by Douglas Gregory
In his second inaugural address President Obama condemned climate skeptics, saying the devastating effects of increased floods, droughts, forest fires, and powerful storms were beyond denial, and climate change was to blame.
However, forest fires are down 15 percent since the 1950’s, cumulative cyclone energy is down, and droughts and floods are unchanged.
We would prefer a little more of an actual threat before we upend our whole economy.
But perhaps it doesn’t matter. President Obama’s thinking may just reflect that of leaders who have called us to fight global warming regardless whether it’s a real problem.
Former U.S. Senator Timothy Wirth (D-CO), addressing the Earth Summit in 1992, said, “We have got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.’”
At the same conference, Deputy Assistant of State Richard Benedick said, “A global warming treaty [Kyoto] must be implemented even if there is no scientific evidence to back the [enhanced] greenhouse effect.”
IPCC co-chairman Ottmar Edenhofer said just before the 2010 Climate Summit in Cancun, “… one has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. Instead, climate change policy is about how we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth. …”
The list goes on.
What’s so dangerous about this is the admission that climate change is not science informing policy, but policy dictating to science.
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Douglas Gregory is Research and Policy Analyst for the Cornwall Alliance.