Turning up the Heat
November 1 1998 by Sally C. Pipes
The whole aim of practical politics,” wrote H.L. Mencken, “is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety), by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”
Global warming-now known as “climate change”-is just such a hobgoblin.
That statist activists would promote “climate change” is predictable. That professional bureaucrats, UNcrats, and technocrats would promote it makes sense as well, since addressing this so-called problem means putting private activities and decision-making under government control. But as we enter deeper into the public debate over whether to sign and ratify the
The Clinton administration, through the Environmental Protection Agency, is creating a propaganda infrastructure, cultivating constituencies dependent on the success of the Kyoto treaty the old fashioned way-by making it in their economic interests.
It’s inexcusable for the federal government to use taxpayer money to propagandize us. Yet this is exactly what the EPA is doing, according to a recent study by Jim Sheehan of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (
Overall, the EPA reportedly doled out more than $30 million in greenhouse grants. The
The EPA awarded the International Institute for Energy Conservation (IIEC) $490,000 to “build support for climate action within [third-world countries] by informing domestic audiences of the benefits of energy efficiency.” This money accounts for roughly 10 percent of the IIEC’s annual budget. According to the group’s treasurer, 28 percent of the grant went toward general overhead and administrative expenses.
Consider the climate-change enthusiasts’ most vexing problem, that most economic studies sensibly suggest that the cut in energy consumption required to meet Kyoto’s goals will negatively affect economic growth. Solution: Dump $450,000 into the American Council for an Energy Economy (ACEEE), a DC-based group dedicated to promoting energy efficiency, which has produced studies that claim reducing energy consumption can actually increase
The government isn’t the only self-interested participant in the debate. Corporate
In December of 1996, for example, CEOs from 126 of
The Global Climate Coalition, the leading business lobby, has actively opposed Kyotoon the Hill. The Global Climate Information Project, a broadbased coalition of union, big- and small-business, and agriculture, has spent roughly $13 million on television and print ads opposing the
But global warming skeptics are treated in the media as self-interested pleaders. In a private meeting, a prominent national journalist recently declared that debate over global warming is pretty much settled and that the only people arguing otherwise can be traced to industry funding. It was pointed out in response that the only funding skeptics can hope to receive, since government grant-makers have a bias for the warming hypothesis, is from private sources.
It would be nice if the media and the general public-applied the same skepticism to bureaucrats, both domestic and international.
Sally C. Pipes is president of the Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy, a San Francisco-based think tank that analyzes national economic and social problems and proposes free-market solutions.