We should welcome a debate over climate change
In his inaugural address on Monday, President Barack Obama touched on “climate change,” an issue that he unsuccessfully pushed during his first term.
“We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity,” Obama said, adding, “We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.” Obama, who even invoked God when addressing the topic, then criticized those of us “still deny the overwhelming judgment of science.”
Ironically, these comments came at the beginning of the coldest week in Washington, DC in nearly a decade. The low at Reagan National on Wednesday morning was a bone-chilling 15 degrees, according to The Weather Channel. My iPhone showed 14 degrees at Nationals Park — nevertheless, it has been pretty cold in the nation’s capitol this week.
But is climate change really a threat? A plurality of Americans agree with President Obama, according to a new CNN poll, though that number is down from recent years. Moreover, a Gallup poll from last summer showed that the issue ranked dead last on Americans’ list of concerns.
And not only is there a lack of concern from Americans about the issue, the empirical battle has not been kind to alarmists. Back in 2007, Scott Armstrong, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, challenged Al Gore to a 10-year, $20,000 bet that would have tested the IPCC model for which the former vice president and noted global warming alarmist has hailed a proven science. Armstrong’s contention was that there nothing with which to be concerned. Gore declined to participate in the bet, but Armstrong is documenting the heart of the bet. After five years, Gore and IPCC are losing:
Mr. Gore should be pleased to find that his grave concerns about a “tipping point” have turned out to be unfounded. As shown on theclimatebet.com, Professor Armstrong’s forecasts have been more accurate than Mr. Gore’s for 40 of the 60 months to date and for four of the five years. In fact, the latest global temperature is exactly where it was at the beginning of the “bet.”
President Obama may try again to push climate change legislation, such as cap-and-trade, which was ultimately killed in the overwhelmingly Democratic-controlled Senate in 2010, or he may try to set climate rules through executive fiat.
It gives us an chance to remind Americans that the policies pushed by the White House could have cost the average American family $1,761 each year and lowered economic output by 3.5%. Even with the economy finally improving, that’s not going to be a welcome prospect to voters. If this is an issue that Obama wants to bring back up, we should welcome the debate.