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Addicted to nonsense

By Alan Caruba
web posted February 13, 2006

On February 7, I received an email from the office of the House Minority Leader, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, with a headline that read as follows: Pelosi: "It is Long Past Time to Take Action to Prevent Climate Change."

Referencing "a gripping presentation to House Democrats on global warming" by former Vice President Al Gore, Pelosi’s office quotes her as saying "The science is clear. It is long past time to take decisive action to prevent climate change. The energy proposals in the House Democrats’ Innovation Agenda, which will move our nation toward energy independence, will also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And we must do even more."

This is the politics of nonsense. What is needed is common sense. What do you think the Democrats, the Republicans, and the entire U.S. government can do about preventing climate change? Can the government prevent hurricanes? Tornadoes? Blizzards? The next Ice Age? The obvious answer is no.

There is nothing any government on the face of the Earth can do about the climate except perhaps to help those affected by it. And, if hurricanes Katrina and Rita are any indicator, it doesn’t do a particularly good job, despite throwing billions at the problem.

Then, too, the science about climate is not "clear." The best climatologists in the world have no really good idea why clouds do what they do.

The entire "global warming" theory is based on computer models. Ginned up by the UN’s International Panel for Climate Control, they have been revised and revised until it is quite obvious their creators and interpreters haven’t a clue whether global warming is anything more than a perfectly normal climate cycle. At best, there is no indication of any dramatic change other than whatever the computers calculate. The data they use is, to be nice about it, limited at best.

What is truly remarkable is the way satellite and other data does a fairly good job predicting the weather in any region of the U.S. about a day or so in advance. If you are counting on the accuracy of a prediction for next week, you might as well just roll dice for an answer.

As for Pelosi’s lament over "energy independence", someone better explain to her that we are currently importing slightly more than half of the oil necessary to meet our needs and that it comes from sixty different nations. Given the uncertainty of events in the Middle East, any shock to the system will drive up the price, but blame the Islamofascists for that. Meanwhile, the Democrats in Congress have spent the past twenty-five years preventing access to the development of ANWR’s oil reserves.

The buzz in the energy industry is something called "peak oil"; the view that the world will be tapping its last barrels by pick-a-date. Rarely is the activation of new oil fields reported, but there are new fields and there are likely to be more in future. If you trust the naysayers, then buy a bicycle. On at least five occasions in the past, the public has been told that the world was running out of oil.

The good news is that the U.S. has huge reserves of coal that account for half of the electricity generated. (Previous efforts to begin coal gasification were dropped when the price of a barrel of oil hit $10, rendering it financially unfeasible.) We need more nuclear facilities to generate the electricity we need. And, after we have accessed offshore and other known oil fields, we may well begin to extract oil from the vast shale deposits in U.S. western states if it becomes economically feasible.

It is sad to hear the House Minority Leader spouting such nonsense and scary if she really believes what she is saying is true. In fairness, the President, in his State of the Union speech, called for energy independence, saying, " America is addicted to oil." No, we are not "addicted." We are, like all industrial societies, dependent. There’s a difference.

If our political leaders don’t know the difference, if they continue to blather about "global warming" and "energy independence", then we all need to worry that our grandchildren could be back to lighting their homes with whale oil or kerosene.

And here’s where common sense should kick in. We all need to be more confident that the global energy industry is not going to leave us in the dark.

Alan Caruba writes a weekly commentary, "Warning Signs", posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center. © 2006 Alan Caruba


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