Sydney, Australia, Feb. 23, 2007 — -- In an exclusive interview today, ABC's Jonathan Karl asked Vice President Dick Cheney about the topic of global warming, a subject Mr. Cheney has rarely addressed in the past. The vice president agreed that the earth is warming but, like President Bush, maintained there is debate over whether humans or natural cycles are the cause-- a position that puts the administration at odds with the vast majority of climate scientists.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- made up of thousands of scientists from around the world -- reported earlier this month they are more certain than ever that humans are heating earth's atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels. In Australia, for example, the IPCC said that rising ocean temperatures brought on by global warming could make Australia's Great Barrier Reef "functionally extinct" by 2050.
Here is a portion of the transcript from Jonathan Karl's conversation with Mr. Cheney:
JONATHAN KARL: I want to ask you about another issue that's been a subject of controversy here in Australia, global warming. Did you get a chance to see Al Gore's movie?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I have not seen Al Gore's movie.
JONATHAN KARL: Doesn't surprise me.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: He didn't invite me to the showing.
JONATHAN KARL: The premiere, huh?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Not that I had planned to go anyway.
JONATHAN KARL: But what's your sense, where is the science on this? Is global warming a fact? And is it human activity that is causing global warming?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Those are the two key questions. I think there's an emerging consensus that we do have global warming. You can look at the data on that, and I think clearly we're in a period of warming. Where there does not appear to be a consensus, where it begins to break down, is the extent to which that's part of a normal cycle versus the extent to which it's caused by man, greenhouse gases, et cetera.
But I think we're going to see a big debate on it going forward. But it's not enough just to sort of run out and try to slap together some policy that's going to "solve" the problem. Kyoto I think was not a good idea --