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Yet there is no guarantee of these outcomes.

Nevertheless, our own president is pursuing actions that are akin to holding Americans hostage to limited energy choices — and probably higher energy prices — while hoping that the rest of the world someday will pay the ransom in the form of a reduction in greenhouse emissions.

Rather than this wait-and-hope attitude, the president ought to encourage actions that would enable us to better fend for ourselves no matter what the future brings — actions aimed at expanding our energy resources, increasing our wealth and improving our resilience for the climate challenges that lie ahead. This path would be paved with less government interference, not more.

Chip Knappenberger is assistant director of the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute.