Everyone talks about the weather, Mark Twain famously observed, but nobody does anything about it. The witticism held true until Tuesday, when President Barack Obama proudly announced that he was at last going to get all this unruly weather under control. At the very least, he seems intent on keeping a long-ago campaign promise to cause your electricity rates to skyrocket.
Having already brought peace to the world and prosperity to his nation, and restored the dignity and grooviness of his office, Obama told an adoring audience of empty-headed college students at Georgetown University that he will now single-handedly save the planet from environmental destruction. He’s forced to do it alone because his previous efforts to impose a “cap and trade” scheme on the country have been rebuffed in Congress, where even the Democrats are reluctant to sign on to the dubious scientific claims and obvious economic costs, so the planet’s salvation will be achieved by executive order rather than the democratic process. The powers of the presidency are apparently broader than previously assumed, because Obama has somewhere discovered the authority to impose the first-ever limits on carbon emissions from power plants, dictate new efficiency standards for vehicles, appliances, and homes, as well as handing over vast government resources to favored energy industries, which Obama believes will be sufficient to rescue Earth.
Obama’s announcement featured his characteristic disdain for any opposing opinion, as he told the audience that “We don’t have time for a meeting of the Flat Earth Society,” and a number of claims that any reasonable person might question. There’s no doubting that Obama truly believes what he’s saying, though, as there’s no possible political motive for his initiatives. The past 16 years of decline in the warming trends that have defied all the global warming alarmists’ predictions, the leaked e-mails that showed scientists’ efforts to hide that decline, and a slew of dissenting studies have all contributed to a growing public skepticism about the anthropogenic global warming theory, even the true believes aren’t necessarily convinced that American efforts will make much difference on a planet where China and India and the rest of the world are rapidly increasing their carbon emissions, and most people are far more concerned with the sorry state of the economy. Whatever the environmental benefits of Obama’s new regulations, there is no argument that even he could make with a straight face that they will have a beneficial effect on any industry other than the “green energy” sector that has so enthusiastically supported his past campaigns with good wishes and cash.
Anyone who pays for electricity, or pays for things that are manufactured or sold with the use of electricity, will wind up paying more just as Obama once promised. This will surely prove unpopular, but one benefit of doing things by executive order rather than by the popular will expressed through Congress is that members of Obama’s party will be able to plausibly claim they have nothing to do with this nonsense. Look for even the greenest Democrats to distance themselves from these policies, and certainly from the results, but even the feeblest Republicans should be able to derive some benefit.
— Bud Norman