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London Real

Oct 22, 2017

Dr Gavin Schmidt is a climatologist and Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, one of the world’s top climate research organisations. 

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He is only the third person to hold this post for NASA, having taken on the role from James Hansen - the “father of climate change awareness”.

Gavin's work focuses on understanding past, present and future climate change and on the development and evaluation of climate models, and he has written over 120 publications that specialise in simulations of the past, present and future.

Scientific American cited him, as one of the 50 Research Leaders of 2004, and his 2014 TED talk on climate modelling has been viewed over one million times.

While Gavin proposes that climate models are skilful, he advocates that what's most important is for us to "get off our carbon diet".


00:00 Trailer.

01:48 Brian’s thoughts on the episode.

04:44 Brian’s introduction.

05:20 A returning Londoner, Gavin notices improvements to the people’s environment.

06:30 Freedom from assumptions and judgemental attitudes is why he chooses to live and work in New York.

08:14 Gavin’s work evolved from a scientific exercise to something that really matters to people.

14:01 How scientists use modelling to understand why and how the environment is affected.

20:34 Modelling factors affecting the climate over last one hundred years.

25:08 The attribution study shows that greenhouse gasses are the major influence.

28:26 Why, when the scientific evidence is so obvious, is it so controversial.

34:20 NASA’s involvement in climate change issues and how they can see changes in gravity field on earth.

40:50 Rumoured proposed cuts to NASA’s budget and possible effect on climate change analysis.

44:45 Hurricane forecasting, mapping and response planning.

50:24 Climate change risks for countries, pests and diseases, economy and populations.

1:02:21 What we need to be doing to mitigate our risk, adapt to what will come and minimise suffering.

1:05:10 How we can reduce carbon emissions.

1:15:00 Why the US Federal government’s argument against the Paris Agreement doesn’t stack up.

1:16:39 Various US states and places are leading the way in reducing carbon emissions.

1:20:32 Why Gavin continues to be inspired to do his work despite Governmental and public opposition.

1:25:34 How he argues with people who hold opposing views and why he refused to debate with one.

1:32:20 Gavin’s response to the argument that some mitigating policies will adversely affect the poor most.

1:32:52 The argument that everyone but China affects change will result in negative change.

1:35:46 “I am not a Galileo figure screaming into the wind.”

1:37:10 James Hansen had the cojones to speak out about first indications of climate change in the 1980s.

1:41:22 Gavin continues GISS ethos of communication and looks for ways to illustrate scientific credibility.

1:44:54 Does he worry he might lose his job for holding his views.

1:45:45 Al Gore compared current hydro-carbon industry media campaign to that of cigarette companies.

1:47:29 Success secrets.

1:48:27 What is surprising to learn about Gavin.

1:48:51 What keeps Gavin awake at night.

1:49:03 Would he ever return to live in London?

1:49 22 What Gavin has changed his mind about recently.

1:52:10 Phone call to the 20 year old Gavin Schmidt.

1:55:31 How Carl Sagan and Neil deGrasse Tyson dealt with celebrity status and communicating science.

1:58:21 Best advice ever received.

2:00:21 Advice to the young person who wants to help towards the argument for climate change.

2:02:51 Brian’s summing up.