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It’s getting hot in here
Jul 19, 2023
Episode 969

It’s getting hot in here

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Are extreme weather events the new normal or new abnormal?

Record breaking heat waves and extreme weather events have us wondering: Is this summer an anomaly? We’ll discuss what it really means to adapt to global warming. And, recent climate talks between the U.S. and China were a bust. We’ll get into why China and other countries might not be eager to take instructions from a significant carbon emitter like the United States. Plus, the story of a rescued sailor and his loyal companion makes us smile.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Got a question about resuming student loan repayments for the hosts? Leave us a voicemail at 508-U-B-SMART or email us at makemesmart@marketplace.org.

Make Me Smart July 19, 2023 Transcript

Note: Marketplace podcasts are meant to be heard, with emphasis, tone and audio elements a transcript can’t capture. Transcripts are generated using a combination of automated software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting it.

Kai Ryssdal

Alright, I’m ready. who’s in charge? Who is who is in charge? That’s a good question.

Kimberly Adams

It’s on the script!

Kai Ryssdal

Yeah, no, but I always forget.

Kimberly Adams 

Hello, I’m Kimberly Adams. Welcome back to Make Me Smart, where we make today make sense. It is July the 19th.

Kai Ryssdal 

I’m Kai Ryssdal. Thanks everybody for joining us on this Wednesday, we are going to do what we usually do on a Wednesday or the new Wednesdays on this pod because we’re trying some new things. We’re gonna do some news, we’re gonna do some smiles. And then you can be on your merry way. We shall begin, I suppose. What do you got? Yeah,

Kimberly Adams 

I have a climate change story, which climate change, global warming, I remember Molly was saying that it’s like messaging about climate change versus global warming, warming. So I’m always like tripping myself up on that global warming, extreme weather. You know, we’re having so much extreme weather this year, the floods, the fires, the extreme heat, and not just here in the United States, but globally. And one of the things that’s been sort of percolating in my brain is like, is this an outlier year? Or is this going to be every year? And there was a piece in Vox a couple days ago, that kind of put that exact question to multiple climate science, climate scientists. And the question was, “Is this year an anomaly? Or is this the new normal?” And one of them said, “it’s worse than a new normal, I call it the new abnormal,” and these flooding events will continue to become more extreme unless we reduce carbon emissions and stop the ongoing heating of the planet. Another scientist said, “I usually try to shy away from the term new normal, not because this isn’t related to climate change, but because it suggests that we’ve reached some semblance of a stable plateau. Whereas really, the new normal is continued change, continued escalation and extreme.” And that, that really struck me because this is not as bad as it’s going to get. And as much as we’re struggling to adapt to, you know, our podcast, How We Survive, adapt and survive. This is not as bad as it’s going to get. And it made me really think, and I’ve been thinking about this, especially this summer, like, what strategies do I need to be implementing in my life, now that the extremes of global warming are here. And it’s kind of only a matter of time, until it hits me directly, like, the fire alarm going off in my building, because of, you know, either a really bad storm or flash flooding, like that is going to happen more often. Right? And what else is going to happen that I need to be making my own personal preparations for? To adapt? And yes, I’m trying to do my my best to reduce my own emissions and to, you know, reduce first, reuse, second recycle and all the things that we’re supposed to be doing. But, you know, we’re not on a great path. So now what? And that was, yeah, it’s sobering, but I’m trying to think about what I can do, because I don’t want to feel hopeless, you know.

Kai Ryssdal 

Right. Right. Just try to be more aware and have a little agency. Right. That’s what we should try to do.

Kimberly Adams 

Yeah, exactly. That’s exactly it. I want to have some agency of knowing that this is here. Not coming. It’s here. So now, what do I do? You know, what do we do?

Kai Ryssdal 

Exactly, exactly.

Kimberly Adams

Alright, whatcha got?

