EPISODE 245: “Climate Catastrophe, or Simply the Weather?” with Jay Richards
In this episode I’m joined by Jay W. Richards, Ph.D. to talk about “climate change.”
We are both skeptical about the claims that man is causing abnormal changes in the climate, mainly by adding CO₂ to the atmosphere, and that we need a political solution – fast! – to somehow arrest the spread of this toxic combination of molecules. We’re even more skeptical that the solution is for governments or the UN coerce us do it, and along the way essentially shut down the modern economy.
There are a lot of breathless claims being made. Bryan Moynihan, the CEO of Bank of America and a regular fixture at the World Economic Forum, directed his bank to produce a Global Research Report which claims the consequences of climate change will be dire and extreme. “This is the last decade to act,” they write. “Absolute water scarcity is likely for 1.8 billion people, 100 million face poverty, and 800 million are at risk from rising sea levels by 2025. Climate migration could reach 143 million from emerging markets, driven by extreme weather.”
The amount of investment required they estimate to fully decarbonize the world? “$150 trillion over the next 30 years.”
Before we get out our checkbook, here are some of the questions Jay and I believe demand an answer:
- Is the Earth warming in any meaningful way?
- If the Earth is warming, are we causing it?
- If Earth is warming, and we’re causing it, is that bad?
- If the Earth is warming, and we’re causing it, and that’s bad, would any of the solutions being proposed make a difference?
Jay Richards is the Director, Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Life, Religion, and Family at the Heritage Foundation, Executive Editor of The Stream, and a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute. He is author or editor of many New York Times bestsellers and the soon to be released Fight the Good Fight: How an Alliance of Faith and Reason Can Win the Culture War (with James Robison)
“Are climate change concerns based on real scientific evidence and study and careful consideration,” asks Jay “or is this an ideology? Every ideology in the modern world seems to claim that it’s based on science, because “science” has become the keeper of the public domain. In the Middle Ages, it would’ve been the church and the clerics. Now it’s Science, so everyone from Karl Marx to the President wants to appeal to science for their ideology. And so it is with climate.”
The IPCC (the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) produces dozens of different computer climate models predicting a climate apocalypse. The problem is that they are in significant disagreement with each other. And not only have they not made accurate predictions, they can’t explain the history of the earth’s climate for the last hundred years. And they don’t encompass some basic essentials.
For example, missing from virtually all of these computer programs are the effect of clouds. Al Gore’s movie assumed a cloud free earth when in fact the earth is shrouded in clouds up to two thirds over its surface area. The variation in the cloud cover is a 200 times more powerful factor than the small effect of CO₂, according to Nobel Laureate John Clauser.
The IPCC has not convincingly answered the questions we have asked (and neither has the climate science consensus).
We do know this: a mass hysteria has been whipped up by people and organizations purporting to bring about so-called climate change solutions who are also big beneficiaries. Trillions of dollars have already been spent to no effect, yet they are demanding even more.
Who benefits? The climate change industrial complex, John Podesta, China, Goldman Sachs, Al Gore & John Kerry, the degrowth zealots, Blackrock and Klaus Schwaab.
Who loses? most of the rest of us, developing countries, thousands of species & habitats, taxpayers, the average consumer and real science.
The climate change agenda threatens our modern way of life. Listen in to arm yourself with the arguments we need to be making to resist it.
EPISODE 245 TRANSCRIPT
Bill Walton (00:29:57):
Well, let’s shift gears. I’m here with Jay Richards, the Heritage Foundation, prolific author, great friend, great polymath, knows a lot about a lot of things. That’s why he’s so much fun to talk with. And we’ve been talking about how we define male and female, and it’s obviously a hot topic today. Now, we want to shift to another topic in the insane asylum, which is climate change and the climate change agenda. And you’ve written about climate in your book. I think it’s, let me recollect the title. It’s something Domain. Do you remember your title? Well, anyway, it’s about the climate.
Jay Richards (00:30:36):
Yeah, it’s about the climate, absolutely. And you may not know, I’ve been interested in this topic, actually, for decades, and the discussion about gender ideology and climate change are actually related. Here’s how they’re related. In both cases, we’re dealing with an ideology that falls apart on closer inspection, masquerading as careful science. This is something I, myself, I think from studying the philosophy of science, I’m acutely sensitive to, but is the use of-
Bill Walton (00:31:04):
Say that again.
Jay Richards (00:31:05):
Bill Walton (00:31:05):
Because that’s worth people putting into their memory banks.
Jay Richards (00:31:09):
Bill Walton (00:31:09):
Say it again.
Jay Richards (00:31:11):
The gender question and the climate change question, we’re dealing with a bad ideology masquerading as good science. And so if you study the history of velocity of science, you’ve seen this happen. And so you recognize it. The same thing with COVID, right? this is reason I think some people that just fell for it immediately and others thought, okay, wait, I think lockdownS [inaudible 00:31:34]
Bill Walton (00:31:33):
Remember when our show on COVID got banned?
Jay Richards (00:31:35):
Exactly. Yeah. No. Thank you. I helped you get your first show [inaudible 00:31:41] Both, but yeah, exactly. You got your first show banned talking about it. Things that I would be quite certain are now completely uncontroversial, at least should be. But at the time, were just outrageous. And so you really, really need to understand how to recognize, okay, is this based on real scientific evidence and study and careful consideration, or is this an ideology? Every ideology in the modern world is going to claim to be based on science, because that’s the kind of … Science is sort of the keeper of the public domain. Might have been in the Middle Ages, it would’ve been the church and the clerics. Science, now, sort of has that position. So everyone from Marx to the president wants to appeal to science for their ideology. And so climate, the whole climate debate does this as well.
Now, of course, there is a climate science, it’s a multidisciplinary field that involves everything from solar physics to dendro-chronology, which is the study of tree rings and things like that, and various kind of paleoclimatology, all these different kinds of science in which we try to figure out what’s happening in the Earth’s climate in the past, in the present, in the future, and what might be affecting it. So that’s a real science, but let’s call it the kind of hysteria over anthropogenic climate change. So the hysteria over the idea that humans are not only affecting the climate, but are affecting it dramatically and destructively, that is just simply not based on a fair and honest assessment of the evidence.
Bill Walton (00:33:12):
Well, I love the way you attacked it in your book, because I guess I love it because it’s the way I think about it, which is, number one, is the Earth warming? Number two, if it is warming, are we causing it? Number three, if the Earth is warming and we’re causing it, is that bad? The fourth one is if the Earth is warming and we’re causing it and that’s bad, would the proposed solutions make any difference? And then-
Jay Richards (00:33:41):
The next question, what should we do instead? Because the answer to number four is, no. The Paris Climate Protocol-
Bill Walton (00:33:49):
Doesn’t get you there.
Jay Richards (00:33:50):
Just not going to do a darn thing, and all these crazy proposals for carbon zero by 2035 or whatever, it’s impossible. It can’t happen.
Bill Walton (00:34:00):
Help me out. What’s carbon zero?
Jay Richards (00:34:00):
The idea of carbon-
Bill Walton (00:34:00):
What’s net neutral? Is that the same thing as carbon-
Jay Richards (00:34:05):
Net neutrality, of course, with internet policy. Net zero or carbon zero is just the idea that you’re going to reach a stage in which we’re not adding any carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. And so maybe we’re not removing it, but we’re not adding any. Now, the problem is that CO2 is a product of combustion. It’s sort of a product of almost all of our industrial activity. And so to transition to a form of energy or energy resource that does not release any CO2, it’s going to have to be something completely different than what we’re doing. And it’s not going to be so-called renewables like solar or wind. First of all, because those are fabulously expensive. They’re intermittent, and they themselves, to maintain and to build, require a lot of use of hydrocarbons.
Bill Walton (00:34:57):
Well, I want to get to your one, two, three, four.
Jay Richards (00:34:59):
Bill Walton (00:34:59):
But I do want to … It dawned on me, I don’t know a couple months ago, that for all this obsession with climate change and CO2 and the Earth warming, that the solutions, if it’s wind and solar, are massively destructive of [inaudible 00:35:16].
Jay Richards (00:35:15):
Bill Walton (00:35:16):
Massive destruction of species and are anti-human.
Jay Richards (00:35:21):
And are anti-human and pro-China.
Bill Walton (00:35:23):
Jay Richards (00:35:24):
Yeah. It’s just like everything bad.
Bill Walton (00:35:25):
So they run the table with this.
Jay Richards (00:35:27):
Yes, exactly. And so you can see why certain people would like us to imagine we’re going to solve this problem.
Bill Walton (00:35:32):
If you’re President Xi.
Jay Richards (00:35:33):
[inaudible 00:35:34] Yeah, exactly. Now, the way I say that, there’s some people that sincerely believe that this is a catastrophe. And you can tell that they’re serious because they recognize the problem. They say, “Okay, well, I think we’ve got to pivot away from using hydrocarbons.” What’s the live alternative? Nuclear power. But most of the people advocating this will not talk about nuclear power, which proves that they’re not serious.
Bill Walton (00:35:57):
Because it’s part of the de-growth agenda.
