Fmr. Australian PM on Global Warming

This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," December, 17 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.




NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: No, that is not reactions from viewers of this show. It's a Copenhagen ad. Copenhagen is a scream — that video kicking off the whole conference.

The Australian prime minister the latest person apparently playing the kid card.


KEVIN RUDD, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: I fear that, at this conference, we are on the verge of letting down all of the little children of the world.


CAVUTO: Really? Are they using kids as props here?

Reaction now from the former Australian Prime Minister John Howard.

What did you make of your successor's comments, that nothing comes out of this; they let down kids?


JOHN HOWARD, FORMER AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: I don't want to get into a slinging match with my successor, so I will leave any personal response aside.


CAVUTO: Come on. Come on. Come on. It's just between us.

HOWARD: No, no, no. I have a rule of not getting into slinging matches particularly with news networks and other companies with my predecessor.

But I will talk about the substance of the issue. And I think the problem with the Copenhagen conference is, there has been too much of an investment in rhetoric and hype, and too little focus on what is really a very simple proposition. And that is, if we are to make any sensible progress, everybody, all countries, including developing countries, like China, have to play a part.

I think the best way of tackling the issue of global warming is for the world to invest as much as possible, as soon as possible, in finding a technological solution to the challenge.

I'm a great believer that most problems of this kind can be fixed by technology, rather than by politics. And I think it's the...


CAVUTO: Well, what do you mean? Prime Minister, what do you mean? I mean, because they're talking about tens of billions of dollars of commitment on the part of the wealthier Western nations, particularly the United States, to, you know, cut down on CO2 emissions and that sort of thing. How would your approach differ? And what do you mean?


HOWARD: I think we have to — I think countries that now don't have nuclear power, including my own, should focus very heavily on nuclear power.

I think we should put enormous amounts of additional resources into things like clean coal technology, ways of making the fossil fuels we now use less polluting.

I mean, whatever your view is about global warming, we ought to try and play on the safe side. And the safe side is, at every point, to try and reduce pollution, to try and reduce CO2 emissions going into the atmosphere.

And I think, just as we have found technological solutions to so many other challenges in recent decades, I think, in the end, this issue is going to be fixed by technology. There is, I think, too great a focus on the politics of it and too little a focus on the technological side of it.

CAVUTO: Well, it might be a focus on the — sir, I'm sorry. It might be a focus on the politics, but, whatever the case, it's also the focus on a lot of money to address the political concerns.

And it would be a kick in the pants, wouldn't it, Prime Minister, if, all of a sudden, we discover, if even half of these climategate memos and e-mails that were released, are typical of information that has been hidden from us or lied about, then we could be chasing a goose here that is not real, right?

HOWARD: Well, that is possible.

One of the hexing things about this issue is that we will all be long dead when we actually know the answer to that question, because, if, in fact, the doomsayers are right, it will be a long time before the ill effects of what they're predicting are felt by everybody.

If the doomsayers are wrong, and the people who are unfairly described as skeptics are right, it will also be many years before we know the answer to that. So, common sense tells me that what we should focus on is doing things that neither side of the debate can possibly object to, and something that utilizes a clean source of energy such as nuclear power — and it is the cleanest source of energy of all — anything that reduces the polluting impact of the use of coal and gas, things like that, where nobody can really argue.

Even the greatest skeptic in the world would agree that the cleaner the coal is, the better it is. Even the greatest skeptic would agree with that. So, I think what the world should be doing, rather than try and score some kind of moral victory on one side or the other — and there have been too many invocations to morality in this debate.

This is a challenge for the common sense of the world. It is not a challenge for the soul of the world. I think the proponents of the doomsday argument have tried to turn it into a moral crusade, as a substitute religion.

CAVUTO: All right.

HOWARD: And I think that has turned an enormous number of people off. And it is one of the reasons why heavy weather is now being made of the climate alarm side of the argument.

CAVUTO: You're right.

Well, listen, Prime Minister, if you ever want to come back and trash your successor, I want you to feel free. I will just keep it between us and our millions of viewers, scout's honor, but a real pleasure having you.


HOWARD: Thank you.

CAVUTO: All right, the former Prime Minister of Australia John Howard.

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