The climate change issue has collapsed. The public has moved on. The skeptics won.
You hear some variation on this refrain here and there as the climate hysteria industry goes full froth in tandem with the gradual release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report. You hear it at grassroots gatherings. You read it on blogs.
David Harsanyi has stated it most boldly at The Federalist, declaring the debate is over and environmentalists lost. Commenting on a frustrated President Obama and his fetish for the rule of the executive pen, Harsanyi says the climate change movement has suffered a rout.
But really, after all these years admitting that executive power is the only way to move (tepidly) forward on environmentalist policy is basically admitting defeat. Has there ever been a movement that’s spent as much time, energy and treasure and gotten so little in return? I suspect there are three reasons for this failure: 1. It’s difficult to fight basic economics. 2. On energy, Americans, despite what they say, have no desire to try (nor should they). 3. It’s getting more difficult, not less, to believe environmental doom and gloom.
Viewed narrowly, Harsanyi’s notion has some salience. But expand the scope of the climate issue just a little, and this notion becomes pure delusion.
The idea that environmentalists have been thrashed in the climate change debate is not devoid of merit. Facts are pigheaded things and they have done little (when they haven’t been fudged) to grease the climate change movement’s momentum. Dire predictions go unfulfilled. Temperature trends refuse to trend correctly. Extreme weather pops a Valium. Al Gore goes from A-list Hollywood celeb to B-list ass clown, albeit a very rich one, in large part on the backs of taxpayers via green energy subsidies. For almost two decades the earth has stubbornly spurned compliance with the computer climate modeling maps of doom. All despite massive increases in atmospheric CO2.
Environmentalists wring their hands over this climatic heresy. They scramble to save their computer models, to explain the earth’s confounding resilience and its profound stability in the face of human tampering. You can almost hear them thinking: “Why can’t you just die?”
Yet climate change devotees have no reason to fret. Despite the wishful decrees of skeptics, they have ample reason to celebrate. For the climate change movement has suffered not a defeat; instead they have won a decisive victory. The date of that victory can be precisely identified: April 2, 2007. On that day, a date which will live in absurdity, the Supreme Court deemed carbon dioxide, the lifeblood of the planet, a pollutant. The ruling granted the Environmental Protection Agency far-reaching and discretionary power to regulate CO2 (under the Clean Air Act) and any human activity that spews it.
That victory was reinforced on April 29, 2014, when the highest court upheld the EPA’s authority to regulate emissions from coal-fired power plants that drift across state lines. The decision virtually inoculates the EPA from legal challenges as it prepares stiff regulatory strategies to fight global warming. Science be damned.