Author Debunks Numerous Popular Myths About Global Warming
This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," September 4, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Our next guest's new book debunks numerous popular myths about global warming, such as sea levels rising, decreasing polar bear populations and the recent increase of hurricanes, all of which Al Gore sells as gospel in his movie, "Inconvenient Truth."
Joining us now is Bjorn Lomborg. He is the author of the brand new book, "Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming." And by the way, it's also the man that Al Gore refused to debate.
We've heard you on the program. Why wouldn't he debate you?
BJORN LOMBORG, AUTHOR, "COOL IT": I don't know. You've got to ask him. But it doesn't look good for his arguments.
HANNITY: You refer to yourself, you think of yourself as an environmentalist.
LOMBORG: Absolutely. And the point here is to say we need to have a confirmation about how can we actually do this, both for the environment but also in general for humanity. This is a question about spending resources well.
And global warming, unfortunately, I think, has very easily become somewhat of a religion almost, you could say, where the answer to any problem you can come up with is cut CO2. Sometimes it's a good idea, but sometimes it's not.
HANNITY: What frustrates me about this is there are so many scientists, well-credentialed scientists, experts, meteorologists that have studied this for 30 years, and they dispute that this is actually happening.
And this is not conclusive now that there is — their argument is there is — yes, there's a slight warming, but there's an ebb and flow to the planet's temperature.
LOMBORG: It's important to say — I'm a political scientist. I simply say the best information we have comes from the U.N. climate panel. They're telling us what's happening.
So I am saying it is happening. I'm also saying, for instance, sea levels are going to rise, but what I'm trying to say is let's get away from this sort of — "Oh, it's a hoax," or "Oh, no, it's a catastrophe." And let's try and find some middle point.
I don't know if you noticed that it actually kind of fits.
HANNITY: Why 30 years ago were they so convinced the next ice age was coming?
LOMBORG: That's a very good question. And the point was we had much poorer models. And we were just starting out.
HANNITY: But wait a minute. The same hysteria was there, the same quotations of the experts were happening.
LOMBORG: You're right. It's curious to notice, when we thought it was going to cool, we thought everything was going to fall apart. We never seemed to say, well, some good things are going to come of it if we worry intentionally about the fact that warming is going to create more malaria, why was it we never said, well, at least cooling is going to create less malaria?
We don't seem to be able to appreciate that, in any case, there's going to be both positives and negatives. Global warming is overwhelmingly, is more negative...
HANNITY: I'd like New York to just get a little bit warmer.
LOMBORG: Denmark, too.
HANNITY: Well, let me ask you this, because they keep making predictions. The talk about the polar bears. They talk — and you addressed this in your book.
HANNITY: They talk about the rising sea levels. They're talking about, you know, in Santa Barbara, California, right now, they literally want to draw a line from where the ocean ends now all the way up to, you know, half the city is going to be engulfed in water.
LOMBORG: Yes, and that's a bizarre argument. Because obviously, what we saw last century and a half was about a foot level, a foot of sea level. Now that didn't actually incur a huge catastrophe.
The next century, we're going to see about a foot.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Let me ask you this. First of all, you say a foot. James Hansen, the head of NASA's — out space, researchers at Columbia say, no, it's not going to be a lot more. Some scientists say exactly the opposite. But what you're saying, what's wrong with what Hansen is saying? You don't even reference him in your book.
LOMBORG: I do, actually.
COLMES: But you point out that — in this particular book you point out that Hansen says this level could rise two feet or three feet or more the next time?
LOMBORG: I'm coming out with a big version of the same book. It might actually have been edited out. OK, anyway.
But the point is, I think we need to be serious about saying what is the middle ground. The U.N. climate panel, as you know, consists of thousands of scientists. They actually put together and say it's going to be somewhere between half and two feet of sea level rise.
COLMES: You quote the NPPC, which is the panel you're talking about, which they provide a range of temperature increase up to 10.5 degrees over the next century. You're fixed at 4.7 degrees. So even the panel that you claim that you support in many cases seems like you're cherry picking. Because they also say they could go up to 10.5 degrees. So you're not supporting what the panel says?
LOMBORG: No, no. It's important to say just like we say half a foot up to two feet. And I say the central estimate, which is what the U.N. climate panel estimates is most likely, is about a foot.
And likewise, you'd have a range. I don't know those in Fahrenheit. I only know them in Centigrade, from 1.2 up to 6.4 degrees Centigrade. That's right. But I say the central estimate, I'm very clear about it.
COLMES: One point two. But it could go a lot — it could go a lot more than that.
By the way, why doesn't Al Gore debate you?
LOMBORG: OK. I just have to first argue the idea of saying, "If you say something is within this range, this is the most likely range." If somebody comes way outside it here, at least you should also be honest and say, there's also...
COLMES: But they're saying it's going to be more than double what you say it's going to be.
LOMBORG: Yes, but the point with Hansen is he's come out very clean and said, "I am no glaciologist. I actually don't know about this. I hope they're right, but I fear that they are wrong."
And why Al Gore won't debate me, I don't know. I can only think it's because...
HANNITY: We've got to go. Good to see you, my friend.
Good luck with the book. We appreciate it.
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