Not a word was uttered about climate change during the three US presidential debates, but President Barack Obama got back on the global warming bandwagon as soon as the polls closed. In his victory speech, he announced: “We want our children to live in an America that isn’t burdened by debt, that isn’t weakened by inequality, that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.”
The President’s words were carefully chosen to resonate with people still traumatised by Hurricane Sandy. In the days before the election, global warming alarmists jumped on Sandy as evidence that global warming is already here, is bad, and is going to get worse. New York’s billionaire mayor, Michael Bloomberg, cited Sandy as the reason for his last-minute endorsement of the president on the grounds that he was more likely to care about the issue than Mitt Romney.
The facts are exactly the opposite of the claims. We are currently in the middle of the low phase of the Atlantic hurricane cycle. There have been far fewer major hurricanes in the past few years than the long-term average. Even though Sandy did a lot of damage, it had been downgraded from hurricane to tropical storm by the time it hit New York City. Scientists calculated that it was the 17th most damaging hurricane in the past century. To make just one comparison, three much stronger hurricanes hit the US in less than two years in the early 1950s. Why didn’t the public back then demand action to stop climate change?
Leaders of environmental pressure groups, who had complained bitterly about the president’s failure to make climate change an issue in the campaign against Romney, quickly claimed that this brief nod to their holy of holies was in fact a major commitment to the energy-rationing agenda for Obama’s second term.
We shall see. One of Obama’s trademark policies, cap-and-trade legislation to reduce progressively greenhouse gas emissions from burning coal, oil and natural gas (which combined provide the cheaper 80 per cent of America’s energy), failed in the Senate in 2010. A number of Democratic members of the House of Representatives who had narrowly voted to pass cap-and-trade in 2009 were defeated in the 2010 congressional elections, which contributed to the Republicans winning a majority in the House. They maintained that majority in last month’s election, despite Romney’s loss and a gain of two Democrats in the Senate, suggesting that the electorate has not changed its mind on cap-and-trade since 2010.
Read more at Standpoint. By Myron Ebell.