- The Washington Times - Friday, February 1, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Yesterday a little-heard-of climate catastrophe advocacy group, Focus the Nation, launched its national “teach-in.” The night before, it aired “The 2 Percent Solution” as a national Web cast on Earth Day Network TV. In the midst of concerns about the economy and national security, is climate change where the nation’s attention should be “focused?”

Voter polls show the environment (including global warming) is very low on the list of Americans’ concerns. For example, a survey for the St. Louis Post Dispatch showed 23 percent of Missouri voters believe “economy/jobs” is the most important issue for determining their vote for president. The Iraq war topped the list of concerns for 13 percent of these heartlanders; followed by immigration (12 percent); and homeland security and health care (tied at 11 percent). Environment/global warming was tied with six other issues for ninth place, registering as the most important issue with only 2 percent of these swing-state voters.

So why should anyone pay attention to the activities of Focus the Nation? Because this project is a prime example of a well-orchestrated effort to mobilize young people using one-sided indoctrination methods under the guise of “teaching” and “focusing.” Focus the Nation has spent a year signing up 1,450 groups at K-12 schools, churches and universities to participate in their teach-in.

The advocacy group’s Web cast, “The 2 Percent Solution,” featured Stanford climate scientist Stephen Schneider, green jobs promoter Van Jones and sustainability guru Hunter Lovins. Actor Edward Norton also offered his scientific expertise in support of Focus the Nation’s activities.

The 2 percent solution is to simply reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2 percent a year over the next 40 years to get to a reduction of 80 percent by 2050. But the catastrophists that Focus presents as the experts on global warming believe we have less than a decade, not 40 years, to achieve this reduction to hold global warming in check.

Despite the usual disclaimer that this group is nonpartisan and doesn’t support any specific legislation, the ultimate aim of Focus the Nation is to mobilize its participating groups to do just that. Armed with a one-sided view of the science and no real understanding of economic consequences, these groups are to “focus” on demanding that elected officials at every level of government pass laws to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

If Americans are most worried about the economy and jobs, they should not ignore the efforts of climate change catastrophists to push laws that will drastically raise the price of energy. A balance between environmental protection and low-cost energy production is needed to continue economic prosperity for us all. Let’s focus on achieving that balance.

Kenneth W. Chilton is director of the Institute for Study of Economics and the Environment at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo.

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