Thomas Sowell

A NEW political dogma is being spun in the media. "Science," they say, has now "proved" that global warming is a real danger and that human beings are responsible for it, so that we need to take drastic steps to reduce greenhouse gases. This has been the widespread response to a recent publication by the National Academy of Sciences, which many in the media have taken as proof that we need to follow the drastic requirements of the Kyoto accords, in order to reduce the threat of global warming.

There were some pretty heavy-weight scientists involved in the NAS discussions of the global warming issue. But, as the report itself stated clearly, these scientists not only did not write the report, they didn't even see it before it was published. They "were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendation nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release."

So much for "science" having "proved" global warming and its human causation. Scientists were used as window-dressing for a report made by government officials. Moreover, even that report was unable to claim unanimity among scientists on the global warming issue, though some in the media seem to think that it did.

The stampede toward draconian changes in our economy and in the whole American way of life required by the Kyoto accords is all too congenial to the mindset of the intelligentsia in general and the liberal media in particular. Anything that requires their superior wisdom and virtue to be imposed by government on the benighted masses has a favorable reception waiting in those quarters.

Back in the 1970s, the hysteria was about global cooling and the prospect of a new ice age. A National Academy of Sciences report back then led Science magazine to conclude in its March 1, 1975 issue that a long "ice age is a real possibility." According to the April 28, 1975 issue of Newsweek,"the earth's climate seems to be cooling down." A note of urgency was part of the global cooling hysteria then as much as it is part of today's global warming hysteria.

According to the February 1973 issue of Science Digest, "Once the freeze starts, it will be too late."

Nothing is easier than to come up with mathematical models and doomsday scenarios.

Politicians and government bureaucrats have been trying for well over a decade to sell a doomsday scenario of global warming, which would enhance the powers of -- you guessed it -- politicians and bureaucrats.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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