Sydney M. Williams
Thought of the Day
“The Inflexible Left on Climate Change”
February 20, 2014
Walking across the marsh and down to the river in a driving snowstorm a week ago, I marveled at the power of nature. There is nothing that man has devised that can head off a meteor, hurricane, tornado, typhoon or snow storm. We have split the atom, placed a man on the moon and can send messages from one computer to another in milliseconds, yet we can’t divert rain from where it falls in abundance to where it is needed. Despite the bleatings to the contrary from those like Secretary of State John Kerry in Indonesia three days ago, man, as powerful as he is, has been no more successful at trapping nature than was King Canute 1000 years ago. As Professor Mat Collins, a senior scientist associated with the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said this past weekend about the storms and flooding in the UK: they were driven by the Jet Stream moving south “for reasons that are simply unknown…If this is due to climate change, it is outside our knowledge.”
President Obama recently blamed the droughts in California on global warming – placing blame on fossil fuels. He responds by unilaterally ordering the development of higher standards for truck manufacturing, rather than re-routing water his EPA had earlier diverted from California farms so that the Delta smelt might live. We may want all species to survive, but food should come first.
Ironically, much of the East Coast has experienced snowier and colder winters than normal. Apart from winter sports enthusiasts, most people are getting tired of the ice and snow; they long for spring. Depending on the town, Connecticut schools have been closed 6 or 8 days so far this school year, meaning that summer vacation will be shortened by a like number of days. USA Today reported last week that since December 1st, 75,000 domestic airline flights had been cancelled. Yet John Kerry, Al Gore and Barack Obama have the arrogance to believe that man is more powerful than nature – that responsibility lies with a small number of Republicans and a few evil oil and gas producers. It is not enough for them to acknowledge that, yes, man does leave his imprint on the natural world, which is the opinion of every sensible person. But they insist that if man would simply adhere to policy recommendations of elitist Washington bureaucrats the world would remain as it is – the oceans would recede, storms would subside, temperatures cool and polar bears would no longer be seen riding ice floes into the sunny regions of Michael Moore’s camera. Tempus cessat.
Of course, it is not just arrogance; there is the pragmatic side. Perpetrating the idea that global warming is solely the responsibility of man has made millions for Al Gore; though he wasn’t above selling one business (Current TV) to fossil-fueled Al Jazeera. President Obama has lifted cronyism to heights never imagined by his predecessors, in having taxpayers send billions of dollars to his supporters at businesses like Solyndra and Fisker Automotive (both of which went down the rat hole). The President refuses to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline, despite recent rail accidents suggesting that not only would the pipeline be environmentally sounder, but would save lives and property as well. And John Kerry sounds like a delusional member of the “know nothing party,” a companion organization to the “flat-earth society,” the latter being a group which includes as members all who question any of his pronouncements. Forsooth! Damn the costs! Let them drive hybrids, as a composite of Shakespeare, David Farragut and Marie Antoinette might have said!
As predictable as spring following winter, Democrats, when the going looks rough, trot out climate change as an issue to divert attention from myriad foreign policy failures, a feeble economic recovery and the troublesome aspects of ObamaCare. Democrats sense such a diversion from the real world will “gin up” support for troubled candidates, especially from their base of academics and elitist members of the gentry. ObamaCare has not been the roaring success we were told it would be. We did wait, as Nancy Pelosi so astutely warned us we must, until it was passed to see what was in it. And we found it was different from what had been promised. Someone lied about doctors and insurance policies we could keep. It was not easy to enroll. It was not cheaper or better than other healthcare plans. It will, according to the CBO, cost somewhere between 2.0 and 2.5 million full-time jobs. Its annoying rollout has put Democrats at risk; so they needed the conversation to change. What could be better than sending Mr. Kerry to Indonesia? There he stated, incredulously, that climate change was possibly “the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.” He then added, for good measure, that “the science [man being responsible] was unequivocal” and that opponents were simply “burying their heads in the sand.” He might more accurately have said he was immersing his listeners in piles of orally produced bovine excrement.
Like much of Democrat blathering, there is a kernel of truth in what they say, though – man certainly has had an impact on the environment, as all plants and animals do. Admittedly, man has probably had a greater effect than even – let’s say, for example – the coyotes in my neck of the Connecticut shore have had on the deer population. But the religious-like fervor that feeds those like Obama, Kerry and Gore fail to acknowledge that the planet, over its 4.5 billion years of existence, has warmed and cooled on thousands of occasions, and did so long before man arrived. Their stubborn adamancy toward politically-motivated policy responses deflect from the far more urgent need to prepare for (or at least be alert to) natural catastrophes for which one cannot assign blame.
The earth’s climate is in constant flux; some changes could be cataclysmic. No one can predict exactly how the environment will change, only that it will. There is much in nature we do not know and for which we cannot plan. For example, on Monday an asteroid the size of three football fields and almost 900 feet in diameter had a “close brush” with earth, passing within 2 million miles, at 27,000 miles per hour. Two million miles sounds like a long distance, but at the speed it was traveling the asteroid would have hit earth in a little over three days. To determine the damage that an impact from an asteroid of that size could have caused, we can look back a year at the asteroid that exploded 18 miles above Siberia. The size of that one was less than one tenth of this, yet scientists estimate its explosion was equivalent to 20 atomic bombs.
None of this means we should not act in our best interests, to live as much in harmony with nature as is reasonable. It is far more pleasant to do so. But we must keep in mind that an estimated 800 million people live without knowledge of where their next meal will come, and that almost 1.5 billion people live on less than $1.25 per day. Saving the environment is not of importance to these people. Food and shelter is. When we take steps that sound good in theory, but which raise the price of food, fuel and shelter, we do more harm than good.
Again, I would suggest that the next time a storm comes by – a hurricane, tornado, typhoon, thunder storm, or even a good old nor’easter – walk outdoors (if you can) and consider: has man ever produced anything so powerful? Democrats have spent years convincing themselves that, like Snow White, they are the fairest in the land. They consider themselves smart and highly educated; so they assume, as the ruling class, they know what is best for the proletariat. Many dwell on the coasts where the problems of Middle America are something to be seen in movies (made, of course, by Lefties), or which they pass over at 35,000 feet. Knowing that we don’t know everything is the first part of wisdom. J.R.R. Tolkien, in The Fellowship of the Ring, has Tom Bombadil, “the Master of wood, water and hill,” explain, “I am no weather-master, nor is aught that goes on two legs.” So true, but sadly, those like Obama, Kerry and Gore lack such humility and wisdom.
It is jobs that people care about, or rather the lack of jobs that characterizes this recovery, now five years old – the same length as Mr. Obama’s Presidency. It is a sense of dignity and self respect that comes from having a regular paycheck that is missing in America. We have lost our confidence and our belief in ourselves and in the future. It is not that our forbearers had an easier life. They did not. But they were not shackled by a growing dependency that destroys self reliance and self esteem. And they, too, lived in a volatile world. When we hear John Kerry call us “deniers,” we can accept that, but with the understanding that we do not deny that climate changes; we are deniers of his wisdom, of his conceit that he and those like him have the answers.