Will: Bad Climate for Global Worriers

by George Will
November 8, 2009

…In their new book, “SuperFreakonomics,” Steven D. Levitt, a University of Chicago economist, and Stephen J. Dubner, a journalist, worry about global warming but revive some inconvenient memories of 30 years ago. Then intelligent people agreed (see above) that global cooling threatened human survival. It had, Newsweek reported, “taken the planet about a sixth of the way toward the Ice Age average.” Some scientists proposed radical measures to cause global warming — for example, covering the arctic ice cap with black soot that would absorb heat and cause melting.

Levitt and Dubner also spoil some of the fun of the sort of the “think globally, act locally” gestures that are liturgically important in the church of climate change. For example, they say the “locavore” movement — people eating locally grown foods from small farms — actually increases greenhouse gas emissions. They cite research showing that only 11 percent of such emissions associated with food are in the transportation of it; 80 percent are in the production phase and, regarding emissions, big farms are much more efficient.

Although the political and media drumbeat of alarm is incessant, a Pew poll shows that only 57 percent of Americans think there is solid evidence of global warming, down 20 points in three years. Gallup shows that only 1 percent of Americans rank the environment as their biggest worry. Two reasons are:

They are worried about their wages, which will not be improved by clobbering a weak economy with the costs of a cap-and-trade carbon-reduction regime. And climate doomsayers are learning the wages of crying “Wolf!”

In 2005, global warming worriers warned, as they tend to do after all adverse or anomalous environmental events, that Hurricane Katrina was caused by global warming and foreshadowed an increase in the number and destructiveness of hurricanes. As this year’s Atlantic hurricane season ends, only three hurricanes have formed — half the average of the past 50 years — and none has hit the United States.

The complete article is at RealClearPolitics.com

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