The cows missed the movie

Posted: Dec 12, 2006 9:36 AM
The cows missed the movie

Two British news reports could not have come at a better time for Fred Singer, a scientist and global-warming denier, who has incurred the wrath of global-warming guru and former Vice President Al Gore.

The Independent reported Sunday that a new U.N. report found that livestock is responsible for 18 percent of global greenhouse gases. In other words, in the universe of global-warming alarmism, cow gas does more damage to Mother Earth than SUVs. (American cars are responsible for some 6 percent of greenhouse gases.)

The Sunday Telegraph reported that the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is downgrading its predictions as to how much sea levels will rise due to global warming. The IPCC lowered its upper estimate for sea-level rise by 2100 from 34 inches to 17 inches.

In "An Inconvenient Truth," Gore warned that global warming would cause sea levels to rise by some 20 feet. "I claim that Al Gore is a contrarian because he disagrees with the IPCC," Singer said, as he smiled. Singer was in town to speak at this week's meeting of the American Geophysical Union. Gore also will talk to the group about global warming on Thursday.

If there's one thing that irritates Singer, it is Gore's belief that there is a scientific "consensus" about human-induced global warming, even as Gore incessantly complains about scientists who deny global warming.

"Well, which is it?" Singer asked. If there is a consensus, there should be no deniers. Singer has co-written a book, "Unstoppable Global Warming -- Every 1,500 Years," that argues that the Earth warms every 1,500 years due to a solar-linked cycle. The book begins in the year 1100, when Vikings grew vegetables on Greenland, where the population reached 3,000 before creeping glaciers and cold killed the remaining residents. Now, Greenland is warm again.

Don't blame manmade global warming for rising sea levels, the book argues. "Sea levels have been rising steadily since the peak of the last Ice Age about 18,000 years ago. The total rise has been 400 feet." For the last 5,000 years, sea levels have risen about 7 inches per century. No surprise, Singer sees the new IPCC take on sea levels as "more realistic" than past predictions.

As vice president, Gore blasted Singer for receiving money from corporate interests. Singer responded by noting that many environmentalists -- and let me add, Gore, who perfected White House fund raising -- have taken money from Big Energy, as well.

Still, I don't think money is the reason Gore has transformed himself from a man who wrote that fighting global warming would require "sacrifice, struggle and a wrenching transformation" from committed Americans to a movie figure who argues that reducing greenhouse gases can be profitable.

As Singer noted, the Kyoto Protocol on global warming was supposed to be a first step to reductions in greenhouse gases of more than 50 percent.

For his part, Singer believes that higher CO2 levels follow higher temperatures. Singer also understands that if enviros want to halve greenhouse gases, there are two ways to do it. "You can collapse the world economy," or, as the cow-gas story suggests, you destroy half the population. "Then you could reduce emissions by 50 percent."

I marvel at those who consider themselves to be in sync with the sage voices of science when it comes to global warming, then argue that America can reduce greenhouse gases with better light bulbs and hydrogen fuel cells.