"We don’t understand climate, it's very complicated and we're only at the beginning to understand what the effects may be"

marijnpoels-blog | 3/5/2019 | Staff
jster97 (Posted by) Level 3
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Princeton, New York - May 2016 I interviewed theoretical physicist and mathematician Freeman Dyson (1923), as part of the documentary "The Uncertainty Has Settled". Below a selection of the almost 3 hours conversation I had with Freeman Dyson.

- Obviously we are living in an era where we are pushing major changes in terms of fighting global warming and reducing carbon dioxide. Are we saving the world or missing the point?

Point - Things - World - Carbon - Dioxide

I would say missing the point. I mean, roughly speaking there are two totally different things going on in the natural world. It’s the carbon dioxide in the climate that everybody talks about and there are the ecological effects of carbon dioxide which have nothing to do with climate. Which nobody talks about. They are totally separate and different.

In the case of the climate effects. This is a very complicated set of problems. We don’t understand climate, climate is very complicated and we are only beginning to understand what the effects of carbon dioxide may be. They’re maybe good or they’re maybe bad. But it’s not clear.

Climate - Effects - Carbon - Dioxide - Evidence

But if you look at the non climate effects of carbon dioxide, there is evidence they are very strong. They are easy to observe, easy to measure. They are overwhelmingly beneficial.

- Can you give me an example?

Carbon - Dioxide - Growth - Kinds - Plants

The carbon dioxide directly enables the growth of all kinds of plants. So more carbon dioxide means it is good for the wildlife, it’s good for the forests and it’s good for food, for the agriculture all over the world. It saves huge numbers of people from starving. The effects are out of all proportion more serious than the effects of carbon dioxide on climate. And that’s what's never being said in public.

- So what you are saying is that due to carbon dioxide...
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