Monday, September 12, 2005

Whither global cooling?

I was perusing Jay Nordlinger's Impromptus today. The second to last letter therein explains the reader's stock response to his liberal associates' constant blaming of every malady on global warming is ""We would not have global warming today if Al Gore had been elected president." The reader continues, "Never once has a person even asked whether I'm kidding."

I believe that the point of the letter is to point out the reflexive unthinking of those on the left. After all, based on the claims of the global warming zealots, absolutely nothing Al Gore could have done in five short years in office would have completely ended global warming. Why, even Kyoto would only slow it down a bit - global warming is here to stay.

I had a different take on the letter, one I put in an email to Mr. Nordlinger reprinted below. I wonder if he'll post it in his next Impromptus.


Love the Impromptus. In your article today about your Bay Area emailer’s response to global warming fanatics, "We would not have global warming today if Al Gore had been elected president!", I was struck by a succession of thoughts I’d like to share. My first was that this sentiment was not a joke, but literally true. Kind of like the fact that we didn’t have homelessness in America when Clinton was President, if Al Gore was elected, surely he would end global warming and/or the left would stop using it as a political bogeyman for all seasons. Then I thought, no, the left would never give up its panacea for capitalism; they’d milk global warming ‘till the end of time. It just wouldn’t be the ever present scare tactic (scare tactics tend to get the public interested in actual action and/or accountability); rather, it would continue to be the justification for all things liberal, “well, we can't let you build power plant here, global warming and all,” or “of course we have to raise taxes on the rich, with less money to spend on SUVs they won’t use as much energy and that will help stem global warming.”

Then I thought, whatever happened to the global cooling nonsense of the ‘70s? The argument was the same – burning fossil fuels expended particulates into the air that blocked sunlight causing the earth to cool plunging us into the next ice age. Then I thought of two explanations why global cooling did not have the same political impact as global warming today – one, the media/academia/Democrat conspiracy was not nearly as well-organized in the ‘70s and thus they simply could not pull it off, then two, global cooling proponents made the mistake of putting forth an actual testable prediction readily observable by the general public, an ice age. Global warming proponents are much more sophisticated. There are no predictions that the general public can readily perceive. When it’s hot, that’s global warming for you. When it’s cold, global warming melted the polar ice caps causing cold water to flow toward the equator and mess up the ecosystem. In short, the mistake the first time around was treating global cooling like an actual science, making testable predictions and all. Global warming is devoid of that hindrance.


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