President Trump has not received adequately grateful recognition for withdrawing from the Paris climate accord and effectively scuttling the Clean Power Plan. These measures, which reinforced each other and were an outright assault on American capitalism and economic growth, were, with the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and the nuclear giveaway to Iran, the core of Barack Obama’s effort to be a transformative president. The whole basis of the Clean Power Plan and the Paris climate accord was false from the beginning, yet the premise on which they were based attained a tremendous level of momentum and effectively bulldozed opposition throughout the Western world and enjoyed an overwhelming preeminence in academic, journalistic, and public opinion.
Everyone is in favor of improved quality of air and water, but out of environmental and conservationist enthusiasm and even zeal, there abruptly arose the movement to reduce carbon use because of the miraculously conjured and promoted but unsubstantiated theory that the world was quickly warming and that carbon use was the reason. Failure to change radically how we lived and how our economies in the West functioned would lead to a catastrophe of rising water levels and skyrocketing temperatures. An Old Testament fate was just around the corner. Historians of the future will wonder how our civilization could have been so thoroughly gulled that it began to undertake a profound economic self-dismemberment, and harried and ridiculed doubters as “climate deniers” as if they believed in a flat earth where stones fell upwards.
The warming argument has been nibbled at and not borne out by much evidence, and so has awkwardly largely given way to climate change — which is only a step from weather change, hardly a novel phenomenon — but which is now solemnly invoked by Bernie Sanders to explain Caribbean hurricanes (though they are not new and have not been unprecedentedly damaging or more frequent). And California governor Jerry Brown blames California forest fires on climate change, though there is no identifiable connection, much less anything linking any of these phenomena to human behavior. The human-generated global-warming theory was formally launched by the Willach (Austria) Conference of 1985, bringing together the leading figures of the United Nations Environment Project (an outgrowth of the Stockholm Conference of 1972, which was itself a product of the political machinations of Swedish prime minister Olof Palme) and the World Meteorological Organization. The Willach Conference produced the assertion that there would be a rise in global temperatures in the first half of the 21st century “greater than any in man’s history.” Though alarming, the conference report was numerically unspecific.