“Gored” By the Nobel Prize

Posted: Oct 15, 2007 12:00 AM
“Gored” By the Nobel Prize

Alfred Barnard Nobel was a Swedish chemist, engineer, and innovator born in 1833. As the inventor of dynamite, he amassed a great fortune through the manufacture and sale of armaments. The Nobel Prize was established through his will in1895. Every year since 1901, the Nobel Prize has been awarded for achievements in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and for peace.

It is one of the most impressive accolades any public servant can receive. The fact that the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth,” its Academy Award, and Vice President Gore’s activism led to this incredible honor is tantamount to the Nobel Committee endorsing his work. Giving him the Nobel Peace Prize places Vice President Gore in the company of greats like Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1964, Mother Teresa In 1979, Lech Walesa in 1983, and Nelson Mandela in 1993.

Through this award, the international community is saying to us, “Environmental concerns are very important and America needs to step up to the plate of international leadership!” Although we would hardly place Gore in the same category as King or Mother Teresa, the award adds cache and credibility to the former Vice President’s agenda.

Ironically, last week, I asked my readers to consider taking practical steps to frame the debate on the environment. I suggested that we consider weaning the nation off of foreign oil as a way of starting down a balanced approach to both pollution and reducing CO2 emissions. There are a myriad of approaches to energy reform and environmental policy reform that conservatives can take that will help move these issues forward in a balanced manner. My greatest concern is that we will wait too long to attack this issue.

Little did I know that the Nobel Prize would be awarded to Gore and the IPPC days after my last column. If the Peace Prize causes the voting public of our nation to move environmental issues to the top of the list of public concerns, they will mandate that a solution be found and implemented.

Fortunately for the nation, environmental activists have not yet gained enough public attention for them to unveil their “solutions”. As these activists wait for their “moment,” conservatives should use the time we have to develop incentive-based approaches to reducing CO2 emissions. Even increasing the use of nuclear energy as a source of power within the US should not be taken off the table.

Many writers have noted that this present global warming scare is not new. In fact, in the spring of 1975 Newsweek published an article on climate change. The following words were written by sensationalistic journalists:

“There are ominous signs that the Earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production – with serious political implications for just about every nation on Earth. The drop in food output could begin quite soon, perhaps only 10 years from now.”

According to many news reports, the Earth was moving into another ice age. Just 30 years later, not only did the ice age not appear, but now we are told the world is on the verge of unprecedented global warming.

In my discussions with scientists, I have once again discovered a difference between the words of the scientific community and the alarmist rhetoric of writers and activists. In fact, scientific journals of the 1970s were saying that there would likely be warming because of greenhouse effects, sooner than the return of an ice age. Unfortunately, the complexity of the real scientific story was not easily reduced to a thirty second sound bite or a catchy headline.

Telling the full story with all of its scientific nuances, would have not produced headlines. For this reason the science was compromised, conclusions were framed in a sensationalistic manner, and the public was entertained – not informed. It would have been better to say that there are big cooling cycles coming, interspersed with smaller warming cycles.

Why the flip-flop in the media? I am not sure. Could they be misleading us again? I certainly hope not. In an interesting study of the media’s coverage of “climate change,” R. Warren Anderson and Dan Gainor examined how major media outlets covered the issue of climate change over the last 100 plus years . What they discovered was that there have been four climate change scares; a concern over global cooling beginning in 1895, followed by fears of global warming in 1929, only to be replaced by alarm over global cooling; now we are back to global warming. With each succeeding crisis, the call for a government solution has grown louder and louder.