Global Warming and Political Posturing

Global Warming and Political Posturing

Horner Letter in The Washington Times
March 14, 2005

So, Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut Democrat, sees purported man-made global warming as "a moral issue which causes us to exercise moral leadership before the worst consequences are seen" ("Evangelicals lobby Congress on responsibility" Page 1, Friday). By such leadership, he presumably means his McCain-Lieberman legislation seeking to implement a scaled-back version of the regime set forth in the unratified Kyoto Protocol. Precisely how scaled back remains unclear because, in a bid to strip away opposition, the bill's sponsors serially carve out industries from its emissions rationing scheme. Precisely how moral is Mr. Lieberman's response is a legitimate issue given that the sole basis for such "greenhouse gas" regulation is the theory of catastrophic man-made global warming. Even <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Kyoto's proponents admit that a treaty, perfectly implemented, would not have a detectable climatic effect despite its enormous cost. As such, Mr. Lieberman offers a percentage of nothing in response to a purportedly grave and imminent threat so that we can say we are "doing something." If the senator believes the basis for Kyoto/McCain-Lieberman, he needs to propose Kyoto's express endgame or at least something near thereto: 60 percent to 80 percent reduction of energy use emissions, and not just here in the United States. (Europe, by the way, admits it is not complying with Kyoto.) Amid the political firestorm Mr. Lieberman et al., can ponder the human consequences of their moral play. In fact, the climate has always changed and always will. It is always getting cooler or warmer, wetter or drier. Man has always adapted, with the wealthiest societies adapting best. The solution to the entire parade of supposed horrors is not rationing energy—access to affordable, reliable supplies of which the world has too little, not too much—but wealth creation. This is indeed a moral question. Politicians who seize it in the fashionable sense do so not only wrongly, but in a way that upon scrutiny appears to be little more than political posturing. CHRISTOPHER C. HORNER Senior fellow Competitive Enterprise Institute Washington<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />