Sept. 30–What scares you the most?
Well, if you’re a Democrat, it could be “global climate change.” According to a recent Pew Research Center poll, 68 percent of Democrats rank that topic as a major threat to the United States — a bigger threat, by a few percentage points, than Islamic terrorism. (Which, as we all know, isn’t really Islamic at all.) About 79 percent of Republicans consider terrorism a major threat, however, while just 25 percent are alarmed by bad weather.
And so it was appropriate that, in twin speeches to the United Nations last week, President Obama’s first rhetorical attack on a perceived worldwide threat targeted not Islamic terrorists cutting off the heads of innocent Americans — as happened in Oklahoma earlier this month — but the so-called “greenhouse gases” that are supposedly frying the planet and threatening our doom.
I say “supposedly” because, according to actual science as opposed to computer-generated predictions, there has been no global warming for nearly 18 years. That inconvenient truth has been attributed to everything from heat trapped in oceans to solar activity to volcanic emissions, but the fact remains that increased atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide do not inevitably produce higher temperatures.
In fact, ice near Antarctica hit record levels two years ago, a development some scientists blamed on — you guessed it — global warming.
I’m no scientist, so I won’t try to argue argue with well-educated people who insist that the dire effects of global warming are being masked, often by naturally occurring events. But if Mother Nature can make global warming appear less severe than it really is, can the reverse not also be true?
A new study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Washington, for example, determined that much of the warming along the West Coast has been caused by natural changes in wind, not humans.
But there was no room for ambiguity in Obama’s speech to the U.N. climate summit, or in the street demonstrations in New York and other cities that preceded it. Instead, the president promised to do even more to cut carbon emissions — without the consent of Congress and voters if necessary — even though it could dramatically increase the cost of energy and lessen its availability.
Only a fool wants to live on a polluted planet, and only the suicidal are willing to live in a way that will cause their own extinction. But you don’t have to look very deep to understand that the global-warming crusade has more to do with economics, politics and a secular brand of religion than it does with saving the planet.
There is an undeniable strain of anti-capitalism and anti-industrialism in the movement (a News-Sentinel letter to the editor this week urged an end to meat consumption to reduce carbon emissions). There is, too, a widespread sentiment that the ends are so important that victory justifies any means. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology, in fact, was recently caught adjusting data in order to reflect warming temperatures when the opposite was true, and similar examples of fact-fudging have been reported elsewhere.
But the real smoking gun is this: If global warming were really the threat Democrats and others insist it is, efforts to control it would not regularly exempt the world’s major polluter from corrective action. And while Obama did indeed tell the U.N. that China must do more, Chinese leaders seem as uninterested as the Global Carbon Project, which continues to support enforcement exemptions for China.
Forty years ago, many climate alarmists were warning of another ice age, making it fitting that this past winter was one of the coldest on record in various parts of the U.S.
Does that prove anything, one way or another? No, but neither does bogus data or wishful thinking. The very existence of global warming is something about which intelligent people my disagree, and mankind’s culpability is more suspect still.
In other words, we should protect the environment for our benefit, not the planet’s. We don’t do that by wrecking the economy or people’s well-being in pursuit of something that is more faith than fact.
Why else are people asked if they “believe” in global warming — and branded as heretical “deniers” when they’re merely agnostic?
ISIS, on the other hand, is all too real. And even Obama admits we’ll have to burn a lot of oil to defeat it.
This column is the commentary of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of The News-Sentinel. Email Kevin Leininger at email@example.com or call him at 461-8355.