. You have to be able to market
your products, et cetera, and that’s a skill
that we are now trying to build out into
our student body is to actually provide that
as a set of core curriculum that you can engage. All of these
analytical capacities, of law and economics and
the humanities and so on I think are also critical in helping produce well-rounded
interdisciplinary leaders that can handle making decisions in an incredibly complex
world that they’re going into. So anyway, if I
had to boil it down to one thing, it’s leadership. – Yes, where the
microphone is in the back. – Thank you, I’m Alex Munoz,
I’m a Yale World Fellow, and I work for National
Geographic Society on our project
called Pristine Seas. – What’s up? – Hi, Monica, how
are you? (laughs) This is a question for Sue and maybe you Dan can jump in. I’m from Chile and we are
hosting the COP25 in December and I wanted to ask you
what success would look like considering that things are
not shaping the best way. The U.S. is withdrawing,
we’ve discussed this, and this doesn’t seem to be
an agreement on many things. So with all those
factors in place, what do you think will it be, like the one thing
that could be good and meaningful to take out
of that meeting in December? – Well, I probably
mentioned three things rather than one thing, right? So 2020 is supposed
to be the year when parties are not required
but they’re encouraged to update their
nationally-determined
contributions. So if you think of
the Secretary-General
summit this week as maybe step one, you’ve got the conference
of the parties in Chile maybe step two, and
then 2020 is step three, so I would think you’d
want some kind of signal from some either
number of countries or countries with a lot of
emissions that goes beyond what we’re gonna hear
tomorrow or this week. So that would be one
form of successes that have commit to commit
or actual announcement of enhancing the
national contributions. That’s one. Second is the so-called Work Program under
The Paris Agreement was almost done last year, but there’s a piece
that’s missing and that’s all about
market mechanisms under The Paris Agreement and that’s the main negotiating
piece to be finished, so that would be another
criterion for success. And the third is that
Chile, your own country, has announced that this COP
should focus on the ocean and they’re calling it
The Blue COP, right? And the idea is that the
ocean has been undervalued in The Paris Agreement
UNFCCC context. The ocean plays such a huge role in terms of absorbing warming, it’s being affected, it’s
a victim of climate change, but it’s also a
possible source of help in terms of mitigation because
of blue carbon et cetera, but those things have not
been discussed too much, and so Chile’s trying
to highlight that issue by having some high-level
meetings on it, by discussing the IPCC
report on the oceans that’s coming out
this Wednesday, and possibly also by
formally institutionalizing the ocean issue under
The Paris Agreement. So I would look, keep an
eye on those three elements. – Got a question here. – Hi, I’m Rodney Irwin from
the World Business Council for Sustainable Development
in Geneva, Switzerland, and obviously with the
organization I work for, I’m curious as to
how these big ideas will translate for business. So what do you
think we need to do to motivate not only
the political leaders that you have been referring
to but the business leaders? When you bear in mind that
Tata Group of companies has a bigger carbon emission
than the country of Austria, they are significant. – The number one thing
they can do is to continue. Businesses do have
ears of politicians, they have the ears
of many folks. I’m not gonna say every
single politician, but businesses play an
important role in the economy and they play in a really,
really important role in the discourse. There’s been an increasing,
including by your own group, effort by businesses
to make it clear that climate change is
real and important to them and make real
efforts themselves. I think that this changes
the overall discourse in a way that makes it clear that there is underlying
support for climate action and potentially
allows governments to get closer to making action or making actual
action themselves. Tony, do you wanna add? – Yeah, I’ll just add
to that is that, look, businesses have immense
influence in our society and one of the
ways that citizens can influence political
decision-makers is a bank shot. You can directly pressure
your elected officials, you can pressure a company that will then put pressure
on those officials, and that can be a highly
effective strategy in today’s world. We’ve seen many, many
examples of where customers have basically gotten
their businesses to put pressure on elected
leaders to change legislation. That’s a powerful thing. And what we see at least in
The U.S. as of right now, more Americans are willing to vote with their
pocketbook on the issue than to vote at the ballot
box, so that’s changing. So I think it’s actually an incredibly powerful
lever of change. – Monica. – And I would just
say that the products that a climate
service could provide are essential to businesses
being able to adapt and be more effective in
the face of the same shocks, the climate shocks
that we see now. It’s a demand for those
sorts of basic products that then businesses both can turn into more
sophisticated products, it’s a potential
creator of businesses, but it’s also a way for
businesses to save money, and insurers, real estate,
manufacturing, transportation, all of the businesses rely
on the kind of information that we get really well
from zero to 10 days. But beyond that,
it’s pretty tough. And there are a
lot of businesses that could use this
kind of forecasting. The one I’m thinking of is ski
resorts who we are now able, through some research
that’s going on, to be better able
to predict snow pack in places like the
Rocky Mountains. We could do that more and
