« StarTalk Radio

Climate Change and the Future, with Al Gore

2016-06-17 | 🔗
Neil deGrasse Tyson looks past politics to examine climate change, clean energy, the future of life on Earth, and spider goats with environmental activist and former Vice President Al Gore, blogger Andrew Revkin, and comic co-host Maeve Higgins.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Skip the commercials support star talk on patriarch to listen to every episode, Commercial free, welcome to start on your place in the universe where science and pop culture collide dartle begin right now. This is start talking, I'm your host meal, the grass taste in your personal astrophysicist and am also director of the hidden planetarium. American Museum of Natural history right here in New York City and MIKE today's may higgins- welcome back we're. Having learned today, we're featuring my interview with vice president Al Gore. It will be time out, of course, climate change of this all the could ever comes out at a man's mouth and, of course, the future of the earth.
And I can do that alone. I know a little bit but not enough to carry this, so we go into our Our reservoir, too, folio experts, and so we ve got Andrew Rev can who previously served as an expert on start talk for our my interview with the head of the EPA and that was Gina Mccarthy. Yes, thank you. I guess I was like your audition and then they did so the radio's very kindly bets. So Europe, Europe senior fellow for environmental understanding at pace unit, So, that's all that you made up their title, have envy and have seen not junior fellow Signor vowed. Are they came over that of environmentally? What should I do know should be communication, but allied with is ok web lead you got to, their own title and you you found the New York Times Blog what'd. You got that dot. Earth is earth earth very, very nice,
since two thousand and seven year. The answer that's almost nine years ago and you in writing about I'm a change like for more than thirty years, and you brought this crusty old weather beaten book with you global warming to understand work has written ninety. Ninety two did the island seventeen, when you wrote that, so let me ask you this your book read some pages. I would forgive me. I haven't read every page, even though you have put them all online cuz, it's no longer in print that one can find all of the content. And you were boasting off camera that nothing had to change, because you're foresight was impeccable. Does that remain the case? Well out? I'm not the unique for one thing: there's been tons of people this the signs, science on global warming, the basics has gases. Crappy didn't make the atmosphere warmer and that, moreover, the oceans, when we're up all it's tough, has been clear for the New York Times, had a really good story of this. Nineteen. Fifty six by you also wrote because
but by the immortal, Valdemar Camp of ART. Actually, while the more come far TAT wrote this article and they all and any and every beach every beat in that story has been in every story. Written I've seen about climate change over since eat. Do you know anything about their reaction to that story and nineteen fifty thing I'll keep? Unlike can't I've got, and I think that a strict talking crazy, but that's a good question. There is no social media record at the time of going to talk about hydrogen sulfide. That's a geek joke! Actually the smelly gas in thin farts, but so it. So let me ask this in this book. Your journalist right? So you are compiling, basically, the fruits of the research. That's going on among scientists around but why you're the only one putting together than making predictions are we could a journalist for predicting the demise of the earth or rather than the scientists. The only thing in this book then that I predicted that
They must be unusual, is theirs In the book, where I say again as Putting this nine ninety one and I said perhaps earths scientists of the future will measure determine that were in a geological age of our own, making a post, Holocene Geological age of our own making and maybe the anthrax scene. I said Anthea scene at the time and then I thought thinking, but whenever I was thinking this be like two hundred years are now scientist, not thirty. No, I didn't know it actually ended up being righted being on till the year two thousand and two scientists only eight years later and throw procedure rather than the right and end up, like anthracite, better fewer syllable. Seen as my thinking liquor, I still would prefer to have a list. Let's get to my interview with for, as we know, he's been leading advocate of the climate crisis, and if you follow me on Twitter, that he's punch in it every single time, and that was not
The latter day, interest of his he's been active since the seventies, hardly when any one else was talking about it sort of a global scale, and as I understand it, he'll tell the first congressional hearings on climate change, as is first years congressmen, so that so that's cool and of course he did. The Oscar winning documentary and inconvenient truth now lives at tat time. Years old on the gas, and so he was also co recipient of the Nobel Prize. Got about this for the intergovernmental panel on I like it here to share that with a lot of people hurts. So, let's get to my interview with him, and I you know, I start out kind of fun and playful in and I knew, but I want to make. Everyone also knows that the vice president lives in the headquarters of the: U S Naval observatory and we just chattered about that little bit less taken, so how coup was it, as vice president to live in the? U S. Naval observatory
who is right. There was nobody and that's why I bet your whole will tell us go. I know the? U S naval observatory you have asked. This is like the headquarters: absolute innocent time keeping device and indeed to the Atomic the atomic clock that Europe had lived here. I had Mister Hale of Hail. Bob comment: come over give a running commentary looking through the telescope. That was very no that's that's cool thing. I mean, I wonder what the world now that the vice its residents yeah years or on the grounds of the? U S, Navy, and even though its in an urban environment, with a lot of light pollution. The longevity of those observations give those telescopes enduring value. Yeah, so you go you you and Al Gore buds right where young endorse this old book back when he was still Senator Al Gore and eighteen, It says Senator Al Gore, but I can to this might have been like split second became
I am sure it was when it was going to the printer like me like. I will be pressure to be friends that Al Gore and like you couldn't just be like hey one another barbecue. Red back down a lovely hot day. It is, I mean you, don't Then it was me journalist, him congressmen and so wasn't like front friend, but no don't touch over the years, often on, long time and it is interesting. Did you ever go? inside of this stick to it. If this is a an assent, equality if you're dealing with global warming, because this is a very hard problem. So it's not like a one didn't problem or one pope problem. One domain wanted to know how for You actually were suppose your friend. What would you do? I know I was curious. I never knew that day. Vice president lived in India in an observatory, just Joe Biden lived there now. I suppose so. I have not been asked, but I would like we, wouldn't you wondering
you wondering if our ever invited him to a party yeah asking to typing it's really impolite? If the answer is no and really sorry, but where you ever invited to know no injured, I've been to the White House, but not too, but don't you think that, like that will be a cooler plates alive, even in the white. I guess it's completely wake who? What else is a big house is not even its biggest some rich people's houses are yet so, except has got the underground thing and a helicopter waiting for you to escape other other than that of people working on line. You're Cheney, oh excuse, to know we're chinese out of the naval observatory Zeb and strictly is that kind of guy who, like the telescopes and seven The only thing I found there was interesting was it it was part of his undisclosed Lou. It was actually one of his undisclosed locations was his house if during the term member. If something is happening, I desire you could stay there, some! Basically you could stay at his house. That's how private he was that his own house was an undisguised located areas, because nobody knows british observatory is it. I knew it was safe. So my next clip I wanted to know just what How will this interest interesting, if your politician met often
a hobbyhorse. But why was his hobbyhorse climate change? We just went there, let's find out always love size. I can't say that I particularly excelled in, but I always found it fascinating. Would you make in college, I start an english major and us which to be a government mantra park, but I took courses in science and it was one such course that really changed my life. I walked into a course outside of my field of major concentration that was taught by a great scientist named Roy, reveal. He was the first scientists to measure co2 in the earth's atmosphere is back in the sixties and he described everything that has unfolded sense than he had a very clear vision. And that was really the reason why I got involved as a very young man and trying to understand climate science. It was that teacher who opened my mind and fired my curiosity,
and this is all I know he's not that did he know But here that all else who got absolutely another came close to his family, is it possible that were it not for his influence that you might not have ever gone industry? There is no doubt in my mind that learning from professor reveal wasn t reason why I got involved in and climate such absolutely ever know in life. Single encounters fucking do That's right, you have a quick revelatory, rebellious amazing. He in the fifties the international geophysical year, nineteen fifty He had the wisdom, to assign Ralph killing the prior, no to start measuring seo to carbon dioxide emissions. Distant way. On top of the mountain, the man Low Observatory in Hawaii and that killing her
ever since then. This is little wiggly curve up up up up up up up up up up up up up new, faster in echo's high frequency as well. That is meeting its even percent per year will pop up there's a musician whose is composed of peace that church. That is actually pretty interesting. Really, but anyway, I think actually children that musicians are running out of ideas when they gotta come scientific blocks. All if there's a musical, we literally might turn that internet actually compose it. So it's one thing to haven't interested in is a varied. I think it's a very different thing to become an activist. Could I committing your life your mind body and soul and energy and an clout, and so that's a whole other thing and I wanted to know the transition from just having interest to becoming an activist let's find out without I always had a focus on the climate crisis and began giving a slide show before it was computerized. Have three Kodak loud parameters- and you know this so carousel terrorist cells and they
go and seek once and then multimedia arrived and it was with critical. But then, when I computerized that I started turn on the road a lot more and it really kind of the Morton to a a mission that I can't possibly put down. I had the great privilege of working with our mutual friends of beloved Carl Sagan and others who inspired me to do more, and now that's mostly what I do I'm in business and technology, but the majority of my time is as head of the climate real. A project and given slide, shows and training people to give slide chosen, become climate activists all over the world to our becomes an active activist uses its political clout to who engage in an app
