- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 22, 2010

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The purported science behind the global-warming fad is in full retreat these days, but word has yet to reach the White House. President Obama is determined to promote the alleged climate crisis as a lever for pushing through his big-government agenda. The O Force doesn’t believe in wasting a crisis, even if it’s a mirage.

In mid-March, the White House Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force did its bit for climate terror. “Climate-change impacts are pervasive, wide-ranging and affect the core systems of our society: transportation, ecosystems, agriculture, business, infrastructure, water and energy, among others,” its report stated. The panel also expressed concern that “Climate change already is affecting the ability of federal agencies to fulfill their missions,” which - if true - many Americans would view as a positive development.

This month, the State Department released the draft of the 2010 Climate Action Report, as required by the United Nations. The report makes the blanket statement that global warming “is due primarily to human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases,” despite growing skepticism about this claim in the scientific community. This new document is based on the “Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States” report from June 2009, which uncritically used the increasingly discredited 2007 U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change study as a base line and then extrapolated a series of improbable disaster scenarios.

The government claims that climate change is leading to, among other things, drought, heavy downpours, disease, poor air quality and extreme weather events. But reality stubbornly refuses to cooperate with the alarmists. There has been no noteworthy increase in tornadoes, sea levels, drought, climate-related disease or air pollution over the past two decades. The polar ice cap has grown back to around its 1999 dimensions. Cyclonic activity has declined 60 percent in the past five years despite frantic claims by post-Katrina alarmists that, by now, increasingly deadly storms would be stalking our coastal cities.

The State Department study contains a few inconvenient truths for the climate-change alarmists. U.S. energy consumption per person peaked sometime in the 1970s and since has declined and flattened. Greenhouse gases emitted by industry peaked in the mid-1990s and have since declined. Since 1990, total greenhouse gas emissions per unit of gross domestic product have declined almost 30 percent. Emissions per capita have basically flatlined since 1990. Strip away the alarmism, and where is the crisis?

The truth is, the government needs scary stories to push its agenda, so science must be subverted to politics. Chapter 5 of the State Department report is an explicit sales pitch for cap-and-trade legislation. The discussion of carbon-dioxide emissions supports the logic behind the Environmental Protection Agency’s December 2009 endangerment finding that carbon dioxide is a threat to “the public health and welfare of current and future generations.” This is a naked government power grab that will have extensive negative economic and lifestyle consequences because the state has declared the very act of breathing a threat.

At times, the report reads like a White House press release, gushing, for example: “President Obama has outlined a comprehensive plan to address global climate change through investments that will save or create many jobs.” The document uses the word “Obama” 47 times, triple the references to President George W. Bush in the previous edition. This tends to detract from the focus on science but is consistent with the virtually North Korean level of fawning in Obama-era official documents. Talk about a lot of hot air.

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