Kerry's hot air about cold air

Secretary of State John Kerry can get pretty hot under the collar when it comes to global warming.  Even though his elevated position in the world largely isolates him from its vagaries, he nevertheless has plenty to say about how the rest of us should behave in a responsible manner.

Kerry's ministrations on the dangers of global warming go back a while.  Over two years ago, he described climate change as a weapon of mass destruction far more menacing than nuclear or chemical weapons.  He pegged the greatest terrorist on Earth as none other than Ma Nature.  Back then, noxious pollutants from automobile exhaust and industrial waste were considered the chief culprits, which did not curtail Kerry's extensive globe-trotting in a private jet at the expense of taxpayers – and, incidentally, of the environment!

Secretary Kerry's stern patrician visage has developed a nervous tic: an annoying habit of rapidly flicking his tongue over his bottom lip.  (Among certain aboriginal tribes, this might have significance.)  Obviously, he finds a lot to be nervous about these days.  The approaching end of his tenure as secretary of state, for one.  Artificial cooling for another.

At a recent meeting to renegotiate the 1987 Montreal Protocol on climate change, Kerry delivered some frightening news, this time about air conditioning systems and other forms of refrigeration.  Some of us have been around long enough to remember when ice was the agent for keeping food from spoilage and contamination.  A friend of mine had a home on the site of an old ice house on the banks of the Hudson River, where slabs of frozen water were hacked out in winter, stored, and eventually shipped downriver to crowded cities.

Strangely enough, the same guy who has all along freaked out over global warming is now equally upset about the methods of cooling it down.  The modern invention that saved countless human lives from heat prostration is now considered more of a scourge than a blessing.

Predictably, the left-wing press is in a tailspin over what it perceives as a misrepresentation of Kerry's words.  Daily News reporter Gersh Kuntzman accused critics of "twisting a harmless remark of Kerry."  He went on to praise the 1987 Montreal Protocol as "a successful environmental treaty … that phased out chemicals threatening the environment. "  If this is the case, why is there still such concern over the proliferation of global warming – and why is the treaty being "renegotiated"?

Here is what Kerry said:

The use of hydrofluorocarbons is unfortunately growing. Already the HFCs used in refrigerators, air-conditioners, exhalers and other items are emitting an entire gigaton of carbon dioxide-equivalent of pollution into the atmosphere annually. Now if that sounds like a lot … it's because it is. It's the equivalent to emission from nearly 500 coal-fired power plants every year.

Another cheery liberal message!

If there's one thing Kerry can't be accused of, it's practicing what he preaches.  I doubt he strides into a posh overseas hotel in summer demanding that the air conditioning in his room be shut off at once.  I question whether he and Teresa have voluntarily ordered the removal of the state-of-the-art refrigerators and upscale air conditioning systems that bring comfort and convenience to their various mansions.

To his credit, Kerry is conscientious about occasionally shaking loose from the cooled corridors of power to participate in outdoor sports.  It is said that his aides routinely sign him up for marathon bike rides across the glorious European landscape.  (My guess is that China and India would be too smoggy for his exacting tastes.)  He's a pretty impressive figure on his streamlined bike, though he did take a tumble not long ago and hobbled around a while.  But there's more glamor to being injured in that fashion than by, say, tripping over a toy on the kitchen floor.

Kerry may find himself with more time for the sporting life come January 23.  Still, he 's an old political dog who likes to remain in the fight.  So it behooves him to position himself for his next power play.  Like former vice president Al Gore, the present secretary of state could well be considering a worthy cause that provides worthy profit for the promoter.  Al's outrageously self-serving "cap and trade" boondoggle multiplied his good fortune many times over.  The cash-strapped Clintons amassed unimaginable wealth through international schemes and skullduggery.

In looking to the future, Secretary Kerry would be wise to "chill out" with the smart set who champion his concerns.  He'll have plenty of takers, because global warming is a cause that can be easily ballyhooed with a minimum of personal sacrifice.  All it takes to represent oneself as a true believer are incendiary rhetoric and a recycled shopping bag.  Nobody bothers to check electric bills, gas consumption, or recyclable trash.

The switcheroo from tilting at windmills to railing against refrigerators could well guarantee a bright future for John Kerry.