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.

Most Popular


Yes We Kanye

Kanye West is unpredictable and not terribly coherent and has generated his share of infamous and insufferably narcissistic behavior -- “Bush doesn’t care about black people” and “Imma let you finish” come to mind. Color me skeptical that it’s a consequential victory for the Right now that West is ... Read More

Poll Finds Nevada Voters Support School-Choice Programs

According to an April poll, a large number of Nevada voters support school-choice programs. The poll, conducted by Nevada Independent/Mellman, found that 70 percent of voters support a proposal for a special-needs Education Savings Account and 59 percent support expanding the funding for the current tax-credit ... Read More

Is Journalism School Worth It?

Clarence Darrow dropped out of law school after just a year, figuring that he would learn what he needed to know about legal practice faster if he were actually doing it than sitting in classrooms. (Today, that wouldn't be possible, thanks to licensing requirements.) The same thing is true in other fields -- ... Read More

Wednesday Links

Today is ANZAC Day, the anniversary of the Battle of Gallipoli: Here's some history, a documentary, and a Lego re-enactment. How DNA Can Lead to Wrongful Convictions: Labs today can identify people with DNA from just a handful of cells, but a handful of cells can easily migrate. The 19th-century art of ... Read More

Microscopic Dots. Let’s Look at Them.

Stuart E. Eizenstat has written a big book on the Carter presidency. (Eizenstat was Carter’s chief domestic-policy adviser. He also had a substantial hand in foreign affairs.) I have reviewed the book for the forthcoming NR. Eizenstat tells the story of a meeting between President Carter and Andrei Gromyko, the ... Read More