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Dietary fat and climate change


Matt is joined by special guest stars Julia Belluz and Brad Plumer to discuss the science of eating fat, the Paris climate conference, and the public health implications of climate change. The Weeds is brought to you by Squarespace. Start building your website today at Squarespace.com. Enter offer code WEEDS at checkout to get 10% off. Squarespace—Build it Beautiful. Have you heard The Message? It’s an original science fiction podcast from Panoply and GE Podcast Theater. All of Season 1 is available now, so listen and find out why a 70-year-old alien recording seems to be killing people. Search for The Message on iTunes.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Have you heard the message? It's an no science fiction, podcast from panoply and G podcast Theatre. All season one is available now so check it out, listen find out why a seventeen year old, alien recording seems to be killing. People search, the message on Itunes. Sarasota the weeds is brought to you by square space start building your website today. It square spaced out com and your offer code weeds a check out to get ten percent off square space. Build a beautiful. The following podcast contain explicit language, white, bread and sound programme device episode of the wheat boxes policy podcast on the panoply network. I Matthew Iglesias
Sarah and Ezra are not available this week. So I'm coined by two super exciting super special guests to great colleagues of mine from box com red were unduly balloons hi guys. I pay thanks for taking the time to help me with this, shall we didn't want to skip another episode after we took a week off for thanksgiving? You know we know people out there clamouring clamouring for more weeds, so we had to scare up some some extra people in its it's gonna be great. We may add even whack, ear, even darker than usual, but we have to delve into some climate change stuff later but I really did want to kick things off with a absolutely fantastic evergreen topic. Julia has written about recently, which is the question of dietary fat. You know, and this was brought home for me- Similarly, the pediatrician had been giving my wife and my some advice on things: innocent an early start or solid foods. It would be good to feed the baby, and I asked about yogurt
yeah. You know yogurt great, but you should get home milk yogurt, not low fat, yogurt, and so I went, the store and sexually surprisingly hard to find everybody wants to have this sort of the reduced vat yogurt, and I assume that because they are trying to be healthy, amended, certainly it sounds healthy, rightly being fat is, is unhealthy, so eating fat sounds pretty unhealthy, but I gather its certainly more complicated than that. It is considerably more complicated and I think all of us are about the same age. We lived through this low fat, craze, where I remember telling my mom, like don't put too much oil when you're cooking chicken inner you know it's? Everyone remembers snack wells, those cookies. It tastes like cardboard that Still around and yet when you look at the scientific evidence for a very long time, researchers knew that it was a lot more complicated than that. So different types of five different fatty acids have different effects on the body
some are more beneficial than others, so the basic nuance of fat is that there is actually different kinds of fats and research and science tells us different things about. What was really interesting is that when you look back over time, you see the message that unsaturated fat is better for you than saturated fact was actually incredibly consent ten fer, you know, but since the nineteen fifty is again, you can you like just so called browser like work. What are the kinds of fat and pleasant? Broadly speaking, and and where do we tend to find them? Yes, there are three main types of fat become fatty acids and transport saturated fat on Saturday that so unsaturated fat is typically found in oil and fish. Saturated fag butter and meet transports are doing it helped people worry about in the last ten years after it has been working to face them out of the food supply, but they were typically found in frozen pizzas, cookies. Margarine mark. there is a big so tense. We artificially created food products, have these trans fats may increase shelf life and
cheaper than fats derived from animals are planned, so there were really popular and we knew for a long time actually that there are really bad for health, but it took again because of the lobbying and influence of the food industry. It took a long time to face them out of the food supply and actually applied to science, and is there any kind of but rule of thumb that would make it easy to see what kind of a fat am I dealing with I mean if you something I'm cooking for myself at home, does I mean there's probably no trans fats in it or not significant quantities? That's right! Yet some needs do of small amounts of tens fats, but those aren't really the ones that public health and doctors worry about the ones that people were allotted artificially created one's ever typically used in processed food, but as a rule of thumb, unsaturated fodder, typically softer liquid at room temperature,
in fact, typically something that's hardly butter. I read your like slaughter and the bits of fat in my meat that are solid at room temperature. That's that's because their saturated fat said Anne liquids like bottles that I can pour on something and we usually call it oil and that's moron That's right! You fat, yup, that's! So we in the media and guide the way this science has been applied to guidelines. It's kind of made. This met simple message incredibly complex in confusing, but you want to try to replace saturated fats in the diet, butter, red meat with unsaturated fish vegetable oils. As much as you can basically so part of how we got into the visit of the fat conversation it sounded like from from the peace was await a kind of hide ball on the idea that you should eat less me right, yeah originally. What they had found was unsaturated fats, pretty good for you as
we can tell they didn't really know about. Trans fats in the fifties and saturated fat was the big question. So those red meat was in butter its to be pretty bad. It's as I understand it, s really hard to say the individual macro nutrients, like you can't just give a random selection of people fat because people to meet that need food. Where you had to steady fool, you can't really experiment with the molecules that the foods are made out of right. So they had a lot of questions about saturated fat, and the basic message was. Maybe we should be less of this
they are governmental inside the science was quite consistent for a long time on the fact that unsaturated fat is better for health and saturated fabric full stop and that science is really consistent. But have a government took that in kind of dumb did down to this message that they did not their people wouldn't understand and, as you know, it's kind of difficult to talk about, didn't fatty acids and the impact they have on health. The people wouldn't understand Not so they Don T Don t you less bad and then also to people who issue the guidelines of the USDA and they have, data of telling Americans what to eat, but also protect in the agricultural industry, so I'm no one ever want to say, eat less meet the basic, closures that it's it's easier.
