Are you a global warming optimist?

He’s not a global warming denier, but Larry Brilliant is optimistic about the path of global warming because he has seen the world come together to stop another seemingly insurmountable problem:

It should make you optimistic that small pox no longer exists because it was the worst disease in history….in the summer of love, 1967, 2 million children died from small pox. It is not ancient history.

He says, if people from 30 countries can unite, work together and eliminate a disease that killed 500 million people in the 20th century alone, you should feel optimistic about our ability to stop global warming.

Do you think we can stop global warming? We’re talking about climate change at 10:06 today.

And here is a preview of our guest, Michael Lemonick’s new book:

  • Stephanie Curtis

    Here is the Bill McKibben article that Kerri just mentioned. Michael Lemonick, our guest, says McKibben is more alarmed than he is.

  • Stephanie Curtis

    Bill McKibben, from his article on global warming in Rolling Stone:

    “Environmental efforts to tackle global warming have failed.”

  • Stephanie

    Michael Lemonick, who joined Paul Huttner as Kerri’s guest, wrote his most recent book along with the staff of Climate Central.

  • Dylan Kvasnicka

    I am wondering if orbital decay can be applied to planetary orbit around the sun. And if orbital decay does exist in planetary orbit, can it be attributed to slow global warming as well? I daydreamed this far-out idea and don’t know if it has any scientific basis. I wanted to ask the guest, but didn’t get the chance. Just wondering.

  • stephanie


    I am going to see if we can’t get you an answer…


  • Richard in St. Paul

    Isn’t the time frame too short to draw large conclusions about manmade global warming’s effect on climate? Some say it’s less than 3% of all warming.

  • Michael

    The problem that most deniers and optimists have is that they don’t read the research. McKibben’s alarm is the result of historical analysis of how long it normally takes civilization to move from one type of fuel to another. He explains in his book “Eaarth” that the fossil fuel industry has massive investments in these fuels that it expects to capitalize on over their economic life. Unfortunately for human inhabitants of this planet, this economic life will exceed their survival expectancy. If the industry doesn’t appreciate this investment it will take an a major financial haircut. Based upon how our captitalistic system works, guess who wins.

  • Giles


    The strength of the sun has been measured from space continuously since 1979, and at the surface for much longer. Unfortunately climate change is not correlated to any orbit decay although we know of a variable 7-14 year sun cycle. See this link:

    You can find other similar information at various research/educational sites, NOAA and NASA.


    unfortunately the “time frame” is the whole point because the speed of temperature change (correlated to CO2 change) are both moving at unprecedented speed adding evidence that something new is going on. That new thing is us. Atmospheric CO2 can be measured going back thousands of years and since 1800 the level has been rising at an accelerating rate and moving beyond the top end of prior variation. The 3% is an approximation of the of the excess that man is annually pumping into the previously balanced atmosphere in the late ’90s. Unfortunately it’s cumulative.

    You know, there’s lots of science out there to read if you want to find out, but I recommend reading from sources that have withstood peer review rather than people who spout from belief. The academic world is incredibly competitive. If you can prove someone wrong and establish a better, more accurate theory, you’re the new king of the hill. It’s just not credible that all the environmental scientists are colluding and a few other “scientists” who can’t substantiate their claims have the “real” truth. Especially when they have a record of taking money from energy companies.