This interview of me (Mick West) by Tristan Albrecht was conducted on September 5th 2013 in Venice, California. I made an audio recording of the interview with Tristan's permission. The interview was for the "Overcast" documentary. The sections that are bolded in red are the parts that were actually used in the documentary.
Audio is of poor quality, but audible, see attachment below.
Mick: ... sure this is recording, yeah. I'm gonna stick it down there, alright
Tristan: Okay, so the first thing I need from you is just present yourself, say what you do, age, where you're from, things like that
Tristan: whenever you want
Mick: My name is Mick West, I'm 46 years old and I live in Venice, California, and I'm a debunker. I specialize in debunking the chemtrail conspiracy theory. I've got two web sites: ContrailScience.com, and Metabunk.org
Tristan: Okay, erm, you have, you are very known among the chemtrails, chemtrailers, chemtrail believers, I don't know how we call them, erm.... what is the perspective they have of you? .. you have any...
Mick: The chemtrail people seem to think that I'm some kind of government disinformation agent, that I've been paid to do this, but really I'm just doing it because it's a hobby of mine, I started out just because I was interested in contrails because I was taking flying lessons at the time, and I saw the chemtrail conspiracy theory online and I thought it would be something very interesting to write about.
Tristan: I'm going a play a little, I don't know how you say it in english, but I think it's devil's advocate?
Mick: Devil's advocate, yeah
Tristan: They're saying it's impossible because, I'm mean, most of the time you're debunking now, that it could be a hobby, and that in fact you're paid by the government to do that. So what's your answer?
Mick: I'm actually retired, I made a reasonable amount of money in the video game industry, I part owned a company called Neversoft, and we did the Tony Hawk series of video games, so we did very well there, so I retired quite a few years ago, and I've just been having a lot of spare time since then, so, I don't need the government to pay me, I'm just doing it because I find it fun and interesting.
Tristan: Okay. What's the purpose for you to do that?
Mick: Well first of all it just started out as something that was just a hobby, it was just an interesting thing to do, but I think it's becoming increasingly important to show that conspiracy theories are incorrect, because they are getting in the way of dealing with real problems. There's real problems with climate change and pollution that people aren't, they aren't addressing them because they think the chemtrail are happening, so it distracts away from real problems. So I think that if I can show that chemtrails are not real it will help more people move on and actually address these other problems.
Tristan: So what do you think basically, if you have a few comments to say about chemtrails for you, what, what are chemtrails?
Mick: Well, people think that the trails that they see in the sky are not normal contrails and they are "chemtrails", but really when you get down to it there is not real evidence that they are anything other than normal persistent contrails. And there's no real evidence that they've changed over the last 20,30,40 years. All that has happened is that there's a lot more of them now, for a variety of reasons, but mostly because there's more traffic. So it's really based on a misunderstanding of what contrail are. People think that contrails disappear quickly, but really it depends upon the atmospheric conditions, and people are just not aware of that, they haven't paid attention to it before and now they do and they find something suspicious, but really if you look into it, there isn't really anything there.
Tristan: and totally absolutely none [?] ... believing any of the evidence there, that the things you are saying, or the possibility?
Mick: Yeah I don't believe there's any evidence that what they are saying is true. Now of course that does not mean it's not possible, it just means that there isn't any evidence for it, so there's no real reason to believe it. You could suspect that maybe the government might be doing something in a way that's not leaving any evidence, but that's kind of meaningless because you could say that about anything. So you've really got to look at what is the actual evidence, and does it actually hold up. And when you get down to it, it really doesn't hold up.
Tristan: Hmm. Why do you keep doing it? I mean those people, most of them they are very convinced that those chemtrails exist, so what's your purpose of trying to debate with people just [inaudible]?
Mick: Well, it's true, people who are convinced it's, they're not going to change their minds. But it's the people who aren't entirely convinced who is really what I'm aiming at. When I have a debate with someone who is a hardcore believer, a "true believer", they are not going to change their mind, but someone else who is listening to me give these explanations, they might then change their minds, of they might not fall into the trap of thinking that chemtrails are real, because I will give them an explanation as to how they are actually just contrails. So it's these marginal people who I'm really aiming my debunking at, not the hardcore believers.
Tristan: [checks cameras] When you are talking with the hardcore believers, what are the evidence that they are bringing you up? What are they saying to prove?
