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Harris Sherline: Global Warming Takes Some Heat

Letting environmental fanaticism and bad science drive public policy is likely to make the situation worse.

We didn’t hear much about global warming during the recent political campaign. However, that doesn’t mean the issue is settled or that it wasn’t considered challenging enough to make it into the public discourse. President-elect Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain appear to have bought into the argument that global warming exists and have advocated energy policies that reflect their beliefs.

Harris Sherline
Harris Sherline
Al Gore, a leading activist of global warming, has said on numerous occasions that the science is settled, that man is the cause and that the power of government must be used to control it. Although his strenuous advocacy was rewarded with a Nobel Peace Prize, he is now being challenged by a growing list of scientists who disagree with his conclusions.

In September 2007, the Hudson Institute reported: “A new analysis of peer-reviewed literature reveals that more than 500 scientists have published evidence refuting at least one element of current man-made global warming scares.”

A long list of environmental predictions have been made by scientists over the years, all of which have been proven wrong.

Walter Williams, writing on Townhall.com, observed: “At the first Earth Day celebration, in 1969, Nigel Calder warned: ‘The threat of a new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery for mankind.’ C.C. Wallen of the World Meteorological Organization said, ‘The cooling since 1940 has been large enough and consistent enough that it will not soon be reversed.’ In 1968, professor Paul Ehrlich, Vice President Gore’s hero and mentor, predicted there would be a major food shortage in the U.S. and ‘in the 1970s ... hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death ...’”

Williams further noted that “doomsayers have always been wrong, citing as examples claims that there was ‘little or no chance’ of oil being discovered in California ... in 1939, the Interior Department said American oil supplies would last only another 13 years ... in 1974, the U.S. Geological Survey advised us that the U.S. had only a 10-year supply of natural gas.”

Examples of panics that have been caused by rumor, innuendo, false or erroneous research and incorrect conclusions have been common throughout history, and the experts have always been wrong. Global warming fits the historical model of bad science driving public policy that usually only serves to make the situation worse.

Williams raises some important questions about this: “In 1970, when environmentalists were making predictions of man-made global cooling and the threat of an ice age and millions of Americans starving to death, what kind of government policy should we undertaken to prevent such a calamity? When Ehrlich predicted that England would not exist in the year 2000, what steps should the British Parliament have taken in 1970 to prevent such a dire outcome? In 1939, when the Interior Department warned that we only had oil supplies for another 13 years, what actions should President Franklin D. Roosevelt have taken? Finally, what makes us think that environmental alarmism is any more correct now that they have switched their tune to man-made global warming?”

Mandating programs such as “cap and trade” or taxing energy producers and consumers to regulate carbon emissions are just two of the extreme measures being touted to save the Earth, which many scientists now believe will not accomplish anything, except to enrich those who participate in the financial windfall that would be generated by the process that’s developed to save us from ourselves.

Global warming is just another form of the environmental fanaticism that has been driving public policy in recent years. What’s next?

Harris R. Sherline is a retired CPA and former chairman and CEO of Santa Ynez Valley Hospital who has lived in Santa Barbara County for more than 30 years. He stays active writing opinion columns and his own blog, Opinionfest.com.

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