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My Turn: Climate change response could use a little sanity



For the Monitor
Saturday, March 18, 2017

A recent episode of NHPR’s The Exchange focused on our ski industry – and climate change took up a big part of the show. There were dark intimations that ski areas better adopt policies to counter climate change or else. And considerable time was spent emphasizing the importance of turning off one’s car engine when off-loading ski equipment.

Please.

Sometimes it’s windy and cold at ski areas. I have enough guilt already.

It’s time to speak up, as we’re really heading down a slippery slope. And I don’t mean ski slope.

Climate change activists and alarmists are taking aim at almost every aspect of our lives. Not only are ski areas in their sights, but so are golf courses, NASCAR, the Cog Railway, and on and on.

These alarmists used to focus on “global warming.” But you may have noticed that that expression is no longer de rigueur. “Climate change” is now the term de jour, probably because so much doubt was cast on whether or not there is significant global warming, man-induced or not.

I happen to believe in climate change. The climate is changing. Always has, always will. The salient question involves the extent to which humans are causing change.

Certainly humans impact local environments. Remember when Los Angeles and New York City had the nation’s worst air quality? Things are much better now. An Environmental Protection Agency run by reasonable people – not radicals – is good for America. We need to balance competing economic and environmental interests.

But do mere humans have the awesome ability to alter the Earth’s climate? Contrary to what radicals claim, there are diverse opinions on the causes, extent and possible responses to “climate change.”

Despite this spectrum of perspectives, those whose thoughts deviate from activist orthodoxy are denounced, degraded and called deniers – with the mainstream media being utterly complicit. NPR, CNN, et al assume man-induced climate change is a given, unassailable fact. How did this happen?

1) Sensationalizing climate crises gets headlines and increases ratings. (Not that long ago Time and Newsweek ran cover stories on the coming Ice Age.)

2) Scientists can get more attention and grant funding if there is an impending crisis. Thus many have a vested interest in talking up “doomsday scenarios.” (As Rahm Emmanuel said, “Never let a crisis go to waste.”)

3) Politicians see a perceived climate crisis as an opportunity to grow government, increase regulation and use “climate” as a stalking horse to promote political agendas. (Even local candidates speak of “climate justice” – whatever that is.)

4) Unfriendly foreign interests are delighted to see and encourage radical climate activists in America, as their efforts damage American productivity and economic growth while costing jobs.

All that said, we can’t ignore that a preponderance of “experts” attribute global warming – I mean climate change – to human activity. And most of that activity now emanates from places like China, India and Russia, which don’t have EPAs. As the atmosphere belongs to everyone, let’s focus more on the massive polluters and lay off the likes of our ski areas.

I’m heading to Cannon Mountain to ski on March 31. Looks like there will be plenty of snow. And if it’s cold and windy, I’m not turning off my car engine while off-loading.

(Rep. Micheal Moffett is a retired professor and Marine Corps officer. He lives in Loudon.)