EDITORIAL: Intemperate global warming rules

Obama’s EPA to drive up the cost of energy again

It may not be cool to dispute global warming, but facts don’t lie or play politics. Just as the Obama administration is proposing new restrictions on “greenhouse gases” that it claims cause the Earth to heat up, new science is shredding the theory that blames purported warming on human activity. Fact or fiction, the price for precipitous government action will be borne by the long-suffering American taxpayer.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed fresh regulations on Tuesday that would restrict carbon-dioxide emissions from new power plants. The rules, to be finalized later this year, would force the plants to limit their emissions to 1,000 pounds of CO2 per kilowatt hour. However, the proposed level could only be reached with the use of expensive carbon-sequestration equipment that traps emissions underground, a technology still under development.

At the same time, scientists have announced new findings that make a mockery of the claims that human beings burning fossil fuels such as coal are the source of global warming and that drastic action must be taken to save the planet from ecological catastrophe.

Researchers led by Syracuse University geochemist Zunli Lu have unearthed new evidence that the Medieval Warm Period, which lasted from around A.D. 950 to 1260, was not a temperature event confined to Europe, as some previously thought, but extended as far south as Antarctica. The team drew its conclusions from the study of ikaite crystals recovered from sediment samples deposited over 2,000 years off the coast of Antarctica. Heavy oxygen isotopes in ikaite indicate temperature at the time for crystal formation. Calculating the concentration of isotopes imbedded in their samples, they determined that Antarctica experienced a temperate era at the same time that warming occurred in the Northern Hemisphere.

The study is significant because it indicates that widespread - or global - warming has occurred in the past unassociated with human combustion of fossil fuels. It further confirms the obvious point that Earth’s temperatures have oscillated historically between periods of relative warmth and frigidity as evidenced by the continuous advance and retreat of polar glaciers over much of the Northern Hemisphere. In fact, the modern age is simply a temperate respite from mile-high ice sheets that one day are likely to creep down from the north once again.

The new EPA rules would move America away from coal by rendering plants using this affordable energy source too pricey to build. The agency disingenuously claims it “does not project additional cost for industry to comply with this standard.” That may be true simply because the industry won’t bother spending money on fulfilling the new mandates. Thus, Mr. Obama’s expressed wish to end coal-based energy by driving plant owners into bankruptcy is coming to pass.

Coal plants generate 45 percent of this country’s electricity and do so at rates lower than any other form of power. As coal goes away, Americans collectively will pay tens of billions more dollars in their utility bills for energy substitutes. Spending hard-earned money on crackpot global-warming theories isn’t cool.

The Washington Times

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