Memo To: Martin Peretz, publisher, The New Republic
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Global Warming in California
As you are without doubt the best friend of former Vice President Al Gore, at least in the national press corps, I thought you the most appropriate fellow I should contact on this matter. I think you should break the news to him that he can’t win in 2004 with his global warming agenda on his back. If he continues to believe that mankind is cooking the planet with carbon dioxide, he would have to stick with his agenda of course. But we have learned a lot about the issue since he first got hung up on it and wrote "Earth in the Balance." If he made even the feeblest effort at testing his core concerns, I think he would discover that while there are a great many environmental issues of real importance, “global warming” is not one of them. There would be no shame if he took time out to reexamine the science and forthrightly acknowledged that he had to change his position because the new information he had come upon was conclusive.
There are of course enormous implications if Mr. Gore were to do this. The state of California, as you know, has just taken dramatic action to force its citizens to produce lower emissions of carbon dioxide – so the state would be in practical compliance with the Kyoto Treaty on global warming. As the new law begins to bite, the citizens of California will demand to know what the heck is going on, and will find out that Mr. Gore’s obsolete hypothesis is behind their economic ills. I think Mr. Gore himself must have been shaken up in 1999 when the climate scientist who got this idea going in the first place, James Hansen, publicly conceded that after a decade he could find no evidence that CO2 was related to any measurements available on global warming.
Dr. Gordon Prather, a nuclear physicist, was the man who first persuaded me that if mankind really did contribute to climate change, it had to be doing so by producing greenhouse gases that did not occur naturally. Carbon dioxide of course has been produced by natural causes for millions of years before mankind showed up with internal combustion engines. Dr. Prather told me that at the time of the Manhattan Project, there were nuclear scientists who believed that the atomic bomb would mean the end of the earth. That is, they argued that once the atomic particles began splitting each other into pieces in a chain reaction, they would continue on and on, never stopping until the entire planet was blown into atomic particles. These scientists were overruled by those who insisted there would come a point when the energy released would be so great that the fission process itself would be blown. The term Prather used is that it would eventually be “quenched.”
He makes the same argument about carbon dioxide, saying that unless there were in nature a mechanism to quench the accumulation of greenhouse gases, they would have incinerated the earth eons ago. Mankind’s contribution to carbon dioxide, incidentally, is teensy weensy compared to all other sources. Prather says it does not matter if the amount is teensy weensy or considerable. The addition would have to be “quenched” the same way CO2 from volcanic activity or plant and animal life is quenched. Until recently, being as scrupulous as he could, Dr. Prather allowed with Dr. Hansen that perhaps chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) might be mankind’s contribution that could be a greenhouse problem. But he has since been learning that CFCs also occur naturally and would also be quenched. You really should understand, Mr. Peretz, that the thousands of scientists who have signed global warming petitions in support of Kyoto have been climatologists who have never addressed the kinds of arguments posed by nuclear physicists like Dr. Prather. Indeed, very few of the thousands of climatologists who have signed petitions have even studied the evidence examined by Dr. Hansen, which continues to show no evidence of warming, either by mankind or by natural causes or by the sun, the ultimate source of the earth’s warmth.
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Dr. Prather has several commentaries on global warming in his archive at Worldnetdaily. Here is the most recent, written this weekend, entitled “Gore’s Revenge.”