Here is the full transcript:
Larry Elder: Howard Hyde is an ex-liberal, sociologist [sic], progressive Democrat from Berkeley. He edits a website called CitizenEcon.com. He’s also a columnist with FrontPageMag; also, he writes for WesternJournalism.com and AmericanThinker.com. In fact, in American Thinker is where he published his article called, “Climate Change: Where is the Science?” And Howard lives in Southern California, out here, but for the past couple days he’s been attending the D.C. climate change conference sponsored by the Heartland Institute, the think tank that I told you about in Chicago. Howard, are you there?
Howard Hyde: I am there. Thanks, Larry. It’s great to be here.
LE: Howard, thank you very much for joining me and taking the time. This is the twelfth annual conference?
HH: It’s the tenth annual.
LE: And over those ten years, how’s the climate been? [laughs]
HH: [laughs] Well, it’s been pretty much flat, actually. It’s a pleasant, warm day. You know, nothing much to report.
LE: Howard, I got up yesterday morning and I was watching a woman give the weather report and she said, “We have a lot of weather today!” and I— [laughs]
HH: [laughs] Well, how much weather did you have yesterday?
LE: I have no idea! So, Howard, first of all, I’m sure you heard that exchange between Rick Santorum and Chris Wallace of Fox, where Santorum criticized the pope for the pope talking about climate change, and he said he hoped the pope would kind of stick in his lane. Turns out, the pope has a degree in chemistry; Rick Santorum does not. And so, that raises the question of whether or not somebody who’s not a scientist can talk about climate change. Obviously, you can, but what Santorum was basically saying is that the pope was a spiritual leader and ought not be talking about climate change when, in fact, he’s got a degree in chemistry. Question, Howard: what’s your background? Do you have a degree in sciences?
HH: I don’t. I have a degree in music and I work in information technology. But that’s kind of the point. As I wrote yesterday in AmericanThinker.com, ordinary people like you and me, Larry, are easily intimidated from entering into debates with scientists.
LE: How dare you call me ordinary? [laughs] I’m sub-ordinary!
HH: [laughs] Well, you’re extraordinary, Larry—
LE: That’s right!
HH: But you don’t have a PhD, and you don’t speak in incomprehensible charts and graphs and equations and data—
LE: That’s true.
HH: —so you’ve got nothing whatsoever to say about climate.
LE: I got nothing, yeah.
HH: But the fact of the matter is that what’s going on in the climate change debate has nothing to do with science and everything to do with politics and power. Scientists who want to investigate alternate theories of climate do not get the research grants.
LE: Howard, there’s a 90% consensus! Ninety percent of all climate change scientists say that man is trashing the planet! We’ve got to do something about it!
HH: And that’s why, out of 12,000 published papers, only forty-one of them actually said that human-induced, carbon dioxide producing, fossil fuel burning, is the cause of climate change. You know, there’s credible evidence that the actual number is 0.3% as it was presented by Lord Christopher Monckton this morning at the conference.
HH: 0.3% versus 97%.
LE: All right, Howard, the question, of course, people are going to have is: how does somebody as smart as Obama, as smart as John Kerry, both argue that climate change is a bigger threat to us than even ISIS? They can’t be idiots!
HH: Yeah [laughs], well, I mean, first of all, of course, it’s grotesque for Obama to declare climate change worse than ISIS taking over the Iraq that he abandoned, worse than the economy that’s on life support while he’s strangling it, while the cities that are run by the Democrat’s welfare state have become kill zones and so on and on—I mean, there are so many other real problems that we have. But the fact is, Obama and Kerry and Al Gore and all the rest of them, they’re politicians; they’re not scientists. They’re not after a disinterested pursuit of the truth with open debate and falsification and all that; they’re after an agenda. And their agenda is control, power, the dismantling of capitalism, of fossil fuels, and frankly, the dismantling of our constitutional process of government.
LE: I’m talking to Howard Hyde, he is a[n] editor of the website called CitizenEcon.com, also a columnist with Front Page Magazine, and he just attended the tenth annual conference on climate change, sponsored by the Heartland Institute. You know, Howard, did you see—I’m sure you saw an American, I mean, “An Inconvenient Truth.”
HH: [laughs] Actually, I missed that.
HH: I think I was watching the latest Jurassic Park movie at the time.
