On June 24, 1974, Time magazine published a story titled "Another Ice Age?" The article reported in its lead, "When meteorologists take an average of temperatures around the globe they find that the atmosphere has been growing gradually cooler for the past three decades. The trend shows no indication of reversing."
I grew up in Florida where my parents were citrus growers on a 150-acre farm. A series of freezes in the 1970s and early 1980s seriously damaged Florida crops. On Christmas Eve night in 1983, a severe freeze came along when the temperature plummeted to 18 degrees and destroyed my parents' citrus trees and sole source of income. My wife and I were there and witnessed the results of the weather's devastation on Christmas morning. All of those trees were later bulldozed and burned.
According to the National Weather Service, Muncie, Anderson, South Bend and Fort Wayne recorded their lowest average monthly temperatures for July since official record keeping started in the 1890s. The average temperature in Indianapolis of 70.9 degrees was the second coolest on record, just 0.3 degrees warmer than the July of 1947. It was also the coldest July on record in Illinois. The statewide average temperature for July was 70.4 degrees, 5.3 degrees below normal and a degree colder than the previous record set in 1924 (71.5 degrees). Use "July temperatures" as an Internet search term, and you will find dozens of newspaper articles about record or near-record cool temperatures throughout the Midwest.
All of this proves that global warming is occurring. At least that's the way that many global warming advocates reason. Last fall, I heard New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman speak at Ball State University. Author of Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution and other books, he is one of the leading global warming proponents. Since I'm a skeptic on the subject, I felt I should hear a leading author who might convince me that I was missing some crucial facts. Friedman didn't succeed. Referring to the fact that the world's average temperature has again declined for the last seven years, Friedman said, "You can really call it global weirdness. Global warming causes the climate to act in weird ways."
Of course that explains how global warming zealots think. If they can call it "global weirdness," they can explain any temperature variation and not have to argue with the facts. In researching this article, I saw the term "wacky weather" used by some Indiana newspapers to describe July. Global warming advocates can dismiss any facts contradicting their claims and call it "global weirdness" or "wacky weather." Ultimately, it boils down to a system of faith and not a system of facts.
The rest of the world is catching on faster than the United States. For example, Norway's Ivar Giaever, Nobel Prize winner for physics, decries global warming saying, "I am a skeptic. ... Global warming has become a new religion." Dr. Kiminori Itoh, a Japanese environmental chemist, said warming fears are the "worst scientific scandal in the history. ... When people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists."
Joanne Simpson, the world's first woman to earn a Ph.D. in meteorology, felt relieved after she retired last year because she was finally able to speak frankly about her skepticism over global warming. "Virtually all of the claims are derived from either flawed data sets or imperfect models or both," she wrote in her blog. Princeton University physicist Dr. Will Happer, who has published more than 200 peer-reviewed scientific papers, warned Congress that it has been "badly misinformed" about man-made global warming fears. Citing an "illusion of consensus," Happer told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Feb. 29, "The number of those with the courage to speak out is growing."
The whole premise of the Obama administration's cap-and-trade bill lies on the dubious claims of the dangers of global warming. If you're not sure what to think about global warming, don't take my word for it. Do the research and uncover the facts for yourself. Plenty of anti-global warming scientists are speaking out, and you rarely hear their critics use the dismissive terms "denier" or "outlier" any longer.
David E. Sumner is an Anderson resident and professor of journalism at Ball State University, where he has taught since 1990.