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 (70 Responses)
  1. chrissy

    Object "to" our high end welfare recipients is what i meant to say.

    April 15, 2014 at 5:32 pm |
  2. profitup10

    Science supports this concept of out of the box thinking. Plants are the best carbon capture system known so grow more plants for food, grass for animals and lumber for commerce.


    We put millions of skilled workers on manufacturing jobs building 500 to 1,000 Nuclear power plant of a low cost standard design. This will provide all the energy to accomplish a full restoration of our industrial base. How will this happen you ask?

    First we "MINE" the oceans for gold, silver, copper, uranium, methane, manganese and other valuable minerals and metals. It has been estimated that it will be profitable to mine gold from the seas at around $ 3,000 per ounce. Second we use cheap nuclear power to extract these metals which could make a profit to pay off the national debt. Third we use the byproduct "WATER" to farm the huge vacant dry south west feeding the entire planet with low cost food.

    Finally we use the cheap nuclear power to build factories to manufacture everything the entire planet needs and we return to zero unemployment and can pay good wages because we have free energy that makes a profit in it's creation.The money generated can payoff all debts, build nuclear reprocessing plants, research and develop a system to render nuclear waste harmless.

    Just think, full employment, no energy crisis ever, gold to make money valuable, make the dollar the strongest currency on earth, end inflation, end government debt. Just imagine "AMERICA REBORN AND THE DREAM FULFILLED!!!

    April 18, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
  3. chrissy

    Lmao @ profitup10 do you have any idea how many of the top 1% in this country would be in crisis mode right now if they even KNEW one person had voiced this idea? Even more if they knew it was voiced publicly AND on a national media site??? Holy chamolie you better be sleeping with one eye open for awhile dude! Lololol

    April 18, 2014 at 7:21 pm |
  4. Frederick Colbourne

    "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."

    Does this guy know anything about economics. If the corporations pay enough carbon taxes to stop emissions they will not be able to compete. If you want to see the sort of economic future America would have just look around the world at the nations that use less energy: they are the nations we call developing because we are being to polite to say they are dirt poor and going nowhere fast.

    Second, where does this guy get of with "we actually encourage people to stop doing what we don't want ... and start doing what we do want," Since when does someone appoint himself or his political representative to stop people doing what they want and start doing what someone else wants?

    Since when did the founders of America define that as the role of government. That is a tyrannical form of democracy called "dictatorship of the majority" known in Russian as "Bolshevism".

    April 19, 2014 at 6:54 am |
    • Gary Howie

      My belief is that a carbon tax would lead to many jobs, just not here. To take advantage of those jobs we would need to figure out which overseas subsidiary of, for example, GE we wanted to work for in the countries that did not have the tax or the pollution controls. Left out of the re-creation of what Friedman said was his comment about what would happen if we did not build another coal-fired power plant–children would not have asthma! I had to go back and listen twice to make sure I heard right.

      April 19, 2014 at 10:51 am |
  5. alcheson

    "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."

    So misguided. Making energy more expensive raises the cost of EVERYTHING, not just your electric bill. You CANT drastically increase the cost of energy, which will drive up prices especially for food and transportation, and really expect that will be a POSITIVE effect on the economy and everyone's standard of living. That means FEWER people working and less money corporations have for investments. Fewer people working also means more welfare and will reguire even higher taxes. So to think that our government can magically reduce the tax rate at the same time they put more people on government hand-outs is idiotic.

    April 19, 2014 at 10:53 pm |
  6. rgiles18

    Polar Bears Threatened by Too Much Arctic Ice
    By: Katie Pavlich (TownHall)
    When the polar bear was put on the endangered species list back in 2008, it became the first species to be put on the list based on what might happen with the environment and their habitat. Environmental groups argued that global warming served as a major threat to the polar bear and therefore it must be added to the endangered list just in case someday it actually becomes endangered due to climate change.
    Now just a few short years later, polar bears in Alaska are facing a major problem: too much ice. CNSNews has the details:
    Five meters of ice– about 16 feet thick – is threatening the survival of polar bears in the Southern Beaufort Sea region along Alaska’s Arctic coast, according to Dr. Susan J. Crockford, an evolutionary biologist in British Columbia who has studied polar bears for most of her 35-year career.
    That’s because the thick ice ridges could prevent ringed seals, the bears’ major prey, from creating breathing holes they need to survive in the frigid waters, Crockford told CNSNews.com.

    April 30, 2014 at 8:37 am |
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    July 7, 2014 at 10:43 am |
  8. 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 |
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    July 25, 2014 at 9:59 pm |
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