About Utah: 'Scrooge' isn't falling for 'sky is falling' from Gore, activists

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  • Rodger
    May 28, 2008 5:21 p.m.

    Carl Sagan once said, "you believe in things for which there is compelling evidence". And there is compelling evidence for serious global warming.

  • Matt
    April 25, 2008 9:41 a.m.

    Great column Benson. Don't believe the hype. The earth revolves around the sun. Smoking is actually good for you. The earth is the center of the universe. "Let's dump coal on the polar ice caps because science says we're in a global cooling crisis" (1970's logic). Forget the internet, I prefer the Dewey Decimal system.

  • Sceptic
    April 24, 2008 3:51 p.m.

    ENVIRONMENTALIST decried FREON as destroying our planet. There was much political wrangling, press coverage, celebrity concernand almost no science. Supposedly, Freon was destroying the ozone layer at the southern pole. Mankind was DOOMED unless we acted immediately...the scientist all agreed & politicians passed bans --and the earth was saved.

    However, like the current assertion that mankind is CAUSING climate change, a few scientific issues are being passed over.

    Freon is 4X heavier than air. No one has provided a SCIENTIFIC explanation on how Freon, while MUCH heavier than air, managed to FLOAT 2.5 miles up and 2,000 miles south...while leaving undisturbed the ozone polluting our cities...where most Freon emanated from.

    Chicken-little now says that man-made greenhouse gases causes global warming. So SCIENTIFICALLY, how do we explain the simultaneous climate change on Mars? Is Mars upset about SUVs, or did an increased number of observed solar-flares cause warming on both planets?

    With INCREASES in man-made greenhouse gases last year, SCIENTIFICALLY explain why last winter was the coldest in a decade...without mentioning a decrease in solar-flares. As the sun doesn't care about protests, maybe controling CO2 emissions & Freon grants us an illusion of control of spaceship Earth.

    Good politics--bad science.

  • Lagomorph
    April 23, 2008 6:05 p.m.

    Derek Monson, I checked the Sutherland website. There were only two scholarly environmental policy papers that I could find in a quick scan, the Best & Taylor and the Bray & von Storch opinion surveys of climate scientists. Both show inter alia a powerful consensus among climate scientists that 1) climate change is happening and 2) it is anthropogenic. Sutherland should get credit for posting papers that undermine positions taken in its public statements. Otherwise, I found only press releases on the Earth Week programs that encourage climate change skepticism (not the same as denial?), which was the central theme of Lee Benson's column. Most of the Earth Week program has a negative bent, seeing green ideas as a threat and not as an opportunity, which was the point of my original post. BTW, I'm all for contrarians; in fact, environmentalism has contrarianism as a core value. Look at folks like Rachel Carson and John Muir, who questioned the status quo. But Sutherland seems merely dismissive. [As a historical aside, the SDS in its Port Huron Statement also promoted nuclear energy as a cure for society's ills. How does Sutherland feel about being allied with the radical left? :)]

  • YouGoFirst
    April 23, 2008 3:27 p.m.

    To "Al Gore @2:50" - I don't think that you have actually read enough of actual scientific information.

    If we increase the temperature, then the atmosphere is able to hold more water. If the air holes more water, then you form more clouds. If you form more clouds, then you reflect more solar radiation. If you reflect more solar radiation, then the heat is able to dissipate. If you dissapate more heat, then the atmosphere won't be able to hold as much moisture. If the atmosphere can't hold enough moisture, then you get increased rain and snow fall. Then, the cycle can start all over again.

    So, the whole process is cyclic. Also, look up information about what was being said about us heading into an ice age in the 1970's. The arguements are nearly the same as what is being said about warming.

  • Al Gore
    April 23, 2008 2:50 p.m.

    Global Warming will be more convincing once the globe...is warming. But for now it's not so...

    Now Dem's and Repub's disagree on global warming, not because of what it will do, but because of how it is handled. Don't people see that the government is only trying to take more freedom from us by controlling what we can and can't buy and do.

    It's just like getting fat. You know that it may be unhealthy if you eat McDonalds everyday, but do you think the government has a right to control what you eat? Just because it's unhealthy?

    If you say yes, then I see why you agree with the government controlling global warming. But once the government can control what you can and cannot do then you just gave up your freedom...

  • Derek Monson
    April 23, 2008 2:31 p.m.

    To "Lagomorph" and "Mero?"--I invite you both take a few minutes and actually read through our environmental policy materials on the Sutherland website. Specifically, read our publications related to our Earth Week event. If you do, you will find that both of your posts are without merit.

    I suspect you both just have an axe to grind, but if you take a few moments to investigate (with an open mind) before you accuse, you may elighten yourselves a bit. Cheers.

  • Sensible Scientist
    April 23, 2008 1:52 p.m.