Jay Richards (00:35:59):
Absolutely. A lot of this-
Bill Walton (00:36:01):
World economic forums right out there-
Jay Richards (00:36:03):
Absolutely, it’s de-growth. And some of the folks, I quote some of them in the book are quite explicit about this. They imagine that sort of pristine nature untouched by humans, that’s the ideal. And anything that human beings do to change or transform the environment, that’s bad.
Bill Walton (00:36:20):
I love the way you tie it into the Bible, which is something that is often done and it’s flat wrong. Who’s it, Lynn White?
Jay Richards (00:36:28):
Lynn White, the famous article.
Bill Walton (00:36:31):
He wrote an ecological crisis based on the Bible, and he said, we’re virtuous because we reject the Christian axiom that nature has no reason for existence except to serve men.
Jay Richards (00:36:42):
That’s right. This is in every environmental ethics textbook you can find, this article. So the claim was that the biblical idea is that the only purpose for nature is to serve human beings. The problem is that’s not what the Bible says at all. Human beings are sort of, in Genesis, crowning achievement of the creation. But God in Job, He calls Job and Job’s accusers before Him and says, “Where were you when I created the Pleiades and Orion?” Look at Behemoth and Leviathan. In other words, God has all sorts of reasons for creating the world that don’t have anything to do with us. In Genesis, He creates humans on day six as an encore to day six. But all the other days when He creates, He also declares them good. So this idea that it’s sort of Christian idea that the creation only exists to serve human beings.
First of all, it’s not a Christian idea. In fact, the Christian idea is quite different. And I think that’s important. One, to sort of vindicate scripture, but also because any Christian or Jew that’s actually interested in caring for the environment, you’ve got all the intellectual resources that you need. You don’t need radical environmental ideology to care for the natural world. That’s something that should be uncontroversial. The question is whether the claims of radical climate change are true. And then as I ask the questions, what’s happening? What’s causing it? Is it bad? And what should we do about it? Those are separate questions that could have separate answers.
Bill Walton (00:38:11):
And as you’ve written here, the environmental movement goes far beyond just the environment and treats human beings as the problem.
Jay Richards (00:38:18):
Bill Walton (00:38:19):
John Kerry was at a conference last week or two weeks ago, and he actually said we could do a lot to solve the CO2 problem if we stopped farming.
Jay Richards (00:38:30):
Bill Walton (00:38:30):
If we stopped eating-
Jay Richards (00:38:32):
Stopped eating and stopping breathing.
Bill Walton (00:38:33):
We got 7 billion people on the planet. We get rid of four or 5 billion. We’re in good shape.
Jay Richards (00:38:38):
Prune them down. Absolutely. Years ago, I got a letter-
Bill Walton (00:38:40):
We’re making light of that, but that seems like that’s actually what they think would be a good thing.
Jay Richards (00:38:46):
Certainly, I’m not going to accuse all environmentalists of thinking this.
Bill Walton (00:38:49):
Just John Kerry. We’ll stick with John.
Jay Richards (00:38:52):
Yeah, we’ll stick with Kerry. But the reality is, if you get into the environmental and creation care space, it doesn’t take you long to find someone that’s deeply misanthropic and to realize that a lot of what they think is not based on a careful look at the evidence. It’s just based on this kind of moral intuition that humans are the problem. And to solve the problems of nature, we need a lot fewer humans.
Bill Walton (00:39:12):
Number one, is the Earth warming?
Jay Richards (00:39:14):
Is the Earth warming? So the question here depends on from what baseline. So if we’re talking about is the Earth warming since 1000 AD, if you were to sort of look at that trend line, look at the best evidence, doesn’t look like there is. In fact, it’s probably slightly warmer on average, on the Earth surface around 1000 AD, because of the so-called medieval warming period. If you, however, say, started at 1850s or the beginning of the real uptick in the industrial revolution-
Bill Walton (00:39:41):
Which is their usual starting point.
Jay Richards (00:39:42):
Yeah, usually start at 1850 or 1870.
Bill Walton (00:39:44):
Jay Richards (00:39:45):
So start at the industrial revolution.
Bill Walton (00:39:47):
Back when we started making things productive, and we made people live longer, live healthier.
Jay Richards (00:39:51):
That’s right. Allowed billions-
Bill Walton (00:39:52):
[inaudible 00:39:53] people out of poverty.
Jay Richards (00:39:54):
Bill Walton (00:39:54):
Little things like that.
Jay Richards (00:39:55):
Yeah. Little trivial improvements here and there, right?
