Rich Lowry / July 22, 2022

Joe Biden’s Bogus Climate Emergency

It’s one thing to invoke emergency presidential powers to respond to a terror attack or pandemic; it’s another to do it because the temperature in Boston is over 90 degrees.

Word has come down from on high that it is now mandatory to refer to climate change as an “emergency.”

Democrats and climate activists are urging President Joe Biden to declare a literal emergency to unlock powers allowing him to enact new measures without congressional approval.

“Congressional action to address the climate crisis appears to have stalled,” Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon and other Democratic senators wrote Biden. “As a result, we urge you to put us on an emergency footing and aggressively use your executive powers to address the climate crisis.”

That 51 senators oppose adopting legislation favored by Jeff Merkley might be a disappointment to Jeff Merkley, but it’s not warrant for unilateral presidential rule.

James Madison would have been shocked and appalled that members of the legislative branch now routinely lobby for presidents to govern without them, but the nation’s legislators have lost their constitutional bearings — and sense of self-respect.

While Biden has stopped short of such a declaration — at least for now — he used the word “emergency” in a speech announcing new executive actions and called climate change “an existential threat to our nation.”

The latest dire rhetoric is being driven by a heat wave in Europe and here at home that is being hyped for all it’s worth.

London smashed records, but after a couple of days of remarkably elevated temperatures, the highs are forecast to be mostly in the 70s in the next couple of weeks — warm by the city’s standard, but not catastrophic.

News outlets and people tweeted about “London burning” during the hottest day because there was an outbreak of mostly grass fires. Somehow the city that had endured the Blitz managed to persevere.

A piece in the London Spectator pointed out that in actuality all fires, including grass fires and other so-called secondary fires, have been drastically declining in Greater London for years.

If heat waves become more frequent, as expected, Western Europe countries will have to more fully embrace air conditioning, which is our best tool against extreme heat.

Places like Phoenix, Las Vegas and Miami prove it is possible to be quite hot, and also thriving and heavily populated.

As for the high temperatures across a broad swath of the U.S., as Roger Pielke Jr. of the University of Colorado Boulder has noted, heat waves were worse in the 1920s and 1930s.

This doesn’t mean that climate change isn’t real and to some significant extent anthropomorphic, but that’s not a reason to suspend all rational thought.

It’s one thing to invoke emergency presidential powers to respond to a terror attack or pandemic; it’s another to do it because the temperature in Boston is over 90 degrees.

The climate simply is not an urgent threat demanding and susceptible to action right away. The warming of the planet is a long-fuse phenomenon that has built up steadily over time — there’s been a 1.1 degree Celsius rise in the global temperature since the late 19th century — and won’t soon be affected even by radical steps. If enacted in full, the Green New Deal would have a negligible effect on the global temperature.

Nor is there an “existential threat” to the U.S. The idea that an advanced 21st-century society that — unlike Western Europe — is already prodigiously air-conditioned can’t deal with additional heat during the summer, or for that matter, more adverse weather events, is laughable.

The U.S. is a wealthy, innovative and a continental nation where patterns of settlement have vastly changed over time and will continue to do so, regardless of the temperature trends. We will be able to adapt to, and mitigate any harmful effects from, climate change better than any other society in the world.

President Biden is given to optimistic riffs about all that America can achieve. It is capable of anything, he believes — except surviving a warmer climate.

He should have more faith in his country’s resourcefulness, and in its constitutional system.

© 2022 by King Features Syndicate

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