Go to Copenhagen, but Don't Kill the Economy

I just bought a used car. If this were the year 2015 and the global warming bill that passed the House were now the law, I would have gone out and bought a new bicycle, instead.

Then I hopped on a plane, an American Airlines flight to fly back to Washington. Again, if we fast-forward to 2015 and we have this 85 percent reduction from a 2005 carbon emissions baseline, I would not have been able to get on that airplane because it uses fossil fuels.  I would have gotten on an all-electric train, I guess, powered by emissions-free electricity from the wind or a nuclear power plant, and it would have taken me a few days to get to Washington.

Later this week, I will be going to Copenhagen for the global warming summit meeting there — officially called the “Conference of the Parties-15,” or COP-15 — but I will not be one of the sycophants who say climate change is the biggest problem facing the world and we need to make draconian changes that stall my country’s economy and cost Americans their jobs.

Keep in mind that the U.S. economy is larger than the next eight largest economies in the world combined. And if the Copenhagen meeting was the culmination of the environmental nirvana and President Obama were signing a treaty to bind the United States, we would be putting our economy in a straightjacket that would cost millions of jobs per year, every year, for the next 20 to 30 years.

Luckily, that’s not going to happen. It’s just my opinion, but I believe that the environmental radicals have overplayed their hand. The American public, and to some extent the world public, is very tolerant and very trusting, but to put in the politest way possible, they have been misled and manipulated. They have been fed data that were self-serving by those who are determined to make the case that the world’s people are to blame for global warming.

Facts are facts and truth is truth, and the truth is seeping out.  This whole theory of manmade global warming remains just that, a theory. And the climatologists who believe it should be accepted as a fact have spent the last 20 years trying to prove it is, but they can’t quite do it.  As a result, they’ve had to resort to larger and larger deceptions that are beginning to be uncovered.

The result is that the EPA’s recent official finding, potentially enforceable under the Clean Air Act, that carbon dioxide is dangerous to humanity will not stand because it is not based on hard science.  To make its determination, EPA had to first suppress a report of its own professional staff which criticized the finding.  

I was here when we passed the Clean Air Act amendments in the early 1990s. We had five specific criteria-pollutants, and we also set very specific maximum levels that where public health would be endangered. Carbon dioxide is not one of those pollutants. It poses no harm to public health like mercury or lead or sulfur dioxide, because carbon dioxide is utterly unlike real pollutants like mercury, lead and sulfur dioxide.

If the EPA tries to implement the Clean Air Act to regulate carbon dioxide, we’re going to have bureaucrats regulating everything from truck stops to apartment complexes. Targets for carbon dioxide police potentially will include any football game in America that has over 25,000 people in attendance, because all those people exhale.

Should the finding and the regulations it sires be upheld in court, they will generate sweeping new rules covering mobile and stationary sources of CO2, rules that have the potential to be the most complex, costly and burdensome regulations in U.S. history. They will load businesses and workers here and around the globe with untold billions of dollars in new compliance costs.  I’m only one of the many who worry that the cumulative effect could slowly but surely destroy my country’s manufacturing and industrial base. This can’t be good news, either, for others in the world who rely on the American economic engine to help produce prosperity in their countries, too.

I think that any fair reading of the politics involved suggests that the Obama administration decided to go ahead with plans to outlaw carbon dioxide in order to make the president’s policies seem active and effective in advance of his visit to the Copenhagen conference, as opposed to advancing any public good in America.

That’s not what the Clean Air Act was about, and that’s why I hope we will turn on a cautionary yellow light on how we approach global warming. Let’s go to Copenhagen. Let’s continue to support sound, balanced scientific research. Let’s continue to do solid, reliable cost-benefit analysis. Let’s mitigate environmental damage when we know we can mitigate it.

But let’s not put on blinders and lead the U.S. economy off a cliff.