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The Cancun Wealth Redistribution Conference

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

It’s become a predictable annual rite. Several weeks prior to each global warming gabfest, breathless news stories, editorials, op-eds and pontifications begin hitting the airwaves and print pages, reaching a crescendo as the conference opens. So it was with Copenhagen; so it is with Cancun. Actually, it may be worse this year.

ClimateGate, bogus IPCC “studies” about disappearing Himalayan glaciers and Amazonian rainforests, the global economic recession, the Copenhagen disaster, soaring EU and UK energy prices, Spain’s collapsing green energy industry, and eroding public belief in manmade Climate Armageddon have ushered in growing unease within the alarmist camp.

Now unease has turned into desperation. US midterm elections all but ensure a wholesale congressional reexamination of climate science and renewable energy claims … and budgets. The Chicago Climate Exchange has gone belly-up, as carbon prices plunged from $7 a ton to 5 cents. China, India and other emerging markets continue to build hydrocarbon energy facilities, offering promises of “reduced carbon intensity” (slowly improved energy efficiency), but no binding CO2 reduction targets. In response …

Michael Mann whined to Fortune magazine that he and climate science are under attack, and he is getting rude emails. Al Gore again wailed that planetary demise is nigh (but was forced to admit he voted for ethanol solely to bolster his chances in the 2000 Iowa primaries). Bjorn Lomborg energetically promoted shifting countless billions of former global warming prevention dollars to reducing wind and solar energy costs – to ward off dangerous global warming that he insists is happening, despite stable global temperatures since 1995, in the face of steadily rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.

The Economist offered articles on “how to live with climate change.” We should make renewables so cheap that burning coal and oil “will seem perverse,” it suggested. We should even evaluate geo-engineering schemes “to cool, rather than warm,” our planet. (Meanwhile, Wales and Northern Ireland recorded the coldest November night since recordkeeping began – and one-third of households in Wales and Scotland are living in “fuel poverty,” because of soaring energy prices.)

The AP howled that methane leaking from Siberian ice (as it has since Ice Ages) is a signal – not that vast natural gas riches lie beneath – but that the release has reached “a perilous rate” and is “a climate time bomb, waiting to explode.” Not to be outdone, a “respected” and “influential” British academic (so says London’s Telegraph) dropped this absurd bombshell: The only way to reduce global emissions enough, while allowing poor nations to continue to grow, is to halt economic growth in the rich world over the next twenty years. To achieve this, politicians should consider a rationing system similar to the one introduced during Britain’s last “time of crisis,” during the 1930s and 1940s.

So a climate “crisis” generated by computer models and ClimateGate/IPCC data manipulation is now equivalent to the Great Depression and World War II. And rich nations are somehow supposed to fork over $100 billion annually in “climate change reparations” and “mitigation and adaptation” funds, on top of other aid, after they have shackled their economies and become “formerly developed countries.”

We are witnessing the global warming, green energy, “environmental justice” and wealth redistribution equivalent of kamikaze air attacks. Desperate times do indeed require desperate measures. The assumption and assertion that humans are causing a climate catastrophe must be perpetuated at all costs.

Make no mistake. Cancun and its predecessors are not about saving the planet or protecting poor nations from the “ravages of dangerous manmade global warming.” This battle is, and always has been, about two things: money and power. Who gets how much money from whom? Who gets to control energy systems, economic growth, and people’s opportunities, living standards and futures?

It all comes down to a past and impending unprecedented redistribution of wealth – from taxpayers and consumers (rich, middle class and poor alike) in developed nations to:

* Political leaders and bureaucrats in poor nations that were enticed to sign the Kyoto and other agreements, by promises that they would receive billions, year after year; and

* Scientists, activists, bureaucrats, carbon traders and corporations responsible for the “consensus” and “settled science” about catastrophic climate change and cheap, eco-friendly renewable energy.

Their careers, reputations, institutions and cash flows are heavily dependent on keeping citizens alarmed by climate hobgoblins, and hence clamorous to be led to safety. Far worse, they are proposing that the world spend trillions combating global warming, and completely upending hydrocarbon-based economies, in favor of costly, unproven, unreliable, land-intensive “renewable” energy.

These climate cash recipients are terrified that governments, especially the incoming American Congress, will derail their global warming and renewable energy money train. That, of course, is exactly what should happen – for we are talking about serious money that could be put to far better uses. ExxonMobil was long pilloried by climate alarmists for allegedly giving $23 million over a ten-year period to organizations that challenged claims of an imminent manmade warming crisis. The Exxon grants supposedly bought “climate denial pseudo-science.” Spare me.

These Exxon grants are chicken feed, compared to the estimated $80 billion that the US government alone gave to the climate crisis community. To that must be added countless billions from the EU, UN, corporations, foundations and other sources. The Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences, for instance, alone received $110 million during the last decade from Canadian taxpayers, to promote global warming crisis messages in schools and universities.

If $23 million buys a lot of denial, imagine how much crisis “science” and “education” these countless billions have bought – and why these institutions want to “circle the wagons” to prevent any independent investigation into their research, peer-review, report-writing, education and advocacy practices.

Therefore, before we spend or transfer one more dollar, three absolutely critical steps must be taken.

First, we need to have open, robust and, if needs be, cantankerous hearings and debates – in Congress and elsewhere, with witnesses under oath. Do we really face a manmade climate crisis? Or are we just dealing with the same forces, the same changes, the same impacts (good and bad) that Earth, the wild kingdom and mankind have had to confront and adapt to countless times over the eons? What actual evidence do you have, and how was it gathered and peer-reviewed? Not computer models, assumptions, assertions, scary headline-grabbing press releases, imaginary consensus, et cetera. Real evidence.

Second, Congress and the states must bring in government officials, again under oath and subpoena, and find out which agencies gave how much money to whom, how it was used – and what quality control, transparency and accountability rules applied, who enforced them, and how.

Third, we need to stop this runaway climate crisis funding and regulatory juggernaut, until we have satisfactory answers to these questions. That means freeze the funding conduits; halt or defund the EPA “endangerment” rules; and open America’s onshore and offshore public lands to oil, gas, coal, uranium and rare earth metals exploration and development, under reasonable environmental guidelines, to ensure that we have the reliable, affordable energy we need.

Only then will we again have government of the people, by the people and for the people.

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