Why Republicans (And Others) Place A Low Priority On Global Warming
Global warming typically ranks dead last when the Pew Research Center asks voters to list the “top priorities for the president and Congress” each year. Yet the New York Times and other major media strain to keep the global warming movement alive by carefully ignoring global warming “skeptics,” and giving undeserved coverage to a small minority of liberal Republicans who call for carbon dioxide restrictions.
An April 2013 Gallup poll found only 34 percent of Americans believe global warming will pose a serious threat in their lifetimes. An April 2013 Rasmussen poll found Americans by a two-to-one margin believe finding new energy sources is more important than fighting global warming. Earlier this month, a Rasmussen poll found Americans by a nearly three-to-one margin say creating jobs is more important than addressing global warming.
Nevertheless, the New York Times on August 1 found space on its op-ed page for an essay written by four former Republican EPA administrators calling for even more stringent – and costly – carbon dioxide restrictions than those proposed by President Barack Obama earlier this summer. These elderly statesmen (average age 72.5) were out of step with their party when they served in office, and are definitely out in the cold today.
There are many good reasons why most Americans and nearly all Republicans reject costly new restrictions on carbon dioxide.
First, the pace of global warming has been very moderate. The Little Ice Age, which ended a little over 100 years ago, brought the coldest temperatures of the past 10,000 years. The warming of the late 20th century has yet to return us to the temperature norms that predominated during most of the past 10,000 years. There has been no warming at all in the past 15 years.
Second, the climate models that predict substantial future warming are failing miserably to replicate real-world temperatures. Even top scientists with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), such as lead author Hans von Storch in a recent interview with der Spiegel, concede IPCC’s climate models cannot explain the 15-year pause in global warming and will likely require adjustments to reduce their sensitivity to carbon dioxide. In short, real-world temperatures are proving IPCC climate models to be too alarmist.
Third, global warming is benefiting human welfare, just as warmer temperatures have benefited human welfare in the past. Hurricane activity is declining, tornadoes are less frequent and severe, deserts are shrinking, forests are expanding and crop production is setting new records on a near-yearly basis. Federal mortality statistics show more people die during cold spells and winter months than during heat spells and summer months. The evidence is clear, warmer is better for humans and other animals and for plant life.
Fourth, new restrictions on U.S. carbon dioxide emissions would have no practical impact on global temperatures. U.S. carbon dioxide emissions are already declining thanks to the natural gas revolution caused by hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) and horizontal drilling, rendering top-down government restrictions of dubious value and necessity. China alone emits more carbon dioxide than the entire Western Hemisphere, and China’s emissions continue to rapidly rise even as U.S. emissions decline. Even if the United States eliminated all of its carbon dioxide emissions within 10 years (which, of course, is impossible), China would add a greater amount of new emissions within the same decade to render the U.S. action moot. The only change would be that U.S. businesses and consumers would pay rapidly rising energy costs.
Imposing draconian restrictions on the use of conventional energy and pouring billions more taxpayer dollars into renewable energy would put us at a tremendous economic disadvantage compared to China and the rest of the world. Jobs, along with their carbon dioxide emissions, would simply move to where they are welcome. We would impose tremendous economic punishment on ourselves while achieving no significant impact on real-world temperatures.
So while a small number of liberal and out-of-touch Republicans may call for pointless, counterproductive and economically punitive steps to address global warming, Americans as a whole rightfully say, “No thank you!”