As the snow falls in record amounts in Washington D.C. and other parts, hearts will be warmed by a superb summation of recent “climate-change” developments by Margaret Wente in England’s Globe and Mail: The great global warming collapse.
In 2007, the most comprehensive report to date on global warming, issued by the respected United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, made a shocking claim: The Himalayan glaciers could melt away as soon as 2035.
These glaciers provide the headwaters for Asia’s nine largest rivers and lifelines for the more than one billion people who live downstream. Melting ice and snow would create mass flooding, followed by mass drought. The glacier story was reported around the world.
But the claim was rubbish, and the world’s top glaciologists knew it. It was based not on rigorously peer-reviewed science but on an anecdotal report by the WWF itself. When its background came to light on the eve of Copenhagen, Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the IPCC, shrugged it off. But now, even leading scientists and environmental groups admit the IPCC is facing a crisis of credibility that makes the Climategate affair look like small change.
“The global warming movement as we have known it is dead,” the brilliant analyst Walter Russell Mead says in his blog on The American Interest. It was done in by a combination of bad science and bad politics.
Until now, anyone who questioned the credibility of the IPCC was labelled as a climate skeptic, or worse. But many climate scientists now sense a sinking ship, and they’re bailing out. Among them is Andrew Weaver, a climatologist at the University of Victoria who acknowledges that the climate body has crossed the line into advocacy. Even Britain’s Greenpeace has called for Mr. Pachauri’s resignation. India says it will establish its own body to monitor the effects of global warming because it “cannot rely” on the IPCC.
By exaggerating the certainties, papering over the gaps, demonizing the skeptics and peddling tales of imminent catastrophe, they’ve discredited the entire climate-change movement. The political damage will be severe. As Mr. Mead succinctly puts it: “Skeptics up, Obama down, cap-and-trade dead.” That also goes for Canada, whose climate policies are inevitably tied to those of the United States.
This is all good, and to be savored. Punctuated by a winter of unholy extremes in many parts of the globe, serendipitously bringing to full light the real human and economic cost, on a regular basis, of severe cold weather (something climate-change enthusiasts never sought to figure into their prophecies of unmitigated woe should the earth gain a degree or two) this whole thing has the fingerprints of Divine Providence, if you ask me.
With India opting out of the IPCC attempt to concoct a premise of scientific and political “consensus” on the facts of global warming, there simply can be no consensus. And after what occurred at Copenhagen, we know China’s point of view. Absent India and China being on at least something close to the same page as the worried Western elites, there will be no global global warming agreement.
However, before we celebrate too early in the United States, the fact must be faced that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently been empowered to regulate emissions of carbon dioxide, based on a finding that it is a “pollutant” and so comes under the purview of the Clean Air Act. The potential implications of this, in terms of limits and penalties and the impact on the U.S. economy, are really incalculable.
Fortunately, in the current, er, climate (see all of the above), even some Democrats are seeing the folly that this constitutes and are looking to preempt any action on this basis by the EPA bureaucracy.
Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) introduced a bill on Tuesday [Feb 2nd 2010] that would amend the Clean Air Act to exclude regulations based on global warming effects, while Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.) has a bill that would keep the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases at all unless approved by Congress.
The Peterson bill, which is co-sponsored by Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.), specifically curtails the Clean Air Act, which allows the EPA to regulate “air pollutants,” so as to exclude from regulation six greenhouse gases that the agency thinks contribute to global warming.
“The term ‘air pollutant,’” the bill reads, “shall not include any of the following solely on the basis of its effect on global climate change: (1) Carbon dioxide, (2) Methane, (3) Nitrous oxide, (4) Hydrofluorocarbons, (5) Perfluorocarbons, (6) Sulfur hexafluoride.”
Peterson explained that the change was needed because the EPA was overstepping the original intended limits of the law. “The Clean Air Act was not meant for this,” he said. “It was meant to clean up the air, to get lead out of the air. It was not meant to fight global warming.”
Darned right. And to the extent that the EPA does anything — anything at all — to penalize U.S. businesses and individuals on the basis of preventing “climate change,” it must be pinned, politically, right to the foreheads and lapels of every Democrat running for office in 2010 and beyond. (And, in primary contests, also to the foreheads and lapels of those Republicans — unfortunately not just a few — who also signed on to this farce.)