This transcript appears in the July 29, 2022 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
INTERVIEW: Kansas State Sen. Mike Thompson
Stop Wind Energy Madness, Restore Science to Weather and Economics
On July 22, Kansas State Sen. Mike Thompson was interviewed by Robert “Bob” Baker, Schiller Institute Agriculture Liaison. The full video interview is available from the Schiller Institute. This is an edited transcript.
Bob Baker: I’m speaking today from outside Washington, D.C., with Kansas State Sen. Mike Thompson, who is in Kansas City, in the heart of the Midwest central states, man-made electricity crisis. Senator Thompson is a meteorologist who has had a long public career in weather forecasting, and now serves in the Kansas State Senate, with, among other things, special responsibilities for utility policy in Kansas. Mike, please give us a situation report of what we could call a Summer version of the Texas Freeze from a year ago.
Senator Mike Thompson: Yes, my background is in meteorology. I went through the Navy weather schools. I served on an aircraft carrier. I got into television by accident. I fully intended to just work as a forecaster, and provide operational forecasts, but ended up doing that on television and radio for just about 40 years. I got into the Senate, and because of my background in weather and climate, I’ve always had an interest in utilities in the energy sector. I was assigned as Chairman of the Utilities Committee two years ago. I’m in my second year as the Chairman in that Committee here in the state.
And we’ve got some big energy policy issues. A lot of it has been driven by the fact that there has been a steady disinformation campaign about the climate, for decades, and now we’re making horrible energy policy based on that. As you’ve probably seen recently, coming out of the Biden Administration, they’re trying to limit CO2 emissions which is unnecessary to limit, and as a result, we’re having some major energy problems, in the gas prices, in the increased price of natural gas, which is also driving up electrical rates. Because of the hot weather we’ve had in the Central Plains lately, from Texas all the way up to the Plains, we’re seeing peak demand for electricity, more than we’ve ever seen—record-setting peak.
And part of the reason that the Energy Information Administration is saying that we’re going to see electric rates double, if not triple, across parts of the country, is because of the increased reliance on renewables, wind and solar. Because, for those renewables to be viable, at all, you have to have natural gas, because when they are not available, you have to have peaking generation that comes online—that would be mostly natural gas generators that kick on. And the price of natural gas has virtually tripled in the last three years.
And so, the increasing reliance on natural gas is driving up prices. The fact that we’re exporting about 74% of our natural gas overseas, is also putting pressure here on the price in our area. In Europe they’re paying literally 10 times more for natural gas than we are, because they’re out ahead of us on the mistakes, by going whole-hog with the renewables. And now we’re seeing Germany trying to go back toward coal, because they have energy poverty; they can’t produce enough electricity, and that’s going to be the case all across the continent.
So, that’s the situation now. We’re starting to reap the whirlwind. It’s the very bad decisions that have been going on for a long time, and unless we start turning this around very soon, we’re going to see this sort of problem all across the United States—well, we already are.
Kansas is just a microcosm of that. Gosh! Educating people on this is the real key, so they understand where we’re going wrong.
Baker: Well, this is the recent Washington Post. The headline reads: “Biden Studies Declaring Climate Emergency.” So, you’re right, it’s right here on ground zero.
Mike, the evil narrative is that the current heatwave, the third-year drought in western North America, automatically proves the thesis that the Earth is overheating from too much carbon dioxide and other emissions that human beings and their activity do; so we have to shut down human activity. What’s the real meteorological science people should understand?
Thompson: First of all, they’re being fed so much bad information, I don’t know if we have enough time today to debunk it all. But let me start chipping away at the edges a little bit.
First of all, this heat wave is not unusual, it’s not uncommon, and it’s driven by largely the Pacific Ocean patterns that we have in place right now, and the Atlantic Ocean patterns. There are multi-decadal patterns of abnormally warm and cold pools of water; the locations of those pools of water—and they’re vast areas of the Earth—determine the general weather pattern flow across North America. And the one we’re stuck in right now, helps to amplify a big high-pressure dome over the western part of the United States, which is locking this heat wave into place.
Now, it really has not been a particularly hot summer over the northeastern part of the United States and it’s been a fairly rainy one over parts of the southeast. And this is a fairly typical pattern that happens. And these seawater patterns can be locked into place for decades, literally four to five decades. So, it extends past the lifetime of many people who are alive now. The younger folks don’t remember the 1980 heatwave, and that thing was horrible. The 1936 heatwave was the worst out here in the Plains, during the Dustbowl, when we had 53 days over 100° F in the Kansas City area. And at that time, by the way, carbon dioxide concentrations were only about 312 parts per million, where there are 420 ppm right now.
