June 9, 2008
Congress Fiddled With Warming While Earth Cooled
Last week Democrats tried to kill the economy in the name of solving a problem that doesn't exist. Republicans should hang this bill around their necks in every district where an incumbent voted for the woefully misnamed and deservedly DOA Climate Security Act, technically S.3036.
Asking Americans to pony up even more at the pump with already record gasoline prices creeping higher almost daily seems offensive enough. But compelling such burden under the guise of moral imperative to curb global warming at a time when the planet is actually cooling rings downright obscene.
And that’s why last week’s cavalcade of Senators opposing the Act -- which would have directed the EPA to decrease emissions of greenhouse gases -- entirely on economic grounds was so confounding.
Don't get me wrong -- the fiscal arguments against the bill's draconian business regulations were inexorable -- its massive consequent spike in energy costs would be nothing short of ruinous to the nation. An April EPA analysis of the bill estimated a 53 cents per gallon increase in the price of gasoline and a 44% jump in electricity costs by 2030 should it become law. Even those figures precariously assumed a 150% increase in nuclear and "significant use of biomass" for electricity generation; otherwise costs will be "significantly higher." Add a projected net loss of almost a trillion dollars in GDP by that very same year and this blatantly socialistic power-grab attempt deserved the pauper's funeral it received on financial grounds alone.
That's without even considering that there's no proof whatsoever that the actions of mankind can influence global temperatures even one degree Celsius in either direction.
With Americans struggling to keep food on the table in lighted rooms of solvent homes as soaring energy costs drive prices painfully northward across the board, a bill that would hemorrhage thousands of additional dollars from each family's survival-chest annually would seem inopportune at best. Indeed, this public display of politicians debating climate science in terms of macroeconomics, while betraying a comprehension of neither by a disturbing majority within their ranks, was a wonder to behold in these truly trying times.
Green dreams were peddled. Imagine the insolence of countering the economic-suicide predicted from arbitrary and inherently unmonitorable CO2 limits with unfounded promises of some imaginary "green job" boom. Or basing short-term impact projections on the advent of renewable energy "technological advances," naively citing alternately the Apollo Mission and Manhattan Project as prognosticators of success's inevitability. And amid all these fantasies, legislating likewise non-existent Carbon capture and sequestration technology shackles upon the only energy source realistically capable of providing the nation's electricity for decades to come: Coal.
Particularly given no proof whatsoever that the actions of mankind can influence global temperatures even one degree Celsius in either direction.
It's no secret how much liberals covet European models for just about everything. Yet, Europe's even less intrusive attempts at cap-and-trade have failed miserably, wreaking havoc upon economies with no significant decrease in atmospheric carbon levels. Britain's efforts to legislate carbon limits have sparked trucker and taxi-driver strikes and protests and even threaten Labor's majority. In fact, climate legislation across the pond has failed so miserably that a new poll found "more than seven in 10 voters insist that they would not be willing to pay higher taxes in order to fund projects to combat climate change."
Yet, despite all the consumer misery endured, CO2 levels in Great Britain still increased by 3.39% between Kyoto ratification in 1997 and 2004. True, the global average was 18.05%, but the United States, whose refusal to ratify allowed continued economic growth, managed a mere 6.57% increase. Compare that to other Kyoto signers like Japan (10.61%), Russia (15.61%) or Italy (15.53%). In fact, lib-beloved France, with all its Carbon pontification, barely beat the US (6.21%), despite deriving the majority of its electricity from carbon-neutral nuclear plants.
S.3036 ostensibly gambled on non-existent technology to accomplish essentially nothing at inescapably catastrophic costs.
The Silence of the Shams
GOP failure to challenge the act's underlying premise of man's influence on climate not only circumvented the strongest case against it, but also set perilous precedent by implying acceptance of the unaccepted in the halls of congress. Such oblique capitulation throughout the MSM, the leftie blogosphere and pop culture has already handed the alarmists a victory of sorts. And a Senate floor debate tacitly based upon the junk which is the Democrats' science can only serve to further dye the fraudulent claim of "consensus" into the ever docile fabric of public psyche.
Consequently, from the outset of the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2008 debate, the greenie claim that the global warming "debate has ended" appeared as though a foregone conclusion. And everyone from Joe Lieberman (I-CT) to John Warner (R-VA) to Barbara Boxer (D-CA) was thus handed the pulpit from which to preach that we have no choice but to act now regardless of the economic fallout involved -- to do otherwise would be downright immoral.
During last week's Democrat radio address Boxer waxed Goraclesque:
"There are some in the Senate who insist that global warming is nothing more than science fiction. These are the same kind of voices who said that the world was flat, cigarettes were safe, cars didn't need air bags -- long after the rest of us knew the truth."
And with this shifty alarmist sleight-of-tongue (intentionally omitting the "anthropogenic" prefix), the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works chair set the tone for debate. Not whether or not mankind's Carbon footprint stinks, but rather what steps are necessary to assuage its feculence.
A June 2nd piece at WaPo lamenting the Senate's probable failure to pass S.3036 (for now) further exemplified the left's disregard for the science by stating that:
"The world has clamored for U.S. leadership on climate change. Yet for seven years the Bush administration denied and dithered while the planet warmed." [emphasis added]
An interesting accusation, particularly considering that the planet stopped warming 2 years before Bush took the oath in 2001, has been cooling since 2002 and that this year's was the fourth coldest May since 1979.
