ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Senator Sanders and Bill Nye the Science Guy sit down to talk about climate change and what actions we can take to transform our energy system.

English
United States

TRANSCRIPT

00:00:02when today is an exciting have a guard with us was done more I think than anybody else in our country to popularize science to make kids aware that science is not only important but it is fun as actually reading and thinking is a good thing so bill night
00:00:44welcome very much thank you senator wow this is this is great okay thanks so much for all that you've done all right let's cut right to it has that well we have a president of the United States who thinks that climate change is a hoax emanating from China
00:01:03we have a new administrator of the EPA somebody I strongly opposed who was in the process of dismembering of environmental protection regulations in this country what all the short and long term implications up for a president who has like you so when you say that the long term
00:01:22implications are potentially catastrophic everybody you can hate me you can hate everything I understand that but com is the speed at which the world is warming and the climate is changing it's not that the climate is changing it's the great half the people in the world live near
00:01:39coastlines as for the motion gets a tiny bit warmer it gets a tiny bit bigger but the ocean is big and a tiny bit is huge so it is to be hoped that we can head this off now when you say of center with the president believes I
00:01:57often he is it true that he contradicts himself every other of so so so it is reasonable to me that if we can show an economic benefit to turning things around we could turn things around in the the example I harken to all the time everybody is the
00:02:18solutions project the solutions project is a group of civil engineers who've done an analysis that shows we could power the entire U. S. renew ability right now if we just decided to do it and by that I mean we don't wind turbines solar panels some geo thermal energy
00:02:39some tidal energy and with we exploited all these things aggressively and reconfigured our electric grid a little bit we could run the whole place and so here's the thing about it that I find intriguing and important is this should be US jobs even if the wind turbine blades
00:02:58are designed in Sweden or Finland or Denmark you have to put them up you have to wreck the turbines here and these are going to need a lot of talk about it so here's what I'm saying if we can get people on that side of this issue to
00:03:14look at it and just even the medium term they will see that %HESITATION from an economic point of view is a huge opportunity but before you can get the I absolutely agree with you I have colleagues right here in the United States Senate who say well you know
00:03:31yeah it looks like it is the earth is getting a little bit warmer these these things always gone on and you know it's hot spells a bigger cold spells are and in the science really is not clear they're always two sides of the story tell me why is
00:03:46there a rule well the science is settled everybody's sorry it's ninety seven John watch fox television they don't agree so that's the one thing that really is hard for me about fox news is the denial of climate change in size of the other stuff many of the other
00:04:02things they assert are troubling but that one is the one that just crosses a line for me and Furthermore I'm pretty sure that the anchors to present that there are no better and they're just going along with some issue so a question but I think most people know
00:04:19the answer bustle fuel industry incredibly powerful yeah of their bets on television every five minutes of they make a lot of campaign contributions you have a separate from huge amount of political influence what type what impact does that influence have on the whole debate over climate change well
00:04:38David that's what I say all the time that climate change deniers who apparently no longer want to be called the Niners they want to be called extreme skeptics they have been able to introduce the idea but plus or minus one two percent what have you from a scientific
00:04:56standpoint is the same as possible as a hundred percent and that's wrong so in other words some people try to predict the temperature ten years or fifty years hence they might be off a tenth of a degree Celsius but that doesn't mean they're wrong it means that there's
00:05:12a little scientific uncertainty it's not the same as uncertainty about the whole thing and it's ironic or amazing that they hired the same people who were in denial about cigarette burns cancer that was a question I was going to ask you always know the whole round we think
00:05:29a re run of the whole denial of tobacco causes cancer yeah yeah but this is an analogy that you can take exception to analogies the the facts the scientific facts are overwhelming so here's what I'm saying senator is that because people are so passionate about it I think
00:05:49when they see the white like who is the most who is the strongest environmentalist the guy who just built as log cabin who is the strongest anti smoker the guy who just managed to quit so why is it from an optimistic point of view I think if we
