If you have any nagging doubts about Miamians' commitment to the environment, climate change, acid rain, tree hugging, and The Issues, then you should have attended Tuesday night's Lexus salon, the Darker Side of Green. The crowd was quiet, contemplative, and engaged. It was a total eye opener.
Just joking ... The whole thing was pretty much a marketing clusterfuck for Lexus' new hybrid automobile, the CT 200h. People showed up for the free Patron. And the Misshapes didn't so much DJ as look bored and play with their smartphones for an hour. Surprisingly -- or maybe not -- the debate sesh between Amanda Little and Chris Horner (and moderated by Jamie Kennedy) was the big bang of the evening.
So, if you were one of the wasted assholes who chatted and slurped shots throughout or if you didn't even make the RSVP list, check out the cut for approximately 1/3 of the night's back and forth.
Jamie Kennedy: Here are the rules: Each of you will have 60 seconds for an opening statement. After your remarks, the question and rebuttal phase will begin. OK? There will be 90 seconds for your answer, then 60 seconds for the rebuttal. But hold on! Hold on! Before we start, everyone who came only to get free drinks ... This is for the environment, goddamit!
So we're going to start with you, Amanda.
Amanda Little: Hello? Is this thing on? OK ... My position on climate change is the same as Exxon Mobile, which is that the appropriate debate we should be having is not whether climate change is happening, but how are we going to deal with it. And I would like to add that it's the same position taken by the Pentagon, NASA, the Pope, hundreds of evangelical leaders ... This is not a hippie position. I think we need to be focusing on how we can respond to this in a way that will drive innovation, build our economy, create jobs, and unify us as a people around solutions. It's the biggest opportunity of the next century, right after the biggest curse.
Jamie Kennedy: So you're saying you're not a hippie? You don't wear patchouli?
Amanda Little: I live in Nashville, Tennessee. How could I be a hippie?
Jamie Kennedy: OK, sir, an opening statement.
Chris Horner: I'm with Friends of the Earth on this. Cap and trade creates subprime credits, setting up a derivatives collapse the likes of which we are just climbing out of the rubble of, being promoted by the same guys who helped create that fall. I'm with Greenpeace on this. Cap and trade wouldn't do anything. This is a strange issue. Global warming is the greatest threat facing mankind, except for all the others. And that's easily established. This is about imposing lifestyle. It's about energy poverty. But nothing ever proposed was meant to take account of the impact on climate. So at least we know it's not about the climate.
Jamie Kennedy: This is for Amanda ... The skeptics say that the process that legitimizes climate science cannot be trusted. They cite that even during the investigation into Climategate that there were no notable skeptics associated with the review. Do skeptics have a chair at the table in discussing the certainty of climate change? Or maybe just a booster seat?
Amanda Little: Well, I mean, look what we have here. (Points at Chris Horner.) We have a chair at the table. Yes, I would say the skeptics have a seat at the table in the United States, but the United States is the only country that's actually still asking questions about whether the science is valid. Every other major country in the world is working on solutions while we debate the science.
Chris Horner: India and China, like the rest of the world, indeed say this is such a serious problem that other people need to do something about it. So they're not all that concerned about the science because it's about a wealth transfer for them. We are debating the science, but so is the UK. The question is about the IPCC: Can it be trusted? The IPCC is 2000 of the world's leading climate scientists. The chief climate scientist, according to USA Today, or climatologist, according to the New York Times, is actually a softcore pornography novelist named Rajendra Pachauri, who by trade is a railway engineer. But he's the chief climate scientist because he thinks the UN is really swell. And when you go down the roster, there's a lot of that. You're a climate scientist if you agree. You're validated if you agree. The U.S. is right to keep asking questions.
Jamie Kennedy: Chris, this is for you ... Marine scientists are recording that the ocean is becoming measurably more acidic, harming coral reefs and other crucial links in the marine chain. If climate change is not happening -- which you believe -- how are the oceans becoming more acidic? I mean, are the Grateful Dead performing concerts in Atlantis? Is Timothy Leary scuba diving?
Chris Horner: You got part of that right. Climate change is happening. The consensus is climate change always has, always will happen. That's what it does. There are some, who you might call deniers, out there. They claim that climate was stable until industrial man, but that denies everything we know about history. The oceans are becoming more acidic, less alkaline. It's cyclical.
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Amanda Little: I'm only understanding one out of every ten words that's coming from Chris. I just want to put this in simple terms. Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases trap and absorb heat. And we're blowing 7 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere as a nation. So we are contributing to the concentration of these gases and that's making the climate warmer. The concentration of greenhouse gases is 30 percent greater than it was in pre-industrial times and it's higher today than it has been in 15 million years. So whatever you were saying, I'm not sure. But it's getting hotter.
Jamie Kennedy: Amanda, you seemed a little stoned on that answer.
Amanda Little: Raise your hand if you understood what I said. (The crowd cheers drunkenly, then
orders another drink slugs another shot.)
Check out New Times' slideshow from Lexus Presents: The Darker Side of Green.