- - Sunday, November 17, 2019

Laughter may be the best medicine, but it likely won’t heal the headaches endured by worryworts troubled over the state of nature. At a time when climate-change crusaders are struggling to maintain their hold on the public’s concern for the cause, their earnest efforts are getting punked. Indignity is vexing, but at least it beats indifference.

News has emerged that a petition accompanying a statement of concern over a “climate emergency” was found to contain the names of fictional characters of the silver screen. Among the so-called expert signatories was discovered one “Micky Mouse, professor of the Micky Mouse Institute of the Blind, Namibia,” reported The Australian.

The petition, published last week in the journal BioScience, also listed the signatures of “Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts,” the alma mater of fantasy fiction’s Harry Potter, and “Araminta Aardvark, professor of Zoology at University of Neasden, U.K.,” an obvious stab at satire. As of this writing, it is unknown whether the mischief-makers meant to pad the list with additional “supporters” or discredit it with fake names.

All told, 34 bogus signers were discovered on the 11,000-name online petition, a joint project of Oregon State University and the University of Sydney. It was pulled off-line with a message advising that “an administrative error unfortunately saw the inclusion of a small number of invalid names.”

An accompanying opinion piece proposed a sobering remedy for the anthropogenic causes of climate change: Population control. “Still increasing by roughly 80 million people per year, or more than 200,000 per day, the world population must be stabilized — and, ideally, gradually reduced,” reads the article. It didn’t mention whether proponents of population reduction — called pro-eugenics by critics — were willing to drop out of the human race or simply encouraging others to do so.

There is a time and place for humor, but climate-change proponents found nothing amusing in President Trump’s formal announcement last week of the U.S. exit from the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, starting in 2020. The accord had been leaking air since the president expressed his intention to withdraw from participation last year, and his latest move to devalue a strategy that falls heavily on the U.S. economy bursts its viability.

Mr. Trump’s renunciation notwithstanding, the agreement’s stature was already wavering between comedy and tragedy. Only two of the top carbon-emitting nations — Morocco and Gambia — have put in place policies capable of meeting their pact obligations. The largest emitters, among them China and India, have voiced support for efforts to meet the goal of holding global temperatures at 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels by 2100 with resolute vows, but to little effect. Ironically, only The Donald’s United States has made real progress in cutting its carbon emissions, and that is more the result of innovation than regulation.

The thermometer-eyeing lobby has little to smile about elsewhere. The annual United Nations Climate Change Conference, scheduled for December in Santiago, Chile, is undergoing a last-minute relocation to Madrid, Spain, owing to ongoing riots in the Chilean capital. Anger over economic inequality threatened to make the Conference of Parties 25 an orphan until the Spaniards agreed to serve as substitute hosts.

The precipitous change of venue may be just as well: Costly “green” energy policies promoted by the U.N. risk provoking unnatural outbreaks of public ire over economic conditions. One year ago, Paris exploded in “yellow vest” protests triggered by rising fuel prices. Other European neighbors have been zapped by climbing electricity costs. Germans and Danes have suffered the most, paying 39 percent more for their power over the past decade, according to the Strom Report, a German energy issue blog.

Americans have been thankfully insulated from the most extreme effects of climate-change policy, thanks to Trump-era deregulation and the world’s most innovative energy industry. Speaking at the Economic Club of New York on Tuesday, Mr. Trump cited a Council of Economic Advisers report that the fracking revolution is saving American families $2,500 a year in electric bills and gasoline prices.

That could change come 2020, though, if one of the Democratic Party’s “progressive” presidential candidate is elected who then institutes the “Green New Deal,” an energy-use makeover with a price tag reaching $93 trillion.

Costs would hit consumers with a fury rivaling the record fall freeze blanketing the Eastern U.S. with snow and ice. Trillions for solutions to global warming would punish the American economy like it’s not even funny.

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