Mick: There's a variety of things. The first one, the simplest one, is the claim that contrails should not persist, because they would evaporate like your breath evaporates on a cold day, you breath out you make[?] a cloud and it disappears. But that's basically is just a misunderstanding of the science behind contrails, because contrails aren't really like your breath. They don't evaporate because they freeze and they persist if the air is ice-supersaturated.
The other bit of evidence that quite often get brought up is the tests, the chemical tests that people make of things like water, or air, or the soil or rain. Now these tests they are testing for things like aluminum, and aluminum is the most common metallic element in the earth's crust. It makes up about 7 or 8 percent of the ground directly underneath us, so you find it everywhere because it's like, it's in the dust in the air, mineral dust from soil, the dry soil gets in the air, so you find aluminum everywhere you look.
And these tests that they've done have really been very very badly done. For example when they are testing water instead of actually testing water from a clear source they have taken sediment from the bottom of a pond and tested that dirty water, which contains a lot of soil, a lot of windblow dust, and they find aluminum naturally. So if you go through each of the tests that people have claimed to be evidence, and look at what's actually been done, you find it really doesn't indicate anything other than just normal environmental aluminum that you would find pretty much everywhere.
Tristan: So basically when you watch the movie from Michael Murphy, when he's bringing this evidence of aluminum in water, for you it's not,...
Mick: Yeah, no the tests that he has in that movie, I have a copy of it here, it says right here on the test, it says: "pond sediment", "sludge", and this is the test that he uses in the movie saying that this is a test for water, and he gives this high result 375,000 parts per billion, which sounds really high. But for muddy water that's actually slightly low, you would actually expect a little bit more than that, because it's muddy water. So there's nothing at all unusual about this particular test, and there are other tests that have similar problems to that, there's there's tests where he has tested the dirt that has been left behind when water in a puddle has been dried up, he tests the little bit of dirt you'd find in the bottom, from an evaporated puddle of water, and then said, you know, this is very high levels for water, when it's really soil. Like, there's a note on this test here it says "these readings are tens of thousands of times the maximum limit for water" but it says right here he's testing soil. So they are testing the wrong things in the wrong way, so it's not at all unexpected that they will find these high numbers, because there's aluminum everywhere, but they are doing the tests wrong.
Tristan: Another question is about the patents. Patents exist and show that chemicals could be induced into, by jet planes into atmosphere [Mick: yeah] so this is something that exists, it's public, it's official. Don't you think that it could be a possibility that this induction of chemicals into the atmosphere could be already done.
Mick: Like I said before, it's possible to do it. It's not rocket science to spray something out of the back of a plane. But patents aren't really evidence that something is being used. Its evidence that someone has realized that maybe some time in the future someone might want to use this, so they patent it so they own the rights to it, so if that need ever does come up then they will be able to make money from it.
For example here's a patent for a house on the moon [U.S. Patent 5,094,409]. Now, there are no houses on the moon, and yet this is an official document, not government but a patent, that is for a house on the moon, and it doesn't mean anything. It just means that one day we might have houses on the moon, so I'll patent it, so I can make money of that.
And a lot of the other patents that they bring up are silly things, like this one here that you've probably see, this is a thing called a powder contrail generator. It's, er, what it is is it's a "towed target", that gets towed behind a plane, and people practice shooting down planes by shooting at this towed target. And they have this stream of powder that comes out of the back that is, that makes it visible, so people can shoot at it at high altitudes. But people use these patents, these long lists of patents, as evidence, when they really aren't evidence at all, they are just things that have the word "contrail" in them of have the word "spraying" in them. Or, they are patents for some type of geoengineering that might be done in the future, but it's not being done now, like there's no houses on the moon.
Tristan: You're saying it's not being done now, but, when you say it could be done, okay, but what makes you say it's not being done now? What makes you say that? Of course you are right that it could be done in the future, what makes you say that it's not done now.
Mick: There's a number of reasons. One is: the state of geoengineering research right now is in a very preliminary stage. If you read what the geoengineers are discussing online, they are discussing what might happen if we do this, or what the side effects might be if we do that, or various different techniques, there's like 30 or 40 different ways they might do it, all these different types of things. So to suggest that they are actually doing something does not tally with the actual science. They're still in these very very preliminary stages, they don't know what's going to happen, and if you read about it, read what they are saying, they are actually very worried about what might happen. And most of the geoengineers there, most of the people in geoengineering research do not want geoengineering to happen. They are researching it mostly so that we won't do it, so that we will be able to form some kind of regulatory framework, so we can say what should or should not be done and so we will be aware of what the dangers of geoengineering are.
