by Michael Kimmitt
This global climate change stuff is more serious than we thought. After all, when snow falls in the United Arab Emirates for only the second time in recorded history, when global warming demonstrations are called off because of hypothermia alerts, when roofs collapsed under the weight of snow in South Louisiana; things are really getting tough.
Nonetheless, a determined Henry Waxman, chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, bundled up and sloshed his way to the nearest press room to announce his plans to move "quickly and decisively" for economically damaging legislation to make sure it doesn't get any warmer.
"Our environment and our economy depend on congressional action to confront the threat of climate change and secure our energy independence," Waxman said with a straight face. Wouldn't you think the colossal damage wrought by past "congressional action" to our financial, housing, education, Social Security and energy sectors alone would have be irrefutable testimony that these Foggy Bottom Boys are incapable of doing their own jobs, much less anyone else's?
Fred Hansen of the Goodard Institute warned President Obama that he has four years to save the planet. Isn't that an interesting timeframe? As usual, Hansen offers oodles of fear and precious little scientific evidence to support his threats. Even at that, it is not clear if we are doomed to reside on a scorched cinder or an ice-encrusted globule since the good Dr. Hansen has produced computer models predicting both outcomes. Fortunately, he has never designed one that turned out to be accurate. Let's just go with the one that produces the deepest paranoia, the largest research grants and the most fawning adoration from the fourth estate.
For those who expect our impending doom, there's good news. It ain't gonna happen — not from uncontrolled man-made global warming anyway. Wide-ranging and little understood interactions of many factors (the earth's tilt and orbit changes, the sun's energy output, cloud formations, volcanic eruptions and much more) drive global temperatures and they are down since 1998. This decade-long cooling followed a 28-year warming period, which followed a 30-year cooling period, which followed... Oh, you get the idea.
The fact is, things change. If the Great Lakes, gouged out by miles-deep glaciers, and fossils of sea animals on the highest peaks of the Rocky Mountains won't convince you that our blessed Earth is an extraordinarily dynamic thing, well, what can I say?
For about two-thirds of the last 400 million years, according to the EPA, geological evidence suggests temperatures and CO2 levels were much higher than they are now. And it didn't take Henry Waxman and his costly, wasteful, useless government mandates to make us safe and more comfortable.
Unfortunately, the hubris of the 111th Congress is much more than merely miles deep and it appears its members will dive headlong into punitive emissions controls agreements that even our more enlightened European friends are now scrambling to disavow. They, and other Kyoto signatories, such as Canada and Japan, are falling short of their commitments to reduce CO2 emissions and some are seeing them increase faster than those of the U.S., which has yet to sign on. Efforts to set post-2012 carbon dioxide targets at a recent conference in Poland fell apart in the clear light of the economic damage the Kyoto restrictions already have caused.
Many of those who were part of authoring portions of the original Kyoto Protocol now have disowned it as a scam. When polled by the Pew Research Center to prioritize the 20 issues the Obama administration should address, Americans rated dealing with global warming dead last in terms of importance. If only members of Congress demonstrated such insight.
Michael Kimmitt is a communications consultant from Franklin.