- - Wednesday, October 11, 2017


New ideas sell better than old, and the trendy idea at the moment, the equivalent of that aroma that comes with new cars, is climate change. Or more precisely, global warming. (New labels are prescribed for fads getting soggy around the edges.) Then along came Donald Trump, who was unafraid to ask the simple question that Al Gore and his anvil chorus dreaded someone asking: Is the current view of how climate works actually accurate? The next generation deserves an honest answer.

Blind conviction charges forward where reason counsels caution, and Barack Obama didn’t wait around for validation of the theory that human activity can make sport with climate. He seized upon theory as reason, blamed America’s energy industry for polluting with greenhouse gases, and imposed his Clean Power Plan to prevent “further harm” to the environment.

President Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency this week rescinded the 2015 order, which was meant to require the industry to reduce U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions 32 percent below the levels of 2005, and to get it done before the year 2030. This was a bow to the Paris Climate Agreement’s goal of moderating temperatures. Mr. Trump earlier announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the Paris agreement.

“It is not in the interests of the EPA, or in accord with its mission of environmental protection consistent with the rule of law, to expend its resources along the path of implementing a rule that is not within the bounds of our statutory authority,” an agency draft that became public last week, boldly set out. A lawsuit by 27 affected states had prompted a federal court to suspend the Clean Power Plan last year, giving the EPA until Oct. 6 to propose an alternative.

The Obama restrictions on emissions would effectively force utilities to shutter many coal-fired plants and turn to expensive and unproved wind and solar technologies. The Trump repeal saves $33 billion in upgrade expenses that would have been passed along to consumers. Under an alternative plan, the EPA would lead a renewed fact-finding attempt to determine an accurate distinction between human-caused global warming and naturally occurring climate change, and seek participation by energy companies to write more practical emissions standards.

The computer-generated climate models on which the climate change lobby has built its humans-are-wrecking-the-planet chorus have proved to be flawed. These models failed to predict that while greenhouse gases have soared during the past 15 or so years, temperatures have barely budged. “Yet these are the very same models used to make predictions for 50 or 100 years ahead which have saddled taxpayers with huge costs to pay for alternative energy sources,” wrote science author Nigel Hawkes in an essay last month in the London Sunday Times.

Predicting the future is always risky and failure often outweighs success. With climate records amounting to no longer than the blink of an eye in the lifespan of the planet, it’s absurd to assume a snapshot of the climate represents a long-term trend. Periods of global warming have melted the glaciers of recurrent ice ages and only moderns living in polar zones wear mukluks in July.

Preserving the natural world isn’t just a pastime for landscape painters. Everyone has an interest in keeping the home of everyone as unspoiled as possible. But saddling people the world over with economy-debilitating costs, without unassailable proof of necessity, is irresponsible. It’s merely common sense to look past the “new and improved” label on climate science to make sure the label is accurate. Mr. Trump’s bold and welcome refusal to go along with what’s trendy is a breath of the fresh after all the fetid hot air the planet and the people on it have had to endure.

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