those resorts could be prepared for the warmer winter
or the colder winter, have more water on
hand to make snow, when would they be
able to make snow. That’s just one tiny example, but you think about
that multiplied by a million
different businesses. And I’ll tell you, when the
president did the Sharpie, I got a lot of emails
from people far and wide who said I rely on that
forecast every single day and it has to be right. Creating those kinds of products that will carry us out beyond
the current weather capacity is really essential I think to being a successful
business in the 21st century. – Well, I would just
add one thought to this which is I was yesterday
part of a group called the Carbon Pricing
Leadership Coalition, thousand plus businesses
who have come together to say there should
be a price on carbon and a significant number of them have put an internal
price on carbon, and that does help
to normalize this as something that
we should all expect as part of the climate
change policy future. So I hope that momentum
continues to build. Now, there’s a question here
in the middle on the aisle. Yup, coming forward. Actually, you headed
on the other side, but that’s all right. Let’s start on the
other side, thanks. – [Jennifer] Hi, my
name is Jennifer Skein. I’m in a joint fellow
with Yale Law School and the Natural Resources
Defense Council. Oops, sorry. I suppose my
question is for Tony. I very much appreciated what you said about
increasing representation and bringing out new voices. But you mentioned
that one thing, the climate crisis is
gonna be a natural gift because we’re gonna see more
and more natural disasters, more buy-in, but
for many people, of many communities of color,
indigenous communities, these are already happening and they’re not
being represented in the environmental movement, so what can we do now especially when we
don’t have 50 years to ensure that their
voices are heard? – Great question. We need to be more
inclusive, period. We need to provide the resources to bring those and
amplify those voices. So I’ll just give one example of how we at least
are trying to do that. So one of our programs is
a national radio program called “Yale Climate
Connections”. It’s the daily
92nd radio program that plays on more
than 500 radio stations across the country. And really, the core of
it is to try to give voice to that diversity that
we’re talking about it. I mean, all diversity. I mean, old, young
people, men, women, big business, small
business, people of color, people who are on the front
lines in every which way to be able to express and
tell a national audience, here’s how climate change
is impacting me now, not some distant
far away threat, but here’s the how it’s
actually causing harm to me now. But even more importantly
are the voices of people from that broad swath of
diversity across the country who are rolling up their
sleeves and taking action. There’s a deep, deep
psychological literature on the power of role modeling, of being able to hear the voices of people who look like you,
sound like you, dress like you, share your values, are
part of your community, your identity,
however you define it, who are speaking up and
saying, you know what? This isn’t just an issue that only environmentalists
and scientists and Liberal
politicians care about, this is an issue that
we all care about. How do we move this from
their issue to our issue, and ultimately to my issue? And so, at least one small way
that we’re trying to do that is to literally amplify
those diverse voices as part of that
national conversation. That’s just an example of
what I think we need to do over and over again in
all of our institutions. – Thank you, Tony. Monica? – Yeah, that’s why
one of the reasons why we started our little
publication in Our Daily Planet, to do the same thing. Change the conversation
about conservation, include more voices. But our goal is actually,
yes, to broadcast out. We are trying to reach a
lot of college students, we’ve got a really
interesting group of readers who are influencers themselves. And so my goal or our
goal has been recently to try to get more of this
in network news coverage, just more of the
conventional news sources that people get their
information from. That’s why I was really pleased when we were able
to persuade MSNBC to hold this climate
forum last week with the 12 presidential
candidates and bipartisan. If we can try by
telling these stories to influence the
really big megaphones and get some of those stories
on those bigger megaphones, those big screens,
the big, loud voices, I think it will really help to get beyond just
our own bubble, which I worry that we’re
still stuck in our own bubble. – Thank you. – [Elliot] Hi,
I’m Elliot Roseman with the United States
Energy Association. A lot of great discussion about how we mitigate and can
mitigate climate change, go from a four or
4 1/2 degree world that we heard Secretary
Kerry talking about to hopefully more of
a two-degree world. I’d like to hear the panel
talk more about adaptation. You were starting to talk
about it, Miss Medina, with regard to the number
of billion-dollar storms. Can you address it a little bit? And we were talking
about long-run versus short-term
and externalities. How do we go about prioritizing what types of
adaptations we should do? Should it be zoning? Should it be
hardening substations? Should it be dealing with
the issues in Rwanda? Is there some kind of metric or way we can go
about prioritizing our
adaptation efforts? – Monica, do you
wanna add to your? – Yeah. I’ll start by saying that
I think it’s hard to adapt if you don’t know what
you’re trying to adapt to and you’re not going from
the same information. That’s one of the things that
makes weather forecast so good is that everyone goes from
the same weather forecast. It’s not to say
that we could get to a perfect set of information, but NOAA has little products
now but they’re just helpers. They’re helpful. The maps, the flood
