Or read the transcript below:
Interview with Larry Bell by Roger Aronoff
The “Take AIM” show on BlogTalkRadio, February 3, 2011.
ROGER ARONOFF: Our guest today is Professor Larry Bell, author of the new book Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax. Good morning, Larry! We’re pleased to have you with us today on Take AIM!
LARRY BELL: Roger, thanks for inviting me! It’s nice to talk to you again!
ARONOFF: Larry was up here in Washington a few months ago, and I had the chance to meet him in person. I knew right then I was looking forward to having him on the show—I just had to wait for the book to come out, and it has recently. Before we discuss your book, I’d like to tell our listeners a bit more about you. Larry Bell is a professor of architecture, and holds an Endowed Professorship in Space Architecture at the University of Houston. An internationally recognized commentator on scientific and public policy issues, he’s written extensively on climate and energy policy, and has been featured in many prominent national and international newspapers, magazines, and television programs. His columns appear regularly at forbes.com, and you can read them there. So let’s find out a little more about you, Larry: What is a Space Architect, and what sort of things do you do and work on?
BELL: We work with not just space, but extreme environments on Earth. I guess we’re sort of general practitioners as opposed to specialists when it comes to the space programs and systems. As in climate, there’s a lot of specialization. We’re sort of connect-the-dots people: We look at all aspects of mission planning for lunar programs, Mars programs, orbital programs, spacecraft design, linking the issues of human support to the technical issues. So it’s very, very comprehensive. We have a center that has kind of an interesting name—Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture, at the University of Houston, where we do contract work with aerospace companies and with NASA. We have a graduate program in that, as well, and about half of my students come from aerospace—from NASA. We’re in Houston, a good place for that sort of stuff.
ARONOFF: For instance, you work on the International Space Station?
BELL: Yes. We worked on that. We’ve done a lot of planning for lunar missions, Mars missions. We’re currently working with one major aerospace company on advanced mission planning, so it’s interesting. It gets us into all of the different issues—safety issues, technical issues, orbital issues, and so on. It’s kind of a playground!
ARONOFF: And before we get into the book, one more thing about this: Tell us about what the Obama administration’s view has been towards NASA and space exploration, and how it has affected the work of space architects and people that you’re involved with.
BELL: I’m concerned. To me, it’s kind of a good news, bad news sort of thing. I’m all for opening up the space program, for exploration beyond the moon, looking at Mars and at other issues. I think we should have a long, tall flagpole that we can sight on in the future. The bad news: I think they’re kicking the can down the road. They talk about those sorts of things, but, in reality, I think they’re saying they’re going to transfer it to the private sector, which sounds good, but I think it will be a while coming, and in the meantime the focus on, of course, the climate stuff—we’ve got so much climate research now that I don’t like the fact that there’s so much emphasis being put on that at the expense, I think, of the things that the public really looks for in space.
ARONOFF: And that is now being funneled through NASA, as well as EPA and other things.
BELL: Yes, heaped upon, or however you want to look at it.
ARONOFF: Right, right. So what led you from this field that you’re in to learning about, and writing about, global warming?
BELL: It was really accidental. It was a few years ago. Fred Singer, who is a very noted guy who was the first Director of the National Weather Satellite Center, came to my office and for a totally different thing—he’s a space guy, I’m a space guy—and during the course of the conversation, he just casually mentioned that the satellites were showing that there was more cooling in the atmosphere than so-called global warming models, in theory, suggested—quite the opposite, where the cooling was occurring, it should have been the other way ’round if global warming theory worked. I didn’t think much about it at the time. I didn’t have much more interest in the climate than, probably, anyone else on the street. It was interesting, but I wasn’t really into it. It was not until, probably, a couple of years later that I casually began to wonder, “Maybe there’s things we can learn about designing spacecraft life-support systems from Spaceship Earth, and how climate works.” The more I got into it, the less sense it made, when I looked at the science. It just didn’t make any sense. I began to think, “Either I’m nuts, or somebody’s nuts, or we’re being misled.” That kind of started the whole thing. I certainly didn’t plan to write a book!