That's right -- the University of Alabama, Huntsville just published its satellite-derived temperature anomalies for May. The figures depict a global temperature drop of 0.195°C between April and May, and a drop of 0.379°C since May of last year. Anthony Watts, one of myriad scientists attributing recent cooling (and global temperature anomalies overall) to the activity of that yellow dwarf star at the center of our solar system and other historically correlative natural forces, notes that: [emphasis in original]
"Even more impressive is the change since the last big peak in global temperature in January 2007 at 0.594°C, giving a 16 month ∆T of -0.774°C which is equal in magnitude to the generally agreed upon ‘global warming signal' of the last 100 years."
Please consider those words carefully.
And also that, as previously noted, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory recently confirmed that an impending phase shift in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation will likely bring colder temperatures for as many as the next 20-30 years.
So amid all the dreadful economics, the Democrats were actually proposing the single largest government intrusion into the nation's economy since WWII rationing in order to stop something that stopped almost 10 years ago. And which, despite continually rising atmospheric CO2 levels, exhibits no signs of restarting.
A socialistic solution in search of a problem if ever there were one.
Das Klima Kapital
Have I mentioned that there's no proof whatever that the actions of mankind can influence global temperatures even one degree Celsius in either direction?
In last Tuesday's NRO, Lawrence Solomon reminded us that Lieberman-Warner is based primarily upon the premise that there exists "scientific consensus on [manmade] global warming." And that this over-talked talking point is based largely upon the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's headline of "2500 Scientific Expert Reviewers."
Even if true, why then does Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine's petition against global warming alarmism continue to add signatures to its over 31,000 scientists, including more than 9,000 with PhDs? Just who are the UN's "expert reviewers" whose opinions have been elevated to the realm of "indisputable?"
Solomon contacted the Secretariat of the IPCC to learn the names of these 2,500 scientists and just what exactly they endorsed. Writes Solomon:
"I planned to canvas them to determine their precise views. The answer that came back from the Secretariat informed me that the names were not public, so I would not be able to survey them, and that the scientists were merely reviewers. The 2,500 had not endorsed the conclusions of the report and, in fact, the IPCC had not claimed that they did. Journalists had jumped to the conclusion that the scientists the IPCC had touted were endorsers and the IPCC never saw fit to correct the record. There is no consensus of 2,500 scientist-endorsers. Moreover, many of those 2,500 reviewers turned thumbs down on the studies that they reviewed - I know this from my own interviews with them, conducted in the course of writing a book about scientists who dispute the conventional wisdom on climate change."
So why champion a bill that gambled on non-existent technology to accomplish essentially nothing at inescapably catastrophic costs to solve a non-problem that no one has the slightest idea how to solve anyway?
Addressing the National Press Club last month, Czech President Vaclav Klaus described the government control over business afforded by cap-and-trade as "something which resembles very much the dreams of communist central planners." And while Lieberman-Warner, which would have extracted trillions of dollars from the economy by selling greenhouse gas credits to American industry, already fit that bill, the so-called Boxer Substitute Amendment would bring a smile to the face of comrade Marx himself. Responding to claims that cap-and-trade would harm poorest Americans the most, Boxer's was a typical liberal fix that "sets aside a nearly $800 billion tax relief fund through 2050, which will help consumers in need of assistance related to energy costs."
Translation - control the nation's commerce while redistributing its profits.
In 1867, Karl Marx argued that capitalism's cycle of labor exploitation could not endlessly sustain itself and would ultimately be its doom. Modern greenies insist that capitalism's cycle of environmental exploitation will not endlessly sustain itself and will ultimately be not only its doom - but the entire planet's.
Cap-and-trade thus represents the perfect liberal synergy of environmentalism and socialism.
With both energy costs and atmospheric carbon levels on the rise while global temperatures fall, one might expect prudent policymakers to adopt a watch-and-wait philosophy over the next 10 years or so. But the envirosocialists are instead feeling the heat to enact their green-red social reforms before the "consensus" lie is exposed -- and the public's hypochondriacal fever cools.
All the more reason why Republican senators should have scooped up handfuls of nascent practical science and with it buried the decaying piles of junk science that shelter the counterfeit arguments coming from the other side of the aisle. And Friday's defeat of S.3036 doesn't change that imperative one iota.
Yes, having failed to muster the 60 votes (48-36) necessary to overcome a GOP filibuster and move to final consideration, Majority Leader Harry Reid was forced to pull the bill from the floor. But with both Presidential nominees supporting cap-and-trade and likely Democrat gains in both houses, this insidious scheme may smell funny, but it's by no means dead. Especially with a majority of the citizenry reading headlines the likes of Republican lawmakers block US climate bill still of the mind that their carbon-spewing lifestyles somehow threaten the world of their descendancy.
So when next the battle wages, government topography, public hysteria and lower energy costs might coalesce to favor the alarmists' scare tactics over the economic realities.
That's why then -- as now and before - disputing and debunking the sham science will be key to curing this greenhouse gas dementia once and for all.
Marc Sheppard is a frequent contributor to American Thinker and welcomes your feedback.