"The Arctic seems to be warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places the seals are finding the water too hot. ... Reports from fisherman, seal hunters, and explorers ... all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard of temperatures in the Arctic zone."
-- NOV. 2, 1922, WASHINGTON POST
Even on the heels of another nasty winter, the Obama administration hangs on to climate change as an article of liberal faith.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson remains steadfast in her desire to unilaterally impose massive new greenhouse-gas regulations on energy producers.
And if that doesn't work, the administration is ready to move on costly "renewable-energy standards."
Here in Minnesota, electric bills are already starting to reflect a brave new world powered by wind turbines and solar panels (anything except nuclear -- especially after Japan).
Under "next-generation energy" legislation passed in 2007, the state's largest utility, Xcel Energy, is busy touting its green credentials as it struggles to comply with a 30 percent mandate for expensive renewable power by 2020.
All in the name of a global warming theory whose fundamental premise looks weaker every day.
Not long ago, the Heartland Institute asserted that NASA had "been artificially inflating U.S. temperatures by 0.15 degrees Celsius since the year 2000" and as a result erroneously reported that readings over the last decade "were warmer than the 1930s, when in fact the opposite was true."
Eventually, agency officials did recant 1998 as the hottest on U.S. record when the data were reanalyzed showing the pre-greenhouse-gas era year of 1934 to be slightly warmer.
Across the globe, the last few winters have been exceedingly harsh.
China has endured its most severe winter in 100 years, snow has fallen in Baghdad, and the United Kingdom just suffered through its coldest December since 1683, according to figures from the Met Office.
British astrophysicist David Whitehouse says that not only have temperatures leveled off since 1998, they may actually be cooling once again.
Of course, that doesn't mean it's so. In 1975, Newsweek cited the scientific consensus (heard that one before?) about the coming danger of global cooling.
Temperatures had been declining since 1940 even as carbon dioxide levels rose. Regardless of who is correct, we would do well to remember that cold is far more calamitous for mankind than the purported 0.6 degrees Celsius rise in the last century.
Besides, as a growing number of "climate skeptics" point out, atmospheric variables tend to mitigate or reverse the effects of greenhouse gases.
By not accurately accounting for the "negative feedback" of water vapor, ocean currents, ozone, aerosols, volcanoes and, most important, solar output (as well as the diminishing effects of accumulated greenhouse gases) global-warming proponents allow themselves to sanctimoniously pronounce that, all things being equal, a rise in CO2 will elicit a rise in temperature.
Of course, all things are never equal.
And therein lies the problem. The global-warming hysteria is based on computer models, not empirical data, because the records simply don't go back far enough.
If Climategate taught us anything, it's that these models are subject to human manipulation.
The famous "hockey stick" graph showing rapid warming in the 20th century was thoroughly debunked by Canadian researchers even before the purloined e-mails showed how global warming researchers were desperately trying to "hide the decline" in temperatures.
Which is not to say that the Earth doesn't warm at times and ice doesn't melt in the Arctic. The Earth warms (see the Medieval Warm Period), then it cools (see the Little Ice Age), and then it warms and ... well, you get the picture.
But if the proof of global warming resides only in changes in the weather (oops, I mean climate), then its proponents have raised the bar for self-fulfilling prophecy.
From Japanese earthquakes to the so-called disappearance of Minnesota's meandering moose, if everything is a result of climate change, then, really, nothing is.
Jason Lewis is a nationally syndicated talk-show host based in Minneapolis-St. Paul and is the author of "Power Divided is Power Checked: The Argument for States' Rights" from Bascom Hill Publishing. He can be heard locally from 5 to 8 p.m. weeknights on KTLK Radio, 100.3-FM.
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