Competitive Enterprise Institute | 1899 L ST NW Floor 12, Washington, DC 20036 | Phone: 202-331-1010 | Fax: 202-331-0640
A strange thing happened last year Down Under. A shark ate a kangaroo.
That wasn’t the odd part. Inexplicably, the media found themselves unable to blame the event on global warming.
This is bizarre because “A brief perusal of stories from the last several years reveals that warming has been blamed for a huge array of problems, including increased teenage drinking, stray cats, poison ivy, and sharks. More seriously, global warming has also been blamed for widespread malnutrition and outbreaks of disease, Hurricane Katrina, and the crisis in Darfur.” Don’t forget impoverished fashion houses , hard times for Bulgarian brothels  and attacks by big cats .
Also,  “lizards will undergo sex changes, there will be ‘waves of rape’, a rash of camel deaths will occur, the Earth will spin faster (hold on!), and, worst and most frightening of all, there will be a new plague of lawyers (to handle all the ‘who’s fault is it?’ litigation…).”
Just last week two more floats in the parade of horribles were added when USA Today told us that global warming will cause giant Burmese pythons to colonize one-third of the United States, and the BBC’s Radio 4 cited global warming as at fault for the sacking of an English football coach.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have our new “Twinkie Defense.”
In the face of such amusement…sorry, catastrophe…500 people who pay attention to such things are gathered in New York City, from where I write, hoping to share experiences, research, and insights. These include scientists of the “hard” variety (geologists, climatologists, etc) and the soft (economists, statisticians). Global warming alarmists insist that anyone who isn’t a climatologist, or at least pop star, isn’t qualified to speak to the issue -- when they disagree, that is -- although this also happens to represent the makeup of the vaunted UN panel of “two thousand of the world’s leading scientists” most of whom, by the alarmists’ own standards, are no such thing.
In short, this is a serious gathering, if largely light-hearted, attended by participants including media from all over the civilized world, as well as several parts of Europe. Czech President Vaclav Klaus is in da house, warning the crowd to pay attention to arguments of humanitarian salvation which his experience, and Mencken’s adages, suggest are always a false front for the urge to rule.
Meanwhile, in the unnerving buildup to this outrage of a gathering, last week the alarmists started insisting that, by insisting a “consensus” exists, they never meant “consensus;” and alarmist professor John Holdren now ways that they never really meant “global warming” (or, presumably, the “global cooling” before that), but “global climate disruption.” Just rolls off the tongue.
A few hippies registered so as to register their outrage but, to so far, have limited their protests to shaggy-mane shaking, at the periodic intrusion upon their misery by the horrors of actual data. This is about feelings, it seems, and if you don’t feel Mankind is killing the planet, even if things aren’t exactly warming up the past four years -- you’ve read that, right? -- then you have tested out of eligibility to comment on such things.
My presentation today has less to do with the numbers, which are amusing enough: it isn’t warming  while the supposed driver of temperatures, carbon dioxide, continues to climb; Europe’s emissions aren’t dropping, but going up  and far faster than the U.S.; the global warming agenda doesn’t create the Loch Ness Monster of the unemployment line, the mythical “green jobs,” but is destroying them in Europe and exporting them to the U.S. and China.
No, this afternoon I am to speak to the issue of the media’s hilarious contortions in the name of the global warming agenda. You read or hear it daily. A single year or weather event is newsworthy and meaningful…unless it’s the wrong kind. Individual research papers warrant coverage…and what coverage!…when their results are alarmist. Otherwise…they’re just one paper!
We see a remarkable abuse of the conjunction “if.” If this then that, if, if, if… If simians rapidly exited from Al Gore’s anatomy, if, if, if. Similar is the phenomenon of “couldism,” which is to say the ritual use of media claims that the following could (not), might (not), or may (not) happen. “Not” not provided, but people seem to be catching on.
We have learned that three years is a pattern…unless it is on the cooling side of the ledger. We know that ten years is conclusive…unless you mean the past ten years of no warming. Unseasonably warm weather is clear evidence of global warming, exceptional cold is merely an anomaly. Warming temperatures, over whatever period the press chooses to muster, as well as retreating glaciers are sure signs of “global warming.” Cooling temperatures and advancing glaciers are signs of nothing.
And, of course, funding and financial interests matter…if you disagree with alarmism and its agenda. Meanwhile, absolutely positively nobody comes close to earning money off of “global warming” like Al Gore and his tiresome advisor from NASA, James Hansen.
In the face of this, the BBC and CNN cameras, the latter with an agitated Miles O’Brien in tow, are stalking the hallways at least providing coverage of the gathering if, to judge by their mien and questions, none too happy about it and looking to pull off their template reportage.
This is progress, of course. Reality is increasingly forcing our media and other alarmist friends out of their comfort zones. As a graduate of Al Gore’s climate camp recently howled in protest during a debate with me at Michigan State, “no matter how many charts he shows you, it’s warming!” Of course it is, dear.