But because the research is at such a low low level, the chances of someone actually doing it secretly are just ridiculous because they don't know what they are doing. They would be just randomly throwing things in the air. It would be just insane to do.
Tristan: But you agree with me that they already done that during the war for other purposes, they, you know, threw things out in the air, without really knowing the consequences of that?
Mick: Well, you could say that we do that with pollution. When we first built power stations we didn't know exactly what was going to happen with all the sulfates and then we ended up with acid rain. So yes, we've put things in the air, but it's not a good idea to put things in the air if you don't know what you are doing.
Tristan: Hmm. But that doesn't mean that it is not done. [crosstalk, inaudible] I'd say it's not an evidence to say that a patent exists, but it's an evidence that they are not doing it because they don't know what to do, or what they are doing.
Mick: No, I would say it is, it would indicate that it would be very unlikely that they would do it. What reason do they have to do something if they don't know what they are doing, and they don't know if it is going to work, and they don't know what the side effects are going to be, there's no reason for them to be doing it secretly.
Tristan: Okay. We've been talking about aluminum in the water and Murphy's movies. Did you see the movie.
Mick: Yes I did.
Tristan: Did you like it?
Mick: Well, it was an interesting take on the subject, but it was [laughs] it was a good source of things to debunk, so in that sense I liked it quite a lot.
Tristan: [laughs] so for you it's clear, just to take back a question you already kind of answered, but it's not, the results are clearly not an indication of the spraying? There's no link for you between what they found in the water, or in the soil, and spraying.
Mick: Yeah, they, really what they should do it try to find some correlation between spraying, what they think is spraying, and then things falling out of the air. But all they have is a few random tests here and there that doesn't really show anything. And almost certainly it's they are just finding dust, basically, what you would expect to find in the groundwater.
Aluminum has always been found in rainwater. You can look at rainwater tests going back to the early parts of the century and they find, it's mineral dust basically, and they use it to determine where dust has come from. Dust blowing in from the Sahara to Florida, there's dust flying from China to California, there's dust blowing around within the United States, the Sahara affects Europe. There's dust everywhere. Just the dust that's from the dry soil in my yard contains aluminum, so
Tristan: Because it's coming from the soil
Mick: Yes, the soil itself, like garden soil, in California the soil is actually quite high in Aluminum, it's nearly 10% aluminum, in the form of minerals like aluminum oxide or aluminum silicates, so there's an awful lot of aluminum in the soil, so you get an awful lot of aluminum in the air. And on every surface, if I was to wipe that table down, out there [indicates an outdoor table] you would get aluminum in the dust, quite a high percentage. And if I was to set a basin out there to collect rainwater, which is what they do a lot of the time, the dust that settles on that basin before it rains is going to contain aluminum, and when the rain falls the rain is falling through dust in the air, it picks up aluminum and it it ends up in the sample. And it varies a lot because it depends on what the weather has been like. Was it sunny? Has there been rain? Has there been, you know, wind blowing dust in the air before that. So you get these very variable peaks of aluminum.
Tristan: So, one of the points of chemtrailers is saying aluminum and barium and strontium and other kinds of metals are in those trails. The best thing to debunk this thing would have been to send a scientist up there and make analysis and say there's nothing, or there's something if there is, or there is nothing. Why is it not done? Why are scientists not just going up there and proving that it's just not done?
Mick: Because it would cost money and there's no real reason to do it. The only people who really believe the chemtrail conspiracy theories are not mainstream scientists and the are not people who have lots of spare money to spend on doing things like this. And to actually do it accurately, you would have to do an awful lot of tests, because almost certainly the first time you go out there you will just find normal trace amounts of whatever is in the atmosphere, or just contamination. You have to be very very careful when testing for aluminum, because there's so much everywhere, your body is probably covered in very small parts per billions of it, and that ends up getting in the test tubes and then you've go to have the chain of custody, so it's quite complicated.
And there's no motivation for scientists to disprove something like this. It's like saying to a scientist: why don't you try to disprove ghosts, or something like that. Well, some people actually do that, but
Tristan: Except that there's a patent of the possibility of doing that, there's no patent of having ghosts in your house.
