[This interview with economist Robert Repetto (now at Yale) was published two years ago. It is more relevant than ever in showing how fossil fuel money influences politics and prevents real action on climate. — Stephen]
‘What else can you do with coal except burn it? Railways make a lot of money shipping coal’
By Stephen Leahy
UXBRIDGE, Canada, Mar 2, 2011 (IPS)
Powerful fossil energy interests are preventing the United States from making the necessary transition to 21st century energy sources, one of the country’s leading environmental economists documents in a just-published book.
Fossil energy interests are spending “hundreds of millions of dollars” lobbying U.S. politicians in Congress and funding groups to confuse the public about the serious risks climate change poses, says Robert Repetto, author of “America’s Climate Problem: The Way Forward”.
IPS climate and environment correspondent Stephen Leahy spoke with Repetto about his new book.
Q: Why did you write this book?
A: We’re running out of time. The latest science shows that climate change is coming faster and posing greater risks than previously thought. We are at risk of triggering positive feedbacks that will lead to uncontrollable climate change.
Meanwhile, America is locked in a climate-policy stalemate, with very few in the public comprehending the real risks climate change poses. Most don’t understand that climate change is happening now. They don’t link extreme weather events we’ve been experiencing with climate change. As a result they are not demanding that politicians take action.
Q: Why don’t most Americans understand the fact that climate change is already underway and poses serious risks? Continue reading