And I think the general misunderstanding is that just because we are spewing emissions into the atmosphere, that it changes the climate. It has nothing to do with it. Sulfur dioxide is not a greenhouse gas. It does not trap infrared radiation; in fact, if anything, it blocks incoming ultraviolet rays, because of the size of the particulate matter in the molecule, the same with nitric oxide.
Most of these things can affect the environment. We’ve done a lot to clean that up, and the primary greenhouse gas is water vapor. So, if the climate alarmists were really genuine about their concern, they would be talking about limiting water vapor in the atmosphere, which we desperately need right now, because many parts of the country could use some rain. Lake Mead, you know, is at a dangerously low level, because this pattern has been locked in place, thanks to those seawater patterns for a long time.
So, it’s a general misunderstanding of the difference between environment and climate, and what actually drives the climate.
One last comment on the carbon dioxide: I think people get the sense that CO2 creates a uniform blanket around the planet that traps heat, and that is not the case! It is not a uniform layer of carbon dioxide; it varies from place to place, and its effectiveness also varies with how much water vapor it has to beat against, because water vapor virtually takes care of about 95% of stabilizing the planet’s temperature. So the outgoing longwave radiation is stopped by clouds, by humidity, by water vapor you can’t necessarily see; and anything that water vapor doesn’t capture, CO2 takes care of the rest. So, it’s a very minuscule and a very targetted bit of infrared radiation that it is temporarily absorbing, before it re-releases it on its way back out to space.
So, it’s a very complex relationship that a lot of people don’t understand, but they think they do, because they’ve seen tweets that they believe tell them everything they need to know. And correlation is not causation, and they get that confused as well.
So, there’s so much disinformation, and it’s so easy to mislead people these days, because they see a video, they see something that makes them think they have full erudition on the subject, and they don’t.
Ideology vs. Science
Baker: The Schiller Institute has been very active for decades to mobilize to expose the anti-economic development ideology of the green narrative, and their agenda, which even has at its core those who want to depopulate the world. In 1983, Lyndon LaRouche authored a book, There Are No Limits To Growth. For example, in recent years, the Schiller Institute has held conferences where there can be a dialogue over the science, and not hysteria over climate change, so that especially young people can have the means to think things through. Do you think people are waking up to think things through?
For instance, in May, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) warned that there would be electricity outages. And did this jolt people into realizing what’s going on?
Thompson: I think that is going to be kind of piling on. I think the gas prices woke them up first. I’ve paid as high as $6/gallon out here in Kansas, where we produce petroleum! And I think that’s started to wake them up. And now you get these rolling blackouts and brownouts, because of electricity shortage, and I think that is a coming wave of realization. I wish I could say that everybody was catching on.
I think some of the younger people, because of our education system, are skeptical, still, and until they grow up a little bit and get a little life experience, they may not truly understand what’s going on. I think those who have parents who talk with them, who have intelligent conversations with them, who are engaged with them, those kids are lightyears ahead of those who just go to the public schools and whose parents are disengaged.
So, I think there’s still a lot of learning curve to go, over a large part of society, and even folks our age, who have bought into that ideology are so invested in that ideology that talking facts to them is a real problem. I see that in the Senate, and I see that all over the place. On Facebook, you try to present people with facts, and they don’t even understand what those facts are trying to tell them, the relevance of the information.
So, until we can get our education system up to snuff and get it away from what we’ve been doing for years, which is replacing true curriculum with social emotional learning, which is about 85% of the curriculum these days, where “it’s my facts are what I like and that’s what I believe, and your facts are irrelevant because I don’t like you”—until we can overcome that, this is still going to be a big hurdle for us, I’m afraid.
Baker: That helps explain what helped to make the Tower of Babel!
So, we got on the track with the COP26 in Glasgow last year, and then you had COP25 in 2015 in Paris, and these have major banksters, such as Mark Carney, the former Governor of the Bank of England, who has rich experience in how to build stuff, and construct stuff, and build bridges and hydroelectric (I’m making a joke). We also had Sir Michael Bloomberg, anti-coal Michael Bloomberg, former Mayor of New York City, whom the Queen made a knight of the British Empire; and others who have worked to create an international green banker monopoly and mafia, to get governments to enforce funneling money into these banksters’ approved green projects. And then to sideline and choke off credit to sound energy sources, such as nuclear power, coal, gas, hydropower, even nuclear fusion, which we should definitely do everything to get. How did this wave of coercion play out in the Central States?