Mick: Oh, I think there, if you look you might, ... there is certainly patents for things like ghost detectors.
Tristan: So there is no interest to do that for scientists.
Mick: It's not so much that there's no interest, it's really that there's no evidence. You have to start out with evidence of something before you then go on. You can't just randomly say "well, perhaps there's cheese on the Moon, we should send a probe to the Moon to see it it's cheese or not". You have to have some evidence as to whether these trails actually are any different to normal contrails. If they look like normal contrails, and they act like normal contrails, and they are not historically any different to the older contrails, then why would you? Just because a bunch of people on the internet have been saying that they think it's different from how they remember it when they were young? And because they have been doing tests for aluminum that have shown what is really just normal levels of aluminum on the ground? There's no reason to do it.
Tristan: So what would be for you an evidence? Without going up in the sky because it's very expensive, what would be an evidence?
Mick: I would need to see some kind of distinction between what is a normal trail, and what is a "chem" trail. If someone could demonstrate what an actual, what the difference was, then that would indicate that there's something to go on. But because they look exactly the same as normal contrails, there's really not much more to go on after that. You could then say, like maybe if they demonstrate high levels of aluminum in the water, then you've got to say where is that coming from. Now if they could, like I said earlier, if they could find a correlation between planes flying over, and then aluminum appearing on the ground, that would be evidence.
Tristan: If someone, for example, it wouldn't be a scientist because they are not interested for the moment, would go up there and try the best to take some air, directly from a trail, and be able to analyze it, and if this person would find something, would that be some kind of beginning of evidence, or it wouldn't be enough for you?
Mick: It depends what they actually find, and how rigorous the tests were. If you go up there and you just take three or four samples and you find aluminum, like a little bit of aluminum in one, and nothing in the other, it doesn't really mean anything, it could just be environmental aluminum, it could be very very small amounts of aluminum, it could be a problem with your testing procedure, it could be a problem with the containers you use, it could be a problem with the way you wash the containers out in the first place, it could be something later down in the chain of custody, when you take that container in to be tested. If you're just testing air that's an extraordinarily small amount of air that you are going to be testing if you take a container out there. If you have something going through a filter, then you've got to make sure, you've got to have appropriate controls, and a reasonable number of them to make sure it's not just some kind of anomaly that was already there on the filter, or it got onto the filter at a later stage. So if there was a rigorous scientific study that showed these things, then yes, that would be interesting, that would demonstrate, perhaps, that there is something in the air, or maybe even something coming out of the engines. But just taking one or two samples and finding a few little peaks here and there probably isn't going to indicate very much, as you would expect to find some kind of variation. You have to do it a large number of times.
Tristan: So, it's interesting, because that means that we would need scientists to go there, but the scientist don't want to go there, so it's kind of very hard to find a way to find this evidence, if evidence.
Mick: It's like say you had a theory that there are unicorns in Africa [break for camera check]. It's like, the basic problem is there isn't the evidence, there isn't the reason to test the trails in the first place. It's like if someone said they saw a unicorn in Africa, would you then start organizing expeditions to go to Africa. You would have to have a lot more evidence about the unicorns being seen in Africa before you start organizing an expedition, like, you know, months long expedition into darkest Africa to look at these unicorns. And it would cost quite a bit of money to do a really comprehensive study of aircraft exhausts. And if there really was this big conspiracy of people spraying things out of the back of aeroplanes then why are they going to let you go up there and sample the planes? They would have the government watching you and they would switch the planes out, and they wouldn't spray when they knew you were following them, so it's kind of a self-defeating thing because it's not going to prove anything if you find nothing, and it's very unlikely that you are going to find of significance. It would be interesting if you did, but, ...
Tristan: What do the chemtrailers tell you when you tell them what you are telling me now?
Mick: Well, first of all they tell me that, er, they ask me how I sleep at night and how much I get paid, and then they basically tell me that they remember the trail being different when they were young. This is the main thing behind the chemtrail conspiracy theory. It's not really based on the tests, the aluminum in the ground, it's based on people having a different recollection of the trails when they were young, but, people's memories are very fallible, people don't remember very much, really, about when they were young. And, there's a lot of people who do remember the trails looking exactly like this.