maps are another way that we use to
decide what to adapt, but that’s just one thing. What if we had much
more information, we created much more dynamic
products that we could use to really make those
adaptation decisions? NOAA has this climate center that has advised the city of
Miami, but it’s not definitive. It doesn’t have the power of
that government imprimatur, this is what the information is, this is the best
we have right now, but this is the information. Start to take actions
based on that. And incentivize them through
programs like flood insurance, but more on building codes, energy efficiency,
water efficiency, all those things that we really
need to be thinking about where do we have to
have these things now? But without real products, and without as much
data as we could have going towards more private
sector amplifications of those products,
I think it’s hard. I think it’s really hard. There’s just a lot
of confusion about what should we be doing next. And we do need, I think, a
government that is engaged and has a climate or
an adaptation czar, somebody who’s really in
charge of this effort. We asked that. A lot of the candidates
got asked that and some people said
it should be me, but, well, yeah, I mean, the
president needs to be engaged, but maybe that’s not
the right person. Maybe you need someone
much more closely who’s able to do it
every day all day and get the agencies
to coordinate because it will take
a cross-government, cross-economy effort
to be that efficient to get to the right answers
because we do need to adapt. No matter what happens,
we will be in a world where we’re gonna be
experiencing these impacts, and that’s what motivated
me to write this chapter. I’m not a weather person,
I’m not a scientist, but looking out and
thinking about what we need, this is one of the
things we need. – Question right there. – [Traymond] All right. I’m Traymond Ville
representing MasterCard. You guys talked a little bit about the business
impact tonight. You talked about people
voting with our pocketbooks. I think, Dan, you
touched on the idea of internal carbon pricing and implementation
of those kinds of let’s say taxes or fees. But one of the things
that we’re noticing in our environmental
sustainability efforts is a emphasis on transparency or cooperating with
organizations such as the CDP and the TCFD headed
by Bloomberg, those ideas to make
large businesses who don’t necessarily have
an environmental impact or footprint like ski
lodges or manufacturing that they start to
publish those things and become more accountable
to their own consumers. They have their own brand and that environmental footprint
is available information, readily available information. Is that kind of transparency, is that really a call-to-action, or is it’s a delaying impact? I know that internal
carbon pricing is definitely a nice action
item that comes out of it, but what do you guys think
about that transparency that’s occurring that drive? Is that something
that’s worthwhile or is that simply a
delay over real action? – I think it’s a bare minimum. I think you need that
transparency to start. There’s been a huge trend
on shareholder reports that involve actually
reporting emissions and reporting changes emissions and also reporting plans
for future emissions. And I think it starts
to get more important and you have more impact when you start
getting into the plans for how future emissions
are gonna be changed, but you have to take stock to start of what
missions look like today, before you can implement
a internal carbon price and say that it
actually does something. So I see that as actually
the bare minimum, and increasingly,
large companies are
actually doing this and I think if that’s
the right trend but I see it as just the
bare minimum, just to start. – I would just add one thing. I think there is a
significant interest now in getting a more
carefully structured set of reporting frameworks with metrics that
are carefully defined and methodologies about
how you report under them so that a whole
series of actors, including every
citizen thinking about what companies to buy from, but every investor
thinking about how their portfolios will look would know with some
degree of confidence who the leaders are and
who the laggards are. And right now, reporting
unstructured as it is, and frankly, TCFD is a start, but it does not require
any specific methodology, is not getting us that
degree of comparability. And there is as a result
sometimes even a risk that the laggards
reporting narrowly will look like they’re leading when in fact,
they’re far behind. So I think some degree
of mandatory reporting around a core set of metrics that have methodological
underpinnings and are audited to some extent so that the consumer
can trust them, the investor can count on them, governments can look at them
would be a good way to go. All right, we are down
to our last question. And I think there is one right
there, Maggie, to your right. Yeah. No, right, left, in front. A yellow dress, I think. Yes, thank you. – [Alice] Hi! I’m Alice
Dawson-Beachin-Clawson. I’m a writer at The Hill
and a freelance journalist, and my question is about
social media activism and what you guys
think about it. So there’s so many
young people now who wanna share their opinions, they wanna show their support for sustainability
and climate action, and they also wanna
show their outrage when they see things
like the Amazon burning, but I think that it calls into
question how helpful it is. Do you guys find
it to be helpful when people are sharing
on social media, whether that might be
Instagram, Facebook, Twitter about those things? And how can young people take
their social media activism to the next level? How can they be
the most helpful? – [Woman] This should be good. – We have a couple of people who are in the
communications arena. Monica, do you wanna start? – I say drag your
