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Fareed Zakaria GPS
Interview With National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan; Interview With Bernard-Henri Levy On The Rise Of Eric Zemmour, Who Is Being Called The Donald Trump Of France. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired November 07, 2021 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN ANCHOR: This is GPS, the GLOBAL PUBLIC SQUARE. Welcome to all of you in the United States and around the world. I'm Fareed Zakaria coming to you live from New York.
ZAKARIA: Today on the program, Joe Biden goes abroad for only the second time as president to the G20 in Rome.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Good evening, everyone.
ZAKARIA: And to COP26 in Glasgow.
BIDEN: We meet with the eyes of America upon us.
ZAKARIA: Is America back atop the world stage or are we in a post- American world? I will talk to the president's National Security adviser, Jake Sullivan.
JAKE SULLIVAN, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: American leadership has to have a different character.
ZAKARIA: About that, plus progress on climate change, concerns over China's military buildup, and much more.
And a TV personality whose views veer to the far right is eyeing a run for president. I'm not talking about Donald Trump. Rather France's Eric Zemmour. Bernard-Henri Levy will tell us how this provocative pundit may upend French politics.
ZAKARIA: But first here's "My Take." Believe it or not there is some real good news on the climate front this week. Approximately 100 countries announced an agreement to cut methane emissions 30 percent by 2030, closing a glaring gap in climate policy. They also reached a broad agreement to end deforestation in the same timeframe, including pledging funds to back it up. Deforestation, by the way, produces about 10 percent of the world's carbon emissions.
The private sector has committed to align $130 trillion with the goal of net zero emissions in their investments by 2050 toward limiting global warning to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Positive technology trends are also accelerating. In the past 10 years the coast of solar and wind power has declined by 89 percent and 70 percent respectively. And over the past three decades, lithium-ion battery prices have gone down about 97 percent.
Thanks to clean energy and efficiency, it is now possible for countries to grow their economies without increasing carbon emissions.
Alas, it's not enough. We need emissions to actually fall and by a lot, not simply stay constant, and we are not on track for that to happen. Even if all countries follow through on the commitments in the Paris Accords, and most have not, that will reduce carbon emissions by just 7.5 percent by 2030. Experts agree that what we need to cut these emissions by is about 55 percent by that date just to keep temperature rises under 1.5 degree Celsius.
Reducing carbon emissions is so hard because it involves the total transformation of almost every aspect of human economic activity, from the cars we drive to the cement we use to build things to the heat we use in our homes to the food we put in our mouths.
Let me give you an example, it takes one dairy cow's daily milk output to make mozzarella for two pizzas. That cow emits 250 pounds of methane every year. Cows, if they were a country, would be the world's third largest producer of greenhouse gases after China and the United States. But too often the grim statistics and the depressing forecasts lead us to despair. We need a rational way to think about climate policy, one that leads us neither too scared to act nor too complacent to stand still.
I found the single best guide in an excellent new book, "Speed and Scale: An Action Plan for Solving Our Climate Crisis Now." The author, John Doerr, is a legendary venture capitalist who has devoted years to climate activism. The book outlines a clear, accessible and actionable plan for reaching net zero emissions by 2050. Drawing on his business background, Doerr establishes target areas for cutting emissions such as decarbonizing our electricity grid and protecting nature, and estimates the expected payoff of each goal.
The countdown to net zero approach leaves you feeling not only more knowledgeable of the climate emergency but more empowered to do something about it. You end up thinking of climate as a problem that is massive but manageable, just barely.
Doerr goes beyond science to outline the specific policies needed in each area and the power of movements to get those policies adopted. He reminds us of how policy, ingenuity and economics all came together to create the solar panel industry that is now sweeping the world. A German politician, Herman Scherrer, managed to pass a feed-in tariff which entered into force in 2000 that paid subsidies for solar panel installations in homes.
Private sector entrepreneurs began to innovate and came up with better and cheaper panels. Then the Chinese government decided to fund this nascent industry massively. The result is that between 2010 and 2020, the world has gone from 40 gigawatts of installed solar capacity to 700, an increase of almost 1,700 percent.
Now we need to embrace hundreds of such efforts of all kind as long as they cut emissions. Climate policy is too important for ideological purity. We will need gas to replace coal in developing countries. We will need some nuclear energy because it is an always on zero emission source. We will need much greater energy efficiency everywhere. Doerr points out that if all other states had tried to match California in energy efficiency, the United States would have cut its carbon emissions by almost a quarter.
