John Stossel: ‘Don’t Look to Government to Cool Down the Planet’

November 7th, 2007 10:24 AM

As NewsBusters reported, ABC's John Stossel bravely presented a skeptical view of manmade global warming on the October 19 installment of "20/20."

As a follow-up, Stossel published an op-ed at Townhall Tuesday that should be must-reading for alarmist media members and policy makers around the country.

Marvelously titled "Don't Look to Government to Cool Down the Planet," the article summarized much of what Stossel presented weeks prior on "20/20," while challenging the closed-minded to allow for greater scientific discussion and debate before hasty and capricious policy decisions are enacted that will harm the economy as they do nothing to solve the so-called problem (emphasis added throughout):

Yes, the globe has warmed, but whether severe warming is imminent and whether human beings are causing it in large degree are empirical questions that can't be answered ideologically. The media may scream that "the science is in" and the "debate is over," but in fact it continues vigorously, with credentialed climate scientists on both side of the divide. (For example.) The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change may present a "consensus view of scientists," but the "consensus" is not without dissent.

"Consensus is the stuff of politics, not science," says Paul Reiter of the Pasteur Institute.

The scientific process ought to be left to play itself out with as little political bias as possible. Politically influenced research is poison to science.

Part of the problem is the IPCC itself. Reiter points out, "It's the inter-governmental panel on climate change. It's governments who nominate people. It's inherently political. Many of the scientists are on the IPCC because they view global warming as a problem that needs to be fixed. They have a vested interest."

Exactly. Why is it that the media are skeptical of everything the Bush administration does? Yet, they buy hook, line, and sinker any utterance from the IPCC with nary a question.

Quite hypocritical, wouldn't you agree? To be sure, Stossel doesn't trust governments concerning this matter:

There are good reasons to begin with a presumption against government action. As coercive monopolies that spend other people's money taken by force, governments are uniquely unqualified to solve problems. They are riddled by ignorance, perverse incentives, incompetence and self-serving. The synthetic-fuels program during the Carter years consumed billions of dollars and was finally disbanded as a failure. The push for ethanol today is more driven by special interests than good sense -- it's boosting food prices while producing a fuel of dubious environmental quality.

Exactly. Faced with exploding energy prices, our government ran to ethanol, even giving subsidies for its production.

Yet, as NewsBusters has continually reported, ethanol is a disaster. Not only is it a greater producer of greenhouse gases than normal gasoline (whether that's bad or not is still up for debate!), its production is stripping the planet of acreage typically allocated for edible crops thereby causing a rise in food and commodity prices.

This is what happens when government tries to solve problems better left to business and the free market.

But there's more:

Even if the climate really needs cooling down, government can't be counted on to accomplish that. Advocates of carbon taxes and emissions trading talk about reducing CO2, but they promise no more than a minuscule reduction in temperature. Temperature reduction is supposed to be the objective.

In fact, even drastic plans to cut the use of carbon-based energy would make only a negligible difference.

Exactly. One of the truly disturbing aspects of the media's coverage concerning this issue is how virtually no press outlet has honestly appraised its patrons exactly how little impact the so-called solutions to global warming will actually have.

If the public was aware of this fact, it might feel much differently about the entire matter. As Stossel concluded:

I agree with [Phillip Stott, professor of biogeography at the University of London], who says, "The right approach to climate change is adaptation -- and the way to do that is to have strong economies."

We will have a strong economy if we don't give up our freedom and our money to fulfill the grand schemes of big-government alarmists.

Exactly. Thanks, John, and keep up the good work.