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Global Warming's New 'Consensus'

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Global Warming's New 'Consensus'

Milloy column on Foxnews.com

There’s a new global warming consensus in town.

It’s too bad the once-level-headed but now chicken-hearted Bush
administration already has 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 this week announced
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."

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 U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — 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
600 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,
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 apparently would 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 in 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 publishes JunkScience.com and DemandDebate.com. He is a junk science expert, advocate of free enterprise and an adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.