I'll end with one final story drawn from Doerr's book about Hawaii. In 2008, Hawaii was America's most fossil fuel-dependent state, with oil accounting for 90 percent of Hawaii's energy. Then the state embraced the Hawaii clean energy initiative, a set of laws and rules designed to get the state to use clean, renewable energy sources instead. It set a goal of reaching 30 percent renewables by 2020, 70 percent by 2040 and 100 percent by 2045.
So far it has exceeded its 2020 goal, generating 34.5 percent of its electricity from a combination of solar, wind and other clean sources. In just a few short years, it has become a leading example of a clean energy transformation. Now, we need to scale the Hawaii example for the entire world, and fast. It's a daunting task but surely if Hawaii can do it, others can do it as well.
Go to CNN.com/fareed for a link to my "Washington Post" column this week. And let's get started.
I want to get straight to my interview with Jake Sullivan, National Security adviser to President Biden. We have lots of important topics to cover.
ZAKARIA: Jake Sullivan, thanks for coming on.
SULLIVAN: Thanks for having me.
ZAKARIA: On the show last week, Gordon Brown, the former prime minister of Britain, said America knew how to lead in the unipolar world but it's learning to lead in a multipolar world. Do you think that's an accurate characterization, and are you learning to lead?
SULLIVAN: Well, I definitely think that American leadership has to have a different character in the world we operate in today. And it has to be more collaborative. It has to listen more. It has to consult more. And ultimately it has to pull together collisions and countries to solve big problems. We did that with the European Union standing side by side to put forward a global methane pledge that 100 countries have signed on to.
We've done that in the Quad countries in the Indo-Pacific, on n everything from vaccine deployment to technology. So I do believe that the style of American leadership in today's global landscape has to shift. We are showing in concrete ways how that can improve the lives of people in the United States and around the world and it's a method we will keep at.
I think Joe Biden is uniquely suited to exercise this form of leadership because there's a personal dimension to it, there's a relationship dimension to it, and there's an element to it that is very much about allies and partners, and President Biden feels all of that in his bones.
ZAKARIA: So why not take on something as ambitious as vaccinating the world and really make it happen?
We are not so far being ambitious in our goals and our timetable, people like Larry Summers calculate that the cost of really taking this on would be trivial in comparison to the amounts of money that are being talked about in Washington these days, $1.5 trillion, $1.75 trillion. Why not really make that the centerpiece of, you know, America -- of a goal for America for the next year?
SULLIVAN: So actually, President Biden asked us the same question as we headed through the summer and we saw the gap between what's required to vaccine the world and what had been put into it by countries around the globe. And so he called together the world in a summit in September and set out an ambitious goal of vaccinating 70 percent of the world in a year, basically by next September. And that's what the World Health Organization and epidemiologists say is necessary to ultimately beat this pandemic.
The United States has stepped up by offering more than a billion vaccines and we've already put more than 225 million out into the world, donating more than the rest of the world combined. So President Biden has, in fact, convened the world to set a plan and now to create accountability for executing that plan. Secretary Blinken will be holding a follow-on meeting in November and then the president will pull the world together again at the beginning of next year to make sure that we get on track.
So this is an area where actually the United States has stepped up in the face of a once-in-a-century pandemic and we intend to deliver.
ZAKARIA: When I talk to people in Europe and Asia, American allies, the one thing that they say that bothers them a great deal about the Biden foreign policy is that it still maintains a lot of the protectionism of the Trump foreign policy. Tariffs, quotas, the use of national security as a, frankly, bogus excuse to put tariffs on, to buy America provisions.
And to them this seem like a concession to the Trump -- or what was meant to be a kind of sharp break with American foreign policy with Trump and America first. And they see Biden as simply continuing that core element of America first.
SULLIVAN: President Biden has departed in profound ways from President Trump's policies and has overtly rejected the idea of America first. In fact he has said that America first makes America last. He's taken two trips to Europe so far. On the first trip he resolved a 17-year long dispute between Boeing and Airbus and set a blueprint for how the United States and Europe could work together to take on China's non- market economic practices.
