MSNBC: How Much ‘Death And Destruction’ Is Needed For GOP To Ditch Fossil Fuels

News & Politics

MSNBC’s Chris Jansing welcomed Dr. Michael Mann to her Thursday program to promote his new book, discuss the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia, and to wonder if “death and destruction” isn’t enough to get Republicans to address climate change, what is?

Jansing wondered, “Michael, is the FEMA director right, there’s no doubt at all change is intensifying storms? We’re just going to continue to see more of them, and that means billions upon billions of dollars of costs even beyond the widespread disruption to lives.”

Naturally, Mann agreed, “The science backs that up. In fact, for a degree Celsius, a degree-and-a-half or so Fahrenheit of warming, which is what we’ve seen over much of the world oceans, you can expect a roughly 7 percent increase in the average wind speed that translates – actually, sorry, no, a 14 percent increase in the average wind speed, which corresponds to a roughly 50 percent increase in the destructive potential of those storms.”

Mann also lamented that critics focus on the cost of his climate wish list, “And so we’re seeing that, right? We’re seeing storms that are leading to losses of tens of billions of dollars now and too often we hear about the supposed costs of taking action, of decarbonizing our economy.”

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Instead, “What we really should be talking about is the huge cost of inaction, and we’re seeing that play out in the form of these devastating, expensive, and deadly storms.”

Of course, there is no reliable way to calculate that because if every hurricane is said to be part of some larger pattern then there’s no way to determine if the damage, or how much of the damage, from this hurricane or that hurricane was due to climate change or just a natural disaster.

Nevertheless, later on in the segment, Jansing hyped the book, “You also stress there’s still time to act. It’s just a matter of how bad we’re willing to let it get. If frequent death and destruction isn’t doing it so far, Michael, what’s it going to take?”

Mann was encouraged that Republicans are likely “to find themselves increasingly out of step with younger voters, including young Republicans.”

He also declared:

That may ultimately be the only thing that changes this dynamic. People showing up at the voting booth and voting on climate and voting out those, you know, politicians so beholden to the fossil fuel industry that they are acting on behalf of those special interests rather than the people they’re supposed to represent. Voting them out and voting in climate champions and climate advocates. 

Mann can dismiss concerns about the cost of his green utopia all he wants, but when most of the world operates on fossil fuels, that political blowback he is hoping for will just end up boomerang-ing on him.

This segment was sponsored by Subway.

Here is a transcript for the August 31 show:

MSNBC Chris Jansing Reports

8/31/2023

1:22 PM ET

CHRIS JANSING: Michael, is the FEMA director right, there’s no doubt at all change is intensifying storms? We’re just going to continue to see more of them, and that means billions upon billions of dollars of costs even beyond the widespread disruption to lives. 

MICHAEL MANN: Yeah, that’s right. The science backs that up. In fact, for a degree Celsius, a degree-and-a-half or so Fahrenheit of warming, which is what we’ve seen over much of the world oceans, you can expect a roughly 7 percent increase in the average wind speed that translates – actually, sorry, no, a 14 percent increase in the average wind speed, which corresponds to a roughly 50 percent increase in the destructive potential of those storms.

And so we’re seeing that, right? We’re seeing storms that are leading to losses of tens of billions of dollars now and too often we hear about the supposed costs of taking action, of decarbonizing our economy. What we really should be talking about is the huge cost of inaction, and we’re seeing that play out in the form of these devastating, expensive, and deadly storms.

JANSING: You also stress there’s still time to act. It’s just a matter of how bad we’re willing to let it get. If frequent death and destruction isn’t doing it so far, Michael, what’s it going to take? 

MANN: Well, you know, this is a question we’re all asking, right, and as Ali mentioned, you know, one of our two major parties appears to be in denial that the problem even exists, and I’ll tell you, they are going to find themselves increasingly out of step with younger voters, including young Republicans, who overwhelmingly rank climate crisis– the climate crisis as one of the that they are going to inherit the legacy of the decisions we make today, whether or not we, you know, address this growing threat.

And so any party that continues to deny what is now plainly evident to anybody who’s watching the television news, reading their headlines, scrolling through their social media, any party that continues to deny the obvious is going to lose a larger and larger portion of the public. 

And that may ultimately be the only thing that changes this dynamic. People showing up at the voting booth and voting on climate and voting out those, you know, politicians so beholden to the fossil fuel industry that they are acting on behalf of those special interests rather than the people they’re supposed to represent. Voting them out and voting in climate champions and climate advocates. So in the end, it comes down to the individual, individuals turning out and voting on climate. That’s the only way we will see the sorts of policy changes that are necessary to avert this growing catastrophe.

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