Katharine Hayhoe & Bob Inglis on Climate Change

Concerns about climate change dominated the 2019 EU elections, as the Greens got their best results in 30 years. Katharine Hayhoe, an atmospheric scientist at Texas Tech University, and former U.S. House Republican Bob Inglis join the program to discuss why it’s so important the world wakes up to the dangers facing our planet.

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CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: What will it take, do you think, to convince people like Trump, the Trump administration, to listen to what ordinary people are saying with their votes at the ballot box?

BOB INGLIS (R-SC), FORMER U.S. HOUSE REPRESENTATIVE: I’m not sure what would convince Trump. He’s somebody that doesn’t have many subtle opinions, I think, on many things. So, perhaps he would be persuaded by just his base becoming aware of the challenge. And for them, though, there’s a real message and that message is, if you’re a Conservative, it makes sense to address climate change. In fact, the most unconservative thing to do is to proceed pell-mell in the face of this risk. And so, what we need to do is invite them into this conversation and have them become the indispensable partners and the indispensable nation to addressing climate change.

AMANPOUR: Congressman, before I turn to Katharine Hayhoe, I just want to ask you, how did you get to this position as a Republican congressman from South Carolina and what kind of political blowback have you faced?

INGLIS: Well, for six years, my first six years in Congress, I said climate change was nonsense. I didn’t know anything about it except that Al Gore was for it. And since I represented a very Conservative district, that was the end of the inquiry. I admit that’s fairly ignorant now, but then I was out for six years doing commercial real estate law, came back to Congress in ’04. And because of the love of my son and his sisters, my wife who were encouraging me to act and a trip to Antarctica with the science committee and being inspired by the faith of an Aussie climate scientist who was living this action of climate change in front of me, those things caused me to see it as real and to get engaged. My timing wasn’t good because the tea party was coming on and I got specifically uninvited to the tea party in part because of this climate heresy that’s not really a heresy.

AMANPOUR: Well, I see Katharine Hayhoe, our scientist, who is smiling and nodding because she has been through a lot of the same. Katharine Hayhoe, let me first ask you, on the science. You were one of the authors of this incredible national assessment which was released, I believe, the day after Thanksgiving, what’s known as Black Friday, everyone was going shopping, very few people actually paid attention, but it could not be sunk because it was so dramatic in its conclusions. Remind us of the science that you and your colleagues in the scientific community warned about in that assessment.

KATHARINE HAYHOE, ATMOSPHERIC SCIENTIST, TEXAS TECH UNIVERSITY: Well, the U.S. National Climate Assessment is currently still the most up to date assessment of how climate is changing and what its impacts are on us, around the world and in the U.S. The National Climate Assessment specifically concluded that climate change is already affecting every part of the U.S.

About This Episode EXPAND

Christiane Amanpour speaks with Christopher Ruddy and Vince Cable about the presdient’s state visit to Britain; and Katharine Hayhoe and Bob Inglis about climate change. Michel Martin speaks with Wyatt Cenac about his show “Problem Areas.”