Politicizing the Weather

Who knew the weather could be a political lightning rod? Just when you thought it was safe to small talk about the heat or the drought or the rain – BAM! Out pops a closet climatologist.

Rush Limbaugh reports the record lows. Al Gore laments the record highs. Americans lose a once uncontroversial conversation topic.

Never one to stick my head in the clouds, I endured Big Al’s “Inconvenient Truth.” I didn’t think it worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize, but that was before President Obama won his. Comparatively speaking, Gore’s documentary looks like an Earth-shattering achievement.

The problem with data and statistics is that anyone can make them say anything these days. Projections backward or forward only make matters worse. With climate issues, recorded history is so infinitesimally brief vis a vis planetary history that even the best supported theory on global health but scratches the Earth’s surface.

For every well-reasoned theory to curtail modern manufacturing and energy consumption, another pops up to support it. For example, geologist Leighton Steward’s proposition that plant life actually benefits from greater carbon dioxide emissions. Plant and trees grow larger, he says, spread over the Earth more quickly, bear bigger and more fruit, etc. the more CO2 is in the atmosphere. (For more, see www.PlantsNeedCO2.org or attend the KCRC meeting Tuesday night – details below.)

Since we don’t know for certain what causes snapshot trends, balance and restraint are key. Unfortunately, President Obama’s cap and trade energy legislation is neither.

It’s actually environmental overkill that will penalize American companies for doing the very thing Obama and his protectionist liberal friends purportedly advocate: keeping jobs here at home. (Do they actually aim to hamstring private industry?)

Cap and trade is another misguided move by a man who believes backtracking, apologizing, demilitarizing and under-producing are appropriate penance for America’s far too fruitful past.

As a conservative conservationist, I hate any negative effects humankind has on God’s natural environment. Abandoned strip mines, deforestation and air pollution are often repugnant signs of humankind living in ignorance or carelessness or both. But I also believe that like the Sabbath, Earth was made for man, not man for Earth. While we are called to steward, we are also empowered to subdue, progress and co-create.

The Earth’s land mass is roughly 60 million square miles (oceans cover about 140 million more). For every human populated square mile, there are hundreds of thousands of unpopulated ones. One airplane flight from any A to any B proves this point.

Repeated mediated images of smokestacks in urban jungles create an appearance of impending disaster. The Earth’s seemingly limitless cleansing capabilities never get equal coverage. They are far less sensational and sell far fewer ads.

In conclusion, let’s take a break from climate change, decap cap and trade, and return to the American people their inalienable right to talk fearlessly about the weather.

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