Jewish World Review April 3, 2006 / 5 Nissan 5766 George Will http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/will1.asp Let cooler heads prevail: The media heat up overMessage 1 of 1 , Apr 2, 2006View SourceJewish World Review April 3, 2006 / 5 Nissan 5766
Let cooler heads prevail: The media heat up over global warming
http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | So, "the debate is over." Time
magazine says so. Last week's cover story exhorted readers to "Be
Worried. Be Very Worried," and ABC News concurred in several stories.
So did Montana's governor, speaking on ABC. And there was polling
about global warming, gathered by Time and ABC in collaboration.
Eighty-five percent of Americans say warming is probably happening,
and 62 percent say it threatens them personally. The National Academy
of Sciences says the rise in the Earth's surface temperature has been
about one degree Fahrenheit in the past century. Did 85 percent of
Americans notice? Of course not. They got their anxiety from
journalism calculated to produce it. Never mind that one degree might
be the margin of error when measuring the planet's temperature. To
take a person's temperature, you put a thermometer in an orifice or
under an arm. Taking the temperature of our churning planet, with its
tectonic plates sliding around over a molten core, involves limited
Why have Americans been dilatory about becoming as worried as very
worried as Time and ABC think proper? An article on ABC's Web site
wonders ominously, "Was Confusion Over Global Warming a Con Job?"
It suggests there has been a misinformation campaign implying that
scientists might not be unanimous, a campaign by how did you guess?
big oil. And the coal industry. But speaking of coal . . .
Recently, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer flew with ABC's George
Stephanopoulos over Glacier National Park's receding glaciers. But
Schweitzer offered hope: Everyone, buy Montana coal. New technologies
can, he said, burn it while removing carbon causes of global warming.
Stephanopoulos noted that such technologies are at least four years
away and "all the scientists" say something must be done "right now."
Schweitzer, quickly recovering from hopefulness and returning to the
"be worried, be very worried" message, said "it's even more critical
than that" because China and India are going to "put more carbon
dioxide in the atmosphere with conventional coal-fired generators than
all of the rest of the planet has during the last 150 years."
That is one reason why the Clinton administration never submitted the
Kyoto accord on global warming for Senate ratification. In 1997 the
Senate voted 95 to 0 that the accord would disproportionately burden
America while being too permissive toward major polluters that are
America's trade competitors.
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
Midwest 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.