Bill Steigerwald

Perhaps there is hope for America after all.

Despite the incessant hysteria about how mankind's irresponsible use of fossil fuels has put our whole planet in imminent peril, few Americans seem to be sitting up late at night fretting over any global-warming apocalypse.

Statistical support for this premise came last month from a poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, which asked a random sample of 1,503 adults to rate 20 concerns -- jobs, Social Security, tax cuts, immigration, etc. -- as their "top priority" for 2009.

To the surprise of no one, a top concern -- chosen by 85 percent of those polled -- was the "economy," followed closely by "jobs" (82 percent) and "terrorism" (76 percent).

Way, way down at the very bottom of the list -- far below even "lobbyists" -- was "global warming." Only 30 percent considered it a top concern.

This is encouraging news for those who've lost faith in the collective intelligence or judgment of the American people.

It shows that many if not most Americans have either ignored or not been influenced much by the exaggerations, propaganda and lies that they've been subjected to since 1988 by global-warming alarmists like NASA's James Hansen and their press agents at The New York Times, The New Yorker, CBS, CNN, Time, et al.

No one in the elite mainstream media dares to dissent or laugh when Hansen says New York City will be under 50 feet of water 100 years from now or when Al Gore tells Congress, as he did last week for the 101st time since he sold his portfolio of Occidental Petroleum stock, that the planet soon will be uninhabitable for humans unless we switch to alternative energy sources.

But look at how skeptically, irreverently and "all-Americanly" the Great Unwashed reacted to a straightforward Jan. 29 article that previewed the text of Prophet Al's most recent "tipping point" sermon to Congress.

It's true that some of the 155 comments came from Americans with monikers like "Turtlehead" (who said Gore "should go into hiding") and bad spellers like "Hurricane Bob" (who quipped: "I hope Gore slips on the global warmed ice and breaks his legs. What a giant scam. Not all scientests [sic] buy into this fraud. I am one of them!").

It's also true that many commentators resorted to dumb global-warming jokes and ad hominem attacks on Gore and environmentalists in general. Others taunted Gore with calls to "drill ... baby ... drill" or pointed out good climate facts like "Man's contribution to atmospheric CO2 is only 0.12 percent of the greenhouse effect."

Bill Steigerwald

Bill Steigerwald, born and raised in Pittsburgh, is a former L.A. Times copy editor and free-lancer who also worked as a docudrama researcher for CBS-TV in Hollywood before becoming a reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and a columnist Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Bill Steigerwald recently retired from daily newspaper journalism..