Cancer, Minnesota, United States discussed on The Joe Rogan Experience

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Good, Joe, how are you pleasure to meet you pleasure to meet you? How did you get started on this? And how did how did you get interested in the subject? I got interested in this subject through climate change climate denial specifically I'm an environmental attorney. And back in the nineteen nineties, I worked for the state of Minnesota. And we found ourselves very briefly. Sort of on the front lines of the scientific debate over climate change in the way that happened was the state had passed a law, saying that utilities regulators should try to estimate the cost to the environment of generating electricity. We get most of our power from coal, or we did then and so we looked at coal missions. We looked at the traditional pollutants that we regulated for a long time, and in my client was the pollution control agency so I was familiar with those. What we also looked at though and I wasn't familiar with was. Co Two in its effect on climate change because while that was a big issue globally, there was already a global treaty signed to fight climate change states had not taken a look at that and what happened, was we? Struck a nerve with the coal industry, and they sent to Minnesota a bunch of witnesses bunch of scientists. To testify that we did not have to worry about climate change and wasn't going to happen, or if it did be just just a little, and we'd like it, and that all of those scientists the IPC intergovernmental panel on Climate Change though scientists that the rest of the world including the US government in the treaty signed by George H W Bush the ones that they were relying on those scientists were. Basically biased, they were biased because. They were in it for the money. Somehow they wanted research grants, or they had some. Political agenda it was kind of vague but but it was clear they did not want US worrying about this issue at all. The the told you it would be just a little and that you would like it would. Well a couple of things one of the arguments and you'll still hear this sometimes. Is that co two is a plant fertilizer which is true and therefore more co two makes the world a happier place for plants, and therefore better for everybody else and to the to the point where one of the coal interests who were in that who were parties had put out a video, saying that the earth was deficient in seal to and by digging up the coal, burning it. We were we were correcting that. yeah, so that was one of the arguments the other was you know it'll be mild? It'll be warm. The winters won't be as cold and and hey, this is Minnesota, so you know you guys are going to appreciate. Those warmer winters so yeah. There was a lot of crazy that that hasn't gone away. In fact, many in many ways. It's gotten a lot worse, but there were certainly enough to leave me shocked. Was that the first time you ever wear? The corporations do send in people to try to defuse arguments or Pollute the waters. I don't think I was quite that naive, but I'd certainly never seen anything like this. I mean these were people under oath you know and and they were saying things that were. Pretty Extreme and and many of which would just get a lot more extreme, and there were scientists the many. Yes, they're the ones I cross examined where mainly the scientists. They also sent some other witnesses as well so they didn't. They didn't actually work in a coal company. They were hired by the coal industry to come in testify and these scientists. Presumably, they are paid to do this. Yes, so, is that I mean? How do you track that like if you if you have scientists and they come in, and they say things that you know are not accurate or deceptive. How'd you find out what their motivation is? do do. Did you ask them if they've been paid? We were able to put some things in the record regarding how much money they gotten from different fossil fuel interests over the years. Years so we definitely did point to that argue about that. We didn't realize some of the witnesses had a much deeper history than we understood in science denial. One of the witnesses was a pretty prominent scientist. named Frederick sites who has since died but but we didn't know what I didn't know. When I cross examined him, I mean. This was a shoestring operation was that he had spent a lot of time actually consulting for the tobacco industry. so that would have been nice to to bring up talked about just before the PODCAST, the film merchants of doubt, and that's how I kind of got into your work right that film touches on that. How people who worked for the tobacco industry eventually went to work to deny the manmade climate change right well. In his case, he had actually been a physicist to as a very involved in cold. War weapons program, so he kind of came at it from that direction, and it wasn't until really he had retired from his remains, scientific and academic work that he was brought in to work for the the tobacco industry, but what happened was this handful of scientists Profiled in that movie, and and in the book by the same name they would also them work with these nonprofit groups, these free market groups that were strongly post regulation of industries, and so in those same groups than would address lots of different issues from tobacco ozone, and now to climate change, and and really a lot of other. Scientific issues as well for industries facing regulation. That someone should do a psychological profile of those people, particularly the tobacco people because it's like such a direct correlation between tobacco and cancer early it's the climate change thing. It's almost like boy. It's so hard to track it so far in advance, and if you say the climate change isn't real, what deaths are caused is directly attributable to that like how do you? Know what I'm saying, but like cancer cigarettes. It's like here's a person. They smoke cigarettes. They have cancer. You said it didn't come from cigarettes. What does that feel like to you to to be that person that? Actively tries to. Being, they're lying for money. They're lying. Let let me just back up one second and then talk about that just because I. WanNa make it clear that while the link between. Smoking and cancer may seem entirely obvious. There's enough of a delay that up. They opportunity for denial. The link between putting greenhouse gases in the air and and dramatic climate change that's actually as established well established as the links between and cancer is just that there it is a more complicated process and potentially more of a delay, and it depends in large part on what humans do along the way, so so it does. It does get kind of complicated as far as psychologically profiling the. Tobacco companies I, mean the tobacco executives. I won't presume to suggest this book does that, but but I do write a lot about what the these folks were saying not just to the public, but to you know internally we've got some internal documents, and and certain things that may have been public utterances, but we're clearly just sort of part of their internal rationalization, and for example I started the book with a quote from the head of Philip Morris who says. Says who knows what you would do if you didn't smoke. Maybe it'd be your wife. Maybe you drive cars fast, and you know that that's part of how I think. The tobacco industry approached this they would. They would imagine this sort of counterfactual where you know a world without tobacco without cigarettes, and then they would imagine what that would be like. And of course they always imagined. It was much much worse mother. Right. A read that part, and also the the man in question wind up quitting cigarettes so right. Yeah, he had to try. and. Do Right exactly. Yeah, that was the question and and we never really did find that out. It's such a strange. Way To live your life to to be deceptive in a way that you know is going to. I mean the there's. I? Don't know how many people have gotten cancer from cigarettes, but it's probably millions, and it isn't just cancer. Heart, disease, etc, so millions I mean I I've seen an estimate that in the twentieth century smoking killed. I. Want to make sure I. Get this right I. Think it was hundred million people. More than more than. Maybe, both wars World War, put together. It's seven million a year I. Think is the is the global. Death toll in the US, it's for four hundred eighty thousand a year. Yeah! Directly attributable right they they trace it to to directly attributable. Now you know it. These are extreme examples. Tobacco's the most famous and extreme example, and I talk about a lot of other examples, but I think it's actually..

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