After George F. Will wrote a column last month questioning the faulty premises and apocalyptic predictions of global-warming alarmists, he caught holy heck from America’s “eco-pessimists.” He and his editors at The Washington Post were blasted with thousands of angry e-mails, most of which challenged Will’s assertion that global sea ice levels have not been dramatically reduced by man-made global warming, as environmentalists claim, but are essentially the same as they were in 1979. Will, who had used data from the Arctic Climate Research Center as his source, also was accused of multiple inaccuracies by The New York Times’ Andrew Revkin. Will wrote a second column defending his data and returning fire at Revkin.
All is calm now and Will is getting ready for the start of his favorite season—baseball season. I talked to him by phone on Thursday from his office in Washington.
Q: You have felt the righteous wrath of those who believe in man-made global warming. Are you still all there?
A: Oh, heavens. Yeah. The odd thing about these people is, normally when I write something that people disagree with they write letters to the editor or they write a responding op-ed piece. These people simply set out to try and get my editors to not publish my columns. Now I don’t blame them, because I think if my arguments were as shaky as theirs are, I wouldn’t want to engage in argument either.
Q: The big issue was about how much global sea ice there is now compared to 1979.
A: And that of course was a tiny portion of the column. The critics completely ignored—as again, understandably—the evidence I gave of the global cooling hysteria of 30 years ago.
Q: They like to pretend that there really wasn’t any hysteria back then.
A: Since I quoted the hysteria, it’s a little hard for them to deny it.
Q: What disturbs you most about this global warming consensus that seems to be pretty widespread and doesn’t seem to be eroding?
A: Well, I think it is eroding, in the sense that people sign on to be alarmed because it’s socially responsible ... (and because it makes them feel good). But once they get to the price tag, once they are asked to do something about it, like pay trillions of dollars, they begin to re-think.
I’ve never seen anything quite like this in my now 40 years in Washington. I’ve never seen anything like the enlistment of the mainstream media in a political crusade—and this is a political crusade, because it’s about how we should be governed and how we should live; those are the great questions of politics. It is clearly for some people a surrogate religion. It’s a spiritual quest. It offers redemption. But what it also always offers, whether it is global cooling or global warming, is a rationale for the government to radically increase its supervision of our life and our choices. Whether the globe is cooling, whether it’s warming, the government’s going to be the winner and the governing class will be the winner.
Now, it seems to me there is a 100 percent certainty that at any moment the planet is warming or it is cooling. That’s what it does. There are cycles well-recorded through history. The climate was once warm enough for Greenland to be called “Greenland” for a reason—the Vikings farmed there. There was a time when the planet was so cold that Eskimos landed in Scotland in their kayaks. There was “The Little Ice Age.” There were warm periods—we’ve been through this before. What’s different now is that we have a media addicted to hysteria and we have enormous political and financial stakes in convincing people that vast shifts of power and resources should be given to the government to combat climate change. The prudent people in this refer to “climate change” so whatever happens they can say, “See, we told you.”
Q: Will you dare to do any more on global warming?
A: Well of course! It doesn’t take daring. Seriously, I don’t understand what there is to worry about. In fact, the global warming “caucus,” if you will, seems to me singularly toothless. They can’t even get the globe to cooperate. It stubbornly refuses to warm at the moment.
(more at icecap.us)
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