If you ask people in Los Angeles, like here for example, when they first noticed the trails, you'll see a lot of them will say 2011 or 2012, or 2009, because they have just seen Michael J. Murphy's film. Once you get primed for these things you start noticing them. But then you ask other people and they say "oh yeah, I saw it back in 1999", because they heard about it on the radio. Or you'll hear people say "oh I saw it back in the 70s, I love watching the sky", because they just happened to notice them back in the 70s. But really this is the main thing that underlies the whole conspiracy theory. It's not the chemicals, it's people's faulty recollections of what the skies were like.
Tristan: We're gonna come then after the questions about history... he told you that he wanted you to read some quotes..
Mick: ... yeah, yeah ....
Tristan: ... we're gonna do that after. Just personally I wanna, because I really, you're really implicated in this field, in this field. Just personally why do you feel the need to be so much into it? Why do you do it so, so personally?
Mick: Well, I don't really take it that personally, just it's become my hobby so I spend a lot of time doing it. You know some people spend a lot of time making model train sets, but I spend a lot of time debunking chemtrails. But I'm increasingly, like I said earlier, I think it's an important thing to do, because it is distracting away from the real issues. Like in the same way that issues like "9/11 Truth", people who think that the 9/11 towers were a controlled demolition, that's distracting away from the real issues of politics, like the corruption in lobbying, or why we went into Iraq.
People, they focus on these outlandish ideas like chemtrails, or controlled demolition of 9/11, and that just basically takes all of their energy away from real issues, and it's almost like.... almost it could be a conspiracy where the powers-that-be are letting people spend all their energy on these silly things, when they could actually be making a real impact in the world. Like: chemtrails distract from global warming, 9/11 distracts from corruption in politics, because people things there are these big things, we can't handle the other things.
Tristan: And do you get, er, positive feedback from your work?
Mick: Yeah I do, quite a lot people write and thank me for helping them to see what is going on, or being able to explain it to their friends or relatives. I get a lot of negative feedback as well, from people who just, you know, think I'm a "shill", but yeah, I do, I get lots and lots of people who are very, find it very useful.
Tristan: And technically what is the process of debunking? How do you work, how do you, what is your research? How do you proceed to do...
Mick: Well, debunking is really about focussing on the individual claims behind a theory. Like, you don't say "I'm going to debunk chemtrails", you say "what is the evidence?" and you break down the bits of evidence. Like these chemical tests, for example, and then you look at them in depth, and you see what should be going on here, what does this actually mean, and what actually happened.
Like, there's another one of these tests, for example, which seemed quite suspicious on the face of it, it was a test of some snow, which seemed like it had very high levels of aluminum. But then you look into it, and you saw that the date of the snow was in July, so how did they find snow in July in California? And it was on the top of a mountain, and it was this snow that was left over from the previous winter, and it was dirty it was covered with this red dirt, which was just full of aluminum. And you've got to really dig into these individual things.
The problem with a lot of conspiracy theories is they spread it out. So there's this thing, "what about this, what about this, what about this, what about this", and you've got to like take each one of those individual things and drill down until you hit the bottom, and then you can explain exactly what's that, and then you can take that thing and you can remove it from the theory. But conspiracy theorists generally just want, just jump straight to the next things, so you've got each one in turn and go in depth on that individual thing, and hopefully what's left is something that will show you what is real.
Tristan: Okay, do you know Russ Tanner?
Mick: Yes, I know of him.
Tristan: What do you think about the guy?
Mick: Well, he has some strange ideas, like he claims that he can smell chemtrails within a few minutes of the plane flying overhead, which is basically physically impossible, because a plane at 30,000 feet spraying out some kind of aerosol, it's going to take many many hours, if not days, for it to come down to the ground. So his basic understanding, I think, of how the atmosphere works and how chemicals work, I think is kind of flawed. And other than that though, he basically has the same kind of theory about chemtrails as most of the other people do. But that one thing, I think, just stands out as being rather telling as to how well he understands what is going on.
Tristan: [checking his list of questions ]
Tristan: [repetition] Isn't it unscientific to claim we are not sprayed while not having the proof either? I mean you say they have no proof, but...
Mick: Yeah, no I'm not claiming that we are not being sprayed. I'm just claiming that there's no evidence...
Tristan: Yeah, maybe not you, but some scientists are saying no, they are just you know...
Mick: ... Right, they are just expressing that it seems ridiculous. Which, in addition to there being no evidence, it does kind of seem ridiculous. Like I explained earlier with why would people do geoengineering if they don't know if it would work, why would they randomly spray things in the air?
