God, Man and Global Warming

Why do global-warming activists get so angry?

My Jan. 4 column noted that there is ongoing debate among serious scientists about the extent and particulars of global warming. Contrary to some assertions, the science is not settled, say numerous scientists, including President Barack Obama’s own former Undersecretary of Science Steven Koonin, who is a prominent Caltech physics professor with a Ph.D. from MIT.

Nonetheless, I suggested that we should take the issue seriously, investigate it thoroughly and, in the meantime, conserve our resources and seek renewable ones.

And, I implored, let’s put aside the ugly personal attacks and not get sanctimonious about it. We’re all in this together.

The column generated 208 online comments on The Aspen Times website. Countless others were emailed to me. Many on both sides supported my conciliatory tone.

But many of the comments by global-warming activists were hostile. Continue reading

Fear, Loathing and Global Warming

Here’s what a global warming “denier” said recently in the Wall Street Journal:

“The idea that ‘climate science is settled’ runs through today’s popular and policy discussions. Unfortunately, that claim is misguided. It has not only distorted our public and policy debates on issues related to energy, greenhouse-gas emissions and the environment. But it also has inhibited the scientific and policy discussions that we need to have about our climate future.”

Except he isn’t a “denier.” He’s President Obama’s former undersecretary for science, Steve Koonin. He’s also a former professor of theoretical physics and a provost at Cal Tech, and holds a Ph.D. from MIT. His piece is titled “Climate Science is Not Settled,” published Sept. 19 on the Wall Street Journal’s website.

Koonin explained that global warming exists, or doesn’t, depending entirely on the time period you’re referencing. Dinosaurs thrived on an Earth that was much hotter than it is now. (In fact, there were no polar ice caps at all for the great majority of Earth’s history.) Mammoths romped on a colder Earth. Romans ruled one a little warmer. Columbus sailed in one a little cooler. President Bill Clinton held office in one that was slightly warmer than it is now.

So next time people ask if you “believe in” global warming, answer yes — and no.

Notwithstanding Continue reading