On the second trip, he resolved President Trump's steel tariff dispute with Europe, not only creating a circumstance in which those tariffs get relaxed but also having the United States and Europe propose the first-ever carbon base sectoral agreement for steel and aluminum that itself will serve as a blueprint for protecting workers in both Europe and the United States against China's overcapacity and achieve climate goals that produce overall emissions in a sector that accounts for 10 percent of global emissions.
So I actually think if you look at the president's trade and economic policy particularly as it relates to Europe, you see a study in contrast with President Trump.
ZAKARIA: And the Asians would say what about the Trans-Pacific Partnership or some way for the United States to ally with them economically to counter the weight of China?
SULLIVAN: While President Biden was in Europe, he had the opportunity to sit down with many of the leaders of the Indo-Pacific, from Singapore and Indonesia, to Australia and Japan. And he was able to communicate to them that the United States is working intensively right now to put together an economic framework, a set of approaches around 21st century economic issues from supply chains to investment screening to digital, and that we will be coming forward with these proposals so that the United States is at the table in a big way when it comes to economics and trade in the Indo-Pacific.
ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, I'll ask Jake Sullivan about the most important relationship in geopolitics, the one between the U.S. and China. How bad is it at the moment?
ZAKARIA: Back with more of my interview with National Security adviser, Jake Sullivan.
ZAKARIA: The most important relationship to the United States is going to have for decades is the one with China. And the administration has issued a lot of fairly strong rhetoric, tough talk, but it feels like so far it is more a posture than a policy. By which I mean what has been achieved by this tough talk? What new trade detail have you got? What concessions has China made? What climate agreement has been reached? What has been the net effect of all of that?
SULLIVAN: Well, I think the wrong metric for U.S.-China policy is the metric of in bilateral relations, what agreements have we secured with China. I think it's the wrong way to think about it. The right way to think about it is, have we set the terms to an effective competition where the United States is in a position to defend its values and advance its interests not just in the Indo-Pacific but around the world?
And there I think the record of the last 10 months has been very strong. First in terms of the president advancing an agenda at home to replenish the reservoirs of America's strength, in technology, in beating COVID-19, in the work we are doing to bring the infrastructure bill and Build Back Better framework across the finish line. So the United States domestically is in a position to compete and win.
And then in terms of allies and partners around the world, we have put ourselves in a position with Europe where whether it's on civil aircraft or steel and aluminum or investment screening, the United States and Europe are aligned around trade and technology issues to assure China cannot abuse either of our markets.
And then with our Indo-Pacific partners we have advanced on the security front, the technology front, the economic front in a way that has meant that the United States can hold China accountable and can show that China's efforts at pushing other partners around will not ultimately be successful.
That is a better metric in my view for whether or not our policy is succeeding than if China signs a piece of paper with the United States on something involving economics or climate or what have you.
Now, the last thing I would say on this front is we do expect China to step up to the plate and take responsibility on climate. Not as a favor to the United States, not as a give in the bilateral relationship, but as a responsibility it has as the largest emitter in the world. The United States has stepped up and taken responsibility for reducing our emissions. It's Beijing's turn to do so as well.
ZAKARIA: During the Cold War, the goal of American policy towards the Soviet Union was to in a sense contain, maybe squeeze the Soviet Union to force change. What is the goal of America's China's policy?
SULLIVAN: The goal of America's China policy is to create a circumstance in which two major powers are going to have to operate in an international system for the foreseeable future and we want the terms of that kind of coexistence in the international system to be favorable to American interest and values, to be set up so that the rules of the road reflect an open, fair, free Indo-Pacific region, an open, fair, free international economic system, and where basic values and norms that are enshrined in the universal declaration of human rights are respected in international institutions.
This will be competition as we go forward. The Chinese government does have a different approach to many of these issues. And the goal here is not containment, it's not a new Cold War, it is rather a favorable disposition of how the United States and its allies and partners can shape the international rules of the road on the sorts of issues that are fundamentally going to matter for the people in our country and the people everywhere.
ZAKARIA: But you are not trying to change China?
SULLIVAN: I think one of the errors of previous approaches to policy towards China has been a view that through U.S. policy, we would bring about a fundamental transformation of the Chinese system. That is not the object of the Biden administration.
The object of the Biden administration is to shape the international environment so that it is more favorable to the interest and values of the United States and its allies and partners to like-minded democracies. It is not to bring about some fundamental transformation of China itself.