Bill Walton (00:39:57):
Jay Richards (00:39:58):
But let’s just say we’re going to put a pin in our graph in say-
Bill Walton (00:40:01):
Jay Richards (00:40:01):
1850, and look at the best evidence from 1850 to the present. I think, yeah, we are warmer now than we were then of roughly two degrees fahrenheit. So, okay, if that’s what we’re talking about, that’s very narrow. From 1850 to the present, Earth’s a little bit warmer. Okay, fine.
Bill Walton (00:40:22):
Two degrees fahrenheit, not-
Jay Richards (00:40:24):
Two degrees fahrenheit.
Bill Walton (00:40:24):
Jay Richards (00:40:24):
Two degrees fahrenheit.
Bill Walton (00:40:25):
Jay Richards (00:40:26):
So less than that, obviously, fahrenheit.
Bill Walton (00:40:28):
So continue. This is-
Jay Richards (00:40:31):
So the second would be, are we causing it? That’s a separate question. So you can observe something, you can observe polar bears looking for places to swim or whatever. You can say, well, okay, this seems to be evidence that the Earth is warming. That doesn’t tell you what causes it. Is it change in sunspot cycles and magnetic features? Is it something we’re doing? Is it some other thing we don’t know about? Now, the assumption of the sort of climate panickers is that human beings are the primary cause of this. And this isn’t without foundation, because we know that certain types of gases such as methane, water vapor, and carbon dioxide are greenhouse gases, which just basically means that they can absorb more infrared radiation. So you get sunlight comes in, hits the Earth’s surface, some of it bounces off the Earth back out into space.
Some of it gets absorbed in the atmosphere. It’s what’s responsible for keeping Earth’s surface much warmer than it would be otherwise. So that’s the greenhouse effect. The idea is that, okay, we know that humans have been adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere since, again, let’s just pick 1850, and CO2 is a greenhouse gas. So at least hypothetically, it could be that our introduction of additional CO2 into the atmosphere has caused this additional warming. Now, it’s actually much, much harder to nail that down. That kind of makes sense at a theoretical level, but it’s actually not easy to prove that. And we know there are other potential sources of warming.
Bill Walton (00:42:02):
Is this is correlation or is this causation?
Jay Richards (00:42:04):
At this point, it’s just … So correlation would just be we see warming-
Bill Walton (00:42:08):
And we see an increase in CO2?
Jay Richards (00:42:10):
Right, that’d be correlation. But then you have a kind of theoretical account of how this could have been.
Bill Walton (00:42:15):
Well, you know Jerry Corsey?
Jay Richards (00:42:17):
Bill Walton (00:42:17):
Jerry Corsey has been on, and he’s written another [inaudible 00:42:20]. I get all the best writers on this show. He points out that we’re right now at about 420 parts per million.
Jay Richards (00:42:29):
Billion, or parts per million. You’re right. You got it.
Bill Walton (00:42:30):
And that’s just an infinitesimal amount of the atmosphere, most of the [inaudible 00:42:36] oxygen. So the idea we’ve got this trace gas, which is driving all this change when it could be the sun, it the could be the Earth rotation, it could be all sorts of things that are happening. And yet, if you examine the deeper agenda, which is an anti-human agenda, and I’m going to go out on limb here, that’s the only thing we can really control, carbon dioxide. And we can do that by shutting down the western, or actually now, global industrial economy.
Jay Richards (00:43:04):
That’s right. Shut down what we’re doing and prevent the poor countries that still need to do it from doing it themselves. That’d be the way to shut this down. Now, it could be trace gas, but hormones are trace chemicals in our body, and they can have major effects. And so the theoretical assumption is not just that the CO2 is causing the warming, because we know just from physics, the amount of warming that you can get from the CO2 is actually pretty minimal, and you have to keep doubling the concentration in order to increase the warming by one degree.
Bill Walton (00:43:34):
Well, we’ve only gone up 50% in 170 years.
Jay Richards (00:43:37):
So you’d have to go from, let’s say you go from three to six and let’s say that raises the temperature one degree. You have to double it again to get one more degree. And so very quickly, it becomes almost impossible to increase the warming in that way. But the theoretical assumption is that there are all these feedback mechanisms that are triggered. And so a positive feedback is a feedback that amplifies the effects of the warming and a negative feedback would be one that sort of mitigates the effects. Most of the models, that’s where we get these predictions of catastrophic global warming. We can’t observe the future. They’re based upon these theoretical models that predict what’s supposed to happen.
Bill Walton (00:44:19):
Weren’t these the same theoretical models that Al Gore used in Inconvenient Truth-
Jay Richards (00:44:21):
Bill Walton (00:44:21):
And proved to be flat, astonishingly wrong?