Kai Ryssdal

Well, speaking of people not having any agency, John Kerry, the Biden administration’s ambassador for climate change, does not have any agency in trying to get the Chinese government on board with with fighting a warming planet. I’m sorry, that was flipped, but it’s kind of true. So John Kerry, former senator, former Secretary of State, former Democratic presidential candidate yatta yatta, is the Biden administration’s special Representative for climate change is on or has just wrapped up a very high-profile trip to China it is the third in a string of high-profile Biden administration visits through China, Blinken, Yellen. And now John Kerry, trying to get the Chinese on board with doing something to take care of their enormous greenhouse gas emissions in concert with us, are only slightly less enormous greenhouse gas emissions. Anyway, Kerry was over there for three days of meetings, walked out last night, without an agreement to work together on climate change. And in point of fact, President Xi Jinping said, “look, we’re gonna fight climate change, but we’re going to do it our way. We’re going to do it at our pace. And the way we want to do it.” It’s sort of climate change with Chinese characteristics, if I could, if I could bastardize Deng Xiaoping for a minute. That’s not great news. I guess the silver lining and this is the stance that Kerry took coming out of the meeting, is that look, at least talks have restarted, right, we’ve started talking at the secretary of state level, we have started talks at the economic treasury secretary level and now the climate level, notably military to military talks have been have been harder to get restarted. But But that’s, you know, the Pentagon’s challenge. And so yes, it’s good that they’re talking not great that that president Xi came out and said, “we’re going to do it our way, leave us alone.” So that’s the that’s the nub.

Kimberly Adams 

I mean, as much as I hate to say it, I get it, though, because this comes up a lot when, you know, you hear these, these global climate summits and countries from, you know, the global south are, you know, getting all this pressure from the United States and Western Europe to not, you know, use a lot of coal or use fossil fuels. And rightfully, they’re saying, “You all literally pillaged our countries, and then used all kinds of fossil fuels and destroyed the environment for your own development. And now you want to put the responsibility on us to not do the same things, you know, for basically, global good. So you want us to sacrifice for the global good when you harmed us for your own country’s benefit. Right. And I can just imagine, in China, they’re just like, “Hmm, this is rich coming from you all, you know. And that doesn’t help any of us, of course, because we all live on the same planet, which as you pointed out, the other day is a little more wobbly than it should be because of us. But I, I, I can’t imagine sort of sitting there and almost being lectured by countries in Europe and country and the United States about, you know, don’t do these things that we did, now that we’ve benefited from them, and especially when there’s not money attached.

Kai Ryssdal 

Well, right, right, and a lot of a lot of less wealthy, not that, China’s an incredibly wealthy nation, but it’s got a really strong and growing and dynamic economy as a lot of the less wealthy nations are saying, fine, you want us to do this, pay us, right, pay us, to help us develop the technology paths to do the mitigation. And and the United States and many Western European countries are balking at writing those checks.

Kimberly Adams 

Which is wild. I mean, I get it but lots of lots of nuances to this debate that we all somehow have to solve together. Totally. Or we’re going to keep experiencing what we are experiencing. So there’s that now we really need some smiles man. I feel like in my heart I probably stole this make me smile from you even though I don’t know if you even knew about it, but it felt like a very Kai story.

Kai Ryssdal

The sailor one?

Kimberly Adams

The sailor one, cuz that’s, you know, Navy. So there was an Australian sailor who was lost at sea for something in the ocean actually, for something like two months, right? And was thankfully found by these Mexican, this Mexican fishing boat. And he was, his name is Tim Shaddock and he was on this boat that basically, they got caught in a storm, boat got disabled for two months with his dog Bella. Right? And so happiness and joy that he was rescued, he’s alive and they were able to stay together and safe for those two months until they could be rescued. Bella is, I’m very focused on the dog because I was looking at the video of when the Mexican fishermen actually got to his you know, derelict boat and they were talking to him, and I swear that dog was in better shape than he was. Like her coat is all glossy.

