These truths to be self-evident, that all men are created as a member of Congress, I get to have a lot of really interesting people and the experts on what they're talking about. This is the podcast for insights into the issues. China, bioterrorism, Medicare for all in depth discussions, breaking it down into simple terms. We we hope we hold these truths. We hold these truths with Dan Crenshaw Planet.
All right, everybody, welcome back. And we have a repeat offender here, George Lambert from the Copenhagen Consensus Center of your. Thanks so much for being back on. Hey, Dan, it's great to be back, so you're back because you're an environmentalist and you're a rational environmentalist. That's what I call myself. I think we should all be environmentalist. You I think with last time we talked, we talked about your book False Alarm, which I guess if I had to summarize it, it's you always get at the cost benefit ratio.
I think when it comes to climate change policy, I mean, not that we shouldn't address it, not that it's not real. We're not having that debate. The debate we're having is what we should do about it and what makes sense and what doesn't. And as we all expected, as soon as Biden took over, a lot of a flurry of executive actions came about. And there's obviously it's pretty obvious that the way they believe in tackling climate change is along the framework of a green new deal, which is which, if I had to describe what that means, I would say it's almost religious adherence to solar and wind and renewables as the only way to battle climate change and a lot of things that feel good but don't necessarily do any good.
And so we'll chat today about what those mean, what they don't mean and what better solutions might be. So, yeah, I mean, thanks for coming on. And how you been. I've been good, I've been busy, been locked in, it's cold here, I'm in Sweden right now, so it's good. I'm a little envious of where you are.
Oh yeah. We're in the 60s here. Sunny Houston, Texas. It's great. We love it, but I got to go see tomorrow.
And snow. Frost frosty here. Yeah. Yes. I don't mind a little snow.
You know, what I really hate is cold weather where it's not, but it's not quite snowing. It's just it's just cold rain. So that's the worst. I assume so. Unless it's snowing. But I could be wrong. Well, no, mostly it's just crappy.
So, yeah, come the summer, it's beautiful winter. Not so much.
It's the time to be there. So I mean. So yeah. I mean what do you what do you think. You know, just what's your immediate reaction to the start of the New Year? How, how are we doing or are we on a good track here? Huh, well, so fundamentally, as you point out, you got to recognize that global warming, like any other problem, you have to fix it smartly. And that's about finding out where can you spend little money and do a lot of good before you start spending lots and lots of money and do almost no good.
And as you point out, yes, the Green New Deal has this tendency to be let's do everything.
It kind of makes sense if you believe global warming is the end of the world, if you really think this is sort of an oncoming asteroid that's hurtling toward Earth, you've got to send Bruce Willis and everybody up there and dismantle it.
And quick and cost is just not an objective.
But that's not what global warming is a problem.
It's a long term problem. The UN climate panel tells us global warming will cost by the end of the century, maybe three or four percent of our income. So we'll be three to four percent less well off than we otherwise would have been. Remember, by then will be about four hundred and fifty percent richer. So it's not like this is going to be a big deal, but it is going to be a deal and it is a problem.
But, you know, if you end up spending to fix a three or four percent problem, if you end up spending, what, 16 percent, that's a bad idea, then you've actually in some sense, you've spent you've cut off your your arm to cure wrist ache.
That's a really bad idea. And I think Green New Deal and Biden's policies is a little bit of smart and a lot of spending that's not going to be very smart. And and some of it that we know is just bad spending. And so the reality and I think we should have a conversation about it, say, look, global warming is real.
Yeah. Let's fix the smart stuff, but let's not throw enormous amounts of money behind something that'll fix almost nothing. Yeah.
And it's not clear to me what that money is going to go towards yet. I mean, what they started with was more mandates, you know, banning the first big ones, banning the Keystone pipeline, banning new leases on federal lands. So this is a direct attack, an ideological attack really against the oil and gas industry itself. And so, you know, again, the question is, what is that going to do for the environment? What's it going to do for jobs?
What's what's the cost benefit ratio here? And it is important to start with with your analogy, I'm like, look, if there's a meteor coming and we have to send Bruce Willis that, we have to send Bruce Willis. But this is and that is the important place to start because we're not necessarily debating whether some kind of climate change is real. But once we agree on that, we do have to have a realistic conversation about what it really means.
And, you know, I think anxiety levels amongst children these days are going up precipitously because they're taught to believe that they're going to die. I mean, this is this is immoral. First of all, I think to be teaching children this and it's just not true. It's like, OK, so the sea levels rise very slowly. Over the course of one hundred years, you might have some beachfront property that's no longer beachfront property. You might have more rain and less rain in certain places.
I mean, there's going to be changes, but obviously we adapt to those changes, just like humans have always adapted. I've also I'll never forget this or in case did a great job debunking this. This notion of a lot of the costs associated with the cost of climate change turn out to be cost and human life, meaning cost and heat. But when you actually dig into these statistics, as it turns out, they're assuming basically that nobody will ever adapt to heat.
And so so here's let me let me lay this out real quick. I'm kind of going on a tangent, but I just want to hit this point that you made. So this is basically what they're assuming in a hundred years, if if the world heats up, Philadelphia would be as hot as Houston, OK, and then they assume that because Philadelphia would be as hot as Houston in a hundred years, that heat deaths would increase like 50 fold.
But that doesn't make any sense, like we all know that that wouldn't happen because obviously if we're surviving just fine in Houston, people in Philadelphia are going to survive just fine as well. Like, it's just not true, you know, just and it's really easy to debunk these claims. And so, frankly, I question even the four to five percent decrease in wealth because, you know, it's because of statistical errors like that, analytical errors, really, but very dishonest.
So, yeah, it's important to note, doesn't mean we don't have an interest and just cleaner air, cleaner energy. I think we do it. Which, of course you agree with. The question is the cost benefit. So long tangent.
But can I just respond to some of it? You went out on a tangent.
I'll just you know, because a lot of people sort of tend to say, why on earth would it be true that we are right now living at the best temperature of the world so that if it gets a little warmer, it'll be suddenly worse? But you've just made that point.
Essentially, every place has been constructed to live where the temperature was the last 100, 200 years. So Houston's good with heat and Philadelphia or Seattle is good with relative cold.
And both of these places would have an extra cost if you make it warmer or if you made it colder, you know, recently constructed the world such that it's adapted to what the climate used to be the last couple of hundred years with all our infrastructure. But it also points out, as you just said, you know, it's not the end of the world.
It is a change that will have costs.
You will need more air conditioning in Philadelphia. You may need to change some of your houses. You you will need to adapt to rising sea levels. But we know how to do that incredibly cheaply and we have 80 years to do so. So, yes, this is a cost, but it's not the end of the world.
And I think that's what we should teach our kids, not only because it's true, but because it's immoral to scare them witless.
But also just imagine all the the opportunity that goes lost. If, you know, kids are saying, why should I study? There will not be a future for me in 30 years. No, there's going to be lots of future. And you should study. Exactly, because you should fix global warming and all the other problems in the world.
Right. I think my friends across the aisle, they tend to overstate problems and then and then use that overstatement to justify the most extreme solutions possible. And I would say that climate change is one of many issues that this that this happens with. But it's bad policy making. It's bad governing. It's it's it's not why you should be elected. So, I mean, let's just start then, I guess with again and I think you wrote about this, you know, Joe Biden's climate change plans will burn billions, but they won't bring change.
We actually need you wrote about that, The New York Post. And so. So why is that? I mean, what happens if we just eliminate the oil and gas industry in Texas and the United States? Is this is this going to make all of our weather like San Diego? What's the benefit here?
I think and surprisingly, I don't know if you saw John Kerry actually admitted as much if the U.S. ripped out every fossil fuel emitting property, if we stopped all cars stopped, all industry stopped being cool in Houston or a warm in Philadelphia.
If we stop all of that tomorrow and for the rest of the century, which, of course, would be a huge problem for the US and lead to countless misery, if you did all that, you almost wouldn't be able to see the difference in one hundred years. So the UN climate models show that by the end of the century we would probably see a reduction in temperature of somewhere between zero point zero point one to zero point sorry, zero point zero point three degrees Fahrenheit.
I'm sorry, I'm used to thinking in Celsius. So the idea here is, yes, you would see a tiny difference, but not very much.
And that, of course, indicates an almost kind of God that this is not about getting the US to change.
Primarily, it's about making sure we get everyone on the planet to change. And while, you know, rich, well-meaning Californians may be willing to say, all right, we'll pay twice or triple the electricity cost of what normal people do, you're not likely to get most Chinese or Indians or Africans or Latin Americans to say yes to that.
And that's the real trick here, is to recognize that there is no way you can just spend lots of money even in the US and make a measurable impact. This has to be about the planet and that means this has to be affordable.
Yeah. And, you know, you keep hearing that it's like, well, OK, I will admit that it's not going to do a whole lot if we just and that's if we stopped emitting right now. I mean, I think. You know, that's that's that's if you take extreme action than that, it has that, like, tiny little effect. I've seen some other statistics that you put in your book.
And I think if all of the developed countries stopped emitting right now, I mean, it just stopped right now. Basically, we stopped existing, then you might see a point eight degree decreases that Celsius or OK, but still it's like Fahrenheit. So it's even less I mean, so that's that's crazy.
So you just have to take a step back. You just have to take a step back and say, look, what are we doing, guys? I mean, what on earth are we doing? So. So you're going to go with all this virtue signalling the Chinese are going to be like, I get it now. I just I get it.
But but actually, they go ahead.
Actually, I was just on NPR a couple of hours ago and I was debating this other guy and he very eloquently asking for, look, it's going to create all these jobs and it's going to do all this great for for for dispossessed people.
And it's going to be great to get all the labor movement going and stuff. And I was waiting for him to come back and say, and it's going to be good for the climate. But that sort of never came. I'm sure that I'm sure that was part of his motivation. But there seems to be the sense in which this is good for everything. And you almost seem to be forgetting. No, fundamentally, this is going to be costly.
I mean, if it was great without climate change, we would have done this a long time ago. We would have switched over even if there is no climate legislation or a Paris agreement or anything.
Of course, this is going to be costly. Of course, it's going to make it harder to produce stuff, to be able to drive around, to be able to do all the things you want to do. Now, that may still be fine because you're also getting climate benefits, but surely you need to sort of way those to each other. And there is no sense in much of this conversation about what it is that we're really trying to achieve.
You're trying to achieve a lot of different things, and many of them at very high cost with very little benefits.
That's just not the right way to go for.
Well, and if it's hard to make the case that it's actually environmentally beneficial, I would call him a complete liar, whoever this guy was, when it comes to saying that it's economically beneficial and all these great new jobs are going to be created. On average, the solar wind job pays about twenty thousand dollars less per year than in oil and gas job. There's less of them if you care about the environment. I'm always saying invest in nuclear. And by the way, that takes about a thousand people to operate a nuclear plant.
You're not you're not devastating acres and acres and acres of wildlife just to build a nuclear plant. And it takes about six people to operate a solar panel farm. So just if you're going to make the argument about jobs, then let's say you have less of them and they don't pay as well. And also, most of those jobs are in China because they're the ones manufacturing, because they're the only ones who can do it cheap enough, because they have no labor regulations and no environmental regulations.
That's the other dirty little secret about about renewables. I guess one thing I always say I want you to respond to is, is oil and gas industry. And in the US is is by far the cleanest production of oil and gas. And if you know for a fact that that energy demand around the world is going to be 20 to 30 percent higher in the next 20 years, you know, somebody is going to have to produce energy, right?
Because African countries are developing countries. They have a moral obligation to get their citizens out of poverty. They're going to do it one way or the other. And they're not as concerned as John Kerry is with pleasing European diplomats. The Europeans are very nice, but for some reason, John Kerry really likes you diplomats. So they want to please them. So they went back into the Paris climate accord. That's my that's the only reason I can think of as to why they go back into the Paris climate agreement.
But African countries don't care about that as much. They they have different priorities, usually like food and clean water and just jobs and just surviving. Same with many other countries. So you know what I'm the argument I'm always making is somebody is going to provide that energy. It should be us. And if you if you see dominance to Russia, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Iran, you actually stand to increase global emissions. I mean, just I don't see it any other way out of that.
Would you agree with that? Is that a decent argument to make? Is it more complicated than that?
I think it's certainly a decent argument. I mean, if you look at we started off talking about the the Keystone and Obama's own analysis showed that Keystone, the completion of Keystone would increase emissions trivially or very, very marginally, because if you don't buy it from the Canadians, you will buy it from somewhere else. Now, the Canadian oil, as we know, is actually a little more intensive and production, which is one of the reasons you can argue that it's a little better, but not very much.
And you're absolutely right that we'll have a lot of Chinese, a lot of Canadians and certainly a lot of Africans who want who will want to be able to pull their populations out of poverty with any kind of available energy. And that means that they are going to use coal instead of American gas. That is a huge negative for the environment. It's also actually a huge negative for the local environment in Africa and in India. So clearly, there are arguments to say that we should recognize if you're going to burn fossil fuel.
Remember, right now about 80 percent of the world is fossil fuel. And even if we managed to do amazingly well, it is very likely by 2040 it will still be about seventy four percent fossil fuels. We have no sense of how hard it is to change this whole.
Bitanga of Global Energy, if we're going to be using lots of fossil fuels, let's make sure we use the most effective on the jobs part. I think there's a lot of misinformation going around. If you ask most economists, they'll tell you.
And I think it's very bluntly obvious that if you get if you buy a lot of extra green jobs, you're going to lose about just as many jobs in terms of dollars. So if they're better paid or worse paid overall, you lose about the same salary payment from other jobs because you have to subsidize these green jobs. You have to eventually tax other businesses more. And that leads to fewer jobs.
You know, there's this one wonderful statistic that for the energy that one person can produce in natural gas in the US, you need thirty eight people in the solar industry. Many people sort of suggest, see how wonderful we're creating. Thirty eight jobs. But an economist would argue, well, no, you're getting 30 people to do what one person could have done.
Those 37 other people could have been nurses and working on roads or or taking care of our kids or teachers or all the other productive jobs that we could have had in our world. It is not just about getting more jobs. You can, of course, just pay people for jobs. But if it means that they are doing less productive things, then more productive things. You have lost opportunity in your society.
So at the end of the day, this is about recognizing it's not about jobs. It's about paying more to cut carbon emissions. Now, that may be fine, but again, then we're back to saying, how much do you pay for this and how much good do you do for the world in terms of reducing temperatures? And that's where we get back to saying you end up spending trillions and cutting virtually indistinguishable, getting what, virtually indistinguishable temperature reductions?
Yeah, and there's a lot lot of directions. I want to go with what you just said. The other thing I would point out again is, you know, I'm not sure where they get that statistics of thirty eight to one. It's probably some clever analytics there. But also those those jobs on average pay a lot less. Again, twenty thousand dollars on average less. So that's a huge deal. And then and then what are you getting for.
So so we've already kind of gone over the the environmental impact and what what you get for that from a climate change perspective, it turns out that there's a lot of other environmental impacts, rare earth, mineral mining and shipping, solar panels and wind turbines from China back to the US and then clearing out large swaths of land to build these things.
And then you have intermittent energy. That's not a baseload power source. So it's like I always wonder what I'm thinking of. And again, I'm not against solar or wind. I think it makes sense if the environment is correct for it, if the situation is correct for it, which isn't always. And so I don't think it ever reaches this panacea that everybody thinks it will. And I, like you can compare Germany and France, for instance. So, I mean, maybe talk about the the the difference there and the experience of Germany and France with their power sources.
Well, I mean, fundamentally, France went nuclear a long time ago, back in the 70s, and they have very cheap power, whereas Germany was mostly fossil fuels, mostly coal, and they have gone all in for solar and wind. But at the same time, they got rid of that last nucleus because they got they got worried after Fukushima in 2011. So what has actually happened is they have gotten more renewables. They've gotten rid of their CO2 free nuclear power.
And that means they have now also to use more fossil fuels. So the outcome is they much more expensive electricity, but they've only cut their emissions a tiny bit. That's obviously one of the worst outcomes. But frustratingly, it's not Germany most people are criticizing. It's France because they shouldn't have nuclear power. France is actually thinking about scrapping a lot of their nuclear power and going renewable. And then, of course, they get the exact problem she's talking about.
What do you do with intermittency? So the simple point here is to recognize two things. One is solar and wind is good at small amounts. So solar especially can cover because it'll typically only be on hot days when the sun is shining a lot, it can actually cover the peak load of your air conditioning. That makes a lot of sense. You actually can make money off of just putting up solar panels. Of course, then people will actually do this.
You don't need to subsidize them for doing this so you can shave off some of the cost of peak production. That's great. But you will never get to solve most of the electricity problem because what do you then do when the sun is not shining or the wind is not blowing? It suddenly becomes very, very expensive. The second point is to recognize that. Electricity is the easy part. It's only about a third of all emissions globally. You know, it's what are you do about cars?
What do you do about steel? What do you do about cement? What do you do about the whole agricultural situation, fertilizer, all these other things?
Well, we have very, very few solutions to huge parts of the problem.
So in some sense, we're very fascinated with this solar and wind that can solve a part of the easy bit of the problem.
But that's that's no way to get to zero. That's a way to get to a little bit. Yeah, I like a part in your book about how climate change policies increase climate change. You know, there's a lot of great fact checks here that that people need to understand. I don't know. Did you write about ethanol? I have in my notes here some crazy statistics on ethanol. And it's like I want to run this by you because I think I want to make sure these are right.
The World Bank reported that this decision to require ethanol in fuel catapulted one hundred million people around the world into poverty. Forty four million people into extreme poverty, 30 million people into it. The designation of hunger. So, I mean, that's that's intense. Is that does that pass muster here?
I mean, these these are model estimates because obviously you can't actually see who got influenced by by ethanol.
But the fundamental point is that we're right now using a lot of land to grow food that we feed our cars.
That's just you know, it just feels wrong when you say it out loud. In a world where about 900 million people are still starving every every day, maybe there would be better use for that for for that growth. But also, we, of course, need to recognize that if we want to go further, you know, most people see wind and solar as the big things that are going to actually fix our climate and cut our carbon emissions. But most places it is actually Inso in the EU, for instance, two thirds, about one third comes from solar and wind, but two thirds come from biomass.
So essentially foodstuffs or just wood that we grow to burn.
Why? Because that we can burn when we need it rather than when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing. So it's much more convenient. But of course, what it does is it leads to enormous land use. Now, we've restricted that because we realize, oh my God, it's not a good idea to get a hundred million people become hungry.
But what is really happening behind this facade and we know that this is one of the challenges that we're going to see in the next 10 years or so is as you put your targets, it becomes very hard not to just use more and more of your land for essentially for biomass, because it's so easy to put in and it's so easy to call it CO2 neutral. There are all kinds of problems with whether it's actually CO2 neutral, but much more. That mostly means it drives up food prices and that will hurt the poor.
So when you're being all virtue's and cutting your carbon emissions, it's very likely that you're actually also helping make food more expensive, make more poor people starve more, and at the same time taking away land from nature and putting it into agriculture. Those are probably not things you want to happen, and those are generally not good things. Yeah, and they don't do much for the environment either. Again, that's that's the real kicker. And a burning biomass, burning wood, that's not that's definitely not carbon neutral.
But what Germany does it to an extraordinary extent. It's a kind of it's a very confusing policy. When people hear about it, they're like kind of strange to all say, wait, wait, wait a second. What? But that's that's how they're claiming it's green wood.
The argument is that you burn this. Would you emit more CO2 than coal in the process, but you also plant a new tree that will eventually suck up that CO2. Now, that's a very are you going to or is that going to cut down a lot sooner? But even if you do, most of it will only be sucked up in 50 or one hundred years. So you've essentially just emit a lot of extra CO2, felt very virtuous about it, about yourself, and promise that most of it will be back in the new tree within the next hundred years reappraising.
So because you could just use timber to like you could if you just build furniture out of it or houses out of it, you don't release any CO2. It's like people you know, it only releases out of wood if you burn it. So just don't burn it. I mean, you could still cut it down and replant trees. I mean, I don't know, I bought a about a rocket scientist or anything, but it just it just seems like there's much better ways to do this.
I mean, do you ever think about the psychology of the people you're debating with? Because these are smart people. You know, they know the facts. They must know the facts. So where does this religious adherence to renewables come from? Again, I'm not against them. I think they're nice. They make sense if they make sense. Depends again on the situation. But it almost seems like they it's not even about climate change for them. There's certainly a lot of psychology and and virtue signalling that I want to be good, so that's why I'm supporting this solar panel wind turbine.
I think that most of the people I talk to and debate, they are incredibly worried. And then we're back to that tour. They feel like we've seen the meteor and it's coming right at us. And why aren't you willing to do everything you possibly can and also squeeze out the last trillion on this? Now, when you then actually talk to them? They're not doing that right? Because if they really were that worried, they would be building nuclear power plants.
Now, the reason why I don't think that's a big solution right now is because in most of the industrialized world, it's actually pretty damn expensive. So we still need to find cheaper ways of building maybe fourth generation nuclear. Maybe that could be the solution. But if you really were all that worried, you build a lot of nuclear plants and get us pretty much off fossil fuels in a few short decades. But we're not doing that. I always find it really surprising that the people who are very, very scared are essentially saying, I'm terribly scared, so scared that I'm going to use the same policies of failed for the last 30 years.
But I've cost a lot of money. That's probably not the right solution. And I don't I can't tell you if I if I knew sort of the trick to sort of get them out of the trance, I would tell you, I would love to know what that is. I don't know what that is. But it's very clear that if we as a human society really thought this was a big issue, we would fix it smartly if we thought it was, you know, a middle middling problem.
As I'm asking and as I most data shows, we would solve it smartly as a middling issue. But we seem to be saying it's a big issue. Let's spend big bucks on it. Let's not actually fix it. That's kind of a lose, lose lose. That's not a very good outcome. Yeah, it's weird.
I'm always analyzing the psychology of it. I can't figure it out either because I could. Then you would understand what the right argument is, is to make there. I almost I think it's a look, I think half the human race for as long as the human race has existed, believes in utopia.
And I think half the human race doesn't. You know, it's just I think there's two different states of mind, just generally speaking. And one is is a bit more content with understanding that there are things we just can't control. And the other side believes in sort of this utopia that that that they'll get to and they'll kill themselves to get it. They'll kill everybody else to get there. And it's I don't think it's healthy, but it's a totally different way of thinking.
And I think there's I think some people just envision. Like literally a world where we consume nothing. The thing is, is like to get there and it's like people don't understand where things are made from and why you have things at all. You know, it's nice that you can go backpacking for five, six days at a time and be one with nature. But you're really not like you're using a north face jacket in a Patagonia jacket. And they're really good at virtue signalling to you.
But they use petrochemicals to make their jackets. Everything that you're using to survive in the wild has come from thousands of years of inventions and production development. And you just like just acknowledging that would be really healthy, but people won't even acknowledge it. It's like, you know, just acknowledge the trade offs, please, just so we can start to have a rational conversation. And and I know you talk about this. Let's focus on things that are more tangible, like overfishing, like like like clean water, clean rivers, plastic and river.
These more tangible things maybe. Most people who have solar panels are very, very virtuous about in the same sea how much it saves me, although much of that comes from subsidies from everybody else. So it's typically subsidies from poor people to the rich people who could afford the solar panels. But the reality, of course, is most people, solar panels actually use the coal fired power plants when it's dark or when their batteries run out. They have very, very happy to have that backup power because very few people actually want to live on solar panels alone 24/7.
And that's exactly the point. We have no idea of how much of our society is backed up by lots of power and lots of other things. And so, again, that gets to the point of saying, you know, a lot of the people who are very involved in climate want to do good.
I actually think and I don't know, maybe it's different in the US, but my sense is that most people in politics want to do good. But I think also everyone recognize you can't do all good at one time. And what I'm surprised about is that so many people of goodwill have decided the one thing I want to do is try and fix climate change really badly and ineffectively, rather than having a discussion about saying what would actually help the world. We've talked about some of the things like, for instance, being able to supply fracked gas to a lot of the world, not just from the US, but also actually get China to do its own fracking and so on.
That would be immensely helpful in many different ways. And, of course, there are many, many other problems have nothing to do with climate. So you mentioned that a lot of people are poor and don't have access to clean drinking water and their kids starve and die from easily curable infectious diseases. There's a host of issues around the world. And I'm just a little surprised that we're so focused on this one thing where we can do almost nothing at very high cost compared to all the other problems where we could help so much more at lower cost.
Yeah, like you said, it's it's about it's always about what are you getting for that one dollar spent? And I think you wrote a whole book about this like what to do with seventy five, how to spend some five billion dollars. And you know, I'm less I'm less generous with with with reading my political opponents intent, I think, than I used to be.
Because after you've put the facts in front of people so many times and they still want you to go down this extremely destructive path, and it just turns out that going down that destructive path allows them to control many, many policies on many, many levels. It does start to seem to me that it's more about control than it is about helping the environment. The Green New Deal being a big example of that. And I don't like assuming bad intentions, but I but I'm not sure what choice I have after after seeing this over and over and over again.
And the other thing about the reason they can do that, too, is because, well, climate change is you can continue to move the goalposts.
It's like it's the ideal problem for them. It's the ideal crisis because it's never solved. You'll never know. You're always basing it off of models and they're always quick to blame every single hurricane on it and then claim it's a disaster. But of course, there's no scientific way to to connect those two things. And so it's never ending. It's a never ending problem that they can continue to chase and continue to put their preferred policies attached to it. And so it's again, it's that's a really cynical way of looking at it.
But I don't know how else to look at it these days. All I can say is, is, look, I'm going to continue to show the facts and see if this is indeed your goal. And I agree it should agree with the goal being, look, just a reasonable reduction in emissions and and improvements to the environment, clean air and water. Right. If that's your goal, then let's do it this way based on this reasoning. And if you have different reasoning, by all means, make a reasonable argument with facts and data.
But that doesn't happen. It's very frustrating.
No, no, I think that's exactly right. That is what that is the conversation we should have. Again, I think it's partly this catastrophizing.
I think it's very healthy sometimes to just go back a little bit and realize we've been told this for a long time, but a lot of really smart people that the world is going to end for a variety of different reasons. You know, one of my favorites was the UN told us back in the late 80s that by if we didn't fix climate change before the end of the century, the impact would be just as devastating as nuclear war by two thousand might, you know, didn't happen.
And there are lots of these sorts of claims. So, again, it's it's valuable to understand that if you're really scared, you're likely to make. Bad decisions, and I think we should help talk people out of that, but you also need to recognize that currently we're not spending money very well. And, you know, again, back to the Biden's promises. If you look at what he's actually promising, he's talking about spending two trillion dollars over the next four years.
Now, granted, he'll probably not get all of that through Congress, but if he were to spend that much money, first of all, it'd be fifteen hundred dollars per person in the US every year. That's a lot of money.
Remember The Washington Post and a recent survey showed that a majority of Americans are not willing to pay twenty four dollars to fix climate change per year.
So, you know, spending an inordinately large amount, fifteen hundred dollars every year is likely to not make this sustainable. You just simply can't spend that much money. And then he's talking about spending it on building a million electrified American cars. Clearly something that feels very, very good and possibly something you can be proud about and say show people. See, we're doing something about the climate crisis. But of course, actually supporting electric cars we know is one of the most costly ways to cut carbon emissions.
Or basically you could cut about 10 to 100 times more CO2 for the same amount of money. That's a really, really bad way to try and help the environment. Likewise, he wants to weatherize homes. And we know we have the biggest study in the US actually in the world. But from the showing that the average weatherizing of homes end up being much more expensive and saving less than what you expect. So like most of the prognoses that tell you, oh, you're going to save lots of money, it turns out that every dollar spent will only save about 50 cents.
We know this already.
And so spending hundreds of trillions are hundreds of billions of dollars on these programs will cut little provide fairly little benefits. That's a bad idea. So, again, there is one good thing. And let me just end on the positive note. He's also talking about spending a lot more money on research and development into green energy. And that could be really useful. A little bit like Kennedy decided to go to the moon. Yeah, sure. There might not be all that much to go to the moon, but you get all this great stuff from innovation, from deciding to go there.
You know, the slogan is you got Velcro, but you get all these different other opportunities. And if we go for a lot of green energy innovation, not only do we actually have a play at getting really, really cheap energy, which would, of course, be a boon both for the US, especially for the rest of the world, but we also get bigger and better batteries, sorry, smaller and better batteries for our cell phones and all these other things as spin offs.
So this could actually be one of the places where he decides he could spend money and do an amazing amount of good, because at the end we could make energy so cheap, green energy so cheap that everybody would want it.
So, you know, there's a little bit of good and a lot of not very good in the spending. And that's, of course, where we need to sort of whittle it down and say, look, let's do the really smart stuff and let's not do the dumb stuff.
Yeah, you know, the outcome needs to be lower emissions. This is this is their problem. That's not actually their outcomes, their desired outcome, because if it was, they'd be, you know, and there's bipartisan legislation introduced by me and passed by me into law, you know, that that focuses on carbon capture technology and carbon utilization. So, you know, you've got to look at this as a commodity and not a not a pollutant and which it can be.
I mean, carbon is used for a variety of things, variety of processes. You could store it and sell it. And you don't need to have mandates in place which are just inefficient in general. They're smart ways to do this. I'm a big fan of nuclear and proposing better ways to make it cheaper. However, that may be I mean, even if it's just allowing a higher, higher, higher levels of enriched uranium to be used like we use in the Navy, you know, like in the Navy, we use up the 90 percent enrichment.
And it's extremely efficient and powerful that, you know, in the civilian sector, it's like 80 percent granted, 90 percent weapons grade. So that's why we don't use it. That's why we don't allow it. Simply, there's you know, let's at least talk about some some better ideas. The technologies out there. It is very expensive, but it's also baseload energy, you know, and you can get around this fact. I don't care how how much better renewables get, there is a physical limit to them just by their very nature.
And you can only advance it so much. You brought up electric cars and this is big in the news lately because GM says that we're we're going to have all electric cars by I don't know what. What was it, 20, 50, something kind of ridiculous, and I'm just very skeptical of this, and there was a there was a press conference with GM recently and they're talking about the Chevy Volt. And then they asked them and they're plugging it in and they're really proud of themselves.
And then they ask them, OK, well, what what kind of power sources is this grid on? How is it charging? Like was about ninety five percent cold up here in Michigan? And I could not not everywhere. Is that the case? But it is the case that if it's a mostly coal power grid, which is a lot of places, it's certainly the case of China, then electric vehicles are actually emit more carbon over their lifetimes for the most part.
On average, they do not emit more carbon. And I know that's a bit of a myth busting that that's occurred and a bit of a debate, but they certainly emit more carbon just by producing them. Right. And then and then the next question is, OK, even if we got everybody on electric cars, you have the stat in your book. We reached one hundred and thirty million electric cars by 20, 30. I don't know what change that is from now, but you say we'd only reach point four percent of global emissions.
So again, it's like that's not point four degrees. That's not that's just point four percent of total global emissions. So, again, it's like, wow, a ton of cost. What are we getting for it? A car that we can't take on a road trip. That's what we're getting for it. Yeah.
So so, again, you know, the electric car can be really great depending on what you need for it. If you have a society that more and more goes towards Uber, you can have a situation where, you know, the cars will just go and recharge themselves and and at convenient times. And maybe that could actually work out as good as a good opportunity. You can envision this happening in the long run. So over the next 10, 20, 30 years, a lot of people are going to switch to electric cars.
Some people are definitely not. As you just mentioned, you can't go long. What are you going to do if you have to charge even, you know, fast charge? You basically have to, you know, expect like half an hour. What are you going to do? That's that's no fun to sit around and wait or, you know, have a snack as as as the advertisers for the with the electric cars tell you. So. So there's a lot of problems.
And of course, how are you going to do this for the commercial trucking? How are you going to do this for a lot of the places where the costs are much greater and where the cost of also just simply losing the time from recharging is almost makes this almost impossible.
Again, we're smart species. We're probably going to solve most of these problems. But there's something dramatically wrong about this idea of saying we're going to outlaw, as California said, we're going to outlaw electric cars in twenty, thirty five.
Look, we should make electric cars really, really smart and cheap because then most people will buy them. That will be great. But let's make sure we only do it once it's actually smarter and greater.
And people want that rather than saying when you're when you're basically saying we're going to outlaw them twenty, thirty five, it's because you know that you have to say that in order to dissuade a lot of people who would otherwise have picked a much nicer and better car for them to say, no, you can't have that because of climate change. Now, again, if this is an incredibly effective way to fix climate change, maybe we'd be willing to say, all right, well, you've got to give up on your on your fossil fuel car.
But as you just quoted from my book, we're basically talking about a tiny bit. Just give you one hundred and forty million cars is right now the world has about seven million electric cars. So it's a huge jump now. Can get there. We possibly can.
But remember, by 2030, we'll probably have almost two billion cars on the planet. So it's still a fairly small bit. Of course, again, if they keep being cheaper and cheaper and more and more effective, maybe people will switch in droves. But what we've actually seen is the only way you can get large pick up electric cars is by giving people lots and lots of subsidies. The country with the most sold electric cars, Norway, they actually give you a subsidy that implicitly is almost as big as the price of the entire car.
So not surprisingly, in Norway, unless you really, really need an electric a gasoline car, you will buy an electric car. But remember, most of the people who buy in the second car, so they drive it when, you know, when you just have to go a little bit and then they have their gasoline car for the road trips.
Interesting. Yeah. And in an America where there's subsidized the whole thing, obviously it's really just the wealthy that can afford it. And then you end up in California is just I worry greatly that California kid is the baseline policy metric for the rest of the United States. If you're Joe Biden and California, electricity prices go up six times higher than the rest of America. The gas prices are are way, way higher. And and again for what? What are they really doing for the environment?
Not much. People are people are fleeing for now because they have a place to flee to, which is generally Texas. And and it's it's not good. It's especially not good for the lower income folks.
I mean, because, like a lot of high income people living on the coasts, they don't really they're not even looking at what they're filling up their tank. And they're not even they don't actually look at their electric bill. It just gets paid automatically on auto pay once a month. They're not actually looking at it, but there's plenty of other people who actually calculate this every single month and are worried that they can't even pay it. And so they notice an extra ten dollars or an extra 20 dollars.
And and what do they get for that higher cost? While they get rolling blackouts because they have an electrical grid that's that's that's manipulated by this by the renewable sector. I just don't see any benefit to this should be talked about in Britain and Britain.
They raised the price enormously on electricity and they're very, very proud of the fact that they've cut their electricity consumption and also their emissions. Absolutely. But when you actually look at who cut, it's not the rich because the rich, as you just point out, can keep affording it. It was the poor. The poorer you were, the more you had to cut.
So it's the poor who don't have all the gadgets they like, who don't have the lights they like, who often don't actually have as warm as they would like in the winter, whereas the rich just pay up.
So the real outcome of most costs from climate typically falls harder on the poor. They're regressive, which is surprising because that's normally not what the people who are also very worried about climate change would be campaigning for.
Yeah, exactly. And I think you're right about that, too, right. Different climate initiatives or renewable energy initiatives in in developing countries. I mean, out of those generally go. Well, so if you look at developing countries, they mostly need permanent or baseload power. One of the costlier things and you get this most developing countries is that you have power sometimes and then you don't. And so if you want to be a business, first of all, you can't rely on big production because you know that there's a good chance that the power is just going to go.
And secondly, you end up buying a diesel generator to back up your production.
So it's more polluting, it's much more costly. And what they want is more power. And typically that's going to be fossil fuel bread. So, for instance, Bangladesh, they they obviously they so a large part of the world's clothing and that's their business.
And one of the things that they so we had a model from UC Berkeley actually looking at what would be the impact of their their prime minister's proposed to have a bunch of new coal fired power plants built that would lead to more climate emissions. It would also actually lead to more air pollution. We tried to look at what all those dis benefits, it's about half a billion dollars in benefits. So that's real problems for the world. And clearly, the Bangladeshis should take that into account.
But it would also lead to much more economic growth. It would actually be so good that by 2030 or probably two and three by now, it would be about 30 percent richer Bangladesh than they otherwise would be.
So for each person in Bangladesh, we find that every time you lose 23 cents to climate dis benefits, you end up making an extra hundred dollars for each Bangladeshi. There's something perverse about rich, well-meaning Westerners coming in and saying, I'm sorry because I'm so worried about those twenty three cents. You're not allowed to get one hundred dollars richer. That's the real outcome. And that's what we need to recognize, that we can't just imagine that the rest of the world is going to follow in her footsteps.
If you become like California and have much, much higher costs on on electricity, sure. You you emit a little less. But most countries are not going to say, yay, I would love to emit a little less and have much higher electricity costs.
So I want to go back to our initial discussion about the false premises and maybe I want to end with that and then talk about some of the the myths out there about, you know, increased super storms and hurricanes and floods and really what's the truth on that?
But like, I guess what I didn't ask you before is why do people hype up the catastrophe so much? I mean, what are they are they twisting some statistics? Are they twisting some analytics? Are they using, like, the tail end of the probability curve and saying, look, this is what we're definitely going to deal with? I mean, what if somebody wants to refute that? If somebody is in an argument with one of their friends, like, what's the quick way to refute that and maybe even persuade somebody or.
There's a number of things to this, so it's been clearly shown that the best way to convince people that global warming is a really big problem is to look at extreme weather. So if if you just talk about temperatures are going to be warmer in twenty one hundred, which they are because of global warming, nobody cares. 80 years from now, do I really care if it's going to be 70 degrees Fahrenheit warmer? You probably should, but it doesn't seem very bad.
But if you could somehow show that Hurricane Sandy that hit New York was because of global warming and you're hurting because of global warming, that makes it much easier. So if you remember, the big headline on Bloomberg BusinessWeek was, is that it's global warming stupid, right? It was that very simple point in saying, look, this is what happens because of global warming. The reality is that's not what we see now. The models tell us that we will get slightly fewer but stronger hurricanes by the end of the century.
Fewer is better. Stronger is worse. Overall, stronger is a little worse than fewer is better. That's why global warming is a problem.
But the reality is, you know, no one, NASA and everybody else tells us we can't tell that that's happening right now.
But that's not the the understanding you get from from the media, because, of course, you get to see every storm. This is the CNN effect. The fact that you get to see every storm now you get to see storms nobody ever knew were just idling around out in the North Atlantic and nobody would ever discovered them. But now we can see them on on satellite and we can give them names, which is one of the reasons why we ran out of names.
The truth is, if you actually look at the amount of ferocity so the accumulated hurricane index for globally, which we've done since the beginning, satellite age and 1980, 2020, although you probably heard it was one of the worst storm storm years ever, it was worse for the North Atlantic.
Yes, but not terribly worse.
It was the 13 biggest for the North Atlantic, but it was much, much less devastating in the Pacific, both the northeast and Northwest and in the southern hemisphere.
So the reality is it was actually one of the weakest years. You don't hear that because that's just boring statistics. You just see CNN and everybody else sharing one hurricane after another and talking about we're running out of names and it gets a great story. You asked for one statistic that you should show, and there's not that one killer statistic. If there were and we wouldn't be having this discussion. But I think perhaps the best one statistic is to show over the last hundred years how many people die from global warming related, so from climate related disasters.
So that would be droughts, floods, heat strokes, storms, all these other things.
If you take all of those numbers and we have reasonable numbers for that, and if anything, we probably have underestimated them back in the early years. On average, in the 1920s, about half a million people died every year from climate related disasters. Last decade, about 20000 people died each year around the planet.
In 2020, just 10000 people died. So we are actually in a much, much better place.
Sorry, I just have to turn this off. Sorry. Should I just repeat that or not? I don't. We don't really cut. All right.
OK, so anyway, so so we've actually seen a dramatic decline of ninety six percent. And of course, we've quadrupled the global population. So what you see is actually starting in 1920, we've just dropped dramatically so that global weather related or climate related deaths have dropped to an almost zero. We don't see that, but we should see that graph all the time.
I'll send it to you and then you can put up next to the to the podcast, because really, that is the one graphic that really tells you there is a climate problem.
It probably will get a little bit worse. We know that theoretically. But because we're smart and rich society, we are much, much better able to handle that. That's why there's not half a million people dying every year. That's why it's just 10000 people.
Yeah. Now, that's a great point. I mean, because, again, you don't want to get bogged down in this debate with whether it's real or whether there's an effect. I mean, we can just accept that that's real and that there's there's some effect. But we do have to fight with the premise on how bad the effect actually is. I mean, like, is there a chance some will be more intense? But I also am extremely skeptical when when some scientists or politicians say, well, you know, if it wasn't for our fossil fuels, that hurricane would have had 10 inches less rainfall.
And it's like, you know, I mean, is that a reasonable statement to make? I don't know. I mean, what do you think about that? Well, so there's there's a lot of modeling that goes into this and there's some arguments to say that most of these hurricanes are probably a little worse than they would otherwise have been.
Now, what is problematic is that you typically only look at where the hurricanes did hit. You don't look at where hurricanes didn't hit because that that doesn't really occur to anyone.
But we know when we count up the total number of hurricanes hit the U.S., which is what we have the best statistics for, there's actually fewer, not more hurricanes that hit the US today than there was one hundred and twenty years ago.
And actually declining, not statistically significant, but it's not increasing. Then people say Opeth, they're more strong hurricanes. Actually, it's the same thing for strong hurricanes, slightly declining, increasing.
So what that tells you is it's very easy to say look at a specific hurricane and say that hurricane got a little worse because of global warming. But actually there's reason to believe that overall we're seeing slightly fewer of those hurricanes. Again, this is all in the murky statistic noise of this and what it really is about. It's about convincing minds. Rather than being straight with the data, we probably say we can't see anything. No one tells us we won't be able to be able to determine the impact in the next couple of decades on on hurricanes.
And that's true for most of the impacts that we're talking about. And even then, the impacts are going to be very small because most of what matters for impacts is human decisions, is the fact that you have better buildings, that you're richer, that you're better protected. And it's also about making sure that you have good forecasting and that you make sure that people leave when there is a strong hurricane. It's also the fact that many more people build irresponsibly and close to where hurricanes hit that obviously drives up the the damages there, all these other things and they much, much more important.
So when people say, I really care about future victims from from hurricanes, we're going to do something about global warming. They're essentially saying, let's fix this problem by dealing with the costliest but least effective way to tackle the future. That's a bad idea. If you want to help people, make sure you have better forecasting, better protection and you have people that are wealthier.
What also concerns me about them is they're making unfalsifiable arguments, meaning that no matter what we did now in 10 years, there's a bad hurricane and they're like, well, what had 10 inches less rain? But it's like you don't, you know what I mean? And you can never be wrong. That's an unfalsifiable argument. I think, by definition is a logical fallacy. OK, so let's end with this question. If if we can't get around blowing out our budget and forcing our children and grandchildren to live and just up to their necks in debt, then we're going to spend four hundred billion dollars a year here in the US on climate change initiatives.
What would be the best use of that money, not just for climate change, but just general environmental concerns? What would what would be your, I don't know, top three? Yeah, so there's no way you can use 500 billion or 400 billion smartly. That's just too much money.
So I would argue that you've got you've got to come to the Congress of the United States.
You should definitely be spending more money on research and development into green energy. Again, Biden is promising eighty five billion dollars right now. The U.S. spends 10, 15 billion dollars. So ramping it up to eighty five is probably going to be really hard. I think it's a good to ramp it up already, maybe even to forty five.
So double or triple it, but quintuple it as probably without a lot of ways that could be the best way to tackle global warming.
It could also be the best way to tackle a lot of the other problems of humanity. Because remember, the reason why global warming conversation is so important is because it addresses how we get energy and energy is how we get rich.
This is the whole industrial revolution. Can I ask a follow that which which parts of renewable energy? I mean, what should we really be researching? Is there anything specifically about nuclear carbon capture, carbon utilization, solar matter, what I say, green energy, not just renewables.
Right. So surely we should be spending money on can we get better solar? Can we get better wind we should spend it on? Can we get better batteries? But we should also spend, as you just said, can we get better nuclear? You know, it's a travesty that we have a lot of drawn up plans for fourth generation nuclear, but they're not built in the US. They're typically built in China and elsewhere because it's just too costly to get regulatory oversight for these projects.
That's silly. We want to make sure that these get investigated. Now, they may not work. We want to find out if they don't work, but maybe they're going to be practically cheap and incredibly safe, which is what the proponents are proposing. We should be investing in that and then we should be investing in a host of other sort of slightly ideas.
They're not crazy in and of themselves, but they have you know, they're long shots. So Craig Venter, the guy who cracked the human genome back in 2000, he's thinking that we could make algae produce oil on the surface of the ocean. They would simply soak up sunshine and they'd essentially be floating solar panels that soak up sunshine and CO2 and then we could just burn them in our cars. This is not at all cost effective right now, but he's saying maybe we could investigate it to a place where it would be cost effective.
There are lots of these kinds of slightly crazy schemes. And again, most of them are going to fail. But that's fine because we really just need one or a few of them to succeed and then we would power the rest of the 21st century. So the idea, I think, should be we should have blue ribbon panel set up. What are the most important research projects that we could discover, where we could make a significant step towards fixing the climate problem and getting cheap green energy?
That would be a lot of different proposals. And then we'd use the National Science Foundation as a way of allocating much of this money would be very cheap because researchers are cheap. But the cumulative effect would be that we would have a much greater chance of fixing climate change and we'd get the great cell phone battery and all this other stuff at the same time. Besides that, we should be focusing, for instance, on getting China to frack, because if we can't get China to coal to gas, that would be much, much more than we could really reasonably imagine to be able to do over the next ten, fifteen years.
It would also improve Chinese life quality because it would reduce Chinese air quality problems dramatically. Again, this would not help the U.S. at all because it all be China.
They did what they could, but they could buy our natural gas. We'd love to sell it to them so it would help us quite a bit. I know.
I know. But it is very expensive to transport it. So, you know, in the long run, it is much more realistic to imagine that China and India and everybody else would start fracking themselves. So helping the world to frack and then of course, recognizing that if you actually want to get clean air and clean water, there are many other ways that would be more beneficial in the first place. Clean air, mostly about making sure that the world's poor don't use terrible fuels to cook and keep warm.
So about three billion people cook with dirty fuels like wood and cardboard and dung and whatever they can get their hands on. It's equivalent to smoking two packs of cigarettes for every one of those three billion people. That's almost half humanity. That's about getting them out of poverty. That's not about any climate proposal or even environmental proposal.
It's about making sure that. They stop being poor. Remember, one hundred and fifty years ago, your great, great great grandparents probably lived in the same kind of it was dirty, it was smelly. It was terrible, terrible indoor air quality.
We got out of that because of energy and the same thing. Yeah, well, but, you know, cheap energy that you have not inside your house, but that you have from a power station, for instance. So there are very simple ways to do this. Then, of course, outdoor air pollution, that's about scrubbers and coal fired power plants. It's about making much cleaner energy. It is about making sure that every every car has a catalytic converter, that you don't have so many mopeds.
All these very, very simple things are actually very, very little to do with the standard arguments of climate change.
These impacts would be fairly cheap and would have immense impact to most people. But of course, they don't look as good on TV.
Yeah, none of the things you just listed are on the planet, which is very frustrating. Well, except for the research and development. But but that's more of a report. That's more the Republican answer that they're just they're fine with it, but it's. But it's not as flashy. Right. OK, last plastics and oceans and what have you seen anything. What's the most promising solution to that you've seen? You know, I get it. This makes my heart hurt.
I don't like envisioning plastics in the Pacific Ocean. Drives me crazy. I also happen to know that transitioning to paper straws here in America is is a completely useless tactic to combat that. I always ask people, when you throw away your plastic shower, do you think it goes in there?
Like, I don't know, like go to the ocean. I'm like, no, it doesn't. It's not like going to the ocean, OK? It's not going to the ocean. It goes in a trash that we live in America now.
But that being said, tons and tons and tons of plastic and trash are going in, are going into rivers and into the ocean with most of those are in Asian countries. Is there any technology or ideas that that we could combat that with? Have you seen anything on your radar? Again, the answer is incredibly boring. It's twofold, it's not these big contraptions out in the Pacific Ocean. It's about getting good municipal trash treatment, especially in Asian countries and Vietnam and Philippines and certainly in China.
Those are very, very simple things to do. They are not simple. They're actually costly and hard. And we've spent a long time doing they're not rocket science by any means. That's what you need to do so that, you know, when you throw out a plastic straw, it goes into, you know, the garbage treatment just like it does in rich countries like the US.
The second thing that you need to do is to make very sure that you don't do too much recycling in the U.S. This is a surprise to many people.
Why is there so much plastic in the ocean? Because a lot of rich countries, the U.S. but many, many other countries decided we were going to recycle a lot. It actually costs a lot to recycle. So what most people did was they collected all this plastic. They didn't know what to use it for because honestly, it's not all that great quality. Most of the plastic.
So they sent it to China and to the Vietnam and the Philippines and other places to get it, you know, supposedly get it treated.
But if you've just bought a whole barge full of plastics, gotten it from the other side of the of the Pacific, do you treat it really costly or do you just.
Oh, I think it slipped into the ocean. Of course, a lot of this just got dumped in the ocean. That's where most of the plastic that is in the ocean actually comes from.
It comes from it comes from fishery equipment. So that actually makes up about 30, 50 percent of it, according to to surveys. But a lot of it comes from us sending recycled plastic to other places that don't have good recycling systems. And then let's not be surprised that it didn't get recycled. It got dumped in the Pacific. So, again, this is about making smart decisions. First of all, make sure that they get good municipal waste treatment.
And secondly, make sure that you don't just send your environmental problems elsewhere probably the best way. And this is also very controversial. And that's a whole other issue.
Probably the best way is simply to burn the plastic, do it responsibly, regain the energy and actually get it used. And we do that in Denmark and Sweden. It works very well and it's actually fairly low impact on the environment. And you don't have that huge extra cost of actually needing to tackle it if you want to have that extra cost. I think it's a bad idea. I think there's lots of evidence that shows that if you want to do that, you have to pay that cost yourself and not ship it to Vietnam.
So just burn it. Interesting. So yeah, because I saw the some, I think it was in Denmark, it's like ski mountain of trash burning. Is this true.
Is this thing, I mean it's like there's no way I'm like examining the picture and I'm like, is this, is this real. And it looks, it's apparently real. It's a really it's a giant building with a ski slope on it and they burn trash inside of it. So it's a very famous architect.
He basically made this fun extra state. And it's not it didn't cost all that much more. So, you know, it's a great thing you even heard of it. But it but underneath is a place where you burn a lot of trash.
And remember, trash can either be used as a way of you have lots and lots of people standing there picking out all the different things that we can use for different ideas. Now, some recycling make good sense. We've recycle about 30 percent of copper since nineteen hundred because copper cost money. It's easy to track out of of, you know, especially building materials.
So we recycle, but lots of things are worth almost nothing. And so when we recycle them, like we, for instance, try to recycle paper and plastics and bottles, those are typically really, really bad things because they're not worth very much, but they're really hard to recycle.
So instead, you just burn them, you create energy and it actually heats homes and it produces electricity at the same time. That turns out to be a very effective and very cheap way of getting extra energy, extra electricity and get rid of the plastics. So, yeah, that's just one way of doing it. But again, it's about not being stuck in your mind of saying there's only one right way to do this, but saying, you know, what's actually the smart way that's both good for the economy and good good for the environment.
Imagine that. Solutions that make sense and it works. OK, anything else to add before we before we end? I think we covered a lot.
I think we've been around a lot. Yes. It's great.
You're always good to have you, man. Appreciate it. Appreciate all your good work on.
Good to have you by doing this a lot more. I am now on the Environmental Subcommittee for the Energy and Commerce Committee. So this is a big deal for me. And we've got to we got to get it right because we're talking about spending a lot of money on the wrong things that just don't have the benefits that people think they'll have.
They sure do feel good. So appreciate you setting the record straight.
Hey, thank you. Then let's talk again. We'll do all right. Go on.