Glenn Beck Displays Why Global Warming Not to Blame for California Fires

Like clockwork, much of the mainstream media quickly jumped to blame the California wildfires on global warming. As CBS’s "60 Minutes" and "NBC Nightly News" jumped on the global warming bandwagon, Headline News’ Glenn Beck offered a different take: government forest mismanagement and environmental pressure groups forbidding California homeowners from clearing flammable brush around their land.

Guests R.J. Smith from the Competitive Enterprise Institute and Chris Horner, author of "The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming (and Environmentalism)" offered their analysis.

Horner first noted that the facts on the earth’s temperature increase do not add up to devastating wildfires in Southern California:

"Well, fire happens everywhere, and it is a natural disaster if man's there. Otherwise it's a disaster purely for nature, but again, it is natural. Global warming is not a likely suspect for the following reason: The warming that the alarmists are talking about is one degree Fahrenheit over the past 150 years, most of which occurred before World War II. None of which occurred in the last decade. Okay, we can probably reliably take global warming off the suspect list. Second, it’s not clear that a warmer world would be a dryer world. As you know, Glenn, they rely on computer models to scare us. The computer models disagree with each other. The two that the United States used for an Al Gore produced report they left off it said the Red River Valley was going to be a flood plain or a desert. So, you know, prepare for it."

Beck inquired into the federal government’s mismanagement, exclaiming the same environmentalists that lecture us on global warming "have stopped people in California from clearing brush on their own property." R.J. Smith responded that it’s actually worse than mismanagement but "no management."

Finally, Horner using a public restroom comparison, explained why there is no incentive to take care of property when it is publicly owned. He also cited the Greek government’s recent failure to combat their own wildfires.

"The fact of the matter is that if everybody owned something, nobody has the property interest to take care of it and that's what happened here, which is why these fires start on publicly-owned lands. They start elsewhere. Greece, as you know, had a tragic fire this year. A government almost fell. It was their hurricane Katrina. It proved not the incompetence of that government, but the incompetence of government. But again, in Greece, most of the forest land is owned by the state. That's where these things traditionally start."

The entire transcript is below.

GLENN BECK: Some say that global warming is what’s causing the super fires in California, but, you know what, it’s time you’re told the truth. And I’m just dumb enough to be that guy. We’ve got that coming up in just a second.

[...]

 

BECK: For the second consecutive day, wildfires are sweeping through California, especially beach front cities like Malibu and San Diego. And I want to get one thing straight right from the start: loss of life, property, tragic. The people who are fighting these fires, heroes. But I got to tell you, this story just pisses me off. I grew up in the Pacific northwest. Wildfire may be a natural disaster, but you've got to stop kidding yourself, America, and pretending that man isn't partly to blame for making things worse. I remember spending my summers at my grandfather's house at his farm. I can still see him screaming at that old Zenith TV that we had in the living room, yelling about how the mismanagement of our forests is going to get people killed one day. You asked any farmer or anyone that lives closely with the land and they'll tell you, you can't change mother nature. We're the ones screwing things up. Why does this global warming phenomenon only seem to happen in our part of the globe? Why have we, why have we tried for decades to stop the natural cycle of burn and regrowth and most importantly, why do we think that we can continue to believe that man knows best when every bit of evidence tells us it ain't true? Mother nature is tough enough. We don't need to make matters worse with our bad environmental policies. Chris Horner is the author of "Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism" and R.J. Smith is an adjunct environmental analyst with the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Let me start with you, R.J. How much money do you get from big oil?

R.J. SMITH: I don't think big oil has anything to do with the forest fires.

BECK: Okay.

SMITH: And -- and I'm not sure. I mean -- environmentalists get big oil money themselves, too.

BECK: Look, here’s the thing. We're going to talk about things that are politically incorrect. Nobody else is going to say this, and I know all of the bloggers are right now going oh, big oil, big oil, big oil. They're going to deny global warming. I'm not denying global warming. But, Chris, let me ask you this. I keep hearing that this is global warming that's doing this and I keep thinking to myself, how many years have we let the underbrush grow and nobody will do anything? If these super fires are caused by global warming, wouldn't these super fires be happening all around the globe? Are they, or are they not?

CHRIS HORNER: Well, fire happens everywhere, and it is a natural disaster if man's there. Otherwise it's a disaster purely for nature, but again, it is natural. Global warming is not a likely suspect for the following reason: The warming that the alarmists are talking about is one degree Fahrenheit over the past 150 years, most of which occurred before World War II. None of which occurred in the last decade. Okay, we can probably reliably take global warming off the suspect list. Second, it’s not clear that a warmer world would be a dryer world. As you know, Glenn, they rely on computer models to scare us. The computer models disagree with each other. The two that the United States used for an Al Gore produced report they left off it said the Red River Valley was going to be a flood plain or a desert. So, you know, prepare for it.

BECK: Okay. So, R.J., let me -- help me out. Because if I hear the -- if I hear global warming one more time, blood’s going to shoot out of my eyes.

SMITH No, it has little if anything to do with global warming, Glenn. What happens, I mean, you're right from what you've learned in Washington state. For almost 100 years, the federal government and the firefighting profession has mismanaged our national forests. They were under the assumption that fire was unnatural, that all fires had to be stopped and put out, and we've done that. And fires are a natural part of forest communities. And originally in pre-settlement days, a slow-burning fires would move through the forests, burning along the ground, getting rid of duff and pine needles and dead trees and little seedlings and so on that were coming up. But then we stopped that. And so for about 100 years, everything has filled up. The forests are just filled with, with flammable material, with highly-flammable fuels.

BECK: R.J., true or false, that they actually -- the environmentalists, the same ones that going to tell me it's my fault because I have an SUV, these same damn environmentalists are the ones that have stopped people in California from clearing brush on their own property.

SMITH: Precisely. First, the feds made things bad with 100 years of mismanagement and then starting around 1975, 1980, into there, the greens made things worse by stopping all management. No management. And they said fire was natural and it was natural regulation and let it burn, particularly in the national parks and you saw what happened in Yellowstone. The great experiment. It burned down half the park. That's their big success story, and they love that. I mean, their chief biologist out there was chanting burn, baby, burn, as the fire roared through his study plots. One of the Autobahn Society board members who teaches children for the Autobahn Society said the biggest disaster of the Yellowstone fires was that they did not destroy the town of West Yellowstone, which is the entrance to the park, because it was all ticky tacky and neon cluttered and it should have been reduced to ashes. That's the philosophy of the greens. They don't like people and they don't like people out in the woods.

BECK: Okay. Chris, 65% of all land west of Denver owned by the federal government, true or false? And why should that matter?

HORNER: True, and it should matter because we face a situation where the worst landlord in the country has the most land. I've never been to your home, Glen but I'm guessing that your men's room is cleaner than the one that Penn Station. That’s a microcosm of the tragedy of the commons. I'm assuming things here.

BECK: No, it is.

HORNER: The fact of the matter is that if everybody owned something, nobody has the property interest to take care of it and that's what happened here, which is why these fires start on publicly-owned lands. They start elsewhere. Greece, as you know, had a tragic fire this year. A government almost fell. It was their hurricane Katrina. It proved not the incompetence of that government, but the incompetence of government. But again, in Greece, most of the forest land is owned by the state. That's where these things traditionally start.