Kathryn Lopez

But don't expect Congress to pull out its power tools any time soon. Right now, the momentum is with America's Climate Security Act of 2007, a bill sponsored by Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Republican Sen. John Warner of Virginia. According to the Heritage Foundation, the bill "would likely be -- by far -- the most expensive environmental undertaking in history." As Heritage describes it, the Warner-Lieberman Bill "extracts trillions of dollars from the millions of American energy consumers and delivers this wealth to permanently identified classes of recipients, such as tribal groups and preferred technology sectors, while largely circumventing the normal congressional appropriations process."

The legislation is a perilous road with high costs -- costs Americans tell pollsters they don't want to pay. But Congress is poised to go its own way, skipping over simpler, more promising steps that cost less, such as unleashing America's reserves. Instead, we go on with the absurd scene of the president of the United States going to Saudi Arabia with his hands out. America is an entrepreneurial nation with resources. We should not be acting like helpless victims. We should not be punishing energy users and embracing regulation over ingenuity and incentives.

McCain, Lieberman, Warner and everyone else should take a deep breath and listen to Bjorn Lomborg, author of "Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming" (Knopf, 2007), who says the legislation before Congress "looks set to be a massive subsidy-fest that would achieve very little for the environment, at great cost." He warns: "Wishful thinking is not sound public policy."

Lomborg says that instead of frenzied regulations and expenditures, "We need the technological solutions that will allow our societies to transition cost-effectively to low-carbon energy by mid-century. McCain could recognize that this is a century-long problem which needs century-long, smart solutions."

In other words -- cool it. Drop the gimmicks. Stop getting freaked out by Al Gore. Let's be smart and think creatively rather than as a conventional pack of frenzied followers.


Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.