Let's freeze any talk about global warming

December 17, 1997|By Cal Thomas

THINK horror films and prehistoric beasts that destroy Tokyo. Think horrific policies and the just completed ''global warming'' summit at Kyoto comes to mind.

If global warming were a proven theory, then most of us could make whatever sacrifices might be required. But it is a theory promoted by advocates of ever-bigger and more intrusive government which must have the ''food'' of higher taxes and more regulation in order to live.

No debate

The public is being asked to accept global warming without a debate. Instead, we are force-fed by the broadcast media into believing something that may not be true and, if proposed solutions are imposed, will completely alter our lifestyles for insufficient reasons.

The broadcast networks cleverly refer to ''scientists'' in their reporting on global warming, without making a distinction between those who accept the theory as fact and the many who do not. Neither do they mention that many of those who believe the world is heating up to dangerous levels have little or no expertise in climatology or environmental science.

It is comparable to receiving an opinion on your heart from an orthopedic surgeon instead of a cardiologist. Both are doctors, but only one is an authority on the heart.

Many broadcast journalists have abandoned balance and become cheerleaders for the global-warming theory. ABC's Peter Jennings is chief among them. On one broadcast, Mr. Jennings stated as fact that ''the earth is getting warmer all the time, in part because the United States has not been practicing what it has been preaching.'' Mr. Jennings recently told his audience that pollution ''has already changed the world's climate'' and that ''if man doesn't stop tampering with the environment, the change in climate could well lead to a world in which we have a very unpredictable future.''

Mr. Jennings and other broadcasters speak of ''2,500 scientists from around the world'' who agree that burning oil and coal are causing the world's temperature to rise and that ''climate change is caused by man.'' What he doesn't explain is that most of these scientists are social scientists, policy experts or government functionaries. Scientists with expertise in the field, like S. Fred Singer, professor emeritus of Environmental Even if global warming were proved true . . . it could be beneficial, not detrimental.

Sciences at the University of Virginia, are frequently ignored or given short sound bites.

Mr. Singer has written: ''Judging from the climate record of the last 3,000 years of human history, climate consequences of a greenhouse warming should be generally beneficial. One would expect severe weather to be less frequent because of [calculated] reduced equator-to-pole temperature gradients. In fact, the frequency and intensity of hurricanes have decreased over the past 50 years, although the reason for this is not known.''

Mr. Singer also suggests that fears about rising sea levels are overstated, because ''new research indicates that increased ocean evaporation [due to warming] would lead to more rain -- and therefore to more ice accumulation in the polar regions. As such, sea levels may actually drop.'' So, even if global warming were proved true, which it has not been, it could be beneficial, not detrimental, according to Mr. Singer.

He is not alone in this view, but when global-warming foes attempt to speak, they are mostly ignored or, as on a recent ''Nightline'' broadcast, put down by the usually fair Ted Koppel as ignorant members of the Flat Earth Society.

Before we commit ourselves to drastically altering our lifestyles and spending huge amounts of money, we had better be certain that global warming is more than a theory. So far, it is unsubstantiated by the facts.

Delivering from evil

Much of the mainstream media have misplaced faith in government's ability to deliver us from evil. When it comes to global warming, their version of the ''great Satan,'' they are as much fundamentalist zealots as those TV evangelists they like to mock.

The real hot air in this mostly one-sided debate is coming from the politicians and the big media. If we manage to cool them off, we can harness the government monster they help to sustain and take more control over our lives, our money and our future.

Cal Thomas is a syndicated columnist.

Pub Date: 12/17/97

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