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Charles Krauthammer: Obama's global warming folly

Published: July 5, 2013
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Net effect: tens of thousands of jobs killed, entire states impoverished. This at a time of chronically and crushingly high unemployment, slow growth, jittery markets and deep economic uncertainty.

But that's not the worst of it. This massive self-sacrifice might be worthwhile if it did actually stop global warming and save the planet. What makes the whole idea nuts is that it won't. This massive self-inflicted economic wound will have no effect on climate change.

The have-nots are rapidly industrializing. As we speak, China and India together are opening one new coal plant every week. We can kill U.S. coal and devastate coal country all we want, but the industrializing Third World will more than make up for it. The net effect of the Obama plan will simply be dismantling the U.S. coal industry for shipping abroad.

To think we will get these countries to cooperate is sheer fantasy. We've been negotiating climate treaties for 20 years and gotten exactly nowhere. China, India and the other rising and modernizing countries point out that the West had a 150-year industrial head start that made it rich. They are still poor. And now, just as they are beginning to get rich, we're telling them to stop dead in their tracks?

Fat chance. Obama imagines he's going to cajole China into a greenhouse-gas emissions reduction that will slow its economy, increase energy costs, derail industrialization and risk enormous social unrest. This from a president who couldn't even get China to turn over one Edward Snowden to U.S. custody.

I'm not against a global pact to reduce CO2 emissions. Indeed, I favor it. But in the absence of one — and there is no chance of getting one in the foreseeable future — there is no point in America committing economic suicide to no effect on climate change, the reversing of which, after all, is the alleged point of the exercise.

For a president to propose this with such aggressive certainty is incomprehensible. It is the starkest of examples of belief that is impervious to evidence. And the word for that is faith, not science.

Charles Krauthammer's email address is letters@charleskrauthammer.com.

WASHINGTON POST WRITERS GROUP