Global hot air
Published 8:49 pm Thursday, February 15, 2007
The political left’s favorite argument is that there is no argument. Their current crusade is to turn “global warming” into one of those things that supposedly no honest and decent person can disagree about, as they have already done with “diversity” and “open space.”
The name of “science” is invoked by the left today, as it has been for more than two centuries. After all, Karl Marx’s ideology was called “scientific socialism” in the 19th century. In the 18th century, Condorcet analogized his blueprint for a better society to engineering, and social engineering has been the agenda ever since.
Not all the advocates of “global warming” are on the left, of course. Crusades are not just for crusaders. There are always hangers-on who can turn the true believers’ crusades into votes or money or at least notoriety.
Whether the globe really is warming is a question about facts — and about where those facts are measured: on land, in the air or under the sea. There is no question that there is a “greenhouse” effect. Otherwise, half the planet would freeze every night when there is no sunlight falling on it.
There is also no question that the earth can warm or cool. It has done both at one time or another for thousands of years, even before there were SUVs. If there had never been any global warming before, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy Yosemite Valley today for it was once buried under thousands of feet of ice.
Back in the 1970s, the environmental hysteria was about the dangers of a new ice age. This hysteria was spread by many of the same individuals and groups who are promoting today’s hysteria about global warming.
It is not just the sky that is falling. Government money is falling on those who seek grants to study global warming and produce “solutions” for it. But that money is not as likely to fall on those skeptics in the scientific community who refuse to join the stampede.
Yes, Virginia, there are skeptics about global warming among scientists who study weather and climate. There are arguments both ways — which is why so many in politics and in the media are so busy selling the notion that there is no argument.
If you heard both arguments, you might not be so willing to go along with those who are prepared to ruin the economy, sacrificing jobs and the national standard of living on the altar to the latest in an unending series of crusades, conducted by politicians and other people seeking to tell everyone else how to live.
What about all those scientists mentioned, cited or quoted by global warming crusaders?
There are all kinds of scientists, from chemists to nuclear physicists to people who study insects, volcanoes, and endocrine glands — none of whom is an expert on weather or climate, but all of whom can be listed as scientists, to impress people who don’t scrutinize the list any further. That ploy has already been used.
Then there are genuine scientific experts on weather and climate. The National Academy of Sciences came out with a report on global warming back in 2001 with a very distinguished list of such experts listed. The problem is that not one of those very distinguished scientists actually wrote the report — or even saw it before it was published.
One of those very distinguished climate scientists — Richard S. Lindzen of MIT — publicly repudiated the conclusions of that report, even though his name had been among those used as window dressing on the report. But the media may not have told you that.
In short, there has been a full court press to convince the public that “everybody knows” that a catastrophic global warming looms over us, that human beings are the cause of it, and that the only solution is to turn more money and power over to the government to stop us from our dangerous ways of living.
Among the climate experts who are not part of that “everybody” are not only Professor Lindzen but also Fred Singer and Dennis Avery, whose book “Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1500 Years,” punctures the hot air balloon of the global warming crusaders. So does the book “Shattered Consensus,” edited by Patrick J. Michaels, professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia, which contains essays by others who are not part of “everybody.”
(To find out more about Thomas Sowell and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com. Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305. His Web site is www.tsowell.com.)