Fact or Fiction: Addressing the Climate Activists
Are rising sea levels a threat to our planet? Is global warming to blame for wildfires and hurricanes?
Geologist Gregory Wrightstone, joins The Daily Signal Podcast to discuss the truth about climate change. In our conversation, Wrightstone addresses these talking points by climate activists and much more.
Listen to the podcast here along with corresponding charts and images relevant to the discussion.
Virginia Allen: I am joined by Gregory Wrightstone, geologist and author of “Inconvenient Facts: The Science that Al Gore Doesn’t Want You to Know.” Greg, thanks so much for being here.
Gregory Wrightstone: Thank you very much.
Allen: You actually wrote your book, “Inconvenient Facts,” in response to [former Vice President] Al Gore’s movie on climate change called “An Inconvenient Truth.” Why did you feel the need to write a book in response to what Al Gore had to say?
Wrightstone: … Actually, I didn’t set out to write a book, which is unusual. Most people say, “Oh, I’m going to write a book,” and then they do. What I did, this was the result of my search, personal search, for the truth.
As a geologist, I heard so many conflicting things. “It’s too wet.” “It’s not, it’s drought.” “There’s too much snow.” “There’s not enough snow.” Go back and forth, you’ve heard it all.
I heard all these claims of pending climate catastrophe and things are horrible. And I went back in, I just said, “I’m going to find out for myself.” So this was a personal search for the truth.
I went back and looked at the base data, finding out what’s going to happen, and, frankly, I was shocked when I got in there and, actually, enraged by what I found.
I found that in many cases, what we’re being told by the media and the U.N., in many cases, it’s just not so. And the science, the facts, and the data contradict so much of what we hear in the media about climate change.
Make no mistake, I agree where we are in a warming trend, yes, we are. But the fact of the matter is it started over 300 years ago, and the first 200, at least, of that, maybe 250, was 100% naturally driven.
What we’re being asked to believe is that those natural forces that have been driving temperature since the dawn of time, “Oh, well, oh, they all ceased some time in the 20th century.” That’s just not the case.
The debate—and, yes, Virginia, there is a debate—is, is it mostly man-made now since the mid-20th century or is it a natural cycle that we’ve seen time and time again?
I don’t dispute that the increase in CO2 is man-made, and I don’t dispute that it adds a little bit of warming to the atmosphere. I believe it’s modest and it’s overwhelmed by the natural forces that have been driving temperature, again, since the dawn of time.
Allen: So if there are these sort of natural cycles in the earth of warming and cooling, are we experiencing a more extreme cycle of warming than we ever have before?
Wrightstone: I like to look over the last 10,000 years of temperature data, and we find that there were nine other warming trends. And in fact, in my smartphone app and in the book, I take a detailed look at those other warming trends. We find out that all of those previous warming trends were warmer than we are today.
I also look at the rate of warming, and the rate of warming we’re at over the last 100, 150 years is very similar. In fact, 5 of the 9 warming trends had higher rates of warming than what we’ve seen over the last century or so. So, we’re being told that, but again, it’s not backed up by the science.
Allen: If it’s not CO2 causing all of the warming, then what is causing it?
Wrightstone: Yeah, that’s a good question. There are so many forces that drive temperature, big forces, they’re called Milankovitch cycles. They’re things like the wobble of the Earth, the eccentricity of the Earth’s orbit. Those drive … the really big ice ages.
It’s probably solar, the amount of solar we see. We’re entering in what’s called the grand solar minimum now with predictions of, actually, we might have 30 to 50 years of possibly extreme cooling.
If you’re going to ask me what’s going to happen, I’m going to be honest and tell you I don’t know. I don’t think it’s going to be anything that we can do as man to influence that to any great degree. But I will tell you, again, looking at the past 4,000 or 5,000 years of human history, there’s a strong correlation between the rise and fall of temperature and the rise and fall of civilizations. And it’s just opposite of what we’re being told.
