Preparing for the talk, I surveyed the literature, watched the movie, and searched the Internet. I quickly saw that the arresting images so often used to convince the public that global warming is a man-made phenomenon are very deceptive. I eventually wrote a paper on the subject, though my point here is not to rehash that article, but rather to describe the conference in New York.
There weren't a lot of celebrities at the conference. John Stossell, of 20/20 fame, was one keynote speaker, as was Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic. Other than that, however, the participants were for the most part serious scientists with findings that contradict the new orthodoxy of the CO2 theory.
Of course, Gore has accused these global warming "deniers" of being pawns of big business. I met these people. I don't believe they were bought off by "Big Oil" or "Big Business." Most of them had serious research that they were happy to submit to scrutiny. Some complained about being shut out of the normal outlets due to the money and influence behind the groups that support Gore. Others said that there was pressure within their academic departments to pursue the grants that support CO2 theory.
In the global warming debate, each side claims that there is corruption on the other side. Each accuses the other of being supported by large financial interests. Advocates on one side -- most notably Gore -- have tried to silence the opposition by claiming that the debate is over, and by discrediting anyone who disagrees.
Political issues can be resolved through debate, but the same should not apply to science. Scientific knowledge is advanced by encouraging critical review of prevailing theories; those theories only gain currency when they can withstand challenges from the scientific community at large.
(Column continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
With global warming, however, scientists are urged not to look beyond the prevailing theory. A "consensus" has been reached, so why look further? (Of course, the very idea of consensus seems incongruent with science.) That's why the New York conference was so important: It showed that there were lots of people with serious questions about the CO2 theory.
Last year, the Vatican hosted a conference on global warming. A small percentage of the time was allocated to those who have doubts about the CO2 theory. To listen to the complaints from global warming activists, however, one might have thought that the conference was stacked against them. It wasn't. It's simply that the pope believes we need to carefully review all the evidence.
Sounds fair, doesn't it?