Editor’s note — This is the first of two parts on government regulation and climate change.
Government at the state and federal level, in conjunction with the United Nations, continues to press ahead with the agenda that man-made climate change/global warming justifies more regulations, lots more taxes and a generous dollop of guilt for good measure.
This despite a recent study indicating that global temperatures have actually been declining and that for decade-long periods between 950 AD and 1250 AD — long before the Industrial Revolution and the widespread use of fossil fuels — large parts of the world were as warm or warmer than they are now. According to some measurements, there is now more CO2 in the atmosphere than at any time in the past 15 million years. At the same time, since the advent of the Industrial Revolution, the average global temperature has risen by, at most, 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit — not exactly a heat wave.
Even the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the primary proponent of the man-made global warming agenda, has admitted in a recent report that its computer models exaggerated the effect of increased carbon emissions on world temperatures: ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg1/.
The IPCC also conceded there has been no significant warming since 1998 even as it reported a 7 percent rise in carbon dioxide (CO2), thus undercutting its own argument that CO2 results in global warming.
The IPCC’s predictions of a decline in Antarctic sea ice turned out to be wrong as the ice cap has grown to a record high, so high that a recent Australian ship expedition researching the effects of global warming became stuck in the ice. A Chinese ship sent to help also became ice-bound. An American ice breaker was enlisted to rescue both. NASA satellite data put the temperature in East Antarctica at 135.8 degrees below zero Fahrenheit in December. Eventually the ice pack shifted and both ships were freed on their own.
Forecasts that hurricanes would become more intense were also dropped from the IPCC report as the U.S. has experienced almost eight years without a single hurricane of Category 3 or above making landfall.
Despite the failure of their climate models to accurately predict anything, the IPCC report went on to claim that, “It is extremely likely that human influence on climate caused more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951–2010.”
Commenting on this latest turn of affairs, MIT climate scientist Dr. Richard Lindzen, who is one of the lead authors of a previous IPCC report on climate change and a critic of IPCC’s work said, “The latest IPCC report has truly sunk to a level of hilarious incoherence.
“They are proclaiming increased confidence in their models as the discrepancies between their models and observations increase. In attributing warming to man, they fail to point out that the warming has been small, and totally consistent with there being nothing to be alarmed about.
“Global climate alarmism has been costly to society, and it has the potential to be vastly more costly,” Lindzen continued. “It also has been damaging to science, as scientists adjust both data and even theory to accommodate politically correct positions. How can one escape from the Iron Triangle (ambiguous statements from scientists translated into alarmism by advocates and the media, with politicians responding by feeding the scientists taxpayer money) when it produces flawed science that is enormously influential and is forcing catastrophic public policy?”
Peter Ferrara, an American lawyer who is the current general counsel for the ACLU and a policy analyst for the Heartland Institute, had even harsher criticism for the latest IPCC report. (The Heartland Institute’s response to the IPCC report can be seen at climatechangereconsidered.org.)
In an editorial in Forbes, Ferrara called the entire manmade global warming movement a fraud that “is embraced not because of any ‘science,’ but because it is a justification for a government takeover of the energy industry, with massive increases in regulation, taxes and government spending,” he said.
“The United Nations loves it because it inspires fantasies of the U.N. growing up to be a world government, with real government powers of global taxation, spending and regulation, all ‘to save the planet.’”
Ferrara went on to criticize the scientists involved with the cause who, “are rewarded not only with praise for their worthy social conscience, but also with altogether billions in hard, cold cash (government and environmental grants), for their cooperation in helping to play the ‘useful idiots.’ Moreover, many academic scientists are ‘progressives’ themselves, and so favor sharp increases in government spending, taxes and regulation, because they are certain they know how to run your life better than you do.”
However, despite all these setbacks, the state of California, the Obama administration and the U.N. continue to push ahead in their crusade based on their predictions of climate change calamities.
Tilting at windmills
At the federal level, the Obama administration is using climate change to set spending and policy priorities.
In his State of the Union Address Tuesday President Obama said, “But we have to act with more urgency — because a changing climate is already harming Western communities struggling with drought, and coastal cities dealing with floods.”
According to a report submitted to the United Nations, American taxpayers ponied up $7.45 billion to help developing countries cope with climate change in fiscal years 2010 through 2012. This at a time when $2 trillion in infrastructure improvements are needed in this country.
Last November, President Obama also signed an executive order establishing a Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience that some worry could end up dramatically expanding the ability of the government to restrict Americans’ use of their property, water and energy in order to reduce so-called “greenhouse gas emissions.”
According to the White House, “The Council will work across agencies, and in partnership with the newly established State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, to coordinate and expand the federal government’s work to support communities in building climate change preparedness.”
A variety of federal agencies will be a part of this task force, including the departments of Defense; Interior; Agriculture; Homeland Security; Health and Human Services; Energy; Housing and Urban Development; Education; and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Doing its part, the Department of Education’s new science teaching standards in the United States will include extensive lessons on human-made climate change that will be incorporated into teaching standards in up to 40 states.
According to the Department of Education’s Next Generation Science Standards, pupils will be given to understand that “human activities, such as the release of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, are major factors in the current rise in Earth’s mean surface temperature (global warming) … The Earth’s climate is changing, and people’s activities are the main cause.”
The EPA is also preparing to issue more new regulations intent on putting out of business existing coal-fired power plants and effectively freezing construction of new coal-fired plants.
According to a report in the Daily Caller, hundreds of coal plants have been closed or slated for early retirement due to these regulations. EPA regulations have already contributed to the closure of more than 300 coal units in 33 states.
At the same time, it was announced that the Obama administration was about to approve a rule that will ensure that hundreds of thousands of birds — including eagles — would continue to die flying into the turbine blades of wind farms.
Referred to as bird “Cuisinarts” because of the carnage they inflict, the new rule would give wind farms 30-year permits for the non-purposeful taking of eagles — that is, where the take is associated with the purpose of the activity.
According to one peer-reviewed study, wind power generates only 3 percent of U.S. electricity, but kills 573,000 birds and 888,000 bats each year.
The EPA is also working on a rule that would expand the definition of “waters of the U.S.” under the Clean Water Act to include water on private property.
In response, Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas said, “The EPA’s draft water rule is a massive power grab of private property across the U.S. This could be the largest expansion of EPA regulatory authority ever. If the draft rule is approved, it would allow the EPA to regulate virtually every body of water in the United States, including private and public lakes, ponds and streams.”
In all, the EPA is currently crafting 134 major and minor regulations covering energy and the environment that will be another drag on the economy and cost more jobs.
Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or [email protected] Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.