- - Monday, August 25, 2014

Global temperatures haven’t risen in 18 years. The nine years since a Category 3 hurricane or stronger hit the United States is the longest period since 1900.

Antarctic ice is at record highs. Arctic ice is rebounding. Sea levels are rising at less than a foot per century. Rains, floods and droughts are well within historic patterns.

Nevertheless, climate alarmists are wailing that “our planet’s actual survival is at risk.” Using executive fiats and regulations, President Obama is delaying the Keystone XL pipeline and blocking oil and gas drilling, while his Environmental Protection Agency wages war on coal country workers and families.

In the 21 states that rely on coal to produce 40 percent to 96 percent of their electricity, the EPA’s actions are pummeling people’s livelihoods and living standards.

Hundreds of baseload coal-fired power plants will be forced into premature retirement by 2020. That’s more than 15 percent of the United States’ total installed capacity — enough electricity for nearly 90 million average homes or small businesses.

Replacing them with unreliable wind turbines and solar panels will blanket scenery and habitats for miles, and kill millions of raptors, other birds and insect-eating bats.

Electricity prices will continue climbing, from as little as 5.6 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2009 toward the job-killing rates of 15.7 cents per kilowatt-hour already paid in New York. The price of everything people do will skyrocket: heating and air conditioning, lights and refrigeration, televisions, computers, medical equipment, machinery and every other gizmo that runs on electricity.

Poor, minority and blue-collar families will have to find hundreds of dollars a year extra somewhere in their already-stretched budgets. Small businesses will have to find thousands of dollars. Factories, malls, school districts, hospitals and cities will have to locate millions a year — perhaps at the end of the rainbow.

Millions will be laid off — in coal mines, power plants, factories, shops and other businesses. Entire families and communities will be impoverished. People’s hopes, dreams, pride and work ethic will be replaced by despair and dependency. Breadwinners will be forced to work multiple jobs, commute longer distances, and suffer severe sleep deprivation, if they can find work.

Families will have to cope with more stress, depression, drug and alcohol abuse, spousal and child abuse. Nutrition and medical care will suffer. More people will have strokes and heart attacks. More will die prematurely or commit suicide — for no measurable benefits.

The scientific basis for the EPA’s rules is based on cherry-picked data and studies that support its agenda, that ignore libraries of contradictory research, and that reject experts whose analyses question EPA conclusions. The agency pays advisers and activists millions of dollars annually to rubber-stamp and promote its regulations, then hides its work from those it decrees “are not qualified to analyze it.”

The newest coal-fired power plants already reduce unhealthy pollution by nearly 90 percent, compared with 1970 levels. Now the EPA demands that they slash carbon-dioxide levels by amounts that cannot be achieved with foreseeable technologies — and might require burying the carbon dioxide in someone’s backyard and hope it doesn’t escape.

Meanwhile, China, India, Germany, Poland and other countries are building some 1,200 new coal-fired power plants, to spur economic growth, preserve jobs and lift people out of poverty.

The sacrifices Mr. Obama is imposing will do nothing to reduce global carbon-dioxide levels, which actual evidence increasingly shows plays only a minor role in climate and weather fluctuations.

Wild weather and climate changes have characterized all of Earth’s history. Now, however, climate chaos cultists insist that such events began only recently, and we could stop climate and weather aberrations — by “simply” eliminating fossil fuels, destroying economies and condemning Third World families to permanent poverty.

To deal with skeptics, they hide their data and computer codes, refuse to debate “dangerous man-made climate change” skeptics, vilify contrarian experts and boot them off university committees, and refuse to attend conferences where they might have to defend their manipulated data and junk science. Al Gore won’t even take questions he has not preapproved.

They hide behind their sinecures and scare tactics the way Hamas hides behind children.

The EPA won’t even hold hearings in coal country or states that will be hardest hit by soaring electricity costs. It hosts “listening sessions” in big cities, where eco-activists will dominate. People who will be grievously impacted by the draconian, job-killing regulations must travel long distances and pay for expensive hotels and meals — or remain silent and ignored.

The deck is stacked — the same way the “public comment” process is tilted in favor of Big Green agitators who have the funding and organization to generate thousands or millions of comments.

We taxpayers pay for these studies, payoffs and propaganda, and will get stuck with the regulations, soaring prices, lost jobs, and impaired health and welfare that result.

Legislators need to hold hearings, bring regulators and scientists in under oath, and demand access to all data and studies used to justify the EPA’s anti-energy regulations. States should sue the agency for violating the Information Quality Act, and resist its regulations until satisfactory answers are provided.

This administration’s disdain for honesty, transparency and working families can no longer be tolerated.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT.org) and author of “Eco-Imperialism: Green Power — Black Death” (Merril Press, 2010).

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