by Judith Curry
This is definitely among the most interesting interviews that I’ve done.
The link to the podcast of my interview is [here].
Up until 2009 (pre-Climategate), I was frequently invited to attend ‘green’ workshops and address ‘green’ audiences. Post Climategate, I don’t think I’ve had any opportunities to address a specifically ‘green’ audience, so I was very intrigued when I was invited to be interviewed by Mrs. Green for a one hour segment.
Who is Mrs. Green? Her real name is Gina Murphy-Darling, From her About page:
Gina Murphy-Darling loves being Mrs. Green. She was born to inform, and to engage individuals and businesses in the movement toward global sustainability. As the creator and voice of Mrs. Green’s World Radio Network, Murphy-Darling is a trusted voice in the green movement among experts and mainstream Americans.
Unlike most people that I have encountered in the ‘green movement’, her motto is:
“We challenge people to think, but we don’t tell them what to think”
Bingo. I figured I should be able to relate to this person.
I looked at several of her previous interviews, both of which are superb:
Here is the text from the blurb advertising my interview:
Dr. Curry is a professor and former Chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and President (co-owner) of Climate Forecast Applications Network (CFAN). She has been known for her work on hurricanes, Arctic ice dynamics and other climate-related topics. But over the past year or so she has become better known for something that annoys, even infuriates, many of her scientific colleagues. According to one article in Scientific American, Curry has been engaging actively with the climate change skeptic community, largely by participating on outsider blogs such as Climate Audit, the Air Vent and the Blackboard. Why a climate heretic? Because she has come to question the way climatologists react to those who question the science. She thinks there’s a lot of “crankology” out there. Honestly? I can’t wait because she is all about not lumping in the good with the bad and wants us to think – not tell us what to think!
I am not typically regarded as a person that a leader of the ‘green movement’ would be excited to talk to. IMO that says more about the green movement than it does about me, but that is a topic for another day. It says a lot about Mrs. Green: not only does she acknowledge complexity in environmental issues and seek to understand the controversies, she is prepared to actively engage with a ‘heretic’! It will be interesting to see the reactions of ‘greens’ to this interview.
We talked about the Scientific American ‘climate heretic’ article [link] and the nutty Scientific American survey asking whether I was a ‘dupe’ or a ‘peacemaker’ (which blessedly seems to have disappeared). We also discussed at length my WSJ op-ed and the paper with Nic Lewis. We discussed uncertainty and complexity, and Mrs. Green has a keen appreciation for the complexity of environmental issues.
The most intriguing part of the discussion IMO is discussion of time scales, which arose in the discussion of our climate sensitivity paper. Mrs. Green is much more interested in dealing with the environmental problems of the here and now, rather than those that might occur in future centuries or even the next 70 years. This allowed me to discuss the opportunity cost of focusing our resources on carbon mitigation, which ‘might’ make a difference in our climate say 100 years from now, rather than focusing on policies and investments that can make a difference now, in terms of pollution and reducing vulnerability to extreme weather events.
This interview ranks in the top two of my interview experiences; the other one was with Russell Roberts and my EconTalk interview [link]. The reasons these two interviews stand out for me is not only the skill of the interviewer, but their perspective on the issue, which stimulates the discussion into interesting directions.
And finally, her use of the word ‘heretic’ for the interview, when combined in my head with the recent tragedy in France (post on this coming tomorrow), triggered the memory of this cartoon drawn for me by a French cartoonist in response to the Scientific American article:
In case you don’t read French, the caption states:
“Sorry boss, she won’t burn”