three gets out of office. He has a movie that wins an academy award for best documentary. I think it was an inconvenient truth, yet there are still people denying so. Could you explain to me you sit at that intersection, you right for the public. Red with assigned to say. So what is your insight into that denial well should we blame. You know I I I thought of this in the eighties I figure gates and other pollution problem. And then I figured ok, it's a technology problem, and then I figured it's a communication problem which are they of course it was too because if they do the documentary by its much more proof, in that way you look at the energy trends. Energy needs its not just about denial. Do you think something to do with like how humans don't do what's good for them this fundamental thing where even as individuals we know over the boat to do, but we don't do that
Well, you know in the waiting room there affair is a pile of apples along with the cookies. I think we still, I would have been reaching for the cookies, because cookies taste, good us right apples are kind of fibres since two it could be some pesticides on the skin. The word I mean that's right through to pesticides. In my home made chocolate chip cookies, you actually that period. A sort of two thousand five to six was when, when this really became political and in Gore it completely well meaning in his approach to the issue. Still, was a politician and still framed, and even in the film is the sort of partisan ass we had part but PA politicians baggage going into that film yeah. Ram and by the way most documents hearings have some kind of political baggage, even if it's not from their from elective office, no never accused was the other guy who made them learn, Michael, more being republican right. They they know he's coming from from the Democrats, world view artless right,
they're they're kind of, like political scientist, sociologists, have studied like what happened and in part of what has happened. Is it came a political badge it's like, russian organ rights in this global warming. But that means people have to see the politics. More than they see the facts and that's dangerous, because times you can have a political leaning, and maybe that leaning correct just because a politician doesn't mean you're lying other It's too, you know Energy tweet bachelor Twitter, just because it isn't doesnt mean you're lying in out and what he did and aunt em, while in office here this dream of having a earth monitoring satellite that would continue to get data on this very problem, I don't think I wasn't. Just recently launched right and a little bit of a tribute to him after the fact. All the discover satellite, which is a cheap, acronym, really learn. What are the deep space com? made observatory d c, o v are deceiving
avowal, you ve been play with it. You get to the discover satellite falleth had the pudding serve, allows and leaving out violence? He's had that hasn't he the potatoes guy no that was done. Clouds tat makes you foreign, so she to give her a couple more years in country and she'll get on her part. Nine. Sorry, Al Gore, so yeah sorry I had to them. Conversation without which it had to go to that point, because it I did it launched in we had some good data Would you want to get his? Was it when his babies that he's not proud of that That was in January ninety ninety eight, when I propose putting a satellite oddity, L one point where, of course, of the satellite it will remain between the earth and the sun and co orbit. The sun and now sat a million miles from the earth roughly and it sort of park there and it just looking in earth yeah decide. If that happens, we facing the sun, so
always full earth you. So you get a fourteen blue marble style photographs every single day. They can stimulate the rotation of the planet. Now it's a single image satellite, but you pieced together, images like a movie of the rotating earth. That's rising storm systems, Herman, try right as it just congratulate Finally, I thank you very much. I M very excited about it and in two thousand sixteen they will have finished calibrating. One of other instruments on the satellite which will give us for the very first time the planetary energy balance we ve never had that. We can measure The energy coming from the sun to the earth, because it's a single source, but the energy that's radiated back out and reflected back out into space, is over three hundred sixty degree, so we ve never been able to measure that that will give us a much much more precise.
Its way of understanding the climate crisis because we ve been focused on temperature, but most of the extra he content goes into the ocean The Senate has long residence times their, whereas the energy balance day by day willing I'll be able to be measured precisely so that's us as scientifically literate, as you could ever hope, a politician to be speaking about the total energy balance over the full Christy Earth rather than in one region or another, so Andrea, just what gimme sections on this on him. As a politician on these projects on the future of the world. Well, he everything he just said reflects something that is essential and figuring. This problem, that one is sustained observation and we're really bad at that and of its with stream gauges for the? U S job because survey or acid rain levels org seo too it's been a fight, to sustain that measurement of co2 amount. So is having as having a provision like.
