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EDITORIAL: Global warming alarmists push false premises

If you think coming upticks in fuel taxes and water rates are alarming, then you won’t want the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to have its way with your power bill.

The panel, overseen by the United Nations, on Friday released a report that says “it is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.” This is the IPCC’s fifth assessment report, and with the previous four, anyone who dares challenge its conclusions is castigated as a “denier.”

But pesky climate change skeptics persist. Last month, The Associated Press reports, the United States and several European governments tried to persuade the panel’s climate scientists to downplay or even delete evidence of the lack of global warming over the past 15 years, despite rapidly rising global greenhouse gas levels over that same period.

Why would those governments go to such measures? Because such information doesn’t fit the narrative the climate change lobby and their media allies have sold for more than two decades.

What the IPCC report — and the alarmism coming from the developed world — is really all about is killing off fossil fuel use despite its affordability and reliability. And as alarmist in chief Al Gore has proved, it’s also about the ever-encroaching thought police. Last week, the former vice president said, “There needs to be a political price for climate (change) denial.” News flash: The First Amendment protects the free speech rights of Americans, especially political speech. Mr. Gore’s rhetoric shows climate change is less about science and more about politics; he’s saying global warming is a political cause.

And it already has brought great change to the United States. Carbon dioxide emissions — considered the key cause of global warming — are declining domestically. The American Enterprise Institute reported Monday that 2012 CO2 emissions fell to an 18-year-low, despite the U.S. gross domestic product rising 55 percent and population growth of 17.5 percent over the same period. Per capita CO2 emissions last year were their lowest since 1964.

But for argument’s sake, let’s agree that global warming is real, that CO2 emissions cause global warming and that global warming will have no positive consequences, such as increased agricultural production or reduced cold-related deaths. Here’s what nobody on the global warming cheer squad wants to admit: If developed nations sacrificed their economies at the altar of climate change and abolished fossil fuel use, global CO2 emissions would continue to rise, because countries in the undeveloped world would continue to rely on fossil fuels to grow their economies and elevate their living standards. Americans would face power and fuel prices that would “necessarily skyrocket,” to use President Barack Obama’s own words, disproportionately hammering the poor.

Green energy already is driving power bills ever higher, thanks to government subsidies and mandates. Let the global market set the price of natural resources. Let the free market determine which fuels produce our electricity. The global warming agenda is bad policy based on false premises, and the sooner elected officials stop bowing to climate change, the better off we’ll be.

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