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FAN MAIL FROM THE ZEALOTS
Let’s stipulate once more that I do not side with a “No-Global-Warming crowd” — if there really is a sizable group of such folks. For the most part, this is a debate between a bunch of superannuated children who want to shut down Western industrial civilization to propitiate their earth goddess and save a few polar bears — oblivious to the fact this would price motor cars, fresh fruit, and central heating out of the reach of the average person — and (on the other side) those of us who AGREE some minor, cyclical climate warming is going on, while contending it shows no evidence of being catastrophic, and that man’s activities make such a tiny contribution to the phenomenon that any attempt to alter this outcome by driving different vehicles or mandating expensive windmills is unlikely to prove any more effective than throwing salt over your shoulder.
Now let’s examine the other side, as a fellow I’ll call True Believer Number One writes to complain:
“1) It is true that the earth’s weather has a built in fluctuation between warming and cooling and I seem to remember that it is on about a 1,500-year cycle. However, that cycle is a very mild one and does not even begin to explain the fact that a 5000-year-old ice shelf had disappeared in Antarctica along with a 10,000-year-old one. If this warming were simply part of the 1,500-year cycle those ice shelves would not have broken up.
“2) When an article’s author starts making ridiculous claims or resorts to absurdities in an attempt to make a point their credibility quickly goes to zero. The 1st Amendment reference is a perfect example. No real journalist would try to associate environmentalism with religion, especially not in the way this author has.
“3) Your article misrepresents conclusions by credible scientists. From (the Suprynowicz column): 'What’s more, scientists at Ohio State University announced Feb. 12 that Antarctic “temperatures during the late 20th century did not climb as had been predicted by many global climate models.” In fact, they went down. ...’
“From the actual report: 'It’s hard to see a global warming signal from the mainland of Antarctica right now,’ he said. 'Part of the reason is that there is a lot of variability there. It’s very hard in these polar latitudes to demonstrate a global warming signal. This is in marked contrast to the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula that is one of the most rapidly warming parts of the Earth.’
“Should I continue?”
Gracious. Where to start?
1) Indeed, it appears the major ice shelves in Antarctica DID NOT disappear during previous periods of global warming more severe than now forecast — from 1,100 to 2,300 years ago, and from 4,000 to 6,000 years ago. (See the elephant seal entry of Dec. 20, 2006 at www.spectator.org.) So there’s no reason to assume they’re going to melt, now.
Dr. Wibjörn Karlén, emeritus professor, Dept. of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, Sweden, admits, “Some small areas in the Antarctic Peninsula have broken up recently, just like it has done back in time. The temperature in this part of Antarctica has increased recently, probably because of a small change in the position of the low pressure systems.”
But Karlén clarifies that the “mass balance” of Antarctica is positive — more snow is accumulating than melting off. When Greenland and Antarctica are assessed together, “their mass balance is considered to possibly increase the sea level by 0.03 mm/year — not much of an effect,” Karlén concludes.
2) I’ve been gainfully employed, full-time, writing for newspapers of general circulation for 35 years, winning the occasional professional award. If that doesn’t make me a “real journalist,” one wonders where that bar is now set.
Environmentalism is now inculcated in the government schools, into kids too young to bring any skepticism to its mantras, very much in the way the Catholic Church (and others) understand the benefits of having children memorize various catechisms so they can be “confirmed” in the faith before a maturing skepticism kicks in during the teen years. In this regard — and in the fury unleashed on nonbelievers — Environmentalism functions precisely as a religion, being promoted by government agencies in violation of the Constitutional ban on any government establishment of religion.
I’ve demonstrated the Greens’ religion-like rejection of contrary evidence in favor of the merits of comforting, self-affirming “faith” and “belief” at some length in Chapter 4 of my book “The Ballad of Carl Drega,” titled “Mean Greens: Environmentalism as a State Religion.”
If anyone needs evidence of a hysterical response to heretics and non-believers — reminiscent of the recent response of Muslim loonies to some rather tame cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad — how about Nevadan Rick Van Diepen’s letter to the editor here in response to my Feb. 25 column, reporting “my astonishment at the utter absurdity and lack of credible basis for his argument was only exceeded by the disbelief that this paper would consider printing it.”
Sound like someone who wants to hear both sides?
“I would like to know when the editorial staff at the (Review-Journal) is going to exhibit some basic journalistic integrity and back check some of the sources that bush-league curmudgeons like Mr. Suprynowicz like to cite so authoritatively,” Mr. Van Diepen continued. “To wit: his primary source, 'Doctors for Disaster Preparedness’ is evidently a catchy name that some backwoods survivalist group came up with to try to sound believable. ... This group ... urges it’s (sic) members to sign on to a petition letter to President Bush requesting that the US government begin exporting DDT to third world countries (seriously!) as the best way to fight malaria.”
And the gentleman’s point is?
Hundreds of thousands of people have died in unnecessary malaria epidemics since the United States moved to limit the export and use of DDT overseas, based largely on a piece of alarmist fiction by a novelist named Rachel Carson, concerning impacts on bird eggs. A group of licensed medical doctors based in urban Tucson, Ariz. protest this needless loss of human life due to excessive “environmental” hysteria, and True Believer Number Two — without bothering to research whether current DDT application methods may be less harmful to wildlife — dismisses these professionals as a “backwoods survivalist group,” saying, in effect, “So what if the little brown ones die; the inviolability of the paragraph of the Green catechism dealing with DDT is more important”?
3) But back to our first zealot: The fact that most scientists (including those at Ohio State) now feel obliged to dance around uttering politically correct caveats when they stumble on inconvenient anti-global warming evidence — lest they put their careers in danger by declaring the emperor has no clothes — was the main POINT of my original column. The OSU press release clearly states:
“Last year, Bromwich’s research group reported in the journal Science that Antarctic snowfall hadn’t increased in the last 50 years. 'What we see now is that the temperature regime is broadly similar to what we saw before with snowfall. In the last decade or so, both have gone down,’ he said.”
Read it again. Antarctic temperatures have gone DOWN.
Things do not become “absurd” merely because we haven’t thought them through. Our ideas are not proven right by the fact that those who expose the mass delusions of crowds at first appear “absurd” to those who cling to the old paradigm.
Meantime, speaking of polar bears, The Wall Street Journal reported Jan. 3 that the population of the polar bear (not a distinct species at all; turns out they can mate quite productively with regular old brown bears) has actually increased from 5,000 to more than 20,000 over the past 50 years.
But the ice is melllting! It’s melllting!