Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
Last week at a Capitol Hill hearing, Sierra Club president Aaron Mair was flummoxed when confronted with the inconvenient truth of an eighteen-year-and-counting cessation of global warming. Under persistent questioning from presidential contender Ted Cruz, Mair had only the flimsiest appeal-to-authority by way of response — boiled down, the discredited assertion that 97 percent of scientists agree with whatever the left is pushing this election cycle.
This exchange, transcribed at PJ Media, is particularly illuminating:
Cruz: Is it correct that the satellite data over the past 18 years demonstrate no significant warming?
Cruz: How is it incorrect?
Mair, after consulting with his staff: Based on our experts, it’s been refuted long ago, and it’s not up for a scientific debate.
The Progressive catechism teaches that, in Mair’s words, “our planet is cooking and heating up and warming,” no matter the actual data.
Global warming is the most important global issue of our time. Islamic State beheading its way across the Middle East is positively jayvee compared to climate change. Pay no attention to Russian military adventures in Syria, or China’s incipient hegemony over the South China Sea. You need to live a harder and meaner lifestyle because, well, because that is the very definition of leadership.
President Obama explains in his recent interview with Steve Kroft:
Steve Kroft: He’s [Putin is] challenging your leadership, Mr. President. He’s challenging your leadership–
President Barack Obama: Well Steve, I got to tell you, if you think that running your economy into the ground and having to send troops in in order to prop up your only ally is leadership, then we’ve got a different definition of leadership. My definition of leadership would be leading on climate change, an international accord that potentially we’ll get in Paris.
Sometimes you have to wonder if Mr. Obama lives at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry rather than the White House.
But our President is not alone. Exhibit A: California Governor Brown, who, it would seem, has leadership bursting from every pore. CalWatchdog reports:
Gov. Jerry Brown warned at a recent climate change workshop that trillions of dollars, the transformation of our way of life and a worldwide mobilization on the scale of war will be required to stave off climate change’s “existential threat” to mankind.
Brown also said the problem is so complex that it’s likely no one knows how to solve it.
California already mandates a 2030 reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 40 percent compared to 1990. Brown is targeting an astounding 80 percent decrease by 2050, when, like a political cicada, the once-and-future governor will presumably be ready for another season as chief executive of America’s zaniest state.
Brown acknowledges that this science stuff is hard:
I come today because this is a topic that is not easy to grasp,” he said. “It’s complicated. The more you dig into controlling air pollution or measuring greenhouse gas emissions or attempting to understand the [climate] models that examine and attempt to predict how world climate patterns will change over time, it definitely is a very complicated science that we mere lay people just get little glimpses of.
Nevertheless, the little glimpses are enough to reach the only possible scientific conclusion, the one that fits tongue-and-groove into the Progressive edifice. The science is settled. There is no debate. We must mobilize.
So when we say we are going to reduce [emissions by] 10 percent, 20 percent, 40 percent, we are setting forth a huge challenge that is very easy to state. But anybody who has any understanding of what is implied by what is being called for, realizes this cannot be done lightly or without a mobilization globally that we have never seen before outside of time of war.
As with any war, pain and sacrifice will be necessary for everyone without access to a private jet.
It will also require Californians driving a lot less, he said, by living closer to where they work and telecommuting. “Californians drive over 330 billion miles a year – 32 million vehicles of various kinds moving around on almost entirely fossil fuel,” he said. “We’re going to reduce and take fossil fuels out of our lives and out of the economy.
More leadership: You will live closer to work. You will telecommute. You will take fossil fuels out of your life. No doubt you will enjoy it, too, or else.
However, no matter how brilliant our Progressive masterminds, they inevitably find themselves caught short by reality. In California, nobody has yet figured out how to refuel all of these mandatory, expensive, short-range electric vehicles. From Saturday’s New York Times:
In California, Electric Cars Outpace Plugs, and Sparks Fly
SAN FRANCISCO — Of all the states, California has set the most ambitious targets for cutting emissions in coming decades, and an important pillar of its plan to reach those goals is encouraging the spread of electric vehicles.
But the push to make the state greener is creating an unintended side effect: It is making some people meaner.
The bad moods stem from the challenges drivers face finding recharging spots for their battery-powered cars. Unlike gas stations, charging stations are not yet in great supply, and that has led to sharp-elbowed competition. Electric-vehicle owners are unplugging one another’s cars, trading insults, and creating black markets and side deals to trade spots in corporate parking lots. The too-few-outlets problem is a familiar one in crowded cafes and airports, where people want to charge their phones or laptops. But the need can be more acute with cars — will their owners have enough juice to make it home? — and manners often go out the window.
How do you achieve Green Nirvana when the mandated alternative to the gasoline-powered automobile has limited range and a refueling time measured in hours rather than minutes? No worries, Progressives have a knack for spreading the pain and misery of artificial scarcity. The trick is to present the Darwinian nastiness as market failure, not the inevitable result of state-directed social engineering, thereby justifying additional regulation.
Like most hangover cures, another shot of regulation in the morning is not a viable long-term solution.
Meanwhile, the world’s jayvee teams continue to limber up for the main event. Reality has a funny way of reasserting itself over time. My sad prediction: A few short years from now, climate change will not be anyone’s pick for the most significant threat facing our planet.