This is a rush transcript of an interview with Kevin Warwick, a former senior editor at The Wall Street Journal who is now the co-founder of the Weather Underground.
This transcript has been edited for clarity and length.
Kevin Warwick: So I was a weather reporter for The Wall St Journal and I had a lot of respect for them and their people, but the climate change thing was not really a news story.
I mean, the whole climate change story was just sort of a joke.
I had never been exposed to it in my life, and I remember sitting in my office in The Wall and I was watching it and I thought, “Man, this is the worst thing in the world.”
So, I was like, “This is a bad time to be covering this stuff.
There’s nothing more scary than to be the news person and you have to report it.”
And it got worse from there.
But there was this other thing that happened.
And it was not just the weather.
I got in touch with a number of climate scientists who I knew in my field.
They were saying, “Oh, you know, I’ve got this paper coming out with these really interesting new data that’s really going to change everything about the climate and we don’t want to publish it because it’s going to be damaging.”
So I started looking at that data and it was just stunning.
It was just overwhelming.
And the people who were doing it, they were the ones that were the most astute about what was going on.
And they were doing these really amazing studies.
They would be writing the paper, and then they’d go in to the data and go, “Well, you see, this thing is happening now, and we can’t report it because this thing has got to change, and it’s got to happen now.
And we can get a new paper out of this.
It’s so important.”
And the whole time, I’m trying to keep my mind off of this stuff and I’m just sort the dumbest person in the room, trying to get it out of my head.
And then I get an email from the paper editor.
And he’s like, “‘I really want to talk to you about this.
You’ve got to read this paper.”
And I said, “Okay, I’ll read it.”
I thought this was the worst day of my life.
I was really depressed and anxious and paranoid.
And I got up and left the room and I went back to my office and sat in my cubicle and I looked at my phone and I read the paper.
And there was a headline on the paper that said “Climate Change Could Lead to Extreme Weather.”
And there were two paragraphs that said, if this paper was published, “The average global temperature could increase by 0.3 degrees Celsius by the end of this century.”
And that was the headline.
And in the second paragraph was, “For the first time in human history, we’re likely to experience an El Niño event in which severe storms form.
This could cause extreme weather events such as droughts, heat waves and flooding.”
And then they had a very nice footnote where they said, and this was not new, but I just wanted to put it out there, if the paper was printed, the average global surface temperature would rise by 1.3 C in the next few years.
I remember thinking, “That’s a lot.”
So the paper came out, and they changed it and they didn’t publish it, but it just happened.
So I’ve been working in this industry for a long time, and there were people who said, they had been working for years and years and it never happened.
But the data was really telling the whole story.
So there’s this kind of weird fascination, this whole thing where it’s this crazy, wild, crazy story, and that’s what keeps me going.
And so I wrote this book.
I wanted to be a reporter, I wanted people to read it, I just didn’t want it to be just a story about weather.
So it’s not like I’m some kind of environmental journalist or a reporter for a newspaper.
It doesn’t mean I don’t have any love for it.
But I just think, if it’s happening, it’s something that we should be concerned about, not just in our own backyard, but across the globe.
And that’s why I decided to do this book, to say, this should be the subject of serious conversation.
You know, it shouldn’t be just about the weather, but there’s more to it than that.
And this book is really about what the world’s going through.
And a lot, it has to do with this incredible storm, this massive storm that’s occurring right now, that is making the earth’s surface warmer than it has been in decades.
And what we’re seeing now is just a dramatic