Thompson: Well, it has been quietly infused into the economy out here through the ESG standards—the environmental, social, and governance standards—that BlackRock and Vanguard, some of these giant venture capital firms are imposing; and by forcing investment into these green energy sources; and also through the investment tax credits and production tax credits coming down from the Federal government: All of that has distorted the energy market, the supply and demand, particularly where the resources are going. And because these big companies, these public utilities, for example, are investor-owned, they are beholden to the investor, not to the rate-payer, and so they are making investment decisions based on how they can get the quickest infusion of cash. And that comes through those highly subsidized sources of energy, with no regard with whether those sources are reliable or not.
Here in the state of Kansas, we have 4,000 wind turbines right now. And on a day like today, where it’s close to 100°, we have virtually no wind. So we’re all totally reliant on coal and natural gas, today, and the little bit of nuclear we have.
And there’s no sign that we’re going to go toward reliability. As a matter of fact, the public utilities here are talking about retiring more coal plants. There are nuclear plants being retired across the United States—Palisades up in Michigan is one of the more recent; Diablo Canyon in California, they’re retiring a couple of those. In ERCOT, the Electric Reliability Council in Texas, they retired over six coal plants and went whole-hog into wind with over 30,000 MW of wind down there.
So, in those locations, that’s why they’re having the rolling blackouts. They’ve replaced investments with “immediate crack,” infusions of “crack”—you know, money—into their system, in favor of those unreliable sources, just because they get the very quick hit of money.
So, there’s no incentive for them to do long-term reliability investments in the plants that are going to provide the baseload for us going forward.
And unfortunately, this has gone on far too long. We still have 6,000-6,500 more [wind] turbines projected across Kansas. And then the new push is toward solar, which is even worse. The capacity factor on all of these is very, very low, and the energy density is extremely low as well. The energy return on investment on the renewables is less than the Roman Empire got with their aqueducts; it’s like 2 to1. Whereas nuclear is 80 to 1—for every unit of energy you spend to create a nuclear energy source, you get 80 units of energy out. But it’s 2 to 1 in wind and solar.
So, it just doesn’t make economic sense, it doesn’t make energy sense, but it’s all driven by the ESG standards, by the sustainable goals set by the UN, by the production tax credits and subsidies from the Federal government. And we’re going to have to get some help from Washington in slowing this stuff down, because there’s nothing I can do here, at the state level, to stop that mal-investment, unfortunately.
Baker: Wow, that’s shocking! You know, along with what you are saying about all the pressure the legislatures are getting to put up more windmills, the Iowa government is under pressure to agree to a hundreds-of-miles-long CO2 pipeline, to capture and bury CO2 in the ground. This is pretty wild. What do you think about that?
Thompson: I think it’s the biggest waste of money you could ever possibly have! I mean, just think about this: The average historical CO2 levels of the Earth is 2,600 parts per million. We are at 420 parts per million (ppm)! At 420 ppm, plants are actually still on a diet!
The optimal CO2 concentration of the atmosphere is about three times higher than it is right now, somewhere around 1200-1300 ppm. So, reducing and capturing CO2 is an enormous waste of money, and capital, and expenditures that will have zero return on investment, zero impact on the climate, zero impact on anything other than creating rights of way for pipelines that don’t need to exist! Unfortunately.
Growing Food, Not Digital Currencies
Baker: Mike, there’re major shifts in the world, given the crisis of the famine, the pandemic. We’re seeing geopolitical fights, with thousands of sanctions that have been put on, and confrontations.
But there are shifts toward going for a new framework for economic and security relations among nations. And we at the Schiller Institute, and Helga Zepp-LaRouche [founder of the Schiller Institute] has put out a call, which is circulating widely, calling for an Ad Hoc Committee for a New Bretton Woods, a fixed-exchange-rate system among the nations of the world, referring to this idea that originally came through FDR and others, for a world economic system to serve development after World War II. And the Bretton Woods system that was finally set up—and it did have flaws—but it did have fixed exchange rates and other features, until that was dismantled in 1971, when the dollar and other currency rates were floated; and that’s when waves of casino economics and crazy science came in, and speculation.
What is your take on this idea of having science-based economic features in a new system?
