President Barack Obama is mounting a new campaign to combat climate change. Yes, the administration that couldn’t construct a working Obamacare website is now telling us it knows how to fix the global atmospheric ecosystem to benefit all humanity.
In his State of the Union address, Obama declared, “If Congress won’t act to protect future generations, I will.” He followed up with executive orders to mandate greater fuel efficiency for big trucks, to create “climate hubs” to help farmers cope with weather, and to establish a $1 billion “climate resiliency” fund to aid drought-stricken California.
Secretary of State John Kerry upped the ante with a speech revealing climate change to be “perhaps the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.” A California Democratic hedge fund billionaire, Tom Steyer, promised to spend $100 million making climate change a defining issue in 2014 politics — starting out with an anti-Keystone pipeline ad the Washington Post found to be full of “insinuations and assertions not justified by the reality.” All that’s left is for Vice President Joe Biden to promise that if you like your climate, you can keep your climate!
Pardon my cynicism. I have no doubt about the reality of climate change. It’s been going on for the 4 billion years of Earth’s existence. Nor do I don’t doubt that humans contribute to it; there are 7 billion of us sharing the planet’s environment.
But it’s not anti-science to be skeptical of alarmist forecasts of global doom when the climate scientists’ computer models have been less than accurate. There’s been no warming for 17 years. Warming that did occur over four decades was less than the models predicted, as documented by Richard McNider of the University of Alabama and John Christy of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Violent weather is always with us, but the United States had just two hurricanes make landfall in the last five years, the lowest since records began in 1900.
Scientists are not infallible. A few years ago, a major pharmaceutical firm seeking new drugs to develop identified 53 “landmark” cancer studies and tried to replicate them. It couldn’t verify 47 of the 53. Another drug company reported it had run into the same problem. Thursday brought news that researchers had not been able to replicate what had been hailed as a breakthrough technique to create stem cells.
Nor is it unreasonable to resist measures to tackle the climate problem that would harm the U.S. economy. Especially when the biggest increases in pollution are coming from China, India, Indonesia and elsewhere. They saw America and other Western nations achieve affluence through fossil fuels and won’t deny their people the same benefits.
That means human-related climate change is going to stay with us.
That’s not to argue against reasonable investment in green energy, conservation and worldwide carbon abatement. Bjorn Lomborg, the Danish author of “The Skeptical Environmentalist” who has studied climate change for years, rightly concludes that “the global climate debate is polluted with myths and wishful thinking.” It’s a real problem but needs a better quality of thinking than the hype that gave us Obamacare.