D. Dowd Muska


Exposing Alarmists’ Junk-Science Junta

May 05, 2011

With the Senate eschewing the House’s 1,428-page “cap and trade” bill, 2010’s impressive tea-party victories at both the federal and state levels, and a feeble economy that can’t seem to get any traction, America’s climate-change alarmists appear wounded -- perhaps fatally.

But they only look dead.

So says Patrick J. Michaels, past president of the American Association of State Climatologists and senior fellow in environmental studies at the Cato Institute. In Climate Coup: Global Warming’s Invasion of Our Government and Our Lives, the scientist gathers eight experts to substantiate his claim that major institutions are using an ersatz crisis “to fatten their budgets, their reach, and their power.”

The warmist agenda, Climate Coup makes quite clear, has a boot on the neck of American society. It isn’t about to surrender its gains, and there’s ample reason to believe that its scope will expand.

In the book’s first chapter, Cato legal scholars Roger Pilon and Evan Turgeon describe how Progressive Era and New Deal shenanigans give “the president today all the power he needs to execute global warming’s agenda through his domestic and foreign affairs powers -- powers so far-reaching that they would shock the Constitution’s Framers, who thought they had checked executive excesses through the separation of powers.” The lawyers walk readers through U.S. Supreme Court decisions that enabled fedpols to regulate just about anything, then enumerate the sweeping laws Congress wrote that delegated its newfound authority to the EPA, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and other federal agencies. The result? “[E]nvironmental decisions … are made by relatively few unaccountable bureaucrats concentrated in the executive branch, with only sporadic and uneven judicial and congressional review.” With the Obama administration’s EPA drafting regulations for “greenhouse gases,” Americans will soon get a very costly glimpse at what happens when the legislative branch is usurped.

Ivan Eland, director of The Independent Institute’s Center on Peace and Liberty, pens Climate Coup’s most disturbing chapter. The term “environmental security” goes all the way back to 1987, he reports, and as threats either imploded (the Soviet Union) or never materialized (Islamic terrorism as an existential menace), the military-industrial complex has increasingly embraced the global-warming bogeyman. Neoconservatives have joined liberal hawks to provide PR -- for example, retired CIA spook James Woolsey contributed a hysterical essay to the collection Climatic Cataclysm: The Foreign Policy and National Security Implications of Climate Change. Employing baseless speculation about sea levels rising 6.6 feet (a figure that Eland found is “approximately four times greater than the current midrange estimate from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change”), Woolsey concocted a dystopia begging for U.S. leadership: “All of the ways in which human beings have responded to natural disasters in the past … could come together in one conflagration: rage at the government’s inability to deal with the abrupt and unpredictable crises; religious fervor and perhaps even a dramatic rise in millennial end-of-days cults; hostility and violence toward migrants and minority groups, at a time of demographic change and increased global migration; and intra- and interstate conflict over resources, particularly food and freshwater.”

Sallie James, a former Australian trade official now working for Cato, documents a similar phenomenon. Like neoconservatives, protectionists have found common ground with the environmental left over climate change. Free-trade foes see an opportunity to use anti-warming taxes and mandates to increase costs for the foreign firms they claim are “stealing American jobs.” As usual with globalization’s enemies, the facts point in the opposite direction. James also debunks the shibboleth that free trade has induced an “environmental race to the bottom” and explains how mechanisms such as “carbon tariffs” violate international agreements.

“Global warming’s reach,” Michaels concludes, “has become ubiquitous.” Climate Coup’s other chapters -- including Robert E. Davis’s finding that “different groups of researchers have reached fundamentally different conclusions about the impact of climate change on mortality,” Neal McCluskey’s overview of carbon paranoiacs’ infiltration of the education system, and Ross McKitrick’s description of the “chokehold of indoctrination and intellectual corruption” that keeps skeptics’ work out of peer-reviewed journals -- complete the indictment.

Climate Coup’s essayists show that in the world of eco-alarmism, there’s so much money to be made, businesses to control, and human behavior to redirect, short-term political and economic developments are of no concern. However devoid of sound science and economic sense, the mission goes on. And if it means job security, a bigger budget, richer subsidies, or a competitive advantage, innumerable bureaucrats, lobbyists, unions, and corporations are eager to board the climate-change crazy train.

D. Dowd Muska (www.dowdmuska.com) writes about government, economics, and technology. Follow him on Twitter @dowdmuska.

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