Global Warming Gone AWOL
On Tuesday morning, Bostonians awakened to a temperature of 9 degrees, with a predicted high of 23. Another 5 inches of snowfall was expected. Obviously, it was the result of global warming.
It's not just Boston. So far this year, the entire eastern two thirds of the country has experienced one of the coldest autumns on record, and winter has not even begun.
It was the same last year, and has been for much of the past decade. On balance, temperatures have been colder than normal for most of the country. Yet the media is fixated on reports of polar ice shrinking (it expanded this year, with Antarctic sea ice increasing to a 35-year high) and superstorms threatening America's coastal communities (in fact, no major hurricane has struck the U.S. since Wilma in 2005 -- "superstorm" Sandy being an "extra-tropical cyclone" not of hurricane strength).
Ensconced in their comfy New York studios, or traveling to more glamorous locales, mainstream news anchors don't seem to realize what is happening in the country they're reporting on. During the recent mid-continental ice storms, historic in their effects on Dallas and other population centers, every major anchor was firmly entrenched in Johannesburg, South Africa, days before the Mandela funeral. The arctic blast, which directly affected 100 million Americans, got about two minutes' coverage each night.
Is it just that the networks are stubborn and refuse to admit they're wrong? Or is there an underlying agenda that has nothing to do with the facts of the Earth's climate?
Probably both. But greater damage results from the underlying agenda. The media, and the governmental, academic, and non-profit establishment behind it, refuse to admit defeat because of vested interests greater than anything one can imagine. What is at stake is nothing less than the future of American democracy, and the environmental left is dead-set against its survival.
The fundamental nature of environmental thinking, as it has evolved from the efforts of earlier, well-intentioned leaders to reform air and water standards, involves an obsession with regulation and control. A corollary of this controlling mentality is a reflexive opposition to economic growth. Instead of developing our resources and seeing the nation prosper, the modern-day environmental goal is reversion to something resembling the state of nature. It is not only "no growth"; it is negative growth, dragging us back to the Stone Age.
But it is not just freeing the Earth of the footprint of man -- it is the relationship among men that the environmental left is most interested in. Or to be more precise, what they are seek is the control of the mass of men by a self-appointed elite.
That vision of the future is apparent in countless books, articles, and online posts familiar to anyone who delves into environmentalist literature. Paul Ehrlich popularized the message in books like The Population Bomb in 1968 (arguing that population growth would overwhelm the Earth's resources) and The End of Affluence in 1975 (with warnings of catastrophic food shortages and destruction resulting from pesticides). From "peak oil" (wrong) to the "death of capitalism" (even more wrong), environmental leaders have sought excuses to block every attempt at industrial and resource development. In the name of climate change and other pretexts, they have managed to slow if not stop countless projects that would have brought job growth and prosperity to millions.
It's not just the Keystone XL pipeline that is at risk. It's all existing coal-fired power plants, for which the EPA is set to issue new guidelines in 2014. In addition, as the Daily Caller reported, the EPA is preparing 134 new regulations, and the EPA is only one of many Obama agencies working to restrict resource development.
Things have gotten a lot worse with the recent appointment of John Podesta as senior advisor to the president. As the Wall Street Journal pointed out, Podesta has long been a supporter of environmentalist causes. Now that he is officially advising the president, we can expect increased control of the private sector in the name of regulating carbon emissions. Step by step, the left is proceeding with the nationalization of the energy sector -- along with health care, banking, transportation, education, and the rest of the economy.
None of this activity has anything to do with the threat of climate change. Over the long term, the Earth's climate oscillates through grand cycles of warming and cooling. Humans cannot stop climate variation -- not unless they can stop volcanoes, ocean currents, forest fires resulting from lightning strikes, variations in cloud cover and water vapor levels, and solar flare cycles. The U.K.'s Express recently published a list of 100 reasons as to why global warming (and cooling) are natural rather than man-made. Altogether, there is incontrovertible evidence that natural forces are a major cause of climate change.
Environmentalists are not listening to this evidence. Even when reasonable scientists assert that both natural and man-made forces contribute to global temperature levels, the left insists that man-made forces must be the decisive factor. And this even when past changes in global temperatures, vastly more dramatic than those taking place today, were unquestionably the result of natural factors alone.
Environmentalists are not listening because their real intent is not to stop climate change. The left's goal, as always, is to enslave the world's population in the name of protecting them.
Protecting the world's population from climate change, protecting them from "greedy capitalists," protecting them from "systemic risk" -- it doesn't matter what the excuse is. Most modern-day environmentalists are leftists, and the central belief of the left, going back to Karl Marx, is that all power must be transferred to a political elite that will rule, and rule forever, in the name of the people. That "vanguard" of the proletariat now gathers daily at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, plotting its next assault on the American people. And it has found environmental causes a convenient pretext for the expansion of its power.
Jeffrey Folks is the author of many books on American politics and culture, including Heartland of the Imagination (2013).