The warming trends in the past always correlated with bountiful harvest, lots of food. Great empires and civilizations rose up. You wouldn’t have to worry about grubbing for your next meal, how you’re going to feed your family tomorrow in the warming trends. so people had time to think, to tinker, to dream, to invent.
It was the intervening cold periods that were horrific, horrific. The most recent one was called the Little Ice Age. Half the population of Iceland perished. One of my favorite researchers thinks that one-third of the entire Earth population perished during the last cool period.
So it’s the cold that’s horrific. Again, just opposite. We’re being told, … “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God. We can’t let it get a degree and a half warmer. We’re going to have famine.” But that’s not been the case historically, not at all.
So what I see is that the Earth is thriving, prospering, and greening, in fact, due to modest warming and increased CO2 that’s driving the food production.
NASA says part of this is that the Earth is what they call greening. Up to 50% of the Earth is greening or vegetation increasing. Less than 4%, according to NASA, is browning or loss of vegetation. That’s a good thing. That’s a huge, huge, huge good thing.
We’re growing more crops, and growing seasons are lengthening so you get more warm seasons, more staples. Killing frosts end earlier in the spring and arrive later in the fall. All those things are good. So earth and humanity are prospering from what we’re seeing. …
Aren’t we being told of all of these horrific consequences? And if you look at them, these are predictions or speculations about what might happen 50 or 80 years in the future based on failed climate models, where, actually, I live in the real world. I look at what’s actually happening today, and we see by almost every metric, both the Earth’s ecosystems and humanity is prospering.
Allen: Wow. You don’t hear people talking about that.
Wrightstone: And it’s not even close. Tell me what’s getting worse? If you look at the actual facts of drought, of fire, did you know in California, the number of fires in California has declined almost 50% in the last 30 years?
Wrightstone: The area burned is increased slightly over the last several decades, but that’s a forest management problem. They blow these things up and the need is to create a climate of fear because we need a frightened population to enact otherwise horrific and economically crippling things like the Green New Deal and the Paris climate accord.
Why in the world would the United States voluntarily impose something that’s going to raise our energy costs, which will then raise everything, every commodity price? And that’s the stated goal of the Green New Deal and the Paris climate accord. The stated goal is to raise costs for energy because … they want to force you away from fossil fuels over to wind and solar.
One of the interesting aspects you don’t hear about is also, … if the United States was to avert or get rid of 100% of its carbon dioxide emissions, and this is according to the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] zone calculations, we would only avert four hundredths of a degree centigrade by the year.
How many jobs lost is that worth? I’ll tell you how many. Zero, zero. Four hundredths of a degrees centigrade.
I was in a debate back in November with a professor from Penn State, and I stated that. He said, “Oh, well, yeah, but everyone in the world needs to get together and get behind this and then we can really save the Earth from this.”
Well, do you think China and India are going to decrease their coal-fired electricity generation? No way.
If you look at what they’re doing, they’re mining more coal and creating more and more coal-fired electricity. They’re completely supplanting anything we can do here in the United States. And even if we did, it wouldn’t matter to any measurable degree what the Earth’s temperature is.
Allen: Interesting. You mentioned wildfires and that global warming has nothing to do with wildfires, but that has to do with forest management. Another talking point, though, that we hear a lot is hurricanes, that we’re seeing larger, more devastating hurricanes because of global warming. What do you say to that?
Wrightstone: Yeah. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change agrees with me. By the way, I’ve been accepted as an expert reviewer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The IPCC agrees that there’s been no measurable increase in the number of hurricanes, but there might be a slight increase in intensity.
NOAA’s [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] top hurricane expert is a guy by the name of Christopher Landsea. What a great name for a meteorologist, almost as good as a geologist with the last name of Wrightstone. But Christopher, he’s their top guy. He says that it might increase hurricane intensity by 1%.
I don’t think anybody in [Hurricane] Katrina would know the difference between 134 miles an hour and 136 miles an hour.
According to [Christopher], the increase in intensity that he sees and predicts is below anything they can actually measure.
Wrightstone: And we see that landfalling hurricanes in the United States [have] actually … been in decline. We see that if we look at the number of hurricanes and tropical systems, it’s been pretty flat over the last 30 or so years.
Allen: Rising sea levels is a common concern that we hear about. Are sea levels actually rising, and if so, do we need to be concerned?
Wrightstone: They are rising. They started rising in the early 1800s.
Remember we started warming in the late 1600s … We’ve got, thankfully, warming we saw coming out of the Little Ice Age. It didn’t get warm enough though until the early 1800s for summer ice loss to exceed winter ice accumulation, which is what you need to have glaciers retreat. Glaciers retreating are what drives sea level rise.
So by about 1850, we saw that sea level rise and glacial retreat, which go hand in hand. Both are about the same rate of sea level rise and glacial retreat is what we’ve seen over the last several decades, which is about 1 inches per decade.
We’ve got less than a foot of rise in the last 100 years, which is … not alarming. It’s, again, part of this, if we look back in the 1800s, we weren’t adding much CO2 at all. It really was the mid-20th century when we started adding CO2 in earnest to the atmosphere.
So there are things that we can do to mitigate against this modest rise in sea level. There are some places where the Earth itself is subsiding faster than sea. And those places like Miami, in fact, they’re subsiding faster than sea levels rising. So there should be concerns, but there are things you can do to mitigate this.
Allen: What are some of those things?
Wrightstone: Well, if we look at the Netherlands, what have the Dutch done? I mean, almost the entire country is below sea level. They’ve built seawalls over centuries, and this was with 17th-, 16th-century technology. So places like that you can build that up.
What’s interesting too, in 2005, the U.N. predicted that there’d be 50 million climate refugees by the year 2010. 2010 came and went, and in fact, they listed these most at-risk islands. … And the Maldives, where this is island nations, was one of those.
In the book, I catalog population from 2005 to when my book was written, and the population of these at-risk islands, instead of people fleeing the islands, people were moving to them. So there’s been great increase. They’re going to this tropical paradise.
In the Maldives right now, [they] are building three new resort hotels and a new airport. They’re funded by big equity companies and they’re insured by large insurance companies. Do you think if that was really a risk, they would put hundreds of million dollars? These guys, they’re very risk averse. … Each one of these is tens of millions of dollars each.
So we look at something like that. In fact, some of the Maldives islands are actually increasing in areas. It’s a geologic process.
Wrightstone: One of the biggest hoaxes that I’ve exposed, the most recent one was this U.N. report that came out in November that predicted a huge rise in extinctions. You’ve probably heard of the sixth mass extinction that’s looming. Greta Thunberg, every time she opens her mouth, she has something about extinctions.
The U.N. reported and predicted there’d be 1 million extinctions of species over the next several decades. Well, I just said, “Wait a minute,” and I went back and I looked at the same data the U.N. looked at.
[The] U.N. looked at it on a century-by-century basis, going back to the year 1500. I took a look at it and their charts showed skyrocketing extinctions, and they put one century cumulative on top of the other, so the chart looked horrible.
I went back and looked at it on a decade-by-decade basis and found that, actually, extinctions peaked in the late 1800s, and they’ve been in significant and steady decline since.
So to get to their 1 million extinctions in that time period, you’d have to have almost 30,000 extinctions per year. Do you know what it’s been in the last 40 years average? I won’t make you guess. It’ll be two.
Wrightstone: Two extinctions per year. This is using the IUCN Red List, the same data source the U.N. used. Two extinctions per year. “Oh, well, we’ll get to 30,000 pretty soon.” No, we won’t. No, we won’t.
The big story that the U.N., instead of this alarmist reporting and mischaracterization and misuse of scientific data, which they did, is the main theme of that should have been that we are doing, as humans, … a really, really, really good job protecting our endangered species, as we should. That should have been the story, not, “Oh my God.”
And think about it, they listed the No. 1 risk of species is habitat loss. So what’s their solution to climate change? Pave over hundreds of square miles with solar and wind power to chop up more endangered species and eagles and hawks and to cover up forest and desert and grasslands with solar panel rays. That’s their solution, is more habitat loss. And so it’s ironic, isn’t it?
Allen: It’s very ironic.
Allen: You mentioned Greta Thunberg. She really has become the face of climate change. Is there anything she’s gotten right in her arguments?
Wrightstone: Apparently, because she just signed a lucrative contract with BBC … I’ve been wrong about her. I’m the first to admit it because I’ve accused her of being a anti-capitalist, and apparently, she’s not since she just signed this big contract with the BBC. She’s apparently a capitalist after all, so I was wrong. I’m sorry, but yeah.
Allen: Interesting, interesting. All right, well, can you quickly summarize what the true narrative of climate change really is?
Wrightstone: Well, I can tell you my philosophy.
Allen: Yeah, please do.
Wrightstone: My philosophy is that we should use all of Earth’s resources for the betterment of mankind and do it as good stewards. Bam.
Allen: I like it.
Wrightstone: Bam, that’s it.
Allen: Now, you created an app.
Wrightstone: I did.
Allen: Tell me a little bit about the app that you created and also why Apple removed it two days after it went live.
Wrightstone: We created just a powerful, powerful app. It’s got all 60 charts of my “Inconvenient Facts” book, backed up with video, original videos. It’s awesome.
I rolled it out on “The Glenn Beck Show” down in Dallas, and immediately thereafter Apple took it off the App Store.
The name of the book is “Inconvenient Facts: The Science that Al Gore Doesn’t Want You to Know.” And I’m not going to make you guess which ex-vice president sits on Apple’s board of directors, but it begins with “Al” and ends in “Gore,” so that might have had something to do with it.
Our app is state-of-the-art, [the] best climate change app available. The other ones out there look like failed middle school science fair projects.
We got it out there and thank you for The Daily Signal, [which] wrote a story the next day and blew it up. You guys broke the story of Apple weaponizing the App Store. They said, “This is really the first we’ve seen it.” It ended up being No. 1 story on Drudge for 24 hours. …
And the book sales just skyrocketed. We got up to top 10 best-sellers overall on Amazon, and the book’s been going gangbusters ever since.
Allen: So, Apple removing the app kind of had the opposite effect—
Wrightstone: Oh, it did.
Allen: … of what they intended.
Wrightstone: Exactly. My app developer said, “I think … I can get it back up.” I said, “No, no, no, no, not yet. Let’s give it two months because we’ll milk this for everything we got.”
He ended up adding a camera function for the iPhone so [it] puts my “I love CO2” banner across the bottom of any picture you take using the iPhone, and we think that’s what got it back up. So it’s available now.
Allen: And remind me what it’s called.
Wrightstone: The app itself, you just search for “Inconvenient Facts.”
Allen: “Inconvenient Facts.” OK.
Allen: That’s perfect. Great. And how can our listeners find your book and learn more about what you’re up to?
Wrightstone: I have a great website, inconvenientfacts.xyz. I’ve got original videos … If you don’t look at anything else, look at the video I have on the relationship between the witch hunts of late Middle Ages in Europe and climate change. Fascinating.
On it, I’ve got a chart documenting witches killed per decade compared to temperature, and they actually kept records of that. It’s fascinating, fascinating. So inconvenientfacts.xyz.
Allen: Perfect. Greg, thank you so much for your time today.
Wrightstone: Thank you.
The Daily Signal is the Heritage Foundation’s daily update that is sent to more than 20 million subscribers per day. Greg was interviewed at CPAC 2/29/20 by Virginia Allen and provided eye-opening information that she had never heard.