Thompson: Well, there’s a lot. Here we are, in a position now where, since 2008, I think the Federal Reserve has printed $100 trillion, and it’s all because that currency is backed by nothing. And my concern is that the effort to use climate as a driver for reimagining energy and everything has been a long, slow plan to use, to con Americans and the rest of the world into this sort of paradigm of financing and energy, and everything else—and control.
The Bretton Woods supplied some stability at a time coming out of the wars, you know, the Weimar Republic situation with its hyperinflation; now we’re faced with that in many places of the world! You look at Sri Lanka and the unrest they’ve got there. And look at what’s happening in the Netherlands, where they are killing the farmers, because they’re trying to reduce nitrogen emissions by 90-95%. This is all insane stuff.
And so, these are centrally planned people, who want control of the entire global finance network. And restoring confidence in the dollar is going to be very, very tough when you’ve got profligate spending that’s been going on for decades, and we’re exporting huge amounts of inflation.
So, we’ve got to do something to try to stabilize the currency and restore confidence. And until a new Congress can rein it in, until the people realize that you cannot have a centrally planned global economy, that’s going to be a continued challenge, I’m afraid.
I wish I had a good answer for that. I mean, I wish we could all go back on the gold standard, and respect it, but Nixon took us off of that, and we’re in big trouble. Well, actually FDR started down that road.
So, this is a toughy. This is a tough one, but you’re right, we’ve got to get this under control, because otherwise, what we’re going to do is, we’re going to end up with a digital currency, a global digital currency, where everything we do is tracked, every purchase we make, every move we make, all our travel, how much energy we use. And they will be able to use that to control everyone and everything. That is my biggest fear at this point.
And unfortunately, the young people are so used to using credit cards for everything, we’ve moved away from cash. And that’s why I think there’s also a push to regulate Bitcoin, and cryptocurrencies, because they see that as a potential rogue element in the global markets of currency. And there’s even been some talk here in Kansas, recently; we had a legislative post-audit meeting. And I said, “Folks, we should not be doing this, we should not be doing this.”
So, we’ve got to figure this out. But there’s got to be some way to avoid a global digital currency, avoid our sovereignty being usurped by a global currency, and people be able to hold onto their individual privacy rights.
Baker: Well, one of the things that’s clear, Had we built many of the water conveyance projects proposed 60 years ago, we would not be in this drought-damaged situation; the one in particular is the North American Water and Power Alliance (NAWAPA), which would have diverted just a portion of the water that goes out to the Arctic, southward. And there was also other projects, such as the Kansas Aqueduct, which would divert surplus Missouri River water into Kansas, and that was never built. But this is, if where we establish, as Lyndon LaRouche called for, a new national credit bank, so we’ve got credit for these things; and we don’t use the credit to bail out speculators, we put them in bankruptcy, and then we can launch projects to really build a real economy.
Now, that brings me to a very exciting element that I just figure has made you very happy: And that is the James Webb Space Telescope. What do you think about that?
Thompson: I’ve seen a little bit. That is an area that I don’t pay as much attention to, but I saw some information on it recently, where they’re looking back at historically, basically, when you’re looking that far out into the universe and seeing some amazing stuff that the Hubble was unable to see.
And I think, interestingly, people don’t realize how much the cosmos has to do with the climate of this planet. When our Solar System has been in a dustier part of the Milky Way, it tends to increase hydroscopic nuclei that turn into cloud cover, and increases the reflectivity, or what we call the albedo of the planet, and we tend to go into ice ages; and that happens every 12,000 years or so. So hopefully, this information from this new telescope is going to give us more information about where we’ve been, where we’re going, and I think any new knowledge is going to be amazing.
But not many people have connected those dots. And unless you do that research, to realize that just what happens on this planet isn’t the only influence on what we experience as humans, as weather and as climate. So, I look forward to that, so see what kind of research comes out of that.
Baker: Senator Thompson, it’s been a real pleasure to have a discussion with a scientist who can actually put things in perspective in a way that makes sense, and is a scientist and a lawmaker, who is willing to take a stand! We are seeing this now in Italy and also in Holland, where the scientists and people are taking a stand for the farmers, to point out, that we have the same fight. You can’t separate science and production.
Thompson: I appreciate that, Bob. And I’d like to just make one last statement. That is: Because of all these things, people can no longer afford to stand on the sideline. We are in a critical stage in our economy, and our understanding of science and energy that people need to get engaged. That’s why I’m doing it, and I appreciate the opportunity to share my thoughts with you guys, and everybody else.
Baker: That’s beautiful. That’s what you call statecraft, and that’s what citizens of a republic have to be doing.
Thompson: I agree.