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A Cool Wind Braces the Hot-Air Crowd

A Commentary by Debra J. Saunders

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

For years, global warming alarmists have pointed to every drought and heat wave as proof that global warming was a real environmental threat. They had few qualms about blurring the line between weather and climate to make a PR point. Perhaps, then, it was karma that brought a blizzard and freezing temperatures to the U.N. climate change Conference of Parties confab in Copenhagen (or COP-15 for short) last week.

You may have read about the 1,200 limos and 140 private planes commissioned to transport COP-15 dignitaries in style. Critics love to point to the hypocrisy of world leaders -- such as Prince Charles and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown -- touching down in separate private planes to a conference ostensibly dedicated to curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

But it's the Flying High Lords of Greendom's air of unreality that concerns me. If world leaders truly believed that global warming will lead to famine, rising sea levels and melting of the North Pole ice -- along with countless deaths -- surely they would want to set an example by flying commercial.

Instead, they travel like pooh-bahs of the stratosphere, then justify their excesses by tossing $100 or so into a carbon-offset fund.

In that godlike spirit, President Obama lauded the COP-15's pact to limit global warming to a rise of only 2 degrees Celsius by 2050 as "an unprecedented breakthrough."

What's the next trick? An eclipse? Now I am fairly skeptical about global warming alarmism -- largely because it's hard to heed true believers when they fail to behave in a way that addresses their big issue.

My advice to true believers: If you really believe global warming is caused by man and threatens Earth, stop supporting treaties that don't mandate greenhouse-gas reductions.

For too long, the issue of global warming has hinged on whether politicians said they believed in global warming, not whether they worked to reduce their nation's greenhouse-gas emissions. If the alarmists are correct, then it doesn't matter what people believe if they don't act on those beliefs.

Instead of pretending that critics don't exist, debate them. Stop pretending that consumers can fight global warming simply by using politically correct light bulbs, and recycling. Environmentalists have argued that developed nations will have to cut emissions by 80 percent -- and that requires bigger changes than sorting your trash.

Don't support treaties with untenable goals that are to be met decades into the future. Enough with the worst-case scenarios. Al Gore has a penchant for repeating the most dire predictions on global warming -- and not always accurately. As the Times of London reported last week, Gore told a Copenhagen audience, that according to a Dr. Wieslaw Maslowski, "there is a 75 percent chance that the entire north polar ice cap, during the summer months, could be completely ice-free within five to seven years."

Except Maslowski told the Times he had no idea where Gore got that idea. "I would never try to estimate likelihood at anything as exact as this."

Polls show Americans are cooling on global warming. It could be that voters don't buy into the all-bad scenarios predicted by Gore and company.

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