You don't you wouldn't even be in office when the satellite will be deployed and having the ability to harness Congress to budget that harnessed Congress. Well Can't you there's our work with minors, but my wonders of the way we were so you can say all that you're saying, but what matters is whether people who vote and people who represent those are vote. About understand and agree with it? If they don't agree with it, you can talk out your ass and it doesn't make any difference. So what so so I've tried? I failed so, and I blame you journalist Andrew the journalist, I think there's something interesting in the sticking to earth thing and the same. The consistent and working over years, rather than some kind of like spasmodic Hercules. Move there's something that, like normal people, can do each day to like work towards helping. I get seems like heat. That's. What he's trying to do
While the there's a guy named Michael, see back at university, Michigan you're, just studies, transportation, and he just recently calculated. What would the one thing be that everyone in America could do. That would make the biggest difference and it's like an order of magnitude difference. It strives for other, for normal people, be a factor of ten different. Sorry, I you said ordinary, sorry, that's why the jargon At that time a multiple is driving the driver you're driving a car? That's traces, efficient or driving have as much and that's a five or not at all. It's as well. Alright in New York City or were you can search of thirty five percent? action in the countries that emissions of carbon dioxide, everything else like making house, more energy efficient whenever is like literally ten times less impact full, but as America tat I went out and taxes is a big long stayed with lots of driving into our it's kind of like and by the way, incremental change is not gonna get you there. You know, that's why, since that same period, two thousand and six
in writing about our utter disinvestment in the basic sciences that you would need to foster to take our emissions of the sky two zero later in this century, when STAR talk continues, we're gonna take on other topics such as we are we with clean energy, whereas it now where's going what's on the horizon. What new technologies will enable it? I'm touched on some of them. I've been to some clean, conferences at kind of fun to see the human ingenuity can come up with that. Isn't enough or is it too late when Startalk I've got a little secret for you. I'm gonna consider singing all of the ads on this shell there's just one and where to get out of hearing there go to patriarch arms last star talk and support where does at the five dollar level or higher to listen, the star talk ad free you can download all current episodes into your favorite podcast player and never
we're here another commercial on star talk ever again. You will definitely not have to hear me saying if you support us at Patria, dark coms. Last our talk, radio, I mean I'm just thinking I mean just saying, welcome back to start talking, I'm new posts are aligned with my caused me. Are you still just off the boat or do when do we typesetting for two years? Now, though, dog? Ok, I think, to a ten year remark: it make the new Yorker, apparently so, just eight more years of Coca Billina hot off the street corner. Yet Ojeda, you can stay off the streets and I think the ultimate meal is like a slice of pizza crouched over a trashcan, ok Avonlea on that is dealt with elsewhere, will account you models. Of course regret environmental journalist, Andrew Rifkin who's been thinking about this, almost his whole life and
It's my interview with Vice President Al Gore, and we talked about how we get started. What prompted him to care about any this? At all his active I am wondering whether any sort of solutions that exist to solve the climate crisis, which is basically a seal to crisis as our sources of energy are fossil fuel based primarily especially transport patient. So what came naturally in the recession, but just to talk about solar energy mean why not I let you see where, where that went check it out What have you seen coming up on the horizon, because everything anybody's gonna change until the sun is cheaper than call right until that happens, you can be people on the head, Erica Jack. I'm not gonna. Do anything. You tell me to do unless its chief, we'll have a good news for you with that. It is now cheaper in a growing number of places around the world in a end, in a growing number of regions. Here,
The trend line is good. The term line is good. And it's not only a trend line. It's a trend exponential curve and we both know that in some areas of science and technology by computer chips, for example, or digital care Mercer Ellie these they yield to r and d, and the technology gets better and cheaper at the same time. Think about the form it goes up performance does, I think, about cell phones. Kenzie to do a world market survey. How many of these can we sell by the year two thousand and the answer came back nine hundred Eighty eight anti, then the only found cut me really asked Mackenzie to do a world market serve at how many Please can we sell by the year two thousand and the answer came back nine. Thousand almost a million and when the year two thousand god you're. They did so nine hundred thousand in the first three days of the year and now they're, almost seven billion of them around the planet and vanish in question is
why were they not only wrong but way wrong? For one thing, they didn't understand how quickly the price would come down sort of like computer chips. They didn't understand that the technology would dramatically move- is a God cheaper and in the regions of the world where they didn't have landline telephone grids. All those folks can leap, frog and yet telephoned for the first time, same thing, is happening with solar. The prizes coming down the quality of the products going up and in those parts of the world Don't have landline electricity grids. Wow are really installing these things so quick now they can be. They can a power when they ve never even added before that screw up. That's exactly right so that The number one most exciting new technology. It continues to get cheaper every single month. It is now wait, paper than electricity from coal in many regions within three years in forty seven of the fifty, U S states, it will be cheaper than electricity, for