    The article makes valid points that a) not all scientists conclude mankind is causing the atmosphere to warm, b) there is credible data that casts doubt on anthropogenic warming, and c) there is very little rational discussion between the "sides."

    These are not "denial" or "do-nothing" or "conservative" conclusions, but science based on unbiased analysis of data. The lack of rational, apolitical debate of the data is worrisome because debate is the healthy norm in the scientific world. Without debate, dogma and politics can rule and the end result is bad science (witness Alfred Wegner and his "continental drift" hypothesis).

    The solid conclusion is that doubt is significant enough that all should take pause. Turning this into a political issue is counterproductive because it automatically puts up walls and stifles discussion. Everyone--scientists, politicians, and citizens--need to set politics and biases aside and rationally analyze data (not models, which are interpretive, but DATA).

  • YouGoFirst
    April 23, 2008 12:07 p.m.

    If you lisen to the current debate and arguements, it is for "Climate Change". Virtually all climate scientists believe that there is "Climate Change". Where they differ is on what the cause is.

    The funny thing about Al Gore is that what he says is causing the climate change is exactly what was said in the late 70's and early 80's about the world entering into an ice age.

  • Raymond Takashi Swenson
    April 23, 2008 11:30 a.m.

    The key fact about global warming is that it is NOT a crisis that demands massive government intervention to control our lives. The people who have always wanted to control us, and to control all business transactions and production, lost in their effort to persuade people that state control of the economy is better for them (communism), so they are now trying to use global warming to scare us into giving up our freedoms. It is ironic that in ten years there may be more economic freedom in China than the US; Americans are poised to give up their economic freedoms in return for a false promise of security from global warming, while China is giving economic freedom to build up its national wealth and power.

    None of the UN IPCC climate computer models predicted that the warming trend would peak in 1998, and level out for 10 years. 2008 WILL BE EVEN cooler. In science, this means they are DISPROVED. We are NOT in the midst of a warming trend worldwide. We are NO WARMER now than we were in 1934! These are the simple facts. Global warming is a fantasy, a theory lacking factual confirmation.

  • Just me
    April 23, 2008 10:53 a.m.

    I believe Al Gor now about as much as I did when he invented the internet.

    What these invironmentalists are effectively doing is keeping us from our energy. Soon we will not be able to fight a war against communists or.... because we can't get at our energy sources.

  • Much Ado
    April 23, 2008 10:05 a.m.

    Gary, what has religion to do with global warming? Are you implying that a Utah religion has made a stand one way or the other about global warming or that its members cause global warming? Are you sure your professor friend (the Mennonite) has separated his from his religious views from science? I am sorry that you can't leave religion out of what is hopefully a scientific discussion. Think!

  • Lagomorph
    April 23, 2008 9:12 a.m.

    Re: samhill @ 6:33
    "I come from the original environmental movement"
    Cool. Did you know Gifford Pinchot or John Muir? BTW, kudos for the lifestyle. Practice what you preach and all that.

    It's disappointing that a self-styled conservative "think tank" can only muster denialism in the face of problems instead of proposing solutions based on conservative principles. Ironically, it is the environmental movement, which conservatives (like "Re: Gloom and Doom" above @ 8:11) dismiss as leftist, which promotes a traditional optimistic American "can do" spirit, an understanding that actions have consequences (isn't that what Dr. Laura always tries to teach us?), and free market solutions (e.g. cap and trade). The conservatives serve up pessimism and resignation and denial. Whatever happened to Reagan's "shining city on the hill" and the examples of Horatio Alger and Thomas Edison? If the Sutherland Institute truly embraced traditional American values, they'd be out back tinkering in the shop inventing a more efficient windmill instead of tilting at figurative ones.

  • Pat Albion
    April 23, 2008 9:00 a.m.

    Actually, no. Most scientists don't "believe" in global warming. Science is not about belief. It's about making reasonable judgements using the best available data. Most scientists have taken the available data and concluded that there's a very strong chance of global climate change happening at an accelerated rate.

    Of course you'll find scientists who are less certain about the conclusions to be drawn and not at all sure about human involvement (I'd worry if there weren't), but that's not the general view.

    The issue as I see it is that there's a huge knowledge gap. What is generally understood by science is not known by the public and policy makers. Benson and Mero exploit that fact to perpetuate silly ideas and odd misconceptions.

  • apolitical
    April 23, 2008 8:48 a.m.

    It's funny how global warming and the environment in general have become so political and in some cases, even religious. Why is it that repubs don't believe in global warming and demos do? What does it have to do with politics? Whether global warming is true or not has nothing to do with the left or the right. The fact is, even if the whole thing is a big farce -- which it very well could be -- we should still each be doing our part to conserve resources and slow down our hyper consumption. Why? Because our resources are finite and our air quality is bad enough as it is.

  • Mero?
    April 23, 2008 8:37 a.m.

    I'm no global warming alarmist, but Mero and Sutherland lack credibility.

