In a delicious bit of irony last week, a banner headline declared: HOUSE HEARING ON ‘WARMING OF THE PLANET’ CANCELED AFTER ICE STORM.
But the prophets of impending doom like Al Gore have no sense of irony, humility or historical perspective. For them, the final word came on February 2, 2007, from the United Nations – that epicenter of Truth – when it issued the findings of its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (“IPCC”). The UN panel reported a strong consensus among the world’s leading scientists that global warming is now “unequivocal” and that human activity “very likely” has been the primary cause of rising temperatures worldwide since 1950. As a result, Time Magazine’s February 19, 2007, edition solemnly pronounced: “Consider the case closed on global warming...Now that the IPCC has fingered the culprits behind global warming, the question becomes how will the world leaders respond.”
As far as the environmentalist scaremongers are concerned, the IPCC findings confirm what they have been preaching all along – that we human beings have violated Mother Earth and must now do immediate penance for our sins. We are killing the global environment and only a sharp curtailment of human production and consumption will have any chance of turning the tide, they warn us. Anybody who denies the gravity of the problem, its man-made cause or the need for an immediate drastic remedy is called a “denier,” as morally depraved in the eyes of the ‘Save the Earth” crowd as the deniers of the Nazi Holocaust which killed 6 million Jews. “Let's just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers,” intoned left-wing Boston Globe columnist Ellen Goodman.
Such a comparison is obscene and says more about those who stoop to such levels of adhominem attacks than about those skeptics of the global warming hysteria they are attacking. Evil human beings actually did murder 6 million Jews and many others in a concerted program of mass genocide. The Holocaust was a uniquely heinous act that demonstrated the depths of human depravity. To deny that this irrefutable fact ever happened – to wipe away the memories of the slaughtered millions and the accountability to history of their slaughterers - is akin to murdering the Nazis’ victims all over again.
Diagnosing present atmospheric conditions and predicting the future course of the earth’s climate are not the same as recording the facts of the past. It is a bit of hubris for anyone to insist as irrefutable fact that a planet which has been around for more than 4.5 billion years, with variations in its orbit and sunlight intensity that have caused ice ages to come and ago and with climate-affecting changes in ocean currents, can be destroyed by the actions of us mortal beings over just fifty to one hundred years or so. Does the fact that much of the Northeast was under a glacier ice sheet only about 20,000 years ago – a mere blip in earth time – enter into the global warming theorists’ calculations of cause and effect? What explains the receding of the glaciers 10,000 years ago in what must have been part of a long-term warming trend?
We were told after Hurricane Katrina to expect more and more such severe hurricanes for now on because of global warming, but there was deafening silence from the Chicken Little crowd when the last hurricane season was one of the quietest in many a year. This past January – apparently the warmest on record – was just a taste of soaring temperatures to come we were warned, until February defied predictions and turned the Northeast into an icebox. Are we still in the midst of a long, slow upward trend of temperatures that is being exacerbated by human activity but was bound to happen anyway with some minor up and down variations in between – just over a somewhat longer period of time? To bring up all relevant evidence in the search for the right answers and solutions is what scientists are supposed to do. It is certainly not the same as denying irrefutable historical facts.
Yes, the earth is getting gradually warmer. Yes, we are likely having some measurable impact on the earth’s temperatures that can be linked to the build up in the atmosphere of carbon gases caused by our overuse of fossil fuels. And yes, there are steps we can take to mitigate the harms that are within our control, some of which are already underway. But the Left, as usual, wants to turn a serious policy issue into a morality play.
Perhaps the best thing we can do is to expand our investments in alternative fuels that will yield several benefits, including economic and national security benefits resulting from reduced reliance on foreign oil. But this will take money. The Left would increase taxes, including the imposition of stiff global taxes, and would burden business with more onerous regulatory restrictions. How about instead we redirect at least half of our annual contributions that we currently make to the UN and its wasteful programs to a global alternative fuel research fund? Instead of putting billions of dollars a year down the UN rat hole and giving billions more dollars in aid to corrupt regimes in developing countries that yield no tangible benefits for their people, let’s put this money to work in a worldwide effort akin to the Manhattan Project to wean us off of reliance on fossil fuels once and for all. But the Leftists’ do not want to redirect resources to more useful projects. They like the UN just the way it is because it serves as a convenient forum to bash the United States and to ‘restrain’ our military power. They also like its wealth redistribution programs that cost the American taxpayers billions of dollars a year. And they want to penalize the United States for what they see as our evil capitalist system’s destruction of the environment.