To give clear guidance around actual foods, rather than molecular components of foods, and to say that the typical American, if they ate less meat and substituted for that some fruits and vegetables, would get healthier. But that's not a message that works well with the political process, because the USDA has sort of agriculture. producers as one of its main constituency is so they want it bore down into it and say: no. You don't need to avoid me. There's some particular aspect of meat. Maybe there's too much saturated fat in it so avoids traded fat, and then we can get all our pork breeders to make these leaner strains of pork, but his I'm really clear that any one understands what that message means or can
do anything useful, whether when no one wants to say less of anything, so all we have all these euphemisms, like you know you two to three servings or eat acts in moderation, Marian Nestle in her book food politics, does an excellent job of decoding the language and the dietary guidelines, and how that the people who write them aren't inaction I me to say a lot of the things that we know for health, and then you can contrasts that to a place like Brazil, where they ve done this incredible job Really, I probably learning from a lot of the lessons it we ve here in the? U S have just making these incredibly simple guidelines, like you lots and for its ambition balls? Don't you a lot of meat, sit down their family and cook like these very practical holistic approach to telling people what to eat? is that, because Brazil's economic production of food is different, if the United States was more of a bonanza vegetable growing and unless of cow and so feed you're in love, cows in prison, to actually know anything about Brazil by they cut another, enforce
having a lot of a lot of the country's it developed after us. In the U S, Canada, they kind of learned. A lot of mix of Brazil. Has this incredibly advanced health system in electronic health records and in a way that we just don't? Have you I think it might be but maybe they don't have the lobbying power that we kind of sea in Washington year that has such perverting influence over how science is used. It seems like it makes an important difference. It there's no fat lobby. So there's no one saying, oh, if you say, eat less fad noise going against that there is a need lobby. There's a fruits invention the lobby, otherwise, in the fruit and vegetables lobby, more powerful question minors, finding is that the vegetable growing in the United States is pretty geographically concentrated I too, like California, produces a lot of vegetables. So all the each like different vegetable has two senators as its constituents, whereas corn is spread out again
this vast empty wilderness Ella now in the middle of the United States- and they can so to come and do that- but the other thing The family, it goes back to my yogurt problem right is, at its, I guess, relatively easy for dairy producers to just kind of like d fat, some stuff and comply with those sorts of guidelines. If that's, what people want to do and you can always for more sugar and to make things take, that was one of the big lessons of this day. They noticed that when they told people to eat less five, even though the message should have been reduce your intake of saturated fat avoid meat. they just told people. We all remember this going up like Donnie, far low fat craze, and ended up replacing a lot of the fat in foods with sugar to make things taste good. This is one of the contributors to the rise of obesity. you're sure is even worse. Shit was That was interesting thing so, when we were obsessing over a different types of fat to eat and how much fat do you need people were replacing the fat with sugar and sugar? Now, when you look at what people replaced fat in the diet,
they ve done. Studies on this in sugar is just as bad for your health and saturated fact where it, because poor people I mean you know you have these lobbying dynamics, but also actual human beings, one eight stuff, that's like awesome and that they now want to eat sad vegetables there's a really interesting Look at this. He called the dread o effect and not their March outskirts talks about flavour, as is missing component in a lot of the conversations about food, and this kind of over emphasis on different components of food instead of talking about, would actually makes people eat. Food and flavour is just a massive. Obviously you know. Sometimes you have things where something is going like wrong in the government, because you know the bureaucrats don't know what they're doing or people have of outdated ideas. But it sounds like each time you have efforts to revise dietary guidelines of United States that there's a lot of politicking
round, and it's not that the people don't understand that there is a better approach to it. It said delivering clear messages about the need to consume. Less of certain kinds of things just runs very contrary to certain kinds of political interests that are out the air and then like what you saw. I mean in New York with the transfer ban right a Bloomberg just wanted to have a big political fight this. He obviously knew that the restaurant industry was not going to be excited about this proposal, but he was okay with that and wanted to have a big fight over it, but that the typical american president does not want on any. Given afternoon till I have a big controversy with farm
lobbies, and so you can have this process that's going on, but without someone saying ok, I'm gonna make one of my top five priorities for the year clearer nutritional guidelines. You just naturally going to wind up with with some kind of model, because if you are livelihood right is raising cows and selling them to people. You can be very upset. If the government comes out and is like stop buying this got stuff, I would be kind of bummed out if the government said, leaning VOX is bad for your health, stop listening to this pod cast like me three hundred milligrams per day tax at a guy I mean you know. Probably all this content is bad for you right I mean you should be like talking to your family. Are you now putting did? cooking dinner. Right, I mean beginner, we don't. We don't want that message out there and you know I find that a little bit understandable. At any rate, you may in Brazil. But do we have examples of countries that have an infrastructure in place and were able to pivot it in a real kind of way, or is there sort of you know? Is the United States muddling through?
