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EDITORIAL: Hot air in Las Vegas

Harry Reid tries to revive and extend the global-warming scam

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What happens in Las Vegas, despite what they say, does not always stay in Las Vegas. Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, has invited Democratic politicians and liberal activists to gather there Tuesday to sit still for sermons about global warming and to think big thoughts about clean energy. The congregation will hear how it's not so much about taking control of the weather as about how to promote more government subsidies for impractical sources of power that nobody else wants.

Coal and the internal-combustion engine will be cited as the villains, blamed for the natural disasters that man has endured since he was evicted from Eden. Solar panels and windmills will be prescribed as the cure for what ails the planet, schemes from the likes of Gov. Martin O'Malley of Maryland and Jennifer Granholm, the former governor of Michigan.

Hysteria is the only byproduct of hot air. Sen. Barbara Boxer, California Democrat and chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, last week contributed to the carbon-dioxide "crisis" herself with a speech blaming global warming for the recent wildfire epidemic in California. "Warmer temperatures combined with long dry seasons," she said, "have resulted in more severe wildfires, and it's only going to get worse."

The global-warming movement clearly needs something to keep the scam going, but Mr. Reid's revival meeting might not be enough. Facts are catching up with the fibs and stretchers. Temperature records demonstrate that there hasn't been any warming in the past decade, and in fact, there's new evidence that carbon-dioxide emissions, which first set off global-warming hysteria, are actually triggering global cooling.

An influential Danish newspaper suggested last week that the global-warming craze might soon run its course. "Defying all predictions," observes Jyllands-Posten, "the globe may be on the road towards a new little ice age with much colder winters." The real villain is the misbehaving sun, which lies somewhat beyond the reach of Congress and the voodoo priests. The sun has lately been quiet, with fewer storms, than at any time in the past century, and this suggests cooling here. Jyllands-Posten quotes David Hathaway, a NASA scientist, as predicting even lower solar activity over the next few years. Ian Elliott, an Irish solar specialist, says the effects could be dramatic. "It seems likely we are on the path to a period with very low solar activity, which could mean we may have some very cold winters."

Climate hucksterism is not new. A soothsayer told Agamemnon, the greatest king of ancient Greece, that the only way to make the wind blow so he could sail with his soldiers to Troy, was to kill his own daughter to appease the wind god. Agamemnon made the sacrifice, and the wind blew. Nevertheless, events ended badly, as they always do in Greek tragedies.

Leaders and rulers still put themselves and those who trust them at the mercy of soothsayers with clever scams and swindles. The rising wind on the Nevada desert will blow both hot and cold this week, and the wary won't take everything they hear as gospel. Scams and swindles often die hard, but eventually they die.

The Washington Times

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