An apology is due

    I’ll take that apology now. You know, the same apology
    uber-conservatives (UCs) continuously demand from progressives when UCs
    feign indignation over an alleged progressive faux pas.

    I’ll take my first apology for invention of the term “junk science.” It
    has been used by UCs to discredit environmentalists and scientists who
    first discerned human activity is provoking climate change. I’ll take
    my second for uber-conservative insistence that global warming is a
    fabrication of the looney Left.

    For quite some time, most
    scientists have agreed global warming is for real. This weekend The
    Washington Post published an item that read, “Now that most scientists
    agree human activity is causing Earth to warm, the central debate has
    shifted to whether climate change is progressing so rapidly that,
    within decades, humans may be helpless to slow or reverse the trend.”

    “This ‘tipping point’ scenario has begun to consume many prominent
    researchers in the United States and abroad, because the answer could
    determine how drastically countries need to reduce their greenhouse gas
    emissions in the coming years. While scientists remain uncertain when
    such a point might occur, many say it is urgent that policymakers cut
    global carbon dioxide emissions in half over the next 50 years or risk
    the triggering of changes that would be irreversible.”

    The Post
    isn’t the supposedly liberal New York Times. In fact, it has been
    right-leaning in its coverage and editorial bent since Katherine Graham
    became chummy with the Reagans in the 1980s. I’ll take that apology now.

    What incredible news! The worldwide scientific community is so
    convinced of human impact on global warming that the debate has shifted
    to whether it’s too late to reverse the damage. But not here in the
    United States. Our UC government is still playing the “we need to study
    this some more before we jump to any conclusions” game. That is when
    it’s not trying to stifle public statements by what few credible
    government scientists it hasn’t booted from its payroll.

    Just
    this past week, NASA’s top climate scientist told reporters the Bush
    administration has tried to stop him from “speaking out.” His
    unpardonable sin? He gave a lecture in December calling for speedy
    reductions in greenhouse gas emissions _ those pesky little pollutants
    linked to global warming.

    Scientist James Hansen is the longtime
    director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. He is quoted as
    telling reporters that officials at NASA headquarters ordered the
    public affairs staff to review upcoming lectures, papers, postings on
    the Goddard Web site and requests for more interviews.

    Hansen
    says he plans to ignore the restrictions. But such heroism didn’t have
    even a hint of impact on the UC-anti-warming campaign. Nope, note a
    mite. Some lockstep UC Web site called, junkscience.com, posted the
    following response to Hansen’s heroism, “Losin’ it, Jim?”

    Then
    there’s that mildly oxymoronic Web site, conservativetruth.org. It
    sports the following message posted last summer, “Global warming is a
    classic scare campaign initiated by the Greens after a previous effort
    in the 1970s to influence public policy by declaring a coming Ice Age
    failed to generate any response. What we are seeing now is yet another
    worldwide coordinated campaign by the Greens to rescue the global
    warming theory from the junk heap to which it should be consigned.”

    Tell that to European governments that are taking global warming
    seriously. Britain’s David Warrilow who heads science policy on climate
    change for one of his country’s ministries told the Post, “consuming
    massive amounts of fossil fuels (is like the) strategy of the Titanic’s
    crew.”

    I’ll take that apology now, thank you. Especially for the
    predictable Bush administration’s response to the Post’s story, “Some
    scientists, including President Bush’s chief science adviser, John H.
    Marburger III, emphasize there is still much uncertainty about when
    abrupt global warming might occur.”

    Well, let’s just sit here
    for a few more decades, through a few more record hurricane and tsunami
    seasons, as the average global temperature rises yet another 5 degrees, and keep arguing about whether global warming exists.

    (Bonnie Erbe is a TV host and writes a column for Scripps Howard News Service. E-mail bonnieerbe(at)CompuServe.com.)