The United States will “do more,” before it’s “too late” to prevent “dangerous” global warming, President Obama told Berliners last week. If Congress won’t act, he will.
Back in Washington, his Environmental Protection Agency is already devising oppressive new rules to control carbon dioxide emissions, by regulating thousands of facilities that use hydrocarbon energy — and ultimately, almost everything Americans make, grow, ship, eat and do.
However, the global-warming “disasters” exist only in computer models and assertions by scientists who are addicted to billions of dollars in government climate-Armageddon grants. Moreover, the “preventative measures” are far worse than the disasters EPA claims to be preventing.
Even the most diehard alarmists have finally recognized that average global temperatures have hardly budged since 1997, even as atmospheric levels of plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide have climbed steadily. For many areas, the past winter was among the coldest in decades. The United States and Britain just recorded one their coldest springs on record, and satellite data show that Earth has actually cooled slightly since 2002.
The frequency and severity of hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and droughts are no different from observed trends and cycles over the past century. Last year set records for the fewest strong tornadoes since 1954 and the number of years with no Category 3 or higher hurricane making U.S. landfall. (The vicious tornadoes of recent weeks underscore how quickly the weather can swing back to normal patterns.) Arctic sea ice is within a few percentage points of “normal” levels for the past 50 years, and the rate of sea-level rise is not accelerating.
These facts contradict computer-model predictions and alarmist claims. Moreover, as Climategate and numerous studies have shown, the “science” behind the EPA’s ruling that carbon dioxide “endangers” human health and welfare is conjectural, manufactured, manipulated and even fraudulent.
EPA is supposed to protect our environment, health and welfare. Instead, it “safeguards” us from exaggerated or illusory risks — by issuing mountains of costly, intrusive regulations that endanger our health, well-being and wildlife far more than any reasonably foreseeable effects from climate change.
This accumulation of anti-hydrocarbon restrictions and penalties is putting the agency in control of nearly every aspect of our lives. Fuel, compliance and business costs will soar. Companies will be forced to outsource work to other countries, reduce workforces, shift people to part-time status or close their doors.
Poor and minority families will be unable to heat and cool their homes properly, pay their rent or mortgage, buy clothing and medicine, take vacations, pay their bills, give to charity, and save for college and retirement.
With 12 million Americans already out of work, and an additional 8 million working multiple low-paying, part-time jobs, the EPA’s global-warming regulations and 1,920 other rules result in unprecedented sleep deprivation, lower economic and educational status, and soaring anxiety and stress. This is likely to lead to greater risk of strokes and heart attacks; higher incidences of depression, alcohol, drug, spousal and child abuse; more suicides; and declining overall life expectancy.
The agency’s new fuel-efficiency standard requiring vehicles to average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 will force more people into smaller, lighter, less-safe cars — causing thousands of needless additional serious injuries and deaths every year — in the name of preventing illusory climate and oil- and gas-depletion crises.
Federal regulators use the same phony climate-change and energy-depletion arguments to justify letting wind-turbine operators slaughter millions of birds and bats every year — including bald and golden eagles, hawks, condors and whooping cranes. They continue to subsidize $50-per-gallon biofuels to replace oil and natural gas that the world still has in abundance, thanks to new exploration, drilling and production technologies. As a result, rainforests and other wildlife habitats are being cut down in the name of “renewable” energy.
The EPA and Mr. Obama never consider any of this in calculating the supposed “benefits” of their onerous regulations. They refuse to recognize that their hysterical claims of climate cataclysms are increasingly indefensible. They ignore the damage that their heavy-handed rules impose on our health, welfare and environmental quality.
The agency targets and punishes anyone who violates any of its 10,000 commandments, even inadvertently. Its climate-change actions, however, are not inadvertent — they are deliberate, and their effects are harmful. They will affect virtually all Americans and the entire economy.
Yet these increasingly powerful bureaucrats — who seek and acquire ever-more control over our lives — remain faceless, nameless, unelected and unaccountable. They operate largely behind closed doors, issuing regulations and arranging sweetheart “sue-and-settle” legal actions with radical environmentalist groups to advance ideological agendas, without regard for the impacts on our lives.
We need to save our environment from environmentalists and the EPA, and safeguard our liberties and living standards from the arrogance of powerful politicians and bureaucrats. Achieving this while protecting our lives and environment from real risks is one of the greatest challenges we face.
Paul Driessen is senior policy adviser for the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow and author of “Eco-Imperialism: Green Power, Black Death” (Merril Press, 2012).