Robert Ballard: Titanic Explorer Talks Climate Change

Robert Ballard: Titanic Explorer Talks Climate Change

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

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Robert Ballard, the ocean explorer of Titanic fame sat down with me in Silicon Valley to discuss his expeditions, global warming, and alternative energy. This respected scientist spoke candidly about global warming -“I’ll be honest, it’s too late, all the ice is going to melt.” READ the TRANSCRIPT

On the global warming controversy: Natural cycle or Human impact?

“Hey folks: it’s both.  Whenever you have a tremendous controversy both sides tend to be right and wrong. You do have the natural interglacial warming that we’re experiencing, but you are increasing the severity of it with the human footprint.  The concern most people have is that we can’t do much about the natural cycle, but we can do a lot about the human cycle. ..if you steepen it too much, evolution can’t keep up and you get extinction.”

On being Politically Correct

“Sometimes I see this tombstone that says, “the human race came and went but it was politically correct.” As a scientist I am not politically correct. My job is not to be politically correct. My job is to call it as I see it. And I see that the biggest problem the human race has is that there are too many of us.”

On the need to reduce our carbon footprint

Everyone wants to be an American and that would be the worst thing in the world – if everyone emulated us – because we’re so consumptive. An important thing for Americans to do is to drop their footprint. It’s never too late to change your ways…”

On alternative energy

“I’m actually very pro nuclear. I thought the Three Mile Island calamity was an absolute disaster. A disaster for our country, because I’m very pro nuclear energy. I think it’s safe if done wisely. I envy what France has done. I think they’re up to 90%.  But because of that horrible tragedy and how it frightened people… we lost a generation of bringing more and more nuclear power online.”


Finally, in tribute to the infamous query by Barbara Walters and for all Ballard’s youthful fans (he received over 16,000 letters from children when he discovered the Titanic), I asked him, “If you were a sea creature, what sea creature would you be?” Check out the Fresh Dialogues transcript to find out.

Ballard was in Silicon Valley last week as part of the Foothill College Celebrity Forum Series to talk about his educational outreach programs and his recent expeditions to the Black Sea. He sat down with me for this interview in the Flint Center Green Room before Friday’s lecture and we discussed global warming, alternative energy, funding his expeditions, and how he sees his role in educating children in science.

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