GLENN: Well, we found out last week that there is a major global warming summit that is happening in New York City. You are not going to find this out from the mainstream press because no one is going to cover it. But all of the big experts on the other side are coming to New York to meet. We’re having dinner with several of them tonight and talking to them. Bob Carter is one guy. He is from Australia. He’s in town. He just finished speaking. He’s a paleo climate expert. He’s looked at the climate going back not just a couple of hundred years or a thousand years but millions of years. That’s the way — I mean, we keep saying, you know, they keep talking about global climate change. The climate is always changing. I mean, explain the ice age. Explain how we can find things in Antarctica that appear, and he will know the truth on this. I have read that it looks like at one point Antarctica may have been a tropical zone. I don’t know if that’s true or not but he would. Bob Carter. Hello, Bob, how are you?
CARTER: Oh, hello, Glenn, and thank you for having me on your show again. It’s a pleasure to be here as always.
GLENN: Thank you, sir. All right. First of all, can you tell me is that true about Antarctica? Do you know, was that ever a tropical zone?
CARTER: Well, it was certainly not covered by an icecap and a lot warmer than today and it had profuse vegetation. How do we though that? Because if you look at the rock deposits underneath the ice in Antarctica, you find there are coal scenes and, of course, coal scenes means that there was lush vegetation. Now, those coal scenes are several hundred million years old. They are quite old, but nonetheless a long time ago Antarctica was indeed a very different, much warmer continent than it is today.
GLENN: Okay. Now, when you looked at the Earth’s samples, they say that what’s coming is just horrendous and we’re all going to be dying in a fiery flood somehow or another because the Earth is warming up. Has the Earth ever been this warm or where they say it’s going to be in 1,000 years at any other time; and did life survive?
CARTER: Well, yes, the answer to that, Glenn, is most definitely. The Earth has many times, many times in the past been as warm as it is today and warmer. For example, if we go back just a few hundred thousand years and we go to Antarctica again which you asked about, then in one of the interglacials not very long ago, the warm period in Antarctica was 5 degrees warmer than today and, you know, the planet went about its business as usual and nothing particularly untoward happened. So it’s definitely the case that the climate has often been warmer. But you also referred to the fact that warming is happening today. Now, this is a very widespread misapprehension. The reality is, and no scientist disagrees with this, that in the last few years the warming that was going on in the late 20th century has, in fact, ceased and since 1998 there has been no warming whatsoever and that’s now nine full years. And out of those same nine years, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased by 4% and the costly hypothesis that the public is browbeaten with is that extra carbon dioxide causes extra warming. Well, here’s the test. It’s happened for the last nine years that the carbon dioxide’s gone up but the planet has not warmed in response.
GLENN: Okay. When — because I just read. This last year there’s more ice up in Greenland and every place where they said the ice was melting, there’s more ice there than there has been in ten years. There’s more snow in North America than there has been in ten years. We’ve had a cold winter. What is their reasoning? Because you can’t just take one year. But nine years you can start to begin to call that a trend. What is the —
CARTER: That’s very good — yeah, that’s very good —
GLENN: What is the other side?
CARTER: You can begin to start to call a trend. Nine or ten years is about the minimum that you actually need and they comment in the press lately about the particularly cold winter we’ve had, both in the southern hemisphere and now in the northern hemisphere. All that’s true and it’s very true. There’s a lot of ice, and the sea ice in Antarctica is now at its maximum recorded extent ever since we’ve had observations.
GLENN: Wait a minute. Say it again. Wait, wait, wait, say it — wait a minute. Say that again.
CARTER: — rather than long-term trends.
GLENN: Say that again about the ice? What was that again? Say it again.
CARTER: The ice in Antarctica, this is the sea ice surrounding Antarctica, floating on the sea, is currently at a greater extent, it is the largest area that it has been since observations began about 30 years ago. Now, that’s not to say it’s the greatest it’s ever been in the past. Here in the last it was much greater still but in terms of modern, recent climate history, Antarctica at the moment is cooling and the apron of sea ice around it is wider than it’s ever been in the last 30 years or so.
GLENN: Bob, I —
CARTER: That should not be used to necessarily say we’re going into an ice age. It may be a short-term, on a scale of a decade or two, cyclic change.
GLENN: But isn’t that what the planet always does?
CARTER: Absolutely. And you’ve got it dead right in your introductory comments when you said climate change always happens. The temperature is always either going up or down. It’s actually very unusual for it to do what it’s done for the last nine years and that is stay more or less constant. That’s very unusual and you can be fairly sure it’s about to start going down again or going up again. The point is we cannot predict which, even with our very best computer models.
GLENN: You are sitting there, Bob, at this convention. You’re speaking and, you know, you guys are the pariahs of politically correct circles. How frustrating is it to sit there and talk about it and have so much evidence that, for instance, temperature leads CO2, not the other way around, how frustrating is it that you as a scientist will sit there in a room with a bunch of other scientists and you’ll say, I thought what we did as scientists was disconnect from politics and religion and everything else and just speak pure science?
CARTER: Well, you are absolutely right but first let me say it’s an absolute pleasure to be at this meeting and be sitting with these particular scientists because they don’t have an axe to grind. They have a balanced view on this issue. Most of them, although they are skeptics in the sense that they are working scientists, and all working scientists are skeptics. On the particular issue of is humankind causing dangerous global warming, most of the people at this meeting would say, well, on the one hand and then on the other. In other words, they are agnostic rather than skeptical about the question of human influence being dangerous. But that said, it is frustrating that you cannot get that balanced view reported by the press.
GLENN: Oh, you are not going to get any of it. Bob, can you hang on just a second? We have Dr. Bob Carter from Australia. He is part of this global climate conference in New York and if you have a second, I would like to hold you over a break. I’ve got a network break here I’ve got to take. Back in just a second. Fascinating guy.
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