Citing Martian warming, Chieftain guest op-ed proposed global warming is "out of our hands, and in the very capable hands of God"

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A guest editorial by Don Bendell published in The Pueblo Chieftain on September 23 cited National Geographic in suggesting that the melting of the polar ice caps on Mars is evidence that global warming on Earth is the result of natural circumstances. But as National Geographic reported in February, that is "one scientist's controversial theory" and it "has not been well received by other climate scientists."

In a September 23 guest editorial, regular Pueblo Chieftain contributor Don Bendell cited "National Geographic magazine" in suggesting that warming on other planets is evidence that warming on Earth is the result of natural circumstances, and not largely caused by humans. However, according to a February 28 National Geographic article, the idea that planetary warming on Mars somehow belies the reality that climate change on Earth is primarily the result of human activity is "one scientist's controversial theory" that "has not been well received by other climate scientists," as Media Matters for America noted. Having stated that "global warming unfortunately is for the most part out of our hands, and in the very capable hands of God," Bendell further repeated the long-debunked conservative falsehood that former Vice President Al Gore claimed to have "invent[ed] the Internet."

Bendell's editorial was published in conjunction with another guest editorial by Roy McCanne, professor emeritus of education at Colorado State University-Pueblo, who noted the need to implement means of reducing human-produced carbon emissions "based on physics, not politics."

In his piece, Bendell -- whom the Chieftain identified as "an author of 25 books with more than 1.5 million copies in print worldwide [and] a veteran of the Army Special Forces" -- asserted, "It is an undeniable truth. We are indeed going through global warming right now. My goodness, so is our neighboring planet Mars!" Bendell continued:

It's true: the polar ice caps on our next-door planet are also melting. According to National Geographic magazine, the southern polar ice cap on Mars has been receding significantly for the past three years visualized by the NASA Mars Surveyor mission since 2005.

I wonder how many Martian cars are vomiting nasty exhaust fumes on the little red planet. I wonder how many nasty, greedy corporate industrialists are polluting the skies with their acrid factory smokestacks belching columns of acid-filled emissions into the Martian atmosphere.

I think if any Hollywood moguls attempt to produce a new science fiction movie showing Martian flying saucers taking off and leaving a possible nuclear ion trail, we must protest vehemently. We could get Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn to carry protest signs on Rodeo Drive, William Shatner should be hung in effigy, and E.T. should be renamed E.F. (for Eco-Friendly).

We of course also must blame it all on George W. Bush who, according to the left, has been responsible for world hunger, mad cow disease, avian flu, athlete's foot and impotency.

Bendell's comments about Mars are similar to those made by Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson in his March 22 National Review Online entry and his April 13 ABC Radio Networks commentary. In his NRO entry, Thompson asserted that planetary warming beyond Earth "has led some people, not necessarily scientists, to wonder if Mars and Jupiter, non-signatories to the Kyoto Treaty, are actually inhabited by alien SUV-driving industrialists who run their air-conditioning at 60 degrees and refuse to recycle." In his ABC commentary, Thompson said that "NASA says the Martian South Pole's ice cap has been shrinking for three summers in a row," and suggested that the sun is responsible for higher global temperatures on Earth, Mars, and other planets, as Media Matters noted.

Media Matters has pointed out that claims about "Martian warming" echoed what National Geographic described as "one scientist's controversial theory" stipulating that "global warming on Earth is being caused by changes in the sun." National Geographic reported that "Habibullo Abdussamatov, head of the St. Petersburg's Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in Russia" noted that "2005 data from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor and Odyssey" show "that the carbon dioxide 'ice caps' near Mars's south pole had been diminishing for three summers in a row," and theorized that because warming is occurring naturally on Mars, warming on Earth might also be attributable to natural causes. According to the article, "Abdussamatov believes that changes in the sun's heat output can account for almost all the climate changes we see on both planets."

However, National Geographic went on to report that Abdussamatov's theory has "not been well received by other climate scientists," and quoted "Colin Wilson, a planetary physicist at England's Oxford University" saying that Abdussamatov's "views are completely at odds with the mainstream scientific opinion." According to Wilson, they "contradict the extensive evidence presented in the most recent IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] report." The article added that "[t]he conventional theory is that climate changes on Mars can be explained primarily by small alterations in the planet's orbit and tilt, not by changes in the sun," and that "most scientists think it is pure coincidence that both planets are between ice ages right now."

Later in the editorial, Bendell wrote, "Protecting our environment is responsible and necessary, but global warming unfortunately is for the most part out of our hands, and in the very capable hands of God," before adding, "Sorry, Mr. Gore. You got the spotlight, but most people know you did not really invent the Internet, either."

As Colorado Media Matters has noted repeatedly, Gore never claimed to have "invent[ed] the Internet."

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