00:06:07can get these people to just look at the world a little differently they will be on the side of domestically produced renewable electricity in a very quick short order bill I want to get to what America will look like when we transform our energy system moved aggressively to
00:06:24energy efficiency for all I do that let me ask you kind of the frightening question what happens if we don't do that %HESITATION happens to white kids of my grandma yeah you're great what kind of planet are they going to in her if we don't well here's ours
00:06:39aggressively what's going to happen in the developed world where we are we will build sea walls you know the the big you in Manhattan they're building a system of sea walls and parks to avoid the catastrophic effects of hurricane sandy and you can say well hurricane sandy came
00:06:57in what everything's cool but no the economic costs billions of dollars in the city of New York which rippled around the world because New York is New York really is a world city and when it has a financial trouble the whole world does so we can do those
00:07:11sort of sea wall mitigation projects here in the developed world within developing world it's much more difficult people are going to move and be displaced and something a scenario that I've imagined that seems very reasonable and people in like the ninth ward of New Orleans as the ocean
00:07:30comes in they're gonna leave they're just gonna leave and they're going to default on their mortgages and there's going to be all this infrastructure copper wiring and plumbing and all the stuff that's just going to sit in there and it's obvious it's not just the United States is
00:07:45going to be developing countries all over the world millions of people being forced to migrate yeah Mike and where they're going to go and what are they going to eat and there's going to be conflict and there's it's just we could avoid all of us we just got
00:07:57to work right now what about drought floods and stuff all that said so there are people who make very strong argument to me these are climate scientists that %HESITATION the a lot of the %HESITATION unrest in the Middle East is displaced young men who don't want to work
00:08:17the family farm anymore because of family farms and doing as well as it used to because rain pattern rainfall patterns have changed the go to the big cities they can't get jobs they get disenfranchised and then they get involved and essentially terrorist operations of this you can bite
00:08:34my head off about this but it's a very reasonable hypothesis and I've seen no evidence that it's not reasonable so everybody I sell the time senator we have to be optimistic we have to get to work and I just to the deniers out there or the stream skeptics
00:08:50I want you to think about what's called cognitive dissonance remember cognitive dissonance good liberal arts education thing this is a psychology theory that you can run tests and show that it's true the guy who really suffered from cognitive dissonance is the fox and his grapes so he can't
00:09:14get to the grapes the fox is trying to get to the groups he can't come so he says the grapes must be sour and he says that tombs or she to herself so that she will not have this conflict in her mind as a vixen as a fox
00:09:28of woman of female fox she says this so that she can be at peace so I submit to you climate deniers that what you're doing is instead of accepting that climate is changing you're denying the evidence and along with that you're dismissing the authorities are how do you
00:09:49respond that's why I think you comment is how can you didn't how can you say the authorities on climate change in the forties I sit on a committee or some of the energy committee I sat on the environment right across of the oil from guys who say noon
00:10:04yeah it's getting a little bit long but it's it's always been like that there really is no proof that Uman activity %HESITATION and has caused a climate change so here's a we say there's overwhelming proof prove it isn't even a word it's overwhelming evidence and so what I
00:10:23believe you're doing on the other side is you're suffering from this magic thing magical thing called the backfire effect when you see evidence that conflict with your worldview you just double down on denying it and we all do it my car's I don't hear that sound in my
00:10:41car my car is fine everything will be fine the Kinks to work out everything will be fine I don't need to get maintenance done on it we all do this but the stakes with respect to climate change in the world's population are huge now when I was a
00:10:57kid there were fewer than three billion people in the world now they're seven point three there's going to be nine even ten billion people in the world and most people don't want something to eat and some place to live and it's not that it's not just that the
00:11:10world has too many people that's not it it's that we're not using our resources as well as we could go to questions all number one give me some examples of the power of the fossil fuel industry coming in maintaining this nonsense that climate change is not real and
