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Baa, Baa, blue sheep: as experts and politicians spin the woolly warming debate, Tory members should be questioning what looms ahead.

WE WERE A SILENT, SOMNOLENT AND SULKY CROWD, WE passengers who stumbled off Northwest Airlines Flight 1023 near midnight at Edmonton one Saturday in June. We mumbled through customs and were relieved to see one of the two baggage carousels already in motion. So it wouldn't be long. Soon we'd be headed home.


We waited. And waited. And waited. No baggage. Then came a voice: "Attention passengers from Northwest Flight 1023. Your baggage will arrive on carousel No. 1., not on No. 2."

Like a herd, the whole hundred or more of us trudged truculently to the other carousel, which with a reassuring warning blare came suddenly to life. Then stopped. Then started. Then stopped. Again, we waited. And waited. Finally the voice returned: "Attention passengers from Northwest 1023. We're sorry. Carousel No. 1 is not functioning properly. Your baggage will arrive on carousel No. 2."

Grumbling, the whole herd moved again. But then from behind us we heard a funny sound. Kerplunk! Kerplunk! The baggage was coming off No. 1 after all. So back we moved for a third time.

But it was eerie. Something in this exercise seemed familiar--the idea of a whole mass of people moving back and forth on command. Then I realized it--we Tory party members were a similar herd, responding to our leadership on the question of global warming.

When our government took office, we took up our position out of long habit. Global warming, we knew, was a hoax, created by Greenpeace, Suzuki and liberaldom to undermine Big Oil. But then came the voice: "Attention, members of the Conservative party. Your opinion on global warming has been changed. It is now intensely important--probably the worst crisis ever to confront humanity. Your government is doing everything in its power to save the world. Please move over to carousel No. 1."

So like an obedient herd we all shifted. Rona Ambrose was fired as environment minister; she wasn't green enough. Instead we got Green Bean Baird, Mr. Chlorophyll himself, who has ordered us to drive less, fly less and barbecue less, and wear sweaters and long underwear, dismantle our energy industry and change every light bulb in the house.

But now look. Things may soon change again. Timothy Patterson, director of the Ottawa Geoscience Centre, published an article showing climate change is a permanent condition, that the Earth's climate has never been stable. As recently as 6,000 years ago, the Earth averaged two degrees warmer than it is now. Ten thousand years ago, mean temperatures rose as much as four degrees in a decade--100 times faster than the warming over the past century.

Then comes more startling news. The highly respected Discover magazine last month reviewed a new book published by Henrik Svensmark, senior scientist and head of the Centre for Sun-Climate Research at the Danish National Space Centre in Copenhagen. Like Patterson, the Russians and other skeptical scientists, Svensmark contends the sun is the major factor. He has established a laboratory in which he's modelled the sun's rays and the Earth's atmosphere to observe cosmic effects on the Earth. Amazing discovery: solar activity affects cloud formations on Earth, which in turn determine our climate. Implications: carbon dioxide emissions may mean very little or even nothing. Moreover, we're more likely heading into another ice age. Dismantling our energy industry may be the worst thing we could possibly do.

A UN spokesman calls the Svensmark discovery "extremely naive and irresponsible." Greenpeace responds with another "study." Twenty million won't perish through global warming. It will be 200 million. "And when everybody drowns," notes the skeptical Washington Times editor-in-chief Wesley Pruden, "it's of course the poor, the minorities and women who suffer most."

How long, I wonder, until we hear the voice again: "Attention members of the Conservative party. Your opinion on global warming has been changed. Go back to carousel No. 2."

But to blame all this idiocy on poor Steve Harper and the Tory leadership is a bit much. The real villain could be that mysterious thing called "the body of scientific opinion." It's forever being cited. And look at its record: global starvation--didn't happen. Global freezing--didn't happen. Global warming? Yeah, right.
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Author:Byfield, Ted
Publication:Western Standard
Date:Jul 30, 2007
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