ZAKARIA: On Taiwan, do you want a continuation of the status quo in Taiwan, or do you want some kind of change to the current status quo?
SULLIVAN: The United States believes that the status quo in Taiwan has served the interest of China, Taiwan and the United States as well as the interest of regional security and stability. We continue to adhere to the One China policy, the Taiwan Relations Act, and we oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo.
And we have been concerned about Chinese activities that have shaken to a certain extent the security and stability across strained relations but fundamentally what we are looking for is the maintenance of peace and stability, and, therefore, the maintenance of the status quo.
ZAKARIA: If China were to do something short of military aggression, massive cyberattack, would that in your view trigger the Taiwan Relations Act and would the United States come to Taiwan's assistance?
SULLIVAN: So, Fareed, I learned long ago not to accept hypothetical questions when it comes to Taiwan. I think the important thing here is that under the Taiwan Relations Act we have a responsibility to provide defense articles to Taiwan for their defense. We have a responsibility to help them protect and defend their own security and we have done so over the course of many years and we continue to do so in the Biden administration.
Our fundamental objective is to avoid a circumstance in which there is a unilateral change to the status quo, whether it is an outright invasion or something short of that. And we intend through a combination of deterrents and diplomacy to continue to try to avoid the very scenario that you're laying out.
ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, Jake Sullivan on the troubling end of the American war in Afghanistan. I asked him what happened.
ZAKARIA: And we are back here on GPS with more of my interview with President Biden's National Security adviser Jake Sullivan.
ZAKARIA: If you look at President Biden's poll numbers, they dropped sharply around the time of the fall of Kabul.
So the public perception is that that was badly handled. When you look at it in retrospect, do you think there was a key error of judgment or error of execution?
SULLIVAN: What I think is that, when you end a 20-year war, where the United States has been engaged in combat for a longer time period than at any point in American history, the possibility of there being substantial difficulties associated with that is -- was very high. And we knew that going in. We had to be clear-eyed about that going in.
Now, the intelligence community and the entire national security apparatus of the administration did not anticipate that Kabul would fall before August 31st. But we had contingency plans in place to deal with that. We actually flowed 6,000 troops in to secure Kabul Airport and evacuated more than 124,000 people.
So, of course, when you look at anything in hindsight, there are things you wish you had done better. But the fundamental decisions, the decision to leave, the decision to continue the draw-down over the course of the summer, and the decision to ultimately execute on this contingency plan and run this evacuation up through August 31, the president has stood by those decisions. We stand behind those decisions.
And we believe that the United States' national interests are better secured by being out of Afghanistan today than if we were still in Afghanistan today.
ZAKARIA: Afghanistan is in free-fall, and it could become a failed state, many -- many believe, if it does not get some kind of assistance.
The question is, would the United States be willing to freeze some of the assets it has frozen, around $9 billion or $10 billion?
Zal Khalilzad, the guy who negotiated with the Taliban, believes that there could be a step by step, conditions-based release of funds to try to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe. Do you agree?
SULLIVAN: Well, today the United States is the largest humanitarian donor to Afghanistan. We've provided nearly half a billion dollars in funding just this year through international organizations and non- governmental organizations. We are not yet in a position to be able to provide money directly through the current leadership in Afghanistan, the Taliban leadership. ZAKARIA: What does that mean, not in a position? You don't want to?
SULLIVAN: Until we see a -- a substantially improved approach to everything from inclusive government to other elements that we are discussing with them regularly, our focus, our emphasis is going to continue to be on providing funding in the hundreds of millions of dollars, just this year alone, and to mobilize the rest of the international community through international organizations and non- governmental organizations, through the United Nations, the World Food Program and others.
We think that is the best way to actually help the people of Afghanistan without creating a circumstance in which some of those funds could be used for purposes that are problematic to the national security interests of the United States.
ZAKARIA: There are some areas where President Biden campaigned and promised certain changes in policy again, reversing Trump-era policies. He said he'd get back in to the Iran deal. He said he would get back to essentially relations with Cuba as they were under President Obama. And he said they would get rid of the tariffs on China. He criticized them all.
I'm sure there are individual explanations for each one, but one common theme they all have is they would draw a lot of Republican opposition. Is the administration hamstrung by its fears about domestic opposition, political opposition?
And are you as a result playing defense on issues where the president made campaign promises?
