Imagine if a Bush administration official had said this:
“For most of the 200 years since the Industrial Revolution, people were blissfully ignorant of the fact that emissions caused a greenhouse effect. It’s a relatively recent phenomenon.”
That was the Obama administration’s “special envoy for climate change”, Todd Stern. Now, the Industrial Revolution is generally accepted as having begun in or about 1850. And of course Svante Arrhenius famously posited the greenhouse effect hypothesis in 1896 (and as a very beneficial thing, incidentally). So, it’s fair to say that this claim is somewhat off.
But the greenhouse effect is not the same as the modern Left’s claim that economic liberties must be ceded to the state, and economic activity held in check, to avoid Man’s marginal greenhouse gas contribution creating dangerous climate change. That is the recent phenomena, following on the heels of the ill-fated manufactured panic over Man-made global cooling which served as the previous excuse for this agenda. But the ignorance is fairly revealing: it’s not about the climate or the science to these people.
Regardless, the reporter did not correct the administration’s misunderstanding of the science and his editor either did not know or care about the rather detached assertion. It fit the script. But you may be surprised to learn that the paper has not always been so forgiving of misunderstandings of the matter by political officials.
Still, always remember the mantra: it was Bush and his team who were dumb. These guys are really, really smart. Really.