Presidential election won't resolve gas prices or global warming
By Dennis T. Avery
On most U.S. political issues, Barack Obama and John McCain take sharply different positions and represent real choice for the voters. On the biggest issue of all, however—$4 gas and global warming strategy—Obama and McCain seem to agree. They both think energy prices need to triple yet again to prevent man-made global warming.
Since the presidential primaries finished, however, we've found that global temperatures have turned downward. Global temperatures have dropped sharply—0.7 degree since the beginning of 2006. This puts our thermometers back about where they were a century ago. This has happened despite a continuing increase in global greenhouse gas emissions.
In Europe and Australia, blue-collar truckers, fishermen, miners, and power-industry workers are in open rebellion over high fuel prices in a time of global cooling. They clearly see the prospects of their own economic ruin in Europe's $11-per-gallon diesel. The alarmist prime ministers of Britain and Australia may well be forced from office by the lack of warming.
NASA recently admitted "the oceans stopped warming 4-5 years ago," based on highly accurate data from 3,000 new Argo high-tech buoys recently spread around the oceans. In recent weeks, NASA's Jason satellite confirmed that the northern Pacific Ocean has entered a cooling phase that is likely to last 25–30 years.
This is crucial because Pacific Rim tree rings confirm that whole earth's temperatures have mirrored the shifts in the 60-year Pacific Decadal Oscillation since 1600. None of the computer models predicted this, but the sunspots have been predicting it since 2000. The sunspots have had a strong 79-percent correlation with earth's thermometers since 1860 (with a ten-year lag). There is virtually no correlation between our thermometer record and CO2—which by itself is strong enough evidence to discredit the Greenhouse Theory.
It's unlikely Barack Obama can escape the liberal left's nearly religious commitment to eliminating fossil fuels. The Left's goal is to get anti-fossil legislation on the books before any more cooling can unsettle the faithful. Even Obama's recent modest attempts to move to the center have met with threats of "alternative choices" by the far Left.
Almost any Republican except McCain could say, "We hadn't seen convincing proof of man-made global warming, and the earth's temperatures have been cycling up and down for millions of years. There's time to do the science before we discard 88 percent of America's energy system." Gasoline prices would begin to drop immediately, as expectations based on drilling bans and coal-burning cutbacks were put on hold.
Both McCain and his daughter, however, say he believes deeply in the Greenhouse warming threat—even though our net warming over the 70 years between 1940 and 1998 totaled a miniscule 0.2 degree C. Can McCain be believable if he pointed to the temperature decline and the failure of the computer models? It would certainly take some fancy footwork.
Fortunately, what man has done can mostly be undone. The momentum built up by the Left, the UN, and the columnists will probably give us hugely expensive cap-and-trade legislation, and perhaps a whole series of punitive fossil energy taxes. However, if global temperatures continue to trend down over the next President's four-year term most such anti-fossil laws would quickly be repealed. Embarrassed federal judges would revisit their recent anti-fossil decisions.
In the meantime, unfortunately, the First World risks rolling blackouts that could shut down every hospital, school, and business that relies on electric lights and computers. Our electrical demand is rising and our generating capacity is declining. When those curves intersect, people will lose control over their lives. Some will die needlessly. That cannot be undone.
Dennis T. Avery is a senior fellow for the Hudson Institute in Washington, DC and is the Director for the Center for Global Food Issues. He was formerly a senior analyst for the Department of State. He is co-author, with S. Fred Singer, of Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Hundred Years, Readers may write him at PO Box 202, Churchville, VA 2442 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.