If thereís anything really true about global warming, itís that the war about it is fierce.

And certainly it should be. Look at whatís at stake: Our entire way of life, massive amounts of money, the end of all human civilization, you name it. Everyoneís got a scenario.

The bottom line is to ask yourself who can you trust?

No one.

Only yourself. Your own conscience.

Can you trust government scientific panels? Doubtful, when we get news reports of scientists being pressured with threats from the feds on their reports, when federal departments are ordered to stifle information.

Can you trust independent scientific panels? Probably not, considering many of them are made up of wacko Greenpeace-style extremists and those that arenít eco-terrorists have little credibility left when the right-wing media gets ahold of them like columnist Bill Steigerwald who appears to have taken it upon himself as his personal vendetta to debunk the issue.

I have my own opinions, of course. I think we havenít been monitoring the temperature of this planet accurately for long enough to really say if there is a manmade cause for global warming or if itís a cyclical part of nature. I think that anyone who tries to use data collected within the last 500 years is wasting our time because 500 years is a split instant in geologic time and a worthless control study.

But what I do believe is we should all ask ourselves a very definite set of questions:

1) Is it possible we are having an effect on the environment?

2) Is it worth taking the chance that we are having an effect on the environment when there are things we can do to stop it?

3) Is it right to allow corporations, national goverments and the monied elite to decide whether or not we have an effect on the environment?

4) Is it right to let environmental terrorists frighten us into actions that might be just as foolish as allowing environmental degradation to continue?

5) Do any of us have the legal, moral or civil right to decide what course we should take as a planet on behalf of others?

It depends on how you believe. Do you believe that someone built Ė maybe more than once Ė a car that will run a thousand miles on a glass of water? Or even one that will run a hundred miles on a gallon of gas? And that the government or the big oil companies squashed it?

Do you believe that government and those in charge have been completely honest with us, the people they represent, in everything they tell us, including global warming? Careful how you answer that. You canít have it both ways.

Do you think that scientists can be bought and sold either way? Do you think they can be blackmailed? Do you think that scientists, who a century ago declared that gasoline was too volatile to be safely used and dumped hundreds of thousands of gallons into the oceans for disposal, can be trusted to predict the cause and effect of global warming?

Do you believe that oil-driven economies will admit that global warming exists?

Do you believe that tree-hugging extremists who join PETA and lie down in front of bulldozers can be trusted?

Do you think oil corporations will embrace global warming and the need to stop our dependence of fossil fuels?

Thereís no clear answers, are there? Everyoneís got an agenda. I personally am leery of people who decry global warming who are clearly doing so around the silver spoon in their mouths. I personally distrust scientists and governments that created Love Canal, destroyed the Atchafalaya River Basin and the coastline of Louisiana; who straightened out the Kissimmee River in Florida and spent untold billions to put it back the way it was because of the disaster that resulted; I distrust speculators who on the one hand say that global warming is not true and on the other drive the cost of oil up and up and up when the weatherman predicts a cold front, causing a financial hardship on the elderly and poor.

In case you havenít figured it out, global warming is an economic issue, not a scientific one. Itís all about whoíll lose money, and thatís whatís not right about it.

People send you emails about how New York got hit with 10 feet of snow, and so global warming is a joke, ha-ha-ha, but those people have such a kindergarten grasp on the science of global warming they canít even see the jokeís on them. Or maybe the science is wrong after all. Maybe the glaciers are going to melt anyway. Maybe sea levels are going to rise anyway. Maybe cutting down rainforests doesnít make a bit of difference.

Who can you trust?

Yourself.

Your conscience.

Do you really want to take the chance? If we do something about it, and it happens anyway, well there was nothing we could have done after all.

If we do something about it, and it makes a difference, weíve saved people we love a lot of pain and suffering. Our children. Our grandchildren.

Iím not saying letís ban all internal combustion engines and stop burning coal for electrical power, yadda yadda yadda. But if we start making some serious moves now, in a few decades we can get something accomplished.

Better safe than sorry.

Thereís no silver spoon in my mouth. Iím not in charge of a major oil company or a first world nation. I just wish everyone would take a hard look at whoís preaching what, and why.

And decide if weíre going to roll the dice ourselves, or let somebody else do it for us. Be careful: They have been known to cheat.