This article originally ran on Investor’s Business Daily on June 26, 2013.
“But history did not end in 1965.”
Chief Justice John Roberts on Tuesday
In a much ballyhooed speech, President Obama on Tuesday released his Climate Action Plan. The plan contains no new ideas but would amplify the economic damage of his current policies.
Except for resolve to curb carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing power plants, this manifesto either doubles down on the subsidized green energy programs of his first term or creates mushy-to-the-point-of-meaningless new programs to weather (extreme) weather.
The president’s thinly veiled plans to eliminate coal from our nation’s energy supply would undermine the reliability, affordability and adequacy of electricity.
Although natural gas has rapidly gained ground in the power mix, coal still provides 40% of this country’s electric power.
Ethanol, wind and any source labeled green already increase the costs of food, fuel and electricity.
Although high-income households can absorb the extra costs, low- and fixed-income families cannot. Energy poverty emerges in this country with food and energy costs now absorbing 40% or more of after-tax incomes $30,000 or below.
Europe already experiences energy poverty. Germany’s aggressive deployment of wind and solar have driven electricity prices 40% to 70% higher.
Last summer, Der Spiegel reported that over 500,000 homes could no longer afford electricity. And so timber from the U.S. now goes to Germany to make wood chips for residential heating. Who calls this progress?
The president claims we have a moral obligation to supplant carbon-based energy for future generations.
But have we not a higher moral obligation to lift people out of poverty and to reduce the suffering in developing countries where the majority of people still lack access to electric power?
Only amoral elitists would force exorbitant, unreliable energy on the 60% of India’s population without electricity.
The president’s plan does just that by calling “for an end to public financing of new coal plants overseas.”
The president’s plan is cluttered with government job-creating programs to promote “climate resilient investments,” “sustainable hospitals,” “insurance leadership for climate safety” and “tool kits for climate resilience.”
This is a far cry from reducing global CO2 emissions by 85% “to avert catastrophic interference with the climate,” as the most recent IPCC report urged.
And if the U.S. eliminated man-made CO2 emissions, it would reduce global temperatures in 2050, according to the increasingly uncertain U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) science, by 0.08% – a virtually undetectable amount.
The majority of the initiatives in the president’s plan are not aimed at averting warming but at mitigating damage from hurricanes, wildfires, drought and floods.
A convenient ruse since global temperatures have flat-lined for 16 years, the president conflates man-made climate change (as cause) with extreme weather (as effect).
But even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the World Meteorological Organization have abundant historical data that debunk these claims of unprecedented natural disasters.
From Ignorant To Arrogant
Since the 1950s there have been fewer strong (F3-F5) tornados.
And contrary to the president’s repeated remarks, the fury of hurricane Sandy was not the result of increased levels of CO2 but of the coincidental alignment of a tropical storm with a land-based storm.
Pointing to weather as proof that man-made warming is creating havoc today is typical of the most dogmatic global warming alarmists.
But from the president, this unsupportable hype is unconscionable. Arrogant modern man evidently joins ignorant ancient man in the delusion that bad weather is caused by human misdeeds.
The president’s plan ignores the widening gaps between the IPCC’s speculative science and the empirical measurements which contradict the modeled projections.
Assuming that the IPCC science is beyond dispute, the president’s plan moves to “actionable science” to adapt to bad weather through “tool kits for climate resilience.”
Whether the president’s plan is some momentous turning point, more weaponry to supplant the fossil fuels on whose back the U.S. economy rides or nothing more than noise to appease environmental elites, it’s a distraction from the scandals’ facing him.
Most importantly, this silly plan distracts the public from the burgeoning opportunities now created by access to this nation’s vast endowment of fossil fuels.
– Hartnett White is a distinguished senior fellow in residence and director, Armstrong Center for Energy & the Environment at the Texas Public Policy Foundation and former chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.