I've been getting lots of e-mail about my column on the environmental crisis of the moment, global warming.
"John, we already have Geraldo to make an ass of himself -- that job is already taken. You (and your ilk) are adding to global warming by spewing this hot air from your pucker brush." Then came: "Boy when you sell out, you really sell out don't you ... What a sh-t bag you've turned into." And another writes: "All of the cow flatulence in the world can't equal the effect of the odiferous steam rising from the pile of bull---- that you lay down." Thank you, Mr. Thompson.
The e-mails I got were quite similar, because they're based on the same critical web page -- sometimes "based on" as in "copied": One person even forwarded me my own photograph. The web page calls my column "misleading" because "studies by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1996 and 2001, and a 2001 National Academy of Sciences report, commissioned by the Bush administration, have recognized global climate change. The Pew Center on Global Climate Change and the Union of Concerned Scientists both also note a 'strong consensus' among climate researchers that global warming is a scientific reality."
Sounds devastating, as if I had ignored basic science, but when I discussed Michael Crichton's argument that we needn't worry about global warming, I didn't deny that warming was a "scientific reality." Crichton doesn't deny it. The earth has warmed about one degree in the past 100 years. Climate changes . It always has. I reported on the real warming trend in my TV special, "Tampering With Nature." The real question is whether the warming is a "crisis," and whether trying to "fix" it will help or just wreck the lives of the poor.
Still, by citing scientific reports, the critical web page implies that Crichton and I have the science wrong. It's a clever way to smear.
As for the "Pew Center on Global Climate Change and the Union of Concerned Scientists," they belong more to the Left than to science. The key word in "Union of Concerned Scientists" isn't "Scientists" -- you don't need any particular degree or experience to join -- but "Concerned," and the concerns in question are decidedly left wing. Its own website reveals that it developed out of a campaign to make students think that strengthening the American military was an illegitimate use of technology.