00:11:29I want you to talk about what does this planet what does this country look like when we transform our interest in order that the success of the fossil fuel industry is amazing to me now I have been to our the tar sands have you been there in fort
00:11:48McMurray Alberta and this is the tar sands of influence they built the building of the XL pipeline and then not too far from there the Dakota pipe water you guys the scale of it is literally hard to imagine I was in a helicopter doing television and you could
00:12:08you can't see the end of it a quarter of the province of Alberta which is a comparable in size to to most of Montana %HESITATION is now %HESITATION denuded the forest has been scraped away and this tar %HESITATION has there's the fossil fuel industry for example is try
00:12:30to promote the idea that it's called oil sands but it's Tara realist hard sticks to your boots I mean it's tar anyway %HESITATION %HESITATION this is six specially expensive and dirty oil because about a thirty thirty percent of the energy in the TARDIS to be used to make
00:12:47the synthetic crude oil and %HESITATION it makes it a Canadian citizen the biggest carbon footprint in the developed world without a tar sands a Canadian citizen does pretty well and carbon footprint but if you go there and look at that the expanse of the destruction environmental destruction I
00:13:09can't believe you won't change your mind about fossil fuels now view in the course of your work bumped into folks in the it industry in charter with them about why they wanna perpetuate the use of fossil fuel well here's what I think it is center I met this
00:13:24engineer who works for shell oil and this is what his family is always done and I will say is that I'm an engineer my on mechanical engineer but chemical engineers like to solve problems and make things so they make plastic which we all depend on your men are
00:13:44good clothing or textiles this these the the ink on these coffee mugs everything depends on the our ability to make %HESITATION unique molecules that would otherwise occur in nature and so I think people from an injury standpoint get caught up in just solving problems the underdogs of all
00:14:03the companies for this what would have been making a lot of money because they make a lot of money and as I told the people attacks on in nineteen ninety four when I did a job with Exxon and owned a generous and Walt Disney company you guys should
00:14:17be in the energy business not the oil business and if they use their VA a fossil fuel companies use their resources the money to go into these different businesses they would get even richer that's my claim or what is the potential what's led off with energy efficiency are
00:14:35known for months we have made some progress in cutting back on the consumption of electricity we made our buildings or farms when a decision huge opportunities you say a word about that well in conservation if you install your attic the big if you want to spend money on
00:14:51something medium term it's your windows are windows are very are generally have historically been very inefficient you know it's a hole in the wall of with a conductive piece of something that conducts heat rate the piece of glass if you put in double or even in Vermont triple
00:15:07pane windows with the inert gas in between blowing Mississippi this metal flying sprayed glass you will save a lot of money a lot of money for free that is to say Hey you don't have to build a bigger furnace you don't have to borrow more by more oil
00:15:23but it's a long term thing it's like buying a car so too is this win today which will pay off in the short term and so you know to this thing there was this it sounded to me arbitrary senator where you people want to cut to regulations for
00:15:37every regulation that exist white who came up with that number due respect for why why this seems just somebody like made it up you want a regulations are like a machine you want all the parts you need but no more is that accurate but you don't you start
00:15:55taking parts off the machine just because I grew up in the city of Washington in the city limits of Washington senator and I remember when the Potomac River was just as deadly thing you didn't even go near it it smelled terrible in the Potomac electric power company killed
00:16:13fish all day because the the second law of thermodynamics constrains you to cool off the back end of your turban and so the hot water just killed they're just dead fish all day and so you know we don't have to do that everybody the reason there aren't as
00:16:30many dead fish now is because we have regulations is not a bad thing it's a thing and why the air in California is so much going on in your city or let me ask you all of this talk about transportation it what amazes me up now I didn't
00:16:44kill you on this but you know I'm driving a Chevy bolt now bolt with the B. like Bravo all electric two hundred and thirty two miles I can drive to palm springs and back you've arranged two hundred thirty two mothers yes US built car that is not that's
