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Scientific Consensus

Here’s a letter that I sent a few days ago to the New York Times:

Paul Krugman asserts that, given today’s scientific consensus, anyone who opposes more aggressive government action to stop global warming is either motivated by greed or blinded by ideology (“Cassandras of Climate,” Sept. 29).

It’s true that when prominent news outlets report that, for example, “As they review the bizarre and unpredictable weather pattern of the past several years, a growing number of scientists are beginning to suspect” a perilous change in global temperatures, it seems foolish to some people not to heed calls to solve the problem.  Or that when the mainstream media warn that “Climatological Cassandras are becoming increasingly apprehensive, for the weather aberrations they are studying may be the harbinger of” a frightening global environmental problem, many sensible people cast aside hesitation about trusting government with more power to avert such a calamity.

But I’m not among these sensible people.  You see, the quotations above are from a June 24, 1974, report in Time about the scientific consensus that global temperatures are dangerously cooling.

Scientists being wrong in 1974 doesn’t mean that they’re wrong in 2009, of course, but it does mean that sensible people can legitimately refuse to join in the current hysteria over predictions of catastrophic global warming.

Donald J. Boudreaux