April 13th, 2014
10:46 PM ET

Friedman: So, what if the climate deniers' nightmare came true?

Fareed speaks with ‘New York Times’ columnist Tom Friedman about the latest report by the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Watch the video for the full interview.

What for you is the headline of this new IPCC report?

I think the headline is simply greater certainty among the vast majority of climate scientists, the people who truly know and study these issues, that if we don't begin to take the steps needed to prevent the kind of what they call doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere, that will lead to the kinds of rise in global average temperature that will put us into a much more unstable world.

And is there a sense of greater urgency or a kind of warning that we haven't been doing much yet? You know, if you think about it, we've been hearing these reports. And all of them have kept saying we need to start in some way having these CO2 emission levels start plateauing or even declining.  And as you know in totality, largely because of China's growth and a lot of the emerging world, CO2 emissions continue to rise quite substantially.

Well, of course, and that's really been the problem, getting governments to act.

Now, you know the debate in our country.  And it's echoed in the world.  There are people who don't think this is really happening, don't think it's important, we can adapt.  I was thinking, driving over here, what if the nightmare of the climate deniers came true and we really decided in America to take this seriously and act? What would we do? What is the nightmare that would happen?

Well, the first thing we would do is actually slash income taxes and corporate taxes and replace them with a carbon tax so we actually encourage people to stop doing what we don't want, which is emitting carbon, and start doing what we do want, which is hiring more workers and getting corporations to invest more in America. That's the first awful thing that would happen.

The second awful thing that would happen is that we would actually borrow money, the federal government would borrow money at almost 0 percent and invest it in infrastructure to make our cities not only more resilient, but more efficient.

The third thing we would do is make permanent the wind and solar and other renewable energy tax incentives so we would actually stimulate more innovation and ensure that our companies are going to lead the next great global industry which is surely going to be clean water, clean power, etc.

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Topics: Climate • GPS Show

soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. Sergey

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    July 7, 2014 at 10:43 am | Reply
  2. john langston

    This is for Fareed. According to several articles I have read in recent weeks, the Ice caps in Antarctica is 2.1 million sq kilometers larger than last year, and last years was bigger than the years before, According to John Christy a meteorologist at NASA in Huntsville Ala, the Southern hemisphere is cooling while the Northern is warming. Furthermore
    a according to CNN article in Dec 2011 (I think) there is a region the geographical size of Russia that has been deforested that could be reforested (w/o affecting food production) world wide. Where are the computer models that show the effect of reforestation and how it ameliorates climate change for the lay people to see. WE know that deforestation causes desertification. Why not focus on the cheapest alternatives such as reforestation (for economic gain of local people) as the most viable way to ameliorate the climate. JOHN

    July 9, 2014 at 11:43 am | Reply
  3. Daniel

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    July 25, 2014 at 9:59 pm | Reply
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