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Policy: Environment & Energy

Legacy-seeking politicians preach the gospel of global warming

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Opinion,Ron Arnold,Columnists,Climate Change,Energy and Environment,Global Warming

What is all this frantic climate change noise that's suddenly emerging from the deathbed of global warming hysteria?

Pew polls still rank climate change next to the bottom of the top 20 issues facing the nation. Even with big media blaming the recent horrific cold weather on global warming, the public just chuckles and watches the snow-challenged Olympics without a second thought. Have America's bigwigs had some kind of intimate visitation from the ghost of crazes past?

Not really. It’s actually just a few die-hard climate salesmen with political motives.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack took advantage of recent bad weather to make a big climate splash by opening “the first ever Regional Hubs for Risk Adaptation and Mitigation to Climate Change.”

That’s an impressive name, but the seven agricultural "climate hubs" — in Iowa, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Colorado, Oklahoma, Oregon and New Mexico — are just propaganda spigots about helping farmers and ranchers with “increasing risks such as fires, invasive pests, devastating floods, and crippling droughts,” but they never say how.

Vilsack said that the hubs are “part of [President Obama's] Climate Action Plan to responsibly cut carbon pollution, slow the effects of climate change and put America on track to a cleaner environment.”

Farmers and ranchers are scared to death of these climate hubs. Steven Wilmeth, a southern New Mexico rancher, said, “It’s another one of those ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help’ deals. All I can say is, ‘Don’t help me.’ We hear the talk, but they’re not telling us what regulatory burdens these climate hubs will add to the overwhelming load we already carry.”

Then there's zillionaire hedge fund maestro Tom Steyer, who says he's ready to spend $100 million of his pocket change on attack ads against candidates who support the Keystone XL pipeline in the coming midterm elections -- against even key Democrats such as Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, an oil and gas state where Steyer's attack would probably help her. He's annoying Democratic election officials with a new and misleading poll he paid for to counteract numerous legitimate polls showing that Americans strongly support the XL. The Obama White House crew is said to wish Steyer would go away.

With the tide clearly turning and climate panic subsiding, it's worth asking what motivates the remaining strident climate crowd. Robert Gordon, senior adviser for strategic outreach at the Heritage Foundation, thinks the motives rank on a 1-2-3 scale from money to power to faith.

Employing a colorful metaphor, he said, “The dog of imminent apocalyptic global warming just won’t hunt. Perhaps for the promise of power or money or a faith-based devotion to the cause, some just refuse to accept that.”

The motive is obviously power for Secretary of State John Kerry, who is chanting his old “church of climate catastrophe” mantra again and calling skeptics the Flat Earth Society. Last Sunday, he told college students in Jakarta, Indonesia, "When I think about the array of global climate, of the global threats, think about this: terrorism, epidemics, poverty, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.”

After that, I think about the State Department as a mental hospital with no doctors or nurses. When you hear such “don’t listen to any opposing views”, you know you’re listening to a con — that is, deceptive persuasion, manipulation or swindle, take your pick. What’s Kerry’s con?

I asked Marc Morano, publisher of Climate Depot and former staff of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. As usual, he had a superbly insightful answer:

“After more than 40 years in public life,” Morano said, “John Kerry is still seeking a legacy, and he has chosen global warming as his ticket. Kerry is steering the Obama administration's international focus to embarrassingly bad man-made climate fears.

“Kerry has his sights set on committing the U.S. to a new U.N. global climate treaty in Paris in 2014. And he is using his pulpit as secretary of state to entangle the U.S. into a sequel to the Kyoto Protocol.”

Admiring Morano's realism, I pondered the motivations behind climate worship another moment and decided that it's really all faith, the kind of googly-eyed faith that even if global warming is false, making the world prepare for the illusion is the right thing to do.

RON ARNOLD, a Washington Examiner columnist, is executive vice president of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise.
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