George Will

WASHINGTON -- In a campaign without peacetime precedent, the media-entertainment-environmental complex is warning about global warming. Never, other than during the two world wars, has there been such a concerted effort by opinion-forming institutions to indoctrinate Americans, 83 percent of whom now call global warming a ``serious problem.'' Indoctrination is supposed to be a predicate for action commensurate with professions of seriousness.

For example, Democrats could demand that the president send the Kyoto Protocol to the Senate so they can embrace it. In 1997, the Senate voted 95-0 in opposition to any agreement which would, like the protocol, require significant reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions in America and some other developed nations but would involve no ``specific scheduled commitments'' for 129 ``developing'' countries, including the second, fourth, 10th, 11th, 13th and 15th largest economies (China, India, Brazil, South Korea, Mexico and Indonesia). Forty-two of the senators serving in 1997 are gone. Let's find out if the new senators disagree with the 1997 vote.

Do they also disagree with Bjorn Lomborg, author of ``The Skeptical Environmentalist''? He says: Compliance with Kyoto would reduce global warming by an amount too small to measure. But the cost of compliance just to the United States would be higher than the cost of providing the entire world with clean drinking water and sanitation, which would prevent 2 million deaths (from diseases like infant diarrhea) a year and prevent half a billion people from becoming seriously ill each year.

Nature designed us as carnivores, but what does nature know about nature? Meat has been designated a menace. Among the 51 exhortations in Time magazine's ``global warming survival guide'' (April 9), No. 22 says a BMW is less responsible than a Big Mac for ``climate change,'' that conveniently imprecise name for our peril. This is because the world meat industry produces 18 percent of the world's greenhouse-gas emissions, more than transportation produces. Nitrous oxide in manure (warming effect: 296 times greater than that of carbon) and methane from animal flatulence (23 times greater) mean that ``a 16 ounce T-bone is like a Hummer on a plate.''

Ben & Jerry's ice cream might be even more sinister: A gallon of it requires electricity guzzling refrigeration, and four gallons of milk produced by cows that simultaneously produce eight gallons of manure and flatulence with eight gallons of methane. The cows do this while consuming lots of grain and hay, which are cultivated by using tractor fuel, chemical fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides, and transported by fuel-consuming trains and trucks.


George Will

George F. Will is a 1976 Pulitzer Prize winner whose columns are syndicated in more than 400 magazines and newspapers worldwide.
 
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