Global Warming’s New ‘Consensus’

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The Article

There’s a new global warming consensus in town. It’s too bad the once-level-headed, but now chicken-hearted Bush Administration has already skedaddled, perhaps leaving our standard of living at the mercy of Barack Obama and his high regard for the international hate-America crowd.

The Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine announced this week that 31,072 U.S. scientists signed a petition stating that “… There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane or other greenhouse gases is causing, or will cause in the future, catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate…”

Eminent theoretical physicist Freeman Dyson is among the many distinguished signatories.

The OISM petition represents a direct challenge to the Al Gore-touted notion that a consensus of scientists has determined that catastrophic manmade global warming is real and that any debate over the science is pointless.

You might think that the Bush administration—which has been viciously attacked by Al Gore and the Greens for pulling the U.S. out of the Kyoto Protocol and being generally skeptical of the science underlying global warming alarmism—would have embraced the new petition as support for its resistance to mandatory greenhouse gas emission caps.

But you’d be wrong. When given the chance to embrace vindication at a White House press briefing this week, deputy press secretary Dana Perino couldn’t run away fast enough.

A White House reporter asked Perino: “WorldNetDaily reports that more than 31,000 U.S. scientists, including 9,000 PhDs, now signed a petition rejecting global warming, the assumption that human production of greenhouse gases is damaging the Earth’s climate. My question: What is the White House reaction to these 31,000 scientists?”

While Perino could have responded with something akin to either “Yes, we know about the petition and we’re looking into it” or “No, we didn’t know about the petition but we will certainly look into it,”  she instead dismissed the question with an abrupt, “I would say that everyone is entitled to their opinion. What’s your next question?”

When the reporter tried to follow-up with “That’s all?”, Perino seemed to insist on remaining oblivious to the petition and its import by stating, “That’s all I’m going to say.” (See YouTube video)

Well, at least Perino didn’t pull an ‘Al Gore’ and label Dyson and the other 31,071 scientist-signatories as members of the Flat Earth Society.

In Perino’s defense, one might say that it is reasonable to disregard such petitions since science is about what is known or what can be proved about the natural world through systematic investigation, rather than the number of scientists who are willing to publicly commit to a particular opinion.

On the other hand, global warming alarmism has been marketed to the public on the basis of the latter rather than the former.

We’ve been told that there’s a “consensus” of scientists—most often exemplified by the group of scientists working under the auspices of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—that agrees manmade greenhouse gas emissions are or will wreak havoc on the climate. Although dispute exists over whether there is, in fact, an actual consensus within the IPCC, head counts of scientists seem to be the name of the global warming game.

Since that is the case, the 31,000 scientist signatories assembled by the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, would seem to trump the six hundred or so in the alleged IPCC consensus. Sadly, the White House has taken such a beating over the years on climate that facts no longer matter.

As further evidence of its shell-shocked state of fact avoidance, just last week the Bush Administration announced that it was listing the polar bear as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act—even though there are many more polar bears today than 40 years ago and predictions of the bear’s demise are entirely based on politically-inspired speculation.

The fact of the 31,000 scientists should matter to the White House, however, given what likely Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama said this week.

In a campaign stop in Oregon, Obama called for the U.S. to “lead by example” on global warming. “We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times… and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK… That’s not leadership. That’s not going to happen,” he said.

A President Obama would apparently decide how to regulate the pantries, thermostats and modes of personal transportation of his fellow Americans based on the emotional temperature of every non-American who happens to harbor an opinion on how we should live.

And although Republican presidential hopeful John McCain hasn’t been as blunt as Obama with respect to rolling back the American lifestyle, as reported in this column last week, he’s been drinking from the same batch of Green Kool-Aid.

Sadly, the initial response from the Bush Administration to relevant new facts that could prevent the imminent Obama-McCain attack on our standard of living seems to be, “See no consensus, hear no consensus, speak no consensus.”

Steven Milloy
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