friends to the polls! Make sure every single
one of them vote. That’s why we right what we do. We try to make it clear what
the duality of the options. If you don’t take action,
and that’s the basic one, then all the rest of this
is just really nice talk. – Tony? Further or last thought? – Yeah. Look, social media has become a force of its own
in our society. It is literally
restructuring the way we not just connect and
talk to each other but our politics, our
economics, our culture is increasingly evolving
right before our eyes on these set of platforms. You can’t just say
is it helpful or not. It’s as complicated as
human beings are now. There’s so many beautiful things
that happen on social media where people find each
other who were alone before and are able to find that
there’s somebody else that understands what
they’re going through and can empathize
and feel their pain and support them
through times of need, and there’s also the source of just the worst kind of
misogyny and white racism and just the most evil
parts of the human nature come out in this platform too. Is it good or bad? That said, I think, look, you would not have
had the climate strike without the power
of social media. – Power of social media. – And that’s what we need
now is a global movement. The only way that
happens at light speed is that we’re connected
literally by light speed, and that’s what this platform’s
real greatest promise is, and I think we’re beginning
to see it actually being used for the organization
of mass social change. My last critical point though, and this is the thing
that concerns me about the protests of two
days ago and upcoming, is that protest is great. Protests drives attention, it’s powerful for the
people who experience it to know that there are
millions of other people who feel as passionately
about this as they do, but what comes next? Because September will
end, and then it’s October, and then it’s 2020,
and then it’s 2025, and so on and so forth. What I feel like we’re
still desperately needing is the ability to take people from the experience
of social media or from these mass protests and get them into face-to-face
real grassroots organizing. That’s the critical piece. So how do we do that? – Thank you, Tony. Thank you all very much for being here as part
of this conversation. I’ve got a few closing notes and then you’re all
invited upstairs to a reception in
our rooftop lounge. It really is great to have
an incredible turnout here, and the back-and-forth that
we’ve just experienced. It is part of a dialogue that
you heard from Dean Burke we’re gonna carry forward
across the country and around the world
in the months ahead. And I do think we’re beginning
with a focus on solutions and digging into
some of the details to lay the foundation
for real success when it comes to climate
change and to the broader push for a sustainable future. I wanna say that it’s
really a great pleasure to have all of you here. You all are getting a sneak
preview copy of this book. If any of you have come
from great distances and don’t wanna carry it home, please leave it at the
table on the way out. And in the spirit of
a sustainable society, we will reuse and
recycle the book and put it in the hands
of another thought leader who can be brought into the
circle of our conversation. So don’t feel you
have to take it home if you in fact can’t get it
back to wherever you’re going. And by the way, for
those who are interested in helping us drive
this conversation,
dig into the details, I would encourage you not only
to take it home and read it, but after you read it,
give it to a friend, or better yet, with holidays
coming, order five copies (audience laughing) and particularly, give
it to a young person. Help motivate, as you’ve heard
one of the common themes here is this is a generational issue and we wanna make sure that
we’ve got a next generation of leaders who are
engaged in this, in substance and in depth, and we do think this
will be a reference book. We think there will be
lots of opportunities for people to pick
it up off the shelf and dig into a topic over time. So let me just close by
saying it is a great pleasure to do a project like this
and it’s a huge team effort. And I wanna thank people
who have played a role, all of our essay writers,
not just 40, by the way, ’cause some of them
were co-authored, 56, ranging in age, you
may not know this, from young 20s, several student
contributions to this book, to a nearly 80-year-old
recent Nobel Prize winner. So we’re spanning
many generations and it really is a significant
team effort in the writing. But beyond that, we’ve
had an extraordinary group at The School of Forestry
and Environmental Studies led by Dean Burke pushing
this project forward. Tim Mason who is here
has played a major role. Thank you very much. Danielle Daly is here. Thank you for your work. Melanie Quigley also in the back has worked with Tim
to lead this effort. Kristin Floyd has played
an important role. And we’ve had a
communications team, Matt Garrett and Kevin Dennehy who’ve done just tremendous work to make sure that we’re all here and this conversation
is moving forward. And beyond that, we
have a dozen students, some of whom are here
today, others who are not who’ve done so much
background work and helped us get
organized for today’s event and more broadly this commitment of The School of Forestry
and Environmental Studies to lift up these questions,
to stay with them, to get into the details,
to hear the challenges, and keep pushing to
try to really underpin the future of our planet, our response to climate
change with the best science, the best data,
the best analysis, and frankly, with the kind
of political understanding that you’ve heard tonight is gonna be necessary
to go forward. So thank you all very
much who played a role. Please join me in thanking all who participated
in our panelists. (audience applauds)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *