Editor’s Note: Jay Lehr, Ph.D., is a leading authority on groundwater hydrology and has served as executive director of the National Association of Groundwater Scientists and Engineers. Lehr is a senior policy analyst at the International Climate Science Coalition. He served for 26 years as science director at The Heartland Institute. Lehr was honored with the Dauntless Purveyor of Climate Truth Award at the 13th International Conference on Climate Change.
Burnett: You were instrumental in getting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established, yet for more than a decade now you’ve tried to have it dismantled or replaced. How and why have your views of the EPA changed over the years?
Lehr: In the first 10 years of EPA’s existence, seven useful pieces of legislation were passed to create a safety net for our environment. The laws and EPA’s efforts were successful.
Beginning in 1980, with the very poorly thought-out Comprehensive Environmental Regulation and Compensation Act legislation, better known as Superfund, environmental zealots took over EPA, and not another useful piece of legislation has passed since. Instead, EPA has constantly pushed for ever-larger budgets and expanded its authority beyond what the law allows. Environmental laws and regulations since 1980 have only served to inhibit the economy and wreck peoples’ lives and livelihoods, with no corresponding benefit to the environment or human health.
Burnett: You have repeatedly called the theory of human-caused global warming “the greatest scientific hoax in the history of civilization.” Those are strong words. What do you mean by that?
Lehr: There is absolutely no physical evidence to support the theory humans are causing a dangerous global warming. The whole theory is built on absurd mathematical equations said to simulate the way the Earth responds to the 100 or more variables that affect the Earth’s thermostat. Yet we do not currently understand obvious variable impacts such as how and why energy moves between sea and land and between the land and the atmosphere, the regulation of ice on the planet, the role of clouds, the movement of tectonic plates beneath the ocean, the differential movement between the Earth’s liquid core and its crust, and many, many more variables that affect the climate.
The climate models are a joke, but the public does not understand this, and the modelers are unethical scientists reaping massive amounts of government funding.
Burnett: Proponents of the theory humans are causing a climate catastrophe are pushing policies to end the use of fossil fuels and replace them with renewables. Having edited an academic encyclopedia on energy, what are your thoughts on such policy proposals?
Lehr: A policy requiring Americans to end their use of fossil fuels would end life as we know it, sending us back to the nineteenth century but with a government controlling every aspect of our lives.
It can never happen, but along the way, in the attempt, many of the accomplishments and much of the wealth, capital stock, and innovations the nation has built up through the use of fossil fuels will be destroyed, leaving America and the world worse off.
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. ([email protected]) is a research fellow at The Heartland Institute.