Questions to ask at town hall meetings
By Paul Driessen
Americans are justifiably wary about Congress rushing to overhaul our healthcare system – 17% of our economy – with little debate, analysis or bipartisan input. They worry that the legislation could affect their costs, free choice, doctor-patient relationships and access to quality care.
They should be even more concerned about complex, thousand-page legislation that would overhaul 100% of our economy – the energy system that powers and enables everything we eat, heat, cool, grow, make, transport, drive and do – to prevent hypothetical manmade catastrophic climate change.
Energy is the Master Resource that makes life possible. Without abundant, reliable, affordable energy, opportunity, progress, job creation, health and civil rights are hobbled and rolled back.
And yet, global warming bills are being rushed into law at warp speed, not just without debate, but with debate vilified as climate holocaust denial, criminal acts and treason against the planet.
Proponents insist a planetary crisis demands instant action. The truth is that President Obama wants to present a US commitment to draconian reductions in plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide at the December Copenhagen climate conference. He wants to pressure China, India and other nations to sacrifice their economic growth to the specter of alleged climate disasters. Copenhagen is the last chance for eco-activists to implement a UN-centered system of global governance, global taxes, and global control of energy, economies and living standards.
Open, robust, unfettered debate is absolutely essential. It is our inalienable right, the foundation of democracy and a free and prosperous America. A good place to start that debate is the town hall meetings that our elected representatives will be holding during their August recess. Here are a few questions that concerned citizens might want to ask.
1) Congressman John Conyers said he didn't bother reading the bill, before he voted on it, because he would need two lawyers to explain the passages to him. Did you read and understand it? All of it? Then how can we be expected to do so? Why should we be expected to obey it? Why should we let congressmen who can't understand their own bills control 100% of our economy?
2) Global temperatures are not increasing. Thousands of scientists say humans and carbon dioxide are not causing a climate disaster. Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, droughts and heat waves are not increasing. Emissions from China and India will quickly replace any CO2 reductions the United States might achieve by taxing and restricting fossil fuel use, crippling our economy, and hurting seniors and poor families most. Why does Congress refuse to allow real debate? Why does it simply assume and decree that we have a global warming crisis and must enact legislation immediately?
3) House Speaker Pelosi recently said "every aspect of our lives must be subjected to an inventory," so that America can slash energy use and emissions, and prevent dangerous climate change. This can only lead to a massive, intrusive Green Nanny State; the end of affordable, reliable energy; a coerced switch to expensive, unreliable wind and solar power; and skyrocketing energy costs that will hammer families and businesses and cost millions of jobs. Why would you support such legislation?
4) Cap-and-trade is a huge tax on the energy we use for everything we make and do. It's a massive wealth transfer, from consumers to the government, to pay for unprecedented spending increases and more pork for favored businesses and voting blocs. It violates President Obama's pledge not to tax anyone with incomes below $250,000. It will cost families $1000 to $4,600 per year in extra energy and living expenses. How can you justify voting for such punitive legislation?
5) The average annual temperature in Antarctica is minus 50. Temperatures would have to increase 85 degrees 24/7/365 for a century or more, to melt South Pole ice caps and raise sea levels 20-50 feet. Can you explain how a 0.02% increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide (from 285 ppm in 1850 to projected 485 ppm) can overturn basic laws of thermodynamics, replace the powerful natural forces that caused Ice Ages and other climate changes in the past, and produce ice-cap meltdowns?
6) Replacing hydrocarbons with "green" energy will require millions of acres of land for turbines, solar panels, geothermal facilities and transmission lines. Do you support relaxing environmental study, endangered species and other laws, to fast-track approval of these projects, despite their impacts on habitats? Or do you want them subjected to the same rules that have stymied thousands of other energy projects, so that renewable energy projects can't be built, either – and we have a huge "energy gap"?
Do you support protecting the rights of land owners? Or do you favor eminent domain, so that government can seize people's property and expedite construction of these projects?
7) Replacing hydrocarbons with "green" power will also require hundreds of millions of tons of steel, copper, concrete, fiberglass and rare earth minerals for turbines, solar panels and transmission lines. Do you support opening our lands for renewed exploration and development, so that we can produce these raw materials and create American jobs? Or do you intend to keep US lands off limits, allow eco-activists to file lawsuits to prevent development, and force us to depend on imports for renewable energy, too?
8) The United States spent $79 billion on global warming programs between 1989 and 2008. The vast majority went to scientists, bureaucrats, alarmist groups and propaganda campaigns that say we face a climate disaster. Do you support a law requiring that future spending be split 50:50 between researchers who think humans are causing a climate disaster, and those who believe climate change is mostly natural and cyclical – so that we can have honest, unbiased science … and sound public policy decisions?
9) Claims that we face a climate disaster are based on selected use of questionable temperature data, short-term temperature trends, and scary computer scenarios that even modelers don't call predictions – but merely possible futures, if numerous assumptions about climate systems, energy generation, carbon dioxide and global economic growth 25-100 years from now turn out to be true. How can you justify transforming (and risking) America's energy and economic future, based on computer models?
10) The White House and EPA suppressed a government report that said scientific evidence does not support claims that we face a global warming disaster – until after passage of a House bill that would send US carbon dioxide emissions back to 1868 levels. Why did you ignore this dictatorial and fraudulent action? Will you now demand a new debate and new vote? Demand that this report be reviewed and debated fully, before the Senate acts on similar legislation? Penalize EPA for suppressing free speech?
11) The economic pain, job losses and government intrusion into our lives under the House-passed global warming bill would reduce projected global average temperatures in 2050 by an imperceptible 0.1 degrees. That's largely because 97% of the projected increase in CO2 emissions between now and 2030 will come from developing countries that are building new coal-fired power plants every week, according to the International Energy Agency. Why would you support legislation that is all pain, and no gain?
12) Over 1.5 billion people in China, India and Africa still do not have electricity, for even a light bulb or tiny refrigerator. Almost 2.5 billion people around the world live on less than $2 a day. Millions die every year from diseases that would be largely eradicated with electricity for refrigeration, sanitation, clinics, and industries that generate greater health and prosperity. How can you justify telling them global warming is the biggest threat they face, and they need to get by on wind and solar power, and give up their dreams of better lives, because you are worried about global warming? Doesn't that violate their most basic human rights – including their right to improved living standards, and to life itself?
Exercise your constitutional rights. Attend town hall meetings. Ask questions. Demand answers. Demand debate. And safeguard your future, and your children's future.
Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and Congress of Racial Equality, and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green Power • Black Death.
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