By Lamar Smith
Last December, President Obama and his environmental-activist political appointees traveled to Paris to persuade other nations to sign up for his radical climate-change agenda. This administration doesn’t care that many Americans believe climate change is exaggerated, that the scientific justification used for his regulations are flimsy, or that the models he uses to predict climate-change impacts are often biased. Instead, the administration recently launched investigations to intimidate anyone who disagrees with them.
If climate change is the real threat the Obama administration says it is, and the science is as “settled” as we are told by the liberal national media, why does the administration need to use tactics often reserved for the mafia to try to protect its own interests? What is the administration afraid of?
A few days ago, the president signed the United Nation’s Paris climate-change agreement, knowingly entering America into a contract that puts us at an economic disadvantage. Hardworking American taxpayers don’t want their government to work against their economic interests. And the president’s promises will do little to impact climate change.
The former head of the Department of Energy’s Fossil Energy Office, Charles McConnell, testified before the House Science Committee that the Clean Power Plan, the cornerstone of the president’s climate agenda, will reduce sea-level rise by the thickness of three sheets of paper. The same regulation would also reduce global temperatures by a measly 0.03 degrees Celsius, yet the plan, if implemented, would cost billions of dollars annually. That is all pain and no gain. The regulation would reduce global temperatures by a measly 0.03 degrees Celsius.
Earlier this year, the Supreme Court issued a stay for the Clean Power Plan, halting its implementation. This single regulation underpins the administration’s entire climate-change agenda and accounts for the lion’s share of the president’s promises in Paris. But the Environmental Protection Agency consistently ignores the tremendous costs of regulations and relies on hidden scientific data to justify them.
Last year, the House passed the Secret Science Reform Act of 2015, which would greatly improve transparency and accountability at the EPA. The bill simply requires the EPA to base its regulations on publicly available data, not secret science. That should be a minimum requirement for government activities paid for by U.S. taxpayers. In the past, the administration itself has supported public access to the underlying data. In 2012, the president’s science advisor testified before the Science Committee that “the data on which regulatory decisions . . . are based should be made available to the Committee and should be made public.”
Now the administration opposes this concept. President Obama threatened to veto the bipartisan bill. What is the administration hiding?
It is bad policy to regulate the future when evidence is suspect, or worse, contradicted almost weekly. For instance, the administration’s newest alarmist report about the negative health impacts of climate change uses extreme weather as evidence of increased health risks. But extreme-weather events have not increased in frequency, intensity, or normalized damage for many decades. Specifically, hurricanes have not increased since the 1900s and tornadoes since the 1950s. The same is true of other extreme-weather events.
There is one thing we do know: Predictions far into the future are unrealistic and unreliable. Take a recent study in Nature magazine, for example. The study attempts to predict rates of ice melting and sea-level rise all the way out to the year 2500 — almost 500 years from now! Predictions this far into the future, coupled with the poor accuracy of climate models, are little more than a guessing game. These predictions serve little purpose other than to scare the public and drive a political agenda.
The president’s U.N. climate deal in Paris would increase Americans’ electric bills, ration energy, and slow economic growth. It will cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars and risk thousands of jobs, all for little impact on the environment. The administration is selling its agenda with alarmist rhetoric that lacks scientific evidence. Meanwhile, those who raise valid questions about the very real uncertainties surrounding the understanding of climate change have their motives attacked, reputations savaged, and livelihoods threatened. Silencing debate is contrary to the scientific method. If these groups were confident about their arguments, they would welcome more debate to test their theories.
In short, the administration’s climate-change promises in Paris ignore good science and seek only to advance a partisan agenda at the expense of the American people.
— Lamar S. Smith represents the 21st district of Texas in the House of Representatives and is the chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee.