What explains the Left escalating its outlandish claims and scaremongering?
Progressives will do virtually anything to advance their agenda. In the arena of global warming, they have resorted to hysteria and angry denunciation of those who dare to question their infallible “wisdom.” And as it is with every aspect of their agenda, such wisdom must be imposed at the expense of liberty.
Leading the charge is Secretary of State John Kerry, who epitomized the above approach in a speech to Indonesian students, civic leaders and government officials in Jakarta, Indonesia. First he laced into one the left's favorite punching bags, namely the coal and oil industries he accused of "hijacking" the conversation. "We should not allow a tiny minority of shoddy scientists and science and extreme ideologues to compete with scientific facts," he declared. "Nor should we allow any room for those who think that the costs associated with doing the right thing outweigh the benefits. The science is unequivocal, and those who refuse to believe it are simply burying their heads in the sand. We don't have time for a meeting anywhere of the Flat Earth Society."
Possibly suspecting that his presentation might be insufficient to galvanize the unwashed masses, Kerry added a dash of fear to the mix. "This city, this country, this region, is really on the front lines of climate change," Kerry warned. "It's not an exaggeration to say that your entire way of life here is at risk. In a sense, climate change can now be considered the world's largest weapon of mass destruction, perhaps even, the world's most fearsome weapon of mass destruction," he added.
Kerry is taking his cues from President Obama, who went to California, where he promptly explained that state's worst drought in a century is linked to global climate change and greenhouse gases. "We have to be clear. A changing climate means that weather-related disasters like droughts, wildfires, storms [and] floods are potentially going to be costlier and they’re going to be harsher," he explained.
That was apparently too much even for the New York Times, who contended that the president and his aides "were pushing at the boundaries of scientific knowledge about the relationship between climate change and drought." Even worse, the so-called paper of record was forced to admit that the much-vaunted computer models the "consensus" scientists having been using to promote their global warming agenda "suggest that as the world warms, California should get wetter, not drier, in the winter, when the state gets the bulk of its precipitation. That has prompted some of the leading experts to suggest that climate change most likely had little role in causing the drought." That included an assessment by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which noted that the drought “resulted mostly from natural variations in weather.”
White House science adviser John P. Holdren, who co-authored a book describing government forced abortions and putting sterilants in the drinking water as legitimate population control measures, rode to the president's rescue. While agreeing that no single episode of extreme weather can be linked to climate change, "the global climate has now been so extensively impacted by the human-caused buildup of greenhouse gases that weather practically everywhere is being influenced by climate change.”
The Los Angeles Times brought another angle to the mix, one that plumbs the depths of climate change hysteria. It cites a study by Matthew Ranson of Abt Associates, a Massachusetts research and consulting firm, that contends climate change "can be expected to cause an additional 22,000 murders, 180,000 cases of rape, 1.2 million aggravated assaults, 2.3 million simple assaults, 260,000 robberies, 1.3 million burglaries, 2.2 million cases of larceny and 580,000 cases of vehicle theft," between 2010 and 2099.
In a Wall Street Journal article, authors Richard McNider and John Christy underscored the irony of Kerry comparing global warming skeptics to flat-earthers of ancient times. It was the flat-earthers who maintained something similar to the 97 percent "consensus" Kerry used to justify his rant. It was a tiny minority of scientists who posited that the earth was round. With regard to the actual science leftists accuse skeptics of ignoring, the McNider and Christy acknowledge that "carbon-dioxide levels in the atmosphere have increased due to the burning of fossil fuels, and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a greenhouse gas, trapping heat before it can escape into space." Yet what remains unknown is the level of warming that will occur.
They then address the aforementioned computer models, rightly noting that those created to explain the phenomenon were built "almost entirely" by scientists heavily invested in the idea of "catastrophic" global warming. Unsurprisingly, those investments have tainted the science behind them, which explains why many of the dire predictions they engendered have turned out to be "spectacularly wrong."
That wrongness is invariably followed by a litany of excuses. One was the idea that an increased use of aerosols by human beings that ostensibly "skewed" the results. Moreover, the "consensus" scientists continue to ignore data that does not accrue to their political convictions.
Far more devastating, climate change promoters virtually ignore the disastrous economic effects their policies would engender. As Bjorn Lomborg, director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, a nonprofit group focused on cost-effective solutions to global problems explains, 81 percent of the world's energy needs are provided by fossil fuels, with billions of people depending on them for survival. "For many parts of the world, fossil fuels are still vital and will be for the next few decades, because they are the only means to lift people out of the smoke and darkness of energy poverty," he writes.
That necessity explains much of the developing world's resistance to the Obama administration's initiatives. At this moment in time, they prefer raising their citizens out of poverty than kowtowing to an agenda they see as a First World problem created by wealthier countries that use the most energy. Despite this reality, the president quietly announced a major policy shift last June, whereby the U.S. would place severe restrictions on federal financing of coal plants in foreign countries. "This new policy sends a message that coal is not an acceptable fuel source for the 21st century," said Justin Guay, international climate and energy representative of the Sierra Club at the time.
That such a message condemns billions of people around the world to a life of subsistence survival -- when they survive at all -- is of little consequence. Apparently for progressives, "saving the planet" has little to do with saving the people who inhabit it.
While such an agenda has fewer life and death consequences in the United States, the administration is determined to pursue the same economy-ravaging policies here. And once again a president who has made a mockery of the rule of law and the constitutionally-mandated separation of power is determined to advance those policies "with our without" Congress.
Whether he can actually do so remains to be seen. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a case on greenhouse gas emissions that could determine if Obama has so broadly interpreted the parameters of the Clean Air Act that he has rendered Congress irrelevant. Briefs filed by business groups and Republicans paint the president's effort as another overreach by the Executive branch. A brief filed by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) contends the president is attempting “an intolerable invasion of Congress’s domain that threatens to obliterate the line dividing executive from legislative power,” and that regulation imposed under the auspices of the EPA were “perhaps the most audacious seizure of pure legislative power over domestic economic matters attempted by the executive branch” since President Truman's attempt to nationalize America's steel mills during the Korean War.
Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. countered with the administration’s argument. “The E.P.A. determined that greenhouse gas emissions endanger public health and welfare in ways that may prove to be more widespread, longer lasting and graver than the effects of any other pollutant regulated under the act,” he wrote in his brief.
The case is a challenge to a 5-4 decision made in 2007, when the Supreme Court required the EPA to regulate the emission of greenhouse gasses from motor vehicles if they endangered the public's health and welfare. The administration wants to extend that decision to cover stationary power plants, as well as all sources that can annually emit 100 or 250 tons of relevant pollutants. That would give them the potential to regulate millions of pollution sources absent congressional authority to do so. Obama used the same rationale when he ordered the development of new standards for the nation's heavy-duty trucks earlier this week.
Amanda C. Leiter, a law professor at American University believes a loss by the administration would not have a great impact, since they have other regulatory tools at their disposal. But the political damage could be significant because “it would be painted as another situation in which the Obama administration has overreached against the public will.”
Regardless of the decision, the administration will undoubtedly continue to overreach, aided an abetted by what authors David Horowitz and Jacob Laskin term the "New Leviathan." They are progressive moneyed interests whose contributions dwarf those of their conservative counterparts, and who are determined to impose their agenda on the nation, regardless of the consequences. In the environmental arena, they are being led by billionaire Democrat Tom Steyer, whose political organization, NextGen Climate Action, aims to raise $100 million to support politicians who champion the man-made climate change agenda. Like so many leftist elitists, he is against the Keystone pipeline that would go a long way towards creating jobs and putting the nation further down the road towards energy independence. He considers climate change the "generational challenge of the world.”
The real generational challenge, in America at least, is figuring out how to prevent progressives in general, and the Obama administration in particular, from fundamentally transforming the United States into a nation where liberty, freedom and free-market capitalism are regulated out of existence. Make no mistake: those who would employ questionable science to impose what amounts to a death penalty on millions of Third-World residents struggling for their very existence don't think twice about imposing untold economic hardship on their fellow Americans, 76 percent of whom live "paycheck to paycheck," for the same reason.
And its not about the environment. As a study by the Science and Public Policy Institute reveals, if Americans completely stopped emitting all carbon immediately -- stopped driving, stopped cooling and heating our homes, shut down all the power plants, and even stopped talking -- the global temperature would decrease by only 0.17 degrees Celsius by 2100.
As Bjorn Lomborg explains, the United States is already "showing the way" towards a future with cleaner fuel sources. That the Obama administration would sacrifice the well-being of millions of Americans and billions of impoverished people to force-feed that future is precisely what they did to the nation when they force-fed it ObamaCare based on the same litany of hysteria, lies and smears they are using here. One can only wonder when Americans will tire of the progressive lust for power wrapping itself as noble intentions.
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