The Green Swindle: How Environmentalism Turned Into Fear-Mongering
This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," August 27, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Tonight on The Green Swindle, a special edition of "Hannity."
Now liberals have told us for years that if we don't adopt their policies and give them more control over our lives, environmental Armageddon will be just around the bend. Now they say science is on their side and there's nothing left to debate.
Tonight we will expose some glaring errors in this so-called science and show you how scientists, politicians and big business have turned global warming hysteria into a multi-billion dollar industry.
But first how environmentalism turned into fear-mongering over the climate. And we start at the beginning of The Green Swindle.
AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: The planet has a fever.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The threat from climate change is serious. It is urgent and it is growing.
HANNITY (voice-over): Global warming hysteria is spreading across the country.
GORE: The entire relationship between humanity and our planet has been radically altered.
HANNITY: People live in fear that the planet will perish unless they drastically alter how they go about their daily lives.
But how did the issue of preserving the environment dissolve into the present day global warming fear mongering? And to understand how the movement became so distorted, experts say we can look at certain events in history.
RJ SMITH, COMPETITIVE ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: The modern environmental movement sprang up in the 1960s and very early 1970s. And it represented a huge, a wholesale break with traditional conservation that existed in America for about 100 years.
HANNITY: Two significant books were published in the 1960s that made the modern environmental movement what it is today. In 1962 Rachel Carson's book "Silent Spring" was released. In the book, Carson condemns the overuse of pesticides.
RACHEL CARSON, "SILENT SPRING" AUTHOR: Aerial spray of pesticides should be brought under strict controls.
HANNITY: Al Gore wrote that "Silent Spring" had a profound impact on his life. "Indeed, Rachel Carson was one of the reasons why I became so conscious of the environment and so involved with environmental issues."
ROBERT H. NELSON, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: Rachel Carson's book "Silent Spring" is often credited with paving the way for the environmental movement. It was just a time when there was a challenge to authority, stemming partly from the Vietnam War. The sense that the leadership of the country might be taking us in the wrong directions. That was carried over then to environmental issues as well.
SMITH: This was read widely by people across the nation, and particularly by students. This was during the period where the student revolution was breaking out in the United States.
Instead of always holding up Chairman Mao "Little Red Book" as their Bible they rediscovered Rachel Carson's little green book.
HANNITY: And then in 1968 Paul Ehrlich's book "The Population Bomb" argued that, quote, "We must rapidly bring the world's population under control."
Now Ehrlich predicted that overcrowding was causing the world's environmental problems and would lead to mass famine. On the cover reads, quote, "While you're reading these words four people will have died from starvation, most of them children."
KIM STRASSEL, WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIAL PAGE: These books are best sellers because they foretell doom and gloom. And "The Population Bomb" was all about doom and gloom, and most of what Paul Ehrlich -- in fact if not all of what Paul Ehrlich wrote has been disproven over time.
HANNITY: In his book, Ehrlich suggests that the government should allow, quote, "voluntary sterilization for both sexes," and give, quote, "a series of financial rewards and penalties designed to discourage reproduction."
NELSON: People who got involved in movements like the anti-war movement they found that it was in some ways an enjoyable experience. So when the war finally did wind down they were looking for another crusade to join.
HANNITY: These two books were instrumental in the creation of Earth Day.
SMITH: It is on April 22nd, 1970. That same date happens to be the birthday of Lenin. A lot of folks will tell, oh, well, that's just a coincidence. But there are a lot of the young radical environmentalists at the time who thought this was really -- this was really clever. This was an in-you-face to capitalism.
HANNITY: An estimated 20 million people participated in that first Earth Day festivities across the country. And so the environmental hysteria began. The fear of global cooling started in the 1970s.
Now a cover story in the 1975 issue of Newsweek magazine elevated the hysteria to a nation level. Now oddly these fears would eventually morph into global warming as the science indicated that the temperatures were rising and not falling.
But in the coming decade the movement would mesh with politics, leaving environmentalists at a crossroad.
Patrick Moore was one of the founding members of Greenpeace.
PATRICK MOORE, FOUNDING MEMBER OF GREENPEACE: Around the mid 1980s the environmental movement was basically hijacked by the political left. And at the same time, the Berlin Wall came down, communism ended and a lot of peaceniks who were basically anti-American and leftist in their orientation moved into the environmental movement, bringing their sort of neo-Marxism with them.
And they learned to use green language in a clever way to cloak agendas that basically have more to do with anti-capitalism and anti-globalization than anything to do with science or ecology.
HANNITY: Patrick Moore left Greenpeace in 1986.
MOORE: I left Greenpeace really for two reasons. One was the larger issue that I wanted to get out of just confrontation politics. Just telling people what they should stop doing. And start to work with people to find solutions for the environment and sustainability.
And when the environmental movement became so strongly politicized, left against right, it was time for me to leave.
HANNITY: But it wasn't just the environmental groups that began pushing their political agendas.
STRASSEL: This got going in -- officially in Washington in 1988 when James Hanson, who is a scientist at NASA came and testified in front of Congress about global warming and claiming that it was a big issue, that it was real. This was what put this on Congress' radar.
HANNITY: And from there the movement began to inflate the political dialogue.
STRASSEL: Up until probably the middle of the 1990s you had all these environmental groups out there and they all have their own concerns and their own causes and they had to pick their spots.
HANNITY: And in 2006 the poster child for global warming came out with his now infamous movie.
GORE VOICE-OVER FROM "AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH": Here's Manhattan. The World Trade Center Memorial would be underwater. Think of the impact of a couple hundred thousand refugees and then imagine 100 million.
MOORE: For some reason the combination of people's desire for entertainment and for celebrities has one after another brought people to the forefront as heroes, such as Al Gore. Such as Paul Ehrlich, who really, you know, don't necessarily have all the answers.
I mean it's absolutely crazy. Al Gore is not a scientist. He hasn't got a scientific bone in his body. He's a politician. He's a mass mover of propaganda.
STRASSEL: Al Gore's movie came out. And again, it was suddenly all over the popular culture, and you had a guy who was out there that everybody knew when he became the sort of the face of this; simply raised public awareness of this.
HANNITY: And this brings us to present day where global warming is not necessarily a movement anymore, but actually an indisputable fact.
MOORE: They have basically taken the science out of it. And instead, there's this mixture of sensationalism, misinformation and fear.
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