Upper Left Coast

Thoughts on politics, faith, sports and other random topics from a red state sympathizer in indigo-blue Portland, Oregon.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Global warming or global fear-mongering?

Washington Post columnist George Will argues the latter in today's column, suggesting that fears of global warming (a worldwide increase of one degree over the last century) are due to "anxiety from journalism calculated to produce it."

On a recent appearance on an ABC news show, Will notes, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer simultaneously suggested that the use of coal (from his state, of course) was safe because of new technologies, while saying we should be very worried because of countries like China that will compound the global warming conundrum.

Will continues:
While worrying about Montana's receding glaciers, Schweitzer, who is 50, should also worry about the fact that when he was 20 he was told to be worried, very worried, about global cooling:
  • Science magazine (Dec. 10, 1976) warned of "extensive Northern Hemisphere glaciation.''
  • Science Digest (February 1973) reported that "the world's climatologists are agreed'' that we must "prepare for the next ice age.''
  • The Christian Science Monitor ("Warning: Earth's Climate is Changing Faster than Even Experts Expect,'' Aug. 27, 1974) reported that glaciers "have begun to advance,'' "growing seasons in England and Scandinavia are getting shorter'' and "the North Atlantic is cooling down about as fast as an ocean can cool.''
  • Newsweek agreed ("The Cooling World,'' April 28, 1975) that meteorologists "are almost unanimous'' that catastrophic famines might result from the global cooling that The New York Times (Sept. 14, 1975) said "may mark the return to another ice age.''
  • The Times (May 21, 1975) also said "a major cooling of the climate is widely considered inevitable'' now that it is "well established'' that the Northern Hemisphere's climate "has been getting cooler since about 1950.''
In fact, the earth is always experiencing either warming or cooling. But suppose the scientists and their journalistic conduits, who today say they were so spectacularly wrong so recently, are now correct. Suppose the earth is warming and suppose the warming is caused by human activity. Are we sure there will be proportionate benefits from whatever climate change can be purchased at the cost of slowing economic growth and spending trillions? Are we sure the consequences of climate change -- remember, a thick sheet of ice once covered the Middle West -- must be bad?

Or has the science-journalism complex decided that debate about these questions, too, is "over''?

About the mystery that vexes ABC -- Why have Americans been slow to get in lock step concerning global warming? -- perhaps the "problem'' is not big oil or big coal, both of which have discovered there is big money to be made from tax breaks and other subsidies justified in the name of combating carbon. Perhaps the problem is big crusading journalism.
The whole thing is great.


Post a Comment

<< Home