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.