Second, there's China. It has passed the U.S. as the world's leading emitter of carbon dioxide, and it accounted for two-thirds of the increase in the world's emissions in 2007. Global action against global warming makes little sense without China taking part, and it won't. If we can't get China to quit jailing dissidents and arming a genocidal Sudan, what hope is there of getting it to stop something -- rapid economic development -- that's otherwise unobjectionable? With hundreds of millions of Chinese people living in abject poverty, the country's economic growth is one of the world's most important initiatives against human misery.
Finally, there's the global cooling spell. The world hasn't been warming since 1998, and an article in the journal Nature says warming won't pick up again until 2015. Since global warming is a long-term trend, a decade-long or more stall in temperatures doesn't mean much -- except that environmentalists have banked so much politically on whipping up hysteria based on imminent catastrophe. The stall in temperatures shows how little we know about global warming. It means that the .3 degrees Celsius increase in global temperatures predicted during the next decade by the U.N.'s much-vaunted Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change may not happen.
No matter what the price of gas is, the most sensible policy in the U.S. is to avoid costly schemes to fight global warming. If our economy keeps growing, we will be better positioned -- richer, and more technologically proficient -- to help others mitigate its effects decades from now. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid huffs that global warming is "the most critical issue of our time." Really? More critical than energy prices? Than health care? Than wages? Than terrorism? Than nuclear proliferation? Keep huffing, Mr. Reid -- that deflating bubble needs all the air it can get.
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