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EDITORIAL: Destroy the economy, save the planet

The global-warming fight is a thinly disguised anti-capitalist movement

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By strangling the U.S. economy, President Obama may have single-handedly saved the planet. That's the upshot of a paper recently published in the scientific journal Environmental Science & Policy by researchers from the University of Michigan and the University of Valladolid in Spain. Congratulations, Mr. President.

The study found the Great Recession a boon when it comes to preventing global warming. The scientists hypothesized that the worldwide economic collapse contributed to a drop in atmospheric carbon-dioxide levels in 2009. For devotees of climate change, CO2 isn't the gas that animals exhale and plants convert into energy, preserving life on this planet. They believe instead that carbon dioxide is sometimes an enemy that heats the globe, kills polar bears and provokes disaster on an apocalyptic scale.

Alarmists insist only the carbon-dioxide molecules that are the byproduct of capitalism can cause environmental damage. As this new research claims, natural cycles, such as the El Nino climate pattern, are not responsible for elevating bad carbon-dioxide levels. "The major conclusion of our study is that the annual growth of atmospheric CO2 levels is strongly dependent on the absolute growth of the world economy, so that the annual absolute increase of (world gross domestic product) is a key variable to capture the annual increase in atmospheric CO2," the report found.

This finding highlights how the global-warming movement has always been about reversing the industrial revolution, making the world a better place. Al Gore's seminal 1992 work "Earth in the Balance" declared the internal-combustion engine a "mortal threat" to the future of the planet.

Mr. Gore chose his target well. Internal combustion multiplied the effectiveness of mass production, allowing the industrial revolution to better the lives of everyone. Socialists hate the idea that individuals acting through the free market would be allowed to improve their living conditions as a result of a process lacking centralized direction. The leftist impulse is to entrust government with the responsibility of making decisions and imposing order.

That's why today's liberals remain enthralled with green technologies like wind and solar. Though these are promoted as if they were forward-looking alternatives to fossil fuels, they're really throwbacks to pre-industrial times. Humanity has moved past these quaint energy sources. Once upon a time, a wind-powered ship was called a sailboat. A solar-powered clock was called a sundial. Now retrograde "achievements" like powering homes with 15th century windmills is something celebrated with lavish taxpayer grant funding.

Forcing adoption of expensive and inefficient sources of power only drags down the economy, which is exactly what global warming's believers want. In that respect, Mr. Obama's stimulus policy wasn't a colossal failure after all. The massive unemployment and lackluster growth that followed his $831 billion spending spree were a smashing success, so long as one is more worried about carbon-dioxide levels than the number of lasting jobs.

The Washington Times

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