The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change picked an inauspicious time to predict our impending doom due to global warming.
The panel released the results of its report on Groundhog Day as much of the United States suffered from a record-breaking cold spell. Schools closed in New York, Wisconsin and Michigan, while temperatures plunged below zero as far South as West Virginia. An intense cold front simultaneously chilled much of Southeast Asia, bringing to Cambodia the coldest temperatures in at least 27 years.
The only surprise about the report’s timing is that the details weren’t released by Al Gore, who chooses the coldest day of the year to give global warming speeches with the regularity of an infant on Ex-lax.
The UN report, declaring that global warming is almost certainly caused by humans, warned of future natural catastrophes such as dramatically rising sea levels, droughts and calamitous storms. One would think the flooding and storms would at least solve the drought problem, but then again, who am I to question an organization as famous as the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change?
The report’s findings elicited some particularly unrestrained commentary from passengers of the rapidly expanding global-warming bandwagon. Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research warned of more than a million deaths by 2100. Physicist Stephen Hawking added his best Jeremiah impression, comparing the dangers of global warming to those of nuclear war.
In a demonstration of the true magnitude of the problem, a group of celebrities and musicians founded an organization, Global Cool, to tackle the issue. One of the group’s activists, the actor Josh Harnett, burnished his reputation as a scientific intellectual in addition to being the star of cinematic masterpieces such as "Pearl Harbor." "I grew up in Minnesota, which is usually a cold place," he noted perceptively, "but we’ve seen abnormally warm winters the last couple of years, which is unnerving."
A few days after the unnerved star’s warning, temperatures in Northern Minnesota hit 38 degrees below zero.
The international literati apparently agree that we are facing a cataclysm of biblical proportions. The only thing missing from the UN climate-change report was a warning that global warming would turn the Nile into blood and cause the death of Dick Cheney’s first-born child, although these may be buried in an appendix somewhere.
Blame America First
Nevertheless, calls for immediate and drastic action were issued across the globe. Many of the declamations focused on the United States, the biggest emitter of greenhouse gasses. "The U.S. is going to have to decarbonize," Princeton University’s Robert Socolow told the Los Angeles Times. Socolow claimed that it would take several hundred years to eradicate the elevated carbon levels stemming from human industry even if the entire world eradicated fossil fuels. If this is true, the only way the U.S. could substantially diminish global warming would be to eliminate industry completely and pastoralize the country along the lines of the Morgenthau plan for post-war Germany. Green activists seem to believe that a course of action that was dismissed as being too harsh on Nazi Germany is now quite appropriate for the United States in light of our environmental sins.
Both China and Brazil called on unidentified wealthy countries to take the lead in making the necessary industrial adjustments to curb global warming. This showed some moxie on China’s part, seeing as it is expected to replace the U.S. as the biggest contributor to global warming in 2009. Yet China, which is already exempt from the responsibilities of the Kyoto climate accord, still gets a pass from the international environmental alarm brigade, which mysteriously insists on parking its fire truck of demands outside America’s door.
Chirac Threatens U.S.
Speaking less obliquely, French President Jacques Chirac demanded the U.S. sign Kyoto, a treaty that would cost America an estimated $325 billion, according to Yale University’s William Nordhaus and Joseph Boyer. Chirac also called for the preservation of mankind through a "revolution" including the imposition of a pan-European "carbon tax" on exports from recalcitrant states such as the U.S. that dare to reject Kyoto.
It was unclear how Chirac’s threat to make all Europeans pay more for their own purchases was received by Europeans themselves. Nor was it apparent whether the United States would retaliate by doubling the price of bidets nationwide.
The real motives behind the entire global-warming hysteria are equally opaque. It surely isn’t science — Timothy Ball, the first Canadian Ph.D. in climatology, recently called global warming “the greatest deception in the history of science.” Plenty of scientific research bears this out, from Bjorn Lomborg’s "The Skeptical Environmentalis"t to the newly released "Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Years" by physicist Fred Singer and economist Dennis Avery.
When the "international community" adopts some issue, there is usually a larger agenda at play than the specific demands it makes. For example, the activists who sponsored the Live 8 concert weren’t trying just to alleviate African poverty. They were trying to force Western governments to assume responsibility for Africa’s plight. Likewise, the unending denunciations of Israeli policies emitting from myriad international organizations and UN bodies are designed to delegitimize the Jewish state and transform it into an international pariah.
But what could the international community possibly hope to achieve by hyping the global-warming scare, other than advancing yet another issue with which to whip America and ultimately force the country to undertake measures that would do immense harm to its own economy?
It’s funny how some questions answer themselves.