Last night on Coast to Coast with George Knapp, we got into the global warming issue during the last 15 minutes. Listening to one caller ranting on with a distorted litany of misinformation and disinformation that he actually believes, I got hot under the collar. This is really rare for me anytime, and very rare on the radio. It takes a real moron to inspire that kind of reaction, but that was what I was dealing with. The fact that I was dripping with sweat in the middle of an unprecedented heat wave for our area, with hundreds of fires destroying homes and lives across the whole western US and the Midwest farming community in terrible trouble from drought did not help at all.

I want to say, in just one paragraph, exactly where I stand on the issue of global warming. It’s pretty much what I said on the show. First, there is now no question that it is real and substantially caused by carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere by mankind. The sun plays a role, but it’s a small one, and the evidence is that what role it has played has actually contributed over the past few years to cooling, not warming–and look where we are!

When a climate skeptic of the stature of Richard Muller of Berkeley changes his position–and this after being substantially financed by wealthy global warming deniers the Koch Brothers–it is time to sit up and take notice. He states unequivocally that CO2 is the primary culprit and not the solar cycle, and he is right. In fact, our emissions of CO2 have been so huge that they have overwhelmed the solar cycle and possibly the ice age cycle as well, at least for a time. Muller says, "the average temperature of the earth’s land has risen by 2 degrees Fahrenheit over the past 250 years, including an increase of 1 degree over the most recent 50 years. Moreover, it appears likely that essentially all of this increase results from the human emission of greenhouse gases." And this after years as the world’s leading global warming skeptic.

What is happening now goes beyond that, and is very worrisome. It is something I have been predicting for a long time. It is that methane, which is a far more potent greenhouse gas than CO2, is outgassing in the arctic in large quantities. This is something that always happens at the end of an interglacial, but it is much more aggressive this time. What it will do is outlined clearly in Superstorm. At some point, the outgassing will end, the methane will deteriorate and all that heat will be expelled into space. The result will be the same thing that has happened at the climax of other interglacials: a catastrophic snap back to a much colder climate. However, this time it is liable not to result in the beginning of another ice age, because CO2 levels will so have warmed the climate that what we will get instead is extended weather chaos that will bring with it even more disruption.

However, the whole picture is not bleak, not by any means. First, the US and Europe have done excellent work in reducing CO2 emissions. In fact, in 2011, the US emitted less CO2 than it has since 1992. There are two reasons for this: first, the American motor fleet is becoming more fuel efficient due to intelligent regulation and a more and more aggressive embrace of lower emissions by many auto manufacturers. It’s a case where government regulation and the free market have worked in tandem to the benefit of all. The second reason is that we are using more and more natural gas and less and less coal. This is happening because abundant supplies of natural gas have made it cheaper than coal, and it is far cheaper to transport and use than coal. The kind of emission reductions being achieved matter. They will make a difference.

There is, however, a great key to the whole problem, and that is China. This January, China will for the first time be emitting more CO2 than the United States. This is because their economy is growing, the use of automobiles is proliferating and electricity in China is generated primarily by coal-fired power plants. (This means, by the way, that electric cars in China are actually more polluting than gasoline powered vehicles.) In Northern China there are shale beds that contain vast quantities of natural gas, but China lacks the infrastructure to exploit them. The Chinese are not indifferent to the problem, however, and are beginning to explore building that infrastructure. The problem is that the costs of doing this may make the gas more expensive than coal, thus delaying conversion.

So, the truth is this: we may squeak by and we may not. Probably, we are going to experience ever more extreme weather events in the coming years, with drought in US crop regions a continuing problem. Although next year could be good for US crops because a developing El Nino will most likely bring more rain to the region, in general, the US is going to continue to dry out, as will the landmass that is the Russian growing area. There will be years when both Russia and the US suffer crop failures, which will bring vast human suffering.

Will the sun play a role? It may, and if it continues what has been a slow process of reduced infrared emission, that could help us. But the primary way to slow this process down is to cut emissions, and to do that, the world needs to help China and India with support and, above all, innovative solutions that will encourage them to reduce emissions the same way we are learning to do–without interrupting our economic growth.

Down the road, if we manage to hold together through the coming crisis, and I have every expectation that we will, there is a new fuel, Helium 3, on the horizon that promises a brilliant future for mankind. It is probably the most efficient and cleanest fuel known, and safe in terms of radioactive emissions. It is extremely rare on the Earth, but plentiful on the Moon. Somewhere not to far down the road from here, it will occur to the entrepreneurial community that mining it, bringing it back and creating power stations to use it will be a very profitable enterprise. 