00:17:01from the old industry art but the potentials funny I was at the Henry Ford museum in Dearborn Michigan veritable can I ask the guy there tell me what with the regional model a get I think was like fourteen or fifteen miles per gallon their people driving because today
00:17:17we have the dough to a hell of a lot better than the first because on the road what is the potential of transforming our energy system so I didn't you didn't we didn't discuss that with enough so what we want to do everybody is electrify all ground transportation
00:17:32cars trucks trains all of it well that would be really hard sort of okay so I'm driving electric car I will go to another big city New York on the electric train up and we can do this you know everybody after you drive an electric car you'll never
00:17:53go back you just never go back to the golden is to make those calls affordable affordable so does every bolt comes in now with it albeit with the incentives under forty thousand dollars spend forty thousand dollars on cars and it's a huge amount of money but people spend
00:18:10on cars all the time and so and you fuel is not cheaper than gas yes so in California right current current prices it costs about a fourth as much to run it what your car is a gas powered cars and by the way everybody there's no maintenance are
00:18:26what we want to sell you the oil change maintenance another soil to change those tires and you do you rotate the tires and Winchell white water windshield washer fluid does your maintenance costs are despite the very strong opposition of the fossil fuel industry and they're paid representatives here
00:18:45in the Congress we have made some progress in moving to sustainable energy hell of a lot more soul a wind turbines geo thermal ought to talk a little bit about how we have to transform our energy system and what it looks like in the future are this is
00:19:05a great question so imagine you know what a roof looks like we all know what a roof looks like imagine all the roosters roofs or solar panels there that dark blue or maybe in the future they'll be even darker and %HESITATION everybody will make electricity everywhere and so
00:19:22you can hate senator Sanders you can hate me you can hate everything you can just be a miserable hater person but when you get an electric bill in California which doesn't have especially cheap electricity when you get electric bill for ten Bucks every sixty days let's just fought
00:19:43okay this is just fun just look at it that way so imagine a future where virtually every big building walmarts factories warehouses all have solar panels on the roof oriented in our country a little bit south we get an enormous amount of electricity from the systems and then
00:20:05we have to create and it's not that hard we can do it creed electric grid that can accept all this energy that's produced and distributed fashion right rather than a concentrated fashion and so are also if you're an engineer out there if you're a young person and injuring
00:20:20school right now I love you but if you want to get crazy rich make a little a battery that's even a little bit better than we have now and then we have the storage problem which should be solved locally so at the solutions project by way of example
00:20:37engineer strongly believe that we don't have to work that hard to solve the storage problem that the wind is blowing somewhere the sun is shining somewhere all the time we don't use as much energy at night as we do during the day so the wind blows at night
00:20:54and we could store this energy right this is right now if we just decided to do it these are domestic jobs it can't be exported it's a new industry now correct me if I'm wrong but my understanding is that the price of solar has of course plummeted yellow
00:21:09yeah editors no competitive with in parts of the country well in Iowa they get a quarter of their electricity from the wind right in Texas %HESITATION they get in sometimes year they get ten percent over this is in Texas so there's I took pictures instanton Texas their wind
00:21:28turbines casting shadows on oil pumps what is very cheap electricity or not wants to what once the turbans up it's free I mean in a sense now but when people deniers will come out of the woodwork about to killing birds yes I suddenly they just if you want
00:21:47to kill birds oil or coal fired electricity plants are really the way to go killing birds is a thing for you there's nothing better than the exhaust from coal plants wind turbines we can solve this problem by the way when you're at the tar sands their cannons that
00:22:08go off all day and night to keep the birds away keep the birds away because the the tailing ponds are so toxic they don't want to kill these enormous populations of birds if you want to kill birds fossil fuel is fantastic so we can solve this problem everybody
00:22:27we can do this and I don't I don't I grew up in the US army engineering degree in the US my license in the U. S. I worked in aerospace full time for twenty years ten times ten years part time I am a patriot I want the US
00:22:42to be the world leader in the stuff about what you heard we develop these technologies these of technologies that could be explored to China to India all over the world exactly yes especially what is the US do senator is innovate the technologies for distributing the electricity are closely
00:23:01related to mobile phones where as you drive the phone calls handed from cell to cell so distributing the electricity is the same kind of thing we want to automate it just another opportunity for you'll watch when juniors is power are enormous innovations of happened in making information technology
00:23:24more and more compact but electricity it on in large sets on large scale has to be managed in new and cool ways wow center I feel like I've just talked and talked I don't worship of art we talked a little bit about soul talk about wind what are
00:23:41the technologies of the future are out there that can be exploited well people ask me this all the time bill what's the next huge thing and I think it's a result of these kids today growing up with the internet no the internet emerged and it just change the
00:24:01world change the world how many are out there have taken an uber you use your phone to bring a car the cars never have to park the people who operate the cars that's their business you don't have to own a car or ensure a car or store a
00:24:17car could transform the world and it's just this integration of information technology with existing roads and cars so it's amazing so I don't know what the next innovation is going to be but Miley solar panels on my house out west are about fifteen percent efficient space crafts sore
00:24:38panels are over thirty percent of fish when that's done by manufacturing the ones that come out the best you sell to satellite manufacturers but there is substantial evidence for me that people are gonna have innovations to make solar panels more efficient and more cheaply by not wasting as
00:24:58much silicon and so that's just for starters if solar panels went from fifteen percent efficient to twenty five percent of the huge transformation huge transformation and then they also be cheaper then %HESITATION your make your own electricity so if you hate me and you hate the government solar
00:25:19energy is for you because your own electricity and so %HESITATION you it's very difficult in urban areas to make all the electricity you need because your houses block each other but if we could reduce our baseload by twenty percent that's huge or talk a little bit about the
00:25:40solutions project so I'm I'm supportive solutions project I'm not a civil engineer did the analysis but I've read the papers and it's pretty compelling bottom line of what they say is fact within a reasonably short period of time and we could break out dependency on Capitol Hill fifteen
00:25:56years we'd be eighty percent renewable another's only twenty percent of our electricity would come from traditional sources which include nuclear plants then in thirty years would be a hundred percent renewable all renewable thing about nuclear plants I know dear proponents out there very reasonable dig this stuff up
00:26:18fishing that make your trusty put it back on the ground are very good but people don't want to go around and so licensing a nuclear plant takes fifteen or twenty years not to mention how you get rid of that well that's safe thing is you know it when
00:26:33you say you're gonna bury something for the extent of time that would be the equivalent of ten Roman empires that's an extraordinary claim you guys I mean I'm right there with you but that you're asking a lot of people that's really Hadi outlook so %HESITATION the big problem
00:26:50though with nuclear is people don't want and getting the licenses is really time consuming and difficult to let me ask you this what is the role model of scientists to take on the site this literally who was searching for truth or under pressure our men so what about
00:27:12that so I have close friends who work in climate science and I become friends because of this pressure and they are very concerned about their data being %HESITATION reviewed or a or a racist and there also are concerned about their jobs you know and being attacked personally in
00:27:36fact personally so Michael Mann's a friend of mine he gets an envelope in the mail with white powder in it yes kids kids didn't do this and they are attacking him personally ad hominem because he made this discovery so you know senator I'm still starry eyed and optimistic
00:27:57and %HESITATION perhaps %HESITATION unrealistic and no I don't think it's unrealistic but here's what we want to do we want to find common ground and I think a place to start is space exploration I'm not joking here here's my claim you guys the United States has led the
00:28:15world in space exploration other countries are very interested in catching up this year China will launch more rockets than the United States they will be the world leader in the what we call the cadence how often a rocket is launched but here's what I submit to you if
00:28:35we were to discover evidence of life on another world it would change the course of human history and I'm not joking here so the role of of people who are many people who are on energy committees are on space committees is that accurate so yeah so if we
