A small forest of pulpwood has been clear-cut and thousands of keystrokes have been exhausted by the indispensable media heralds warning us about the looming catastrophe from manmade CO2. While in fact the global warming science is rather dubious and legitimate skeptics appear to be thinning (according to MIT professor Richard Lindzen WSJ Opinion Journal 4/12/06) -- intimidated, muzzled and shunned if they dare speak up-- how can serious debunkers of this new junk science get an audience? Well, don't bother. It doesn't really matter.
Unlike some previous hysterical screeds, such as Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, long on deceptive compelling rhetoric but short on facts, which actually tolled millions of lives lost to malaria over 35 years as DDT was banned around the globe, this latest science fiction isn't likely to create such a tragic legacy. Curbing our appetite for burning fossil fuels may be a "good thing". No doubt Martha Stewart agrees.
As hoaxes, deceptions and hyperbole go, this one may be the biggest and hardest to shake. Following a pattern from other panics, clever entrepreneurs and global corporations alike will make a handsome profit, some even obscene, employing the 16th century idiom "a fool and his money are soon parted." Of course government bureaucrats, never actually in danger of a recession or natural devastation affecting their lifetime employment, will have found another justification for tenure.
Piltdown Man, a spectacular anthropological fossil remains hoax dating to 1912, debunked after 40 years of painstaking research, produced a generation of amateur archeologists who took up digging anywhere and everywhere. Shovel, pickaxe and brush companies had a bonanza. Land surveying became the hot new profession while geological surveys couldn't be reprinted fast enough.
Remember the fears over nuclear annihilation in the 1950s? Fallout shelters were the rage in new construction. Jobs for masons skyrocketed and the makers of Portland cement and concrete blocks couldn't keep up with demand. Tin can manufacturers put on extra shifts to meet the orders from tuna fish and Spam processors, all needed for doomsday larders that were certain to come in handy, any day now.
How many of the hundreds of thousands of computer programmers and IT geeks would have been on the street if it hadn't been for the fears of a repeat of the Last Days of Pompeii from the dreaded Y2K millennium virus? Meanwhile the hardware upgrades and new software firewalls contributed several basis points to GDP in 1999. Predictably, as soon as dawn broke on the new millennium, it was apparent that the world was safe from invading alien bits and bites. Without missing a beat, the Y2K consultants quickly retooled for the next end-of-the-world scenario, the SARS epidemic, and two years ago, the bird flu pandemic.
A resurgence in building new nuclear generating capacity could sure cure the global warming blues in a hurry and restore the good name to an abandoned, disgraced profession. How many nuclear power engineers have been in hibernation, living under assumed names, selling insurance or working as greeters at WalMart since the last nuke plant was built over 30 years ago? It's time for nuclear power people to come out of the closet, restore the luster to a formerly respected line of work and rescue the planet.
Finally, let's not forget the most important side benefit of the global warming circus-keeping Al Gore from another wind mill-tilting run at the Oval Office. Who could replace the pure entertainment value of his vein-popping, electrified hair, neuro-psychotic ventilations rivaling the 1935 hysterical shrieking of Elsa Manchester in the best horror film ever, "The Bride of Frankenstein"? And to think we will be treated by another one of his can't-miss performances during the upcoming US Senate hearings, Nobel prize acceptance ceremony and the Oscars.
Where is the downside from reducing our dependence on oil from the Middle East ? Besides, now's the time to conserve and stockpile coal and crude oil for when it will really be needed-the coming ice age-due to reduced solar radiation. -- which is actually more plausible than any manmade climate shift. But that's another story.
But what about having to endure the endless intellectual dishonesty from the global warming doomsayers? Look, don't let it ruin a good martini. Get over it.