Conversations with History

Science, Climate Change, and Leadership
Ralph J. Cicerone
President of the National Academy of Sciences

Conversations host Harry Kreisler welcomes Ralph J. Cicerone, President of the National Academy of Sciences for a discussion of the challenges facing the scientific community. Dr. Cicerone describes his research interests and explains the qualities of a scientist and what makes science a unique enterprise. He also focuses on leadership in science discussing his work at UC Irvine to establish a department of geosciences and his goals as President of the National Academy of Science and Chair of the National Research Council. He reflects on his work on,“Climate Change Science: An Analysis on Some Key Questions,” which he chaired-and delivered in one month-in 2001. Dr. Cicerone also considers the problem of the politicization of the Climate Change debate and concludes with positive signs that over time the international community will confront the challenges posed by climate change.

Natural Capitalism
Amory Lovins
Co-Founder, Chairman and Chief Scientist, Rocky Mountain Institute

Conversations host Harry Kreisler welcomes Amory Lovins for a discussion of Natural Capitalism. Lovins explains the origins and mission of Rocky Mountain Institute and analyzes the opportunities and benefits of using the profit motive to redesign the relationship between the environment and capitalism. Drawing on his thirty year career as an innovator/consultant/scientist,he analyzes the mechanisms by which ideas can impact business practice and government policy with the goal of sustaining the environment.

Lovins conversations globetrotter

Environmental Policy and National Security
R. James Woolsey
former Director of Central Intelligence

Conversations host Harry Kreisler welcomes former Director of Central Intelligence R. James Woolsey for a discussion of the linkages between oil dependence, climate change and national security. Woolsey discusses his involvement in the anti war and civil rights movements in the 1960's. He analyzes the end of the Cold War and the problem of shifting paradigms in national security. Focusing on energy and climate change, he recalls the origins of his focus on environmental issues and describes the opportunities and constraints in the portfolio of options that would transform energy dependency into self sufficiency while addressing the problem of climate change. Finally, Woolsey reflects on the possibilities for a broad based coalition that includes national security hawks and environmental activists confronting the environmental challenges that threaten America's national interest.


Manifesto for a New Economy
James Gustave Speth

Conversations host Harry Kreisler welcomes  environmentalist James Gustave Speth, Professor of Law, Vermont Law School for a discussion of his new book, America The Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy. Speth discusses the systemic failure at the heart of the American crisis highlighting the inadequacy of a motivational system that focuses on economic growth, profits, and power to the detriment of people and the environment. In his view, the American system is broken.  He criticizes progressives for not focusing on the big picture and thereby not recognizing the way issues like poverty, education, and environment are linked to the failure of political economy to deliver a quality of life that takes account of human need and values such as equity and justice. Describing a plan of action that combines reform and transformation, Speth argues for building a political movement that focuses on all the elements of the American crisis and he emphasizes the lessons to be learned from the civil rights movement in this effort.

Understanding the Global Environmental Crisis
John Harte
Professor, Energy and Resources Group and the Ecosystem Sciences Division, University of California, Berkeley

Host Harry Kreisler welcomes Professor John Harte of UC Berkeley for a discussion of what environmental science teaches us about the potentially catastrophic consequences of a failure to address the current environmental crisis. His intellectual odyssey from physics to environmental studies offers important insight into how scientists have come to understand the relationship between humanity and nature and the necessary conditions for providing a balance that insures the well being of future generations. The conversation concludes with a discussion of how the present moment can be seized to meet the challenge of global warming.