Climate Change, part 1: “Our planet”

The Earth is changing at a faster pace than at any point in the history of human civilization. Industrialization and increased carbon emissions have caused the global temperature to rise by over a degree Celsius since the turn of the last century.

This seemingly small increase has had a massive impact. Melting ice sheets are causing sea levels to rise. The oceans are warming due to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Extreme weather events are becoming more and more frequent. Species are dying at record rates.

This may sound dire — and the calls for immediate action are growing louder, but there’s cause for hope.

In part one of our two-part series, Major speaks with climate experts, policymakers, and advocates who see the climate crisis as a unique opportunity for equality and a greener and more prosperous future.

Climate change, part 2: “Our people”

Even climate change skeptics agree global temperatures have risen and ice sheets are melting in the Arctic and Antarctic. But they disagree that weather patterns are becoming more extreme and downplay the role of human activity on our warming planet.

As Earth Day approaches, the second episode of our two-part series examines the impact of climate change not only on the planet but on people, and the debate over what to do about it. 

This week, Major Garrett speaks with experts in national security, the automotive industry, and climate research.

Voices featured in “The Debrief” on climate change:

  • Elizabeth Kolbert, staff writer at The New Yorker and author of “The Sixth Extinction”  

  • Jeff Berardelli, CBS News meteorologist and climate specialist

  • Ben Tracy, CBS News senior national and environmental correspondent

  • Kristin Siemen, chief sustainability officer at General Motors

  • John Conger, director of the Center for Climate and Security

  • Robert Bullard, professor of urban planning and environmental policy at Texas A&M University in Houston, Texas  

  • Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute

  • Lily Gardner, national spokesperson for The Sunrise Movement

  • Naina Agrawal-Hardin, national spokesperson for The Sunrise Movement

“The Debrief with Major Garrett” guests on climate change:

  • “We can see with our eyes what’s happening, but that should just make us more and more committed to acting, not to sticking our heads in the ground, denying that climate change is happening,” said Gina McCarthy, presidential adviser for climate.  
  • “This is an opportunity not just to stop climate change, but to create millions of good jobs, to create union jobs, to help transition my home’s economy away from an extractive, exploitative one to one that supports people to live good and dignified lives,” said Lily Gardner, a national spokesperson for The Sunrise Movement.
  • “When the planet gets hotter, the extremes get more intense,” said David Wallace-Wells, author of “The Uninhabitable Earth Life After Warming.” “We are living in unprecedented times and we are prompting the planet to remake itself in response to our perturbations.
  • “It’s important for us to create a planet that is safe and sustainable for our children and our children’s children to to live in,” General Motors’ chief sustainability officer Kristin Siemen told Major about the company’s plan to be carbon neutral by 2040. “You know, as a as a mom of three boys and as an engineer, I’m absolutely committed and confident in our ability to make it happen.”
  • “Most of the warming that we’ve done to the planet, most of the extra carbon that we’ve kicked into the atmosphere has come in just the last couple of decades, so we are actually relatively early in observing the disturbances and transformations that we have brought, ” said David Wallace-Wells, author of “The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming.” 
  • “When you have the Arctic ice melt, you have a whole new ocean to patrol. And the question is, is our Navy ready for that?” said John Conger, the director of the Center for Climate and Security. “I can assert that the Russians are more ready for it than we are.”