Intelligence Squared U.S.: Major Reductions in Carbon Emissions Are Not Worth the Money

Sat, 01/24/2009 - 3:00pm

Moderator John Donvan


Recently in the U.S. it seems as if partisan rancor has replaced reasoned debate; mainstream media has become contentious and ideological; and discussions of important issues are being dominated by emotion rather than by facts and analysis. The debate series Intelligence Squared U.S. (IQ2US) attempts to change this trend and raise the level of public discourse on the key issues of our day. Intelligence Squared U.S.: Major Reductions in Carbon Emissions Are Not Worth the Money airs Saturday, January 24 at 3 p.m. on AM 1370 and WXXI-FM HD 91.5-2.

Moderator John Donvan is a correspondent for ABC News Nightline. He has served over a career of more than two decades in the following capacities for ABC News: chief White House correspondent, chief Moscow correspondent, Amman bureau chief, Jerusalem correspondent, and correspondent for the ABC News magazine Turning Point. Donvan's most recent major assignment was covering the war in Iraq as a unilateral reporter, for which the Chicago Sun Times named him one of the ten war stars.

Panelists for the motion:

Peter Huber’s most recent book is The Bottomless Well (2005), co-authored with Mark P. Mills. He is a partner of the Washington, D.C. law firm of Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans, and Figel, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and a columnist for Forbes. Huber served as an assistant and later associate professor at MIT for six years, and clerked for then Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, and for Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Bjorn Lomborg is the author of the bestsellers Cool It and The Skeptical Environmentalist. He was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine in 2004, one of the "50 people who could save the planet" by the UK Guardian in 2008, one of the world's "75 most influential people of the 21st century" by Esquire in 2008. He has written for numerous publications, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and the Economist. He is presently an adjunct professor at the Copenhagen Business School, and in 2004 he started the Copenhagen Consensus, a conference of top economists who come together to prioritize the best solutions for the world's greatest challenges.

Philip Stott is an Emeritus Professor and biogeographer from the University of London, UK. Although a scientist, for the past ten years he has also employed modern techniques of deconstruction to grand environmental narratives, like “global warming.” Stott was editor of the internationally-important Journal of Biogeography for 18 years. He broadcasts widely on TV and radio, and writes regularly on environmental issues for The Times of London, among other publications.

Panelists against the motion

Daniel M. Kammen is Professor in the Energy and Resources Group (ERG), Professor of Public Policy in the Goldman School of Public Policy, and is Professor of Nuclear Engineering in the Department of Nuclear Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. He is also the founding director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL). Kammen advises the U.S. and Swedish Agencies for International Development, the World Bank, and the Presidents Committee on Science and Technology (PCAST), and is a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Working Group III and the Special Report on Technology Transfer).

Oliver Tickell
is the author of Kyoto2 (2008) in which he sets out a novel international framework for the control of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere which promises to be effective, efficient, and equitable—in contrast to the existing Kyoto Protocol and its failing flexibility mechanisms. Tickell’s extensive environmental knowledge and understanding was acquired as a journalist writing on environmental issues over a career going back some 20 years. He has written for all the UK's broadsheet newspaper titles and numerous magazines, including New Scientist, the Ecologist, and BBC Wildlife. He also spent a period as dedicated environment correspondent for the Independent.

Adam Werbach
, global chief executive officer at Saatchi & Saatchi S, is regarded as one of the world’s premier experts in sustainability. At age 23, he was elected as the youngest president ever of the Sierra Club, the oldest and largest environmental organization in the United States. In 1998, he founded sustainability agency Act Now to engage the corporate and media world in social, environmental, cultural, and economic change. After ten successful years, Act Now merged with global ideas company Saatchi & Saatchi to form Saatchi & Saatchi S, the world’s largest sustainability agency. Werbach serves on the Advisory Board for the National Academy of Sciences, Climate Change Communications. 

Modeled on the British program Intelligence Squared, IQ2US is an Oxford-style debate that is provocative, intellectually rich, humorous, and dramatic. For each debate a motion is proposed. Then, three panelists argue for the motion, and three argue against it, with a moderator controlling the proceedings. After the formal arguments, the debate is thrown open to the floor for questions, triggering a lively interchange among the speakers and audience members. Each side attempts to persuade the audience to vote their way. This adversarial context is electric, adding drama and excitement to the proceedings. The live audience will vote on the motion both before and after hearing the arguments, so there is a clear measure of how far people have actually been swayed. Those votes are tallied during the evening and announced at the end with a clear side winning.