The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.
Climate change isn’t about policy as much as religion
Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman’s approval on Tuesday of the revised Keystone XL pipeline route provided some counterbalance to President Obama’s recommitment to the climate agenda in Monday’s inaugural speech, but the pipeline is still far from a shoo-in. Meanwhile, the renewed emphasis on climate change signals more comprehensive uncertainty for Canada/U.S. relations. The problem, as ever, is that climate change isn’t so much about policy as religion.
The ever-perceptive Adam Smith noted how political factions often recruit God to their cause. “Even to the great Judge of the universe,” wrote Smith, “they impute all their own prejudices, and often view that Divine Being as animated by all their own vindictive and implacable passions.” Mr. Obama left us in no doubt on Monday that God demanded action on climate. “That,” said Mr. Obama, “is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God.”
The speech confirms that Mr. Obama’s re-election — contrary to what an overwhelming majority of Canadians apparently think — is bad news for Canada, first in terms of what Mr. Obama’s rigid statism and fiscal fecklessness may do to the U.S. economy, and then in terms of policies that specifically affect Canada, primarily on energy and climate.
A common take on the inaugural speech was that it signalled a No More Mr. Post-Partisan Nice Guy. In fact, there never was such a guy. Mr. Obama’s attitude to opponents has always been dismissive. His self-righteous approach was summed up in the assertion that “We cannot mistake absolutism for principle or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate.”
You see? Only liberals have principles to which they must stick; Republicans are just bone-headed “absolutists.” Name-calling too is only off-limits for the other team. When it came to climate, Mr. Obama had no compunction in invoking one of the most pernicious pieces of name-calling in recent history: “denier.”
He said that “Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science,” but where is he getting his information? Has no briefing document reached the Oval Office informing him that global temperatures have stalled for the past 15 years, and that even NASA’s climate wildman, James Hansen, has now acknowledged the halt?
No sensible person “denies climate change.” The point is that science simply don’t know enough to justify draconian policies, whose impact would in any case be much more on wealth and freedom than weather (which some believe is the real agenda).
For the rest of this column, please go to the National Post website: http://opinion.financialpost.com/2013/01/22/peter-foster-keystone-vs-religion/