Global warming as real as OJ’s guilt

by Ogi Overman

I’ve been trying to come up with a way to make some sense of the issue of global warming. Not the issue itself – that’s the easy part – but the fact that some folks actually believe that it is either non-existent, a hoax, a liberal myth or, my favorite, actually good for you. What is it that motivates these people to deny the obvious? How do you break through that wall of denial that separates them from reality?

And the sad answer is that for many of them, you can’t. They’re like the OJ jury; the mountain of evidence is simply inconsequential background noise once Johnny Cochran puts on that toboggan and Orenthal tries on that glove. They’ll cling to those two bits of evidence and blissfully ignore the other thousand. They’ll base their conclusion on the implausible, merely because it’s not impossible. Sure, global warming could be caused by cosmic rays and it could be caused by cows passing methane gas (I couldn’t make this stuff up), but the overwhelming evidence points to the unequivocal conclusion that it is caused by greenhouse gases that are being emitted by human activity.

Yep, for rational folk the verdict is in on global warming and a handful of right-wing ideologues can scream that it’s all a hoax as long and loud as they want but it will not change the incontrovertible facts. In legalese, the preponderance of evidence suggests that the planet is warming at a dangerous rate far beyond normal climatological changes. The recent IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report concluded that the overwhelming scientific consensus points to that fact. The panel included over 1,250 scientists from 130 countries and there was virtual agreement that this is the best science available.

Yet the vocal minority persists in making it a political issue. They seem to think that if Al Gore and the Sierra Club are for it, it is incumbent upon them to be against it. They take their cues from the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter that it’s all a big liberal conspiracy, even trotting out the last refuge of the scoundrel, the patriotism card, on occasion.

On two straight days last week the News & Record ran syndicated columns that contained so many logical fallacies and so much misinformation and ignorance of the facts that, I swear, it smacked of satire. When I saw the headline, “Global warming a small price for prosperity” on a column by Jonah Goldberg, I honestly thought it was going to be a tongue-in-cheek piece. I kept waiting for the punch line that never came – the guy was serious!

About two-thirds through he revealed his true agenda. Regarding technologies that might solve global warming, he cracked, “Maybe we’ll harness the perpetual motion of Joe Biden’s mouth.”

Ah, now I get it. Biden’s even left of Gore, therefore this is just more loopy liberal propaganda designed to subvert the American Way.

The following day came “Global hot air: many scientists don’t see doom” by that rarest of breeds, a black neo-con. Thomas Sowell cited a total of six scientists who question the veracity of global warming. So I went him one better by going to Wikipedia, where I found a whopping 22 skeptics. So that’s (22 plus 6 equals) 28 against. One thousand two hundred and fifty for. Hmmm. What exactly does it take for a consensus?

The thing I find fascinating in this whole quasi-debate over global warming is the different types of people who dispute it. I can understand that some people are ignorant, that some are contrarians who would argue with a telephone pole, that some are dupes of the oil industry and/or the Bush administration, and that there are some whose paychecks depend on their being apologists. Then there are some folks who simply don’t live in the rational world and some who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, who regularly calls global warming a “hoax” on the senate floor, comes to mind.

I can forgive the foolish and the feeble-minded, even the ostriches who’d rather it just all go away. I can overlook the lemmings who actually believe the Fox Noise Channel is anything more than a shill for the Duh and Deadeye Dick. But the thing that is unforgivable is that there are those who knowingly perpetuate the big lie, yet do it under the guise of free-market capitalism, anti-regulatory commerce or protecting jobs. There are no fewer than 40 so-called think tanks, research institutes, websites and pseudo-journalists who routinely debunk global warming – while being funded by ExxonMobil! That is provable fact. And it is unconscionable and morally indefensible.

Granted, everyone has the right to be wrong. But if it endangers the entire planet, you also have the right to be ridiculed.

This is not a political issue. Now it’s personal.

Ogi may be reached at, heard Tuesdays 9:30-10 am on “The Dusty Dunn Show” on WGOS 1070 AM, and seen Fridays 6:30-7 a.m. on ABC45 and Sundays 10-10:30 p.m. on MVY48 on “Triad Today” hosted by Jim Longworth.