as well as anyone else does Canada. Where were you you're, canadian right? You are very similar problem in Canada, where we are that the kind of pressure from industry has completely perverted the science. So we have like a lot of recommendations about how much milk to eat or how much meaty that aren't based at all in science. So how much milk should I. Should you so I think that the basic thing tat I love Michael Poland's Haiku food, not too much mostly plants here. Even if the debate about facts so far has double the amount of calories as protein and per unit as compared to in carbohydrates. So as long as you're, not to eating too many calories, eating lots of fruits, vegetables again is pretty simple. For half a century, we ve known that and we ve kind of over complicated and its partly the meat. Salt when Yen Ceti Alpha. We looked at time magazine over time and you see everything from completely avoid factor in butter most recently,
so which completely again like we ve known buttered, shouldn't eat too much butter. A saturated, mostly saturated fats, so. I think we should take it. Take a break here. Do a word from a sponsor and then we're going to delve into the exciting climate change summit taking place in Paris today so to the weeds, is brought to you by the message and a rich, well, science fiction, podcast from panoply and G podcast Theatre, Mickey Tomlin here and I'm the host of the message Take you into an elite, cryptography, think tank and check it out there tat right now is decode a highly classified radio transmission from the nineteen forties listen to not yet we're having a discussion about that. But if I for you the chance to listen to it right now, sounds like a know where we really know what that is, voices
raising or measure that plague descended extraterrestrials subscribed to the message on Itunes, so the big sort of who's that you see and not necessarily going going viral on our Facebook page but being covered by high toned prestigious media outlets who care about what matters in the world. Is this big climate summit that is happening in Paris right now, and it is called CUP twenty one thought when I first heard about cop something or other when they were doing it in Copenhagen. That was just called that, because those are the first three letters of Copenhagen, although it turns out that's not even how you spell the city in danish
so what? What is it? What what does this mean? Why is it called that? What's gonna on wine? If I'm not mistaken, I think it's conference of parties- and this is the twenty first basically to you and speak for meeting their meeting about climate change. They have all these fancy acronyms that reduce down a simple terms. They ve been saying for a long time since the nineteen nineteen twenty one times, I believe, is the twenty first year. every year. They discuss different things and they ve taken a different approach to how to deal with climate change. And it changed a lot over time. So in the beginning, they got together and said: hey. This is a problem. Let's do something about it, later on during the nineties, they had is in Kyoto, so called the Kyoto Protocol and they actually hashed out this nasty or plan to save the world from climate change and what it did was. Rich countries had to cut their emissions by certain amount. Poor countries like China, India they were
essentially given a pass for now they decided. Ok, it's not fair, that been growing. All this while using fossil fuels, and you haven't you guys, just take a break, do it, you need to do well cut emissions, and you know at this conference they banged out a fancy formula and it really work. Europe followed it New Zealand followed it. No one else followed, so this is the The idea here is that climate change is a global issue obvious yet that's why they ve always men so, and so you need some kind of a world wide solution and you d have a real enforceable. national legal framework, but this is the closest that we have is regular set of you and sponsored meetings at which countries come together and work out principles that they say they are going to follow and to some extent some of them do follow them, once upon a time they really did want an enforceable legal treaty. That was the idea behind the Kyoto Protocol,
it would be legally binding. Countries would have to follow it. The little vague on penalties been theory. You could imagine there would be some sir penalties for not following it and it just doesn't work the. U S did not want to be part of a legally binding treaty, and so they didn't ratify it. And now is that no one could me. them do anything China and India dont want to be part of a legally binding treaty and can make him do it, Canada, actually, creed, to be part of a legally binding treaty and then when they found they couldn't meet the targets they just left their lit by Ciba I mean you can say that there is a legally binding treaty that your part of, but then for it really mind, you would be penalty mechanisms and the sort of tighter you dry it right, the harder it is actually get. Countries to sign yeah, and so over the years they ve evolved to the idea that the most important thing is to get something
that the major players are willing to sign onto they make some kind of progress rather than holding out for an idealized thing. That's gonna! Leave I mean if you leave out the United States and China and India from your element this framework United Accomplice, anything anyway. So what would the point? Yes? So that I think during two thousand and nine the Copenhagen Conference, that again they tried to expand on Kyoto. They said will get this, please legally binding treaty that includes China includes India, includes poorer countries and was a disaster. They came up with some very weak agreement that didn't really do anything. So after that point, they really decided. Let's take a different tack. Let's start with basically voluntary
commitments from everyone. So we'll ask India: what do you think you can do about greenhouse gas emissions? Given your situation, given technology, try to make it strong? I guess, but that's up to you Bates asset of the? U S S, China, Europe and that's really where we are now at this point. Everyone has these voluntary commitments and it's not legally binding targets. Are key to be binding on those countries, but there are at least doing something. So it's a forum in which you can sort of bill some sense that there is global momentum There are many things that may make a country hesitant to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions The one thing that you might really worry about. Is that a special you're a smaller country right, I mean if you're looking at Mexico, Mexico, reducing carbon dioxide emissions on its own is ITALY, unimportant into the global situation. And yet, if
every medium sized country does absolutely nothing. That's a big problem right. So if you totally just let everyone go their own way. Things would just totally spiral out of control right, and so you need to have something that creates at least to a political dynamic of yes, there is global cooperation. Yes, there is this problem. Being made. So politicians who favour some kind of action can say look. This is important are marching in lockstep with the rest of the world. I mean, I don't know Julia view. You watched any of their debates in Canada during the last election season, but It was interesting to me you're. The parties had significant disagreements about climate change, even though you know Canada is a country. That's not of this size where what they do one way or the other is gonna like radically alter the nature of the global atmosphere but something that a lot of them. They both that the liberals,
and the new Democrats see be leaning on was the idea that Harper had put Canada out of step with the rest of the world, and I guess Canadians wanna, be thought of as good global citizens that thank yet, and so there is a sort of a psychological dynamic behind. I think that's what they're, hoping for with this cup twenty one, this twin, first time trying to tackle climate change. Is that they're not going to force anyone to make emissions reductions the best they can do, we get. Everyone on board have the sense that people are cooperating. The? U N, will try develop a few mechanisms that facilitate this, so they want to come up with a common, waited verify and measure that and is doing what they say there doing. They want to get people to continue coming back to the? U N and updating their pledges by think that's! The idea is that it creates this. Meant him bad businesses when their decide whether to invest. That's in the back of their mind. There's this
this agreement, the world is moving towards clean energy. It's moving towards climate change. And I think there is a real question about whether a work. Certainly at this point, the pledges that people put forward are pretty flimsy and if you look at the scale of which need to avoid serious climate change, they D come anywhere close. So I think this is a really important point to sort of focusing on edge relates to you referred to the Copenhagen Conference it and its outcome as disastrous. Am I remember that at a recent democratic debate, Hillary Clinton reference the Copenhagen Conference as a success and the Obama administration and of Obama's farm policy, and I feel like there's a big disagreement in perspective on this question between sort of people who focus on climate change
mental issues you know as their one being conveying and people who are more general lest political observers wade, you point that you hear more, I would say from from people like me, you know liberalising people who are interested in climate change, but interested many things is that there has been a lot of progress on, change, and that has been a lot of progress in the United States. It has been a lot of progress internationally that Copenhagen was an important step forward and that its happens, because, What we are doing essentially is you normally do in assessing politics, which is you look? It change relative to the baseline of what you had before. Incremental progress looks pretty way, and did you say that the trajectory first of Europe and now the United States and now the bunch of other countries
has been altered significantly from the trajectory of where they would have been. If nobody had ever raised this whole issue of climate change yeah, but then you have. people who are more more environmentally focused, specifically and even more so people who come out of the science world rather than the politics of world. And the base and that they are measuring from is this. Can we prevent two percent warming disease two degree so. It's like say: ok, where we have a scientific understanding of what would have to happen what are to achieve that goal and are we close to achieving that re technical geological side too? terms, and they re answer is no. We are, and why did they keep having meetings that they keep being these sort of declarations made
but it was still on course, for much much much more. Emissions than would lead to add to this a very sort of a pessimistic door outlook from people when that sort of that that climate science background and there's obviously validity to both of those respect, whose and I think it's important for people when they read about climate change or when they hear a great steps happening or failing miserably to understand like what those two baselines are you have. Both things can be true, and I think that should this, these climate talks there hang on relative to where we are before they're, making quite a bit of progress. Last year. For the first time, China announced a date for when its emissions would peak it never done that. Before it's not binding! It there's nothing! The! U! S can do to make sure that will happen, but for the first time China said we are going to have our emissions peak s. Aren't so, let's progress, that's real incremental progress. I think
I'm not good enough side. What makes this issue a little different from a lot of other issues is that there is a bit of deadly for doing things, and there is a little bit of a reverse. So if you look at health care, if you pass a bill that covers fifty percent of the uninsured, that certainly not good enough, if your it is to cover all of the uninsured, but you can t say: ok, maybe five years later, ten years later, we'll get to a hundred percent coverage wreck. It's not Ideal, but you know maybe that's the best we could do. I think what a lot of people who have stayed this long time say is. If you pass certain global warming threshold, there's no going back. You can undo it so half measures are better than nothing but you're still failing your goal in Uk get that back. If you warm the planned enough that the West Antarctic ICE sheet sorts collapsing irreversibly, you can't
do anything later? That will change that. He habited there's also a sort of question of human psychology. Where were so, some people have the view it just enjoy politics that, like a good way to motivate people to make big changes, is to talk about how terribly off They are right now here and to save guy? This is fucking awful. You got do way more and other people, I think, have them. That! No would you want to be is more like a happy. Cheerleader like this is great guy I swear it we're doing that, keep on going, and you know I think, if you ve ever done anything in life right, there's like people take different approaches to parenting. People take different approaches to coaching sports teams for the given approaches to management the office and their summer. What's happening is just this different theories of how do you coach the world's population like do you want to be like the hard ass coaches really emphasising? How far will falling?
work or you do. We want to be like the friendly cheery, supportive wine, whose, like we can do a guys just keep. Keep I'm going on and I guess you know, there's probably some some sense of what works better and in different contexts or or maybe you need more, but the, it seems to me that a lot of people without explicitly saying- oh hey, I have a disagreement with someone else about like social psychology that that's what what drives summit as it is really into in parallel, the global health with pandemic preparedness, so today gave countries to go when eyes around this abstract next pandemic. That's gonna, wipe us all out, and the scare tactics have really worked there either. The big problem is, we have this international health regulation which came out of and it was supposed to be this legally binding agreement. Were all countries agreed? Does it we're gonna, get ready for Morgan increase surveillance, we're gonna have like strengthen our health systems, but then you have poor countries, they don't have the money
do that in the wealthier countries were supposed to kind of step up and help their poor cousins, and I never have In the main, we live three bullets and still the same lack of action. I think thirty really really hard problems to solve, and we don't have really good answers about global governance. Hidden how'd, you get this global collective action around for a problem on climate or an issue, is that this question of? How do you assess the international progress? Is an input to? U S congressional politics in, servitude of politics in the United States. One view is that climate change is a conspiracy, that's been cooked up by scientists and Al Gore or to profit themselves personally and funnel subsidies. Deal on mosque but the sort of respectable mean stream. What the Republican and so many will probably say about it. Is there You know there is some scientific evidence for warming, but that is a global problem that choice.
In India are the largest sources of emissions going forward that Obama's, job killing war on coal isn't going to significantly solve this problem, and so we should basically lad emissions go unregulated and may be count on some moon shot technology here and so Democrat That's who sincerely want the United States to reduce its carbon dioxide levels. They want to say in political terms, no. We ve had this landmark agreement with China. We ve had this landmark agreement with India, Babo Bob Alibaba LA, and so then you have a a coalition of hard core climate science. People who want to say you know what it is. Actually a ton of inadequacies in what China and India have agreed to, and then you also have conservative politicians who don't the: U S, to tighten up regulations who also want to make that point that you know really this historic diplomatic breakthrough with China.
Is maybe not all that Barack Obama would like to say that it is, and so he gets it gets tricky because I think I think most of the people on the left of the climate debate certainly wouldn't see themselves as providing marker Rubio with great talking points to use against Obama's Powerpoint regulations, but in purely practical terms of what is the debate that actually happens in the United States. That's the way it plays the more you take a positive view of what foreign countries have already agreed to do, the more likely you are to think. Ok, it makes sense for the United States to take the next step. Versus the more you think these foreign countries it made worthless pledges. Then it says I ball, you know why? Should the United States do anything? I think it's pretty unproven that being positive about these agreements will have any effect on It takes its knowledge when China came out with its big agreement last year that suddenly some Republicans we're like oh well. Maybe that changes my mind about
the sooner I mean. Obviously, nothing changes anyone's mind about anything no addressing in terms of like with what is the debate in the United States right. So what you will c in the: U S, right now in the Smith stream, politics is politicians who want the? U S to cut emissions, saying that there's been a lot of global progress and politicians who dont want the? U S to cut emissions Poohpooh in the progress has been made, because their argument is that it would be pointless for the? U S to do more, because the global situation is going anywhere yeah. I think the most correct thing to say is that there has been some progress in their needs a lot more unfortunate. That's a pretty boring message compared to either the two options you mentioned wreck while it, so you wrote a piece for as in that very sort of the early days of vocs, and it was about this, this target red and it seems pretty
clear that the world is not going to cut emissions as quickly or by as much as would be needed to actually meet the target, but also nobody wants to change the target because I mean a because they think that sort of was good scientific reason to make that the target, but also because you know that the politics of doing anything in a broad international framework are just really really tough. And so you don't wanna start pulling at that at the Geneva pieces. Of of something like that, you could say like two point: five, you could say three, but who knows what can happen once you open that yeah think it. For a long time, people have found it useful to have a single target. It's her focuses attention. It says: okay, this is how much we need to cut emissions to have a good chance of staying below this and a certain point, they will have to acknowledge that we're not going to hit this. But, like you say at that point then use
arguing over not how much should we cut, but what should the target be? Indifferent countries will have different views on this there already. Countries now, mostly these low lying island countries that think two degrees is way too high and should be one point, five degrees, and that takes up a lot of time in these talks. So you can match if you just open this up for debate, you'd get much more, would be bogged down in this single number ethic. That's why they're unwilling embassy to get together a little weeds e here? What do people need to take away from this, because I think this people who don't necessarily pay a ton of attention to the details, but who do take climate change seriously? This two percent idea is sort of degree two degrees two degrees is very em. Firmly lodged in our heads as oh. This is the target, and so is it the case that if you get two point, two degrees is that of but Gillian Times worse than to or is it
more like a normal issue, where a little bit worse is a little bit workers yeah. I think that's and that's what I wrote last year it doesn't make sense to think of two degrees. Is this cliff where, if you go a little past it it's disaster and if you say under it, everything's fine, the difference between one point, nine degrees, warming and two point. One degrees warming, probably is in a ton. A lot of it is thinking about as you go further and further pass. This risks go up dramatically and we don't know at what quite different things happen like we don't know at what point you irreversibly lose most of the West Antarctic ICE Sheet, saying the sage for large temperature increases. We don't really know at white temperature, have all we start seeing a lot of different effects that we too widespread crop failures. So they're just a lot of these things that we don't.
Oh and the idea was always well, let's stay below two, because that's pretty much what we have experienced We ve had farming, agriculture, human civilization and, let's not find out what those different point where it doesn't seem like a good idea to figure out what exactly the temperature that the West Antarctic. I she collapses and then aim for standing like point one degrees below that, but it's not the case that, like three is just as bad as nine and so If you can hit two then than who kicker yet so even you go past. Two. It still makes sense to try to reduce emissions and avoid as much warming is you can through is better than for four is better than five, because the idea is that their sort of tipping there are many tipping points out there. Not. Why there's like a point at which certain ice sheets will collapse and certain him
some ocean rise happened, there's tipping points at which certain kinds of crops will fail, but it's not like a single planetary drop, dead, number, yeah and even on tipping point to me, makes a big difference if sea level, Rise, you know at three feet per century: verses, six feet for censure, just in terms of how cities can plan for that, how you can cope with it. That makes a huge difference so going up in making fast or seal horizon just a much bigger problem, and it is really linear it, I would say exponentially, but you know it's more than linear overtime, but he, but it is, but it is. It is a sort of a scaler question where but more
more and less and less and there's? No so so we does make a certain amount of sense to say that look. Some progress is good, yes, that it's not like we're not gonna make the target. So, let's, let's all sort of like sob and an abandoned all hope. Yet there is no point, word ever make sense to just give up and say: well, that's it guests were were doomed not giving up. We will continue to to give you some some words from our sponsors and I'm going to try to get get Juliet it to tell us more about how this relates to public health. This Ex episode of the weeds once again is sponsored by our friends at square space. Square spaces is the best easiest way to sort of build a website that will look good. It's gotta sort of clean modern, looking professional design and its really easy. You get visual tools, you can drag and drop things. You don't need to know how to build websites or be a computer program or to make one. But on the other hand, if you
You have some limited coating skills. You can sort of drop that in where you want it. A million times easier than the way I made my own website, went when I used to do those things now. Are you square space because it creates something that that looks good in its is very simple. You still see out there in the world. You know a lot of frankly terrible looking websites- and you know you could you can improve it very easily by by shifting to square space very intuitive, very easy to use tools. If you sign up for a full year, you get a free domain which, as is very useful if you want a website, so start your free trial. Today it square spaced out com, when you decide to sign up for square space, make sure to use Africa weeds to get ten percent off. Your first purchase square space built it beautiful. So you know we usually do egg close out with a research paper of the week, and I am not a hundred percent sure of this qualifies, but I think it does. The lancet is like that, like an academic journal right, serious medical journal see they're. Ok, I see is british medical journal and so
have coming out. I guess in coordination with the summit, not design a coincidence where cable it actually, this summer. Ok, they might before the summit yeah. Ok, so its research about the idea that climate change is something that public health needs to take seriously to set up. Yes, in two thousand and nine they came out. The first commissions are the first series of reports at Copenhagen and then again this year and the big color tagline As you know, this is the biggest global health problem of the twenty first century, so in two thousand and nine they called it. The biggest global health. Challenge service is the biggest global hub challenge of the twenty first century, and then this year they called it the biggest global health opportunity- and basically here This is a series of legislative to get more positive. They decided to give more positive and it's a series of reports that just talks about all the direct and indirect ways. Change are having an effect on human health, so I think I think that's important
As you know, one dimension in which climate change often gets discussed is, is economic sense of people will say? Well, you know my be costly to take this, then that change it in the electricity sphere and climate change will have. This can impact on global economic output, and one thing that it's important understand about those economic estimates is that poor people by their nature have little economic value and that's not to be mean too to them. About them, it's it's a part. It means to be poor? Is that the work that you are doing does not generate a lot of measured income, so things that strike down and kill huge numbers of people in developing countries. Dont measure is having
large economic impacts and funding. There's always nice about a public health perspective. Particular global public health perspective on any issue is that it captures the common sense idea that million people dying. Is it bad thing, even if it's not like a huge p game changer. At the end of the day when you read these reports, but the really arguing for is the same thing before an pandemics, its we need to strengthen our health systems in countries? We need countries that are able to adapt and respond to more droughts, to heat waves, to rising sea levels, to these changing patterns of disease as a result of organisation and warming so that their assent, we arguing for the same thing I wonder what kind of things so no, but I think you you raise a good point. It puts a human face on it in a way that even the climate climate scientists have failed to do read. So What kinds of health impacts are we talking about a mean? What's like that, the sort of the biggest ones
we talk a lot about air pollution. Indoor and outdoor air pollution to air pollution affects us in cities in a different way than in affects people poor rural areas, so in low income countries, people views you know they, they burn biofuel and coal in their homes to cook? And you have a lot of particle matter in the air that you then taken to your lungs and it increases the risk of different types of respiratory diseases and cardiovascular diseases in cities, its emissions, so particles from emissions that affect our help. In the same way, the W h O estimated twenty fourteen. seven million deaths caused by air pollution, which is similar day levels were looking out with tobacco. So, that's to say, that's a sort of a public health benefit that would come from reducing. Fossil fuel Bernie, add the wonky kind of termism caught by the of co benefits. Ok, if you design, a city that has better the local
