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Dept. of Poverty Creation

Last year, the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, an independent research group, reissued a petition signed by 31,000 scientists asserting that greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane were actually beneficial to the environment. The petition was created in 1998 by the late physicist, Frederick Seitz, in response to the Kyoto Protocol a …

Last year, the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, an independent research group, reissued a petition signed by 31,000 scientists asserting that greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane were actually beneficial to the environment. The petition was created in 1998 by the late physicist, Frederick Seitz, in response to the Kyoto Protocol a year earlier. It urged the U.S. government to reject the treaty because it would do little to curb carbon dioxide in the atmosphere but would “hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.” On the other side is the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which believes that there is a greater than 90 percent likelihood that human activity is responsible for most of the observed warming in recent decades.

If the scientists can’t agree, where does this leave the rest of us? At the mercy of grandstanding politicians, it seems. Writing in London’s Daily Telegraph, Christopher Booker recently observed how clueless most politicians really are when Japan’s prime minister, Yasuo Fukuda, had to be corrected for announcing at the G8 Summit that the CO2 cut to which all the Summit leaders had pledged would be measured from “1990 levels.” Aides later amended his slip to “present-day levels.” Never mind. Booker calls this “gesture politics”-an empty pledge given solely for effect, which the politician has no hope of honoring. He argues that when it comes to global warming, politicians will say anything because they know there is no way it will happen anyway. “Leaders of the world’s eight richest countries, as well as having no idea how they could achieve such an absurdly ambitious target, may inflict immeasurable damage on their economies just by trying to do so,” he comments. 

This is where carbon cap and trade comes into play. While the Lieberman-Warner bill failed to get to a vote, our science correspondent Ron Bailey examines, beginning on page 27, the far-reaching effects that any such rationing effort will have on consumers and business.

With China firing up one new coal plant each week and India spewing millions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, the hope of achieving emission reduction targets has to be close to nil. China and India have no intention of slitting their own economic wrists to salve the consciences of the Chablis and cheese set in the West. It appears that the need to secure the next grant has effectively closed down the debate on the issue of global warming. Meanwhile we have a bunch of technically illiterate politicians hell bent on poverty creation.

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