  • jfs
    April 23, 2008 8:18 a.m.

    Mero didn't say we should adopt better energy sources. He said we shouldn't accept draconian fiscal policies and product use policies based on unproven science. Most scientists believe in global warming, the issue is, is it man made. As far as religion and science are concerned, each should be seeking truth and eventually honest science and honest religion will meet at the same point. But neither side can sprecify when and were that point is.

  • Out of State
    April 23, 2008 8:17 a.m.

    Great piece! Good job, Sutherland Institute, Paul and Lee! I printed the article, single-sided, of course, to share with my spouse and children.

    The five of us live in a small, two-bedroom apartment; the three children share a bedroom. My spouse and teenage son walk to work and school. We sometimes walk to the grocery store. We own one vehicle and fill the gas tank once a week, if needed. We don't litter. Our Boy Scout sons participate in community clean-ups and enjoy the outdoors. We Freecycle, shop at Goodwill and used book stores, and haven't even been in our local mall. We rarely eat out. We've square-foot gardened and dumpster dived.

    We are a home-schooling, freedom-loving, religious, conservative, Republican family, and proud Americans!

    We are weary of politicians and celebrities who live in mega-mansions, own multiple cars, and constantly jet back and forth across the country, telling our family how to save the planet. We wish they would work for increased freedom, less government regulation and lower taxes with the same zeal!

  • Re: Doom and Gloom
    April 23, 2008 8:11 a.m.

    I don't know why you're so upset. High oil prices should have you environmentalists jumping for joy because they spur conservation and provide financial incentive find alternative fuels.

    But then, if evironmentalists did reveal their secret enthusiasm for $5.00 per gallon gasoline, they would have a hard time convincing the hicks in flyover country they care for them. So they have to paint a rosy picture of high-paying jobs springing up out of nowhere the instant a wind turbine goes online.

    In truth, the Global-warming agenda of the hard-Left environmentalists would impoverish us all, not just poor rural folk.

  • Common Sense
    April 23, 2008 7:48 a.m.

    If you think that Paul Mero and the Sutherland Institute have not looked at the science, you are wrong! The truth is that NOT ALL SCIENTISTS agree with the Global Warming hysteria.

  • samhill
    April 23, 2008 6:33 a.m.

    Hurray for Mero and any others who haven't succumbed to the lemming-like mob mentality that typify so many "environmentalists" these days.

    I come from the original environmental movement and probably live a more “green” life than most of the people who are now genuflecting at the Earth-Day alter of “global warming”. And, I am terribly dismayed by their increasingly non-scientific and totalitarian intolerance of any dissenting voices.

    I will continue to wear sweaters and keep my house at 62 degrees during Winter. I will happily flush my toilets with grey water. I will persist in encouraging use of evaporative coolers rather than the much less efficient air conditioners. All these things, and many more, are things people can, and I think should do to help us all live more efficiently, pleasantly and prosperously.

    But, none of those things are as important to me as living in a society that is free. Where the principles of freedom of thought and speech, in particular, are enshrined as inviolable. The current trend toward an inflexible and intolerant devotion to a still very scientifically debatable vision of our climatic future is, frankly, more frightening to me than a hundred SUVs.

  • gary
    April 23, 2008 6:28 a.m.

    This is interesting. I was walking across campus yesterday morning with a distinguished senior professor of plant science, a Mennonite, and he said how stupid it was for the radicals to pooh-pooh global warming. He really was upset with people who cannot see that the science is not religion, and that science is just that: science. Remove yourself from the religious view, and global warming is real.

    I trust the man's thinking. It is the same that another distinguished prof. of forestry told me a month ago in the hall way of our building.

    These two are not in collusion. They simply know how to read the tea leaves. And to think.

    And think.

    I am sorry that Utah just can't separate religion and their dichotomies from reality. Sad.

  • Doom and Gloom
    April 23, 2008 6:24 a.m.

    I don't buy Mero's argument that addressing climate change is bad for the economy or the poor. Indeed, reducing our carbon footprint means changing our energy, transportation, and building sectors -- all of which means revitalizing domestic, local and rural economies. Specifically, on energy, the solution to climate problems means turning to domestic renewable energy technologies that will bring profits to rural communities (e.g., wind power on farms; geothermal in rural communities) -- rather than sending our money for oil in foreign, politically-unstable lands. Efficient building means creating domestic jobs for construction and retrofitting old buildings -- jobs that can't be outsourced! And fuel efficient cars -- and plug-ins that will use domestic electricity rather than oil (which funds terrorism) -- can revitalize Detroit. Why does Mero believe the status-quo -- America's oil dependency, which hurts us economically, and our energy-wasteful lifestyles -- is somehow preferrable to a cleaner, more energy independent future for our kids? Policies and strategies for addressing climate change directly impacts our energy woes and can steer our energy dollars into domestic markets to boost America's economic opportunities. The status quo is not all worth preserving!