EDITORIAL: The polar vortex in a teapot

A dip in the mercury cools the rhetoric of climate doom-criers

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July is usually the hottest month for the District of Columbia. It’s swelter time in a city built not on a hill, but in a swamp. Democrats and Republicans in Congress suddenly find compromise on “must-pass” legislation. They’ve already booked their flights to get out of Dodge, and they’re not going to let anything get in the way of the August vacation.

Global warming was supposed to make the capital’s steamy summers even more unbearable, but it’s almost springtime, with daytime temperatures barely breaking 80, and dipping into the 60s when night falls. It’s even more springlike across much of the nation, with the mercury 10 to 20 degrees below usual in the Midwest and South.

Meteorologists are debating whether this is a “polar vortex” or just a “cold snap,” and the answer depends on whether the source of the chill is the Arctic or jet streams in the northeastern Pacific. Whatever the cause, all are happy to agree that it’s nice to turn off the air conditioning in the wee hours.

But strangers in Washington can’t even chat about the weather without falling into an argument. The left insists that man’s carbon-dioxide emissions are tearing apart the planet by promoting hurricanes, tornadoes and heat waves. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that “a changing climate leads to changes in the frequency, intensity, spatial extent, duration, and timing of extreme weather and climate events, and can result in unprecedented extreme weather and climate events.”

What happens when none of the predictions turns out to be true? Far from being extreme, the weather and climate events have been positively mild. There certainly aren’t any hurricanes pounding the coast, and wildfires are burning below their usual number. Summers have been calm and cool for several years.

Australia was once proud of its leadership in “healing the planet” through government action. It was the first nation to adopt a national carbon-dioxide tax to punish the industries that emitted this harmless, odorless gas. Hysteria was fashionable, and the Aussies were the trendsetters.

Not anymore. “What were we thinking?” the government asked itself Thursday, and jettisoned the levy. “A useless, destructive tax,” said Prime Minister Tony Abbott, “which damaged jobs, which hurt families’ cost of living and which didn’t actually help the environment, is finally gone.” The tax raised the cost of electricity by $550 a year for typical households.

Man (and this includes the ladies) has always thought he could control the weather. Taking his advice from a soothsayer, the Greek king Agamemnon sacrificed his daughter to call the breeze he needed to sail his ships of war to Troy. Things turned out very badly for Agamemnon once his wife found out what he had done.

The left similarly thinks carbon sacrifices will provide the chilly breeze the planet needs to avert global warming. If that means killing jobs and innovation, so be it. The criers of doom and gloom insist we “haven’t done enough” to avert climate disaster. But if we haven’t been doing something right, let’s pull up the blanket and continue not doing it.

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