Taylor Swift & Steven Tyler Perform ‘I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing’ On …

27 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Taylor Swift Welcomes Steven Tyler, Alison Krauss, Kelsea Ballerini to Stage in Nashville.

Tyler joined the pop superstar on stage at Bridgestone Arena to perform his band’s 1998 hit ballad “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.” The Diane Warren-penned song was featured in the film Armageddon, which features Tyler’s daughter Liv Tyler. Ballerini performed her debut single “Love Me Like You Mean It” and Krauss sat down on the piano for her cover of “When You Say Nothing at All.” Swift performs in Nashville again on Saturday night (Sept. 26) before traveling to St. He visited the state in late summer to draw attention to the looming climate catastrophe the world faces, but with the exception of one big policy speech when he sounded as apocalyptic as any hemp-growing activist, he spent most of his three days up north beaming. “He’s happy to be out of his cage,” one aide joked.

Others credited the buoyant U.S. economy or the fact that the president had just learned that he had secured enough votes to protect the hard-fought nuclear deal with Iran from being derailed by Senate Republicans. No suit and tie, no sir — today, on what was the third and final day of his trip, he was dressed for adventure in black outdoor pants, a gray pullover and a black Carhartt jacket. He was heading north to Kotzebue, a village about 30 miles above the Arctic Circle, which is suffering from a climate-disaster trifecta of melting permafrost, rising seas and bigger storm surges. As White House press releases and video blogs pointed out, this was a historic trip — not only would Obama be the first sitting president to ever visit the Arctic, but he would also be the first president to use a selfie stick to take videos of himself talking about the end of human civilization.

In perhaps the starkest language he has ever used in public, Obama warned that unless more was done to reduce carbon pollution, “we will condemn our children to a planet beyond their capacity to repair: submerged countries, abandoned cities, fields no longer growing.” His impatience was obvious: “We’re not moving fast enough,” he repeated four times in a 24-minute speech (an aide later told me this repetition was ad-libbed). Obama’s trip to Alaska marked the beginning of what may be the last big push of his presidency — to build momentum for a meaningful deal at the international climate talks in Paris later this year. “The president is entirely focused on this goal,” one of his aides told me in Alaska. For Obama, who has secured his legacy on his two top priorities, health care and the economy, as well as on important issues like gay marriage and immigration, a breakthrough in Paris would be a sweet final victory before his presidency drowns in the noise of the 2016 election. “If you think about who has been in the forefront of pushing global climate action forward, nobody is in Obama’s league,” says John Podesta, a former special adviser to Obama who is now chairing Hil-lary Clinton’s presidential campaign. (One recent visitor to the Oval Office recalled Obama saying, “I’m dragging the world behind me to Paris.”) Policywise, the president didn’t have much to offer in Alaska.

On one hand, temperatures in the state are rising twice as fast as the national average, and glaciers are retreating so quickly that even the pilot of my Delta flight into Anchorage told passengers to “look out the window at the glaciers on the left side of the aircraft — they won’t be there for long!” The very week of Obama’s visit, 35,000 walruses huddled on the beach in northern Alaska because the sea ice they used as resting spots while hunting had melted away; in the Gulf of Alaska, scientists were tracking the effects of a zone of anomalously warm water that stretches down to Baja California and which has been named, appropriately enough, “the blob.” On the other hand, the state is almost entirely dependent on revenues from fossil-fuel production, which, thanks to the low price of oil and exhausted oil and gas wells on the North Slope, are in free fall — the state is grappling with a $3.7 billion budget shortage this year. With the economy faltering, he pushed through an $800 billion stimulus bill that jump-started the clean-tech revolution in America, financing investment in wind, solar and other forms of renewable energy. Rather than confront them and use his bully pulpit to build political momentum for action on climate change, he essentially went dark on the issue for the rest of his first term. That changed in the second term. “I think his 2013 inaugural address was a turning point,” says the president’s senior adviser Brian Deese. “He wrote it more or less himself, without policy people, and it really marks a change in his thinking.” In that address, Obama makes the case for immediate action: “We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.” And he made good on that.

In June 2013, he unveiled a detailed 75-point Climate Action Plan, which essentially redirected the entire federal government to begin taking climate change seriously. With the help of Podesta, whom he brought in as a senior adviser in early 2014, Obama launched a series of executive actions that circumvented Congress but still allowed him to demonstrate that he was serious about cutting America’s carbon pollution. Finally, earlier this year he introduced the Clean Power Plan, which will use the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory authority to cut power-plant CO2 emissions by 32 percent by 2030. Nearly all of Obama’s policies have focused on reducing demand for fossil fuels; when it comes to shutting down supply, he has been far less ambitious.

This reflects a seemingly deliberate philosophy that reducing demand is a more effective way to wean our economy off fossil fuels than shutting off supplies — which, in a global market, will just be provided elsewhere. Just a month before the trip began, the Department of the Interior approved a permit to allow Shell to perform exploratory drilling this summer about 75 miles off the coast of Alaska in the Chukchi Sea. As the ice vanishes, a whole new ocean is opening up — and one that contains 30 percent of the known natural-gas reserves and 13 percent of the oil.

And the Russians aren’t the only ones with eyes on the Arctic — as we were flying toward Kotzebue, five Chinese warships were cruising in international waters below. And off to the east, the Canadian military had just wrapped up Operation Nanook, an annual large-scale military exercise, which, according to the Canadian government, was “to assert sovereignty over its northernmost regions.” Before we crossed into the Arctic, we touched down in Dillingham, a small town on Bristol Bay that is the heart of the salmon fishery in Alaska.

Kivalina is the poster child for the havoc that climate change is wreaking on Alaska Native villages along the coast, where the thawing permafrost is destabilizing the soil, causing houses to collapse and allowing the rising sea to wash the island away. About 400 people live on Kivalina, and their way of life is doomed — relocating the village to higher ground on the mainland will cost an estimated $100 million, which, so far, neither the state nor the federal government has been willing to pay for. The president was greeted on the tarmac by Reggie Joule, the mayor of the Northwest Arctic Borough, then we climbed into our assigned vehicles in the motorcade for the short drive to the high school.

You could sense the hardship of life in a place where it gets down to 100 degrees below zero (including wind chill) in the long, dark winters and where the nearest road to civilization is 450 miles away. We shook hands, exchanged a few words about the flight, then Obama sat down in one of the plastic chairs and said, “Let’s do it.” We talked for more than an hour — the cheerfulness that had animated many of his public remarks on this trip dissipated. Only near the end, when I asked if he felt any sadness about what we are losing in the world as a result of our rapidly changing climate, did he show any emotion — he averted his eyes for a moment and looked away, as if the knowledge of what’s coming in the next few decades was almost too much to bear. In 2008, on the day you received the nomination for president, you said, “I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children . . . this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” It’s been seven years now.

And we started with the clean-energy investments that we made early on through the Recovery Act, the work that was done in conjunction with the automakers — in part, frankly, because we were helping them out a lot during that phase — to double fuel-efficiency standards and to look at what we could do administratively in terms of regulatory standards that would create greater efficiency. And Copenhagen, although it was a disorganized mess — and I still remember flying in that last day, and nothing was happening, and I literally had to rescue the entire enterprise by crashing a meeting of the BRIC countries [Brazil, Russia, India and China] and strong-arming them into coming up with at least a document that could build some consensus going into the future. What we were able to do was to establish the basic principle that it wasn’t going to be enough just for the advanced countries to act — that China, India, others, despite having much lower per-capita carbon footprints, given the sheer size of their populations and how rapidly they were developing, were going to have to put some skin in the game as well.

Probably as importantly, we’ve been able to lead by example in a way that allowed me to leverage China and President Xi to make their own commitments for the first time, to have a conversation with somebody like Prime Minister Modi of India or President Rousseff of Brazil, so that they put forward plans. My attitude, though, is that if we get the structure right, then we can turn the dials as there’s additional public education, not just in the United States but across the world, and people feel a greater urgency about it and there’s more political will to act. And regardless of how urgent I think the science is, if I howl at the moon without being able to build a political consensus behind me, it’s not going to get done. So my strategy has been to use every lever that we have available to move the clean-energy agenda forward faster, which then reduces the costs of transition for everybody — in fact, in many cases, saves people money and saves businesses money — so that we’re reducing what is perceived as a contradiction between economic development and saving the planet. But part of my job is to figure out what’s my fastest way to get from point A to point B — what’s the best way for us to get to a point where we’ve got a clean-energy economy.

And somebody who is not involved in politics may say, “Well, the shortest line between two points is just a straight line; let’s just go straight to it.” Well, unfortunately, in a democracy, I may have to zig and zag occasionally, and take into account very real concerns and interests. And we probably should have moved faster to a nonlegislative strategy, but I don’t think that there was some magic recipe whereby we could have gotten cap-and-trade through the Senate without some Republican support. Al Gore once told me that he thinks that everyone who cares deeply about climate change has had what he called an “oh, shit” moment when they realized what’s at stake. There are traditions that are very close to the land — in Hawaii, the water — and you have an intimate awareness of how fragile ecosystems can be. But, as I said, the good news is that the kind of complete skepticism you had around the science that you saw even two or three years ago, I think, has been so overwhelmed — that we kind of cleared out that underbrush.

The next argument that was being made — and a lot of Republicans have continued to make — is the notion that, well, even if it is a problem, there’s no point in us doing something because China won’t do something about it. Every so often, John Holdren, the head of my science advisory group, sends out the latest data, and I make sure that not only me but my entire senior staff read it. And the last few reports have gotten everybody feeling like we’ve got to get moving on this, and to see what kinds of tools we can use to really have an impact. Well, it wasn’t just that they were trying to eliminate solar subsidies — that’s the spin they put on it after I made those remarks down in Nevada — they are actually trying to influence state utilities to make it more expensive for homeowners to install solar panels.

And by the way, they’re also happy to take continued massive subsidies that Congress has refused to eliminate, despite me calling for the elimination of those subsidies every single year. And what’s been fascinating is the coalition that you’re now seeing between the green movement and some members of the Tea Party in some states, saying, leave us alone. So far, Russia has been a constructive partner in the Arctic Council and has participated with the other Arctic nations in ways that are consistent with the rule of law and a sensible approach to the changes that are taking place in the Arctic.

Given that much more of their country and their economy is up north, it’s not surprising that they see more opportunities and are more focused on a day-to-day basis on what’s taking place here than Washington has been. The icebreaker announcement was just a concrete example of the need for policymakers, starting from the president on down, to be mindful that this area is changing and is changing faster than policymakers thought it was going to 10 years ago, or five years ago, or last year. In fact, there have been arguments that, for example, what’s happening in Syria partly resulted from record drought that led huge numbers of folks off farms and the fields into the cities in Syria, and created a political climate that led to protests that Assad then responded to in the most vicious ways possible. It will manifest itself in different ways, but what we know from human history is that when large populations are put under severe strain, then they react badly. I’m less concerned about the precise number, because let’s stipulate right now, whatever various country targets are, it’s still going to fall short of what the science requires.

But there will be a momentum that is built, and I’m confident that we will then be in a position to listen more carefully to the science — partly because people, I think, will be not as fearful of the consequences or as cynical about what can be achieved. In the encyclical, the pope talks about what he calls the “myth of progress.” And he basically argues that greed and materialism are destroying the planet.

If you look at human history, it is indisputable that market-based systems have produced more wealth than any other system in human history by a factor of — you choose the number. What I do think is true is that mindless free-market ideologies that ignore the externalities that any capitalist system produces can cause massive problems.

And pollution has always been the classic market failure, where externalities are not captured and the system doesn’t deal with them, even though it’s having an impact on everybody. And right now, in this country, our politics is going through a particularly broken period — Congress has trouble passing a transportation bill, much less solving big problems like this.

How do you handle this responsibility of avoiding a potential catastrophe of unimaginable dimensions that will affect all of humanity — and within your daughters’ lifetimes? I want to make sure my kids, when they go snorkeling, are seeing the same things that I saw when I went snorkeling when I was five years old, or eight years old. If you talk to people in Washington state right now, I suspect, after having tragically lost three firefighters, and seeing vast parts of their state aflame, that they understand it better. We’re spending about a billion dollars a year on firefighting, and the fire season extends now about two and a half months longer than it did just a few decades ago. You wish that the political system could process an issue like this just based on obscure data and science, but, unfortunately, our system doesn’t process things that way.

This is a long war, with everything at stake. “I do what I can do and as much as I can do,” the president told me as we walked along Kotzebue Bay. “What I don’t want to do is get paralyzed by the magnitude of the thing, and what I don’t want is for people to get paralyzed thinking that somehow this is out of our control. Mad Max will roar back out of the apocalypse while Mad Men rides off into the sunset, rock’s Antichrist Superstar and hip-hop’s Yeezus will rise again.

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