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Time to Retire 'Denier' By: Steven Milloy
Fox News | Wednesday, June 11, 2008


In Charles Krauthammer's May 30 must-read column, "Carbon Chastity," he rightly lambastes environmentalists as resurrected communists/socialists who have latched on to the environment and climate change as a means to advance their anti-people social agenda.

The specific occasion for his justifiable outrage is a recent proposal by a British parliamentary committee to institute a personal carbon ration card for every citizen.

The plan would place limits on food and energy consumption in the form of credits not to be exceeded — except through the potential for heavy-carbon users, often the wealthy, to purchase credits from lower-carbon users, often the less wealthy. In other words, their answer to global warming is wealth redistribution.

Though I thoroughly endorse Krauthammer's condemnation of the plan, I have to take issue with his adoption of loaded terms straight out of the green lexicon to argue his point.

In trying to position his agnosticism on whether man-made CO2 emissions are actually cause for concern, his column begins: "I am not a global warming believer. I am not a global warming denier."

The term "denier" is the environmentalists' preferred means of tar-and-feathering anyone who dares question climate alarmism — a key tactic in their effort to dupe the nation into consuming the green Kool-Aid.

Environmentalists have convinced many in the mainstream media that skepticism toward the very shaky science behind global warming alarmism is akin to the indescribeably creepy views of anti-Semitics who deny that the Holocaust occurred.

One event is an indisputable historical fact of hideous dimensions; the prophesied specter of catastrophic global warming, however, is just a politically driven fear scenario based on unreliable computer models and the wishful bending of the laws of climate physics.

There is no comparison.

Can anyone reasonably equate, say, the 31,000 U.S. scientists, engineers and physicians who recently signed a petition against global warming alarmism — including Princeton theoretical physicist Freeman Dyson and Massachusetts Institute of Technology climatologist Richard Lindzen — with the likes of neo-Nazis and Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who constantly calls for Israel's destruction?

Surely Krauthammer doesn't intend to make any such equation, but his adoption of the greens' most effective word weaponry nonetheless plays into their thought-shaping rhetoric.

Even when embedded in an argument contrary to green policies, the word "denier" still demonizes by summoning the vile immorality of those who would deny crimes against humanity.

One also could build a case against man's "carbon footprint," another fiendishly effective green-sponsored image and a term Krauthammer uses matter-of-factly even as he logically details the possibility that Earth's own massive outpouring of CO2 very well may dwarf man-made carbon output into total irrelevance.

Let's consider a few facts.

CO2 is a colorless and odorless gas in the atmosphere that is measured in parts per million, or ppm. The vast majority of CO2 emissions, about 97 percent, comes from Mother Nature.

CO2 is nowhere near the most important greenhouse gas; water vapor holds that distinction. An astounding 99.9 percent of Earth's greenhouse gas effect has nothing to do with manmade CO2 emissions.

If that's not enough, we can look at graphs of the historical relationship between carbon dioxide and global temperature. Ice core data going back 650,000 years show that global temperatures increase before CO2 levels. Data from the 20th century indicate no particular relationship between CO2 emissions and global temperature.

Finally, there is no scientific proof that the current level of atmospheric CO2 or that levels projected by the United Nations — about 700 ppm by 2095 if no greenhouse gas regulations are put in place — has or will cause any harm to the environment.

Alarmist gloom-and-doom forecasts also are based on nothing more than the rankest speculation dressed up as computer models that remain wholly unverifiable.

Yet, despite all this lack of evidence, the solitary term "man's carbon footprint" manages to concretize the notion of mankind producing indelible damage upon the Earth while in the process of stampeding its flora and fauna.

For any effective critique of global warming hysteria, we have to move beyond these powerful yet baseless buzz words that undermine any rational case in which they are found.


Steven Milloy publishes JunkScience.com and DemandDebate.com. He is a junk science expert, advocate of free enterprise and an adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.


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