- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 30, 1999

It's time once again to review some of the tall tales about environmental calamities that made the news in the last year of the century.
Global warming took top spot, being blamed for every conceivable disaster: floods and droughts; heat waves and a coming ice age; disappearing glaciers and rising sea levels; dying coral and disappearing frogs; hurricanes and El Ninos and Ninas and in the offing: famine, pestilence and even wars (started by desperate environmental refugees).
With all the noise and commotion about global warming in the media, one would think the issue is uppermost in everyone's mind.
Well, not really. Opinion polls show little public concern. Environment and global warming just don't seem to be hot-button issues in a presidential election year.
The myth of public concern was laid to rest by a 1997 New York Times poll, where people were asked to rank environmental issues. Just 7 percent said global warming, but 47 percent said air and water pollution.
A CNN poll that same year showed 24 percent of Americans concerned about global warming, down from 35 percent in 1989. An ABC survey, following a scary news segment by Peter Jennings in April 1998, found that two-thirds of the respondents thought the government should wait for more conclusive scientific evidence. The same number also refused to consider any personal sacrifices, such as higher energy taxes or cutbacks on driving.
And when Time magazine asked the question in July 1999, "Do you think that this summer's heat wave is the result of global warming?" 31 percent said yes and 65 percent said no. It's enough to make green activists see red.
You can see now why the activist National Environmental "Trust" [that's an oxymoron] managed to talk foundations out of $11 million dollars for an expensive ad campaign to convince folks that global warming would do them in.
NET has tried to link an increase in children's asthma cases to global warming, by way of atmospheric pollution. But while asthma has certainly been on the rise, urban pollution has decreased significantly, according to the proud claims of the EPA.
In any case, smog has nothing to do with global warming, but is promoted by solar radiation changing the chemistry of certain polluting gases [which don't include carbon dioxide]. And there's nothing we can do to stop sunshine.
Besides, the best medical opinion holds asthma comes from indoor air pollution through irritants like dust mites and the remains of cockroaches.
After all this prevarication, how can we ever trust the National Environmental Trust?
We now turn to the other bugaboo: viral diseases spread by mosquitoes. The mini-epidemic of encephalitis in the New York area last October was immediately used by propagandists to promote global-warming fears of mass deaths from malaria and dengue fever. But, as anticipated, it turns out the spread of such diseases is facilitated by rapidly growing international air traffic. The encephalitis virus has been identified as coming from Asia, probably by hitching a ride in a jet plane to JFK Airport on Long Island.
Forget about health scares; there are still other ways to frighten the public. One of the all-time favorites has been to predict a catastrophic rise in sea level that would inundate much of Florida and other coastal regions and even cause storm surges with waves smashing into New York's skyscrapers and the Washington Monument.
But a new scientific discovery has suddenly changed all this. True, sea level has risen about 7 inches in this century, but not because it warmed. It is now quite certain the oceans have been rising at about this rate, and even more rapidly early on, for the last 15,000 years.
Because of the end of the Ice Age, it is warmer now than it was 15,000 years ago [and we should all be grateful for this]. But this increase in temperature is slowly and inexorably melting a major ice sheet in the Antarctic; it will continue to melt away for the next 5,000 to 7,000 years or until the next Ice Age, whichever comes sooner. And there's nothing we can do about it except to adapt and invest in properties further inland.
With this big load off our minds, what about some of the other consequences of global warming that are supposed to be bad? A group of 26 distinguished economists has just examined the effects of global warming and find surprise, surprise, that the consequences are positive and not negative.
A warmer climate with more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would improve agriculture and forestry and add to national income, making people better off. They just published their results in a book by the prestigious Cambridge University Press. Global warming is actually good for you.
This is not the view of many politicians and a coterie of international bureaucrats who care little about science or economics, but are more concerned with taxes, regulations and the control of people's lives. They would like to foist upon us an international agreement, called the Kyoto Protocol, which would force Americans to cut energy consumption by more than one-third within the next decade.
This is all being done under the guise of saving the world, when, in fact, even the supporters of the Protocol must admit it will make little difference to the climate. But it sure will ruin the economy.
The subject of global warming and Kyoto Protocol may figure big in the upcoming election campaign. We hope so; it will be good to have the topic debated.
You will then hear a lot about a so-called "scientific consensus" supporting a warming catastrophe. Don't believe it. Last year, nearly 20,000 scientists, many of them with advanced academic degrees, signed a petition, started in Oregon, against the Kyoto Protocol.
Even earlier, more than 100 climate specialists signed the "Leipzig Declaration," which exposes the shaky scientific base of the Global Climate Treaty and the Kyoto Protocol.
The fierce efforts being made to discredit the anti-Kyoto Petition and the Leipzig Declaration and its sponsors border on desperation. Enviro-activists are evidently frantic with fear that the good sense of the Congress and of the bulk of the American people will prevail on this contentious issue.



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