SULLIVAN: So, first, the president has, over the last 10 months, followed through on an unbelievable number of the things he said he was going to do.
And on the three you just mentioned, he is making progress. Take the Iran nuclear deal just as an example. We have said that we will return to the JCPOA if Iran is prepared to come back into compliance with it.
The fact is that Iran has not yet shown a willingness to come back into compliance with the JCPOA, despite us working closely with our allies and partners to -- to create the negotiating circumstances for that happening.
We're prepared to go back to the table and continue to work at it. That's got nothing to do with politics and everything to do with the reality that Iran has certain obligations that it needs to live up to even as the United States is prepared to live up to its obligations under the deal.
On Cuba, things have changed quite a bit this year. We saw just in July substantial street protests, some of the most significant protests in a very long time, and a brutal crackdown by the government that continues to this day, as they hand down sentences to some of those protesters.
So circumstances have changed, and that requires the president to consider what the best way forward to support the Cuban people is, as we move.
And then, finally, our trade ambassador, our trade representative, Katherine Tai, is currently negotiating with the Chinese government over President Trump's trade deal, to figure out the best way forward not just on tariffs but on our overall approach to the trade relationships with China.
That's not an easy negotiation. It doesn't happen in a month or six months. It -- it is something that has played out and will continue to play out as we go forward. And we will see where we end up at the end of the day.
But in none of those circumstances is politics the driver. The driver is the American national interest and then the challenge, complexity and intensity of diplomacy, which requires real shoe leather. And we are putting shoe leather into each of those negotiations that -- that you just outlined.
ZAKARIA: Jake Sullivan, pleasure to have you on. We hope we can continue these conversations.
SULLIVAN: Thanks for having me.
ZAKARIA: Next on "GPS," the great Bernard-Henri Levy on the rise of Eric Zemmour, who is being called the Donald Trump on -- of France. What you need to know, when we come back.
[10:40:24ZAKARIA: Eric Zemmour has been called France's Donald Trump. He is a populace right-wing star, TV star, and there's growing excitement for him to run for president.
What is behind this rise?
Joining me now is Bernard-Henri Levy, the French writer. His new book is "The Will to See."
Bernard, I want to get to this book in a second. It it a completely fascinating mix of reporting, which you started -- you started going and helping as kind of humanitarian interventions when you were in your 20s. You went to help liberate Bangladesh. It goes all the way up to Libya and Afghanistan, of course.
But first, you have to tell us about Eric Zemmour. Because, who is this man and how did he; why has he become so popular?
LEVY: This man is a strange combination of a Jew and of a fascist, which is very -- maybe it's French; I don't know.
But he's very odd. He's a real Jew and he's a real fascist. And the combination gives a sort of vertigo, at least to me and to some of us.
What I would say also is that you compare him to Trump. I'm not sure. He -- he will be a bubble, a bubble that will pop rather quickly. I don't believe at all that he will stay in -- into time.
ZAKARIA: But you attacked him in a -- in an article in Le Point, which he then took on and attacked you.
What's striking to me is you were one of the very few French intellectuals who took him on, head-on. Why, are people scared of him?
LEVY: People are mesmerized by him, as they were in America by Trump at the beginning. People did not know how to take the phenomenon, how to handle it and so on, so the same for Zemmour.
I attacked him very strongly in Le Point and in Tablet in America. And what I say basically -- basically is that, for me, the fact that he's a Jew is very important. And it is a shame, that a Jew, a French Jew, takes such a position, a rehabilitation of the Vichy regime, doubts on the innocence of Alfred Dreyfus at the end of the 19th century, very -- he says very bad things about the Jewish victims of Mohammed Merah, the Islamist terrorist guy.
So for me this attitude is really a shame for him, but also it could be a shame on the Jewish name, on the French Jewry. And there are a few Jews who are tempted to follow him because, probably, they feel that he will help them to get rid of the -- of the radical Islamists and things like that.
And this annoys me a lot. That's why I very quickly wrote this strong attack, because the phenomenon seemed to me very serious on his run.
ZAKARIA: In this book you talk a lot about all the interventions that you have tried to help -- in almost every case, what you've tried to do is have the West help democrats, people who seemed, you know, liberal-minded. When you look at the collapse of Afghanistan, what is the lesson?
We don't have a lot of time, but is there a brief lesson?
