What This Summer's Natural Disasters Mean for Planet Earth

Bill McKibben on the Signs of Global Warming

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A boy makes his way along a flood affected pathway on August 4, 2010 in Pabbi near to Nowshera, Pakistan. (Daniel Berehulak/Getty)

The number of people affected by the massive flooding in Pakistan over the past week is larger than the combined total of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Flash floods have hit neighboring Kashmir, killing at least 85 people, and China where more than 1,300 people are feared missing. In Europe, a heat wave has led to the deaths of 5,000 people, and in Russia drought and wildfires are ravaging the country.

Are all these simultaneous natural disasters this summer just a big coincidence, or is it a harbinger of something more serious for Planet Earth? Environmentalist Bill McKibben connects the dots and finds out how much it has to do with global warming.

Bill McKibben, is author of "Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet."


Bill McKibben

Produced by:

Arwa Gunja

Comments [7]


Seems you are listening to something that I am not saying.

I am not claiming conservatives are cave men and "reject" science wholesale.

But I am claiming that the conservative mindset tends to politicize science, when science does not fit their ideological preferences, much more so that liberal mindset...in any human population.

Think about this: in the purest of definitions, the "conservative" human thought process tries to preserve the status-quo, while the "liberal" human thought process tries to challenge the status-quo.

We need bioth mindsets as a species.

That's written in the human DNA.

Therefore, a liberal mindset tends to more readily accept science for the results it produces, for better or worse, since that mindset has an intrinsic openess to change.

Again, what type of evidence for anthropogenic global warming would satisfy someone like you?

I will help you out.

How about the recent observation of proven man-made generated industrial fly ash and diesel soot particles embedded in the vast snow and ice covered areas of Greenland, altering the nautral albedo (reflectivity) of that snow and ice cover...so that these vast areas now absorb significantly more heat that they would without this man generated interference?

Nature, and sound science produced by objective scientists, are neither liberal or conservative my friend.

And just because Al Gore is an ego maniac and to a certain degree, a phony, and the parasitic Goldman Sachs is leading the way in the scam known as carbon trading, at least he way it is set up now..doesn't make man global warming a hoax !

You seem to be blinded to the time tested..... and peer reviewed TO DEATH since the 1980's...... science of man-made climate change....because of your MINDSET.

Aug. 11 2010 02:36 PM

Hey, I am NOT going to listen to the tired old charge that liberal ideas are backed by science and that conservatives reject science.

The Toyota accelerator claims weren't backed by science. Obamacare isn't backed by economic science. Medical malpractice claims are often not backed by medical science. Drug liability lawsuits are often not backed by pharmacological science.

The llist goes on and on and on. There may be good science backing anthropogenic climate change. Or not. What is clear is that one summer's weather is not a valid argument for "climate change science," and programs like this one, fueled by "experts" like Bill McKibben only undermine and valid claims. (Does McKibben even claim "expert" status? That would be too embarassing.)

Aug. 11 2010 11:14 AM

And...... the fossil fuel industry's livlihood and income...... depend on there NOT being a climate crisis.

Follow the money on that one.

And I don't give a hoot if Bill is a soccer mom. He is backed by hard data from some the worlds brightess minds, and speaks eloquently.

Most of the "denial" crowd in the scientifically illiterate USA, gets their SCIENCE..and politics... from a marketing wizard named rush limbaugh.

I am always curious...what kind of evidence for anthropogenic global warming...would convince you deniers?


By this point, you cynics are either hopeless and bitter ideologues, who sense you have lost your quest to find a moral justification for human selfishness..... or you lack the courage to change.

Or both.

Well, guess what?

You will HAVE to change, one way or another.

Nature will see to that.

Aug. 10 2010 08:49 PM

Why is Bill Mckibben being asked about climate science? Not only is he not a climate scientist, he's not a scientist at all. He has no scientific training. He's a writer.

Moreover, as a writer, he's not even a disinterested or a neutral reporter of the climate story. He is an activist; he has an ongoing financial interest in the social movement of global-warmism.

Mr. McKibben is a "scholar in residence at Middlebury College, where he also directs the Middlebury Fellowships in Environmental Journalism." He is also a fellow at the "Post Carbon Institute." Mr. McKibben's llivlihood and his income depend on there being a climate crisis.

Naturally, The Takeaway would feel no need to balance Mr. Mckibben with an opposing viewpoint; not even on the risible suggestion that there is a traceable scientific link to flooding in Pakistan and China, and to swamp fires in Russia, from "global warming."

And of course, this isn't the first time that The Takeaway has relied on the program's friend, "Environmentalist Bill McKibben" to supply a really scary, earnest-sounding voice to info-tain the NPR audience. I expect that it won't be tha last. Although I am willing to bet John Hockenberry One Hundred Dollars, that if The Takeaway has Bill McKibben on the program in February, when outside temperatures in Vermont are hovering below zero degrees Fahrenheit, Bill McKibben will either say, "Don't confuse weather with climate change," or else, "These low temperatures are exactly what our climate change models predicted."

Aug. 10 2010 02:51 PM
ginman77FLA from Ft. Lauderdale

A prime example of the NPR dichotomy - fascinating, intellectual content vs tiresome liberal propaganda. This particular segment is more of a "ThrowAway" than a "TakeAway". At least Mr. McKibben managed to not blame former President Bush (although I haven't read his book & can't speak for its contents).

Aug. 10 2010 10:11 AM
The Horne from Atlanta, Georgia

Big Mike I am with you on that, although I am not against global warming theory I do think other factors play a role in the planets changing atmosphere. Why aren't we hearing more from astrologers and scientists that are specializing on theoretic evidence based on changes in the sun for example? At the end we are giving global warming advocates all of the attention and are undermining the just as viable reasoning of others. If you want to educate and inform people incorporating more voices will get the conversation started.

Aug. 10 2010 10:05 AM
Big Mike from Hoboken, NJ

This guy is a perfect example of why global warming guys are there own worst enemies. The scientific basis for what he's claiming -- while it exists -- is about an inch deep. He doesn't really know what he's talking about, he just sounds certain.

Aug. 10 2010 09:53 AM

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