"I have said consistently," answered Bush, "that global warming is a serious problem. There's a debate over whether it's manmade or naturally caused. We ought to get beyond that debate and start implementing the technologies necessary ... to be good stewards of the environment, become less dependent on foreign sources of oil..."
The President -- as far as the extensive and repeated researches of this and many other professional journalists, as well as all scientists credible on this subject, can find -- is wrong on one crucial and no doubt explosive issue. When he said -- as he also did a few weeks ago -- that "There's a debate over whether it's manmade or naturally caused" ... well, there really is no such debate.
At least none above what is proverbially called "the flat earth society level."
Not one scientist of any credibility on this subject has presented any evidence for some years now that counters the massive and repeated evidence -- gathered over decades and come at in dozens of ways by all kinds of professional scientists around the world -- that the burning of fossil fuels is not raising the world's average temperature.
Or find that these fuels are not doing so in a way that is very dangerous for mankind, that will almost certainly bring increasingly devastating effects in the coming decades.
One small group of special interest businesses leaders -- those of some fossil fuel companies -- have been well documented by journalist Ross Gelbspan and others to have been fighting a PR campaign for 15 years to keep the American public confused about the wide and deep scientific consensus on this.
They've aimed, as Gelbspan explains, to keep us thinking that (to borrow the president's words this morning) "There's a debate over whether it's manmade or naturally caused" -- though no open and thorough journalism this reporter knows of can find any such thing.
Drenching waters, president's words, high judges' scrutiny, worried voters, journalists scrambling to get their arms around this enormous story, oil executives looking at spread sheets while they explore for more oil in Canada and the Arctic, and one elm down ... so far.
Meteorologists predict more heavy rain this week along the mid-Atlantic seaboard.
Climatologists predict much the same for the coming decades.