Tristan: Maybe just to [inaudible] they are saying it is ridiculous, but at the same time as I said before, those patents, even if it doesn't exist, are there. So the questions for me, at least, I'm very skeptical too, but the question doesn't seem ridiculous, as, when we know that the patents exist.
Mick: But the thing about patents is, you don't know if that patent works. Just because something is patented it doesn't mean that it will work. This house on the moon, you don't know if it's actually practical. You don't know if it's going to work, or if it's going to leak, or if it's a sensible thing or not. Someone has just come up with a patent because they know that in the future we are going to do this type of thing, someone'll say: "oh right, spraying aluminum oxide, that sounds like it will work, so I'll patent spraying aluminum oxide", so they do, and maybe, you know, it'll work out. But they have no idea if it's going to work or not.
Tristan: Yeah, I agree with that view, but maybe scientists are, you know, maybe probably making fun of it, or taking it for something ridiculous, I wouldn't find it ridiculous a house on the moon. It's patented, it could be possible to make, the question is fair, it doesn't mean that it's done, but ....
Mick: You would find it ridiculous if someone told you that there were houses on the moon.
Tristan: That ... what?
Mick: If someone told you that there are houses on the moon, you would find that ridiculous, because there's no evidence of houses on the moon.
Tristan: But on the other side [laughs] I wouldn't say that, I maybe I wouldn't be, as far as you do, I wouldn't that, I'd say I need evidence, but I wouldn't find it ridiculous. I would say: show me that there is a house on the moon.
Mick: Right, but there are other patents that are even more ridiculous than houses on the moon. Like there is a patent for giving birth, which involves strapping a woman to a table spinning around really fast until the baby pops out.
Tristan: does it exist? Not fun! No, what I mean is probably in the future it could be done, or it's not done, just. It's just the way it's dealt with by the scientists community,
Mick: Right, but I think that the scientific community, they know what the state of the science is in climate research and in geoengineering research, they know that we're at the very very early stages of understanding what would happen if we were to mess with the atmosphere, and so they know that it's a ridiculous idea to do now. They also know that it might be a sensible idea to do many years in the future, or hopefully not at all if we can manage to fix the climate by reducing climate emissions. So from their perspective, it seems silly because they just simply know where we are at. They understand that there really isn't any good scientific basis to actually do it at the moment.
Tristan: Do you know that who is the best scientist who could be able to talk about the [inaudible]?
Mick: Well, David Keith and Ken Caldeira, are two of the best, and I think Alan Robock is another one, but, David Keith, I think is the best. I know you've talked to Ken, did you talk to David Keith already?
Tristan: No. Ken Caldeira we talked
Mick: Yeah, and Ken has stated many times that he's against geoengineering, he doesn't want to do it. And he's one of the leading researchers, he knows exactly what the state of geoengineering research is and he knows that it would be "silly" for someone to just go and try go and do geoengineering now, because we don't know if it will work or what the side effects are. The way the chemtrail theorists get around this is [phone rings], they say that..
So, Ken Caldeira knows that it would be silly to do geoengineering because the research isn't there, we're not at that stage, but the chemtrail theorists say that the people who are in power are insane psychopaths who would just try it because they think they'll get away with it. Which I think is a ridiculous way of putting things. The people there, there's no reason why the people in power would risk destroying the entire planet just so they can make it a little bit cooler. There's just no evidence behind any need to do immediate geoengineering right now.
[19 minutes of: Pause for move to office, discussion of the interview and the spinning birthing patent, video games, lighting for video, chitchat, some discussion of how I (Mick) would read some excerpts from Contrail Science, not transcribed, audio left for completeness, you can skip forward to...]
Mick: So, in this 1970 paper by Peter M. Kuhn, he says "the spreading out of jet contrails into extensive cirrus sheets is a familiar sight. Often when persistent contrails exist from 25,000 to 40,000 feet, several long contrails increase in number and gradually merge into an interlaced sheet". So this shows that contrails have been doing exactly the same thing since the 70s and before, and it wasn't at all unfamiliar back in the 70s.
