GLENN: Welcome to the program, Alex. I am happy to say, I did not go to the -- to the opening weekend of Al Gore's new movie. I'm sure people were beating a path to its door to see all of the truth.
Did he address in the movie, Alex, at all the -- the idea that almost everything he said in the last movie was wrong?
ALEX: This is probably going to surprise you, but his central claim is that he was even more right than he thought.
STU: Wow! What a surprise.
PAT: I love that.
GLENN: Really? Really?
How -- how exactly was he right?
ALEX: Well, one thing that he does is with some of the specific predictions, such as the 20-foot rise in sea levels, he acknowledges them at the beginning and then makes some other points and then pretends that they've been acknowledged and that he's been vindicated. So one of them is I guess clever for that reason, to acknowledge and then to act like you've dealt with them. Which is more powerful than I guess not dealing with them -- or, not acknowledging them.
But I think it's important that the central narrative of the movie is that, A -- you indicated this before -- the Georgetown renewables are taking over the energy world, so fossil fuels are no longer necessary. And, B, climate is more dangerous than ever. Those are the two threads. And he says rightly that those were the two threads of the first movie. So a lot of it hinges on, are those two claims true? And they're not.
GLENN: Okay. Well, take me to the 100 percent renewable city like Georgetown, Texas.
ALEX: So you see a really interesting image because you see this very self-satisfied mayor. And Gore is very happy because this is allegedly the reddest county and the reddest city and the reddest state and the reddest country. Blah, blah, blah. Right? And they're using 100 percent renewable.
Now, the first thing you see if you're a serious viewer is just a lot full of gasoline costs. So this should -- and renewable energy, not renewable electricity.
So this should be a giveaway. And then more broadly, I think if you think about it, you should know that, well, solar and wind are unreliable sources. The proper name for them is not renewables. It's unreliables. So how -- how is the whole town going to be powered at night and in different weather conditions? That should be suspicious, and they should at least give you an explanation if such a magical feat is to be pulled off.
That doesn't happen at all. So if you look into it, this is actually a pretty standard dishonest practice. What happens is there's a grid that has a bunch of reliable sources and then a little bit of unreliable energy. And then people who want to look really good, they pay the grid to say, "Hey, we want credit for all the unreliable energy." So in this case, there's something like 14 percent renewable, which includes hydro, which is reliable. But there's a solar wind portion.
So Georgetown makes a contract with the grid that says, hey, we want you to label all of our grid electricity solar and wind and everybody else as dirty, and we'll pay for that. And that's what Apple and Facebook and Google do. So it's just a pure accounting fraud.
PAT: Wow. That's amazing.
GLENN: Wait. How do you do that? How do you -- they -- if I have -- if I have a -- if I'm connected to the grid and I am using let's say solar. I can only use so much solar for so long during the day. If I'm not using all that solar, I put it back into the grid and then I can claim that I am completely clean, even though at night I may not be using batteries? I may be using the grid?
ALEX: Right. This is -- this is a much worse version of that because it's just -- the percentages are so vastly different. I mean, I've thought about it this way. Imagine that -- you know, with Apple. Imagine that Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, wants to cross the ocean without using fossil fuels. He doesn't want to just have a sailboat, right? Well, what does he need? He needs fuel, diesel, or some form of oil fuel. So how is he going to be 100 percent solar and wind?
And so that's Al Gore's basic solution as well. In addition to the engine that's really doing the work, let's put a sail on top of the yacht so that, you know, it gets a little bit of power from the wind. And then he said, well, Tim Cook, we'll pay the other passenger so they say they got the energy from the engine and you got the energy from the sail.
STU: That is awesome.
GLENN: Oh, my gosh.
PAT: That is awesome.
GLENN: Oh, my gosh.
STU: You have to admire --
PAT: Oh, my gosh.
STU: You have to admire it at some level. At some devious level, you have to admire it.
GLENN: So he says the -- catastrophic temperature rise. Sea level rises. Flooding, drought, storms and disease. All of that has come true. Can you take those apart, one by one?
ALEX: Well, can I take them apart all at once and then we can do one by one?
GLENN: Oh, sure. Yeah.
ALEX: Because I think as a viewer of this movie, we have a responsibility, which is to demand that people who document important issues give us the whole picture about those issues. So one thing we should ask ourselves is, what would the whole picture look like? What kind of evidence would we need? And in terms of a climate catastrophe, climate getting catastrophic dangerous, the number one thing we would need to know is what is the trend? What is the global trend? Not just one example, but what is the global trend of climate-related deaths? People dying from storms and floods. Because this is what Gloria is claiming is worse.
Now, anyone watching this movie would infer -- because Gore doesn't give this data, but they would infer that millions of people a year are dying from climate and this is worse than ever. But, in fact, if you look back, millions of people used to die from climate before we were industrialized fully. So in the '30s, you had millions of people who died from climate.
But last year, I don't think anyone could imagine this. They tallied all climate-related deaths from international disaster database from stores -- international disaster database from storms and floods and heat and cold everything that is supposedly getting worse. And last year, the worst year ever -- it's always the worst year ever, there were 6,114 climate-related deaths, globally
STU: That's a huge drop. It's over 90 percent from not too long ago, less than 100 years ago.
ALEX: Right. And it's because nature doesn't give us a safe climate that we make dangerous. It gives us a dangerous climate that we make safe.
GLENN: Have you seen -- I saw an article this weekend about the permafrost melting. And they were talking about how in Siberia, these giant holes are opening up. And in the article -- I mean, the headline was something like, climate change, you know, disaster. Permanent frost melting. And I click on it.
And in the article, it quotes scientists as saying, this has nothing to do with climate change. This has something to do with the -- I don't even know. The axis, or the tilt of the earth has changed -- something has changed. But it has nothing to do with climate.
Have you read about this at all?
ALEX: Well, I don't know if it has nothing to do with climate. I think that the spreading of the term "climate change," as an allegedly coherent term, is very destructive to thinking because it's not a coherent term. So I think it's just easier to talk about CO2 levels. So if we think, okay. Do higher CO2 levels cause this? The truth is no. But what I'm concerned about is, is there change? But how is human flourishing going? And what human flourishing needs to go, into advance, is lots and lots of energy for everything in life, including protecting ourselves from the climate.
So I would go so far as to say that even if we want to do it, at this point in technological history, we do not have the ability to make climate significantly more dangerous by emissions, but we can make it far, far safer by our energy.
GLENN: We have Alex Epstein in. He's the author of the book Moral Case For Fossil Fuels. He's also an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute and heads up the Center for Industrial Progress.
You know, the -- the -- the current thinking is, just let this -- you know, the old generation like me, die. Because everybody, you know, under 40 believes this to be true. And so now they're just saying, just let it play out. We'll get what we want, you know, from the younger generation once the younger generation sees its power. Do you see that as viable, any way to combat that?
ALEX: Well, I've managed to escape. I'm going to be 37 tomorrow. So I don't know if they want me to die. They probably do.
GLENN: Right. Oh, I do think they want you to die.
STU: They definitely want you to die, Alex. There's no doubt about that.
ALEX: So I think that -- I'll tell you, my experience is actually very positive on this. Which is that if these issues are explained a certain way, you can win a lot of people over.
In San Francisco right now, I spoke at Google last week on this, and I had a lot of success.
The key is this: We have to -- the way to do it is to not focus on, is there climate change or not? Which is a very vague kind of thing anyway. Climate non-change. It's just this thing where -- that's not the issue.
The issue is, what is the best policy if we look at the positives and negatives for human flourishing? So I don't have to prove that fossil fuels have no impact on climate. I have no desire to prove that. I just have to show that overall, this is -- it's a really, really good thing that we keep using fossil fuels and, in fact, use more than fossil fuels. And that if we don't, it will be really bad for a lot of people.
And, in fact, Glenn, I don't remember if you remember this, I remember this very well, we talked a couple of years ago. And I had told you that by using energy, we basically multiple our power by 96, by using machines and fuel. And you said, "Hey, could you teach 96 people to do that?" And since then -- to do what you do in terms of persuasion, since then, we have a couple of programs. So if you want to do this, if you 96 listeners, we can just send them 96 programs. And we can see how effective they are in persuading their peers.
STU: Hmm. It would be an interesting thing to watch.
GLENN: I'd love that. All right. So let's get some information on that. I'd like to also ask you, Alex, if you would like to come down and hold our hand through the -- the -- you know, The Inconvenient Sequel. Because I'd like to take a group of people who really want to know this, want to know the facts. Want to listen to both sides. And then can go in and decide for themselves with the facts and then go do something about it. I'm really interested in finding people from university camps that would like to discover the real truth and then -- and go out and be able to combat this.
Would you be willing to come down, and we'll take a group of listeners and you can talk to us afterwards and prepare us to go out. And we'll run it on TV and everything else.
ALEX: Yeah. I'd love to do that.
GLENN: Okay. Well, don't -- you're so verbose sometimes.
STU: What time is it right now? It's very early in the morning, I suppose.
ALEX: No, no, no. I have a lot -- I have too many ideas about it.
ALEX: So I'll tell you one, but I just want to enthusiastically accept the invitation as the main thing. But one thing that I would consider, because I'm really interested in this, is just giving people before they watch the movie, not any facts, but a few questions or guidelines about it.
GLENN: I'd love that. So give those to us now, if we happen to have somebody in our life who is going to it, that we can say, "Hey, we want you to watch with these questions in mind." What are they?
ALEX: Okay. So one is, what does this movie want us to do? I think that's very important to know. What action does it want us to take?
ALEX: And then two would be, is it giving us the whole picture that we would need to take that action? Is it giving us the whole picture?
And one thing would be, is it giving us both the positives and negatives of what it tells us to do, or is it just giving one side?
And even with that, you would disqualify 90 percent of documentaries as worthless.
GLENN: Hmm. Alex, thank you so much. Love to have you on again. We'll talk to you off the air. He is the author of the book, moral case for fossil fuels.
STU: Great book you have to read. The central argument it seems Gore makes in all of his previews is, the single most common criticism from skeptics when the film came out focused on the animation showing the ocean water flowing into the World Trade Center memorial site. Skeptics called that demagogic and also absurd and irresponsible. It happened on October 29th, years ahead of schedule.
PAT: So ridiculous.
STU: So he's saying I called a flood of New York, and a flood of New York happened.
STU: Now, of course, you're right. Sandy is what he's talking about.
GLENN: But he was talking about sea levels.
STU: Permanent sea level rises of 20 feet.
STU: That would displace 100 million people.
PAT: Greenland melted. That's why.
STU: Because Greenland melted. And the amazing part about it, he has such big balls that in that section of -- there's a 70-second section about that claim. In the section, he tells you all of the things that would prove his current claim wrong. It's right -- it's legitimately like the next sentence after the one he features in the movie tells you that the prediction had nothing to do with a hurricane or a storm.