Climate Change News

Bill McKibben: New Report Reconfirms Climate Change is Shrinking Inhabitable Parts of the Planet

On the heels of yet another alarming climate change report—this time released by a White House that openly denies global warming—we speak with 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben and public health scholar Kristie Ebi about President Trump’s environmental policies, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal and what it will take to fight the growing threat of climate change.

AMYGOODMAN: I wanted to bring Bill McKibben into this conversation, cofounder of 350.org. His latest piece for The New Yorker headlined How Extreme Weather is Shrinking the Planet. His 1989 book The End of Nature was the first book for a general audience about climate change. His new book coming out will be Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? Bill, talk about the significance of this report and your really critical piece in The New Yorker, what you were trying to convey as you were writing in the midst of the fires in California.

BILLMCKIBBEN: This report is important and it follows on a string of other reports—a month ago, the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, talking about what the future holds. None of it in a sense is new or surprising. We have been getting this warning for many years. What is finally happening, I think, is that the country is beginning to pay some attention. The Trump administration tried to bury this by putting it out on Black Friday but it didn’t work very well, in part because the report came right on the heels of the catastrophic fires in California.

Look, as you know, I wrote the first book about all this 30 years ago next year, and at the time, it was an abstract, theoretical threat. Now it is the fierce daily reality of people’s lives all over the place. And because of that, I think even the shopworn Republican attempts to avoid having to deal with it are beginning to look lame. I mean, Rick Santorum came on the TV yesterday on the Sunday news shows to say that he thought climate scientists were in it for the money. You might ask your other guest from Seattle there exactly what pile of filthy lucres she was paid for contributing to this report, because I doubt it was much.

AMYGOODMAN: [laughter] OK. Let’s put that comment to you, Dr. Ebi. But also, the significance, Dr. Ebi, of this being a government report, the very government that is denying climate change.

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