And people don't have the same perceptions of contrails. For example in 1971 there was a congressional hearing on a new type of jet plane and people's concerns were that it might increase contrail cover, and somebody at the hearing said, Godfrey said he'd seen "on hunting trips to the Colorado Rocky mountains, blue skies clouded over by jet contrails by 9:30 in the morning. And this was in 1971. However someone else on the committee, a senator, Allott, said he'd lived in Colorado all his life without ever seeing jet contrails form clouds. So it just shows that there's this completely different perception depending on whether you're actually paying attention or not. Lots of people in LA never even really notice contrails, and lots of people notice them all the time, just because they are actually looking for them.
Tristan: About the 1990s, we can take that [a quote about the increase of contrails in the 1990s] and tell me why you don't totally agree with what it says there.
Mick: [looking for a note] Alright, so, jet traffic has been increasing steadily since the 1950s. It didn't really have a particular jump in the 90s, it's been smoothly increasing, it's been getting more and more intense since the 1950's 1960's. In the 70s and 80s it really started going up a lot more. But it wasn't a sudden increase, it's still been a very gradual increase.
But there's a number of reasons why there's a lot more contrails now then there were before. The first reason is that there's a lot more flights, there's simply more planes going from one place to another. The second reason is there are lot more routes between individual cities, especially between the smaller cities. When jet traffic started the traffic was mostly between these big hubs, like Chicago and Los Angeles and San Francisco. So if you had to fly from San Diego to San Francisco, you would fly first to LA, and then you would fly to San Francisco. So in the hub cities where most people live, there was very little overflight. And then when you get more regional jets, like what happened in the 80s and 90s, there's suddenly all these places that didn't have traffic over them where you are getting traffic that wasn't there before. So people suddenly start to notice them.
Then there's a few other things, there's been an increase in the number of regional jets that are being used, which are small jets, and before those routes might have been done by planes with propellers, which didn't fly as high, so they wouldn't leave contrails and then there's also, there was a change in the vertical separation between planes, it was originally 2,000 feet, and it got changed because of increased, improved navigation to 1,000 feet, which means you could pack a lot more planes into the upper altitudes where contrails form.
And then there was also a change in 80's and 90's where jet engines themselves changed and they became much more efficient because they use high bypass, the big high bypass turbofans, they have a cooler exhaust, and the cooler exhaust means it's a bit more likely for the contrail to form, because there's a wider range of conditions that they can form in.
So all these things together have increased the number of contrails that appear in the sky. But it hasn't really been a sudden increase, there is a few things that happen quickly like the reduction in separation, but overall it's been an increase in the number of routes, and the traffic. And the reason people think that it's sudden is they have suddenly started looking for contrails in the sky. They, once you hear about this theory, or you notice them for the first time, then you start seeing them everywhere, just because your mind is primed to look for them.
[Some discussion of remaining interview questions, and b-roll, not transcribed]
Tristan: What is your goal or wish in this issue, just to make a kind of conclusion about it?
Mick: Okay, well my goal is to basically get people focus on things that are real, and to stop people focussing on things that are not real. So I would like people to really look at the evidence behind the chemtrail theory, and I would like them to question their assumptions. Is there actually any evidence for them to believe that contrails should not persist more than a few minutes? If people actually stop and think about it, and think about why they believe that, they really just believe it because they read it the internet. If they actually go and look in any book on science, any book on the weather - this book here is from 1980 and it tells you that contrails can persist for hours. There are older books from 1970 and 1960 that will tell you the same thing. So I want people to look at things that are real, and stop wasting time with things that are not real.
Tristan: Would you like to say something else for the conclusion, or something in general.
Mick: I think people should also look at geoengineering, because geoengineering is a real issue. It's something that we might want to do in the future and I think people need to look at geoengineering for two reasons. One, if they understand the state of geoengineering right now, they will understand that it's in no state for people to be secretly trying it out. And, if they look at geoengineering, I think it will give them a very good perspective on the state of the problems with the climate, and the urgency with which we actually need to do things to fix the climate. And the best way to fix the climate is not geoengineering, it's reducing carbon emissions.
[discussion of b-roll, not transcribed, audio ends 59:42]
Some repetition (like: "and, and") and filler words (like: "um", "er") have been omitted for clarity. Inaudible sections marked with [inaudible] and uncertain words appended with [?]. Occasional notes are added in [square brackets]. Some irrelevant segments just discussing camera setup and the interview itself, and general chitchat, are not transcribed, but are left in the audio file.
Tristan is not a native English speaker, so some of his questions are phrased oddly, but I have not edited them in any way, to avoid accidentally changing their meaning.
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