Last week was embarrassing for global warming worrywarts.
First, protesters were surprised and routed by free-market advocates at ExxonMobil's annual shareholder meeting in Dallas. Then, President Bush backhandedly dismissed the Environmental Protection Agency's sneaky attempt to embarrass his administration about its global warming policy.
And, of course, the global warming-loving media grossly erred in reporting on both events.
Youthful anti-corporate protesters traveled to Dallas courtesy of the Energy Foundation, a global warming advocacy group covertly funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, Turner Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, and other left-leaning, anti-business foundations.
But when the protesters arrived at the ExxonMobil meeting, they found themselves amid louder and more numerous pro-free-market demonstrators from the Texas branch of Citizens for a Sound Economy. The free-marketers carried signs proclaiming, "Mother Nature Guilty of Climate Change," "Stop Global Whining" and my favorite, "Get in Your SUV & Drive Home."
The anti-corporate protesters, you see, arrived in a Ford Econoline, a full-sized passenger van rated by the EPA at a rip-roaring 13 miles per gallon. This despite one of the protesters telling CNSNews.com: "We should burn all [SUVs]. They are horrible, they are useless."
Another protester said: "It's unfortunate that we have to drive a van. It would definitely be our preference to be able to take alternative forms of transportation, but unfortunately today, we had a lot of gear with us" (sort of like the vegetarian who had a cheeseburger because, unfortunately, she got hungry).
Shouted down by the free-marketers, the humbled anti-corporate protesters retreated to their SUV-like van and departed.
The protesters were more kindly treated by The Associated Press, which reported their activities but neglected to mention the free-marketers' presence.
Youthful foolishness may be forgiven and forgotten and media bias may be so commonplace as not to excite, but what's the EPA's excuse?
The agency last week sent to the United Nations its "Climate Action Report 2002," blaming humans for altering global climate to cause a number of supposedly impending catastrophic events, including drought, heat waves and stormy weather.
The ostensible scientific basis for CAR 2002 was the "National Assessment on Climate Change," a June 2000 report by the Clinton administration. But the National Assessment was little more than an advocacy document meant to help Al Gore in the 2000 election — as opposed to the unbiased scientific report originally mandated by Congress.
So the non-profit Competitive Enterprise Institute, joined by Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., Rep. Joe Knollenberg, R-Mich., and Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mo., filed a federal lawsuit against the Clinton administration alleging the National Assessment was unlawfully prepared.
The lawsuit was settled in September 2001 by the Bush White House, which agreed to withdraw the National Assessment and acknowledge the report isn't official U.S. government policy.
The EPA apparently didn't get the message. Neither did The New York Times, which ran news of the CAR 2002 on its front page without mentioning the report's background, as if it had caught the Bush administration with its global warming-pants down.
The next day the president dismissed the EPA's effort to embarrass him. "I read the report put out by the bureaucracy," sneered the president.
Some media even missed this message.
The Associated Press inexplicably headlined its article, "White House Warns on Climate Change," though the article's first sentence was, "President Bush dismissed on Tuesday a report put out by his administration warning that human activities are behind climate change that is having significant effects on the environment."
Despite more than 10 years of media and activist hype and hysteria about global warming, there remains no credible scientific evidence that humans are altering global climate in any measurable way.
Historical temperature data are not sufficiently reliable to discern slight changes in global temperature trends. Mathematical models used to predict climate change rely on unvalidated assumptions and poor-quality data. They aren't better than crystal balls.
Climate varies naturally; just consider the now-frozen Greenland farmed by Vikings 1,000 years ago.
If we could choose between a warmer or cooler global climate, we'd choose warmer because it's more conducive to life; consider those who starved in famines during Europe's Little Ice Age, circa 1450-1850.
Global warming is a silly controversy that should have faded long ago. But gullible youth, a corrupt bureaucracy and biased media may keep it alive for years to come.
Steven Milloy is the publisher of JunkScience.com, an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute and the author of Junk Science Judo: Self-defense Against Health Scares and Scams (Cato Institute, 2001).