Guest editorial: Take closer look at Climategate
By Rep. Susan Lynn
Not many Tennesseans were thinking about Todd Stern this month. With the holiday season upon us and unemployment hovering above 10 percent, we have had plenty to preoccupy ourselves and our families. But unfortunately we need to take the time to know who Mr. Stern is and what he has been up to. He served as President Obama’s chief negotiator in Copenhagen, Denmark during December’s two-week long United Nations Climate Change Conference.
The purpose of this conference was to develop an international treaty by which the nations of the world would reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The outcome was a twelve-paragraph, non-binding document referred to as the Copenhagen Accord. This quick-read boils down to what you might call a lose-lose for the United States. First, we promise to develop aggressive (which means costly) greenhouse gas reduction measures at home. Second, we promise to funnel some money now and lots of money later through UN bureaucrats to developing nations to pay for their greenhouse gas reductions and to compensate them for coping with the effects of climate change.
If this sounds a bit unfair, you should know it’s designed to be. The opening paragraph of the Accord states very clearly that the principle by which the world’s nations will combat climate change is one of “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.” This sounds eerily similar to the famous Marxist axiom, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” America must pay because America is rich.
As many pundits predicted, this Copenhagen conference was no victory for Mr. Obama and the world’s climate change alarmists. A non-binding agreement is just that. Still, it would have been preferable to see Mr. Stern and the rest of the nations’ representatives announce halfway through negotiations they had become appalled by their own collective hubris and decided to go home early. Because while you and I were busy working and taking care of our families, a roomful of elite diplomats were deciding on how much we should pay up each year as penance to the world for our productivity.
But the real issue is the science. The Accord premises its “deep cuts in global emissions” on the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report. The IPCC is the lynchpin for alarmists’ scientific claims. Several of its scientific leaders including lead authors of its reports were caught recently in questionable scientific practices when hundreds of their own emails were released to the public. This scandal, known as Climategate, has confirmed what many in the scientific community have been saying; climate change has become too politicized and the integrity of the science has suffered for it.
As alarming as this revelation is, it shouldn’t be a surprise. The amount of money and ideological fervor surrounding climate change is enough to corrupt almost anyone. It’s become a cause too big to fail. The nineteenth century humorist Artemus Ward wrote, “It ain’t so much the things we don’t know that get us in trouble. It’s the things we know that ain’t so.” For too long alarmists have dismissed anything that threatened their belief in catastrophic global warming. This is dangerous. We need open hearings on Climategate and a moratorium on Mr. Stern’s international efforts.
State Representative Susan Lynn is in her fourth term in the Tennessee state House. She chairs the Government Operations Committee and serves as national Chair for the Commerce Task Force for ALEC.ORG.