ARONOFF: Do you believe that global warming is occurring? If so, is it caused by humans?
BELL: The title of my book is a little misleading—I talk about Climate Corruption, and how politics is responsible for the global warming hoax, and, in reality, of course the climate warms and cools all the time—Climate changes all the time. I’m from Wisconsin, a little town called Baraboo. That’s where a glacier melted at the end of the last Ice Age, and left a beautiful formation about 500 feet tall with a lake, a basin, at the center of the moraines. A glacier melted there, and, clearly, the climate changed from the last Ice Age, and the question is, why did that happen? Was it our pre-Holocene ancestors and their little brushfires that did it? I don’t think so. There’s all these forces and cycles that change climate, over long periods of time, shorter periods of time. They all intermingle. No one can predict them all. No one can determine which affects things the most. Climate models are extremely speculative. And yet, so much stock is put in them in terms of predictors for national policy—which, I think, makes no sense whatsoever. I think it’s driven by other agendas.
ARONOFF: Okay. You are not a climate scientist, so I want to ask, since I’m sure people are wondering, why are we talking to you about this, as opposed to someone who is a climate scientist? Are you, as an architect, and with what you do, do you consider yourself—or are you—a scientist?
BELL: I never really call myself a “scientist.” I’m certainly a researcher, and I certainly write a lot of technical stuff, but, as I make very clear in the preface of my book, I’m not a climate scientist, and I never played one in the movies. At the same time, I don’t get paid to do research by government contracts that require that I come up with solutions and answers that fit political agendas. I don’t get scientific grants, and in that sense, I’m pure as the driven snow. I don’t have any agendas other than, I think, dispassionate review of the literature. I don’t want to be defensive, and I don’t think I am, but if you look at the head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, he’s a railroad engineer, he has a background in engineering and economics. Al Gore isn’t a climate scientist. I don’t think you have to be entrenched in a particular scientific discipline in order to review information and be objective about it.
ARONOFF: Right. One thing we hear is that eight or nine of the hottest years on record have occurred in the past decade. True or false? How do we know?
BELL: First of all, I think, generally, when we look at climate in the short term, there are a lot of things that affect it. Number one, a lot of things affect the warming and cooling—certainly in 1997 and 1998 there was a strong El Niño influence which caused a lot of warming. Ocean cycles make a big difference. We don’t have a lot of information for the warmest years—first of all, we’re talking about tenths or hundredths of a degree in difference, not big differences. Basically, we have pretty lousy records. A lot of this comes from surface records that are sparse, scattered, cluttered, contaminated with heat island effects. In earlier years the reporting was haphazard. We don’t have good reporting of ocean temperatures. So I think a lot of the records are suspect right now. We don’t really know, with any accuracy—we do know that climate’s been changing. It was warm in 1934—that was probably the warmest year in the last hundred years or so—and the early ’40s were very, very warm. I think we have to extend our vision to earlier times—the Medieval Warm Period, a thousand years ago, the period when Erik the Red and the Icelandic Vikings settled in Greenland, was clearly a lot warmer, since they raised livestock. I was in Greenland in the ’60s, I spent a year there, and I can tell you I didn’t see any goats grazing! It was 60 below zero some of the time, with strong winds! We’ve seen warming and cooling, predicting, in the ’70s, the next Ice Age, and it seemed plausible at the time—we’re at the end of an interglacial period, or at least the far end of one. So we see these changes all the time, and I think, to focus upon near- or short-term changes is just unnecessary alarmism.
ARONOFF: What about distinguishing between—can you talk about these stations? For instance, if it’s near an airport or a power station, it’s obviously a little more likely to be warmer, and this raises a question of how reliable we can assume the information was from the 1930s as far as that goes? And now we have satellite data as well—do you agree that satellite data is a lot more reliable as far as measuring temperatures?
