Why do intelligent, well-meaning people throw themselves and their organizations money and energies behind causes without first doing their homework?

Back in February, a coalition of Fish and Game Clubs and conservation organizations from around the country petitioned our U.S. Congress to pass climate control legislation. New Hampshire, one of the many states involved, issued a press release that read in part:
Concord, NH (February 19) - More than a dozen of the leading hunting and fishing clubs and wildlife-related businesses in New Hampshire joined forces Tuesday to call on the state's elected leaders in Congress to support strong legislation to confront climate change.
Eric Orff, a retired wildlife biologist with New Hampshire Fish and Game Department and outreach consultant for the National Wildlife Federation sounded the alarm thusly: "Climate change is the single biggest threat to wildlife today, and we're running out of time to do something about it," said Orff. "We've spent a century fighting to protect wildlife, wild places and our natural heritage. We will not sit by and do nothing while climate change threatens to wipe it all out."

I know Orff. He is a respected and caring man who writes an informative monthly New Hampshire outdoors column for the Northwoods Sporting Journal. He is an avid outdoorsman and a retired wildlife biologist, a person with professional credentials that tend to lend credibility to his utterances. It is precisely because of his credentials and scientific background that I find his rhetorical excesses disappointing. If Orff is right, if our wonderful American wildlife conservation legacy is about to be wiped out unless Congress enacts climate control legislation, we might as well hang it up now! For two reasons: 1) the U.S. Congress is inherently incapable of creating anything much beyond personal largesse and career-enhancing boondoggles, and 2) Climate change is mostly a product of the Almighty's handiwork and will have its way with us no matter how many Nobel Prizes we give to Al Gore.

Here is part of an e- mail that I sent to my fellow outdoor writer Orff.
I am amazed that the fish and game clubs of a once freedom- loving and politically independent state like New Hampshire would get in lockstep and petition the federal government to regulate a problem that it has little control of in the first place. I suspect that some of your fish and game clubs jumped on this bandwagon for fear of appearing out of the mainstream of popular thought.

I despise air and water pollution as much as the next guy, and we need to continue to police our actions and clean up our act. The best reason is a common sense one: simply to breath clean air and drink safe water. But mass hysteria founded on phony science is a dangerous phenomenon that has the potential to plunder our democratic political processes, compromise our quest for energy independence and further undermine our national economic stability.
I have challenged Orff to offer up some convincing data to back up his claim. Here is the global warming data that I have gathered. In the 20th century, the average world temperature has increased by a half a degree Celsius. Between 1940 and 1980 there was a scientific consensus that the earth was cooling. By the 1990s, there was a reversal in global temperatures and a scientific consensus emerged that the earth was warming. Dr. Timothy Ball, a respected Canadian career climatologist, claims that the warming trend has begun to reverse again. Bell writes: "major mechanisms and global temperatures indicate a cooling taking place." As for the so-called Green Houses gases (CO2), there seems to be no scientific evidence to show that our earlier warming trend was the product of CO2 in the atmosphere!

Why do intelligent, well-meaning people throw themselves and their organizations money and energies behind causes without first doing their homework? The Canadian climatologist, Dr. Bell, has a theory about this. He says, "Passive acceptance (of the global warming doctrine) yields less stress, fewer personal attacks and makes careers progress easier."

Not surprisingly, the Presque Isle, Maine Fish and Game club was not one of those petitioning Congress to solve global warming. Northern Aroostook's record 200-inch accumulated winter snowfall will keep County folks busy with their shovels long after Congress's Easter Recess.