In an op-ed on the theme that Al Gore is and always has been a calculating phony (which we leave to The Daily Howler for comment), George Will continues to suggest that there is real controversy where there isn’t any:
>Minutes after Gore said that “the debate in the science community is over,” he said “there is a debate between the American ice science community and ice scientists elsewhere” about whether the less-than-extremely-remote danger is a rise in sea level of a few inches or 20 feet . And he said scientists “don’t know what is happening” in west Antarctica or Greenland. So when Gore says the scientific debate is “over,” he must mean merely that there is consensus that we are in a period of warming.
>This is not where debate ends but where it begins, given that at any moment in its 4.5 billion years, the planet has been cooling or warming. The serious debate is about two other matters: the contribution of human activity to the current episode of warming and the degree to which this or that remedial measure (e.g., the Kyoto Protocol) would make a difference commensurate with its costs.
Gore clearly means that the *serious scientific* debate about the human contribution to global warming is over. This or that Exxon Mobile scientist doubts the human contribution; and the selectively skeptical pundit and pseudo-libertarian think-tanker doomsays about the financial costs of dealing with it. Neither of these is a serious position. For the scientific question, see here ; the the economic question, see here and here (thanks to Think Progress for the links). So Will is guilty–again on this topic–of suggesting serious controversy where there isn’t any. For a discussion of that, see here, here, here, here, here, and finally, here.
Moreover, he’s also probably guilty of exaggerating the economic consequences–of, as it were, doomsaying a la Gore–of fixing global warming. In addition to that, he strawmans and dichotomizes the Kyoto issue. For the Kyoto protocol is harldy the best thing that can be done, and it’s hardly the only thing. And it’s failure doesn’t mean any such thing is bound to fail.