December 7, 2009
by Dennis T. Avery
As the Copenhagen climate conference tirelessly discusses the “evidence of climate change,” it also asserts the need for massive energy taxes and energy “rationing” to prevent still more climate disruption.
That’s a bait-and-switch tactic. The discussion has never been about the planet’s historically variable climate. It’s always been whether humans caused climate change.
To date, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has never offered any evidence of a “human fingerprint” on the modest (0.5 degrees Celsius) warming that occurred between the 1850s end of the Little Ice Age and 1940. They haven’t even given us a convincing story about the 0.2 degree Celsius warming that occurred from 1940 to 1998 (part of that tiny warming has disappeared). James Hansen’s predictions of massive overheating, given to the Senate in 1988, have been overtaken by a quiet sun and a telling drop in global ocean temperatures.
The public has noticed there’s been none of the long-predicted runaway warming — or any warming at all since 1998. They’re reading the Climategate emails of the “consensus scientists” confessing they don’t know why warming stopped. That’s a huge confession.
The public cares less and less for tired scare stories of a parboiled planet.
Are the world’s political parties now suddenly realigning on the basis of non-warming? Have global warming taxes become the Greens’ defining moment?
Australia’s Senate has just thrown out its long-time Liberal (conservative) leader, Malcolm Turnbull. He’d agreed with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd that Australia should suppress greenhouse emissions. In his place, the Liberals elected conservative Tony Abbott, who has often called man-made warming a fad. He knows heavy fossil fuel taxes would penalize the coal that provides Australia’s electricity and much of its exports.
The Senate immediately rejected Rudd’s cherished cap-and-trade plan, and Rudd may now have to call a snap Australian national election.
In Britain, both Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his Tory opponent David Cameron have long professed their belief in man-made global warming. But a recent London Times poll found only 41 percent of Britons agree that warming is man-made and a serious threat. The top ten Tory bloggers doubt or dismiss the “scientific consensus” on man-made warming.
Mr. Cameron’s British Tory leadership mantle rests uneasily on his shoulders.
In America, Sarah Palin has already announced her divorce from John McCain’s man-made warming beliefs. In July, her Washington Post column on “The ‘Cap And Tax’ Dead End” stated:
I am deeply concerned about President Obama’s cap-and-trade energy plan, and I believe it is an enormous threat to our economy. … Particularly in Alaska, we understand the inherent link between energy and prosperity, energy and opportunity, and energy and security.
Sarah may not be the next Republican presidential nominee, but she’s positioned well for a newly skeptical American public. An October Pew poll found only 36 percent saying that humans cause warming. That’s down from 47 percent in 2006, in part because of the heavy energy taxes Congress has proposed to wring from a fossil-dependent economy.
A Rasmussen poll in January found only 21 percent of Republicans believed the recent warming was man-made. And that was before Climategate! Newt Gingrich is wrong-footed for such a warming-doubtful Republican Party.
The European Union says it believes — but its new emission reduction targets are non-binding and must be re-reviewed after the Copenhagen conference that promises failure on a new warming treaty. Coal-dependent Eastern Europe wants to keep its coal and reject imports of Russian natural gas.
Al Gore may be left holding a lot of unsold carbon credits.
Dennis T. Avery is based in Churchville, VA, and is director of the Hudson Institute's Center for Global Food Issues.
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