BELL: I think we need everything. Again, it’s not my area of expertise, but I know Anthony Watts and others have looked at this notion of a “heat island” effect, and clearly that’s been a big factor. These monitoring stations were put in place decades ago—first of all, a lot of them have deteriorated. They’re scattered. In the meantime, like you said, airports have grown up, cities have grown up around them—which certainly have local influences—and I don’t think anyone can place great stock in these records. Even getting those records has been difficult. Now people are seeking them through the Freedom of Information Act just to determine how accurate they are—and then those records are manipulated. I say “manipulated”—they put different factor ratings on them to determine how to “adjust” for different issues and problems that the records have. My understanding is, it’s a mishmash of information. I don’t put a lot of stock in them.
BELL: And in a lot of the places where you’d really like to have the information, there aren’t any recording stations at all.
ARONOFF: Another thing that we hear is that there is a consensus among climate scientists that manmade global warming does exist. What do you say to that? Is there a consensus?
BELL: You know, to me that’s one of those questions that is very misleading. I don’t know anybody that doesn’t think—everything affects everything, so to say that human activity doesn’t affect climate would be nonsensical. The question is, which activities, and how much? Can you even measure them? Can you separate them from other factors? I don’t think anybody can—I would maintain that nobody can. If you say, “Is there a consensus that humans affect global warming?,” well, they very likely do. “Does nature compensate for that?” It very likely does. The question is, does it make any difference? How much effect is there? Does it come from agriculture, from changing the albedo of the land? Does it come from deforestation? Does it come from contributions of carbon dioxide through fossil fuels, through highways, through building construction? Of course there’s probably some effect of human impact on everything in our environment. That doesn’t necessarily make it dangerous—and doesn’t even, necessarily, make it bad.
ARONOFF: Right. Okay. Let’s see. One thing that’s happened is, instead of calling it “global warming,” they realize, especially after seeing some recent cooling trends, that—so now it’s being called “climate change.” You’ve been making this point, throughout this interview, that of course the climate is changing. If your accusation, or your theory out there, is that there’s “climate change” going on—of course no one can disagree with that! This gives them the upper hand in the debate. What have you seen in how they’re trying to shift the language and the terms of the debate by calling it “climate change” instead of “global warming”?
BELL: I think it’s pretty transparent. If climate didn’t change, we wouldn’t have to call it “climate,” because then we’d just have one thing, right?
BELL: Change is what climate does. It’s measured, typically, I guess, in three-decade periods, although it didn’t take three decades from the time of the ’70s, when The New York Times and other organizations were reporting the next Ice Age coming until Al Gore had his famous hearings in 1988, which declared not only that global warming was a crisis, but that we caused it. These timeframes are very convenient. If we’re going through a warming spell right now, you can bet your bippy that people would be saying, “Oh my God, it shows that there’s global warming!” Now if we have snowstorms in New England and everywhere else—we’ve had our third really cold spell in Houston right now—does that mean that the Earth is cooling? No. It simply means that climate changes! We could be opportunists and say, “Gee, Al Gore’s wrong, because it’s snowing in New England!” Well, no—climate changes. You look out the window, and people who have many years behind them know that that’s a common occurrence. So climate change is sort of a new cover. I don’t know. To me, it’s so goofy that I don’t attach any importance to it. People say, “Do you believe in global warming?” I say, “Yeah, sure I do. I think it’s great! I think it makes plants grow, and it’s good for the rainforest—lots of carbon dioxide they can breathe! The Earth isn’t frozen! We can grow plants! Trade flourishes! Pyramids get built!” Sure, I believe in global warming.
BELL: I certainly prefer it to the alternative!
BELL: Of course, I chose to live in Houston rather than Greenland—
BELL: —so you can understand I’m a little biased!
ARONOFF: You just referred to 1988 and the hearings, and you write about that, and James Hansen, Dr. James Hansen of NASA, I guess, was the person who testified at those hearings. How is that the Ground Zero year for global warming? That leads me to the title of your book—you call it a “hoax.” How is it a hoax? Why did it start in 1988? What’s behind it?
BELL: It’s a long story.
BELL: I don’t think it started then, but it probably got a lot of traction here in the United States in 1988. But it preceded that in Europe with the Green Party movements and so on. There’s a long history there. Certainly it was highly politicized in 1988 in the hearings. Timothy Wirth, who was Gore’s colleague in the Senate—I can’t remember now, I don’t have notes in front of me—
BELL: —he was talking candidly in one interview about how it was a hot summer in New England, a hot summer in Washington, so they called the Weather Bureau to find out what was the hottest day. They scheduled the hearing, and, sure enough, it was real hot. They went in the night before and opened the windows in the hearing room—and the air conditioning was off, so, boy, it was really hot! All of a sudden it was in the news—my God, the climate’s hot, we’re in a crisis, we caused it, it’s carbon dioxide! That was probably the time where it really got a lot of resonance here in this country, and took off from there.
ARONOFF: All right. Central to this whole global warming theory is carbon dioxide.
ARONOFF: Is it a pollutant? Do global warming believers think it’s a pollutant? What is the relationship between CO2 and the Earth’s temperature? Talk about that—carbon dioxide.
BELL: Yeah. To me, one of the interesting things—and I have yet to hear anyone effectively refute this—is, historically, for hundreds of thousands of years, carbon dioxide levels—and we’re talking about atmospheric carbon dioxide—were affected after temperature changes. The temperature changes occur for a lot of reasons: Earth’s orbit wobbling, solar activity is believed to have an effect, certainly ocean cycles—which are independent, we think, when we think about things causing global warming. So as the Earth warms, when the oceans are cold, they absorb carbon dioxide, just a like a bottle of a carbonated drink does, and when they warm, they release it, and a lot of it goes into the atmosphere. So carbon dioxide, first of all, follows, rather than leads, the temperature changes, which is kind of a reversal. If you take carbon—
ARONOFF: Isn’t that something that other people—say, James Hansen—would disagree with you on?
BELL: It would be interesting to see him challenge that. It’s pretty clear in the records!
ARONOFF: But they do, don’t they? Don’t they say it causes it, rather than is the result of it?
BELL: Well, I think they fluff over it, but clearly there’s a lag—sometimes hundreds of years of carbon dioxide accumulations in the atmosphere. Also, when you look at the amount of carbon dioxide, it’s .04 of one percent of the atmosphere, and 97% comes from natural sources. So human contributions are—I don’t know anyone that can separate them, measure them, determine—you know, the biggest greenhouse gas is water vapor, by far. We could get into that. But let’s look at the other side of the discussion: Carbon dioxide is something that can be essential to the issue of fossil energy. If you can control or restrict carbon dioxide, then it builds into these arguments about “We need to stop fossil burning”—i.e. coal, oil, to some degree natural gas—the whole carbon argument fits very nicely into the vilification of carbon fuel, which also, then, provides justification for subsidizing so-called “alternatives”—our famous ethanol, which actually produces as much carbon dioxide as any fossil does; or wind, which has extremely limited capacity, although that’s been misrepresented; or solar; or something like the “hydrogen economy,” which is an oxymoron, you take more energy to put in to get the hydrogen than you ever get out of it, not to mention the fact that you’d get most of it from natural gas. You need the carbon scare in order to prop up cap-and-trade, to justify the overreach of the EPA—now they’re on a rant, they want to control permitting of not only energy, but construction industries. God bless Texas, we’re fighting that. But it ties in with offshore drilling, by vilifying oil and saying, “We don’t need it, we’ll use alternatives,” and we’re driving our drilling industries further and further out into the oceans, and our rigs to other countries—and the stranded polar bears, which is probably all about ANWR—it’s certainly not about polar bears, their population appears to be doing very well. Carbon [dioxide] is very convenient. It’s a very central point for a lot of other agendas. People ask, “Is this a conspiracy?” I say, I don’t think there’s any one leader organizing it. It’s just necessary for the U.N. handout programs, a $100 billion a year commitment that Hillary Clinton made to the United Nations for developing countries, to help them with their energy crisis. You take away the scare, you take away carbon dioxide, and you take a lot of the wind out of all these agendas.
ARONOFF: Again, the term you use in the title is “hoax,” and a hoax doesn’t necessarily suggest—it sort of suggests a conspiracy, or maybe a collection of people with similar goals and agenda—anyway, so would you elaborate on this notion that this is a hoax?
BELL: What’s really a hoax is that there’s confidence that there’s a crisis, that oceans are going to rise, and there’s no evidence—the ocean’s been rising seven inches a century, it’ll probably continue to do that. We’re still warming our way out of the last Ice Age, the Little Ice Age. The hoax is really that there’s been so much misinformation. One of the key areas of misinformation is the fact that there’s this purported confidence level. It’s all based upon predictive models that have never been able to predict anything, and you couldn’t prove they were right or wrong in any case, because it’s going to take decades. It’s very, very complex—if you try to model the international money markets, or the economy, it’s probably easier than trying to model climate. The climate industry is another thing—it’s become a multi-billion dollar industry, the climate science industry. The hoax is really that the sky is falling. The hoax is that people “know” that the sky is falling, or that humans are causing this great disaster—you mentioned James Hansen, he’s been a great champion of the “Earth at the tipping point,” and “Gee, if we don’t do this right now, we’re all doomed!” That kind of stuff, which I think is counterproductive, is just really unfortunate. There needs to be an objective evaluation of that science to determine what the level of confidence is, what we really know. The hoax is that people purport to know things that they don’t.
ARONOFF: Let’s parse a couple other reasons for this, try and explain the agenda. The IPCC, through the U.N.—is this a way to create an international bureaucracy, sort of a form of world government, and this is the rationale that they can use to create that? Is that part of this? Talk about that one first.
BELL: If I said “world government,” people would say, “He’s a conspiracy loon!”
ARONOFF: Conspiracy nut—right.
BELL: Do some people say that? Yeah. Jacques Chirac has said it, and a lot of other people have alluded to it. But clearly the IPCC and the United Nations—the IPCC, have they politicized the climate issue for agendas that are not necessarily objective? They absolutely have. We look at IPCC, the scientists—and they don’t conduct science, they review reports. A lot of the people who work on those reports, I’m sure, are very genuine, sincere, committed people. They’re not bad people. But a lot of them are politically appointed. They’re supported by government research programs that are, often, very, very biased in terms of who gets funded. But even more so, once they do the reviews, the summaries are all politicized, rewritten—and this is well established, that they get rewritten—and reduced down to sound bites that sound scary. They’re intended to get public attention, and they certainly do. Does this work towards expansion of influence and power of the IPCC and, by relationship, the United Nations? Of course it does! Were Cancun and all these other Earth Summits about climate, or were they about the U.S. contributing more to developing countries for our so-called “abuses” against climate? Absolutely! Are these agendas really, legitimately tied to science? No! I think the climate is very peripheral to these issues—they’re driven by other agendas. So whether anyone wants to attach this world government thing to it, and say that’s a driving force—I don’t know what the ultimate goal of the U.N. is. I don’t think that there’s any limit on it, any more than I think there’s a limit on the EPA. Now that carbon dioxide is a “pollutant,” they’re going to regulate and permit factories and energy and construction, how long is it before a five-person family has to have a breathing permit? I don’t think it’s that far-fetched anymore! It’s gotten crazy—it’s absolutely gotten crazy. I don’t think there’s any limit to the ambition of these organizations if they’re not curbed.
ARONOFF: Your book is dedicated, tongue-in-cheek, obviously, to Al Gore—well, I guess maybe not necessarily tongue-in-cheek, since he’s driven this thing. What his experience has shown is, you become this hero to the environmental movement, viewed as someone who cares so much, it can win you Nobel Peace Prizes and Academy Awards—and then there’s the financial aspect. Talk about this Chicago Climate Exchange, his involvement. Give us the Al Gore story.
