2/1/2009 | 3 MINUTE READ

The Greater Good

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As evidence global warming is altering the environmental landscape wanes, calls for action increase while liberty and freedom hang in the balance.


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Carol Browner, former head of the EPA under President Clinton and soon to be the energy/environment czar for the Obama administration, is a member of the Socialist International's Commission for a Sustainable World Society. The Socialist International is, to quote the Encyclopedia Britannica, "an association of national socialist parties that advocates a democratic form of socialism." For those in need of a reminder, socialism is defined by Merriam-Webster as: "1) any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods, 2 a) a system of society or group living in which there is no private property, b) a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state, 3) a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done." Thus it's not surprising that Ms. Browner is part of an organization whose principles include the imperative, "to establish a genuinely new international economic order." Only they want you to vote it in.

Combating "global climate change" is one way of accomplishing this feat, a fact made all the more obvious by the Goddard Institute's chief of Space Studies' call for President Obama to enact a tax on carbon emissions. Its goal would be to redistribute income from the haves to the have nots, and to reduce that pesky CO2 causing the planet to warm…and cool. Apparently man-made carbon dioxide can do both, a point made by the fact that Dr. James Hansen, the Space Studies cadet in question, was predicting a little over 30 years ago that a new ice age would arise from many of the same mechanisms he now associates with runaway global warming. Remember that interesting fact the next time you tell someone they can't have it both ways. Apparently they can.

While all this has been taking place, an interesting (and under-reported) thing has been happening. Petitions signed by prominent meteorologists, environmentalists, and scientists have called into question the whole idea of man-made global warming. These include John Coleman, founder of the Weather Channel, and AccuWeather.com's chief meteorologist, Joe Bastardi. Bastardi not only questions those who claim to have absolute knowledge of what the climate will be like 50 or even 100 years from now based on computer models, he points to the cold weather of 2007 as a precursor of things to come. He is joined by author and environmentalist Lawrence Solomon, who points out that the recent decline in sunspot activity dropped temperatures by more than half a degree centigrade last year-enough to wipe out a century of warming at a time of rising CO2 levels. Then there is Joseph D'Aleo, an American Meteorological Society fellow who informs all who will listen that 2008 was the second-least active solar year since 1900, with 266 days without sunspots. According to an analysis by Friis-Christensen, long cycles are cold cycles. Short cycles like those of the 1980s and 1990s are warm. Each has a delay of about five years from the time the sun begins to cool/warm to when we on earth feel its effect. We are now in the midst of a cool cycle. D'Aleo says that the delay in the sunspot cycle (number 24, if you're counting) is reminiscent of the Dalton Minimum that resulted in several especially cold decades starting in 1790, and was instrumental in Napoleon's retreat from Moscow during the winter of 1812.

Nevertheless, we can expect Ms. Browner and Dr. Hansen to call for more regulation "for the greater good," including eco-warrior favorites like increasing population density (encouraging folks to live in cities instead of the suburbs) and greater reliance on public transit. However, as Skaidra Smith-Heisters, a policy analyst at the Reason Foundation, pointed out in her August 12, 2008 commentary entitled Cars Disproportionately Blamed for Greenhouse Gas Emissions, household vehicle use is responsible for a much smaller portion of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions (16%-18%) than is commonly believed, and fossil fuel use has grown at a lower rate since 1990 (1%) than the average population growth rate (1.1%), electricity consumption (1.9%), and GDP (3.0%). On the other hand, Smith-Heisters says, "When greenhouse gas emissions associated with the underlying infrastructure required for rail transit are included in the lifetime operating emissions, new rail systems are unlikely to compare favorably to the average passenger car." However, one gets the feeling that trying to convince Ms. Browner that individual mobility is both democratic and eco-friendly would fall on deaf ears.