What do I see twenty years from now: a lot of misery and disruption. Fifty years out: if all goes well, a civilization well on its way again, with new respect for itself and its planet, and wondrous new energy sources of many kinds to keep the lights burning bright.


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  1. I caught last night’s show,
    I caught last night’s show, and having you (and Knapp for that matter) on was a pleasant surprise. I had figured that matters weren’t hepled by that second caller who had asked a question about something that had happened in the Communion movie, after you had fully explained to a previous caller that it was pretty much fiction. Can’t blame you for being irritated that you’d have to repeat yourself over that issue.

    One correction I have to point out regarding helium3: As a fusion reaction fuel it’s actually a bit LESS efficent in relation to other potential fuel sources, due to the isotope’s higher coulomb barrier, meaning it’s harder to force the atoms together to cause a reaction. Why H3 is so sought after is that when it’s fused with dueterium, it produces free electrons as a by-product in the plasma, of which can be drawn off and used as an electricity source, without the need for a steam turbine/dynamo setup that would otherwise be necessecary to convert a regular reaction’s heat to electricity–of which, come to think of it might, in the end, make it more efficent than a regular H, He or deuterium reaction…

  2. I received this today from
    I received this today from friends that are in Switzerland on vacation…..I would think the temps to be unusually hot for this part of the world.

    Hi All,

    We just got into Luzern. Our last stop. Looking across street to promenade to Lake Luzern. I miss my mountains. There are still mts in view but its a busy place. Almost 100 degrees here. At least this hotel has a/c. Last one in Interlaken didn’t. All the rest did.

  3. It was a nice surprise to
    It was a nice surprise to hear you with George Knapp. I really like George’s style. He has the intelligence to ask the right questions. He also does’t avoid confrontation, and will press people to get them to examine, just what it is they are saying. I wish I could have heard the imbroglio, but monday is a long workday for me, so I can’t stay up until the wee hours of the morning anymore. I did hear the discussion, about missing people, and liked it. It built nicely on the dreamland presentation. ( I am a subscriber) Even though I didn’t hear the imbroglio, I will say this. It’s about time, that the Global Warming denier fools are confronted. They have cost this world precious time. And if we are going to survive we can’t baby sit their feelings anymore. Anger can be good, like a Zen slap. Thank you.

  4. It was a great interview
    It was a great interview except for the part referred to above. I felt like George was forewarning us by saying how people are so emotional over this issue that it has become impossible to “discuss” what may be the most pressing issue of our times. My heart goes out to the caller (who waited who knows how long to speak), who made a very intelligent comment (though not in Whitley’s opinion) about there being evidence of global warming on other bodies in our solar system . . . and Whitley went ballistic on him. Very sad. If I were the caller I would have been mortified, hurt, angry, and God knows what else — perhaps scarred for life. The caller wasn’t disagreeing that global warning is taking place — he was commenting on the cause. Whitley made him sound like a fool, and continues to do so here and on facebook . . . I feel such empathy for that guy — because I share his views and I could have been on the receiving side of Whitley’s wrath.

    I think the Matt is right . . . in that the caller came on the heels of some callers who were commenting on the movie as though it was a factual recounting of the book Communion — and Whitley very emphatically stated that it was not . . . several times in fact. One might fault the person controlling the calls, but I actually found it helpful because I didnt pick up on Whitley’s statements the first several times and probably wld think Communion, the movie, was faithful to the book (more or less) . . . evidently way less, though, as Whitley became frustrated with repeating. Other than what Whitley has released on his website, I havent seen the movie or read the book. I’m relatively a newcomer to Whitley’s books, and mostly newer fiction — the exception being “The Key”.

    I know what it is like to lose it . . . my heart goes out to Whitley and Anne. I wish Whitley wouldnt be so hard on himself — people like that have a tendency to take it out on others (as I know from experience — both on the giving and the receiving end). Its difficult to meet one’s own high expectations. Thing is . . . when you give yourself a break . . . it usually translates into giving others a break. Then you press on with your high expectations without beating yourself up over not always (or maybe never) reaching them. If success were counted in the amount of influence one has on a great number of others, Whitley wld be rich indeed. Too bad more of us dont have more money 🙁

  5. Climate change is real. Are
    Climate change is real. Are we to blame? I…don’t know, I’ll be honest…because there is another side to the arguement on various websites and blogs that expose and contradict the evidence – so, in the spirit of fair play and for the sake of the other side of the coin, I suggest you check out the following site: and the blog site for The Telegraph by James Delingpole:

    At the end of the day, having an opposing view and considering alternatives to AGW (without denying climate change) shouldn’t result in having your ear chewed off! Personally, I think there is a lot wrong with the science – it doesn’t help when the ‘facts’ are often distorted (as often shown in the above websites – dig deep). Promoting AGW is big business and there is big money to be made from it. That’s not denying climate change (which happens all the time) – just questioning if we really are 100% to blame – because I can’t belive that everybody with an opposing point of view or exposes scientific fraud in the manipulation of data so as to ‘confirm’ AGW is morally bankrupt and intent upon the destruction of the world.

  6. Climate change is real. Are
    Climate change is real. Are we to blame? I…don’t know, I’ll be honest…because there is another side to the arguement on various websites and blogs that expose and contradict the evidence – so, in the spirit of fair play and for the sake of the other side of the coin, I suggest you check out the following site: and the blog site for The Telegraph by James Delingpole:

    At the end of the day, having an opposing view and considering alternatives to AGW (without denying climate change) shouldn’t result in having your ear chewed off! Personally, I think there is a lot wrong with the science – it doesn’t help when the ‘facts’ are often distorted (as often shown in the above websites – dig deep). Promoting AGW is big business and there is big money to be made from it. That’s not denying climate change (which happens all the time) – just questioning if we really are 100% to blame – because I can’t belive that everybody with an opposing point of view or exposes scientific fraud in the manipulation of data so as to ‘confirm’ AGW is morally bankrupt and intent upon the destruction of the world.

  7. I also want to add that the
    I also want to add that the majority of ‘sceptics’ – or ‘fools’ as somebody kindly said above – don’t actually deny global warming or climate change, just question the cause, because – in Europe, at least – we have seen lots of fraudulent behaviour and claims that have been exposed and then conveniently swept under the carpet within the scientific community. Actual criminal activity let slip by. I’m not getting on a soap-box, or saying that I know better than anybody else on the issue, but it’s worth considering this from all angles.

    ps – I do not work for any major oil company! I’m all for clean energy and a clean environment, and it is prudent to put sensible measures in place – just incase! – but when corruption is sniffing around, well, as the saying goes, ‘follow the money.’

  8. The reason Global Warming
    The reason Global Warming causes so much anger, is because it’s been politicized successfully by conservatives.

    The same corporations that fund disinformation about Global Warming are those that fund conservative political groups. There has been decades of funding false scientific studies, to cause the public to question whether or not Global Warming is real. That’s all they have had to do, is make people question whether it’s real or not. Its just a stalling tactic. They have also used personal attacks against environmentalists, devaluing, name calling, and have encouraged hostility to those that present the facts about Global Warming. Much in the same way that, researchers in the UFO community are reviled. The also fund shills to call radio shows and to engage in verbal aggression. It would not surprise me if Whitely was a target, because he is identified with this issue, thanks to The Day After Tomorrow.

    I am not interested in opposing points of view, because i view the science of Global Warming as based on solid evidence. And i view disinformation like this as purposive. The bottom line is to prevent political and environmental action. That is necessary for the survival of this planet.

    Last year Shell Oil made 14 billion in profits,. I know for a fact that Oil companies would rather dump crude oil into the ocean than to clean up, even if their are fined several millions of dollars, it’s chump change to them. They will do anything possible to prevent people from developing alternative forms of energy, including suppression of new technologies, alternative energy sources, and murder. So hiring, shills, and scientists, to protect their profits, costs them very little.

    Technological civilization and the petro chemical industries have caused Global Warming.

    These corporations, are very powerful and control most of the political process in both this country, and the rest of the Western World, they succeeded in initiating a War with Iraq, so they could get their hands on 400 billion barrels of Oil under the ground there, estimated to be worth 30 trillions dollars. They did this with a campaign, of lies and disinformation, much like the one they have used against Global warming though on a much larger scale.

    Their Greed is destroying this whole planet and every living thing on it.

  9. @Gerald – “I am not
    @Gerald – “I am not interested in opposing points of view, because i view the science of Global Warming as based on solid evidence.”

    That kills any sort of reasonable debate stone-dead. There are people who view AGW (man-made global warming) as a politically motivated, money-making exercise based upon very shaky evidence that allows taxes to be raised (the ‘Green Tax’ as it is called in the UK). And to flat-out deny the ‘Climategate’ scandal from 2009 is borderline madness! The FACT that climate scientists (with government funding, best make those figures match boys, or funding will be pulled!) have actually commited FRAUD – and got off free as a bird (even if AGW was a stone-cold fact, which it isn’t) – does make one wonder as to how much you can trust either side of this debate.

    Now, I’m all for a clean earth, and I’m also for a safe and healthy environment in which our children can grow (so is Anthony Watt, the meteorologist, eco-friendly and ‘slightly sceptical’ creator of ‘Watts Up With That’ – hardly disinformation). When it comes to global warming/global cooling and climate change – it’s a no-brainer..OF COURSE it happens. When it comes to finger pointing, I maintain the science is debatable, so I remain agnostic on the issue. What will change my mind? When politics is taken out of science and rigorous, scientific testing reaches a firm conclusion. I’m not saying one side of the arguement is wrong and the other right…but if we don’t keep an open mind, we all become zealots. I’m all for changing my mind on any number of issues…are you guys? At the moment, I fear, there is too much chaos on both sides of this debate in terms of ‘Man-made’ global warming to attain a reasonable balance.

    Just an agnostic point of view. I respect your opinions, please respect mine.

    Love and respect to all you guys! 🙂

  10. Not really, no I don’t
    Not really, no I don’t respect your opinion, and I’m not going to baby sit your feelings. You expect others to respect you, but that’s not possible, through manipulation. The whole reason to create doubt is to prevent action being taken. The people who view Global Warming as politically motivated, are themselves politically motivated. Unless we take action, there’s not going to be any future, and no future means no children. Few of us will survive.

  11. I agree with that, Gerald.
    I agree with that, Gerald. Yes, we can respect others’ points of view but we must still act on what we DO know for sure, and that is that climate change is occurring, that we ARE contributing to it, and that there are things we can do right now to slow it down. NOW, not next year when more people have been convinced. I can respect someone’s right to believe that a snarling dog won’t bite, but I’d be stupid not to take some preventive action. The risks of disaster from doing nothing about climate change are just too great. Better err on the side of human wellbeing than not.

  12. Dear Gerald,
    First off, I am

    Dear Gerald,

    First off, I am a paying subscriber like yourself and I think – as a community – we do have a responsibility to respect one another’s views (you don’t have to agree with them at all!) and we should be open and honest enough to engage in free debate – otherwise I don’t see the point in being here. I don’t need my views baby-sitting, thanks. And doubt does not mean preventing action – doubt means ensuring that you are acting for the right reasons and not being manipulated.

    I don’t know what the slant on AGW – and to clarify, MAN MADE global warming, not just global warming/cooling which I (nor other, reasonable, questioning people) do not deny happens – is in the US, but in the UK and Europe, maybe it’s a little different. There has been a heck of a lot of lies and disinformation put about by the scientific institutions FOR AGW – not the reverse. They just got found out! Look on the WUWT website under ‘Climategate’ – check it out for yourself. The story was pretty much buried in the UK by the BBC because they are in the pocket of the Government and take a biased stance that global warming is man-made.

    By my reckoning we should have been destroyed by the hole in the ozone layer, the amazon forest should have been wiped out, the global freezing alarm of the 1970’s should have killed us, CJD should have given us all sponge-brain deaths, Bird Flu wiped us out, Swine flu killed us off…and I will be dragged out into the streets and stoned to death for saying ‘MAYBE we are not 100% to blame for climate change’ yet these (and other) conveniently forgotten scare stories are not even given a second thought today.

    I suggest you look, with an open (or closed) mind, at the Watts Up With That website. Anthony Watt is a meteorologist who is suspect of SOME of the claims made by the AGW lobby. To my knowledge he’s not linked into any major oil company, is not trying to disinform people, he’s just honestly and scientifically – free of political bias, funding and pressure – questioning many of the claims made by the extreme AGW lobby. I suggest you READ the countless books on the subject and the political motivations involved in promoting AGW. I used to be a firm believer in AGW – now I’m agnostic on the issue. I’ve seen too much corruption by those claiming it is our fault – as well as faulty readings and manipulation of data – to boost my confidence in the science of climate change presently at hand. It doesn’t help when you come across the following:

    I’m not saying ‘do nothing’ – do what you can, whatever you want – as long as you can do it without paying the government more money! Our government thinks that to solve AGW…is to raise our taxes! I am all for a clean environment and preventative action is a sensible approach (better safe than sorry, agreed!) – but, please, don’t stop thinking because you hold a belief. Even your most cherished beliefs (and let’s say for arguement AGW is a FACT) can still be exploited by governments, corporations and greedy middle-men running the world into the ground and profting from us all. If AGW is a fact – it doesn’t mean you’re safe or not being exploited for it being a fact.

  13. finding out the truth on the
    finding out the truth on the internet is nearly impossible if You ask me. Anyone knows if we are headed for an iceage or a warm period? Anyone knows what the aliens are and why they are here? Anyone knows what happend at 9/11 and who was behind it? Anyone knows if aspartame is dangerous? Anyone knows if the illuminati exist? Anyone knows if chemtrails are real? Anyone knows who shot Kennedy? Anyone knows if we have a soul?
    What evar I find out, 6 months later I find out I was wrong. I’m sure it will happen for the 4th and 5th time regarding global warming. From what I can remember: Al Gore, hockeystick was engineered, AUS scientist with Titanic, urbanisation around temp. stations, Gulf stream stops, Gulf stream doesn’t stop, 70’ties Ice age cry when I was a kid, Climagate OMG!, no Climagate just fitting the data from multiple sources, other planets heating up, other planets aren’t heating up etc etc. so ¯(°_o)/¯ i dunno
    If You look at the 2 links I provided:
    You will realize that the world will be completely different in 20 years (no gas cars, no trucks, no planes, no ships, no trade, no export and what follows) regardless of the climate.

    1. Very good point Frek!
      Very good point Frek!

  14. @Gerald – “Not really, no I
    @Gerald – “Not really, no I don’t respect your opinion, and I’m not going to baby sit your feelings.”

    While I am on your side as far the Global Warming issue is concerned, I find your approach crass (and that’s being polite). If your goal is to DO something about this issue, you’ll find that being crass will get you the LEAST results. While giving lessons to others about being stupid you might want to check your own modus operandi. Ever wonder why people that DO believe in man made global warming get tagged with the “extremist” label?

    PS: “Brutally Honest” is just code for lack of manners and understanding of how human relations work.

  15. No not really, in my
    No not really, in my experience people who have problems with confrontation themselves, have a difficult time, watching someone else get busted. That’s just tough. No one likes getting busted, especially those that seem to take advantage of other peoples reasonableness, to bully and intimidate. The fact of the matter is, I don’t respect opinions like these, and I am not too cowardly to point that out. You don’t have to like it. Some people need to be nice all the time to avoid having to confront. My experience has taught me that confrontation, is the best way to deal with manipulative people and that includes you.

  16. @Gerald – Lol – Oh “master”
    @Gerald – Lol – Oh “master” Gerald, enlighten us with what you’ve personally done and how many people you’ve converted with your “I don’t respect your opinion”/bat over the head technique.

    Rather ironic that on a site dedicated to free thinking you pursue the opposite. And the only bully here is YOU my dear Gerald. Too bad I’m not the “mind my own business if ain’t happening to me” type – 🙂

    Confronting people is OK – as I am doing with you my fine chap – but who says MANNERS have to go out the window… or respect for the other person? Also, your first line denotes that you have not even thoroughly read my first post else you would known that I agree with you on the issue (and partly on the others noted in earlier posts by you).

  17. Holy Smokes!
    Holy Smokes!

  18. It’s obvious that there is
    It’s obvious that there is change in our climate, regardless of the cause. I’m not saying climate change doesn’t happen, just agnostic about the source of it and I believe that it is prudent to take reasonable steps ‘just incase’ – but I’ve seen evidence of corruption (Climategate and other examples). And it is truly sad that government funded scientists need to fix data in order to bring people around to a particular point of view. In other words – lie. So, yes, I have a few grains of serious doubt!

    To the best of my knowledge, non-government funded sceptics have not resorted to such extreme tactics.

    There’s always room for questions. When you can’t ask any questions it means one of two things – you are faced with an irrefutable fact or live in a dictatorship. The trick is knowing the difference.

    I’m done on this thread. Thanks to those willing to have a reasonable talk and discussion about such things. Best to you all, Ian 🙂

  19. If you consider all the
    If you consider all the forests we have cut down and how many trees that have burned just in this summer’s fires. No doubt we have at least contributed. I think there are many aspects as to the cause. I also think many of us have not realized just how much these trees have meant in the balance of things.

  20. Bravo Whitley!
    Bravo Whitley!

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