Let me (actually let George Will
) put forth the global warming tenets that get tossed about so much:
1. Global warming is happening.
2. It is our (humanity's, but especially America's) fault.
3. It will continue unless we mend our ways.
4. If it continues we are in grave danger.
5. We know how to slow or even reverse the warming.
6. The benefits from doing that will far exceed the costs.
His response is pretty good:
Only the first tenet is clearly true, and only in the sense that the Earth warmed about 0.7 degrees Celsius in the 20th century. We do not know the extent to which human activity caused this. The activity is economic growth, the wealth-creation that makes possible improved well-being—better nutrition, medicine, education, etc. How much reduction of such social goods are we willing to accept by slowing economic activity in order to (try to) regulate the planet's climate?
We do not know how much we must change our economic activity to produce a particular reduction of warming. And we do not know whether warming is necessarily dangerous. Over the millennia, the planet has warmed and cooled for reasons that are unclear but clearly were unrelated to SUVs. Was life better when ice a mile thick covered Chicago? Was it worse when Greenland was so warm that Vikings farmed there? Are we sure the climate at this particular moment is exactly right, and that it must be preserved, no matter the cost.
Personally, I'd rather listen to people like Dr. Bill Wattenburg and Patrick Moore (both of whom tow the line I've quoted from George Will) and ignore folks like Al Gore. I'm for conservation and management of the enivornment, not eco-fascism.