Planet Gore

Global warming or paranoia?

“One should never extrapolate about climate change from any single weather event or season,” writes New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman this Sunday before devoting his entire column to doing exactly that.


The California wildfires, Hurricane Katrina, Georgia’s drought, and a balmy October in DC – Friedman sees the hand of global warming everywhere.


Friedman is not only one of the best-known journalists on the planet – a Times columnist, Discovery Channel reporter, frequent NBC news guest – he is also a reflection of current green thinking in the mainstream media.


Once known for his thorough foreign affairs reporting, Friedman has become a zealous convert to the green religion and now writes on little else. This Sunday’s column was typically hysterical.


The missive was inspired by Friedman’s flight into Los Angeles (gulping 5 gallons of jet fuel per mile from his 11,499 sq. ft. home outside Washington, DC). Viewing the smoke from the wildfires, Friedman panicked: “I’ve never seen that before.”


If Friedman – like a good reporter should – had then sourced a forestry expert like the University of Maryland’s Robert Nelson he would have learned that, in fact, “historically, fires in these ecosystems burned through an area every 35-100 years, part of a normal ecological cycle – so-called ‘crown fires.’” (The Wall Street Journal, Monday)


But instead, Friedman consults lefty-friend and alternative energy expert Nate Lewis of the California Institute of Technology, who stokes Friedman’s fear.


“Did we do that? . . . Did we make it hot or did she (Mother Nature) make it hot? Did we make that drought or did she make that drought? Is man’s cumulative impact on the climate now as responsible for the weather as Mother Nature herself?” Friedman hyperventilates.


’’That is the question Katrina really introduced for the first time,” says Lewis, “the sense that soon, if not already, what we used to call acts of God are really acts of man.”


Actually, what Friedman and Lewis are experiencing isn’t climate change at all. It’s called paranoia.

Henry Payne — Henry Payne is the auto critic for the Detroit News.

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