- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 15, 2009

REAL SCIENCE

“It is not enough for climate scientists and environment ministers to go to Copenhagen and tell each other how right they are. They also need to convince the public. National politics — the democratic process — is awfully inconvenient sometimes, but cannot be waved away,” Clive Crook writes in the Financial Times.

“The climate-science establishment — scientists subscribing to the global-warming consensus and most governments, judging by words, not deeds — understands this. This is why the Copenhagen meeting has a theatrical aspect; it is as much about public relations as about serious efforts to confront global warming,” Mr. Crook said.

“The experts are intent on stirring up — they would say ‘educating’ — public opinion. From their own point of view, however, they are making a hash of it. …

“Consider the response to Climategate — the scandal over e-mails from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. The e-mails showed some of the worlds leading climate scientists talking about a statistical ‘trick’ to ‘hide the decline’ in a proxy measure of temperature, musing over how to keep dissenters out of the literature, discussing the deletion of data that might be subject to Freedom of Information Act requests, and more.

“Any fair-minded person would regard those exchanges as raising questions. On the face of it, these are not the standards one expects of science. Nor is this just any science. The work of these researchers is being used to press the case for economic policies with colossal adjustment costs. Plainly, the highest standards of intellectual honesty and openness are called for. The e-mails do not attest to such standards.

“Yet how did the establishment respond? It said that this is how science is done in the real world.”

UNACCEPTABLE

“Far too many of our family, friends and neighbors have lost their jobs as the auto companies have gone through painful restructuring and manufacturing jobs have been outsourced to lower-wage nations. There is no more pressing issue facing America than getting our economy moving again so jobs can be created,” Rep. Candice S. Miller, Michigan Republican, writes in the Detroit News.

“That is why the endangerment finding last week by the Obama administration’s Environmental Protection Agency administrator that could trigger regulation of greenhouse-gas emissions is so troubling. The announcement coincided with President Obama’s trip to the U.N. climate change summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, in a seeming sop to the international community to show movement on this issue in the United States,” Mrs. Miller said.

“In June, the House of Representatives passed a cap-and-trade carbon bill with a goal to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions as a response to global climate change. The Senate has yet to take up that legislation.

“If the House bill were passed, the National Association of Manufacturers projects 2.4 million net jobs would be lost. The federal government’s Energy Information Administration projects 2.3 million net jobs would be lost.

“No wonder a job-killing plan like cap-and-trade has stalled in Congress.

“The EPA move apparently is designed to force congressional action. Sen. Richard J. Durbin, the second-ranking Democrat in the Senate, chillingly said in response to the EPA announcement, ‘If we don’t come up with a reasonable way to reduce CO2 and greenhouse-gas emissions working with business and labor and interest groups, then we may face decisions by the EPA which are very tough on a lot of people.’

“In other words: Either enact legislation that we know will destroy millions of jobs or the EPA will destroy even more.

“These choices are unacceptable and unfathomable, given recent revelations that raise real questions about the science that has been relied upon to prop up the threat of man-caused global warming.”

HEALTH HYSTERIA

“Remember last week’s health care deal? The one that was going to save health care reform? Well, it increasingly looks like (as predicted) it wasn’t much of one — and mostly because of Sen. Joe Lieberman,” Reason magazine’s Peter Suderman writes at reason.org.

“Lieberman, who’d previously taken a squishy position on the deal’s Medicare buy-in plan, has said that he no longer favors the idea, and cannot support reform if it includes either an expansion of Medicare or a public option. Given that Sen. Ben Nelson is expressing similar reservations, and Sen. Olympia Snowe — the one Republican who’s signaled any willingness to consider voting for reform - has also expressed opposition to the Medicare buy-in, that leaves Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid without the requisite 60 votes,” Mr. Suderman said.

“Conservatives are already gloating, while liberals, not surprisingly, are furious. Ezra Klein writes that Lieberman ‘seems willing to cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in order to settle an old electoral score.’ Matthew Yglesias says he’s demonstrated a ‘willingness to embrace sociopathic indifference to the human cost of their actions.’ And TNR’s Jonathan Cohn suggests that this could count as a ‘double cross.’ Yet Democrats may find it difficult to punish the senator: As TPM’s Brian Beutler tweets, ‘There may be penalties for Lieberman. But he can just say, “Fine by me … I’m your 60th [vote] on everything!’ ”

RESTIVE LIBERALS

Democrats are having fun highlighting the ‘civil war’ within the Republican Party, but their schadenfreude may be short-lived. Conservative and moderate Democrats are failing one liberal litmus test after another, stoking not just frustration on the left, but also potential primary challenges,” Jill Lawrence writes at www.politicsdaily.com.

“The list of those tests starts with the public option, a proposed government-sponsored health insurance plan that appears to be losing ground on Capitol Hill despite continued popularity in opinion polls. And that’s just the beginning. As filing deadlines approach, particularly for later primaries, restive liberals could expand their scrutiny to votes on abortion, global warming, Afghanistan, gay rights and labor issues,” the columnist said.

” ‘Democrats are generally discouraged across the board because they don’t feel that anything’s getting accomplished,’ says Ben Tribbett, executive director of the Accountability Now Political Action Committee. Already there’s the real possibility that Arkansas Lt. Gov. Bill Halter will challenge Sen. Blanche Lincoln, who has voted against a public option and is sagging in state polls.”

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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