Environmentalists, climate change, indoor cooking

SK25 – Skeptical Environmentalist: Critical Tackling of Environmental Challenges with a Measured Approach


Read full details below, transcribed. Therefore the wording often appears as it is spoken by our hosts. Please, listen to the podcast for full value. 

I’ve been listening to the podcast of Joe Rogan with Bjorn Lomborg, who is an environmentalist. I think he’s someone who talks about the challenges that we’re facing in terms of environment but has a voice that I find measured.

He really stresses the fact that we shouldn’t probably consider things so negatively all the time and that when we are identifying problems we should tackle solutions that make sense and are easy to implement, instead of being very excited in doing things so-called perfectly and putting together solutions that are, at the end of the day, negative.

You know, the better can be the enemy of good. There’s a level of anxiety that can weaken the community and the mindset.

Absolutely. I think sometimes some of the fear-mongering that we see on the news or even in any mainstream media can definitely work people down. So I agree with him.

What particular points did he make?

Is the earth going to stop turning?

He brought back in my memory a book I read in the mid 80s. It was from a volcanologist, a specialist of volcanoes, Haroun Tazieff, one of the worldwide specialists who happened to be French and he was appointed in the beginning of the 80s as the first environment Minister of France.

But he was not part of these circles of professional environmentalists who are earning their money through scare tactics. He was a very dedicated defender of this planet, having dedicated his life to understanding the earthquakes and volcanoes.

Skeptical environmentalist

In his book that was titled “Is the Earth Going to Stop Turning” he pointed out that, I remember, 3 main problems that were tackled in the wrong way and I can remember at the top of my mind 2 of them.

The first one was the CFC problem. I don’t know if you remember but in the 80s we were told that there was a layer on top of the Antarctica, an ozone layer, that was protecting us from very bad radiations coming from the sun. And this layer was being destroyed by artificial chemicals we are putting in our sprays.

Well… in a laboratory it is true that the CFC gases, that we used to spray, are destroying the ozone. Ozone is 3 molecules of oxygen together and if you break this bound then you just get rid of the ozone and these CFC molecules could do that. But only at laboratory temperature.

He noted that in the upper atmosphere where the ozone layer stands the temperature is like minus 50-60 degrees Celsius, and in this case if you bring the temperature to -60 degrees Celsius, the CFC cannot react with the ozone. So it can’t penetrate, it cannot do anything at this altitude.

So now his question was: why do we have so many international conferences that are trying to tackle the CFC problem, spending billions of dollars and banning the CFCs to replace them by other gases… when it’s not relevant at certain temperatures?

So you go a little bit further, asking who would benefit from this? Because we are facing major problems on this planet, pollution being one of them and it’s clearly man made destruction of inhabitant. These are real problems.

How do we manage waste from our cities and things like that and this is where the effort could be tremendously benefiting the human population and the planet.

But the billions are not there. the billions are billions are dedicated to fighting CFC gases that do not represent any danger to the ozone.

Pollution everywhere

I agree completely and I can’t tell you enough how irritated I get walking in London where I have a lot as you know for a lot of my projects, and I have to step on cigarette butts… Why are they allowing people to throw their cigarette butts everywhere?

Environmentalist and climate change scare

Any city that I go to. It’s not just London… you walk anywhere and you have this problem. You go to Dubai, you go to Los Angeles, New York… any of the cities in Spain… Really irritating that no one does anything about man-made pollution as simple as that which our kids and us have to face every day when we step outside our door.

You’re right. they’re talking about CFCs and putting these billion dollar funding behind that. Now, the CFC as a scare that has gone away. Nobody talks about it and Haroun Tazieff explains very well that, in fact, the CFCs were invented by Dupont De Nemours, which is a big chemical company, and they had patents on it. So each time you would spray using this propulsion gas, overall, you would make Dupont earn money.

But at the end of the 70s these patents were coming to an end for Dupont. Any students of chemistry could produce CFCs in his laboratory and so it was a game from the big chemical industry to ban molecules that would be openly available and freely available, in order to patent other molecules to put in their sprays so that they could be patented.

Oh God, there’s always the money behind the cause…

Exactly and this was my first calling to, you know, when there is an agenda that is worldwide driven there’s always money with it. Trying to look a little bit deeper… who benefits is always a good question. And so some companies always raking in a lot of money with these so called humanitarian causes…

Devising the solutions that are cheap and easy

So Bjorn Lomborg on Joe Rogan begins, if I remember, by pointing the fact that plastics is a big problem and we are being overwhelmed by plastic waste including the oceans. And we have devised solutions to recycle plastic. Except these solutions are not smart: they are costly and they are just a scam, because 90 to 95% of a plastic that would be isolated in a separate bin would any way be burned and would not be recycled. Because recycling plastic is very hard.

Sceptical Environmentalist and climate change scare

He didn’t go into much details but it is true that when you see that this plastic can be recycled if you go to a coffee shop and you have this mug that is recyclable… in fact 90-95% of the time it’s not possible to do it.

Because you have different types of plastic, different types of molecule and when you want to recycle you need to isolate them. But sometimes you have several layers of different plastics that are stuck together so you cannot separate them and recycle them. So at the end of the day you burn everything.

But we have devised solutions where we “recycle”, meaning put a plastic bottle in a trashcan and we think that we are clean, right? When in fact at the end of the day we will just burn everything.

So you see it would be much more simple to devise solutions that are not meant to make us feel good, but are really bringing real solutions to people.

One of the biggest problems we face is the waste management in cities and he said in Dhaka, in Bangladesh, they put in place a simple way of collecting the trash. Collecting the trash, putting the trash out of the life of people, is the priority. How are they doing it?

He didn’t go into details but he said their goal was to move the trash out of the life of people, because it’s disease inducing, of course. And it is a poor way of living, horrendous. And then they burn everything they just burn everything because most of these waste they are either metal or made out of fossil fuels like all the plastics.

But would that damage air quality if we’re burning all of our trash?

This was brought up by Joe Rogan. Lomborg said that we have solutions today, with filters. We can filter most of the particles. And it is always this extremist view that if we do something that brings a little bad, a lot of good people are still arguing “don’t do it”.

Because in anything, in any life, there is good and bad. The point is to maximize the good and minimize the bad. But we will never be perfect. And again, better is usually the enemy of good.

I mean that makes sense to me: the greater good is always better than the marginal bad that you have to incur to get to the good.

The Climate is Changing, it is never stable

Then he goes into the climate change. So he is not someone who says there’s no climate change. There is climate change and one of the thing that is always constant in climate since we have historical data, the only thing that doesn’t change in climate is: change. Climate always changes.

Environmentalist and climate change scare

And we go through cycles of you know cooling and warming. Now, the question is: what is the influence of human behavior on this planet that is influencing the climate? We have models. Most models are devised by people who believe that humans have an influence on the climate. But these models do not for example factor in the sun because it’s too complicated.

However, we know that the sun is the major contributor to the warmth of this planet. If our planet were a few thousand kilometers closer to the sun, we would be just boiling. And if you were a few thousand kilometers away from the sun, we would be be freezing, freezing. We are just at a perfect distance.

So if you remove the sun from the models, and you emphasize the role of humans, because all the parameters you input in your model is human driven, you will find garbage.

Garbage in, garbage out basically. He doesn’t say it that bluntly, but this is the case. He says that in the models they go from 50% human influence on climate warming or change, up to 100%. But he also says that people are interpreting all these models towards the 100%, which is probably why we can feel it’s a little bit exaggerated…

So he says that in every issue in our world today, be it health, be it the climate, or be it society… whatever… anything is thought of as a catastrophe. there is a kind of running towards what gives you the most feeling, the most sensation.

It’s like… He doesn’t say that again that way, but this is what I feel is a reaction out of people. So the media is built on reaction and people they maybe it’s a boring life and you need excitement. So you need to feel panic once in a while and you need to feel a sense of like fear.

And it is extraordinary, because you take these models and imagine men are indeed contributing to warming the climate of the planet. We are talking about 2 to 3 degrees Celsius and we are acting and panicking and people are really panicking as if the oceans are going to boil like in 10 years.

So what’s the real story behind all this? Why are we made to feel this way ? Why are people being pushed to get freaked out about the environment when, really, when you look at the whole picture, it is as it has always been. How do you mobilize people?

Ideologizing Limits to Growth

In the beginning of the 70s, but it started earlier, the club of Rome had a plan to try to infuse this idea that the resources on this planet are limited and population growth is going to create a catastrophe. It is a Malthusian view, and if you read their documents, like “There Are Limits to growth”…

Sceptical environmentalist and climate change

It is one of the book they published in the beginning of the 70s. They say that in order to influence humans and societies towards consuming less, you will need to create and use levers. And one of them was climate.

It’s very strange because in the 70s what was really pushed is that we were going towards a new glacial age. It was cooling. And then warming was put as a factor, because I guess after the CFC program in the ozone, people were very much concerned about the atmosphere.

So carbon dioxide was found to be a produce of exaction of fossil fuels and then we could use this to not only influence behavior and redirect dollars towards new industries and also justify the Malthusian agenda.

So it is using levers, exaggerating problems in order to mobilize people, in order to get their obedience. In fact when people are scared it is very commonly known in global psychology studies, they can’t think clearly.

So they then can be easily controlled. And every story tends to be so dire in the media, like COVID. It is so dire: if you don’t comply, you die. You know, this type of thing with the environment: it’s so dire that if you don’t act now, we will all die.

This kind of story, at some point will become like the story of ‘the boy who cried wolf’.

Do you believe that at some point people will start becoming so in tune to these kinds of calls to action these panic attack calls to action?

I think it’s always the case. There will be 2 reactions, as it seems to be.

There are some whistleblowers who are really saying that climate change, and influence of humans on climate change, is going to be the next horse that the media is going to ride, and push and push.

But if you go this direction, you will have 2 reactions. I think people will get desensitized to the issue, unless they are forced by the government to pay taxes etc or they will just react against it.

I often wonder in situations like this how much it really matters how the average person is going to react, because whatever they’re going to push onto us. They’re going to do it, irrespective if it suits a certain strategy that they have. Then it really doesn’t matter whether we’re in for the ride or not.

If we’re not on board, they’re going to keep going. And it’s very interesting when you consider they who they are. Because you cannot say the scientists are part of this decision making process. Sometimes they tow the line just to line up with whatever the governmental strategies are. Usually they tend to be a government or some sort of an authority.

And I would say more than governments, they are the ones who control the money and the flow of money. Because today, believe it or not, if you want to publish any scientific paper, if you want to have a chance to get funding for your research, you need to find a link to climate change caused by humans.

If you manage to do so, you will get funding. If you go against it, there’s no way. You will be destroyed.

Being a Moderate Environmentalist Voice to get the Message Out

So how does this guy, be it Lomborg, get heard if he’s speaking a little bit of a different tune? He is not saying it’s not true. He’s trying to have a more balanced approach, without being too extreme in his rejection of the agenda. He’s treading carefully, yes he’s trading very carefully, willingly or not. I don’t know.

Skeptical environmentalist

But I think he is a voice of reason. I think he is someone that people should listen to, who is doing tremendous work. People who are very afraid and get only one side of the equation can get more of the other side from a more, let’s say, balanced person accepted internationally. It is interesting to hear his arguments and his very balanced way of seeing things.

I don’t know if he’s really prudent on things otherwise or if he really believes in what he’s saying, but I think he knows that he should be prudent on a subject like this. Because there’s a lot of pressure from the other side.

That’s true. And he would be cut out of the media anyway if he were going too far. Unfortunately, you get silenced if you go against the narrative. And if you have anything that’s even evidence based that you can present to people, you’re going to be very hard pressed not to be heard.

He says things very interesting without taking head on the false problems but he points them. He also addresses real issues, like the fact that we are saying, for example, that warming is very dangerous…

In the US in a certain year there has been a heat wave that killed 700 people. It is terrible. Because it was a summer that was hotter than others, maybe by 10 degrees more.

But we never hear the media pointing out that 170,000 people in the US alone every year die because temperatures are too cold. Because those people don’t have the mean to warm themselves, to warm their house.

So why isn’t that a crisis? That’s the point. In fact, warming is much less dangerous than cooling. We should be very afraid of a cooling. My thinking is that if we have a risk, right now, really, that the climate would change towards a cooling.

If you look at climate history, we are really at a peak of warmth that existed in the past the same levels. But after theses peaks, we always go into a glacial period.

So what’s the problem why aren’t they focused on the deaths to cold temperatures? Because if you acknowledge, let’s say, that we are going towards an ice age, it will take thousands and thousands of years and it’s not tomorrow.

But if we go in this direction the only culprit would be the sun. How do you control any behavior in society if it is the Sun driving the change?

You have to blame Humans, to put your agenda in place. Because there’s no recourse if it is the sun. There’s nothing you can do, except prepare, and adapt, maybe. And be smart, and find solutions.

Therefore there would be level of action must lie on our shoulders. But the point is that the climate being changed by humans is a pretext to put in place measures of control of the society. For example you will not be able to reach the goal unless you have a digital ID.

And this digital ID will have some points, some allowance for CO2 emissions.  And if you have exhausted your CO2 quota, you will be forbidden to, for example, buy gas for your car.

So it is this transhumanistic way that you can control humans and their behavior. And climate change is one of the way you can achieve this goal, as a pretext.

Resisting the Party Line

Are people aware? Do you think people are waking up to this kind of stuff? Do they understand that when their governments or the authorities are talking about climate change and calls to action, there’s actually a lot more behind that narrative than what they’re letting us know?

Skeptical environmentalist

I think there are signs everywhere for people to think about. But I think it would be more and more obvious to people who want to see, and the majority will probably just tell the party line just like they have with every other so-called crisis that gets thrown upon us.

This is what you see in China, where you have a very strong social credit system attached to a digital ID. So it’s not all of China. You have regions in China with governors doing these experiments. But we are told that no one’s really pushing back. It seems like they’re just going along well, but that is not true. Because when you talk to Chinese people, a lot are against it.

But no. They just cannot do anything about it, to push back. I think it is fair to say that they’re very hard pressed to not push back.

But at the same time, these technologies are very convenient. it’s true that the 5G world where you don’t even need to have a phone on you, while all your wishes are like pre fulfilled by artificial intelligence. Where you can pay very easily, when machines are learning your habits and trying to interact with you in a smart way.

All of this is so appealing, it’s so convenient. It’s easy to fall into the trap, thinking that this is a much better life. ‘they’re telling me that I’m going to be better off this way’… and because you become lazy and don’t see the danger.

There is a saying in the Middle East. it’s proper to Damascus: “you have to follow the liar until the door of his house”.

So all these tools of control, they are wonderful. They are very much making our lives easier. Getting a Uber is fantastic. The issue is when these tools fall into the wrong hands. Are they devised only by people who have good intentions? Or not?

It’s one question many people are pondering. Some say no, some others say yes. But the problem is the POTENTIAL for bad, and it exists.

I think it’s really interesting to go through these things, but it’s very hard because you have the same song, the same views, everywhere in the media. And many people are ashamed or frightened to even question in public, even with friends. Frightened to speak their mind, because you are dismissed. Because the majority of people are brainwashed by slogans.

The slogans are: if you don’t do this, you will be worse off.  I don’t want to go back into recent history, the last 3 years, but a lot of the things that people were lining up to do without even asking any questions is quite problematic.

And it was very difficult for those of us that were questioning. We were getting shut down. But then you’ve got slogans like “You will own nothing and you will be happy” and I think that’s a conditioning as well, that is leading us to all this digital ID.

Because, eventually, you will have no choices. You will be happy, your life will be lived for you. All your hopes and desires being tracked by your purchase behavior and by your activity behavior. And it will be presented right before you, before you can even think about it.

So you’re just going to keep living happily and staying out of the way, so that they can do whatever they want to do. And I think in every question there’s always different alternatives, different way of looking at questions.

It’s important to keep an open mind. it’s important not to be sucked into an ideology.

In any question, look at the opposite view or more balanced view. Try to understand where you could be wrong. Because being right… I think it’s Mark Twain who said that “it’s not by what we are wrong about that we get in trouble. It is when we are sure we are right and in fact we are wrong”.

So listening to such a podcast was interesting in bringing more air and more food for thought. Maybe we can elaborate? Talking about what is the main culprit in death on this planet?

We’re always talking about lead poisoning and all these pesticides, etc. But the main culprit – and United Nations is pointing this out – the main culprit, the main cause of death on this planet is: indoor cooking.

It is the fumes that people produce when they cook indoor. The poor people who can only get a fire indoor to cook their food, or get warmth. They use cardboard, cow dried poop… so it is the fumes of the fires in these poor underprivileged areas that mostly kill humans. They have absolutely no choice but to build a fire inside their home to cook and to stay warm, and it is estimated that this indoor cooking is the equivalent of smoking 2 packs of cigarettes a day.

Why isn’t anyone talking about this? Why aren’t people being alerted to this? And why aren’t they being saved from this?

Because the agenda of the club of Rome and people who are following this Malthusian agenda is to say that the problem is not so much providing clean energy to all the population. They argue that the problem is that energy is basically limited. So we cannot provide it to everyone.

So, let’s have less population. When in fact I think as a matter of decency of humanity the first thing we need to do is to provide all these people, in India, everywhere, electricity for example. So that they can have heat and they can cook cleanly.

This is monstrous. We could save so many million lives every year, just by doing this.

Demonization of fossil Fuels

So now the question of energy through fossil fuels.. If burning all our trash would provide energy, that seems to be an easy source of energy. So I’m envisioning almost like a furnace type of a setup, where you can get your energy once you burn your garbage and you reduce the pollution to the maximum.

Skeptical environmentalist

It’s already done. I mean it’s not rocket science. There’s also the question of nuclear energy that has to be brought up. It is the cleanest form of energy we can use and yet it’s not being done. It is being demonized. Why?

In the name of accidents. We saw the worst accident happen, it was Chernobyl in the Ukraine, and it was an accident but it was following tests. They were conducting tests, it was a human error. They were testing the cooling capabilities and there was a miscommunication and it exploded. So it wasn’t exactly the technology itself that caused it. It was the way it was implemented.

This nuclear energy technology was dangerous because after you start a nuclear reaction, you need to cool it so that it doesn’t go into an explosion. But now we have better technologies, to produce nuclear energy. It is a reaction that you start but if you stop inputting some energy into the core, the reaction stops.

So there’s no risk of getting out of control. Basically, if you stop doing anything the reaction stops. There’s no more risk of explosion. So if this is foolproof then what’s the problem? The problem is the ideology, the fact that people are staying with these wrong ideas about nuclear energy.

We have the problem of course of nuclear energy waste but it is very small compared to what we can manage in other areas. And these Malthusian people are ideologues. The media get funding only when they push the idea of catastrophic outputs and outlooks. For example, the fact that fossil fuels are supposedly going to to be depleted.

This is something we are hearing constantly. Every decade we are supposed to enter the decade when fossil fuel is going to decline in production. However, there has never been more proven reserves of fossil fuels than today.

So why is this the story?

The gas companies do declare as less reserves as they can, because they pay taxes on their reserves, not only on their production. So if you discover a huge field of oil, you are not going to talk to about it. Otherwise you will pay taxes.

But demonizing fuel and going into replacement, the so-called alternative energies like solar or electricity that is produced naturally like by wind… it is a way also to reduce the output and the capability. A way to finally be able to say that this is the only technology we can provide electricity with. And there is not enough for everyone. So we’d better start on reducing the population itself, or at least reduce the needs of the population.

Meaning that our current way of life cannot be sustained.

It is true that there are currently problems, exaggerations, mismanagement… But the level of comfort that we have is unprecedented: when you open a tap and you have hot water… this should be available to any human. It should be part of human rights.

It should not be denied in terms of scarcity if it is just a men man-made scarcity, made in order to drive a political agenda.

So it is never really about attaining peace and harmony. Because there is no money in peace and harmony. If everybody was better off, genuinely, if they were healthier, if they were happier, if they really were able to live the optimal life… that might be problematic for those that can make money in other ways.

There was the Boston Consulting Group who was asked as a consultant to look at an interesting question. It was a model of chronic disease and I think it was about diabetes. They factored in their presentation the assessment on what happens if there would be a cure for the disease. They said the introduction of their report that such a cure would be a very bad business model.

Indeed, if you want to extract wealth from people, you need to keep them sick and manage their sickness instead of curing them. This is not surprising . When you go into a medical clinic, when you go for a checkup, you automatically see you know the obvious questions aren’t being asked, like “what is your diet”. Some of the most ridiculous things we are being put through when we visit a doctor…

It is a completely different story we can cover, of course another time but this is very interesting.

I would love to learn more about the work of Lomborg. What does he do? Is he full time into the climate issue?

He calls himself a sociologist of the environment. These are people thinking about the environment, etc. He has several books. I think the latest is about climate change, but one of the best way to know him would be to read his book titled “the skeptical environmentalist”, where he tries to articulate everything that is true in this matter. And point out to everything is just exaggerations. I think he does a good job there.

I love that title. Let’s get that book!

Leave a Reply

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: