Global warming low on voters’ list of concerns

By Freedom New Mexico

A recent Washington Post poll puts global warming alarmism into perspective. If, as alarmists claim, manmade greenhouse gases are the primary cause of a disastrous increase in global temperatures, then everyone should want to take whatever drastic measures are necessary to ward off imminent devastation. Apparently, not everyone is so moved.

Global warming ranked at the bottom in the Post’s poll of Democratic voters in Iowa who were asked, “What is the single most important issue in your choice for the Democratic candidate for president?”

The top response was “the war in Iraq,” with 33 percent, while 26 percent said “health care.” Ten percent chose “economy/jobs,” and others identified a dozen other issues. A smart-alecky 1 percent answered, “nothing.”

But global warming ranked even lower than “nothing,” with one-half percent. Even Democrats don’t see global warming as more urgent than Social Security (1 percent), despite all Nobel Prize-winning Al Gore’s admonitions. The more alarmists shout, “The sky is falling!” the less persuasive their argument becomes.

An explanation is offered by Jonathan H. Adler, director of the Center for Business Law and Regulation. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Adler pointed to the argument advanced by Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, who far from being skeptics are a pair of believers in manmade global warming.

Yet, in their new book “Break Through,” Nordhaus and Shellenberger say it’s time that environmentalists discard “unexamined assumptions, outdated concepts and exhausted strategies.”

Adler summed up the authors’ epiphany: “(N)o one … is going to demand Draconian emission limits — the kind that would actually slow the warming trend — if they bring down the standard of living and interrupt the progress of the economy.”

Instead, “an explicitly pro-growth agenda” based on investment, innovation and imagination are better tools than “punitive regulation and finger-wagging rhetoric,” as Adler termed it.

There’s much wisdom here. Danish environmental author Bjorn Lomborg has made similar arguments, reasoning that tilting at windmills to curb global warming, which he also believes is occurring, makes much less sense than spending finite resources on things to raise living standards, simultaneously improving the environment.

For the Chinese this is self-evident. China’s made it clear that reducing global temperatures by a degree or two over 100 years isn’t worth retarding its economy. Instead, the Chinese say, “rich” countries like the United States should make that sacrifice.

But as Iowa Democrats reveal, Americans aren’t any more inclined to sacrifice economic comforts on the global warming altar.

Even if significant global warming is occurring, which is debatable, even if manmade greenhouse gases are a primary cause, which also is debatable, even if long-term effects are detrimental, which is much more debatable, a more reasonable approach is to adapt to climate change, as mankind always has, rather than presumptuously and vainly attempt to thwart it at enormous cost.

Adler summed up the authors’ case: “To make normal, productive human activity the enemy of nature, as environmentalists implicitly do, is to adopt policies that ‘constrain human ambition, aspiration and power’ instead of finding ways to ‘unleash and direct them.’”
We concur.