Two female explorers, Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen, planned a trek across the Arctic ocean earlier this month to highlight the dangers of global warming. They had to call the expedition off because it was too cold.
"One night they measured the temperature inside their tent at 58 degrees below zero, and outside temperatures were exceeding 100 below zero at times," Ann Atwood, who helped organize the expedition, told the Associated Press.
"They were experiencing temperatures that weren't expected with global warming," Ms. Atwood acknowledged. "One of the things we see with global warming is unpredictability," she said.
Uh, Ms. Atwood, one thing people who haven't drunk the Kool Aid can predict is that it'll be mighty cold in the Arctic in winter.
The Jim Jones of this Kool Aid testified on Capitol Hill last Wednesday. Former Vice President Al Gore was greeted as a "prophet" by Rep. Ed Markey, a Massachussetts Democrat.
Republicans, who noted Mr. Gore's Nashville mansion consumes 22 times as much energy each year as does the average American home, were less worshipful. They chided him for not practicing what he preaches.
Mr. Gore maintains he makes up for his energy gluttony by purchasing "carbon offsets" from Generation Investment Management, a firm he helped found.
Generation Investment Management invests in solar and wind and other projects that reduce energy consumption around the globe, a spokeswoman for the firm said.
Those who consider global warming more a secular religion than science are amused by how much Mr. Gore's practice resembles the sale of indulgences by the medieval Roman Catholic church. You could steal, cheat on your wife, even commit murder with no fear of Hellfire if you crossed the bishop's palm with enough silver. But Mr. Gore has an even sweeter deal than that, since all he is in effect doing is transferring money from one pocket to another. Absolution of sin by accounting trick.
Mr. Gore continued his "rules are for other people" behavior at the hearings. Congressional committees require that witnesses provide their prepared testimony to the committee 48 hours before the hearing. Mr. Gore ignored this rule, presumably to keep skeptics from spotting in advance where his testimony departed from the facts.
If so, this was prudent, because such departures were frequent.
Ten of the hottest years in history came in the last 11 years, Mr. Gore said. But it was warmer in the Medieval Warm Period (800-1300 A.D.) than it is now, and warmer still in earlier periods. Tropical vegetation once grew in Siberia.
Global warming threatens polar bears with extinction, Mr. Gore said. But, said Canada's National Post, "the latest government survey of polar bears roaming the vast Arctic expanses of northern Quebec, Labrador and southern Baffin Island show the population of polar bears has jumped to 2,100 animals from around 800 in the mid-1980s."
Melting ice from glaciers in Greenland will raise sea levels by 20 feet in the next century, Mr. Gore said. But the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts a sea rise of just 7 to 23 inches. If melting continues at its current rate, the lower range of the IPCC estimate will be too high.
The debate on global warming is over, Mr. Gore declared, even as a new British documentary (The Great Global Warming Swindle) issued a powerful challenge to all of his premises.
For Mr. Gore, the debate never actually began, because he has gone to great lengths to avoid debating knowledgeable skeptics.
This is prudent for the former divinity school dropout, as a debate in New York March 14 indicates. The debate was sponsored by Intelligence Squared, a debating society that holds Oxford -style debates on major public policy issues.
Brenda Ekwurzel of the Union of Concerned Scientists, Gavin Schmidt of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Richard Somerville of the Scripps Institution for Oceanography argued that global warming is a crisis. Screenwriter Michael Crichton, Dr. Richard Lindzen of MIT, and Dr. Philip Stott of the University of London argued that it was not.
The audience was polled on both before and after the debate. Before the debate, 57 percent of the audience believed global warming was a crisis. After hearing the arguments pro and con, only 42 percent did.
The more people learn of the facts, the less likely they are to agree with Mr. Gore. But he can rely indefinitely on the support of true believers like Ms. Atwood, whose faith is so pure she thinks bone chilling cold is a sign of global warming.