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Saturday, Dec 16, 2017
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Tom Jackson Columns
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Ginning up war on prosperity, liberty

Declaring whether human-induced climate change is Armageddon right around the corner or the most elaborate hoax in history is above my pay grade. I’m no scientist.

Then again, neither are the world leaders who preened at the climate-fest last week, so there you go.

Yes, nothing says concern for the planet quite like the world’s potentates jetting to Paris at Christmastime with the notion of carving up the riches of developed nations whose successes are based in the rule of law and individual property rights.

As India environment minister Prakash Javadekar remarked, scoffing at the U.S. pledge of a $100 billion annual fund to salve the shift to green energy among emerging economies, “The cost of action ... is trillions; $100 billion is just a reparation.”

So, yeah, science.

What I do know is the last time anyone in the majoritarian side recommended prosecuting anyone with a contrary opinion — as climate scientists and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse have urged — Galileo was fiddling with his telescope. And soon enough, settled cosmological science was replaced by a fresh, humbling paradigm.

So when President Obama pummels us with hockey sticks of “consensus” and “97 percent of climate scientists,” understand that the terms are scarcely worth the carbon dioxide expelled to render them.

The latter, in particular, is a pernicious myth, generated from a single survey of abstracts from climate studies, the results of which have been shrewdly mangled to produce a desired result: separating you from the liberty and prosperity generated by cheap, abundant and technologically scrubbable fossil fuels.

But what happened in Paris last week is not about your quality of life, or even that of your children about whom Obama speaks with such concern. It was, and the way forward is, less about avoiding climatic catastrophe than snuffing the economic system that has proved singularly beneficial to the sharp rise of human achievement: free market capitalism.

U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres, daughter of Costa Rica, declared the naked purpose of the warmist cult last February: “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution,” she said. “This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model for the first time in human history.”

You can’t make it much plainer than that.

What’s chilling is President Obama has been an eager and leading participant in this conspiracy against a fundamental American virtue. And for what? His ego. Even The New York Times says so, describing his ambition “to make climate-change policy the signature achievement of his, and perhaps any, presidency.”

Yeah. For the fawning Times, securing the union (Lincoln) and defeating the twin threats of German Nazism and Japanese imperialism (FDR) are thin gruel by comparison to Obama’s spurious war (18 years, no warming) on carbon emissions. It was Obama, after all, who proclaimed in June 2008, the Democratic nomination secure, that “this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

Luckily, nothing resembling the 1998 Kyoto Protocol has emerged from Paris — the parties last week agreed only on voluntary reductions — and Obama’s time in office grows short. Perhaps the next U.S. president will have a more American-centric view of energy’s link to freedom and prosperity ... and the cleaner environment that emerges as a result.

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