Transcript: Laurie David, film "Too Hot Not to Handle", Apr 17 2006

Laurie David is the executive producer of the new documentary, which is about global warming. It is focused on the United States and features Tom Potter and the City of Portland. Hybrid vehicles. Flex fuel cars. Renting cars.

Thom Hartmann interview with Laurie David 17 April 2006 on KPOJ

(My stream was skipping a bit so there may be the odd word missing or wrong here and there).


[Thom Hartmann] Laurie David, I understand that the reason for that is because this film, which HOB is going to start airing this weekend, this new documentary, "Too Hot Not to Handle", features Tom Potter and the City of Portland?

[Laurie David] It certainly does. First of all, Portland has got to be like one of the coolest cities in the whole country.

[Thom Hartmann] It is.

[Laurie David] I mean, you guys are doing more to stop global warming than any place else I can think of. It's really extraordinary. And Tom Potter's featured and the city of Portland's featured in the film and everybody needs to watch this.

[Thom Hartmann] Well, why?

[Laurie David] Why?

[Thom Hartmann] Yeah.

[Laurie David] What do you mean, why?

[Thom Hartmann] Why should everybody watch this?

[Laurie David] You know, we have this huge problem, and it's called global warming. Have you heard about this?

[Thom Hartmann] Yep.

[Laurie David] I mean, seriously, this is the mother of all issues. And the United States is the biggest cause of global warming pollution and we're doing the least about it. And what are we, two months away from the next hurricane season? Two months away from, you know, summer and, you know, this country has to start moving on this. We have to stop talking about whether the globe is warming because the scientists have told us it is. And we have to start talking about pollution. And, you know, that's what's so great about Portland is that they've taken these matters into their own hands and they've got some great pollutions going on there and we really have to challenge other cities to do the same.

[Thom Hartmann] We're talking with Laurie David, the executive producer of a new documentary on global warming, "Too Hot Not to Handle". Laurie, what are the things that are being done around the United States, and around the world? I know Sweden is really the world leader in using actually a tax structure to shift people away from global warming, greenhouse gas generating activities, primarily driving, but, you know, super-insulating houses, alternative energy, things. Does your documentary go into international things that are being done or is it specific to the United States? And what is being done?

[Laurie David] You know what, we're focused on the United States for one reason, and that is again because we are doing the least about global warming. The rest of the world is engaged on this issue and we're not. What is happening around the country is that individuals have started to do things and businesses have started to do things. I mean, Jeffrey Immelt who's the head of GE has, you know, made a big proclamation this year that the company's going to invest a huge investment in green energy and green technology because they believe that that's the way for the future. They believe that they are going to make money doing it. And so, all kinds of businesses, you know, Wal-Mart is going to be reducing its carbon emissions. They're coming up with all kinds of things that they can do. [Hove Booth?] is now getting almost all their energy, I think, from wind power.

[Thom Hartmann] Yes

[Laurie David] So businesses are doing a lot and obviously there's a lot individuals can do but there's also, you know, we need the country doing something as well. Washington's the last hold out on this issue and I don't personally believe that we have three years to wait for new guys to come into office to start dealing with this problem. There's complete and total consensus on this from the world's scientists and they're saying that we have less than ten years to really start dramatically slowing global warming down before the effects are going to be, you know, too great to do anything about. So we've got to get going, you know, right now.

[Thom Hartmann] So, what are some of the things that are being done around the country that are worthy of emulation?

[Laurie David] Well, first of all there's a huge green buildings movement going on in this country, and I think that in Portland you guys are doing tons of green buildings. I know that Seattle is doing a lot of green buildings. In Portland I think that they're requiring, you know, when you development that you incorporate some of these green [packets?] in what you're doing. There's all kinds of transportation things happening. In California we now allow hybrid cars in the car pool lane, that if you're driving a car that gets over 45 miles per hour [gallon?] you can drive by yourself in the car pool lanes in California, and they have that in Virginia as well.

[Thom Hartmann] Now, Laurie David, pardon me for interrupting you, but with regard to the hybrid cars, Ford has just come out with a hybrid SUV, Lexus now has a hybrid SUV. These are cars that are using hybrid technology not to be more gas efficient but to generate more power. I mean, Lexus's big promotion is that a V8 hybrid engine can produce as much power as a V12 engine. Is that worthy of being put in the HOV lane?

[Laurie David] Only if it gets over 45 miles to the gallon. This is the touchy thing that's happening with hybrids. You don't want the term to be taken over and not have it be a true hybrid. There are hybrids that only get thirty miles to the gallon. By the way, 30 miles per gallon is better than 12. But there are restrictions in terms of the mileage.

[Thom Hartmann] So, Prius yes, Lexus SUV no.

[Laurie David] Here's the thing about cars. The biggest way that we could start solving global warming is to raise our fuel economy incentives.

[Thom Hartmann] Sure.

[Laurie David] The administration could do that tomorrow. But I think the thing that individuals can do is, the first thing you ask when you're buying a new car is, "how many miles per gallon does it get?". I mean, Detroit has spent years and years saying, you know, the American public doesn't care about fuel efficiency, and it's not true. So we've got to start making that a priority when we buy these cars.

[Thom Hartmann] Well, and to a certain extent, the price of gas is driving that thinking right now among Americans who don't even know about global warming.

[Laurie David] Right, now let me ask you these flex fuel cars that you've got. You have those in Portland, don't you?

[Thom Hartmann] The city's using them, yeah.

[Laurie David] Doesn't the city have cars on the streets that you can rent?

[Thom Hartmann] Oh yes, that's a whole program. They're all hybrids or, it's called Flexcars. I think most of them are hybrids. My daughter's actually used one and she used a Prius. What you do is you sign up for this, and then you just either, there are places where you find a car around town and you hop in it and drive to another place where you drop it off. It's a car variation on the thing that they've done with bicycles for a long time.

[Laurie David] I think that's so fantastic. So it's sort of a car pool thing.

[Thom Hartmann] Yeah.

[Laurie David] You don't have a car, but you need to get a meeting, you can borrow one.

[Thom Hartmann] Right, and for most of the time, if you don't use a car, then, you know, you don't need it. Yeah. It is a cool system, but it's really a small, in terms of out impact on global warming, this is a relatively small thing.

[Laurie David] You have to start somewhere.

[Thom Hartmann] Oh sure, sure. The biggest problem is that we're using five, six thousand pounds of steel to move one person around.

[Laurie David] Right. It's really insane, isn't it?

[Thom Hartmann] Yeah. It takes a lot of fuel to get six thousand pounds of steel moving down the street, no matter how efficient your wheels are. So the new... We're talking with Laurie David, she's the executive producer of a new documentary on global warming, "Too Hot Not to Handle", starts airing on HBO this weekend. It features mayor Tom Potter and the city of Portland. There will be a special screening Thursday at the Convention Center at 7p.m. And Laurie David, is there a specific call for action in this film, or is it more of a, "Hey, time to wake up" message?

[Laurie David] This is a "time to wake up" message. But you know, you ask why do people have to watch. And the main reason is that there has been so much misinformation out there in the public about global warming and how it's impacting people directly. And so, I think this film goes a long way to sort of, like, laying the case out, here's what's happening and here's what we have to start doing. And I think people are going to be really, really moved by it. You know, one simple thing people can do, we have a virtual march on the internet at And I hope all your listeners will join this march. And basically, all we're doing is saying, "the globe is warming, humans are causing it, and we want solutions now". And we have over three hundred thousand people marching and hopefully everybody will join the march and have their voice heard.

[Thom Hartmann] And the bottom line is, this could create a wonderful and extraordinary economic boom for Americans.

[Laurie David] This is the greatest, global warming is the greatest business opportunity this country has ever seen. We need a clean industrial revolution and we'll create more jobs and do more for the economy. By the way, it's all the things that we should be doing anyway, you know, to get off our dependence on oil.

[Thom Hartmann] Not only for the planet, but also politically. I mean, here we are in the Middle East where there's oil.

[Laurie David] Exactly. Exactly.

[Thom Hartmann] Surprise, surprise. Laurie David, the executive producer, "Too Hot Not to Handle".

[Laurie David] It's a tough title.

[Thom Hartmann] Yeah, it is. Featuring Tom Potter and the city of Portland. Special screening Thursday at the Convention Center 7p.m. The documentary starts on HBO this weekend. Laurie David, thanks for being with us this morning.

[Laurie David] Thanks so much for having me.

[Thom Hartmann] And keep up the great work.

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