In an effort to win over those "moderates" who believe that global warming is about to destroy the planet, Republican presidential candidate John McCain spoke Monday at a Portland, Ore., training facility for Vestas Wind Technology. He claimed, "The facts of global warming demand our urgent attention, especially in Washington."
There certainly is more "hot air" on this and a lot of other subjects in Washington, but that isn't what he meant. The era of big government is so not over, as Bill Clinton claimed it was in 1996. It is just beginning and increasingly the political contests seem to be about who will manage its growth, not who will reduce its size, cost and reach.
Despite a recent Wall Street Journal editorial characterizing his position on global warming as "Obama lite," McCain asserted, "We stand warned by serious and credible scientists across the world that time is short and the dangers are great. The most relevant question now is whether our own government is equal to the challenge." No, the most relevant question is whether global warming is true. Cults ignore evidence and facts contrary to their blind faith. Science should never be blind to opposing views, but the apostle of global warming, Al Gore, and his new disciple, John McCain, want us to believe in a 2008 version of the Pete Seeger anti-war lyric: "we were - knee deep in (carbon monoxide) and the big fool said to push on."
McCain would have done better to push back against the global warming cult and conduct a raid on the cultists similar to what Texas authorities did to the FLDS polygamists. Instead of buying into the claims of global warming alarmists who seek more control over our lives through big government intrusion, McCain should demand a debate on the issue. Global warming cult leaders won't debate. Al Gore has refused every debate challenge, asserting the facts are undeniable and that global warming is real. That's another mark of a cult leader; he will tolerate no doubters.
Growing numbers of atmospheric scientists and others with related expertise are emerging from the global warming cult and testifying to their conversions. They are mostly ignored by the media and by politicians who have embraced the cultists' doctrines.
Two years ago, the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held hearings and produced a document quoting anti-global warming scientists. Among the conclusions was this: "Earlier this year, a group of prominent scientists came forward to question the so-called "consensus' that the Earth faces a "climate emergency.' On April 6, 2006, 60 scientists wrote a letter to the Canadian prime minister asserting that the science is deteriorating from underneath global warming alarmists: "Observational evidence does not support today's computer climate models, so there is little reason to trust model predictions of the future. ... Significant (scientific) advances have been made since the (Kyoto) protocol was created, many of which are taking us away from a concern about increasing greenhouse gases. If, back in the mid-1990s, we knew what we know today about climate, Kyoto would almost certainly not exist, because we would have concluded it was not necessary."' (See www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/story.html?id=3711460e-bd5a-475d-a6be-4db87559d605.)
Among the noted converts is Claude Allegre, a member of the French Socialist Party and a former Minister of National Education. Allegre is also a member of the French and U.S. Academy of Sciences. He once was a believer in the "science" behind global warming, but no more. He, too, wants a debate, and his ranks are growing.
If global warming alarmists are right, they will only strengthen their position by having robust debates, not between politicians who seek votes, but among scientists who seek truth. The issue is too important to allow politicians to decide it for us because it has the potential to drastically change the way we live.
Sen. McCain may win a few votes from some "moderates," who mostly are uneasy about having convictions about anything that matters, but if he persists in embracing the global warming cultists, he risks experiencing a temperature drop from the conservative base that could cast him out in the cold when the weather and his election prospects turn chilly in November.
E-mail nationally syndicated columnist Cal Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org.