Voters Don't Care About Global Warming, But They Should

Amy Menefee

4/24/2008 12:01:00 AM - Amy Menefee

     If you’re not too concerned about global warming, you’re probably a regular American. If you think, however, that it’s on par with World War II as a threat to the nation, you’re the managing editor of Time magazine.

Al Gore’s “We” ad campaign drew a parallel between fighting global warming and storming the beaches of Normandy. Then Time took the iconic photo of Marines raising the flag at Iwo Jima and replaced the Stars and Stripes with a tree.

“[W]e say there needs to be an effort along the lines of preparing for World War II to combat global warming and climate change,” Time Managing Editor Richard Stengel said on MSNBC April 17. “It seems to me that this is an issue that is very popular with the voters, makes a lot of sense to them …” 

The election year has the media scrambling to put every issue in the context of “voters.” Newsweek’s April 14 issue devoted 18 pages to “Environment and Leadership,” pondering the presidential candidates: “Who’s the Greenest of Them All?” Yet these magazines are out of touch with what real voters are thinking.

Gallup reported April 21 that “While 61% of Americans say the effects of global warming have already begun, just a little more than a third say they worry about it a great deal, a percentage that is roughly the same as the one Gallup measured 19 years ago.”

Two decades of global warming alarmism and activism, and no more than a third “say they worry about it a great deal”? No wonder Gore’s rustled up $300 million to shout at people. The Washington Post reported April 18 that “the economy and the Iraq war are the top two issues on voters' minds, according to the new Post-ABC poll.”

Yet Newsweek’s Jerry Adler proclaimed: “At this vital juncture in the Earth’s history, it’s clear that the American people are looking for a presidential candidate who will take climate change ‘very seriously.’” His justification: “last year more than three voters in 10 said they would take a candidate’s green credentials into account.”

That’s about 30 percent of voters saying they would even take it “into account.”

Somehow, all the media hype hasn’t fazed us much. It looks as though global warming is more the concern of the media elite than the majority of working, voting Americans.

That shouldn’t be the case.

Voters must start caring, because all three candidates have said they would use government power to try to regulate the climate. And government power always translates to taking our money and controlling our lives.

According to Newsweek, all three favor a cap-and-trade system for carbon dioxide emissions. This is where voters should sit up and pay attention. The economy is our No. 1 concern, and a cap-and-trade system would cause chaos in the economy.

Everyone concerned about a possible recession in 2008 – after GDP grew less than 1 percent in the last quarter of 2007 – should consider the effects of a 4- to 5-percent reduction in economic growth. That’s what prominent economist Arthur Laffer projected under cap-and-trade programs, which he equated to “a potential income loss of about $10,800 for a family of four,” according to his study with Wayne Winegarden.

And that estimate was just for the example of reducing “greenhouse gases” 7 percent below 1990 levels (the original Kyoto Protocol target). Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama vow to cut those emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2050.

The media don’t like to talk about how much that would cost us. In the latest study of global warming coverage, the Business & Media Institute found 90 percent of the stories didn’t mention cost at all, even though the networks urged immediate action to stop the “climate crisis.”

If journalists think today’s economy is bad, just wait until it’s gutted by the unlimited costs of climate “action.”

This is what the media aren’t telling you: Global warming policy and the economy are one and the same.

Voters must care, but not for Al Gore’s reasons. Plenty of scientists say we don’t have to fear a global warming apocalypse. The global food riots stemming from forced biofuel policy serve as a chilling clue of what we do have to fear. Instead of global warming causing food shortages, U.S. government policy has done that. Instead of rising sea levels, we must fear rising tax levels. Instead of ice caps melting away, we must fear our jobs evaporating.

Elevating the earth’s temperature to the prominence of our enemies in World War II is abominable. Ignoring what the next president could do to us is dangerous.