co wind is already cheaper and most of the? U S and the UK than electricity from coal, efficiency doesn't have the same kind of sex appeal because it's a lot of things but digital tools and the internet of things that are helping us become way more efficient way. More quickly, managing that's rid the grimacing, yet the same thing that the internet did. Four bits of information were now a lecturer net. That's doing that for electrons, so Andrew. You do share that optimism. There is great stuff happening with those technologies and by the way, just to be clear because, as given much physics background, I must disclose this that power and hydro: electric power is also solar power, because on his driving, both of those the sources of energy from both of those fan,
coal is to assist it in the ground. Four hundred yeah yeah. That's reports on renewable underline what the others, although at this all traceable to the sign at some point. Actually volcanoes are not traceable to the son who we are thermal energy? That's all that's all orphan yeah yeah yeah tappitt from within. Yet I mean solar seller is great and endeavour the deployment rates or way up and incentives a great You go to Germany, which has got the greenest sheen of any country right now and you look at their fossil fuel use both oil, gas and coal to different kinds of coal, one of which is pretty darn bad and is hardly been blunted their bit it turning off their nuclear power and they ve been in substituting renewables which is great for them in turn their priorities. I differ with the nuclear issue, but but when you look at that fossil If Germany can't really blunt its fossil fuel use, then look at that mobile trend away where I'd I'd miss, which is that you say in Germany. They are there
eyes of renewables is real. Only replacing the sources of power that the other has had, but we're not fossil fuels and also not pay sing greenhouse gases. Yet it is a policy too, vision, that Germany's been freaked out more about nuclear power than other countries so, but then take it too. So The german case, I didn't know that I couldn't email you some very gradually gotta dockers. My blog and you'll see some so I went when I got you right here: centimeter, your blog, I'm the man right here, I ain't going to your blog. Can we established under look at me? Look at a bee, isn't it true that half or more of all energy use is in transportation, and transportation does not have an obvious electrical option except or passenger cars, but a truck test. For example, most of its weight is battery. You cannot a truck carry
any kind of meaningful cargo if most of its weight, is in its own batteries. So if that's the case then yes, you swap at everything else, but you still stuck with now. I'm listening! some other new way to move stuff. Well, there there's there's work being done on fuels coming directly from solar energy. There's there's that's a big long leap to do that. Biofuels that exists. Radically you taken Seo two out of the european plan, pretty putting in a fuel. Putting back me are soon adding co2 by dumb, when you look globally, the energy demand of the world is up up up there. Three hundred million people in India, s population, United States who don't have any electricity they dont can turn on That is not only speaking about when he was saying that they would skip YO, Yo Yo and here's the issuing of countries where that's the case. That would be the case if there are going to stay in rural villages, but we're urbanized planet and you need jobs in those urban areas. Whether its manufacturing the services are, why can't solar power leap frog them
it's just not like is the information you have information revolution in a heartbeat. We say after the fact, Well, we know that it happened. I know I know, are provided by their electricity and energy systems have much more historically. They had way more inertia in them, and it's you don't I of tat. Just certain do that now you just interview bill gates. I did did anything come out of that related to this conversationally, I very much so he's we know he's making the point that all the gains were making with renewables are now our great, but look had to world of nine billion people by twenty. Fifty we don't over can be beyond that and hopefully most not poor, meaning and then I pour them he's all using electricity and raise it that abject poor people in developing countries today not and and and and here's another physics thing. Well, it's a chemistry and physically it will do is a durable gas. You release, it stays an atmosphere, it stay in circulation, so its building a building and Billy you, you can't stop. Global warming
They just slowing emissions. You have to go to zero and by some time the century or find a way to take it out of the. Right? Well, that's one way to go to zero, meaning net and he's investing some of his own money and he's recruited, other billionaires, ranging from Tom's I was a very liberal, progressive. Air too to the test to you on and actually much european musk is one of them. I remember at any rate he's trying to get people to focus on this investment gap. For these long throw. There gets punished because big feels like a hail, Marys kind of like wishful because an energy miracles which I think is kind of a mistake and made it makes me think about like in the nineteen fifty when Ireland was being there was like a big lure, electrification drive and these two All farmers that lives across the strict new across the road from us thought it was a phase. They were this isn't gonna its electorate.
It will be practicable and what is this, which is lacking, is a lecture on believing like building. You know believing up and gaiters has to say, and if you ve pudding is money there, but there too so this there is there is whether people will embrace it. That's the they Ireland, nineteen fifty problem by describing there with your neighbors, your neighbors did have electricity? Did you have yeah. So this is my dad was a kids and delicate ok, then is too old and farmers refused? Ok, so so that that's one hurdle right, you will people embrace it but I don't see that so much as a problem today, if, if it's in front of them and cheap but another one its course is the politics of it, and I could have a conversation. Al Gore, without talking about the politics of things and sue let's see how he reads the politics of cleaner.