LEVY: I looked at Jake Sullivan. I disagree. It was not an endless war. It was a deployment, which is very different.
You had deployed in Afghanistan much less troops than everywhere else, in Germany, in South Korea, and so on. And more important, you Americans did not fail in Afghanistan. You succeeded.
Why? Because a free press was born. Because, behind the shield of the mere presence of American troops, women liberated themselves. Because you had, under the umbrella of America, a vibrant, true civil society blooming.
So I'm -- I'm surprised to hear everywhere -- and at this level, of Mr. Sullivan -- that it was a failure. It was a success. America in Afghanistan, in the last 20 years, succeeded.
ZAKARIA: One final question, on the AUKUS deal, the Americans excluding France, you have long promoted U.S.-French relations. How did you feel when you heard about that?
LEVY: I felt sad because, for me, the bond between America and France is a golden bond, a golden link and a bond of spirit, soul and heart. So everything which weakens the bond, for me, is bad for France and bad for America.
Remember, America has been invented two centuries ago in order to be another Europe, better, a better Europe. This is the original program of America. And each time that America turns its back to this program, it's not good -- since Barack Obama, to Biden, going through Donald Trump.
ZAKARIA: Bernard-Henri Levy, as always, a pleasure.
LEVY: Thank you, Fareed.
ZAKARIA: And everybody should get this book, "The Will to See: Dispatches From a World of Misery and Hope."
And we will be back.
ZAKARIA: Now for "The Next Big Idea." Carbon dioxide, unfortunately, is the gift that keeps on giving. As I said earlier in the show, we're making progress on cutting emissions but not nearly quickly enough. And all the CO2 we are putting in the atmosphere will stay there for centuries.
So even if humanity can bring new emissions down to zero one day, we are still going to have a problem. We continue to get cooked by all the accumulated carbon dioxide.
We leave ourselves no choice but to do some kind of geoengineering. That's the concept of altering the earth on a large scale to mitigate the climate crisis.
Many proposals are out there, but they all go back to basic climate science. Darker surfaces on earth absorb the sun's rays and release the energy back as infrared radiation. Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, like carbon dioxide, trap that heat and warm the planet. Brighter surfaces, on the other hand, reflect the sun's rays, which pass through the atmosphere into space.
So, fundamentally, to counter global warming, you either have to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or make the earth more reflective.
The most basic way to soak up CO2 is with trees. But trees die. They burn up in fires and they can be chopped down. Also, there's only so much available land, so we need additional solutions.
One idea is to turn the oceans into a sort of floating canopy. You've heard of red tide and algae blooms. We could do something similar but in a purposeful and more controlled manner, fertilize areas of the ocean to grow plankton, which photosynthesize like trees, taking CO2 out of the atmosphere, storing it in their bodies. After they die, they sink to the bottom of the ocean, bringing the carbon down with them.
Another idea is, if trees can only take us so far, maybe we can use human ingenuity to create something better.
This facility in Iceland can remove as much carbon as a thousand acres of woodlands. It filters CO2 out of the air and pumps it underground. The downside is the technology is still extremely expensive and energy-intensive.
Other geoengineering ideas are about how to make the earth more reflective. Some of these solutions are benign. We have blanketed the planet in dark-colored streets and roofs that absorb the sun's rays. Lighter colors could reflect enough sunshine to offset as much as 4 1/2 years of global energy emissions.
Some schemes are more extreme. Volcanoes have been known to spew particles into the atmosphere that reflect sunlight and lower global temperatures. That's what happened in 1816, the "year without a summer." The idea would be to replicate this effect by spraying particles into the stratosphere, again in a more controlled way.
Lots of geoengineering proposals are outlandish and could create huge environmental problems of their own. Without a doubt, the priority is to aggressively cut emissions so we don't have to resort to such drastic measures.
But many environmentalists don't even want to study these ideas. They feel the risks are too great and they worry that the world will become complacent about reducing emissions.
But take a step back, and you will see that humanity has already engaged in geoengineering for hundreds of years. We have released some 2 trillion tons of CO2 in the process.
In other words, we have already blindly embarked on a massive experiment with our planet, and the results don't look good. A little more experimenting, this time in the right direction, with a thoughtful, intentioned approach, could go a long way toward undoing some of the very damage we have done.
Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week, and I will see you next week.