If the Bush Administration is looking for a place to start mending fences with the world and burnish its public image, I suggest the quickest and easiest thing would be to endorse the Kyoto Protocol.
There are few places where conservatives have come off looking so foolish as their stonewalling on global warming. What is the problem? Is it because this is Al Gore’s issue? Is it because nothing could possibly go wrong with the world? Partisanship is one thing but when it reaches the point of being purblind, it’s time to reassess.
The evidence that something unusual is happening to the earth’s climate is overwhelming. Eight of the ten hottest years on record have occurred in the last decade. Glaciers are melting all around the world. Species are migrating north. The Arctic Ocean ice cap is the smallest it has ever been by modern measurements. People in Alaska say they’re witnessing things they’ve never imagined before.
Now granted, liberals tend to point to every little summer breeze as further evidence of global warming. In 1996, after the worst blizzard in history hit the northeast, Newsweek ran a cover story saying it proved the arrival of global warming. I don’t even believe Hurricane Katrina constitutes any special evidence of climate change, although there is a theory that hurricanes will get worse as the ocean warms. Single incidents don’t mean much. But long-range trends are foolish to ignore.
Very few conservatives seem to have any idea what they’re talking about with global warming. They just repeat the aphorisms of a few academic scientists who have earned reputations as doubting Thomases. One of them is Richard Lindzen, of MIT, who has been one of the outstanding critics of the theory. I heard him speak last September in Montana. Nothing personal, but his performance was far from overwhelming. Lindzen put up a graph showing both atmospheric carbon dioxide and average temperatures rising at a brisk 45-degree angle since 1960 and mused, “I don’t see where this is out of the range of normal fluctuations over the last thousands of years.” Then he added, “Besides, if global warming is really happening, it’s too late to do anything about it anyway.”p>Fred Singer, of George Mason University, is another hardy skeptic who nit-picks at the computer models for global warming and argues that if they’re not perfect, we can safely ignore what’s happening around us. The Kyoto Protocol’s model, for example, suggested at one point that sulfur-dioxide aerosols from coal burning might slow down global warming a bit. Singer responded: br> /p>
It turns out that these supposedly-cooling aerosols are produced mainly in the northern hemisphere….Therefore, if the models are correct, the northern hemisphere would presumably warm more slowly than the southern hemisphere….But observations show exactly the opposite. The highest rate of warming in the last 25 years occurred at northern mid-latitudes. [“The Kyoto Protocol: A Post-Mortem,” The New Atlantis, Winter 2004.]br> So because the northern hemisphere is warming faster than the models predict, that proves global warming is a hoax!
This kind of logical positivism can only take you so far. At some point you have to look at the whole picture and make your best guess. We will never be able to prove through controlled experiment that fossil fuel burning is causing global warming. We would need another planet and a few thousands years to prove it. All we know is that both carbon emissions and global temperature have climbed into uncharted territory and continue to rise at a steady pace each year. History is not a scientific experiment. You have to act on the best information available.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?