Mount Pinatubo, Kenya, Officer discussed on Freakonomics Radio


Have to do is make the sun one percent dimmer. Now, I don't literally mean changing the sun. But there are a variety of things that bounce sunlight back into space. Clouds are one of those things. White clouds bounce white light backup in the space. It turns out that volcanoes throw ash particles. If it's a big volcano, very high in the atmosphere that reflects some of that light. And in fact, this happened in nine hundred ninety one when Mount Pinatubo went off it cooled worldwide. Temperatures by magic. Greed Greenhalgh Fahrenheit for twelve to eighteen months. Well, my company has come up with some very practical and cost effective ways of deliberately putting particles in the upper atmosphere, and on paper it works out that you could nullify all of global warming that way these geo engineering ideas are in many quarters quite poorly received people get extreme some people. Anyway, get extremely angry. And they say oh technology got us in this problem where using technology to get us out. And that's where I come to think of saying. Well, okay. So are you sincere about worrying about global warming? Or you're using global warming as a stalking horse for your political agenda. If you're sincere about the harm of global warming. You say I don't want my environment screwed up. I don't want millions of people to die. So if you take that problem oriented view, if we can stop that problem. That's good, right? This is one characteristic of the wizards solution a large scale top-down fix many prophets. Meanwhile, think about small-scale bottom up Mary Robinson. Again, there's a lovely story of this woman that I was very impressed by she's not policy MRs tongue. She was a professor who moved from Vietnam to Australia and could have had a very good living in Sydney and came back to her country because she wanted to work with poor people in her region. She introduced me to the regional officer. She introduced me to the elders. She introduced me to the women as they had broken down the level of which women could be involved comfortably. She said if we did this at the district level women would feel disempowered. So we broke it down to eight families coming together and forming a cooperative, and we now have a number of cooperatives who are in charge of a certain parts of the forest. To maintain that forest and the regional officer at her persuasion had given them the rice to the fruits of the forest. They say the first fruits were medicine and actual fruits. And then they said next year. We'll be able to call some of the trees, but we will plant new trees, we will maintain the forest and this for me was a wonderful example, which I know is happening in indigenous communities all around the world, they actually save for us. And if only listen to indigenous peoples we would save far more for us, we need to replant and save rainforests. And if we listen to those who really understand their neighborhoods and their forests we'll do it much more quickly and more effectively a lot of the solutions that you praise and suggests that we scale up our reliant to some degree at least on behavior change on people deciding to make a different kind of consumption decision or whatnot. And as most of us know, even just from our? Own personal experience. Whether it's a diet or exercise or spending saving money, and so on behavior change and self discipline can be very difficult, and I'm curious whether you truly believe that relying on humans to quote, do the right thing on a large scale will be successful enough to have the kind of effect in the climate round that you hope for. Well, I certainly think it is important that we change our behaviour to a significant extent it is happening. People are recycling. More more young people are vegetarian or even vegan. There is a real acknowledgement that we need to do this and actually women in the home and in their community more likely to be leaders on changing behavior. That's what we're good. In the family may not always be successful. And I'm not the best myself. I mean, I'm I'm more vegetarian than you're a vegetarian. Yes. I love some west of Ireland lamb. That's the thing. But the point really is that we need to understand the health and the economic benefits that come from a change in vision about where we want to see the world. That's the most important thing. I am skeptical that we will solve it by just doing the right thing. And I mean that somewhat facetiously, but give an example, there was little books that was popular a few years ago called fifty simple things you can do to save the world. Well, those are fifty simple things that you can do to feel self righteous. And none of them were gonna save the world. And I think that approach that attitude fundamentally mistakes what the problem is. And it creates a situation where people can feel good about themselves. Oh, I unplugged my iphone charger while I was away today. And yet, no matter even if all of us did that it would not materially change what's going to happen. Global warming. We have to make actually very painful cuts, which our society isn't very good at doing. We need to be careful about how we will move rapidly to having renewable energy in developing countries. Developing countries have become very ambitious to get renewable energy. We're learning that there are human rights abuses occurring where clean energy is being put into a country in the wrong way. And the wrong way tends to be mega projects that don't have any concern for land rights or water rights are indigenous peoples rights to consent. Locally an example that I'm aware of was a big wind farm than Kenya. And it was on pasture land belonging to Masai pastoralists. Nobody thought they had land rights, but they had always brought their animals on this land and these big three hundred and sixty five wind turbines were being built, and they wouldn't have even benefited from the energy from the clean energy, the electric city. So they took a case actually in court in Kenya. And blocked the whole thing until their rights were being properly recognised. Well, then there's nuclear power so nuclear power is a carbon-free energy source that absolutely works. The United States got scared of nuclear in the well starting the nineteen seventies. And through the nineteen nineties. Then vice president gore presided over the announcement of killing the last nuclear plant in there. I'd say it's because we were going to build safe coal plants. Now, we realize inconveniently that global warming is a threat. Well, I'm not an expert on the nuclear issue. I have to admit that the way I see is nuclear energy has its own problems. And we saw that in Japan when the nuclear power plants were were flooded, what incredible problems and their lifelong problems for the Japanese. There are problems at the end of the life cycle that make it very expensive. There are problems in building nuclear power stations that make it very expensive. And meanwhile, we have the much cheaper maneuver energy coming onstream, and that I understand much better. So I'm not making a whole state. But I think it's true that nuclear power does not produce greenhouse gas emissions, and that's important France has nuclear energy and. And has benefited from it. But also has the problems now of aging nuclear power stations and the cost to the economy of getting rid of those..

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