What President Obama lacks in sound public policy, he certainly makes up for with his effective use of propaganda. By using the power of the bully pulpit, coupled with actions by the executive branch, Mr. Obama has been generating news that will continue to force climate change into the public square in the coming weeks.
The release of the third National Climate Assessment earlier this month by the White House marks the launch of Mr. Obama’s spring political offensive. The second phase was the release of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed regulations for existing power plants.
By clinging to climate change, Mr. Obama hopes to rally his environmental base and liberal donors in an effort to blunt the anticipated sharp Republican gains that could force Sen. Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, from the Senate majority leader’s post.
Mr. Obama’s media allies will support the climate-change blitzkrieg. The media, who have already bought into man-made global-warming alarmism, will gladly amplify the shocking claims of economic and environmental destruction. Sensationalized headlines of ecological devastation could also help Democrats with women and millennial voters.
The National Climate Assessment is a propagandist’s dream. In addition to describing the overarching damage to the United States from weather extremes, it breaks out the estimates of harm into eight different geographic regions, as well as to the coasts and oceans.
The localization of environmental destruction provides the media with an opportunity to dramatize the impact of climate change to specific communities and local politics.
Predictably, the release of the National Climate Assessment generated alarming stories in politically important states. For example, the Citizen-Times in Asheville, N.C., reported that the area could have fewer days for ski slopes to operate, and that the area runs the risk of an increase of insects that could “wipe out thousands of acres of hemlocks in the mountains.”
There were probably hundreds of similar stories written about climate change in local communities across the country.
Climate change will be the latest “gotcha” question for Republicans on the campaign trail, and the information from the National Climate Assessment will be used against candidates that disagree with the left-wing orthodoxy.
Following Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s comments about climate change on ABC’s “This Week,” a Los Angeles Times story used the National Climate Assessment evaluation for Florida to criticize Mr. Rubio’s response that questions man’s role in climate change, noting, “A National Climate Assessment released by the White House last week found that Mr. Rubio’s home state of Florida is one of the most vulnerable to rising sea levels and changes in temperatures and storm patterns.”
Mr. Obama is taking a lead role in combating climate change by touting the EPA’s new standards for greenhouse gases for existing power plants. His most recent weekly radio address discussed his new climate-change regulations. By leading the assault, Mr. Obama is guaranteeing national news coverage on climate change, and these stories will echo the conclusions of the National Climate Assessment.
The president’s climate-change strategy is also consistent with liberal reliance on emotion over facts and reason. The National Climate Assessment is a gross exaggeration of U.S. weather patterns.
An Investor’s Business Daily editorial explained, “Severe weather events are no more likely now than they were 50 or 100 years ago, and the losses of lives and property are much less devastating.” Importantly, Mr. Obama’s attack on U.S.-based carbon-dioxide emissions will have no measurable impact on global emissions.
China is the world largest greenhouse-gas emitter, releasing about twice the amount of carbon dioxide as the United States. While our country’s emissions are dropping, China’s are rising. From 2011 to 2012, China’s emissions increased about 6 percent, while U.S. emissions dropped almost 4 percent.
Moreover, China’s use of coal is exploding. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, China’s consumption of coal is on the rise, and it uses about half the coal used globally.
Consequently, without reductions in China, U.S. actions to cut emissions will have no meaningful impact on global levels of carbon dioxide. That’s why as EPA administrator, Lisa P. Jackson told a Senate hearing, “U.S. action alone will not impact world CO2 levels.”
Since taking office, Mr. Obama has led the war against the coal industry through a series of EPA regulations attacking coal-based electricity generation. The new proposal to limit carbon-dioxide emissions will add to the regulatory pressure on utilities and accelerate the closings of coal-fired power plants.
It’s estimated that more than 300 coal power plants will be closing owing to the EPA, and the significant loss of power from the power grid significantly raises the possibility of brownouts and blackouts.
The president’s climate-change strategy is not about saving the world. It’s about trying to save Democrats from a political rout in November. With a scandal-ridden White House and low public approval, Mr. Obama desperately needs to change the debate from his lies and incompetence to climate change.
Tom Borelli is a senior fellow with FreedomWorks.