The ABC News headline this week said it all: “U.S. Must Lead Way in Clean Energy Technology, Agency Heads Say; Administration Officials Push for the Swift Passing of Kerry-Boxer Climate Change Legislation.”

It’s that second part—about the need for swift passage of global warming legislation—that tells the whole story.

Arguing with Idiots By Glenn Beck

Of course President Obama wants quick passage. For months the public has focused on the bruising health care fight taking place in Washington. Along with congressional allies like John Kerry, Barbara Boxer, and Nancy Pelosi, Obama would like nothing better than to rush global warming regulation through congress before the public can turn proper attention to a proposal under which, as the President himself has put it, “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.”

But that’s just part of what proponents of a costly cap-and-trade system would rather the public not hear. The president’s advisers would like to ram through their climate proposals before the public catches wind of the overwrought rhetoric bubbling up from the fevered swamps of global warming alarmism.

Consider the interview Lord Nicholas Stern gave to The Times of London decrying the carbon content of people’s food. “Meat is a wasteful use of water and creates a lot of greenhouse gases,” he said. “I am not sure that people fully understand what we are talking about or the kind of changes that will be necessary” to stave off global warming.

Give up meat to save the planet? That seems to be what he is saying. The old saw used to be that meat is murder. Now it’s suicide. Lord Stern is no gadfly crank, either. He is the most distinguished authority on climate change in the United Kingdom, and authored a landmark 2006 study on global warming economics. More than anyone, Lord Stern advanced the controversial notion that we can constrain our economies today to ward off tomorrow’s climate catastrophe. Now he says we must become vegetarians too.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, meanwhile, claims failure to pass a new Kyoto-style agreement at December’s global warming summit will doom us. Literally. “If we do not reach a deal at this time, let us be in no doubt: once the damage from unchecked emissions growth is done, no retrospective global agreement, in some future period, can undo that choice,” he said. Hear that? We have just weeks to save the planet.

Max Schulz

Max Schulz is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.