Energy & Environment

Stern Words for Global Warming Alarmists

Ironies and double standards can be subtle. And, in giddy “historic” times, the ironies can be absolutely blistering. For example, consider the media’s different contortions when covering the positions of presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama on the matter of a “global warming” treaty.

For example, last week the Obama administration proclaimed that expectations shall be lowered on that front and, for some reason, broadcast anchors eschewed rending of cloth and gnashing of teeth, and the print media couldn’t be bothered with the usual editorials and hit pieces masquerading as news items to condemn the seemingly rational assessment.

The words in question came in a speech by President Obama’s “climate envoy,” former Clinton-Gore “Kyoto” aide Todd Stern, that the global warming agenda demanded of Bush was too ambitious and “not going to happen.” (To whom do you present your credentials as “climate envoy”? Mother Nature?)

Well, Stern certainly ruined my day, even if he did unintentionally raise a few questions about some things said back in the campaign. But wait: have faith, oh ye alarmists. The media silence is explained by things not being quite what they seem. More on which in a moment.

Stern’s remarks were covered only by the Wall Street Journal, and even then only described as having been delivered in Washington. In them, Stern even chastised those who might question this judgment with, “We need to be very mindful of what the dictates of science are.”

Oh. Isn’t this the guy whose boss said, within days of being elected, that “[t]he science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear. Sea levels are rising. Coastlines are shrinking. We’ve seen record drought, spreading famine, and storms that are growing stronger with each passing hurricane season.”

Why, yes, it is, though of course Obama was either making that up or repeating a threadbare talking point of the crowd terrified of ever subjecting their pet hysteria (and now major revenue source for social engineering) to the acid test of debate.

So, instead of Obama’s climate envoy (I just can’t give up mentioning the title) reliably resorting to Moonbat science, Stern must instead have meant that actual research reveals there’s nothing within reach to replace “fossil fuels.” Hey, we’re a carbon–based economy, guys. Get over it. No matter how hard Al Gore blows, there’s not enough wind power and solar power available (nor will there be for decades, if ever) to provide a significant amount of the electricity America consumes.

That is to say that hopping off the hydrocarbon train now would kill, oh I don’t know, billions. Which actually was the point of a paper in Science magazine in 2002 by, of all people, some leading alarmists (Hoffert, et al.). See, not all of the hysterics hate you for being beautiful.

Of course, regular HUMAN EVENTS readers know that Stern’s resetting of the rhetorical playing field is of a part with establishing new ground rules more accommodating to the new global warming sheriff in our town. The principal change is that of course Obama wouldn’t be held to the standard to which Team Global Governance held the Bush administration for eight years: you must sign on to a global warming treaty now or the world will end and you killed it … and, well, you know the rest if you weren’t living on an island somewhere, enjoying a nice warm climate during the Bush-era global cooling.

This does not signal the global governance crowd giving up, of course — just that they’re happy to let Obama find his own path to the mutually agreed end. U.N. officials have admitted as much, and that the guy therefore needs a break and some room to operate.

According to the U.N.’s chief eco-diplomat Yvo de Boer, Obama is new in office and, besides, his heart’s in the right place, we know he’ll do the right thing, but of course that Senate’s always a problem. Odd, I was fairly attentive to this issue in 2001 after Bush indicated his intention to continue the Clinton-Gore policy of not seeking Senate ratification for Kyoto and, um, that’s not the approach you took at the time. I suppose this is “change” de Boer can believe in.

Testing our credulity a bit much, while also in town last week meeting with administration officials, de Boer greeted Stern’s assessment with the Orwellian glee of “we’re really happy to see the United States back into the international climate change process.” By telling the world that what they urgently demanded of Bush to save the planet was, well, not in the cards. Got it.

Outside of de Boer, responses by the usual suspects among the green groups and Europeans were muted, consistent with the notion that Obama and they are on the same page.

Now, you may recall similarly nuanced distinctions in how the intellectually dishonest global warming chorus treated, say, both the Clinton-Gore and Bush administrations sneering at the notion of asking the Senate to ratify Kyoto. Now, of course there’s nothing in the Constitution or statute requiring such a request of a signed treaty like Kyoto, but that wasn’t the point. By offering the alms of some lip-biting (his own, this time) and squishy rhetoric, one president was deeply caring and responsible, and the other burned in effigy for somehow setting the planet ablaze.

Stern’s announcement surely will mean the lefties will scramble to find an unoccupied corner on which to protest this move. After all, their comrades have already filled the streets in outrage over his boss, Hillary Clinton, flying to China mere days before to assure them that little things like human rights won’t get in the way of addressing real crises.

What were those real crises far more important than such trifles? Why, the global financial crisis and — wait for it — global warming.

Ah. Protest cancelled. Man, these guys and their, for lack of a better word, “reasoning” are the equivalent of that Escher print hanging over the commode in every house party I attended in my 20s. Round and round and round we go. The estimable Mr. de Boer called this high-profile assertion of that hierarchy "a really important and encouraging step."

Less than you demanded of the other guy is actually more. Other than that, nothing is too expensive if incurred in the name of addressing “global warming.” Uh, except debate.

Don’t ask. Being on the vanguard of revolution can be confusing.

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