Last Sunday’s editorial in The New York Times laments that every GOP Senate candidate (with the exception of Mark Kirk here The Heartland Institute’s home state of Illinois) declines to worship in the Church of Global Warming.
In so doing, those candidates are lining up with what for at least 2.5 years has been the prevailing public opinion — that planetary forces, not human activity, is the source of any warming of the planet. Indeed, according to an October Rasmussen Reports poll, 37 percent of Americans “are not very concerned about global warming, if at all.”
And to what evil force does The Times attribute this stubborn refusal to destroy America’s economy for a hoax? Why, Darth Cheney, of course. Some villains in the eyes of liberals really do die harder than others.
They are re-running the strategy of denial perfected by Mr. Cheney a decade ago, repudiating years of peer-reviewed findings about global warming and creating an alternative reality in which climate change is a hoax or conspiracy.
Some candidates are emphatic in their denial, like the Nevada Republican Sharron Angle, who flatly rejects “the man-caused climate change mantra of the left.” Others are merely wiggly, like California’s Carly Fiorina, who says, “I’m not sure.” Yet, over all (the exception being Mark Kirk in Illinois), the Republicans are huddled around an amazingly dismissive view of climate change.
- Carbon Dioxide is not a pollutant. On the contrary it makes crops and forests grow faster. Mapping by satellite shows that the earth has become about 6% greener overall in the past two decades, with forests expanding into arid regions. The Amazon rain forest was the biggest gainer, with two tons of additional biomass per acre per year. Certainly climate change does not help every region equally, but careful studies predict overall benefit, fewer storms, more rain, better crop yields, longer growing seasons, milder winters and decreasing heating costs in colder climates. The news is certainly not bad and on balance may be rather good.
- Someday the world will wake up and laugh when they finally understand that the entire pursuit of economic ruin in the name of saving the planet from increasing carbon dioxide is in fact a terrible joke. You see it is an unarguable fact that the portion of the Earth’s greenhouse gas envelope contributed by man is barely one tenth of one per cent of the total. Do the numbers your self. CO2 is no more than 4% of the total (with water vapor being over 90% followed by methane and sulpher and nitrous oxides). Of that 4% man contributes only a little over 3%. Elementary school arithmetic says that 3% of 4% is .12% and for that we are sentencing the planet to a wealth of damaging economic impacts.
- If greenhouse gases were responsible for increases in global temperature of recent decades then atmospheric physics shows that higher levels of our atmosphere would show greater warming than lower levels. This was not found to be true during the 1978 to 1998 period of .3 degrees centigrade warming.
- Some 900,000 years of ice core temperature records and carbon dioxide content records show that CO2 increases follow rather than lead increases in Earth temperature which is logical because the oceans are the primary source of CO2 and they hold more CO2 when cool than when warm, so warming causes the oceans to release more CO2.
- While temperatures have fluctuated over the past 5000 years, today’s earth temperature is below average for the past 5000 years.
A few (Republican Senate candidates) may genuinely believe global warming is a left-wing plot. Others may be singing the tune of corporate benefactors. And many Republicans have seized on the cap-and-trade climate bill as another way to paint Democrats as out-of-control taxers.
In one way or another, though, all [Cheney, Republicans and "deniers" in general] are custodians of a strategy whose guiding principle has been to avoid debate about solutions to climate change by denying its existence — or at least by diminishing its importance. The strategy worked, destroying hopes for Congressional action while further confusing ordinary citizens for whom global warming was already a remote and complex matter.