Bill Steigerwald Bill Steigerwald, 4/21/2006 [Archive]

Global Confusion



Global Confusion

By Bill Steigerwald

Six years of drought in Africa. Killer floods in Japan. Crop failures in Canada and Russia.

Average temperatures out of whack. Dramatic changes in polar ice caps. Animals populations threatened with extinction.

Top scientists warning of a coming global catastrophe. Our whole fragile blue planet in certain peril because of the junk being pumped into the atmosphere by evil humans.

These horrors sound like they were ripped from the pages of 'Be Worried. Be Very Worried,' the special report on global warming recently served up by Time magazine. Good guess, but not quite.

The above list comes from Time, all right. But it's not from Time's April 3 cover story. It's from the issue of June 24, 1974 -- the one that included a big article on the new ice age that 'a growing number of scientists' were sure was already happening and would soon have serious if not devastating global consequences.

Time's 'Another Ice Age?' did its best to scare its trusting readers with nightmare scenarios of global cooling while trying to explain its causes. But in 1974, 14 BGW (Before Global Warming), climate science was as apolitical as library science. Man had not yet officially been declared Planet Enemy No. 1.

Global cooling, said Time wisely and honestly, was complex and had many possible causes. The sunspot cycle was under suspicion. So were natural long-term climate fluctuations.

But even in 1974 mankind already was a prime suspect, thanks to the dust from his farms and the pollution from his spent fossil fuels, both of which were blocking sunlight from striking and warming Mother Earth. This forgotten and since dismissed crime of industrial man was known as 'global dimming.'

Reading Time's global cooling article today is a real hoot -- all the way to the final warning of a top Canadian climate scientist, the late Kenneth Hare, who predicted Earth's population wouldn't be able to sustain itself if the cooling-caused drought and poor grain harvests of 1972 continued for three more years.

Yet Time's 1974 piece was nowhere near as sensationalized or irresponsible as Time's recent global warming sermon. With its moralizing tone, overheated rhetoric about "crashing climates" and 'glaciers and ice caps turning to slush," plus its parroting of the Green party-line about human-forced global warming, "Be Worried ..." couldn't have been less fair or unbalanced if it had been guest-edited by Al Gore.

'Be Worried --' doesn't even bother to include the usual token input from a global warming skeptic. But don't worry. Ubiquitous NASA climate scientist Jim Hansen, the dashboard patron saint of global warming, testifies. He is treated, as he always is by the mainstream media, like an infallible and neutral Old Testament prophet. In fact, he's a highly politicized global warming hysteric whose shameless advocacy has earned him $250,000 from Teresa Heinz Kerry.

Time talks about melting permafrost, reversing Gulf Stream currents and a 'deluge' of rising seas as if they are certainties and are coming the day after tomorrow. It respectfully quotes the ravings of a professional environmentalist who, obviously pandering for the 2006 Kenneth Hare Memorial Prize, says 'there will be no polar ice by 2060.'

Time, sob, even finds a new charismatic victim for our brainwashed grade-school kids to weep over -- the cuddly polar bear. They are allegedly drowning in increasing numbers, and possibly doomed as a species, because the melting ice floes they hang out on when they are dining on raw baby seals are getting fewer and farther between.

How many drowned bears? When? How? Why? Time doesn't care about the details or how sound the study is. Endangered bears are just another useful piece of agitprop, yet another "proof" of global warming's threat, another reason to demand that we humans have the moral obligation to do something -- anything -- to try to reverse global warming.

Even if it's humanly, politically and scientifically impossible.

Bill Steigerwald is a columnist at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. E-mail Bill at bsteigerwald@tribweb.com. © Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, All Rights Reserved.

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