- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 17, 2007

In a certain state, mob-controlled construction companies built deficient roads with substandard concrete sold by mob-controlled firms. The overweight trucks of those companies broke up the poorly built roads, necessitating more construction. It was a businessman’s “dream.”

Similarly, a politician’s dream means a problem on which no exertion or expenditure, however great, can ever produce improvement. Optimally (for politicians), “solutions” spawn new problems requiring ever-greater expenditures. Politicians love this because it assures endless money and ever-growing power over people.

Right now, the richest, smartest, most productive nation that ever existed is poised to let itself be driven to ruin by the silliest quest in all history: an attempt to change the climate. The Greeks called this “hubris.” It happens when a nation thinks it can do anything — or becomes too stupid to differentiate the possible from the impossible.

Green politics began in the 1960s to stop air and water pollution. Decades of pollution had done many American waterways almost to death, and air quality was poor in many places. Most of these dangers are now either gone or much abated because of laws that stopped destructive practices, mandated clean technology and heightened public awareness of the importance of protecting the environment. The Greens helped us. Mission accomplished.

But political organizations do not cope well with success. People who strove for decades to solve a great problem are reluctant to dismantle machinery that has become their reason for being. They must find a new cause. Thus, Greens have moved from fighting pollution to stopping global warming. In the process, these two “causes” have become so entangled the public now has them confused. Politicians and sympathetic news media have encouraged the mistaken notion that questioning global warming actually equals approval of pollution.

There was a clarity about defeating pollution that the man on the street could grasp. When you have temperature inversions lasting days at a time, you know there’s a problem. Cleaning streams and lakes also made sense. Global warming lacks that same clarity. But anti-warming advocates are not helping people to understand that.

Instead, politicians like Al Gore (and, lately, George W. Bush) claim global warming science is “settled” and that burning hydrocarbons is definitely warming the planet.

But scientists disagree on the answers to several key questions:

(1) Is the world climate really getting warmer?

(2) If so, is human activity causing it?

(3) Can anything really be done to stop it?

(4) Will warming hurt us, if it is happening?

Each of these represents a scientific debate far from “settled.” The short answer to the first question, for instance, is “Yes and No”: some places are warming; others are not. Also, the timespan at issue is too short for inference of a real trend.

In 1980, we heard of an impending new “ice age.” Three decades later we think we’re going to roast. The “little ice age” spanned 1350 to 1850; the Medieval Warm Period, AD 850-1250. What can we tell from 30 years? Scientists raise this inconvenient question, but politicians and reporters dislike having their paradigm upset.

As to Question No. 2, some scientists estimate human emissions cause no more than 5 percent of climate warming. Thus, removing all human activity would reduce warming by just 5 percent. Increasingly, scientists realize climate flux is caused primarily by variation in the sun’s heat. Volcanic events can also perturb the climate far more than human effects.

Politicians deal with these bothersome questions by declaring the issue “settled” and trying to stifle debate. The global warming bandwagon is rolling. Al Gore is attracting strange bedfellows, like mega-church pastor Rick Warren, to his quixotic quest to cool the climate. Eighty-six evangelical Christian leaders have endorsed a major initiative to fight global warming. Pastors and political hacks are trying to stampede the public.

Global warming is the politicians’ dream — a cornucopia of money and political control. Greens could control the world economy with it. If enough voters can be scared into believing we are going to fry the planet, they will accept higher taxes and ever-tightening controls on their lives. There will be money to burn on dubious anti-warming technology.

Recognizing this, a gaggle of American corporations has joined the new U.S. Climate Action Partnership. USCAP advocates “strong national legislation to require significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.” A score of members include Alcoa, BP America, General Electric, Lehman Brothers and World Resources Institute. More will follow.

Writer Steven Milloy calls USCAP part of the new “eco-industrial complex.” Many early members hope to sell high-priced, politically favored “green technology” to the rest of us. Mr. Milloy warns some firms might support USCAP’s climate-goals in return for valuable political concessions, like governmental subsidization of high health-insurance costs.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently reported greenhouse gases already emitted will warm the climate for 1,000 years. No kidding? Meteorologists can’t reliably predict next week’s weather, but we should believe thousand-year predictions by computer models that can’t even account for our current climate. We are going crazy over a natural process that is not clearly a problem and is not changeable by us. If ignorance prevails over science and common sense, it could wreck our economy, our government and our lives.

Climate scientist Dr. S. Fred Singer quotes H. L. Mencken: “The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule it.” Americans, of all people, should see this. The global warming bandwagon needs to be stopped before the politicians’ dream becomes a nightmare.

WOODY ZIMMERMAN

Author of a weekly column, “At Large,” in the Atlantic Highlands Herald, an Internet newspaper (www.ahherald.com).

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