Jay Richards (00:44:24):
Well, one of this is the key thing is that the models-
Bill Walton (00:44:28):
Think about that. Al Gore and John Kerry as presidential candidates.
Jay Richards (00:44:31):
Yes, I know. And they may be doing more damage now, who knows, behind the scenes.
Bill Walton (00:44:35):
Should have let him be president.
Jay Richards (00:44:37):
But the models predict way more warming than we actually observe.
Bill Walton (00:44:40):
Jay Richards (00:44:40):
So the warming we observe is about what you would expect just from the CO2 increase itself.
Bill Walton (00:44:47):
So the takeaway from this, if you’re listening or watching, is to be very suspicious about CO2 as an important metric.
Jay Richards (00:44:54):
Or as a major driver of catastrophic climate change.
Bill Walton (00:44:57):
Now, do you have another culprit for driving … Is there anything else you think could be doing [inaudible 00:45:01]
Jay Richards (00:45:01):
Well, I don’t think any of this is catastrophic. I actually think it’s possible that the warming is the result of the CO2, but we really just don’t know at the moment.
Bill Walton (00:45:08):
But if there’s more CO2, it’s better for growing plants.
Jay Richards (00:45:12):
Bill Walton (00:45:14):
If there’s a rise in temperature, it makes more land arable. It means something like Siberia could become agricultural.
Jay Richards (00:45:21):
Yeah, absolutely. It would increase. So that’s the third question. Is it bad?
Bill Walton (00:45:24):
Okay, let’s go to number three. Is it bad?
Jay Richards (00:45:26):
[inaudible 00:45:26] pivoted there. Because the assumption is that if the Earth’s warming and we’re causing it, that it’s bad. We would only know it was bad if we knew what the optimum temperature was. So we say, okay, well, this is the optimum temperature for all the things that we want on balance. And then if we were moving away from it, that would be bad. If we’re moving toward it, that would be good. The problem is we don’t know what the optimum temperature is. I would assume for human wellbeing, it’s somewhere between zero and a hundred degrees centigrade. But even the UN, and the IPCC, they estimate, so this is the kind of official UN estimate, that moderate warming in the near term is probably net positive. In other words, it has more benefits than costs. It’s going to be only the warming toward the end of this century that they project will be somewhat bad, though, even in that case, it’s actually-
Bill Walton (00:46:15):
End of the century? That would be-
Jay Richards (00:46:17):
End of this century. The warming would get severe enough that it would have more costs than benefits. That’s the way to think about it. It’s not a catastrophe, even in the UN estimate. People don’t know that, but that’s their argument based upon the projective models.
Bill Walton (00:46:30):
Well, let’s get into who’s making this argument. IPCC is a piece of the United Nations.
Jay Richards (00:46:34):
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is-
Bill Walton (00:46:37):
Jay Richards (00:46:38):
… the entity created by the UN, not to figure out whether we’re causing climate change, but to figure out how bad our effect on the climate is. So it presupposes the account, and then their mandate is just to find out how bad or good it is. And so it’s already kind of been set up with the theoretical assumptions in place. But even having said that, if you look at the official reports, they’re actually much more modest in the things that they described than you’re going to get if you’re just following the headlines.
Bill Walton (00:47:09):
Interesting thing about their reports is their numbers seem pretty modest, and I’ve been forced to read about this.
Jay Richards (00:47:15):
Bill Walton (00:47:16):
The words are dire.
Jay Richards (00:47:18):
Yes. The words are dire. And if you read the summary for policymakers, which is usually written by an English major that doesn’t even know the science. And so it’s the summary. Nobody’s really reading the reports. It’s always hyped up. And very often, in fact, Steve Koonin, in his terrific book, Unsettled, points this out there’s often a chasm between the report itself and the summary.
Bill Walton (00:47:38):
Steve Koonin is-
Jay Richards (00:47:39):
Yeah. Yeah. He was actually in the Obama administration. He’s a physicist. He’s written a book called Unsettled, just a careful, intellectually honest analysis of what the evidence says. And people don’t often realize that, but even if you just go with the official UN testimony, we’re not talking catastrophe. We would be talking about, okay, something we might want to try to do something about or something like that. Now, I think even that’s too much. I think the reality is, I’ll get my own view, I agree, there’s been some moderate warming. I think it’s probably likely that we’re a contributor to it. It seems plausible to me. I don’t think it’s bad. I think it’s probably on balance good. And the range of variation is well within natural variation. That’s the key thing.
People think that if you tell them, “Okay, well, but climate changes all the time.” They’ll say, “Yeah, but we’re causing anomalous climate change. It’s heating up much more quickly now than it has in the past.” It’s not true. Anybody that can look at historic climate data from the ice cores in Antarctica and Greenland knows we’ve got had massive variations, obviously, in the climate of the Earth on its surface. And we’ve had massive variations in the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. And so if the climate were highly sensitive to variations in CO2, we would see that in the records of the actual climate.
Bill Walton (00:48:57):
Is there any actual evidence of damage from climate change? I know everything gets attributed to climate change. If there’s a tornado, climate change. If there’s-
Jay Richards (00:49:07):
If there’s a drought.
Bill Walton (00:49:08):
There’s a drought, it’s climate change. If the Yankees lose the pennant, it’s climate change.
Jay Richards (00:49:12):
Bill Walton (00:49:13):
It’s sort of-
Jay Richards (00:49:14):
All these things.
Bill Walton (00:49:14):
Everything’s attributed to climate change.
Jay Richards (00:49:16):
Bill Walton (00:49:18):
Do we have a set of examples you can actually say, climate change has caused this bad outcome?
Jay Richards (00:49:23):
None whatsoever. And in fact, the theoretical predictions is that climate change. So we sort of lead to warming, the warming leads to change, and then those lead to bad things like more intense hurricanes, more frequent hurricanes and monsoons, more droughts, all these kinds of things. Those are theoretical predictions of what would happen, but none of that is observed. There’s been no trend whatsoever over the last century, for instance, in terms of the number of hurricanes or the intensity of hurricanes. Again, Koonin treats this all this very well. This is widely known to the people that sort of study this stuff, that all these predicted trends aren’t now happening. And so when the media tells you, oh, this is the result of climate change, first of all, they’re playing a shell game because any individual instance of weather can’t be used as proof of overall climate. Climate is about the sort of average of weather over a long period of time. So any individual storm can’t be attributed.
Bill Walton (00:50:19):
Well, and actually the number of violent storms have been reduced the last hundred years.
Jay Richards (00:50:21):
That’s the funny thing. If anything, it’s probably slightly better.
Bill Walton (00:50:23):
There are fewer hurricanes.
Jay Richards (00:50:25):
Bill Walton (00:50:25):
There are fewer tornadoes.
Jay Richards (00:50:26):
Yeah. That’s the sort of funny thing about it, is that not only is there no trend, the trend seems to be slightly in the other direction.
Bill Walton (00:50:31):
So number four, it’s warming, we’re causing it. That’s bad. Solutions. The solutions are stunning.
Jay Richards (00:50:41):
Bill Walton (00:50:41):
Really, and this is where I began to think this has got to be cynical.
Jay Richards (00:50:44):
Bill Walton (00:50:45):
And the other thing I’m just mystified about it, there are a lot of smart guys I’ve worked with on Wall Street and other places, 190 IQs, and they’re still talking about things as if climate change were an existential problem. Bob Rubin.
Jay Richards (00:51:01):
Yeah, he’s a smart guy.
Bill Walton (00:51:04):
He’s a pretty smart guy. He’s talking about existential risk, which brings me to the question, you’ve been studying this longer. Do they really believe it? Or is cynical because we also have something called the climate industrial complex.
Jay Richards (00:51:17):
Yeah. Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. So of course. So I would say it’s probably a mix. I think of it in terms of concentric circles. You have people that just get sucked in and don’t know anything about it, and they’re just believing the media. Then you have smart people that, it’s not their subject.
Bill Walton (00:51:30):
Those would be most Republicans. They’re light green.
Jay Richards (00:51:33):
Yes, exactly. Like most Republicans. Exactly. And then frankly, most Democrats, they care about the Earth and they just trust the New York Times headlines or whatever. And then you’ve got some people that are sort of true believers. And I think there’s some people that sincerely believe this, though they’re usually much more nuanced because they know the details are complicated. And then I think you have to have some cynical people. So anyone that really thinks this is an existential threat, that thinks the Paris Agreement, which was voluntary and was basically a bunch of countries saying, okay, we’re going to kind of slow the amount of carbon dioxide we’re putting in the atmosphere. But China and India, who are the biggies, aren’t doing it. And even the countries that agreed to comply are not doing it.
In fact, the United States, which did not agree to it, has done more because of our shift from coal to natural gas, which is actually, as the other side would measure these things, that’s an improvement. So that’s the sort of irony. That’s the kind of reality, the idea that just slightly reducing this is going to make a difference when you’ve got China just putting massive numbers of coal plants online every week makes no sense.
Bill Walton (00:52:41):
Two per week.
Jay Richards (00:52:42):
Yeah. Just on and on and on. And they’re not going to stop doing that. I wouldn’t expect them to stop doing it. They’ve got a lot of development still to do. And so this idea that something like this, or maybe this plus 10 even is going to get us to where they think we ought to go. It’s just ridiculous. It’s just basic arithmetic. And they’ve got to know this as well. And so the fact that they’re not saying, we need to do everything we can to make our electrical grid nuclear rich, we need to be building nuclear plants as fast as we can. The fact that they’re not saying that tells me that at some level, they’re just cynical. I know this is about a power game rather than about actually saving the Earth.
Bill Walton (00:53:22):
Well, and I get the name of these egregious bills in Congress. What is it? The Inflation Reduction Act. Do I have that right?
Jay Richards (00:53:30):
Bill Walton (00:53:32):
It did nothing. It exacerbated inflation.
Jay Richards (00:53:34):
Bill Walton (00:53:35):
But where that money went is, to me, the most interesting and upsetting part with the most of it, big chunks of it went, I think, there’s a $400 billion climate fund, which is going to be run by John Podesta.
Jay Richards (00:53:50):
Some of this stuff, you almost think it’s got to be made up.
Bill Walton (00:53:52):
And another half a trillion dollars of climate subsidies.
Jay Richards (00:53:56):
Bill Walton (00:53:57):
Who’s that go to? It goes to Goldman Sachs. It goes to wealthy investors-
Jay Richards (00:54:01):
Bill Walton (00:54:01):
And the left.
Jay Richards (00:54:02):
And now you’ve got the Biden administration wanting the American people to pivot to electric cars by 2030 and 2035 at a rate that’s just simply impossible.
Bill Walton (00:54:14):
Jay Richards (00:54:15):
It’s not a pivot, it’s a shove.
Bill Walton (00:54:15):
Yeah. Electric trucks.
Jay Richards (00:54:18):
Bill Walton (00:54:18):
And the military wants electric tanks.
Jay Richards (00:54:20):
Bill Walton (00:54:21):
Where they plug them in in Ukraine? It’s not clear.
Jay Richards (00:54:23):
You got to plug them. This is the problem. And so it’s not really fixing the problem. It’s like, okay, fine if you want an electrical car, but if the grid is still using hydrocarbons, you’re just transferring the place where the hydrocarbons are being used. So people that are telling me we need to all drive electric cars, but they’re not actually doing anything to change the electric grid realistically, by adding nuclear. It’s just not serious. I don’t know what else to say about it except it’s just absolutely absurd. So even if you think the Earth’s warming catastrophically, we’re causing it and it’s bad, there is no reason to think that any of the kind of political solutions on offer will make any difference whatsoever. And so the question is, if you’re worried about it, what’s the best thing to do?
And I argue the best thing to do, even if you’re worried about it, is to help people to adapt. Because the richer you are and the wealthier country is the easier it is for them to adapt. It’s always going to be increase in the cost of energy or a change in the climate or the local atmosphere that’s going to affect the poor the most significantly. And so what we should want is poor countries to develop, even if that means using as it will, more hydrocarbons in the near term. And then the bonus to that is that once people get wealthy enough, they start caring a lot more about the climate than they do when they don’t know where the next meal is coming from.
Bill Walton (00:55:37):
Well, but why should you care about climate if you don’t have enough to eat?
Jay Richards (00:55:42):
Bill Walton (00:55:43):
Yeah, you shouldn’t. You mentioned China. China’s a massive beneficiary of this.
Jay Richards (00:55:48):
Bill Walton (00:55:49):
If you wanted to develop an agenda to impoverish the people that they would like to rule, this would be it. But it’s interesting, China’s a lot shrewder about their agenda than we are they. They’ve got the Belt and Road initiative.
Jay Richards (00:56:05):
Yes. They’re very-
Bill Walton (00:56:06):
They’ve gone around the world. They’ve helped with infrastructure in South America, Central America, Africa.
Jay Richards (00:56:11):
They’re giving loans to develop coal plants that the IMF and the World Bank will not give. So China’s giving loans to developed world-
Bill Walton (00:56:18):
Well, that’s the bite. [inaudible 00:56:21] Those are the two subsets. So if you look at the NGO or the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, all kinds of strings attached. In the first place-
Jay Richards (00:56:32):
Bill Walton (00:56:33):
… they want the country to be equity driven.
Jay Richards (00:56:38):
Bill Walton (00:56:39):
And they want-
Jay Richards (00:56:42):
They want education to be suffused with gender ideology.
Bill Walton (00:56:44):
And they want you flying the flags to celebrate that.
Jay Richards (00:56:47):
Bill Walton (00:56:48):
And then one of the other things they want is they want climate-friendly development, which means wind and solar.