BELL: I’ve got an article coming out—it’s probably out in minutes, if it’s not out already—my next Forbes article. You alluded to those, I write them weekly. They’re not all about climate, they’re about a lot of different topics. This one—I can’t remember, exactly, the title, something about “How Climate Sanity was Gored”—talks, specifically, again, about all the conflicts of interests—not just Al Gore, there are others, but he’s become the poster-child for all of this, a lot of this alarmism, he and his pal James Hansen. You mentioned something that we don’t see in his movie, and we don’t see advertised—he’s had a huge stake in climate issues. You could say, “Well, it just shows he’s dedicated, committed, and so on,” but Generation Investment Management firm that he created with three executives from Goldman Sachs, which has, as of a few years ago, raised about $5 billion in investment money for green energy programs, and they’re big investors in the Chicago Climate Exchange, as Goldman Sachs was separately, as well, Goldman Sachs and Generation Investment Management and—I can’t remember the name offhand, I don’t have my notes. But Goldman Sachs was a big player in that, GSAM, Goldman Sachs Asset Management. Of course, they were pushing cap-and-trade. Cap-and-trade puts a value on carbon dioxide, treats it like a commodity, and so they were big players in the Chicago Climate Exchange, which wanted to be the New York Stock Exchange for carbon trading. Obviously very lucrative, if it had materialized. I think the last midterm election squelched the cap-and-trade thing, and the Obama administration went to Plan B, the EPA rant, that they’re doing through permitting. That’s something where, I think, cap-and-trade would have made a lot of money—and, of course, it’s alive and well in California. Then I mentioned the Shore Bank, which is something that’s been discussed a lot in terms of their relationship with the Chicago Climate Exchange. The Chicago Climate Exchange has basically gone out of business now, but the cast of characters there is rather interesting—in fact, the coincidences are rather startling, of some of the people that are involved in that. I think that—
ARONOFF: Its demise came pretty much exactly at the point where it became obvious that cap-and-trade wasn’t going to pass in the last Congress, and the new Congress certainly wasn’t going to pass it—so at that moment the whole thing collapsed, isn’t that right?
BELL: All their investors were bailing because they could see this wasn’t going to happen.
BELL: So then they went to, as I mentioned, Plan B, which is the EPA accomplishing the same thing through regulation, through the Clean Air Act.
ARONOFF: Listen—we’re starting to run out of time. I want to run just a few more quick things by you. Another thing you talk about is, this sort of is like a religion to a lot of people. One that strikes me is this guy, Bill Maher, this sort of third-rate comedian who has a seat on HBO. He’s always—I mean, he is just so big on global warming. He hates religion, but this one he subscribes to. He finally, recently, said, “Hey, why don’t we call it ‘climate change,’ you know?” I mean, he’s sort of late to that game, but, anyway, what is the religious aspect of it?
BELL: I think it is religion for a lot of people. I think the notion of environmentalism, first of all, ties in with this. I had another article I did recently called “Greener Than Thou.” It talks about the absolutely crazy conflicts between the different environmentally driven policies. They’re totally contradictory, but the broader issue is that they co-opted this term “environmentalism.” I consider myself an environmentalist—and I don’t think you have to believe in global warming to be an environmentalist. I don’t think you have to believe in dying polar bears to be an environmentalist. I think no one wants pollution, but when you start calling carbon dioxide “pollution,” it gets nutty. I think we need to conserve energy. I don’t think any sane person would do this, but the question is, do you want government to do it for you, or is the marketplace going to do it for you? I happen to be very conservative in my politics and because I believe that the free market works. I happen to like this country. Is it perfect? No. But I trust it more than anything else.
BELL: The point is that we are downsizing technology. Look at what the Internet’s doing. Government didn’t give us the Internet—excuse me, I guess Al Gore did. But, apart from his huge contribution of inventing it, it’s been taken forward by the private sector. Look what it’s done to even the print industry. We’re having this conversation now through the new media, which is electronic. We’re seeing now that a lot of people are telecommuting rather than driving cars to work, which is an energy factor. People are downsizing. People are insulating their homes. They’re doing these things because it’s intelligent to do it.
BELL: And people are living longer because the environment’s getting cleaner, not dirtier. I had the privilege—I guess mixed privilege—of going to Russia ever since the Berlin Wall came down. I’ve worked very closely with their space program over there. And when you see what a Communist country can do to destroy not only an economy but the work ethic of people—and the alcoholism and all the rest that went with it, it’s just abysmal to see what happens there.
BELL: You look at the environment, you look at every aspect of that place, it’s just horrendous. You compare that with the U.S.
BELL: I feel very grateful to live in this country.
ARONOFF: Let me ask you a couple more things. Has Wikileaks exposed anything about the global warming hoax—about anything to do with environmentalism or global warming? I’m just asking, I haven’t seen anything, but maybe you have.
BELL: I don’t know anything about Wikileaks—
BELL: —but certainly Wikipedia’s been corrupted. Wikipedia, that’s a huge scandal because so many high school kids, and grade school kids—you know, what we’re doing, brainwashing young people with this nonsense, and Wikipedia has been used—or distinguished people’s reputations have been smeared because their resumes have been changed on Wikipedia. Those sorts of things. That’s a travesty that those things have been allowed to happen. They get caught, but in the meantime the damage has been done, our reputations have been damaged. These guys are going after me big time right now—
BELL: —and I guess on the one hand I should be flattered. On the other hand, it’s maybe amusing to me because I have no conflict of interest, but I don’t like it when distinguished people who have spent their careers with providing responsible service are smeared by these kooks. I find that reprehensible.
ARONOFF: So you say the people who oversee the editing at Wikipedia basically allow the point of view that global warming is happening, just as the Al Gore point of view, but for the point of view for someone like you, either it’s not allowed in, or it’s treated with contempt in Wikipedia—is that what’s going on?
BELL: Well the guy got, the guy got caught and he got fired. Okay, but in the meantime, there were, you know, probably thousands of [bits of] responsible information, or certainly information that didn’t agree with that particular religious view—I do think it’s an ideological view—
BELL: —that couldn’t get in, that was either kept out or was edited, people’s resumes were changed, and so on. The internet’s a great thing. It’s really a wonderful thing—but can be easily corrupted. I think people have to be very careful of their sources. But then again, we know the media’s been corrupted, as well. I think they’re either too lazy to report, or sensationalism trumps sensibility. I think more often that’s the case.
ARONOFF: Okay. Just a few more quick things here. The media: tell us about their role in—okay. Let me just announce that it looks like we’re going to run a little longer than the show is going to be on the air. I just want everyone to know that this will be posted on the AIM website. If you’re listening now, you can come catch the end of it, you can read the transcript of this entire interview, or listen to it, and we’ll have a write-up about it. So we’re going to run a little long here as far as going live. ClimateGate: one year later. The global warming believers, as we’ll call them again, seem to be saying that yes, there were some wrongheaded practices, and people did suppress information that didn’t fit their theory, but that it really doesn’t change the facts and whether or not global warming exists, so they’re basically unbowed by that scandal. How does that scandal look one year on?
BELL: First of all, I think a lot of people are still in denial. They have organizations that are aggressively attacking anyone that challenges them, including myself. I think it was Princeton that had a so-called “discussion” on this, and all the people on the discussion were—a lot of media people were saying, “What have you learned from this?” and, basically, the answer was “Nothing.” I think it’s clear, going back to the media, that media gets its information from sources that either tell them what’s sensational and will sell, or sources that presume to have authority, like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or other people that’ll speak out. The media, I think, is kind of captive in this whole process, and a willing captive in many cases. I think, in terms of the substance of the ClimateGate, a lot of it really is hard to imagine how it’s taken out of context, a lot of these statements. Clearly it reflects the fact that people with opposing views were cut out in terms of being able to publish, that records were withheld. Some cases looked like they wanted to get rid of records that were uncomfortable for them. There’s just a lot of shenanigans that, I think, have caused a lot of the public to distrust a lot of what we hear, particularly because these people are so influential. You know, they were so—
BELL: —so centrally placed, and if that has caused the country and many people to say, “Let’s have some checks on accuracy of climate in the way that the money’s distributed, and the way the reports are documented, and so on,” then I think that’s really what my book’s about—saying “Let’s have accountability,” particularly since so much rides on it. We’re basing huge policies—I mean, probably trillion dollar policies on information that has been controlled by a very small community of people that have, really, a vested interest, whether they want to admit it or not because, you know, their funding comes from taxpayers, from agencies that could only survive by, in many cases, alarmism that makes their message sound more important.
ARONOFF: Back to this media issue, uh. First of all, is there anyone—New York Times, CBS, CNN—that you consider particularly influential on this subject in leading the public in the wrong direction?
BELL: I think there are honest reporters and careful reporters, probably, who influence the media, but has media become ideologically driven? Certainly it has, and we can look at this in terms of simplistically, say, liberal versus conservative—I think the media’s overwhelmingly liberal, and I think a lot of the views on climate right now, about I think half the country, half the population, is really questioning the legitimacy of a lot of these reports. It really divides along partisan lines.
BELL: You mentioned Bill Maher and others who I think are both entertainers and ideologues. A lot of people say I’m an ideologue because I’m clearly conservative. I certainly don’t hide that fact. But my view of climate doesn’t come from my ideology. My ideology is the sense of what I consider important priorities for the country, and it causes me to be skeptical about some things, and curious about some things and—
BELL: —doubtful about certain things. We can’t expect total unbias, but I think we can expect some level of objectivity, and that’s where the checks and balances have to come in. I think they will now with the change in the House and the watershed issues of the next election.
ARONOFF: Well, I’m not sure I share that view with you, that it will change. But anyway, with your book, have you been invited to go on the Today Show or the Piers Morgan Show or any of these shows on the major networks—or even Fox—to talk about your book?
BELL: Well, it’s sort of a grassroots right now, not the big networks. My book’s only been out about a month—
BELL: So who knows what’s coming? I had a recent interview on Newsmax and a video interview and so on.
BELL: It tends to play more of course with more conservative audiences. Been doing a lot of talking, a lot of speaking, a lot of it in Texas here. I don’t expect to persuade people who are ideologically bent the other way, you know. I don’t expect them to really read the book. But I think people who are curious and want to have another view and want to have comprehensive information that I’ve tried to make very accurate, they should read my book, and, hopefully, the articles in Forbes—understanding, am I biased? Certainly I’m biased, but I think I’m also grounded in terms of what I say.
ARONOFF: Mm-hmm. And who is John Holdren? What is he doing for the Obama administration?
BELL: Look at his background. It’s rather interesting. He’s a Malthusian that originally was very concerned about—wanted population control. His book with [Paul] Erlich made that pretty clear. Would I choose someone like that to head science policy? I certainly would not—but I think you could say the same thing about a lot of the other so-called czars within the Obama administration. It’s quite easy to check those matters.
ARONOFF: Okay. Larry, give us any final thoughts. Maybe I’ve left something out that you’d like to get in. Make a final point. Tell our listeners where they can find your work, both your book and your weekly columns, one more time—and then we’re going to have to leave it there.
BELL: Well, thank you. Yeah, my book is available on Amazon. You can go through on my website for the book. It’s www.climateofcorruption.com. Pretty simple to remember, climateofcorruption.com. You can Google it. You can go to Amazon, you can go to Barnes and Noble, you can go to Borders. It’s in books stores. A lot of the Barnes and Nobles have it.
ARONOFF: How about your columns on Forbes—how can they find those?
BELL: You can find them pretty easily. I have a weekly column. It’s under the byline The Bell Tells for You, which is deliciously corny—I couldn’t pass it up. You can just Google me, Larry Bell Forbes, and you’ll pull up a lot of my articles there—and as I say, I’m a weekly writer for Forbes. The book—
ARONOFF: All right.
BELL: —again, Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax. Just climate of corruption will probably get you where you want to go if you want to go there.
ARONOFF: Our guest today has been Larry Bell, author of the new book, Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax, and space architect, professor at the University of Houston. Larry, it’s been great having you on Take AIM. Next week we’ll have this up with the full transcript, the full podcast, so people can get the whole thing. We’ll get this spread around the Internet as much as we can. I thank you for what you’re doing, and I thank you for being with us today on Take AIM.
BELL: Well, Roger, I appreciate the invitation and I really appreciate what you’re doing as well.
ARONOFF: Thank you, sir. And that’s it for this week’s Take AIM. We’ll be back with you next week. So long!