LE: Anyway, as you know, he brags and brags and brags, does Al Gore, about the fact that he was inspired by a Harvard professor named Roger Revelle. Roger Revelle was the one who warned him about manmade activity, anthropogenic activity, and all the CO2 in the air. It turns out, Roger Revelle, in the waning years of his life—as you probably know, Howard—renounced Al Gore and said Al Gore was an alarmist, he didn’t believe any of the stuff that Al Gore was saying, and then Al Gore said that he was senile. Now, it seems to me if I’m a climate change guy and Al Gore is bragging about the influence of Roger Revelle and Roger Revelle trashes me, it would cause me to rethink my assumptions. But apparently Roger Revelle didn’t even exist!
HH: [laughs] Well, you know, this whole thing kind of makes for strange bedfellows because, you know, Michael Mann, the author of the infamous hockey stick graph, has been suing Mark Steyn for exercising his freedom of speech under the First Amendment to the Constitution for the last couple of years, and this lawsuit’s going on much longer than it ought to—I mean, it should’ve been laughed out of court on the first day.
HH: But in spite of the fact that, you know, the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times—I forget the exact list, but it’s a list of not-at-all right-wing organizations, including the ACLU, are on Mark Steyn’s side in this case because they recognize the threat to free speech and the First Amendment. It’s ludicrous.
LE: You know, Mark Steyn has spoken out against the science that allegedly supports climate change and as Howard pointed out, he is literally being sued. Literally being sued. And this is where we are, right here. I even read about a senator from Rhode Island who suggested that using the RICO statute to go after oil companies the way the RICO statute was used to go after tobacco companies because they’re engaged in a conspiracy to deceive the American people. My goodness! A sitting senator suggesting going after CEOs, oil companies, for lying about climate change and using the RICO statutes to do it?
HH: Yeah, I mean, it’s truly frightening what, you know, the descent into persecution that we’re having. You know, many years ago in the Soviet Union there was this agronomist, this scientist, named Lysenko, and he curried favor with Joseph Stalin and he had all the scientists who disagreed with him either sent off to Siberia or literally executed, killed, OK? So, for forty years or something like that, there was one theory of agronomy which was the politically correct theory and if you disagreed with it, you were in deep doo-doo. And the problem is that the theory, in fact, turned out not quite to agree with the laws of Nature and as a result, millions of Russians starved to death because the way they were planting their crops just didn’t work. And, you know, that’s the slippery slope that we’re heading down with this encroachment upon our civil liberties, the First Amendment and this insane rhetoric that you just described.
LE: I’m talking to Howard Hyde, again, editor of CitizenEcon.com, also is a columnist for a number of publications including Front Page Mag. Howard, I’ve been on the air now twenty years, you’re the first one who’s ever used the word “doo-doo” on my show.
LE: I’m impressed.
HH: Well, yeah, OK, that slipped out.
LE: Howard, OK, take the next couple of minutes and tell us, what is the truth? What is the truth about the science? What is the truth about climate change?
HH: Well, the truth is, first of all, that you can’t take something as huge and as complex as the climate, particularly over the next hundred years, and simplify it down to just one variable that happens conveniently to be the thing that the Left is against, which is to say fossil fuels and capitalism and prosperity. Carbon dioxide, as we all learned in kindergarten, is plant food; it makes the plants turn green. As a matter of fact, plants that get more carbon dioxide need less water in order to thrive. Carbon dioxide is a good thing, it’s something we want more of, and there is not a correlation between the rise of carbon dioxide and the rise of heat, there’s just—in the geological record—there’s just as much evidence of the inverse, of carbon dioxide going up and the planet cooling. And, by the way, a cooling planet is a lot more to be feared than a warming planet. Mark Steyn pointed out that 90% of the population of Canada lives within 100 miles of the United States border, and the reason is, it’s so bloody cold up there!
HH: OK? So it would be a good thing for Canada and Greenland, where, you know, Greenland used to be green, right? I mean, that’s how it got its name.
LE: That’s right.
HH: Now it’s kind of iced over. So, you know, carbon dioxide is not one element that controls it all, water vapor is the dominant greenhouse gas, and water, to my knowledge, by itself is not a pollutant, OK? But neither is carbon dioxide a pollutant. These are not pollutants. So, it’s a lot more complex than that and there’s a great deal of doubt expressed by all the PhDs at this conference and the 9,000 PhDs who find the petition expressing a dissenting opinion that CO2 really has very little to do with it and human activity probably has a slim chance of affecting the climate the way the alarmists are describing.
HH: And even if it were so, it would probably not even be such a bad thing. I mean, the Earth has been a lot warmer than it is today, and in the recent geologic past, like a thousand years ago, there was a medieval warming period where, you know, you could grow wine in Great Britain.
HH: You know, that’s not a bad thing.
LE: I’m talking to Howard Hyde, he edits the website CitizenEcon.com, just finished the tenth annual conference on climate change sponsored by the Heritage Foundation [sic; meant to say Heartland Institute]. Howard, here’s the difficulty that we have: there’s a man named Freeman Dyson, I’m sure you know who he is—
HH: Yes, I’ve been a fan for thirty-five years, actually.
LE: Freeman Dyson is arguably one of the smartest people on the planet. He is a physicist, he’s well liked, he voted for Obama twice, he’s not a right-winger the way Howard and I are, but he has gotten involved in the climate change issue and he says it’s B.S. And when I said this is where we are, Howard, so Freeman Dyson goes to see this movie, “An Inconvenient Truth,” with his wife. His wife comes out and turns to him and says, “You’ve lied to me all this time. You’ve lied to me about this.” Now, if Freeman Dyson cannot convince his wife that climate change is crap, how can we?
HH: [laughs] Well, you know, Senator Inhofe was here, he opened the breakfast keynote yesterday, and he pointed out he’s got something like twenty children and grandchildren, and one of his granddaughters came up to him and said, “Grandpa, how come you don’t understand climate change?”
HH: You know, Senator Inhofe is author of a book on climate change.
HH: He’s the leader in the Senate, you know, opposing the climate taxes and carbon taxes and “Cap and Trade” and all the other schemes. You know, you’d think he, you know, if anything else, he at least knows something about it.
HH: But his granddaughter, because she’s going to the schools and this is what they’re teaching, they’re not teaching them how to think, they’re teaching them—they’re telling them what to think and how to emote about it.
HH: And that’s a scary thing. As you say, Freeman Dyson is not some right-wing, Tea Party nutcase like you and me, OK? [laughs]
HH: My father was a PhD research scientist and he instilled in me the importance of intellectual honesty, of being open to debate, of weighing the evidence, of not publishing your conclusions before you’re certain and before they’ve been peer reviewed and all of that. And I just think, you know, he was a Democrat, he was a John Kennedy Democrat, but he was also a staunch supporter of nuclear power and I’m sure he would be appalled at the collapse of the true pursuit of science and the scientific method that we’re seeing going on today.
LE: Well, Howard, as you probably know, a John Kennedy Democrat could probably get you arrested in seven states nowadays.
HH: [laughs] John Kennedy could never win the nomination of the Democrat Party today.
LE: Not today, not somebody who runs on the campaign of cutting taxes, are you kidding me?
LE: Howard, before you go, you used to be an ex—you used to be a liberal, sociologist [sic], progressive Democrat from Berkeley.
HH: Did I spell that incorrectly? It’s “socialist.”
LE: Socialist, yeah.
HH: Liberal, socialist, progressive Democrat from Berkeley.
LE: Right. And what the hell happened?
HH: [laughs] Well, I was all of that, I was immersed in that climate of Berkeley in the 60s and 70s, with all the radicalism and the Vietnam War protests and the marijuana and everything else, you know, but as I said, I did get something of—about the value of intellectual honesty. And so, I applied that. I wanted to understand these problems about poverty and wealth and pollution and the environment and everything else, and in the process of honestly evaluating alternate theories of how this all works, I came to radically different conclusions. Now, Milton Friedman was an influence with his “Free to Choose” series on PBS—
HH: Julian Simon of the Cato Institute was a strong influence with his book, “The Ultimate Resource,” and by the way, this is very apropos because Julian Simon debunked 200 years of environmental scares. We’re running out of this, we’re running out of coal, we’re running out of that, we’re running out of oil, we’re running out of food, we’re running out of everything, we’re—you know, we’re all gonna die. But what actually happened was, all these commodities and resources got cheaper and people got wealthier and even though we had a higher population, the people were living better than ever before.
LE: Howard Hyde has been my guest. Website—CitizenEcon.com. My brother Kirk is up next. Howard, thank you very much for taking the time. I appreciate it.
HH: Thank you, Larry.
LE: You got it.
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