Paris was still reeling from the shock of the horrible terrorist attacks when 40,000 politicians, scientists, bureaucrats, journalists and activists arrived to hammer out a new global warming treaty.
Concerned about security and further Islamist attacks, French President Francois Hollande prohibited large gatherings. Not only did the radical climate campaigners ignore him, they threw bottles and smashed votive candles placed in memory of the terror victims.
The disrespectful behavior angered Parisians, even the few who still put global warming high on their list of concerns. But it was typical of left-leaning ideologues who think their views should trump everyone else’s, whether on college campuses or during treaty negotiations.
Our planet and humankind have been challenged by climate change and extreme weather throughout history. The sun’s changing energy output and other natural forces have brought little ice ages, floods, droughts, powerful storms, and periods of prolonged warmth and bounteous harvests.
To assert that natural forces no longer play a role, that fossil fuel emissions now control climate change, or that humans can now determine planetary temperatures and climate by regulating atmospheric carbon-dioxide levels is sheer hubris. To say we should abandon the hydrocarbon energy that has brought technology, prosperity, health and longevity to billions is sheer insanity.
To tell 1.3 billion people (more than live in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Europe combined) who still do not have access to electricity that they must continue doing without, or be satisfied with a few wind turbines or solar panels — is insensitive and immoral.
But that is what radical greens — and too many of the 21st Conference of Parties attendees — insist we must do. Otherwise, they insist, climate disruption will bring “submerged countries, abandoned cities, fields that no longer grow, political disruptions that trigger new conflicts, and even more floods of desperate people seeking the sanctuary of nations not their own,” as Mr. Obama said last week.
Fortunately, these alleged cataclysms are concocted by politicians, or predicted by computer models that are based on the assumption that carbon dioxide now drives Earth’s climate — models that are fed projections for steadily rising levels of plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide and programmed to produce disaster scenarios that can justify draconian policies.
They do not reflect real-world conditions or events. For example, global temperatures have remained steady for almost 19 years, the United States has not been hit by a Category 3, 4 or 5 hurricane since 2005, total polar ice is increasing, not melting, and seas are rising at barely seven inches per century.
These inconvenient truths have prompted alarmist scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other government agencies to ignore reliable satellite data — and modify city, airport and ship temperature data that are “contaminated” by heat from human activities.
Meanwhile, developing nations know fossil fuels are essential for ending crippling poverty, disease and premature death. In India alone, more people than live in the United States still do not have electricity. That’s why Prime Minister Narendra Modi says it would be “morally wrong” for developed countries — which achieved prosperity by using fossil fuels — to tell poor countries they must eliminate those fuels and rely on expensive, intermittent, insufficient wind and solar power.
It is why Chinese President Xi Jinping says “fairness and justice” demand that poor countries must now be allowed to develop — and rich countries must slash their fossil fuel use, and curb their economic growth, employment levels and living standards.
But Mr. Modi and Mr. Xi also say rich nations must contribute $100 billion per year to a Green Climate Fund, to compensate poor countries for the “climate devastation” supposedly caused by fossil fuels over the past 150 years.
In other words, developed countries created the “man-made climate chaos” mantra, and now must live by it, no matter how much pain it inflicts or how little environmental gain it brings.
China, India, Japan and other countries are building or planning more than 2,500 new coal-fired power plants. Thus, even eliminating fossil fuels in all developed nations might prevent average global temperatures from rising an undetectable 0.1 degrees by 2100 — assuming carbon dioxide really has replaced solar and other natural forces.
It would far easier and cheaper to adapt to any future climate changes than to destroy the energy and economic systems that have brought so much prosperity, health and longevity to so many billions, and are needed now to improve the living standards of many more billions.
Congress, governors, state legislators and presidential candidates must take affirmative action now — during this climate conference and before Mr. Obama commits to anything that might be devised in Paris. They must make it clear that Americans will not support or comply with energy or emission standards that do not apply equally to all nations; and any “accords” that Mr. Obama might agree to in Paris must be reviewed under the Constitution’s advice and consent provisions, approved by two-thirds of the Senate and budgeted by Congress before it is binding.
The impacts on America’s economy, employment, environment, health, living standards and national sovereignty are too enormous for a new Paris agreement to be handled any differently.
This article originally appeared in The Washington Times