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Sanity From the Indian Subcontinent

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

WASHINGTON -- Did you see the look on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's face when, during her visit to India, she visited with that country's environment minister, Jairam Ramesh? It was that frozen smile we have seen from her before, when the smiling lady is, as a matter of fact, mad as hell. You saw it during her husband's impeachment. Bill has seen it practically every day of their married life. Now we have seen it during her three-day visit to India, where, among other things, she hoped to have India at least show some respect for the Obama administration's proposed carbon limits.

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Instead of respect, she got rebuff. As Minister Ramesh asseverated, "There is simply no case for the pressure that we, who have among the lowest emissions per capita, face to actually reduce emissions." The pressure he alludes to has been coming from the United States to adopt some monstrous emissions regulation like our cap-and-trade bill now blessedly being euthanized in the Senate. "And as if this pressure was not enough," he went on, "we also face the threat of carbon tariffs on our exports to countries such as yours." So our cap-and-trade bill not only would impose economic costs (for Americans, $7.4 trillion in taxes, our largest tax increase ever) but also perhaps would start an international trade war by excluding imported goods from countries, such as India, that reject our environmental diktats. China and Brazil do, too.

Secretary Clinton ought not to be surprised by the Indians' recalcitrance. Ramesh has expressed doubt before that global warming is the grave problem that trendy liberal Democrats insist it is. Late last week, he even expressed doubt that Himalayan glaciers have been damaged by climate change, despite environmentalists' insistence that the glaciers are melting. Frankly, Ramesh sounded very much like what Al Gore calls a global warming denier. Yet the Indian is in good company. There are a growing number of scientists and political leaders who doubt the significance of carbon in the atmosphere. In fact, they doubt the existence of global warming, period -- and with good reason. Contrary to the environmentalists' computer projections, there has been no global warming since 1998. Instead, we now have global cooling. Actually, the past two years' worth of global cooling has eliminated the past 30 years of global warming.

Possibly, Ramesh has read the latest scientific debunking of the global warming position supplied by an important book, "Heaven and Earth," by Ian Plimer, professor of mining geology at the University of Adelaide. In an interview with London's Spectator, the professor summed the book's findings thus: "The hypothesis that human activity can create global warming is extraordinary because it is contrary to validated knowledge from solar physics, astronomy, history, archaeology and geology." Being a geologist, professor Plimer has had to study climate conditions going back to the origins of the planet, more than 4 billion years ago. He chides the global warming hysterics for only studying the past 150 years. Other skeptics whom I have noted in this column are the scientist Bjorn Lomborg and former British Chancellor of the Exchequer and Secretary of State for Energy Nigel Lawson.

Nonetheless, hysterics rattle on, locked into the view established by their guru, Secretary Clinton's friend Gore. "Global warming is real," he said in 2006. "We human beings are responsible for the vast majority of it. The results are bad, headed toward catastrophic." A few weeks ago, he attributed brush fires in Australia to global warming. "Cyclones are getting stronger," he added. "The fires are getting bigger. ... The sea level is rising." Then he warned that "refugees are beginning to move from places they have long called home."

Well, the Indians are not alarmed, nor are the Chinese and the Brazilians. Professor Plimer explains: "When I try explaining 'global warming' to people in Iran or Turkey they have no idea what I'm talking about." The prof claims that alarmists -- such as Gore and Clinton and, for that matter, President Barack Obama -- are a self-centered minority out of touch with human needs and with atmospheric conditions. "Eco-guilt is a first-world luxury," he told The Spectator. "It's the new religion for urban populations which have lost their faith in Christianity."

A timely explanation for their self-centered hysteria now comes from an unlikely source, Cass Sunstein, a professor at Harvard Law School and recently appointed to be administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Office of Management and Budget by President Obama. In "Going to Extremes: How Like Minds Unite and Divide," he deposits his finding that "like-minded people tend to move to a more extreme version of what they thought" the more they talk with one another. The liberal Democrats who now dominate the Obama administration have pretty much sealed themselves off from criticism. They have been talking with one another for years, reaffirming their prejudices and getting ever-more extreme. Now, on the environment, they would impose on the whole world taxes and regulations that would suppress economic growth and conduce to trade wars. Fortunately, they are running up against the enlightened Indians and Chinese, ex-socialists who have learned the benefits of growth. The surprise is on us.

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