Monday, 12 October 2009

Global Warming: Scaring Up More Controls

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Obama UN climateItem: “The United Nations is planning a form of diplomatic shock therapy for world leaders this week in the hope of injecting badly needed urgency into negotiations for a climate change treaty that, it is now widely acknowledged, are dangerously adrift,” reported London’s Observer for September 20. “By the end of the day,” the British paper continued, “the rationale goes, the leaders will be imbued with a new sense of purpose. Leaders of rich countries will have been galvanised to take on the big emissions cuts — 25-40% over the next decade, 80% by 2050 — needed to keep temperatures from rising more than two degrees above pre-industrial levels.”

Item: Speaking at the United Nations Summit on Climate Change on September 22, President Barack Obama contended: “No nation, however large or small, wealthy or poor, can escape the impact of climate change. Rising sea levels threaten every coastline. More powerful storms and floods threaten every continent. More frequent drought and crop failures breed hunger and conflict in places where hunger and conflict already thrive. On shrinking islands, families are already being forced to flee their homes as climate refugees.”

Item: “Barack Obama’s call for action on climate change and his admission that rich nations have a particular responsibility to lead has received strong praise” from former Cuban communist dictator Fidel Castro, reported the Associated Press for September 23 — although the AP did not use the words “communist dictator.”

Correction: The drumbeat of propaganda over global warming has grown to deafening levels, with often hysterical claims drowning out facts. Indeed, since global mean temperatures have been essentially flat for this decade, the term “warming” is being downplayed by the alarmists in favor of “climate change” — with the would-be panic-mongers discounting the fact that the world’s climate has always been changing, with man’s activities having relatively little impact on it.

Some of us still remember when Newsweek and other mass media outlets said that a new Ice Age was imminent. Because of the presumed global cooling, said the magazine on April 28, 1975, “The drop in food output could begin quite soon, perhaps only in ten years. The resulting famines could be catastrophic.” One proposed “solution” offered by experts: melt the Arctic ice cap.

Sadly for the Chicken Littles, the heavens didn’t collapse. New crises were needed to convince the world’s peoples to act appropriately: give up their rights, freedoms, and wealth for “justice” or “safety.” So now we are supposed to run in circles because polar ice might melt. Sometimes there is a little science on which to hang a theory, but isn’t really necessary because there are another agendas involved — the sort that globalists and communists agree upon when the ends justify the means.

As Canada’s Environment Minister Christine Stewart put it (as quoted by the Calgary Herald in 1998): “No matter if the science is all phony, there are collateral environmental benefits.... Climate change [provides] the greatest chance to bring about justice and equality in the world.” Similarly, consider the remarks of Tim Wirth, the former Colorado Democrat Congressman and Senator, who was Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs during the Clinton Administration and since 1998 has been president of the United Nations Foundation. As a legislator, Wirth proclaimed: “We’ve got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing, in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.”

Being pushed are laws and regulations that would level down advanced nations. Steven Hayward, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, noted: “To meet the target the climate campaigners have set, the U.S., Europe and Japan will have to replace virtually their entire fossil-fuel energy infrastructure. For the U.S., the 80% target means reducing fossil-fuel greenhouse-gas emissions to a level the nation last experienced in 1910. On a per-capita basis, we’d have to go back to the level of about 1875.”

Could the United Nations, Barack Obama, and Fidel Castro all be wrong? In a word, yes. Rebutting point by point the President’s remarks at the UN, Myron Ebell had the temerity to use facts, pointing out in Canada’s Financial Post:

• “The rate of sea level rise has not increased in recent decades over the 19th and 20th century average.”
• “There is no upward global trend in storms or floods.”
• “There is no upward global trend in major droughts. Reversals in large-scale cycles have meant that the southward march of the Sahara Desert into the Sahel has been reversed in recent years and the Sahara is now shrinking.”
• “Some Pacific islanders may want to emigrate to New Zealand or Australia and are claiming that their islands are disappearing as the reason, but shrinkage has been minimal in recent decades because sea level rise has been minimal.”

If the cap-and-trade legislation on Capitol Hill were enacted, said Ebell, the director of energy and global-warming policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., it “would consign the economy to perpetual stagnation and make the U.S. into a second-rate economic power.”

This may help explain why the UN and Fidel Castro are helping to drive these schemes. The United States would become less competitive in the world; more jobs would be lost; disposable income would fall; and energy costs for American businesses and individuals would rise.

There is no doubt that Washington realizes the potential damage of harsh financial and regulatory responses, but the administration is more than willing to stamp its carbon footprint vigorously on the public. The pain would be considerable. As the Competitive Enterprise Institute has explained:

Global warming cap-and-trade costs could hit $300 billion annually, the Treasury Department admitted in documents released [September 18] — late in the afternoon and on the day of the Jewish New Year celebration. The same documents had been released by Treasury earlier this week but had important parts redacted....

The new information reveals that Treasury estimates that not only could cap and trade cost $300 billion annually, “domestic policies to address climate change and the related issues of energy security and affordability will involve significant costs and potential revenues, possibly up to several percentage points of annual GDP (i.e., equal in size to the corporate income tax).”

Meanwhile, India and China — where 400 million and 500 million people, respectively, have no electricity — are not going to handcuff themselves to appease the Birkenstock crowd. In point of fact, if the United States and other advanced nations were to commit economic hari-kari without those large polluters, it wouldn’t even help with the supposed global-warming crisis. As Steven Hayward put in the Wall Street Journal:

If the world is going to hit the 80% target, nations like China and India need to be held to big emissions cuts. Why? Even if the U.S. and other industrialized nations somehow achieved the 80% reduction target, it would have virtually no climate benefit because of soaring emissions from developing nations. As the International Energy Agency concluded, the major nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development “alone cannot put the world onto the path to [the] 450-ppm trajectory, even if they were to reduce their emissions to zero.”

Meanwhile, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu has been babbling of late about how Americans are akin to “teenage kids” when it comes to the use of energy, rationalizing his efforts to change our behavior to suit the government. This is the same Dr. Chu who believes that “all the world’s roofs should be painted white as part of efforts to slow global warming.” No doubt white roofs would also offer better protection when the sky falls.

— Photo: AP Images