been economy and you have more more likely means, and he knows easy easier for people to move around. You would also get health benefits without as well, and so the big challenge with this is: how do you get health people into this idea of a working across sectors in taking silence down between health ministries and ministries of energy, the environment, how'd you get people to kind of, and that that co benefits ideas, something the Obama EPA has relied on There are now way they yeah, I mean the EPA justified action on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases
two thousand nine by appealing to public health and every time they put out a co2 regulation. You know they just put out the big one on power plants and when they do the cost benefit. One of the benefits is reducing particulates and other pollution from coal plants, so that the EU be eight under the cleaner act. Has this sort of vague mandate to regulate air pollution yeah to regulate pollutants that harm public health and welfare. Think determines wreck, and we know just you know if you speak to people and the Obama administration, that they are concerned about the problem of global climate change, and so they take a look at things that are big contribute. To carbon dioxide emissions, but in the regulatory process you can't say we're doing this because it will help us meet co2 emissions. While there is no law like that. With you
The clean AIR Act and you have a rule by the new regulations have to go to the Office of Management and budget where they publish sort of official justification words as ok. We think this is cost such incision amount to industry and its can have such as such kinds of benefits and the benefits have to be to Americans. Ray not necessarily it depends on what part of the law no talking about and down it gets complicated. but the benefits do have to be specific. Like We are reducing this amount of emissions system and good will happen. You you can't list as a benefit where we think this is to help us look better at the next conference and make it easier to get the Prime Minister of India to sign onto something new. One do use the aside The damage that seal to does climate change once and that's not all benefits to American,
So when they do, these cost benefit analysis. Publications like further the parapet world with was the big recent one. Yet They list in the benefits lots of things that aren't about co2 yeah, so under this rule. A lot of coal plants will either have to close or run less often and coal plants in May it alot of particulate matter that gets your lungs and causes all sorts of health problems. So they point out if, as a result of this rule, you shut down. This call plant and replace it with a wind farm or even natural gas that will have all sorts, apposite, benefits on health, and so that's how it wines that they do this math, and so you say, oh so. This is the the goodwill of the benefits exceed the costs and they are
getting that math largely through these kind of co benefits that that you are talking about rather than by directly looking at the carbon dioxide climb. Yeah, that's true in the! U S, I would say more generally, I am a little sceptical about conflicting these two so tightly, because there are lots of places where air pollution the big problem and you could solve it, but it wouldn't necessarily make climate change better, so one is, there are lots of people in Africa who they dont have electricity, so they'll burn, wood or dung, or your other biomass in their homes for cooking for heating, and you could solve this by building a giant coal plant and building, allow power lines saw these homes and they would have to burn, would in there
homes in giants stoves and, though, probably be better for ass. He would now would be bad for the people who happen to live right by the coal plant, but most people don't live right by a cold Ray and now they wouldn't have a fire in their living we'll. Just if you look at lake China has really bad air pollution and they would like to reduce it by if they cleaned up their air to U S levels which, generally speaking, her pretty it certainly better than china- they would still be admitting lots of co2. Even in China they ve been talking about these building these coal gasification plants, in the north West. That would take coal makes synthetic natural gas with it and then transport two cities. It would be a huge benefit for public health and would be a disaster for climate change, so that works public health wise by basically taking the dirtiest art event,
into a place we're not that many people yeah so that you have just as much more actually like garbage going into the air yeah but its air. That's further from like the huge populations that, if that completing to things like, I think that the ideas that ministers of health, that people who know have a good sense of the health impact of certain environmental exposure is that they work with people who know about whether the trade off between building some kind of access to energy in rural areas. That would but I think that the whole idea of people work across sectors, but we brought- and I had an interesting flat conversation yesterday about whether this is just public health propaganda, whether its public health kind of co opting the climate change message further to kind of divert funds into her on them will bid. But do you, you mentioned this idea of disease is weighed and that certainly something I have her
I mean it makes sense right at me. Different plants and animals grow different places, indifferent temperatures, and so, if you have a like drastic, he's an in weather patterns, regiment that could itself have have negative impacts on people is that the The collecting beg your talking about. I think so. This is bad practice. here, I thought it was a really interesting point, but it was saying you know like. I think the idea was that, for a long time, the global Health public health community didn't really talk a lot about climate change and all of a sudden, you have these reports of the director of the doubly Rachel thing. If we want to save you manatee, we need to address climate change and How much is out trying to quote the message? I think so. I think there are lots of different ways that climate change will be bad for public health, so heat waves is probably the big one like he. Waves kill lots of peace and global warming will mean more heatwaves, there's affecting the path that in
that spread malaria or dengue fever or a bunch of other. Jesus. You know that will that could become worse in some areas as a result of global warming. I think that To deal with a lot of these things is not clear to me why the health community would have to do differently and that's that's totally clear firm. So when you read these reports explicitly and implicitly, they're saying strengthen how systems so do what they shouldn't invitation only morning anyway, it's another kind of argument for resources, but it does. As we said at the beginning, I really does put a human face on it. I think, and at the end of the day we are all working towards the same goal. Also whether you can have the backing of health Stars and doctors know this. I think that is an interesting example of how holding big National meetings does change things and some
You know you can argue about whether changes for forgot her of her ill, but they ve been people saying for years, if not decades, we need to strengthen global public health systems, but it is hard to get a big meeting where all the fancy politicians from all the countries come together and talk about but they do have this climate meeting, where many many many global heads of government are coming to this thing right, yeah, if you have any kind of agenda. There would be useful to have global cooperation on it's in your interests like find it find a way to get some get them climate change on it, because you can have Brok, Obama, obey and heads of government from China, India, like all kinds of places around, as well as people from developing countries, and so, if you say: oh hi, guys like this. This should be part of our story. You know maybe, to make progress on a sort of your pet,
shoe and right now, there's a lot of one of the things they talk about. The climate conference is money for poor countries, climate aid to help them adapt and develop, and some of this will presumably go to things like public health. You know a country that is likely to suffer love heat waves, many things I cooling centres, other things, so in that sense it can certainly helped a player. the public health angle, particularly if you want money to strengthen one terms of what you said about like working together. Julia right, it's like if you can get rich countries, pony up some money to give per country is ideally would then like to see that money spent on things that are our most useful. rather the things that are like most obviously, climate related ethic in this context, anything that we started our conversation with how much fat to eat our diet, how much exercise we should get, but for a lot of peace
especially in the in the poorest countries. Your environment is a precondition of any healthy Irving to have and that something that I think has been overlooked for a really long time. We live in an environment that has had no sir and type of chemical that people who grew up around Chernobyl that that I guess it's a different kind of different example, but they're gonna have exposures discern a higher risk for Sir NO, MRS than people who, in a clean. Firemen, wouldn't and but it was interesting researching this. I founded hypocrisy is twenty five hundred years ago, If you want to be a real doctor, I look. If you want to be a serious position and treat people you need to ask about the air that they bring and the environment that they were, then we will have a profound insider. Just someone who didn't know anything about disease vectors right now, probably the air and the Spirit of the kind of humor see you might as well as the Greeks, the one with humours of every
through your doktor, never asks you things like. Are you biking too? worker. Like are you in a place where you can walk around a lot or are you living next to a coal plant? That can be and anything given, especially in the? U S and with America and developing developed countries generally, we probably focused a lot on individual actions in individual health and composition of diet, and but that these things are ruby detrimental to help, even whether you're driving to work or not in the morning and whether you take the stairs at work like they can overtime, have big Nor do I do then. That's true. You know people say sometimes not doctors for not giving enough flank lifestyle advice, as opposed to
this pill kind of young. But I, but I mean I've, especially since it is. I've- had had a baby that you'll pediatricians do give lifestyle advice about infants, waded in what they should do. They they sort of embrace that aspect of it. But I really dont give environmental advice in part out of fear that that no one will be able to do anything about it, but you have something I like happen to know in my policy. One universe is about how bad it is for children to ingest lead. You know these sort of tell you about paint in your house and, and things like that, but something that that I came across was a study of community gardens in industry and a lot of the community gardens in DC have a lot of lead in their soil, and so so that's not great. is going nowhere near. No Haiti is nodded, but in the implication of that. This was just a paper that looked at community gardens, but probably all the dirt has led in it yes, I am a keen right and so
We live right by Logan Circle, which is a park, and it has all this you know dirt. around in it- and I'm wondering- and I was at like full of lead- and so I looked up with DC partial. Creation. Has this whole thing about led actually and swiftly, in their like? You know, don't worry about our juicy parks and recreation facilities. The areas that are aid for four children there are like sealed off so has been replaced like its gave, its gates. Guy, don't worry about it. What is it huge catch to that, which is like the vast majority of the parks in DC, are run by the National Park Service, not by the Department of Parts and recreation.
So I ask the National Park Service. I was, I gotta. Have you ever tested the lead in the soil and your urban parks in washing? And now we don't do that. Little pity for she'd. Never tells you right, hey, don't let your kid play and they probably toxic dirt that the National Park Service is unwilling to go test right. They it's all like. Don't feed your kid low fat yogurt, because, where it is a nation of individualist, can argue that even the doctors heavily and educated malnutrition as well, but I think the big picture thing around they talking about climate change is a health issue, is eating. Health is moving toward the social d, minutes of health, so how education is a huge predictor about their the longevity you'll have in the quality of life he'll have so there are all these other social factors that plant health just as much as what what you put in your body every day. But how do you design a health system and trained doctors to kind of account for that more in their interactions of patients
all different question, so it's all connected falconer whatever wants more money for their project. Exactly, however, you can I give the fantastic thanks. to broaden and Julia and thanks to his he Valdez are producer. Thanks for same? As always? If, if you are out there at least email asset weaves box com, I find the sun on Itunes and don't give us give us many many stars, hopefully as ran Sarah will at least informing accurately their schedule in the future, and we will have one or ideally, both of them back on four for some more episodes, who's been another episode of the weeds boxes policy package for the panoply network. Thank you for listening.
Transcript generated on 2021-09-15.