00:28:58if we got people excited about making discoveries in space by applying our elected treasurer to these are exploration of space which is a relatively is point four percent of the federal budget we could make extraordinary strides that would once again show people that scientists are trying to learn
00:29:22about nature and the universe and you think that's a better investment the building nuclear weapons yes I want to get you on record so nuclear weapons everybody the scale of it is really hard to imagine I you guys ever work you can you can look it up okay
00:29:43so do you know I I took one class from Carl Sagan and this change my wife okay so Carl Sagan James Parker heard we're looking into the effects of a nuclear war and this was about the same time the James Hansen was studying the planet Venus and they
00:30:05realized that if or they strongly show the show quite recently that if you set off a bunch of nuclear weapons on the same weekend you would create this crazy cloud of dust and this was in about nineteen eighty then a few years later Walter Alvarez Luis Alvarez discovered
00:30:26this layer of a radium topic number seventy seven around the world and they went wow how did the Ceridian get here it's very common in asteroids but not especially common on the earth's surface because it being such a big molecule big Adam rather it sank the radium sank
00:30:46to the middle of the earth when the earth was molten so this research into the climate affects of nuclear war and the the greenhouse effect on Venus and the discovery of an asteroid that probably wiped out the age of dinosaurs this all came together and that's why James
00:31:07Hanson testified from the US Congress in June of nineteen eighty eight that we have climate change happening and we got to do something about this so these were scientists working in all different fields and they made this discovery that we now our show is the way the ancient
00:31:25dinosaurs were killed and by the way there is no evidence that the ancient dinosaurs had a space program and so they %HESITATION suffered catastrophic failure control alt delete as we say in car look me in the discussion this phone but you're very gracious to not always so no
00:31:43no I could listen to a lot on this note what is the what is the likelihood of all the not a major asteroid hitting earth so there are about a hundred thousand earth orbit crossing us asteroids and there are many millions of other objects in the what might
00:32:07be called near earth space so what we want to do is find them and this is very difficult business as the saying goes it's like looking for a piece a charming all in the dark there have been major asteroids that have done terrible damage to the earth in
00:32:22the past well there was one yeah that wiped out the age of dinosaurs and there's evidence that bin and a lot of the more your life on yeah catastrophic how many years ago was that the three hundred million so that's a long time but it's a low probability
00:32:39but high consequence and we remind you so I just wanted to say that because the people did they think they have enough to worry about with trumpets president I wanted to throw that problem well but this is solvable everybody and the US could be the world leader in
00:32:55this if you want to lower the cost of things by the way you engage international partners every space mission to Mars has many many instruments built in other countries by other space agencies and other contractors and we remind us all the money spent in space is actually spent
00:33:12on earth so we could invest in finding answers and the bat budgets gone up to be sure in finding asteroids and preparing to I'm not kidding space craft to study them and deflect one should ever happen in this would be a worthy use ever elected treasurer is not
00:33:31that much money and it would be exciting and %HESITATION and I could see the world so everybody are you still despite the extraordinary events of the last few months I'm still optimistic about the US becoming a world leader in renewable energy there's three things we want for everybody
00:33:52on earth we want clean water renewed we produce reliable electricity and access to electronic information to the internet for everybody in the world and my claim senator is that when you provide these services for everyone the quality of life for everyone goes up the motivation for people to
00:34:14become terrorists the motivation for people to cheat writ large goes down when their quality of life goes up so you and I are like minded certainly sold very much appreciate you including me thank bill thank you so much for being here

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ABOUT THIS PODCAST

By U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders
Election days come and go, but political and social revolutions that attempt to transform our society never end. Listen to The Bernie Sanders Show to stay informed on the political revolution, our focus in the fight for a progressive agenda and how Bernie and others are fighting back against the Trump administration and its efforts divide us up
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