Global warming hype nothing

Editorial

Global warming rhetoric is more hot air than good sense and an excuse for governments to seize power over private lives. That’s why President Bush’s recent pronouncements are worrisome.

“… (G)lobal temperatures are rising and this is caused largely by human activities,” Bush recently told a 17-nation conference. To say that the earth is in the midst of natural climate change is one thing; to declare the change is severe, is chiefly man-made and that disastrous effects are within sight, well, that just makes him sound like a panicked Al Gore.

One global warming issue is its highly speculative “science” predicting catastrophic consequences because of man’s presumed guilty role. A second issue is ideological. Should governments intervene?

Until last month’s Washington conference, Bush seemed on the right side of both. He generally discounted alarmists’ claims, and opposed the type of intervention nearly every economist agrees would harm the economy.

If Bush has switched sides on the science, there’s at least no overt indication he’s willing yet to support disastrous mandates, such as the Kyoto Protocol, the 1997 agreement among 141 nations (but not the U.S.) to reduce by 2012 greenhouse gases by 5.2 percent below 1990 levels.

The president seems to maintain his opposition to such efforts, while still supportive of new technologies and other voluntary measures.

“Each nation must decide for itself the right mix of tools and technologies to achieve results that are measurable and environmentally effective,” he said, adding that any reduction efforts must keep, “our economies growing.”

By any measure, Kyoto has failed. Fifteen European nations committed to collectively reduce emissions to 8 percent below 1990 levels, but quickly struck a deal permitting many to have increases.

Only former Soviet Bloc nations experienced reductions, and that can be attributed to their devastated economies.

Since 2000, CO2 emissions have grown more rapidly in Europe than in the U.S., which didn’t sign on to Kyoto.

Prospering nations emit more, not fewer, greenhouse gases. That’s why fast-growing China and India, hoping to vastly expand their industrial bases, never signed the agreement.

“Kyoto,” Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper noted, “divided the world into two groups, those that would have no targets, and those that would meet no targets.” Even if all Kyoto signatories met their targets, global temperatures would decline about 1 degree, but cost economies trillions of dollars.

We are disappointed, however, Bush may be going soft in the face of pseudoscience. Increasingly, scientists and new studies cast serious doubts on alarmists’ bleak computer projections. Some say there has been no measurable temperature increase since 1998.

“No computer can accurately represent such a gigantic system as the earth with all its unknown processes,” writes Syun-Ichi Akasofu, former director of the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska. “Therefore, no supercomputer, no matter how powerful, is able to prove definitively a simplistic hypothesis that says the greenhouse effect is responsible for warming.”

Nevertheless, about half of Americans, influenced by unrelenting, uncritical media reports, believe we already are experiencing dangerous global warming effects, or soon will. We wish they and the president would re-visit the science rather than swallow the hype.