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Jewish World Review
Nov. 27, 2007
/ 17 Kislev
Need a legacy? Al's got a hot one
All the wiseheads keep telling us that Climate is headed south, but Weather keeps getting in the way.
Global warming is scheduled to kill us all before next Christmas, but since Christmas is going the way of the hula hoop to avoid offending Osama bin Laden, the ACLU and assorted grinches, we might yet muddle on.
The United Nations sponsored a session for wiseheads the other day in Valencia, where they dined in expensive Spanish restaurants, basked in luxury hotels and took the waters on a government dime, obligated only to listen to each other talk about the coming death in the afternoon for those who don't die first of bird flu, AIDS, staph infections and other plagues that were supposed to dispose of us by now.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change summarized the session's finding in a mere 25 pages of the frenzied language of panic. Everyone will feel its effects, the director of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change said. But global warming will hit the poorest countries hardest, just as the end of the world will hurt women and minorities most. Failing to recognize the urgency of this message would be nothing less than criminally responsible.
Some of the delegates conceded that it's only nice to be sensitive to certain national concerns, mostly those of the little countries that yearn to tie Gulliver down to their size. Some are worried about oceans, others about glaciers. The environmentalists worry that the exaggerations might be toned down. They're insistent that the U.N. say "with certainty" that global warming is real and caused by man. The Americans tried to tone down the horror-movie exaggeration of the threat of hurricanes over the next century.
Hurricanes, in fact, have been a big disappointment this year. There haven't been any to speak of. No Katrina, no Andrew, no Audrey, no Camille, not even a stray Felix or Feliciana that anybody remembers. This was the hurricane year the global-warming industry was counting on. And then, zilch.
"The seasonal hurricane forecasters certainly have a lot of explaining to do," Max Mayfield, a former director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami, told the Miami Herald. "The last couple of years have humbled the seasonal hurricane forecasters and pointed out that we have a lot more to learn before we can do accurate seasonal forecasts." This year, William Gray and Philip Klotzbach, professors at Colorado State University and the most prominent hurricane forecasters, predicted that 17 tropical storms worthy of a name would blow out of the Atlantic, 9 would grow into hurricanes and 5 would be killer 'canes. The actual count was 14, 5 and 2. This was bad enough for anyone caught in the path of one of the bad storms, but a tragedy to the global-warming faithful.
Short on science, the faithful are long on politics. Politics, says Michael Crichton, the novelist and inventor of Jurassic Park who made cloning popular, leads to belief and science leads to facts. Or ought to. He recalled in a speech to the National Press Club two years ago how quickly politics can intimidate science.
"In the first Earth Day in 1970," he said, "Kenneth Watt [of the University of California-Davis], said: 'If present trends continue, the world will be about 4 degrees colder in 1990, but 11 degrees colder by the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us in an ice age.' International Wildlife warned 'a new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war' as a threat to mankind. Science Digest declared that the world 'must prepare for the next ice age.' The Christian Science Monitor noted that armadillos had moved out of Nebraska because it was too cold, glaciers had begun to advance, and growing seasons had shortened around the world."
Now we're up to our hips in alligators and global-warming fanatics. We can't predict a hurricane next week, but Al Gore can predict doom 40 years from next Christmas, and a lot of people take him seriously. Maybe even George W. Bush, who entertained him yesterday at the White House. George W. is looking desperately for a legacy, and Al has one to sell.
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