Gina … or Judith?

What happens when close-minded alarmists get in the hot seat? Consider this recent exchange between Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy in a recent Congressional hearing.

Sessions asked McCarthy a simple question: “if you take the average of the models predicting how fast the temperature would increase, is the temperature in fact increasing less than that or more than that?” In other words, is the Earth getting warmer as expected?

The nation’s chief environmental regulator, presumably familiar with the climate models and temperature data, answered, “I cannot answer that question specifically.” A month after the hearing, the Senate was still waiting for a requested written answer to that embarrassing (to alarmists) question.

Then there is the real expert. At another Congressional hearing, distinguished climatologist and professor Judith Curry testified that recent data “calls into question the conclusion that humans are the dominant cause of recent climate change.”

Perhaps a future hearing can have McCarthy and Curry on the same panel — or better yet, have President Obama’s chief science advisor, John Holdren, go toe-to-toe with Madam Curry. Let the best science win under oath.

Stretching into the Ridiculous

Another specie of climate desperation leading to anger is exaggerated scientific speculation. According to some of these theories, climate change is influencing the kinds of pop music we listen to and may soon put an end to fish and chips in the UK.

And in a remarkable display of illogic, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) has managed to link global warming to prostitution — citing, of course, some study. She claims that global warming harms women in developing nations, forcing many into “situations such as sex work, transactional sex, and early marriage.”

(Note: opponents of hydraulic fracturing argue that the process has sexist repercussions, since it only creates good jobs for men. According to biologist Sandra Steingraber of New Yorkers Against Fracking, “the jobs for women are ‘hotel maid’ and ‘prostitute.’”)

Back to Energy Reality

It’s time for green activists et al., to come back to Earth. Fossil fuels aren’t going anywhere. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s 2015 Annual Energy Outlook, the United States will depend on fossil fuels to supply 80 percent of its energy needs in 2040. That’s not far off last year’s 82 percent.

As for the world, a robust three-fourths of primary energy consumption will come from fossil fuels in 2040, the International Energy Agency predicts.

The EIA’s recent report noted specifically that oil and natural gas production would continue to grow. By 2017, the United States will be a net exporter of natural gas. In another three years, the EIA predicts that oil production will crest to 10.6 million barrels per day and hover above 9 million bbl/d for the next 20 years. Right now, U.S. production of 9.4 million bbl/d is close to record levels.

Conclusion

Consumers are content filling their gas tanks with petroleum and flipping the switch to gas-generated electricity. Americans are less worried about the environment than at any time since the 1980s, according to Gallup. Concern over global warming, the same poll found, has waned measurably since last year.

Voters are rejecting climate alarmism. Remember the paltry results when climate alarmist Tom Steyer spent $74 million to make his issue respectable in the last election?

And so, frustrated climate alarmists are at war with the public, not only the facts. They are crying wolf and preaching disdain in the ignoble quest to raise energy prices, hamper our economy, and make life more difficult for average Americans. All to “save” the climate that doesn’t appear to need saving — and cannot be “saved” by the 196 nations of the world.

The devout parishioners of climate calamity may label the rest of us as moral degenerates. To this we must respond. There are real here-and-now problems that need your time and dollars. And to the angry: a new cause might bring peace of mind — and spare the household budgets of the rest of us.

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Robert L. Bradley Jr. is the founder and CEO of the Institute for Energy Research.

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