- - Tuesday, January 13, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Cursing the darkness may be more satisfying than lighting a candle, but it ultimately keeps everyone in the dark. President Obama vows to veto construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which the House approved by a wide margin on Friday. His steadfast opposition to the energy conduit from Canada places him squarely in league with those who measure human progress only with a thermometer.

Global warming theory says the earth’s temperature must not rise above 2 degrees Celsius or an environmental meltdown will commence. To stay cool, in this theory, humans must leave untouched the world’s fossil energy — even if it means stranding billions in a state of deprivation. Presidents must make tough decisions, but whether to stand in the way of progress shouldn’t be one of them.

Before the House voted 266 to 153, with 28 courageous Democrats joining the Republicans to approve Keystone XL, a University College London think tank offered a study arguing that to prevent global temperatures from rising more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius), most fossil energy should be left deep underground. “Policy makers must realize that their instincts to completely use the fossil fuels within their countries are wholly incompatible with their commitments to the 2 degree Celsius goal,” writes Christophe McGlade, lead author of the study by the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources.

Sticking to the 2-degree Celsius goal means putting off-limits 80 percent of the world’s supply of coal, mostly in the United States, Russia and China, along with half of the world’s natural gas reserves. Thus 260 billion barrels of oil, the equivalent of the entire reserves of Saudi Arabia, should be left untouched.

Global warmists argue that a rise of 2 degrees Celsius above the temperature prevalent in the pre-industrial age is a red line that must not be crossed. It’s based upon the hypothesis — and it’s only a hypothesis — that carbon dioxide traps heat and leads to global warming. Undisputed scientific correlation between carbon dioxide, a gas that nature provided to sustain life on earth, and rising temperatures, have been missing for the past 18 years. Greenhouse gases from human activity have increased rapidly while temperatures have not. The warmists argue that never mind, its doctrines will eventually be validated, someday if not today. Mr. Obama’s allegiance to the cause (and to the generous captains of green-energy industry who give generously to Democratic incumbents and candidates) animates his opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport Canadian oil to refineries on the U.S. Gulf coast.

A poll taken for USA Today in November found that 4 of 5 Americans favor building the pipeline. With 87 percent of the continental United States experiencing below-freezing temperatures last week, Mr. Obama’s rejection of the buried treasure of energy leaves the many very cold. A ban on fossil fuel would be even less welcome in the Third World, where, according to the International Energy Agency, more than 1.3 billion men, women and children, most of them poor, have no access to electricity.

Fossil fuel means affordable heating and cooling, cleaner air and water, and the electricity to power the engines of commerce. Renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, capable of providing less than 10 percent of America’s energy needs, are no substitute for coal, gas and oil. Mr. Obama’s opposition to Keystone XL mirrors the mental gymnastics of the theoreticians who would preside over a gloomy planet of poverty and deprivation. Congress can alleviate these grim prospects for all of us by voting to override the president’s expected veto of Keystone. It’s the right thing to do.

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