All summer movies want to create buzz, but rarely is the intended buzz "Support the McCain-Lieberman bill." The movie is "The Day After Tomorrow," the global-warming flick that aims to gin up support for the sort of greenhouse-emissions regulation sponsored by John McCain and Joe Lieberman.
The premise of "The Day After Tomorrow" is as laughable as its dialogue. "I think we've hit a critical desalination point" passes for snappy repartee in the film, as global warming melts the polar ice caps. This disrupts the Gulf Stream, plunging North America into a new ice age. Tidal waves devastate New York City, which is then buried under ice and snow (ensuring the defeat, by the way, of whoever is running City Hall, since New Yorkers would never tolerate a mayor who couldn't clear the streets after a snowstorm).
Al Gore has given the movie two green thumbs up, and the left-wing group MoveOn.org is promoting it. Never mind that the movie's scenario is absurd. There is no such thing as a flash freeze that makes helicopters fall out of the air. Nor can an ice age descend in a matter of days. More sober environmentalists worry that the very ridiculousness of the film will discredit their cause.
The innocent moviegoer will be confused that a movie about global warming features so much snow. But this is keeping with the trend of global-warming advocates laying claim to any unusual weather. When winters are bitterly cold, it is a sign of "climate change." When winters are unseasonably warm, it too is a sign of climate change. It is an all-purpose phrase, since the climate is always "changing" and therefore by definition vindicating environmentalists.
That said, global warming is a fact. The surface temperature has gone up roughly 1 degree Celsius since the mid-19th century. The warming during the past 30 years might even be partly a result of manmade emissions. But we're talking very small and gradual changes that aren't causing the disruptions environmentalists sometimes hype, like extreme weather or dangerously rising sea levels.