The End of the World, All Over Again

Once again, the sky is falling.  Only this time it's the ocean that is rising, but the narrative is the same.  The world as we know it is coming to an end – that is, unless we enact crippling new carbon taxes, write ever bigger checks to corrupt dictators and U.N. agencies, and reward the host of professional doomsters who are pushing this scam.

The U.N.-sponsored International Climate Conference, which opens in Paris at the end of the month, is already generating more than its share of hot air.  

Once the 85 presidents and prime ministers, and thousands of other bureaucrats, activists, journalists, and lobbyists arrive, the Paris conference will turn into a carbon circus, with every environmentalist in town warning of greater catastrophes.  As such, it will resemble nothing so much as the medieval Dance of Death – the fabled revels of those caught up in the Great Plague, who, according to legend, caroused in the streets in expectation of imminent doom.

The doom this time comes in the form of CO2, a harmless substance that has pervaded the atmosphere in various amounts since the Earth's creation.  Acting on the unproven theory that increased carbon levels raise the Earth's temperatures, the Paris conferees are determined to impose global limits on carbon "pollution."

What the Paris doomsters won't admit is that higher carbon levels of the past 200 years have had little effect if any on global temperatures, and that whatever change may have occurred has been for the good.  Marginally higher temperatures of the past century, whether from human or natural causes, have increased agricultural production since higher CO2  levels prompt faster plant growth and warmer temperatures expand planting zones.  If they were doing their jobs, climate scientists would be calculating how many lives have been saved as a result of higher global temperatures, not the unlikely possibility of celebrity beach homes being flooded in the distant future.

I suspect that most of the Paris conferees really don't care.  They aren't interested in the science; they're interested in dollars – hundreds of billions of dollars, to be transferred from the pockets of U.S. taxpayers to crooked political leaders in developing nations and to environmental activists everywhere.  If the most radical proposals of climate alarmists were to be implemented in full, the effect on climate would be imperceptible.  The ocean would rise or fall, according to natural cycles, and storms would be no better or worse.

Climate activists know this.  Even the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, hardly a disinterested party, lowered its 2014 predictions of global temperatures and potential damage.  What's really at stake in Paris is cold, hard cash.  

The Paris doomsters aren't interested in the record of storms, either.  With the end of the Atlantic hurricane season just weeks away, not one hurricane has made significant landfall in the U.S. in the last ten years.  (Superstorm Sandy made landfall in the Northeast as a tropical storm, having touched the Outer Banks as a Category One hurricane.)  How is it that fewer catastrophic storms are occurring, in the U.S. and elsewhere, as CO2 levels continue to rise?

No worries! Government agencies continue to skew the data to overcome the inconvenient facts.  Just ahead of the Paris conference, NOAA "adjusted" its findings to rebut data that showed global temperatures falling over the past 15 years, not rising.  Apparently, when money and power are at stake, science takes a back seat.

Make no mistake: the money and power are huge.  What's at stake is, in effect, a global takeover of the entire energy sector and everything dependent on energy, from oil and gas to electric utilities to construction and transportation.  World leaders are salivating over what could be done with the profits from those industries: the votes to be bought, the arms purchased to repress one's own people, the permanent subjection of liberty.  Global hoodlums have been trying to get their hands on this pile of cash for 30 years, ever since environmentalists began issuing their speculative claims of global warming, and now they see their chance.

According to reports, the major obstacle to an agreement has nothing to do with achieving the goal of controlling global temperatures – something that is impossible to accomplish, in any case.  The main obstacle under discussion is how much the world's developed nations will fork over to developing nations.  One hundred billion dollars, the goal of the failed Copenhagen climate summit, has been deemed insufficient.  Third-world fraudsters have their sights set on much greater sums.

If Obama agrees to these demands, as he may by amending the 1992 Kyoto treaty – thus bypassing the need for Senate approval – the sky really will begin falling, and the Dance of Death can commence.  It will be a Dance of Death, quite literally, for all those in the developing world who live on the margin of survival and who see their commodity and grain prices increase as a consequence of global carbon restrictions.  It will also be a metaphorical Dance of Death for American business, especially for the utility and energy sectors but for others as well.  Stricter regulations for transportation firms means lower profits and fewer jobs.  Energy costs for schools, hospitals, and the public sector will increase.  Carbon regulation is a tax that filters through the entire economy.

In the thick of all this doom and gloom, President Obama will be there, nose held high, basking in the glory of his environmental "legacy."  That legacy will not lower the Earth's temperatures or cause the oceans to part, as he imagines, but it will raise the cost of everything produced by the global economy.  The burden will fall on all consumers but most heavily on the poor.  For a middle-class couple, a 20% increase in utility bills is an annoyance; for a poor family, it can drive them to a homeless shelter.  For the world's poorest, it means starvation.

Maybe the sky is falling after all, but not as a result of global warming.  It's falling because of the unconstrained greed and arrogance of global leaders like President Obama.  If a global agreement is reached to take control of the energy sector, it will be the end for the U.S. and other developed nations.  Decades from now, we will realize that there was never any danger of a climate catastrophe, but a greater catastrophe will have taken place.  Governments will control one of the last relatively free sectors of the economy, and they'll use those profits to imprison their own people.   

The response of the American people to this dangerous nonsense should be "not one penny."  Not one penny for developing countries to squander on eco-schemes that would make Solyndra look like a charity ball.  Not one penny on new regulations restricting energy production in developed countries.  Not one penny of new mandates for green energy sourcing for utilities.  Not one penny for third-world dictators to enrich themselves and their cronies, or for government anywhere to squander on any of their corrupt schemes.     

Jeffrey Folks is the author of many books and articles on American culture including Heartland of the Imagination (2011).