Guest essay Paul Driessen
The heat is on! Not the unusual winter warmth in much of the United States – but the unrelenting heat generated by propaganda and pressure campaigns that the White House, EPA, Big Green and news media are unleashing in the wake of the Paris climate agreement … and as a prelude to the 2016 elections.
A recent Washington Post editorial laid out the strategy. The long-term warming trend is “concerning.” Maybe we can’t blame this year’s strong El Niño “squarely on climate change,” but “one paper” says the number of strong El Niño years could double. Obama’s “landmark” carbon dioxide regulations “played a key role” in securing an “unprecedented” international climate deal that could eventually compel all nations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, to “avoid serious risks” of climate catastrophes.
Above all, we must “build on 2015’s climate progress.” There must be no backpedalling on the Paris accord, EPA regulations, or replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy. Above all, no “fishing expeditions designed to personally discredit scientists and undermine peer-reviewed research” that supports the elimination of carbon-based fuels. Republican claims are mere “bluster” and “buffoonery.”
Never mind that White House and EPA events, the Paris climate conference, the Vatican climate summit and even Science magazine have offered virtually no forum for numerous scientists who contest claims that humans are causing “dangerous manmade climate change” to present their case or debate alarmist witnesses and officials. Never mind that climate chaos claims look increasingly flimsy.
A fundamental principle is at stake here: policies and rules that affect our lives, livelihoods and living standards must be based on honesty, accountability and verifiable scientific evidence.
The Justice Department has sued Volkswagen on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency. They want up to $18 billion dollars in penalties, because VW installed special software that caused its diesel cars to emit fewer pollutants during tests used to ensure compliance with emission regulations. The falsified tests allegedly duped American consumers into purchasing 580,000 diesel-powered vehicles.
Federal prosecutors are also conducting criminal probes of Volkswagen and its executives. Countless other civil and criminal investigations and prosecutions have companies and citizens in their crosshairs. Such actions are often warranted, even if the draconian incarceration and monetary penalties are not.
No one should be victimized by fraud or other criminal activities, by private companies – or by government agencies and bureaucrats, or third parties they hire and use to validate their policies.
Equally important, no one forces us to buy a VW or any other car. But when it comes to laws and regulations, we have no choice. Submit, or else. If those rules are based on dishonesty – on emission deception at massive, unprecedented levels in the case of climate – we pay a huge, unacceptable price:
Our taxes support science that may be manipulated and fabricated. More taxes fund regulatory behemoths that target energy producers and energy-dependent industries, while giving billions in subsidies to crony-corporatist allies. Still more tax money is transferred to alarmists like Michael Mann and Jagedish Shukla, who launch vicious attacks on skeptics. And the resulting regulations inflict soaring energy costs that kill jobs and hammer families, companies, hospitals, schools and communities, for few or no benefits.
Congress has every right to investigate this. Indeed, legislators are duty-bound to ferret out fraud and abuse. These are not “fishing expeditions.” They seek to determine the reliability and integrity of data and studies presented to support enormously expensive policies, and ascertain the veracity of government officials and tax-supported scientists who want more power and too often refuse to answer questions.
EPA and Justice Department investigators demand full disclosure and tolerate no obstruction, obfuscation or misleading information. This is fitting and proper. But why should we and our elected representatives have to tolerate such actions by heavy-handed regulators who want to control every aspect of our lives, but routinely hide their data and methodologies, and refuse to be held accountable?
There are good reasons to doubt their climate chaos assertions, and even their integrity. What little warming our planet has experienced in the past 19 years is measured in hundredths of a degree, especially when adjusted for the El Niño effect that transfers warm surface Pacific Ocean temperatures to the atmosphere. The warming that has the Post, Mr. Obama and EPA in a tizzy began around 1850, as Earth emerged from a 500-year-long Little Ice Age – which by happy coincidence for climate alarmists also marks the beginning of the Industrial Revolution that they blame for most warming in recent decades.
Hurricanes and tornadoes, storms, droughts, polar ice and sea levels are all within the realm of historic experience. There is nothing “unprecedented” about them, and certainly nothing to justify shutting down our carbon-based energy system, restructuring our economy, or redistributing our hard-earned wealth to countries that are not bound by any energy and emission reductions agreed to in Paris.
The fracking revolution proves we are not running out of oil or natural gas. That means we have a century or more to develop affordable, reliable replacement energy technologies. It means environmental radicals now have only climate cataclysm hysteria to justify demands that we abandon hydrocarbons. It explains why they’ve concocted the fairytale that CO2 is “acidifying” oceans that are and will remain firmly alkaline, and why they have been in regulatory hyperdrive during Obama’s final years in office.
However, as Secretary of State John Kerry admitted in Paris, even if all the industrialized nations’ CO2 emissions declined to zero, “it wouldn’t be enough [to prevent alleged climate disaster], not when more than 65% of the world’s carbon pollution comes from the developing world.” Even assuming that carbon dioxide does drive climate change, all the costly, job-killing regulations that EPA is imposing would prevent an undetectable 0.018 degrees Celsius (0.032 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century.
Earth’s climate fluctuates regularly. What actual evidence do climate alarmists have that recent changes are dangerous, unprecedented, and due to fossil fuel use? That any warming above 1.5 degrees C (2.7 F) would be catastrophic? (A cooler planet would be much worse for wildlife, people and agriculture.)
What actual evidence do they have that government can control climate and weather by limiting the amount of plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide that humans emit into the atmosphere? That justifies letting anti-energy activists and bureaucrats “fundamentally transform” our entire energy and economic system?
Why do they refuse to present their asserted evidence for all to see – amid robust debate and cross-examination – and try to defend their “97% consensus” science? Why do some of them think “climate deniers” are mentally ill for questioning the manmade climate Armageddon mantra?
President Obama insists that climate change is the biggest problem facing America. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders seem to agree. They all think Bigger Government is the answer.
The citizenry fundamentally disagrees. One recent Gallup poll found that Americans view our already huge government, the economy, jobs and terrorism as the biggest threats facing our nation. Pollution came in at #23; global warming didn’t even register among 48 listed issues. Another Gallup study found that 69% of all Americans (88% of Republicans) say Big Government is the most serious threat we face.
That is what this year’s elections are all about.
How much bigger (or smaller) will our government become? Who gets to rule your lives: We the People, or another dictatorial president and her army of faceless, unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats? What will the future hold for our lives, liberties, livelihoods and living standards?
Get informed. Get involved. Get to the polls. Better yet, take a page out of the Democrats’ playbook: get to the polls early, vote often, and make sure your dead friends and relatives vote too.