Jay Richards (00:56:55):
Bill Walton (00:56:55):
If you’re in Africa or Central America, you’re asking, “You kidding, we’ve been trying…”
Jay Richards (00:57:00):
Can we get electricity everywhere, please?
Bill Walton (00:57:03):
Can we try?
Jay Richards (00:57:03):
Bill Walton (00:57:03):
A little diesel generator maybe to for the village. So we’re offering things that they don’t want. China’s offering what they do want and China’s winning this competition.
Jay Richards (00:57:14):
Absolutely. And then the other piece of this is that the move toward car batteries and solar panels massively benefits China because they’ve got access to a lot of the rare minerals and lithium and the things that we don’t have or don’t want to mine here. So if this were a Beijing conspiracy of the People’s Republic of China to get the West to destroy itself economically and then to transition to a type of energy that will benefit them massively, it would look exactly the same. I don’t actually think this is a conspiracy. I think this probably is mostly cooked up by Westerners, unfortunately.
Bill Walton (00:57:50):
They’re just taking advantage of it.
Jay Richards (00:57:52):
But it might as well be. It might as well be a conspiracy. This is how it would look.
Bill Walton (00:57:55):
Well, I want to set down my marker though. I really do care enormously about the habitat and species. I’ve got 75 acres out the side of a mountain and we’ve got every … it’s fantastic. And this climate, this wind and solar is insane.
Jay Richards (00:58:13):
It’s a disaster.
Bill Walton (00:58:14):
It takes 500,000 pounds of minerals to create a 1/1000 battery that goes into a car. And where are those mines going to dig? They’re not going to dig in Connecticut.
Jay Richards (00:58:24):
No, it’s going to be child labor in Africa, and it’s going to be China and places like that. It’s just the worst thing you can think of. This idea that you care about birds and so you want to put a bunch of giant guillotines in the air everywhere. I just, I’m not following the logic.
Bill Walton (00:58:41):
My favorite, and I use this too much, in California, they call wind farms, I think, Condor, the eagle, Condor Cuisinart.
Jay Richards (00:58:50):
Yeah. It’s depressing, but that’s the reality. And the other thing is that, as you said, Bill, people that actually care about these things, they need to disentangle that care from the climate change agenda because it sucks all the air out of the room and actually prevents us from focusing on things that actually benefit the environment.
Bill Walton (00:59:06):
We have real habitat issues, real species, real environment, real rivers, all sorts of things we need to be mindful of. But it’s not-
Jay Richards (00:59:13):
That’s how I got into this initially. I honestly thought, oh, it’s about that. It turns out it’s about something else.
Bill Walton (00:59:17):
Well, Jay, we’ve got a lot of work to do.
Jay Richards (00:59:19):
Yeah, we do.
Bill Walton (00:59:20):
We’ve got to get the word out and you’re doing it. And if you’re not too weighed down by your new title, that’s impressive though. That’s a big operation. I’m really-
Jay Richards (00:59:32):
Bill Walton (00:59:32):
You’re able to do a lot of good from there.
Jay Richards (00:59:34):
It’s terrific. And I’m just so excited about the stuff Heritage is doing. It’s great to be part of the team.
Bill Walton (00:59:39):
Yeah. Well, this is great. So this has been the Bill Walton show. I’ve been here with Jay Richards, a brilliant, brilliant assessor of all things. I don’t know what, economic, cultural-
Jay Richards (00:59:50):
And all things depressing.
Bill Walton (00:59:54):
And hope you’ve enjoyed the show. As you know, we like to produce shows you like and would love to hear your comments on our Substack page and also on our website, which you could be reached with billwaltonshow.com. Please send us your ideas about shows and people and topics you’d like us to get into and we will do that. And as always, you can find us on all the major podcasts and other video platforms like Rumble and YouTube and Substack and CPAC now on Monday night. And you can find Jay Richards at heritage-
Jay Richards (01:00:28):
Bill Walton (01:00:28):
And your J.Richards at-
Jay Richards (01:00:31):
And actually my Twitter is @DrJayRichards.
Bill Walton (01:00:33):
Great. Okay. Anyway, so thanks for joining and we’ll be back again with hopefully something else that you will like as much as I like this one. Thanks, Jay.
Jay Richards (01:00:44):
Bill Walton (01:00:45):
I hope you enjoyed the conversation. Want more? Click the subscribe button or head over to the billwaltonshow.com to choose from over a hundred episodes. You can also learn more about our guest on our Interesting People page. And send us your comments, we read everyone and your thoughts help us guide the show. If it’s easier for you to listen, check out our podcast page and subscribe there. In return, we’ll keep you informed about what’s true, what’s right, and what’s next. Thanks for joining.
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