Mark Steyn is on top of the global warming/change issue in his new Suntimes article.
As we say in the north country, if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes. And if you don't like the global weather, wait three decades. For the last century or so, the planet has gone through very teensy-weensy warming trends followed by very teensy-weensy cooling trends followed by very teensy-weensy warming trends, every 30 years or so. And, even when we're in a pattern of "global warming" or "global cooling," the phenomenon is not universally observed -- i.e., it's not "global," or even very local. In the Antarctic, the small Palmer peninsula has got a little warmer but the main continent is colder. Up north, the western Arctic's a little warmer but the eastern Arctic's colder. So, if you're an eastern polar bear, you're in clover -- metaphorically, I hasten to add. If you're a western polar bear, you'll be in clover literally in a year or two, according to Al Gore.
And, if you really don't like the global weather, wait half-a-millennium. A thousand years ago, the Arctic was warmer than it is now. Circa 982, Erik the Red and a bunch of other Vikings landed in Greenland and thought, "Wow! This land really is green! Who knew?" So they started farming it, and were living it up for a couple of centuries. Then the Little Ice Age showed up, and they all died. A terrible warning to us all about "unsustainable development": If a few hundred Vikings doing a little light hunter-gathering can totally unbalance the environment, imagine the havoc John Edwards' new house must be wreaking.
The question is whether what's happening now is just the natural give and take of the planet, as Erik the Red and my town's early settlers understood it. Or whether it's something so unprecedented that we need to divert vast resources to a transnational elite bureaucracy so that they can do their best to cripple the global economy and deny much of the developing world access to the healthier and longer lives that capitalism brings. To the eco-chondriacs that's a no-brainer. As Mark Fenn of the Worldwide Fund for Nature says in the new documentary ''Mine Your Own Business'':
''In Madagascar, the indicators of quality of life are not housing. They're not nutrition, specifically. They're not health in a lot of cases. It's not education. A lot of children in Fort Dauphin do not go to school because the parents don't consider that to be important. . . . People have no jobs, but if I could put you with a family and you could count how many times in a day that that family smiles. Then I put you with a family well off, in New York or London, and you count how many times people smile. . . . You tell me who is rich and who is poor."
Well, if smiles are the measure of quality of life, I'm Bill Gates; I'm laughing my head off. Male life expectancy in Madagascar is 52.5 years. But Mark Fenn is right: Those l'il malnourished villagers sure look awful cute dancing up and down when the big environmentalist activist flies in to shoot the fund-raising video.
Read it all, it is worth it.