Monday, December 7, 2009

Local view: Americans naively swallowing global warming hype

Gardner Ellis - 12/07/2009
Many of us remember the severe winters of the late 1970s. Do we recall also the trendy, climate-cooling theory that developed then and that quickly fueled media reports? America gobbled up the hoopla, as rhetoric supported by exaggerated short-term data predicted a fast-approaching doomsday caused by a global-cooling event. Many scientists worldwide concurred with bold statements that by the year 2000 North America could be experiencing a devastating ice age. Even a young Al Gore touted warnings about global cooling. Somehow, we all managed to survive that catastrophe. And we survived the worldwide meltdown of Y2K, too. Unfortunately, however, our naivety and gullibility also survived. And we now find ourselves in the midst of another controversial disaster of comparable consequences: global warming. As if in a drunken stupor, we embrace this encore with even greater fervor. As before, doomsday nar-ratives circulate, including former Vice President Al Gore’s film, “An Inconvenient Truth.” Somehow winning a Grammy for reporting prevarications, Gore’s propagandized documentary frightened the impressionable. “The data is in and the debate is over,” Gore declared. But he was mistaken. Global warming is disputed by more than 31,000 scientists worldwide. Gore seems reluctant to debate anyone of knowledge. And while many viewed his film without question, a judge in England, ruling in 2007 whether Gore’s film could be shown in schools there, found that it contained at least nine major exaggerations, misperceptions or falsehoods. The film’s inaccuracies, according to the ruling reported by the BBC and other news outlets, included that melting snow on Mount Kilimanjaro proved global warming; that carbon dioxide causes temperature increases over many years; that Hurricane Katrina was caused by global warming; that the evaporation of Africa’s Lake Chad was caused by global warming; that polar bears were drowning as a result of disappearing Arctic ice when some polar bears actually drowned because of a particularly violent storm; that global warming was hampering the Gulf Stream, throwing Europe into an ice age; that global warming could be blamed for species losses, including coral reef bleaching; that rising sea levels could cause mass migrations; and that rising sea levels already caused the evacuation of Pacific islands to New Zealand. I’m not a climatologist, but I am an individual whose instincts usually bring me to conclusions not usually accepted by a fad-entrenched following that disses logic and self-righteously flocks to Chicken Little-type corollaries. Along with the chronically politically correct, those in such a following tend to thrive on hyped scare tactics. As a result, personal freedoms are easily forfeited, negotiated away for false security. Not surprisingly, we have leaders too willing to accommodate our insecurities. They promise to fix everything but usually distress all they touch. Unmindful, salvation comes with an impressive price. In Copenhagen this month, a new climate-change agreement, based on erroneous claims, will be presented. If the U.S. ratifies the agreement, cap and trade could become reality, disadvantaging America’s remaining economic resources. And with new taxes and legislation, taxpayers ultimately could be responsible for third-world reparations, governed by a league of nations. Regardless of whether global warming is taking place or caused to any degree by human activity, we do not want a global government empowered to tax Ameri-cans without elected representation or anything analogous to constitutional protections. Our Founding Fathers would roll over in their graves if they knew their progeny allowed such authority, effectively undoing their efforts and jeopardizing American sovereignty. If this happens, all climate debate is irrelevant.

Gardner Ellis of Duluth is a business owner and a member of the Citizen Research Council.

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