It's April Fools' Day as I'm writing this, so it seems fitting to contemplate human folly.
As I squint through frosted panes at 8 inches of new snow on my Missouri Heights deck, KAJX radio advises me that Aspen Highlands got another 19 inches overnight, and Snowmass' new total stands at 407 inches.

Thirty-four feet of snow is hard to fathom: Dumped all at once, it would entomb every home in Aspen and bar Mayor Mick from pedaling to his podium.

Since it's now the accepted convention to cite individual displays of nature's power as corroboration of climate change (see: Hurricane Katrina), I'm tempted - following this freakish winter - to announce a global ice age.

I needn't bother: If next winter is like this one, the climate flock will pivot on its wing tips and proclaim an ice age for me.

They did this in the 1960s, when my Harvard-educated father conscripted his children to unload the Buick Vista Cruiser in the driveway, and ferry C-rations, candles, batteries and blankets to sagging basement shelves. Dad was a dilettante geologist, and he read to us horrifying New York Times accounts of advancing glaciers.

Recently we've learned Dad had it exactly backward: A melting Manhattan will be expunged by tidal action - not glacial action.

You haven't seen this on CNN, but the Earth has been cooling since 1998. In fact - owing to a diminution of solar storms - we've cooled nearly a degree during the past decade and returned the Earth to about where it was in 1900.

The head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) ajendra Pachauri has acknowledged this cooling trend. IPCC staff is working feverishly on a theory that supports global cooling as proof of global warming. Stay tuned.

Other scary evidence abounds to support honing your igloo-building skills.

This winter, the northern hemisphere has experienced its heaviest snow cover since 1966; the Arctic ice is returning; and once-bobbing polar bears are back on terra firma.

NASA satellite images reveal an ice cap that has recovered to near normal levels. Josephino Comiso, senior cryospheric research scientist for NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, interpreted the happy satellite imagery for a scowling Canadian (CBC News) reporter back in February.

Temperatures in the interior of Antarctica have been dropping, and its ice has been thickening. Record snowfalls have blanketed the Andes, and - in Lima, Peru, Dec. 17 - the Ward family (missionaries) built a snow fort in their backyard. The Chinese government reports tens of thousands of homes have been flattened by impossibly heavy snowfall.

All of this has me thinking blasphemous thoughts. What if we heretics are right, and what if I can't influence Earth's planetary track by driving a Toyota Prius instead of a Toyota Sequoia?

What if Americans are being foolishly manipulated into spending trillions of dollars? What if it turns out that this episode of human hubris is only the latest example of man's silly belief that he runs the cosmic carrousel and that nature's forces revolve around him like bobbing wooden horses?

What if we're just insignificant specs of dust, pounding our chests and roaring at the heavens in Whoville?

According to a March 30 story on ABC News, the latest political fix being sponsored by the Democratic Congress - "The Climate Security Act of 2008" - will "cap greenhouse gases" 63 percent by 2050.

You don't need to be blessed with Al Gore's problem-solving skills to understand that reducing emissions by two-thirds - during a period when our population is projected to expand by two-thirds - is an improbable feat.

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee) suggests that "... this bill is a winner for the environment, a winner for our economy, and a winner for the planet."

The Communist Chinese are solidly in Boxer's corner. During the next two decades, while we're slamming the brakes on American industry, the Chinese project a tripling of their industrial output: They plan on replacing our emissions with theirs.

According to an Oct. 7, 2007, Los Angeles Times report, "Cutting Through China's Smoke," China's coal-fired industry already accounts for 25 percent to 40 percent of California smog.

While we spend trillions of dollars digging a hole in hot sand, China will overtake us.

The National Association of Manufacturers and the American Council for Capital Formation have projected that the Climate Security Act will reduce the U.S.'s GDP by $150 billion to $200 billion in 2020, alone, and those losses will expand to $669 billion, annually, by the year 2030.

During that one decade, U.S. productivity will suffer a loss of $3.6 trillion dollars. Meanwhile, China is now the world's leading importer of lead, and that lead is being used to produce car batteries and bullets - not just American toys. We entertainment junkies think "Olympics," while Tibetans face Chinese bayonets.

The debate surrounding the causes of global climate change continues: It's not "decided science," despite the epithet-wielding deacons of global destruction who'd have us unbelievers fitted with ankle bracelets and placed, Galileo-like, under house arrest.

No one knows how hot it will be in 2050, but we do know that man's capacity for self-delusion - and his propensity for grasping political power by scaring his neighbors into line - is as central to life on planet Earth as the rising sun.

Global doom, or global bloom, man's arrogance is a fixed polar constant.

Addison Gardner's column appears every other Tuesday in The Aspen Times.