The leftists would have liked nothing more than to see the United States bear two-thirds of the global economic cost of mandatory targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions – which would have been the result had the United States joined the Kyoto Protocol – even though we emit no more than 25 percent of the offending gases. They have no problem with China getting a free pass from any mandatory cuts despite the fact that it is close behind us in gas emissions and will probably overtake us in that department in just a few years. Indeed, China is not only busy polluting the atmosphere from its own industrial production. It is exporting its irresponsible behavior to Africa. For example, China is building mines in Africa that are environmentally hazardous, while its banks lend money for dubious projects in Africa that do not meet the Equator Principles, an international set of environmental and social impact monitoring guidelines for significant outside investments. They reject the notion that they have any responsibility, claiming that the industrialized West caused the global warming problem and now they alone should solve it. China wants to continue to do whatever it wants in growing its economy with abandon, taking jobs away from us in the process.
If President Bush had listened to the Kyoto Protocol boosters and gone along with their anti-growth agenda, it has been estimated that at least four million jobs would have been directly lost as a result. Of course, the Democrats would not have worked in bipartisan fashion with Bush to explain to the American people why such a short-term sacrifice was supposedly necessary to preserve our planet. Instead, the Democrats would have shamelessly exploited the job losses to their political advantage by blaming Bush’s economic policies, rather than the misguided Kyoto Protocol, for the higher unemployment figures. And all this would have occurred while producing, according to even the most optimistic scientists, a drop of perhaps one degree by the year 2100 even if the Kyoto Protocol had been signed and implemented by all parties.
To disagree about whether we are truly on the eve of destruction as Gore’s Oscar-nominated “documentary” suggests, or on what measures should be taken to arrest the build-up of carbon gases without wrecking our economy in the process, is not an act of denial. It is called acting prudently by not throwing out the baby with the bath water. But for the leftists, it is always about demonizing their opponents and making the United States the root of all problems – man-made or otherwise.
Global warming is just one of many areas that we see this leftist mentality at work. Not long ago, the Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Jane Smiley wrote in the leftists’ favorite blog, the Huffington Post, that she figured out why the rest of the world hates the United States. The source for her epiphany was another novelist, Henry Bromell, who had years ago written a fictional ditty called Little America. Apparently, we are supposed to believe that 9/11 and all of the other acts of violence directed against Americans are a result of our own rapacious behavior in the Middle East over the last several decades. Our fight against Soviet style Communism in the Middle East sowed the seeds of the hatred that bedevil us today, according to this thesis. Apparently not able to distinguish between truth and fiction, Ms. Smiley and her hero author ignore the centuries of Muslim fanaticism that have defined the relationship between the West and Islamic jihadists long before there ever was a United States of America. As one blogger so correctly responded to Ms. Smiley’s post, “the aggression of radical Islam against the West predates Zionism, corporate meddling, war time colonialism, even (briefly) the Crusades (rising violence and kidnapping against Christian pilgrims is what brought the Muslims to the Church's attention)…Islam is a malignant, violent force and societies who profess it tend to be the antithesis of what we value as healthy in the West.”
Fighting for preservation of our freedoms – whether against the Nazi and Soviet totalitarian states or against the Islamic jihad terrorists and their sponsors – may have enraged the fanatics to commit more violence but it did not cause their tendency to violence. History shows that it is hardwired into their collective DNA.
The Left has no sense of history and is thus condemned to repeat its worst mistakes. Indeed, they deny its meaning altogether. How else can we explain George Soros – a victim of Nazi Germany whom America welcomed after it freed the world from the Nazis’ grip – saying that his adopted country needed to be de-Nazified just because he disagrees with Bush’s policies to counter the Islamic fanatical terrorist threat here and abroad? Soros is putting his money where his foolish mouth is, bankrolling the progressive, anti-war wing of the Democratic Party that is moving the whole party to the Left.
It is much easier to bray on about global warming and American imperialism than to recognize the greatest potential threat to the earth and humanity as a whole that we face today – a nuclear conflagration which the fanatic Islamists are working to bring about in order to usher in their own version of a brave new world. When and if that should ever happen, the banner headline would read, if it were possible to publish any newspaper at all: HOUSE HEARING ON ‘WARMING OF THE PLANET’ CANCELED AFTER TERRORISTS SET OFF A NUCLEAR BOMB.
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