Kai Ryssdal 

Yeah, he was, he was in amazing shape. I think the coat was all glossy because they survived on raw fish. So that dog had all kinds of fish oils, right?

Kimberly Adams 

Yeah, yes. And then later on when he was getting off the boat and being welcomed back in Mexico, and there’s this big celebration, there’s this beautiful video of like the crew of the ship, like hugging the dog and passing the dog from person to person, because they all just like fell in love with her. And she was like a rescue. I think he like found her on the street in Mexico or something like that. And then they became buddies and I imagined Bella was probably a much better companion for those two months than you know, Wilson in “Cast Away.”

Kai Ryssdal 

So, yes, for sure. Yes.

Kimberly Adams 

Anyway, that’s that made me smile. Made me never want to be on a sailboat or on a what was it a pontoon boat? Anyway, no, I never wanted a boat by myself ever. Catamaran. Thank you. All right, that was my smile. What’s yours?

Kai Ryssdal 

All right. So, so mine is is unconventional to be sure, but but work with me. So there’s a the Women’s World Cup starts this weekend down under in New Zealand and and Australia, the U.S. Women’s National Team is is the overwhelming favorite again, they’ve won four times and and they’ve got some of the world’s greatest players on that team. And they function at a really high level. But there was an article in The New York Times today about the knee injury epidemic, that is the Times’ subhead word, that is affecting some of these really high caliber women’s players. And I made, it might make me smile, not because of that, because that’s terrible. These women are losing, you know, 12 to 15 months of playing career at a time as they have these injuries. I think Megan Rapinoe has had three of them. And she’s going to retire now at the age of 35, or whatever it is. But I’m I’m, it heartens me because number one, the women’s gam, I’m a huge soccer fan. I’m a high school and college referee. The women’s game is getting the attention it deserves monetarily. We’ve talked about that. Television wise, we’ve talked about that. And now to some of the nuts and bolts of the game and and the thing that comes through in this article is that these injuries are in no small measure because of the way the women have been treated as they play the game. They don’t play on the pristine natural turfs that that American that men play on, right, they play overwhelmingly and have played for years on astroturf. Developing women players don’t get the strength and conditioning training that the male players get, they don’t get especially the strength training, right? Also, their games there, because the women’s game has gotten so popular in no small part, thank you very much to the American women’s team. Their schedules are getting more crowded. And that’s happening at an accelerated rate. So the women aren’t really used to it. So there’s all kinds of things that are contributing to these injuries that I think will in the long run, be better for the women who play the game. And that is that is a good thing. That is a good thing. So that’s why I’m on that article. We’ll put it on the show page. It’s it’s called “The Curse Stalking Women’s Soccer,” give it a read and and tune in this weekend when they play.

Kimberly Adams 

Okay, that’s it for us today. We will be back tomorrow. So keep sending us your comments and questions. Oh, and speaking of questions, we are working on an episode about the student loan repayments restarting so if you have a question about paying back those loans, or Biden’s new student loan forgiveness program, let us know we’re going to work on answering some of those questions on a show coming up. Our number is 508-U-B-SMART or write us at makemesmart@marketplace.org

Kai Ryssdal 

Make Me Smart is, nice lip smack Kai good grief. Here we go. Make Me Smart is produced by Courtney Bergsieker. Ellen Rolfes writes our newsletter. Today’s program was engineered by Juan Carlos Torado, you guys can leave that one in the edit if you want to. Our intern is Niloufar Shahbandi.

Kimberly Adams 

Ben Tolliday and Daniel Ramirez composed our theme music. Our senior producer is Marissa Cabrera. Bridget Bodnar is the director of podcasts and Francesca, Francesca Levy as a director, executive director of Digital. Man, I can’t get it together today.

Kai Ryssdal

It’s all good. It’s all good.

Kimberly Adams

This is Kimberly on three hours of sleep.

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