Tempest in a Teapot

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It was synchronicity that, weeks before UN Global Climate Summit in Copenhagen, news broke that scientists influential in the I I climate change” (formerly the”global warming”) movement had been rigging data and manipulating the peer-review process.

The statist elites gathering in Copenhagen seemed gloomy; some self-righteous wind had been taken from their sails. The procession of bien pensant nitwits went as scheduled. Photo ops and empty rhetoric were many and much. But the assembled bureaucrats failed to ratify the more ambitious multilateral claptrap that anthropogenic global warming alarmists had been advocating. And, as usual, these disappointed would-be tyrants blamed America for their shortcomings.

Now, even as the Copenhagen onanism got under way, statists at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency took actions that their global brethren failed to achieve. The EPA announced that the group of chemical compounds known as “greenhouse gases” poses a threat to public health and the environment.

Lisa Jackson, the EPA’s chief rent seeker, read from pre- pared notes that “the scientific evidence” surrounding cli- mate change “clearly shows” that greenhouse gases “threaten the public health and welfare of the American people” and

pronouncement was a first step toward that regulation. Green tyrants look forward to a new system of EPA- administered carbon permits that must be sought by power plants, factories, and perhaps even automobile owners. This is part of a longstanding agenda. In a December opinion column published by the Washington Post, Chesapeake Climate

Project employee Mike Tidwell ranted:

Surveys show that very few people are willing to make significant voluntary changes, and those of us who do create the false impression of mass progress as the media hypes our actions…. Instead, most people want carbon reductions to be mandated by laws that will allow us to share both the responsibilities and the benefits of change…. After years of delay and denial and green half-measures, we must legislate a stop to the burning of coal, oil, and natural gas.

The specious logic of that passage is plain to see: generalization (“very few”) plus generalization (“most”) equals specific conclusion (“must legislate”). But would-be tyrants like Jackson and Tidwell overestimate the primacy of laws. As generations of libertarians have noted, the power of law is ultimately the threat of violence. The speciousness and triviality of environmentalist orthodoxy won’t support such a heavy undertone.

 

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