“Dangerous man-made climate change” still animates Democratic and liberal politics.
The mantra is driven by computer models that assume carbon dioxide drives climate change, temperature data that is “homogenized” by activist scientists, and billions of taxpayer dollars that is spent annually on biased climate “studies.”
It’s used to justify a war on coal, restrictions on drilling and driving, cap-and-trade schemes, wind and solar mandates, subsidies as high as $45,000 per electric car, higher fuel and electricity prices, and racketeering laws to prosecute anyone who questions the catechism of climate cataclysm.
But even all these actions are insufficient, we’re now told. The 2015 Paris climate pact necessitates even stronger actions — “profound lifestyle changes,” according to a new European Commission report.
Even though carbon-dioxide emissions have declined significantly overall and per-unit of economic output, it’s not enough, European Union regulators claim. People must significantly reduce their energy consumption, “greenhouse gas” emissions and living standards.
The document targets EU families, but its assertions apply with equal or greater force to Americans. Its prescriptions will likely be draconian.
However, they will certainly be embraced by the Obama administration and any government under Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders — all of whom espouse climate chaos claims and prefer a heavy-handed bureaucratic state to seeking compromise and accommodation with a reluctant Congress.
Nearly 2 billion people still have extremely limited or no access to electricity. Environmentalists want to change that and improve those people’s living standards, health and welfare — just not too much, as that would be unsustainable and harmful to the climate. Meanwhile, significantly reducing developed nations’ levels would be “environmental justice,” equitable, sustainable and better for the climate.
The EU document did not specify the exact nature of these profound lifestyle changes. It merely said they would require a “wide societal debate.” Executive edicts are much more likely.
Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan says one approach could be eating less red meat. That would reduce cancer and heart attacks, he argues. It would also help prevent climate change, since cattle, pigs and sheep emit carbon dioxide and methane, another supposedly “dangerous” greenhouse gas that constitutes an infinitesimal 0.0002 percent of Earth’s atmosphere.
As an alternative protein source, Mr. Annan paraphrases Marie Antoinette: Let them eat bugs. “Insects have a very good conversion rate from feed to meat,” he says. “They make up part of the diet of 2 billion people and are commonly eaten in many parts of the world.”
It’s difficult to imagine the next U.N. climate conference serving roasted roaches instead of the usual five-star cuisine — in Lagos, Dhaka or some other locale on the world’s worst cities list — instead of in Bali or Paris. Ditto for the White House or Environmental Protection Agency cafeteria.
The worlds’ ruling elites prefer to tell citizens to do as they say, not as they do. One can easily imagine a world where “Eco-Hunger Games” are played — where the capital’s inhabitants live very well while offering commoners out in the districts savory recipes for boiled low-salt seaweed and solar-roasted locusts, accompanied by little cups of recycled “gray water” as a wholesome alternative to supersized sodas.
Comedian Will Rogers used to say, “With Congress, every time they make a joke it’s a law. And every time they make a law it’s a joke.” But this is no laughing matter.
Those who seek to regulate our lives, livelihoods and living standards want us to pay more for virtually everything, especially the energy that heats our homes, cooks our food and powers the cars they don’t want us to drive. They prefer to blanket America with subsidized wind turbines and solar panels, and make reliable, affordable oil, gas and coal off-limits.
Thanks to hydraulic fracturing, U.S. oil and natural gas production have soared, numerous jobs have been created, foreign oil imports are down, and lower oil and natural gas prices have put an extra $1,200 a year in the average American family’s bank account.
Climate alarmists are upset that average annual global temperatures have risen 1 degree Celsius since around 1850, when the Industrial Revolution began and the five-century-long Little Ice Age ended. They claim that banning fossil fuels, slashing emissions of plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide, and shriveling modern economies and living standards will prevent a “disastrous” additional 0.5 degree Celsius increase.
They never explain how plant, animal and human lives are worse today than during the pre-industrial, Little Ice Age era — or why faster carbon-dioxide-driven crop and forest growth is bad for a slightly warmer planet. They focus solely on alleged risks of using fossil fuels and ignore their incredible blessings.
The stakes are high in these 2016 elections. At risk are not only our energy, economic and employment futures, our freedom of speech and association in the face of U.N., EPA and IRS intimidation, but maybe also the right to enjoy a juicy steak, instead of a bug or slug.
• Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and author of “Eco-Imperialism: Green power — Black death” (Merril Press, 2010).
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