Skip to comments.Globaloney: William Rusher looks at global warming
Posted on 02/03/2004 4:55:05 AM PST by blitzgig
Until recently, the prophets of global warming had the public debate on the subject pretty much to themselves. They had managed to convince the custodians of public opinion, in the media and elsewhere, that the vast majority of the world's scientists agreed that the world's climate was getting warmer, and that a substantial part of the reason for this was an increase in "greenhouse gases" (such as carbon dioxide) in the atmosphere, caused in significant part by human economic activity.
The results would allegedly be catastrophic over the course of the next few decades, and the only solution was to reduce said human economic activity. In practice, this meant reducing it in the United States, since we are supposedly the largest human contribution to the problem, and the other major contributors (China, India and Russia, for example) are simply in no position to reduce their economic activity without starving to death.
This just happens to mesh nicely with the longstanding worldwide leftist ambition to stick it to the United States.
Actually the world's climate is always in the process of slow fluctuation, first upward, then downward, and back again, in response to planetary developments and external influences such as variations (owing to sunspots) in the amount of solar radiation reaching the earth. This has been noted historically (such as the Little Ice Age that, several centuries ago, froze the canals of Venice, and the earlier warm period during which the Norsemen colonized Greenland). And it is traceable even further back in tree rings and other climate and geological markers.
It might be convenient if we could somehow hold the world's temperature exactly at its present level forever, but that is far beyond our capabilities. Luckily, major climate changes occur slowly, and we will have the time needed to adjust to them, however much we would prefer not to have to.
But we could, of course, reduce the human contribution to the problem, if it is in fact becoming important, as alleged. A few years ago a young Danish statistician named Bjorn Lomborg set out to write a book confirming this. Unfortunately, his investigation convinced him that the whole environmentalist horror-story, including its "global warming" component, was wrong. Our environment is not getting worse; it is getting better. So he wrote a book to that effect: "The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World" (Cambridge University Press, 2001).
On the specific subject of global warming, Lomborg demonstrates that the scientific evidence for it is dubious, the warnings of doom are vastly exaggerated, and the cost of efforts to reduce the human contribution to the growth of greenhouse gases (as under the Kyoto Protocol) would be in the neighborhood of hundreds of trillions of dollars.
Well, needless to say, the roof fell in on poor Lomborg. Scientific American ran an 11-page spread of articles by various certified "experts" denouncing him and his findings. Reviews in the popular press, including the Washington Post and The New York Times, have been far more positive, however, and the battle is still raging.
What we are seeing in operation here is the herd mentality of a large segment of the scientific community. Some alleged scientific "certainty," almost always with leftist policy implications, is fastened upon and endowed with the force of unarguable gospel. The media take up the cry, and the public -- always nervously on guard against the latest supposed scientific threat to our survival, from acid rain to the ozone hole -- is flogged to a fever pitch of anxiety. Scientists who disagree are marginalized and dismissed. Eventually the hysteria dies down, until some new peril is identified and publicized.
Fortunately, there are always a few scientists, like Lomborg, who refuse to be silenced. We owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude.
Yes we do. And another one of the leading skeptics, John Daly creator of the website 'Still Waiting for Greenhouse', is one we owe gratitute to, who passed away about a week ago.
It would seem a global cooling dance, similar to Indian rain dances, would be the logical step to stopping global warming.
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