Check what do we need your need, your if the marketplace is going to take it there anyway? Well, because there is a determined effort to slow. Down this revolution in not only in the U S, but in a lot of countries, the old coal or an oil and gas and utility companies Are using their legacy political power at the border of West Virginia? Is there a mug shot of your face and think stop half with actual Asian actually know West Virginia one? This is where solar panels were being installed very rapidly. Now, let's take the example of a case of Florida, where the Sunshine state the head of the. Colbert utility there's. There was also the partly clownish they actually make it. There are lots of other obstacles it dead. The old companies are are throwing up and we need to work they actually make it illegal to by solar electricity from somebody that installs a panel on your roof is one of only four states where that
happens, but there are lots of other obstacles it did. The old companies are are throwing up and we need to work with the old companies. It should that's my point, warming must get on such as a former politician. You know better than anyone you can't just by written by mistake, covered you on the tents it out of the twelve September of this year. You can't just burst into a state where people have legacy jobs from multiple generations, doing whatever it is their doing with having some kind of transition plant yeah, that's right and we should take care of the coal minors. For example. I've long propose that, but this is happening anyway. The coal companies are going bankrupt. Were seen. China turn away from call All over the world is massive revolution, one of the questions for those of us who live in them I say of America is we'd be waiting. Thus we invented and develop these technologies that we want all these things maiden in China shouldn't we
get a lot of those jobs here. They're gonna be job. All over the world, they can't outsource who's, gonna win dollar panel on the roof. You know it's gonna, be it in the local community and actually where'd. You can't outsource a construction job, well, that's a merging the robots can do most of em, but you have the robots off container ship that'll be an interesting day. Well, that's another conversation, but this is an opportunity kneel to lift the prosperity of the global economy in a way that no other project can it's the most massive. Business opportunity in the history of the world injury. What countries in the world recognise this has a business opportunity and are taken the bull by the horns. Well directed It is an energy opportunity to an under Gimme some countries, Bangladesh it sang with S through the through the process of the climate negotiations at one of the things they pledged to do was to see what we can do with solar, and
did they have really ambitious targets in numbers there and what I heard from the United States is not going to say, we're gonna do this now, because works in Bangladesh. No, no! I know right good, I'm wondering Based on what you know in your journalistic explorations are their certain countries that if they do it, then they will. They will shame other countries into doing it, and then whole domino effect in the whole world converts overnight and none of the good work that went because it's not that we haven't convert. We used horses number ten thousand years ran within it: near period. Nobody uses horses anymore for anything rang essentially just for entertainment that happen between one thousand eight hundred and ninety and one thousand nine hundred and twenty Right Amazing, Arthur shadow that either there is a manoeuvre crazier than maneuver crisis. Who would have thought that something so permanent could be swept out so quickly, because some came around that was relatively affordable.
Henry Ford said he wants his work is to build a by what their building on the assembly line, and so maybe it's all this. I try to get there conversational out, but it didn't land made it simply economic. The day you can show They something cheaper that uses nobles I'm there not, because I gave a rat facts about the environment because up because I'm saving money absolutely right it has to be that step smooth if it isn't and also in some cases like when we have this huge infrastructure for gasoline to put in cars. You know in so whenever this is why there are some people still thinking, we need a liquid fuel whatever it is because the infrastructure teach you can't do that. The horse thing in America. The way were with all of our cars and self sacrifice, but but there's a guy named Nate Louis Caltech, a solar scientists to convey this to me best, but the big challenge here and this gets it. This is what you said he said, went intranet. He said it's not like going to the moon,
comparison is moonshine cutting its I go into the moon. When, when Southwest Airlines is already flying their handing out peanuts, he said he said this to me a while ago. In other words, we have an energy system works, it's like you plug stuff in and then that's so it's a substitution for any stinks system, that's why, if it isn't cheaper every effort so far to make the dirty fuels Morse quickly turn what the overhead in our infrastructure will make it that much harder to convert, not nodded. It was LAPD's, they got Ellie these now that have scoop screw bottoms right than when they first came out. That's not how they that's not their native date, eleven Edison bottom right, and so and then it may be new homes would have to be built with DC and not use, but might seem my my nightmares. A journalist is concerned like looking at what people are saying, looking at the data as much as I can your city when the sobering statistic of, but I gotta say
mere Bloomberg, for example the right now some waiting to be sent out from that sobering. We will measure that our hope, you're gonna, walk into line with that of the Bloomberg administration. Did a survey of altering the mayor of New York, former they they looked at all building buildings in New York is more than a million, and they concluded based on matters is understand about turn over that in the building. Said exist in twenty fifty. Eighty percent of the buildings that exists in twenty fifty they found exist right now, ok, so we know we all have his vision of a transformed world and twenty fifty Basically, what you see other window, where we're? How can it be a million buildings when there's eight million people? That means we're averaging eight people per building? I didn't do it. I don't believe or it ok amicably, those the numbers juxtapose follow. Why do they city grateful. You have your office. I grew up in a billion had five thousand people in an assembly
just a regular apartment, dominoes leader, a million the Bronx, but anyway I just think of that. About. Eighty percent of the buildings in your city in twenty fifty exists now, which means it's a huge retrofit, regardless of the number. That's that's the threats I sent that matters has like some magical, new energies or energy world will be there. We have to work at it, very, very sustained way. The efficiency stuff that four of us talked about is challenging tinted to doing, and that kind of thing and then the there is opportunity in and in the other countries that have built their giant cities yet so well, that's hard to its hard dreamers. Hollerin reality, everyone, but need this require sustained work at every every level from the guy I meant work has not gonna happen because people fall the pocket book and not philosophy met innovators, innovative sure are not every person you're mean There's a guy in India Hurry Sunday whose develop the very successful business going to villages and seeing what are your energy needs and
and with a little solar panel, that's enough to power, some so machines and that changes lives and they get on the internet. That changes lies. They should know what are your needs, and I should ask what he wants that very differently. When start talking, is more of my interview with vice president. How go Welcome back to start off with may pagans my coat I reckon do you do tweet? How did you watch what your twitter handle? Rev can at Rifkin are we all dream of a world of limitless energy right. Why not? In fact, in the sixtys we imagined a future. What we didn't really get right was that break. We were talking about clean energy and possible tech solutions to it and
We all dream of a world of limitless energy right. Why not? In fact, in the sixtys we imagined a future. What we didn't really get right was that information would be unlimited, but not the energy yeah. That's what we didn't get right. And if you have unlimited energy than flying cars or nothing righteous fly, you are at it, and so I wonder can we have a world with women, less energy brought it up without facility to say about it, so the calculation goes as follows. The world gets as energy from the sun in one hour to power, the entire global economy for a full year. So It may not be literally limitless, but that's close enough and as we improve the fraction of that energy that weaken harvest profitably, then we do approach a point where energy is abundant.
And very cheap and to use a geeky economic phrase, it has zero marginal costs, meaning, of course that after your bill, the solar installation. The next kilowatt hour is for free, that's not there. Same as with a coal fired, generating plant, get back up the train and you got to buy the call. You got to do all that stuff and you got to deal with the pollution. Projects like desalination become a lot more, which are so our aren't ten million tonnes everyday, we gotta stop that it does not work and for us, but get on the opportunity side. If these new renewable energy sources get cheap enough? Then projects like desalination, become a lot more, which are any just passive yeah, so limitless energy. What a future that might be, so I have to clarify something that he said. Yes, you can add up the total energy we received from the sun and so
It would drive over an hour it, but of course some that energy is actually keeping our plants you can just take all the solar energy. This hitting earth and then drive human needs. The rest of life on earth lives off the sun, so many gifts twenty men who, on the resolution on the debts uninitiated, will take the regular merriment greater human, just to be clear, the reports of the world. They need the sun, but Therefore, you took away all the sun and all the light then earth would would plunge into darkness and cold, so just just to be clear, but that the calculations still fascinating, to do to get a sense of how much energy there is. So, as a journalist have you thought about this, and you see any downside to this to having basically as much energy. Is we need? No? No, I I did write a piece a few years back where I can it had this dream literally had a dream: what have we had the perfect energy source, the universe like surrender,
for something in it. Just as that, you got energy wearing does it involve our problem and what does it have to do? A surrender well like some kind of super cheap, materially, just sort of put it around and ok. Ok have limitless energy, We have limitless computing now, right now and even think of Europe. We have we have birthday cards that have chips and that single happy birthday to you. That has more. Our that he's ever got one of those ok, yeah guy, but what use? Actually I hadn't thought by both through those like the this wonderful thing. The the worldwide where was disposed to connect us, if you want, use it in a certain way. It actually isolates you from everyone, because you just cluster with your own. Type wherever they are the world say, so it entered is the same. If you don't use it, if you have abundance and you don't about things like biodiversity or were what It was the salt from that desalination plants were
these kinds of things you can still have a world that you would not be proud of sites, wonder it there's no end of unforeseen consequences because twenties be careful. What you wish guys kids as well, that the immediate thing I think if they were like unlimited energy, is like all the time that you would save and like they, if you could just like having a dishwasher needed, save all our time, but I also think people are. Bad. What time in there? I know it's true, no, no! No! No! No! But that's where you come in entertainment all so that stock and entertainment gloves. Actually I didn't would have point asking people recently weather sustainability in a world like where we're all not poor and all energy as the year you're gonna need entertainment more than ever. So actually, I thought is really a sustainability thing to think about entertainment. It's like a part of our seas, animal development is defect. Entertainment is kind of the rice. Look at you know the the rise of the re rise of television, and
rosebud I'll leave people used to be called minors obey like Youtube, sorry how to get the corollary of fake Melinda gates your Bill Miller, though they put up their letter in this. Did this interview? I don't talk to her about her part of the letter. Melinda gates build those wife who runs the Foundation her whole part of that letter was about time cause it in helping countries yeah, the kids are getting it our word and not going to school and the girls are not going to school, and so the time is time is precious in my last clip with Al Gore and we just explored had he a balanced ethics with this, because, if you, The power to make a decision that could be good in one way, but maybe not ethically the right thing. So it's let's get a politicians and inform politicians perspective.
Scott, but I'll give you one concrete example. When I presided over the legislation that did the Human genome initiative, we require that two percent of it go into ethical studies to make sure that there was adequate attention being paid to that, and they have done a lot of impressive work. But it's not that simple. We all have to be prepared to engage in conversations about some of the difficult choices that will soon be available to us, like trade selection like crossing species boundaries. You know that spider, goats, I'll give you a quick example, sounds interesting. He out well, spider, Goethe, spider, spider. Silk is very valuable. It has the tinsel strengthen lightness. It has unique, characterised. Senate's it sought after, but you can't farm spiders, their cannibalistic and aggressive and nuts. Those are only to the reasons I dont want to form, so I spider silk. You mean that with which they make their work. Yes, let us right so here's what you can.
Do now, and it is being done, you can splice the genes from orb weaving spiders into goats and produce spider, goats, which mercifully look like God, but they secrete spider, silk in their milk through their authors, it can be strained and retrieved in large quantities, and then there now herds of spider. Does one of send you Utah you'll Canada, completely. Ok and some people publicly on people, wonder ok,
So what do I have to remind you of the commonality of all life on earth that we all share dna in fundamental, deep wakes? It is how ever I'm ok with that too, but there are some things that you and I both might think press the boundaries of what we think needs a little more thought and study. What about genetic modification of human babies to enhanced this function or that function or a cosmetic part of the eye color their car? What would our designer babies me I'm gonna get everything not so cook and creepy as the word that comes up a lot, but here's an example. The people who say don't cross species- that's not yet it is like pause suppose and make an Arab now, but suppose go to the Newt and we find the gene that enables it to regenerate its limbs now and we go to the veteran
I'm putting new gene and now your limbs regenerated that had just been blown off serving us in Algeria, then I'm going to say no to that of course, of course, Ireland, and that's why? When you're, you open your question with the concept fear? I wanted to ride away, say: let's look at the fantastic and exciting opportunities, but yes, there are some things that we need to be cautious about Andrew you. If I understand the data quickly, you advise the Pope on his recent encyclical. That's way Replay IVO Quota area have a corner that came out of that those collaborations. Nowadays, man finds himself to be a technical giant and ethical China that was said spoken by a cardinal who is one of the Pope's can posse from from hunger. Sounds like someone just afraid of territories, this big meat, but it was a great meeting in art articulates yes, you need to have an argument and where the science is in the same room with people who are exploring those other components: the Vatican toothache.
Fourteen ahead of the psychological they had a meeting Nobel Prize winners and economists prospers and and in the end, one of the world's great oceanographer, some echoing this. I asked him Walter Monkeys and what has is going work out. He said it'll take em circle of love and unselfishness, the century that ok or just a new invention so may what you're take on this when I was thinking we do save all this time by get by getting all this new energy than we could devote our devote that time to thinking hi there, but we can think again all that's. My ass mice echoes I'd. Like the back of my heart, that's what we will end on that note. Move you been listening and possibly even watching this episode of STAR Talk, reaching my interview with
a gourd, indirect and thanks for once again being on startup and may always had to tell me about me. I am the underground station, your personal astrophysicist and has always, I beg you, wish you can listen to start talking. Marshall free joint start talking Patria for as little as five dollars per month and the ads will disappear. Learn more at patriarch dot com slap star talk, radio
Transcript generated on 2020-01-25.