May/June 2011

Exposing Global-Warming Alarmism’s Grasp

Reasonable minds differ on the science of global warming. Even if they didn’t — even if the science were settled — anyone familiar with the federal government’s track record on large-scale regulation ought to harbor serious doubts about Washington’s anti-climate-change efforts. And while climate hysteria dominates the environmental argument within the spheres of politics and science, few realize just how far its influence extends.

In Climate Coup: Global Warming’s Invasion of Our Government and Our Lives, Patrick J. Michaels edits a collection of essays offering shocking insights into the impact of globalwarming alarmism on the law, the scientific peer-review process, global security, trade, international economic development, and public education.

Michaels, senior fellow at the Cato Institute and author of Climate of Extremes: Global Warming Science They Don’t Want You to Know, introduces the book’s eight chapters, in which academics and policy experts sketch the landscape of global-warming alarmism’s reach. Roger Pilon and Evan Turgeon show how, while James Madison, the father of the Constitution, thought that “the powers of the new government would be ‘few and defined,’” the modern executive branch, “in the name of addressing global warming, is able to regulate virtually every human activity in this nation.”

Ross McKitrick offers a cautionary tale of bias within the peer-review process that acts as the gatekeeper to the scientific literature. He recounts the two years he spent “trying to publish a paper refuting an important claim in the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report,” a claim that “was not just wrong but was based on fabricated evidence.” He writes, “I did not expect a smooth ride, but the process eventually became surreal.”

Ivan Eland looks at the way the Department of Defense has used global warming as a justification for its own expansion under the umbrella of national security. Sallie James shows how politicians, in an effort to appear active on the climate-change issue while not offending special-interest groups, have proposed “trade-related measures [that] put the United States at risk of retaliation, litigation, or both from its global trading partners.”

Indur M. Goklany argues that developing nations will have little difficulty adapting to rising global temperatures, while Robert E. Davis debunks many of the most pervasive myths about global warming and public health. “The litany of human health impacts from global warming goes on and on,” he writes. “It’s safe to say that these (and other) health impacts either will not happen or will not be nearly as severe as the predictions.” Neal McCluskey ends Climate Coupwith a look at global-warming alarmism in public education and its pernicious effects. “When what we will need are rational, well-informed adults, what we will get is either people who know little or nothing about climate change or people who are scared to death about it,” he writes.

In his introduction, Michaels offers a striking observation by way of a parade of horribles: “When students are threatened with death from global warming, when our military raises the threat of war from global warming, when the state has the apparatus to run our lives because of global warming without any additional legislation, when our Congress legislates tariffs that could provoke trade wars because of global warming, when the threats of global warming to the developing world are egregiously exaggerated, when the biomedical community hypes unfounded health and mortality fears, and when the scientific peer-review process becomes skewed against anything moderate, we have witnessed a coup.”

Climate Coup exposes the sordid details of this process.